We are a world of overeating consumers. The global nutritional supplement market will be worth $200 billion in 2021.
I truly believe that if we knew how to nourish ourselves properly, we could pretty much ditch the grains – except perhaps vitamin D – and spend our money on good quality, natural whole foods. With a little bit of knowledge and effort in the kitchen, we can get almost everything we need from our food to enjoy a full and healthy life. So, how can you upgrade your diet to include all the nutrients you need?
Keep the skins on your chips
Cook potatoes with the skin on, which is where the fiber and micronutrients are found. Baked is best, or try making oven-baked wedges tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted until crunchy.
Contrary to the message of a low-carb diet, nearly half of our calories should come from complex carbohydrates (this varies from person to person), which are an important source of energy and fiber. The most nutritious sources of carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, whole grains (and brown bread and wholemeal pasta), nuts, seeds, peas, beans, lentils, and potatoes (sweet and regular in the skin).
The best baked beans. Photo: William Mebem
A can of baked beans will make you strong
The humble bean is a good source of protein, an important nutrient for muscle growth and repair, hormone production and a strong immune system. Other legumes loaded with protein include peas, chickpeas, and lentils. You can toss a tinfoil into salads or add it to family favorites like bolognese or cottage pie. Or make up your own Jell Duplex Stewed Beans, above. The average person needs about 45-55 grams of protein per day, with the best sources being sustainable seafood, lean meats, eggs, legumes, dairy, soy, grains, nuts and seeds.
Use light olive oil or organic rapeseed oil for cooking.
Re-regulate your oils
If you still used vegetable oil, then it’s time to sort out. Use organic rapeseed oil or light olive oil for cooking and extra virgin olive oil for drizzling and dressing as your kitchen standards. Fats are an important macronutrient used in many body processes, as well as to provide energy and to enable absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Omega-6 is the kind to be reduced in favor of Omega-3. Omega-6 is particularly rich in soybean oils corn and sunflowers. The healthiest fats are the monounsaturated ones found in olive oil, avocados and some nuts and seeds, and the omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts.
Let the rice cool before diving into it. Photo: William Mebem
Refrigerate the rice
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. It helps maintain gut and intestinal health, and regulates appetite and blood sugar levels. Resistant starch, found in cooled rice, has the properties of insoluble and soluble fiber, in that it “resists” digestion, but once in the large intestine it ferments and feeds the good bacteria. Cooked and cooled rice bags are great ways to add resistant starch to your diet. You can add them to soups and salads, or mix them with fresh herbs and spices for a quick side dish. Other gut-friendly foods that contain resistant starch include unripe bananas, garlic, onions, and asparagus. Try Adam Liao’s Green Vegetable Fried Rice above.
Eat K food every day. Kimchi is a good place to start. picture:
Eat “K food” every day
Gut supports overall health, but especially weight management, brain health, and immunity. Fermented foods are gut-friendly thanks to the good bacteria (probiotics) they contain, but it’s not something we normally eat in this country. Try keeping some kimchi, kefir, kombucha, or sauerkraut in the fridge and aim to have some each day. If you don’t really like fermented foods, live yogurt is a good alternative but don’t be tempted to take expensive probiotic supplements, as their effectiveness is still unclear.
Eat more colorful soups – like Rachel Ko’s chicken and corn. Photo: William Mebem
While aiming for 30 per week, research still supports the guidelines for eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day; Essential micronutrients and fiber essential for our physical and mental health. One serving is about 80 grams. Make a vegetable-packed soup on Sunday for lunch during the week and you’ll stay on top of your daily fruit and vegetable intake. Also, remember to “eat the rainbow”: choose fruits and vegetables of different colors to ensure you’re getting a range of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals for maximum health benefits. You can also have a fruit salad on Sunday; The sugar in whole fruit comes as a complete nutritional package, including fiber, so we don’t have to worry about it in the same way we do about “free” sugars which spike blood sugar levels. Try the chicken and corn soup above.
Warm halloumi salad by Nell Berry with pomegranate and lemon dressing. Photo: William Mebem
Say yes to salad dressing
Spreading a homemade olive oil dressing on your salad is better for you than just plain lettuce — and delicious, too. Foods that contain fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K should be eaten with some healthy fats such as nuts, avocados or olive oil.
For better absorption of iron from foods, pair iron-rich red meat and chickpeas, for example, with vitamin C from sources such as berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Cooking vegetables lightly will also help preserve their nutritional value; Steaming, stir-frying and boiling for a few minutes is better than boiling. Cut food after cooking, not before, as less of it will be directly exposed to heat and water that way.
“Boost Your Diet: Ten Easy Ways To Get All You Need From Your Food” by Sam Rice out now.
The Daily Telegraph UK