International Health Day: don’t give up on fun nutrition.

International Health Day: don’t give up on fun nutrition.

During Passover it is difficult to avoid temptation.  The extravagant holiday meals come with an abundance of calories.  International Health Day falls at a perfect time this year and Amali Messika, Strauss Group’s head dietician, has put together a list of  some of the best health trends that can help you enjoy Passover, but still stay within bounds both during and after the holidays.

World Health Day is an opportunity to re-examine current health trends.  We have been hearing alot about ‘super foods’, and so we decided to take a closer look at some of the foods that help with weight management, the gluten-free trend and more.

Foods rich in nutrients

Some of the foods that can help us manage our weight are foods that are high in protein with textures that help contribute to a sense of fullness.  For example yogurt is high in protein and its thick texture helps give a feeling of satiety.

The growing trend of choosing nutrition rich foods is reinforced by the number of different foods that have, in recent years, been crowned Super Foods.

The aim, however, is not only to add them to your daily diet but to combine them so as to best take advantage of their healthiest properties – such as using berries or honey to sweeten yogurt.

When it comes to sauces, why not use kale (a renowned super food) instead of basil when next you make a pesto.

What is a ‘SuperFood’?

Many of us recognize the importance of eating healthy foods and the contribution they make to our health.

The list can be divided into: whole grains, vegetables and fruit.

Grains: the benefits of whole grains, such as oats and oatmeal, are well know.

Their high fiber content contributes to the feeling of satiety and helps with the digestive process.

They also help to balance blood sugar and lower bad cholesterol.   Leafy vegetables: every green leaf has it’s benefits, but the rising star is undoubtedly Kale, which is particularly rich in vitamins A, C and K.  These vitamins provide natural protection for the body and contribute to sight, maintaining bone density and more.

Super fruits: it’s easy to put an apple in your bag on the way out the door.  Better still would be to find a way to incorporate more, lesser well known fruit into your daily diet.  Pomegranate and berries contain vitamins and minerals even when they are in a jam.  They contain antioxidants, components used in the body to protect against inflammation and to protect the health of your skin (the biggest organ in the human body).  Raspberries, cranberries, blueberries and acai are also wise choices, their bright red, blue and purple colours associated with anthocyanins – the antioxidants that are so good for your body.  

 

The natural sweetener 

Honey has been part of our culinary culture for thousands of years, .instead of just eating it why not try it as a natural sweetener - great alternative to sugar.      

Switch over to gluten-free foods  

The gluten-free food trend is no longer just for those who, for medical reasons, abstain from eating gluten.  It lets many of us say "no" to foods, normally found in our daily diet, that are otherwise hard to avoid such as high-fat baked goods and carbohydrates that are often cooked with lots of oil as part of our main meal of the day. 

With the gluten-free trend many more low-gluten or gluten-free foods have been added to our normal diets, including: bean salads, rice-based dim sum and more.  

The wide variety of gluten-free products now available were originally produced for people suffering from celiac disease.  These products are now part of the daily diet of people who don’t suffer from gluten intolerance, but who want to lead healthier lives and have a healthier lifestyle.  

And then, of course there is hummus and tahini We are a country of hummus and tahini lovers and the good news on the health front is that sesame, the base for making tahini and halva, is a good source of beneficial fatty acids as well as of iron, calcium and dietary fiber.

Chickpeas are legumes which contain vegetable protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber which all together contribute to the feeling of satiety.      

Happy holiday and bon appetit!