Eating the right sorts of foods in the right amount to stay fit and healthy includes eating the correct types of foods from the different food groups available, such as proteins; carbohydrates and fats, vitamins and minerals. A ‘healthy diet’ will vary from person to person, and is influenced by many factors including age, gender, lifestyle and any additional factors such as illness or medical conditions.
Food and drink is important to ensure that our bodies can work and function correctly including growing, repairing the body and fighting infections and to provide us with energy to function in our daily living. Healthy eating is important for our vital organs such as our heart and to keep our body weight within a healthy range which helps our body to function at its best, thus helping to prevent diabetes, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer.
We should all try to aim for a balanced diet if possible which include foods from the following food groups:
Fruit and vegetables.
Starchy foods such as potatoes, bread rice, oats and pasta.
Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.
Proteins such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and other sources of protein.
And have only a small amount of foods and drinks high in fats and/or sugar.
Fruit and vegetables - are a vital source of vitamins and minerals and a well balanced diet should include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Try to vary the types of fruit and vegetables which you eat. They can be fresh, frozen, dried or tinned. A portion is about a handful -80grams or 3 oz in weight, for example one apple = one portion or 7-8 strawberries = one portion.
Starchy foods - try to choose wholegrain or wholemeal varieties wherever possible.
Milk and dairy - try to look for reduced fat varieties if possible, some low fat yogurts contain added sugar try to avoid these where possible. Try to replace full fat milk for semi-skimmed or skimmed milk. Milk and dairy foods contain calcium which help to keep our bones healthy.
Meat and other proteins - these are essential for our bodies to repair and grow, they are also good sources of vitamins and minerals. Meat is one of the main sources of Vitamin B12 which helps to keep our blood and nerve cells healthy. Try to eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Aim for at least two portions of fish per week if possible.
UK guidelines advise us to swap saturated fats/ oils for unsaturated fats/ oils where possible examples of unsaturated fats are olive oil, rapeseed oil and almonds and examples of polyunsaturated fats are sunflower oil, vegetable oil and oily fish. Try to choose food options which are lower in salt, fat and sugar wherever you can.
Omega 3 has many benefits: it has anti-inflammatory properties, lowers levels of certain fats (called triglycerides) in the blood and helps with stiff and painful joints. It can also help to lower blood pressure (by dilating the blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow).
Some research studies have shown that omega 3 is beneficial for people with dilated cardiomyopathy who have mild to moderate heart failure and are on standard treatment, as it improved the function of their left ventricle. However, these studies cannot confirm that taking omega 3 supplement will help everyone, and it is not a standard recommendation for people with cardiomyopathy. You may like to talk to your doctors about taking Omega 3 if you are considering this.