There are innumerable guides and books on the subject of healthy eating and even more diet suggestions. It is actually relatively easy to eat healthy without all the guidelines of fitness gurus and diet specialists if you follow a few simple rules. In the following guide, we have summarized the most important points of criticism for a healthy eating plan.
Why is healthy eating important?
When it comes to food, each of us certainly sins from time to time. It is often a stressful everyday life that sometimes leads to unhealthy fast food instead of a balanced but time-consuming meal. A delicious, if sinful dessert that contains hardly any nutrients but contains all the more sugar, or the high-calorie buffet at a party where you like to take too much a plate - as long as such debauchery remains an exception in the eating plan, there is little reprehensible. However, if an unhealthy diet becomes standard, this poses massive risks to our health. Because our body relies on an adequate supply of important nutrients, for which there are sometimes very precise requirements, as the following overview of the daily requirements of various nutrients shows.
|nutrient||average daily requirement|
|Vitamin A (retinol)|
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Vitamin D (calciol / cholecalciferol)
Vitamin E (tocopherol)
The individual nutrients are important for very different bodily functions. Proteins, for example, are particularly needed by the immune system, for example for the production of immune cells. Vitamins in turn serve the body as energy suppliers and play a crucial role in numerous metabolic processes. Minerals like iron are important for blood formation, while calcium is a structural mineral in teeth, bones, hair, skin and fingernails.
As soon as one of the nutrients mentioned is no longer supplied to the body in sufficient quantities, the corresponding body function or the corresponding tissue structure suffers. A calcium deficiency can, for example, contribute to hair loss, brittle fingernails, bone and tooth loss and reduced skin protection. A lack of protein, on the other hand, causes immune deficiencies and increases the risk of infection. And a lack of iron provokes anemia in the long term. Anyone who does not eat a healthy diet permanently risks not only their own health, but also a life-threatening failure of important body and organ functions.
A simple explanation of healthy eating
There are numerous rules of thumb that you always come across when it comes to healthy eating.
"You shouldn't consume more than 3000 calories a day"
"It's best to leave sugar out altogether."
"Meat is unhealthy."
"Milk and milk products are not natural foods for an adult."
To name just a few common saying formulas. What and how much of each food should be consumed leaves every quote open. It is therefore best to orientate yourself on the so-called food pyramid. This shows very precisely what amount of food should be consumed daily or weekly, which is roughly as follows:
- Whole grain and grain products: 30% of the daily diet.
- Vegetables: 26% of the daily diet.
- Fruit: 18% of the daily diet.
- Milk and milk products: 17% of the daily diet.
- Meat, fish and eggs: 7% of the daily diet.
- Oils and fats: 2% of the daily diet.
Sweets, fast food and animal fats
At the top of the food pyramid, sweets occupy the smallest part of the pyramid construct. For good reason: They mostly contain hardly any nutrients, but all the more unhealthy additives, saturated fatty acids from animal fats and carbohydrates in the form of industrial sugar. Actually, one should now also include fast food and convenience foods among this critical top of the diet, which are similarly unhealthy and should therefore only get lost in the eating plan from time to time.
Tip: If you like snacking, we recommend dried fruit, nuts and trail mix as a healthy alternative. They contain important and healthy minerals and trace elements, which at the same time cover a certain daily requirement of nutrients when snacking.
Meat and eggs
In the food pyramid, sweets are joined by an important section of animal foods, namely meat products and eggs. They should not be consumed more than two to three times a week, with lean meats like meat
- Turkey meat,
- Chicken meat
- or veal.
greasy sausages and roast pork or goose are preferable. Basically, meat and eggs are important sources of protein. However, there are even healthier alternatives here, two of which represent the next unit of the food pyramid.
Fish, milk and milk products
This group of animal foods once again serves the body as a source of protein. At the same time, fish in particular also has important unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are extremely healthy compared to saturated fatty acids and help with digestion because the intestine has to use more energy to break it down, which stimulates the metabolism. Fish is also a source of vitamin D, which is otherwise produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Therefore, fish is extremely important to cover daily vitamin D requirements, especially in low-sun winter, and should be consumed at least once or twice a week. It is advisable to use high-fat fish such as:
When it comes to milk and milk products, the minds are often divided. Some believe that milk is fundamentally only for infants, so they are obviously not entirely wrong. Because the enzyme lactase required in the body to break down milk sugar (lactose) is actually only produced in the child's body. This is also the reason why many people from Asian and African countries still cannot tolerate cow's milk. Your lactase production naturally started after the end of breastfeeding. The so-called lactose intolerance (lactose intolerance) is therefore actually not a “disease”, but only the natural course of things.
In western industrialized countries, however, the centuries-long dairy industry and the associated production of dairy products with many residents of Europe and America caused a mutation in the field of lactase production, which therefore continues into adulthood. In this way, milk and milk products were firmly established in the daily diet. This is basically not a problem as long as you like low-fat dairy products
- Lowfat quark,
- or plain yogurt
falls back. These can be consumed up to two times a day. Even more, the daily consumption of milk and milk products is even recommended, since they contain important minerals with calcium and magnesium, which are particularly important for our bone and dental health.
Fruit and vegetables
When it comes to vitamins, fruits are by far the most important foods in your daily diet. From vitamin A to vitamin E, you can find every essential vitamin our body needs every day. However, many fruits also contain a substantial amount of fructose, which is why the amount of vegetables and fruit consumed daily should ideally be 3: 2. This means that fruit is displayed about twice a day, vegetables three times a day. You should also increasingly rely on berries, which are not only extremely rich in vitamins, but also rich in antioxidants, which supports heart and vascular health. Overall, regional fruit varieties are deliberately recommended for daily consumption in order to support their preservation. These include:
Vegetables also contain numerous vitamins. However, the proportion of minerals and trace elements is much more substantial. It is also worthwhile to buy old regional vegetables such as beet, onion and cabbage
- Endive salad,
- Lamb's lettuce,
- Brussels sprouts,
- Red cabbage,
- White cabbage,
to be rediscovered that are both very rich in vitamins and contain minerals.
In general, when it comes to healthy eating, it is a special recommendation to buy regional fruits and vegetables. On the one hand, this gives you a better feeling for the traditional regional cuisine, which is also significantly healthier than the majority of modern eating habits. On the other hand, the targeted use of regional offers also protects the environment, since there are no long transport routes and therefore the emission of pollutants is kept within limits. Of course, too
- and potatoes
not wrong. Few people know, however, that these are not originally native vegetables, but nightshade plants imported from America. However, these also thrive with us every year.
Tip: If you like it particularly healthy, it's best to grow your fruit and vegetables yourself in the garden. In this way, you always know exactly where the food you are eating comes from, and artificial sprays and overproductions are reduced.
Whole grain and cereal products
It may seem a little strange, but in fact you should eat more of cereal products than of fruits and vegetables. Whole grain products such as:
- Green core,
- Wild rice.
A wealth of rare trace elements are found in their cereal bowls, which are otherwise found only sparsely in food. The situation is similar with minerals and proteins, which are significantly more numerous in whole grains than in vegetables. The high level of fiber is also not to be overlooked.These also occur in vegetables, but usually reach the digestive tract better in whole grains and are therefore less digestive due to bloating than is the case with cabbage or onion vegetables. According to the food pyramid, legumes and types of nuts are also often included in the group of cereal products, such as:
Whole-grain pasta and whole-grain bread can also be counted among the cereal products and, like flaxseed and oatmeal, have special mucilages for the body that are particularly easy to digest and help the body to detoxify.
Important: You should keep a distance from white flour products. This is not necessarily due to the cereals, which are processed here in peeled form, but also because white bread and the like contain a large number of unhealthy carbohydrates.
The basis of every food pyramid is a regular hydration. At least two to three liters of fluid should be provided in a healthy eating plan daily. The choice of drinks is very important. Those who otherwise eat a healthy diet, but are well on their way with soft drinks, alcohol and energy drinks, can quickly destroy the goal of a healthy diet with the right foods through the wrong choice of fluids.
Our tip for proper hydration is mineral water and unsweetened teas. While mineral water provides an additional boost to the daily nutritional needs due to the minerals and trace elements it contains, sometimes healthy herbs can be processed in teas, which are beneficial to the physical well-being and even help in the case of illness in the event of recovery. Fruit and vegetable juices may also be drunk weekly, but in good doses and, in the case of fruit juices with a high fructose content, best diluted with water. Overall, a controlled hydration supports the digestion and cleansing of the body. The electrolyte balance and the skin also benefit from the additional moisture. Last but not least, the kidney also relies on continuous flushing in order to successfully rinse out non-usable food ingredients and body slags.
A healthy eating plan for your day
Now, of course, the question remains of how best to get all these nutritional components into a daily nutritional plan. After all, you can't and shouldn't eat the same thing every day. In addition, you don't necessarily crave fish or vegetables for breakfast. For this reason, here are a few tips from our editorial team:
For breakfast, it is a good idea to savor the food groups of wholegrain and dairy products and thus absorb the first important minerals and proteins. One or two slices of wholemeal bread with curd cheese and honey or alternatively a bowl of wholemeal muesli with milk already cover half of your daily needs here in no time. A hard-boiled egg or a lean slice of ham may occasionally pass the breakfast table. Ideally, you also add a few vitamin-rich berry fruits or other chopped fruit to the muesli. A freshly prepared fruit smoothie or fruit juice goes well with breakfast bread. Hard-boiled people start the day here with a green smoothie, although it should be said that the taste of cucumber, broccoli and Co. does not appeal to everyone in the morning.
At lunchtime, you usually cover your daily mineral requirements in a targeted or unconscious manner. Vegetables and cereals are now very popular and can be served, for example, in the form of a vegetable soup with a wholemeal bread side dish, a rice pan or a delicious wholemeal pasta dish with a vegetable side dish. Healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein are also suitable for lunch and can be added to the body, for example, through lean meat, fish or a salad prepared with vegetable oil. It is important that there is not too much fat and sugar involved. As a dessert, you should therefore prefer to use a piece of fruit instead of sweet cakes or chocolate cream.
Light meals are recommended in the evening. Greasy food, meat and fish should no longer be eaten here. Flatulent foods such as onions and cabbage, as well as drinks and fruits with a high sugar content are also not a good choice, as they could disturb nighttime sleep a few hours later. So what to eat in the evenings? A good idea here is natural yogurts with whole grain additives or a light slice of whole grain bread with digestion-friendly spread like cream cheese. There is also nothing to be said against a light vegetable soup, provided there are no flatulent vegetables.
Snacks for in between
It always happens that you get hungry between large meals. The access to chocolate bars or chips is then done very quickly. However, it would be better to follow the credo of whole grains here too and, for example, nibble nuts or muesli bars. The advantage - especially in everyday life with high performance requirements - is that the minerals contained in the grain are real brain food. Thinking processes, ability to concentrate and creativity are stimulated not only among schoolchildren and students, but also among workers. (ma)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Miriam Adam, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
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