Welcome to the first in a series of Food Facts, a new four-week feature where we’ll be talking about food, choice and health. Today we’ll be focusing on the importance of good general nutrition.

It is widely evidenced that a varied and balanced diet is needed to support all-round good health. Food is key to supporting cognitive function, fighting infection and the maintenance of strong bones and teeth. The Eatwell Guide is nothing new to many of us as we strive daily to maintain good nutrition.  The guide defines Government recommendations for healthy eating and general good health. 

The Government's Eatwell Guide, showing how to obtain a balance of healthier and more sustainable food.
The Eatwell Guide

It is estimated that 13% of deaths in the UK (UKHSA 2023) can be attributed to diet-related ill health. Many medical health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are known to be linked to diet. For many years, the key to health has been seen as moderation and variety, and to revisit the Eatwell Plate may act as a valuable refresher. Important things to remember are:

  • Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables daily, providing fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • Make healthier choices such as wholewheat, wholegrain, and higher fibre varieties of rice and bread.
  • Reduce your consumption of processed foods, sugar, salt, and saturated fat.
  • Increase your hydration, drinking 6-8 cups/glasses of fluid a day.

The consumption of some foods carry a greater level of risk in terms of food safety, and some groups of individuals are more susceptible to this risk. In addition to raising the profile of good nutrition and a balanced diet, these articles will attempt to raise public awareness and support consumers in making informed food choices.  

General Consumer Advice

Always check labels attached to food products and follow manufacturers instructions. Before ordering from a café, restaurant or takeaway, ensure sufficient enquiries are made about the dish and its suitability for your consumption. Always follow government guidance on foods that have an implication of greater risk. Follow specific advice if certain foods are intended for certain risk groups or individuals. Consumption and sourcing of food for/ by the young, the elderly, mums to be, those who are immuno- compromised or suffering certain illnesses should always be with care.   

Finally, always check the food hygiene rating of a business before ordering. The National Food Hygiene Ratings are available to assist you in making an informed choice.

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