Six simple swaps for improved nutrition
Would you like to try some quick and easy swaps that will soon become second nature and have the potential to vastly improve your overall well-being?
Here are six no-brainers to improve your health…
Swap one: Eat real, whole foods.
Today, we are bombarded with easy solutions to our mealtimes – microwave dinners, ready-made salads, breakfast cereal bars and energy drinks. All of these processed products are nutrient-deficient, usually with high levels of nasty trans-fats and hydrogenated fats, sugar, unpronounceable chemicals and salt. If I could only ever give ONE piece of nutritional advice (and you’d have to keep me gagged) it would be to eat real, whole foods. No reading of labels is required!
Example: Swap a ready meal that takes 20 minutes to microwave for a 20-minute home-made stir fry.
Swap two: Embrace cooking and social eating.
It is well researched that those who live long and happy lives have a strong social life that focuses on relaxed family mealtimes. Their focus is on all generations cooking and eating together, taking time to eat, chat and talk – all perfect ingredients for happy digestion and a long, healthy life.
Example: Make family mealtimes a priority.
Swap three: Eat seasonally.
Eating out of season produce is expensive, less tasty and with the added pollution that comes with flying food across the globe. Sign up to a local or national organic box-scheme for delicious tasting, pesticide-free seasonal fruit and veg to your door. The national box schemes come with recipes, ideas and inspiration for creating seasonal delights.
Example: Relish raspberries in summer and cherish clementines in winter.
Swap four: Keep hydrated.
With 60% of your body comprised of water (your brain and heart are 73% water and your lungs 83% water) it is crucial to keep well hydrated. A common misconception is that all fluids will hydrate you; this is not the case. Alcohol, tea, coffee and sugar-loaded fizzy drinks can all be dehydrating, so swap to herbal teas, filtered water and sparkling water with lemon or lime to flavour.
Example: Always keep a water bottle with you.
Swap five: Look after your gut.
Hippocrates was ahead of his time when he said that “all disease begins in the gut”. Yet as a nation, we bombard our guts with sugar and sugar-laden products that dramatically alter our gut flora balance for the worse. Sugar feeds the bad bacteria and when they outnumber the good bacteria we can succumb to a compromised digestive system with symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, pain, diarrhoea and constipation. Poor gut health is linked to many chronic and autoimmune diseases. By feeding your gut bacteria pro and prebiotic foods such as live yoghurt and vegetables (from your lovely organic veg box! - swap three) rather than sugar and refined grains, you can create a better balance.
Example: Love live yoghurt to feed your good bacteria.
Swap six: Eat a rainbow.
Do you buy the same fruit and veg each week? Many of us get stuck in a rut and do just that, especially when we order our groceries online and it’s all there in one list. If I told you that you could dramatically increase your nutrient intake by choosing a variety based on colours each week, would you try it? Sing a rainbow as you shop and incorporate red, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green and white fruits and veg. Each pigment delivers a different phytonutrient (that’s simply a nutrient from a plant) that has a specific health benefit, so for a widespread intake of nutrients necessary for good health, go for a variety.
Example: Make a rainbow fruit kebab.