The cooking Journal

Posts in 'Nutrition & Food Information'

How You Take Your Vitamins is as Important as What Vitamins to Take
Maximizing absorption and efficacy

Like everything else in our culture, the debate over vitamins is a polarizing one. For every healthcare professional singing their praises, you can find another claiming supplements to be a colossal waste of money.

That hasn’t stopped people from buying in. We brits are spending upwards of 1.5 billion pounds on vitamins, minerals, and other health promoting supplements every year, and it likely to rise by a further 9% in 2022. This not only begs the question, are they worth it, but, are they working?

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Is There a Problem With Fasting?
Why do good things always get ruined?

Fasting is booming. Google Trends indicates that interest in fasting has increased by over 400% since 2004. Both medical experts and self-proclaimed health gurus have jumped on the bandwagon and pretty much all of them praise the benefits of fasting.

The benefits of fasting are many fold, if you fast regularly, your insulin response will dramatically improve, your skin and hair will become stronger, you will leverage the power of a metabolic process called autophagy, and, above all, you will lose weight.  Autophagy is a natural process that occurs as you observe a water fast, that usually kickstarts if fast for longer than 36 hours.  As you fast your body clears out and replaces damaged cell parts with new ones. It has been linked to a long list of potential health benefits. For example, some research suggests that it could limit the development of conditions like cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease (Source: PMC National library of medicine).  Although autophagy occurs constantly within your body, there are several ways to speed the process. These include fasting, exercising, or restricting your calorie intake (3Trusted Source).

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The Gut Health and Alzheimer’s connection
Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia, a condition that is devastating for those affected, their loved ones and their carers. With one in three people born today likely to develop dementia in their lifetime, scientists have been exploring potential links that could help uncover approaches for new treatments. This includes work to better understand the health of our gut and the brain.

The gut is host to a community of bacteria called the intestinal microbiome. The precise make-up of the microbiome differs between individuals, in both the types and quantities of bacteria present. This microbial composition can have far-reaching effects on other parts of our body and emerging evidence is suggesting a relationship with brain health and the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s.

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Why You Need More Protein, the Older You Get
Three ways to keep muscles and bones stronger, for longer

We all want to stay fit and healthy, well into old age. But that’s not going to happen by chance: to maintain physical strength, you need to up your game. That means eating more protein. 

Protein builds muscle and bone. The reason why you need more, the older you get, is that your ability to digest and absorb amino acids — the “building blocks” of protein structures, reduces over time. You need more, just to stay at the same level. 

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How to Pimp up your Porridge
Until very recently, porridge was an old-fashioned stodgy breakfast something you made with oats and water and a pinch of salt. And if you were a Scot, that was it. If you were from south of the border, you might have added milk or cream, sugar and possibly a sliced banana, but that was as wild as it got.


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Everything You Need to Know About Fat and how to Burn It
You could easily be forgiven if you thought that all fats are the same, or that body fat is just that, body fat?  In fact, there are three types of fat .... the technical name is adipose tissue, white, brown, and beige. White adipose tissue (WAT), is an energy-storing organ that enabled survival for longer periods between meals in the hunter-gatherer era.  White fat is widely distributed throughout the body and represents the vast majority of the fat. Excess WAT is a primary cause of inflammation which promotes cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and several cancers.

Brown and beige adipose tissue are very different lumps of lard, which burn rather than store energy. The mitochondria (cellular energy plants) in BAT/beige fat are unharnessed from energy production and generate heat to maintain body temperature through what is called non-shivering thermogenesis during cold exposure.

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My Favourite Herbs for Christmas
I do a lot of cooking over Christmas, usually for family and friends, cooking from scratch and feeding the 5000….  I love it of course and I like the fact that I have time to add my favourite ingredients even if it means nipping out to the garden to find my herbs, often buried in leaves from the autumn fall and sometimes frost or snow, even if it is somewhat chilli!  At this time of year, I feel that whilst I want to achieve great flavours, I also want to ensure I’m using ingredients that have nutritional value to protect us over the cold winter months. Here are some of my favourite herbs for cooking over Christmas.
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The Three Sisters Planting System
This year as a result of lockdown I’ve been able to spend so much more time in the garden and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Whilst doing some plant research, quite by chance I happened to come across a method of planting referred to as ‘The Three Sisters’.  It is a system of planting sweetcorn, beans, and squash together in close proximity. 
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Healthy Comfort Food
Year on year it seems that the minute the nights start drawing in and the temperature drops by a notch or two most of us morph into emergency munching mode. An almost instinctive craving for carb heavy, dense foods grips all but the most stalwart and helps to add a few more pounds to those already gained over the festive period.
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Fancy a Cuppa? What Teas You Should Be Drinking Throughout The Day
According to the UK Tea & Infusions Association us Brits drink 100 million cups of tea a day, or 36 billion a year. In 2010 during the ad break for a dramatic Coronation Street episode the National Grid measured a power surge of 800 megawatts or 300,000 kettles turning on at once. So, suffice to say, we love our tea!
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Too Stressed to Sleep?
In some walks of life talking about how busy we are is almost a badge of honour, an indication of your success, but there is a big difference between being super busy and chronically busy. The latter is just a recipe for disaster when you just feel terribly overwhelmed and constantly under fire. When you can’t escape from stress it can become a physical problem, and may lead to a range of health issues
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Hacks for Making your Food Last Longer
We've put together a few handy hacks to help make your food last longer. From how to store your fruits to how to handle your herbs!
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Banana Bread Smoothie
So this is the perfect smoothie for a happy tummy as bananas are also a digestive aid as well as a mood enhancer due to the serotonin they release in the brain.
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Green Goodness Smoothie- Avocado, Spinach, Mint and More!
This smoothie has it all - healthy fats from the avocado and nutritionally dense spinach with its remarkable abilities to restore energy, reduce oxidative stress and improve the quality of the blood. 
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Oats and Raisin Smoothie- with a sprinkle of cinnamon
Oats contain more soluble fibre than any other grain, thus can slow down the digestion process and provide an extended sensation of fullness. This makes the perfect smoothie for people who want to lose weight.
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Eating to Cope with Viral Infections
Wherever we turn there’s no escaping from the global spectre of COVID-19 casting a shadow over our daily lives. Inasmuch as there’s no known cure for the common cold so it is with all viral infections, medication can at best only alleviate symptoms whilst the immune system fights off the virus.
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Green Strawberry Smoothie!
This smoothie is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, incorporate our strawberry green smoothie into your diet and get fighting fit!
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Clean Green Smoothie!
This smoothie is not only super tasty and refreshing but is also packed full of nutrient dense ingredients. A perfect way to start the day!
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Horlicks is back on the favourites list for tired Millennials – but does it really help you sleep?
On Thursday I was interviewed by Jackie Brambles during her morning show on BBC Radio Scotland, in reaction to a recent article in The Guardian about the rise in popularity of Horlicks after many years of sales decline.If those of you outside of Bonny Scotland who didn’t listen here’s a recap on the salient points and some tips, tricks or hacks on how to get better quality sleep and more of it too.
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The Moody Foodie - Fed up with Feeling Hangry?
It’s that time of year again when many people’s thoughts turn to eating more healthily. Most sensible eating is about commonsense- we know that it’s not good to miss breakfast, eat too many sugary salty snacks or subsist on a diet of convenience food. We also know it’s wise to exercise moderation, eat a good variety of fruit and vegetables, consume less meat and drink plenty of water. What we probably pay less attention to is what’s in a diet- isn’t food just fuel?
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