30 June 2014

Plate Up. Top Ten Healthy Foods

It's less than a month until I'm officially a London resident and I'm excited! The first thing that springs to mind about living in London is all the wonderful opportunities the city has to offer.... The second thing that I think of is... weight; yes I'm talking chubby, fat, kilos and pounds. It is a well-known fact here in Australia that anyone who moves to London eventually comes home several kilograms heavier. I'm very lucky that a stomach flu or break-up aside my weight has never varied by more than a kilo, but just to be on the safe side here's my list of the top fresh, nutrient-rich foods that are sure to keep you healthy and feeling great. My list includes all the tasty things so you can actually enjoy them whilst still being healthy. There's no Noni juice to be found here!

1. Water, water, water. Ok so it's not a food per se, but it's still really important. Staying hydrated is essential for good body function and it works wonders for the hair, skin and nails.

2.  Blueberries. They are full of antioxidants which recent studies have shown help brain function and can actually decrease your risk of Alzheimers.  Try and eat them in their raw, pure form to get the most nutrients.

3. Garlic. Although also said to ward off vampires, garlic is actually a very powerful disease fighter that combats E.Coli and also works as a great anti-inflammatory. Include it in meat dishes and stirfrys but don't cook for too long because more than 10 minutes exposure to heat reduces its effect.

4. Salmon. This red fish is full of essential omega-3 fatty acids which help keep your skin and hair looking supple. Omega-3 is good fat that is said to help improve your brain function and memory and promote healthy joints. Sardines are also a great option.

5. Low-fat yoghurt. Yoghurt is richer in calcium than milk and the low-fat variety actually contains ingredients that will help keep your metabolism nice and speedy. It's a double bonus!

6. Chia seeds. Would you believe these little things contain five times the amount of calcium that milk has. They are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Sprinkle some over your morning cereal or in your salad.

7. Sweet Potato. This humble vegetable is very high in vitamin B and iron which provides us with high levels of energy. They are also a good source of magnesium which is a relaxation and anti-stress mineral.

8. Lentils. Among the most nutritious legumes, lentils contain cholesterol-lowering fibre and are a great source of lean protein. Despite their low calories, they are very filling and are a positive contributor to good heart health.

9. Spinach. For muscles like popeye! Ok maybe not but it is said to be a great cancer-fighting vegetable with immune-boosting antioxidants.

10. Walnuts. Would you believe these nuts are packed full of an amino acid that your body needs to create the feel-good hormone serotonin. They're digested slowly which contributes to mood stability and lower stress levels.  Plus their fatty acids will help give you shiny locks.

Photo by Krissie.