Friday, August 20, 2010

5 more super foods

Following on from Monday's post, here are 5 more super foods.

Whole grains
Whole grains provide fibre and healthy amounts of the B group vitamins. Fibre slows the digestion of carbohydrates, keeps the blood sugar level stable and binds with dietary cholesterol, helping the body eliminate it. Fibre rich foods are filling, so you tend to eat less. Try couscous, bulgur wheat and quinoa for a change; they are all very quick and easy to prepare.

Beans and lentils are high in proteins, fibre and antioxidants. They have a low GI value and keep you feeling full for longer. They also stabilize blood sugar levels.

Olives and olive oil
Olives and olive oil are great sources of monounsaturated fats. Extra virgin olive oil (from the first pressing) has anti-inflammatory properties and decreases ‘bad’ cholesterol. Keep olive oil for salad dressings – don’t cook with it.

Yoghurt is a good source of protein, Vitamin A and calcium. In addition, yoghurts made with ‘live’ culture are full of probiotics – the friendly bacteria that keep your digestive tract in good working order. Yoghurt has always been one of my favourite foods. I used it a lot whenever my children were not eating well, and I still eat a lot myself. Yoghurt is really delicious and nutritious and very easy to eat and digest. Few of us get the RDA of 1,000mg of calcium – 1,200mg per day if you are over 50. If you are lactose intolerant there are plenty of other sources of calcium (see Wednesday’s post).

Although water is not a food, it is even more vital to health. You can go several days – even weeks – without food (though not without problems!) you can survive only a short time without water. When you feel thirsty, you are already 2% dehydrated and if you lose 20% of your body water, it can prove fatal. 60 – 80% of your total body mass is water. It forms 95% of plasma. Water is needed for growth and repair of the body; it flushes out toxins; it maintains body temperature; it is continually lost through breathing, perspiration and excretion so needs replacing frequently. If you are exercising, remember to drink water before, during and after exercise. Aim for 6-8 glasses a day. I think water should have been number one on my list of super foods, but maybe leaving it until the end means the information will stay with you a little longer.

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