healthyoptions

  1. Weekly Tip - Foods that can make hay fever symptoms worse.

    Hay fever isn't fun at the best of times, and whilst there are foods that can improve our symptoms, there are also foods that can make us a lot feel worse. If you suffer from hay fever or other allergies paying attention to what you eat or drink can help significantly!
     
    Eating foods that contain histamines should be avoided. Histamine is a chemical produced by our body and found in certain foods that can have a wide variety of effects from itchy skin to congestion to nausea (and there are many other symptoms). Foods to limit or avoid during a hay fever flare up are : nuts, packaged meat such as salami, fermented dairy and other foods, aubergine, beans and pulses, pickled and canned foods, shellfish, refined sugar, ready meals and chocolate. Unfortunately it’s not just foods that contain histamine, but your favourite alcoholic beverage could be contributing to the worsening symptoms. Try avoiding or limiting wine, beer and cocktails. 
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  2. Weekly Tip - Benefits of Raw Garlic in the diet

    • One of the main compounds found in garlic is allicin. Allicin is produced when the garlic clove is chopped or crushed - it also gives garlic its strong smell. Allicin has been found to reduce inflammation and has antimicrobial properties. Unfortunately its destroyed when heated - so to get the full benefits from garlic we need to eat it raw and ideally leave it to rest for 10-15minutes or so after chopping/crushing.
    • Studies have been done over the years on the effects of garlic when it comes to helping to prevent certain types of cancers. The results of the studies have shown that increasing your intake of raw garlic may help reduce the risk of these types of cancer. 
    • Regular consumption of garlic has shown to work as a preventative and treatment for many cardiovascular
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  3. Ginger benefits

    Ginger Root and the benefits Ginger (zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant, but we mostly know it for its root (rhizome) which has been used for hundreds of years and has some very impressive health benefits. You can find it in many forms, including the whole root, powder, capsules or even essential oil. Ginger contains a wide range of important vitamins and minerals. It also contains gingerol an active chemical component that is related to capsaicin and pipeline, and it’s what gives chilli peppers and black pepper their spiciness. Gingerol is a potent antioxidant with anti inflammatory benefits. Have a read below to learn about some of the benefits of including ginger in your diet.
     
    • Helps with morning sickness and nausea - studies have shown that ginger is effective in treating morning sickness. So if you are struggling - try having a warm cup of water with some either grated or sliced ginger in i
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  4. Weekly Tip - 4 Benefits of eating raisins

    Raisins are a favourite snack amongst adults and children alike. The are made from drying Thompsons seedless grapes. There are three main ways the raisins are dried, either naturally in the sun, water dipped or using sulphur dioxide. I always opt for organic sun dried raisins. 
     
    Raisins are a good source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, polyphenols and many other nutrients. They are extremely easy to include in your daily diet too! Have a read below to see some of the benefits when eaten regularly.
    • Improved digestion - Raisins contain both soluble and insoluble fibre which keep everything moving in our digestive system. 
    • Help prevent oxidative stress - Raisins have high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are needed by our body to stop the damage done by free radicals which can lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can lead to a whole host of illnesses including cancer.
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  5. Margarine vs Butter

    Margarine and butter have similar uses (baking ingredient, spreading on bread or toast) and they are similar in colour - but thats pretty much where it ends. Butter is made from churning cream and margarine is made from heavily processed vegetable oils that have been chemically altered.
     
    Butter and margarine both have the benefits and disadvantages which I will list below.
    • Margarine is made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids - which are omega-6 fatty acids. Although we need omega-6 fatty acids it’s better to get them from unprocessed sources such as nuts, seeds and eggs.
    • Margarine is a cheaper option if you are on a budget, and although lower in essential nutrients it does contain contain some fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin E
    • Grass fed butter is rich in nutrients and contains vitamin K2 which contributes to healthy bones by breaking down calcium in o
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  6. Spinach - top 3 benefits

    When you think of healthiest vegetables…spinach definitely always comes to mind. And for good reason too! One of the most nutrient dense foods around, packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 

    Including spinach in your diet regularly has many health benefits and as it’s not the most strongly flavoured vegetable it can easily be added to many dishes (even raw in smoothies) with out altering the flavour!

    Top 3 health benefits of spinach 

    1. Eye health - Spinach is packed with a healthy dose of vitamin A in the form of carotenoids. Studies have shown vitamin A to help keep our eyes healthy and slow down macular degeneration. 
    2. Help protect against cancer - Studies have shown that spinach (along with other green leafy vegetables) can help protect us from different types of cancer. Spinach antioxidant properties reduce the levels of oxidative stress and inflammation in our body. Spinach also contains chlorophyll whi
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  7. Spinach, goats cheese and caramelized onion tart

    A delicious meal to be served with a leafy salad, or cut into small squares as a popular appetiser.

    Once all the ingredients are prepared its really quick to put together and only needs 20minutes in the over.

     

    Ingredients

    Caramelized onions (see below for ingredients)

    4 handfuls of spinach

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 garlic clove mashed

    1 tub of soft goats cheese

    1 roll of ready rolled puff pastry.

     

    Caramelized onion ingredients

    2 onions sliced

    1 tablespoon butter

    1/2 tablespoon sugar

    500ml water

     

    Method

    1. Add the sliced onions to a saucepan along with the butter, stir until butter is melted and coating the onions.
    2. Add the water and sugar and bring to a simmer.
    3. Leave to simmer for around 40minutes.
    4. Once all the water has boiled down stir the
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  8. Weekly Tip - Ginger lime and coconut drizzle loaf.

    Following on from my last post I thought I would share this delicious way of adding ginger to your diet.

    Ginger contains a wide range of important vitamins and minerals. It also contains gingerol an active chemical component that is related to capsaicin and pipeline, and it’s what gives chilli peppers and black pepper their spiciness. Gingerol is a potent antioxidant with anti inflammatory benefits.

    Ingredients 

    • 180g softened butter
    • 150g caster sugar 
    • 6 limes
    • 3 eggs beaten 
    • 125g plain flour 
    • 100g desiccated coconut 
    • 1 tsp baking powder 
    • 3 thumbs ginger grated
    • 100g icing sugar 
    • 50g candied ginger
    • 50g coconut chips

     

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
    2. Prepare a loaf tin by lining with baking paper.
    3. Using a food processor be
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  9. Cranberry and Orange muffins

    Following on from my last weekly tip ‘the health benefits of cranberries.’ I thought I would share this delicious recipe as another way to get this super nutritious fruit into your diet.

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
    • 1/2 cup castor sugar
    • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
    • 3 tablespoons on orange zest
    • 1 and 3/4 cups plain flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 1 Tablespoon milk
    • 1 and 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

    Method

    • Preheat the oven to 180degrees
    • Prepare muffin tray by either spraying or adding muffin cases
    • Add butter and sugars to
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  10. Chocolate protein fridge truffles

    A perfect snack to have when you get that chocolate craving. Packed full of protein, fibre and other healthy nutrients, they won't last long!

    Ingredients

    3 tablespoons organic coconut oil
    10 dates (soaked in boiling water for 15minutes)
    2 tablespoons nut butter
    1 can of cannellini beans drained and rinsed
    50g raw cacao powder
    1tsp of milk
    Desiccated coconut, raw cacao and hemp hearts to roll the truffles in.

    Soak the dates for 15minutes in boiling water to soften them.
    Melt the coconut oil in a microwave proof bowl.
    Drain the dates and add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth paste.
    Have a taste to check if its sweet enough - if not add a little squeeze of agave syrup.
    Scrap mixture our into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to set in the fridge for 1hr.
    Once set, use a teaspoon to scoop out and roll into balls.
    Add the desiccated coconut, raw cacao powder and hemp hearts

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