Give yourself the gift of good health this holiday period by watching what you eat.
The festive season in South Africa is a time of soaking up the sun, enjoying a cold one with friends and feasting on delicious meals.
Unfortunately, many people overeat and eat unhealthy food over this time, which can pose health risks to a lot of people, especially those with already existing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or gout.
To keep healthy, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health advises the public to monitor what they eat as it may not always be good for their well-being.
Making good choices
Eating the correct amount of the correct kinds of foods will meet all of a person’s nutritional needs and boost resistance to diseases and stress. Do not eat lots of salt because it can cause high blood pressure.
Although some health conditions are hereditary and are passed from one generation to another, many ailments are caused by poor nutrition and a lack of exercise. Called ‘lifestyle diseases’, these include heart conditions and high blood pressure which can result in heart attacks and strokes, diabetes, gall bladder complaints and liver, kidney and skin diseases.
Eating a variety of foods that are not too fatty, too sweet or too salty, with enough fibre, will help keep you healthy.
Your diet should include small portions of protein, such as meat, fish, chicken and eggs; dairy such as milk; good fibre from foods such as lentils and dried beans; and fruit and vegetables. Avoid fatty meat or oily food, sweetened foods, refined grain products such as white bread and large quantities of tea or coffee.
You must also drink about eight glasses of water each day because water is essential to good health. It dilutes the urine and prevents kidney damage from a high concentration of waste products.
The effects of not following a healthy diet can include serious health consequences, such as obesity, which worsens other diseases and strains a person’s joints.
Rather than binge eating at social gatherings, it is better to have three daily meals of more or less the same size.