In recent years, experts strongly recommend a balanced diet with "three low and one high" as the rule of thumb. The so-called three lows are low fat, low sugar and low salt. The high is high in fiber. Long-term use of the 3L1H balanced diet will keep you healthy and prevent you from contracting diseases.
Choose low-fat or skim milk. Avoid deep fried food such as French fries, potato chips and the like. Besides fat meet and oils, pastries, milk products, cream soup and pork soup all contain a lot of invisible fats. They should be avoided also. Eat less red meat. Substitute with seafood or chicken. Eat more lean meat such as fish, shellfish, skinless poultry or low-fat dairy products to reduce fat intake.
Reducing the amount of fat intake can help control weight, lower cholesterol and maintain cardiovascular health. There are saturated fats, unsaturated fats (uni- and poly), and trans fats. Among these, trans fat has the biggest impact on cardiovascular health. Trans fats not only raise bad cholesterol levels, but will also decrease good cholesterol, and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Trans fats are formed due to the hydrogenation of unsaturated fats under high-temperature. They commonly present in fried food and products with margarine such as potato chips, cookies, and cakes.
Sugar is high glycemic (such as sugar packs use in a restaurants) if it can be absorbed without transformation. Sugar is low glycemic (such as white bread, white rice), if it is converted from carbohydrates into glucose.
Avoid eating sweets, cakes, chocolate, soft drinks and fruit juice with sugar added. Choose dried fruits with no sugar added, fresh fruits, and pure cheese. Also avoid foods which sugar can be easily absorbed: sucrose, honey, a variety of candies, desserts, cookies, ice cream, white bread, white rice, etc. This is because high sugar absorption can lead to elevation of the glycemic index. Glycemic Index (GI) is to assess the food relative to glucose in terms of blood sugar response.
Eat less salt. For example, avoid eating fast food and convenient food, drinking noodle soup, and having dishes topped with too much sauce. Eat less processed, salted or smoked products such as sausage, smoked legs, luncheon meat, etc. Avoid salted meat, salted fish, and pickled vegetables, and so on. Too much sodium intake can easily lead to high blood pressure. The American Heart Institute recommends a daily sodium intake of no more than 3 gm. If under high blood pressure, sodium should be limited to 2 gm.
Eat more fiber rich foods. For example, eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread, brown rice instead of white rice; use white fungus in side dishes; eat fruits for snacks. Eating more beans, roots, green vegetables, and cereals (rice, barley, wheat, oats, rye, corn) etc., can increase the intake of fiber.
Apart from paying attention to nutritional balance and to comply with the "three low and one high" rule, other things are also important to maintain good health. Some examples are: drink lots of water, i.e., at least eight glasses a day (about 250ml); exercise at least 3 times a week for more than 30 minutes of aerobic exercise; and cut down the amount of alcohol for the sake of health.