Nutrition and Health: Key Messages and Updates

Edited by Dr S Ray & Ms G Jones (Cambridge, UK)

Tasty food can be healthy food! Here are a few key recommendations to keep your food healthy (especially to help protect against heart disease, stroke and diabetes) and some tips to guide you along the way…

Reduce salt intake (should be well below 6g/day)

  • Top tips:
  • • Remember to check the salt content of processed foods
  • • Avoid having salt on the table or try using a low sodium salt substitute
  • • Divert your taste buds from salt by using a variety of spices to enhance flavour!
Cut down on saturated fat intake (should contribute less than 10% of food energy)
  • Top tips:
  • • Remember to buy oils which are low in saturated fats
  • • Keep fat levels down by using low fat ingredients and cooking methods (e.g. try roasting or baking instead of frying)
  • • Limit red meat by trying low fat poultry, fish or vegetarian (e.g. soya) substitutes!
Cut trans-fat out of the diet (should remain well under 2% of food energy)
  • Top tips:
  • • Remember to avoid ‘Ghee’ or other hydrogenated fats in cooking, processed foods and spreads
  • • Switching to home-made foods and cooking methods that use little fat can help
  • • You can retrain the palate to love healthy food options that don’t contain trans-fats!
Eat at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables every day (one adult portion of fruit or veg is 80g and excludes potatoes)
  • Top tips:
  • • Remember to reach your 5-a-day by adding extra vegetables to as many dishes as you can
  • • Try steaming or lightly stir-frying your vegetable to retain vitamins and antioxidants
  • • Ensure a wide range of colours from seasonal fruit and vegetables on your plate for variety!
Reduce intake of sugars and simple carbohydrates, whilst increasing fibre intake
  • Top tips:
  • • Remember to opt for ‘low glycaemic index’ (low GI) foods wherever possible
  • • Avoid adding sugar to food and beverages, and cut out sugary drinks – you can opt for sugar substitutes if you have a sweet tooth or rely on natural sweetness from fruits
  • • Take wholegrain foods wherever possible (eg brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholemeal flour, instead of refined starchy foods) and boost your fibre intake!

DISCLAIMER: Dr S Ray and Miss G Jones contribute to this webpage in a purely personal and non-commercial basis. The views expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect those of the UK Medical Research Council or any of the institutions/organisations that Dr Ray and Miss Jones are affiliated with.

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