Gut friendly foods from around the world: Greece

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Individuals living in Mediterranean countries such as Greece have lower rates of heart disease and cancer when compared to other developed countries. It’s thought that the Mediterranean lifestyle and diet plays an important part in this reduction of disease risk. Here, we take a look at some of the top ingredients used in Greek cuisine for you to try at home, or even on your travels, for a healthier holiday.

 

Olive Oil

Olive oil is very popular in the Greek diet; you are likely to find a bottle of it on every table when in Greece. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. The consumption of monounsaturated fats is beneficial to heart health as they can help reduce blood cholesterol levels lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Vitamin E is an antioxidant; antioxidants have a role in protecting the body against free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to body cells and organs and can contribute to the process of some diseases such as heart disease and cancer. When in Greece why not pop along to your local taverna enjoy a Greek salad drizzled with olive oil or make your own at home.

 

Legumes

Legumes such as lentils, chick peas and broad beans are commonly found in Greek soups and casseroles. Although these legumes are often not well tolerated by those with a sensitive gut, they are a great source of fibre and the frequent consumption of legumes has been found to be protective against cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Try swapping your Gyros for Gigantes Plaki– a dish consisting of butter beans in a tomato based sauce. For those with a more sensitive gut, look out for Fasolakia Giaxni, a low FODMAP alternative, of green beans in a tomato sauce with feta cheese.

 

Greek Yoghurt

Like all yoghurt, Greek yoghurt is a great source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iodine and B vitamins including B1 and B12. What’s also great about Greek yoghurt is its protein content. Greek yoghurt typically contains twice the amount of protein compared to standard yoghurt and is generally lower in carbohydrates. However, do enjoy in moderation as Greek yoghurt can be particularly higher in fat when compared to other yoghurt varieties.

 

 

 

 

Recipe for baked aubergine with feta: Melitzane me feta.

Why not give this recipe a go at home for a real Greek dining experience:stomach1

Ingredients:

  • 2 aubergines, sliced
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 handful of fresh chopped basil
  • 3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 150g of feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Prepare the sauce by frying the garlic in a little olive oil on a medium heat for 3 minutes, and then add the tomatoes, followed by chopped basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Spread out the sliced aubergine in to a large baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Place the tomato sauce mix on top of the aubergine and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour at 200 o
  • Half way through cooking, place the crumbled feta cheese on top.

 

Gut friendly foods from around the world: South America

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

To celebrate the holiday season this year, Love Your Gut has been exploring healthy foods from around the world so that you can all add a bit of sunshine to your diet. This week we look at two healthy foods from South America; Quinoa and Chia seeds.

Quinoa

The consumption of quinoa in South America dates back thousands of years when it was cultivated by the Native Americans and used to supplement their diets of potatoes and corn. Although European migrants in South America were slow to incorporate quinoa into their diets, it has become increasingly popular in western countries. Quinoa, a seed, offers a great nutritional profile, providing a source of fibre, B vitamins, protein and iron. To add to this, it is also gluten free. You can even use it in place of breadcrumbs to coat meat and fish.

Why not try our aubergine, quinoa, feta and fresh herbs recipe for a tasty summer dish: http://bit.ly/1N9tJO4

 

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds were traditionally consumed in South America by the Aztecs and continue to be consumed in several countries across South America today. Chia seeds are becoming increasingly popular in Europe and are often used in smoothies, as cereal toppings and in bread. Chia seeds are rich in the omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) as well as fibre, calcium, magnesium and some B vitamins.

Why not try our super easy chia seed pudding recipe below for a healthy treat or even as a refreshing breakfast alternative to porridge in the summer months.

 

Chia seed pudding

Ingredients

  • 75g chia seeds
  • 450mls of almond or rice milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • A handful of any fresh fruit for topping

 

Method

  • Place chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract in to a medium sized mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Cover and place in a refrigerator overnight or for a minimum of 3 hours. The seeds will absorb the liquid to form the pudding consistency
  • Place the chia pudding in to small bowls, top with your favourite fruit and enjoy!

Summer Holidays – are you prepared?

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Whether you are jetting off to sunnier climes or staying at home, see our top tips on Summer Health and be prepared for all eventualities:

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  • Travel Health Kit

Your travel health kit should include: Antiseptic, Antihistamines, Insect repellent, Anti-diarrhoea pills, Gauze squares, Non-adherent dressings, Bandages, Fabric plasters, Adhesive tape, Scissors, Tweezers, Safety pins and Tick removers.

In addition you could also include Rehydration sachets – these help replace fluids and salts lost through diarrhoea, vomiting and too much sun.

  • Heat

Remember the very young and old are vulnerable when it gets hot.  Make sure that everyone keeps hydrated with plenty of water (avoid tea, coffee and alcohol).

Stay out of the sun and avoid the heat – don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day).  If you have to go out – wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat.

  • Sun Safety – prevention

Pack a ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.  Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. The higher the SPF, the better.

Remember to reapply regularly.

  • Sunburn

If you do get sunburnt – painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, will ease the pain by helping to reduce the inflammation. Apply soothing after sun, calamine lotion or aloe vera. If you feel unwell or the skin swells badly or blisters, seek medical help. Stay out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone.

  • Medication

If you are on medication always bring extra supplies in case you get delayed on your return.

  • Drink wisely

Cocktails are always a treat especially when on holiday, but remember cocktails are also packed with lbl40-peopleraisingglassescalories. For a lighter alternative, consider white wine spritzers, light beers or even vodka and soda.

  • Stay hydrated

On any long journey, but especially on planes, the low humidity makes air in planes dry which make us more vulnerable to bugs and viruses. Make sure you drink plenty of water as it will help keep bugs out of your system.

  • Don’t aggravate your gut

Even on holiday there is no excuse to treat your gut badly – Dr Nick Read’s advice on keeping your gut healthy can be found here:  http://bit.ly/1CLpwj7

 

For further information see the NHS Choices Summer Health guides here:  http://bit.ly/1rj1Lb2

Dance Yourself Fit during ‘Two Left Feet Week’

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

 

Two Left Feet Week 2015 is all about encouraging us get out and about and start dancing.  In doing so, you can improve your posture, balance and co-ordination.  Dancing will also help to strengthen and tone the muscles in your legs, back and shoulders.

According to the NHS, to stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities.

To start dancing you can be any age, any size, any ability and you don’t need to be sporty or fit.

If you’ve always professed to have “two left feet” – maybe it’s time have a rethink, especially if you are trying to improve your gut health. Love Your Gut’s exercise expert – Sophie Christy – notes “ It may seem strange, but exercise can really help improve your digestive health. That doesn’t mean preparing your body to run a marathon; it’s about taking simple steps every day to better health” http://bit.ly/1C9otsf

For further information on Two Left Week Feet 2015 see:  http://bit.ly/1GbsXdv

NHS Guide – Dance for Fitness seehttp://bit.ly/1CQHP33

 

 

Supplements for Summer Gut Health – Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s)

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Fats are essential for human life and health. They have numerous functions in the body, from helping to make up cell membranes, to hormone production, vitamin absorption, energy storage and insulation. The health and integrity of our organs relies heavily on receiving enough of the right dietary fats. When it comes to bowel health, research has shown that polyunsaturated fats can have a positive affect on the gut microbiota. They also possess anti-inflammatory properties and therefore have been linked with gut related disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Fats are often categorised into those which are ‘good’ and those which are ‘bad’. Although, the two main types of fat are saturated fats and unsaturated fats and it is the balance of these fats which is so important to health status.

Know your fats…

Kippers

Saturated fat Mainly found in animal based products, these are generally considered to be the ‘bad’ type of fats. Sources include: harder fats like lard, butter, fat on meats, fatty meat products and pastries, as well as in full-fat dairy foods and many takeaway meals.

Unsaturated fat: These are mainly plant based fats and are well known for their reported health benefits. There are two types of unsaturated fat: polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat.

Monounsaturated fats – can be found in olive and rapeseed oils, red meat, whole milk products, nuts and high-fat fruits such as avocados.

Polyunsaturated fats – can be found in plant oils such as sunflower, soya, sesame, corn, as well as fish. There are different categories of polyunsaturated fats, which include the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are considered the essential fatty acids (EFA’s).

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