Chronic Diseases and Nutrition Research report, released by Turkey’s Health Ministry, has revealed that although Turkish people are adopting healthier diets, there is still much to change in our dietary habits. According to scientific studies, Turkish people still don’t meet the nutrition requirements that are recommended worldwide to have a healthier life and be protected from chronic diseases including obesity and cardiac diseases.
The World Health Organization announced that insufficient intake of fruit and vegetables is determined to cause around 19 percent of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, about 31 percent of ischemic heart disease deaths and 11 percent of stroke cases worldwide. Moreover, it is estimated that 2.7 million people around the world lose their lives due to low fruit and vegetable consumption. The “Obesities Control Program” health policy initiated by the Health Ministry and updated as “Healthy Diet and Active Life” in 2012, aims to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in Turkey.
Important nutrition tips to follow for a healthier life
Insufficient Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables: We have to consume at least eight servings of fresh fruit and vegetables daily if we want to fight against cardiac diseases, cancers, hypertension and obesity. While the Turkish nutrition guide recommends at least five servings, the world’s most significant nutrition system “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” stresses the importance of consuming seven to 11 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables. In Turkey, four out of 100 people do not eat any fruit and vegetables, while 10 out of 100 consume one serving, 41 out of 100 consume two servings and 18 out of 100 consume three servings on a daily basis. A large bowl of salad during dinner and plenty of tomato, cucumber, fresh parsley and pepper at breakfast can add to your daily intake. Do not forget to eat at least three pieces of fresh fruit a day.
Multi-Grain Bread and Such: Although it has become compulsory in Turkey to use whole wheat flour in breads, Turkish people do not tend to serve and consume multi-grain bread with their meals. Studies demonstrate that 15 out every 100 Turkish women and 11 out of every 100 Turkish men choose to eat “healthy bread.” While wholegrain bread consumption is more widespread in the Aegean and Mediterranean regions; 85 out of every 100 people still continue to consume white bread in the Central, Eastern and Southeastern and Black Sea regions. Consuming a different type of grained bread during each meal can be a good idea to increase the variety of grains in our diet.
We cannot give up using saturated fat: The Health Ministry’s study reveals Turkish men over the age of 75 tend to consume more butter and margarine, despite having to be more cautious with thier diets. In general, 7 percent of Turkish people consume butter while 3 percent consume margarine. Only 27 percent of Turks use olive oil and 63 percent use corn, sunflower seed, hazelnut or soya oils. If you want a healthier diet you can add small amounts of hazelnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil to your meals.
We consume 18 grams of salt every day: The SALTürk research which was conducted to determine the salt consumption in Turkey shows that Turkish people consume 18 grams of salt (equal to 3.5 heaping coffee spoons or 1.5 heaping table spoons). Health authorities such as WHO underscore that salt consumption should not exceed 5 grams in order to lead a healthy life. Turkish people tend to consume canned food whether it is homemade or bought from the market. If we want to cut down on salt from our diet, we should give up consuming salty canned foods.
Coffee is a natural drink which is acquired from the red fruits of coffee trees that only grow in the tropics. Although we add coffee to our daily diet as we like its taste and smell, we generally prefer to drink coffee because it stimulates our emotions. Research confirms that medium caffeine consumption keeps your mind alive. A cup of instant coffee includes 50mg of caffeine. As 300mg caffeine consumption a day is recommended, we can say that up to six cups of coffee a day is healthy.