Tag Archives: winter

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!

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.

Key tips to keep energy levels up!

As we’re based in the UK, The Healthy Hideout is now deep into the winter with Spring not too far away. However, some of us may find that the cold is still having a negative effect on energy levels. Although curling up in front of the fire with a nice warm drink may seem more tempting than a 2 hour session at the gym, the body still requires activity in order to stay alert. Here are the Healthy Hideout’s key tips on keeping your energy levels high, leaving you feeling more awake, ready for each winter day!

  • Exercise – It may seem obvious, and the winter breeze does make it more difficult to gather up enough motivation, but exercise is the bodies natural way of keeping energy levels high. Regular exercise gives the body a natural endorphin high, releasing such chemicals including adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. Even a few minutes of exercise a day can have a drastic effect on how you feel, whilst regular exercise throughout the week will produce optimum results.
  • Diet – Be careful not to rely on high sugar foods and processed goods to give you a quick energy boost during the day. Quick fixes such as this can result in having drastic energy drops, causing you to search for that next fix – not a healthy process. Try to keep your diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, and try to incorporate complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or peanut butter on corn cakes. Keep protein intake high to banish after work “glumness”.
  • Water – We’ve mentioned this in many previous articles on the Healthy Hideout, but do not forget the importance of keeping hydrated even if you’re not feeling thirsty. Taking on board plenty of water helps the body get rid of toxins, whilst helping to battle tiredness. Try incorporating herbal teas to give your body an extra kick!
  • Sleep – The later you fall asleep, the more out of sync you’ll become and the more tired you’ll feel throughout the day. This is because sleeping is linked to light, and our bodies natural response to the dark is to sleep. An earlier night’s sleep will almost guarantee a spring in your step the next day.

You can’t put a price on your bodies health and wellbeing! Try implementing some of the above before this winter is over, so that you may be better prepared for the next.

Keeping Safe in the Snow!

As you may have already noticed, the UK has been hit hard with snow over the recent weeks. It’s important to stay warm during these cold periods, wearing plenty of suitable clothing whilst eating and drinking well. Many of us will still be braving the roads, but getting our cars out of driveways and garages can potentially be quite dangerous. Shovelling snow is a task that requires more attention that you’d expect.

Be careful when clearing snow!

Be careful when clearing snow!

Here’s a few Healthy Hideout tips for shovelling snow this winter;

  • Ensure you’re up to the task. If you have health or heart problems, or any other physical limitations, get approval from your doctor before starting.  You could even look to get some assistance from your local neighbours if they’re willing to help!
  • A good snow shovel is key. You want the large surface to be made from a non-stick material, whilst being lightweight with a long handle. An open end allows you to quickly toss snow to the side as you work.
  • Where is the snow going? If you’re planning to move the snow, remember cold temperatures will mean it isn’t melting any time soon. Make sure you move it to somewhere where you won’t be needing to move it again.
  • Shovel using a stern, steady motion focusing on clearing the snow where you will be walking and where your car will be passing through. A good technique is to “push” the snow whilst holding the shovel at a slight angle. This gives you a “snow plough” effect, thus pushing the snow to one side.
  • When a large bulk of the snow has been cleared, use the edge of the shovel to chip away any patches of ice that may have built up. A pick-axe maybe needed for thicker build-up.
  • Once you’ve removed all the snow and ice from the surface, spread a large amount of rock salt over the area. This will prevent the snow or ice from building back up again too quickly, but be careful to avoid areas with soil or plants. The rock salt can be extremely damaging to plant life.

As more snow is forecast to fall, it’s important to be prepared for any further snowfall. Are you prepared?

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?