Tag Archives: blueberries

5 Wholesome Healthy Heart Foods

The sudden influx of the UK health conscious culture over the last decade has caused many of us to take a long hard look at ourselves ask one simple question – How can I be healthier? Dramatic and unsustainable lifestyle changes really don’t work, so many of us have taken to the idea of changing a small part of our lifestyle one piece at a time. Joining the gym is an option that works for many, but a commonly overlooked area is taking a look at the foods we eat. With coronary heart disease still standing as the number 1 killer in the United Kingdom according the National Office of Statistics, changing what we eat on a day-to-day basis will have a dramatic effect on our heart health.

Although year-on-year statistics are falling with medical advances in science, and as a Nation are making changes in our day-to-day lives, there is still room for improvement. There are obvious requirements such as exercising regularly, eating healthier and drinking less alcohol – but keeping a healthy heart can as simple as avoiding the salt soaked fat induced morsels that tempt up on a daily basis.

Take a look at our recommended 5 wholesome hearty foods and try integrating them today:

Olive Oil

Used daily by the inhabitants of the Mediterranean isles, olive oil has been shown to help regulate blood flow, whilst being rich in healthy mono-saturated fats. According a new 2012 study compiled by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “just 2 tablespoons of olive oil per day almost halves your risk of dying from heart disease”. It’s important to look at swapping saturated fats such as butter or lard that raise the risk of heart disease,  for unsaturated fats like olive oil to help lower your overall cholesterol.

Suggestion: Drizzle over your favourite salad leaves or roasted vegetables! 

Pears

Apples and pears are naturally high in fibre and antioxidants, hence the encouragement to try and eat one at least once a day. The fibre in pears however is made from “pectin” water soluble fibres which has been shown to reduce cholesterol by binding molecules in the bowel instead allowing them to circulate through the bloodstream. Pears also contain antioxidant flavonoids which help to support your cardiovascular health inhibiting plaque formations in the arteries.

Suggestions: Eat as you would normally or try sliced as a dessert or into salads. 

Blueberries

Known as one of the most powerful fruits money can buy, blueberries are powerful disease fighters loaded with antioxidants which work to protect the body against free radicals. The unique blue pigmentation comes from anthocyanins, responsible for providing most of the anti-oxidant properties. Rich in vitamin C, Blueberries are packed with fibre which is essential for lowering your cholesterol levels.

Suggestions: Delicious on their own or sprinkled over your breakfast cereal 

Garlic

Forget the fact that Garlic is the last thing you want to eat on a first date – Garlic is a pocket-sized superfood you simply don’t want to ignore. This spice has been shown to cure and alleviate a number of medical ailments for decades. Research into the properties of garlic and the cause of it’s wonder-powers show how it decreases the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries. Lower calorific values of just 10 calories per clove make them a healthy way of adding flavour to any dish. Garlic also contains allicin which helps to keep blood flowing easily, reducing your blood pressure overall.

Suggestion: Crushed into most foods for added flavour or roasted with vegetables & sweet potatoes

Mackerel

Oily fish such as herring, sardines and mackerel contain high levels of omega-3 – a vital ingredient for improving your overall heart health. The British Heart Foundation recommends that you consume at least two portions of fish each week, with a portion of oily fish at least once a week. Consuming fish this regularly has been shown to help decrease blood pressure, regulate heart beat and make blood less susceptible to clotting.

Suggestion: Steamed with a squeeze of lemon for flavour – delicious! 

 

 

5 top tips for better skin

At this cold time of the year, it can be very difficult to get enough Vitamin D into our bodies to help our skin look it’s best. Of course, there’s an abundance of perfectly acceptable creams that can transform your skin from desperation into dazzling within a few minutes.

But here at the Healthy Hideout, we like to do things a little differently. Instead of spending money on some of the best make-up products available in the marketplace, why not spend your money on some super skin improving foods. The following short-list contains just a few examples:

1. Pumpkin Seeds

Halloween is now over and the pumpkins are starting to look a little sad. We certainly hope that you’d kept the pumpkin seeds from the carving stage, as they are packed with pro-skin nutrients. Bland bird food for people who don’t understand them, pumpkin seeds have been known to be packed with high levels of zinc. Zinc is very important for fighting infection and speeding up the skin healing process. Pumpkin seeds also contain essential fats which can help keep the skin feeling soft & supple whilst helping to reducing acne.

2. Oily Fish

Cold weather can leave the skin feeling dry and “shrivelled” – keeping it covered with hats and scarfs isn’t great for it either. Omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish have been shown to contain a compound called astaxanthin which can help skin feel conditioned and supple. Find it abundant in salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines – don’t overdo it though. Nutritionists believe that eating oily fish at least two to three times a week is plenty.

3. Green Tea

Drinking green tea should already be part of your everyday diet, and if it isn’t we highly recommend you look into it. The health benefits from green tea are endless, helping to boost metabolism, improve skin condition and can combat heart disease. Green tea contains flavenoids, a class of antioxidant that really benefits the skin, providing protection from dangerous UV radiation and sunburn whilst helping to maintain skin structure.

4. Tomatoes

Is it a fruit or a vegatable? Well, it is infact a fruit, and a pretty clever one at that. Found in pretty much everything from salads to pasta dishes and stews, it tastes great both raw and cooked. Tomatoes contain a substance called lycopene – a powerful carotenoid antioxidant found in all red fruits and vegatables which helps promote a clearer, softer skin texture. Lycopene becomes more potent when cooked, so don’t be afraid to throw your tomatoes under the grill before eating!

5. Blueberries

Very well recognised as a super food that’s worth picking up when you’re in the supermarket, blueberries have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants amongst fruits and vegetables. They also contain a high level of anthocyanidins which help to keep skin feeling plump and fresh. High levels of vitamin C also help toward skin healing as well as providing a huge boost for your immune system. Be sure to drop a few in your cereal tomorrow morning!

 

A healthy purpose for purple!

New research carried out by Professor Douglas Kell at the Archives of Toxicology has concluded new research, stating fruit containing the colour purple can help fight the harmful effects of iron on the digestive system. It is believed that if iron makes it’s way through to the digestive system in the wrong form it can damage delicate cells.

We are often told that vitamins and minerals are generally good for the body, but if Iron does not chemically react with other compounds in the body, it can be poisonous to tissue and cells.

Compounds known as “polyphenols” which give the fruit favourites such as blueberries their distinctive purple glow, have the ability to take hold of harmful iron and keep it out of harm’s way. Other foods that also carry this talent include tumeric, an essential part of indian cooking and green tea, a popular caffeine free drink. The research also showed that even chocolate may help, but unfortunately red wine and other dark alcoholic drinks didn’t have the same effect.

“We tend to think iron is good for us, and in the right form, it is. In the wrong form however, it is not good for you because it can react with other things knocking around in the body which can turn nasty” said Professor Kell. “Too much free iron can stop vitamin C from helping the body fight infection.”

Source: Mail Online.

10 Top Brain Foods

The brain can be a very demanding muscle and giving it what it needs will pay massive dividends to the mental health of both you and your family. A sharp, focused brain with clarity of thought will make you more productive, produce higher quality results while saving you both time and energy. If you have a difficult decision to make about your finances, relationships or future then why not start off with your brain functioning in top gear? It may be that you just want to stay sharp-witted, improve memory or stave off mental decline. All you need to do is make some changes to your weekly shopping list and soon you will start to think more clearly!

Blueberries

Blueberries. Source: http://www.oregonberry.com

1. Blueberries

Studies have discovered that berries can help fight major conditions such as heart disease, cancer and infections. In particular, blueberries, strawberries and acai berries can help protect the brain; preserving memory and other mental faculties. Dr. Poulose, a researcher from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA-ARS) stated: “The good news is that natural compounds called polyphenolics found in fruits, vegetables and nuts have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that may protect against age-associated decline.”

2. Coffee

Coffee Beans

Enjoy a guilt-free morning coffee!

The risk of dementia can be cut where coffee blocks the damage that cholesterol can inflict on the body. The 2008 report from the BBC stated that coffee can lead to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Jonathan Geiger from the University of North Dakota says, “Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.” Perhaps that daily cup of coffee could be having more long term benefits that you thought!

3. Salmon

Dr Byrne from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School states that: “There are certain ‘brain foods’ that seem to have a benefit on the brain. New research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in salmon and other fish, may build the brain’s gray matter”.

4. Eggs

Eggs are a good source of choline, which has been found to be vital for healthy cells, liver and brain. In fact choline not only helps improve brain function but can also help with memory retention. With many people lacking adequate amounts of choline in their diets it seems like eggs are a great, accessible source.

5. Flax seeds

Increasing evidence supports the notion of increasing the amount of omega-3 healthy fats in our diets. Omega-3 can be found in fish oils and flax seed oil. It has been reported that these Omega-3 healthy fats can be good for your brain and overall mood.

6. Avocado

Steven Pratt, MD, and author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life states that avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health. Avocado is a fatty fruit but this is a monounsaturated fat which can actually contribute to healthy blood flow.

7. Spinach & Green leafy vegetables

The journal of American Heart Association found that there is a clear link between a high folate diet and reduced risk of strokes. In fact, spinach is high in folate and a great natural source. Some neurologists have recommended eating organic spinach 3+ times a week as a brain tonic!

8. Walnuts & mixed nuts

Walnuts have a high concentration of DHA, which is a type of Omega 3 fatty acid shown to improve brain performance in adults while helping stave off cognitive decline. One study has even suggested that mothers who get enough DHA in their diets have smarter children.

9. Dark chocolate

So, what makes dark chocolate such a great brain food? The answer is found in the flavonoids that it contains. The cocoa, high in flavonoids, has been found to help keep your heart and brain healthy. In fact, the Salk Institute has found initial evidence that eating dark chocolate can help improve brain blood flow which in turn can help improve memory.

10. Acai Berries

Like blueberries, acai berries contain a compound called polyphenol that can trigger the brain to clean and recycle toxic proteins that can lead to memory loss and mental decline. Dr Shibu Poulose, from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Ageing, stated: “In aging, microglia fail to do their work, and debris builds up within the brain. This research has shown that the polyphenolics in berries have a beneficial effect. They have been seen to restore the brains normal housekeeping function.”

Tell us about any other great brain foods that you eat to keep your cognitive sharpness at its peak. Also, why not read the following books to understand more about how some of these super foods can help keep your mind and body healthy into old age: