From intermittent fasting to a paleo, alkaline, or low-carb diet, some of us will do just about anything to stay healthy. The idea of dieting and food restricting does not necessarily work for everyone, and that’s okay. By considering a list of food items you should include in your diet, perhaps you’ll find the perfect work around that suits best you. This way, instead of living by words such as “don’t”, “shouldn’t”, “can’t”, we can instead motivate ourselves with the positive alternatives.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to informational resources; there is no shortage of inspiration and motivation to get you thinking about your options. These resources are not only in print, but also in the form of blogs, websites, online shops and social media accounts. The ease with which one can build their own website and start a blog nowadays, makes it the perfect time to perhaps share your experiences with other like-minded people. In the meantime however, we have created a list to get you thinking about what you should include in your diet:

1. Fermented foods

Since the beginning of time, fermented foods have played a large role in many cultures around the world. Germany has its sauerkraut, Korea has kimchi, Iceland has h├íkari (fermented shark), and India has its chutneys. Not to mention the heaps of fermented dairy products and breads that are common amongst various cultures, and the health drinks that can now be bought everywhere with the likes of kombucha and water kefir. Fermented foods are a source of healthy bacteria for your gut. By including them in your diet you will enjoy a whole host of benefits – both physically and mentally.

2. Fresh fruit and vegetables

While this one is no secret, it still cannot be stressed enough. Our original five a day recommended portion of fruit and veg was recently ramped up to a whopping ten a day. Just remember: you cannot eat enough of them.

3. Eggs

Although eggs often get a bad rap, it is in fact important to include them in your diet. Eggs contain an array of different vitamins and include choline, an important nutrient for the brain.

4. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, fat, minerals, vitamins and fibre. These can be an excellent snacking food and should be a vegetarian’s best friend.

5. Olive oil

Olive oil is not only delicious with just about anything, but it also promotes a healthy heart due to its makeup of monounsaturated fats. This is however, not to say that you can drink it by the gallon. Remember: more is less and less is more.

6. Fish

Fish is particularly rich in omega 3 fatty acids which add to your overall health, promote a healthy heart, reduce inflammation, and are supposed to help fight depression and anxiety.

7. Grains

Despite the bad publicity created around grains by the paleo diet, they are rich in fibre and therefore aid digestion. They are also known to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Additionally, grains help you feel fuller for longer, which can be a huge benefit if you are trying to cut back.

8. Legumes

Legumes are another food item that are very important for vegetarians: they are a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Not only that, but they are also cheap and easy to incorporate into the diet.

9. Super foods

Although the price of most super foods has soared since the world discovered their health benefits, they are all the same worth incorporating into your diet when your budget allows. Think of foods such as acai and goji berries, cacao, chia seeds and quinoa. As is the case with many of these, you will find that you can use a lot of super foods in your next Buddha bowl.

10. Dairy

With more and more people turning against dairy, it is important to remember that it does in fact have some health benefits. It is a good source of calcium, protein and vitamin D. On top of this, as mentioned above, cultured dairy can be a great and common source of fermented foods.