Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Healthy additives

Ever since GOOP pointed me to thug kitchen I've been annoyed with myself for not writing anything as genius!! Who knew that gratuitous swearing was the secret to making nutrition engaging!

The latest entry is the great suggestion to add quinoa to your porridge to crank up the fibre and protein. I actually make gluten free porridge out of quinoa flakes, but they have a fairly distinctive taste so a full bowl of quinoa is not for everyone.  Infact know that my diet can be a bit extreme, but eating well doesn't have to involve totally changing your diet - make little additions like this one as you cook and eat can really ramp up the nutritional content of your diet.

So as well as this great suggestion of adding quinoa to your porridge at home here are a few other little healthy additives to try out.

Add berries to your breakfast - they go with everything and are antioxidant power houses - add them to porridge, cereal, pancakes, smoothies, yoghurt, even slice them and eat them on toast with some natural nut butter.

Sprinkle chopped nuts or seeds over your salad for some crunch and some superfats.

Add cinnamon to your coffee ... it should cut the sugar you need if you like it sweet and reduce the blood sugar impact of the caffeine.

Whatever sandwich you are making always add an extra vegetable when you've finished, whether it's some grated carrot, some spinach leaves or some slice raddish.

Add grated ginger and minced garlic to any stir fry for some blood pressure lowering and antimicrobial power.

Use nut butter on toast instead of regular toast, every time - to keep your fats in check.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Just beet it

Greeting readers! Apologies for the extended absence - I was busy getting married to hot doc!

Anyone's who's organized a wedding will know how crazy it is, but thankfully I'm back in the normal non-wedding world again which has also given me a chance to catch-up on some nutrition reading.

There's always lots of research on individual nutrients, but there is also increasingly research on using whole foods to treat disease.  This is partly in recognition of the fact that whole foods contain a variety of nutrients that work together in synergy.  The great thing about this kind of research is that unlike the usual high science, this research can translate into changes you can make day to day that will have an impact on your health.

So on that theme I want to talk about beetroot, which has been shown in a recent study to lower blood pressure.  The research by the University of Reading showed that drinking a small amount of beetroot juice, equivalent to eating two small beetroots, lowered blood pressure in people with elevated levels.

The problem with alot of widespread conditions such as blood pressure, is that GPs have targets to treat these as quickly as possible so will have you on blood pressure lowering drugs before you even have a chance to ask about any alternatives. But if you can treat yourself with food then this would always be preferable to using synthetic drugs which have numerous side effects and don't address the underlying reason that you got your condition in the first place.

If you or someone you know has high blood pressure, they should start eating some beetroot pronto (or even better if you have a juicer add it raw to your morning fruit juice), but more importantly if you have any health condition you should be finding out what you can do about it with food rather than just relying on medication to get you back to top health.  Food Is Better Medicine Than Drugs is a great place to start - Patrick Holford is the authority on this subject and brilliant at making the information accessible to the non-scientist - it might save you a few trips to the GP!