There are many reasons why eating well is important.
- Reduces your risk of some cancers and coronary heart disease (Scotland’s biggest killers)
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight
- Increases your energy and vitality
A good diet should be:
- Low in:
- Salt (no more than 6g a day – less for children)
- Saturated fats (i.e. pies, pastries or mayonnaise)
- High in
- Fibre (i.e. potatoes, pasta or wholemeal bread)
Balancing your diet
Fruits and vegetables
Aim to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables each day. A portion of fruit and vegetables can be:
- Three tablespoons of vegetables (raw, cooked, frozen or canned)
- One dessert bowl of mixed salad
- One piece of fruit (like an apple, orange or banana) or
- One glass of fruit juice (more than one glass still counts as one portion)
Antioxidant vitamins in fruit and vegetables will help to prevent thickening of the artery walls.
Breads, cereals and potatoes
Breads, cereals and potatoes should form the basis of meals. These foods should make up about one third of your diet:
- Choose wholegrain, wholemeal or brown varieties.
Lean meat, poultry and fish
Eat at least two portions of oily fish each week. These contain oils which protect against heart disease and can reduce the level of fat in the blood, preventing blood clots from forming in the arteries. Oily fish types are:
- Fresh tuna
Choose lower fat products and trim any visible fats from meat.
Fatty and sugary foods
Try to minimise foods like crisps, biscuits, pastries, cakes, mayonnaise and sugary drinks.
Not all fats are bad for you but eating too much can lead to you being overweight and increasing the risk of developing heart disease.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are found mainly in vegetable sources such as vegetable and olive oil, have a beneficial effect on decreasing blood cholesterol.
You should try to replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
To do this try to cut down on foods like meat pies, sausages, cheese, butter, cakes and biscuits and instead choose foods high in saturates such as oily fish, sunflower, corn, olive or rapeseed oils and spreads.
Milk and dairy products
Eat moderate amounts of these foods, with low fat versions being the healthier option.