Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2022! Let’s hope this year we don’t have quite so much to cope with!
The recent pandemic has tested us in many ways, I have certainly seen in my clinic a demonstration of new needs that we did not have before, our eating resilience, doing more food preparation at home and focusing on immune health.
As I reflect on the past year, I have put some suggestions together on how to eat better and therefore get better nutrition.
1. Gluten-free diets are becoming more popular, traditionally recommended for people with celiac disease (an autoimmune condition) and IBS suffers, it’s now becoming more popular with nonceliac gluten sensitivity. People are reporting feeling better when they reduce the amount of gluten they consume.
The improved choice in the supermarkets now makes it much easier with lots of alternatives such as pea protein, rice and corn. And lots of gluten-free products including crisps, bread and pasta.
A good example of a gluten-free diet is most of Asia, where the main staple food is rice, not wheat.
Naturally, gluten-free foods include:
- fruits and vegetables
- fresh meats
- fish and poultry
- unprocessed beans
- seeds and nuts
- most dairy products
- white rice
- tapioca grains such as buckwheat, corn and cornmeal, flax, quinoa, rice, soy, arrowroot, and millet
2. Concentrated forms of fermented foods: The popularity of fermented foods and different types beyond the traditional ‘kraut’ has increased. We are also seeing a vast array of sauerkraut, kimchi and other plant foods not forgetting kombucha a fermented drink. At the Lowry Spa, we supply Hip Hop a locally brewed kombucha in a vast array of flavours ….. I love it that much I now get it delivered to my home.
It’s locally brewed at Dunham Massey! Follow @drink.hip.pop on Instagram
3. Sprouts and not just the green kind that you have on your plate at Christmas! Sprouts, especially broccoli sprouts, have been discovered as rich sources of various nutrients like sulforaphane, which has been linked to health benefits such as improved digestion and heart health. However please note to optimise the levels of sulforaphane they should be eaten raw or lightly steamed for 1-3 minutes.
4. Cacao….. not the sweet sickly drinking stuff but raw cacao is packed with flavonoids which have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain, heart and aid in preventing blood clots. I am always discovering something new, whether it’s on heart health, brain health or mood. You can make better choices when you are out and about as more places are serving health-boosting ingredients, look out for stress-relieving coffees, drink mixes, and even dry good products with high-flavonoid cocoa extracts for improved effects on mood. After all, we all need a pick-me-up!
5. It’s time for turmeric! I love turmeric, it is a timeless hero and as well as its healing and anti-inflammatory properties it is warm and has a beautiful yellow-orange colour. We are now seeing more of it used in bread, all kinds of pasta, and even baked products as a way to offset the potential inflammatory effect of the food (in some cases) and simply as a value-add in others. Plus, we know that reducing inflammation is foundational to health issues especially in the gut as well as high blood pressure and arthritis.
6. Mushroom mania the properties and the nutrients that are packed in mushrooms are just amazing! Cordyceps is believed to have natural properties that assist with preventing cancer, respiratory issues and kidney/liver disorders, Chaga mushrooms are great for restoring the adrenal glands and are also believed to have antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties. Research into Lions Mane mushrooms shows a range of health benefits that include a reduction in inflammation and improved cognitive and heart health.
7. Broccoli and Cauliflower leaves as the next new greens! These leaves are high in phytonutrients like phenolics and fibre. Yet like most of us, we tend to eat the florets and toss the rest. However, to get the most out of our veg and improve food efficiency and less waste, using the leaves and stalks is a nutritious winner!
8. Get the bees buzzing and not just in Manchester! Don’t you just love the enduring sweetness of honey, there is a huge amount of science published on bee products such as royal jelly, propolis, pollen, and honey. Of course, the variety of honey have diverse and differing compositions and honey is being seen more like a therapeutic rather than a sweetener. Its effects are maybe more effective with lemon or ginger! Bee Pollen classed as a superfood is believed to help with allergies, weight control and digestion.