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Monday, 27 February 2023

'Fructose may bear some responsibility for Alzheimer’s'

 "Study suggests fructose could drive Alzheimer's disease

An ancient human foraging instinct, fuelled by fructose production in the brain, may hold clues to the development and possible treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The study, published recently in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, offers a new way of looking at a fatal disease characterized by abnormal accumulations of proteins in the brain that slowly erode memory and cognition.

"We make the case that Alzheimer's disease is driven by diet," said the study's lead author Richard Johnson, MD, professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine specializing in renal disease and hypertension. The study co-authors include Maria Nagel, MD, research professor of neurology at the CU School of Medicine.

Johnson and his team suggest that AD is a harmful adaptation of an evolutionary survival pathway used in animals and our distant ancestors during times of scarcity.

"A basic tenet of life is to assure enough food, water and oxygen for survival," the study said. "Much attention has focused on the acute survival responses to hypoxia and starvation. However, nature has developed a clever way to protect animals before the crisis actually occurs."

When threatened with the possibility of starvation, early humans developed a survival response which sent them foraging for food. Yet foraging is only effective if metabolism is inhibited in various parts of the brain. Foraging requires focus, rapid assessment, impulsivity, exploratory behavior and risk taking. It is enhanced by blocking whatever gets in the way, like recent memories and attention to time. Fructose, a kind of sugar, helps damp down these centers, allowing more focus on food gathering.

In fact, the researchers found the entire foraging response was set in motion by the metabolism of fructose whether it was eaten or produced in the body. Metabolizing fructose and its byproduct, intracellular uric acid, was critical to the survival of both humans and animals.

The researchers noted that fructose reduces blood flow to the brain's cerebral cortex involved in self-control, as well as the hippocampus and thalamus. Meanwhile, blood flow increased around the visual cortex associated with food reward. All of this stimulated the foraging response.

"We believe that initially the fructose-dependent reduction in cerebral metabolism in these regions was reversible and meant to be beneficial," Johnson said. "But chronic and persistent reduction in cerebral metabolism driven by recurrent fructose metabolism leads to progressive brain atrophy and neuron loss with all of the features of AD."

Johnson suspects the survival response, what he calls the "survival switch," that helped ancient humans get through periods of scarcity, is now stuck in the "on" position in a time of relative abundance. This leads to the overeating of high fat, sugary and salty food prompting excess fructose production.

Fructose produced in the brain can lead to inflammation and ultimately Alzheimer's disease, the study said. Animals given fructose show memory lapses, a loss in the ability to navigate a maze and inflammation of the neurons.

"A study found that if you keep laboratory rats on fructose long enough they get tau and amyloid beta proteins in the brain, the same proteins seen in Alzheimer's disease," Johnson said. "You can find high fructose levels in the brains of people with Alzheimer's as well."

Johnson suspects that the tendency of some AD patients to wander off might be a vestige of the ancient foraging response.

The study said more research is needed on the role of fructose and uric acid metabolism in AD.

"We suggest that both dietary and pharmacologic trials to reduce fructose exposure or block fructose metabolism should be performed to determine if there is potential benefit in the prevention, management or treatment of this disease," Johnson said."
Please see original article with relevant diagrams and links here
h/t Marks Daily Apple here

Related Post
Link between Sugar and Alzheimer's - read it here

All the best Jan

Sunday, 26 February 2023

Meatless Menu Choices : Chilli tofu veg ‘noodles’ : Spicy leek and white bean stew

We certainly eat a wide variety of food in our house, and sometimes we will take a vegetarian option. I know many readers choose to eat vegetarian, and some vegan, and it is of course a personal choice. The two recipes I share today are both 'meatless'. I happen to have some leeks, so it's possible the second recipe shown here could be enjoyed quite soon!

Chilli tofu veg ‘noodles’


Ingredients
Serves Two
10 sprays olive oil
200g firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 garlic clove, crushed
Thumb-size piece fresh ginger, grated
1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
2 spring onions/scallions, finely sliced
2 courgettes/zucchini (320g), finely sliced into ‘noodles’ with a julienne peeler or spiraliser
1 carrot (160g), finely sliced into ‘noodles’ with a julienne peeler or spiraliser
2 tsp sesame oil
Finely grated zest and juice 1 lime
Fresh coriander to serve

Method
1. Heat the spray oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the tofu and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly, until golden. Add the garlic, ginger and half the chilli and spring onions/scallions, then cook for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the courgette/zucchini and carrot ‘noodles’ to the pan and cook, tossing, for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the sesame oil, lime zest and juice, then divide between two plates. Serve sprinkled with the coriander, remaining sliced chilli and spring onions/scallions.
Nutrition Per Serving
Fat 13.2g Protein 17.2g Carbohydrates 11.1g
From original idea here

Spicy leek and white bean stew



Ingredients
Serves Four
Olive oil for frying
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 leeks, cut into large chunks
2 tbsp harissa paste
400g tin chopped tomatoes
300ml vegetable stock 
2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, drained and rinsed,
Juice of a lemon
A large handful of chopped fresh parsley
Fresh crusty bread, to serve (perhaps a low carb bread*)

Method
1. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan. Fry the onion gently over a low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, add the garlic and the leeks to the pan and cook for a further minute. Stir in the harissa paste, chopped tomatoes and the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, season, then cook for 20 minutes.
2. Add the tins of cannellini beans, then simmer for a further couple of minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then stir in the juice of a lemon and a large handful of chopped fresh parsley. Serve with plenty of fresh crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Nutrition Per Serving
Fat 4g Protein 12.9g Carbohydrates 30.2g
From original idea here

*Looking for low carb bread, then take a look at this post here

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e., use a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Saturday, 25 February 2023

You'll be all right now Jack !

From time to time we post something completely different, and this story is a little different!
What would you do if you found a duck or swan on a train?

 'Plump' duck rescued from train in London and named Jack


A “plump” duck has been rescued after being left on a train at Herne Hill Station in London.

The duck, named Jack by a rescuer, was found by a passenger on Friday evening as Southeastern railway alerted travellers to the incident on Twitter and requested its owner “please make yourself known” to station staff.

The duck’s saviour, Ann Aitken-Davies from London Wildlife Protection, said she named the bird Jack after the baby found in a handbag on a train station in The Importance of Being Ernest.

image credit PA

“Jack was in a nappy and squashed into a bag,” she told the PA news agency.

He is plump and in very good condition.

“I have no idea why he was dumped but his owner knew he would be found if left on a train.”

Jack remains with a Swan Sanctuary volunteer and will be given a permanent home there after a period of quarantine.
Above words and images from here and here

So pleased that Jack will be looked after by The Swan Sanctuary, a charity dedicated to the care and treatment of swans and waterfowl with an established worldwide reputation.

All the best Jan

Friday, 24 February 2023

Peanut Butter Chicken - Low Carb Recipe

Sharing a recipe by Hattie Ellis

If you like Peanut butter you may enjoy this recipe ...
Hattie says peanut butter, the store-cupboard hero, makes a great sauce in this quick Indonesian-style peanut butter chicken. The secret is to get the right balance of sweet, salty, sour and hot. Serve with rice and/or steamed greens. Steamed greens would be the low carbers choice!



Ingredients
Serves Four
1 tbsp olive oil
4 large chicken thighs, skin removed and boneless, each cut into 8 chunks
2 large shallots, peeled and sliced
2 red peppers, cut into long 1cm/½in-wide slices
1 red chilli, seeds removed and chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
400ml tin coconut milk
4 tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
2 limes, juice only
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)

Method
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Fry the chicken for 5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Turn the heat down to low, add the shallots, red peppers, chilli and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened.
2. Stir in the coconut milk and peanut butter. Half-fill the coconut milk tin with water and add to the pan. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked.
3. If you want to thicken the peanut butter sauce, remove the lid and boil to reduce the sauce to a coating consistency. Stir in the lime juice and soy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary – you may need a touch more soy sauce or a little more lime juice to balance out the sweet-saltiness.
4. Garnish with the chopped coriander, if using, and serve with white rice and/or steamed greens. 
Steamed greens would be the low carbers choice!

Each serving provides 
431 kcal, 27g protein, 10g carbohydrates (of which 8g sugars), 30g fat (of which 18g saturates), 3.5g fibre and 1.4g salt.
From original idea here

Peanut butter is a delicious and popular food.
Studies suggest that peanuts and peanut butter may have benefits for appetite control, body weight, blood sugar and heart health. It’s high in mono-unsaturated fat, including oleic acid, which may be responsible for many of the benefits.
Note, that natural peanut butter contains only peanuts and perhaps salt.
By contrast, reduced-fat peanut butter contains sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
Bottom Line: Reduced-fat peanut butter contains sugars and processed oils yet provides the same number of calories as natural peanut butter, which is much healthier.

Related Posts
CHICKEN Dishes - Three Popular Low Carb and Keto Suggestions - see here
Chicken - Low Carb and Keto - Three Delicious Recipe Choices* - see here
(*for those who may not like chicken, this post also includes choices for vegetarian and vegan recipes)


~ enjoy your day ~

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e., use a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 23 February 2023

'Living close to parks or water sources ‘may reduce risk of mental health issues’'



Sharing a preliminary study that you may have seen reports of in your news ...

"Living close to parks and water sources may reduce the risk of mental health issues in older people, early research suggests.

A preliminary study presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 75th Annual Meeting suggested people living within half a mile of “green” or “blue” spaces had a 17% lower risk of experiencing serious psychological distress compared with those living further away.

Serious psychological distress includes mental health issues that require treatment and have a moderate to severe effect on a person’s ability to participate in work and other social situations.

The experts said experiencing chronic serious psychological distress can play a role in mild cognitive impairment as well as dementia.

Solmaz Amiri, research assistant professor at Washington State University Elson S Floyd College of Medicine in Spokane, Washington, said: “Since we lack effective prevention methods or treatments for mild cognitive impairment and dementia, we need to get creative in how we look at these issues.

“Our hope is that this study showing better mental health among people living close to parks and water will trigger other studies about how these benefits work and whether this proximity can help prevent or delay mild cognitive impairment and dementia.”

As part of the study, the researchers looked at data from the US Census and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of nearly 43,000 people aged 65 or older living in urban areas in the state of Washington.

They analysed how close participants lived to green spaces – such as public parks, community gardens and cemeteries – as well as blue spaces – such as lakes, reservoirs, large rivers and coasts.

Those taking part completed a questionnaire to assess psychological distress, using a five-point scale ranging from zero, meaning none of the time, to four, meaning all the time.

The team reported that around 2% of the overall participants had serious psychological distress.

Of the total participants, 70% lived within half a mile of a green space and 60% lived within half a mile of a blue space.

Of the people who lived within a half mile of parks and water, 1.3% had serious psychological distress, compared with 1.5% of the people who lived further than half a mile.

Ms Amiri added: “Our hope is that this study may help inform public health policies in the future, from where residential facilities are located to programmes to improve mental health outcomes of people living in long-term care centres or nursing homes.”"
Words above from article here

xxx ooo xxx

Had you already seen this report?
Do you share its views?

It's not always possible to live near green or blue spaces ...
I know I always feel better after a walk outside, and we are fortunate to have plenty of green spaces where we live.
Do please share your thoughts in the comments section.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

'Why Do We Eat Cake On Our Birthday'

"Whether you buy a fancy cake at a store or personally bake one at home with love, celebrating any birthday is not complete without a cake glimmering with candles! So why is a birthday cake an absolute requirement for a birthday celebration? The answer to this goes way back to the beginning of written history!

This article details the origins of the first birthday cake and follows it through the history of humankind to the present day.

The birthday cake by ancient Greeks.

The ancient Greeks originated the idea of having cakes when celebrating another year of life as we know it today. The Greeks got this idea of celebrating birthdays from something the Ancient Egyptians did. They had a tradition of commemorating a pharaoh’s coronation as a god or goddess, which they called their “birthday.”

In Ancient Egypt, cakes were considered sacred and were created as unburnt sacrifices and bloodless offerings to deities, kings, and heroes. This was an alternative to, or in addition to, animal sacrifices.

The Greeks, inspired by the Egypt birthday rituals, first offered cakes to Artemis, their moon goddess. This was according to the ancient writings of Philochorus.

The Greek’s sacred birthday cakes were made as baked pieces of bread, biscuits, baked goods, and honey-sweetened sponges called meli. In addition, they also placed candles on the cake to make it glimmer like a full moon in honour of the moon goddess, Artemis.

The birthday cake’s first actualization.

Since the Middle Ages, Germans have celebrated Christ’s birth with Nativity displays, Christmas trees, and a birthday cake. The birthday cake was then added to children’s birthday celebrations after it became a part of the conventional method to commemorate Jesus’ birth.

In the 1400s, children’s birthday parties were called “kinder fest” in Germany. The kids’ parents made the cakes in the morning for Kinderfest. They then put a candle on the cake to indicate the child’s age and year.

The mass adoption of birthday cakes.


Thanks to the globalization of the 16th and 17th centuries and technological breakthroughs, the price of goods such as sugar dropped significantly, making cake accessible to the masses. Heading to the 1800s, birthday parties became more commonplace after the industrial revolution.

Birthday cakes experienced a tremendous rise in popularity, and the concept of “modern cakes” was born. In today’s world, there has been a substantial rise in commemorating various unique milestones, achievements, or festivals. Every occasion deserves a cake, after all!

Six Sweet facts about modern-day birthday cakes.
1. The first slice of your birthday cake in Mexico must be given to the person you love the most.

2. Koreans have a different version of birthday cake called tteok, it is a steamed rice cake with various stuffing and is usually served with Korean seaweed soup.

3. Traditional Danish birthday cakes are in the shape of the person having the birthday and are called “Kagemand” for a cake man and “Kagekone” for a cake woman.

4. Mawa cake is a traditional birthday cake in India made out of milk and nuts and is considered to make the birthday celebrant extra special because it takes a long time and effort to make.

5. A Revani is a gooey birthday cake famous in Greece and Turkey, which is made of lemon and semolina with a thin layer of orange syrup on top that gives it a sweet flavour.

6. The iconic Jewish birthday cake is known as ugat yomledet, a chocolatey, moist sponge cake with lots of frosting or whipped cream on top, and it must be eaten with milk or dunked in it like an Oreo.

Thanks to the Ancient Greeks for introducing cakes, Germans for embracing the tradition of cakes on birthdays, and most especially, to the hands and creativity of bakers since the 1800s who incorporated sweetness into cakes that we got to enjoy until these days!

Celebrating a birthday may vary from country to country; however, there comes a similarity – cakes on birthdays.

Julia Child once said, “A party without a cake is just a meeting.”

Cakes, indeed, make an occasion extra special for everyone!"
Words above from article
 here

There are so many wonderful recipes for celebration/birthday cakes. If you are diabetic, or perhaps looking to reduce your sugar intake, then a lower carb cake  may be more suitable for you.

Chocolate Birthday Cake : Keto and Low Carb Friendly
more details here

There are more cakes on this related post
Happy Birthday / Celebration Cake : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions : see here

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e., use a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Monday, 20 February 2023

Pancake Day 2023 : The pancakes are low carb In our house !

The UK has a fairly unique tradition known as “Pancake Day”, which is on the 21st of February in 2023, and comes the day before Lent begins. This day is otherwise known as “Shrove Tuesday” and is 47 days before Easter Sunday. In other cultures, Mardi Gras takes place on this date. Pancake day is an observance only, not an official bank holiday.

In times gone by, people felt the need to use up all eggs, butter, and sugar just before Lent because these items were to be given up during the fasting period. Therefore, it made sense to make pancakes out of the ingredients, and so the tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday was born.

There are also pancake races held in England this time of year, the most famous one taking place in Olney, Buckinghamshire. You have to flip a pancake in a pan while racing hundreds of yards and not dropping it on the ground. The other big tradition for pancake day is the annual Shrovetide Football matches.

well Eddie and I don't plan to flip our pancakes
but we may enjoy a few low carb ones, as detailed below

Low Carb Crepes / Pancakes


These crepes/pancakes are virtually carb-free and are very easy to make, although you use ricotta cheese they do not taste of cheese.

Ingredients
200 Grams of ricotta cheese
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
A splash of milk

Method
Mix the cheese, eggs and cinnamon into a small mixing bowl - add a splash of milk if the mix is too thick to run freely.
Place a small knob of butter into a (frying) pan, I use a small omelette pan 8". Heat the butter and spoon in 3 table-spoons of mix.
Fry until firm then turn over and cook for one minute or until the crepe is starting to brown.
This mix makes between 6 and 8 crepes/pancakes.
Allow to cool and fill with cream cheese and finely chopped spring onions or smoked salmon and asparagus tips, whatever you like.
Roll up the crepe and enjoy.
Great at any time and very good for the lunch box or picnics.
Also great warmed up with some low carb berries and double cream.
Or why not serve with a slice of lemon - gently squeezed over the crepes.

Will you be enjoying pancakes?

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e., use a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan


Sunday, 19 February 2023

'Fresh Versus Frozen Food: Which Is More Nutritious?'


Sharing an article by Mark Sisson he writes:

"Fresh Versus Frozen Food: Which Is More Nutritious?

In the hierarchy of vegetables, the best choices are fresh, in-season, and local.

Realistically, though, that’s not always going to happen. For one thing, some of you live in climates where access to a variety of local and in-season vegetables isn’t a thing. Likewise, your neighborhood might have a dearth of supermarkets, so you have to make a trek to find fresh produce.

Although home-grown is the best of the best, I know that saying, “Just grow your own!” is presumptuous on a lot of levels. Assuming that you have the space and resources to plant a garden, time is a big consideration. Plus, once they’re grown, preparing fresh vegetables takes more time than preparing frozen or canned, which are already washed and chopped for you.

All this is to say, I’m sure many of you find yourself turning to frozen and canned vegetables—as well as fruit, seafood, and meat—for reasons of availability and convenience. You might wonder if you are sacrificing any health benefits or if I’m giving you the side-eye for eating vegetables that aren’t farm-fresh. Let me put those concerns to rest.

Frozen Vegetables and Fruit: As Good As Fresh?
The frozen food industry dates back to 1925, when Clarence Birdseye began quick-freezing fish. It really took off after WWII as more homes had freezers. Since then, food scientists have worked to improve freezing, packaging, and transporting methods so that today (spoiler alert!) frozen foods are nutritionally comparable to their fresh counterparts. They also taste better and maintain a more pleasing texture and appearance compared to our grandparents’ frozen options.

Purely from an enjoyment perspective, some foods are equally good fresh or frozen (green beans, berries), while others are far better fresh in my opinion. It depends on how you use them, too. I’d far rather roast fresh broccoli, but frozen broccoli is perfectly fine for making broccoli soup.

But taste and texture aren’t the only considerations. I’m sure you’re also wondering about the nutritional value of fresh versus frozen. Let’s take a look at the data.

From Farm to Table: What Happens to Nutrients When A Food Is Frozen?
Factors that affect nutrients in the produce you buy, whether fresh or frozen, include:
  • The particular nutrient in question
  • The type of vegetable, including cultivar (what specific type of bean, apple, etc.)
  • Growing conditions (soil, weather, and so on)
  • Post-harvest handling and storage
  • How you cook them
Frozen vegetables are typically blanched before freezing to halt enzymatic reactions. Blanching cleans the vegetables and preserves flavour and texture, but the heat also reduces the levels of some nutrients, notably vitamin C. On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and E and carotenoids are released from their cellular matrices by heat, possibly making them more bioavailable, though the jury is still out on that.

Even if there is an initial loss of some nutrients in the freezing process, this seems to even out by the time the vegetables make it to your plate. Supermarket produce might have been in the supply chain for several weeks before you even purchase it, and it was almost certainly not allowed to fully ripen before harvesting.

Even if you buy your produce at a local farmer’s market, several days to a week might pass before you consume it. During that time between farm and plate, nutrients are oxidizing and degrading. On the other hand, frozen vegetables are usually picked at the peak of ripeness and frozen as quickly as possible to preserve the nutrients.

Fresh vs Frozen: The Data
Li and colleagues measured vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folate in broccoli, cauliflower, corn, green beans, green peas, spinach, blueberries, and strawberries that were fresh, “fresh-stored” (refrigerated for five days to mimic what happens when we actually buy produce), or frozen. They found a high degree of nutritional similarity overall and further concluded, “In the cases of significant differences, frozen produce outperformed ‘fresh-stored’ more frequently than ‘fresh-stored’ outperformed frozen.”

These findings are typical. Compared to fresh vegetables, frozen compare favourably in study after study. For example:
  • Two studies from Bouzari and colleagues at UC Davis compared eight common fruits and vegetables that were either stored in a refrigerator for 3 or 10 days, or frozen up to 90 days. For vitamin C, riboflavin, alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E), calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, fibre, and total phenolics, the researchers concluded that fresh and frozen were highly similar, with frozen sometimes outperforming fresh.
  • British researchers measured vitamin C, total polyphenols, total anthocyanins, and carotenoids (beta-carotene and lutein) in six common fruits and vegetables. Immediately after purchase from the grocery store, fresh and frozen were mostly similar. Levels of nutrients tended to decrease in the fresh vegetables over three days of storage.
  • Researchers from Virginia Tech and the USDA found that 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, the most bioavailable form of folate, did not decline in seven common vegetables over 12 months in frozen storage.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Note that across all the studies, results varied somewhat between different types of produce and nutrients, and researchers only measured key vitamins. More studies are needed to examine other nutritive compounds, as well as to explore the bioavailability question.

Don’t get caught up in the minutiae, though. Looking at the big picture, researchers consistently agree that taking everything into consideration, frozen is on par with fresh-stored. Frozen vegetables also have favourable nutrient-to-price ratios.

Go Ahead and Shop the Freezer Section
The fact is, you can’t stand in a grocery store with a head of fresh cauliflower in one hand and a bag of frozen florets in the other and know for sure which has more nutrients. There’s no reason to feel bad about choosing frozen over fresh, especially when fresh seasonal and local options are lacking.

Consider, too, that if you’re pressed for time and choosing between a frozen meal containing vegetables or grabbing a drive-thru meal, the frozen food is very often the better choice. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) longitudinal study, researchers compared adults who reported eating frozen meals or “restaurant fast food/pizza.” Using the standardized Healthy Eating Index, the frozen meal eaters scored higher overall and higher for total vegetable intake and total protein food. They also had a lower intake of refined grains and empty calories.

A separate analysis of NHANES data showed that people who eat frozen vegetables eat more total vegetables and get more fibre, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D than those who don’t.

In terms of covering your nutrient bases, your best option is to choose a wide variety of produce, fresh and local when available, and frozen as a good option when needed. If you can grow some fresh herbs and a tomato plant outside your window, all the better.

Fresh or Frozen Meat and Seafood?
Frozen may be as good as fresh when it comes to fruits and vegetables, but does this apply to meat and seafood as well?

The expert consensus is that frozen meat and seafood are also nutritionally on par with fresh. For fish in particular, freezing is the only viable way besides canning for many consumers to access safe products. According to the Seafood Storage Guide from the National Fisheries Institute, most fresh fish (not shellfish) should be eaten within 36 hours of catching.

As a final note, if you opt for frozen food products, check out the USDA Freezing and Food Safety fact sheet and USDA guide to Safe Defrosting Methods to make sure you are maximizing safety and quality." (In the UK the food standard agency have various guides)

Please see Marks original article, with all relevant reference links here

Related Post
Eat your Greens - They are so healthy - here

~ oo xx oo ~


I found the above an interesting read, I hope you did too.
I do like to buy fresh vegetables, but always keep some frozen in the freezer and canned in the cupboard, which I use from time to time. How about you?
Please share your thoughts/views in the comments below.

All the best Jan

Saturday, 18 February 2023

Ras-el-hanout Chicken Traybake

I can hear some readers say' "what is Ras-el-hanout? It is a classic spice mixture used in Moroccan cuisine. It is available in many stores, supermarkets as well as on-line retailers. The name means 'top of the shop', which reflects its expensive ingredients. Good mixtures will contain more than 20 different spices, including dried peppers, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, rose buds and lavender, but ras-el-hanout can contain up to 100 spices.

Today I am sharing Becca Sprys recipe for Ras-el-hanout chicken traybake.
This dinner prepares in under thirty minutes. Potatoes are replaced with root vegetables to reduce the carbohydrates and plenty of spice to turn up the flavour. 

If you're not into spicy food, check out the recipe tips below for other flavour ideas.


Ingredients
Serves Four
400g/14oz sweet potatoes*, peeled and cut into 2cm/1in cubes
400g/14oz carrots, cut into 2cm/1in cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
3 garlic cloves
4 chicken breast fillets (about 170g/6oz each)
1 lemon, quartered
2 tsp ras-el-hanout spice mix
handful fresh thyme sprigs
handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt, to serve
Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Put the sweet potatoes and carrots in a roasting tray, drizzle over the oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.
2. Add the red onion and garlic and toss well. Roast for another 20 minutes.
3. Put the chicken breasts and lemon quarters in the roasting tray in a single layer. Sprinkle everything with the ras-el-hanout and thyme. Roast for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir through the coriander.
4. To serve, divide between four plates, each with a slice of roast lemon for squeezing over and a tablespoon of yoghurt.
Each serving provides 
361 kcal, 44g protein, 30g carbohydrate (of which 14g sugars), 5.5g fat (of which 1g saturates), 7g fibre and 0.5g salt.

Recipe Tips
This chicken traybake also works well with.

French-style chicken traybake:
Follow the recipe but instead of the sweet potatoes and carrots, thickly slice 2 courgettes, 2 aubergines, 1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper and add in step one. In step three, instead of the lemon and ras-el-hanout add 15 halved cherry tomatoes with the chicken and thyme. Bake as per the recipe, but do not stir through the coriander or serve with the yoghurt.

Greek-style chicken traybake:
Follow the recipe but instead of the sweet potatoes and carrots, thinly slice 600g/1lb 5oz new potatoes and 2 green peppers and add in step one. Roast for 20 minutes in total and omit step two. In step three, instead of the lemon, ras-el-hanout and thyme add 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, a small bunch of asparagus and 1 tablespoon pitted Kalamata olives with the chicken. Bake as per the recipe, but add 200g/7oz sliced halloumi for the final 10 minutes of cooking and do not stir through the coriander or serve with the yoghurt.

Italian-style chicken traybake:
Follow the recipe but instead of the sweet potatoes and carrots, dice 2 aubergines and peel 2 garlic cloves and add in step one. Roast for 30 minutes in total and omit step two. In step three, instead of the lemon, ras-el-hanout and thyme, add 20 halved cherry tomatoes, 2 teaspoons capers, 1 tablespoon pitted black olives and a drained 400g tin cannellini beans with the chicken. Bake as per the recipe, but tear over fresh basil leaves and do not stir through the coriander or serve with the yoghurt.

Above taken from original idea here

Sweet Potatoes*
Nutritional Profile
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fibre, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.
Blood Sugar Impact
The carbohydrate content in sweet potatoes, (and white potatoes), will result in a blood sugar impact in any serving size and many diabetics choose not to eat them. However, sweet potatoes are naturally more nutrient-dense; so if you do choose to eat them they could be the better option between the two!


~ happy weekend wishes ~

You will find a variety of recipe ideas within this blog, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e., use a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Friday, 17 February 2023

'BMJ: Group programmes for weight loss are more effective than one to one sessions'

Sharing a recent article from Diabetes Diet Blog

"BMJ: Group programmes for weight loss are more effective than one to one sessions

Adapted from BMJ (British Medical Journal) 26 Feb 2022 NIHR Alert

Obesity, world-wide is a growing problem, here in the UK, "around one in four UK adults is living with obesity. Previous research has established that the most effective way to lose weight is through behaviour change with diet and physical activity counselling. It has not been clear whether one to one sessions or group sessions produce the better outcome. Thus a review of 7 studies which included 2,576 participants from the UK, US, Australia, Germany and Spain was done.

The study looked at the outcome of reaching at least a 5% reduction in body weight after a year. This means that a person of 100kg would lose 5kg.

Compared to one to one sessions, people in group sessions:

Lost on average 1.9kg more weight

Were 58% more likely to lose at least 5% of their body weight

Group classes had 12-55 hours treatment time and those in one to one sessions had 2.5 to 11 hours.

The costs of treating people in groups is also lower than one to one sessions. The quality of life of people who are obese would be more likely to improve and their would be fewer cases of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer that all require medical treatment.

NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) are intending to publish revised guidelines on the treatment of obesity in 2023.

Healthcare professionals can now confidently say that group educational programmes are at least if not more effective than one to one sessions when referring or advising patients. Social support in groups and more intensive interventions may account for greater success but for some people eg who are anxious in groups or who need translators, or even just patient preference, will mean that one to one sessions will still need to be offered. Further research into what specific factors improve results would be helpful."

xxx ooo xxx


The above article obviously details weight loss, changing diet and taking exercise.

No matter what our age we should do our best to eat healthily and have regular exercise (which suits the individual). In my younger days I used to enjoy weekly exercise classes at the local gym, and it was enjoyable to be part of a group, a social event as well as a keep fit one!

There are many ways to help keep us fit, from walking groups, to swimming sessions and a friend of mine with mobility problems attends an armchair keep fit session which is done by 'zoom' (how technology has changed things), she really enjoys it.

Have you/do you go to any group exercise classes?
Do you exercise regularly, I know many readers (like me) enjoy walking.
If you are trying to lose weight would you find group sessions, similar to what was described in the article helpful?    
Do please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Related Post
'Exercise for Better Health' - see here

All the best Jan

Thursday, 16 February 2023

Daffodils, such a cheerful flower : Tips on caring for cut daffodils

As regular readers know, this blog brings a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, cartoons, music and recipes! It is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. Our main focus is about the Low Carb Higher (Healthy) Fat lifestyle, LCHF for short, and you can read/find out more about that in this post here

But for something different, today's post is about:-
Daffodils, for many they are the first sign that spring is on its way. Even on a grey day, daffodils make you feel like everything is right with the world. Our local supermarkets and garden centres are full of them with bunches on sale at £1-00 (or thereabouts) ... who can resist not buying a bunch!


Narcissus, the botanical name for daffodils, can be a little tricky to care for, so ...

Here is what you need to know about caring for cut daffodils:

1) Buy your daffodils when they're still a bit closed. They will begin to open after being in the water for a while.

2) Daffodils give off a sap that can be deadly to other flowers. So it's best to arrange them with other daffodils only. Feeling adventurous? Want to include them in a mixed flower arrangement anyway? Then let the daffodils stems soak overnight in cool water to release some of that sap.

3) Partially fill a clean vase with room temperature water. Half way should be good. Daffodils prefer shallow water.

4) Add some of the floral preservative from the little packet. A few shakes, not the whole thing.

5) Stand the daffodils next to the vase to see how long or short you want them to be.

6) Cut each daffodil stem on an angle with a sharp knife or flower shears. When in doubt, cut them longer than you think you actually want them. You can always re-cut them later. If you cut them too short the first time though...

7) Gently remove the protective husks or you can leave them on.

8) Repeat steps 3 - 6 every other day to help the daffodils last longer.

Do you like daffodils?
Words above from original post here

Once you've arranged your daffodils why not sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy
Blueberry Coconut Cake : Low Carb / Keto
This low carb / keto blueberry coconut cake can be made in a cake pan, cast iron skillet-pan or as muffins, (which makes it easy to customize). It’s grain-free, nut-free, sugar-free, and did I mention low carb / keto! What’s more, it's light, airy, and moist. The blueberries and coconut flour pair perfectly in this recipe suggestion. Please see more details here


You will find a variety of recipe ideas within this blog, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e., use a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Energy saving tips : Five ways to cut costs this winter : Plus a warming soup

In the Northern Hemisphere we are in the winter months and many people are struggling with the cost of heating and other home energy bills.

I am sharing snippets of an article that you may find helpful that will help keep costs down. While the actual savings differ for different people, at the end of each section (in the original article) it is explained how the savings figure was worked out.

So here are the five tips:
  • 1. Using the thermostat and timer to take control of your heating settings could save you about £150
  • 2. Reducing your combi boiler flow temperature to 60C could save you about £100  
  • 3. Installing a water-efficient showerhead or having showers in four minutes could save you about £90
  • 4. Turning down radiator valves in less-used rooms could save you about £70
  • 5. Draught-proofing your doors, windows, chimneys and floors could save you up to £215
Please read the article in full here

~ xx oo xx ~

In cooler months soups can be so warming, how about a nice bowl of 
Butternut Squash Soup : The Mary Berry Way


Mary Berry, is one of the best-known and respected cookery writers and broadcasters in the UK. She describes her cooking style as 'family' - practical, healthy recipes that incorporate lots of fresh ingredients.

I am sharing her easy butternut squash soup recipe, it is completely dairy-free! It has added red pepper and ginger, and is deliciously smooth. Roasting the squash, rather than boiling it in a pan, really brings out the flavour in the soup.

For this recipe you will need a 3.5–4 litre/6–7 pint deep-sided saucepan.

Ingredients
Serves Eight (adjust to suit)
1.5kg/3lb 5oz peeled and deseeded butternut squash, cut into 3cm/1¼in cubes (see recipe tip below)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into cubes
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp clear honey (optional)
5cm/2in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
1.5 litres/2½ pints vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve
Many may like to serve this soup with a favourite slice of crusty bread, there are some lower carb choices here
Instructions
more to read here

As regular readers know, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, cartoons, photographs, music and recipes!

However, not all the recipes ideas featured in this blog may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 14 February 2023

E is for EVOO, Eggs Benedict and Eggplant (Aubergine)

Would any of these be your choices? Do you have another dish that would fit 'E is for' ?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

E is for EVOO
EVOO is the shortened name (or acronym) for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
It is important to differentiate between olive oil and EVOO
because extra virgin olive oil meets a strict set of regulations.

EVOO is the purest form of olive oil, with no additives and fruit other than olives.
The olives can only go through washing, decantation, centrifugation, and filtration,
and no further processes.


E is for Eggs Benedict
"What's a classic brunch dish? Eggs Benedict, of course!
Make it low carb / keto by replacing the traditional English muffin with a bed of creamy avocado.
Same poached eggs, smoked salmon, and hollandaise sauce, but none of the carbs.
A fresh, healthy and completely delicious take on an old favourite."
more details/recipe here


E is also for Eggplant
although some readers know it as aubergine
they are full of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.
Grilled aubergine/eggplant and tomato salad
more details/recipe here


You will find a variety of recipe ideas within this blog, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e., use a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

Have you seen the choices for:
'A is for' here and 'B is for' here and 'C is for' here and 'D' is for here

All the best Jan

Monday, 13 February 2023

Happy Valentines Day 2023

Yes, it's (almost) Valentines Day 2023, and I wish you a happy day! "February 14th has become one of the key dates on the commercial calendar, with romantic Brits spending an estimated £1.37 billion on cards and gifts (and Americans as much as $23.9 billion). But behind the commercialisation of Valentine's Day lies a fascinating history that can be traced back to ancient Rome" - 
read more on this older post here


~ Happy Valentines Day ~

and after a delicious low carb Valentine's main course of
Beef Bourguignon
more details here


why not enjoy a
Raspberry Chocolate SoufflĂ© 
Sugar free : Low Carb
more details here


As regular readers know, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, cartoons, photographs, music and recipes!

However, not all the recipes ideas featured in this blog may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 12 February 2023

'How important is diet for a healthy immune system?'

Sharing a snippet from a BBC article 

"How important is diet for a healthy immune system?
In winter, when viruses such as flu are more likely to circulate, there are often claims made that you can boost your immunity by eating particular foods, but do they stack up?

A healthy, balanced diet is important for supporting your immune system. You need sufficient energy and nutrients for the immune system to function properly, and poor nutrition can compromise it. But there is “no individual nutrient, food or supplement that will boost immunity, or stop us getting highly infectious viruses”, says Sarah Stanner, Science Director at the British Nutrition Foundation.

So do you need to make changes to your diet for the sake of your immune health?

Nutrients for immunity

Stanner highlights the following nutrients as important for normal immune function:
  • Vitamin A supports T Cells (a type of white blood cells that identifies pathogens). Your body converts beta carotenes, from foods such as yellow, red and green (leafy) veg, carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers and yellow fruits, into vitamin A. Liver, whole milk and cheese contains retinol, a preformed version of vitamin A.
  • Vitamin B6, B12, folate, selenium and zinc help produce immune cells. Poultry, fish, egg and bananas contain B6. Meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs and fortified foods contain B12. Green vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds are good sources of folate. Brazil nuts, fish, meat and eggs contain selenium, while zinc can be found in meat, shellfish, dairy, bread and cereal products such as wheatgerm.
  • Copper helps protect and fuel immune cells. Nuts, shellfish and offal are good sources.
  • Iron helps immune cells stay healthy. Research shows females aged 11-49 are the most likely group to consume below the recommended amount of iron. Iron can be found in red meat and fish. Plant-based sources of iron (called non-heme iron), including wholegrains, nuts, beans and dried fruits, but aren’t as easily absorbed.
  • Low levels of vitamin D are associated with reduced immune response. Our skin makes vitamin D from the sun, which is why taking a supplement is advised through autumn and winter in the UK. This advice is “not about preventing coronavirus, but for maintaining muscle and bone health”, according to the BNF.
If you think you might be consuming too little (or too much) of a particular nutrient, there is a nutrition calculator on the original post" (link below).

The above is just a snippet from the original BBC article, read it in full with relevant links here

Related Post
Some Reasons To Eat Real Food - read it here


Articles within this blog are provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.

Dear reader, this blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan