Health and medicine

Food pyramid – what should be on the daily menu?

Food pyramid – what should be on the daily menu?
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You’ve certainly heard of the Healthy Eating Pyramid, developed and updated by the World Health Organization (WHO). At its base are the foods that are recommended to be eaten in the largest quantities. The higher the floor of the pyramid, the smaller the recommended amount of food.

Over the past few years, ideas about healthy eating have evolved strongly. In 2016, the WHO revised the food pyramid and it now looks completely different. Many foods that you could eat freely before 2016, you should now limit.

So let’s analyze and comment on the main elements of the latest Healthy Eating Pyramid.

Vegetables and fruits – the basis of healthy nutrition

Your daily menu should be dominated by vegetables. Try to eat from 500 to 700 grams of them. Just remember that potatoes, beets and boiled carrots are products with a high glycemic index. It is better to limit their consumption.

Vegetables are best stewed, roasted and blanched. As for a large amount of leafy vegetables and greens, it should be borne in mind that the oxalic acid found in the green part of plants leads to the formation of oxalates, which promote the formation of deposits in the urinary tract.

As for the consumption of fruits, it is important to remember that they contain a lot of fructose and sucrose. Their excessive consumption can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells cannot absorb glucose and trigger the energy exchange process.

It is best to choose fruits with the lowest possible content of fructose per 100 grams: kiwis, tangerines, grapefruits, currants, strawberries, raspberries, pineapples and melons. Consumption of our favorite apples and pears is better to limit.

Photo: passion100/Pixabay

Cereals – the second level of the pyramid

Until 2016, the basis of the Pyramid of Healthy Eating were cereals, bread, pasta from hard wheat grains and muesli. Today, cereals occupy the second tier of the pyramid.

Numerous scientific reports indicate that most people have a poor tolerance for gluten (a plant protein found in cereals). And poor absorption of cereals leads to inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and autoimmune conditions.

As for cereals, it is better to eat buckwheat, millet, corn groats, and brown, unpolished rice, i.e. those cereals that do not contain gluten. However, eat them in moderation, i.e. not more than once a day.

Photo: Wesual Click/Unsplash

Milk and milk products – the third floor of the pyramid

The new healthy food pyramid limits the consumption of dairy products to a minimum – reach for it at most once a day. Daily consumption of casein (milk sugar) should not exceed 6 grams. This amount is already contained in 100 milliliters of milk, so it is better to replace it with cottage cheese and cheese, which contain less milk sugar per 100 grams.

In addition, dairy products such as milk, kefir and yogurt have a fairly high insulin index, which promotes the occurrence of disorders of carbohydrate metabolism and a large amount of casein, which in excess causes allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases.

When choosing dairy products, it is worth paying attention to their composition: there should be no powdered milk, which contains a lot of oxidized cholesterol. The latter promotes the deposition of plaques on the walls of the arteries, which can lead to atherosclerosis.

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Meat, eggs, fish and legumes – the penultimate level of the pyramid

Products from this group are a source of complete protein, so they should be eaten in moderation. It is recommended to eat no more than 500 g of meat per week and to introduce meat-free days into your life. You can then reach for fish (1-2 portions per week), eggs and pulses

People striving to lose weight often start to restrict themselves and eat only turkey or chicken breast. Meanwhile, poultry in terms of vitamin and mineral content is inferior to, for example, red meat, eggs, fish or seafood. It is worth diversifying your diet to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the body.

Photo: Enrico Mantegazza/Unsplash

Healthy fats and nuts – the top of the food pyramid

At the top of the nutritional pyramid are fats. Most people view vegetable oil as very beneficial to health and avoid animal fats. Meanwhile, vegetable oils contain a high concentration of omega-6 fatty acids, more than present in our diet.

Also, when choosing an oil, you need to consider its stability. The more stable the oil, the less likely it is to oxidize and create free radicals in the body

There are 3 types of fats:

  • polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are very unstable due to several double bonds in their structure. These oils should not be used for frying or heating food. Oils containing polyunsaturated fatty acids include all vegetable oils: canola, corn, sunflower, etc.
  • monounsaturates are also unstable, but to a lesser degree than polyunsaturates. These oils are also better not heated. They include olive oil, which is better used cold. Olive oil contains more omega-3 acids than other vegetable oils.
  • saturated acids are the most stable, because they do not have double bonds in their structure. They are therefore ideal for cooking food at high temperatures. So use clarified butter, lard, or coconut oil for heat processing.
Photo: forwimuwi73/Pixabay

Supplements

The new food pyramid includes something that wasn’t there before: supplements. This is due to the fact that our body does not get enough of the ingredients, vitamins and microelements it needs from food. Today’s products are much more sterile than those of even 50 years ago.

So you may ask yourself, what vitamins should we reach for? Only your doctor or nutritionist can give you the right answer based on your blood test results. Don’t buy supplements at random, because you can only harm yourself.

Photo by Michelle Leman/Pexels

Photo Nathan Cowley/Pexels

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