Eating a healthy, balanced diet is very important in order to maintain good health. Experts recommend eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, to base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like rice or pasta, having some dairy or dairy alternatives, and protein, like beans, meat and eggs. You should also choose unsaturated oils and spread and make sure to drink plenty of fluids. But certain foods alone have been proven to have life-boosting properties.
Certain foods alone have been proven to have life-boosting properties
Medical consultant Dr Sarah Brewer and dietician Juliette Kellow outline five of the healthiest foods to include in your diet in their book ‘Eat Better Live Longer’.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are linked to a lower risk of many cancers, according to Brewer and Kellow.
They explain: “These green vegetables are rich in unique compounds called glucosinolates, which break down to form cancer-busting compounds, and are packed with caner-fighting flavonoids and carotenoids.”
Mushrooms, shiitake in particular, have been found to help regulate blood pressure.
High blood pressure can lead to the thickening and hardening of arteries, which can increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack happening.
“Shiitake mushrooms are rich in a chemical called eritadenine, which seems to block the activity of an enzyme that constricts blood vessels,” the duo say.
“As blood vessels remain widened, blood pressure is more likely to remain abnormal levels.”
Red onion may help lower blood sugar, which is particular beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
The authors cite: “In one study of patients with diabetes, a 100g (3 1/2oz) serving of red onion significantly reduced blood sugar levels.”
Many studies suggest tomatoes- and in particular the lycopene they contain – help keep the heart healthy.
The women say: “Research shows high intakes of tomatoes and tomato products reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, and may lower blood pressure.
“One review of studies also found lycopene decreased the risk of stroke by 19 per cent.”
Research has shown eating nuts regularly doesn’t cause weight gain and may aid weight loss.
The pair cite: “In one study of 51,000 women, those who ate nuts at least twice a week gained less weight over weight years than those who avoided them.”
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