Tag Archives: eating

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 !

Spruce up your Spring eating!

With the official first day of Spring now behind us (March 20th for the UK readers), the season of blossom is truly in full swing.  With a new season comes new crops, including a whole host of tantalising spring foods that shouldn’t be ignored.

Spring offers some of the most versatile foods packed with vital nutrition that can add huge benefits to any diet. Here are just some of the best spring foods that you shouldn’t miss:

  • Asparagus – Not only does it look great on a plate, asparagus carries fantastic nutritional properties that not many other vegetables can offer. Known as a wonder tonic for kidney health, asparagus is a diuretic which helps the body get rid of unwanted toxins making it an ideal companion for dieters. Asparagus is packed with vitamin C & K, fibre, protein, iron, folic acid, manganese and potassium – That’s a whole host of good stuff!
  • Peas – Spring offers some of the best green vegatables available in the supermarket, and don’t be fooled by the tiny size of the petit pois! Peas are great when used in soups and because they’re low calorie, rich in fibre and protein, and a good source of antioxidant vitamins, you’d be silly not to add a portion to every other meal.
  • Strawberries – Does anyone have memories of picking strawberries with their parents when you were younger? The delicious strawberry has a high water content containing vitamins B, C, E potassium, calcium, zinc and iron – all the good stuff! These antioxidants will help to boost your immune system whilst helping to fight the signs of ageing.
  • Mackerel – Packed with vitamin B12 & D along with high levels of phosphorus, magnesium and selenium, this fish isn’t to everyone’s tastes! But eating three portions of oily fish a week can help to maintain the recommended levels of omega 3 in the body, improving bone and skin health. Make the switch from salmon or sardines, as mackerel isn’t considered an endangered species – It’s relatively cheap too.
What healthy food tips can you offer to our readers? Are their annual changes that you make as soon as the Spring season arrives? We’d love to hear from you – just post in the comments below or tweet us at @healthyhideout.

 

Note: It’s been a while since the Healthy Hideout has offered a decent post with some “meat on the bone” for our wonderful followers to sink their teeth into. We’d like to thank all of our readers for their ongoing commitment to the blog, and can confirm that we are back up and running for the time being.

 

Do not bring us the Figgy Pudding!

Christmas is a notorious time for overindulgence and expanding waistbands. Research suggests that weight gain over the 4 week Christmas period can be as much as 2kg, which is an awful lot of mince pies! Whilst most people do not maintain this level of overindulgence throughout the year (not to mention the New Years resolution to shift those creeping pounds) there are a few festive foods for the health conscious, which are packed with nutrition and can be enjoyed (nearly) guilt free!

1. Clementines– A popular fruit at Christmas, this little gem is packed with vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and dietary fibre. They are naturally high in sugar but swap a few mince pies for these when you crave something sweet, at only 35 calories each they are a saintly snack.

2. Chestnuts – Often overshadowed by their popular counterpart-the Brussels sprout, this nut contains high levels of vitamin C, lower fat content than other types of nut and high levels of minerals, in particular potassium. Potassium is highly rated for helping lower blood pressure (often running high in the stressful Christmas season) and heart rate.

3. Carrots– Rudolph’s preferred mid-present delivery snack. From the taproot family of vegetables, high in vitamins, minerals and beta-carotene. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A by the body which helps with visual function and frontline bodily defense against infections and diseases. These will help keep away the dreaded ‘Christmas colds’ and other festive spirit-dampening ailments.

4. Turkey– Trussed and carved, the ultimate centrepiece for any Christmas Dinner table. Turkey is a lean meat which is low in saturated fat but high in protein and phosphorus which is essential for bone and teeth growth, not to mention it is a main component of every body cell.

5. Brussels Sprouts – Either love them or hate them, this Christmas dinner Brassica is without doubt full of good things (even if they smell somewhat suspect). Sprouts contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin K can be found in each one of these little green machines, which has been found to help limit neuronal damage and even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s!

6. Parsnips – This taproot is a classic Christmas dinner vegetable. High in fibre( but also natural sugars) this vegetable contains folic acid, vitamin b-6 and pentathenic acid which is known for it’s stress busting properties. Perfect after slaving away in a hot kitchen with hungry mouths to feed!

7. Cranberries – This berry is often sidelined to a table sauce at Christmas, which is high in sugar but the berries themselves are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They contain Manganese, a mineral known for health benefits such as maintaining healthy bones and sugar levels, promoting optimal functioning of the thyroid and for helping the body absorb other key nutrients.

8. Cinnamon – this fragrant spice is full of antioxidants, essential oils and minerals. It has been used for centuries in medicine for its antiseptic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory qualities. It has the highest anti-oxidant level for all natural foods, combating nasty free-radicals. Cinnamon has also been found to have anti-clotting properties, helping reduce the risk of strokes and coronary disease.

9. Smoked salmon – This cured fish is a popular choice for a celebratory brunch or Christmas Party canapés. High in omega-3, this food can help with brain function, cell function and improved cardiovascular function. Other benefits from Omega-3 include improved joint operation and some research has shown it to help alleviate symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis.

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!