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THE IDEAL DIET By Dr Douglas Street

Published:Tuesday | November 17, 2015 | 11:00 AM

The ideal diet should be made up of 30 per cent vegetables, 20 per cent fruits, 25 per cent whole grains and 25 per cent healthy proteins.

A minimal amount of oil such as canola, olive, and coconut oil can also be included and should be carefully chosen.

Heating of oil should be minimised. So it is best to add it after or close to the end of cooking. Frying should be minimised. Sugars and processed foods should be kept to a minimum such as one to two two servings per day.

Water is also important - about six to eight glasses per day depending on need. Fruit juice should be minimised to one small cup per day. Milk and its products should also be limited.

Vegetables should be consumed fresh, preferably brightly coloured, in a wide variety, and can be blended to enhance absorption. Heating should be minimal. Examples include pumpkin, sweet potatoes, sweet pepper, carrots, broccoli, callaloo, and pak choi. Special attention should be paid to cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower). At least three servings per week should be consumed.

fresh fruits

Fruits should also be brightly coloured, fresh, in a wide variety, and can also be blended. Some fruits such as prunes and raisins are dried to preserve them. Examples include tomatoes, blueberries, grapes, cranberries, papaya, watermelon, and mangoes.

Whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat, oats, bulgur, and barley. Ground provisions are another important source of carbohydrates. These include cassava and yam. Breadfruit, green bananas, and plantain are also useful.

Healthy proteins

Healthy proteins can be obtained from a wide range of sources including peas, beans, seeds, and nuts. Seeds include sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flaxseed, and grape. Nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachio, walnuts, macadamia, cashew, peanuts, and hazelnuts. Most plant-based foods are not complete. In other words, they do not contain all the essential amino acids. This can be overcome by either having those that are complete such as soy, or by suitable combinations such as peas and nuts.

Whole grains also provide proteins. Oily fish are also healthy (uncontaminated salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring).

Healthy oils are very important but should be consumed in minimal amounts. Among the best ones are canola, olive, and coconut. Nuts and seeds are also a good source of healthy oils.

Other foods to limit include preserved foods, red meat, shellfish, sweetened foods, butter, and modified oils.

Some processed foods include white flour/rice, salted food, sausages, and frankfurters.