The Power of Peas

The Power of Peas

Continuing with our theme of good seasonal foods, green peas are a must. They are high in protein, so can be a great choice for vegetarians and vegans. 100 g of green peas have just 81 calories so they can also be good for weight loss. The pea pods are a good source of folic acid, which is important for many body processes. The peas themselves provide Vitamin C for immunity and Vitamin K which is important in bone building and protecting nerve cells. They also are a source of Vitamin-A is an essential nutrient required for maintaining healthy membranes, skin, and eyesight. They are rich in plant sterols which may help lower cholesterol levels. Fresh green peas also provide antioxidants flavonoids such as carotenes, lutein, and zeaxanthin as well. These flavonoids may help to protect from some cancers. Furthermore, they are a rich source of calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese.Peas are very versatile and can be enjoyed as a side vegetable, part of a salad, as a dip or in a casserole, curry or stew. Spicy Pea and Wasabi Dip Ingredients 200g of frozen peas (petit pois are best) 1 tsp Wasabi paste (can be bought in most Asian supermarkets). If you don’t have this you can use chilli or horseradish to give the same kick 1 tbsp low fat mayonnaise Splash of lemon juice Salt and black pepper to taste Method Cook the frozen peas until tender.Drain and cool in cold water, drain again.Blend the peas with the wasabi paste and mayonnaise.Add a small amount of lemon juice and taste. Keep adding until it lifts the...
Healthy Seasonal Recipes – Wonderful Watercress

Healthy Seasonal Recipes – Wonderful Watercress

Watercress is in season now and has many health benefits as well as its distinctive peppery taste and crunchy texture. Low in calories but high in fibre, nutrients and antioxidants it is useful for weight management. Watercress is good for the heart- it is rich in nitrates that regulate blood pressure. It also has a role in slowing skin ageing as it contains Isothiocyanates which support collagen and elastin to keep skin supple and reduce the risk of cellulite and wrinkles. It is rich in Vitamin A and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are all protective of eye health. It is a good vegetable source of iron and as it also contains good levels of Vitamin C the iron in watercress is absorbed easily. Watercress is supportive of bones in that it combines calcium and high levels of Vitamin K. There is also evidence that eating it before activity can aid recovery after sport and mitigate against exercise induced DNA damage. There are many ways to enjoy watercress. You can use it as the base of a salad, you can add it to smoothies, soups, stir-fries or omelettes. Watercress sauce complements grilled fish and meat dishes and a simple watercress dip makes a great accompaniment to crudités. Watercress and Garlic Dip with King Prawns (Serves 4) Ingredients 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 Shallot chopped 1 clove garlic crushed 1 potato peeled and chopped 100ml dry white wine Pinch of chilli flakes 170g watercress Squeeze of lemon juice 60ml half fat crème fraiche Tiger prawns Wedges of lemon to serve Method Heat the oil in a frying pan, add...
Health Benefits of Peppers and Chillies

Health Benefits of Peppers and Chillies

Capsaicin is the active ingredient responsible for the spiciness of peppers. The more capsaicin it contains, the hotter it is. It is in all members of the capsicum family (peppers) and is found in abundance in jalapeno, cayenne and chilli peppers. Capsaicin has no calories but numerous health benefits. Using spices is a great way of adding taste and interest to food without resorting to extra sugar, salt or fat. Capsaicin is anti-inflammatory and helps prevent the activation of the brain’s pain transmitters so can reduce both actual inflammation and the sensation of pain and has been shown to help reduce swelling in people with arthritis. It may also be helpful in improving symptoms of psoriasis. It can be used topically in a cream or in food or as a supplement, but if you are on certain medicines you will need to check before taking it as a supplement as there are some interactions which are contraindicated.It is also very helpful for weight loss. Capsaicin is a thermogenic agent, which means it increases metabolic activity. This, in turn, helps burn calories and fat. Plus, it reduces the production of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for triggering hunger so it may help you feel fuller for longer. It is helpful for heart health as can lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels, improving circulation and can reduce the risk of blood clots by lowering the concentration of fibrin an insoluble protein that plays a role in clot formation. It is a powerful antioxidant and appears to be protective against some cancers, particularly prostate and breast cancer. It is also supportive of...
Staying Healthy in Lockdown

Staying Healthy in Lockdown

In our last post we talked about what to do to stay healthy in lockdown. In this post we tackle the things that you should try not to do in order to support your physical and mental health. Try not to: Use alcohol to de-stress. You probably had some boundaries around booze before, so decide what your new boundaries could be and make a pact with your partner and or friends to stick to it Snack continuously – food is more available to just grab when you are at home. So buy fewer treats in and plan your snack times, including healthier options and savoury ones to reduce the sugar. Combine snacks with a break from work Use baking as your go to recreation – only bake once a week and try to include some savoury bakes or use more fresh fruit/vegetables, wholemeal flour and good oil in your bakes Use food as comfort or consolation for feeling fed up. There are other activities which would help change your mood and keep your relationship with food a healthy...
Eating Healthily During and After Lockdown

Eating Healthily During and After Lockdown

Lockdown has been challenging. We have had to review so many of our fundamental habits and think about what is important to us.In terms of how we eat and drink we have had to think more about our meals, shopping and cooking. Eating is now almost exclusively at home and in our control but it means that we are preparing so many more meals. But this could be an ideal opportunity to take a look at what we had been used to doing and see if that is what we want to carry on doing. This is arguably an ideal time to:Improve cooking skills and experiment moreSave money and limit waste through better planning, fewer and more focused trips to the shopReview what you eat and make some simple but lasting healthy changesInvolve other family members in meal preparation – enthuse them about healthy eating and create some momentum around a health agenda.Here are some ideas to get you on your wayTRY TOMake your regular meals and snacks healthier by replacing some less health ingredients with healthy ones (e.g. reduce meat in spaghetti Bolognese or curries by increasing veg and/or replacing with some lentils)Review your plate and portion sizes – reduce them a little and make half your plate vegetables rather than starchy carbs.Have a salad before your main meal – it takes the edge off your appetite for carbs and helps your progress to 5+ fruit and veg a dayUse some ready to eat products to increase your fibre e.g. lentils in pouches/tins or ready cooked brown rice.Batch cook so that you have home made options in the...