Most of us have heard the saying, “let food be thy medicine” – but how many of us put the theory into action?
The Gut Health Dietitian, Nicole Dynan, reveals the surprising foods that help to fight disease.
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Dark rye bread
Dark rye is a source of resistant starch fibre, which helps to keep us fuller for longer and maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Resistant starch also helps reduce inflammation in the body.
“Dark rye has up to eight times more resistant starch in it than wheat or barley-based breads,” Dynan said.
“That means it’s really feeding our good gut bacteria – so that’s definitely what we want to do to prevent disease.
“Grain breads can sometimes have a white base – so you have to be careful it’s a wholemeal/wholegrain if you go that path.”
Going nuts for nuts
A handful of nuts (30 grams) every day reduces risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and becoming overweight. They are even great for brain health.
“Nuts are fantastic, because they’re all full of great monounsaturated fats, fibre, antioxidants, lots of vitamins and minerals,” Dynan said.
“I would definitely choose an unsalted, raw or dry-roasted nut, just to avoid too much salt in your diet.”
Tomatoes contain a cancer-starving substance known as lycopene, and is also a great source for vitamins.
“A Mediterranean diet is really built around tomatoes,” Dynan said.
“Lycopene has been shown to help prevent different cancers – particularly prostate cancer.”
Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a rich source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, both of which are thought to protect cardiovascular health.
“It’s my favourite, and the only thing I’ll have in my kitchen,” Dynan said.
“You can cook with it up to 200 degrees. You probably wouldn’t go over that in most domestic cooking.
“If an oil is solid at room temperature, it means it’s got saturated fat in it – so I would be very careful.”
Lentil as anything
Lentils can reduce cholesterol, decrease blood sugar levels, and increase healthy gut bacteria.
“They have this amazing thing called a ‘second meal effect’ – which means they keep you fuller for longer, even into the next day,” Dynan said.
“They’re peasant food, but they’re definitely worth having in your diet and are so versatile.”
Diversity is key
“We all have different bacteria in our gut. We share very few species between us,” Dynan said.
“It’s really important to eat a wide variety of things so we’re getting all different kinds of nutrients that might suit us individually.
“Up to 30 different plants a week is recommended.”
Find out more about Nicole’s new online program, The Good Mood Diet, here.
This article originally appeared on 7News