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The Top 10 Foods for Optimal Health

The Top 10 Foods for Optimal Health

The Top 10 Foods for Optimal Health

So in no particular order, and being as varied as possible, here they are:

1. Fish
Fish is a huge category, and one in which there is so much room to be creative. Fish is high in protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and flavour. Try to avoid fish high in mercury, such as butterfish and bluefin tuna. Be mindful too of how you cook your fish. Hake is delicious and healthy grilled, but deep fried in beer batter isnโ€™t the best choice when counting calories. The same goes for prawns and pretty much all else. And who can turn down a prawn braai?

2. Dark Green Vegetables
Many of us flinch at the thought, but remember the days of the past are just that, they are past. You can create epicly tasty vegetables with ease. Broccoli, peppers, brussel sprouts and leafy greens like kale and spinach might sound like torture to some, but prepared right, and your whole opinion will change in just one bite. Full of iron, high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, youโ€™ll feel noticeably better, and your gut health will be on top form.

3. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is packed full of protein, good sugars, and just tastes great. One of the main fats in peanut butter is oleic acid, which helps in keeping down cholesterol levels. Itโ€™s also high in natural magnesium, which is essential to muscle building and overall health. It’s a great source of vitamin E, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, folate and carbohydrates, and almost feels like cheating! Itโ€™s also really good for dogs, but be careful, if itโ€™s a โ€˜sugar freeโ€™ brand, it may contain Xylitol which is deadly to dogs.

4. Oats
One of the best breakfasts you can have is oats. No matter your fitness regime, be it bodybuilding or weight loss, endurance running or swimming, oats is for breakfast. Oats lower blood sugar levels, and have a reduced risk of heart disease. They are one of the few foods known to reduce cholesterol levels. Theyโ€™re gluten free, and contain vital vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants.

5. Mangos
One of the tastiest and most versatile fruits out there, mangos can be eaten at any time, and in so many ways. Packed full of fibre and vitamins, they also offer both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to the digestive system. Mangos can be had as they are, mixed into salads, made with dinner, the options are endless. Something that tastes this good should be bad for you right? Not at all, mangos are incredibly good for you.

6. Chicken
Chicken is currently the most consumed meat worldwide. This is another food, like fish, that depends on how you cook it. Packed full of protein as we know, chicken is also high in Vitamin B12, zinc and iron. Chicken also contains the amino acid tryptophan, which has been linked to higher levels of serotonin (the โ€œfeel goodโ€ hormone) in our brains. Just donโ€™t go running off to grab a family bucket of buffalo wings, the cut of meat and how itโ€™s served is the key.

7. Yoghurt
Another great breakfast food, yoghurt is high in protein, calcium, vitamins, and live culture, or probiotics. Some types of probiotics found in yoghourts, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, have been shown to lessen the uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome too. Yoghurt is also packed full of calcium, great for strong bones and teeth. Why not throw some mango into your morning bowl too?

8. Sirloin Steaks
Sirloin steak is lean, meaning minimal fat, and of course an amazing source of protein. Donโ€™t add sirloin to your daily diet however, as too much could be harmful. Sirloin does however contain all the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein. Sirloin steak also has a satiating effect, meaning you will feel fuller for longer, which helps hugely if you are looking to tone up, or even lose weight.

9. Bananas
Bananas are an amazing source of potassium and fructose, which is a healthy and natural form of sugar. Theyโ€™re also high in vitamin B6 and fibre, and of course convenient and portable. Pectin is also plentiful in bananas, pectin serves to keep you regular and your bowels healthy. Some test-tube studies even propose that pectin may help protect against colon cancer, although research in humans is still needed to confirm this benefit.

10. Sweet Potatoes
If youโ€™re a lover of potatoes but are looking for a healthier option, sweet potatoes are unmatched. They can be cooked in many ways too; mashed, grilled, or even as oven baked chips. They’re high in fibre and antioxidants, which protect your body from free radical damage and promote a healthy gut and brain.

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An honourable mention must go to dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is loaded with magnesium and is one of the most powerful sources of antioxidants. And it just tastes so good!

There are so many foods we have left off the list here, but follow along on our recipe page where we share recipes and food advice, and will keep your eating habits fun, fresh and far from boring.

Body20 is an all-encompassing, holistic approach to physical, and mental well-being. The mind & body are an ecosystem, and we understand the value of taking care of it all.

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