When thinking about a healthy diet, there’s far too much focus on the foods we should avoid. But we need to think more positively about food and nutrition, and instead concentrate more on what we should be eating. We’ve put together just some of the foods you should eat more of because of their benefits to your overall health.
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants so helps to protect your cells from damage. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory and can help to improve brain function. Certain studies have shown green tea to boost metabolism, where consumption has lead to an increase in calories burned throughout the day. However these results haven’t been found across the board so take this claim with a pinch of salt. Although green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, there’s still enough to help waken you up and keep you alert, much like your daily cup of Joe. So ditch your morning coffee and get on the green tea wagon!
With a much sharper focus on digestive health and the gut, the spotlight has fallen on fermented foods like kimchi. Although perhaps not the most appetizing, kimchi is packed with probiotics (good bacteria) that can help to keep your digestive system in tip-top condition by restricting the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut. A healthy digestive system not only facilitates optimum nutrient absorption, but also can prevent inflammation and improve our immune system and mental wellbeing. Other fermented foods to try include sauerkraut, miso soup, kefir (a fermented milk drink) and kombucha (a fizzy fermented tea – a bit like cider).
That’s right: chocolate. Dark chocolate contains minerals like iron and magnesium and a variety of powerful antioxidants that can help to protect against cardiovascular disease. Dark chocolate contains far more nutrients than its white and milk counterparts, which usually contain high levels of refined sugars. That’s not to say dark chocolate doesn’t contain sugar, but you can definitely still enjoy and reap the benefits (as always, everything in moderation). You want to go for quality dark chocolate; the higher the cocoa content (70% or more), the purer the chocolate and therefore the better it is for you!
These tiny seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant found in Central and South America have risen in popularity in the UK due to their many health benefits. For such a small seed, they are abundant in important nutrients and minerals. Not only a great source of protein, healthy fats and fibre, chia seeds contain more calcium, ounce for ounce than milk. They are also a source of omega-3, which our bodies don’t produce naturally. Although lower in omega-3 than animal sources such as oily fish, chia seeds are still a welcome addition to your diet. They are super absorbent and can hold around 10 times their dry weight in liquid. Just a tablespoon in your porridge, smoothies, pancake batter and soups will add volume as well as a boost of vitamins and minerals. Try this recipe for Chia Jam and take your favourite PB&J to the next nutritional level!
Strawberry & Orange Chia Jam
(Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks)
200g chopped strawberries
2 tablespoon orange juice
1-2 tablespoons honey, agave or fruit syrup (depending how sweet you want it)
1 ½ tablespoons chia seeds
1. Heat the strawberries in a pan until they start to break down and become syrupy (about 5-10 mins)
2. Take off the heath and mash with a fork to break down a bit more, but leave them as lumpy as you’d like.
3. Stir in orange juice, sweetener and chia seeds.
4. Leave to stand for 5 mins for the chia seeds to absorb the liquid then slather up your toast.