Does dietary diversity actually help?
Studies show that consuming a variety of foods improves a range of health outcomes and assures that we get adequate nutrients on a regular basis. According to the experts human beings evolved to eat a wide variety of foods.
The benefits of a varied diet
Specific studies show that a varied diet:
- Protects against onset of type-2 diabetes, evens out blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of degenerative changes in our blood vessels.
- Protects the heart. Eating a varied diet reduces our consumption of sugar, salt and saturated fats – all risk factors for heart disease.
- Lowers the total risk of cancer and has been shown to protect against some very specific cancers of the digestive tract.
- Eating a variety of nutrient rich, low energy foods, like vegetables and fruit, also helps with weight control.
A varied diet should include a broad selection of foods across the whole range of the traditional food groups such as vegetables, fruits, cereals, meat, fish and dairy products. A varied diet will also include a good mix of foods within each of these groups.
How to increase dietary diversity?
Research suggests that an intake of 30 or more different foods per week, or more than 12 foods in one day, defines a diet that can provide us with an adequate level of essential nutrients. In Japan, dietary guidelines suggest aiming for 30 different foods a day!
Here’s what you should do to benefit from a diverse diet
- Enjoy your meals.
- Establish a healthy rhythm by keeping regular hours for meals.
- Eat well-balanced meals with staple food, as well as main and side dishes.
- Eat enough grains such as rice and other cereals.
- Combine vegetables, fruits, milk products, beans and fish in your diet.
- Avoid too much salt and fat.
- Maintain a healthy body weight and balance the calories you eat with physical activity.
- Take advantage of your dietary culture and local food products, while incorporating new and different dishes.
- Reduce leftovers and waste through proper cooking and storage methods.
- Track your daily food intake to monitor your diet.
Other eating tips
- Choose foods that have variety built in, like multigrain breads and muesli.
- Make use of side-dishes and condiments like fruit/vegetable salads, sprouted pulses, and fresh salsas, pickles and chutneys.
- Stir fries, casseroles, soups and salads are an easy way to increase vegetable variety because they make use of several different ingredients.
- Experiment when grocery shopping. Regularly try a fruit or vegetable that is not familiar to you.
- Try foods from cultural traditions other than your own.
- Just because you haven’t tried it, doesn’t mean you won’t like it. Likewise, even if you don’t like it the first time it’s worth trying again.
Remember, according to experts it can take humans up to nine attempts at a new food to adjust to and appreciate its flavor.
My suggestion, in case you haven’t tried it yet, is Asian food! If you haven’t tried the delicious Sushi Rolls so far, or Sashimi, well, it’s time you do! ☺ They are delicious, full of nutritious benefits and healthy. Besides, you’ll definitely be experimenting diversity and that new that feels so right and welcomed. But, enough talking and let’s get to eating, shall we? Enjoy the delicious, colorful Sushi and Sashimi at Hannya Restaurants, I definitely will – as it’s my favorite Sushi Bar!
Here are some of the foods you can find at Hannya Restaurants in Brickell (If I’ve convinced you, you may want to have a look at their online Menu, too. Happy ordering and eating!):