Tag Archives: vitamins

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

 

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.

 

7 tips to fight the common cold

The cold snap is just around the corner, arriving at a pace we’d rather not get in the way of. This is the time of the year in which colds, coughs, sore throats and runny noses are running rampant, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re well prepared from any potential attacks on your body!

Remember, it takes just one little cough or sneeze from an “infected stranger” to put you out for 2 weeks. The following Top 7 tips for preventing the common cold are worth their word count in gold – it could be the difference between you making it through this cold season unscathed or being ill for 50% of it:

1. Don’t underestimate the power of sleep

During the colder months, you may find it increasingly difficult to get out of your warm cosy bed, ready to face to cold outdoors. On average, we sleep just 6 1/2 hours according the UK Sleep Council. This simply isn’t long enough in order to maintain a strong immune system – Keep you body healthy by grabbing at least 7 to 8 hours of shut eye each night.

2. Eat Fruit & Vegetables!

Unhealthy comfort food such as chocolate and baked goods can be the easy fix for nutrition whilst the snow falls outside. Try and substitute this habit for plenty of fresh fruit and veg. If you’re in desperate need for a sugar fix, try going for an in season satsuma or a handful of plump raisins. Root vegetables are also in harvest, so getting hold of suede, turnips, pumpkin and squash is an easy task. Affordable too!

3. Milk And Cookies!

OK maybe not so much the cookie part, but all dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt are great sources of vitamins A and B12 – important weapons in your immune system arsenal. The calcium found in dairy also helps to keep bones strong.

4. Keep exercising

You’ve got 80% more chance of getting a cold in the winter than any other time of the year – That’s why you want to make sure you’re as fit as possible to defend against any unwanted viruses. Aim to do around 120 minutes of aerobic or cardio exercise each week to help strengthen your immune system, and help you feel more energetic.

5. Start your day properly

You can’t beat the warming sensation that porridge can provide on a cold winter morning. It’s not every one’s cup of tea, but porridge boosts your intake of fibre for the day helping you feel fuller for longer. A few slices of fresh fruit in addition to a healthy dose of honey makes for the perfect start to any day. Read more about porridge in another one of our articles: 10 ways to kick start your day

6. Keep your hands clean

If you use public transport, are out and about throughout the day or generally handle a lot of items during the working day, you could in potential danger of picking up a dormant bug from a surface. Aim to wash your hands before every meal and after you use the bathroom in order to minimise coming in contact with any viruses – Scrub for at least 30 seconds people!

7. Multi-vitamins can help

During the winter months, get hold of an easy to swallow multi-vitamin tablet that you can introduce into your morning routine. It’ll help to keep your vitamin reserves topped up whilst your venture around the great outdoors.

Go any tips you’d like to add to this list? Leave us a comment below.

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:

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.