You may be sticking strictly to vows to eat more healthily in 2018, but the real challenge is to take these positive lifestyle changes forward into the rest of the year without lapsing into the dreaded bad habits.
Now, we often read about exotic fruits from far-flung destinations and unfamiliar seeds which are reported to be of miracle benefit to our health, but these often aren’t practical for incorporating into our everyday diets and are little more than short-lived food trends. With this in mind, we’ve highlighted a selection of foods which can be introduced on a regular basis to help you care for your health and boost your day-to-day lifestyle.
Broccoli is packed full of vitamin K and vitamin C, which are essential bone-building nutrients. It also delivers a healthy dose of sulforaphane, which is thought to ward off some cancers and as a flexible vegetable it works well in numerous different dishes, from salads and stir-fries to curries and soups. A quick and simple way to spice up your broccoli is to serve with chilli and mixed nuts – the added texture and hint of warmth make for a fantastic side dish for Asian-inspired dishes.
Eating at least two portions of fish each week is one of the best things you can do to improve your heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a reduced risk of depression, heart disease and cancer, whilst tinned sardines and mackerel are also a cheap way to keep your cupboards stocked with goodness.
It may seem unlikely that such a tasty treat is actually beneficial to our health, but there are plenty of reports to suggest that the cocoa powder in dark chocolate can help reduce blood pressure. Cocoa powder is also rich in flavonoids, which can apparently reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL levels. This doesn’t mean we can all start gorging on chocolate every day, but it does mean regular small doses could be helpful to our health.
Legumes may sound unfamiliar, but they’re a part of most people’s regular diets as the term ‘legumes’ encompasses numerous forms of peas, beans, lentils and nuts. Legumes are a strong source of insoluble fibre, which helps with digestion, and soluble fibre, which helps keep blood sugar balanced and lowers cholesterol in the bloodstream. Fibre is also regarded as very important in protection against heart disease. A part of what makes them so useful is the ease of adding them into the diet on a regular basis and adding them to such a wide range of dishes.
Garlic is present in a huge number of dishes and styles of cuisine from around the globe, making it a particularly easy food to add to your diet. Fresh garlic is far better than garlic powder in both flavour and nutritional value, whilst studies also suggest that it can improve blood circulation, lower blood pressure and encourage healthier cholesterol levels, all of which reduce the risk of heart cardiovascular disease. There is also evidence to suggest that garlic acts as an anticoagulant which further reduces the risk of heart attacks.
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