Weekly column by the Ministry of Health MAKE 2022 THE YEAR YOU TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH |04 March 2022
Take control of your health
The best way to take control of your health is through what food you put in your body, along with some other good daily habits.
We emphasised that healthy eating could go a long way to reduce the alarming rates of obesity and chronic diseases in our population.
With our ‘Eat for Our Health’ campaign that we launched last year, we have you covered.
Before we head into deeper 2022, let us do a quick recap of the high points of our messages so far.
My Healthy Plate
Firstly, we gave you a clear picture of how to set up your plate –
½ the plate with vegetables, salads and fruits;
¼ plate with starches such as local tubers, bananas, breadfruit and rice; and
¼ plate with proteins such as fish, meat and pulses.
While salt is important in our diet, too much can be harmful, so it is advisable to cut down on servings especially from highly processed foods like crisps, processed meats and sauces. Excessive salt intake can increase your risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
Too much sugar not only increases your risk of obesity which can then lead to diabetes, but it can also harm our brain and heart health. Therefore you should include its reduction in your new habits. This includes reducing your intake of certain foods like soft drinks, cookies and confectionary.
Five portions of vegetables and fruits daily
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, should all include at least one portion of vegetables and fruits. Also consider replacing your snack of sugary biscuits with a piece of fruit.
Eat Local (as much as possible)
We know this can often be challenging as local fruits are not always available, as most of them are seasonal or not available in their right state to eat.
However, when they ARE available, make them your first choice.
We are right in the avocado, mango and breadfruit season for example, and a variety of bananas are always available.
As you progress no doubt you'll develop the pleasure of shopping around for fresh vegetables and fruits, and by doing so you'll be supporting the local farming community.
Supporting the local farmers means you will be eating fresh produce, which will in turn cut down on importation, which not only saves precious foreign exchange but also benefits the planet.
Cooking your way through 2022
If you follow our advice above, and set your mind to it, you will go into Christmas and the New Year a healthier you.
Some of you may find cooking challenging, or be at a loss for recipe ideas. We hear you.
Most of you have at least one person in the family with a smartphone. Use it to search Google or social media for recipe ideas, and learn slowly until you begin to love it.
Have your children help you in the kitchen so they can start learning about healthy eating from a young age, and it is a great place and environment to connect with them and develop conversations.
Who would have thought that such a simple act of eating and choosing your food wisely can have so many good and positive results beyond your plate of food and your personal health?
Besides taking all our advice, here be sure to stay in touch with our Facebook page ‘Eat for our Health’ and our Instagram feed ‘Eat4ourhealth’, as well as join our Facebook group.
Happy cooking and eating healthy!
By: GP in collaboration with Nutrition Unit, Health Care Agency
For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org