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Is your lifestyle ruining your life?

One of today’s health headlines states that “Medical students say they currently learn almost nothing about the way diet and lifestyle affect health”. Much of what GPs see in practice are chronic, non-communicable conditions for which there are currently no cures. Many patients have multiple health problems which are triggered or kept going by lifestyle. Conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, depression, obesity account for 50% of all GP appointments. Life expectancy in the UK has increased, but this hasn’t been matched by improvements in levels of ill health. The truth is we are living longer, but sicker. Spending more years in ill heal

Food to keep you going

Do you ever have days when normal mealtimes just don't work out? Well yesterday was one of those days for me! My children were all doing various things at different times and no-one was going to be around at lunchtime or even near anywhere they could get something to eat. Certainly, I gave them snacks and had dinner ready when they got in, but how to keep them fuelled for a busy day? This is what I served my family for brunch yesterday. Scrambled eggs on toasted wholemeal rolls, with stir-fried spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes. Feta cheese and pickles on the side. It took me less than 20 minutes to prepare, provided them each with carbohydrates, fat, protein and plenty of vitamins and mineral

Spread the word

While browsing the aisles of my local store, I came across a range of new products which looked both healthy and delicious, so I thought I’d give them a try. Nutural World has launched a new range of spreads made from dried fruits, seeds and nuts. Sugar and food additives are commonly found in so many spreads so I was excited to see this range made with high-quality ingredients. We all know that we need to cut back on sugar, but do we have to sacrifice taste in the process? I tried the chocolate halva spread and the sesame and date spread. The spreads contain no added sugar or oils. The sesame and date spread just contains sesame, dates and vanilla. If you like tahina, you will love this spr

Salad upgrade

Does coleslaw bring up images of soggy white cabbage in polystyrene containers? Here, I have given coleslaw a health boost using red cabbage, carrots and spring onions in a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. I have boosted its nutrition content even more with the addition of a handful of dried cranberries and another handful of pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of vitamins A, B1, B2 and B3. They also contain phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc and copper, and like other seeds are a healthy source of protein, carbohydrate and fat. I love adding pumpkin seeds to yogurt, porridge and salads. They are also great as a snack, especially with an assor

Food in the news

Public Health England has declared war on calories this week. Manufacturers will need to cut the calorie content in many ready meals and take-aways. This is certainly a move in the right direction, but I can't help thinking that if only these government agencies and health organisations would educate the nation to eat real food instead of counting calories in ultra-processed foods, then we might see some real change in the state of the nation's health. Obesity is a multi-factorial condition - it is not always about calories in minus calories out. Obesity treatment needs multi-level interventions to get successful outcomes. Nutrition, lifestyle, movement, environment, sleep and stress might a

What am I eating this week?

Grain-free options are one of the latest food trends. Grain-free diets can be helpful for some people who are experiencing digestive problems. There are lots of ways to replace grains in dishes, some of them tastier than others. I found a great recipe online using sweet potato as a quiche crust and decided to give it a try. I myself do not follow a grain-free diet, but this made a delicious supper served with salads and was reasonably simple to prepare. Ingredients: 2 medium sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced into thin rounds) 6 eggs 1 can coconut milk 1 bag frozen broccoli salt and pepper a little grated cheese Method: Grease a quiche dish and line with the sliced sweet potato rounds. Cut th

A pinch of salt

Salt is bad for you, right? That's what all the health claims say but it's actually not so clear-cut. Sodium (the mineral in salt) plays an important role in maintaining the balance of electrolytes in our bodies. Magnesium, sodium, chloride and potassium are all mineral salts that conduct electricity when dissolved in water. It is important to consume these minerals in the right balance. Too much sodium (from salt) can disrupt this balance, but it is equally important to have an adequate amount of potassium, magnesium and chloride too. A high sodium diet can increase your risk of high blood pressure, so it might be worth keeping an eye on your salt intake if you live with high blood pressure