Health and fitness can be a tricky minefield to navigate as advice is always changing and something that is considered healthy one week can be demonised the next. We bring you our top 4 foods that are and always will be good for you and should be staples in your diet.
1. Forest fruits: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries
Most people will agree that fruit is healthy and is very good for you. Various fruits have health benefits ranging from anti-inflammatory properties, promoting healthy skin, hair and nails to helping keep you regular thanks to the fibre content. However, some fruits are vastly more healthy than others and sugar in fruit is always a controversial topic.
Some fruits contain a lot of sugar and not much else – not many vitamins or minerals and therefore do not have the health benefits of others. Take plums for example, they contain 10g of sugar per 100g (roughly 7g of sugar per plum) and only 1g of fibre. They do not contain any calcium, vitamin D, Iron, Vitamin B6 or Magnesium and they only contain tiny amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Therefore, from a purely health-based perspective, there is not much point eating them.
This is where forest fruits come in and why they are top of our list. Fruits like strawberries, blueberries and blackberries could be considered the healthiest fruits out there due to their superior vitamin and mineral content, relative low sugar content (compared to other fruits), and high fibre content. Take strawberries for example, they contain only 5g of sugar per 100g, so half that of plums. They also contain 100% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C per 100g. Meanwhile blueberries are packed full of antioxidants which are proven to be great for your health as they offset the negative effects of oxidisation on our bodies (kind of like how rust affects metal).
So, if you're keen on fruit and want to make it part of your healthy lifestyle, opt for these forest fruits and you'll be on to a winner.
2. Dark green vegetables: spinach, broccoli, kale
Another group of foods which are objectively great for your health and can be eaten in abundance is dark green vegetables. Foods like spinach, kale, and broccoli are unrivalled in their health benefits and you should definitely add them to your diet.
In this modern age, it can be easy not to get enough Iron into your diet. For women especially, Iron is vital for health as it keeps your energy levels up and boosts your immune system as well as helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are thoroughly rich in Iron and will help you feel energetic and full of life, not to mention keeping your blood healthy too.
These dark green vegetables are very low in calories for their volume so you can load up easily without worrying about high sugar or calorie content. Additionally, spinach is as rich in calcium as dairy despite products like milk and cheese being marketed heavily for this benefit. Spinach is also one of the best sources of dietary magnesium, which is necessary for energy metabolism, maintaining muscle and nerve function, regular heart rhythm, a healthy immune system, and maintaining blood pressure.
Guidelines state that we should try to eat one or two portions of oily fish per week due to the health benefits. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which are great for heart health as well as being a good source of Vitamin D.
Other types of fish include white fish such as cod, plaice, haddock and tilapia. White fish is low in fat and high in protein making it a healthy choice and could even be better than fatty meats like beef.
Shellfish such as prawns, lobster, mussels and scallops are rich in minerals such as selenium, zinc, iodine and copper which can promote a healthy immune system, prevent high blood pressure, and promote increased brain function.
Fish is one of the healthiest foods on the planet due to its low fat content, rich mineral content and high protein content.
Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth. They're a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits including weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.