Fruits, legumes and vegetables are important foods to include in your diet particularly because they are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, to sustain a healthy immune system so you can combat bad bacteria and viruses.
What fruits should I be eating?
Fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories but contain essential nutrients such as potassium, fibre and vitamin C all needed for a healthy body. Studies have concluded eating a diet that contains a rich source of fruit can reduce the risk of heart disease and reduce the chance of having a stroke.
Berries are the small little fruits we often forget about… defined as a fruit without a seed or pip, they have some amazing benefits that are worth taking note of. Keeping you alert and sharp, they are known to help with matters such as weight loss, reducing blood sugar and controlling diabetes.
A good healthy diet of berries is good for the heart, can help fight urinary tract infections and even help reduce acidic conditions in the body which would otherwise invite cancerous cells to multiply.
Berries contain a plethora of health benefits including strawberries. Not only are they extremely tasty due to their sweet flavour, they are packed full of essential vitamins such as vitamin C to protect cells and support the maintenance of connective tissue. Strawberries are low in calories, reducing your chance of gaining weight. They also contain flavonoids, which is used by the body to combat inflammation. Studies have also concluded that the flavonoids present in strawberries can help reduce your chance of developing heart disease.
Blackberries are also a common berry that contains a wealth of health benefits. Due to their antioxidant properties, blackberries benefit the human body by protecting the heart from disease and promoting healthy heart function. Blackberries have also been attributed to promoting cognitive function and are particularly beneficial by reducing your chance of developing memory loss.
Blueberries are also a great superfood to add into your diet in order to be healthy and to stay healthy, as they are rich in vitamin C and vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting. Like strawberries, raspberries also contain flavonoids to help combat heart disease. Raspberries have a high polyphenol content, which can help reduce blood pressure and can act as an anti-inflammatory.
How many others do you know? To find out more about what would best suit you why not arrange a consultation to discuss fruits in greater detail.
Citrus fruits are another group of fruits that provide some amazing health benefits. They improve digestion and as most are less than a 100 calories they can keep the calorie intake low too. Citrus fruits can help increase the immunity system and help reduce the likelihood of several diseases such as Alzheimer’s. They are high in vitamin C and even the peel of the fruit can be used to improve glow to the skin. Many citrus fruits are made into jams, marmalades and sauces to provide a tangy taste to foods and also used in medicines.
So, if you want to reduce the risk of heart stroke, help reduce weight gain or you just like the taste, this should definitely be part of your 5 a day.
Citrus fruits such as oranges are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which are all essential in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Oranges are particularly beneficial to the human body, as they contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium. Studies have also concluded that oranges contain citrus limonoids, which have been linked to helping combat certain cancers such as stomach and colon cancer. Due to their soluble fibre content, oranges can help lower your cholesterol and can help fight viral infection due to their high vitamin C content.
Grapefruit is another citrus fruit, which is extremely beneficial to the human body. Grapefruit is not only rich in vitamin C, but it also contains high levels of vitamins B6, and vitamin E, which all help support your immune system. Naringenin is a compound found mainly in grapefruits and it typically gives the grapefruit its bitter taste. This compound however, is beneficial to the human body as it helps prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Like grapefruits, and other citrus fruits, lemons have their own array of health benefits. When added to water, lemons can help with the digestion process and actively encourage your body to process the good components of your food more slowly.
Lemons, like grapefruits and oranges, also contain high levels of vitamin C needed for a healthy immune system. Lemons are also known to contain pectins, a fibre that can make you feel fuller for longer, which enables you to consume less food and avoid weight gain. The citric acid in lemons aids in digestion and helps to dissolve kidney stones.
Other fruits such as bananas can be a great addition to your diet as they contain high levels of vitamin B6 needed to maintain a healthy nervous system. They are also a great source of fibre, which helps towards a healthy digestive system.
As the old saying goes ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and as this old saying suggests, eating an apple is a simple yet healthy option to include in your diet, as they have been linked to reducing your risk of having a stroke and help lower your cholesterol.
Pears equally have their own beneficial properties. They are jam-packed with antioxidants to help support your immune system and they are full of iron which helps produce red blood cells needed to transport oxygen around the body. Pears also contain vast amounts of vitamin K, which is essential for healthy blood clotting and helps prevent heart disease.
Watermelon is one of the largest fruits and is almost entirely water based and this can be a great substitute for a meal as it not only fills you but it quickly passes through the body.
What vegetables do I need to eat?
Like fruits, vegetables provide your body with essential nutrients needed to sustain a healthy body particularly as they are rich in potassium, which can reduce blood pressure. Due to their low calorie properties, they can make you feel fuller for longer reducing your chance of becoming obese.
Leafy vegetables like cabbage are low in saturated fat, which helps lower cholesterol and can make you feel fuller for longer. Like most fruit and vegetables, cabbage also contains vitamin C to help boost your immune system and vitamin K to promote a healthy bone structure.
In addition, spinach is another leafy vegetable, which is an essential part of our diet particularly as it is rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A has been linked to combatting heart diseases and high cholesterol. Additionally, spinach has been widely consumed due to its beneficial properties, as it is rich in iron, which aids with the healthy function of red blood cells and its high level of vitamin K in order to maintain a healthy bone structure.
Kale has fast become a superfood due to its wealth of health benefits. Kale is extremely rich in vitamin A, which is needed to support your immune system as well as being incredibly rich in vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting.
Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C as well as containing vitamin D needed to maintain a healthy heart and nervous system.
Parsnips are also a root vegetable, which you should consider incorporating into your diet in order to be healthy. Parsnips are packed full of soluble fibre needed for reducing cholesterol and help prevent the development of heart disease. Parsnips are also rich in vitamin C as well as vitamin K, which is needed to maintain healthy blood clotting, and in vitamin E, which is needed for boosting your immune system and converting food into energy.
Carrots are another vegetable that should be included in your diet. They are particularly rich in a soluble fibre known as pectin, which helps lower cholesterol. They have also been attributed to reducing the risk of developing memory loss later in life.
What are legumes and why should I eat them?
Essentially, a legume is a dry fruit within a shell or a pod. The most common types of legume are peas, beans and peanuts. Legumes are an essential part of our diet as they contain sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Due to their non-meat protein qualities, they can make you feel fuller for longer which can reduce your chance of becoming obese.
Kidney beans are a legume that can be added to sustain a healthy diet. They are rich in protein and are an example of a slow release carbohydrate. They slowly increase blood sugar levels and are a particularly great food for people with diabetes. Chickpeas are another legume, which is good to incorporate into your diet in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They are rich in fibre, which aids for a healthy digestive system and a good source of iron to maintain red blood cells and the delivery of oxygen around the body.
Lentils are jam packed full of health benefits particularly as they can help lower cholesterol, they can stabilise blood sugar levels and they can increase your energy levels due to their slow releasing properties. If you are looking for a healthy snack, peanuts are a legume, which you can consume, in order to stay healthy, as they are full of protein and fibre, helping you feel fuller for longer. However, peanuts do contain higher levels of fat compared to most legumes and should be eaten in moderation.
Incorporating these foods into your diet can start you on your journey towards a healthy body and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Combined with regular exercise, portion control and eating a varied and balanced diet, consuming these types of food can all aid towards a healthy body and mind.
For a diet plan specific to you, why not get in touch today! Info@silvanahealthandnutrition.com