Diet trends to look out for this spring

Following a healthy diet isn’t always easy, but it’s highly recommended. Take the plunge and start today.

According to the World Health Organization( WHO), a healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition.

“It protects you against many chronic noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Eating a variety of foods and consuming less salt, sugar and saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats, are essential for a healthy diet,” says the organisation.

Go with the season

Keeping your focus on in-season fruit and vegetables is an easy way to usher in small daily changes that can make a big difference.

Swopping soups and stews for fresh and delicious salads and other plant-based meals helps you to increase both the amount and variety of fruit and veg you eat.

Jade Seeliger, a registered dietitian and Association for Dietitians (Asda) in South Africa spokesperson, points out that Spring produce can have a restorative effect on the body.

“After a long, cold winter, our immune systems take a knock and many of us turn to antibiotics to help us recover.

“Antibiotics wipe out both the bad, and good microbiota living in our gut.

“Certain fruits and vegetables known as prebiotics provide food for your gut bacteria and help them to flourish once more.

“Prebiotic-containing fruit and vegetables in season in spring include artichokes, apples and asparagus.”

Keep your attention also on the versatile cruciferous veg such as broccoli and cauliflower; and stock up on the spring avocados, tomatoes and berries.

Wholefoods

It’s always best to reach for whole, unprocessed foods to get the most nutritional bang for your buck.

Mari Pronk, also a registered dietitian and Asda spokesperson, says this way of eating is all about returning to the basics. The emphasis is on whole, minimally processed foods.

Wholefoods are defined as foods that have not been refined, are minimally processed and eaten in their natural state.

This includes unprocessed food, such as fruit and vegetables, minimally processed food (inedible or unwanted parts of the food are removed) such as oats, brown rice and legumes.

Wholefoods are low in added salt, sugar and fat and do not contain additives. They are naturally higher in vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Eating mostly whole foods can help to prevent unwanted weight gain.

Plant-based

The plant-based trend is not going anywhere any time soon.

This way of eating focuses on making vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy products and whole grains the focus of meals, rather than animal products.

The positive effect on your health is obvious. Plant-based foods are naturally high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and low in fat and cholesterol. It’s also more environmentally sustainable to eat this way.

Plant-based foods contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that can protect against cancer.