Tag Archives: fibre

Powerful Punchy Pumpkin Seeds

Maintaining a healthy diet is just as important as exercise when it comes to practicing a healthy lifestyle. Many of us are looking at new ways of introducing healthy super foods into our diets, but as our days become busier and schedules become booked up, it’s easy to pick up the wrong kind of snack foods. Say no to doughnuts and crisps and grab yourself a handful of powerful punchy Pumpkin seeds.

Not only are they deliciously more-ish, they’re easy to transport around with you during a busy working day, whilst being widely available in ready to eat packaging. Be wary that they are high in calorific content, so moderation is the key (as is the case with everything). Here are the top 4 pumpkin seed benefits which demonstrate why the pumpkin is the pumpking!

Help control stress

The naturally high level of L-trytophan found in pumpkin seeds have been shown to calm the nerves and maintain a “calm mood”. Ease your stress levels by munching on a handful of the “pumpking” seeds and taking a 5 minute break from your desk!

Glowing Skin

Pumpkin seeds contain a high level of vitamin E, preventing the early breakdown of skin cells. This helps to maintain a youthful looking glow whilst combating high levels of UV found in the sun. Perfect accompaniment for those in a warmer climate.

Lower cholesterol

Packed with phytosterol, which help to reduce cholesterol levels, toasted seeds contain healthy compounds that help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. This increases your immune response whilst helping to decrease the risk of certain cancers.

They fill you up!

Packed with high levels of protein and fibre, the pumpkin seed is great snack to turn to for a quick fill me up. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds, seasoned with a dash of salt!

Totally Nut-tastic!

Not many of us know this, but a nut is down in the Oxford dictionary as, and I quote “a fruit consisting of a hard shell around an edible kernel.” The nut is in fact part of the fruit family, and contrary to popular belief, nuts are actually good for you when eaten in the correct way.

The following short list provided by the Healthy Hideout gives a quick insight into some of the best nuts available from most grocery stores. Why not look into getting some of these nuts into your diet as soon as possible:

Brazil Nuts – In addition to the usual nut health properties, the brazil nut is unique due to the high selenium content, a mineral proven to help protect against cancer, heart disease and even premature ageing. Limit yourself to a handful a day, as too much selenium can be dangerous. An easy way to incorporate Brazil nuts into your diet is to sprinkle them over rice and vegetable dishes. For a sweet treat, why not try them chocolate? Tasty!

Almonds – There are many arguments both for and against the almonds, as they’ve been derided as a calorific “easy to eat” party snack both high in fat and salt. However, take raw almonds without salt eaten in the correct quantities and you have yourself a great source of protein, fibre and antioxidants – all of which have been proven to help lower cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart of disease.

Cashew Nuts – This common bean shaped nut grows on the stalk of the cashew pear, used frequently in sweet and savoury Asian dishes. Cashews are a great source of magnesium, helping support healthy muscle & bone growth. The high-fibre properties of the cashew nut are also used in effective weight management when eaten in moderation.

Pistachio Nuts – Unsalted pistachios are a nutrient packed food dense with a considerable amount of vitamins and minerals, making them quite  a perfect snack. A single one ounce serving of around 30 nuts contains up to 10% of your daily requirements of fibre, magnesium and B vitamins. Perfect for keeping your immunity system strong and healthy.

Walnuts – These hard shelled nuts contain an impressive level of mono unsaturated fats, with more omega 3 than any other nut. Some studies have shown how walnuts can help fight against depression, whilst helping to maintain a healthy heart. Tests have shown how eating 8 walnuts a day can help lower cholesterol by up to 10%.

10 ways to kick start your day! (Part 1)

Getting the right start at the beginning of the day can drastically affect your performance and focus throughout the day. Without a routine healthy start to your morning, you’ll find your energy quickly dipping throughout the day. The easiest way to prevent this is to ensure that you kick start your day in the proper manner!

Porridge or oatmeal is great for breakfast!

Porridge or oatmeal is great for breakfast!

This article is going to be broken down into two parts – The first part contains the first 5 ways to kick start your day! Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top ways of getting your day off to the great start that it needs:

1 – Healthy balanced breakfast – Possibly the most obvious factor to a perfect start to your day, a healthy breakfast is vital to keeping your energy levels high throughout the day. Plenty of fibre, proteins and nutrients are essential which can easily be found through wholegrain cereals, granola, natural yogurt, dried fruit and berries. Try to stay clear of fatty meats, low-fibre cereals and white breads.

2 – Preparation the night before – In order to get yourself up and out there quickly, it’s useful to prepare everything you need the night before. There’s nothing worse than hunting for your car keys in a groggy brain “just-woken-up” state! Make sure everything is easy to find, including your outfit for the day. It’ll also give you plenty of wake-up time, including all important breakfast time.

3 – Snooze Control isn’t your friend–  The snooze button was invented by a lazy person! Just kidding – but although the snooze button may seem like your best friend, it really is not beneficial to your body. Falling asleep only to wake up again 5 minutes later doesn’t necessarily make waking up for the day any easier. Muster up all your willpower and get up and soon as your alarm rings – you’ll thank yourself later in the day!

4 – Regular wake-up times – Waking up at the same time everyday biologically programs our bodies to eventually wake up naturally each day. By waking up in this matter, you’ll find yourself feeling fresher and ready for the day without too much effort.

5 – Waking up in the sunshine – Our bodies respond to darkness by producing the sleep hormone known as melatonin, which is why it’s difficult for many of us to wake up during the winter in a dark bedroom. If you can’t sleep without closing the curtains, be sure to open them as soon as you wake up to allow natural light to flood the room.

8 Food myths that will shock you

Every day 2.5 million people in Britain eat from McDonald’s! So, is the 5-a-day campaign just a way to make fruit and vegetable companies rich? Is fibre actually good for you? Is fat healthy? A new book called The Obesity Epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it? claims that many things we believe about food are wrong.

MYTH 1: Fat is bad for us

According to Harcombe: “Real fat is not bad for us”. It is the man made fats that we should be avoiding. In fact our body needs fat as it is essential for every cell. In a pork chop there is about 2.3% of unsaturated fat and 1.5% of saturated fat. According to a 2008 Family Food Survey we are deficient in the fat-soluble vitamins E, D and A. These fat-soluble vitamins are responsible for bone strength, mental health, healthy eyesight, protection of blood vessels and protection against cancer. When we eat “real” fat these vitamins are absorbed into the body.


‘Real’ fat will help us store fat soluble vitamins

MYTH 2: We should eat more fibre

We have always been told that fibre is important to help our digestive system and keep the food moving. Harcombe argues that this is not a good idea. She says: “The advice to eat more fibre is put forward along with the theory that we need to flush out our digestive systems. But essential minerals are absorbed from food while it is in the intestines, so why do we want to flush everything out? Concentrate on not putting bad foods in.”

MYTH 3: Saturated fat causes heart disease

Foods containing a high proportion of saturated fats include cream, cheese,  butter, fatty meat, chocolate and coconut oil. We have become accustomed into believing that these foods can lead to heart disease. However, Harcombe writes: “No research has ever properly proved that eating saturated fat is associated with heart disease , let alone that causes it.”

MYTH 4: More exercise is a cure for the obesity epidemic

Exercise will speed up our metabolism and mean we burn more calories and lose fat. Harcombe is not convinced, telling us: “If you push yourself into doing extra exercise, it will be counter-productive because you will get hungry – your body will be craving carbohydrate to replenish its lost stores. If you are trying to control weight loss, it is so much easier to control what you put into your mouth. Not how much, but what. Then it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do by way of exercise.”

MYTH 5: Cholesterol is a dietary enemy

Are high levels of cholesterol really a bad thing. Harcombe thinks not and believes that like your height it is difficult to prescribe a set level that we should aim for. Aiming for a level like 5 mmol/l is meaningless. Harcombe says, “Ancel Keys, who studied cholesterol extensively in the Fifties, said categorically that cholesterol in food does not have any impact on cholesterol in the blood. What is abnormal is the amount of carbohydrate we eat, especially refined carbohydrate, and this has been shown to determine triglyceride levels – the part of the cholesterol reading your GP may be most concerned about.”

“It’s the ultimate irony. We only told people to eat carbs because we demonised fat and, having picked the wrong villain, we are making things worse.”

MYTH 6: You need to eat 5 portions of fruit & veg every day

According to Harcombe: “Five-a-day is the most well-known  piece of nutritional advice. You’d think it was based on firm evidence of health benefit. Think again!”

She continues, “Five-a-day started as a marketing campaign by 25 fruit and veg companies and the American National Cancer Institute in 1991. There was no evidence for any cancer benefit.”

MYTH 7: Fruit  & Veg is the most nutritious things you can eat

Vegetables are a great addition to our diets but fruit is best avoided by those trying to lose weight. Harcombe states, “If served in butter to deliver the fat-soluble vitamins they contain – but fructose, the fruit sugar in fruit, goes straight to the liver and is stored as fat.”

She adds, “Vitamins and minerals in animal foods – meat, fish, eggs and dairy products – beat those in fruit hands down.”

MYTH 8: Food advisory bodies give us good, impartial advice

It seems that the food industry sponsors some of those impartial organisations we rely upon for our food advice. For example, the British Dietetic Association (BDA), who deliver much  advice for the Department of Health and NHS is sponsored by Danone, who create yoghurt’s, and Abbott Nutrition, who produce infant formula and energy bars.

Furthermore, The British Nutrition Foundation, founded in 1967 has among its sustaining members British Sugar PLC, J Sainsbury PLC, Kraft foods, Cadbury and Coca-Cola. Harcombe states, “When the food and drink industry is so actively embracing public health advice, isn’t it time to wonder how healhty that advice can be?”

Tell us what you think. For more reading why not buy Zoe Harcombe’s book now to find out more. Source: Daily Mail newspaper.

Pumpkin is King!

As October begins to step into full swing, many of us will begin to notice an increase of pumpkins available on our supermarket shelves. What many of us fail to realise is that a pumpkin is not just for hollowing out and creating an award winning design! Pumpkins really are incredibly good for you, and offer more health benefits than many of us may realise. They’re also a fruit and not a vegetable, but you already knew that right?

Pumpkins – The real super food

So why are they so orange? Well first and foremost, pumpkins are loaded with the invaluable anti oxidant beta-carotene, also found in carrots and sweet potato. This has been known to reduce the risk of many diseases including cancer, whilst helping to protect us against long term illnesses such as heart disease. Pumpkins are also a great source of fibre, potassium, and magnesium which all help to keep our bodies running like a well oiled machine.

The seeds found inside pumpkins have been used since colonial times to assist with digestive problems, and even as an addition to medicine. The oil found inside the pumpkin seeds has a high level of both magnesium and zinc which has been proven to offer various health benefits from extra bone protection to anti inflammatory benefits for those suffering from arthritis. A study of approximately 400 men ranging from 45-92 years of age published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed a clear correlation between low dietary intake of zinc and osteoporosis at the hip and spine.

Incorporate Pumpkin into your diet today!

There’s plenty of ways you can incorporate pumpkin into your diet starting today! The seeds are widely available and make an excellent accompaniment to any breakfast cereal, but the fruit itself is at the height of season in October so grab them fresh whilst you can! If you’re lucky enough to get a pumpkin with the flowers still intact, be sure to not throw them away – They taste delicious!

Remember, pumpkins are not just for decoration! For more information on healthy vegetables you never knew existed (or did but just choose to ignore), check out this book from Michael Pollen.