No need to follow a strict diet to stay healthy. In fact, adopting a balanced diet is key in staying fit.
Who says that only foods high in calories, sugar, fat or salt taste good? Oftentimes, eating well is all about variety... and making good choices as often as possible. A large portion of your menu should include the most nutritious and savoury foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, high-fibre foods, low-fat dairy products, fish, etc.
To find out what they are, consult Canada’s Food Guide. It’s the reference document for all Canadians who want the best in nutrition. Striving for long-term balance is a better strategy than any other!
This principle also applies to maintaining a healthy weight. Forget so-called miracle diets that supposedly don’t require any effort, they are generally not very effective in improving your body shape in a lasting way. Exercise regularly, reduce the number of calories you eat daily, and choose nutritious foods. This will help you stay the course and eventually reach your goal.
For additional information on the fundamentals of healthy eating or weight loss, speak to a healthcare professional or read the following articles:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: a great addition to a healthy diet!
- Your child’s lunch box: for a healthy start of the school year!
- Weight loss or maintenance—a question of habit
- Is chocolate a health food?
- The effects of sugar on health—myths and realities
- The effects of salt on health
- The Mediterranean diet: a very healthy option
- 8 myths and facts about weight loss
- Six steps to improving your health and weight
When nutrition is not enough
To function well, the body needs a variety of nutrients: glucose, protein, fibre, not to mention vitamins and minerals. In general, people who follow Canada's Food Guide should be able to get all the nutrients their bodies need from their food. However, because it is not always possible to eat well every day, some groups of people are particularly well advised to take daily vitamin and mineral supplements.
Vitamin D is a good example of a nutrient that is sometimes lacking. Yet, it is critically important because it contributes to general health, particularly to bone and dental health. Everyone living in Canada should ensure that their body is getting enough vitamins, including vitamin D. If needed, speak to your pharmacist, doctor or another healthcare professional. If you are considering to take a vitamin and mineral supplement, ask your pharmacist to recommend the formulation that best meets your needs.
For additional information about vitamins and minerals, speak to your pharmacist or read the following articles:
Nutrition in specific conditions
A person's dietary needs can vary over the course of their lifetime, according to age, health, lifestyle or their situation (e.g. pregnancy). When establishing a personalized diet, it is important to take all these factors into account. It is sometimes useful and advisable to call upon the expertise of health professionals specializing in nutrition to develop an optimal diet plan.
When a person has to live with a chronic disease, such as diabetes, heart disease or Alzheimer's disease, this can be even more essential. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for the treatment plan for a disease to include dietary changes in addition to medications and other recommended medical measures.
For additional information about nutrition in specific conditions, read the following articles:
- Healthy eating for a healthy heart
- Virtues of the DASH diet
- Diabetes: made-to-measure nutrition
- Eat well to age well
- Nutrition: what to do if swallowing is difficult
- Nutrition for people with decreasing independence or mobility
- Nutrition at the heart of sports performance
- The importance of a balanced diet for babies
- Food transitioning for babies
Remember that nutrition is always the basis of good health, so it’s a crucial topic to discuss with your healthcare professional, regardless of your situation!