All posts filed under: Nutrition

To be or not to be a vegetarian

Becoming vegetarian is usually a decision based on religious beliefs or the ethics of eating meat. However, some people may try it for health reasons. A currently high profile example of this is the blog and recipe book, Deliciously Ella. Its writer, Ella Woodward adopted a vegan and gluten free diet after suffering a debilitating illness and found it helped her recovery. There are many different types of vegetarian diet, depending on what is excluded from the diet – some people eat fish but not meat, others avoid meat and fish but eat dairy products, while vegans exclude all animal products. On the whole, a vegetarian diet offers many health benefits; vegetarians tend to have lower body weights, lower blood pressure and incidence of heart disease and lower rates of cancer. However, to be healthy, a vegetarian must understand how to plan a balanced meal without meat. There are several important nutrients that are not as abundant or well absorbed in plant foods. Meat is a good source of protein as it contains all of …

So chocolate is good for you…..isn’t it??

Easter is just around the corner and the Easter eggs are already starting to appear in the house if you have kids. Many of us have read the newspaper articles in recent years that chocolate is good for you because it contains antioxidants. Does this mean that we should be stuffing our faces this weekend because chocolate is good for you or is it a myth after all? Chocolate is made from cocoa which in its purest form, contains high levels of flavonoids, a group of chemicals found in plants, which are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect the body from damage caused by normal bodily processes as well as environmental toxins and are thought to be anti-cancer. Flavonoids have also been associated with improved blood flow around the body, reduced blood pressure and a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. There is evidence to support this, but there is a catch. The levels of cocoa in chocolate vary widely and depend on the type of chocolate you eat. White chocolate contains around 20% cocoa, with milk …

How to eat out or take away the healthy way

Most of us eat out regularly, whether it’s dinner at a good restaurant or lunch from the sandwich shop near the office. Eating out can be fun and it makes a lovely change from cooking and eating at home. If you only do it once a week, you don’t need to worry too much about what you’re ordering. However, if you buy your lunch every day or have dinner out or takeaway several times a week, you would probably benefit from giving your choices some thought. It is much harder to get all the nutrients your body requires when you have little control over the ingredients in your meal. A few tips on what to choose and what to avoid can help you minimise the indigestion / sluggishness / guilt and get what your body needs. If you buy lunch, aim for variety – don’t just eat a supermarket sandwich every day. Many of them contain mayonnaise (full of saturated fat and little else) and there will never be much in the way of veggies …

Healthy eating for older people

As we get older, eating well becomes even more important than it has been throughout our adult lives. From the age of 50, our energy requirements decline as our metabolism and physical activity slows. This is often accompanied by a decline in appetite. However, our need for a regular intake of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals is as great as ever – to help us fight age-related disease and maintain healthy bodies. For older adults, being slightly overweight is not a health problem and is actually better than being underweight. Underweight may be associated with malnutrition and is linked to falls and osteoporosis. Underweight people may also have fewer resources to fight disease. On the other hand, obesity is still linked to heart disease and some cancers, so keeping weight at a healthy level is very important. The key to good health in older age is to eat plenty of nutrient dense foods. When the appetite slows, it is even more vital for the foods that we do eat to contain the vitamins and minerals …

How much protein and do we really need to eat so much fruit and veg?

Protein Meat, fish and eggs provide vital protein to the diet. High protein, low carbohydrate diets are in fashion currently, but the average western diet provides more protein than our bodies actually require. A portion of meat or fish should be the same size as the palm of your hand and your protein requirements can easily be met from one meal per day of meat, fish or eggs and a serving of nuts, cheese or legumes. To eat meat or not should be a matter of taste and personal preference, however eating large quantities of processed fatty meats such as bacon, ham and sausages has been linked to colorectal cancer and premature death (Rohrmann, 2013). As with all my dietary recommendations, moderation and variety is key. Some healthy eating guidelines recommend eating red meat no more than 3 or 4 times per week, and I tend to follow that advice, whilst usually eating meat just once a day. Meat that is grass-fed also tends to contain higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids (the really …