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"We can, and must, develop dialogue and relatedness with our body because it's talking to us all the time. And please remember, your body loves you. It does everything it can to keep you alive and functioning. You can feed it garbage, and it will take it and digest it for you. You can deprive it of sleep, but still it gets you up and running next morning. You can drink too much alcohol, and it will eliminate it from your system. It loves you unconditionally and does its best to allow you to live the life you came here for. The real issue in this relationship is not whether your body loves you, but whether you love your body. In any relationship, if one partner is loving, faithful and supportive, it's easy for the other to take that person for granted. That's what most of us do with our bodies. It is time for you to shift this, and working to understand your cravings is one of the best places to begin. Then you can build a mutually loving relationship with your own body."
– Joshua Rosenthal, Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness

Health Tips

For more information on healthy eating, get your copy of the Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Barbados from the National Nutrition Centre.

    Health Tip: 1 
    Enjoy a VARIETY OF FOODS every day
    No single food can supply all of the nutrients that your body needs on a daily basis. The best way to meet your nutrient needs is to eat a VARIETY OF FOODS from all six food groups shown here in the Barbados map .

    Health Tip: 2 
    Use HIGH FIBRE FOODS every day
    A high fibre diet offers many health benefits that include:

    • Lowering cholesterol and blood pressure
    • Improved blood glucose (sugar) levels for persons living with diabetes
    • Prevention of constipation and reduced risk of colon cancer

    Fibre is found in plant foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dried peas, beans and nuts. Aim for 25 to 30 grams of fibre daily.

    Health Tip: 4 
    Eat FRUITS every day
    Fruits are tasty, nutritious, and require little or no preparation. Like vegetables, they are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Their natural sugars mean that they are also a good source of carbohydrate (for energy). Locally grown fruits are available throughout the year and are cheaper when in season. Aim for 3-5 servings daily.

    Health Tip: 5 
    Eat VEGETABLES every day
    Vegetables are a good source of essential nutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium and iron. They are also rich in fibre. Many varieties are available year-round and are cheaper when bought in season check with the Ministry of Agriculture for their chart showing which vegetables are in season. Aim for 3-5 servings daily.

    Health Tip: 6 
    Choose to EAT LESS FAT & FATTY FOODS every day
    Excessive intake of fat and fatty foods is linked to obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Saturated fats and trans fats are especially harmful because they can raise blood cholesterol levels, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. You can reduce your daily fat intake in the folowwing ways:

    • Bake, grill or boil rather than fry
    • Use fish more often, trim fat from meat, and remove skin and fat from chicken (and turkey) before cooking
    • Try meatless meals using dried peas and beans as a substitute
    • Use skimmed milk and other low fat dairy products in place of whole milk and full fat varieties

    Health Tip: 7 
    Reducing salt and sodium intake is an important factor in good health. Excess salt and sodium can cause an increase in blood pressure known as hypertension. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and blindness. Flavour your meals with natural herbs and spices, and limit salt. Read Nutrition Facts labels when shopping and compare products: try to choose items with less sodium per serving.

    Health Tip: 8 
    Sugar is high in calories with little nutritional value. Excessive intake can contribute to overweight and obesity. Tips for reducing your daily sugar intake include:

    • Drink more water, including with meals add lime or fresh mint for flavour
    • Substitute zero calorie beverages (if desired)
    • Use 100% unsweetened juice limit to 1 serving daily as it is still high in natural sugars
    • Eat fresh fruit for dessert rather than cakes and pastries

    Health Tip: 9 
    Engage in PHYSICAL ACTIVITY every day
    It's important to keep active and get moving. Try to engage in physical activity for 30 minutes daily, on at least 3-5 days each week. Activities can include walking, dancing, swimming, cycling, tennis, gardening, sweeping and mopping. The benefits of regular physical activity include:

    • Weight loss
    • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
    • Improved blood glucose (sugar) levels
    • Improved cardiovascular fitness
    • Stronger bones and increased muscle tone

    Health Tip: 10 
    Avoid TRANS FATS
    Diets high in fat and fatty foods are linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Trans Fats are especially harmful so it is important to read Nutrition Facts labels for more information. NOTE: Products can be labeled “Zero Trans Fat” or “0g Trans Fat” if they contain less than 0.5g of this fat so, if you want to know more, you should also read the Ingredients list. Products containing “Hydrogenated fats” or “Partially hydrogenated fats” do contain some Trans Fat.

    Health Tip: 11 
    Processed meats, red meat and CANCER
    The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is the cancer agency of the World Health Organization. The IARC has classified processed meat as a carcinogen, something that causes cancer. It has also classified red meat as a probable carcinogen, something that probably causes cancer. Processed meat includes hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage and some deli meats. It refers to meat that has been treated in some way to preserve or flavour it. Processes include salting, curing, fermenting, and smoking. Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb and goat. You should limit consumption of processed meat and red meat to help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and possibly pancreatic and prostate cancer. The occasional hot dog or hamburger is probably okay although healthier alternatives can be found in Health Tip #5.

    Health Tip: 12 
    Gluten free does not mean wheat free
    Gluten is just one of several proteins found in wheat and for persons diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) ingestion of gluten, whether from wheat, barley or rye, can cause abdominal bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, fatigue and “brain fog”. For these individuals avoidance of gluten brings relief. There are diagnostic tests for celiac disease but, unfortunately, with NCGS diagnosis is not so straightforward. Also, with celiac disease only gluten must be avoided so all gluten free products can be consumed. With NCGS it may be necessary to avoid gluten and wheat, which means that foods labeled “gluten free” but containing wheat would still have to be avoided. For persons who are allergic to wheat, allergic reactions could be in response to gluten or any one or more of the other proteins present in wheat and so avoidance of all wheat products, gluten free or not, would be necessary to avoid symptoms. Gluten free products have no particular value for weight loss, diabetes management or any other condition unrelated to gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance so don’t spend money or avoid foods unnecessarily.