The past year has had a detrimental impact on the nation’s health, with 35% of people experiencing weight gain due to the pandemic. Between the stay-at-home order, the closure of gyms and the temptation of takeaways, weight gain has been inevitable for many of us.
However, with the arrival of summer and the re-opening of public spaces, health and fitness can once again be a priority. In fact, as poor health can lead to a weaker immune system, it’s never felt more important to look after our wellbeing.
New rapid testing, such as the Healgen rapid antigen test, does help to put our minds at ease, however a healthy lifestyle is pivotal to protecting yourself from illness and improving your fitness. Listed below are some of the most popular diets that science supports.
Most dieticians would agree that the Mediterranean diet is among the healthiest out there, and there’s a lot to love. The diet recommends oily fish, plant-based foods and dairy. But what makes it so good for us? The foods suggested are low in unhealthy fats and sugars and includes fibre-rich ingredients that keep us fuller for longer. Health benefits to this diet include a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The best bit is that the Mediterraneans still enjoy their cheese and wine, meaning we get to eat a little bit of what we love.
The Flexitarian diet
There are a multitude of benefits to the flexitarian diet. It is defined as a diet that encourages largely plant-based foods but allows limited consumption of meat and other animal products. Whilst this diet has no distinct rules, this is a positive for people that do not enjoy restrictive diets. The main principles are to stick to mostly fruits, vegetables and whole grains, to focus on gaining protein from plants rather than animals and to limit sugars. Cutting meat consumption down is a fantastic way to improve heart health, whilst the limiting of processed foods is effective for boosting your physical fitness.
This diet is a form of intermittent fasting and involves eating regularly for 5 days and then restricting calories significantly for 2 days. Though it sounds strange, this diet has been proven to support weight management. Whilst there are no specific foods you should stick to eating, it is important not to indulge in too much junk food on ‘normal’ eating days, as this may lead to weight gain. Health benefits to this diet include weight management, reduced insulin resistance and decreased inflammation. It is also arguably easier to follow than other diets, as it does not require restricting calories constantly. Though this diet has worked for a lot of people, it isn’t for everyone.
The traditional Nordic diet is incredibly healthy, particularly in comparison to the Western diet. This is due to the lack of sugar and fat but an abundance of fibre and seafood. The diet does not focus on calorie counting, and instead just encourages the consumption of healthy locally sourced foods such as fresh fish and vegetables, and to avoid red meat, cheese and yoghurt. This diet not only helps with weight loss but has long-term positive effects such as improvements in metabolic health and decreased risk of chronic diseases.
The DASH Diet
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is designed to lower blood pressure through limiting saturated fats and salt intake. People with high blood pressure are far more at risk from coronavirus, making it extremely important. People with these health issues should be tested often, with the Healgen rapid antigen test being a very effective way to do so. The diet provides daily nutritional goals, including eating a lot of wholegrains, eating fat free or low-fat dairy products, and lots of nuts and beans. All of these foods are filling and low in saturated fats, which is great for the heart.