On April 7, people across the globe will celebrate World Health Day. The World Health Organization (WHO) is choosing to focus on food safety for this year’s celebration, releasing the slogan: “From farm to plate, make food safe.”
While food safety is a shared burden across industry and government, individuals have a huge role to play in making sure the food they eat is safe and nutritious. Let’s look at a few ways we can all be sure to make the best food choices for our families.
Does your snack come in a crinkly bag or wrapped in plastic you have to rip apart? Are numerous unpronounceable ingredients listed on the back? If so, it would be best not to eat it. Instead, aim to eat nutritious meals based on the dietary guidelines mentioned above. Instead of a bag of potato ships, snack on raw almonds or eat an apple. Instead of buying fast food for dinner, learn to prepare simple healthy meals. It’s not as expensive or time-consuming as you might think.
2. Cook your food thoroughly
Fully cooking meat, eggs and seafood kills bacteria and helps eliminate the risk of catching food-borne illnesses, like salmonella or shigella, that are not only unpleasant but can also be downright dangerous — even life-threatening — if they become complicated.
3. Go Plant-Based
It’s an open secret that animal products aren’t really necessary for a balanced diet. U.S. News and World Report ranks a completely vegan diet among the top 20 best diets and among the top five for heart health.
The handling of animal products presents a series of unique food safety hazards. WHO actually lists undercooked animal products as the first example of an “unsafe” food. A mistake as simple as placing cooked meat on the same plate that uncooked meat has touched can be dangerous.
4. Wash Your Fruits, Veggies and Hands
The University of Maine offers a series of suggestions for consuming produce safely. Before beginning any food preparation, wash your hands thoroughly with hot water. Use cold water to wash all produce, and scrub thick-skinned produce with a vegetable brush.
This goes for organic and home-grown foods as well. The process of contamination can happen regardless of how well the produce was raised.
Soak hard-to-wash produce like broccoli and cauliflower for a couple minutes in just cold water to remove microbes.
Lastly, wipe it off with a dry paper towel to remove more bacteria.
The Mayo Clinic recommends getting 30 minutes of exercise every day. Aside from helping you sleep, improving your energy levels and making you feel happier and better overall, exercise will also improve your health by lowering your chance of developing chronic problems like diabetes or high blood pressure.