Oxygen is our life force. The blood is vital for delivering oxygen to our cells and removing carbon dioxide, along with other toxic waste. Eating a poor diet, which is high in saturated fat, salt and sugar can have catastrophic effects on the body by causing a build up of fatty deposits in the inner lining of the arteries and narrowing them. This means that blood flows less efficiently around the body and we don’t get as much oxygen as we could.
The good news is, a nutrient rich diet can help keep our heart and circulation healthy and the oxygen flowing in abundance. Here are some fabulous additions to your diet which are scientifically proven to have a positive impact.
Extra virgin olive oil
There are two main reasons for eating this delicious tasting fat on a daily basis. Firstly, replacing saturated fat with plant based unsaturated fat decreases the chance of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol damaging the arteries. Secondly, olive oil is rich in polyphenols which helps reduce inflammation caused by free radicals.
This delightful beverage is well known for its health benefits. Tea contains a powerful group of polyphenols called catechins which have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. Drinking green tea may help to reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol absorbed into the blood, thereby aiding weight loss.
Fruit and veggies
Eating around 800g (roughly 10 portions) of fruits and vegetables per day greatly reduces the risk of heart disease. Packed with nutrients, antioxidants and fibre, a diet full of fruit and vegetables can cut the chance of heart attack, stroke, cancers and premature death by up to a third. Research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology shows that apples, pears, citrus fruits, spinach, lettuce and chicory offer the greatest heart health benefits. Where possible, opt for whole, fresh fruit and veg as opposed to smoothies and juices. The Make It Healthy Raw Carrot Cake is packed with raw, organic carrots and dates, which are perfect fodder for increasing your 5-a-day! Come and grab a slice from our stall at Rode Hall Farmers Market in Cheshire on the first Saturday of every month.
Water is vital for transporting nutrients and oxygen around the body and getting rid of waste products. Staying hydrated is a fantastic way to improve your performance as it helps to regulate body temperature and blood pressure. Not sure how much to drink? Although official advice on fluids is to drink 6-8 glasses per day, checking your thirst is the body’s best tool. Start by drinking one extra glass of water per day.
Inulin is a prebiotic fibre found in certain plant based foods, such as chicory and artichokes. When digested, inulin is fermented by bacteria in the gut to produce short chain fatty acids – which are a very good thing! Short chain fatty acids help to clear fat from the liver, muscles and pancreas, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Clinical trials on humans also show that inulin can promote weight loss by increasing the anti-hunger hormone, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Inulin can be bought as a supplement.