Obesity is on the rise worldwide. According to World Health Organization in 2005 approximately 1.6 billion adults (age 15+) were overweight, at least 400 million adults were obese. WHO further projects that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese. Also, at least 20 million children under the age of 5 years are overweight globally in 2005.
Overweight and obesity lead to serious health consequences. Risk increases progressively as BMI increases. Body mass index (BMI) is an index of weight-for-height that is commonly used in classifying overweight and obesity in adult populations and individuals. It is defined as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters (kg/m2).
While we all know about healthy nutrition, we generally think that is something so hard to do. But it is not! Actually, is very easy as long as you decide that want to follow a healthier diet for a healthier life!
- Choose foods low in saturated and trans fats. Foods low in saturated fat include fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Try to avoid fried and high fat foods.
- Choose a diet moderate in total fat. A diet moderate in fat will give you enough calories to satisfy your hunger, which can help you to eat fewer calories, stay at a healthy weight, and lower your blood cholesterol level. To keep your total fat intake moderate, try to substitute unsaturated fat for saturated fat.
- Choose foods low in cholesterol. Try to eat fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and moderate amounts of lean meats, skinless poultry, and fish. Eat plenty of soluble fiber, which may help lower your LDL ("bad") blood cholesterol. Good sources are oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, and strawberries. Insoluble fiber will not help your blood cholesterol level but is still good for healthy bowel function. Good sources of insoluble fiber are whole wheat breads, kidney beans, almonds, beets, carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and apple skin.
- Watch your body weight. If you need to lose weight and you do that by following a healthy you will gain many health benefits (lower cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure etc).
- Also combine a healthy diet with daily physical exercise to get all the benefits for your health!
Nikoleta Michaelidou, MSc, RD
Clinical and Sports Dietitian/Nutritionist