07957 970 784

phone-icon

Book an appointment now

NewLogo homeicon

As an established therapist, I now aim to share my knowledge online. I wish to extend my care beyond those I see in session.

 

My goal is to help, educate and inform to improve the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our wonderful earth.

By Tina Deas, Oct 21 2016 12:46PM

Today's post is all about the wonders of the delicious and creamy Avocado - they can help your mood, improve your skin, and much more!


Although Avocados are technically a large berry with a stone, they are generally used as a vegetable. Native to south central Mexico, there are 4 main varieties of Avocado;- “Hass” with dark knobbly skin, the Ettinger and Fuerte which are smooth skinned and the more spherical Nabal variety. Avocados are sometimes known as a butter pear because of their sumptuous, oily flesh or an alligator pear due to the Hass’s variety’s textured dark skin.


Avocados are a mild and versatile and are the only fruit that provide a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids as well as 20 Vitamins and Minerals. The main benefits they give are:-


Great Skin - If you want smooth and glowing skin, get eating those Avocados! The monounsaturated fats in Avocado help maintain good moisture levels in the epidermal layer of your skin which makes it look and feel toned, soft and healthy. These healthy fats also reduce skin redness and irritation and help to repair damaged skin cells. A good dietary intake of monounsaturated fat can moderate sebum production as well, which helps control acne, blackheads and excessively oily skin. Eating Avocados can protect your skin from wrinkles and other visible signs of aging with its antioxidant Carotenoids. In addition it contains Vitamin E which helps guard against photo-aging from sun exposure and Vitamin C which is involved in the creation of elastin and collagen for maintaining your skin’s elasticity and firmness.


Conception and healthy Pregnancy - Avocado is a particularly important food for women who are trying to conceive or are pregnant, due to its high concentration of Folate (also known as Folic Acid). Doctors advise women to get high amounts of this B Vitamin as it is important for a healthy pregnancy; it is needed to prevent birth defects such as Spina-bifida and to reduce the risk of miscarriage. Just half an Avocado (100g) provides a third of the recommended amount women of childbearing age need to consume each day and a quarter of what a pregnant or breastfeeding mum needs. So fill up a bagel or sandwich for a delicious, creamy and healthy lunch – my personal favourite is to add sundried tomatoes and rocket - mmm!


Mood Boost - Foods containing high levels of Folate may help with low mood and depression as Folate helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance that can impair circulation and delivery of nutrients to the brain. Excess homocysteine can also interfere with the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep and appetite. As a mood-boost, eat a small Avocado every day for a week or so. Otherwise, eat a half or whole avocado several times a week.


Reduce Inflammation and Arthritic Pain - Arthritis is a painful condition characterised by joint inflammation and soreness that many people struggle with. Many common foods like wheat, milk and sugar are known to worsen symptoms but the anti-inflammatory Avocado is one of the few foods consistently reported to alleviate symptoms! The Avocado can reduce inflammation and arthritic pain due to its high levels of monounsaturated fats, Phytosterols, Antioxidants, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and a variety of Carotenoids.


Great for Vision - Avocados contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that are especially concentrated in the tissues in the eyes, where they provide antioxidant protection to help minimize damage, including from ultraviolet light. The healthy fats in Avocados also help to absorb antioxidants such as beta carotene. This means that including Avocados as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of developing age related eye degeneration.

Osteoporosis Prevention - Half of an Avocado provides approximately 25% of the daily-recommended intake for Vitamin K. Vitamin K is often overshadowed by Calcium and Vitamin D when thinking of nutrients for bone health, but Vitamin K is actually extremely important. Eating a diet with the right amount of Vitamin K can support bone health by increasing absorption and retention of Calcium, making your bones stronger.


A great way to enjoy Avocados is in a Guacamole! It only takes a few minutes to knock up -


1. Cut an Avocado in half and remove the skin and stone. Chop the flesh into small cubes and place into a bowl.

2. Add a big squeeze of fresh lime or lime juice and a few pinches of salt.

3. Mash the ingredients together with a fork until combined. Add more lime or salt to taste.

4. Sprinkle some Smoked Paprika or Coriander on top for a little extra flavour.


And voila! Your Guac is ready to be splatted on a slice of toast, spooned onto a chilli or simply enjoyed as a healthy dip for veggies and snacks!


Avocado and Avocado Oil are highly nutritious and adding either to your veggies can dramatically increase the antioxidants and nutrients you absorb from your veg.


So chuck a few slices in your sarnie, smash up a Guacamole or cook up some veggies with Avocado Oil and get your Avocado boost!


- Tina


(Photo by Tabphoto)


By Tina Deas, Oct 1 2016 12:27PM

Until about the 10th century, lemons were used mainly as decorative plants and it wasnt until 11th Century that the lemon plant was brought into Europe during the Crusades.


Lemons’ healthy claim to fame began much later on board the early sailing ships to help treat scurvy. It has been estimated that between the years 1500 and 1800, scurvy killed at least 2 million sailors. Scurvy resulted from a vitamin C deficiency due to months at sea without any fresh produce. Without Vitamin C, collagen cannot be made and the sailors eventually died from bleeding wounds that wouldn’t heal. It was around 1747, that James Lind, a ship’s surgeon found that lemons and oranges were extremely effective at treating the disease.


Today, lemons are rarely consumed as a stand-alone fruit due to their intense sour flavour but they are extremely popular in combination with herbs and spices as they not only give a wonderful and dynamic flavour to many marinades, dips, sauces, salad dressings, deserts and drinks but add nutritional benefit.


Lemons are a great source of vitamin C. The antioxidants found in vitamin C boost our immune system to keep colds and flu at bay and fight the damage caused by free radicals. Our collagen production is reliant on enough vitamin C and is essential in smoothing out lines in the face and keeping your skin looking fresh and younger looking.


So by just adding half a squeezed lemon to your glass of water or making or making it a habit of popping a few slices of lemon into your water can ensure that you reap these benefits.


Because lemon juice’s atomic structure is similar to the digestive juices found in the stomach, it tricks the liver into producing bile, which helps keep food moving through your body and gastrointestinal tract smoothly. Lemon water also helps relieve indigestion or ease an upset stomach.


The acids found in lemon juice also encourage your body to process the good stuff in foods more slowly. This drawn-out absorption means that your insulin levels remain steady and you get more nutrients out of the foods you consume. Better nutrient absorption means less bloating.


Sipping lemon water throughout the day benefits the enzyme functions in your body, stimulating the liver and flushing out toxins. Because it’s a mild diuretic, you might find yourself using the bathroom more often which helps the urinary tract get rid of any unwanted elements and helps detox your body and skin.

When negative-charged ions, like those found in lemons enter your digestive tract the result is an increase of energy, so why not delay your morning cup of coffee or tea and have hot water with lemon to boost your energy levels - without the caffeine crash?


This week's recipie for you is a basic Houmous one. Houmous is a chickpeas based dip originally from the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa but it is now enjoyed around the world. Chickpeas like lentils are a legume and are full of protein, fibre, calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron. Houmous is proof that some of the best tasting things in life are the simplest to make. It can be rustled up with just six ingredients and requires no cooking – only a food processor.


2 x 400g cans of chickpeas (reserve the liquid and a few chickpeas for decoration)

4 tsp tahini

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp crushed sea salt

6 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)

3½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Paprika (optional)

Coriander or parsley leaves (optional)

Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and tip into the food processor. Add the tahini, crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice and seven tablespoons of the reserved liquid from the cans. Turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the oil while it runs.

When the mixture is fully combined and smooth, tip it into a serving dish. Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and decorate with a few whole chickpeas. Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped coriander or parsley leaves, for colour.


Enjoy with chopped peppers, carrots, cucumber for an extra hit of nutrients!


-Tina


(Photo by Tabphoto)





By Tina Deas, Sep 25 2016 12:21PM

Lentils (lens culinaris) originate from Asia and North Africa and are cousins of the pea. One of our oldest sources of food, they grow in pods that contain lens shaped disks which are either sold whole or spilt. Lentils and are a member of the legume family along with chickpeas and beans such as kidney beans, cannellini beans and butter beans to name but a few.


Lentils can be bought dried and are quick and easy to cook. Using lentils that come pre-cooked in tins is great because they will still have retained their nutritional value.


Lentils may be small but nutritionally are a mighty member of the legume family.. They are high in protein, fibre, iron, folate and potassium and magnesium and give us many health benefits.


A Healthy Heart:- Lentils help to reduce cholesterol since they contain high levels of soluble fibre. Lowering your cholesterol levels reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by keeping your arteries clean. Lentils' contribution to heart health also lies in their significant amounts of folate and magnesium. Folate lowers your homocysteine levels, a serious risk factor for heart disease and magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with heart disease, so eating lentils will keep your heart happy!


Digestive health:- Lentils contain both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre. The insoluble fibre found in lentils helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. The magnesium helps to cleanse your bowel of toxins.


Diabetes:- Lentils are so rich in prebiotics that they create a feast for your friendly gut flora which in turn feed you right back with beneficial compounds that relax your stomach and slow the rate at which sugars are absorbed into your system. Stabilizing blood sugar levels is especially helpful for those of you with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycaemia.


Good Protein:- Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein. As 26% of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein this makes them a wonderful source of protein especially for those of you wanting to follow healthy vegetarian and vegan diets.


Increased Energy And Weight Loss:- Lentils increase steady, slow-burning energy due their fibre and complex carbohydrates. Lentils are also a good source of iron which transports oxygen throughout your body and is key to energy production and metabolism. Lentils are also low in calories and contain virtually no fat. There are only 165 calories in 100g of cooked lentils but they still leave you feeling full and satisfied.


Magnesium Boost:- According to Lamberts Healthcare (www.lambertshealthcare.co.uk) who have researched official date "72% of women and 42% of men in the UK fail to consume sufficient dietary magnesium which is largely due to the processing and refining of foods which can remove a large proportion of the magnesium from a food.


Magnesium rich lentils can help with:-

Better Sleep:- The sleep regulating hormone melatonin is disturbed when Magnesium is deficient. Magnesium brings balance and controls stress hormones. Stress and tension are often reasons why people suffer from insomnia in the first place.

Relax The Nervous System:- Serotonin, which relaxes the nervous system and elevates mood, is dependent on Magnesium.

Better flexibility/Less Cramps:- Magnesium loosens tight muscles and is important for flexibility. Without Magnesium, muscles do not relax properly. Low magnesium results in a build up of lactic acid causing cramps.

Bone integrity And Strength:- Magnesium is essential to fix calcium because it stimulates a particular hormone called calcitonin and suppresses a hormone called parathyroid that breaks down bone.

Hydration:- Magnesium is a necessary electrolyte essential for proper hydration.


Cooking Lentils

There are several different varieties:- Green and brown are deal for warm salads, casseroles and stuffing as they tend to retain their shape after cooking. Puy lentils are grey-green lentils grown in the French region of Le Puy, often more expensive than other common cooking varieties but retain their shape and taste after after cooking. Yellow and red split lentils form a rich puree and are therefore superb for thickening dishes or using in caseroles and soups. They are also often cooked with spices to make the Indian side dish called dhal.


My Own Spicy Lentil Soup Recipe


For a very easy, hearty and healty soup with the added nutritional value of turmeric, please see below one of my favourite go-to soup recipes.


Ingredients

6 teaspoons of olive oil

half a teaspoon of cumin seeds

1 red onion chopped

1 clove of garlic crushed

2 carrots peeled and chopped

2 sticks of celery chopped (optional)

half a teaspoon of chilli poweder

half a teaspoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

185 g (6oz) of red lentils - rinsed

1.2 litres of vegetable stock

salt and pepper to season and fresh corriander if desired.


Method


Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds. As soon as seeds begin to pop, add the onion and cook for a few minutes then add the garlic, carrots and celery and cook gently for 10 minutes until soft. Stir in all the spices and cook for a further minute before adding the lentils and give a quick stir. Pour in stock and bring to the boil, partly cover the pan and then simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Puree the soup, return to the pan season with sald and peper and garnish with fresh corriander.


Wonderful!


And if you dont like spices, don't be put off, you can simply leave them and enjoy the soup just seasoned with salt and pepper.


Enjoy


- Tina


(Photo by Tabphoto)


Tina Deas

Tina