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Categories Healthy eating, Healthy recipe, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Weight management

Struggling to keep weight on then a daily healthy nutritious build up drink may be what you need.

If you’ve recently been ill and lost some weight and need to gain it back or if you have difficulty keeping weight on why not opt for the Smart Nutrition build up drink…

Blueberry and Avocado Build-up drink

Sesame seeds            1 tsp (about 4g)
Whole almonds            1 tsp (about 4g)
Hemp seeds (shelled)            1 tsp (about 4g)
Silken tofu            35g
Large avocado (half of one) 75g
Blueberries            100g
Cloudy apple juice            100ml
Rice Milk            125ml
Honey            1 tbs (about 20g)
Coconut oil             75ml

This makes approximately 570ml

Grind the sesame seeds, almonds and hemp seeds to a fine powder in a blender or seed grinder.  Then combine with the other ingredients and blend until smooth in a blender.

Total calorie content:  A 200ml glass contains approximately 388.0 kcal

Do drink this straight away otherwise the avocado may brown slightly.

Categories Uncategorized

Stuck for breakfast Ideas?

We all know that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but in my experience many of you say you just are too rushed in the morning either getting ready for work or organising kids and surviving the morning mayhem.

So I’ve come up with some easy Breakfast tips to get you inspired about your first meal of the day.….

  • Add variety. So many people eat the same thing day in day out, try out some of the options below as these will help to keep you interested and will also provide a rounded source of different nutrients.
  • Step out of breakfast boredom – who said breakfast had to be cereal and toast?  poached fish on toast is a great way to start the day, add  grilled tomatoes and some griddled artichokes too. Delicious and also very good for mood and memory and liver
  • Make sure your Breakfast contains some protein – lots of people opt for toast and jam which is a carb rich start to the day. Try having nut butters instead – good choices are almond nut butter, hazelnut butter and cashew nut butter or try a seed paste such as tahini which is packed full of protein and calcium.
  • Poached egg on toast take minutes to make and you can put the saucepan on to simmer whilst you jump in the shower, out of the sower and in the eggs go, you get dressed and come down to your Breakfast.
  • Short of time then grab a smoothie, use a protein powder and mix with your liquid of choice choosing from cow’s, soy  or rice milk or even fruit juice. Shake this as you are walking out of the door and drink it on your commute.
  • Soak sugar free muesli the night before for a more digestible meal and add a handful of mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed plus grab some berries for speed or a grated pear if you have more time. Steer clear of the varieties that contain heaps of dried fruit as these are still sugary and won’t help your energy levels later in the day.  If Working on being a domestic goddess then try making your own…see the delicious.recipe below..

Three seed Muesli

450g porridge oats

450g quinoa flakes

250g sunflower seeds

50g sesame seeds

50g coconut flakes

450g oat bran

200g pumpkin seeds

200g hazelnuts

250g chopped dates

Place all ingredients together in large bowl and mix well.  Store in airtight container. Soak overnight to make the quinoa flakes more digestible or if you never have time to soak opt for 900g of oats and omit the quinoa flakes.

This is a great muesli that easily doubles up as a mix for porridge – just heat it up with a milk of your choice.

Categories Healthy eating, Latest Research, Mental health, Uncategorized

Trans and saturated fats linked to depression in a new study

Statistics show that 150 million people suffer from depression worldwide and this may be due in part to dietary changes away from unprocessed polyunsaturated fats towards a higher intake of saturated and trans fats.

Researchers from the Universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria have found that there is a link between eating trans and saturated fats and an increased risk of depression whereas olive oil is protective against it.

Saturated fats are found in red meat, dairy such as cheese, milk, cream, ice cream and butter as well as being found in many packaged and processed foods. Trans fats are processed fats and oils and have been found in the past in margarines (although these days much less so), fried food like crisps and chips and foods like samosas and spring rolls.

Results showed that despite the fact that none of the volunteers suffered from depression at the beginning of the study, at the end of the study, 657 new cases had been detected.

For those in the study that are higher amounts of trans fats they “presented up to a 48% increase in the risk of depression when they were compared to participants who did not consume these fats” said Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.  He added that, “the more trans-fats were consumed, the greater the harmful effect they produced in the volunteers”.

The researchers also looked at the effects of polyunsaturated fats found in fish and vegetable oils on the occurrence of depression.  Professor Sanchez-Villegas , “In fact, we discovered that this type of healthier fats, together with olive oil, are associated with a lower risk of suffering depression”.

healthy eating tips would be to eat more polyunsaturated fats found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and also seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, linseed and sesame seeds.

Try this delicious and easy seed mix

Seed Mix
It is useful to have a coffee grinder to grind nuts and seeds. Have a mix of one part each of sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds (these should be organic when posssible)) with two parts linseeds (flax) kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Take a good handful of this a day, grind in the coffee grinder and add to cereal, top onto yoghurt or add to salads. Delicious, packed full of good fats and has the added bonus of minerals and some protein too.


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Categories Alzheimers, In the news, Latest Research, Memory, Mental health, Uncategorized

Study shows raised homocysteine levels are linked to dementia

An article in Nature Journal confirms previous evidence that raised homocysteine levels are a likely primary predictor and potential cause of the brain damage that identifies Alzheimer’s.  ‘homocysteine is associated with an increase in the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia’ Levels of Homocysteine area associated with a lack of Vitamin B6, B12 and Folic acid.

Good dietary sources of these foods rich in B6, B12 and folic acid

Dark green leafy vegetables, Whole grains, Fortified breakfast cereals and fortified refined white flour. Whole grain flour. rice, black-eyed peas, lentils, bananas, avocado, broccolli, wheatgerm, peanuts, eggs, tuna, salmon.

More information about homocysteine and its effect on health

Test for high homocysteine levels

Categories Children, Elderly, Healthy eating, In the news, Nutrient deficiencies, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Nutrient deficiencies are sweeping across Britain

Millions of adults and children in the UK are risking poor health and even serious illness because of major shortfalls in their nutrition, according to an important new report out today

The researchers found that a quarter of women have inadequate intakes of iron, more than 50% lack the antioxidant selenium and nearly one in 10 men are low in magnesium. Intakes of iron, magnesium, zinc, iodine and selenium are woefully low in adolescent girls and one in five pre-school children have abnormally low iron stores. A significant number of elderly people are also iron deficient. The team discovered that blood levels of vitamin D are too low to sustain normal bone health in a quarter of adults while fish intakes have declined in the last decade and are now too low to meet recommendations for omega-3 essential fatty acids.

The new report- ‘Towards a Healthier Britain 2010’ – reviewed the key areas where nutrition could be improved, with independent nutrition experts Dr Carrie Ruxton and Dr Pamela Mason examining the evidence from national dietary surveys. In addition, more than 70 scientific papers were explored looking at the potential role of vitamin supplementation.

Time to think about a multivitamin?

Categories Healthy eating, Nutrition, Spa News, Uncategorized

Smart Nutrition attends the Viva Mayr Xmas Party at the Austrian Embassy, London.

A great evening at the Viva Mayr Xmas party

Smart Nutrition spent an amazing evening last night with the team from Viva Mayr from the beautiful medical spa which is nestled amongst the hills and sits on the edges of a glorious lake in Austria.

We were lucky enough to sample some of the Viva culinary delights prepared by the head chef ‘Florian Klinger’. We chose from avocado spread a delicious smooth and creamy dip, artichoke hearts filled with artichoke and shrimp puree – pure heaven, pumpkin and parsnip soups…mmm,  steamed trout and vegetables which were exquisitely presented and finished off with some Austrian strudel cookies.

The Viva philosophy is all about eating well, a visit to the spa will help you to retrain your eating habits paying particular attention to chewing your food and supporting your digestion.

Still saving for a Viva trip then start putting the philosophy into practice at home.

Eat at a table and not crunched up on the sofa to give your digestive juices room to work.

Chew you food thoroughly – if you’re a fast eater and always finish first aim to finish after you partner.

Don’t drink lots of fluid with you meals as this dilutes stomach acid.

Don’t eat when you’re angry or upset as the hormone adrenaline that you produce at these times shuts down digestion.

Don’t eat on the go as again the energy needed for your digestion will be going to your muscles..

Chew chew chew chew  and chew…. this begins the whole digestive process and helps the body to start producing digestive juices.

Categories Healthy eating, In the news, Latest Research, Nutrition, Save money, Uncategorized, Weight management

Save money, Ditch the credit card and eat more healthily

A study published this week showed that when we pay for food with cash we make healthier choices and steer clear of junk food and impulse purchases. Cash should also keep your weight down as researchers suggested that there is a link between rising obesity and the use of cash cards in America. Great news for those of us worried about the recent cuts and for those wanting to cut their waist line down too!

Categories Heart disease, In the news, Latest Research, Uncategorized

Nitrate content of beetroot juice lowers blood pressure

Researchers at the Queen Mary University of London and UCL have published a study that found that the high nitrate content of beetroot causes blood vessels to dilate, lowering blood pressure. Healthy volunteers who were given beetroot juice or nitrate tablets had their blood pressure reduced within 24 hours.

Beetroot is a good source of fibre, potassium, manganese, iron, calcium and vitamin C. It also acts as a liver cleanser and has powerful antioxidant properties for cancer protection. Beetroot can be juiced with any fruits and vegetables, but works particularly well with orange, carrot, apple or cucumber.

Why not try these recipes to add a little beetroot to your diet?

Borscht

500gm Raw Beetroot – raw, peeled and chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery sticks, trimmed and finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 thyme sprig, leaves stripped

sea salt and black pepper

1/4 red cabbage

800 ml vegetable stock or water

1 tbsp red wine vinegar to taste

1 tsp xylitol or caster sugar

A handful of dill, chopped

4 tbsp natural yogurt to serve

1.       Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion, celery, carrot, thyme leaves and seasoning. Cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes.

2.       Add the beetroot and cabbage with a splash of water. Stir, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. Stir a few times to prevent the vegetables from catching and burning on the bottom of the pan.

3.       Pour in the stock or water to cover the vegetables. Add the vinegar, bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Skim off any froth and adjust the seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and xylitol or sugar.

4.       Puree the soup if desired and serve with chopped dill and a dollop of yogurt.

Beetroot, carrot and chicory salad

3 heads of chicory

2 medium carrots

250g cooked beetroot in natural juices

handful of lightly toasted hazelnuts

Dressing:

1 pomegranate

1 orange

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

1. Trim the chicory and shred the leaves into matchsticks. Peel the carrots and cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Roughly cut the beetroot. Place these ingredients in a bowl.

2. Make the dressing by halving the pomegranate and scooping out the seeds into another bowl. Squeeze the juice of the orange into the bowl and add vinegar, olive oil and seasoning to taste. Blend until the pomegranate seeds are finely crushed and then sieve.  Spoon the dressing over the salad and scatter with lightly crushed toasted almonds.

Recipes taken from ‘Healthy Appetite’ by Gordon Ramsay

Categories In the news, Latest Research, Uncategorized

Baby blues treatment may be found

It has been known for a while that in the first three to four days after giving birth, oestrogen levls drop by up to 1000 times. A new study has identified an enzyme called monoamine oxidase A, which increases dramatically in proportion to this oestrogen loss. Monoamine oxidase A may contribute significantly to depression in new mothers because it breaks down the vital neurotransmitters that keep us happy and content – serotonin and dopamine.

The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found that levels of the enzyme peaked on the fifth day after giving birth; this is the day that new mothers often hit their lowest point.

It was found that levels of hormones could be measured during pregnancy –  high levels predicted post-natal depression with an accuracy of 75 percent during the study. It is hoped that screening for post-natal depression could be possible in the future.

While we wait for this exciting development, there are many things that new mothers can do to boost their serotonin levels. Gaining support from valued and trusted family members and friends, especially in the first week after giving birth, may reduce some of the stress and isolation at this wonderful but potentially difficult time. In addition, nutrition can play a huge role in balancing hormones and neurotransmitters.

Pregnancy and breast feeding place an enormous demand on the body – the baby will take whichever nutrients it needs for health and growth and this may deplete the mother’s resources. Cooking a nutritious meal for a new mother is probably the most useful thing you can do – especially if you wash up afterwards! 

What should a new mother eat?

Protein is important as neurotransmitters are made from amino acids, the building blocks of protein. A new mother will need 60g protein and this increases to 80g for breastfeeders – a vegetarian mother will have to work hard  to ensure that she is eating enough high quality protein from foods such as eggs, soya products, cheese, nuts and seeds and pulses.

Essential fats are vital for the production of serotonin and dopamine, so this is not a good time to cut down on fat. Non-vegetarians can boost their omega 3 fat intake with oily fish (sardines, mackerel, herring trout) twice a week, but vegetarians must rely on flax seed and oil for omega 3 fats. Cold pressed vegetable oils, nuts and seeds are good sources of omega 6 fatty acids. 

Vitamins and minerals are vital for new mothers in order to replenish supplies that have been depleted by pregnancy and to make neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine). For breast feeding mothers, making milk will deplete what the mother has available to her. Five prtions of fruit and veg is the minimum – 8-10 will be better. Wherever possible these should be fresh, organic and lightly prepared in order to preserve their nutritional content. Variety is important and a rainbow of colours will ensure that a wide range of vitamins and minerals are available – in the winter  some fruits that may not be local and seasonal can be added in order to boost the choices.

B vitamins and vitamin C are particularly important cofactors for neurotransmitter production; these can be found in whole grains, brown rice, leafy green vegetables, watercress, peppers and fruits.

How you eat is also vital for neurotransmitter production; processed foods, sugary sweet foods and stimulants are low in nutrients and play havoc with blood sugar. Allowing yourself to get too hungry will make you reach for these foods in desperation, but that will send you on a blood sugar rollercoaster where energy  escalates and plummets. This alone can have a devastating effect on mood and these foods contain no nutrients for health and wellbeing. Instead, a routine of enjoying three uninterrupted meals each day and three snacks can work wonders for mood and wellbeing. These meals and snacks should be high in fruits, vegetables and unrefined whole foods and each should contain some protein – 15g per meal and 5g for each snack is ideal (20g per meal for breastfeeders). Cutting down on sugar and stimulants such as tea, coffee and alcohol will help to stabilise moods, but breastfeeding  mothers will want to drink plenty of herbal teas and plain water to replace the fluids that the baby takes during feeds.

Having a new baby in the house is demanding and disrupted sleep patterns can cause exhaustion. Although preparing food can be time consuming, the rewards of stable moods and increased energy may be worth the extra work. Better still, direct any offers of help towards shopping or preparing healthy, delicious meals and snacks. If you tell them exactly what you need, people will be delighted to help.

To discuss your individual needs during pregnancy or after birth, why not make an appointment with Emma at Smart Nutrition?

Categories Heart disease, In the news, Uncategorized

Trans fats still a risk for coronary heart disease

Despite the recommendation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) that trans fats should be banned, in line with current legislation in Denmark and New York City, the Government has today announced that it will neither ban the fats nor advise manufacturers to flag them up on food lables .

Trans fats are hydrogenated oils that remain solid at room temperature. They are harmful and have no nutritional benefits and, as they cannot be broken down in the digestive system, they accumulate and clog up arteries. Evidence is mounting that trans fats are implicated in cancer, multiple sclerosis, stroke, obesity and heart disease. They are found in many products, including deep fried foods, baked goods, ice creams, biscuits, snack bars and ready meals; cheap foods are more likely to contain trans fats as they are so convenient for manufacturers to use. Although Tesco and Sainsbury have stated that they will not use trans fats in their own brands, other convenience foods within the stores may be loaded with them.

Avoiding trans fats is not as simple as avoiding cigarettes or alcohol as consumers may find it difficult to know which foods contain them. The labels will not list ‘trans fats’ in the ingredients, but will list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. As these foods are found in many foods marketed for children it may be particularly difficult for parents of young children to identify the offending fats and protect their families; shopping with small children is difficult at the best of times and searching through ingredients may not be an option.

As the Government appear to be unwilling to support consumers to improve their health, it is important for people to educate themselves about which foods are safe to eat. Avoiding fried foods and packaged foods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil will help. In addition, eating foods that are rich in essential fats such as oily fish, nuts, seeds and cold pressed vegetable oils may help to redress the balance.  To gain more advice on how to avoid the dangerous fats and boost levels of healthy fats, why not make an appointment with Emma at Smart Nutrition.