It’s important to get variety in our diet but I believe that there are certain foods that we should all be consuming on a daily basis for optimal health. Here are my top five:
Walnuts are a great brain food-they even look like them! I like to call them ‘Mother Nature’s Brain Booster’. One cup contains 36% RDI of protein as well as good amounts of fibre, Vitamins B1, B6, folate (B9), magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and zinc. They also contain high levels of antioxidants and omega 3.
Walnuts are also great for heart health as they lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce inflammation. They also contain a variety of bioactive compounds such as phytosterols which may have anti-cancer properties.
Chia seeds are packed full of fibre and therefore can support digestive health as well as reducing cholesterol levels. They are high in omega 3, calcium, phosphorus and manganese. Gram for gram chia seeds are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon and a much healthier version compared to farmed salmon that most people consume. Chia seeds are a complete protein (contain all 9 essential amino acids) and are high in plant based protein. Protein is the building blocks of our body and is essential for growth, cell repair and muscle development
Blueberries are a brain boosting superfood full of antioxidants. Due to this they offer brain protection as well as protection against heart disease and cancer. One cup contains 24% of your RDI of Vitamin C as well as 36% of your Vitamin K. They also contain good amounts of manganese and fibre.
Studies in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that eating one cup of mixed berries per day for 8 weeks was associated with an increase in good HDL cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Oats are one of the best ways to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure because they contain beta glucan which is a type of soluble fibre. However it also contains insoluble fibre which keeps things moving through the gut and prevents constipation. Oats also help you feel full and therefore reduce the temptation to snack mid-morning. Not only that but they contain good amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and selenium.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Said Hippocrates who often used to prescribe garlic to treat a range of medical conditions.
Garlic is low in calories but very nutritious. It contains good levels of manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, calcium, selenium and manganese. It is a natural immune booster and has been shown to help reduce the severity of the cold, lower total and low LDL, lower cholesterol levels as well as lowering blood pressure. It also has amazing anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
My suggestion to ensure you eat all the above (except the garlic!!) is to have a big bowl of porridge every day.
If you aren’t keen on porridge why not make my sunrise cereal?
The garlic can be consumed in the evening in curries and stir-fries. This is one of my favourite and quick go-to’s: