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Nutrition

Seven portions a day, is it that simple?

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Good nutrition means your body gets all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work its best. Common benefits of good nutrition include; higher energy levels, improved brain function, heart health and stroke prevention, improved mood and memory, promotes gut health and encourages a better nights sleep. But is it that simple?

We all need regular, healthy, balanced meals in order to provide our bodies with the vital nutrients required. For people affected by fatigue you may need even more vitamins and minerals than the recommended amount, as our bodies may struggle to absorb nutrients in an optimal way. A Naturopathic approach advises eating at least seven portions of vegetables and fruits daily (2 of which should be fruit, to limit sugar intake).

Not sounding so simple now? It can seem difficult to make sure we are including seven or more portions in our meals but there are some different things you can do to ensure you're doing this with minimal effort.

You can use fresh produce, frozen, canned or dried so there’s no excuse not to get your minimum of 7 portions a day. Cook vegetables lightly to retain maximum Vitamin C, by stir-frying, steaming, roasting or even better, eat some of them raw. Keep fresh produce in the fridge to help maintain Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for over 300 biological processes in the body and is the most powerful anti-oxidant, combatting any damage caused by free-radicals, which occurs naturally or at times of illness or stress. Our bodies cannot store Vitamin C so try to eat vegetables and fruit with every meal to top up your levels.

To make life simple, make meals in large batches – cook once but eat for several meals – saving you energy and time. Casseroles, soups, bolognaise sauce, curries can all be crammed full of vegetables and will freeze well to help you when it’s a difficult day. Always try to make your meals and snacks balanced, containing protein, good fats and carbohydrates. And the advice is, for those of us with energy-related conditions, not to fast, miss meals or follow diets which exclude food groups, in order to maintain a balance of blood sugar and help keep your fatigue at bay.

TOP TIP: Aim to eat the ‘rainbow’ of colours with lots of variety every single day – each colour gives you different anti-oxidants, carotenoids, vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C and A, magnesium and potassium.

Use every meal and snack as an opportunity to feed your body with the nutrients it needs and craves. Nurture your body. But hey, nobody is perfect so the occasional treat won’t hurt and might make you feel good about yourself. Variety is the spice of life so eat widely, enjoy what you eat and make food your friend.

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