Food plays a mighty role in our everyday functioning: from the quality of our sleep to our mood, and even libido. We look at some of the lesser-known benefits of a healthy, nutrient-rich diet.

Better digestion

1. The fibre contained in leafy green vegetables acts like a scrubbing brush in the gut, helping to reduce the absorption of microbial toxins into the body. Foods to eat: kale, spinach
 

2. Eating healthy, raw fats can help with the overall functioning of your GI tract, including helping maintain a healthy lining, for which vitamin A is also crucial. Foods to eat: avacado, sweet potato

 

Weight loss

3. Eating more fruit and vegetables satisfies your hunger and means you'll be less likely to reach for high-fat, high-sugar and low-fibre foods. So try some new recipes that incorporate more fruit and veg.

4. Staying hydrated can help reduce over eating. We often misinterpret our thirst for hunger, so drinking enough water (which also counts clearer skin among its many benefits), can help us control our hunger. Drink: water

  •  Love food and want to lose weight? Try to find compromises and recipes that allow you to enjoy the best of both. The Hairy Dieters might help you out!

 

Quality of life

Mackerel

5. Researchers have found that poor diet can result in poor sleep. The message? Eat well, sleep well. Key nutrients, including vitamin B6 and magnesium, can also aide a restful slumber. Foods to eat: oily fish, whole grains

6. Sex-drive (or lack of it) can be affected by diet. Eating foods rich in vitamin C (aiding circulation), or amino acids (boosting nitric oxide levels) could help get you in the mood again. Foods to eat: figs, watermelon
 

Preventing illness

7. The phyto-chemicals in vegetables and other plant foods have antioxidant qualities—protecting against the effects of environmental pollution. Foods to eat: plant foods, pulses, nuts

8. Food plays a big role in building health and thus preventing illness. Green leafy vegetables that are high in folate and iron can assist in healthy cell development. Foods to eat: kale, lettuce

9. The properties found in certain fruit and vegetables have been heralded as being of particular importance to boosting the immune system, though balance is key. Foods to eat: garlic, probiotic yoghurt

10. Studies have shown diet could affect the risk of developing breast cancer. Foods to eat: vegetables, whole grains and legumes


Eating a diet high in unprocessed and natural foods is one of the best things you can do for your health, along with taking enough exercise and getting sufficient rest. Learn how to cut out the dread sugar in your diet with these sugar free recipes.

 

Dr Ricky Gondhia answers some of the most commonly asked questions about weight loss...

...how to lose weight and dieting, such as Why is it important to maintain a healthy lifestyle? How do you know if you're overweight? Do diets work? And more.

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