There’s an old saying, ‘you are what you eat’, and as a rule of thumb, if you want to enjoy good health, you should try to eat healthy food. Your body needs enough vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, and although you can take these as supplements, it’s best to eat a healthy, balanced diet to get as many nutrients as possible from your food. A healthy diet will help you to look and feel good, and reduce your risks of getting ill.
Here are 10 healthy foods to include in your diet:
Kale, spinach and spring greens contain vitamins A and C, as well as high levels of vitamin K. That’s not all though, they also contain fibre, which is good for your digestive system, calcium, which is good for your bones, and lutein and beta-carotene, which are good for your eyes.
It is important not to overcook these greens as this reduces the nutrients they contain. Try blending them into a smoothie raw or gently steaming them as part of a meal.
Sweet potatoes contain complex carbohydrates, which provide a longer-lasting source of energy than simple carbs (such as white bread). They’re also high in fibre and contain vitamins A, C and B-6, as well as iron, potassium and calcium.
Nuts contain protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and healthy unsaturated fats, which means they are good for your heart health and a great snack to eat in moderation.
Almonds, specifically, are rich in nutrients and can help lower your cholesterol. They’re also a great source of vitamin E, which is good for your skin, and magnesium, which supports muscle and nerve function and helps boost your energy levels.
Brazil nuts contain high levels of the antioxidant selenium, which is important for the function of your thyroid gland.
Naturally fermented foods with live bacterial cultures support the friendly bacteria in your gut, supporting a healthy digestive system. These kinds of foods can help relieve constipation, gas and bloating.
Dark coloured berries are high in antioxidants, which fight damage-causing free radicals in your body. They are also high in fibre, which is important for your digestive health, and make a good replacement for refined sugar when eaten with cereal or desserts. Studies show that the bioactive compounds in blueberries and strawberries may help protect against long-term (chronic) diseases such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which is important for your immune system, while ground flax seeds are a good alternative to oily fish for omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of plant protein, providing essential amino acids that are needed for your overall health. Sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin E, which is needed to keep your eyes and skin healthy, as well as for your immune system.
An apple a day may not keep the doctor away but it’s still good for you. They contain vitamins A, E, B1, B2 and B6, as well as polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants and help protect your body from heart disease, inflammation, and certain cancers. Make sure you eat apples with their skin on — unless you are allergic to the wax used on store-bought apples — as apple skin contains most of the fibre and antioxidants.
A simple bowl of porridge can be great for your health. Oats contain soluble fibre, which can help lower cholesterol and is good for your heart health. They are also a source of complex carbohydrates, which help you feel full for longer and therefore help maintain stable blood sugar levels. Oats also contain folate, which is needed to make blood cells and DNA, and potassium, which is important for the health of your nerves and muscles.
Broccoli contains the antioxidants vitamin C, beta-carotene and phytonutrients, as well as fibre, calcium and potassium. This makes broccoli great for your overall health. As with leafy greens, be careful not to destroy these nutrients by overcooking your broccoli. Instead, lightly steam your broccoli or eat it raw – blended in a smoothie.
Avocados have been trending in recent years for their many health benefits. B vitamins, vitamin K and vitamin E can all be found in avocados, as well as high-density lipoprotein which helps remove ‘bad’ cholesterol from your bloodstream. While they are high in good fats, they should still be eaten in moderation.
To protect your health, combine different food groups as part of a healthy, balanced diet and make sure you’re eating the right number of calories for your weight, height and activity levels. You can find a rough guide by using a BMI calculator. You don’t have to completely cut out treats but make sure you eat them in moderation and stay active.
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Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.
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Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager
Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.
Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor
Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.
Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing
Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.