Healthy living for students

Article by: Sue Segar

Being a “super-learner” means taking good care of your health, and what you eat is a vital component of keeping healthy. Here are ten foods which health experts rate as wonder foods for attaining optimum health.

Fish: Leading nutritional expert Patrick Holford believes we should eat fish at least once a week for optimal health and brain function. “Eat cold-water carnivorous fish – herring, mackerel, salmon or fresh tuna – for a good source of protein and omega-3 fats,” he says in his acclaimed book Optimum Nutrition for the Mind. Other benefits of fish: it builds bones, provides iodine, calcium, iron, Vitamin B1, Vitamin E and zinc.

Super Sprouts:  Known as a prime example of “living foods”, the sprouts of a range of seeds – such as alfalfa, celery, clover, oats, radish, fenugreek, and sunflower – are hugely beneficial to human nutrition. And the good news is that the seeds are not expensive, can be stored indefinitely and are easy to grow.

Sunflower seeds:  Renowned British health guru, Dr Gillian McKeith recommends sunflower seeds as a highly effective “energy pick-me-up”. Full of B vitamins and essential fatty acids, it is also loaded with protein. Eat them by the handful and see the difference!

Parsley: So you thought parsley was just for flavour! Think again. This tasty herb is otherwise known as a multivitamin, as it contains, for a start, more vitamin C than most citrus fruits as well as a range of other nutrients, such as beta carotene, vitamin B12, chlorophyll and calcium. Plant some in a little pot and chew it every day!

Quinoa: A bowl of quinoa porridge (available at health stores and an increasing number of supermarkets) a few times a day will provide you with a large dose of healthy protein and calcium as well as a range of minerals. This super-food, which is increasingly being recommended by medical experts, is also very good for promoting strong kidneys.

Garlic: Top Cape Town nutritionist Sally-Ann Creed is one of a number of health experts who describe garlic as a super food. “It is something worth shouting about from the rooftops,” she writes in her informative book Let Food Be Your Medicine. “It promotes good circulation, lowers cholestrol, contains sulphur compounds shown to prevent cancer-cell growth, alleviates allergies, kills infections and builds immunity … to name just a few of its benefits.” Creed recommends eating garlic regularly in its raw form, for instance in salad dressing. It’s delicious too!

Sweet Potatoes: These low fat vegetables – also available at a low cost – are full of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, as well as offering 25 percent of your daily iron requirement in one helping. Sweet potatoes also contain beta-catotene, potassium, Vitamin C and Zinc. An excellent source of fibre, they are an all-round benefit to your system, and, says Dr Creed, everyone should try and eat one a day!

Chickpeas: Chickpeas are a great source of protein and can help to lower cholesterol levels. They also contain phytochemicals called saponins, which can act as antioxidants.  They offer double the amount of iron in other beans, as well as being a good source of Vitamin C. Lentils and beans are also excellent foods for health, with the additional benefit of being very affordable. Eat them at least once a week!

Oats: Eaten raw in a simple muesli or cooked as porridge, oats – a staple and inexpensive food – is an excellent source of protein, as well as magnesium, iron, potassium, Vitamin B1, calcium, zinc and Vitamin E. It is also a cholesterol fighter and a good source of fibre.

Water: Don’t forget the importance of water – an essential nutrient for life! Drink at least two litres a day for optimum health and you will certainly reap the benefits.

A healthy way of living while you are a student will help you when it comes to your studies as you will have more energy and the ability to concentrate!

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Image courtesy of mapichai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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