My top-line nutrition tip is to make varied balanced choices for each meal, each day. After all, if you vary your foods, you vary your nutrient intake and that’s crucial for optimal health. On top of this, I also advocate limiting meals to an eating window of 8 hours, and fasting in between; in other words, Intermittent Fasting.
On a practical level, this, therefore, means that my meals need to be varied and also nutrient-dense. Everything I eat needs to count in terms of nutrition and my meals need to be varied enough to ensure that my body is provided with a full spectrum of macronutrients; that’s protein, fats and carbohydrates as well as a wide array of vitamins and minerals, not forgetting water and fibre too and limit refined sugar and anything processed.
“Are there foods you eat every day?” A question put to me this week by a journalist doing some research. There are indeed certain foods that I do eat most days. They feature one way or another and they are “go-to’s” if I’m pushed for time or lacking inspiration! And I’m usually one of those most days!
This list is not definitive and there are certainly other nutritious foods that I eat as often as possible, but if I have to choose just 5, here goes….!
My kitchen is never without a bowl of tomatoes and always on display out of the fridge. By keeping them at room temperatures, they continue to ripen each day and develop a deeper flavour.
If I haven’t sautéed a handful, usually along with some mushrooms and or spinach as a side with eggs for brunch, then they will definitely appear in a salad at lunchtime or even just on a plate as a side to add to colour to my meal (whether it goes or not!) and more often than not, they’ll be thrown in at the last minute to roast on a tray with any other vegetables.
Why? Adding that deep red colour not only makes the meal look more appealing but also adds fibre, water, vitamin c and also a boost of Lycopene; a powerful antioxidant to help combat stress
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This may be a surprising one but these are a daily go-to for me. Mid-afternoon when I’m in need of a pick me up, I’ll have a small handful (around 10) of raw unsalted nuts, almonds or cashews usually, along with a piece of fruit. Or it’ll be a nut butter on apple wedges or even a seeded crispbread.
Why? Whichever nut or nut butter you choose, they’re great sources of plant-based protein, fibre and healthy fats plus good vitamins and minerals. Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant essential for good skin health whilst Brazil nuts are rich in Selenium an excellent antioxidant that’s essential for thyroid health.
It’s a powerful nutritive boost that also hits the spot. The sugar from the fruit satisfies the sugar you’re craving during that mid-afternoon slump whilst the protein and fibre from the nuts help to slow down the release of these sugars to keep you fuller for longer….until dinner at least!
TIP: Try to choose a brand that’s as natural as possible, without added sugar and other additives. Raw, unsalted nut butter is best and the ingredients list should literally just list the nut itself.
Green veggie/leafy greens
Every day I aim to eat at least 7 portions of vegetables which will include around 2 pieces of fruit. When it comes to the vegetables, I will ensure dark green leafy varieties each day; whether it’s spinach with breakfast, mixed leaves as a salad base at lunchtime or broccoli or kale, for example, with my evening meal.
Why? Leafy greens such as spinach, rocket, watercress are rich in nutrients and an excellent source of magnesium, iron and B vitamins; all essential nutrients in the energy production process. If you’re not eating enough of these, you find yourself tired and lethargic.
Any concerns about eating eggs every day were allayed years ago once I’d read the research. As far as cholesterol is concerned, they are indeed high in cholesterol but they are high in the good HDL cholesterol. Eating foods high in good cholesterol is linked with a lower risk of diseases including cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the research now indicates that dietary cholesterol does not necessarily raise cholesterol in the blood. Our body naturally produces cholesterol; it’s the building blocks of many hormones. If we increase our intake of cholesterol fin the diet, the liver simply produces less cholesterol.
Loaded with nutrients, they’re a “superfood” for me plus they really are the ultimate convenience food. If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll notice they do regularly appear on my feed. In fact, in the interests of keeping my feed fresh and interesting, I do hold back when it comes to posting my egg pics!! I love them, any which way; scrambled, fried (in a little butter), poached and very often as an omelette with a mixed salad for lunch.
Why? Not only are they a first-class source of protein, in other words they provide the full range of essential amino acids that must come from the diet, but they’re also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin; a powerful antioxidants that protects against macular degeneration, beta-carotene, a antioxidant that helps protect against oxidative stress. They’re also an excellent source of choline (one of the best dietary sources), an essential nutrient that we need to build cell membranes and also plays an important role in cognitive function.
Organic or not?
This is one food I would advise opting for organic where possible. The nutrient value does vary depending on how the hens are kept and raised and whilst the nutritional difference is not always significant, if you can afford to spend a little more, you will benefit from an eating a higher quality egg. In many cases, those raised on organic farms will be fed a more nutritive GM-free diet and they will also enjoy more outdoor access so they can forage naturally and vary their diet. Kept in less crowded living conditions, they experience less stress, a better diet with less routine use of hormones and antibiotics too. If nothing else, the eggs will certainly have come from happier hens!
There’s that point in the evening when the meal is finished and I’m craving something sweet. Not only will a couple of small cubes of dark chocolate hit the spot but it somehow also messages my brain that the meal is over, the kitchen is closed and that’s it for the day food-wise!
Why? Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa solids is an excellent source of antioxidants so you’re eating a sweet treat that’s actually providing great health benefits too. That’s a win-win for me!
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plus one more that’s not food…
I’m not a fan of drinking water! I wish I was, but I just don’t enjoy it but when it comes to hot beverages like tea and coffee, I have no problem whatsoever! However, whilst it is fine to enjoy a few cups each day and good quality coffee can provide antioxidants, I wouldn’t want to quench my thirst and ensure adequate hydration on tea and coffee alone. Instead, I keep a cup of herbal tea on the go all day, starting off with a hot cup of green or rooibos tea and topping it up with hot water having neglected it halfway through.
Why? I enjoy the nurturing qualities of a hot drink and sipping slowly as I get on with my work. Ensuring I’m adequately hydrated means I’ll be more focused and productive and also means I won’t’ mistake being thirsty for hunger.
Do any of these features for you on a daily basis? Let me know what does?!
Join me for a 4-night Yoga Retreat in the Loire Valley, France
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