5 Ways To Eat Better
We’re always trying to eat foods that are good for our health. But how do you know which ones are best, and what specific health benefits they bring? Read on to find out. From whole grains to beans, there’s something for every taste and diet.
Stock up on whole grains
When you eat whole-grain cereals, such as wheat, rye or oats, you get all of the nutrition that nature intended – nutrition that is ordinarily removed when grains are processed into things like white flour. Whole grains are tasty, a great source of dietary fiber, and give you many health benefits. They reduce your risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, and help you to maintain a healthy weight. They can also lower your blood pressure and make it less likely that you will develop colon cancer. Oat bran is particularly good (here’s a healthy muffin recipe using oat bran) – it’s been shown to lower cholesterol levels significantly. With all the benefits to oats, I have been using oat flour in my baking. Here’s how you can make your own oat flour.
Tuck into cruciferous vegetables
Upping your vegetable intake in general is a good thing to do, but eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables is particularly good. These are plants such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, and they are great for your long-term health. They seem to lower your risk of getting cancer, and some of the compounds they contain are effective at stopping cancer cells growing – including lung, colon, breast, uterine and prostate cancers. They appear to activate detoxifying enzymes in your body, as well as mopping up free radicals, which can damage your DNA and lead directly to cancer. You get the most health benefit if you eat these lightly steamed, since overcooking destroys a lot of the beneficial compounds.
Have a tomato
Now, I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes myself but I know a lot of people who think they taste great. Did you know that tomatoes can help reduce your risk of getting cancer? They contain large amounts of an antioxidant called lycopene, which may prevent stomach, lung and prostate cancer. It’s also thought that lycopene can improve your complexion. Funnily enough, you get even more benefits if you eat cooked tomatoes – the cooking process actually increases lycopene levels by 35.
Drink a cup of tea
Green and white teas contain a powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate. Several studies have indicated that drinking green tea can reduce both heart and cancer risks, and there’s some evidence that you will be less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Healthy food and drinks like this can make a real difference to your long-term health prospects.
Beans, beans and more beans
Beans give you lots of wonderful low-fat protein, along with a hefty dose of fiber. They are also chock-full of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, iron and vitamin B. They contain antioxidants as well, and seem to give some protection against prostate and breast cancers. Just be careful when you cook beans, since there is a nasty poison in them that can make you vomit for days. The only way to avoid this is to drain and rinse the beans after you have soaked them, and then boil them vigorously for 5 to 10 minutes to destroy the poison. Kidney beans are the worst offenders for this.
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