Well, healthy food can improve your immune system, maintain the right weight balance, keep your energy levels high and ensure good physical, mental and emotional health. But, on the other hand, unhealthy food can increase your weight, become a cause for your health issues and negatively affect your lifespan. Therefore, you have to introduce a healthy diet routine to stay fit and strong. So, how can you differentiate between healthy and unhealthy foods? Here is a detail to help you out!
What are Healthy and Unhealthy Foods?
Before we understand how to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy foods, we must know what it means.
Healthy food - A food item rich in nutritional value that benefits the overall well being of your body functions can be referred to as healthy food. Four main food groups make a balanced healthy diet:
Vegetables and Fruits
These food items must be included in your diet with the correct preparation methods. The right preparation method will ensure you get the necessary nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, in the correct proportion. The extent and type of nutrients required will be based on your age, pre-existing illness, or other health issues.
Unhealthy food - Food items that are less in the necessary nutritional value and have increased bad fat, calories, etc., can be referred to as unhealthy food. Processed food items, fast foods, fried food items, etc., are unhealthy foods.
All fats are not bad. Therefore, it is important to know the difference between good fats and bad fats. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats affect the cholesterol levels positively in your body. They increase the good cholesterol and decrease the bad cholesterol levels referred to as the HDL - High-Density Lipoprotein and the LDL -Low-Density Lipoprotein, respectively. On the other hand, saturated fat derived from full-fat dairy products, red meat, etc., and the trans fat from food items like microwave pizza, popcorn and baked items like cake, cookies, etc., are unhealthy fats.
How to Differentiate Between Healthy and Unhealthy Foods?
You can differentiate between healthy and junk foods by examining certain characteristics:
Nutrient value - Nutrient facts are of prime importance. So, here are the most important nutrients and a little detail of what healthy foods provide them.
Carbohydrates provide a vital energy source for the body and contribute to 40 -60% of your diet. Foods rich in carbs include brown rice, bananas, potatoes, chickpeas, nuts, sweet potato, oranges, apples, berries, beetroot, brown bread, etc.
Protein is necessary to regulate cellular activity in the body and should comprise 15-25% of your diet. Foods rich in protein include eggs, almonds, oats, broccoli, tuna, yoghurt, whole grains, milk, etc.
Fats are important for controlling the body temperature, absorbing vitamins and energy release. It should be 10-20% of your diet. It would be best to introduce fats with caution as it can increase good and bad cholesterol in the long term. Foods that provide healthy fat include avocados, whole eggs, fatty fish, nuts, chia seeds, etc.
Fibre is necessary for good digestive health and should be at least 14g in your regular diet. Healthy foods rich in fibre include oats, bananas, dark leafy vegetables, walnuts, potatoes, apples, carrots, avocados, green peas, popcorn, lentils etc.
Vitamins and Minerals are responsible for growth and development by facilitating cellular functions. There are different types of vitamins carrying out varied tasks in your body. And, foods rich in these vitamins are
Vitamin A - Carrots, cod liver oil, salmon
Vitamin B - Milk, Seafood, Green leafy vegetable
Vitamin C - Oranges, Strawberries, Kiwi, Papaya
Vitamin D - Mushroom, Cheese, Eggs, Milk
Vitamin K - Spinach, Lettuce
Also, healthy foods rich in minerals include fish, beans, red meat, lentils, etc.
Therefore, when you make or buy food items, you should ensure that these nutrients are included to make a healthy and nutritious food meal plan throughout the day. Unhealthy foods will not have the right proportion of these nutrients and thus increase the risk of various diseases.
Health benefits - Healthy foods can relieve you from muscle aches, joint pains, fatigue, heart problems and facilitate efficient body functions for growth and development. Conversely, unhealthy foods can increase your risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, etc.
Taste - Healthy foods cannot always be tastier. They are present in their natural state and do not involve much preparation. On the other hand, unhealthy foods have varied preparation methods, including oil, spices, etc., and are extremely delicious.
Price - Healthy foods take a lot of effort to bring the best benefits. For example, farm-fresh organic vegetables and fruits require high maintenance costs and are priced high compared to unhealthy foods.
Approachability - Healthy foods are less in demand and are not available in the market as the extent of unhealthy foods. For example, you can find plenty of fast-food restaurants while it is difficult to find a place providing healthy salads and soups.
Understanding the difference between healthy and unhealthy food and choosing one is a preference. Additionally, many people have resorted to healthy living practices and smart financial decisions to secure their future, especially in a pandemic.
For such reasons, insurers have introduced comprehensive life insurance plans to help people stabilise their financial conditions. Just like how healthy food can contribute to peaceful living, a life cover policy with savings benefits can safeguard your family's future and ensure satisfaction in your daily routine.
Tata AIA life insurance provides various customer-friendly products with flexible features to help you reach the desired financial requirements based on your income and family commitments. You can use the online premium calculator to estimate the premium, compare different plans and purchase a plan according to your financial needs online.
It is important to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy eating practices to be at optimum health. Healthy and unhealthy foods differ in nutrient value, taste, price, and health effects. Therefore, you must do adequate research on the food items from their purchase to their preparation for the best benefits in the long term. So, plan to include a healthy food routine for a healthy lifestyle and happy living!