Shopping for super foods

You may not realise it but you have been eating phytochemicals all your life. Phytonutrients, as they are sometimes referred to, give fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes their flavour colour and protection against disease. They help form the plants’ immune system and potent antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, carotenoids (fat-soluble pigments like beta-carotei and lycopene) and flavonoids (water-soluble pigments like catechins and reserveratro Studies are now showing that they have a protective effect against many ailments such high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. So, once again the key message is t make sure you eat your fruit and veges daily!

Whole grains and bread

Whole grains add essential vitamins and fibre to your diet. Try some different grains you might not have had before, such as millet, quinoa, buckwheat or barley, available at health- food shops and some supermarkets. Brown rice also belongs in this category: it is far superior to white rice and you will quickly acquire a taste for this yummy, nutty food. There is a huge variety of bread out there. We recommend going for bread in which you can see the whole grains. Check the labels, as some bread is high in sodium or fat, although it may look healthy.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are other great snacks loaded with nutrients, essential fats and protein. Add them into your cooking and sprinkle them over your vegetable dishes, breakfasts or yoghurt. Take good care to buy them fresh, as rancid nuts can be quite toxic. It is best to buy them from bulk bins where you can ‘sniff’ for rancidity.

Cholesterol Free, it is NOT Fat Free

It is worth mentioning cholesterol here, while we are talking about fats. Often people think that if something is cholesterol free, it is fat free, but this is not the case. Cholesterol is a complex fatty substance that your body manufactures on a daily basis. It is used to manufacture cell membranes and provide a base for the synthesis of hormones (sex and adrenal), Vitamin D and bile acids. Your body produces about three-quarters of the cholesterol it has in the blood on its own in the liver; the rest comes from your food. Cholesterol from your food does not instantly become cholesterol in your blood. When you eat food high in cholesterol, such as egg yolks, liver, kidneys and shellfish, your body makes less from its own resources or gets rid of more.Studies have also shown that certain foods have a very positive effect in lowering the LDL levels in your blood, and provide essential nutrients to protect your heart. These are fruits and vegetables, plant sterols (found in cold-pressed oils, nuts, legumes, whole grains and fruits and vegetables), garlic, fish and seafood, tea (green and black), soy products, oats, psyllium and small amounts of red wine.