Healthy di­ets

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - This Week | In The News -

WHEN it comes to healthy eat­ing, the rules can be pretty un­clear. One minute we’re told we should be cut­ting out dairy and gluten, and the next carbs are the sworn en­emy — then sud­denly they’re not again.

We asked di­eti­cian He­len Bond to ex­plain what she con­sid­ers to be the most im­por­tant things to keep in mind when it comes to eat­ing well: 1. Pri­ori­tise plant-based foods If you’re still liv­ing by the ‘meat and two veg’ mantra, it’s time to throw out the old rule book. “We should pri­ori­tis­ing plant foods over an­i­mal foods now,” says Bond.

Plant-based di­ets are high in veg­eta­bles, whole­grain bread and ce­re­als, legumes and whole fruits. They can still con­tain small amounts of lean meats and dairy prod­ucts.

“I’m not to say­ing that meat is bad, it’s just not as sus­tain­able and is not as healthy for us as plant-based prod­ucts, which is why a lot of Eu­ro­pean cul­tures who are as­so­ci­ated with longevity of life opt for them in­stead — such as the Mediter­ranean diet,” notes Bond. 2. But you don’t have to go full ve­gan “I don’t ac­tu­ally rec­om­mend ve­g­an­ism or veg­e­tar­i­an­ism,” says Bond. “They have lots of health prop­er­ties as­so­ci­ated with them; the more fruits and veg­eta­bles you can in­clude in your diet, the bet­ter the out­come in terms of car­dio­vas­cu­lar health and pre­vent­ing can­cer. How­ever, you can also in­clude some oily fish and lean red meat.” 3. Eat good sources of vi­ta­min D “We don’t man­u­fac­ture vi­ta­min D, which is linked to im­mu­nity and mood, in our skin from Septem­ber to March as there is less sun­light dur­ing this pe­riod, so as well as tak­ing a sup­ple­ment of 10mcg, you need to top up with food sources of Vi­ta­min D.”

Good food sources of vi­ta­min D in­clude oily fish, egg yolks, cer­tain types of mush­rooms and for­ti­fied ce­re­als and milks. 4. Eat a por­tion of oily fish per week Oily fish have oil in their tis­sues and in the belly cav­ity around the gut. Th­e­ses in­clude salmon, trout, sar­dines and her­rings. Bond says you should aim for one cheque-book sized por­tion per week, as these sea crea­tures con­tain im­por­tant omega-3, which is vi­tal for our brain health, heart health, triglyc­erides (im­por­tant for gen­eral func­tion and reg­u­lat­ing en­ergy lev­els) and main­tain­ing healthy blood pres­sure. 5. Make small booze swaps Did you know that al­co­hol is just below fat in terms of calo­ries? A gram of fat is about nine calo­ries, a gram of al­co­hol is seven.

“Peo­ple just aren’t aware of how many calo­ries are in al­co­hol, and it can be a mine­field on a night out,” says Bond. “The best way to tackle your in­take is in mak­ing small swaps. Al­ter­nate be­tween a glass of wine and a glass of water to re­hy­drate your­self, make white wine spritzers and use low-calo­rie mix­ers to re­duce the calo­rie con­tent.” 6. Pre-load with water Bond has a sim­ple trick for avoid­ing overeat­ing at the din­ner ta­ble — try hav­ing a glass of water be­fore you tuck in. “Over­all hy­dra­tion is re­ally im­por­tant for slim­ming down, and there’s been quite a lot of re­search with re­gards to pre-load­ing be­fore a meal,” she says. “If you have a glass of water be­fore you eat, it helps take the edge of the ap­petite. It’s like hav­ing an ap­ple be­fore a meal; an ap­ple is pretty much 85% water, so it can take the edge off your hunger, and the same goes for soups too.”

EAT YOUR GREENS: Di­eti­tian He­len Bond says we should pri­ori­tise plant-based foods in our diet.

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