Nourish and PreventA Balanced and Nutritious Diet Can Help Prevent Chronic Diseases
Did you know one in five Canadians live with a chronic disease, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and chronic renal disease? Did you know cancer is the number one cause of deaths in our nation while heart disease is ranked second? Whether you are at risk of these chronic diseases or not, there are lifestyle factors that influence your health, and food is one of them. By eating a balanced and nutritious diet, you are not only nourishing your body and soul, you are also taking charge of your health.
Different foods have different nutrient properties that help you maintain good health. For instance, vegetables and fruits, whole grains, beans and lentils are not only rich in vitamins and minerals, they are also excellent sources of dietary fibre, which can help stabilize your blood sugar, lower your blood cholesterol and keep your bowels healthy. Nuts and seeds, on the other hand, provide the additional benefit of healthy fats, which are important for heart health and may protect you against cancer. Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese, are excellent sources of calcium, which is vital for maintaining healthy bones. Lean meats, such as poultry and fish, are packed with protein, which is important for the body’s growth and repair.
In addition to including a variety of healthy and wholesome foods as part of your meals and snacks, you can also take charge of your health by making changes to your eating habits:
- Prepare homemade meals more often so you can control the amount of salt, sugar and fat added to your foods
- Eat at least one meatless meal each week by including beans, legumes, tofu and eggs
- Consume less of the highly processed foods, such as canned goods, frozen meals, chips, cakes, cookies and doughnuts, which are generally loaded with salt, sugar and fat
- Drink less of beverages with added sugar such as soda
Making changes may take some time. In fact, you may need up to six weeks in order to fully adapt to a new behaviour. Therefore, making changes one at a time is best to ensure not to feel overwhelmed.
Include foods with omega-3 fats
While eating a variety of foods is beneficial to your overall health, including foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk of heart disease and may reduce your risk for cancer. Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fats and eating fish at least twice a week to get the omega-3 benefits is recommended.
If you do not eat fish on a regular basis but would still like to include omega-3 fats as part of your diet, there are many options. Eating flaxseeds is one of them. To get the full benefits of flaxseeds, use ground flaxseeds to improve absorption. Alligga™ offers ground flaxseeds for your convenience. Simply add them to your breakfast items such as smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, or to your homemade baked goods.
You can also get the same benefits of ground flaxseeds by enjoying whole and roasted flaxseeds. When flaxseeds are roasted, the outer shell of the seed is broken and cracked, allowing your body to absorb the omega-3 fats. Add them to your favourite homemade recipe or eat them whole as a snack for the added crunch.
Aside from fish and flaxseeds, there are other natural food sources with omega-3 fats:
|Fish||Salmon, mackerel, herring, arctic char, sardines, trout|
|Seeds||Ground flaxseeds, roasted flaxseeds, chia seeds|
In addition, there are foods in the market fortified with docosahexaonic acid, also known as DHA, a type of omega-3 fats. Milk fortified with DHA, yogurt with omega-3 and fortified eggs are examples of foods that are fortified with omega-3 fats. The amount of omega-3 fats, however, may vary amongst products. It is best to check the Nutrition Facts Table to see how much they offer per serving.
Omega-3 fats and flaxseed oil
The amount of omega-3 fats you need is dependent on your age and your gender. If you are an adult male, you will need at least 1.6 grams of omega-3 fats per day. If you are an adult female, you will need at least 1.1 grams per day. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will need 1.4 grams and 1.3 grams, respectively. Alligga™ offers a line of flaxseed oils that can help you easily meet your daily recommended intake of omega-3 fats.
Whether you plan to cook your favourite meal or drizzle your salad with flaxseed oil, Alligga™ has the oil that will meet the needs of your taste buds. If you want to spice up your dish, choose from our line of flavoured flaxseed oils. Our flavoured oils come in five distinct flavours: chili, curry, garlic, orange and rosemary.
Healthy oils in moderation
While a balanced diet encompasses healthy oils like flaxseed oils, be mindful that oils and fats are calorie dense. Too much of any type of oil is not good for you. The Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide recommends a daily consumption of no more than 30 to 45mL of oils and fats each day, which is equivalent to 2 to 3 tablespoons.
For more information about Nutrition Month, please visit Dietitian’s of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign on nutritionmonth2018.ca.
Dietitians of Canada. (2016). Food Sources of Omega-3 Fats. Retrieved from https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Fat/Food-Sources-of-Omega-3-Fats.aspx
Dietitians of Canada. (2018). Unlock The Potential Of Food: The Potential To Discover. Retrieved from https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Nutrition-Month/NM2018-Factsheets.aspx
Government of Canada. (2017). How Healthy are Canadians? A trend analysis of the health of Canadians from a healthy living and chronic disease perspective. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/how-healthy-canadians.html