Here are some straightforward Health and Diet tips from a UK Nutritional Therapist
VARIETY AND FIBRE
- Eat plenty of different things, different foods contain different nutrients that are essential to us, so a limited diet will mean you miss out on something important. It’s amazing what magic is in many foods, and some things counteract negatives in others, so variety, including unusual things, is most likely to mean healthy.
- Especially eat plenty of vegetables, herbs & spices, and fruits. Include items from the all sections of the colour range. The colours are a clue to the variation of nutrients. They will provide vitamins, and antioxidants (including flavonoids & polyphenols, phytonutrients).
- Keep the fibre in your diet (don’t discard pulp from juice etc). Fibre is essential for proper digestion of the natural sugars & utilisation of the essential nutrients in these foods. Fibre also helps your body get rid of toxins (and excess cholesterol), as they bind to them so that they are excreted.
- Include probiotic foods in your diet such as (cultured) bio-live yoghurt, cottage cheese, other fermented foods (such as sauerkraut), or supplements. (This is especially important as you get older, or if stressed, or have intestinal or urinary issues, and after you have antibiotics, or surgery.) Some foods such as bananas, garlic, and onions help boost good gut bacteria, and gut lining protection.
SALT, AND PROCESSED OR UNNATURAL FOODS
- Don’t stop eating salt, just stop eating processed table salt and have natural mineral rich salt instead – sea salt or other specialised salts. Our bodies really need the minerals.
- Do cut down on processed sugar and processed white flour (often lots of both in processed foods), but keep some healthy carbs in the diet, inc starchy vegetables, and also non GMO legumes, such as beans & lentils.
- Keep away from sugar replacements too, especially aspartame, as these play chemical havoc with your body.
- Avoid GMO’s in your diet, and the diet of any animals you may use products of.
- Drop harmful hydrogenated & trans fats (vegetable / polyunsaturated fats where the oils have been chemically damaged by heating to high temperatures, often many times over (mostly found in processed foods, some cooking oils & margarine – read the labels). Avoid cooking at high temperatures with polyunsaturated fats too.
Monounsaturated fats (omega 9 oleic acid), and saturated fats are more stable. Coconut is best (mostly containing good medium chain fats), (real) Butter next, then Olive Oil (mostly oleic acid), then Lard. Safflower (seed) oil could be okay but only if you ensure you get the high oleic acid (monounsaturated fat) version, although even that version has a substantially higher level of PUFA’s than the first 4 on the list do.
- Don’t worry about saturated fats, they are fine after all, and contain loads of goodness, including eggs, dairy, butter, meat, and lard. The best thing to do though is to try to ensure grass fed / free range sources (apart from the ethical issues of quality of life, if poultry and livestock don’t have healthy diets, their produce won’t be healthy either. If they are fed polyunsaturated fats via veg or grains such as corn, then there will be more polyunsaturated fats in their produce.) Also ensure you are happy with the way your milk is processed, and check animals are not given too many antibiotics as these pass on into your diet too.
- Ensure you get enough omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid, EPA, DHA) essential fatty acids. We tend to have too much omega 6 (linoleic acid, GLA) in relation to omega 3. (Another reason to check the diets of animals you may use produce of, as if they are fed too many omega 6’s then their produce will also have too many omega 6’s in as well as the polyunsaturates as mentioned above.)
- Use the extractor fan when cooking to help clear away smoke, which can be quite noxious (especially if you use the wrong oils for high temperature cooking), but try to avoid too much char on your food anyway.
- Drink plenty of water. (Green & herbal teas can count as water, with extra goodies in them, but nothing else counts as water – not even squash.) Green tea is high in a special antioxidant.
- Don’t go on fad diets to try & lose weight, there are many reasons why they don’t usually work, and are often quite bad for you. (Even if they appear to work you tend to put on even more weight afterwards.) Just eat healthily and you’ll be fine. Besides, using coconut, eating your fibre, avoiding artificial sugars, cutting down on processed foods, and maintaining a balanced diet should help you lose weight naturally anyway.
- Drastic exercise is not actually good for you, especially if you aren’t used to it, so do balanced exercise, or build up gradually and keep it very regular (at least 2 0r 3 times a week instead of just at weekends for example, as it is too sudden a change to not do any for a while and then do loads).
- Try to avoid toxic household cleaning products and toiletries – you absorb things through your skin, as well as breathing in fumes. (Generally the longer the list of ingredients the more wary you should be.) A good source of further information on this topic is Lara Adler @ http://www.laraadler.com/coaches/about-me