Tag Archives: diet

5 Mood Boosting Foods to keep you smiling this winter!

With the autumnal season at full peak and the cold of winter knocking on the door, it’s easy to become a victim of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – also known as the “winter blues”. The lack of natural light is the cause, recognised as an official medical condition that affects up to 2 million people in the UK each year. By kick-starting the right hormones there are few simple ways that you keep the blues at bay – starting with the food that we eat.

Nutritionists regularly recommend slow release complex carbohydrates as the go to food when you’re feeling low. The complex sugars find their way into your bloodstream gradually, helping to keep your body alert for longer. Complex carbohydrates also help to create serotonin (the mood boosting chemical) by helping to transport trytophan (the relaxation chemical) to the brain. It’s all part of food science, but it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.

Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top 5 mood boosting foods to help keep you smiling this Winter:

Greek Yoghurt

When calcium levels drop in the body, you can quickly become irritable and even depressed. Prevent this by introducing greek yoghurt into diet, as it’s packed with calcium and a high degree of healthy fats proven to help reduce stress levels. Greek yoghurt isn’t heat treated like most of the common sources of dairy that we eat day to day, so it still contains essential healthy bacteria aiding intestinal health. There’s no better start to your morning routine than a bowl a oats topped with a handful of fresh fruit and a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt. For added sweetness, add a teaspoon of organic forest honey – perfect winter morning fuel!

Coconut

This exotic hard shelled dry drupe contains medium-chain triglyceride’s (MCT) that help to boost energy levels and general brain activity. Regular consumption can have a profound effect on those that find themselves feeling tired more easily.  If you can’t get hold of fresh coconut, why not look at trying coconut butter which is available from most health food stores – perfect on rye toast for a quick boost! If your out and about you may have noticed the wealth of coconut snacks and health drinks – another great energy fix.

Asparagus

Widely available from most supermarkets, these spear shaped stalk like vegetables are a great source of folate and tryptophan. Folate helps the brain produce serotonin whilst tryptopahn helps to aid in relaxation and promote a positive mood state. Asparagus can be particularly effective when eaten alongside a slow release carbohydrate, aiding the release into the body. Try to keep your asparagus recipes as simple as possible – tossing in olive oil, lemon and garlic before grilling is a great place to start.

Oily Fish

Packed with omega oils and essential fatty acids, fish has been proven to aid better moods and maintain high levels of mental health. The powerful combination of tryptophan, omega essential oils and energy boosting protein make fish an essential meal choice for anybody this winter. Wild Alaskan Salmon contains high levels of rich omega 3 fats, and the potent antioxidant astaxanthin – the natural mood lifter. The high nutritional value of fish make it an ideal meal choice for anyone – make it part of your diet this winter.

Dark Chocolate

Yes you read that correctly – we’re promoting chocolate to be part of your healthy diet this winter. Shouldn’t really be too hard should it? The moreish, satisfying flavour of chocolate can quickly boost anybody’s mood no matter how down their feeling. The science behind it demonstrates that chocolate is high in phenylethylamine, which is responsible for inducing a sense of elation when consumed. Blood sugar levels are sure to rise, causing your pulse to quicken and pupils to dilate. Dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa can have numerous health benefits, including a positive boost in your mood. Give yourself a little treat when your feeling the winter blues!

Pros & Cons of a Clean Food Diet

As people are starting to pay attention to what goes into their food and look at the long term effects of additives and preservatives, many people are considering the clean food diet. The clean food diet is one that involves only eating healthy and natural foods. People on this diet cut out added sugars, processed foods and foods that are filled with chemicals. This means focusing on fruits, vegetables and lean meat.

With any diet or eating regimen, there are pros and cons to following it. With the clean food diet there are more pros than cons, but both need to be considered before someone makes this type of lifestyle change. Following this diet has a lot of advantages because it allows people to lose weight, improve their overall health and does not require calorie counting. However, some people find it hard to follow for a few reasons, such as the cost of these foods.

The clean food diet can be one of the easiest diets to follow, but it does represent a lifelong change in eating. People on this diet do not have to count calories, add up points or eliminate carbs completely, and the clean food diet allows people to eat until they are satisfied. Since they are eating healthy foods that are low in bad fats and added sugars, people are still able to lose weight without limiting the amount of food that they eat.

The goal of this diet is twofold. First, and most importantly, this change in eating is to ensure the health and longevity of the person following it. By eating foods that are natural and filled with nutrients rather than additives leads to better digestion, more energy and an improved immune system.

Second, the diet aims to help people lose weight in a way that is completely natural. Most of the foods that we eat today are filled with sugar and bad fats because those foods taste good and light up the pleasure center of people’s brains. This is probably carried over from when food was scarce and people needed to seek out high fat and calorie foods to survive; however, this is clearly not the case today. Since there is more than enough of all kinds of food available today, it is up to people to make choices that promote health and longevity.

Still, there are some issues with the clean food diet. As with any diet that cuts out added sugar and bad fats, many people will have problems sticking to it. While it is not a particularly restrictive diet, totally forgoing most of the food people currently eat is difficult to adjust to. That said, both fat and sugar are completely acceptable in a clean food diet, they just need to be a part of food naturally, like the sugar in fruit and fat in meat and nuts.

Another common problem that people run into when following the clean food diet is the cost of these foods. Sugary, fatty, high calorie mass produced foods are cheap, whereas raw fruit, vegetables and low fat meat are not. The price rises even further if someone following the clean food diet wants to eat organic foods. Unfortunately, outside of budgeting and trying to get food at farmer’s markets, there is not a way to get around the high cost of good food. However, the fact that they are more expensive should make clear that they are more valuable to people than processed foods.

The clean food diet does represent a lifestyle change, but it is to a healthy lifestyle.

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Sam is a blogger who focuses on health and fitness as well as diet and how that can alter lifestyle. He also has recently tried the clean food diet. Thanks to Sam for providing us with this great article.

Top 10 Spring Health tips

With the Spring season well and truly under way, you’ll find new and exciting ways to reinvigorate yourself and jump back into action. With weather never a certainty, the post-winter blues can still be affecting some of us. Below is a short-list of the top 10 things you can do this season to put the spring back in your step!

1. Seaweed Bathing – A new trend to hit the UK by storm is seaweed bathing. Available to do in the comfort of your own home from as little as £25.00, get the ultimate detoxifying experience by bathing in vitamin enriched seaweed. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – Home kits start from as little as £25.00 from most spa retailers.

2. Wheat grass – Renowned as the ultimate detox ingredient, wheat grass is the key to many of the commercially available detox regimes. Wheat grass boosts the metabolism and energy levels in the body, whilst releasing high levels of vitamins and minerals. Available from most health food stores.

3. “Perricone” Powder – Derived from a combination of berries including theraspberry, blueberry and acai berry, this organic powder offers a potent dose of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Although relatively new in the health world, celebrities are already incorporating it into their personal healthy regimes.

4. Active Abdominal Cleanse – Typically started with a simple foot massage, followed by an algae body wrap & herb poultice finished with an abdominal massage, this treatment is designed to aid muscle tone and break down fat. What better way to start Summer right?

5. Pro biotic Supplements – This season has demonstrated a significant increase in the sales of pro biotic supplements, designed to be taken daily amongst a balanced diet. Proven to increase energy levels and aid in weight loss, it’s worth trying if you haven’t already.

6. Fire & Ice massage – Utilising a treatment of hot and cold stones, the cold stones are designed to constrict blood vessels and stimulate the nervous system, whilst the hot stones work to expand vessels and draw out toxins. Available from most spa treatment places.

7. Digital Detox– This season will see the introduction of the first UK Digital Detox hotel, a trend that has taken the US by storm. Calming spa treatments are paired up with a hotel that’s completely devoid of all gadgets. One for the IT addicts amongst us.

8. Organic Pharmacy Kit – New blends of super vitamins are now becoming the “go-to” supplement when compared to standard multivitamins and tonics. Everything from Detox capsules designed to help your body cleanse to A&B complex supplements to help balance hormones.

9. Botanical Night Complex – Designed to be applied at night, this season has seen the arrival of a detox treatment that works whilst you sleep. Made from a combination of essential oils including chamomile extract, rosemary and sage you can guarantee to feel like a new person each time you wake up!

10. The Sushi Diet – Known for being naturally low in calories, sushi is known as the go to meal for those wanting to eat out whilst on a diet. Taking the Japanese staple to an entirely new level, a company in London is now offering door-to-door sushi for those looking to chow-down whilst on the go. Now there’s really no excuse for you not to eat well all the time!

There’s a few ideas for you to sink your teeth into – Are there any treatments that you swear by during the Spring season? Leave your comments below or follow us on Twitter @healthyhideout !

Easy steps to a Healthy Heart

Many people believe that in order to maintain a healthy heart, you’ll need to take on board high levels of exercise or even purchase endless medicines & diet books. The fact of the matter is, you can maintain a healthy heart by making simple lifestyle changes that can have a lasting long term effect. Several research studies have already shown the healing benefits of having a positive attitude whilst enjoying life at every possible opportunity. This can be as simple as partaking in your favourite physical activity or relaxing with family & friends.

We only get the gift of life once, so we may as well take full advantage of it!

The following tips are simple changes that anyone can make, whilst maintaining a healthy lifestyle and not spending a great deal:

Enjoy every minute of life

Many studies have shown how individuals who laugh more have lives filled with lots of activity, greatly reducing the risk of falling victim to any heart conditions. As we age, the day will come when we decide to “fly the nest,” leave our parents’ homes and sign our very own mortgage agreements. Adult responsibilities such as these tend to result in the fun & games coming to a sudden stop, one that you must be prepared for. Try to maintain your inner child by having some “childlike” fun in your everyday lives – It’ll help your health and wellbeing, whilst maintaining a healthy heart.

Don’t underestimate the power of relaxation

As we get older and our lives begin to progress through the natural stages of “getting older,” it can be very easy to forget about relaxation. Life quickly begins to gather uncontrollable pace as more needs doing, time is spent with different people doing different things, and sometimes stress levels can grow at an alarming pace. Stress increases the risk of heart disease – something that nobody needs. As the world revolves around you at a seemingly blinding speed, a speed that you can’t control, forgetting about yourself is easily done. Try to dedicate a time in the day to get away from it all in order to relax your mind. Whether its yoga, reading your favourite book, or going for a wander around the block, just be sure to give yourself time to gather and rearrange your thoughts.

Perhaps a glass of red?

Recent studies by the British Heart foundation (http://www.bhf.org.uk) have demonstrated how people who choose to drink a glass of wine with their evening meal could drastically lower their chance of heart disease risk by at least 30 per cent. There’s some truth in believing that a small amount of alcohol enjoyed each day with food or as a way to relax, may be better than practising abstinence. Of course drinking alcohol in this way is a lot better than drinking excessive amounts. Red wine in particular is associated with helping to maintain a strong and healthy heart.

Make your very own home spa haven

Knowing that spending time relaxed as opposed to being stressed can almost halve heart disease risk, so why not create your own relaxation haven in the comfort of your own home? Ensure there’s plenty of natural light, perhaps some soothing music topped with a large abundance of fresh flowers. These are just a handful of possible ideas that may work for you, but if you’re lucky enough to have a larger budget you could look into installing a personal sauna or steam room. Be sure to have a dedicated quiet space in your home to ensure you have a place to think without distraction.

Settle your soul

Believing in yourself can drastically help to keep you mentally grounded, whilst effortlessly helping to maintain a clear focus on what matters. Many studies have shown that people who utilise positive words such as “hope” and “joy” tend to outlive pessimistic counterparts by almost a decade. Why not try to embrace all the good things in your life, rather than focusing on the negatives – Without stating the obvious, being a state of happiness is better for your mental state than one of anger.

Enjoy others and party!

Our state of mind is far healthier when in the company of family and friends that we know and love. Don’t be one that makes excuses by not having enough time for others by surrounding yourself with family and friends. By helping yourself to be in a healthy mental state, your body will feel relaxed so your heart doesn’t have any extra strain.

You’ll do wonders for your state of mind and wellbeing, without even making an effort.

 

 

5 Top Foods for a Flat Stomach

OK – So the summer season is quickly coming to close, with the doors to Autumn & Winter swinging wide open. But that doesn’t mean that your fitness and looking good need to go out of the window. The heavy jumpers and trousers may hide your figure from the public, but you’ll still know inside you what’s going on underneath those layers!

Not many people know that achieving a flat stomach can be easier than getting rid of the dreaded “love handles” – Your stomach is more about what you eat and how much of it you eat. Chewing your food throughly for example, triggers the stomach to create more stomach acid which helps to maintain a smooth digestive process. Not chewing food properly can cause food to ferment in the gut, leaving your feeling overly full and bloated.

The following top five foods are great ways to help achieve a flat stomach:

  • Oats – A easy balanced breakfast that’s guaranteed to fill you up. It makes a great alternative to the wheat based cereals that are laced in salts & sugars which don’t even keep you alert a few hours later. Don’t take our word for it either – The benefits over oats compared to these cereals is well documented.  As written in You Can be Thin by Marisa Peer, oats help to feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, helping you feel fuller for longer. Getting the right start to the day is the first step to a flat stomach – It’s a great way to cut out all the cravings for sugary snacks during the day.
  • Yoghurt – According to the The Food Doctor by Ian Marber eating a pot of plain yoghurt each day can be a great way of trimming the abdominal area.  Packed with gut friendly bacteria, yoghurt can help to reduce that bloated feeling that you may get after eating. If plain yoghurt doesn’t sound too appetising, try adding some honey, seeds or sliced fruit for flavour. Contrary to popular belief, it’s important to avoid fat free yoghurt. You’ll find it contains more sugar than the standard stuff!
  • Berries – If you’re concerned about looking too bloated, it may be worth looking at cutting out any fruit juices you may have in your diet. Ian Marber author of How Not To Get Fat demonstrates how the fructose in fruit juices can create carbon dioxide in the gut which causes the digestive process to slow down. Replace these fruit juices with fresh berries which are available in abundance this time of year. Mix it up with a spoonful of almonds and a drop of agave nectar for a guilt-free treat.
  • Papaya – An exotic fruit not often explored by many, the papaya is a delicate and juicy fruit similiar to the mango in some aspects. A staple food in Miami, where a flat stomach is almost compulsory! Papaya contains a soluble fibre which helps to aid the digestive system, keeping you feeling less bloated and getting you closer to that flat stomach.  Make sure to not eat too much however – excessive papaya can actually trigger bloating!
  • Herbal Teas – One of the easiest changes to make in your diet and quest towards a flat stomach – Cut out all of the fizzy drinks and energy booster liquids! The carbon dioxide used to create the bubbles in these drinks can get into the gut and cause problems. Instead, get yourself involved in the world of herbal tea drinking. The Healthy Hideout offers a great guide on herbal teas which can be found here: 6 Top Teas – The Real Wonder Drink.

Do you want to live a long life?

A recent study has found that living a long life is more down to your lifestyle than your genes. This puts your personal life expectancy very much on your own shoulders. The experts noted that people who live healthy lifestyles in their 50’s are much more likely to live to 90 than those who are not so careful. Therefore, it does not completely follow that if your relatives have lived a long life then you will also enjoy this luxury.

While your genes will play an important part in your susceptibility to certain illness or conditions the study found that lifestyle played a far more significant role. The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and looked at 800 men who were born in 1913. The researchers then took detailed medical checks and questionnaires every 10 years to understand how the individual lived. The checks looked at whether the individual smoked, their diets, exercise routine, wage and standard of living.

MyPyramid - Steps to a Healthier You. (United States Department of Agriculture)

Out of the original 800 participants there were 111 who lived to the age of 90. It was found that once the participant had reached 50 then there was no noticeable correlation between when their parents died and when they would end up dying. The research, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, found that those at 50 years old who did not smoke, lived in better houses, had lower blood pressures and only drank moderate amounts of coffee were more likely to live to 90 years old.

Lead researcher, Professor emeritus Lars Wilhelmsen, said: “We’re breaking new ground here. The study clearly shows that we can influence several of the factors that decide how old we get. This is positive not only for the individual but also for society as it doesn’t entail any major drug costs.”

Other studies have found similar results and have led to some believing that there are 4 factors that will significantly effect how long you live. These factors are: diet, psycho-spiritual, social and exercise. If we can live fulfilled, contented and rounded lifestyles then we greatly increase our chance of hitting the big 100!