Five Nutritional Trends To Have On Your Radar

Nutritional Trends

Confused about celery juice? Tempted to try a new dairy alternative? Between the continuously changing health advice and the latest buzz ingredients we’re encouraged to adopt, the term ‘healthy eating’ can be tricky to balance. To make your life a little easier, health and beauty writer Danielle Fox has spoken to the experts and outlined the key nutritional trends to take note right now…

Celery Juice

Scroll through the hundreds of thousands of hashtags of #celery #celeryjuicebenefits pictures and posts on Instagram and you soon realise celery juice has become the latest health trend to take over social media. Made popular by the ever influential wellness warrior, Gwyneth Paltrow, who champions celery juice, guru Anthony William aka ‘The Medical Medium’ who, guided by the knowledge of a spirit (yes!) claims a daily celery juice is a miraculous healthy elixir. And the anecdotals are impressive; clearer skin, better gut health, de-bloats, gives more energy and even soothes eczema and arthritic pains, the list goes on.

But what exactly is the science behind the green stuff? “There is no science behind this at all,” says nutritionist Eve Kalinik. “Celery juice is mostly just water (to make you juice one bunch of celery and that’s it) and claiming that it has the ability to kill off pathogens is dangerous thinking.” Texan-based dietitian Ali Millard agrees and also warns that raw celery increases the sensitivity of the skin particularly for UV damage. “Stick to eating not juicing broccoli, sprouts and cabbage all which are far more potent detoxifies,” says Millard.

Oat Milk

You may be well-versed in a plethora of dairy alternatives, but there is one milk in particular that is having a real moment popping up on your local baristas menu. Some believe it’s down to the backlash against soya, the fact that it’s naturally sweeter than most alternative milk, has a dairy-like creaminess and that many of us are embracing veganism with open arms this year. But how nutritious is oat milk? “For those that can’t tolerate casein (whey proteins) oat is gentler on the stomach,” explains Millard. But most plant-based and nut milks are simply expensive water she says, and nutritionally speaking coconut milk, consumed moderately, is the only one she recommends swapping to as it is abundant in rich fats, fibre, vitamins and electrolytes.

Algae Oils

We know the extraordinary benefits of omega 3, a real hero for easing inflammatory flare-ups and also excellent for the health of the heart and nervous system. But, experts advise you do your due diligence with omega 3s as the word covers a broad range of fatty acids. Look for EPA and DHA (both found in fish) instead of ALA, which are more difficult for the body to use.

However, algae oils are thought by some to be far safer, purer and more eco-friendly. Unlike fish they don’t contain heavy metals and algae omegas are straight from the source – no fish is needed. But this school of thought is still hotly contested by some nutritionists who argue that seaweed is incredibly effective at absorbing toxins from toxic seas. “Always buy organic where possible and check out the source,” advises Millard.

Vegan Bone Broth

While the name suggests a little bit of a misnomer, yes, bone broth cannot be vegan, in a new era of liberal veganism it can certainly be adapted. Enter vegan bone broth – a nutrient-rich plant-based broth. When you break it down, the benefits of a bone broth – curbing inflammation, soothing the gut, supporting joint health and boosting antioxidants you can find many plant-based alternatives that do all of those things.

When nutritionist Eve Kalinik feels under the weather, she always makes a shiitake, leek and seaweed broth which is full of immune-boosting and naturally anti-inflammatory ingredients. “Shiitake mushroom is the star turn in this broth as not only is it a fantastic prebiotic but manages cortisol, the stress hormone too.” By adding mushrooms (B Vitamins, iron and zinc), seaweed (iodine, anti-inflammatories and B vitamins) and a vegan collagen powder to a base of onions, celery, herbs, ginger and turmeric, you have beautiful broth with all the benefits.

Meso-Dosing

Having recently crept across the pond, the latest US wellness trend to hit our shores is meso-dosing. The term —which literally means “middle dosing” — refers to the in-between nutrients that you might be missing in your everyday diet. These meso-nutrients are the active compounds and antioxidants within superfoods such as the highly potent catechins found in matcha green tea. The likelihood is that we’re not always ingesting enough quantities of these actives from our daily diets to really reap all of the benefits. For example a turmeric latte while it may give you a macro dose of turmeric, won’t give you enough of the curcumin, the meso-nutrient, so in these cases you should turn to a supplement.

While the experts are still out on this wellness trend, nutritionist Eve Kalinik believes we should just keep it simple; “always turn to a food source first to get your nutrients, eat like our grandparents, go organic where possible, eat a varied diet full of grains and starch vegetables.”

Why Changing When You Eat Could Boost Your Health

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With the festive party season about to start some of us might be tempted to enlist in a quick fix diet to burn off the extra calories we picked up on holiday. Cue the endless fad diets and mind-boggling eating habits. The most bizarre one we’ve heard of so far is a diet that consists of just beef, salt and water.

For years we’ve been focusing on what we eat (or what we shouldn’t eat), but new research suggests that we should be just as concerned about when we eat. According to the Salk Institute, eating in a ten hour section during the day can actually help you to lose weight because it works with your body’s circadian cycle.

“For many of us, the day begins with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and ends with a bedtime snack 14 or 15 hours later,” Satchidananda Panda, a professor in Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory and the senior author of the new paper told Science Daily. “But restricting food intake to 10 hours a day, and fasting the rest, can lead to better health, regardless of our biological clock.”

The study found that by working with our circadian cycle and eating when our digestion genes are most active. Impressively, the study found that eating within that time-frame also reduced the chances of obesity, high cholesterol and other diseases.

A similar study found that eating breakfast 90 minutes later than usual and having dinner 90 minutes earlier could also be beneficial to your health and help you lose weight. Over a 10 week period the study found that those who tweaked their eating times tended to have a reduced appetite and snack less throughout the day, compared to those who had unrestricted eating times.

“Although this study is small, it has provided us with invaluable insight into how slight alterations to our meal times can have benefits to our bodies,” Dr Jonathan Johnston, Reader in Chronobiology and Integrative Physiology at the University of Surrey, told Science Daily. “Reduction in body fat lessens our chances of developing obesity and related diseases, so is vital in improving our overall health.”

While restricting your intake of food to 10 hours might not be appealing to some, it’s certainly more feasible than living off beef, salt and water. Regardless of what diet you’re tempted to try, ensuring your body gets the recommended nutrients is essential for it to function properly. Shabir recommends that almost all of us take a good quality multivitamin, such as Alive Multivitamins. Deficiencies in iron and magnesium are fairly common in seemingly healthy adults, so it is also worth looking into these supplements. If you’re unsure of what to take, contact us and Shabir can advise you.

Seven Easy Additions To Your Morning Routine For Glowing Skin

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As a Nutritional Therapist, I like to focus on giving advice to my clients that can be incorporated into everyday life. I’m not a fan of diets or fads and I’m aware that unless the advice is do-able, it’s just not going to be adhered to. That’s why I often suggest ‘adding-in’ helpful practices. Here are some of my favourite small additions that could give you glowing skin if implemented regularly…

Drink a large glass of water upon waking

This is one of the nutrition basics but it’s one that can be so easily overlooked. Dehydration really shows on the skin as your body prioritises the more ‘vital’ organs. Some people love getting up and drinking hot water with lemon and that’s wonderful if you have the time. But, if you don’t then a large glass of water is just as hydrating. I also find it’s a much easier way of encouraging compliance.

Dry body brushing

This is great for lymphatic stimulation, as well as exfoliating the skin. Your lymph can only be moved manually as it doesn’t get ‘pumped’ in the same way your blood does. Practicing dry body brushing has been said to reduce cellulite and improve skin tone. Start at your feet and brush upwards in small circular motions towards your heart. For arms, begin at the hands and work upward. For the stomach, work in a counter-clockwise pattern. I prefer to do this in the morning rather than the evening as it can be quite energising. A couple of minutes before showering is ideal.

Alternating hot/cold shower

Again, this is great for your lymphatic system. It also helps to improve blood circulation. Blood flow to the surface is what carries the nutrients from your diet to the skin. I suggest alternating between hot and cold right at the end of showering, sticking to each temperature for about 20-30 seconds before switching (it’s meant to feel a little bracing but there’s no need to push it to where you feel uncomfortable). Then repeat this in total about three times.

Have an antioxidant-rich breakfast

Antioxidants are an essential part of the diet for healthy skin. They help protect against damaging ‘free radicals’ (the unstable chemicals in our environment that can cause premature ageing). They protect our collagen and elastin, vital proteins that maintain elasticity as well as increasing blood flow to the surface of our skin to help achieve that glow! They can be found in fruit and vegetables so it’s important to eat a wide variety (especially focus on ‘eating a rainbow’). Foods that are particularly high in antioxidants include blueberries, cherries and strawberries (or any seasonal berry in fact). That’s why I advocate including them in your breakfast in some way – either in a smoothie or as a topping for porridge or granola. My all-time favourite antioxidant-rich breakfast is an Açaí bowl.

Don’t forget about including ‘good’ fats

I think people are less scared nowadays about including fats in their diets (the bottom line: ‘good’ fat doesn’t make you fat). I encourage my clients to incorporate either avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters, chia seeds, hemp seeds or flaxseeds into their breakfasts. The omega-3 fats found in these foods help keep skin plump as well as keeping you satiated for longer so less likely to eat sugary snacks. Omega-3 is also a great anti-inflammatory.

Vitamin C

Topical vitamin C is big news these days. As well as being an antioxidant, it also plays a key role in collagen formation and synthesis (that’s the protein that keeps skin looking bouncy and youthful). I recommend both topical and dietary sources for maximum effect. Our bodies can’t store vitamin C so it’s important to regularly include sources of it in our diet. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits and berries.

Take your supplements with breakfast (and save the coffee for mid-morning)

You’re much more likely to remember to take supplements if you take them at the same time every day. Most supplements can be taken alongside your breakfast so it’s easier to remember. Try to avoid drinking coffee at the same time, however, as caffeine can inhibit nutrient absorption. It’s best to save coffee until mid-morning if possible.

Frances Phillips is a Nutritional Therapist and Health & Beauty Writer, www.thenaturaledit.com.

Is Coconut Oil Good Or Bad For You?

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Over the past few years, nutritionists, wellness experts and clean living advocates have been championing coconut oil. It’s been dubbed the healthier oil and is now widely available in pretty much every supermarket. According to the research group Kantar, UK sales of coconut oil have shot up from £1m to £16.4m in the past four years.

Yet not everyone is quite so fond of the ingredient though. In her lecture ‘Coconut Oil and Other Nutritional Errors’, Harvard professor Karin Michels called it “pure poison” and “one of the worst foods you can eat”.

Michels isn’t the only one pointing out the flaws in coconut oils healthy reputation. Last month, the American Heart Association (AHA) warned that it contained the same levels of saturated fat as beef dripping. In fact, it contains more than 80 percent of saturated fats, which is over twice the amount found in lard.

High amounts of saturated fats can raise your levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein), also known as bad cholesterol, which can in turn increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. “There has been speculation that some of the saturated fat present in coconut oil may be better for us than other saturated fats, but so far there is not enough good-quality research to provide us with a definitive answer,” says British Heart Foundation dietitian, Victoria Taylor.

With this in mind, there is some truth to the superfood claims celebrities and clean-eating Instagrammers make about coconut oil. There is research to suggest that eating coconut can help increase your amounts of HDL (tktkt), aka good cholesteral thanks to the high amounts of lauric acid. It’s also often referred to as a good source of antioxidants. Although some experts still argue that it’s low in essential fatty acids and vitamin E.

There is still a lot of research to be done around coconut oil, but most experts are unwilling to tout it as a health food as the pros don’t outweigh the potential cons at the moment. In the meantime, it might be worth looking to vegetable oil, olive oil and sunflower oil instead as all three have higher amounts of unsaturated fats than saturated.

Why Your Diet Could Be Affecting Your Sleep

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As we lie awake at night with a million thoughts running round in our heads, it’s easy to blame our busy minds for stopping us sleeping. On the surface that might be the case, but of course many things influence how we sleep from the natural such as daylight – to what time we switched off our screens that evening. In truth, there is still much mystery surrounding the science of good sleep and the brain, but one of the most interesting areas of research at the moment is how the gut biome (the vast community of bacteria, fungi and yeasts which populate our digestive tract) could be a big influencer on quality and quantity of shut eye.

We already know that the gut biome affects the hormones which control our appetite, and now a recent study by scientists at University of Colorado suggests that prebiotics (a particular type of fibre which encourages the growth of good bacteria in the gut) can promote Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep, which is restful and restorative as well as helping to increase Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep after being exposed to a stressor. While the researchers say more studies are needed, this seems to indicate that regular intake of prebiotics could be helpful in supporting sleep patterns after periods of stress.

Gut biome aside, most of us are aware that what we eat affects how we sleep through experience – think of that old saying about cheese and nightmares. There’s some truth in that since heavy, fatty foods are more difficult for the body to process, therefore eating them late at night is not a good idea. Makes sense when we consider that good sleep relies on the release of a complex cascade of chemicals and hormones, and that eating well and allowing the body to absorb proper nutrients provides the brain with what it needs for this to happen.

Various studies suggest eating at a time when we’d naturally be sleeping could have adverse effects on weight and metabolic health and it’s all inter-connected via our circadian rhythm.  Our circadian rhythms are what keep our body clock running on time, which in turn keeps all of our bodily functions running on schedule — such as falling asleep at night, waking up in the morning, feeling hungry when we need energy and metabolising the food we eat. What, when and how we eat can help regulate this roughly 24-hour cycle our body follows each day.

Looking at things from a wider perspective often brings us back to ancient holistic wisdom. For example, in the yogic system of Ayurveda it’s believed that digestive fire – known as Agni – is at its most powerful when the sun is highest in the sky, therefore the best time to eat your biggest meal is around midday. And yet how many of us eat our main meal in the evening? This was always my habit – after all, going out for dinner is one of the most enjoyable ways we socialise these days. But, coming in late at night from eating a large meal would inevitably keep me awake, and even if I hadn’t drunk anything, I’d feel like I had a hangover next morning.

Having swapped timings in favour of main meal at lunch or more often brunch, I’ve found eating light in the evening to be a catalyst for better digestion and sleep. That’s not to say I never go out for a big dinner in the evening – it’s just I make it the exception rather than the rule. As always, it comes down to balance, and here are some suggestions for subtly adjusting eating habits in favour of good sleep.

  • Introduce prebiotic foods into your diet. These include lentils, chickpeas and hummus, butter beans, globe artichoke, leeks – all of which are a source of the particular type of fibre which encourages the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
  • Re-think meal timings considering dim light melatonin onset (DLMO) which is when the body winds down in preparation for sleep and starts producing the sleep hormone melatonin. For most of us, our DLMO usually begins around 8pm so it would be good to time eating before then. Or, allow two hours between eating and bedtime to allow time to unwind and digest.
  • Ayurvedic thinking suggests warm, liquid foods are the most easily digested in the evening. So for example, lentil dahl, which tastes great when made with leek; root vegetable soups or stews including lentils or chick peas; sweet basmati rice pudding made with dairy or non dairy milk with cardamom, grated ginger and dates.
  • Keep in mind it’s not great to go to bed hungry, considering that our bodies use energy at night when it goes into repair mode. Rather than reaching for typical midnight snacks (crisps, chocolate etc) try hot milk. At one of the best retreats I’ve stayed in in India they brought a pre-bed small cup of locally sourced organic milk, heated with a little saffron. To my surprise, it was the most satiating, satisfying sleep-inducing thing – not to mention delicious.

Audrey Hepburn

audrey hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

Born in 1929, Audrey Hepburn, actress and humanitarian, would have been 86 this year and no doubt would have been as graceful, elegant and relevant as she was in her short life.

Her health story begins during the war years and ends when Audrey died, from a very rare form of cancer, in 1993, aged 63. This article is a respectful examination of her life in health, as researched via numerous biographies.

Audrey Hepburn and General health

The war left some lingering effects on Audrey, such as disheartening memories and ongoing health problems that would include anaemia and respiratory problems. She is said too, to have suffered with anxiety and stress.

Audrey Hepburn and Weight issues

Growing up during the war in Nazi occupied Holland, Audrey and her family had suffered extreme food shortages. She had experienced near starvation, and witnessed worse, and had never forgotten it. She said that “I actually got angry with it for being so difficult to come by and tasting so awful. I decided to master food; I told myself I didn’t need it.” She said that she ‘resented’ food. For most of her adult life she weight around 100lb (approx 7st) and at 5ft 7in was painfully thin. Read More…