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Benefits of Healthy Diet

SMita Dongre

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Aim to eat at least 50% of your vegetables and fruits in their raw form. This preserves the vitamins, minerals and active enzymes, which may be destroyed by heat and water during the cooking process. Your body requires a full profile of all of these nutrients, which work together, when in proper balance, to create the potential for every metabolic function within the body to take place.

Eat the skins of your produce items (fruits and vegetables) whenever possible. Many of the essential nutrients are right under the skin. For example, apples and cucumber are most beneficial when eaten with their skin.

Choose whole vegetables and fruits over their juices. The fiber which is discarded in the production of the juice is very high in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (plant chemicals), all of which are essential in the prevention of disease and illness. The juice contains only a portion of what is available in the whole food.

Season foods with natural condiments, such as fresh herbs, fresh garlic, onions, lemon or lime juice, peppers, organic and ethnic vinegars, vegetable flakes and powders, and spices.

Include a wide variety of foods in your diet. This insures a better balance of essential nutrients. What one food lacks, another contains.

Reduce your intake of fats, especially saturated fats. These include fats from dairy products and most animal protein sources, other than fish and seafood.

Reduce or eliminate the intake of potential toxins such as tobacco and alcohol.

Tobacco has been associated with illnesses and diseases too numerous to list here.

Alcohol can lead to illnesses of the liver, kidneys, bladder and overall elimination systems of the body.

Pesticides on our fresh produce may have hazardous effects on our overall health and immune systems. It is advisable to wash all produce upon purchase, even if it is organically grown. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to a basin of clean purified water, and soak produce, other than berries and leafy greens, for several minutes, and then rinse thoroughly in two sinks of clear water. Let dry on towels and then refrigerate.

Additives and preservatives added to our food sources may prove over time to have deleterious effects on our immune systems and general well-being. With the increasing consumption of packaged, processed preserved foods we are also seeing a parallel in increasing numbers of allergy sufferers, and general lethargy and restlessness among our children and adolescents.

Minimise foods such as fatty meats, sugar-laden desserts, chocolates and sweets pickled foods, especially those produced with white, salt-cured meats and foods, smoked meats, cheeses and other foods burned or well-done foods and especially those cooked on a barbecue.

Daily intake of fluids should include at least 6 to 8 glasses of water. Without adequate fluid intake, you can become severely constipated, as well as experience flatulence (gas) and bloating. Water is required for every major function of the body, including carrying nutrients to where they are needed, as well as carrying wastes and toxins out of the body. Water is also necessary for proper functioning of the digestive juices and the digestive tract, so it may assist in prevention of indigestion. If you are ill, it is advisable to increase your fluid intake, to prevent dehydration which can result from diarrhoea, vomiting, high fevers or hyperventilation.

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