Foods you should be eating
Food and our diet play a very important part in our health, often without us realising it. Many processed foods are in fact extremely bad for our bodies, our health and our immune system. Like it or not, your physical health is affected by what goes into your mouth each day.
Luckily, there are many amazing, taste laden and cost effective foods available that actually will help you to improve your health. These “superfoods” present us with a way to heal our body just by improving our diets.
Let’s look at each of these “superfoods” and the benefits they provide in closer detail.
Berries, other than being extremely tasty, are full of healthy benefits. Their main benefit is that they are packed with fibre. Fibre is often an area of our diet that we do not focus on, yet fibre is extremely important and promotes a healthy digestive system. Fibre also aids in weight loss. It does this by making us feel full when we eat, therefore stopping us from overindulging.
Your fibre intake should be around 25 grams per day, although Dr David L. Katz, MD, MPH, director of the Yale School of Medicine’s Prevention Research centre believes that up to 40 grams of fibre should be consumed daily.
Raspberries are filled with fibre, around 8 grams per cup as well as containing ellagic acid, which is known to have anti-cancer properties. Blueberries have less fibre, but still come in at around 4 grams per cup. They contain various oxidants that help your memory as you get older. Strawberries have the least fibre at around 3 grams per cup. They are packed with vitamin C which helps fight colds and flu, heart disease and eye disease.
Eggs are a great source of protein (6 grams per egg) and omega-3 fatty acids, essential for heart health. One egg contains nine amino acids essential to our bodies, high quality protein, B12, choline, an essential nutrient, and lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants found in and used by the human eye. Lutein also helps to protect your skin from UV rays.
Kale is a super vegetable offering many important vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to our liver and stomachs while boosting our immune system. Kale contains vitamin A, B and C, calcium which helps build stronger bones, lutein and zeaxanthin (as per eggs mentioned above), chlorophyll and iron. Kale is also an excellent source of fibre.
Nuts make an excellent snack between meals and are filled with many important vitamins and nutrients our bodies need including non saturated fat, excellent for heart health.
Almonds offer the highest amount of nutrients out of all nuts and are an excellent source of protein, fibre, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and vitamin E. Pistachios are rich in protein, fibre and potassium. They are also cholesterol free. Walnuts are extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is essential for good heart health as well helping in the prevention of arthritis.
Remember to eat nuts in moderation, as they do have a high calorie content.
Avocados have an extremely high value of nutrients with proven benefits to the human body. They are also a source of the healthy fats our bodies need daily. When eaten in conjunction with other foods, avocado’s help our body absorb fat soluble nutrients found in those foods. This incredible food also helps to lower cholesterol levels, maintains blood pressure, control blood sugar levels and has anti-aging qualities.
Avocados contain fibre, potassium, vitamin B and E and folic acid.
Salmon is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids of which there are numerous benefits, not least for your heart as well as protecting your skin against UV damage. Salmon also is high in astaxanthin, an antioxidant that acts as an anti-inflammatory. New studies have shown that astaxanthin also leads to increased athletic performance.
A by product of milk and cheese, whey protein has a number of health benefits including:
- Make insulin work more efficiently, helping to regulate blood glucose levels.
- Helps preserve lean body tissue.
- It contains immunoglobulin which support your immune system.
- Helps maintain blood pressure levels.
Whey protein is a perfect source of amino acids for your body.
Yoghurt is extremely high in calcium as well as containing some protein and potassium. Yoghurt can also contain probiotics, although not all do. Probiotics are actually helpful bacteria which keep the digestive system working properly, ensuring common digestive system problems such as constipation, diarrhoea or inflammatory bowel syndrome are kept under control. Probiotics also help to boost our immune systems and produce vitamin B which helps in metabolizing food.
Beans are full of insoluble fibre which helps to lower cholesterol. They are also a source of protein that is incredibly low in fat and cholesterol when compared to other animal and fish based protein sources. Beans are a great source of various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants depending on the type consumed. There are many bean types available but rather aim to use whole soyabeans or black beans.
Juicing vegetables, especially green vegetables is a brilliant way to ensure your body receives the essential minerals, vitamins and nutrients that are often cooked out of vegetables when they are boiled.
Green vegetable juice can:
- Help with weight loss
- Help to boost the immune system
- Help to increase your energy do to nutrients from the juice
- According to a study called the Kame Project (Q Dai, AR Borenstein, Y Wu, JC Jackson, EB Larson), drinking vegetable juice up to three times a week helped in the fight against Alzheimers as these people were 76% less likely to develop the disease.
So by eating these “superfoods”, you help to protect your body by giving it all the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants it needs in the fight against various diseases from the common cold to Alzheimers disease.