London: Get your diet chart right for a healthier and happier you.
Five foods to give up:
Sugar: The sweet stuff is enemy number one when it comes to losing weight. Recent studies have suggested that our excessive consumption of sugar is contributing to the obesity epidemic - on average we’re eating about twice as much sugar as we should be. Try to opt for low sugar alternatives and get in the habit of reading the labels of the foods you buy - and if sugar is listed in the first three ingredients then don’t buy it.
Trans-fats: A trans-fat is a form of unsaturated fat which behaves like a saturated fat because of its chemical structure. It should be avoided as trans-fats increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your blood, while also lowering the amount of ‘good’ cholesterol in the blood.
Processed meats: A processed meat isn’t just spam, which is what initially springs to mind. The definition includes any meat that has had something done to it to make it last longer (through salting, curing, smoking or using chemical preservatives) which includes lunch meats such as Parma ham and bacon.
Ready meals: They’ve been on the bad list for a while, but ready meals are often laden with a large amount of salt and sugar and are highly processed. Popular choices such as lasagne, moussaka and curry are some of the worst culprits as they can contain large amounts of saturated fat.
Five easy-to-find foods to boost your health:
Nuts: Nuts are packed with protein, fibre and essential fats, which makes them a very healthy snack. Just a handful of nuts contain a variety of vitamins and minerals - from vitamin E to help your skin to zinc which aids fertility. The best choices include almonds, brazil nuts, cashews and walnuts.
Oats: Oats have long been associated with a healthy lifestyle and for good reason. Wholegrain oats are a good source of carbohydrate, magnesium and have a low glycemic index, which means they release energy into the blood stream slowly.
Kale: This leafy green has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity and rightly so. It’s extremely nutritious, widely available and cheap so there’s no excuse not to give it a try. Kale is very low fat and low in calories and it’s also a good source of dietary fibre, iron and calcium.
Oily fish: There is some evidence that oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines help protect against cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, age-related vision loss and dementia. Eating two portions of fish a week, with at least one of these being an oily fish, can help maintain a healthy blood pressure and reduce risk of heart disease.
Pulses and beans: Pulses include foods such as beans, lentils and chickpeas - they’re a great low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals such as iron which makes them an excellent addition to a healthy diet.