Most of us make a shopping list based on our preferences, tastes and sometimes pocket. But I have a slightly different method that you might find useful. The chemical interactions within our body that are essential for life – including the healthy functioning of our immune system – is only made possible by the raw ingredients in our diet. Even if you are having the occasional foodfest, if your basic diet contains the right raw ingredients it won’t matter to your body. It is the everyday ingestion of sugars, transfats and white starches that cripples the system – remember the 80/20 rule. If 80% of the time your body is getting what it needs, 20% of the time you can have what your heart and taste buds would like too. Here are three lists – the nutrients we need – then the foods that are some of the best sources for those nutrients and then a basic shopping list that will provide your body with the raw ingredients for long term health.
First the basic nutrients we need for energy and healthy functioning systems and organs.
Vitamins and anti-oxidants – A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (Folate) B12, C, D, E, K,
Minerals – Calcium, chloride, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc.
Amino Acids – Essential Fatty Acids – Bioflavanoids – very strong anti-oxidants.
Quite a few foods fall into several categories so I will give you the top sources within the groups- these are the foods that should make up your basic shopping with seasonal fruits and vegetables when available.
For example, spinach has Vitamin A, B1, B2, B9, E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium – I have included in the first group only. (Popeye knew what he was doing)
Vitamin A – carrots, red peppers, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe melon, nectarines, peaches and spinach. Cashew nuts.
Vitamin B1 – Pineapple, watermelon, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, oats, brown rice, lentils, beans, eggs, lean ham and pork.
B2 – All green leafy vegetables, fish, milk, wheat germ, liver and kidney
B3 – Asparagus, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, wholegrain bread and cereals. Turkey, Salmon, tuna, and cheese.
B5 – Corn, Cauliflower, Brewer’s yeast, avocado, duck, soybeans, lobster and strawberries.
B6 – Walnuts, bananas, lamb
B9 (folate) – nuts, beans and dark green vegetables.
B12 – offal, dairy, marmite,
Vitamin C – virtually all fruit and vegetables already mentioned but also blackcurrants, blueberries, kiwi, cherries, grapefruits, oranges and watercress.
Vitamin D – Eggs, tinned salmon – fresh and tinned herrings.
Vitamin E – almonds, maize, apples, onions, shell fish, sunflower oil.
Vitamin K – dark green leafy vegetables, avocado, eggs.
Calcium – dairy, sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables.
Chromium – Whole grains, potatoes, onions and tomatoes – liver, seafood, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb and pork
Copper – olives, nuts, beans, wholegrain cereals, dried fruits, meat, fish and poultry.
Iodine – cod, mackerel, haddock, eggs, live yoghurt, milk and strawberries.
Iron – shellfish, prunes, spinach, meats, cocoa.
Magnesium –dairy, seafood, apples, apricots, avocado, brown rice, spinach.
Manganese – beans, brown rice, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts, fresh fruit.
Phosphorus – poultry, whole grains.
Potassium – most fresh fruit and vegetables but in particular bananas, apricots, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, nectarines, potatoes.
Selenium – halibut, cod, salmon and tuna, mushrooms and Brazil Nuts.
Sodium – usually enough in our food but no more than 1 level teaspoon a day.
Zinc– seafood, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, egg yolks and tofu.
Essential fatty acids –
Omega 3 – flaxseed, walnuts, pumpkinseeds, avocados, dark green vegetables, poultry and salmon.
Omega 6 – olive oil and some of the above.
Omega 9 – avocado, olives, almonds.
Amino Acids – dairy products, fish, meat, poultry, soybeans, nuts and seeds.
To ensure that you have everything in your basic diet to provide the nutrients you need your shopping list would look something like the following. Aim for at least 8 portions of fruit and vegetables per day not five. If you eat these foods each week you will be providing your body with the basic nutrients it needs to be healthy – you can obviously add other foods when you are eating out or for variety. Do try and avoid processed foods – pre-cut vegetables (lost high percentage of nutrients) and make sauces from these fresh ingredients for pasta and rice dishes. Make your own whole grain pizza base with fresh toppings. You will notice the difference in flavour.
Vegetables – carrots, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, corn on the cob- any dark cabbage or Brussel sprouts, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, dark lettuce leaves, cucumbers, celery, avocados and potatoes.
Fruit – Bananas, apples, pears, oranges, kiwi and any dark berries that are reasonably priced – try frozen. When in season – pineapples, apricots, cantaloupe melon, watermelon.
Wholegrains – brown rice- wholegrain bread – whole wheat pasta – weetabix – shredded wheat – porridge oats. If you make your own bread then use wholegrain flour. Please do not buy sugar or chocolate covered cereals – more sugar than goodness.
Fish – Salmon fresh and tinned- cod – haddock (again frozen can be a good option) any white fish on offer – shellfish once a week such as mussels. Tinned sardines, Tuna and herrings – great for lighter meals.
Meat and poultry and Tofu– chicken or turkey – lamb, beef and pork. Lean ham for sandwiches, Venison if you enjoy it. Liver provides a wonderful array of nutrients served with onions and vegetables is delicious. Tofu for vegetarians has become more accessible and can be used by non vegetarians once a week to provide the other benefits of soya it offers. Bacon once a week is fine but do bear in mind that most processed meats contain a lot of salt.
Nuts and seeds – to put on your cereal in the mornings or as snacks – check prices out in your health food shop as well as supermarket. Almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts.
Dairy and Eggs- milk, butter and cheese (better to have the real stuff than whipped margarine) – yoghurt. Free Range Eggs – have at least three or four a week.
Oils – Extra virgin Olive Oil (least processed) – great drizzled on vegetables with some seasoning and also eaten the Spanish way with balsamic vinegar on salads and also drizzled over toasted fresh bread. If you do not like the taste of Olive Oil then use Sunflower oil – do not use the light version of any oil as it has been processed heavily – use the good stuff.
Honey and extras – rather than spoonfuls of sugar on your cereal etc, try honey. Try and find a local honey to you. Dark chocolate – over 70% a one or two squares per day particularly with a lovely cup of Americano coffee is a delicious way to get your antioxidants. Cocoa is great with some hot milk before bed – antioxidants and melatonin in a cup.
Tomorrow – Candida Albicans – they estimate that over 65% of us have an overgrowth of this yeast and fungal inhabitant of our intestines and I have certainly experienced its impact on both weight and health.
Thank you for reading – please leave a comment – is there any area of health you would like me to cover?
From Saturday a new blog – medical and health news – the impact on us – good or bad!