Tag Archives: living

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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Being healthy can add 14 years!

New research carried out by Cambridge University has shown how leading a healthy lifestyle can increase a persons lifespan by up to 14 years, simply by not smoking, drinking occasionally, eating well and keeping physically active. Many research studies already show the dangers of smoking, excessive drinking, not eating properly or a lack of exercise but few have shown the danger of the combined impact of all four on the longevity of our lives.

“The results strongly suggest that these four achievable lifestyle changes could have a marked improvement on the health of middle-aged and older people, which is particularly important given the ageing population in the UK and other European countries.” stated Professor Kay-Tee Khaw, Cambridge University.

healthy eating is the key to a healthy lifestyle!

healthy eating is the key to a healthy lifestyle!

The survey took place with over 20,000 men and women living in the Norfolk area of the UK. The participants were aged between 49 – 79 and were not shown to have any heart or cancer related problems. In 2006, the researchers contacted the participants and found that nearly 2000 had died since the start of the project.

On average, it was shown that the healthiest group of the participants had an extended lifespan of approximately 14 years. Those who smoked were shown to be almost 77% more likely to have died during the study, whereas a low intake of alcohol increased a chance of survival by almost 25%.

This research to not to be taken lightly. Although other factors do come into account such as genetics and environment, the importance of leading a balanced lifestyle are once more reinforced by research such as this. With the start of the new year in full swing, what better time to make the effort to get healthy!

Energy Drinks: Need an energy boost?

New research carried out by the Mayo Clinic Proceeding has shown the dangers of consuming too many energy drinks. Some of us utilise energy drinks when exercising in order to push ourselves that extra mile, or to help us recover from an illness and get back into the swing of the things. This new research has demonstrated just how much of the “bad stuff” there really is in each serving – quite the eye opener.

Need an alternative to these energy drinks? Read on!

Need an alternative to these energy drinks? Read on!

First of all, the research demonstrated how the average energy drink contained more than 225 grams (1 cup) of sugar per serving alongside packing more caffeine than a strong cup of filter coffee. They found that caffeine levels range between 70 – 200mg in a 16oz serving. Perhaps the boost you need, but simply not good for the body long term.

The study, led by John Higgins of the University of Texas Houston, took energy drink information from 1976 to 2010 for the study. Higgins warned about the impact of combining these high levels of caffeine with other non labelled ingredients including guarana, taurine and other herbs and vitamins. He claimed the intake of these combinations in large doses could have negative effects on heart rates, blood pressure and mental condition. Excessive consumption could also lead to dehydration.

Research that took place in Norway, France and Denmark demonstrated that taurine found in the popular energy drink, Red Bull, caused bizarre behaviour. This later caused the drink to be banned across all three currencies. In the UK, one individual was arrested for driving dangerously after excessive consumption of Red Bull – more information here.

So if you’re looking for an alternative to these shop bought energy drinks to help bring you through that last stretch of your workout, why not try some of the Healthy Hideout’s energy boosting alternatives:

  • Almonds – A single serving (around 20 pieces) contains a great alternative source of “quick boost energy” – Convenient too!
  • Bran – Full of complex carbohydrates, bran is a fantastic source of magnesium, a mineral burned by our bodies to change complex carbs to energy.
  • Peanut butter – Packed with protein and magnesium, a teaspoon of peanut butter can give you that much needed energy boost. Don’t take in too much though, as the fat content is pretty high.
  • Trail Mix – Filled to the brim with iron, complex carbohydrates, protein and natural glucose sugars, the combination of dried fruits and nuts make this one a powerful energy provider.
  • Orange Juice – Studies have shown that people who drank at least 400mg of vitamin C felt less fatigue long term. That speaks for itself!

The above pointers are just a few ideas for natural energy boosting – Do you recommend any ideas? The Healthy Hideout has been encouraged by this article to do a write up on energy foods. Watch this space!

The Vitamin League Table: Which vitamin is the best?

Many of us agree that vitamins and minerals are vital in maintaining good health, but there are also many questions related to the the intake of vitamins and whether they can affect us in negative ways. In a recent health article published by the Readers Digest, the Vitamin League Table demonstrates how vitamins, whilst having an overall positive effect, can have both high and low points. Here’s a quick summary of the most common vitamins that we intake each day:

Vitamin A

  • Where – Found in animal & fish livers, along with many vegetables such as carrots and broccoli. Used for healthy bones, eyes and skin.
  • High Point – Works well with other vitamins and is a common part of many “multivitamin” supplements.
  • Low Point – A study a few years ago showed how synthetic beta-carotene, a source of vitamin A, when given to smokers increased their chance of cancer.
  • Latest Information – Used in Anti-Ageing wrinkle creams through a combination of retinol and vitamin A.

Vitamin Rating 1 / 5

Vitamin B

  • Where – Found in protein foods such as turkey or tuna. Vegetable sources include potatoes, bananas and lentils. Used for healthy skin, muscle tone and cell growth.
  • High Point – Found to be effective in reducing heart disease risk when combined with “statin”  – Promotes good cholesterol levels.
  • Low Point – Homocysteine has been linked with causing cardiovascular diseases – Vitamin B lowers homocysteine levels but research is still poor and inconclusive.
  • Latest Information – Recent study in Oxford shows how lowering homocysteine with vitamin B helped with brain shrinkage and loss of memory with elderly patients.

Vitamin Rating 4/ 5


Vitamin C

  • Where – Widely available in fruits and vegetable across the board. It’s antioxidants are vital for helping various enzymes in our body work properly and neutralising free radicals.
  • High Point – Shown in the 1970’s to have a proven effect against colds and cancer when provided in high doses.
  • Low Point – New research suggests vitamin C not related to the cure of the common cold. Some trials suggest that when taken as a supplement, no clear benefits given.
  • Latest Information – Vitamin C being used once more in cancer treatment. Tests have shown tumour shrinkage in animals, with human trials currently under way.

Vitamin Rating 3/ 5

Vitamin D

  • Where – Produced in the skin by the UVB rays in sunlight – Not great if you live somewhere with little sun! Small amounts can be taken from oily fish, eggs and animal liver.
  • High Point – A number of studies suggest that many people who reside in northern countries such as the UK don’t have enough vitamin D. Further studies suggest that people who have at least 30 nanograms per millimetre in their blood are less likely to suffer from cancer, and heart disease.
  • Low Point – Same positive effects of vitamin D not proven when taken in supplement form – Other certain studies suggest otherwise.
  • Latest Information – By the end of winter, the average UK person will have 10 nanograms per millimetre in the blood, way below the suggested 30 nanograms per millimetre.

Vitamin Rating 5/ 5

Vitamin E

  • Where – Found in asparagus, avocado, eggs, milk and seeds. Antioxidant that helps to keep free radicals under control, like vitamin C
  • High Point – In the 1990’s many studies showed that people taking it as a supplement had reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Low Point – Big studies in 2000 showed how it slightly increased the risk of heart disease when compared to the intake of a placebo. The test was carried out on heart patients who were taking “statins”, which have been known to reduce CoQ10 – which is required for vitamin E to work properly.
  • Latest Information – More testing and trials are required for further conclusion – Vitamin E is possibly one of the more inconclusive vitamins.

Vitamin Rating 2/ 5

Vitamin K

  • Where – Found predominately in green vegetables including spinach, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts. Needed to help the blood clot properly.
  • High Point – Research has shown that it improves bone density, along with controlling how much calcium is released into the arteries. Too much calcium can cause heart disease.
  • Low Point – No negative points documented to date.
  • Latest Information – A lack of vitamin K has been shown to result in gut problems – Any supplement you take should contain K2.

Vitamin Rating 3/ 5

An insightful write up by the Readers Digest – Credit goes to all relevant authors. For more information on vitamins, here’s a great resource:

Health Tips: Combat a cold!

As autumn quickly begins to feel like winter, a snuffly nose is almost inevitable for many of us. Although your healthy living can be sustained by maintaining vitamin levels, wrapping up warm and getting plenty of sleep, what exactly can we do to reduce the risk of catching a cold?

Wrap up warm this winter!

Wrap up warm this winter!

How do colds and viruses spread?

Not known by many, the most common way of catching a cold is by touching your face, nose or eyes. When coughing or sneezing up to 40000 infected droplets can attach themselves to surfaces, door handles and even light switches, surviving for up to 3 hours. The next person to come along and touch the surface takes the virus with them, unknowingly touching their face or nose, allowing the virus to enter the nasal cavity and start the process of catching a cold.  Remember, you’re more likely to catch a cold from someone by simply shaking their hand!

Boost your defences!

As mentioned above, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet in order to keep your immune system running smoothly, ensuring it has everything it needs to ward off any unwelcome visitors.

  • Try to get a good nights sleep and maintain a regular sleeping pattern – This helps to keep your energy levels high and stress levels low.
  • Avoid touching your face and nose (although you may do it without even thinking) and wash your hands regularly, especially after being out of the house.
  • If you travel via public transport, wear gloves to help protect yourself from contaminated surfaces.
  • When you feel the need to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue and dispose of it straight away.
  • If you find yourself tissue-less, use the crook of your arm and not your hands, preventing any further surface contamination.
  • Avoid wet hair and wet clothes at all costs – We don’t need to tell you why!
Eat plenty of fruit and veg! Your body will thank you for it!

Eat plenty of fruit and veg! Your body will thank you for it!

Why do colds run wild in winter?

A recent theory from one Professor Eccles suggests that because we have colder noses, we reduce our levels of resistance to infection. “Every time we breathe in cold air we cool the nasal lining, and viruses multiply and breed faster when cells are cool. We wrap up our bodies to keep warm but our noses are often exposed to the bitter cold – covering your nose with a scarf could prevent colds.”

Let’s face it – I’m going to catch a cold

It’s not the best attitude to have, but you can always benefit by being prepared for the inevitable. Studies have shown that the common cold is not as contagious as you may think, when compared to the flu virus. The symptoms of a cold tend to occur around 2 days after being infected.  These early symptoms including coughing, sneezing and a runny nose – A time at which you are most likely to infect others.

Keep warm, get plenty of rest and ensure that you are hydrated well. Typically colds last between 5 – 7 days so the inconvenience doesn’t last forever. Eating spicy foods is know to help that “bunged up” feeling, whilst medication can temporarily relieve minor headaches and pains. It is a viral infection, so there is no “instant cure” available at present.

“Ride the wave” and you’ll be back to healthy living in no time. Do you have any “feel better” tips for all the cold sufferers out there?

Kevin McClouds top 5 green tips

As more and more homeowners begin to make the subtle shift towards eco living, many “off the shelf” products now make it even easier to make your home eco-friendly. With the upcoming Grand Designs Live exhibition being held in Birmingham at the NEC, Kevin McCloud reveals his 5 top tips towards making your home greener!

Getting Started

  • How do I get started? If your wondering what to do and what not to do in your quest to becoming the leading eco-warrior on your street, start by grabbing yourself a copy of Little Book of One Planet Living by Alastair Sawday. This book cleverley demonstrates how eco living can provide more choice and not less, whilst giving a key insight into sustainability and reusing everyday materials.

Reduce your energy usage

  • In order to green your home, the primary objective is to reduce the amount of energy it consumes. A simple, cheap and effective way to get started is to to go around every door and window sealing off any draughts. You can purchase  many different vareities from your local DIY store, and the results can be simply astonishing.

Use planet friendly products

  • Insulate, insulate and insulate! Double insulatation in the attic area is crucial in reducing heat loss from your home. Heat rises when inside a building, so be sure to keep it inside your building to reduce your overall energy bills. Ecowool is made from recycled plastic bottles, whilst Blackwool is made from Welsh sheepswool. Great planet friendly alternatives to the usual stuff!

Utilise an electricity monitor

  • Cut your overall energy consumption by fitting an electricity monitor – You’ll be surprised which devices in your home drink the most juice! Standby switches are useful to electronics such as TV’s, and if you looking to change supplier head towards Ecotricity or Good Energy. Aerator taps in your kitchen and bathroom will save you water, along with varible flush toilet cisterns.

Keep the heat in

  • Thick curtains or shutters for your windows will keep heat in and cold out. Even poorly fitted, cheap shutters can have a dramatic effect towards keeping heat inside your home, whilst offering increased security also.

Head over to Grand Designs Live this October 2010 – Will you be going?

Source: Grand Designs Live