Top Tips for Total Body Health

Renny Letswalo, Managing Director at The 1:1 Diet in Southern Africa, shares her top tips to help maintain full body health, along with a selection of the foods you should eat to get your daily dose of vitamins.

“It’s important to acknowledge that there are no ‘miracle’ foods, exercises or supplements that are likely to prevent the risk of illness or an unhealthy body, but there are certain things you can do, and foods that you can add to your diet, to improve your health.

“Scientists have noted that those with diabetes, high blood pressure, lung or cardiovascular disease seem to have the poorest immunity and are most susceptible to illness.

“As a general recommendation for everyone, eat enough protein and get all of your nutrients by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The immune response mobilises large quantities of protein, so adequate amounts are needed and those who are malnourished also have lower immunity.

“Various vitamins and minerals are required by the metabolism to mount an immune response. For instance, zinc is crucial to immunity and has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of viral infections like colds and lung infections.

“For those with diabetes, the high blood sugar they often experience can suppress their immune system. For them, if they keep their carbohydrate intake low and avoid too many carbohydrates that are quickly absorbed (e.g. sugar, refined starches, etc.), their immune system should stay more robust.

“If suffering with high blood pressure, by far the best and fastest way to lower it is through weight loss. For some people, keeping salt intake below six grams per day (2.4 grams of sodium) is effective. Exercise can also be an effective method, but it is more useful in the medium-to-long term.

“For those with cardiovascular disease, losing weight and eating healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds, omega-3 eggs, fish, etc.) may reduce inflammation.”

Here are the foods you need to be eating to contribute to a happy and healthy body:

  1. Garlic – Garlic has long been used by humans to improve various aspects of health. When looking at the effect garlic has on immunity, several scientific studies show that it stimulates multiple mechanisms in the body, which promotes the production of up to five important types of cells the body makes to drive our immune defences.
  2. Watermelon – Besides being a great low-calorie source of vitamins A and C, watermelon contains lycopene, a natural carotenoid which studies have suggested can lower the risk of heart and vascular disease and some cancers. It is also a concentrated source of citrulline, an amino acid that helps your blood vessels dilate and support good blood pressure.
  3. Chickpeas – Chickpeas offer a range of health benefits. As an ingredient, they’re high in folate, other B vitamins, several minerals, protein, fibre and even contain omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. They have shown to reduce levels of bad cholesterol and make for a great addition to any salad and side dishes. 
  4. Quinoa – Quinoa is one of very few grains that contains enough of all the essential amino acids that are required to repair and maintain our muscles, blood, enzymes, organs and support our immunity. It’s also high in probiotic fibre to foster good bacteria growth in our gut and is a good antioxidant. Plus, it makes a pretty great meat alternative too! 

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