As you are all aware nutrition is absolutely vital to your health.
As a personal trainer in the Swansea area I have found many people struggle with the nutritional side of things more than the exercise, in truth it is a bigger commitment as you have to be constantly making correct decisions to ensure you get the results, you eat around 25-35 meals a week, where as with exercise you only need to be training 3-5 times a week.
So today I am going to discuss the foods that we eat.
What we eat is much more important than the calories we consume. Obviously we do need to consume a certain amount of calories each day to function but what we put into our body ultimately shapes what our body looks like.
In a recent study on rats (poor rats!), they fed two groups the same amount of calories, one group getting those calories from food sprayed with normal pesticides and herbicides, the other from food which was not sprayed (organic). After 16 weeks they found the rats eating the food sprayed with chemicals gained 33% more fat!
EVEN THOUGH THEY CONSUMED THE SAME CALORIES.
The conclusions were that environmental toxins are making people fat, not the amount of calories consumed.
In addition to this study with the rats, more and more “obese babies” are being born, begging the question – How the hell did this happen? and the same conclusions are being drawn – the obesity is caused by exposure to toxic chemicals (whilst in the womb), new born babies can have between 250-300 different chemicals in their umbilical cord!
We are creatures of habit.
We love routines, but most of our nutritional routines ultimately kill us – coffee, alcohol, sugar and processed foods and eating out.
We need better routines.
So what foods should you be eating every day?
Well there is no confirmed study which states that the foods you NEED to eat every day are so and so… But the list I will give you today are 6 foods which are scientifically proven to give us some great health benefits. So if you are aiming to lose fat, stay healthy or build muscle then you should be aiming to include at least 3 or 4 of these foods into your diet every day.
Even if you consider yourself to be extremely healthy and eat great then why not try adding a couple of these foods to your diet and see if they make a difference.
Some people consider these foods as ‘superfoods’, a superfood is something which is rich in varying different nutrients and goodness which our bodies need and benefit from. Reducing our chances of illness, as well as putting us in a better mood. Eating these often will really help to boost your physical and mental health.
Just to add a bit of a caveat to this – the advice I follow and give my long term clients who are good healthy eaters is opposite to this – I encourage them to get as much variety as possible in their diets, rotating foods regularly, as they are in full control.
Remember food is medicine.
These foods are all natural unprocessed foods, where possible try and get the organic kind for an even better product.
So without further ado here are my top 6 foods, in no particular order:
1. Greens – Spinach or Broccoli
Spinach is fantastic and regarded as one of the top foods on the market today. Regular consumption of spinach has been found to reduce many health problems as well as aiding in maintaining muscle mass. Spinach has also been linked to stimulate male’s sexual health.
It is also rich in fibre which aids the body’s digestion process as well as helping to prevent overeating. Along with that spinach contains many antioxidants that combat health problems including osteoporosis and high blood pressure. If that’s not enough spinach is also been linked to improving your nervous system as well as brain function due to the high levels of vitamin k contained in the food.
You only have to eat a couple of florets to get one of your 5 a day, so a good helping of broccoli will comfortably get you eating 2 or 3 of your recommended 5. Similar to many of these foods mentioned broccoli is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C.
Broccoli is a good source of something known as folate, which is a naturally occurring folic acid which is a major help in preventing heart disease.
Other benefits include increased bone health, maintenance of a healthy nervous system and it helps to curb your appetite.
Green vegetables are all a great source of goodness.
All nuts contain good fats which will help with your hormones. Brazil Nuts are especially good for you, they contain high quality anti oxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are high in mono unsaturated fats which help to fight bad cholesterol (LDL). Another benefit of brazil nuts is that they are gluten free. As long as you stay clear of peanuts then you can’t go too wrong with most nuts!
3. Blueberries or any Berries
You will always find blueberries somewhere near the top of the list when looking for super healthy foods. They are rich in antioxidants which are linked with reducing the chances of illness as well as delaying the onset of aging.
Blueberries are a good source of potassium, vitamin A and C and are rich in fibre. You can get little packs from supermarkets for no more than a couple of pound so are easy to get hold of and tasty! Aim for the darker ones, likely to contain more anti oxidants.
They are also anti inflammatory; you all know how important this can be from my post about reducing inflammation. So blueberries really are a great, easy to get hold of food, which you can easily incorporate into your daily eating routine.
Not only do they help you to see in the dark but carrots are a brilliant help in fighting off diseases, including cancers. Eating a lot of carrots can also aid you with arthritis pain. Regular consumption of carrots can also help with the detox process by helping to flush out toxins from your body.
Eat them raw where possible as you won’t lose any of the goodness through the cooking process.
Tomatoes are an extremely versatile fruit, so versatile that many consider them to be a vegetable. Tomatoes can be added to a countless number of dishes so it is extremely easy to get a daily intake of tomatoes.
The antioxidants contained in tomatoes can help to reduce the risk of a number of harmful health conditions. The redder the tomato the better! Tomatoes can also make your hair shiny, your bones strong, your eyes sharp and your heart healthy!