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Category Archives: In the news

Categories In the news, Latest Research, Weight management

Seaweed may reduce Obesity

Seaweed could be useful in the fight against obesity as it has been shown to reduce fat uptake by over 75%. In research published last week, scientists at Newcastle University discovered that alginate, found in sea kelp, stops the body from absorbing fat better then most anti-obesity treatments currently available over the counter.

Dr Brownlee and colleagues used an artificial gut in the lab; the next step will be to recruit volunteers to attempt to replicate the results and to see whether the seaweed can be tolerated in foods such as bread. Alginates are currently used in very low quantities in foods as thickeners and stabilisers and proved popular when added to standard white bread as part of a blind taste test during the research.

The research is part of a three year project being funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

The research needs to be viewed cautiously; whilst saturated fats can cause obesity, reducing life expectancy and causing health problems, it is important to eat essential fatty acids such as omega 3 fats found in fish oils and omega 6 fats found in cold pressed vegetable oils, nut and seed oils. These fats are vital for the maintenance of cell membranes, hormones, heart and circulation and for reducing inflammation. If supplements are taken that prevent the body from  absorbing these essential fats, then deficiency diseases may occur.

It is preferable to limit one’s intake of saturated fats found in fatty meat and dairy products but to ensure adequate intakes of essential fats by eating oily fish such as sardines, salmon and mackerel a couple of times a week and having a few raw nuts, some seeds or a portion of cold pressed vegetable, nut or seed oil every day.

Categories In the news, Latest Research

Jamie’s school dinners shown to have improved academic results

The Guardian reports that Jamie Oliver’s healthy school dinners have significantly improved pupils’ test results and cut the number of days that they are off sick. Researchers looked at the performance of 11 year old pupils in English and science at schools in Greenwich, presenting their findings this week at the annual conference of the Royal Economic Society.

Jamie Oliver replaced turkey twizzlers and chicken dinosaurs with creamy coconut fish and Mexican bean wraps in the South London schools, during a televised ‘Feed Me Better’ campaign five years ago. The researchers estimated that the proportion of students who got level 5 in science at key stage 2 increased by 6% and the percentage who got level 4 in their English Sats was up 4.5%. The number of authorised absences, which are generally due to illness, fell by 15% following the campaign.

Jamie Oliver is delighted with the results, reporting that ‘Even while doing the programme we could see the benefits to children’s health and teachers. We could see that asthmatic kids weren’t having to use the school inhalers so often, for example. We could see that it made them calmer and therefore able to learn.’

Why not help your child to maximise their full potential by ensuring their diet is as healthy as possible? Call Emma on 01273 775480 to make an appointment, or try Jamie’s recipe for Mexican bean wraps:

Cool Mexican bean wraps

serves 4
• vegetable oil or olive oil
• 1 onion, peeled and sliced
• 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
• a pinch of chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon tomato puree
• 480g tinned red kidney beans, drained and washed
• 150g tinned tomatoes
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• ½ green pepper, sliced
• ½ red pepper, sliced
• 5 large flour tortillas
• 150g cheese, grated

In a little oil, gently fry the onion for 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and chilli powder. Add the tomato puree, the drained kidney beans and the tins of tomatoes with their juice. Cook for 10 minutes until the juice has reduced then add salt to taste. This is your filling.

In a separate saucepan, fry the peppers in a little oil and set aside. Divide the filling mixture in half then blitz one half, using a hand blender, to form the bean paste.
Add the peppers to the other half of the filling.

Spread the tortillas with the warm bean paste. Then add a serving spoon of the filling and sprinkle with cheese (remember to omit the cheese for vegans). Roll up the tortillas and place on the greased baking tins. Cover with a lid and heat through in a preheated oven on 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for about 20 minutes.

Serve with a mixed leaf salad or a cucumber and mint salad. This recipe is from School Dinners.

Categories Cancer, In the news, Latest Research

Walnuts could prevent prostate cancer

American researchers yesterday announced the findings of a study which saw the growth of prostate tumours in mice reduced by 30-40% when the animals were fed walnuts every day. Researcher Paul Davis hopes that the nuts can have the same effects on tumours in men.

The animals were fed the human equivalent of 2.4oz per day – about 14 whole walnuts, rather than a supplement like extract. A control group of mice were fed soya bean oil.

 Scientists believe that the secret lies in walnuts’ ability to reduce levels of endothelin, a substance that increases inflammation of the blood vessels.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the second highest killer after lung cancer. 35, 000 Britons are diagnosed with it each year and 10, 000 of those will die from the disease. The causes of prostate cancer are not known, although a fatty diet that is low in fruit and vegetables is implicated.

Walnuts contain omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and other plant chemicals. They are known to decrease the risk of heart disease and they have been shown to help prevent breast cancer. Adding walnuts to a whole food diet that is low in saturated fat, sugar and processed foods, but high in fruit and vegetables is the best way to prevent prostate cancer.

To talk to someone at Smart Nutrition about prostate health and reducing your chances of contracting cancer by eating a healthy diet, call 01273 775 480 or click here to book a consultation.

Categories In the news, Latest Research

Vitamin D prevents flu

A study published this month in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has demonstrated that Vitamin D3 is more effective than antiviral drugs in preventing children from contracting influenza A, which caused last year’s swine flu epidemic.

The randomised, double blind study, carried out in Japan by Dr Urashima and colleagues, gave children 1200IU/day vitamin D3 supplements or a placebo for 3 months. Influenza A occurred in 18 out of 167 (10.8%) children in the vitamin D3 group compared with 31 of 167 (18.6%) children in the placebo group. In children who also had asthma, attacks following flu ocurred in only 2 children in the vitamin D3 group compared to 12 children receiving placebo.

Antiviral drugs reduce the risk of flu infection by 8% in children who have been exposed to flu. These drugs are expensive and potentially toxic. This research shows, however, that vitamin D3 reduces the risk of infection by 50%, and it is believed to carry other benefits, such as strong bones and a reduction in cancer, heart disease, diabetes and depression.

Vitamin D3 is made from cholesterol when the skin is exposed to sunshine. In Britain, the sun is only strong enough for this to occur from March to September. During the winter, vitamin D3 is stored in the liver, but levels are depleted as the winter progresses. It is suspected that low blood levels explain why flu epidemics generally peak between December and March.

Vitamin D boosts immunity by activating the innate immune system, whereas vaccines enhance acquired immunity. The researchers suggest that both interventions may assist each other. Dr John Oxford, professor of virology at Queen Mary School of Medicine, London supports this view, suggesting that vitamin D may be given at the same time as the vaccine in the future.

Vitamin D3 is also gained in the diet from oily fish and eggs. Many foods such as cereals and butter substitutes are fortified with vitamin D3. Some individuals , especially vegetarians, may benefit from supplements, particularly during the winter months. However, as vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, high levels can be toxic. To find out more about vitamin D or to order a test to establish your vitamin D status, click here. Alternatively, to speak to someone at Smart Nutrition about vitamin D call 01273 775480 or click here  to book a consultation online.

Categories In the news

Healthy Eating at the cinema?

One of the most powerful studio bosses in Hollywood has called for healthier cinema snacks. Michael Lynton, chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures, told a convention of cinema owners in Las Vegas that their audiences should be offered granola bars, fruit salad, yogurt and vegetable crudités with dips. Currently, typical cinema snacks include buttered popcorn, ice cream and fizzy drinks.

In Britain, Tim Smith, the chief executive of the Food Standards Agency has requested that cinema snacks should list the number of calories that they contain and also be available in smaller portions. A large portion of sweet popcorn contains an amazing 1800 calories – only 200 less than an average woman’s recommended daily intake. Hot dogs contain 650 calories, nachos with cheese contain 716 calories and a large coca cola contains 328 calories. The amount of essential fats, vitamins and minerals that you get from these snacks are minimal.

With recent research suggesting that 8 out of 10 men and 7 out of 10 women will be obese by 2020, changing habits now may be vital for our health in the next decade. If you’re going to the cinema, why not pop your own corn at home and leave the fat and sugar out? Or take dried frut with unsalted, raw nuts. A punnet of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or cherries are full of cancer busting antioxidants and fruit juice diluted with sparkling mineral water contains vitamins and minerals to support immunity.

Categories In the news, Latest Research

The two worst places to keep vitamins

A study published this month in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the humidity and high temperatures commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms makes these unsuitable places to keep vitamin supplements. The potency of vitamins, particularly vitamin C and other water soluble vitamins, is rapidly degraded whenever the lid is opened and closed. Within a very short space of time, supplements kept in humid places could be devoid of the water soluble vitamin B complex and vitamin C.

Researcher Lisa Mauer points out that the first sign of nutrient degradation is usually brown spots appearing, particularly on children’s vitamins. She recommends that these should be discarded. Probiotics and fish oil supplements are particularly vulnerable to heat degredation and should always be kept in the fridge. Other supplements should be kept somewhere cool and dry and away from light. All supplements need to have their lids tightly on at all times other than the few seconds that it takes to get them out as needed.

Its not just supplements that lose their nutrients rapidly – the fruit and veg that we eat are packed with vitamins and minerals when they are first picked, but deteriorate nutritionally within hours. Buy and eat fesh fruit and veg wherever possible; shopping daily and buying from a local organic farm or farmers market ensures that produce has been picked more recently than if it has travelled miles to get to you. Essential fatty acids found in cold pressed seed oils such as sunflower and rapeseed oils are also vulnerable to degredation, turning rancid if they are left in a warm place. Store these oils in the fridge and avoid cooking with them and you’ll benefit from their health giving properties without exposing yourself to toxic chemicals.

Categories In the news, Uncategorized

Are you missing out on vital nutrients?

The recently published National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) suggests that intakes of minerals are worryingly low  amongst Britons, and none more so than adolescents. The government’s food watchdog, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) gave 1000 adults and children over 4 years old a 4-day diet diary and the results were compared with UK dietary recommendations.

Girls between the ages of 11 and 18 had particularly worrying diets; instead of eating foods essential for growth and good health, they favoured foods and drinks high in sugar and fat such as processed foods, sweets and chocolate and fizzy drinks. Less than 7% teenage girls ate the recommended 5 daily portions of fruit or veg.

As a result, teenage girls get insufficient iron, iodine and calcium and both boys and girls are low in magnesium and potassium. 46% of girls had intakes of iron and magnesium below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (LRNI) (a level at which deficiency is likely) and 26% boys had intakes of magnesium below the LRNI. As teenagers gain more freedom from the family home, they often slip into bad habits. The FSA has launched a magazine called Blink on Facebook to attempt to reach this group.

Despite government recommendations that children do not drink any alcohol, the survey found that 4% of boys aged 13-15 years and 12% of girls of the same age usually drank alcohol once a week or more.

Adults also had low intakes of minerals. One fifth of men and half of all women failed to meet LRNI for selenium; the cancer busting antioxidant. One fifth of women fail to reach the LRNI for iron, leaving them at risk of anaemia and  67% of men and women fail to meet the 5 a day target.

Omega 3 fats were also low in the diets surveyed; 140g oily fish is recommended each week to stave off cognitive decline and inflammatory conditions such as eczema and arthritis. The survey showed that adults, on average, ate just 8g per week.

Speaking in the Guardian, Richard Watts, of the health charity Sustain suggests that tough rules imposed by the Government are most effective in improving diets, such as those dictating what goes into school dinners. Meanwhile, junk food marketing continues to negatively influence Britons whose health is at risk from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 

Book an appointment with Smart Nutrition today to check that you’re getting enough nutrients.

Categories In the news, Mental health

Eating Disorders Awareness Week starts today.

This week, February 22nd-27th, is the National Eating Disorders Awareness week. The media often glamorises anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders, as super thin models and celebrities sell magazines, but the truth is that anorexia has the highest mortality rate for any psychiatric condition.

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating and compulsive eating are complex and painful illnesses, rooted in psychological distress. Eating disorders are often kept secret by sufferers whose body weight, shape and size may remain stable, despite inner pain and turmoil.

1.6 million people in the UK are estimated to have an eating disorder and many of these are termed as having an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS); you do not have to have the typical features of anorexia, bulimia, compulsive or binge eating to have an eating disorder.

Eating disorders arise from a variety of physical, emotional and social issues, all of which need to be addressed for effective prevention and treatment. Disordered eating causes many nutrient deficiencies and biochemical imbalances in the brain and body which need treating in order for any psychological work to be effective. If you think that your eating has become chaotic or disordered, talking to Emma may allow some of these imbalances to be identified; why not call Smart Nutrition during Eating Disorders Awareness Week on 01273 775480?

Categories Cancer, In the news, Latest Research

Drinking 2 cans of fizzy pop a week can increase your chances of having pancreatic cancer by 100%

The results of a study carried out on 60,000 Singapore based men and women for over a decade have been published in ‘Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention’ this month. Dr Mark Pereira and his colleagues from the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis were looking at the effects of drinking sugary fizzy drinks on health. They found that people who drink two or more cans each week are twice as likely to develop pancreatic cancer.

Dr Pereira suggetst that the sugar in the fizzy drinks causes insulin levels to rise and this fuels the growth of pancreatic cancers. No significant association was found between drinking fruit juice and developing pancreatic cancer.

The authors believe that the results should be applicable to the West, as we have affluence and an excellent health care system in common with Singapore.

Fizzy drinks are full of empty calories and have very little nutritional value. Switching to fruit juice adds vitamins and minerals to the diet. As it is quite high in sugar, it is beneficial to dilute juice with water for a refreshing drink that does not raise blood sugar too sharply.

To talk about other ways to improve your diet and your health, why not book a consultation with Smart Nutrition?

Categories In the news, Latest Research, Mental health

Omega 3 fats may prevent onset of schizophrenia

A study published in this month’s Archives of General Psychiatry has found that fish oil may at least delay, but probably prevent, the onset of schizophrenia. Dr Paul Amminger and his colleagues from the University of Australia carried out a randomised, double blind, controlled study with 81 patients between the ages of 13-25 years. They found a 22.6% difference in risk to progression to psychosis in vulnerable people taking a twelve week course of fish oil, compared with a placebo.

Fish oil contains high levels of the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Dr Amminger was surprised to see that the effects of omega 3 were sustained for up to a year and to see a marked but similar reduction in depressive symptoms. Adverse effects of the study, including concentration difficulties, tension and unrest were higher in the placebo group.

Unlike anti-psychotics, fish oil can prevent cell deterioration in the brain and reduce levels of triglycerides that are so damaging to blood vessels. This is very significant because anti-psychotic drugs can rapidly double triglyceride levels.

The research supports a growing body of evidence that fish oil may be a useful tool to fight schizophrenic symptoms; previous research has shown that people with schizophrenia who were treated with omega 3 needed lower doses of anti-psychotic medication. Epidemiological studies show that countries who eat a lot of oily fish, such as Japan, Iceland and Norway have lower levels of shizophrenia.

One of the researchers, Dr Jacka suggested that ‘Omega-3 fatty acids in general are absolutely essential to virtually every aspect of human health.’

To boost your levels of omega 3 fatty acids, it is advisable to eat three portions of oily fish each week. Smaller fish such as whitebait, sardines and mackerel tend to be lower in toxic mercury. Wild or organic salmon or trout are preferable to farmed varieties. The Food Standards Agency recommends that pregnant or breastfeeding women should eat no more than two medium sized cans of tuna each week or one fresh tuna steak. Shark, swordfish and Marlin contain high levels of mercury and shouldn’t be eaten by pregnant or breastfeeding women or children under 16.

To find out more about testing you fatty acid status Click Here.

To read more about mental health and how nutrition can help Click Here.

Why not try these delicious recipes to boost your intake of omega 3?

Herrings with mustard and dill

For the sauce, peel and deseed 1 small cucumber, then grate and squeeze out the excess water. Mix with a handful of chopped dill, 200g natural yogurt, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, salt, pepper and a pinch of paprika.

Fillet 4 cleaned whole herrings and brush with 2tbsp mustard over the boned sides. Mix 4-5 tbsp porridge oats with 1 tsp thyme leaves and use to coat the herring fillets. Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil gently in a non-stick frying pan and fry the fish for 1 minute on each side. Serve immediately with the sauce.

Smoked trout, orange and wild rocket salad


3 oranges

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

sea salt and black pepper

200g wild rocket leaves

2 hot smoked trout fillets

1. To segment the oranges, cut off the top and bottom of one and stand  upright on a board. Cut along the curve of the fruit to remove the skin and white pith, exposing the flesh. Now hold over a sieve set on top of a bowl and cut out the segments, letting each one drop into the sieve as you go along. Finally, squeeze the membrane over the sieve to extract as much juice as possible. Repeat with the remaining oranges, then tip the segments into another bowl.

2. For the dressing, add the olive oil and a little seasoning to the orange juice and whisk to combine.

3. Add the rocket to the orange sgments, then flak the smoked trout into the bowl. Add the dressing and toss gently with your hands. Pile onto plates and serve with rye bread.

                                                               Recipes taken from ‘Healthy Appetite’ by Gordon Ramsay

Japanese style tuna salad


350g fresh tuna steak

large bunch rocket

1/2 large cucumber, sliced in long strips

4 spring onions, finely sliced

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted

For the marinade:

2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1 tbsp sake/sherry

1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste

For the dressing:

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Mix the tamari, sake and wasabi in a bowl to make the marinade, Cut up the tuna steak into bite-sized chunks and mix with the marinade. Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Pile the rocket, cucumber strips, spring onion and tomatoes on two plates. Heat a griddle pan, or non-stick frying pan and toss the tuna pieces for a fe seconds on each side to sear them. Lay then on top of the salad and drizzle with the dressing. Top with the toasted sesame seeds.

                                                                                            Taken from ‘The Kitchen Shrink’ by Natalie Savona