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Key Factors of a Healthy Diet

Consuming a healthy diet throughout the life-course helps to prevent malnutrition in all its forms as well as a range of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and conditions. However, increased production of processed foods, rapid urbanization and changing lifestyles have led to a shift in dietary patterns. People are now consuming more foods high in energy, fats, free sugars and salt/sodium, and many people do not eat enough fruit, vegetables and other dietary fibre such as whole grains.

The exact make-up of a diversified, balanced and healthy diet will vary depending on individual characteristics (e.g. age, gender, lifestyle and degree of physical activity), cultural context, locally available foods and dietary customs. However, the basic principles of what constitutes a healthy diet remain the same. For adults, a healthy diet includes the following:

  • Fruit, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils and beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat and brown rice).
  • At least 400 g (i.e. five portions) of fruit and vegetables per day (2), excluding potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots.
  • Less than 10% of total energy intake from free sugars (2, 7), which is equivalent to 50 g (or about 12 level teaspoons) for a person of healthy body weight consuming about 2000 calories per day, but ideally is less than 5% of total energy intake for additional health benefits (7). Free sugars are all sugars added to foods or drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.  ​​​​​​​Continue reading from World Health Organization

From the Collection

Link to Cook smart, eat well : mayo clinic recipes and strategies for healthy living by Jennifer A. Welper in the catalog
Link to The wellness principles : cooking for a healthy life by Gary Deng, MD, PhD in the catalog
Link to Smart Plants : Power Foods & Natural Nootropics for Optimized Thinking, Focus & Memory by Julie Morris in the catalog
Link to The science of nutrition by Rhiannon Lambert in the catalog
Link to Gentle nutrition : a non-diet approach to healthy eating by Rachael Hartley, RD in the catalog
Link to The genius life : heal your mind, strengthen your body, and become extraordinary by Max Lugavere in the catalog

Link to the Health & Wellness Resource Guide Series Homepage