From fibre to fatty acids, there are some nutrients that you should include in your diet every day. Here are Sport360’s top five.
Researchers found that people who increased their fibre intake tend to be leaner and generally lost weight, while those who decreased the fibre in their diets gained. Basically, fibre adds bulk and moves slowly through the digestive system, leaving you feeling fuller for longer.
Fibre has many health benefits as well as keeping weight under control. It helps prevent diabetes by stabilising blood sugar, helps lower cholesterol levels and keep the bowels healthy, thus reducing the risks of colon cancer or other health issues of the colon from constipation to irritable bowel. Scientists came up with this interesting weight-loss formula: boosting fibre by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories consumed resulted in losing up to 2kgs over the course of the study.
Try it for yourself: if you’re consuming 2,000 calories per day, aim to increase your fibre by 16 grams by eating more beans/lentils, oats, nuts and flaxseeds, together with piles of low calorie vegetables and fruits. Spinach, artichoke, corn, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, aubergines, dried figs, Swiss chard, peas, apples, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. With the vegetables, the fibre content is higher when they are cooked.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS AND HEALTHY FATS
These can boost your skin’s defenses against UV damage. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who ate a little more than 5 ounces of omega-3-rich fish each week decreased the development of precancerous skin lesions by almost 30 percent. It would appear that omega-3 protects cell walls from free-radical damage.
Essential fatty acids can help prevent high cholesterol, depression, anxiety, ADHD, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, arthritis, skin issues and much more. The highest levels can be found in oily fish, organic free range grass fed beef, flaxseed and walnuts. Avocados are full of healthy fats and should not be avoided.
You should be drinking plenty of water anyway, but research shows that eating foods that are full of water, such as watermelon, helps keep you satisfied on fewer calories and is therefore useful for weight control. At 92% water, watermelon is a good source of vitamin C. When it’s the red variety (some are orange or yellow), it also has lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect against heart disease and some types of cancer.
Other foods that are made mostly of water include cucumbers (95%), salad greens (90%) radish, celery and tomatoes, and for fruits, strawberries (91%), other melons and citrus are all high in water.
Garlic has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. The sulfur compounds which are responsible for its disease fighting properties act as antioxidants, providing many of its cardiovascular benefits. Just six or more cloves of garlic a week can slash your risk of colorectal, stomach and prostate cancer in half and can be easily minced and added to salad dressings and well as almost anything you cook.
Nuts are often avoided, together with avocados and dairy because of the fat content, but they really all need to be included, just in small quantities. They contain polyphenols, which keeps your heart healthy and are so much healthier than other snacks such as potato chips or sugary types. They are high in protein, fibre, healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. Studies have shown that nuts have powerful cholesterol-lowering effects.
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