Although we are all well versed in the benefits of healthy food, for many of us, healthy eating can feel more like a chore than something enjoyable.
With the vast array of choice available, alongside often conflicting information about nutrition, weight loss and balance, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, or have no idea where to start when it comes to eating more healthily.
The good news, however, is that many foods; including fruits and vegetables – have a number of hidden properties which makes them super healthy, allowing you to enjoy a tasty treat whilst still eating well and benefiting your health: a definite win-win for everyone! Here are some of the top foods with surprising health benefits…
1. Fruits and vegetables
It seems painfully obvious, but for a healthy lifestyle, getting enough fruit and veg is crucial.
That doesn’t mean, however, that your diet needs to be dull – there are an enormous variety of colours, textures and tastes available, and the internet offers a wealth of recipes to ensure that you find something which appeals.
Fruits and vegetable offer an excellent source of the crucial vitamins and minerals which are an essential part of keeping our bodies healthy, including must-have staples such as Vitamin C, potassium and folate.
In addition, a diet rich in fruit and veg will help to provide a source of dietary fibre – important for maintaining good gut health and reducing your risk of bowel cancer, as well as heart disease and other conditions.
In short: eating your greens could literally save your life! As an added bonus, you can enjoy more energy, improved general health, improved skin quality and better sleep: all good reasons to dig into that broccoli!
2. Go nuts for nuts!
The health benefits of nuts have been widely reported, and this can be an easy way to add a healthy element to your daily diet without feeling as though you are making sacrifices or missing out.
Obviously, if you have a nut allergy, you should avoid all types of nuts in your diet at all cost.
As with anything, moderation is everything – nuts can have an unfortunate side effect of being delicious yet fattening.
Nonetheless, nuts are some of the healthiest snacks, as they are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and unsaturated fats.
They have even been proven to lower cholesterol, help with weight control, improve heart health and reduce the cancer risk: definitely good to add to your daily diet! It is important to choose wisely, to ensure that you are making the best healthy choices:
- Macadamia nuts: These are a good pick, as they contain more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat per serving than any other choice, and have the added benefit of reducing blood pressure and cholesterol – a tasty snack which also helps your body!
- Cashew nuts: If you are looking for a boost in vitamins and minerals, cashews should be your first choice. Rich in zinc, iron and magnesium, they can help to keep blood oxygenated, improve your memory and boost your immune system.
- Almonds: If you are looking for a way to incorporate more essential fibre into your diet, reach for almonds. They contain around 3g per ounce – more than any other nut – and also contain the highest levels of Vitamin E, essential for healthy skin, eyes and immune systems.
- Brazil nuts: Just one Brazil nut can contain a day worth of selenium, an amazing antioxidant which reduces oxidative stress through keeping free radicals in check, and in turn can defend the body from heart disease and cancer, amongst other conditions. Just as a warning; don’t overdo the brazil nuts and too much selenium can potentially be toxic.
- Walnuts: These wonder nuts contain the highest levels of antioxidants compared to any of their peers, along with the most omega 3 fatty acids; ideal for fighting inflammation.
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3. Not just food, but SUPER food!
We have established that fruits, veg and nuts are all good for you, but it is important to remember that not all are created equally.
To further boost your diet, and for adding variety, you can turn to a host of so-called ‘superfoods’; special picks which pack in a range of nutrients for an extra boost.
These include berries, fish, leafy green and cruciferous veg, olive oil, yoghurt, legumes and tomatoes. Adding these will ensure variety and interest in your diet, allowing you to make the best choices without risking boredom!
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be dull; there are a huge variety of foods and snacks available which may hide a wealth of benefits you never even considered!
Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help with weight loss, allowing you to be more active and energised, and help to reduce the risk of long-term illness or poor health, which has the added bonus of reducing health insurance premiums!
Start your new diet today, and make the most of the huge benefits health can bring!
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