12th October 2018
If you’ve been doing this whole health and fitness thing for a while, you will know that your diet plays a huge role in how you look and feel. You will have also seen and heard endless facts, opinions, and even full-on lies about what you should and shouldn’t eat. As long as you are following the main rules of nutrition then you can’t go too far wrong – rules like eat lots of veggies and limit sugar intake. But there are lots of subtle nuances to your eating habits that you can implement for that extra boost to your well-being. Some of these changes are surprising, some are just small tweaks, but they can all add a little something extra to your daily food intake to make you fitter and healthier.
1. Don’t mash your potatoes
Bake or fry them instead. You might think that’s counterintuitive since frying is usually considered to be bad, but this is because of the type of fat or oil normally used in frying. The idea behind not mashing your spuds is actually to limit sugar intake. The more you mash or puree starch heavy foods, the easier it is for sugar to reach the bloodstream and be digested. Save yourself 25% of the sugar intake by baking or frying, instead of mashing.
2. Add water to your frying pan
Whilst we are talking about frying, here’s another tip: add a splash of water to your pan when frying. This lowers the frying temperature of the oil, meaning less oxidative damage to the fat than usual. This method is used a lot in Chinese cooking, to limit the amount of lipid peroxides produced when cooking oils break down. Lipid peroxides are thought to increase cancer and heart disease risks, so the less of those the better.
3. Drink water as a painkiller
Water has so many benefits, it’s unreal. We already know it keeps us hydrated, reduces hunger pangs, and aids in fat loss. Did you know it can also reduce pain in joints and in the back? When you are dehydrated your blood and joint fluids thicken – which can be painful – but staying well-hydrated eases this pain by allowing the fluids to thin back out to their optimum levels. Water also reduces the risk of several cancers by removing carcinogenic waste products from the bladder and colon.
4. Eat birdseed
Well, eat millet. Sharing snacks with your budgie isn’t generally recommended, but millet is the exception. Millet is a healthy grain that contains high levels of magnesium and manganese, which help promote the growth of connective tissues, bones, and sex hormones.
5. Eat dandelions
This might be starting to sound more and more like a list of things to feed your pets on a budget, but dandelion greens rival the likes of spinach and kale with the amount of benefits they can provide. These common plants contain over 500% of your recommended daily Vitamin K, which promotes bone strength, and over 100% of your daily Vitamin A intake for boosting vision and the health of your skin.
Calcium, protein, fibre, and numerous other vitamins and minerals are also present, so adding dandelion greens to salad, a stir-fry or smoothies is a smart move.
6. Eat green bananas
The greener the banana, the more resistant starch it contains. More is better, as resistant starch is an important form of soluble fibre which doesn’t get digested in the small intestine. Instead, it is absorbed at a slower rate further down the body and gets fermented by the bacteria in the colon – providing you with long-term energy and reducing your risk of colon cancer.
In stark contrast to other carbohydrates, unripe bananas don’t spike your blood sugar, negating the risk of diabetes and preventing hunger pangs or energy crashes later on.
7. Eat purple potatoes
Try branching out into other areas of the colour spectrum when making your potato-based choices. Instead of white, substitute in a sweet potato, red potatoes, or even purple potatoes. The purple varieties still contain fibre, vitamin C and potassium like the rest of the spud gang, but they are four times as rich in antioxidants as they contain anthocyanin, which gives them their colour. You can buy them from most Asian markets, and they will lower your blood pressure and protect you against heart disease.
8. Give your girlfriend pork ‘n’ beans
This isn’t a euphemism; get her to eat actual pork and actual beans. When you think of pork and beans you probably conjure up images of American hillbillies eating them from a can around a fire in the desert, but both pork and beans contain thiamine and riboflavin – which can prevent women from developing PMS. A win for her, and a win for you too.
9. Eat asparagus to prevent hangovers
The shoots and leaves of asparagus contain enzymes that can help break down alcohol after a heavy drinking session, meaning you are less likely to end up with a hangover. Eating asparagus before you go out drinking ensures the alcohol gets broken down and isn’t absorbed into the bloodstream so easily. You can also get the benefits by eating it the morning after, attacking the hangover you might already have.
This is not an advocation of making a fake online dating profile to mess with unsuspecting strangers (that’s cruel), but rather an advocation of eating actual catfish. Often overlooked as a seafood choice, catfish are great sources of protein, phosphorous, and selenium – which helps to build up antioxidant enzymes. On top of being low in calories, catfish are high in omega-3 fatty acids (that’s a good kind of fat), and low in mercury compared to other kinds of fish (too much mercury is a bad thing).
There we go then, a few easy changes or additions you can incorporate into your diet. Some of them you might have heard before; others might be news to you. Either way, give them a try and drop us a line with any creative ways you find to work them into recipes.
What other obscure nutrition tips would you recommend?