With summer well underway and warmer weather, longer days and travels abroad, our diet and fitness becomes a major focus. It is the time of year to take inspiration from the countries which inspire our holiday destinations, as research continues to demonstrate that the Mediterranean diet, abundant in fruits, vegetables, oily fish, legumes and olive oil, is perhaps the world’s healthiest diet.
Little effort is required to incorporate these delicious and popular foods into our everyday diet, with major benefits to our health.
Here’s what to ditch and switch this year:
DITCH: Red meat
SWITCH: Oily fish
Whilst red meats are often a favourite and are high in protein, they can be higher in saturated fat. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna offer similarly high levels of protein, and are rich in omega 3, a polyunsaturated fat which offers a broad spectrum of health benefits. Omega 3’s fatty acid components, EPA and DHA, contribute to optimal heart function, blood pressure, normal brain function, joint health, immunity and quality of vision. For maximum benefit, try adding a high quality omega 3 fish oil supplement like UnoCardio 1000 to your diet to ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of omega 3 daily.
DITCH: Butter and margarine
SWITCH: Olive oils
Extra virgin olive oils are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help to overcome the increased risk of heart disease associated with saturated fats found in butter. You can in fact switch out butter for other plant-based oils such as canola, sesame, walnut, peanut, and grapeseed, and are delicious for light drizzling over salads and vegetables, and for dipping bread!
DITCH: Sugary treats
SWITCH: Fresh fruit, nuts and seeds
We all know the dangers of too much sugar in our diet, but it can be difficult to find an alternative which is just as tasty. Instead of sweet treats, reach for, nuts such as cashews and almonds, and seeds, as these are packed with vitamins and minerals which provide our bodies with an additional dose of protein, as well as the healthier mono and polyunsaturated plant oils and fats. Make simple tweaks to your favourite snacks such as adding whole chickpeas to hummus, or popping some chia seeds in your favourite healthy smoothie to help curb mid-meal cravings.
To keep your sweet tooth at bay, enjoy fresh fruit for a great source of fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants. Not only will they help to keep your immune system working at its best, vitamin C is also known for its collagen-boosting properties, helping to keep your skin firmer and younger looking. If you struggle to get your five a day, try Altrient C, the world’s first liposomal vitamin C supplement which offers an absorption rate of 98% for a super dose of this vital nutrient.
DITCH: White pasta, bread and rice
SWITCH: Whole grains
Unrefined, ‘whole’ grains contain more vitamins, minerals, and protein than their popular refined, white flour counterparts, as well as being able to help stabilise your blood sugar levels. Not only are whole grains such as wholemeal pasta, rice and quinoa excellent sources of fibre for improved digestion and reduced bloating, they also contain a multitude of energy boosting B vitamins including folate, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine, and minerals such as magnesium, iron and selenium.
DITCH: High fat, processed dairy
SWITCH: Fermented dairy
Fermented, natural cheeses and yoghurt are the healthier choice when compared to their processed alternatives. Billions of live microorganisms as well as essential vitamins B2 and B12, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus help fermented dairy products to improve your overall gut health, for better digestion and boosted immunity. For an added boost of the good bacteria your gut craves, try adding a multi-strain probiotic to your diet, such as Bio-Kult.
DITCH: Store-bought sauces
SWITCH: Home-made sauces
Get yourself in the kitchen and dodge the store-bought products, which are often laden with sugar and additives to enhance their flavour and longevity. Try preparing the classic tomato-based sauces popular to Mediterranean diets, and reap the heart-healthy benefits of the humble tomato. This under-appreciated super food contains lycopene, beta-carotene, potassium and phytosterols, which can help to tackle major health issues, naturally reducing cholesterol and blood pressure whilst boosting the overall health of your heart. To maximise the benefits, try a daily dose of CardioMato, a tomato based supplement which is proven to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure in just six weeks.
And for a bonus…
Don’t ditch wine! Red wine in particular, in
moderation, delivers a dose of heart-healthy resveratrol and has been shown to increase good cholesterol. Further evidence also suggests it can help to regulate blood sugar, and even help you absorb vital nutrients from the food you eat. What’s not to enjoy?