Health and living

In a healthy eating plan, knowing which diets work, how active you should be for your age and what you can do to manage your weight are important too.Being the healthiest you can possibly be means eating a variety of healthy foods, being physically active and understanding the nutrients you need to protect your bones, immune system, physical and mental health.

It is wonderful to know that eating healthy food can lower your risk of developing health problems, help manage health problems like heart disease and diabetes, and also make you feel good.



what makes a good differrence to your health and well being is your food choices

You do not need to make really big changes to get positive benefits. Small changes to your eating habits and increases in physical activity will help you feel healthier, manage your health conditions and lower your risk of developing many chronic diseases.

Poor eating habits can contribute to weight gain, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and other health problems. These can then lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some cancers and other chronic diseases.

Choosing healthy and nutritious foods is one way you can lower your risk of developing many chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Eating a healthy diet can also help you to manage health conditions, improve symptoms and feel healthier.

Start to think about what you can do to improve your lifestyle and health. It is best to make small changes that you feel are sustainable in the long term. 


Having a variety of foods, eating regular meals, including wholegrains, fibre, fruit and vegetables, and limiting the amount of fat, sugar and salt you eat are all recommended for good nutrition.It is helpful to know what foods are healthy and what you can do to ensure you eat the healthiest diet you can.

The five food groups are:

  1. grain (cereal) foods
  2. vegetables and legumes/beans
  3. fruit
  4. lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
  5. milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives


  If you are reducing your food intake to control your weight, it is important not to totally eliminate one or more of the five food groups.Variety of foods intake helps you to obtain the various nutrients required by your body.  This information helps you to construct the ideal meal plan in terms of the amount of food you require from each food group to ensure you meet your nutritional requirements. This could put you at risk of having inadequate amounts of some nutrients. Instead it is best to reduce the portion sizes and choose the healthier options within each food group. For example, select multigrain bread rather than white bread and use skim milk instead of full-cream milk.

Eating regular meals


Skipping meals is one of the biggest mistakes women make. Regular meals, and snacks when needed, maintain your energy and provide the nutrients you need each day so you will feel more like being active, your mood will be better and you will be less likely to overeat.

Breakfast is an important start to the day. Some great breakfast options are:

  • a high-fibre, wholegrain cereal with milk or yoghurt together with some fruit
  • wholegrain toast or English-style muffin with a boiled or poached egg with spinach, mushrooms, avocado or tomato.

Snacks may be a good way for you to include an extra serve or two of fruit and vegetables or get some extra calcium from a yoghurt or fruit smoothie.Healthy snacks can be part of your eating plan but take care not to eat too much over the day. Some people prefer to eat smaller meals and include a snack in between meals to control their hunger. 

Wholegrains & fibre

Examples of foods that provide wholegrains are rolled oats, wholegrain bread, wheat flakes, wheat biscuits and brown rice.they contain all three parts of the grain; the germ that supplies many nutrients, the starch or carbohydrate for energy, and the bran that supplies the fibre. 

High fibre, wholegrain options are encouraged as they provide the most health benefits. A serve is equivalent to 1 slice of bread, ½ cup of cooked pasta, noodles, rice or quinoa, ½ cup of cooked porridge or ¼ cup of muesli. They are  important sources of dietary fibre but also have been shown to have specific health benefits. The Dietary Guidelines recommend women consume 4-6 serves of grain (cereal) foods each day depending on your age.

TIP: Eat a wholegrain cereal or bread as part of your breakfast everyday.

Some  benefits to eating high fibre foods include promoting regular bowel habits, helping you feel fuller, reducing blood glucose and cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of several diseases, including colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease.

There are two categories of fibre – soluble fibre which dissolves in water and insoluble fibre which does not. We require both types of fibre and, by making sure you eat a good variety of foods, it is easy to consume both.

Examples of foods which are good sources of fibre are:

  • wholegrain cereals, including oats, barley, wheat bran, psyllium
  • wholemeal and wholegrain breads
  • brown rice
  • legumes, including lentils, chickpeas, dried and canned beans
  • fruit and vegetables (skin on where possible)
  • nuts and seeds


Fruit & vegetables


They are sources of good nutrients for the body,taking them helps to protect  from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some cancers. As well as being an important source of fibre, eating a variety of fruit and vegetables provides vitamin C, folate, potassium, beta-carotene (vitamin A), and other vitamins and minerals and antioxidants. Use fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables when possible Frozen and canned vegetables and fruit (canned in natural juice) are also healthy options Include at least 1 serve of fruit or vegetables in your breakfast and at least 2 serves of fruit or vegetables in every lunch and dinnertime snacking on raw vegetables and fruit

Reduced glycaemic index

Prescriptions for adults:

  • Eat at least 2 serves of fruit every day (150g per serve)
    • Example of 1 serve = 1 piece of medium-sized fruit (eg apple, banana, orange) or 2 pieces of small fruit (eg apricots, plums) or 1 cup of diced, cooked or canned fruit
  • Eat at least 5 serves of vegetables every day (75g per serve)
    • Example of 1 serve = ½ cup cooked vegetables or 1 cup of green leafy vegetables or ½ medium potato                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Glycaemic index (GI):

This is a measure of how a carbohydrate food affects your blood glucose level. Low GI foods produce gradual rises in blood glucose levels as they are more slowly digested and absorbed than higher GI foods. Low GI diets help in the management of diabetes. They also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance and therefore can be helpful in the management of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Low GI foods tend to be more filling and therefore can help people to reduce their energy intake for weight management.

Look for low GI foods which are also high in fibre or wholegrains. Some examples include,legumes (dried or canned beans, lentils, chickpeas),wholegrain breads and savoury biscuits,psyllium, quinoa, barley, bulghur (cracked wheat),muesli, rolled oats (porridge), a high bran cereal such as All Bran,sweetcorn,most fruit including apples, pears, bananas, grapes, mango, nectarines, peaches, oranges and berries

It is important to consider the amount of carbohydrate you eat as well as Low GI foods which provide a large amount of carbohydrate may have a greater effect on blood glucose and insulin levels than small amounts of a high GI food.the GI of the carbohydrate.

Stop eating foods containing saturated fat

The three main types of dietary fats – saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat all contain the same amount of energy (calories) and are considered ‘energy-dense’,consuming too much may lead to excess energy intake and weight gain. Saturated fats tend to increase the LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol in the blood and you should try to limit the amount of saturated fat you take in

Foods that are high in saturated fat include:butter creamfull-cream milk and yogurt cheese meat palm oil, which is a vegetable oil often used in the manufacturing of biscuits, pastries, chips and other snack foods,coconut oil, milk and cream

Be cautious of processed foods made with palm oil (often labelled as ‘vegetable oil’) which are high in saturated fat; there is often a more healthy option available that contains a poly or monounsaturated fat.Replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats lowers LDL cholesterol and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Limit your intake of saturated fat by using margarine instead of butter, limiting full-cream dairy products and using lean cuts of meat trimmed of visible fat. 


How to prevent weight gain


The key to preventing weight gain lies in understanding what causes weight gain and how you can maintain a healthy weight for your self.One of the most important things for your health is to prevent the weight that tends to go on each year and stay on.The value of preventing weight gain lies in avoiding the considerable risks for women’s health posed by being overweight.Preventing weight gain is as relevant to women who are within the healthy weight range as it is for those who are overweight or obese and to women of all ages.Younger women, 25-45 years, are gaining weight at a faster rate than any other age group,overweight women have 14 times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes,overweight men have 4 times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes


Weight maintenance

If you have a healthy weight, the key is to measure, monitor and to keep yourself motivated to maintain your healthy weight.Maintaining a healthy weight throughout the different life stages involves understanding the influences on your weight gain as these will dictate how you can manage your weight. 


It’s important to know roughly what size you are normally, so that you can notice small changes to your weight.


Keep records of your health habit. If you’re aiming to walk 10,000 steps a day, buy a pedometer and write your total down at the end of each day to track your progress. 


Motivation plays a vital role in all we do as it can make or break our attempts to maintain a healthy weight. This is where your friends and social networks are most valuable.

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