More tips for me from the nutritionist in helping me fine tune a healthy diet. I think this is worth listing as it does focus a little more on what I actually need, as a kind of easily digestible aide memoir:
Apparently this is what I need for a nicely balanced diet. Some of my colleagues think a balanced diet as having some good food to balance out the pointless processed junk. No, a balanced diet contains good wholesome food throughout along these lines:
- Antioxidants, everyday. This comes in different forms and include Vitamin E. This will help heart health and protect against cancer. Just as well I like smoothies and those containing strawberries, blueberries and bananas are especially good.
- Vitmin C lowers blood pressure by widening the arteries and improving their health generally. The nutritionist did suggest taking a slow release supplement for this, although I do of course get plenty of Vitamin C from fruit.
- Flavinoids are powerful agents against free radicals and again useful in the strategy of avoiding cancers. These little gems mop up those pesky free radicals and sources can include apples, grapes, onion, raspberries and strawberries
- Garlic is well known for a wide range of health benefits and the nutrionist suggested sneaking some into my diet on a daily basis
- Whole grains are important and not a problem for me. Brown rice, as an example, includes Vitamin Bs and has some useful magnesium. Avoid white rice, if possible
- Cereals, grains, pasta – aim for 3 portions a day
- Vegetables – aim for 6 to 9 portions a day (this means I am increasing my veggie intake)
- Fruit – aim for just 2 or 3 a day (this means I am reducing my fruit intake each day and this will be hard as I love fruit so much!)
- Oily fish – 2 to 4 portions a week
- Seeds and nuts – 1 to 4 portions a day
- Dairy – small quantities each day
All of this is do-able but it does take a bit of thinking about. The thing that has surprised me the most is needing to eat less fruit.
Approach to avoid
When you think about it, it is extraordinary the attitude some have to food and yet perfectly understandable. One fairly common approach is simply to “shovel it all in and hope for the best”. The error with that approach is the tendency to eat too much and for it to include much poor quality food – i.e stodgy food full of calories with little else in the way of micro-nutriants, Vitamins etc.
The rule of thumb is for a portion to be:
Fruit – 80g (i.e. on apple, banana, handful of berries and so on)
Dried fruit – 30g (i.e. 3 apricots, heaped table spoon of raisins, currants etc)
Vegetables – 80g (3 heaped tablespoons of beans, 2 broccoli spears etc)
Vegetable smoothie – 150ml
Fruit smoothie – 150ml