Friday, 16 February 2007

What’s your number? (cholesterol)

We’re talking cholesterol – the good news is that not all cholesterol’s bad for you – here’s why you need a certain amount in your diet.

Did you know that having cholesterol in your body is actually a good thing? It’s needed to strengthen cell membranes and make hormones, vitamin D and bile acids, which aid digestion. But too much cholesterol can signal that there is too much fat in the blood which can lead to blocked arteries in your body, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a soft waxy substance found in your body’s cells. It comes from two sources - most of it is made by the liver and the rest, dietary cholesterol, comes from food. Animal food sources such as meat, seafood, dairy products and any foods made with animal products contain cholesterol although plant foods are cholesterol-free.
There are two types of cholesterol: ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Cholesterol is an essential part of every cell and is needed to make certain hormones.
However, too much LDL cholesterol in the blood leads to ‘furring’ of the arteries and the development of plaques that can result in heart disease and stroke. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, helps to remove LDL cholesterol from the tissues and deliver it to the liver, which dumps it from the body. LDL cholesterol accounts for most of the cholesterol in the blood and this is the real culprit behind heart disease.

Who does it affect?
People with Type 2 diabetes or existing heart disease may need to lower their cholesterol right away. Obesity has also linked to high cholesterol and increases LDL levels because of high fat levels in the body.

How to fight high cholesterol
Cholesterol-lowering drugs - statins - have been found to lower the risk of heart attacks but unless your cholesterol levels are sky-high experts agree on diet guidelines to reduce the amount of saturated animal fats (like high-fat meat and dairy) and trans fats (hydrogenated oils) in foods we eat.
A recommended diet should have less than 35% total fat with less than 7% of that as saturated fat and minimal trans fat. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains and unsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts, can also help lower your LDL levels and boost the amount of HDL cholesterol.
Dietary cholesterol - found in egg yolks and shellfish is no longer seen as the problem it once was. Studies show it has a minimal effect on blood cholesterol since the body takes as much as it needs. One problem with fighting high cholesterol with diet only is that even if LDL levels decrease, HDL levels may drop too. And low HDL levels can cause an increase in heart disease. However, doing aerobic exercise along with making diet changes can prevent or decrease a drop in HDL levels.

Lifestyle changes to beat cholesterol
Get active
While following a low-fat diet will lower LDL levels, combine it with aerobic exercise and it will fall even further. But what really gives exercise the edge is its ability to keep HDL level high. Just 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week can jump-start your HDL in the right direction.
Lose the pounds
Studies have found that a modest loss of just 10lb reduces harmful LDL cholesterol by 12% but actually increases beneficial HDL cholesterol by 18%. A great reason to lose weight!
Cut back on simple carbs
Cakes, biscuits and highly processed cereals and breads are high-glycemic foods that can lower your HDL and raise the levels of another harmful fat in your bloodstream, triglycerides.
Choose better fats
Cut down on the saturated and trans fats in your diet. These substances increase the bad cholesterol while decreasing your good cholesterol. Instead, switch to products containing unsaturated fats (olive, canola, flaxseed, etc). These may raise your HDL levels. However you still have to watch the number of calories you consume.
Eat more fibre
Stocking upon high-fibre foods such as oats, fruits and vegetables can help bring your LDL levels down even more than a low-fat diet alone. A diet that gets more than a third of its calories from high-fibre foods has been found to lower LDL cholesterol by 33%, according to studies.
Avoid lots of alcohol
It can raise HDL levels so drink in moderation and make sure you don’t go over recommended levels
Say no to smoking
By quitting, you can raise your HDL levels by about four points.

So how healthy are you?
Do you know your cholesterol number? If not, get it checked out soon.
Desirable <200 mg/dl Any number below 200 is good news!
Borderline 200 to 239 mg/dl Check out your levels every six months
High Risk >240 mg/dl Follow your GP’s advice on lowering your levels


How many times have you said ‘never again’ the morning after the night before? Here’s what to do to prevent your hangover happening all over again!

Let’s face it, we all over-indulge from time to time and there’ nothing wrong with alcohol consumption – in moderation. Anyone who has suffered a hangover knows the trauma of a sore head, feeling nauseous and dehydrated. The good news is that there are ways to prevent a hangover – as well as ways to speed up your recovery process.

Before you drink…
Fill up on water
Alcohol is a diuretic and encourages your body to lose fluids. One of the main reasons for feeling so awful after drinking is dehydration. So before, during, and after your night out, you should try and drink at least two litres of water – you should drink this amount every day anyway. Water really is the elixir of life and will help to hydrate your body in preparation for excess drinking as well as flush through the alcohol and eliminate toxins.
Eat something
Avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Go for carbohydrate-based options as these will absorb the alcohol much better than nibbles such as nuts or crisps which are often high in salt and will cause you to drink more.
Liven up your liver
In the day or so leading up to a big night out, try some of the following liver tonics – these will help keep your liver cleansed and refreshed: black grapes, beetroot juice, carrot juice and fennel tea.
Get moving
Regular exercise and improving your fitness will go a long way to building your body to the peak of perfection – both inside and out.

The morning after…
Say no to a fry-up

No matter how tempted you are to grab a fry-up, don’t! Oils, fats and grease are not cleansing for the body.
Eat your oats
Porridge will settle your stomach by decreasing its acidity. Stir in some honey or slice up a few bananas to put on top.
Drink sparkling water
Fizzy water will reoxygenate your blood allowing your body to get on with the recovery process.
A bitter pill to swallow
Painkillers are acid-forming and will make your stomach feel much worse.
Say no to caffeine
A steaming mug of coffee may be what you think you need but caffeine is a stimulant and after a momentary high, you’ll feel even lower.

The best thing you can do the day of a hangover is eat regular, nutritious, small meals. Drink plenty of water, get some fresh air with a short walk outside and have an early night.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Help yourself for life at Sainsbury’s with the ‘2 a week’ healthy eating fish campaign

Sainsbury’s ‘2 a week’ campaign is leading up to Seafood Week, from 6 to 13 October, recommending that we eat one portion of oily fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and one white fish each week.

2 a week for life
This is only the beginning, as there are endless fish recipes and preparations, to enable you to build ‘2 a week’ fish into your diet all the year round.

Oily Fish
Oily fish such as sardines, herring, mackerel, trout and salmon are all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease. These fatty acids are also important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding because they help a baby’s nervous system to develop. Oily fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D. It is also believed that oil rich fish can help boost your brain power, keep your joints supple and even assist in good eyesight.

White Fish
White fish, such as sea bass, cod, haddock, plaice, to name but a few, are the perfect low fat choice. White fish tastes wonderful and is so flexible and easy to prepare that it challenges many other ‘fast foods’.

Healthy Eating for Babies and Children

Giving your toddler a healthy diet needn’t be mission impossible – even if he or she is a fussy eater. Follow these tips to encourage good eating habits for your child.

1. Set a good example
Make sure you’re giving your toddler the right messages. Your own eating habits, as well as your attitude to food, should be healthy. Try to have family meals as often as possible and give your toddler the same food as everyone else is eating when you can. Remember though, it’s important not to give your toddler food containing too much salt or sugar, and its probably best to avoid spicy foods as well.

2. Watch that shopping list!
Only buy the foods you want your toddler to eat – if there’s something in particular you don’t want your child to have, don’t put it in your shopping trolley. Try to make sure that any other carers - grandparents or childminders - know not to give him the foods you specify.

3. Keep calm...
Your toddler will quickly learn that refusing to eat can easily wind you up, so try to keep calm and not make food a big issue. Create a relaxing atmosphere for all the family at mealtimes. You could play soft music - or even some of your toddler’s favourite nursery rhymes - in the background.

4. Make meals a family affair
Try to see mealtimes as quality time for all the family. Meals should not be rushed, so leave plenty of time for them. Encourage conversation - even your baby’s babble. It can help to take your toddler’s mind off food that is normally refused. If your toddler feels part of it all, he or she will be less likely to play with food.

5. Avoid mealtime battles
If your toddler becomes upset and aggravated, he or she certainly won’t want to eat well. So if food is rejected, don’t force your little one to eat it - calmly take the plate away. Try not to give your child a large plateful of food as this ma be seem as just too off-putting - too much of an ordeal. Instead, offer a small portion and give lots of praise and encouragement if even a little is eaten.

6. Offer non-edible rewards
Try to avoid using sweet foods as a reward for finishing savouries. To your toddler, this simply says, ‘here’s something nice after eating those nasty greens’ - and is likely to make sweet foods seem even more attractive to eat. Instead, reward your child with a trip to the park or allow him or her to watch a favourite video. You’ll be amazed how well this works and the positive way your toddler come to view eating chose healthy green foods.

7. Keep snacks healthy
Limit snacking - the fill up your toddler… If you do allow a small snack, try healthy options rather than biscuits s or crisps. For example: a drink of milk and a small cracker with a slice of cheese; a plain yoghurt with a banana sliced into it; a slice of toast with yeast extract, a piece of cheese or a slice of ham; some crackers, a breadstick or rice cake with cheese or a piece of fruit. Drinks can also be tummy-fillers, so make sure our toddler doesn’t have a drink just before mealtimes. All in all, if you stick to your guns and keep snacks healthy, mealtimes will be better.

8. Jazz up those veggies
When most parents think of vegetables and their toddler, they tend to think of battles! Don’t let vegetables become a burden or a battle-ground – if your toddler is reluctant to eat them, try cutting them into different fun shapes. Use vegetables to add colour to meals and keep the portions you serve small. Introduce lots of different vegetables and if one is refused a particular day, simply leave it for a few days before offering it again. You may be surprised...

9. Spot hidden sugar
There’s no denying that it can be hard to completely avoid giving your toddler sweet food and drinks. Many supposedly healthy foods, such as breakfast cereals, contain lots of sugar, and fruit squashes often have a high sugar content. Try giving your toddler cereals that aren’t sugar-coated and avoid squashes, offering water, milk or diluted fruit juices instead. If your toddler isn’t given the opportunity to get used to the taste of sugar, he or she will be less likely to crave it.

10. Home and away - stay in the habit!
Explain to well-meaning friends and family that although giving sweets to your toddler might he the easiest way, it’s not the best way. This may not be easy, but it’s important to he firm. If friends and relatives want to give your child a treat, try suggesting books, pencils or a little pocket money. If you are going out for a family meal, pick a restaurant that offers healthy choices for your toddler - the good eating habits you establish don’t have to stop when eating out.

Food for... Q+A

Food for healthy skin

Q: I’ve heard that what you eat can keep skin looking young and healthy - any tips? I’m starting to notice a few lines and am after all the advice I can get.
A: Beauty junkies take note: even the most expensive pot of A-list cream won’t give you a perfect complexion if you don’t feed your face with the right foods. Here’s how.

Powerfood: Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are great for healthy skin because they supply zinc, which helps repair damage, and essential fatty acids which help replenish collagen. Four a day are all you need to fight those wrinkles.

Powerfood: Salmon
Want glowing, soft skin? Then reach for salmon. This oily fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids (as vel1 as omega-6), which can only be a good thing for skin. Omega-3s help reduce inflammation and flaking, and they’re also essential fatty acids for normal skin moisture.
Powerfood: Turkey Another goodie to pack into your diet for healthy skin bursting with radiance is the cancer-protecting antioxidant, selenium. Selenium works in combination with vitamin E to appear to slow down the ageing process. You can find it in turkey. Research has even suggested that people super-charged with selenium don’t get as damaged by the sun.
Also try: Tuna

Foods to boost immunity

Q: I’m forever getting coughs and colds, and seem to feel constantly run down. What food should I be eating to boost my immune system:
A: If you normally catch every germ that whafts by, your immune system might be flagging. But a lot of what our bodies need to fight-off infection can be sourced from food – we just need to know what to eat.

Powerfoods: Carrots

Bugs Bunny was right – not only can munching on carrots help you see in the dark, it can also put a spring back in a flagging immune system. So, what’s the magic ingredient? It’s beta-carotene. Beta-carotene boosts immunity by increasing the number of T-cells, which are the key immune cells in our bodies.
Try also: Apricots, spinach and cantaloupe melon

Powerfood: Shiitake mushrooms
Stock up on your shiitake mushrooms as much as you can – apparently they also help produce white blood cells, which are needed to fight disease as it enters the body. According to recent research, shiitake mushrooms might also encourage white blood cells to fight foreign bacteria. It’s all to do with an active compound, lentinan. Lentinan has strong anti-viral and anti caner properties.

Foods to aid fertility

Q: I’ve been t to get pregnant for ages but with no luck. Can I boost my chances of conceiving with a change of diet?
A: Learn how to give nature a helping hand along the way with static fertility-friendly magic ingredients.

Powerfood: Watercress
If you’re trying to get pregnant, chances are you’re popping folic acid pills every day. But you can also get this all-important mineral from your diet. Folic acid is essential in developing the embryo’s neural tube very early on helping with the conception process.
Try also: Bovril, spinach and parsnips.

Powerfood: Kiwi Fruit
Kiwi fruit is particularly good for male fertility because it’s a rich source of vitamin C and that stops sperm from clumping together making it difficult to reach the egg.
Try also: Broccoli and peppers.

8 Health Boosters

Make small changes to your lifestyle this month and make big steps towards better health

“Include at least two of the following colours in each meal: red, green, yellow, purple and orange”

1. Stand up when you’re on the telephone. You burn 30% more calories than you do sitting.

2. Find a new hobby – that isn’t about eating. Don’t get too hung up on your diet. Find something else you enjoy — it will stop you munching out of boredom or stress, keep your diet in perspective and possibly give you the bonus of a confidence boost.

3. Write it down. Keep a food diary for a week this month. Make a note of what you’ve eaten and why and you’ll soon see whether you’re eating the wrong kinds of foods, comfort eating and over eating. Once you know where the problem lies you’re three quarters of the way to a slimmer you!

4. Take a food supplement if you’re trying to lose weight and gain energy. ‘All overweight people are deficient in major nutrients. Some nutrients can help to burn fat and increase metabolism,’ says Dr Gillian McKeith. If you’re confused about the choice of supplements, why not try Euro Gold from Nature’s Own? It’s one of the most comprehensive and complete one-a-day multivitamin and mineral tablets. Containing optimal levels of the nutrients we need for health in a Food State form, it’s also ideal for everyone concerned about protecting their nutrient intake on a daily basis. It also has high levels of all B vitamins, (most include at least 100% Recommended Daily Amount) plus vitamins C, E, K and D, too. And it contains optimum levels of calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium and other trace minerals.

5. Keep it colourful. Include at least two of the following colours in each meal: red, green, yellow, purple and orange. You’l1 fill up on vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting nutrients, and you’ll also keep hunger pangs at bay.

6. Stop TV snack attacks. It’s all too easy to overdo it on the nibbles while you’re watching TV. And studies show that the more likely you are to be overweight. Don’t become a statistic! Ration how much you watch and spend sour spare time catching up on more active chores.

7. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily. It fills you up, detoxes your system and improves your complexion. So it may just be what your body’s crying out for. Often we misread the signals that our body sends out, thinking we are hungry when in fact we’re thirsty. Keep a large bottle of water on your desk at work or in the fridge at home and get through it!

8. Get wise to probiotics. Gastrointestinal health is often over looked but is essential to your health and wellbeing. Taking a probiotic supplement may help to maintain the health of your digestive system and promote overall health. BioCare is committed to continued probiotic research and development as there is a need to develop more advanced probiotic products to successfully face the challenges of our ever-changing environment. Bio Acidophilus Forte, contains a billion of unique LAB4 probiotic organisms and has proven strength, stability, adherence and survival in the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract.

Turning Japanese

Japan has long been renowned for having one of the healthiest diets in the world. While the Japanese diet is low in fat, with lots of rice, fish and vegetables, one of the most beneficial aspects of it is the high intake of soya foods, according to leading Japanese food writer, Emi Kazuko.

‘Anyone in their forties or fifties aspires to feel and look younger, and that’s exactly what most Japanese women are achieving through the natural benefits of their diet,” says Emi. Working with soya milk, Emi has devised a seven- day Japanese eating plan. With supermarkets stocking an increasing range of foods from all over the world, adding elements of this Japanese diet into your life can be very simple.

And it doesn’t mean having to eat Japanese food seven days a week. Emi’s seven-day eating plan will allow you to choose which food ideas you want to start introducing. You never know, once you start to introduce some of these habits you may find how easy it is to slick to a diet rich in fresh vegetables, oily fish and soya.

Soya is particularly beneficial for menopausal women because of the phytoestrogens it contains. In fact, there is no term for the phrase ‘hot flush’ in Japan as Japanese women suffer few menopausal symptoms, thought to be due, in part, to their diet and lifestyle.
In fact, soya protein has been shown to also help to reduce the risk of bone fractures, so it can be beneficial for maintaining good bone health too.

Soya milk is one of the easiest ways to incorporate soya into your diet. Why not try new So Good Soya Essential which is 99 per cent fat free, 100 per cent sugar free and has 20 per cent more calcium than semi-skimmed milk. No longer just for people who are allergic to dairy, So Good Soya Essential actively lowers cholesterol, contains nine essential vitamins and minerals and provides the benefits of plant-based Omega 3 to help maintain a healthy heart.
It’s so versatile and can be drunk on its own, in smoothies, in cooking or poured onto your breakfast cereal.

Good Food Guide Blog

Welcome to the Good Food Guide Blog!

Get loads of information on foods for health and wholesome , nutritous foods!

People are becoming more aware of food and are also becoming more willing to try out new food from around the world. There are many countries that have the most fantastic foods that much of the worls barely know about. Foods even change dramatically from region to region in one country, India is an excellent example of this as you travel from North to South and East to West the culinary changes are that of more than one country.