Tips for Optimal health

Fruit and Vegetables

  • Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium.
  • They’re an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
  • They can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
  • Fruit and vegetables contribute to a healthy, balanced diet.

It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. It’s easier than it sounds.
Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit?
Unsweetened 100% fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies can only ever count as a maximum of one portion of your 5 A DAY. For example, if you have two glasses of fruit juice and a smoothie in one day, that still only counts as one portion.

Eat more fish – including a portion of oily fish
Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish contains omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease.

Oily fish include:
fresh tuna
Non-oily fish include:
canned tuna
If you regularly eat a lot of fish, try to choose as wide a variety as possible.
You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned: but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.

Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

Saturated fat in our diet
We all need some fat in our diet, but it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we’re eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.
The average man should have no more than 30g saturated fat a day. The average woman should have no more than 20g saturated fat a day, and children should have less than adults.

Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as:
hard cheese

Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake, and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.
For a healthier choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. When you’re having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.  Avoid Trans fats at all costs these are bad fats which add to sugar cravings and add the extra weight people find hard to shift.

Sugar in our diet

Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay.
Sugary foods and drinks, including alcoholic drinks, are often high in energy (measured in kilojoules or calories), and if eaten too often, can contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals.
Many packaged foods and drinks contain surprisingly high amounts of free sugars. Free sugars are any sugars added to foods or drinks, or found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices.

Cut down on:
sugary fizzy drinks
alcoholic drinks
sugary breakfast cereals

These foods contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on, rather than sugars that are found in things such as fruit and milk.