Arthritis: What You Need To Know

As we get older, one of the things that can start to happen is that we experience aches and pains. If your aches and pains are a regular feature of your life, it’s definitely worth asking your doctor or physio for advice. Sometimes that regular twinge you are getting is something more serious, but don’t let the possibility of ‘something more serious’ prevent you from getting it checked out. If it’s nothing but creaking joints, that’s great. If it’s something else, well we can work on that too.

You may have guessed that the ‘something else’ I am thinking about is arthritis. I want to share some of my top tips for using food to help alleviate some of the symptoms of arthritis.

Types of Arthritis

There are 2 types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage between bones and joints wears down, allowing bones to rub together rather than giving them the protection and cushion they need. Cartilage is made up of collagen and other substances that make connective tissue both flexible and strong. Cartilage covers the ends of bones where they meet the joints — and deterioration over time can affect the shape and functionality of the joints, making it painful and difficult to carry out everyday tasks.

Under the age of 45, it’s more common in men, and over the age of 45, it’s more common in women. By the time they get to 50, 80% of people will have symptoms associated with this type of arthritis, which starts as a stiffness in the hips, back, knees or other joints. The joints then become increasingly swollen and inflexible.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects someone’s joints and causes ongoing pain, swelling, stiffness and limitations in terms of movements. For most people, their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms tend to flare up at times and become worse when inflammation levels rise, but then become better for a while, only to return once again. It can be triggered by genetics, or a bacterial or viral component, and also environmental or lifestyle factors. About 80% of sufferers are women. The body – for whatever the reason – develops antibodies against its own tissue, and it attacks the cartilage and connective tissue. Over time, joints become inflamed and enlarged.

There are a number of factors that are important in managing arthritis:

  • How good your digestion and detoxification are
  • Blood sugar balance
  • Inflammation
  • Levels of essential fats
  • Allergies

Underlying Causes

The key to improving the symptoms of arthritis is to work on the underlying causes rather than just treating the symptoms.

Digestion

The scene for inflammation – even if that inflammation is elsewhere in the body, e.g. the joints – is often set in the digestive tract. If the gut environment is disturbed (a disruption in the normal balance of bacteria), this can lead to bacterial infection, parasites, intestinal permeability (aka ‘leaky gut’), allergies and intolerances.

What then happens partially digested food proteins get into the bloodstream, along with other toxins and microbes, putting greater pressure on the body’s detoxification processes. Once the liver starts to become over-taxed, any dietary or environmental toxins may cause further inflammation.

A programme that works on creating a good gut environment is ideal. Probiotics and prebiotics can be very helpful.

Blood Sugar Balance

There is a big link between inflammation and how well your body responds to insulin, the hormone produced in the pancreas to help control blood sugar levels. If your body has a reduced sensitivity to insulin, for example due to long-term poor dietary/lifestyle habits or you are diabetic, this can lead to high levels of sugar and/or insulin in the blood. Too much of either is toxic and can trigger inflammatory reactions.

Learning to balance your blood sugar levels plays a key role in managing the symptoms of arthritis. This is achieved through eating adequate amounts of protein at every meal and snack, increasing the amount of non-starchy vegetables, and considering the quality and the quantity of the starchy carbohydrates you eat.

All of my work with clients looks at balancing blood sugar, which focusses on eating real foods (not weird things you can only buy at health food shops), keeps you feeling full, and helps you manage your cravings.

Inflammation

In pretty much every circumstance, joint problems are linked to inflammation and sometimes also to problems with the immune system (autoimmunity).

The body produces chemical agents in the body to either switch on or reduce inflammation.

Prostaglandins are one of the main chemicals in this process, and these are the easiest to manipulate with diet. There are 3 different types. Types 1 and 3 are anti-inflammatory and type 2 is pro-inflammatory (causes inflammation and promotes pain).

Omega-6 fats can convert into either type 1 or type 2 prostaglandins. Eating a diet high in omega-6 polyunsaturated animal fats (found in processed food, ready-made meals, meat and dairy produce – particularly non-organic) has the body producing more of these less desirable type 2 prostaglandins. Reducing animal proteins and dairy products can bring symptomatic relief.

Omega-3 fats on the other hand, can only go down the route towards the anti-inflammatory type 3 prostaglandin. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are found in foods like walnuts, flaxseeds, hemp, chia seeds, and oily fish. Monounsaturated fats, e.g. avocados and olive oil, are also anti-inflammatory but work differently and are not involved in these specific pathways.

High levels of sugar and insulin can also direct the conversion of omega-6 fats down the type 2 pro-inflammatory pathway.

There’s another group of chemicals called ‘free radicals’. These are highly reactive oxygen molecules that “steal” electrons (a negatively charged particle that orbits the nucleus in an atom of matter) from neighbouring molecules to stabilise themselves.  You might have heard of free radicals in skincare commercials. They are linked to accelerated ageing, cancer and other diseases. What helps keep these unstable molecules in check are antioxidants (again, something often talked about in skincare).

Antioxidants are found in large amounts in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables. The different colours tend to indicate the type of antioxidants produced – all are good. What we know about antioxidants is that they have a synergistic effect – eating a variety of different ones (by eating a large range of different coloured fruit and veg) has a greater effect that eating the same volume of the same type of fruit or veg.

Bottom line? Eat a LOT of vegetables and a moderate portion of low sugar fruits like berries (which have some of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruit).

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, talk to me about whether a more restrictive diet would work for you. This further cuts out all grains, nightshade foods (like potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and aubergines) and other foods thought to play a role in causing an inflammatory environment.

Levels of Essential Fats

Omega 3 fatty acids (found in oily fish, seeds like flax, pumpkin and chia, and walnuts) are important to include daily because of their anti-inflammatory properties, which are well-documented.

Allergies

Many people with inflammatory conditions have allergies or intolerances, some of which may be due to leaky gut, where food proteins are able to get through the gut lining, triggering an inflammatory immune response. Common offenders are dairy products, yeast, wheat and gluten, other grains, eggs, beef, chilli, coffee and peanuts. If you experience arthritis – or in fact any other inflammatory condition, there may be mileage in having a food intolerance test. Ask me for details.

Food Action Plan

Remove Gluten and Dairy products

Reduce Animal protein

Increase non-starchy vegetables of all kinds (eat a rainbow of colours),vegetable protein such as pulses, oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil

Increase specific foods: celery, chilli, garlic, ginger, pineapple, red peppers, shiitake mushrooms, sweet potato, turmeric

Supplements– there are also numerous supplements which have been researched and can help reduce inflammation, including fish oil, curcumin, proteolytic enzymes, Boswellia. Ask me for details as it’s best to take them under supervision.

Stay Active

Low-impact exercise which doesn’t overly stress sensitive joints, including cycling, walking, water aerobics and yoga is beneficial for strengthening the muscles around the affected joint. this provides added support and reduces strain. Exercise has been shown to help lower inflammation and can even help prevent unnecessary replacement surgeries.

Would You Go Vegan?

Being vegan is really fashionable right now, and those in favour of this way of eating will tell you that it’s the absolutely healthiest diet you can have from a nutritional perspective, plus you get to save not only the lives of animals but the planet too. For many of us it could be a bit challenging to go from where we are now to a 100% vegan diet.

So, I’m going to put it all out there for you: what it means to be vegan, what’s great about it, potential drawbacks and where you might struggle – and I’ll also be giving you tips for getting started, whether your intention is to immerse yourself fully or if you just fancy dabbling (either is fine – just saying).

WHAT IS A VEGAN DIET?

A vegan diet is a stricter version of a vegetarian diet. So in addition to not eating any meat, fish or seafood – i.e. dead animals, a vegan diet also cuts out any food stuffs made from animal sources (some of which are the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat). So, not just cutting out chicken meat, but also cutting out eggs. In the same vein, not just cutting out beef but also milk, yoghurt, butter and cream. And that means honey, too, as well as certain wines* and desserts (gelatine).

In a nutshell, vegan diets abstain from ALL animal products and consume only plant-based foods  which means NO meat, fish, eggs or dairy.

There is no set macro of micro nutrient ratio for a vegan diet; just vegetables, grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and any other foods made from plants. However, since the main vegan protein sources are pulses and grains, and only a combination of the two provides complete proteins (containing all the amino acids), by definition this can be a high carbohydrate diet.

* If you’re wondering ‘why is wine not vegan?’ Here’s the answer…all young wines are a little bit cloudy thanks to tiny molecules like proteins, tartrates, tannins and phenolics. These are completely harmless, but we wine-drinkers like our wines to be clear and bright. To make the wines clear, wine makers have traditionally used some added ingredients called ‘fining agents’ to help the process along. They include casein (milk protein) or albumin (egg whites), gelatine (animal protein) or isinglass (fish bladder protein). They act like a magnet, resulting in far fewer ­– but larger – particles that are more easily removed.

Advantages Of Going Vegan

  • Cruelty-free
  • Promotes natural foods
  • Rich in vitamin C, fibre, antioxidants and other plant chemicals
  • Helpful for some health conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, other auto-immune conditions).

Potential Challenges In Going Vegan

  • Natural food is not a requirement to comply with the diet
  • Does not explicitly encourage healthy eating patterns
  • May be nutrient deficient (B12, haem iron, omega-3 fats, complete protein)
  • Often high in carbohydrates which can lead to weight management issues
  • Can be too low in protein, which could be problematic if you’re stressed or recovering from adrenal fatigue
  • Does not limit or exclude sugar
  • Not suitable for elderly, pregnant women, type 2 diabetics, or those with high triglycerides or carbohydrate intolerance
  • Not always practical, especially when travelling abroad
  • May or may not be effective for weight loss

IS BEING VEGAN HEALTHY?

 Good question! There have been various well-publicised assertions over the years (most notably the book The China Study and, more recently, the film What the Health) that claimed eating a vegan diet was the healthiest thing you could do. A vegan diet, when carefully planned and executed, can be healthy for many people — however, it’s not always a good idea for everyone nor does it automatically mean it’s a healthy diet. And it depends whether you do it short or long-term.

Some studies have found that compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets (those who eat eggs and dairy but not meat), vegan diets seem to offer additional protection for obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular mortality. On the other hand, studies also show that there are some nutrient deficiencies that tend to be higher among vegans, especially those consuming processed diets or struggling with other health conditions that interfere with normal nutrient absorption (like anaemia, or being underweight).

Although vegans commonly take an interest in how diet relates to health and tend to educate themselves about nutrition, the vegan diet does not explicitly prescribe healthy foods. There is a vegan alternative for every junk food out there.  And you can live on white toast with margarine and jam (and see your blood sugar levels sky rocket) while still being vegan – and that is certainly not healthy.

Given that the vast majority of health complaints are linked to chronic inflammation, a plant-focussed, antioxidant-rich vegan diet plays an important part in mediating inflammation, and it will certainly not hinder your attempts to become more healthy. Plus, given we don’t eat nearly as much fibre as we should for optimum health, committing to eating more plant foods is only going to be a good thing.

But, it may not provide sufficient nutrients for combatting certain conditions, notably auto-immune conditions where inflammation is at the root cause- here the addition of fish and eggs would better support the immune system.

Compromise….? Because a vegan diet can be both hard to follow long-term and is also potentially problematic, some people prefer to stick with a “flexitarian” approach instead which involves eating fewer animal products. For example, you might not consider yourself a vegan or even a vegetarian, but you can still make a conscious effort to limit your intake of animal products, focusing on eating plant foods the majority of the time. With this flexible approach you might still choose to have animal products several times per week but probably not every single day.

Things To Be Mindful Of On A Vegan Diet

  • Vegan diets don’t provide the fat-soluble vitamins A and D. You can’t get vitamin A from carrots. What you get is beta carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin A.
    • You may have heard that carotene can be converted into vitamin A, but this conversion is usually insignificant.
    • Firstly, it takes a huge amount of carotene to convert into a small amount of vitamin A.
    • And, if you have low thyroid function, impaired digestion or a lack of healthy fats in the diet, this conversion won’t happen at all.
  • Vegan diets (unless you’re eating a lot of natto – a kind of fermented soy) don’t give you the vitamin K2. This is needed for shuttling calcium into your bones.
  • Many people try to be vegan by relying on fake food ­– they replace milk, cheese and meat with foods manufactured to look and taste as though they are milk, cheese and meat. What is used is non-foodstuffs, including stabilisers, gums, thickeners and highly processed protein extracts. Moreover, you may be counting your vegan cheese in as a source of protein, when many of them are actually made from carbs or fats.
  • Vegan diets can be low in protein– proteins are broken down into amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle and are important for cellular health, proper metabolism and the immune system. Too little protein can contribute to muscle wasting, cognitive changes, mood swings, low energy and a weakened immune system.
  • Vegan diets are low on vitamin B12 and iron. The readily-absorbed forms of these nutrients are found in animal products. Several studies suggest that up to 68% of vegans are deficient in vitamin B12.
  • Several studies have shown that both vegetarians and vegans are also prone to deficiencies in calcium, iron, zinc, and essential fats like omega 3 (fats which can’t be made by the body but need to be obtained from food- or supplements) which are readily- absorbed only from oily fish.

HOW TO GET STARTED ON A VEGAN DIET

Some people like to make changes all in one go. If this is you, choosing a vegan recipe book from the resources I’ve listed below will be helpful.

Or you might try changing one meal at a time – possible having a vegan breakfast during your first week, adding a vegan lunch during week two and so on.

You might try changing one product at a time, for example, swapping traditional cow’s milk for almond milk, or butter for coconut oil. There’s a plant-based alternative for most things you can think of.

One thing that you can look forward to is some exciting new recipes. Bringing vegan principles into your life even a few days a week (assuming we are talking veg-based meals rather than fake or junk foods) will deliver a whole new taste experience. There will be things that you love – and things the family rejects. It’s all part of the fun of discovering new things.

RESOURCES – BEST VEGAN BLOGS

The Colourful Kitchen www.thecolorfulkitchen.com

Deliciously Ella www.deliciouslyella.com

Minimalist Baker www.minimalistbaker.com

Oh She Glows www.ohsheglows.com

The Vegan Woman www.theveganwoman.com

RESOURCES – VEGAN RECIPE BOOKS

Christine Bailey, Go Lean Vegan: The Revolutionary 30-day Diet Plan to Lose Weight and Feel Great

Hugh, Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Much More Veg: 175 easy and delicious vegan recipes for every meal

Angela Liddon, Oh She Glows

Angela Liddon, Oh She Glows Everyday

Ella Mills (Woodward), Deliciously Ella

Ella Mills (Woodward), Deliciously Ella The Plant-Based Cookbook: 100 simple vegan recipes to make every day delicious

Chestnut & Chorizo Soup with Vegetarian Option

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… There’s no other ingredient half as evocative of the Festive Season than the humble chestnut. You can buy fresh chestnuts and cook them yourself or buy ready- cooked which usually come vacuum packed.

To make this vegetarian/vegan omit the chorizo and add Spanish paprika when you are frying the onions and vegetables, so that the spice is able to flavour the cooking oil and permeate through the dish. To make it a complete meal add a tin of drained and rinsed chickpeas.

Ingredients- Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil

1 large Spanish onion, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

1 celery stick, thinly sliced

120g mild cooking chorizo, thin casing/skin removed and cut into 1cm cubes

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1tsp ground cumin

1½tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 small dried red chillies, crushed

2 tomatoes, fresh or tinned, roughly chopped

500g cooked, peeled chestnuts (fresh or vacuum-packed), roughly broken up

1 litre water

Sea salt and black pepper

 

Method

In a large saucepan, cook the chorizo until its fat is released and the sausage is cooked. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon to drain the oil. Wipe the pan clean and heat the olive oil over a medium heat.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt and fry for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything caramelises and turns quite brown. This gives the soup a wonderfully rich colour and taste.

Now add the garlic, cumin, thyme and chilli and cook for one more minute, followed by the tomato and, after about two minutes, the chestnuts and chorizo.

Add the water, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and mash by hand (with a potato masher) until almost smooth but still with a little bit of texture. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.

 

Adapted from Moro: The Cookbook

Juicing and Smoothies- How Healthy Are They?

Smoothie vs juicing Fruit and veg is good for you. No one would argue with that.

There has been a great deal of research in recent years to support the claim that eating more fruit and veg may be able to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer, while also helping to manage your weight. It can be a challenge to eat five portions of fruit and veg each day, even when you like vegetables. And now a new report suggests that eating 10 portions is what we need to stay healthy for longer. Most people don’t come nearly close to having enough, and I bet you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to manage that!

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of juicing and smoothies. Both are trending right now and there’s a huge debate. But what is better for your health – and losing weight- and are there any downsides? I’m going to give you the lowdown on both so you can get the hard facts from a nutrition professional and make an informed choice.

SMOOTHIES

The Benefits of Smoothies

When you make a smoothie, the whole lot is whizzed up in a blender. The juice and the pulp go in. This means that smoothies contain fibre. Fibre is good for you for so many reasons. It’s great for the digestive tract, helping to bulk out stools which helps you ‘go’ more regularly. Fibre supports weight loss because it helps slow down the absorption of sugar into the body, meaning that fruit and sugar-rich vegetables like beetroot and carrots are less likely to give you a blood sugar spike – ­ albeit a natural one. Fibre absorbs cholesterol in your digestive tract and flushes it out of your body, which is helpful for reducing risk factors for heart disease.

Dietary fibre also activates a few hormones really helpful in weight loss (called PYY and CKK and GLP-1, since you ask). These are appetite suppressors, meaning you’ll want to naturally eat less the more veg you consume. Fibre also decreases levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, and increases another hormone called leptin, which tells your body you’re full. So, all in all fruit and veg are the good guys.

Fibre isn’t the only good thing in a smoothie. In a 2012 study in which scientists blended and juiced grapefruit, researchers found that the blended fruit had a higher concentration of the beneficial phytochemicals than juices because that compound is primarily found in the fibrous membranes of the fruit.

Given a smoothie can be packed with fibre, it can even serve as a meal replacement if you’re smart about what you add in it- more on this next (breakfast would be the perfect example).

The Downsides to Smoothies

When you eat fruit and veg you have to chew them which helps breaks down the fibre This in turn slows down the release of the sugars, helping to prevent a blood sugar spike which can lead to fatigue, low mood, increased hunger, weight problems, sleep problems etc.

On the other hand, when you blend fruits and vegetables in a machine, although the smoothie still contains fibre, it’s been broken down (literally pulverized) super-fast during the blending process- basically, the blender is doing the work your digestive system should be doing, which takes both energy and time to digest.

Even if you’re making your smoothie at home, using only fruits and vegetables with no other added ingredients, you can drink it in just a few minutes, compared with the time it would take to eat the same fruits or vegetables whole. It’s very likely that you are also getting more calories and sugar when you drink a smoothie than when eating whole fruits or vegetables. Research shows that we don’t register liquid calories as accurately as food we’ve chewed. So, smoothies enjoy a “health halo” that can be misleading.

The Best Way to Have Smoothies

If your idea of the perfect smoothie is only fruit and some liquid … Well, that’s a sugar bomb waiting to happen and is likely to upset your blood sugar balance. Plus, if consumed too frequently, this will have you start piling on the pounds.

But, if you combine a little bit of fruit and mostly veg, with a healthy source of protein such as yoghurt, a handful of nuts and seeds, nut butter  or a protein powder that would be best. Why? Firstly, with the addition of protein you’ll have a healthy, nutritious and filling meal to take with you on-the-go. And secondly, you’ll help avoid the blood sugar spike.

Also, quantity is important. To give you an idea, according to the national Eatwell Guide, we should only be having one serving of smoothie or juice, which is 150ml. That’s the same as a “mini” can of cola and less than half the size of a standard can of soft drink. If you’re using mostly veg in your juices and smoothies, and adding protein to your smoothies then the amount can be increased.

JUICING

The Benefits of Juicing

When you juice, your juicers extract the water and nutrients from what you feed it, leaving behind the pulp. Many juicers will also have a filter attachment, so you can remove even more ‘bits’ from your juice.

Given the lack of fibre, juices provide an almost immediate energy boost. The bulk of the vitamins and minerals found within a fruit are typically in the juice rather than the fibrous pulp. And without the fibre, the nutrients are absorbed into the body more efficiently. Additionally, the digestive system doesn’t have to work hard at all to process what you’re consuming. The cherry on top is that juicing allows you to eat a far higher range of nutrients from leafy greens and vegetables you wouldn’t normally eat in such quantity or blend – like cabbage and wheatgrass! Typically, juices (rather than smoothies) are a great way to detox.

 Downsides to Juicing

When you juice, the fibre is usually removed. And without the fibre slowing digestion of the sugar in fruit, the juice drives up your blood sugar rapidly which can lead to symptoms discussed above. This can also contribute to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.

If you juice mostly vegetables, you’ll get a potent dose of phytochemicals and disease-fighting compounds without all the sugar. But do it incorrectly, and you can get more sugar than a soda. Thing is, many “green juices” actually do have more sugar than a can of soda. Why? Because people don’t like bitter green juices and so most contain lots of fruit juice, carrots, and beets. A study in 2014 found that, on average, fruit juices contain 45.5 grams of fructose per litre, not far off from the average of 50 grams per litre in fizzy drinks.  If it has more than 5 grams of sugar, stay away.

Verdict

Which is better depends very much on what your health goal is. Juicing offers the possibility of getting in a greater concentration of nutrients, increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption, and possibly making it easier on your tummy if have a hard time digesting the fibre in vegetables.

On the other hand, fibre IS super important in your diet, and in juices you are missing out – plus you could also be losing other important elements like antioxidants.

For weight loss, energy, mood, PCOS, high cholesterol the added fibre is a huge bonus for balancing your blood sugar levels. Smoothies provide this. They also bring the possibility of adding other beneficial ingredients, like collagen (for arthritis suffers), protein powders, prebiotics, nuts or seeds.

Ultimately, you need to consume more fruit and veg than you are currently eating. Both smoothies and juices give you options to consider.

 HEALTHY JUICES

Green juice

2 apples

4 stalks celery

1 orange

½ lemon

5 handfuls spinach

½ thumb ginger root

Start with the spinach. A good tip is to try to roll it into a ball in your hands before feeding through the juicer. Peel the orange and lemon, then juice. Cut the apples into halves, then juice the rest.

Green goddess

3 cups spinach

6 stalks celery

2 pears

½ cup parsley

½ lemon

Start with the spinach and parsley, rolling them into a ball in your hands before feeding through the juicer. Follow with the lemon (peeled), then juice the remaining ingredients.

Liver cleanse

1 apple

1 beetroot

3 beet leaves (or a small handful of spinach)

4 carrots

1 stalk celery

½ thumb ginger root

Cut the beetroot and apples in half to juice. Add the ginger and celery. Roll the leaves into a ball (makes it easier to juice). Cut the skin from the pineapple (but leave in the core – it has extra enzymes), peel the orange and then juice.

HEALTHY SMOOTHIES

Put all the ingredients in the blender with a cup of liquid (water or almond milk, etc.) to start with and increase liquid to desired consistency.

Berry nice

½ avocado

75g fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tbsp chia seeds

½ tbsp coconut oil

¼ tsp cinnamon

½ banana (ideally frozen)

Small handful of ice

Water, as desired

Hidden greens

25g vanilla protein powder

1 kiwi, peeled

Handful of strawberries

Handful of kale

Handful of watercress

1 tbsp cashew butter/cashews

2tbsp broccoli sprouts

Small handful of ice

Water as desired

Blueberry + kale

Handful blueberries

Handful kale

1 small banana

1 tsp cashew or almond nut butter

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

Small handful of ice

250ml coconut or almond milk

Courgette, Mackerel and Bean Salad

This is super easy to make and totally delicious.A plate serving smoked mackerel, courgette & butter bean salad

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (deseeded if you don’t like it very hot)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 smoked mackerel fillets, skin removed and broken into large flakes.
  • 1 courgette, cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler.
  • 400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small packet fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 50g feta, broken into large pieces.
  • Black pepper to taste

METHOD

  • Toss everything together in a salad bowl, taste and adjust for seasoning, then serve.

 

Courtesy of Good Food Magazine

Easy, Yummy, Healthy Ice Cream

2 Ingredient Cantaloupe Ice Cream- Serves 4

Recipe for a super easy, but awesome vegan 2 Ingredient Cantaloupe Ice Cream. No ice cream machine is needed for this treat! It’s also gluten-free and raw.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cantaloupe melon
  • 2 bananas

Instructions

  1. Cut the banana and the cantaloupe (remove the skin and seeds) in pieces, put them in a ziploc bag and freeze them overnight.
  2. Put the frozen banana and cantaloupe pieces in your food processor or high-speed blender.
  3. Pulse or blend until completely smooth. (Don’t give up, this may take a while depending on the power of your processor).
  4. Transfer the ice cream in the bowls and enjoy immediately!

Banana Stracciatella Ice Cream- Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 peeled, bananas
  • 100 ml coconut milk
  • 50 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Instructions

Cut bananas in pieces and freeze at least overnight.

Put the frozen banana pieces + coconut milk in your kitchen processor or blender and pulse until it is a smooth cream. Don’t give up, this may take a while depending on the power of your processor.

Put the banana mixture in a freezer safe dish.

Heat up chopped chocolate + coconut oil in a small pot.

Pour it over the banana mixture.

Put it in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours, but stir occasionally to break up the chocolate into the banana (every half hour should do). This should break up any ice crystals.

If it is too hard, let it sit for about 5-10 at room temperature. Then you’re good to go. Enjoy!

Courtesy of the Elephantastic Vegan

Sugar Substitutes

One of the things I am asked about most as a Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach is sugar substitutes. “What can I use instead of sugar ?” I am asked, so here’s the here’s the good, the bad and the ugly low down on some of  those sugar replacements you might think are healthy (and some that definitely aren’t).

Honey

Honey has a lot going for it in some regards. It contains amino acids, electrolytes and antioxidants, and antimicrobial compounds that can support your health. To get these extra benefits, you’ll want to choose a raw (unprocessed) local honey. It may also help relieve allergy symptoms, specifically hay fever, because the bees feast on the local pollen, and taking raw local honey can help you develop natural immunity over time. But, whichever way you cut it, honey is sugar. It may be natural, but sugar it is, and it behaves that way in your body, spiking blood sugar exactly as actual sugar would.

Medjool Dates

Dates are a popular feature of many paleo or natural sugar-free bars, because they are naturally very sweet. They have the highest nutritional benefit of all-natural sweeteners because they also contain minerals like selenium, copper, potassium and magnesium, as well as providing fibre to slow the speed at which the sugars hit your bloodstream. Studies show that they don’t spike your blood sugar levels that much and they’ve been proven to decrease cholesterol and boost bone health, and can help relieve constipation. Stick to 1 or 2 a day so there is no guilt associated with these caramel-like gems.

Maple syrup

It contains antioxidants (24 in fact), which are helpful in the fight against cell-damaging free radicals and inflammation. While studies show maple syrup does not spike your blood sugar levels as much, it is still wise to use sparingly. You’ll want grade A (lighter in flavour) or B (nutritionally better as it’s richer in antioxidants than grade A and with a more intense flavour). Avoid maple flavoured syrups as these are not the same.

Coconut sugar

Coconut sugar has become very trendy of late and brings a lovely caramel flavour to your food. It contains small amounts of iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants, and a fibre known as inulin which  may help reduce the absorption of glucose. It is perfect for baking with and has a lesser impact on your blood sugar levels than regular sugar, but it is still sugar, so use sparingly.

Palmyra Jaggery

You may not even have heard of this, but it’s the crystalized nectar collected from the flower of the Palmyra palm and has a deep, warm caramel flavour. You use it exactly as you would sugar, and often you can reduce the amount needed by up to a half. It’s packed with B vitamins and has a much lower GL than table sugar.

Brown Rice Syrup

This has found its way into ‘healthy’ recipes. It’s made from fermented, cooked rice. It’s not a particularly good option as a sweetener as it’s highly processed, contains very little in the way of nutrition benefits and the effect on blood sugar is almost identical to standard sugar.

Agave Syrup

Agave syrup comes from a cactus, and the syrup is made from the pulp of the leaf. It’s very highly processed and is mainly fructose, which needs to be processed by the liver, causing more stress for an already over-worked organ. Fructose is actually worse for you than glucose. Agave syrup (or nectar) is very similar to the (deservedly) much-demonised high fructose corn syrup, that has contributed greatly to the obesity epidemic in the US. My advice? Do not use it!

Stevia

This is another natural sweetener. There a number of different types of stevia, and ideally you want full, green leaf stevia that is unadulterated with other sweeteners. There are many brands out there that you should avoid because they’re so highly processed, and they also add in other chemicals. Pure stevia will not unbalance your blood sugar levels, thus avoiding an energy rollercoaster. But, a little bit goes a long way, so use sparingly.

Xylitol

Often found in the UK under the brand names Total Sweet or Xyla, xylitol is a sugar alcohol. It’s a little sweeter than sugar, has fewer calories and (the important part) 75% less carbohydrate, so the impact of blood sugar levels is lower than it would be if you were to eat the same amount compared to real sugar. It’s the same stuff used in sugar free chewing gum, thanks to its antibacterial properties. The downside is it is very highly processed, and some people can be sensitive to large amounts and may find their stools a little loose, or they get bloated, if they eat too much. Note as well that it is toxic for dogs.

Artificial sweeteners (like aspartame and saccharin)

People usually resort to artificial sweeteners in a bid to cut calories. This is bad news for a number of reasons, but I’ll mention the two biggies here: Research into some of them shows a correlation with cancer (weak, perhaps, and refuted by the food industry, but personally I’m not taking any chances). Secondly, nutrition science conclusively proves that weight gain/loss has little to do with calories in and out but what happens hormonally inside the body – how much insulin your body makes (insulin being the fat storage hormone that also sabotages fat burning). Recent research shows that these artificial sweeteners can increase blood sugar (and consequently insulin) levels more than normal sugar. So really, what is the point? Thirdly, research shows that ironically, they actually increase hunger. My advice is to stop now.

BUT…

The very best scenario of all is that you wean yourself off sweeteners of any kind as this helps you appreciate and embrace natural sweetness from real food. If you continue to eat sweet things, your taste buds will always want sweet things. That’s because sugar has been shown to have an effect on the brain similar to that of addictive drugs like nicotine, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. In fact, quickly removing it from your diet can cause withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, depression, headaches and muscle aches. No wonder it isn’t easy to quit.

If your diet has traditionally been quite high in the white stuff, the first few weeks can be a little tricky as your body (and brain and taste buds) starts to adjust – but bear with it.

 

 

 

Top Tips for Portion Control

I am often asked by clients – and in fact many other people I come across as soon as they discover I am a Registered Nutritional Therapist ‘how much should I be eating?’ This is never a straightforward question but I’m going to give you some general guidance.

WHAT YOUR PLATE SHOULD LOOK LIKE

My experience is what people are actually asking is ‘how much of the different food groups should I be eating’ or ‘what should my plate look like’ and my answer is this:

  • Have protein at every meal
  • Eat as much non-starchy veg as you can
  • Think carefully about the type and quantity of starchy carbs like potatoes, pasta, bread and rice.

I ask people to split their plate in half. Consider filling 2/3 of one half of the plate with protein, the remaining 1/3 of that half plate with starchy carbs, and the second half of the plate with non-starchy veg. This is a good visual guide.

THE DIETING INDUSTRY AND READY MEAL PORTIONS

People are frequently surprised because the advice on the starchy carbs goes against what the diet industry and big slimming clubs have been telling us for years. It is also the exact opposite of the ratios you’ll see if you open up a ready meal ­ – the starchy carbs section is usually very generous as this is typically the cheapest part of the meal to manufacture. Even if you’re a little unsure, trust me on it.

SHOULD YOU EAT UNTIL YOU’RE FULL?

You’ve probably heard it said that you should eat until you are 80% full, then stop. There is a lot of logic in this because it takes some time for the stretch receptors in your stomach to pass the message to your brain that you are actually full.

If you eat slowly, taking care to properly chew every mouthful, your body will thank you for it because you will be digesting your food better, and you may find you eat less than you normally would simply because you’ve given your brain a bit of a chance to catch on to the fact that you no longer need to eat!

A SECRET WEAPON

There’s usually something else going on, too, and this cunning trick might be what you need if portion control is something you struggle with. Serve yourself a meal on a smaller plate. I’m not suggesting you go from dinner plate to side plate but try swapping from a 12-inch dinner plate to a 9-inch plate. The same serving will look significantly more generous, tricking you into thinking it’s more food.

Try it, it does work.

Healthy Eating

Do we really need to worry about what we eat?

These days, more and more people are telling us that healthy eating is very important for our health and well being. However, is it really all that important? A human being is made up of roughly 63% water, 22% protein, 13% fat and 2 % minerals and vitamins (Holford 2005). Every single molecule comes from the food you eat and the water you drink. Eating the highest-quality food, in the right quantities, can help you to achieve your highest potential for health, vitality and freedom from disease. For example, there is good evidence that eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of obesity and illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and some types of cancer, including those of the bowel, stomach, mouth, and breast (Cancer Research UK 2009).

But eating healthily doesn’t just reduce your risk of ill health, it will also help boost your energy levels, mood, concentration and help you handle stress better, making you feel better all round.

How have our diets and lifestyles changed?

Although we are living in the 21st century, our human genome is greater than 10,000 years old.  The genome refers to our entire DNA, including our genes. Genes carry information for making all the proteins required by the body. These proteins determine, among other things, how well the body metabolises food or fights infection, and sometimes even how it behaves. Our ancestors consumed only natural and unprocessed food from the environment which provided them with a diet of moderate protein, high in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other beneficial plant chemicals. Thus, many researchers argue that there is a striking discrepancy between the diet we were biologically designed to eat and what we actually eat today.

Rapid changes in diets and lifestyles have occurred with industrialisation, urbanisation, economic development and market globalisation. While standards of living have improved, food availability has expanded and become more diversified, there have also been significant negative consequences in terms of inappropriate dietary patterns, decreased physical activities and increased tobacco use. This has corresponded with an increase in diet-related chronic diseases which are becoming increasingly significant causes of disability and premature death. For example, traditional, largely plant based diets have been replaced by an emphasis on animal-based foods and energy-dense diets which are high in fat- particularly saturated fat, and low in complex carbohydrates. Alongside this shift in dietary patterns, we have also switched to a much more sedentary lifestyle due to motorised transport, labour-saving devices in the home, the phasing out of physically demanding manual tasks in the workplace, and leisure time that is predominantly devoted to physically undemanding pastimes (World Health Organisation 2003).

Can nutrition help prevent disease?

It has been calculated that, in 2001, chronic diseases contributed to approximately 60% of the 56.5 million total reported deaths in the world and to approximately 46% of the global burden of disease- this is expected to increase to 57% by 2020(World Health Organisation 2003).

Chronic diseases are largely preventable diseases (World Health Organisation 2003). Although more basic research may be needed on some aspects of the mechanisms that link diet to health, the currently available scientific evidence provides a sufficiently strong and plausible basis to justify taking action now (World Health Organisation 2003). Modern dietary patterns and physical activity patterns are risk modifiable behaviours. Furthermore, nutrition has been shown to have the capacity to modify the expression of critical genes associated with normal physiological processes, as well as those associated with the development of disease, including age-related processes and cancer (Choi & Friso 2010). But diet, while critical to prevention, is just one risk factor. Physical inactivity, is now recognized as an increasingly important determinant of health, and is the result of a progressive shift of lifestyle towards more sedentary patterns.

What should we be eating?

There is no single “diet” which suits everyone-one man’s elixir could be another’s poison. However, there are some basics which apply to us all. Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, and too much fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables and fibre.

Increase Fruits & Vegetables

It has been estimated that eating at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day could reduce the risk of deaths from chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer by up to 20% (Department of Health 2000). But eating fruit and vegetables can help to achieve other dietary goals too, including increasing fibre intake, reducing fat intake, helping to maintain a healthy weight, and displacing foods with added sugars.

The reason why fruit and vegetables are so beneficial is because as well as containing fibre, vitamins and minerals, fruit and vegetables also contain many complex plant components called phytochemicals.  Phytochemicals are nonessential nutrients, meaning that they are not required by the human body for sustaining life, but they have protective or disease preventative properties. It is well-known that plants produce these chemicals to protect themselves but recent research demonstrates that they can also protect humans against diseases.

How many fruits and vegetables do we need?

The UK government recommends that we have AT LEAST 5 portions (400g) of a variety of fruit and vegetables daily, 2 of fruit and 3 of vegetables.

One portion of fruit:

  • half a large grapefruit
  • a slice of melon
  • 2 satsumas
  • 3 dried apricots, or 1 tablespoon of raisins
  • A glass of 100% juice- but you can only count juice as 1 portion a day, however much you drink. This is because it has very little fibre.

One portion of vegetables:

  • 3 tablespoonfuls of cooked carrots or peas or sweet corn
  • 1 cereal bowl of mixed salad.
  • Beans and other pulses, such as kidney beans, lentils and chick peas, count only once a day, however much you eat. While pulses contain fibre and protein, they don’t give the same mixture of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as fruit and vegetables.
  • Potatoes don’t count towards 5 A DAY because they are starchy

Increase healthy fats

Eating too much fat can make us more likely to put on weight, because foods that are high in fat are also high in energy (calories). Being overweight raises our risk of serious health problems. However, this doesn’t mean that all fat is bad. We need some fat in our diet because it helps the body absorb certain nutrients, provides energy and essential fatty acids that the body can’t make itself.

Reading nutrition labels on food packaging can help you to reduce the amount of fat you eat:

• High fat foods: more than 20g of total fat per 100g
• Low fat foods: less than 3g of total fat per 100g

Reduce Saturated fats

There are two main types of fat found in food: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated and unsaturated fat contain the same amount of calories, but most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat: about 20% more than the recommended maximum. Eating a diet high in saturated fat can cause the level of cholesterol in your blood to build up over time which can increase your risk of heart disease. The main sources of saturated fat are meat and dairy products.

  • The average man should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat a day.
  • The average woman should eat no more than 20g of saturated fat a day.

Look out for “saturates” or “sat fat” on the label: this tells you how much saturated fat is in the food.

  • High: more than 5g saturates per 100g. May display a red traffic light.
  • Low: 1.5g saturates or less per 100g. May display a green traffic light.

Unsaturated fats

There are also 2 kinds of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fats which are found in olive oil and avocados, and polyunsaturated fats called omega-3 and omega-6 which are found in nuts, seeds and oily fish.

Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats are essential for optimal functioning of the brain and nervous system, immune system, cardiovascular system and skin health. Pumpkin and flaxseeds as well as oily fish (including salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards) are rich in omega- 3 fats, while sesame and sunflower seeds are rich in omega-6 fats.

We should aim to eat a small handful of a combination of seeds and nuts daily, as well as eat at least one portion of oily fish weekly. In addition, by increasing our intake of plant foods, as opposed to animal foods, we naturally shift to a more healthy fat consumption.

Avoid hydrogenated and Trans fats

Trans fats are formed when manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats. Think shortening and hard margarine. Manufacturers create trans fats via a process called hydrogenation, a process by which vegetable oils are converted to solid fats simply by adding hydrogen atoms. Why hydrogenate? Because hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavour stability of foods. Indeed, trans fats can be found in vegetable shortening, margarine, crackers, cereals, candies, baked goods, granola bars, chips, salad dressings, fried foods, and many other processed foods.

Like saturated fats, trans fats can raise cholesterol levels in the blood. This is why it’s recommended that trans fats should make up no more than 2% of the energy (calories) we get from our diet. For adults, this is no more than about 5g a day.

Increase fibre

Fibre is the structural part of a plant that supports and holds it together. Fibre can be chewed, swallowed and subjected to stomach acid, yet much of it passes through the body unchanged.

Fibre is important because it:

  • stimulates the digestive tract and helps it work efficiently
  • encourages the presence of health-giving bacteria in the large intestine
  • softens the stool (bowel motion) and helps prevent constipation
  • slows down carbohydrate absorption, makes you feel fuller and so helps to control your appetite, and therefore helps with weight management
  • has also been associated with a decreased incidence of certain cancers of the digestive tract.

There are two types of fibre:

  • Insoluble fibre– insoluble fibre is less easily broken down by bacteria in the colon, so it passes through the gut, helping other food and waste products move through the gut more easily. It holds water very effectively (up to 15 times its weight in water) thus contributing to an increase in stool weight. Fruit and vegetables with their skins and pips, wholegrain cereals (wheat, quinoa, rye, rice) as well as nuts and some pulses are good sources of this kind of fibre.
  • Soluble fibre-this fibre forms a gel-like substance which can bind to other substances in the gut. It also has the extra benefits of lowering cholesterol levels and slowing down the entry of glucose into the blood, thereby helping to maintain good energy levels, concentration and mood. Fruits, vegetables, oats and pulses are good sources.

How much fibre do I need?

The recommended intake of fibre for adults in the UK is 18g a day, but 20 g -35 g in the US. However, most people in the UK don’t eat enough – the average intake is 12.6g a day for women and 15.2g a day for men.

So what does 18g of fibre look like? A few examples of the amount of fibre in some common foods include the following.

  • One bowl (30g) of high-fibre cereal, e.g. bran flakes – 4g
  • One slice of wholemeal bread – 3 to 4g (white bread contains less than half this amount)
  • One baked potato (with skin) – 5g
  • Half a tin of baked beans (200g) – 7.7g
  • Portion of dried figs (50g) – 3.8g
  • One medium-sized apple – 1.8g

Don’t forget the fluid

Without fluid, dietary fibre cannot do its job. Insoluble fibre, in particular, acts like a sponge absorbing water, increasing stool weight and size, thus putting pressure on the bowel wall and facilitating the movement of the stool. Without fluid this fibre is pointless and will only result in constipation.

Water

Two-thirds of the body consists of water and the body loses 1.5 Litres of water a day through the skin, lungs and gut and via the kidneys as urine, ensuring that toxic substances are eliminated from the body(Holford 2005). We also make about a third of a litre of water a day when glucose is “burned” for energy.  So our minimum water intake from food and drink needs to be more than 1 litre a day, with the ideal begin around 2 litres daily. Fruit and vegetables consist of around 90% water- 4 pieces of fruit and four servings of vegetables  can provide a litre of water, leaving 1  litre to be taken as water or diluted juices or herb or fruit teas. Alcohol acts as a diuretic and causes considerable losses of vitamins and minerals so it doesn’t count in this regard.

Should we be eating less?

We need to eat the right number of calories for our level of activity, so that we balance the energy we consume with the energy we use. Although consideration of calorie intake on its own is a simplistic view of weight management (and therefore also health management) if you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight. Likewise, if you eat too little for your energy requirements you’ll lose weight. The average man needs around 2,500 calories a day. The average woman needs 2,000 calories. Most adults are eating more calories than they need, and should eat fewer calories.

In fact, controlled, supervised calorie restriction is widely viewed as the most potent dietary means of slowing the aging process (Fontana et al 2004; Colman et al 2009).   Calorie restriction is a dietary regimen that restricts calorie intake, where nutrient dense, low-calorie foods are consumed to supply sufficient quantities of vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. Generally, a calorie-restriction diet may call for 20 to 30 percent fewer calories than usual. Adult-onset calorie-restriction works best when it is imposed slowly, over two or three years, to allow the body to adjust.

How should we be eating?

We should always eat in a way which helps us maintain steady blood sugar levels. Why? Food is turned into glucose or sugar, which is the fuel that drives all cells and bodily processes. Thus, maintaining a steady supply of glucose to cells is key for optimal mental and physical functioning. However, blood sugar levels must be kept within strict boundaries, since too much is toxic to cells on the one hand, and too little makes us feel tired and lethargic on the other. This balancing process happens through the actions of two hormones. Firstly, insulin stimulates cells to take in glucose when there’s too much of it in the blood- this helps lower high blood sugar levels, but also provides cells with the fuel they need. Secondly, another hormone called glucagon breaks down stored sugar when blood sugar levels are low.

The negative effects of imbalanced blood sugar levels include irritability, poor concentration, fatigue, depression and food cravings- especially for sweet foods or stimulants such as tea, coffee and cigarettes, all of which in turn cause further blood sugar roller coasters.

How you can maintain steady blood sugar levels

1. Eat breakfast. The meaning of the word “breakfast” is literally “breaking the fast”. Blood sugar levels are low after an overnight fast and skipping breakfast will result in an inadequate supply of glucose to the cells. This can make you feel fatigued, moody and affect your concentration.

2. Don’t skip meals. This is for the same reason you shouldn’t skip breakfast- it will lead to low blood sugar.

3. Choose complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are broken down more slowly into glucose because of their fibre content and therefore provide a steady supply of fuel to brain cells. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables.

4. Avoid refined carbohydrates. They convert more quickly into glucose than complex carbohydrates. This causes rapid blood sugar spikes, which is then followed by blood sugar lows because the body keeps blood sugar levels within a narrow range to protect against the potentially toxic effects of sugar on cells. This rapid drop in blood glucose levels (below the optimal reference range) starves the brain of its primary fuel and we experience symptoms such as energy slumps, cravings for sweets and stimulants (tea, coffee, and cigarettes), irritability, mood swings, poor memory, poor concentration and fuzzy thinking.

Refined carbohydrates are found in white pasta/bread/rice (as opposed to their whole grain versions) and anything containing added sugar like cakes, sweets, ice cream etc. Natural sugars are found in fruit and are better sources of simple carbohydrates because they contain protective antioxidants as well as fibre, which slows down the release of fruit sugar into blood and so reduces blood sugar spikes.

5. Avoid stimulants such as coffee, chocolate and nicotine which increase levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline (Lovallo et al 2006) which sharply spike up blood sugar levels and subsequently leads to an energy slump as described above. Adrenaline and cortisol are “fight-or-flight” hormones, biologically evolved to help survival under stressful situations by breaking down stored sugar to heighten alertness and fuel muscles for emergencies. However, unless the extra sugar released in the blood stream is burned off through a physical response as in the “fight-or-flight” reaction in a genuine emergency, blood sugar levels will remain high. This will trigger a large insulin response and lead to low blood sugar levels because the body keeps blood sugar levels within a narrow range to protect against the potentially toxic effects of sugar. Usually this results in reaching for another cup of coffee or more chocolate and the blood sugar roller coaster starts over. When stimulants are consumed, blood sugar levels remain high because the “fight-or-flight” reaction has been artificially induced rather than through a genuine emergency and requires no physical “fight-or-flight” response which would use up the extra blood sugar and naturally lower blood sugar levels to safe ranges.

6. Make sure you consume protein with each meal and snack – this helps slow down the release of sugar from food into the blood. Choose from chicken and turkey, game, white fish, oily fish (tuna, mackerel, herrings, pilchards, sardines, and salmon), pulses, eggs, yoghurt, cottage cheese, feta, nuts and seeds.

How do you make healthy eating a habit?

  • Don’t try to change everything at once.
  • Set an easy goal you can reach, like having a salad and a piece of fruit each day.
  • Make a long-term goal too, such as having one vegetarian dinner a week.
  • Aim for balance. Most days, eat from each food group-vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives. Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you feel satisfied.
  • Look for variety. Be adventurous. Choose different foods in each food group. For example, don’t reach for an apple every time you choose a fruit. Eating a variety of foods each day will help you get all the nutrients you need.
  • Practice moderation. Don’t have too much or too little of one thing. All foods, if eaten in moderation, can be part of healthy eating. Even “treats” can be okay.

References

Cancer Research UK (2009) Diet, healthy eating and cancer last accessed 12.12.2011 at http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/healthyliving/dietandhealthyeating/.rs

Choi SW & Friso S (2010) Epigenetics: A New Bridge between Nutrition and Health. Adv Nutr (Bethesda)11 8-16

Colman RJ  Anderson RM Johnson SC (2009) Caloric restriction delays disease onset and mortality in rhesusMonkeys Science 325 5937 201–204

Department of Health (2000) The NHS Plan. London: Department of Health

Fontana L Meyer TE Klein S Holloszy JO (2004) Long-term calorie restriction is highly effective in reducing the risk for atherosclerosis in humans Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101 6659-6663

Holford P (2005) The New Optimum Nutrition Bible Rev Upd Edition Crossing Press

Lovallo WR  Farag NH  Vincent  AS  Thomas  Wilson T(2006) Cortisol responses to mental stress, exercise, and meals following caffeine intake in men and women Pharmacol Biochem Behav 8 3 3  441–447

World Health Organisation (WHO) (2003) Technical Report Series 916: Diet, Nutrition And The Prevention Of Chronic Diseases last accessed 12.12.2011 at http://whqlibdoc.who.int/trs/who_trs_916.pdf

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