Nutritionist Jane McClenaghan shares the top 10 healthy foods to eat every day to make your meals healthier. It’s January when most people cut back a little after the richness of Christmas in a bid to be a healthier, slimmer, fitter or stronger version of themselves.
Optimising your nutrition means eating a wide diversity of whole foods, rather than restricting calories. One of the surprising side effects of eating a diet packed with natural, unprocessed foods can be weight loss – from eating more (of the right things), not less.
Packing your diet with loads of nourishing, natural and healthy foods is a far better, and much tastier way to eat for good health than chewing on a diet bar or having a shake instead of lunch.
What Healthy Foods should you Eat Every Day?
Here are the top 10 healthy foods to eat every day and some simple ways to pimp your diet and boost your nutrition at every meal.
A good quality extra virgin olive oil
Drizzle good quality extra virgin olive oil all over your steamed veggies. Packed with polyphenols, extra virgin olive oil can help optimise the absorption of important fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants, supports the health of your gut microbiome and has been associated with improved cardiovascular health and weight loss. Not to mention the fact that it tastes so good over steamed greens.
Crush your garlic and let it rest
Crush your garlic and leave it for ten minutes before cooking. This will help you to get the biggest hit of active ingredients from this pungent herb. When garlic is crushed, chopped or minced and left for 10 minutes, enzymes react with oxygen to create maximum allicin content that is otherwise destroyed by heat. It’s allicin that gives garlic its reputation as a superfood.
Switch to kefir instead of milk
Switch to kefir instead of milk on your morning cereal to get a hit of probiotic bacteria first thing. This fermented milk drink can be found in the yoghurt aisle and is teaming with good bacteria. It tastes a little like yoghurt, and it’s best to choose the natural one rather than the flavoured version to keep your sugar intake low.
Indulge in flaxseed
Get the daily flaxseed habit. Keep a pack of Linwoods Milled Flaxseed handy to add to your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Packed with protein, essential fats, soluble fibre and a whole host of nutrients to help add a daily boost to any meal.
Swap to winter salads
Choose seasonal vegetables for your salads for maximum nutritional impact. Shredded kale, grated carrot, chopped beetroot, sliced red onion and some zingy fresh orange will give you a whole lot more nutrition than lettuce, cucumber and tomato at this time of year. Add a handful of nuts, a decent dressing (olive oil, cider vinegar, mustard and seasoning) and a sprinkle of Linwoods Flaxseed Almonds Brazil Nuts Walnuts & Q10 for a simple, energising and nourishing winter salad.
Switch to 85% chocolate for your daily chocolate hit
Switch to 85% chocolate for your daily chocolate hit, not only is it lower in sugar but the darker your chocolate, the higher the antioxidant content. Recent research also shows that 85% chocolate can help improve the diversity and composition of our gut microbiome and may have benefits as a good mood food thanks to its impact on our gut-brain axis – the same was not found for 70% chocolate, so go as dark as you dare.
Drink green tea
Recommended for immune support, green tea is a lovely way to get more polyphenol antioxidants into your diet. It is recommended that we drink 2-4 cups a day for maximum benefit, but even just switching to one cup a day may make a difference.
Eat brassica vegetables every day
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale – these brassica or cruciferous vegetables are powerhouses of nutrition. Their sulphur-containing ingredients like sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol are thought to help support immunity, facilitate liver detoxification and have potent anti-cancer effects. Steam them, roast them, stir-fry them, or add them to your winter salads.
Add herbs and spices wherever you can in your day. Cinnamon in breakfast, turmeric in soups, parsley in salads. Herbs and spices are packaged with aromatic ingredients that are highly beneficial for our health.
Select berries for a low GI
Berries have a low glycaemic index, but pack a punch when it comes to their health benefits. Choose frozen berries at this time of year and mix it up between blueberries, blackberries, and redcurrants. The rich jewel-like colour of these fruits provides a daily dose of antioxidant nutrients.