Last updated on Jun 17th, 2021 at 04:10 pm

Choose dairy

Not only is dairy a great source of protein and low GI carbohydrates, it also contains tryptophan, which is converted to mood-boosting serotonin as it’s metabolized. Plus, its calcium, magnesium and potassium content may help keep blood pressure down. Yoghurt contains added probiotics that aid in gut health and therefore immune support.

Sip a cup of tea

It’s great for de-stressing. Studies show that drinking black tea four times a day for six weeks lowered the stress hormone cortisol. Green tea, packed with theanine, can also help by increasing the brain’s output of relaxation-inducing alpha waves and reducing the output of tension-making beta waves. Many of these teas also provide antioxidants and can contribute to your daily fluid quota.

Sit in the sun

Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine three times weekly is enough to produce the body’s requirement of vitamin D. The sun needs to shine on the skin of your face, arms, back, or legs (without sunscreen). To reduce risk of skin cancer, use sunblock after a few minutes and all other times when exposed to sunlight.

Read your labels

South African labelling legislation forces food companies to divulge all the contents on their labels and yet many of us don’t know what we’re looking for. When comparing products always compare 100g of one product to 100g of another and check how many servings are in a pack so you don’t overindulge. Remember that the ingredient list goes in descending order, so the first ingredient is the one that is the most prominent in the product.

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Choose seasonal fruit and veg

Choose local and seasonal produce as it is fresher, tastes better, preserves more nutritional value and is cheaper.

Keep the perfect refrigerator

Don’t store what you know you shouldn’t be eating. Keep all your healthy options at the front of the fridge for easy access and all your ‘treats’ out of sight. If you see it you’re more likely to eat it.

Include a combination of fibres in your diet

You get both soluble and insoluble fibres. Soluble fibre dissolves in water while insoluble fibre does not. Soluble fibres attract water and form a gel, which slows down digestion, making you feel full. They may have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity and can also help lower LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol. Examples include lentils and apples.
Insoluble fibres have a laxative effect and add bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation. They pass through the digestive system relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food through your gut. They are mainly found in whole grains and vegetables.

Eat foods high in antioxidants

There is a growing body of research surrounding antioxidants and there are several different types of antioxidants, phytonutrients being one of them. Food and drinks such as red wine, chocolate, tomatoes, tea and green leafy vegetables are only a few of the numerous sources of antioxidants. The benefits of antioxidants are extensive and range from anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, gastro-intestinal, cognitive (brain), reproductive, hormonal, prostate, liver and skin health.

Include Sterols and Sterolins in your diet

These essential micronutrients exist in very small amounts in nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables and natural oils. Twenty years of clinical trials have shown that these fat molecules have a significant effect on restoring the balance of the immune system when it is suppressed or disrupted. They also have a cholesterol lowering effect.