Healthy eating and taking part in physical activity are great ways of living a healthier life. They reduce the risk of developing heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and high blood pressure, and can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
Making sure you eat a balanced diet is very important. This should include plenty of fruit and vegetables, some starchy foods, such as wholegrain rice and pasta, protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and lentils, some milk and dairy foods and not too much fat, salt or sugar.
You should try and eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. You can boost your intake by adding a sliced banana to your cereal at breakfast, snacking on an apple or satsuma or adding a salad to your lunch. Canned or frozen fruit and vegetables also count and can be cheaper than fresh varieties.
Try to limit the foods you eat which contain saturated fat, such as cheese, butter, cakes and biscuits, as they can raise your blood cholesterol level and increase your risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, can help lower cholesterol and give us the essential fatty acids we need to stay healthy. You can find good fats in oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados.
You should also try and cut down on foods with added sugar, such as fizzy drinks, pastries, cakes, chocolate and biscuits. Although fats and sugar are both sources of energy, eating too much of them can lead to weight gain and increase our risk of type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.
You can find more information about eating well, including healthy recipes, meal planners and self-assessment tools on the NHS Choices website here.
Live Well Suffolk provide a healthy weight service across the county, including a 12-week programme called ‘fit fans’. For more information, call 01473 22 92 92, text LIVEWELL to 65000 or visit their website here.