World Health Day: Nutritionist indicates habits to adopt for a healthier life

Opting for the Mediterranean diet, avoiding the consumption of sweets and soft drinks and practicing regular physical exercise are some of the nutritionist's recommendations.

Nutritionist Catarina Paulino – Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação

There are more and more people concerned about adopting a healthy lifestyle, says nutritionist Catarina Paulino. However, be warned, there is still a long way to go. 

Choosing to consume water instead of soft drinks, preferring whole fruit to natural juices, inserting vegetables in the dish, a protein source and opting for complex (whole) carbohydrates are some of the main recommendations given by the specialist with regard to food. . These are useful tips on World Health Day, which is celebrated this Thursday, April 7th.

According to Catarina Paulino, there are two major mistakes made by the population throughout the day: high intake of sweets, «especially at night», and the attempt to replace animal protein without nutritional advice.

“I feel like a lot of people try not to eat too much during the day and then what happens is they end up being too hungry at the end of the day. What we have to do is help fractionate meals so that this doesn't happen», explains the nutritionist from Faro ao Sul Informação.

«For those who want to replace animal protein, the ideal is that, before making that decision, always consult a specialist. In these cases, it is advisable that people choose to consume more legumes, and, if they want, they can also insert tempeh, tofu or soy as substitutes», he continues.


Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação


But, as it is not just food choices that lead to a healthy life, the nutritionist emphasizes the "essential" role that physical activity plays in improving one's lifestyle. In this field, he explains that the recommendations by the World Health Organization are “at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week”, meaning «moderate-intensity activities such as walking and dancing and by vigorous-intensity activities such as cycling and running».

«Only with exercise it is possible to achieve results and only with food too, but the ideal is always to combine the two. For someone who wants to lose weight, for example, exercise contributes 20 to 30% and food the rest (70 to 80%)».

Ao Sul Informação, nutritionist Catarina Paulino also emphasizes that «the Algarve is the ideal place to have a healthier life». «We have the sun, the climate and a series of things that help us, namely in terms of the Mediterranean diet».

This is, according to the specialist, the type of diet indicated to follow, respecting the seasonality of food and opting for a varied choice.



«Preferring olive oil as the main source of fat, opting for fish rather than meat. Including meat, opting for white meats and consuming red meats only once or twice a week, preferring more whole grains, consuming plenty of vegetables and legumes and consuming fatty (dried) fruits at least once a day”.

Despite mentioning that there is still a long way to go to go for the entire population to adopt healthier habits, the nutritionist emphasizes that «the concern has been increasing in all age groups»

“Up to the age of 20, I feel that there is interest, but there is no monetary capacity for nutrition consultations, for example. Between the ages of 20 and 50, I see that people are already very motivated towards nutrition and to exercise more and, in the following age groups, this concern is also noticeable.”

For those who want to opt for more balanced choices on a trip to the supermarket, Catarina Paulino advises paying more attention to label decoders and not so much to the foods found in the BIO section, «which are not always the best».

“The label decoder is a tool that can be used very easily and that many supermarkets have also adopted. It is a nutritional traffic light, by colors, that tells us about the parameters that we have to moderate. We should opt for foods that are in the green, moderate the yellow ones and completely avoid the red ones», he concludes.