Every person needs to eat a healthy diet every day in order to be in good health, thus the choice of foods consumed is important. The food pyramid is a guide to making good food choices; it indicates which food varieties to eat more and which ones to eat less.  Consider the following:

  • For each serving the bigger portion should come from foods at the bottom of the pyramid these foods are; grains such as maize, rice, millet, sorghum, roots and tubers such as cassava, and potatoes. These foods provide the energy which works as fuel to the body. It is important to consider eating whole-grain foods that are less processed and retain more valuable vitamins, minerals and fibre than processed grains.
  • Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals such as mangoes, pawpaw, passion fruit, oranges, dark-green leafy vegetables, carrots, yellow sweet potatoes, and pumpkins; other fruits and vegetables such as bananas, pineapples, avocados, watermelons, tomatoes, eggplants, and cabbage should form the second biggest portion on the plate. Vegetables and fruits of varying colours should also be considered to take advantage of anti-oxidants and phytochemicals that help prevent certain diseases such as cancers.
  • Legumes such as beans, peas, cowpeas, groundnuts, lentils and seeds such as pumpkin are eaten in slightly smaller amounts (see positioning on the pyramid) and provide proteins that build the body leading to its growth, maintenance and repair. Animal source foods such as meat, chicken, fish, liver, eggs, and dairy products, and other small animals should be included in smaller quantities just as legumes.
  • Oils and fats which include common cooking oils, oil seeds, margarine, palm oil, cheese and butter improve the absorption of some vitamins and provide extra energy. Since these food are at the tip of the pyramid this means they should form the smallest portion of the diet, that is, should be consumed sparingly. They contain high fat and salt which can lead to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

 

  • It is important to eat fewer empty-calorie foods and beverages (foods high in calories but have a low nutritional value also known as junk food) such as sweets, pastries, cake, sodas, ice cream, chips, alcohol etc. Avoid foods with added sugars, refined starches, high sodium or solid fat.
  • In addition to eating a healthy diet, it is important to include physical activity in your plan of activities. Increasing the amount of physical activity while ensuring a healthy diet can help you maintain a healthier weight, improve the health of bones and lowers the risk of developing chronic diseases of lifestyle. An adult on average needs about 2½ hours of moderate intensity physical activities such as brisk walking every week or about 1¼ hours of vigorous intensity physical activities such as jogging or running every week.
  • It is also important to drink as much water as possible every day. Water helps remove wastes through body processes such as urination, perspiration, and bowel movements, and is necessary for lubrication and cushioning of some parts of the body such as joints and other tissues and keep the body temperature of the body normal.

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