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Superfoods To The Rescue

The health authorities are constantly whining about the state of our diets, the newspapers are telling us that everything gives us cancer and the media are producing TV shows to exhibit obese children and their terrible parents. However, while many are taking a negative stance on the man-against-cardiovascular disease campaign, there have been plenty of positive and encouraging reactions to our heavier society. TV chefs have made money promoting simple, healthy meals, a new wave of food branding has emerged with friendly, tongue-in-cheek comments on their pastel-colored cartons and McDonalds now sell bags of fruit. Among these positive reactions lie the ‘Superfoods’.

Superfoods have risen to stardom as a result of their high phytonutrient content. Phytonutrients are found in plants and are said to have health benefits, such as lycopene which is found in tomatoes and is thought to lower the risk of developing prostate cancer and cardiovascular diseases. While there has been some cynicism surrounding the actual health benefits of superfoods, these are undeniably healthy foods containing anti-oxidants so no one can complain that we’re being encouraged to eat them.

One of the best of these superfoods is the humble apple. Containing a large amount of skin-friendly Vitamin C, apples are a great snack to ensure that you’re left feeling and looking radiant. They are also low GI which means that an apple mid-morning will keep your energy levels high enough to get you through ‘til lunch time.

And some of the superfoods you can buy are merely seasonings to most people. Garlic can improve the circulation, for example, and turmeric is just all-round good for you. It might come as a surprise that some alcohol is beneficial – but before men around the world jump up from their respective sofas, this is referring to small quantities of wine rather than 24-packs of Bud Light.

Some of the superfoods which will slow the body’s aging process….

Baked beans
Cinnamon
Cilantro, also known as coriander
Turmeric
Mustard
Blueberries
Cherries
Orange or apple
Dark chocolate (70% or more cocoa solids)
Walnuts
Pecans
Pistachios (unsalted)
Lentils
Kidney beans
Avocados
Broccoli
Asparagus
SMALL amounts of red wine

Eight Simple Rules

Here are eight incredibly important things to remember about your diet. We’re not going to shoehorn it into five, or make up an extra two to make it ten. When you’re planning what you’re going to eat or how you’re going to tackle your children’s diets, base your endeavors around these points and you should see an improvement.

Eat balanced meals with a focus on whole grains and the most seasonal vegetables which are available to you.

Cook at home as much as you can. Nutrition is lost through inefficient industrial cooking processes, and the goodness in foods deteriorates over time, so make as much of your food at home as you can. When you buy bread, you’re buying a processed product, but when you make it you’re only eating what you want to put into the bread.

Control your portions. Remember, kids don’t need as much food as adults do, and men need more food than women. If you’re giving everybody in the family the same sized portion, it’s time to rethink. Investing in smaller plates is a very easy way to control portion size and to trick your brain (read: your son’s brain) into thinking it has had more than it has.

Eat and chew slowly. Some Victorian diets required the dieter to chew every mouthful thirty times. In recent trials, the volunteers found that they did in fact lose weight. Obviously not everybody has the time to chew their mouthfuls thirty times, but I’m sure we could all get close. It’s nice to actually stop and taste the food for a change, rather than just using it to refuel.

Drink water with your meal – and lots of it. It helps the whole body to deal with the food better, and will leave you feeling refreshed. It will also prevent you from feeling bloated from too much food. Avoid drinking carbonated or alcoholic drinks with your meals. A small glass of red wine, though, is thought to be beneficial.

Eat fish at least twice a week. Fish contain all sorts of healthy chemicals which are difficult to find in food from the land. Oily fish make the brain work better, and fillets of mackerel (you can normally buy them smoked or unsmoked, peppered or unpeppered) go with all sorts of dishes. Flaked onto a salad? Spread onto warm toast? You can even have them for breakfast instead of bacon like they do in Scandinavia. (You might think that sounds disgusting, but your children might enjoy it.)

Eat vegetarian at least twice a week. It gives your body a break from constantly digesting meat, and is a good opportunity to throw some roughage in the direction or your small and large intestines.

Eat game, offal, and red meats no more than three or four times a week.

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