HealthyHabits

This site relates to anyhing and everything regarding food

An apple a day…keeps the doctor away:-)

 We are all too familiar with that phrase. For most of my childhood I was tricked into believing apples will make me grow big and strong. But finally! I get to see the facts behind the all too familiar statement.

All the food fundi’s out there would know that we require a daily intake of between 24 – 40 grams of fibre. Did you know a medium sized apple of any class provides at least 4g of fibre? Amazing isn’t it?? This is only one amongst many benefits which apples holds to healthy living. Here are some other great health benefits of apples:

  • By simply biting into an apple, the production of saliva in the mouth is stimulated; therefore lowering bacteria and plaque build up. And we all know what this means…bye bye dental caries! Apples therefore keeps our teeth strong, white and healthy. But of course this works in conjunction with the “toothbrush” J.
  • Studies have shown that sipping on apple juice on regular occasions can in fact fight the effect of aging on the brain. This is excellent news to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease – apple juice won’t cure it, but can make it easier living with it.
  • Because apples are fairly good sources of fibre, eating fibre rich fruits and foods is generally associated with protecting against Parkinson disease. This is due to the fact that the chemical make up of apples have the ability to fight free radicals and contains a number of natural antioxidants = Brain power.
  • Because it is so rich in antioxidants, it can fight certain cancers. Antioxidants after all fights free radicals, substances producing toxins in our body which can eventually lead to the growth of cancerous cells.
  • It was found that women who ate an apple everyday had a reduced risk of obtaining Type 2 Diabetes (lifestyle related diabetes). This is a fact as apples are high in soluble fibre which rounds off blood sugar swings. In turn, it is also a good weigh to shed some pounds as snacking on fruits is a healthier option than snacking on sugary, refined snack products.
  • An apple a day, everyday may reduce cholesterol levels as the soluble fibre in apples binds with the fats within the small intestine. In turn, it keeps your heart healthy and beating to the rhythm of life.
  • Apples can prevent the formation of gall stones as a diet high in fibre works against gall stone formation.
  • Again, the fibre content in apples makes going to the loo a less painful experience as it works against constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and hemorrhoids.

These are amongst the many health benefits of apples. Its generous amount of fibre is what makes it a great snack to include in your diet. So do not hesitate to take a bite and seduce yourself with its wholesomeness…

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Fitness fundi in one, two…. many ways

Life has become such a rush in our time era. Work, play, eat, sleep…exercise? Yeah right, like I have time to “exercise” – this is probably most people’s response when approached with regards to their state of physical health. Well… physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean a two hour sweaty work out in the gym every day before or after work. It’s a reality that most people are genuinely pressed for time. Some of us rise and shine early mornings, rushing to start the new day. With the stresses being thrown our way, all we want to do when we get home is grab a meal, do a chore or two and just chill with a beverage of personal choice before crawling into bed. Shame, others don’t even have the privilege of having an early, relaxing night. You either bring work home, have to see to the kids or study till the clock hits midnight. Where in that schedule can you possibly fit in some “exercise”? Well, where there’s a will, there’s a way rightJ

 The following can get you in tune with very little effort…..

  • Parents can hit the playground with their tots. Get the heart pumping, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. A little after all goes a long way…
  • Take the dog for a stroll, or simply take 15 minutes of your time to take yourself for a stroll: go to a park or better yet, the beach. It will do wonders at lifting your mood, giving you the mental boost that just might put you in the mood for whatever it is that’s requiring your time and patience….
  • Get a broom! Sweeping is an excellent way to get the heart pumping and upper body toning. Household chores can burn a significant amount of calories. Bye bye to couching out and channel hopping!
  • Even gardening, such as mowing the lawn (yes its hard work), might as well tone the body at the same time
  • At work or at the mall, yes choose the good old stair case instead of the lift. Does wonders to your spirit, buttocks and legs – after continuous use of course.
  • The walk to the bus or train station to and from work or varsity everyday really should get more credit than what we’re giving it, especially after your body was planted behind your work station all day. Any form of body movement is seen as a way of exercising the muscles.
  • Stretch, lay back and relax. How about joining a yoga or Pilate’s group? Or do it yourself at home, could be fun, relaxing and muscle toning at the same time.
  • There comes a certain time during the day where you just feel drained. That’s the time to take a five minute walk outside to catch a breath of fresh air. Both the body movement and fresh air could provide that energy booster you’re so wanting.

Waking up 15 minutes earlier to take a quick stretch or a brisk walk outside could be just about the best way to start your day…. Who ever said exercising should be hard work?

Supplementation

It happens to the best of us… there comes a time in everyone’s lives where we choose to go the easy way out; sometimes thinking it’s the best option or even the last resort. Supplementation may the offer the world’s best health and longevity promises, but just like everything else in life, supplementation has both its ups and downs. It is so unfortunate to see how many gullible people fall for that trick believing pill popping is the way to a better life… ok in some cases a pill or two just might help, especially for those (like myself for instance) sometimes forgetting to eat, therefore missing out on all those beautiful nutrients which keeps us healthy and strong.

In severe cases, that’s now when there is a definite lack of nutrients in the diet then a supplement would be recommended. But what I don’t get is why spend hundreds of rands on supplements when you could enjoy the experience of both grocery shopping, cooking and devouring a yummy meal? No matter what the supplement, getting your daily intake of nutrients from food products will always be the number one, best selling option… what makes supplemental matters so much worse is the fact that you cannot always trust that it contains all the nutrients like promised on its attention luring packaging. I’d say 2 out of every 10 supplements actually provide the nutrients as offered and promised. This is real sad because so many spend so much on these items and it is not benefiting them like the impression they are under. What a good waste of money! Especially with our fluctuating economy…

Experts suggest following a healthy, balanced diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle. I am absolutely for that. As an absolutely passionate food lover, I’d much rather choose having a pleasurable experience with a nutritious meal than taking a supplement. The experience with food is so much more real, compared to the use of synthetically produced supplements.

 

Eat. Weigh. Love

 It probably makes no sense to see “eat more to weigh less” right? Well, many foods out there have special benefits. And of course moderation is key…

Just because you wish to shed a few kilo’s doesn’t mean that have to deprive yourself of meals and snacks. In fact, your eating patterns determines a great deal of your weight. Its not just what you eat, but also how often you eat and the reasons for that. Seeing food as a token of pleasure and not as a weighty burden also influences how your body reacts to whatever goes into your mouth. But here’s a few tips to follow to get the best out of your meals.

  1. Add Protein

A diet packed with more protein than carbs adds a great plus to weight loss. This is apparently based on the fact that our bodies work harder to digest proteins than it does with carbs, therefore burning more kilojoules. Proteins also take longer to digest, making you in turn feel fuller for longer. This stops in between snacking which at times does more harm than good for our waistlines.

  1. Eat eggs

Very popular breakfast item… eating breakfast really does aid with weight loss, and starting your day with a protein rich meal instead of a carb rich meal can do wonders to your body.

  1. Don’t be weary of fat, you actually need it

Fat actually increases satiety = making you feel fuller for longer. We have previously discussed the different fats and how you can benefit from it. Refer to “my big fat blog” post for more info.

  1. Drink plenty of water

This poses as a much option compared to fizzy, carbonated or caffeinated drinks. Water cleanses our bodies within from all toxins. It also helps you to burn calories, so hit the water bottle!

  1. Snack on something fruity

Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre and do wonders to our bodies without putting strain on it. It is by far most a better choice than snacking on sugary, refined foods.

  1. Have a side of salad

With a salad, especially a hearty green one, you can easily reach your goal of consuming your five veggies a day…

  1. Stack up on fibre

Fibre adds bulk to a meal and it offers satiety, making you feel fuller for longer. With this benefit it keeps you from frequent snacking between meals, which is about the major culprit for weight gain.

Your A-Z guide to healthy living

A – Act now to prevent heart disease. Plaque build up contributes to early heart disease

B – Breath in clean air. Our air is polluted with particles that damages our arteries,  leading to heart disease.

C – Cut back on carbohydrates. Refined foods are loaded with bad carbs that increases your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

D – Don’t smoke, it triples your chances of dying from heart disease.

E – Eat more greens and fish. Folate found in green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, and fish oils (Omega 3 and 6) protects damage to arteries.

F – Floss! Plaque and bacteria not only settles on your teeth, but eventually finds its way to your artery walls, blocking them and putting you at risk of heart disease or a heart attack.

G – Give back back to your community. Kind gestures and charity work may help relieve depression and anxiety giving you a cleaner conscience and a clear mind!

H – Hold the diet pills. These do more harm than good, rather eat less and exercise more.

I – Ignore gender tales. Men and women stand equal risks for developing a heart disease of some sort. The one isn’t more prone than the other.

J – Joke about. Laughter protects your heart by doing wonders to blood flow.

K- Kill all germs. Germs are all around and can pose as a threat to our body’s health.

L – Love. Thinking about your loved one instantly decreases your stress levels.

M – Measure your waist and hips. Excess visceral fat = putting your heart at risk for disease.

N – No to pill popping. “Taking more than 500mg of acetaminophen a day doubles your risk for high blood pressure”.

O – Order less take out. Being over weight increases your risk for heart disease

P – Practice safe sex. STI’s can be bad for your heart

Q – Quiz your doctor. Ask him what is your blood pressure and blood glucose reading… its good to know how healthy heart is.

R – Relax, take it easy. Stress constricts blood vessels therefore restricting blood flow = putting you at high risk for both a heart attack and heart disease.

S – Sip less carbonated fizzy drinks. These are packed with refined sugar increasing your risk for Type 2 diabetes. Rather have a sip of water when you’re thirsty.

T – Treat depression. Depression really does break your heart, figuratively speaking: it increases your risk for a heart attack

U – Undo the damage. Exercise can strengthen the heart.

V – Veg out… fill your plate with vegetables before worrying about proteins and carbohydrates.

W – Worry less. Anxiety hurts your heart in more ways than you think possible.

X – Xercice. Exercise strengthens the heart muscle therefore reducing your risk of a heart attack.

Y – yo-yo equals no no. your weight shouldn’t fluctuate constantly. This calls for an injured heart.

Z – Zzzzzz, get enough beauty sleep. Missing out sleep on sleep tires both you and your heart.

Spice up your life!!

What would food be like without a touch of spice? Boring, bland and predictable of course… Spices may originate from plants, but they’re said to be of very little nutritional value. Nevertheless, they come in distinct flavours and aroma’s that we all want to find in food, and what’s awesome about it is that it’s an excellent and also healthy substitute for salt…the silent killer. For many moons, natural medicine experts have acclaimed certain spices to treat certain ailments. It may not be written down in medical books and journals, but has indeed been followed for hundreds of years – popular old wives tales involves the use of spices as remedies for every illness and ailment under the sun. Below I have compiled a list of spices with their supposed health benefits acting as cures for just about anything. None of them are scientific based, yet its interesting to see what people has come up with.

 • All spice – Very popularly used in baked products and is said to aid digestion.

Black pepper – Used almost in every meal that we prepare. It will no longer be taken for granted now that we know that it stimulates digestion, eases flatulence, relives constipation and improves the circulation of blood flow.

Caraway seeds – Not used very commonly, but its said to relieve flatulence, colic in babies (when consumed by mommy’s) and relieves bronchitis. Caraway seeds is also a appetite stimulant, a menstrual pain reliever and increases the flow of milk in breastfeeding mothers.

Cardamom – Can be used in both savoury dishes as well as an ingredient in tea. This spice sweetens the breath when chewed, relieves ingestion and acts as binder to an upset stomach. It can also be used to treat common colds and persistent coughing.

Cayenne pepper – Works as a tonic on both the digestive and circulatory system. In a way it aids in weight loss.

Chilies – Strong and powerful – its actually useful in clearing mucous from airways, therefore acting as a nasal congestant.

Cinnamon – Used in mostly in sweet desserts, cakes and tea– can be used to treat nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Cloves – Very bitter to bite on, but relievses stomach pains and when used an essential oil, it can be used to treat tooth ache (tried and tested)

 • Coriander seeds – Can be used to stimulate the digestive system and for the treatment of urinary tract infections.

Cumin seeds – Can act as a remedy for nausea, especially nausea caused by traveling and morning sickness in pregnant women.

Ginger – Chewing fresh ginger can treat toothache, can clear a blocked nose related to colds and hay fever, and stimulates the liver to remove toxins from the blood

Mustard seeds – Used to treat common colds and flu, relieves headaches and improves digestion.

Nutmeg – Take note, nutmeg and mace can be toxic when consumed in high dosages – it can cause drowsiness and hallucinations. When mixed with lard it can be used for hemorrhoid treatment.

 • Saffron – May reduce fevers, eases menstrual pain and stimulates menstrual flow (not ideal for pregnant women).

Star aniseed –  It fights free radicals, has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties

Tumeric – Relieves digestive problems, improves blood circulation and improves blood vessel health thus acting on lowering blood cholesterol levels.

HERBAL TEA

Herbal tea can also be referred to as infusions…. they are made from the leaves, blossoms and fruits from various plants. It carries many medicinal properties and has climbed the popularity scale increasingly since people have become more health conscious. The supply of herbal tea too has grown: nowadays it is found in many varieties and is available at just about every health shops and grocery stores.

Herbal teas are said to really own up to the name “tea”. Scientifically, they are herbal drinks which can cure long lists of disease and ailments. These beverages are recommended above the use of coffee and ordinary tea, because herbal beverages contain no caffeine.

Check out the list of herbal teas that I have compiled:

  • Aniseed Tea

It has a slight liquorise taste and is said to relieve flatulence and colic, making it ideal for pregnant women.

  • Basil Tea

This is said to effectively treat nausea and morning sickness experienced by pregnant women.

  • Camomile Tea

This herbal tea is known as a tranquilizer – it is popularly used to calm nerves of any sort, being it exam stress or having sleepless nights. This herbal tea also eases digestion, it aids sleeping, it stimulates menstrual flow and relieves anxiety.

  • Dandelion leaf Tea

This acts as a diuretic which aids in fluid flow and excreting excess fluid from the body.

  • Elderflower Tea

Treat common colds and flu with elderflower tea. It also relieves any sinus and hay fever related problems.

  • Fennel Seed Tea

Having a sip of this tea eases digestion and bloating. It relieves nausea experienced with morning sickness, it increases milk flow which is suited for breastfeeding mothers and relieves colic in babies. It may seem to be ideal for pregnant women, but it’s actually not recommended, as fennel seed tea promotes menstruation.

  • Lavender Tea

When you think of lavender, you easily associate it with relaxation. Lavender tea promotes easy sleeping, it eases tension without causing any drowsiness, it aids digestion and soothes nerves. Ideal to sip on after a long tiring day

  • Lemon balm Tea

This tea helps alleviate headaches caused by stress; it soothes nerves by calming occupied minds and reduces tense feelings.

  • Limeflower Tea

This is basically a tonic packed with vitamins and minerals. It is said to reduce fevers caused by colds and flu and relieves allergic reactions such as hay fever.

  • Nettle leaf Tea

Relieves flatulence and controls nausea.

  • Peppermint Tea

This can act as a breath freshener. Amazing fact: if this tea is drunk regularly during the last few weeks of pregnancy, it may reduce the length of labour pains. But sadly, it is not recommended during pregnancy as it may cause a miscarriageL

  • Raspberry leaf Tea

This acts as an energy booster. It increases alertness and helps provide sustained energy. It may improve memory as well.

  • Rosemary Tea

This is an excellent source of vitamin C which helps fight against colds and flu.

 

And the list goes on….

SALADS

Salads are mainly seen as an accompaniment to our meals. A lot of people associate salads with being a lady’s meal. But there’s more to it than the little credit it gets. A salad can be a light meal served as a starter, it can be served as a main meal (obviously more bulky than a starter meal salad) and it can be served with a main meal.

First course salads

It’s a small portion. It is basically aimed to stimulate the appetite. It is therefore light, with a very small amount or no protein added.

Served with a main course:

This salad is light and flavourful, but not too rich. It creates harmony and compliments the main dish.

Served as a main course:

This is a large portion, aimed to fully satisfy the appetite. It would contain some sort of protein such as meat, fish, egg etc, to add bulk. It should after all be filling.

 

Common / Traditional Salads

  • Caesar Salad

This salad originates from the USA and common ingredients would include some of the following ingredients: parmesan cheese, chicken, eggs, bacon, croutons, anchovies. It is normally served as a main course.

  • Chefs Salad

Originates from the USA and would contain a combination of ingredients such as tomatoes, cheese, turkey, ham

  • Waldorf Salad

Originates from the USA and includes a combination of ingredients such as nuts (pecan or walnuts), apple, celery. Commonly served as a starter meal.

  • Niçoise Salad

Originates from France. Contains ingredients such as boiled eggs, olives, peppers, tomatoes, green beans, small potatoes, and tuna.

  • French Salad

Originates from France and would contain ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumber, sweet peppers and celery. Commonly served as a starter dish.

  • Greek Salad

Originates from Greece. This salad is made up with popular salad vegetables (lettuces, tomatoes, cucumber etc), but the ingredients that stand out is feta cheese and calamatta olives

 

Salad dressings:

  • Adds both flavour and moistness.
  • It should compliment the salad (use complimentary ingredients)
  • Green salads should be tart, fruit salads should be slightly sweet (use a fruit or sugar syrup as a dressing).
  • Salad dressings should be sprinkled onto salad just before serving to prevent sogginess.
  • Do not drown the salad with dressing; nothing beats a crisp salad.

 

General guidelines to prepare salads:

  • Salads should look fresh – handle as little as possible.
  • It should create an impression of height: salads shouldn’t look flat
  • There should be harmony in both colour and texture – variety is always good.
  • The salad itself should be kept from the rim of the plate.
  • The ingredients should be cut neatly and should be identifiable.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Many of us take advantage of the goodies we put in our mouths. Ever stop to think what that succulent piece of rump steak every 2nd day does to your beautiful, loving heart? Our growing childhood diets play an important role in contributing to an excellent adult health status later on in life.

  • Osteoporosis, a bone deficiency can be prevented in our milk drinking years (calcium storage starts then already).
  • Childhood obesity can eventually lead to Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease later on in life.

It is therefore important to monitor and take control of your eating habits.

It was found that the average middle aged person’s diet is low in Vitamins A, B2, B6, folic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. A lack of these vitamins and minerals can lead to serious chronic diseases. Below is a list of food sources which are rich in these vitamins and minerals.  Give your body a boost by eating right…

Vitamin A:                  A lack of this vitamin can lead to sight impairment: Night blindness or  eventually complete loss of sight. Orange / Yellow vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin and squash are excellent sources of Vitamin A. Chicken and red meat is also rich in this vitamin.

Vitamin B2:                Also called Riboflavin. A lack of B vitamins leads to a low energy drive. This vitamin is abundantly found in products of animal origin, such as dairy products, red meat, eggs and leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin B6:                High contents arise in fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines; Nuts, especially almonds; Bread, wholegrain cereals etc.

Folic Acid:                  liver is an excellent source, as well as leafy green vegetables, legumes, egg (especially egg yolk), dairy products etc.

Iron:                            Liver is the richest source, followed by red meat, fish, chicken, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach.

Calcium:                      This is a body builder: contributes to strong bones and teeth. All dairy products are good sources of calcium.

Magnesium:                 Leafy green vegetables such as spinach; Legumes, nuts and seeds.

Zinc:                            A wide variety of foods contain zinc, oysters being its richest sources         although our zinc intake mostly comes from red meat, seeing that we eat more red meat than oysters. Some seafoods are rich in zinc as well as a variety of nuts, dairy products and breakfast cereals.

Of course a healthy lifestyle goes way beyond than just watching what’s on your plate. It includes following a healthy meal plan, exercising, staying positive and giving yourself a treat now and thenJ  Moderation being the key to happy and healthy living

COMMON FOOD SAFETY MYTHS

There are many old wives tales regarding just about everything in life. We do things based on what is considered socially correct or follow great grannies advice. So how much of these tales are really true? New generation experts are constantly coming up with new trends to follow … I am listing a few of the most common food safety myths that society falls for.

1. Mayonnaise is a silent killer

Mayonnaise is penicillin like ingredient; penicillin being an antibiotic. Mayonnaise itself is an emulsion of oil and water, with added egg white acting as a stabiliser. This is a very basic mayo mixture. Salt, vinegar or lemon juice is added to provide an acidic medium. This is a killer to microbes. Yes, a lovely mayo salad should ideally be kept refrigerated, but in times of beach meals or picnics at the lake you obviously can’t refrigerate it. It is recommended to store it in a cooler bag, or simply add more mayo to keep it safer for longer, seeing that it contains a microbe killer ingredient.

2. Say no to pink pork

Any meat is considered safe when an internal temperature of 73°C has been reached upon cooking. By reaching this temperature, all harmful bacteria has been killed off, as microbes become inactivated at high temperatures. There’s no need to cook pork until a dull grey colour has been reached. At an internal temperature of 73°C, a pork roast will have a rosy pink appearance.

3. The smell of food determines its freshness

This is not always the case. Two types of microbes exist in food: those that cause disease and those that cause spoilage. Food can contain deadly amounts of bacteria such as salmonella and you would not be able to smell it. Food, safe for consumption mainly depends on how it was prepared or how it has been stored.

4. Rinsing fresh food produce and meat before cooking, kills germs

I’ll say no to that! The food might appear cleaner after rinsing it, but… raw meat contains bacteria. And cooking, not rinsing kills the bacteria, making food safe for consumption. When rinsing raw meat in your kitchen sink, you’re spreading all those bacteria not only onto and into the sink but also onto the rest of the food that you’re going to rinse in that same sink. This calls for disease disaster.

5. Water on hands makes it clean

Pure water on hands, makes it wet, not clean. Washing your hands to ensure that it is clean requires running water, soap and a paper towel. Soap should be lathered into your hands for at least 20 seconds before it will be thoroughly clean. Using a paper towel to dry your hands is more hygienic than using a fabric cloth. We don’t know which microbes are hiding out on that cloth.

These are amongst the most popular food safety myths that so many people fall for. There are many more where they come from!

Observe, perform and stay safe:-)

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