1. Eat essential fats and phospholipids:
- Eat an egg a day, or six eggs a week - preferably free-range, organic and high in omega-3s. Boil, scramble or poach them, but avoid frying.
- Eat a tablespoon of seeds and nuts every day - the best seeds are flax, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. (As for nuts go for what you like - Brazils, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews . . . ) You get more goodness out of them by grinding them first. They’re delicious sprinkled on cereal, soups and salads.
- Eat cold water, oily carnivorous fish - have a serving of herring, mackerel, salmon or sardines two or three times a week (limit tuna, unless identified as low in mercury, to three times a month).
- Used cold-pressed seed oils - choose an oil blend such as Essential Balance or Udo’s Choice for salad dressings and other cold uses, such as drizzling on vegetables instead of butter.
2. Eat slow-release carbohydrates, and avoid refined ones:
- Eat whole foods - whole grains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables - and avoid white, refined and over-processed foods.
- Snack on fresh fruit, preferably apples, pears and/or berries.
- Eat four servings a day of whole grains and/or pulses. Try rice, rye, oats, corn, quinoa or wholewheat, boiled or in a breads and pasta; and lentils, beans or chickpeas.
- Dilute fruit juices and only eat dried fruit infrequently in small quantities, preferably soaked or with a small handful of nuts or seeds.
3. Eat vitamin, mineral and antioxidant rich foods:
- Eat half your diet raw or lightly steamed.
- Eat three or more servings a day of fresh fruit, including one of berries.
- Eat four servings a day of dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as tender stem broccoli, broccoli, kale, spinach, watercress, carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green beans or pepper.
- Have a serving a day of beans, lentils, nuts or seeds - all high in folic acid.
4. Eat enough protein:
- Have three servings of protein-rich foods a day, if you are a man, and two if you are a woman.
- Choose good vegetable protein sources, including beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu or tempeh (soya) and ‘seed’ vegetables such as peas, broad beans and corn.
- If eating animal protein, choose lean meat or preferably fish, organic whenever possible.
Avoid harmful fats:
- Minimise your intake of fried or processed food and saturated fat from meat and dairy products.
- Minimise your consumption of deep-fried foods. Poach, steam or steam-fry food instead.
6. Avoid sugar, reduce caffeine and drink alcohol in moderation:
- Avoid adding sugar to dishes, and avoid foods and drinks with added sugar. Keep your sugar intake to a minimum, sweetening cereal or desserts with fruit.
- Avoid or considerably reduce your consumption of caffeinated drinks. Don’t have more than one caffeinated drink a day.
- Drink alcoholic drinks infrequently, ideally wine or beer, if your homocysteine score is above 9. Otherwise, have no more than four alcoholic drinks a week.
If you’re wondering how to start making the necessary changes in your shopping, cooking and eating habits, and want help making delicious meals using the principles I outline, take a look at the Optimum Nutrition Cookbook...
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