Eating Healthy: What Does It Mean?
When we talk about “healthy eating” we generally mean the habit of eating in a balanced, clean and healthy way. However, due to the influence of various schools of thought that often oppose traditional scientific-academic research, or simply try to modify it (in a more or less legitimate way), the concept of healthy eating is becoming increasingly blurred and difficult to frame.
- For this reason, in Italy and beyond, officially recognized research bodies propose rules or principles that can be considered a “guarantee” of correctness;
- in the Bel Paese, this “vademecum” of the health-conscious (which should be of interest to the practice of any individual) is called: “Guidelines for an Italian Healthy Diet”.
This publication is also available online on the website of the “National Research Institute for Food and Nutrition” (renamed the Research Center for Food and Nutrition since 2013), which is responsible for its creation and dissemination.
However, it should be specified that eating healthy does not only mean maintaining nutritional balance, but also using foods that can guarantee a hygienic standard. This parameter must then be contextualized both in the biological and microbiological sphere, and in that of contamination.
Readers will already have understood that this is a vast and difficult to summarize topic, especially in a single article. However, without the presumption of fully satisfying all learning needs, below I will try to summarize the main criteria of healthy eating as effectively as possible.
Nutritional balance is a determining factor in healthy eating, or rather, only by eating healthy is it possible to maintain nutritional balance.
By nutritional balance we mean a parameter that evaluates the quantities and proportions of the individual nutrients and nutritional components taken with the diet. Each of them has a very specific function, which is why over the years we have tried to determine their real needs.
An organism that does not benefit from a balanced diet has greater difficulty in maintaining the so-called “homeostasis”. Obviously, being an almost perfect machine, as far as nutrition is concerned, the body has excellent autonomy; this means that it tends to be designed in order to “survive” every circumstance.
- Ultimately, eating healthy guarantees the maintenance of physical balance and, sometimes, also contributes to the psychic one.
- Now, the question that arises is: What principles of nutritional balance does the definition of healthy eating depend on?
It is difficult to answer clearly in a few lines, also because the needs are subjective and vary (but not always as much as one might think) based on age, sex, lifestyle and subjective components such as the size of the skeleton and of the musculature, metabolic predispositions, hereditary diseases, etc.
Since the nutrients and nutritional components are so many and all fundamental, it is necessary to stay on the generic. The table below summarizes some summary notions that could be very useful to newcomers to the topic.
ATTENTION! The recommendations take into consideration an average and adult subject, with an average physical activity coefficient and an equally ordinary job. Sports activities, special pathological or physiological conditions, childhood and old age are excluded.