Good nutrition is important. There are numerous studies to show this, but sadly most people judge the food they eat purely on the basis of price or taste, regardless of whether or not it enhances health and well-being. The price they pay for this may be very high, because eating unhealthily may well mean that they have a more painful and less enjoyable life.
Simple things can make a difference. Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables can provide vitamins, minerals, and those important antioxidants that help protect us against cancer and other serious diseases, as well as supporting healthy skin and hair.
Eating foods with a low glycaemic index is important too. The glycaemic index is a measure of food’s effect on your blood sugar. Sugary foods with their high glycaemic index, for example, lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar, followed by a rapid decrease. This can leave you feeling tired and miserable: a big price to pay for the momentary pleasure of that extra spoonful of sugar. Low glycaemic foods, which include pasta, lentils and peanuts, give a slower more sustained increase in blood sugar. Concentrating on low glycaemic foods can result in a reduction in mood swings and more stable energy levels. Many people find they can lose weight on a diet that concentrates on low glycaemic foods, and, even more importantly, they can keep the weight off. These foods aren’t expensive and they’re very tasty.
Fats used to have a very bad reputation, and then the Atkins diet introduced the concept that it doesn’t matter what fat you consume. Almost all the research suggests that both these views are wrong. All oils and fats are a mixture of saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, but different fats have different proportions. For example, animal fats contain mainly saturated fats. These fats have been linked to thrombosis and other health problems. Oils and fats that contain a high proportion of polyunsaturated fats include sunflower oil and corn oil. These contain essential fatty acids, which are involved in maintaining blood pressure, protecting against peptic ulcers and fighting inflammation. Excluding these from your diet can have a detrimental effect on your health. One important consideration with the polyunsaturated fats is that they are unstable when heated, so use oils that contain a high proportion of monounsaturated fats (e.g. olive or rapeseed oil) for cooking. Monounsaturated fats help to keep the arteries supple, and so are important for our health.
Making these changes does not need to be expensive or mean you sacrifice taste. Give them a try.