Today marks the start of the British Nutrition Foundation’s Healthy Eating Week! We’ll be sharing tips and tricks all week on our Facebook Page to help you eat healthier by promoting healthy habits.
Take a look below at why eating healthier is important, and find a delicious recipe at the end for Monday’s ‘Eat More Wholegrains’ challenge.
What are this years tips on?
Each day BNF have chosen a new healthy eating topic, here’s what you have to look forward to:
Monday – Eat More Wholegrains
Tuesday – Vary Your Veg
Wednesday – Drink Plenty
Thursday – Move More
Friday – Be Mind Kind
Saturday – Get Active Together
Sunday – Eat Together
Why Do I Need To Eat Healthily?
We all know we should eat healthily, but knowing the actual benefits can often make it easier to actually do it.
Your food choices affect your health today, tomorrow and in the future. Combined with physical activity, a healthy diet can help you reduce your risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. But how?
Heart disease is when atherosclerosis happens (which is the narrowing of the arteries that supply the heart with blood). This is caused by fatty deposits gradually building up on the inside of the artery walls, narrowing the space in which blood can flow. This process can start when you are young, so by the time you are middle age, it can be advanced.
Atherosclerosis can be caused by these food-related risk factors: obesity, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, and a diet high in saturated fats.
How can you reduce your risk of heart disease through your diet?
- Increase Your Fibre – Wholegrains and fibre rich foods are important for a healthy gut. Your gut microbiome may have beneficial effecto on risk factors for heart disease, such as reducing blood cholesterol levels and influencing immune response.
- Weight Maintenence – Eating a healthy diet can help you keep control of your weight. If you have increased fat around the stomach (central adiposity), this secretes a number of substances (known as adipokines) that can increase your risk of heart disease. As a general rule, as a women if your waist is 80cm or more, you should aim to lose weight.
- Reduce Your Salt – Too much salt (it’s only recommended to have 6g a day) is link to increased high blood pressure, which in turn increases your risk for heart disease. Try eating foods high in other minerals, including magnesium, calcium and potassium as these have been shown to have the reverse affect and prevent high blood pressure. These foods include: fruit such as bananas; vegetables such as parsnips, potatoes and brussel sprouts; nuts; seeds; fish; dairy foods; lentils; wholegrains; and poultry.
- Reduce Your Saturated Fat – To keep our cholesterol under control our bodies use LDL receptors, however, research suggests that a diet high in saturated fat stops these receptors working well and therefore, cholesterol can build up. Instead we need to replace these saturated fats with unsaturated fats and complex carbohydrates which can benefit blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. This can be done by reducing your intake of foods containing free sugars, and making simple swaps such as choosing sunflower, rapeseed or olive oil.
It is estimated that a healthy diet could prevent around 1 in 10 cancers in the UK. The strongest dietary links are with cancers of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach and bowel, with bowel cancer being in the top four most common cancers in the UK.
Although there are no proven ways to completely prevent cancer, you can reduce your risk with certain lifestyle changes, of which these diatary changes could help:
- Increase Your Fibre – There are a few reasons that a high fibre diet can reduce your risk of bowel cancer, with one being that it makes you poo more often, therefore, harmful chemicals spend less time in the bowel. Plus, when fibre and bacteria meet in the bowel, the bacteria creates butyrate, which helps cells in our bowel to stay healthy so that tumours are less likely to develop. Foods high in fibre include: wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats, barley, rye, fruit (such as berries, pears, melon and oranges), vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn), nuts, and seeds.
- Increasing Your Fruit and Veg Intake – Not only are these packed with vitamins and minerals (as well as fibre!), but it is thought that because they contain phytochemicals (chemicals that are naturally found in plants) they may help to protect cells in your body from damage that can elad to cancer. It’s important to aim for 5 portions everyday, and try to vary the colours.
- Reduce Red / Processed Meat Consumption – ‘Red Meat’ refers to beef, pork and lamb, and ‘Processed Meat’ refers to meat that has been rpeserved through smoking, curing or salting, or the addition of chemical preservatives, such as, bacon, sausages, salami and ham. Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals (including iron and zinc) and can be enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced diet! However, evidence suggests that high consumption of red and/or processed meat (the evidence is stronger for processed meats) is linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer and should be limited to 70g (cooked weight) daily. This is thought to be becuase of three specific chemicals that are found naturally in meat, added during the processing or produced when cooking. These are: haem (found mainly is red meat), nitrates and nitrites (used to keep processed meats fresher for longer), and heterocyclic amines and polycyclic amines (produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures). All three can cause damage to the cells in or bowels, and this accumulation of damage can cause an increased risk of cancer.
Monday – Eat More Wholegrains
Whole Grains for the Week
- 1/2 cup Brown Rice
- 1/2 cup Quinoa
- 1/2 cup Hulled Barley
- 1/2 cup Buckwheat
- 1/2 cup Lentils
- Garlic optional
- 5 cups Water
Rinse the grains and lentils with water in a sieve.
If using a rice cooker, place all ingredients in it and turn it on to “cook”.
If not using a rice cooker, place water in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil, add the grains and lentils, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until all the water is absorbed (~30 minutes). Fluff the grain with a fork, replace the lid, remove from the heat, and let sit for about 15 minutes.
Seperate into single serving tupperware containers or place entire batch in one large container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
[Recipe from wholly-plants]
Hannah & Caroline x