Food is not just fuel for our body to survive. It can make us feel great, give us energy, and also bring us together. It can also leave us feeling unsatisfied and can even make us feel unwell. Some people plan their meals and week around what food they’re eating and take great pleasure in preparing exciting and nutritional dishes.
However, there are also many people that do not have the compunction to give food the time it deserves. This might be down to lack of time, or maybe just a lack of passion towards food.
Knowing what foods to eat and what to include in your weekly diet is more important than some people think, and by making some relatively small change it’s possible to feel a range of benefits.
When purchasing vegetables you should make sure that you get ones that are as fresh as possible. It’s no secret that pesticides have been used to produce some vegetables and there is an increased want for organic produce that has not been tampered with. Where possible, purchase your vegetables from a greengrocer so you will be easily able to ascertain where the produce has come from.
In terms of the environment it is also good to purchase vegetables that have been grown near to where you live, or even grow your own, so the distance they’ve travelled is limited. This will reduce the carbon footprint while also supporting local businesses.
Aside from fresh vegetables you may also be buying tinned vegetables such as peas, carrots, or sweet corn. They might be cheaper and have a very long shelf life but they are stripped of nutrients and usually have high levels of sodium.
Some of the best vegetables for you are ones from the cruciferous variety. There are many vegetables from this group so there’s plenty to choose from. They include kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli amongst others. Cruciferous vegetables are full of antioxidants and have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.
Leafy green vegetables are also known to help against the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Products like spinach are also high in antioxidants and a great source of vitamins.
Similar to vegetables, fruit can contain pesticides and you should look to purchase organic produce from the greengrocer too. There are also a range of fruits that are available in canned form and these should be limited.
One of the best fruits to get into your diet is the avocado. The green fruit is probably one of the most popular foods in the world right now, but its position as such is well deserved. The avocado is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are good for the heart. They’re also full of nutrients and high in fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and potassium.
A more traditional type of fruit that is great for you is the apple. They are a great source of antioxidants and can help your body slow the aging process and also fight off some diseases. Apples are also good at combating cholesterol levels.
One of the main fruit items you need to avoid are processed fruit drinks like smoothies. These products can be very high in sugar and artificial sweeteners. It is much better for you to consume your fruit by eating it in its raw form.
Nuts are one of the nest snacks to have when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
One of the best nuts to eat is the Brazil nut. They are rich in protein and carbohydrates, and are also a great source of vitamin B1, vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium. They also contain a high amount of selenium, which is a vital mineral for maintain thyroid functionality.
Make sure that you don’t purchase nuts that have been doused in flavoring or even deep-fried. These will be extremely high in salt and fat, and also lack the nutritional value of plain nuts.
Pulses come in a variety of different forms and are found in dishes all over the world. Pulses are an edible seed that grow in pods and includes pas and lentils such as runner beans and kidney beans.
Pulses are a great source of protein and are particularly good for vegetarians and vegans because they lack protein from a lack or meat, fish, or dairy products.
One of the best pulses to get in your shopping basket is the lentil. Lentils are a great food that can be used in a variety in different ways. For example, red lentils make a delicious Indian dish called a dhal, which tastes great and is extremely healthy.
Legumes are a good addition to your diet but getting the right ones is essential. Legumes like pinto beans and chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber and protein. Studies have also shown that cooked beans have been linked to reducing your risk of chronic diseases and obesity.
The worst offenders in the legume category are baked beans. The household staple is packed with sugar and also very high in sodium. Many canned products are full of sodium so also be sure to check the labels on food before you make your purchases.
Dry grains have become synonymous with maintaining a healthy diet. This harvested product is durable and popular all over the world.
Oats are a fantastic addition to your diet and are plentiful in omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of fiber, potassium, and folate, and they are great for lowering cholesterol and burning fat. There are also different types of oats and you should opt against the instant varieties where possible.
Meat can be a good part of your diet as long as you make the right choices. Meats like chicken and turkey are full of protein and low on fat, making them a healthy option for you.
Red meats like beef and lamb are heavier on the gut and sit on the unhealthier scale of meats. They can be high in saturated fats and are linked to chronic health conditions such as type-2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Studies into processed meats have found that eating too much processed meat can increase the risk of colorectal cancer and heart disease. Cured meats are also a poor choice for your diet and contain high amounts of preservatives, sodium, and saturated fat.
Fish is amongst some of the healthiest food you can eat. Laden with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, fish is great for reducing inflammation in your body and regulating blood pressure.
Oily fish like trout, salmon, mackerel, and anchovies are particularly full of omega-3 fatty acids. The oils are beneficial for the heart and nervous system.
Fish is also good for tackling health conditions such as asthma and cancer, while also containing high levels of other nutrients.
Yoghurt is one of the best snack-type foods to have in your fridge. It is great to eat at anytime of the day and is good at preventing you from eating unhealthy snacks. For the best yoghurt reach for Greek yoghurt because it provides lots of protein and calcium. Mix it with nuts and fruit to get a really delicious sweet hit.
Flavored yoghurts are to be avoided because they contain so much sugar. There are also flavored yoghurts that are full of additives making them more of an unnatural processed food.
Eggs are another great source of protein and are a versatile food for adding to your diet. They contain vitamins that are vital for energy and your red blood cells too.
We’ve hopefully given you some positive reasons to make some changes to the food you buy if you’re currently making purchases on a whim. Having outlined some of the best and worst food offenders you can be confident that you will be able to make some really beneficial changes with relative ease.
Getting your food list right is the best way to give you a chance of a healthy diet. By having a cupboard, fridge, and freezer full of healthy foods you will then be able to create nutritional and delicious meals.