Healthy food for longevity

Genci wakes up every day at 08:00. He immediately opens the fridge to drink a glass of ‘Cola’ and takes a bar of chocolate with him to school. His sister, mother and father do almost the same.

His family has little faith in the theory that the way we eat defines the functioning of our body and brain.

Actually, for them, the word ‘diet’ means not eating anything all day and they consider it as a kind of ‘fashionable’ term. But, in fact according to the World Health Organization, a diet includes a combination of different healthy foods for the human body and brain.

The WHO also clarifies that a healthy diet means eating as many vegetables and fruits as possible, eating as few fatty foods as possible and limiting the use of sugar and salt, drinking as much water as possible and eating seafood.

But what are the benefits of these foods to our health?

The World Health Organization has shown that vegetables and fruits are important sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and antioxidants. According to this organization, people who maintain a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables have a significantly lower risk of being affected by obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

Whereas, people who use saturated fats and oils, which are produced industrially, increase the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Alternatively, it is recommended to use vegetable oils such as olive, soybean and corn oils and their consumption should not exceed 30% of a person’s total energy intake.

Also, for a healthy diet, sugars should represent less than 10% of your total energy consumption. According to the WHO, choosing fresh fruits instead of sweet foods like biscuits, sweets and chocolate helps reduce sugar consumption.

Even in terms of the amount of salt, reducing its use prevents hypertension and heart disease.

Myths about food

Some of the myths that are often used in reference to diets are: Losing weight means giving up all foods you like, you should not use cereal products like bread, pasta and rice, dairy products are unhealthy and make you gain weight, becoming a vegetarian helps you lose weight.

But these myths, according to the National Institute on Diabetes and Kidney Disease, do not count. They consider that you should not give up all your favorite food when trying to lose weight. Small amounts of your favorite high-calorie food may be part of your weight loss plan, but you just need to reduce the amount. According to the Institute, to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you get through food and drink.

They also consider that whole grain foods such as bread and pasta are healthy and keep you full for a long time. Whole grains provide iron, fiber and other important nutrients.

One thing to note is that today, the development of technology has made that with just one search you can find diets and healthy food tips from the best nutritionists around the world, although in Kosovo there are some nutritionists who can give advice and diets to people in need. However, the exact number of nutritionists operating in Kosovo is still unknown.

But what is worth mentioning is that in Kosovo, in public universities there is no specialized field for nutritionists, but they are some subjects within the study in the Faculties of Agriculture in the field of Food Technology. Whereas, in private colleges there is such a field.

Therefore, I see it as an alternative for public universities to consider opening specialization programs for nutritionists and to further promote this profession at the national level, because the way we eat is very important for longevity and often times this life dynamic that has been created makes us forget its importance.

Arbisa Shefkiu

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