• Question: what is the most healthiest food in the world??????????

    Asked by glencoco to Enda, Jean on 23 Nov 2012.
    • Photo: Jean Bourke

      Jean Bourke answered on 23 Nov 2012:

      Tofu might be an option. Tofu comes in blocks and is beige and kind of like a very dense jelly. It is made from soy beans. It is hight in proteins, low in fat and contains iron, calcium and magnesium (the latter 2 depending on preparation). You can get lots of different types, from sweet to smoked to dried.

      Honey is another good candidate. It is made from the nectar in flowers by bees and I’m sure you’re all familiar with it. It is mostly sugar but it also has lots of other nutrients in it. There is not enough in it to keep you alive for ever but it has lot of other properties: it is antifungal, antibacterial and it never goes off. Seriously, they’ve found honey in the pyramids from thousands of years ago and it’s totally fine.

      It’s really hard to pick a healthiest food as you generally need loads of different nutrient and no one food can provide them all. Thinking about it, I’m tempted to say beans or lentils. Beans are high in fibre, protein, complex carbohydrates and iron. Eating beans regularly can help lower cholesterol. Again I’d like to stress the need for a balance diet hight in fruit and veg.

      If you are worried about your diet and how healthy it is it may be a good idea to keep a food diary. Just keep a little notebook with you and write down everything you eat, or you can just note it down in your phone. 1 serving of fruit of veg is about the size of your fist or a handful. 1 serving of meat or fish is about the size of a deck of cards. 1 serving of cheese is about the size of a box of matches. 1 serving of rice of pasta is about 1/2 cup.

      Remember the food pyramid, it is actually based on some very good science. 2 of meant/poultry, 3 of dairy, 3 veg, 2 fruit, 6 starchy. When it comes to fruit and veg 5-a-day is good but you can of course eat more than that.

      Sorry for not being able to give a more definite answer but I hope I’ve explained a bit about why it was so hard for me to pick one thing. Remember:everything in moderation.

      I <3 food

    • Photo: Enda O'Connell

      Enda O'Connell answered on 23 Nov 2012:

      Hi Glencoco

      There is probably no one food that you could call the healthiest. It is important that we have a healthy, balanced diet containing food from all the food groups, as the molecules that make up the food are needed by our bodies to keep us alive and to replenish our cells.

      These molecules include:
      lipids (fats – a certain amount of fat is necessary for us all) which make up the membrane or outer layer of our cells and are also a source of energy;
      carbohydrates (sugars and other molecules) which store energy, are used structurally in some species and as communication molecules for signalling (what Jean is working on in Mycobacterium tuberculosis);
      and proteins, which are the main building blocks of our cells but are also involved in signalling, and as enzymes in making chemical reactions happen in our cells. The other types of molecules we need to get from food include vitamins and minerals, which help some of these chemical reactions occur.

      You may have heard the term “Superfood” a lot recently, in TV ads for example. This term is not really used by nutrition scientists and dietitians and is more a marketing term used by the companies who want to sell you the food. In their eyes, a “superfood” contains a high level of a particular vitamin or mineral, that has been shown by scientists to be beneficial. So they often try to push this food as being necessary in our diet, but if you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, you should not need to eat their “superfoods” every day as you are getting your quota anyway.

      Examples of these “superfoods” include blueberries, broccoli, and spinach which probably contain no more or less of these minerals than other, less fashionable foods like bananas and potatoes. So if you are eating some or all of these “superfoods” and foods regularly, you will probably have a fairly healthy diet, but there is little evidence to suggest that you need to spend all your money only on superfoods.