Sunday 17 December 2017

The six foods you should be eating more of, according to nutritionists

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Ellie Donnell

There may not be a ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to finding a food that will transform your health, but there are a few ingredients that we should definitely all be consuming more of.

No one wants to feel trapped in a soul destroying diet but sometimes a few simple guidelines can help nudge us in the right direction.

We’ve rounded up a team of nutrition experts who tell us about the six foods they eat every day - plus the two drinks they swear by. And if a nutritionist is eating them, then maybe so should we!

Aloe Vera

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Aloes
 

It might be the name of your favourite shampoo, but the Aloe Vera leaf boasts a whole host of other nutritional benefits.

Nutritional therapist Libby Limon said: "The active components of the inner leaf can support everything from digestion to the immune system to blood sugar balance and cholesterol. The enzymes and fibres it contains can even help you absorb nutrition from other foods better, possibly increasing the benefit you can gain from the rest of your healthy diet. It is a great one to add into your everyday!"

Green Tea

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Tea
 

Libby Limon tells us the reason why you’re probably not drinking green tea - because you don't actually like the taste - but is here to help with a game changing tip to creating the perfect brew.

"It’s an oldy but a goody - drink more green tea! Its benefits include hormone balance, weight management, liver detoxification, anti-oxidant source and reducing risk of disease development. I think there is a lot of poor quality tea (oxidised and non-organic) on the market and a lack of understanding of how best to prepare it, so people tend not to drink it because it doesn't taste nice! Good quality organic leaves brewed at 75 degrees will make a completely different cup that tastes delicious.’"

Eggs

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Scrambled eggs
 

Harley Street Nutritionist and Instagram sensation, Rhiannon Lambert, tells us what we all want to hear: eggs are good for us and, yes, we can eat the yellow bit! Bring on the next brunch date please…

"Whole eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They have previously been demonised owing to their high cholesterol content but it is now widely accepted that the dietary cholesterol within is actually positive rather than negative. While the egg whites are rich in protein which will keep you feeling full and satisfied, egg yolks are loaded with vitamins, minerals and various powerful nutrients.

"They are high in antioxidants that can protect the eyes, as well as a brain nutrient called Choline that as much as 90% of people are not getting enough of! The yolk is where almost all of the nutrients are found, including vitamin D which seems to be a current problem in the UK."

Legumes

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Legumes
 

Jo Travers, registered dietician and author of The Low-Fad Diet, explained the importance of including more fibre in our diet by learning to love legumes!

"I’m a big fan of fibre. Wholegrain cereals like oats, wholemeal bread and brown rice as well as fruit and veg are all excellent sources, but my favourites are beans and lentils! Fibre is important for digestive health such as preventing constipation, lowering cholesterol levels and is also linked with reducing inflammation, a reduction in risk for some cancers and improvements in the immune system. The recommendations are 30g/d for adults."

A colourful plate

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Salad
 

Unsure as to why your mother always told you to ‘eat the rainbow’? Independent nutritionist, food writer and broadcaster, Fiona Hunter, said: "The key thing is to eat a variety! There is a huge body of evidence now that confirms that diets rich in fruit and vegetables protect against a number of diseases including strokes and heart attacks, certain types of cancer and even dementia.

''A quick and easy way to boost your vitamin intake from fruit and veg is to drink a glass of juice in the morning. Although fruit juice has had a bit of bad press recently - because people are concerned about the sugar - I believe it is undeserved. Of course it does contain sugar, but only natural sugars which also come packed with several other nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium and folate. If you're feeling brave enough, try and opt for juices that contain veg in them too, such as carrots, spinach and cucumber, as they are much lower in sugar. A glass of fruit juice with breakfast will help the body absorb more iron from your cereal or toast which is particularly important for women!’"

Soak your seeds (and nuts!)

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Mixture of nuts. Photo: Depositphotos
 

Raw food chef and author of Spiralize, Stephanie Jeffs, said that soaking your nuts and seeds will inject a nutritional boost into an otherwise seemingly healthy snack!

"Soaking removes anti-nutrients, dirt, moulds and will release enzyme inhibitors. I believe this is THE most under-known aspect of food consumption. Unsoaked nuts are unhelpful for our wellbeing and can influence allergens and allergic responses to nuts and seeds. Energy = enzymes so if you’re looking to boost energy levels, digestive wellness and see a shift in health, soak all nuts and seeds, avoid eating them straight from the packet and introduce sprouts into the diet such as alfalfa, sunflower and broccoli sprouts."

Broccoli

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Broccoli
 

Healthy foods really are happy foods when it comes to green vegetables!

Nutritional therapist and co-founder of supplement range Equi London, Alice Mackintosh, said: "Broccoli, spinach, chard and kale are full of all kinds of healthy goodness, being especially good sources of folic acid and magnesium. Folic acid is needed to help support our hormonal health and also aids the production of serotonin and dopamine, to keep us feeling chirpy. Greens also contain B vitamins, which are needed throughout the brain to boost mood.’"

Water

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Keep yourself hydrated
 

It may sound obvious, but not drinking enough water throughout the day is something we are all guilty of. Registered dietitian nutritionist and popular blogger, Mia Syn, tells us why it’s so important to stay hydrated and lets us in on a delicious trick that will have you reaching for your water bottle!

"People underestimate the power of water. Water makes up a majority of our body and many of us do not realise when we are dehydrated. Studies suggest that even mild dehydration can reduce energy levels, slow metabolism and lead to fatigue. Drinking enough water will keep you feeling awake and alert.

"A tip for staying hydrated is to carry a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go and choose water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. If you aren't a big water drinker, try adding sliced fruit or lemon to it. Starting my day with a glass of water first thing in the morning makes me feel fresh, energised and ready to take on my day."

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