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Feel-good food: finding food that's good for your body

Thursday, June 30, 2016

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Finding the diet that is right for your body can be hard, but there are certain foods that can help you maintain a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle. Read our guide on foods that are good for your organs.

  • A good diet can help your chances of being healthy later in life
  • Find out which foods are good for your organs
  • Eating well will help you enjoy your retirement to the full

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, along with regular exercise, a good diet can prevent age-related problems such as heart disease and cognitive decline, and plays a protective role also in dental, bone and joint health.

If you are not yet retired, you still want to have a good diet, because what you eat now will likely affect your future health. In March, Public Health England launched a groundbreaking new campaign to help middle-aged people achieve this.

“Latest figures show that life expectancy at older ages is at record levels, but many are spending their retirement living in ill health,” says the agency. “Yet studies show living healthily in middle age can double your chances of being healthy when you are 70.”

Sounds attractive! It is relatively easy to accomplish, too, because it’s largely about having a healthy, balanced diet.

The Eatwell Guide from Public Health England recommends having at least five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Bread, pasta and other starchy foods should be around a third of what you eat. About one sixth should be meat, eggs, fish or pulses, and another one sixth should be low-fat dairies.

Choose vegetable instead of animal fat (vegetable oil instead of butter) and limit your consumption of processed foods. Drinking six to eight glasses of fluids daily and avoiding alcohol is also part of a healthy diet.

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Additionally, you may want to eat foods proven to have a favourable impact on specific organs, particularly the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and bowel.

Let’s look at what these foods are:

Brain

Studies suggest that a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids (mainly found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines) could help prevent age-related cognitive decline as well as dementia illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease.

Heart

Eating fruit and vegetables is generally good for cardiovascular disease prevention. For example, avocados can lower bad cholesterol levels, while oranges, spinach and root vegetables like beetroots can help maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Whole grains such as oats, barley and brown rice have also been found beneficial. One study has shown they can reduce cardiovascular risk by 30 per cent or more, and recommends that at least “3 servings of whole grains be consumed daily

Liver

Antioxidants, especially beta-carotene, appear to play a role in the prevention of common liver diseases, including cirrhosis. They are found in orange-coloured fruit and vegetables, such as oranges, apricots, carrots, pumpkins and squash, as well as green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.

Kidneys

The National Kidney Foundation recommends apple, blueberries, strawberries, kale and oily fish as “kidney-friendly” foods. Additionally, people who have kidney problems may want to limit their consumption of potassium-rich foods like sweet potatoes and spinach.

Bowel

Fibres are well known for their beneficial effects on bowel health, lowering the risk of constipation, for one thing. What’s more, research published in the British Medical Journal indicates that three servings of dietary fibres, particularly from whole grains and cereals, may reduce bowel cancer by 20 per cent. There are plenty of fibres in pulses (beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils) and whole grain foods (bread, pasta, rice).

Be stress free

It’s not all about food. Stress also has a significant impact on health. A team from University College London found it raises the risk of heart attack by 23 per cent. But you can lower your stress levels, with a healthy diet, exercise and pleasurable activities with family and friends.


The above tips will keep you in good health, enabling you to live your retirement to the full for many years to come. If you are concerned about your health, however, financial protection could help you to look after your loved ones. It’s all in your power – take action now!


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