It is not too late to resolve to eat healthily. Margaret Lee asks dieticians for food tips. I reproduce her article here in 4 parts.
Part 1 - For General Health And Well-Being
Nutritionist recommends that the following wholesome foods be included in everyone’s diet as they provide not only the essential nutrients but can also enhance your health and may aid in preventing disease.
The milling and refining of grains like wheat and rice result in significant losses of nutrients and other protective substances present in the highest amounts in the germ and bran. These include vitamin E, the vitamin B complex and minerals such as selenium, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
Wholegrain foods can help to reduce cholesterol, risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Being high in fibre, wholegrains can also help you manage your weight as high-fibre food can make a meal feel more filling.
Examples of wholegrains include barley, brown rice, wholemeal bread, oatmeal, popcorn (choose the unsweetened or unsalted variety), whole wheat pasta, whole wheat crackers and wild rice.
They are great for the heart for two key reasons. Firstly, they are an excellent source of protein that is low in both saturated fat and cholesterol. Reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet can help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Some types of fish are also good sources of omega-3 fat, which is known to benefit the heart. Eat fish that are high in omega-3 fat – such as mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna and salmon – at least twice a week.
Maintaining strong bones is crucial to enjoying a full and active lifestyle. Diary products like milk, yoghurt and cheese provide calcium that is essential to bone health. As you age, you will start to lose bone mass. If your diet contains insufficient calcium, your bones can become fragile and brittle, leading to osteoporosis.
If you cannot tolerate dairy products, there are many other calcium-rich foods such as soya bean milk, green leafy vegetables, tofu, almonds, beans, ikan bilis and canned sardines with bones.
Probiotics are live micro-organisms – in most cases bacteria – that are similar to the beneficial bacteria found in the human gastrointestinal tract.
Probiotics – essentially friendly bacteria – are vital to the proper development of your immune system as they protect against micro-organisms that could cause diseases.
Probiotics are also vital to maintaining good digestive health. The specific strains of probiotics that have health benefits are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli.
Soya and soya food products have always been known as nutritional powerhouses, this is because they are good sources of protein, fibre, B vitamins, calcium, potassium and iron.
Most of its fat is in the healthier polyunsaturated and monosaturated forms. In addition to being cholesterol-free, soya protein is also known to benefit the heart.
Research also suggests that isoflavones, a type of phytochemica found in soya, may protect against breast cancer if soya is included in the diet from a young age.
Sources of soya, include tofu, soya milk, tempeh, miso, tau-kee, toasted soya nuts and edamame (fresh soya beans in pods).