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31 August 2020
Sometimes we are so used to our eating habits that we don’t realise that there are better choices for us out there. Choosing healthier foods is easier than you may think. By changing just a few eating habits you can make a big difference to your diet.
To help you achieve good health, we have compiled easy food swaps that will increase your nutrient intake.
Benefits: Milling and polishing brown rice to white rice removes most of its nutrients. That is why brown rice has higher fibre, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals than white rice.
Tip: If you find it difficult to switch to brown rice, start with mixing white and brown rice. You can add other grains like millet or quinoa.
Benefits: Replacing white bread and other refined grains with whole grains helps lower type 2 diabetes risk. Wholemeal bread also has higher fibre which aids digestion and prevents the risk of bowel cancer.
Tip: Buy bread with the label ‘100% whole grain or wholewheat’. It should be the first ingredient listed in the ingredient label.
Benefits: Compared to mee (egg noodles) or koay teow (flat rice noodles), mihun (rice noodles) is a better choice as it is made with less oil. Unlike mee, it is also gluten-free.
Tip: When ordering a plate of noodles such a curry laksa, specifically ask for rice noodles only.
Benefits: Choose fruit-based drinks if you want to drink something sweet. Carrot juice or calamansi lime drink (limau ais) for example contains beta-carotene and vitamin C respectively. It’s a better choice than sugary beverages with empty calories such as sirap bandung.
Tips: If you have to drink something sweet, order one that contains fresh fruit. Even at a mamak, you can order limau ais.
Benefits: Gula melaka contains more micronutrients such as phosphorus and magnesium as compared to refined sugar. It also has a low glycemic index, which helps diabetes under control. Gula melaka is slowly digested and absorbed, hence causing a slower rise in blood sugar level.
Tips: When cooking food like rendang, use pure gula melaka instead of refined white sugar. It can also be used instead of white sugar for sweetening drinks and dessert.
Benefits: Dark chocolate contains a high percentage of cocoa, which contains flavanols, a plant chemical that may help protects the heart. It also contains serotonin, a natural antidepression which keeps a person happier.
Tips: Choose dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids to get more flavanols. Keep them at your office and home. Whenever you crave for something sweet, eat that instead.
Benefits: Tosai is made from fermented rice batter, which gives it an increase of vitamin B and C content. Most importantly, unlike roti canai, it is made without oil. A diet low in saturated fat decreases the risk fo heart disease and stroke.
Tips: The next time you’re at the Mamak, order roti canai instead of tosai and dip it in dal curry or chutney for extra nutrition.
Whether you want to lose weight or boost your health, there are many small changes you can make to your diet to achieve these results. Changing your diet for the better is not hard. Sometimes it’s just a matter or choosing a more nutritious alternative. Now that you know what food is better for you, make that healthier choice for yourself and your family!
The above articles are intended for informational purposes only. AIA accepts no responsibility for loss, which may arise from reliance on information contained in the articles.
AIA Vitality is a unique insurance and health programme that actively supports and rewards you for making healthier choices every day so you can live a healthier, longer and better life.