NHS Choices :
If you are serious about what you eat, a scholarly report has just come out from NHS Choices:
myths and the media
Basically, it shows that so-called ‘miracle foods’ are
no better for us, what we need for better health is to
follow sensible dietary advice – this can be ~
- eat local produce if possible
- ‘food miles’ when food is transported a long way are NOT good
- eat organic food if possible
- vary your diet as much as possible
- eat seasonal food
- eat sensibly
- when eating vegetables and fruit incorporate as many different colours as possible
and it talks of the science behind dietary advice, as well as enabling us all to challenge the headlines we get bombarding us, such as ‘Miracle foods prolong life’; Eating xxxxxxx cuts cancer risk, etc.
I am not going to go on. We have all seen these; look at them to see what ‘they’ are up to, and very often find the ‘research’ has been funded by the Association of XXXX growers, or the manufacturers of XXX.
But it is sensible to revise your diet occasionally, as there may be new research out that tells us an everyday food has certain properties that could have benefits, although these will only be slight.
So here is an A – Z of general advice about everyday foods. Bon Appetit!
APPLES One of our favourite foods, but make sure they are home-grown: look for the little Union flag sticker. They are easy to transport, so are often taken thousands of miles around the world.
BANANAS These could almost be called a miracle food, and if you watch sportsmen (particularly at Wimbledon) you often see them take a bite during a match.
CHICKEN Beware labels that call chicken ‘Fresh’ or ‘British’. These can still be battery-reared in horrible conditions. Look for labels saying ‘Free-range.
EGGS Thanks to campaigners, the majority of eggs sold today in Britain are free-range. But if the label or writing doesn’t say this, don’t buy.
FISH Try and buy line-caught fish – which means it is caught ‘individually’, rather than scooped up in a giant net. Oily fish is best, such as mackerel, herring, anchovies and especially salmon. What about reviving the British Breakfast kipper? It’s good for you. When buying salmon, watch fish counters to see when Wild salmon is available. Or go for Organic Salmon – far better than ordinary farmed salmon, both for the fish and you.
FRUIT especially local, home grown fruit. We have an incredible variety wherever we live around the world, but if you live in Britain look for seasonal stars such the red Leveller gooseberries, very sweet and delicious; plums, etc. Then if you live in India you know when is the Mango season – and enjoy! Fruit contains antioxidants and phytochemicals which are good for the heart, plus vitamins etc.
GAME This usually has less calories than ordinary meat, and by law can only be sold during its season: August – February.
MEAT eat red meat in moderation.Chicken and Turkey has less calories. Liver is helpful in preventing aneamia
NUTS eat a small handful a day if you can; brazil nuts are a good source of selenium – but avoid salted varieties of nuts.
SHELLFISH If you can tolerate these, they’re good for you – oysters especially contain zinc.
SPINACH Popeye knew a thing or two; a tablespoon of steamed spinach contain s more Vitamin C and folic acid that the ‘miracle’ shot of wheatgrass (and tastes nicer).
SMOOTHIES If possible, make your own. Commercial ones can contain salt, sugar, preservative and other ‘fillers’.
VEGETABLES Yes, yes, yes – whatever diet you follow will tell you to eat these. Try and eat a variety each day: green, yellow, red, white, purple, etc.
But if you are fed up with all the advice flung at you, from me and others, take heart from Independent dietician Ursula Arens, who is spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, “I do have great sympathy for the average person who gives up and says they’ll eat what they want”.
And that could mean CHOCOLATE – a square of DARK chocolate at mealtime is becoming popular.
Celebrities who endorse foods
We have all read stories about the Celebs who promote a ‘miracle diet’, and then watched as the pounds climb back on once they are away from the cameras.
Martina Navratilova has endorsed a very strict eating regime – and not very appetising if one looks at her website. But she got the shock of her life when she was diagnosed with cancer, calling it “my personal 9/11”. She said she ate healthily, with a diet that was based on plants – and raw at that. Yet she gets cancer.
Doctors say that no food will prevent cancer, but research findings suggest that those who eat healthily have a better recovery rate. Also, eating healthily brings benefits for our skin; and clearer, brighter skin is something not easily quantifiable by research, but we all know the boost it gives to morale, and therefore overall health.
So keep up the ‘five a day’ habit – it can only do you good.