Tag Archives: healthy

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! 

 

 

Take advantage of Superfoods

Every human body is unique which is why finding a ‘balanced diet’ can be so difficult. Every day there is something in the news about the best ‘superfood’ or a new way of eating that will make you lose 3 stone in two days. You can start to feel a little lost amongst all of the conflicting claims and end up in a lifestyle rut.

Now is the time for your body MOT! Ever wondered why you look six months pregnant after a sandwich? Or perhaps you find you get headaches after eating certain foods? You could have an intolerance which you never even knew about. Do you steer clear of olive oil, avocados and nuts because they are ‘fatty’? Yes, these food products do have fat in them but it is unsaturated which means that it will store long- term energy.

With so much to consider when deciding on what to put into your body, a nutritionist could really help to make the best choices possible for your individual diet and lifestyle. Whether you would prefer online coaching, face to face advice or an allergy/ intolerance test, there really is something for everyone. You can totally re- evaluate your daily diet and completely change the way you look at food. After all, we need our bodies to run on the best possible fuel to live a long, healthy and happy life.

This article was provided by Elle Jenkins from Nutrionist Resource UK. For more information on how to find a nutritionist, please visit http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/

 

 

Februarys Hearty Seasonal Offerings

The start of a New Year can mean new beginnings for many people in their own different ways. A common NY resolution involves some sort of “naughty” food being banished from the cupboards for as long as you can mentally bear it. Others include squeezing in more exercise, cutting down on drinking, and of course the classic – losing weight. Healthy targets such as these are great for your well-being short-term, but it’s the long term changes that really make the difference.

February brings more than just another month – Seasonal produce that you’ll see in most supermarkets will begin to offer some of the best nourishment the winter month has to offer. Below are our top four foods that are guaranteed to add a seasonal flavour to any dish:

Artichokes

Often overlooked by many, the humble artichoke is often left behind due to the daunting preparation methods required. Don’t be put off – once you start peeling back the layers, you’ll realise it’s a lot easier than you think. This vegetable is high in nutritional value, and can be very tasty when prepared properly. Artichoke is packed with antioxidants to help defend against illness, whilst providing cyanic properties to help ward off cholesterol. Serve as a side salad mixed with pesto and a generous squeeze of lemon – delicious!

Cockles

Bare with us on this one – the typical British seaside snack really doesn’t appeal to the majority. The truth is the pocket-sized cockle is rich in Omega 3 which has been proven to help protect the heart. They’re naturally low in calories, whilst being rich in vitamin B12 which literally translates to “brain food” to you and me. Steam them mixed into pasta or use them liberally in your next fish pie.

Kale

The rich deep greens of Kale play into the often spoken rule “if it’s green then it’s good for you.” Kale is a perfect example of a winter super food  sprouting from the cabbage family with an endlist list of benefits. Packed with natural sources of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, Kale is great for your hair, teeth, skin and bones. Serve steamed as a side dish or drop into soups & stews for added nutrients.

Grapefruit

Certainly not a typical addition to a winter list of super foods  the grapefruit isn’t just for those looking to cut out unwanted calories. This juicy fleshed fruit can be found in a variety of colours, naturally low in calories making it a perfect kick starter for your metabolism. Eat it on it’s own or get creative – it works great with a leafy nutty salad!

What superfoods do you look forward to you in the fall of Winter / Sprout of Spring? Tweet us or get in touch! @healthyhideout

 

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.

6 Super Foods you can afford

Healthy organic produce has been criticised for being too expensive, but many don’t understand that production costs are significantly higher with the need for more manual labour etc. With these costs being passed onto the consumer, many of us tend to think that eating healthy has to be expensive. That’s where you’re wrong!

Trying to eat healthy on a budget can be difficult for many of us, which the constraints of family life & work taking their toll on our energy levels and purse strings. But you don’t have to spend excessive amounts of your budget to eat healthier.

In addition to a good nights sleep, your nutrition can have a drastic long term effect on how you feel throughout the day. By incorporating just one of these super six, you’re guaranteed to see a dramatic change in how you feel as an individual without having to spend more than your bargained for:

 

1. Bananas

It’s been said by many that excessive consumption of bananas can be fattening – this myth doesn’t stand strong in the face of truth. Bananas are higher in levels of immediate energy than most other fruits, but the higher calorie contents comes from the level of carbohydrates in the fruit. Relatively cheap for a bunch of them from most supermarkets, be sure to buy green & ripen at home if you want them to last.

2. Tea

Drank my many across the UK, the iconic British cuppa dons a whole host health properties that you probably didn’t know about. In addition the caffeine kick which increases alertness levels, a cup of tea also helps towards your recommend water intake of 6 pints a day. Tea is also one of the cheapest household staples, with 80 tea bags costing approximately £1.

3. Yoghurt

Often credited for the digestive benefits it can provide to the intestine, yoghurt works as a great milk substitute for those who don’t settle well with high levels of lactose. High in calcium & packed with “friendly” bacteria, yoghurt can be purchased cheaply from most supermarkets. Smaller pots make great lunch companions, and can be purchased in handy multi packs.

4. Wholegrain Seedy Bread

Available as a healthy alternative to your standard white bread, wholegrain seedy loaves containing a lot of seeds and nuts naturally have a low GI. Sandwiches made from seedy bread helps to keep your fibre levels high, assisting in the gut towards an efficient digestive process.

5. Olive Oil

Although not the cheapest cooking accompaniment, olive oil is worth the extra expense over other oils. Several studies have demonstrated that mono saturated fat in olive oil is good for the heart, helping to lower bad cholesterol levels and increase the good ones. Although high in calories, a little goes a long way – you don’t need more than a teaspoon when cooking.

6. Broccoli

A staple “green” vegetable that’s widely available at relatively cheap prices, Broccoli is packed with antioxidants  including vitamin C, as well as high levels of folic acid. Increasing your intake of folic acid has been shown to drastically reduce your chance of heart disease. Better still, just two florets of the stuff counts as a “vegetable” portion.

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