Tweaklet #43 – Blueberries

Which is your favourite berry?

All berries are a good low-sugar, low calorie option when it comes to a fruit snack. One perhaps gets rather overlooked and that’s the blueberry……..

This tiny dusky purple skinned beauty is, in fact, the most nutritious …..most anti-oxidant rich fruit in the world!

It does many good things from enhancing brain health to keeping your heart strong.

Blueberries are actually another heroic, cape wearing SUPER FOOD! Yep, here’s another superfood alert!

So the antioxidant properties of blueberries mean that they precent cell damage and they also protect against several types of chronic disease, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. That’s to do with having the highest levels of antioxidants but also the profile of them, which includes phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins.

Studies have shown that blueberry extract was able to inhibit the growth and spread of stomach, prostate, intestine and breast cancer cells and
Blueberries provide a whopping 3.6 grams of fibre per cupful, which gives you up to 14 percent of your daily fibre needs and this means it’s great for slow digestion and therefore blueberries are great for helping with weight loss and digestion.

One of the most impressive health benefits of blueberries is its ability to enhance brain health. There have been many studies suggesting that eating blueberries could improve memory and cognition.

So blueberries – delicious, nutritious, fibre rich and low in sugar – you are my first choice for a breakfast smoothie or an afternoon snack.

What a wonderful superfood you are!

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Tweaklet #42 – Lemons

Lemons are one of those things that people swear by. From cleaning pots and polishing furniture to using lemons as a bug spray, they are everyone’s favourite cure-all.

And in fact their use in our diets is very versatile and beneficial. Because they are full of vitamin C and antioxidants, lemons help boost our immune systems and fight inflammation. And we know, don’t we, that inflammation is at the root of so many health issues and diseases.
Fighting rogue cells in the body, like those that form cancer cells, are definitely part of a lemon’s life work.

Lemons also help prevent kidney stones, increase iron absorption and improve the health of your skin.

The interesting thing is that lemons, with their ultra-tart taste, are thought of as very acidic, yet inside our bodies they are highly alkaline, so that means they are great for restoring a healthy balance in our gut.

Perhaps their most impressive benefit is their effect on heart health. Again the high levels of vitamin C make them the most beneficial, out of any fruit or vegetable, in keeping our hearts healthy and strong.

I find the easiest way to include lemons in my diet is with a daily hot water drink with a slice of lemon and grated ginger. I have it before anything else most days. It’s like drinking a cup of absolute goodness and even if the rest of my day’s eating goes horribly wrong, at least I know I’ve given myself a real lemon boost.

So when life gives you lemons……..consider yourself lucky!

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Tweaklet #35 – Fish

I know cooking fish can be a bit divisive!

It can be slimy to handle. When it cooks it can be smelly. Do you buy fresh or frozen and how do you deal with a whole fish?

Don’t worry, I completely understand. I love eating fish and I know healthwise it’s really worthwhile, for all those fabulous omega threes that keep our hearts healthy and stave off cancer and inflammation, but I have to admit I am not the bravest when it comes to dealing with fish.

I’ve got a few tips though about choosing fish and about cooking it so that your hands and your home remain smell-free!

Fish types vary from region to region but a few things are true everywhere.
Firstly, buy from the best source possible as you want to avoid farmed fish.

Generally speaking, farmed fish does not have the same level of nutrients, can cause inflammation and they are often treated with antibiotics which we don’t want to be eating.

When it comes to buying frozen or fresh – fresh is great if you know that it really is fresh. A lot of fish is frozen on the boats these days so arguably frozen could mean fresher. Just do your best to still buy a local fish as a lot of frozen fish travels a very long way and can have been in the deep freeze for many months.

Now to the fun cooking part! If you have some reasonably firm fillets, like salmon or cod or whatever your local robust fish is, you can make a lovely almond crust and bake it in the oven, or wrap each one up in baking paper along with some Asian flavours of garlic and chilli and ginger and a little tamari and bake them in the oven.

Making a light curry is also great for flaky fish. Then for lighter more delicate fish you can dust the fillets with spices and simply pan fry them in a little olive oil or coconut oil.

Of course there are endless options for cooking fish and we’ll do more of that in the cooking series but for now, go on, be brave, and buy some fish!

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Tweaklet #32 Cinnamon – World’s No.1 Spice

Let’s take a look at what is generally referred to as the world’s Number One Spice – cinnamon.

Cinnamon has been used medicinally for thousands of years and in cooking it’s sweet and warming and delicious.  It’s well known for its protective antioxidant properties, but also for being antibacterial, antifungal and anti-diabetic!

Cinnamon actually comes from the oily part of a tree so the popular powdered form is actually tree bark. Interesting huh? And of course, it’s really easy to get and so easy to use, just try to get it from a good source and keep replacing it periodically so that it retains its freshness and potency.

And cinnamon really is potent! As little as half a teaspoon a day can positively affect blood sugar and cholesterol…..digestion and overall immunity.. Cinnamon is also effective in reducing the risk of heart disease……., diabetes……and cancer.

You can keep infections and viruses at bay and maintain healthy brain function through the inclusion of cinnamon in your diet.

When we were talking about cutting out sugar cinnamon is one of the spices that can be a helpful replacement, adding loads of flavour and warmth to food without needing to sweeten it.

Grated fresh cinnamon is great but cinnamon sticks also add real depth of flavour to sweet and savoury dishes or add one to hot water to infuse for a hit of cinnamon tea. Ground cinnamon is wonderful and not just for sprinkling over desserts or oatmeal or yoghurt, it’s also excellent to sprinkle into savoury dishes like soups and stews.

You can also buy cinnamon capsules and as an essential oil.

So, I invite you into the wonderful world of cinnamon and all its medicinal and foodie delights.

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