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November 5, 2019

Inflammation is your body's immune response and its way of protecting itself against illnesses and injuries. 

However, persistent inflammation is when the body doesn't stop the immune response, putting a strain on the body and causing problems. Chronic inflammation is linked to an increased risk of conditions such as obesity, type II diabetes and heart disease.

Thankfully, practising a prudent approach to health can help, such as regular dental checks, undertaking moderate exercise, taking the full dose of antibiotics to prevent prolonged infection and consuming an anti-inflammatory diet.

Foods that should be avoided include:

- Sugar (e.g. anything ending with '-ose', any kind of syrup, honey)

- Processed carbohydrates (e.g. white bread, biscuits, chips, crisps)

- Processed meats (e.g. poor-quality bacon and sausages)

- Vegetable and seed oils (including margarine)

- Trans-fats (e.g. foods containing partially hydrogenated ingredients)

- Excessive alcohol consumption

Following a minima...

January 27, 2019

You can check your blood pressure at the chemist or in many GP waiting rooms in the UK. If you are 140/90 - this is defined as having hypertension or high blood pressure. 

If you have high blood pressure you need to:

- eat less processed/ultra-processed foods (see my blog on this subject)

- reduce sugar and salt consumption

- exercise more (in particular walking, cycling, swimming and avoiding higher-intensity

  exercises such as HIIT, running and heavy weights)

- include beetroots, pomegranates, avocados, bananas, kiwis and oranges to your

  diet, as these can help to keep your blood vessels healthy and help to lower blood

  pressure

- eat a high fibre diet, consuming plenty of vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds and

  wholegrains

- consider taking an omega-3 and magnesium as a supplement in addition to improving

  your diet 

There is a great BBC Radio 4 programme covering this topic and I recommend you have a listen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0001xtr

October 20, 2018

The 'It' word these days is Protein. I see it dotted about all over packaging in the supermarkets right now - even in the confectionery aisle.

So does this mean that chocolate bars give you muscles and keep you fuller for longer? Unfortunately not. This is often products packaged in shiny new ways, where food manufacturers use (or abuse?) nutritional information to make their products more appealing, or adapt their recipes to adhere to UK labelling laws.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

In the UK, manufacturers have to follow certain rules in order to make health claims, such as 'source of protein' or 'high in protein'. For the former, this claim can only be made where at least 12% of the energy value (i.e. kilojoules/kilocalories) of the food is provided by protein. For a product to be high in protein, at least 20% of the kilojoules/kilocalories have to be provided by protein. 

So this is what you need to think about:

- What is the source of protein being used?

- Is it n...

October 10, 2018

The foods that children eat and the habits they develop around food during the early years, sets the pattern for the rest of their lives and it is worrying to see that in children aged four to five, that 13% of boys and 13% of girls are overweight and 10% of boys and 9% of girls are obese.

Unfortunately, poor eating habits also negatively impact dental health. Did you know that Yorkshire and The Humber are amongst the worst four areas for oral health for three year old children and that Wakefield and Leeds have significantly higher levels of tooth decay than the rest of England?

Due to these worrying trends, there are increasing calls for change in food provision in early years settings (lets face it, the amount of time children spend in childcare has increased due to modern life pressures), who play a really important role in providing the right nutrition and laying foundations for healthy eating habits.

I recently won a bid to become an Early Years Nutrition Partnership r...

September 21, 2018

Okay, the Italians don't like the name "spaghetti bolognaise", but hopefully they'll forgive me as I am neither Italian or in Italy.

As the busy mum of two young kids, I know this healthy recipe never fails - they love it, my husband loves it and I love it. Hopefully you will too!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large red onion - finely chopped

2 large carrots - finely chopped

1 stick celery - finely chopped

2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs

500g 5% fat minced beef

400g chopped tinned tomatoes

2 low-sodium beef stock cubes

1 teaspoon onion marmalade

Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in deep pan and heat gently on the lowest heat setting - add the onion, carrots and celery and gently fry until the onions have softened. Add the dried herbs and tomato puree and stir again.

Next, add the mince and stir regularly to ensure the meat doesn't stick together. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, then fill the same tin with water and add to the pan. Stir, then add the stock cubes and the onion marmalade.

Simm...

April 20, 2018

I was asked about bloating this week on BBC Radio Leeds and due to time pressures of live radio, I couldn’t delve deeper into this subject, so I thought I would expand further on this subject (pardon the pun). 

Bloating is that uncomfortable full feeling that just makes us want to lie down and hope it will pass, sometimes literally, very soon. It can make your stomach swell and for some people, it can be very painful. Studies have found that up to one-third of the general population can experience bloating and this rises up to 90% for those people who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Bloating can be associated with some health problems, but for many, it is usually as a result of the foods we are eating or food intolerances.

So, how do you beat the bloat?

  • Take your time when you are eating and savour your food by chewing slowly. If this doesn’t work, try eating smaller portions too.

  • Keep a food diary, noting everything you have eaten and then writing down any symptoms you...

February 20, 2018

You may have recently heard of ultra-processed foods and their link to cancer in the news, so what is this all about?

Researchers from the French Research Institute have been studying the diet, activity, health status and other factors of 160,000 participants since 2009. This study found that when we increase our consumption of ultra-processed foods by 10%, this increases our risk of cancer by more than 10%. This data also took into account factors such as genetically-related incidents of cancer, so points the finger firmly at ultra-processed foods as the cause.

So what is an ultra-processed food? NOVA classifies food according to how they have been processed and these fall into four categories:

  1. Unprocessed and minimally processed, e.g. raw fruit, bagged salads, cut meat, roasted nuts, frozen and canned vegetables

  2. Processed culinary ingredients, e.g. salt, sugar, butter, vegetable oils

  3. Processed foods, e.g. a fruit compote with added sugar, canned vegetables with added salt

    ...

December 5, 2017

Now that the cold weather is kicking in well and proper, I love a comforting bowl of hot, steaming chicken soup. I always go to this hand-me-down recipe and hope you enjoy it too.

Ingredients:

Leftover chicken - shredded
Olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped clove garlic
2 finely chopped sticks of celery
2 finely chopped large carrots

1.5litres chicken stock

1 tbsp mixed herbs
juice from 1.5 lemons
4 handfuls paella rice
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

Finely chop the onion, garlic, celery and carrots and fry in a deep saucepan on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Add the shredded chicken, 1 tablespoon of mixed herbs and pour in the chicken stock (I like Kallø organic chicken stock pots).

Add the juice of 1 and a half lemons and four handfuls of paella rice (or noodles, or Basmati rice). Let it bubble gently for half an hour to really infuse the flavours, adding a bit of pepper and salt if needed.

Nooshe joon! (translating to “may your soul be nourished” in Farsi)

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