Mindless Eating

beta glucanWhen you get hungry, what do you reach for? A pack of crisps? A chocolate bar?

A lot of the time when you go hungry, the first thing you reach for is usually packed full of sugar and fats.

This is because your body is telling you that you need to boost your energy, and sugar is a quick and easy way to do this, despite being unsustainable.

You see, when you reach for that chocolate bar, you are giving yourself instant energy, and what your body craves, but this energy gets burnt up quickly, leaving you hungry again and leading you to eat more and more unhealthy foods.

One way to beat this, and help you to maintain a healthy and more sustainable diet is to plan for when you get hungry.

This does sound a little counterintuitive, you wouldn’t be reaching for the chocolate or crisps at odd times if you could plan what you eat exactly.

However, something as simple as carrying with you high value foods such as nuts and seeds can help your hunger, and help you to sustain a more balanced energy level throughout the rest of your day.

Secondly, make sure that you have healthy food around. By having healthy food instead of unhealthy food around, you will make sure that the options that you are choosing are good for you and are nutritionally suitable for your lifestyle.

It’s easy, but true, when the temptation is removed from sight, you stop being tempted.

And finally, think about what you are eating and why you are eating it.

What you put in your body has a massive impact on how you feel about yourself, your energy levels and more.

Sometimes it’s fine to eat a chocolate bar or a bag of crisps, but when you’re hungry you need a bit more and the food you need to put in your body needs to give you sustainable amounts of energy.

Are You Suffering From Anemia?

beta glucanIf you’re on this page then you may be concerned about your health and worried that you or someone that you know has anemia.

Whilst this blog post can act as a guide to anemia, if you are worried that you are suffering from it be sure to visit your GP or a health professional as many of the symptoms discussed can also be applied to other illnesses.

Remember, the Internet is a great resource, but it doesn’t stand in as a substitute for a check-up!

What is anemia?

Anemia is simply another way of saying that you have a deficiency in iron.

Iron is a mineral that our bodies need to carry oxygen around the body.

This is why when people suspect that they have anemia one of the first things that they say is a symptom is paleness.

What are the other symptoms?

As the lack of iron means that our bodies are essentially carrying less oxygen around the body.

This results in symptoms such as tiredness, lack of energy and even dizziness, heart palpitations and shortness of breath.

If you are feeling a combination of these things, or even one or two, the next step is a visit to the doctors. There they will take a blood sample and be able to diagnose it in no time.

What can you do about it?

The main way to combat anemia is through diet change, and adding in foods that have high iron content such as spinach.

However, once it has been confirmed that you have anemia your doctor will probably also recommend that you take iron supplements.

Iron supplements can have side-effects though, so if you really want to be back to normal and feel energized instead of sleepy, try to tackle the problem at it’s root.

This way you will be getting a lot more than just an increase in iron.

The Seafood Diet

beta glucanMany people swear by the seafood diet, and when we look over to countries that regularly consume fish (like Spain, Italy and France) it seems almost strange that we don’t eat more of it.

However, there is still some debate regarding the seafood diet and if it is safe due to the sheer amount of seafood that is involved.

It has even been recommended that pregnant women and young children should not be fed this diet because it may harm them.

But what exactly is the seafood diet and what does it involve?

The seafood diet is a week long diet where seafood is used as your main source of daily protein.

This does not mean that you cannot eat other food such as rice or vegetables, but it does mean eating fish at least once a day for a week and cutting out any unhealthy snacks.

This diet is popular with people that are very aware of their health as it is rich in omega -3, is lower in fat than other meats, it contains lots of B Vitamins and minerals, and of course is a huge source of protein.

When consumed as part of a healthy diet there is nothing wrong with the seafood diet.

However, the main reason that it is thought to be slightly dangerous for people, especially the young and the pregnant is the concerns regarding mercury.

When we humans have oil spills and dump toxic sludge into oceans and rivers we pollute them.

This pollution has an adverse affect on the fish that live in that area.

If the fish have ingested the pollution, they have also ingested mercury.

In high doses mercury is incredibly poisonous to humans and so even though fish usually contain small levels of it, eating lots of fish is looked upon as a bad idea.

Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with eating fish as part of a balanced diet!

Need An Energy Boost?

beta glucanFeeling drained and sluggish is a problem that everyone faces now and then, however it is also a problem that can be helped with a little diet change (and perhaps a little more sleep!).

Tiredness and sluggishness lends itself to bad eating habits.

When you are feeling drained the last thing that you want to be doing is cooking a homemade meal packed full of fruits and vegetables, with meat on the side and a fancy desert.

However, what we eat does have massive effect on how we feel and in turn our energy levels.

In addition, how often we eat can also play a huge part in how energetic we feel.

This does not mean that snacking on crisps throughout the day will help to beat fatigue, but it does mean that eating little (healthy!) snacks often throughout the day can often leave you more energised than eating a huge meal at lunch and then feeling full and drowsy throughout the rest of the afternoon.

The top three foods that are amazing to snack on, and that will give you that energy boost you need to keep you going include the following:

Green Peppers

Green peppers are great for keeping you energised!

Just cut them up and pop them in your lunch box to snack on throughout the day.

Not only are they delicious, they are also high in iron.

Iron is one of the best minerals for preventing fatigue and can also be found in red meat and breakfast cereal. Yet another reason not to skip breakfast in the morning!

Scrambled Egg on Toast

If you have a little more time, this is perfect!

Combining dairy and carbohydrates in one meal, it is not only balanced but a high-energy afternoon snack!

Fruit

Particularly bananas.

They are a great pick-me up for afternoons where you just aren’t getting anything done.

You can even pop one in a sandwich for lunch instead of going out and spending lots of money on a shop-made one.

Delicious!

The Truth About Multivitamins

beta glucanIf you look in the kitchen cupboard or in the drawers, I’m sure that you’ll find at least one container of multivitamins.

Marketed at both men and women, multivitamins are a part of everyday life for most people.

This is particularly true as we are more aware of what we should be eating. So when we are unable to eat the portions of fruit and veg we think we should be eating, we think that multivitamins are a good substitute.

However, over the past couple of years there has been more and more press coverage regarding multivitamins and their level of efficiency, especially the headlines that declare all multivitamins a waste of time.

Unlike Beta Glucan, the effects of multivitamins have to be tracked via long-term usage to see any difference, and as such, it is generally harder to analyse their affect.

This is predominantly true as the levels of vitamins and minerals can vary on their own through a person’s diet.

This means that although there is some evidence that multivitamins do little to improve cardiovascular health and stop cardiovascular disease, it hasn’t yet been found if they make a difference to an individual’s overall health, particularly if they are taken in addition to a balanced diet.

It has however been proven that multivitamins do nothing to harm your health.

Via randomized control trials (RCT’s), scientists have found that even when people decided to take themselves off of multivitamins their health levels did not change dramatically.

This means that even though tests are inconclusive, taking multivitamins is not necessarily a bad thing.

If for example you know that you are eating badly, multivitamins may be used to increase your nutrient levels for that period of time.

However, if you consistently have a bad diet and are using multivitamins as a way of replacing the nutrients you should be getting from food, it probably won’t help much. When it comes to vitamins and minerals fresh is always best.

Dried Fruit – The Facts

beta glucanLet’s face it. Dried fruit is delicious and because it’s fruit it is a great alternative to crisps and chocolate.

However, despite the fact that it is an obvious alternative to the more conventional “unhealthy” foods, are the processes that it goes through to become dried foods destroying it’s goodness?

And, is dried fruit really as healthy for us as we think it is?

The facts:

 When fruit is “dried” it literally has all of the water removed from it.

This means that it is still the same fruit, but without the water content.

As with anything that has the water removed from it, when a fruit is dried it decreases enormously in size.

That one dried fruit however, is still in its contents the same as the bigger one.

This means that it still has the same amount of natural sugars and calories inside it.

However because the dried version of the fruit is smaller in size, our ability to eat more of them increases.

One reason for this is that our brains don’t compute the fact that it is the same fruit just without the water, and so we eat more of them to make up for the size of the initial fruit.

Yet, each dried fruit piece that we eat has the same nutritional value.

So, if we consume 20 dried fruit pieces it is the equivalent to eating 20 of that fruit, including all of its sugars and calories.

It is for this reason that people assume that dried fruit has added sugars.

However, the truth is that dried fruit really doesn’t need any sugars adding to it as it already contains enough natural sugars.

Yet if we take into consideration the fact that one piece of dried fruit (i.e an apricot) is equivalent to an actual apricot then all of the nutritional values should (in theory) be the same.

So, as long as you don’t eat too much dried fruit and get carried away, dried fruit isn’t a bad alternative to regular fruit, especially if you’re always on the go.

The Use of Meditation & Diet to Destress

destressStress can be caused by a number of things, from work pressures to your home life, and, unfortunately it can manifest itself in a very physical way from migraines to other muscle pains.

When stress starts to take its toll physically as well as mentally however, this is the point at which most people visit the doctor.

Yet, before taking medication and deciding that that this is the course of action that you are most happy with, perhaps it is worth taking into consideration some more natural relievers such as meditation or even changes in diet.

For most people meditation is not there first thought when they are stressed. It can seem incredibly time consuming and very odd, particularly if nobody around you really talks about it or even seems to know about it.

However, the main way that meditation can help relieve stress is through the fact that it clears your mind.

By allowing yourself time to sit in the peace and quiet and be still, to let it be ok not to worry about looming deadlines or all of the things you have to do tomorrow it can help you to regain focus and if done before bed can help you get a good nights sleep.

The same goes for diet. Needless to say, diets with a high caffeine intake are not particularly helpful when it comes to stress.

This is because the caffeine can affect your body by speeding up your heart rate and even make you feel more anxious. What is more, diets with a high artificial sugar intake can produce similar affects.

By cutting down on the caffeine and artificial sugars you can therefore help reduce anxiety and stress levels to help you feel better and more productive.

Of course, if the effects of stress are more longer term then it may be worth seeing your GP, and even stocking up on some Beta Glucan to help repair your immune system afterwards as high levels of stress often reduces the immune systems ability to stay on top of illnesses making you feel worse.

The Dangers of Diet Pills

diet pillsModern life seems to have brought with it some sort of urgency.

We have to have everything the exact way that we want it that second.

This is fine, for the most part. We can watch whatever TV program we want in an instant, and get a tan in under 10 minutes.

However, when it comes to losing weight, apart from surgery there hasn’t really been a quick alternative, at least there wasn’t until quite recently.

Diet pills are relatively new on the market and claim to help you to burn excess fat quickly.

Yet, despite many people thinking that this is an easy answer for them to drop a couple of pounds it can be easy to overlook the cons.

Here are the Top 3 cons that everyone should be thinking about before they resort to diet pills.

1) Diet pills aren’t a magic fix it all – without a healthy diet and regular exercise you aren’t actually fixing the problem.

Diet pills are an easy solution, but are they actually helping?

Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to change your diet, which if it has been super unhealthy may give you more energy and help you feel better about yourself?

What is the reason hat you are taking them?

Is there an underlying problem that you aren’t dealing with?

These are all questions that you should be taking into consideration before buying diet pills.

2) Not all diet pills are FDA regulated, especially on the Internet – when buying pills of any kind on the Internet there comes a certain risk.

Some may not even be what they say they are.

When buying medicine over the Internet you need to do your research and make sure that they have been properly regulated and checked.

If not, pop into your pharmacy and have a consultation.

3) Side effects – as with any medicine that isn’t 100% natural, diet pills have side effects.

Some of these side effects include irregular heart rate, paranoia and sleeplessness.

Processed Foods Vs Unprocessed Foods

processedProcessed foods have become a huge part of our lives, regardless of if it is in the form of microwavable meals for all the times that we come home late and are too sleepy to cook, or the cereal bars and takeaways that we buy on our way home.

But how do these processed foods affect our health?

And what about the processed foods that have been created that contain added vitamins and minerals like breakfast cereals?

Do they actually work or should we be choosing fresh foods over processed?

A couple of years ago processed foods were all considered bad.

They were high in salt and saturated fats and many people reasoned that ready-meals and high processed diets lead to obesity and ill health in children and adults alike.

Yet, with many adults being time poor and not being able to make an entire meal from scratch between getting home from a long day at work and dinner time food manufacturers have picked up on the fact that in order to succeed in todays economy they need to make their meals a little healthier.

From the “innocent” meals to low calorie options, to options with added vitamins and minerals there have been lots of developments in the food industry to help people choose healthier options.

However, just because something has extra vitamin C in does not automatically make it the healthier option, and if you really want the optimal amount of nutritional value it is always going to be better coming from fresh foods rather than processed.

This is because even though vitamins and minerals are added, or calories are reduced in processed foods, the things that they shout about on the packaging do not take into consideration the other ingredients.

For example, the meal may be low in calories, but how much nutritional value does it have? If it has added vitamins and minerals inside it, what is the sugar content like?

Processed foods aren’t evil. They are helpful and come in handy when you’re in a rush or simply are too sleepy to make a meal.

However, reading the ingredients and knowing exactly what you are buying is important, especially if you are something for it’s nutritional value.

Food and Digestion

digestionWe spend quite a lot of time talking about foods that are great for your digestion, but sometimes it’s important to talk about the things that aren’t working – the foods that the body actually find’s quite hard for you to digest and that perhaps aren’t the best things to eat health wise if you are having digestion problems.

According to recent statistics, around 40% of the UK suffer from at least one symptom that is indicative of a digestive problem at any one time and these symptoms can range from bloating and wind, to stomach cramps, pain and diarrhea.

Although these symptoms aren’t too serious, they do cause a lot of discomfort and cause frequent doctors visits and often result in taking over the counter medication to help alleviate the problem.

However, by avoiding the foods that your body cannot break down, or find’s hard to break down can be a great way to save you time and money.

As such, we thought it would be a good idea to round up the top 3 foods that the human body has the most trouble digesting.

1) Foods that contain lots of fat, and foods that have been fried – These foods are terrible not only for your health, but for your digestion.

There is only a certain amount of fat and fried goods that your body can digest, so when you eat a lot of this at once it can cause digestive problems.

2) Dairy – Although dairy is great for getting your recommended daily allowance of calcium, there are lots of people whose bodies don’t produce enough lactose, which is an enzyme that breaks down the lactose in dairy.

When the body cannot break down the diary it cannot digest it, therefore resulting in one or more of the aforementioned symptoms.

3) Alcohol – Everyone understands that alcohol isn’t the best thing to drink and yet it’s one of the biggest trading industries.

However, despite this understanding, did you know that alcohol can actually inflame your stomach lining making digestive problems much more probable (at least until the inflammation has gone down)?

As with everything, it is too much of these things which is the problem, yet identifying the underlying issue is definitely the first step to relieving any digestive problem.