This is the healthy food pyramid made by experts in nutrition from the Harvard School of Public Health. The pyramid is based on the best scientific evidence available for the relationship of nutrition and health. This pyramid is a guide on what and how much to eat for better health.
The healthy food pyramid is based on our daily exercise and weight control. Why you say? Both of this complementary elements strongly influence in keeping you in perfect health state. They also affect what and how we eat and how food affects us.
The other bricks of the food pyramid include:
Whole grain foods (in most of your meals). The body needs carbohydrates mainly for energy. The best sources of carbohydrates are whole oats, whole wheat flour and brown rice. The body can not digest whole grains as fast as processed carbohydrates like white flour.
In this way, the levels of blood sugar and insulin are protected from ascending and descending too fast. Better control of blood sugar and insulin can control the hunger and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
Vegetable oils. Good sources of healthy unsaturated fats include olives, soy, corn, sunflower, peanut and other vegetable oils and fatty fish such as salmon. Besides they improve the cholesterol levels (when eaten in place of highly processed carbohydrates) but these healthy fats also offer an huge protection of the heart, especially from sudden and potentially life-threatening heart rhythm anomalies.
Vegetables (in abundance) and Fruits (2-3 times per day). A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke; protect against a variety of cancers, lower blood pressure, act preemptively to the occurrence of hemorrhoids, protects against cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in people over age 65, etc.
Fish, poultry and eggs (up to 2 times). These are important sources of protein. A couple of research suggests that the consumption of fish can drastically reduce the risk of heart disease. Chicken and turkey are also good sources of protein and can be low in saturated fat.
Eggs, which have long been demonized because they contain a lot of cholesterol, are not as bad as you think. In fact, one egg in the morning is a much better breakfast than a donuts cooked in some oil full of trans fats.
Nuts and Legumes (1 to 3 times). Nuts and legumes are excellent sources of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Many kinds of nuts contain healthy fats (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts and pistachios) that are good for the heart.
Related article: Nuts Reduce the Risk of Disease Including Cancer
Dairy or Calcium Supplement (1-2 times). For healthy bone development and keeping it strong takes calcium, vitamin D, exercise and more. Dairy products are a major source of calcium.
Related article: Calcium – The Guardian of Our Bones and Health
But other than milk and cheese, which can contain a lot of saturated fat, there are other healthy ways to get calcium. Like for example, three glasses of whole milk in its composition, equally contain as much saturated fat as 13 pieces/strips of cooked bacon.
If you enjoy dairy foods, try to choose products without fat or at least low in fat. If you do not prefer dairy products in your daily meals, many calcium supplements offer an easy and inexpensive way to get your daily calcium needs.
Red Meat and Butter (Use Sparingly): These sit at the top of the food pyramid because they contain lots of saturated fat. If you eat red meat every day, switching to fish or chicken several times a week can improve cholesterol levels in the blood. Also switching from butter to olive oil counts too.
White rice, white bread, potatoes, white pasta, soda and cookies (Use Sparingly): These foods can cause fast and furious increases in blood sugar that can lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic disorders .
Whole-grain carbohydrates generate steadier and slower increases in blood sugar levels, that do not overcome the body’s ability to handle this much needed but potentially deadly nutrient.
Multivitamins: A daily supplement of multivitamins and multi-mineral, offers a kind of nutritional backup. While this in no way can be a substitute for healthy eating or compensation for unhealthy meal, yet still can fill the gaps of nutrients our body needs. An expensive brand of vitamin supplements is not so necessarily.
Alcohol (in moderate usage): Scores of studies suggest that moderate drinking of alcohol per day reduces the risk of heart disease. Moderation is very important, since alcohol has risks as well as benefits. For example, in men, a solid balance point is 1 to 2 drinks per day and for women one drink a day is totally enough. However, the risks of drinking, even when it is moderate, prevail the gains up until the middle age.