Archive for August, 2011
Monday, August 22nd, 2011
When we think of summer we think of sun, sea, sand, holidays, relaxing, BBQ’s and……. picnics in the park. A typical picnic involves sandwiches, juice, crisps. Why not try these gut loving alternatives that will not only keep our digestive system in check and provide us with a good variety of nutrients but will give us an exciting burst of flavours and textures compared to a standard picnic.
Orange chicken mini kebabs:
These are quick and easy to prepare in advice and are a zingy addition to a traditional picnic whilst also providing us with vitamin C to ease the digestive path and get things moving. You can add a variety of spices to flavour the chicken or just plain grill before adding to the skewers.
Peeled grated carrots with chopped dates (with cumin, minced chilli, lemon or lime juice, mint or parsley):
This unusual combination with provide us with a great source of fibre.
Roasted pepper cous cous salad:
Cous cous salad is quick and easy to make and goes well with a variety of fruit and vegetables which will also help top up your ‘five a day’.
Cold Teriyaki chicken wings/thighs:
Combine equal parts soy sauce, mirin and saké with a little sugar and sesame oil; boil for a minute. Use this to baste chicken thighs or wings you grill it. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or chopped spring onions – ginger and/or lemon are good too. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before putting into the fridge until you are ready to go on your picnic
Other ways to top up for fibre content to keep your digestive system healthy are:
- Swop white bread/roll to brown or whole meal bread/rolls.
- Aim to have at least 5 different types of fruit and vegetables within your picnic. This will be easy to achieve if you prepare a variety of salads and fruity desserts.
- Ensure that you store all food correctly. By placing ice packs at the bottom of your picnic packet will ensure you food is kept cool for as long as possible meaning germs ad bacteria will find it hard to grow and multiply.
Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Oversized portions mean Brits pile on the pounds
Brits are unaware of what constitutes a standard portion size and because of this men are consuming a staggering 778 calories1a extra per day, which could add up to one and a half pounds1b of excess weight a week. Women aren’t far behind, eating and drinking an extra 546 calories1a per day, leading to a possible weight gain of just over a pound1b a week, new research from Loveyourgut.com reveals.
The study has been carried out to coincide with Gut Week (22-28 August), a national campaign which aims to raise awareness of good gut health. Shockingly, the survey reveals almost half (44%) of us are oblivious to how many calories we should be consuming per day, whilst almost a fifth (18%) admit to not knowing the correct portion size we should be serving ourselves. Subsequently, as a nation, we’re eating more than a third2 over the recommended servings of foods such as rice, pasta and potatoes.
Dr Christian Jessen looking at the problem of over sized portions
Dr Christian Jessen, medic and supporter of Gut Week 2011 says, “It’s very easy and tempting to eat too much food, but regularly consuming large portions can significantly increase your risk of excess weight gain, digestive problems, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. I think many people will be shocked to learn that big portions can not only affect their waistlines, but can also cause internal health problems that may not be so clear. Dropping just a few calories per day, combined with regular exercise will significantly help over time.”
The research also reveals we’re not only in the dark about portion sizes; we’re also a nation unashamed to pile food onto our plates. A staggering three quarters (77%) eat more food at home than when out, a greedy fifth (23%) of us admit to having larger amounts of food if we are serving ourselves and one in ten (12%) have more than one helping for their evening meal. A worrying quarter (25%) also regularly eat their evening meal in front of the TV, where distraction leads to them being unaware of the amount they’re consuming. But, we don’t seem to just overindulge ourselves – when it comes to hosting friends or family we’re more likely to overcompensate, with over a fifth (21%) of us often providing more food for our guests than we feel necessary to prevent the worry of not having enough.
As we head into autumn, it appears the increasingly colder weather can have a negative impact on our food choices and lifestyles. The research reveals:
- Almost a third (30%) of us eat larger portions and two thirds (66%) increase our intake of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and potatoes
- Over two fifths (45%) eat more processed and high calorie foods, such as ready meals, crisps and chocolate
- One third (33%) admit to exercising less
- 31% of us choose to sleep longer and 23%, to socialise more at home
- And 15% of us treat ourselves to more takeaways, rather than cooking at home
The research goes on to show a lack of awareness amongst the nation when it comes to high energy dense foods. A third (33%) of us admit we are unsure of what is meant by the term; 39% believe high energy dense foods are carbohydrates and over a fifth (22%) think they’re foods with energy boosting properties. This confusion is leading to unhealthy eating habits as almost a quarter (24%) of Brits are eating more high energy dense foods during the colder weather.
“Contrary to popular belief, high energy dense foods are those which have a high amount of calories in a small amount of food, such as chocolate and cheese”, says Dr Christian Jessen. “When the weather gets colder, people are tempted to tuck into larger portions of these foods, often in front of the TV, so not only are we eating more, but we’re also exercising less. This common practice of eating in front of the TV can be a big problem as you often eat a lot of food without noticing it, because you’re concentrating on your favourite programme! Watching what you eat doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you like – start with a few swaps and some simple changes and you’ll easily maintain a healthy weight.”
1) Use smaller plates – it will make even a normal size meal seem like a lot
2) Eat together – if possible, eat with family or friends. This gives visual clues as to how much others are eating and will help to monitor your own intake
3) Leave debris around you – foods such as chicken wings or drumsticks are a visual reminder of how much you have eaten. There is a reason that restaurants clear plates and food away quickly – it makes you eat more!
4) Try to keep your meals balanced – a third of your plate should be vegetables, a third starchy foods and the final third, a combination of protein like meat or fish, high energy foods and dairy foods such as milk and cheese
5) Avoid buffets at all costs – we simply cannot cope with the temptations and variety on offer and even ‘a little bit of everything’ will add up to a large amount
Organised by the Gut Week partners – digestive health charities Core and the IBS Network (formerly The Gut Trust) and in association with Yakult – www.loveyourgut.com offers practical advice and information on how to maintain gut health and seek help and support.
Notes to Editors
Research sample provided by One Poll in June 2011, with 2,000 respondents, aged 18+ years old
Monday, August 15th, 2011
The Summer Holiday is in full swing!
How has your summer holiday been? Been away already and now having the holiday blues? Or still waiting to escape the UK for a break? Whatever the situation, below are a few tips that may help to beat the holiday bulge and maintain a healthy balanced diet….!
Eat lots of fruit and veg: It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day as it will increase the amount of fibre in our diets and give us the vitamins and minerals we need. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for some dried fruit?
Cut down on saturated fat and sugar: We need fat in our diets, but it’s important to pay attention to the type of fat we’re eating: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, increasing your risk of developing heart disease. Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as cakes, biscuits, sausages, butter and hard cheese. Try to cut down, and choose foods that contain unsaturated rather than saturated fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.
Most people in the UK eat too much sugar. Sugary foods and drinks are often high in calories, and could contribute to weight gain. Cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on rather than sugars that are found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk.
Don’t skip breakfast: Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health.
Having a poor unbalanced diet may cause an environment that is more favorable for “bad” bacteria to multiply in the gut, which can cause gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.
Monday, August 8th, 2011
No matter what way we talk around it, we are increasingly a ‘snacking nation’. This may be partly contributed to our lifestyles becoming busier and so we have less time to prepare food as we are always on the go. Snacks most frequently are associated with being high in fat, salt and sugar however this is not the way it needs to be and with a little extra thought and perhaps effort we can still have all our yummy snacks however they will be much healthier and most importantly ‘Gut Friendly’.
Chocolate bar to Cereal bar:
Chocolate bars tend to be high in sugar and not much else. Yes they will give us an instant boost of energy however what else are we getting from it? Why not swop your chocolate nibble for a deliciously tasty cereal bar. Cereal bars will provide you with similar sweetness, therefore satisfying you sweet tooth, through the binding ingredient (usually syrup – although minute amounts) and also the natural fruit. Cereal is also a good source of fibre and therefore will help your digestive health and keep you fuller for longer.
Sweets to dried fruit:
Again, sweets provide us with the instant sugar boost however not much else. Why not try dried fruits such as dates, apricots, sultana’s which will provide us with our sugar fix but also give us a boost nutritionally as each type of fruit provides with an array of vitamins and minerals and fibre, all of which will help our digestive health.
Crisps to nuts:
Crisps are something we all associate as something to have for a break. This is probably as most of us would have had a bag of crisps for break when we were at school. Why not try some mixed nuts instead. Not only will they provide us with that ‘crunch’ we get from eating a packet of crisps but they will also provide us with fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K.
Monday, August 1st, 2011
Are you finding yourself in front of a BBQ frequently? Whether it be you hosting it or being invited to one…too many BBQs may not be healthy…
Meat can form part of a healthy balanced diet if you make healthy options. It is a good source of protein in your diet, as well as vitamins and minerals. However, some meats are high in saturated fat, which can raise blood cholesterol levels and having high cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease. Also, eating a lot of red meat (such as beef, lamb and pork) and processed meat has been linked to the likelihood of bowel cancer. Processed meat refers to meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. This includes sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pâtés. If you currently eat more than 90 grams (cooked weight) of red and processed meat a day, the Department of Health advises that you cut down to 70 grams.
Sausages and burgers are favourite choices at a BBQ. However too many of these meats may cause a favourable environment for “bad” bacteria (such as salmonella and E.coli) to multiply in your digestive system, causing gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea.
So be prepared by topping up on your “good” bacteria (that may help to reduce the chances of the tummy problems mentioned), which are found in probiotic products, during the busy BBQ season!