Superfoods

Superfoods  – myth or magic?

Are you buying the superfood hype; either literally or figuratively?  These foods have been in the press for the last few years but recently new magic morsels have been added including lentils, quinoa, chills and green tea.

Its worth remembering there is no official definition of a “superfood” and the EU has banned health claims on packaging unless supported by scientific evidence.

So do certain foods deserve that badge of honour?

What makes a food ‘Super'; they often contain higher than average amounts of antioxidants or compounds that can keep the body healthy and potentially help fight some diseases.  In that respect foods like blueberries, broccoli, oily fish, beetroot juice, dark chocolate and to a lesser extent red wine all deserve praise as they have high levels of compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids

homemade chocolate bar

But so do blackberries, carrots, apples, oats, nuts, red cabbage, raspberries, flaxseeds, and most fruits and vegetables.  And importantly they are often cheaper than their ‘superfood’ cousins

The superfood debate got the attention of BBC radio Leicester, so I joined them for a discussion along with Sangita the owner of a local Leicester deli.

Click here to listen to the interview (15 minutes)

https://soundcloud.com/user-95908886/radio-leics-superfood

 

fruit-and-vegTo eat a ‘superfood’ rich diet we agreed that it should contain more fruit and veg than we currently eat.  Incidentally, did you know that only about 30% of the UK adult population get their 5-a-day.

cakesTry and reduce your level of processed foods; anything from ready meals, cured meats to pastries and cakes

Go for variety and moderation; the occasional treat is fine

 

Drink within safe alcohol limits (max 14 units a week) a small glass (125ml) of red wine can be beneficial

Stay hydrated with the original ‘superfood'; Water

In other words adopt a more Mediterranean diet that includes plenty of wholegrain, pulses, vegetables, fruit and olive oil and you will feel “SUPER

 

 

 

Foods to boost your immune system

Foods to boost your immune system

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

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Working at Maggie’s cancer supper centre in Nottingham, I’m often asked about what foods can help build up our immune system.  This is especially important to cancer patients who may have undergone some quite radical surgery, chemo or radiotherapy.  All of which can have a debilitating effect on the body

 

 

 

img_8426A strong immune system is also important to many us as we enter the autumn and winter months.

To strengthen your immune system it is important to

  • Load up on the foods that pack the biggest nutritional punch
  • Whilst avoiding processed foods (often high in fat and salt) and
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.
  • You can do even more by selecting foods that are loaded with specific immune boosting nutrients.

Top tips for a healthy immune system

  • chopped veggies

    A rainbow of colour

    Eat a ‘rainbow’ of colour to get more antioxidants in your diet.  By that I mean have plenty of variety,  all the following foods help to nourish the thymus gland, which is responsible for much of the immune-system function.  Eat at least two servings a day of these foods rich in vitamins B, C and E, plus beta-carotene (vitamin A) and zinc – red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, apples, tomatoes, kiwi, carrots, berries, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes.  You get the idea!

  • Cook frequently with garlic because it’s a proven immune booster and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. The allicin helps to prevent and fight colds. So add it to hummus, pasta and curry dishes. Rub on to toasted sour dough for a low cal garlic bread
  •  spinachSpinach is rich in folic acid. It can be made into spinach pasta, added to soups, smoothies or pasta sauces.  It can brighten up a curry or an omelette and bulk out a salad
  • Cinnamon is antiviral, anti fungal and antibacterial; sprinkle it on your porridge or muesli. Add it to low sugar bakes and biscuits or smoothies
  • Mushrooms – contain vitamin D (and will absorb more if placed on a sunny shelf), which is good at combating viruses. Add to omelettes, stir-fries, soups and pasta dishes

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  • Stay hydrated  – try and drink at least 6 glasses of water, fruit teas, green and black teas etc a day

 

 

  • Tactivity exercise walkingake some regular exercise: If you want to boost your immune system, get active. Just increasing your heart rate for only 20 minutes three times a week is associated with an increased immune function, and a brisk walk five days a week can help reduce your risk of catching a cold.  Also being out and socialising can help boost your immune system

 

  • Have a giggle! –  Laughing decreases the levels of stress hormones in the body while increasing a type of white blood cells that fights infection.

 

Vita-Berry Blast

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

www.nutrition-coach.co.uk

smoothieThis Wednesday I will be at Maggie’s, Nottingham, The cancer support centre at the City Hospital, talking to teenagers and young adults about healthy eating.  So what better way to showcase good nutrition than by making a smoothie, I’m hoping to have lots of audience participation

Smoothies are a great way to get one or more of your 5-a-day.  The combinations of fruits, veg and protein can be endless.  But I will be using a recipe based on one from my Nutribullet recipe book (with a little upgrade!)

nutribullet smoothies

We are also coming to the end of National vegetarian Week so what better way to celebrate the goodness of fruits and veg that to make the Vita berry blast (plus!)  The fruits anIMG_5263d veg chosen for this recipe are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids; which are particularly good at protecting the body from damage by ‘free radicals’

1-2 handfuls of rinsed fresh spinach or 2 blocks of frozen spinach – I use these all the time in smoothies they make the drink nice and cold and thick

 

IMG_61631 cup of blueberries

1 ripe banana

1 handful of strawberries

Cold water

Plus 2 tablespoons of oats and 2 teaspoons of chis seeds – for extra protein

Now for the difficult bit!

 

nutribullet

 

Tip all the ingredients  (except the water) into the large nutribullet cup.  Fill up to the MAX line (or just below) with water.  Screw on the blade, place it in the nutribullet, push down and twist and whizz for 1-2 minutes.

Serve as is, or add a sprig of mint for that professional touch!