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Nutrition

The health benefits of low GI foods

As we're often told, the best way to look after our health is to get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Sadly, our best-laid healthy living intentions don't always go to plan and we find ourselves reaching for the biscuit tin instead of the fruit bowl.

But according to registered nutritionist Dr Carina Norris, it is important to fill our diet with as many low glycaemic index (GI) foods as possible, as these make us feel fuller for longer.

"These are foods which are slowly digested and absorbed by the body, providing a gradual drip-feed of glucose into the blood stream, which gives you more sustained energy levels," she explained. "Low GI foods include whole grains (such as wholemeal bread, brown pasta, brown rice, and porridge), nuts and seeds, lean meats and fish, and vegetables."

Although our morning glass of juice can count as one of our recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day, the drink itself can be high GI - which causes rapid increases in blood glucose and provides a spike in energy, but it doesn't last for too long. Instead, make a smoothie out of whole fruit with the skin left on for a tasty low-GI snack.

"Other examples of high GI foods include sugary foods such as sweets, biscuits and cakes, sugary drinks, and highly refined carbohydrates, such as white bread," said the food expert.

Following a low GI diet is said to help shift excess weight and keep it off long-term, because you are making healthy changes to your eating patterns rather than cutting out whole food groups at once.

Proponents of low GI believe eating better can help combat general tiredness, especially in mid-afternoon, lack of concentration, mood swings and cravings, all of which are associated with spikes and dips in blood sugar levels.

Posted by Matilda Jones

 
 
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