6 Foods You Need to Eat More (And 6 You Should Skip)

by | Oct 17, 2023 | Nutrition

Don’t fuss over fads when it comes to your foods. Eating well shouldn’t mean you can’t indulge and reap rewards at the same time. These simple food-shop swaps, courtesy of nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, provide maximum benefits with minimum dietary adjustment.

Plate Up: Blood Sausage

It may not be the most palatable option, but it is rich in protein, potassium, magnesium, calcium and fibre. Ask your butcher or deli owner for help.

Plate Up: Biltong

A no-brainer when it comes to snacks—biltong offers plenty of protein and healthy fat. The best option: any kind of venison (or any other game), and make sure you don’t have huge portions.

READ MORE: 5 Power Proteins You Should Slap on the Braai Tonight

Plate Up: Red Peppers

They’re bursting with beta-carotene and lycopene – both key for eyesight. They have a high water content, too, so eating masses doesn’t equal masses of kilojoules.

Plate Up: Beetroot

A number of studies published since 2009 show nitrates found in beets aid exercise performance after being converted to nitric oxide by enzymes in saliva. The last point is key – better to sip cold- pressed juice than bolt a supplement.

Plate Up: Goat Meat

Data from the US Department of Agriculture shows goat meat is both leaner and has fewer kilojoules than beef, pork and chicken. It has more flavour too, meaning your hunger is likely to be satiated by smaller portions.

READ MORE: Delicious Slow-Cooked Pork Recipe: A Feast for Big Appetites

Plate Up: Kefir

Go further still and quaff kefir, a fermented dairy drink, higher in vitamins B1, B12 and K than the milk it’s based on. Its superpowers include a digestion-aiding probiotic element.

The Do-Not-Eat List

From the latest immunity-boosting liquefied plant shot to your mid-afternoon energy bar, these nutrition myths and fads are fast falling out of favour. Whether overrated, outdated or plain harmful, your body deserves better.

Skip: Coconut Water

“Hydration-wise, studies have shown that water is just as effective after a workout,” says nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert. “And while coconut water does contain electrolytes, it’s often full of sugar, too. To avoid undoing the benefits, read the ingredient list on the back – it should just contain one ingredient: coconut water.”

READ MORE: Here’s How Drinking Water Can Help You Burn 490 More Calories

Skip: Kale

“Okay, you can’t argue with its ridiculous vitamin A, B6, C and K content,” Lambert admits. “But the prevalence of an indigestible sugar [in kale], called raffinose, can cause bloating, and the leaves’ goitrogens can disrupt iodine uptake in the thyroid, leading to fatigue and weight gain.”

Skip: Goji Berries

The BDA does not recognise any evidence goji berries boost the immune system and brain activity, protect against heart disease and cancer or increase lifespan. The advice? “Stick to a range of fruit and veg, rather than spending money on this one item with no proven benefits.”

Skip: Convenience Salads

Your “go-to” salads won’t do you any favours, packed as they are with kilojoules and sugar-heavy dressings. Lambert recommends checking all labels before you tuck in.

Skip: Frozen Yoghurt

“Frozen yoghurts are a dairy minefield,” Lambert declares. “Often the freezing process destroys the healthy gut bacteria that makes normal yoghurt healthy, with most brands adding tons of sugar, too.” Lambert suggests forgoing the lot in favour of WheyO Ice Cream.

READ MORE: Is Dairy Healthy? Studies Uncover Some Big Benefit

Skip: Almond Milk

“Many – though not all – almond milk is highly sweetened and has minimal natural nutritional value. In fact, it won’t give you many benefits unless it’s fortified,” says Lambert. For dairy alternatives, consider switching to soy, which is a much better source of protein and calcium.

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