Food provides our body with nutrition and the energy to function – in other words life and health. There has been a lot of press recently on the pros and cons of superfoods, and some of the hype should be taken with a pinch of salt – figuratively speaking of course as someone will also tell you that’s bad for you too! Incorporating a few of the well recognized superfoods into your daily diet, and we are not talking goji berries here, will definitely give your nutritional intake a boost.
As for carbohydrates, well sugar is the real culprit here. We need carbohydrates as part of a balanced diet, but we should aim to eat “good carbs”, and not too much of them. Eat too much carbohydrate and the body produces lots of insulin to covert it into fat stores. Eat fewer carbohydrates and your insulin levels will fall, so you won’t be storing carbs as fat, and you will burn up your fat stores. Read on to find out what superfoods you should aim to eat and how to build good carbohydrates into your diet.
SUPERFOODS for ANTI- AGEING!!
Research over the past decade has shown that you can slow down ageing by eating “superfoods” that are high in antioxiants and flavinoids. These slow down the oxidation of free radicals in your body – the chemicals that damage cells and DNA, and can contribute to ageing, heart disease and cancer.
Fruit and vegetables that are high in antioxidants like Vitamin C, or high in flavenoids and phytochemicals and therefore brightly coloured, are called superfoods.
Whilst undoubtedly good for you, before you get too excited about losing a few wrinkles and start stuffing yourself with superfoods, they are probably best eaten with a generous dollop of marketing hype on the wrinkle front.
Also, given that six blackberries will give you as much vitamin C as one imported lemon there is definitely an argument for focusing more on home grown superfoods than the exotic high priced, high carbon footprint blueberry for example.
But they are definitely a worthwhile addition to your diet, which is where the British Government’s “5 a day” and the World Health Organisation’s rather unrealistic “8-10 a day” come in. Actually, how effective is eating lots of fruit and vegetables? Claims that they help protect against cancer are more theoretical than proven, but they are good for your heart and digestion, so you should aim for a balanced daily intake.
So as a weapon in the anti-wrinkle war it can only help to supercharge your diet and reboot your system with antioxidant rich vegetables, fruit and salads, and oily fish to boost Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Another way to boost antioxidant intake is to spice up your diet, as almost one quarter of all antioxidants are spices. Try adding
• fresh coriander and fresh chilli to an omelette
• cumin seeds to basmati rice when you cook it
• freshly grated ginger and chilli to a wok dish
• a lightly fried and ground cumin, black pepper and coriander mix to oiled chicken breasts or salmon before cooking
• lightly fried cumin seed and turmeric to unpeeled roasted potatoes
• cumin and pumpkin seeds to wholemeal bread dough
• mango and grated ginger to natural yogurt
And don’t forget to drink lots of water to ensure digestive health.
“Good carbohydrates” have a low glycaemic index (GI) under 55. The GI is related to the degree to which blood sugar levels are raised after eating them. It ranks carbohydrates from 0 to 100. Over 70 is high.
High GI foods give marked fluctuations in blood sugars, whereas low GI foods are more slowly digested and absorbed, thus keeping your appetite under control and causing slower rises in blood sugars.
So aim for :
-green vegetables, beans, pulses, nuts & seeds
-low GI fruits: oranges, pears, apples, plums, grapefruit, cherries
-wholegrain pasta and rice rather than potatoes
-sweet potatoes rather than ordinary ones
-wholegrain bread, rye bread and sourdough
-cereals based on oats like porridge and muesli
-yogurt and skimmed milk
Do you feel bloated after eating? Milk, yeast and wheat are the most frequent offenders. You can buy home test kits for food intolerances but do follow up with a visit to your doctor, as self diagnosis should not be relied on. In the meantime eat more wholegrains to reduce wheat in your diet – brown rice, oats, barley, quinoa. Quinoa is gluten free, rich in protein, high in fibre and minerals, and it cooks like rice.
Raw seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, and flax are good sources of essential fatty acids and if you buy a packet of each and mix them in a jar they are a good snack when you feel peckish. Almonds and brazil nuts also make good between meal snacks.