Why having a varied diet is important? How to vary foods in a balanced way?

Many TV programs have healthy eating as their topic, and all come to the same conclusion, namely that changing the diet is important. This statement is so inflated that almost no one has the problem of explaining why, but the answer to this question is not as trivial as one would think. Let’s start with an important concept: “there is no perfect food”. No food, even if rich in components that are good for health, is complete (at least in a strict sense) of all micro- and macro-nutrients. Unless you talk about food created in the laboratory for special situations, such as artificial nutrition preparations used for people unable to eat independently. In cases like these it is essential that the food given to the patient (via a drip or a tube) is complete with all the nutrients, but if we look for a food like that in nature we will discover that it does not exist. Even in non-pathological areas there are foods created specifically to satisfy all our nutritional requirements in a single meal.

Bivo falls into this category because it has been designed to have a balanced meal at times when it is not possible to prepare it for reasons of time or inadequate places. As a nutritionist, I would recommend Bivo for all the situations that require it, because it represents the safety of eating healthy and balanced in every situation. However, it is clear that we can not feed ourselves solely and exclusively in this way.
Food is also a joy in preparing it, tasting it and sharing it. So how can we manage to have a varied diet that allows us to satisfy all our nutritional needs? And in what foods is it more appropriate to vary?

It is clear that in the varied diet junk foods are not included, so it is necessary to define in which foods it is appropriate to vary.

A strategy is, for example, to fish in the list of smart foods, or “smart” foods, precious for health. What are we talking about? A research project promoted by IEO, the European Institute of Oncology, thanks to which 30 superfoods were selected to help us regulate metabolism and prevent degenerative diseases. This happens because they contain “smart” molecules able to interact with DNA, positively modifying the genetic pathways that regulate life span. There are 30 foods which is a smart idea not to miss. Here are some:

Smartfood Smart molecule included inside it
Grape Resveratrolo
Asparagus, caper, dark choccolate,
onion, letuce
Turmeric Curcumina
Red orange, red cabbage, cherry, berries, eggplant, violet potato, black plum, chicory, black grape Antocianine
Green and black Tea Epigallocatechingallato
Persimmon fruit, strawberry, apple Fisetina
Paprika, red pepper Capsaicina

As you can see, following the smart food diet is simple because the foods it offers are very common and therefore easy to bring to the table every day. It is worth considering some of them, to understand the reasons why they benefit so much from our body.
The red oranges of Sicily, for example, are the smart food par excellence: the smart molecule is the anthocyanin that stimulates the genes related to the duration of life and that counteracts the accumulation of lipids (even in the presence of a diet rich in fats !). 70% dark chocolate helps, with the modest quantity of 2-3 squares a day, to lower the pressure, to regulate cholesterol levels and to improve the elasticity of the blood vessels and the fluidity of the blood. All thanks to a molecule called quercetin.
Finally we talk about turmeric that contains curcumin, molecule that inhibits the genes responsible for aging and with a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that decreases the risk of thrombosis, improves the glucose in diabetics, increases HDL cholesterol and slows tumor development. It is no coincidence that if you drink turmeric tea on the island of Okinawa in Japan, famous for its high percentage of over a hundred years old!
If you want to deepen the subject, read the book “The Smartfood diet” by Eliana Liotta, in my opinion the new milestone of food science.

Even other foods, although not included in the list of smart foods, fall entirely right among the healthy foods with which to change our diet. These foods are mainly those that are part of the Mediterranean diet, the typical diet of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea (so we too!), With inhabitants who in ancient times were mainly farmers or fishermen who, in order to survive, used the products of fields or the proceeds of fishing and only rarely fed meat. This lifestyle is characterized by a regular use of fresh products, often combined: the consumption of seasonal fruit and vegetables, of often integral cereals, of fish (especially blue fish), of legumes and of little use is abundant. frequent meat. Moreover, the fats present in this type of food are mainly mono- and polyunsaturated (ie “good fats” that benefit the cardiovascular system) and carbohydrates are mainly low glycemic index, that is able to slow down the speed with which the sugars enter the blood circulation, without having an exaggerated insulin response.
For all these reasons, the Mediterranean Diet is at the top of the ranking of healthy food regimes.

One last tip for a healthy variation of what we bring to the table is to follow the seasonality of foods. A tomato consumed out of season will never have the same nutritional virtues of that consumed in summer, and this applies to all foods!
At this point I think there are no more doubts about how important it is to have a diet that is as varied as possible, rich in “smart” foods and the Mediterranean tradition, with great attention to seasonality.

Paola Salgarelli, Nutritionist Biologist, specialist in Food Science