Nutrition

Learn more about nutrition and eating a healthy balanced diet. Interesting facts and advice relating to how nutrients in foods affect the body.

  1. Put a spring in your step: 8 superfoods for spring

    You are what you eat, so the saying goes – so what are the best foods to keep you in tip-top condition and raring to go? We’ve rounded up some star ingredients that are sure to give you an all-round health boost this spring. Walnuts – good for mood Delicious in puddings and savoury dishes, walnuts are rich in the amino acid your body needs to create the feel-good chemical serotonin. And because they're digested slowly they can contribute to mood stability and can help you tolerate stress too. Why not try… Nut & Mushroom Roast Asparagus – good for mood Asparagus spears are a great source of folate, a B vitamin that could help keep your spirits up - folate is important for our dopamine and serotonin levels, which are crucial for mood. Why not try… Shanghai Beef
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  2. Meat Free Monday and beyond...

    If you've thought about trying a diet with less meat there are plenty of benefits to going vegetarian or even just cutting out meat one day a week. Meat Free Mondays are a great way to incorporate vegetarian meals into your diet and make a difference to your health and to the environment. Health benefits There are many health benefits to eating less meat including having a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Vegetarians tend to have lower cholesterol and eat less saturated fat than those who eat meat every day and following a more plant based diet often makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Because of these health benefits, vegetarians and vegans also live longer on average than those who eat meat every day. Watching the pennies Eating veggie can be kinder to your pockets with lentils, pulses, fruit and veg often cheaper than buying meat. And there are plenty of tasty meat substitute products available these days, making it easier than ever to enjoy meat-free versions of your favourite meals.
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  3. Eating for a Healthy Heart

    The best way to keep your heart healthy is through your diet and we have explained some of the easiest changes you can make. Heart-healthy lifestyle habits will also benefit your general wellbeing whilst reducing your risks of heart disease and lowering your cholesterol levels. Fruit and vegetables should make up a third of our diets so you should be having at least 5 portions a day. This can be hard so why not try adding frozen vegetables to dishes? We have some great choices like Broccoli and our Baby Carrots. Always aim for a colourful plate; variety is the spice of life and with a larger variety means more of the good things like fibre, vitamins and minerals. Eating more fibre will also help lower your risk of heart disease, aiming for 30 grams a day from a variety of sources like Wholemeal Bread, Oats, Wholegrain Cereals, Potatoes with their skins and of course fruit and vegetables. Cutting down on your saturated fat is always a great way to lower your cholesterol levels - using leaner cuts of meat and lower fat dairy varieties will help so try using skimmed rather than whole milk.
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  4. The stress free route to healthy blood pressure

    February is Heart Month, with the British Heart Foundation encouraging us all to think about what we can do to look after our tickers. An important part of this is keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level – and the great news is, even small changes can give your heart health a real boost. Your blood pressure is the amount of force your heart uses to pump blood around your body. If it’s too high, this puts more strain on your arteries and heart muscles, which increases your risk of developing health problems such as heart disease, strokes and kidney failure. Having high blood pressure doesn’t in itself cause any symptoms, so the only way to keep on top of yours is to have it checked regularly by your local GP or practice nurse.
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  5. Feeling tip-top in later life starts with the right foods

    We all appreciate how important good nutrition is for our overall health and wellbeing. But in later life, when our bodies go through a number of physical changes, this can affect how well we eat and how much nourishment we’re able to get from food. The senses of taste and smell become less sensitive as the years pass by, so sitting down to a meal might not give us the same pleasure that it used to. And the body isn’t able to absorb nutrients as efficiently. Older people also tend to eat less as their energy levels naturally dip due to being less active, and because the amount of lean muscle decreases in proportion to fat tissue.
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  6. Processed and red meats: give up or cut back?

      With recent newspaper stories citing processed meat as a cause of cancer, anyone might have thought twice about taking another bite of their bacon butty. But look behind the scary headlines, and you’ll see you can still enjoy eating meat as part of a balanced diet. October’s biggest health story was the news that a World Health Organisation study had labelled processed meat such as bacon, salami and sausages a Group 1 carcinogen – placing it alongside smoking as a definite cause of cancer. This has made lots of people worried, but it’s important to understand that enjoying sausage and mash or a full English breakfast every now and then is nowhere near as bad for you as smoking – and as well as providing protein and other essential nutrients, will actually do you little harm at all.
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  7. Chocolate: a little bit of what you fancy is good for you

    Chocolate is one of the most popular foods in the world – in the UK alone, we eat an average of 11kg each per year. But as well as being a sweet treat, chocolate is claimed to have lots of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, relieving stress and fighting heart disease. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans – the seeds of the cocoa tree. It was the Mayans of Central America who first discovered the beans could be eaten; making drinks from cocoa powder mixed with water, flavoured with vanilla or chilli. The Spanish brought chocolate back to Europe in the 1500s, and by the middle of the 17th century, hot chocolate was being drunk in fashionable ‘chocolate houses’ across the continent. But it wasn’t until the 1800s when cocoa was used to make the chocolate bars we know and love today.
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  8. Go to work on an egg - celebrating British Egg Week

    The humble egg has been a staple of our diet for thousands of years. And, as British Egg Week gets cracking this week, it’s the perfect time to indulge in this versatile and nutritious food. From sandwiches to soufflés, quiches to cakes, for breakfast, lunch and dinner – eggs are the essential ingredient in countless dishes. Although hens eggs are the staple, you'll also find quail eggs on the supermarket shelf (great for canapés) as well as large duck eggs with their rich tasting, deep orange yolk. For something really extraordinary – you might be lucky enough to come across an ostrich egg. It weighs a massive 2kg, is the equivalent of 24 hen eggs, and takes two hours to hard-boil!
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  9. Hearty eating that’s great for your ticker

    It's World Heart Day this week and the ideal time to double check that we’re looking after our hearts. Keeping active is one of the most fun parts of it. But the good news is, your diet can also really benefit your heart – even if you already have a heart condition. Thankfully it’s not too complicated. All you have to do is aim for a balanced diet, naturally packed full of nutrient-rich ingredients. So when choosing your ready meals make sure they often include:  - plenty of fruit and vegetables - plenty of starchy foods - low fat milk and dairy - some meat and fish, or eggs, beans and other non-dairy protein sources - lower fat, salt and sugar values
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  10. The veggie route to a healthier diet

    If you reckon a meal’s not a proper meal without some kind of meat in it, you’re not alone. But with vegetables playing such a crucial role in a nutritious, balanced diet, it’s often a good idea to make a few days a week meat-free – and seeing how that makes you feel. As we get older, our energy levels and appetite tend to change. So if you’re not eating as much as before, what you do eat needs to be rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and ‘good’ fats. A diet based mainly on starchy foods such as potatoes, whole-grain bread, rice and pasta, along with plenty of fruit, vegetables and nuts, ticks all the healthy boxes and provides your essential ‘five-a-day’. And whether they’re raw, cooked, sliced, diced, stewed, mashed or puréed – enjoying vegetarian food is easier than you think.
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