Maintaining good health is something that everyone should consider, but few people actually do anything about it. Life is too busy, people have too many responsibilities and not enough time and sadly health is not often a top priority. People know that they should exercise more and eat better but, for many, more exercise is not an option and some don’t know where to start when it comes to eating better.
The media bombards the nation with news about foods and it becomes difficult to know what is actually helpful or harmful. Radical changes in diet are not realistic for most people who have families to feed and numerous time constraints, but one thing everyone can do is make a few small changes that can improve health by balancing diets more effectively.
Most people will be familiar with the term ‘super food’ as these have been part of the media bombardment over the past few years. It is easy to dismiss these as they seem to change so often, but it is true that there are a number of foods that can be considered as multi-taskers when it comes to health. Adding these foods to your regular diet can help you stay healthy with only a little planning required on your part.
Walnuts are a rich source of protein, making them an ideal food to keep you going when you have only a little time. Rich in fibre, magnesium and vitamins B and E, they are full to the brim with antioxidants that will help boost your immune system and fortify your overall health. Walnuts are also a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital for heart health and lowering cholesterol.
Another rich source of Omega 3, salmon is a perfect substitute for meat and it is recommended that you eat one to three portions of oily fish per week for maximum benefit.
Dark Greens such as kale, chard, bok choi, asparagus and collard greens are not found in the majority of households, but these vegetables are extremely healthy. Broccoli and green beans are also considered to be dark greens and people tend to eat these more regularly. Dark greens are packed with vitamins A and C, as well as iron, calcium and fibre. They are very filling, so experiment a bit and add these to your rotation.
Rich in antioxidants, goji berries can help boost the immune system and are said to help protect the retina of the eye, improve circulation and help protect the liver. They are easy to work into your diet as they tend to come in dried form and can be added to cereal, granola and desserts.
Sweet potatoes are one of the highest ranked vegetables on the nutritional scale, so it is really worth investing the time to experiment with these delicious products. High in fibre, potassium and manganese, they are also full of Vitamins A, C and B6, which are all vital for optimum health. Sweet potatoes are proven to help stabilise blood sugar levels and are relatively low in calories, so they are an excellent substitute for traditional carbohydrates with any meal.
This article was written and contributed by Zoe Williams on behalf of Nuffield Health Careers.