5 surprising ways to optimise your health, according to a Nutrition Scientist

Nutritionist Dr Federica Amati shares 5 ways to optimise our health and wellbeing, some of which might just surprise you!

1. Probiotics alone are not helpfulWe all know that gut health is key to overall health, and there are a myriad of probiotics on the market aimed at improving this. To get the most benefit from these helpful bacteria, we need prebiotic fibre as food for them to survive and thrive in our gut and release beneficial postbiotic chemicals. Fibre is a key component to our diet, and the more research is conducted, the more important this message becomes. It is crucial for gut health and getting enough of it during our lifetime is linked to lowering risk of premature death, cancer, type 2 diabetes and anxiety disorders to name but a few. Unfortunately, the majority of us struggle to get to even half of the recommended daily portion of 25g-38g per day. Enhancing our regular dietary fibre intake with whole plants and a  good fibre rich supplement powder, like

Indi Body, can help us achieve this. Mix with your favourite kefir or plant milk for a delicious health drink, which delivers a variety of fibre sources along with adequate fluid intake for a smooth higher fibre intake transition.

2. Enjoy extra Virgin Olive Oil every day

The research on the positive health benefits which come from daily consumption of EVOO is overwhelming and exciting. We now understand more about the pathways through which EVOO acts as an antioxidant and reduces inflammation, strengthening the case for ensuring we consume high quality EVOO every day. Drizzle on your salads, soups, pastas and fish dishes but make sure it’s the extra virgin kind and not the blended ‘olive oils’ that don’t retain the same nutritional benefits.

3. Use nature’s own pharmacy through whole plants

We all know that food is made up of complex chemical structures. These interact with one other as well as with our gut microbes and our cells. What’s exciting to see in recent research is how plants can act to help improve our health and wellbeing in clinically measurable ways. Polyphenols in dark plants and fruits such as cavolo nero and haskap berries counteract oxidative stress, and inulin from chicory root is proven to support lipid metabolism and a healthy microbiome profile. Eating a combination of these foods every day helps support our body’s immune and anti-inflammatory functions for a long and healthy life.

4. Don’t stick to the same meals every day

Although it looks pretty, preparing the same meal for lunch every day is not likely to help us achieve the ideal number of diverse plants every week. Research suggests we should be aiming for 30 types per week, from spices to nuts and seeds and seasonal vegetables. The key to variety is meals that offer different combinations of nutrients, minerals and flavours every time. So ditch the repetitive meal plans and get creative with dried spices, seeds, nuts, whole grains, EVOO, occasional high quality animal products, and lots of seasonal vegetables for a broad range of benefits.

5. Know your personal reactions to food

The future of healthcare is personalisation. From personalised medicines in treating cancers to knowing exactly which foods have a positive impact on our health, we now know that the same food can elicit entirely different responses, even in identical twins. Thanks to groundbreaking research, companies such as ZOE are using years of research to launch products that will allow us to test our body’s responses to foods and create a bespoke diet based on our individual data.