WHAT IS A HEALTHY DIET?
A healthy diet includes a variety of foods from the six food groups. Different foods have different benefits for your body. Eating a variety of foods ensures that your body gets all the nutrients it needs to be healthy.
You can have a healthy diet by following these simple steps:
*Choose your food wisely from each of the six food groups:
*grains,half of them whole grains, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice or oatmeal.
*vegetables, especially dark green or orange colored ones.
*milk products, such as low fat yogurt or low fat cheese.
*lean meats, poultry,fish,beans, eggs, nuts.
*oils, most of them from fish, nuts and vegetable oils.
*EAT FOODS THAT ARE LOW IN SATURATED FATS, TRANS FATS, CHOLESTEROL, AND SALT.
*AVOID A DIET HIGH IN ADDED SUGARS, this increases the risk of tooth decay.
*EAT A VARIETY OF FOODS FROM EACH OF THE SIX FOOD GROUPS. By eating a variety of foods, you get all the nutrients that different parts of your body needs.
*DRINK WATER BETWEEN MEALS, which helps your overall health.
WHY IS A HEALTHY DIET IMPORTANT?
A healthy diet:
*provides nutrients needed for your body to function properly.
*helps prevent diseases linked with being overweight, like diabetes and heart disease.
*helps you keep your teeth and gums healthy.
It is important to make smart choices when you snack. More and more, we are learning it is not only what you eat, but how often you eat. Frequent snacking or grazing can lead to tooth decay. When you are choosing a snack, think about the following:
*LIMIT SNACKING THROUGHOUT THE DAY. Stick to meal times whenever possible.
*MAKE HEALTHY SNACK CHOICES, such as fruit, nuts or cheese.
*EAT SWEETS WITH MEALS INSTEAD OF WITH SNACKS. Saliva increases during meals and helps weaken acid and rinse food particles from the mouth.
*AVOID BEVERAGES WITH ADDED SUGARS such as soda, sports drinks or flavored water.
CHEW GUM THAT HAS THE ADA SEAL. Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals has been shown to reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by dental plaque bacteria.
A HEALTHY DIET HELPS KEEP YOUR MOUTH HEALTHY
If you often eat or drink sugary foods and liquids, especially between meals, and if you don't bother to clean your teeth, the result may be tooth decay and periodontal disease. These can lead to tooth loss.
Plaque is a thin, sticky film that constantly forms on teeth. When you eat or drink foods containing sugar, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with the teeth. After many acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.
If the plaque is not removed with daily brushing and cleaning between teeth, it eventually hardens into calculus, or tarter. As calculus forms near the gumline, it becomes more difficult to keep teeth clean. Gums can become inflamed and may bleed. Sometimes the disease can get worse, and the gums can begin to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. If this condition, called periodontitis, is not treated in time, the bone supporting the teeth can be destroyed and healthy teeth may be lost.
HEALTHY SMILES FOR LIFE
A lifetime of good oral health depends on the choices you make today. Making smart choices about food and keeping good oral health habits can help you have both a healthy body and a healthy smile for years to come. For more tips on how to make healthy eating choices, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website,http://myplate.gov