Preventing chronic disease
Chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) and cancer can be prevented if you eat a healthy diet and keep physically active. Increasing numbers of South Africans, including children, are eating an unhealthy diet which is high in fat, salt and sugar, and at the same time are not getting enough exercise. As a result, more and more of us are becoming overweight or obese and are suffering from high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. These are all important risk factors for chronic disease.
It is especially important to teach our children to eat healthily from a young age as this will protect them from getting chronic diseases in adulthood. If you already have a chronic disease, following these guidelines will help you control your condition and feel better.
What is a healthy balanced meal?
- Half your plate should consist of vegetables, salads or fruit
- A quarter of your plate should consist of high-fibre starchy foods (e.g. brown rice, wholewheat pasta, coarse mielie meal or pap, sweet potato, madumbi or brown/ wholewheat/seeded bread)
- The other quarter of your plate should consist of lean protein (e.g. fish, skinless chicken or lean meat, beans or lentils)
- The meal should also contain a small serving of healthy fat (e.g. vegetable oil, soft margarine, avocado or unsalted nuts