Healthy Lifestyle

The following information is from Health Direct – Free Australian health advice you can count on!

How alcohol affects your health
Many of us drink alcohol to relax and socialise. Alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle if you drink in moderation and also exercise and have a good diet. But drinking too much can affect your physical and mental health.
Why is alcohol a health issue?
Many Australians drink alcohol in amounts that are harmful to their health. This kind of drinking can cause death, disease and injury and is a major factor in ill health and social harm in Australia.
No level of alcohol consumption can be considered safe for everyone. To minimise your risk of accident, disease or death, the Australian Guidelines recommend healthy adults should drink no more than 2 standard drinks on any day, and no more than 4 standard drinks on a single occasion. A standard drink is a can or stubbie of mid-strength beer, 100ml of wine, or a 30ml shot of spirits.
However, some people need to take more care. You are at greater risk of harm from alcohol if you are engaging in a risky activity such as driving or operating machinery, if you are under 18, if you are older than 65, or if you are taking other medicines or drugs.
During pregnancy, no level of drinking is considered safe for the baby.
Drinking heavily can put you at risk of short-term injury or illness. The effects can also accumulate, harming your health over your lifetime.
A balanced diet
5-minute read
Simple guidelines from qualified experts make it easy to have a balanced diet and nutritious and healthy food.
The 5 food groups
The best way to eat for health is to choose a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups every day:
vegetables and legumes (beans)
grains and cereals
lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes (beans) tofu, nuts, seeds
milk, cheese, yoghurt or alternatives
Each food group has important nutrients.
The amount of each food you need will vary during your life, depending on factors such as how active you are and whether or not you are growing, pregnant, breastfeeding and more.
Vegetables and legumes (beans and peas)
Vegetables and legumes have hundreds of natural nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre.
To get the most from this group:
choose vegetables and legumes in season
look for different colours:
greens like beans, peas and broccoli
red, orange or yellow vegetables like capsicums, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin
purple vegetables like red cabbage and eggplant
white vegetables like cauliflower, mushrooms and potatoes
Eating your vegetables raw is indeed sometimes the healthier option. However; there are also some vegetables which offer useful health benefits when they’re cooked.
How much?
1 to 3 year-olds, 2 to 3 serves a day; 4 to 8 year-olds, 4½ serves a day
adults and children aged 9 and over, 5-6 serves a day
One serve is ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw.
You can include vegetables at lunch (salads, raw vegies or soups) as well as dinner. Cherry tomatoes, snow peas, green beans, red capsicum, celery or carrot sticks with hummus makes a great snack.
Fresh fruit is a good source of vitamins and dietary fibre. It’s best to eat fresh fruit.
How much?
1 to 2year-olds, ½ piece a day, 2 to 3 year-olds, 1 piece a day
4 to 8 year-olds, 1½ pieces a day
adults and children over 9, 2 pieces a day
If you want to have fruit juices, do it only occasionally. Half a cup is enough. Fruit juices lack fibre and they’re not filling. Their acidity can also damage tooth enamel. Commercial fruit juices are often high in sugars.
Dried fruit also has a high sugar content. It is only suitable as an occasional extra.
Grains and cereal foods
Grain foods include rolled oats, brown rice, wholemeal and wholegrain breads, cracked wheat, barley, buckwheat and breakfast cereals like muesli.
Wholegrains have protein, dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. In processed grains, some of these nutrients are lost.
How much?
1 to 8 year-olds, start with 4 serves a day
9 to 11 year-olds, 4-5 serves a day, 14 to 18 year-olds, 7 or more serves
adults, 3 to 6 serves a day depending on age and sex
A serve is equivalent to:
1 slice of bread, or
½ cup cooked rice, oats, pasta or other grain, or 3 rye crispbread, or
30g of breakfast cereal (⅔ cup flakes or ¼ cup muesli)
Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes (beans) tofu, nuts and seeds
These foods provide protein, minerals and vitamins. Legumes, nuts and seeds also have dietary fibre. It’s good to choose a variety of foods from this group.
How much?
1 to 3 year-olds, 1 serve a day
4 to 8 year-olds, 1½ serves a day
9-18 year-olds, 2½ serves a day
women, 2-2½ serves; men, 2½ to 3 serves a day
A serve is 65g cooked red meat, or 80g poultry, or 100g fish, or 2 eggs, or 1 cup legumes, or 170g tofu, or 30g nuts, seeds or pastes (peanut butter or tahini).
Adults should eat no more than 500 g of red meat a week. There is evidence that those eating more than 500 g of red meat may have an increased risk of bowel cancer.
Milk, cheeses, yoghurts
Milk gives you protein, vitamins and calcium. Soy drinks with added calcium can be used as a milk substitute for children over 1.
Some nut or oat milks have added calcium but they lack vitamin B12 and enough protein. Check your child’s total diet with a doctor or qualified dietician before using them.
Children should have full-cream milk until aged 2. Reduced-fat varieties may be suitable after that.
Read more on Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on introducing allergy foods to babies and children.
How much?
1 to 3 year-olds, 1 to 1½ serves a day
4 to 8 year-olds, 1½ serves to 2 serves a day
9 to 18 year olds, 2½ to 3½ serves a day
men, 2½ to 3½ serves a day, women, 2½ to 4 serves a day
A serve is 1 cup of milk, or 2 slices of cheese, or 200g yoghurt.
If you use plant-based alternatives to milk, like soy milk, check that they have at least 100mg calcium per 100 mL.
Apart from milk, the ideal drink for children is tap water.
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