Balancing Weight and Health

Balancing Weight and Health

The link between weight and COVID 19 in terms of increased risk of hospitalisation or severity of symptoms has focused the nation’s attention on our crisis of being overweight or obese. Studies shows that each kg of weight gained annually over 10 years was associated with a 49% increase in risk of developing type 2 diabetes (another risk factor) and a 5 kg increment in adult body weight was associated with a 12% higher risk of heart disease over 10 years (also another risk factor). So, there is no denying something needs to be done and there is no simple, one size fits all solution. At a simplistic level weight gain is about excess calories in and not enough energy out. But it is so much more complex than that in real life. Contributing factors are: • Emotional – comfort eating or compensatory eating • Habits such as snacking – high calorie foods dense in fats and fast release carbohydrates which tend to be consumed less mindfully than main meals • Uncontrolled portions • Lack of cooking ability to cook from scratch and reduce ready meals, processed food and takeaways • Alcohol consumption • Genetic predisposition to laying down fat in different parts of the body • Poor metabolic function (digestion and gut bacteria, hormones such as insulin, thyroid and sex hormones, age) • Decreased physical activity • Stress and poor sleep These are obviously more or less important depending on the individual. In our view, people are best helped to lose weight and keep it off if they are supported to develop a vision of what they will...

Amazing Beans

Many beans are in season in July and August and so are at their best.This includes green beans such as runner and french beans but also borlotti and broad beans. Green beans are low in calories and fat and high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain protein so are a useful addition to your diet, especially for vegetarians or if you are trying to fill up on vegetables and reduce weight. Green beans can help reduce the risk of heart diseases due to their high levels of flavonoids, which are both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and as such may reduce risk of blood clots. They are also a great source of carotenoids such as beta carotene and lutein which are protective of your eyesGreen beans are a high fibre food and so help keep your digestive system functioning well. They also help to control blood sugar spikes and so can be a useful food for people with or at risk of diabetes.In terms of vitamins they are a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folic acid, and Vitamin B6. They also are a good source of calcium, silicon, iron, manganese, potassium, and copper. This combination is very helpful for bone strength and regeneration Nutty Bean Salad (Serves 2) Ingredients 150g green beans, topped and tailed 2 red peppers, sliced 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander 4 tsp sesame seeds toasted 60g brazil nuts, chopped 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar ½ tbsp red wine vinegar ½ tsp Dijon mustard Salt and freshly ground black pepper Method Place the green beans into a steamer and steam...
Beautiful Beets

Beautiful Beets

Beets are an excellent food to eat on a regular basis. They are low in calories, but high in water and fibre which makes them a good choice for those on a diet and supportive of digestion.  They contain almost all the important vitamins and minerals plus phytonutrients that are anti-inflammatory and maybe cancer protective.   One of the most important benefits is that they are rich in nitrates. Nitrates help to dilate the blood vessels. This has benefits for cognition in that it results in good blood flow to the frontal cortex but also for blood pressure and heart health.   Nitrate levels remain elevated for 6 hours after eating, so regular consumption can be helpful.   Nitrates may also help athletic performance, by improving the efficiency of mitochondria and hence energy production in our body. Beets can be juiced, roasted, steamed, or pickled. They can also be bought pre-cooked for convenience. Dietary nitrates are water soluble, so it is best to avoid boiling beets to maximize their nitrate content.    Here are some ways to add more beets to your diet: Beetroot salad: Grated beets make a good addition to coleslaw.Beetroot dip: Beets blended with Greek yogurt make a delicious and healthy dip.Beetroot juice: Fresh beetroot juice is best, as store-bought juice can be high in added sugars and may only contain a small amount of beets.Beetroot cakes: They can be used as an ingredient in some sweet treatsBeetroot leaves: Beet leaves can be cooked and enjoyed like spinach in a salad Beetroot, Feta and Asparagus Salad (Serves 6) Ingredients for the Dressing Large handful of fresh oregano or marjoram (or chives if...
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...