So continuing my blog on foods to have daily in your diet
Onions – Smash or pass? Does it depend on colour? Well anything colourful from the plant kingdom is actually more beneficial so choose red onions which in my opinion are also more flavoursome. Onions plus garlic, leeks and chives are all hugely beneficial for the cardio-vascular and immune system and can help lower cholesterol. Lots of evidence shows too that they are cancer protective especially for colorectal, laryngeal and ovarian cancer. They are nutrient dense with an abundances of vitamins and minerals (Vitamin A, B6, C & E and sodium, manganese,potassium and Iron) plus fibre. They are also great source of folic acid. Pretty much any savoury dish is enhanced with the humble onion or garlic -personally I am not so keen on leeks but I do like a nice leek and potato soup – recipe to follow. I love red onion in a sandwich with avocado and some vegan cheese mmmmmmmmm
Mushrooms – I love mushrooms what about you? Mushrooms have a high content of a particular anti-oxidant called ergothioneine which works on protecting the cells and because of this they have great immune and anti-cancer benefits. Mushrooms should actually be cooked as there is a toxin contained in them which is destroyed by cooking – I just boil for a few mins and as such can be added to all meals including salads. Now mushrooms are great sources of vitamin D which is essential for health and especially so as we get older. We make our own Vitamin D when we are in sunlight but with daily working inside this can be limited. By putting your mushrooms upside down out in sunlight for an hour or two beween 10am and 3pm can boost their Vitamin D levels significantly. That really is a more pleasant way of boosting your vitamin D levels that taking tablets that are unpalatable and to be honest have very little compliance with patients for that reason.
Berries – Who doesn’t like berries? If green veg is The Veg, then berries must be The Fruit. These are little powerhouses of anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients helping to boost the immune system and protect against cancer, they guard the liver and the brain and are cardio-protective too. And are great for the collagen in skin. Aim to eat at least 1 portion a day and that is ½ cup of fresh or frozen. Now interestingly unlike many other fruits and veg – frozen doesn’t matter as the freezing process actually means more of the essential phytonutrients are actually released from the berry and so you actually get more benefit. Blueberries especially have shown to be especially good for eyesight and eye related conditions especially macular degeneration.
They are extremely palatable so however you eat them just eat them, I especially love them on my overnight oats recipe, or in smoothies. But mixed with live yoghurt is also pretty good too.
Seeds – In studies it was showed that vegans who did not eat seeds did not live as long as those who incorporate them into their daily diet. So why are they so important? Very good sources of protein and fibre but also other essential benefits.
Flaxseeds especially are fantastic in lowering high blood -pressure which is a huge problem today with so many people on anti-hypertensive agents that have a lot of side effects and often not just one drug is needed leading to a poly-pharmacy approach. A couple of tablespoons a day of ground flax seed (must be ground otherwise they pass right through and not pre-milled buy a little spice grinder and I blend a jam jars worth at a time which lasts about a week for me as my dogs have them too) is actually over twice as powerful as popular blood pressure medication with only good side effects! They are also effective in lowering cholesterol, blood sugar levels and inflammation. Really easy to incorporate into your food as well, sprinkled on oats, in a smoothie in recipes they make a great thickener and as an egg replacer in cakes and other baked goods.
Chia seeds and flax seeds are both good sources of omega 3 which is essential for brain health – more about that later and just takes a tablespoon a day which is incredibly easy to do. More to come in some recipes!
G-BOMBS how easy is that to remember – focus on adding into your diet rather than swapping or eliminating other things will make it so much easier for you to get into the habit of eating for health.