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Good Health Guide

Healthy diet decisions:
Do you know what to eat?
If you're healthy and want to stay that way, do you know what to eat? Suggestions on what and how much to eat can be confusing, especially when faced with varied and conflicting nutritional advice. We at can help. Here we outline nutritional recommendations designed to promote health, and help prevent disease. Use these guidelines to plan your healthy diet.

Carbohydrates are your body's main energy source. Complex carbohydrates include legumes, grains, and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, peas, and corn. Simple carbohydrates, also called sugars, are found mainly in fruits, and milk, as well as in foods made with sugar, such as candy, and other sweets.

Get 45% to 65% of your daily calories - at least 130 grams a day - from carbohydrates. Emphasize complex carbohydrates, especially from whole grains and beans, and nutrient-rich fruits, and milk. Limit sugars from candy, and other sweets.

Cholesterol: Cholesterol is vital to the structure, and function of all your cells, but it's also the main substance in fatty deposits (plaques) that can develop in your arteries. Your body makes all of the cholesterol it needs for cell function. You get additional cholesterol by eating animal foods, such as meat, egg yolk, dairy products, and butter.

Limit your intake of cholesterol to no more than 300 milligrams a day.

Fats help your body absorb many essential vitamins, maintain the structure, and function of cell membranes, and preserve the integrity of your immune system. But fats are a very concentrated energy source, providing twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates, and proteins. And too much of certain types of fats such as saturated fats, and trans-fats can increase your blood cholesterol levels, and your risk of coronary artery disease.

Limit fats to 20% to 35% of your daily calories. Emphasize fats from healthier sources, such as nuts and olive, canola and peanut oils.

Saturated Fats:
Saturated fats are most often found in animal products, such as red meat, butter, and whole milk. Other foods high in saturated fats include coconut, palm, and other tropical oils. Saturated fats are the main dietary culprit in raising your blood cholesterol, and increasing your risk of coronary artery disease.

Limit your daily intake of saturated fats to no more than 10% of your total calories. For most women, this means no more than 20 grams a day, and for most men this means no more than 24 grams a day.

Fibres are part of plant foods that your body doesn't digest, and absorb. There are two basic types: soluble, and insoluble. Insoluble fibres add bulk to stool, and can help prevent constipation. Vegetables, wheat bran, and other whole grains are good sources of insoluble fibres. Soluble fibres may help improve cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Oats, dried beans, and some fruits, such as apples and oranges, are good sources of soluble fibres.

Recommendation: Women need 21 to 25 grams of fibres a day, and men need 30 to 38 grams of fibres a day.

Proteins are essential to human life. Your skin, bones, muscles, and organ tissues, all contain proteins. It's found in your blood, hormones, and enzymes too. Proteins are found in many plant foods, and come from animal sources as well. Legumes, poultry, seafood, meat, dairy products, nuts, and seeds are richest sources of protein

Between 10% and 35% of your total daily calories - at least 46 grams a day for women and 56 grams a day for men - must come from proteins.

Vitamins and Minerals:
You need vitamins and minerals for normal growth, function, and health. Not getting enough vitamins or minerals can lead to illness, but getting too much can cause toxic reactions. The best way to get the vitamins and minerals is through a healthy diet based on a variety of foods. But if you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, a vitamin or mineral supplement may be appropriate.

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