#2013alive: Add the Good: Greens, Fibre, and Omega-3s

#2013alive: Add the Good: Greens, Fibre, and Omega-3s

It’s week 3 of alive’s 12 Months of Wellness. This week we’re adding the good to our diets. It’s easy! Greens, fibre, and omega-3s provide a major nutritional boost.

It’s week 3 of our 12 Months of Wellness. Last week we cut out the bad (soft drinks and trans fats) from our diet. This week we’re going to add the good: greens, fibre, and omega-3s.

Eating healthier may seem like a daunting task, but it’s easy to do by making a few simple additions to our diet.

Add greens

My first memory of greens is a soggy little pile of boiled, tasteless, waterlogged spinach my mom used to put on my plate. But leafy greens are actually delicious! There’s a variety of healthy greens to choose from, including spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, beet greens, Belgian endive … and a variety of microgreens.

Why add greens?

Many greens contain high amounts of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and fibre, as well as other nutrients. And bonus: they’re low in calories and sodium.

How to add greens

We’re being nutritional multi-taskers this week because leafy greens are also excellent sources of dietary fibre.

  • Eat one leafy green each day.
  • Choose your favourite green, or be adventurous and choose one you’ve never tried before.

Add fibre

If the word “fibre” conjures up images of evening news commercials, you’re probably thinking regularity, bulk, stool, and constipation. Poor stereotyped fibre. It does so much more than move food along our digestive tract.

Why add fibre?

Fibre also aids digestion, maintains bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar, and aids in weight loss. Our bodies need both soluble (fibre that dissolves in water) and insoluble fibre (the kind that doesn’t dissolve). Most plant-based foods, such as oats, beans, and lentils contain both types of fibre in differing amounts.

How to add fibre

  • Eat a variety of soluble fibre-rich foods, including oats, barley, psyllium, beans, peas, carrots, apples, and citrus fruits.
  • Eat foods containing insoluble fibre, such as whole wheat flour, wheat bran, whole grains, nuts, beans, cauliflower, and potatoes.

Add omega-3s

Our bodies can’t produce these essential fatty acids. But don’t panic, we’re going to introduce you to some excellent dietary sources of omega-3s.

Why add omega-3s?

Omega-3s are highly concentrated in the brain where research shows they may enhance memory and improve brain performance. They may reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and heart disease by reducing inflammation.

How to add omega-3s

  • Eat a couple of servings of cold water fish this week, such as salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines, or herring.
  • Add sacha inchi seeds, flaxseeds or flaxseed oil, soybeans or soybean oil, pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed oil, and walnuts or walnut oil to your diet.

Check out the delicious recipes on alive.com that feature leafy greens, fibre, and omega-3s.

If you’ve just discovered the 12 Months  of Wellness challenge, it’s never too late to participate! Take a look back to see what you’ve missed (week 1, week 2), and download our January goal planner to keep yourself motivated and accountable.

Check in on Wednesday to see how the alive staff is meeting this week’s challenge and let us know how you’re doing!

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