There is a growing body of scientific evidence for the health benefits of turmeric, the golden Asian spice whose active compound is called curcumin. Its main action is damping inflammation, which underlies many diseases from arthritis and tendonitis to skin problems and even some forms of cancer. Many people choose to take a daily turmeric supplement as well as cooking with it. Ensuring that turmeric is well absorbed by the gut has always been a problem, but a new Turmeric Daily Oral Spray from Better You (£17.95 for 25ml) goes directly into the bloodstream via the soft tissue of the mouth.
Beware of getting it on your fingers, though: I coloured my keyboard bright orange.
PLUG IN, PEDAL AWAY
When Olympic Gold-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton holidayed in California with her mother, they hired bikes, but Pauline, 69, had no problem keeping pace with her daughter. She even overtook her because they were riding electric bikes (with motors), which helped Pauline keep up a steady speed even on hills. ‘Riding an e-bike felt a bit naughty for the first five minutes,’ says Victoria. ‘But then I thought, “I am not competing or training any longer, so cycling is something just to enjoy.” E-bikes are brilliant!’
Victoria had so much fun that she was inspired to design an e-bike with Halfords – the Pendleton Somerby, an electric version of Victoria’s bestselling Somerby model. Despite the extra boost, you still get the health benefits of cycling because you have to put in some effort: the power kicks in only when you pedal (going up to a max speed of 15.5mph – the legal limit).
The Pendleton Somerby has a three-power motor so you can choose how much help you want on steep bits, plus eight gears. ‘It’s like having a helping hand pushing you up the hills,’ says Victoria. Our YOU tester found that she still got a workout – she happily switched off the motor on flat stretches – but the e-bike meant she wasn’t put off attempting journeys with hills.
As Victoria says, the e-bike encourages people to explore further afield and to try journeys they wouldn’t normally do, ‘It makes you feel fitter than you are – like you are floating along.’ One charge of the battery (under the luggage rack) will last 40-50 miles depending on the terrain.
Already hugely popular in Germany and the Netherlands, e-bikes are becoming increasingly fashionable in the UK . About one in 25 adult bikes sold is now an e-bike, according to Halfords. Benefits include being able to move away from junctions swiftly (helping prevent cyclists getting swamped by traffic). Plus, if you cycle to work, you can arrive feeling fresh and minus the sweat of a regular bike commute.
As Victoria points out, perhaps the loveliest benefit of this technology is how inclusive it is: with e-bikes, people of different abilities and age ranges can all cycle together. ‘I love going cycling with my mum, and with an e-bike, she doesn’t have to worry about holding me up. It’s a great way for anyone to build fitness and confidence.’ Pendleton Somerby Electric Bike in white/blue, £750 (this qualifies for the cycle to work scheme), from halfords.com.
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK
During pregnancy and as new mothers, up to one in five women develop mental health problems, ranging from low mood to psychosis. Shamingly, in almost half the UK, they have no access to specialist maternal mental health services. Best Beginnings offers vital support and information for parents and families between preconception and the child’s third birthday. The huge range of resources includes Baby Buddy, a free app for parents-to-be, which spans pregnancy and the first six months, and the Small Wonders programme for families with sick or premature babies. Do sit down with a cup of tea and explore the website: there is so much I can only skim the surface here.