Why eat well?

Eating well and physical activity are important for health and wellbeing. The Australian Dietary Guidelines provide general information about what you need to eat and how much. Australia’s Phsyical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults encourage everyone to move more and sit less. Together, these can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of cancer.  

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Healthy eating

The Australian Dietary Guidelinewere developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The guidelines include five key principles:

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight by being physically active and choosing amounts of nutritious foods and drinks to meet your energy needs.
  • Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious food from the five food groups (see diagram below) every day: plenty of vegetables of different types and colours, and legumes/beans; fruit; grains, mostly wholegrains, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa and barley; lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans; and milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol and food containing saturated fat, added salt and added sugars.
  • Encourage and promote breastfeeding.
  • Care for your food; prepare and store it safely.

The diagram below shows what foods to eat from each of the five food groups.

Healthy Eating from the Five Food Groups

Read more about healthy eating

Move more

Being physically active is important for health and wellbeing.

Activity that gets your body moving and speeds up your breathing and heartbeat can help you:

  • achieve or maintain a healthy body weight;
  • improve your mood;
  • help prevent some conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers.

Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults encourage everyone to move more and sit less. Adults should aim to be active for most, preferably all, days of the week.


Drink less alcohol

Many people drink alcohol to relax and socialise. However, drinking too much may lead to weight gain and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers and diabetes.

For healthy men and women who choose to drink alcohol, Cancer Council recommends you follow the NHMRC guidelines and limit your intake to two standards drinks a day.


Drink enough water

Fluids are an essential part of any diet. They allow you to stay hydrated and help your kidneys function.

As a general guide, you should aim for at least 8–10 glasses of fluid per day. As well as drinking water, you can get fluid from soups, milkshakes or smoothies, fruit juices, fruit, or ice cubes.


This information was last reviewed in May 2016
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