A healthy diet is a core element in your overall quality of life but with so many options what are the best foods you can be eating each day to stay healthy and happy?
- Eating well is fundamental to good health and life quality
- Maintaining a healthy diet can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol
- Food groups such as nuts, fruits and vegetables offer a variety of choices that deliver a range of nutrients that help you keep healthy
A healthy, balanced diet is an integral part of maintaining good health and helping you feel your best. That means eating a wide variety of foods and understanding which foods will have the biggest health benefits.
1. Nuts, pulses and grains
Nuts, pulses and grains all provide plenty of nutrients. For example, Almonds contain magnesium, Vitamin E, Iron, calcium, Fibre and Riboflavin. Magnesium is an important mineral, with a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the human body. It helps with muscle and nerve function, supporting the immune system and regulating blood pressure.
Other healthy options include Brazil nuts which are an excellent source of both protein and carbohydrates and lentils which provide good amounts of magnesium, fibre and potassium. The human body requires at least 100 milligrams of potassium a day to support key processes. High potassium intake reduces the risk of overall mortality by 20% and also lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke.
Fruits are easy to build into your diet and offer a quick and healthy snack throughout the day. Apples are a great source of antioxidants which combat damaging substances that the body generates. They also contain vitamins, fibre and a range of other nutrients. They help prevent several health conditions including reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Other excellent fruit options include grapefruit, which aids weight loss and reduces cholesterol levels, mango, which is an excellent source of vitamin C and avocado which reduces blood pressure and lowers the risk of stroke.
Broccoli provides fibre, calcium, potassium, folate and phytonutrients, which reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. It also provides essential antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. It is best to eat broccoli raw or lightly steamed though as overcooking it can destroy many of the key nutrients.
Other vegetables that should be top of your list include;
• Kale: Offers a range of nutrients including vitamins C and K.
• Sweet potatoes: Provide dietary fibre, vitamin A, C, B-6 and potassium.
• Spinach: One cup of raw spinach provides 56% of your daily vitamin A needs plus your entire daily vitamin K requirement. Plus it does all that for just 7 calories.
• Carrots: Packed with vitamin A and also contain beta-carotene which could help in cancer prevention.
Fish such as salmon, trout, sardines and anchovies have oil in their tissues and around their gut. The fillets contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which may provide benefits for the nervous system and heart. They also contain plenty of vitamin A and D.
Fish is also rich in calcium and phosphorus and a great source of minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium. Eating fish can lower blood pressure and help reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Eggs are a simple yet versatile food which contain vitamins including B-2 and B-12, which are both important for preserving energy and generating red blood cells. They are also a good source of leucine, an essential amino acid which plays a role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
Both the white and yolk of an egg are rich in nutrients that promote heart health, such as choline and betaine and eating one egg a day may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
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