Here we are, reaching the end of yet another year. Those new year resolutions are being made and hopefully we’re on the same page where you want to make self improvements for an even better year. Don’t we all want to live a happier and healthier life? Well, i hope to change that want and make it a WILL. Here are some things that will help improve your perspective to a healthier life.
1. Antioxidants –> Keep the immune systems strong and help maintain healthy cells for brain functioning and good eyesight. Antioxidants help prevent the build up of free radicals. Free radicals causes molecules in our body to become unstable. In order to stabalise themselves these free radicals attack the healthy cells which usually occurs when we are sick and our healthy cells are fighting to protect the body. So if our body is weakened through build up of free radicals, it is natural that our organs, tissues and skin will also be weakened. Antioxidants stop this cellular chain reaction of oxidation through neutralisation of the free radicals.
Antioxidants can help:
– reduce the chances of heart disease
– reduce the chances of neurological diseases
– maintain a healthy heart and brain
– boost you immune system
Antioxidants can be found in foods such as berries, melons, goji and acai berries, kiwis and pomegranates to name a few. *Think of antioxidants as those little fishies at the bottom of a fish tank sucking off the grime of the stones. When antioxidants find a way into our body, mainly through the foods we eat, it slows down or even prevents, the oxidation of other molecules. When the molecules in our body oxidise they can create free-radicals or cellular byproducts. It is very normal to have these free-radicals in our body, but when there’s too much, they can cause havoc on our cellular structures.
2. B Vitamins –> helps the body do the important work of converting food into energy. They support the good health of peoples skin, vision, digestive systems, nervous system, brain functions, blood cells and metabolism.
The benefits of B vitamins:
– Ease Stress
– Treat anxiety and depression
– Aid memory
– Relieve PMS
– Reduce heart-disease risk
– Boost energy
Many of us don’t get enough B’, it is especially common to have deficiencies in folic acid, B12, and B6. To ensure that your diet contains plenty of B-rich foods it is important to consume dark-green vegetables, protein from animal sources and whole grains. So if you’re not feeling you’re not feeling at you very best, enjoy some B-rich foods for that add of sunshine to a gloomy day.
Foods that contain B-Vitamins:
– Thiamin –> Your body relies on Thiamin to help regulate you appetite and support the functions of your metabolism. Foods that contain this source of B-Vitamin are dark green leafy vegetables, fortified whole-grain cereals and baked goods, enriched rice, green pea, pork, ham, wheat germ, lentils and nuts such as almonds and pecans.
– Riboflavin –> Want healthy skin? Add the B-Vitamin Riboflavin into your diet. Foods such as asparagus, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, chicken, eggs, fish, fortified cereals, milk and milk products such as yogurt and cheese are rich in riboflavin.
– Niacin –> Niacin promotes healthy nerve function, benefits your cardiovascular system and aids in energy production. Foods rich in Niacin are fortified cereals, legumes, peanuts, pasta and whole wheat, chicken, turkey, salmon and canned tuna packed in water are great sources of niacin.
– Folate –> helps promote nervous system functions and blood cell health. Foods such as spinach, turnip greens, breads, pastas and rice.
– Vitamin B6 –> It is recommended to include the daily dosage of 1.3 milligrams to support new red blood cell growth. Foods such as poultry, seafood, bananas, spinach, potatoes and fortified cereals.
– Vitamin B12 –> B12 will boost red blood cell production and support your nervous system.Foods rich in soy and cereals contain decent amounts of Vitamin B12. Foods such as clams, mussels and crab, fin fish and beef also contain Vitamin B12.
– Biotein and Pantothenic –> helps with maintaining a healthy metabolism. It is highly unlikely that people will have a deficiency in this B Vitamin as it is fairly well distributed throughout different food groups. Foods such as liver and egg contain the highest levels of Biotein. Other foods like pork, salmon and avocado are also good sources, most fruits and vegetables as well as cheese and grains contain a little biotin. Foods such as yoghurt and avocado contain the highest levels of Pantothenic acid, a vitamin needed for enzyme function. Other great foods such as legumes including lentils and split peas, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and broccoli also contain good levels of Pantothenic acid.
3. Carbohydrates –-> These babies should not be afraid of (although try not to base your diet on too much dense carbs such as pasta or rice unless you’re planning on using it through extensive measures of exercise as the unused carbohydrates will be stored as fat.)There have been diets out there that completely cancel out a certain food group, but in my opinion that’s not the best for your health. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose to supply essential energy for our busy bodies and brains. Try having some Oats for breakie, a wholewheat sandwich for Lunch, or some brown rice or wholewheat pasta for Dinner.
Benefits of Carbohydrates:
– provide energy
– prevent diseases
– control weight
You can get healthy carbohydrates from fibre rich foods and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes and low fat dairy products. Its best to avoid candy, sugary drinks, desserts that provide you with just calories and no nutrition. Although small amounts are okay but beyond these amounts i advise to be avoided. Remember MODERATION IS KEY. *Think of Carbohydrates as the fuel for the engine. Without fuel your car won’t have the power to run.
4. Calcium –> is the mineral that supports the growth of strong bones and teeth.
Calcium is lost daily through our hair, nails, skin, sweat and feces. Through the loss, if not replaced the body will find calcium through other sources such as your bones to perform other functions, leading to cases of osteoporosis and other bone degenerative diseases. ( Therefore it’s a good idea to up the anti for Calcium! :))
Calcium can help:
– reduce the chance of developing osteoporosis
– help you lose weight ( as it helps boost the metabolism by promoting more fat to be burnt and less fat to be stored. )
– Reduce the signs of PMS ( It is said that if women don’t obtain enough calcium into their diet, the hormone that regulates calcium reacts with hormones progesterone and estrogen negatively therefore increasing the trigger for PMS symptoms.)
– reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
– combat cancer ( such as ovarian and breast cancer. Although men should be careful not to ingest A MEGALOADAGE of calcium as it may increase the possibility of developing prostate cancer with this being said this is highly unlikely if you drink a glass of milk a day so no need to fear too much. ) Calcium should be taken in moderation, try not to base your diet too much around one particular food group.
5. Fibre –> is a must for keeping tummies full between meals and for good digestive health. Fibre comes from plant foods such as legumes, grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. It is a form of carbohydrate that the body is unable to digest. Unlike the other form of carbohydrates, Fibre just passes through the digestive track instead of being broken down and absorbed into the blood stream.
Fibre can help:
– Combat constipation
– With the process of toxin elimination built up within the digestive track.
– Regulate blood sugar swings by lowering serum cholesterol and protect us against heart disease from foods such as legumes(lentils, chickpeas, navy, pinto or kidney beans), barley, oats, some fruit and vegetables.
– improve the health of the heart through its cholesterol lowering effects.
– with protection against cancer because when bacteria converts fibre into short chain fatty acids in the bowel , it provides energy for the body and may help protect against cancer. *Think of Fibre as the a brush to clean out the pipes in the engine in order to refrain from rusting and help maintain a healthier engine.
6. Iron –> is critical for the proper growth and development of the human body. IT plays a role in the production of haemoglobin and red blood cells. A deficiency in Iron could lead to conditions such as Anemia.
Foods such as broccoli, bread, cereals, fish, meat, legumes, lentils, green leafy vegetables, soy beans, spinach, sprouts, turnip, whole grains and dry fruits are all foods that have a high iron content.
Benefits of Iron:
– Oxygen carrier:
One of the most important health benefits of iron is that it acts as a carrier of oxygen and helps transfer oxygen from one body cell to another. This is critical as oxygen is needed by each body part in order to function properly.
– Haemoglobin formation:
Haemoglobin is the principal carrier of oxygen throughout the body and gives the dark red color to blood.
Iron is a vital element for muscle health where it is found in myoglobin, a muscle protein. Myoglobin carries oxygen from haemoglobin and diffuses it throughout muscle cells. This is required for contraction of muscles.
Our brain uses approximately 20% of the oxygen in our bloodstream. Iron helps supply oxygen to blood making it very important for brain health.
– Iron reduces the risk of having an iron deficiency condition Anemia:
When the body’s iron levels become severely depleted, you may get anemia. Iron is also important in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia and helps cure general symptoms of anemia like fatigue, body weakness, headaches, and enhanced sensitivity to cold temperatures.
7. Omega 3s –> is one of the healthy fats that are required for healthy brain functions, eyesight and healthy functioning for the central nervous system. Foods such as Salmon, Walnuts, Flaxseeds are some examples that have great sources of Omega 3s.
8. Protein –> is necessary for building strong muscles, immune systems and help with tissue repair whilst also helping to keep tummies full between meals. Sources of protein can be found in Chicken ( preferably skinless), lean meats, fish, legumes, eggs and cheese.
9. Unsaturated fats –> are vital for the growth of healthy glowing skin, hair and nails. Many people tend to steer away from fats although Unsaturated fats are a important to add in your daily diet. Foods such as fish in particular salmon, avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil, canola oil, dark chocolate
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10. Vitamin C –> is well know for its immunity boosting status. But it also helps with the additional benefit of an increase in iron absorption. So, next time you have iron-rich foods, add some good sources of vitamin C for extra benefits. –> During the summer months, it is probably best to opt for sliced tomatoes, capsicums, oranges for extra dosages of Vita C. During the winter months, whip up some hearty tomato soup .
11. Zinc –> Is a mineral required for the growth and development of body cells and for supporting a strong and healthy immune system. *Products containing Zinc, consumed in the earlier stages of childhood are able to help develop the senses of smell and taste.
Foods such as oysters are know for their high levels of Zinc. If oysters aren’t your cup of tea, you can always opt for foods such as meats, seafood, dairy foods and legumes for you daily dosage of Zinc. Nut, in particular cashews also have a good source of Zinc.
12. Last but not least the good ol’ WATER –> is critical for keeping bodies well and hydrated and to steer away from that afternoon fatigue. Make water more interesting by adding a few slices of lemon or lime, sprigs of mint or bits of fresh or frozen fruit.