Is improved health one of your goals? Confused about the truth behind the food fads? Here’s a great guide to what to include in your diet, and why. No time to plan, shop, cook and clean up? NutriFit can structure your optimal meal plan and bring it to your door, ready to eat and enjoy! Interested in the science? Read on.
Almost 35% of all cancers have a nutrition-related tie. This shocking statistic has led to an increase in the research of cancer-fighting foods over the last 20 years. Cruciferous vegetables, as a group, have been linked to lower cancer risk as they contain antibacterial and antiviral properties, and help fight inactive carcinogens. Kale, bok choy and cabbage are all cruciferous vegetables that are high in fiber and antioxidants, important cancer-fighting properties. Brussels sprouts are not only a member of the cruciferous family with all the associated health benefits, they also contain sulfur compounds called glucosinolates. These may lower the risk of prostate, lung, stomach and breast cancers. Broccoli also contains a plethora of anti-cancer elements, boosts immunity and helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar due to its high fiber content.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids and are an important part of daily diet. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that have been shown to reduce inflammation as well as reduce pain and stiffness from rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers also believe Omega-3s play a role in lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, depression and heart disease. We primarily find Omega-3s in fish, but walnuts are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, and their monounsaturated fat and antioxidant content is unmatched among tree nuts. Flaxseeds are good sources of protein and the Omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which is great for your heart. Chia Seeds, like flaxseeds, are rich in ALA, the plant-specific Omega-3 fatty acid. Unlike flaxseeds, however, they don’t need to be ground or refrigerated. Wild caught tuna is high in protein, vitamin B, selenium and Omega-3 fatty acids. Take caution in eating too much, though, as it is relatively high in mercury. Wild salmon is also rich in vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids, which protect against premature brain aging and memory loss.
There are also a number of ‘guilty pleasure’ foods that also have surprising health benefits. Dark chocolate is packed with flavones, which aid in heart health and help the psyche! In addition, red wine, when consumed in moderation (one glass daily for women, two for men) contains resveratrol, which has been linked to longevity and a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Substituting healthy whole grains for refined grains is also an excellent and simple way to improve overall diet and health. Quinoa is not only a whole grain, it’s also a complete protein that cooks quickly, is inexpensive and loaded with fiber. Steel cut oatmeal is barely processed and one of the best ways to start the day. It’s filled with fiber and contains energy-boosting B vitamins and muscle-feeding carbohydrates. Barley is the grain lowest on the glycemic index. Like millet, buckwheat, farro and amaranth, it makes a great alternative to rice, and can help regulate blood sugar levels when consumed in moderation.
Reduce your LDL cholesterol levels, blood pressure and risk of heart disease with the following heart-healthy super foods. Apples are tops in pectin, a fiber that targets and clears LDL cholesterol, and contain skin-protective compounds including anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Fat free milk, like other dairy products, is a primary source of calcium and vitamin D which contributes to bone health, aids in lowering blood pressure and can reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Choose non-BHT treated milk and replenish your muscles after a workout with this great recovery beverage. Almonds are also rich in protein, calcium and heart healthy monounsaturated fats, which can lower LDL cholesterol that blocks arteries. Extra virgin olive oil is also high in monounsaturated fats, helping to lower cholesterol, provide vitamin E and oleocanthal, which can reduce inflammation.
So what is the ideal diet? There is one basic rule – wholesome foods, sensibly combined in an overall meal plan. That’s the NutriFit approach.
Jacqueline Keller is founding director and executive chef of NutriFit. She is also a board certified professional coach, CPHWC, NBC-HWC, ACC and author of ‘Body After Baby.’ Learn more by calling (310) 473-1989 or sign up online at nutrifitonline.com.