Top 10 Superfoods for Gorgeous Skin, Hair and Nails

What’s the secret to beautiful, healthy skin and hair? It’s not in your make-up case but in your diet. Include these superfoods regularly into your diet and nourish your skin from within.

Our Top 5 Fruit & Veg Superfoods

1. Blueberries – Antioxidants in blueberries prevent premature ageing. Add a handful to your cereal or smoothie everyday.

2. Spinach – Full of nutrients and antioxidants such as lutein, which keeps your eyes healthy and sparkling. Add raw leaves to your salads or saute for a healthy side dish.

3. Tomatoes – The best source of anti-ageing antioxodant lycopene, the carotenoid that makes tomatoes red. Put aside those expensive anti-wrinkle creams!

4. Kiwis – Gives you a Vitamin C and antioxidant blast to keep your skin firm, help prevent wrinkles and protect you from cancer and heart disease. Also great for healthy teeth and bones!

5. Sweet Potatoes – Jam packed with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that fights ageing. For an easy dish, try roasting in the oven with some olive oil, salt, pepper and your favourite herbs.

Our Top 5 Other Superfoods

6. Yoghurt – Full of calcium which is great for posture, healthy teeth and nails.

7. Dark Chocolate – Make sure the chocolate you choose is at least 60% cacao and has a high flavanol content. Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate helps skin stay hydrated and can protect it from sun damage. Remember, in moderation!

8. Walnuts – A handful eaten as a snack or thrown into your salad gives you your daily dose of Omega-3 fatty acids (the ones that are good for you!) and Vitamin E. They act as a natural moisturiser to your skin to keep it supple.

9. Oysters – Great source of zinc which helps skin cell renewal and repair.

10. Water – And we can’t forget or miss out water. Even mild dehydration will make your skin look dry and tired. Absolutely essential for gorgeousness!

Advertisements

3 ways with bananas you probably didn’t know

Who doesn’t like bananas? They’re the perfect on the go snack neatly wrapped in their own biodegradable packaging. And for about 100 calories, they pack a solid nutritional punch.

But here are 3 ways with bananas you probably didn’t know.

  1. Boil a banana skin. Researchers in Taiwan have found that banana peel contains ingredients that increase levels of the happy hormone serotonin. To reap the benefits they suggest you drink the water in which you’ve boiled a banana skin (10-15 minutes). Tastes like camomile tea with a banana kick.
  2. Mash for a moisturising face mask. Nothing beats a home-made, ultra-nourishing face mask that leaves your skin looking and feeling smoother. Mash a ripe banana and mix it with 1 teaspoon honey and 2 teaspoons yoghurt. Apply evenly to the face and neck and let it set for 10-20 minutes. Rinse off with cold water. Easy and it doesn’t break the bank.
  3. Make healthy one-ingredient creamy ice-cream. Oh yes. This does exactly what is says on the tin. Peel a ripe banana, cut it into coins and freeze for 1-2 hours. Blend frozen banana pieces scraping down the sides of the bowl as it sticks. Watch the magic transformation from crumbly, to smooth and creamy. At this point, you could add peanut butter or honey. For soft serve, eat as is or for regular ice cream, freeze again in an airtight container. Yum, and healthy. Result.

Healthy snacks under 200 calories

According to research, more than 90% of people who made healthy eating resolutions in the New Year are likely to have already given up. And poor snacking habits are one of the major downfalls. That time in between main meals can be tough. So we’ve brainstormed our 5 simplest and favourite healthy snacks.

Here are our top 5 healthy fruit and veggie snacks under 200 calories.

1. Carrots and cucumber sticks dipped into houmous

2. Blueberries topped with a dollop of greek yoghurt and some honey

3. Sugar snap peas sprinkled with parmesan

4. Apple and banana slices dunked into peanut butter

5. Almonds and oranges (12 almonds and 1 orange to be exact for a perfectly balanced snack)

And here’s our challenge to you. Once a week for the next 5 weeks, substitute one of your unhealthy snacks with one of our healthy snacks. Try it!

5 steps to keeping your New Year’s Resolution

After the delicious excesses of Xmas, we come to that time of year when we contemplate New Year’s Resolutions.

Invariably, at 12:01AM on 1st Jan 2012, many of us will resolve to eat more healthily in the coming year. In fact, 7 million of us every year in the UK resolve to improve some aspect of our health.

Do you make the same resolution every year which, come February, has already been long forgotten? This year, try making a good resolution. Here are our 5 top tips.

1. Make manageable goals

Caught up in the Xmas guilt, big promises made hastily (“I will only eat healthy foods this year”) are a recipe for disaster.

By all means, resolve to eat healthily or lose weight but don’t burden yourself with impossible expectations.

Make more realistic goals. You’ll be more likely to stick to your resolution.

2. Take small steps for change

Set out the small steps you will take to accomplish your resolution. This is your plan for action.

You could resolve to eat at least 2 pieces of fruit everyday, give up one cup of coffee for a glass of water, try making one new healthy recipe a month.

It will be easier to accomplish your goal of eating healthily, if you know what this actually entails.

3. Share your goals

Tell your family and friends about your resolutions. This makes it more likely you will succeed as you are accountable to someone besides yourself.

They can also offer you help, guidance and support.

Alternatively, write down your goals and track your progress. I jot down what I’ve made for dinner in my diary. It’s simple but gives me a warm glow to know that I’ve made the effort to make fresh, healthy food for my family to eat.

4. Don’t give up

We’re human so every now and again we’re bound to fall off the bandwagon. It’s absolutely normal. The trick is to not let it halt your efforts completely.

Discount the day you ate 2 helpings of dessert when you meant to just have a small bite. It’s done and dusted. Move on and start the next day afresh with new resolve.

5. Reward yourself

Stay encouraged by rewarding yourself along the way. Treats can be edible (yes, I know you’re thinking chocolate). But how about a new cookbook, that dress you’ve had your eye on or taking an extra hour out for yourself that week.

It’s all about staying positive and motivated towards your goal.

GOOD LUCK and let us know how it goes!

Curb those Cravings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether you get the morning munchies or a mid-afternoon slump, cravings are a fact of life. What you eat when you get these cravings makes the difference. Here’s what you can eat for 100 calories:

  • 3/4 cup of tortilla chips or 2 cups of strawberries
  • Handful of pretzels (28g) or 2 cups of sliced peppers
  • 3/8ths of one doughnut or 4 cups of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 mini muffin or 7 cups of sliced cucumbers

Big differences right? Remember, if you eat well 80% of the time you can treat yourself 20% of the time.

5 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

Many people think that healthy eating is expensive and beyond their budget. That really is balderdash. If you think about it, an apple sets you back a mere 30-40p (if that), while a packet of biscuits or crisps is normally closer to the £1 mark. This simple comparison doesn’t even factor in the health benefits of the apple versus the biscuits / crisps.

The fact is that you can eat healthy on a budget and the tips below will hopefully get you on your way.

  1. Cook at home more – You can control and therefore know exactly what goes into your food and your meal will cost you much less than the equivalent from your local take-out or restaurants. Consider how much hidden oil, butter, salt there is in meals eaten outside the home.
  2. Plan your meals – This is the first time to reducing food wastage. Once a week, have a look and see what you have left in your fridge. Draw up some meal plans incorporating these ingredients and then figure out what else you need to buy.
  3. Cooking double – For many meals, the amount of time it takes to double the amount you’re making is minimal. Yet, by freezing the extra, you always have something healthy in the freezer for the days you’re short on time or don’t feel like cooking. So don’t use half that pepper/cauliflower/insert any vegetable and throw away the rest. Make a double portion. This works particularly well when making things like stocks, sauces, curries and soups.
  4. Eat seasonally – Fruit and veg that are in season tend to be abundant and importantly, good value. Try and get a feel for what’s in season when. And make sure you enjoy the produce that has especially short seasons (British asparagus – normally May / June; Blood oranges – normally Jan / Feb). We have a guide to what’s in season here.
  5. Cook more – The more you cook and experiment, the more confident you’ll become. Recipe substitutions, tweaks, additions and subtractions all become second nature and you’ll become adept at using ingredients you already have at home to make recipes your own. And healthier.

These are our top 5. But do let us know if you’ve got any more ideas.

What colour is your food?

How many of you consciously try and eat your ‘5-a-day’? All hands go up. The 5-a-day concept has become commonplace and for good reason. But, how many of you try and eat a colourful variety of fruit and veg? Some hands waver.

Fruit Salad with Cacao Nibs

Every fruit and vegetable is a source of some of the vitamins and minerals that we need for good health. Unfortunately, there is no one super fruit or veg. Yes, so-called superfoods do exist but we’ll leave them aside for another blog post.

Fruit and veg that share the same colour also tend to have the same natural plant pigments. These plant chemicals, or phytochemicals, are key to maintaining health and each perform certain functions.

Red fruit and veg contain ‘lycopene’ or ‘anthocyanin’. The former has been linked to reducing the risk of certain cancers while the latter acts as a powerful antioxidant that protects cell damage and keeps our hearts healthy. Tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit all contain lycopene while strawberries, raspberries and red grapes are excellent sources of anthocyanin.

Orange and yellow fruit and veg contain ‘caretenoids’. Sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots have high levels of beta-caretone which is converted to Vitamin A, important for healthy eyes. Carrots helping you see in the dark, although not quite so extreme, is not just an old wives’ tale! Many don’t realise that caretenoid-rich foods also help the immune system and are good for heart health. We also all know that citrus fruits have lots of Vitamin C.

Unsurprisingly, green fruit and veg have lots of ‘chlorophyll’. ‘Lutein’ is in the darker green veg (spinach, green peppers, cucumbers) and works with zeaxanthin (red peppers, oranges, grapes, egg yolks) to keep eyes healthy. Broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages contain ‘indoles’ that protect against some cancers.

Blues and purples are full of ‘anthocyanin’ which acts as an antioxidant to repair cell damage. Blueberries most often come to mind but don’t forget grapes, aubergines, blackberries, plums and figs.

And don’t forget the whites either. They have ‘anthoxanthins’ (what a mouthful) which can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as reduce stomach cancer and heart disease. Some, like bananas and potatoes, are great sources of potassium too. (By the way, did you know that potatoes don’t count towards one of your 5-a-day)? Other whites are cauliflower, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, onions and parsnips.

Well, there you have it. I don’t think it really matters if you can remember any of the above. What to remember is to try and eat a rainbow of colours. That way, you’re getting a little bit of everything. See, easy!