A suboptimal diet (low in nutrient intake) is an important risk factor for chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Scientists have found that unhealthy eating habits cause morbidity and mortality.
Studies have found evidence of potential causal relationships between certain food factors (eg fruits, vegetables, processed meat and trans fats) and NCBs (ischemic heart disease, diabetes and colorectal cancer).
Globally, the consumption of healthy foods and nutrients was suboptimal in 2017. The highest deficiencies in current and optimal consumption were observed for walnuts and seeds, whole milk and cereals, with an average consumption of 12% (95% IU) – 3 g of nuts and seeds per day, 16% (71 g) of milk per day and 23% (29 g) of whole grains per day.
In addition to suboptimal healthy dietary intake, the daily intake of unhealthy foods and nutrients exceeded the optimal global level. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (49 g per day) was much higher than optimum consumption.
Similarly, the global consumption of processed meat (4 g per day) was 90% higher than the optimal quantity and sodium (6 g per day) was 86% above optimal levels.
The overall consumption of red meat (27 g per day) was 18% higher than the optimal intake. The intake of healthy and unhealthy food was generally higher among middle-aged adults (50-69 years) and the lowest among young adults (25-49 years), with a few exceptions.
The highest consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was observed among young adults and showed a decreasing trend with age.
Are you consuming food correctly?
Yes, eating healthy means choosing the right foods, but that’s just a part of it. For example, the peel of many fruits and vegetables (or even the layer immediately below) contains a large amount of vitamins and minerals, and therefore, when removed, these nutrients are lost.
It is preferable that you consume the fruits as such and then drink water, especially if you are overweight or have diabetes. Even 100% natural juice loses its nutritional properties when it is processed (it does not contain fiber necessary for intestinal transit) but it gives you a sense of feeling satiated and slows sugar absorption. The sugars from fruit juice can lead to health problems such as diabetes, obesity and liver damage.
Red meat is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and iron. The problem is that it can contain saturated fat, which should be just a small part of your diet.
An egg contains about 75 calories, 6 grams of high quality protein, nine of the essential amino acids and a large amount of vitamin D (which is hard to get from food). By frying the egg or using it in cakes, a large portion of these nutrients are lost. It’s far better to eat a boiled egg with fried bread or spinach.
Over-boiling pasta causes it to have a higher glycemic index (GI), which means that your body will absorb the carbohydrates faster. Prepare the pasta “al dente” to get the most benefit; in addition, it has a better taste.
Potatoes (no matter how they are prepared), cooled to room temperature after cooked, will have a larger amount of “resistant starch”, which digests harder. This starch plays an important role in maintaining overall health and reduces the chances of developing obesity, colon cancer and even diabetes.
Pickled cabbage is rich in natural probiotics (obtained by fermenting sugars in its composition) that feed beneficial intestinal microflora. They can help protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.
Broccoli cooked through boiling, roasting or in the microwave, loses a large amount of vitamin C, chlorophyll, protein and other nutrients. The shorter the cooking time, the more nutrients you get. It is recommended to steam the broccoli and add a little olive oil, sea salt and lemon juice for flavor.
Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes, can help prevent cancer, heart disease, stroke and various other conditions.