The foundation of healthy eating according to the recent Canadian’s Dietary Guidelines
When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is right, medicine is of no need.
We all know how important our diet is to our overall health and how the dietary choices we make on a regular basis form our patterns of eating. Since our childhood we’ve been told to eat our vegetables, that drinking milk helps build strong bones, that there’s only four categories of food (meat and substitutes, dairy and substitutes, fruits and vegetables and cereals), etc. Nowadays, this information seems outdated or oversimplified and clearly doesn’t reflect the eating habits of the population according to the 2019 Canadian Dietary Guidelines. Indeed, the rules of healthy eating have changed, and our understanding of nutrition has drastically improved since the last Canadian Dietary Guidelines. Here are the main points that you need to know :
- Nutritious foods are the foundation for healthy eating and should be consumed regularly. This includes food such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein foods
Nutritious foods are foods that contain a high amount of essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc. Regularly eating these types of food have been shown to have a protective effect in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, including risk factors such as high blood pressure and elevated blood lipids (LDL-cholesterol).
- Nutritious food can be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried
Frozen, canned, or dried foods (such as legumes) are always convenient options, especially when fresh food is out of season, costly, unavailable, or takes too long to prepare.
- Among protein foods, plant-based food should be consumed more often than animal-based food. This includes food such as legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, etc.
While many animal-based foods are nutritious, the Canadian’s Dietary Guidelines emphasizes more on plant-based foods. That is because patterns of eating that emphasize plant-based foods typically result in higher intakes of dietary fibers and vegetables and fruits which are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease as well as higher intakes of nuts and soy protein which are associated with decreased LDL-cholesterol.
- Foods that contain mostly saturated fat should be replaced by foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat. This includes food such as fish, plant-based oils, nuts, etc.
The type of fat consumed over time is more important for health than the total amount of fat consumed. There is convincing evidence that lowering the intake of saturated fat by replacing it with unsaturated fat decreases total and LDL-cholesterol. Elevated LDL-cholesterol is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
- Water should be the beverage of choice.