Food is our fuel. Without food, we cannot live. We sometimes see food as simply a taste experience or as a way to fill us up and, if we are on a diet, we may be counting the calories. However, every component of the food has an important part to play in keeping us healthy. Everyone can eat better.
Choose nutritious food, preferably organically grown because our bodies have difficulty in dealing with chemicals. If you can, buy locally produced food and follow seasonal variations so you buy what is in season at the time. Fruit and vegetables that are picked when they are unripe so that they can be transported long distances contain few nutrients even though they may taste good. Avoid processed and refined foods.
Why are some types of food better than others? Food can be evaluated in terms of the nutrient content, the nutrient balance, the digestibility and assimilation of the nutrients, fatty acid content, low GI (i.e how fast the carbohydrates are converted into sugars), fibre and toxins.
Foods that are not so healthy are those that: have been refined; have a high sugar and salt content; contain preservatives, colouring, excessive fats, trans fats, allergens; have a high GI; are low in nutrients; have been grown using pesticides; are genetically modified or irradiated.
Food can even be used for treatment purposes but then it must be matched to the condition being treated and ingested in the right proportions. The following guidelines apply to healthy individuals:
Fruit and vegetables
Fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables in season.
Vegetables in lactic acid (such as sauerkraut).
Root fruits, rice,
All root fruits, raw rice, red rice, quinoa.
Seeds, bread and porridge
All wholemeal products, brown bread rich in fibre.
Sugar and salt
Honey, maple syrup, unrefined sugar and sea salt.
Oils and fats
Butter, cold-pressed coconut oil, rapeseed oil and linseed oil.
Pulses and nuts
Dried lentils, beans and peas.
Walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Meat and fish
Game, beef, lamb and chicken.
Water, freshly-pressed juices, herbal teas, soya milk. Wine or beer in moderation.
TO BE AVOIDED
Powdered food products (Is this correct??)
White flour, white bread and sugar-coated breakfast cereals.
White sugar and processed salt.
Margarine, Becel, hot pressed oils.
Canned meat and canned fish, fish fingers, sausages, smoked and salted meat.
Soft drinks, hot chocolate drink, excessive amounts of coffee and