When we talk about a healthy and balanced diet, there are various things that automatically spring to mind. We know that we should drink around eight glasses of water every day. We are all well aware that we need our five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Then we should tick off the other different food groups: carbohydrates, protein, calcium, fats, and sugars. But there are other things that we should actively incorporate into our diets to gain the most from what we consume. Here are a few that you should start to consider.
When we think about bacteria, negative thoughts generally spring to mind. We usually aim to destroy these microorganisms through cooking and keep them at bay by refrigerating and freezing our food. However, believe it or not, there are some friendly bacteria that we should incorporate into our diets. For now, let’s focus on probiotics. Probiotics are positive live bacteria that can be safely consumed in various foods such as cultured dairy products (like yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and aged cheese), fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut or kimchi), fermented drinks (like beers, kombucha, or wine), and fermented soy and grain products (like tempeh, miso, and sourdough bread). Probiotics can be formed thanks to the presence of prebiotics in foods. These are non-living, non-digestible carbohydrates that serve as a food source for the probiotics!
Superfoods have existed for thousands of years. But it’s only in the past few years that they have come to wider public attention by being openly branded as “superfoods.” First on our list: chia. Chia seeds don’t taste like much, so are easy to incorporate into various smoothies and dishes. They have the highest levels of fatty acids in any known plant! They also contain potassium, iron, magnesium, and calcium. Next, green tea. Now, this is more a super drink than a superfood. It’s packed with antioxidants and a phytochemical that slows irregular cell growth. Finally, for now, let’s take a look at quinoa. Quinoa is a grain-like seed with a texture similar to couscous. Believe it or not, it is filled with protein (perfect for those looking for plant-based protein alternative) and all nine essential amino acids that your body needs!
Now, bread does provide us with carbs, which are essential for those who intend to carry out intense workouts. But you may be surprised to know that there are healthier breads than standard wholemeal out there! Take Ezekiel bread as an example. This is organic, formed from sprouted whole grains with no sugar and also contains legumes. Another alternative is rye bread. This can reduce body weight, lower insulin sensitivity and also lower cholesterol levels.
Of course, there are thousands of ways that you can alter your diet in order to make it the best possible. But these are just a few places to start making changes to your shopping list and meal plans. So, start today, and you can begin working out the brands and types of these foods that work best for you!