A – Z Of My Favourite Foods

These are some of my favourite foods that I consume on a regular basis due to their nutrition, health benefits and delicious-ness!

A – Avocado. Avacados are high in monounsaturated fat, rich in potassium, Vitamin K, folic acid and fibre. Some studies have linked avocadosavo to a reduction in cholesterol, stabalising sugar levels and a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.

B – Berries. Berries contain some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit or vegetable. Antioxidants help to repair Berriesand protect against damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are formed through normal bodily processes but when they accumulate or there are not enough antioxidants to neutralise them cell damage can occur.  Antioxidants can help protect against heart diseases, arthritis, some cancers, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and may even help prevent wrinkles! Berries contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and A, polyphenols and flavonoids and anthocyanins which give berries their vibrant colors. Not only do berries taste delicious they are very low in calories too.

C – Cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are part of the Brassica group of plants. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cabbage and radishes. They are full of fibre as well as vitamins A, B, C and K. What is really exciting about these vegetables are the anticancer properties such as antioxidants, phytochemicals, Indole-3-carbinol  and cisothiocyanates.  Heaps of studies have been done on these vegetables and their links with cancer prevention and although the mechanisms behind their action are not fully understood there are promising results to show a positive relationship with these veggies and cancer protection.

D – Dark chocolate. It is true that dark chocolate does contain healthy antioxidants. Dark chocolate contains the most cocoa (compared to white and milk chocolate), which is where the antioxidants in particular flavanols come from. Studies have linked dark chocolate intake to a reduction in blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, increased blood flow and lower rates of darck choccardiovascular disease. But don’t be downing the whole block! Health benefits can be come from as little as 7.5g per day, which is about 1 square!

E – Eggs. Eggs are very nutritious and contain over 10 vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of protein and contain a good amount of omega 3 healthy fats. Eggs were once thought to be linked to heart disease and increased cholesterol however the Heart Foundation now eggadvise that “all Australians who follow a healthy balanced diet low in saturated fat can eat up to six eggs each week without increasing their risk of heart disease.” Many studies have also reported eggs to be great for weight management and curbing hunger especially if eaten for breakfast.

F – Fish. Fish is packed full of healthy fats, in particular omega 3’s. Omega 3’s are essential fatty acids meaning the body cannot produce them and we must get them from our diet. EPA and DHA are types of omega 3’s that are found in oily fish. These fishy oils have great health benefits (especially for the heart) that are backed by years of scientific research. Fish oils have been shown to improve and lower heart rate, reduce the risk of blood clots, reduce plaque build up in arteries, reduce blood pressure, decrease unhealthy blood fats and increase healthy blood fish cholesterol (HDL cholesterol). Fish oils have anti inflammatory properties which help protect against rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, stroke & diabetes. They can also protect against Alzheimer’s, dementia and depression and help maintain healthy eye and brain tissue. Good sources of omega 3’s include salmon, mackerel, trevalla & sardines. It’s recommended to have 2-3 serves (150g) of oily fish each week.

G – Garlic. Garlic has been used around the world since ancient times for culinary and therapeutic benefits. More garlicrecently scientific studies have suggested it has antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties and can assist in the reduction of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and it possibly has protective benefits from some cancers.

H – Hummus. Hummus is a perfect snack as it contains protein and fibre to keep hunger at bay. It’s a great spread on toast or sandwiches and it’s quick and easy to make yourself. Legumes such as chickpeas have been linked to a reduction in cholesterol. hom

I – Iced tea. I’m not talking about the pre made bottled iced tea with loads of added sugar, I mean making tea and popping it in the fridge to cool. Herbal teas, green teas, white and black teas are perfect to turn into iced tea by simply keeping them in the fridge. They make a refreshing drink without the added sugar or calories. See ‘T’ for the health benefits of tea. iced tea

J – Jerusalem artichoke. Jerusalem artichokes are brown knobbly vegetables which look similar to ginger. They contain a good dose of potassium, fibre, thiamine, phosphorus, copper and surprisingly iron.

K – Kangaroo. Kangaroo meat is very lean and nutritious. It is low in fat, high in protein and an excellent source of iron and zinc. Kangaroo meat is a great source of several B-group vitamins; riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 as well as omega 3’s. kang

L – Legumes. Beans and legumes include chickpeas, lentils, peas, baked beans and all varieties of beans. Beans and lentils are great for our health as they are full of fibre, protein, zinc, folate, potassium and contain iron and some calcium. They are also low in fat, low GI and contain  legumesphytochemicals which can protect against certain diseases. Legumes have been shown to help lower cholesterol and manage blood glucose levels and have been linked with the prevention of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Many studies have shown that a diet high in legumes can help control and manage weight. Canned legumes are a great easy alternative to dry legumes and are just as nutritious. Be sure to rinse them well in water to remove the salt or buy ‘no added salt’ versions.

M – Milk. We all know it full of calcium which is vital for bone health but milk also naturally contains more than ten essential nutrients; calcium, milkvitamin A, vitamin B12, iodine, riboflavin, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, carbohydrate and high quality protein. Milk is a quick and convenient snack and perfect for post sport recovery.

N – Nuts. Go nuts for NUTS!! There are so many reasons why nuts and seeds are great for our health. They contain zinc, calcium, magnesium, selenium, vitamin E and the healthy poly and mono unsaturated fats. Not only that they also contain antioxidants and plant sterols which help to ward off chronic diseases. Regular nut consumption has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. Evidence suggests that nuts can help lower bad blood cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure and inflammation and help control and lower blood sugar levels. Nuts are also high in protein & fibre and have a low GI which makes them a great filling snack and they may help to suppress hunger too. Studies have shown that people who include portion nutcontrolled servings of nuts in their diets are more successful with weight loss and weight maintenance.

O – Oats. So simple but so good for us! Oats such as porridge or muesli are one of the greatest ways to start your day. Oats are packed full of fibre & protein, contain good fats and are low in GI which all contribute to satiety and feeling full. They are great to include in your diet if you are trying to lose weight. Oats also contain B vitamins oatswhich help to keep energy levels up and minerals including zinc and magnesium. Oats have been shown to reduce cholesterol, improve blood sugar levels, help maintain a healthy bowel and assist with weight loss. Oats have been linked with reduced risk of heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers. The beta glucan, antioxidants and phytochemicals contained in oats provide numerous health benefits to help prevent chronic disease and maintain good health.

P – Potatoes. Potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates, fibre and resistant starch. Potatoes also contain vitamin C, potassium, potsmagnesium, and vitamin B-6. White, sweet and purple potatoes all contain a slightly different nutritional content but all are highly nutritious and a great addition to the diet.

Q – Quinoa. Quinoa is a seed that has received much popularity over the past year or so. It is one of the few non animal foods that is a good source of complete protein meaning in contains all of the essential amino acids needed by the body. It is high in fibre and contains several important nutrients such as iron, magnesium, B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, healthy fatty acids and antioxidants. Quinoa is low in GI (great for diabetics) and gluten free (great for people with Coeliac disease).

R – Red Wine. Red wine contains heart healthy antioxidants such as flavanols and polyphenols such as resveratrol. These substances are red winethought to help protect against damage to blood vessles, reduce LDL cholesterol and reduce blood clots. The benefits of red wine are only seen with moderate consumption meaning no more than 2 standard drinks per day and at least 2 alcohol free days per week. Any more than this can have detrimental effects on health.

S – Soy. Soybeans contain a hormone like substance called phytoestrogens in particular isoflavones. This can be soybeneficial for post menopausal women to help reduce hot flushes and osteoporosis. Soy is also though to reduce the risk of heart diseases. Soy contains high quality protein as well as calcium, iron, antioxidants and fibre.

T – Tea. A rich source of polyphenols such as flavanoids and catechins which may slow down cancer and reduce heart disease. Tea is rich in antioxidants which protect cells against damage caused by free radicals and reduce the damage caused by low density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood. Black, green and white tea all contain strong antioxidant properties. tea

U –Udon Noodle Soup. I love a good Japanese udon noodle soup. Udon udonnoodles are a thick wheat noodle very popular in Japanese cuisine. They are often served in a hot broth with added Asian vegetables and tofu, meat or seafood.

V – Vegetables. If you have been following my posts you would know how much I love vegetables. Ah yes typical dietitian going on about eating more veggies but I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t. They have an abundance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals and have been linked with so many positive health outcomes such as reduction in cancers, cardio vascular disease, diabetes, obesity just to name a few. Veggies are low in calories but high in nutrition so they are great to fill up on. Recently the 5 a day has increased to 7 a day so pack those veggies into your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks!wholegrains

W – Wholegrains. As the name suggests, is the whole grain – it hasn’t been processed or broken down. They contain the whole part of the grain including the nutritious germ and outer layers. Wholegrains are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibre as well as B vitamins, Vitamin E, Phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, selenium and phytochemicals. Diets high in wholegrain have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

X – Exercise. Ok I know exercise is neither a food nor does it begin with X but it is certainly very good for you! Regular exercise including a mix of resistance and cardio has so fantastic for health and wellbeing. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of and help manage cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, cancers, obesity….and the list goes on and on and on! The recently updated physical activity guidelines recommend that: doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount. Be active on most, preferably all, days every week. Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week. Do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week

yoghurt1Y – Yoghurt. Yoghurt is a great source of calcium and good quality protein and good bacteria or probiotic cultures. Probiotics are live micro-organisms that help improve and stimulate the good bacteria that live in our guts. The human gut contains a couple of kilos of bacteria which helps to keep the digestive tract healthy. Probiotics also have other health benefits such as improving digestion, reducing bloating, relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, reducing diarrhoea, prevents overgrowth of bad bacteria and plays a role in immune function. The calcium in yoghurt is great for bone health and low fat yoghurts are low GI and contain protein which makes it a great snack to help us feel fuller for longer.

Z – Zucchini. Not only is zucchini the only food beginning with Z that I could think of it is also a great addition to the diet. It is extremely low in calories with just 17 calories per 100g. Its peel is a source of fibre and they also contains folate, vitamin C and potassium.

Latest Comments

  1. researchconnect says:

    Great article! Very interesting to read!


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