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Posts tagged “Minerals”

Having waxed lyrical about the joys of apples and pears a couple of weeks ago, this week we’re going to look at some of the veg which are at their best right now. And for the next few months too. True, they’re not as exotic as some of the other produce you can find at your local supermarket, but they provide just the right mix of nutrients needed during the colder months of the year. 
 
So, without further ado, let’s start with one group of veg that doesn’t have the best PR. They’re seen as rather dull and boring, not helped by the traditional tendency of overcooking them. Well, let’s be honest, boiling them for hours until they resemble a grey green sludge in the bottom of the saucepan. In fact there used to be a standing joke that one of them should be put on to boil in November to be ready for a certain day in December… 
 
Have you guessed what we’re talking about yet? 
It’s amazing how the seasons suddenly seem to turn and this year is no exception. We may only be at the beginning of October, but it feels as though Autumn is well upon us, due in large part to the recent storms and torrential rainfall. 
 
Despite the signs of the winter to come, there are still lots of local goodies to enjoy at this time of year. While the blackberries may now be over, rosehips and sloes are coming into their own, with good crops of both to be found in the hedges if you’re quick. For a reminder about their many uses, as well as the joys of foraging, click here
 
However, it’s some other fruits which are at their best at this time of year that we’d like to talk about this week. They’re the ones found in just about every fruit bowl, all year round, which is probably why we take them so much for granted. But, as with any fruit in season and freshly picked, there’s nothing to beat them. 
With a distinctly autumnal feeling in the air – and we’re not even going to mention the torrential rain of the past couple of weeks (!) - it’s not surprising that many people start taking supplements at this time of year. A bit like taking out an insurance policy for the winter ahead. 
 
It’s made even easier these days, with a huge range available in supermarkets and high street chemists, let alone your local health food store or online. Just pop a bottle – or two (!) – in your basket and you’re covered for the winter … 
 
Unfortunately, there’s a trap waiting to catch the unwary, particularly those on a budget or who focus on quantity rather than quality. It’s a topic we covered a while ago, particularly whether supplements really are a necessary part of modern life, which can be found here
A couple of weeks ago we looked at all the easy things you could do to help make this a bug free winter. Getting the basics right. 
 
But what if, despite all your best efforts, the worst happens? Well, all is not lost. There are lots of things you can easily do at home to help speed bugs on their way. 
 
Let’s start with the most obvious one that most people seem to overlook. 
With a real nip in the air for the last few mornings and everyone back at school or work – grown ups as well as children (!) – this week we’re looking ahead to the autumn. Not only to glorious September days – where it’s too nice to be indoors (!) – but also to the less welcome start of the Colds and Flu season. 
 
And, yes, we can hear a collective groan at the mere mention of another winter. Let alone the start of another school – or work (!) – year. But, please, bear with us there’s a very good reason for us mentioning it now. 
 
There are so many simple things you can do now that will pay dividends later. Not only in avoiding the lurgies doing the rounds but also to improve your overall health. As so often is the case, if you get these right then everything else falls into place. 
We often talk about the benefits – and delights (!) – of eating fresh fruits and vegetables when they’re at their very best. In other words, in season – eaten at the time of year nature intended – AND locally produced, so they reach our plates fresh from the field – or garden (!). 
 
It’s no accident that the starchy, more satisfying, root vegetables are at their best in the cooler months of the year. Nor that salads and berries come into their own right now. Each provides exactly the right nutrients needed by our bodies at the time of year they’re naturally ready to eat. 
 
For example, root vegetables are rich in carbohydrates to help maintain energy levels – and keep us warm – during the winter months. They also provide good levels of Vitamins A, C and E, to support the Immune Systems and so avoid the winter bugs. 
 
By contrast, salads and berries have a much higher water content, helping replace the water lost as sweat during the warmer summer months. Added to this they also contain high levels of magnesium and potassium to help replace that lost in sweat – and so prevent the dreaded night cramps… 
 
So, this week, let’s celebrate a vegetable – that’s strictly a fruit – which is coming into its best right now. Even better, it produces a prolific crop right through till the Autumn. If you don’t grow them yourself, you’re guaranteed to have local gardening friends giving them away. Or, at worst, people selling them at their garden gates for a fraction of that charged by your local supermarket. 
While chicken has been considered a healthy source of protein for years, eggs have received a much less favourable press. This is largely due to a simple misconception which we regularly hear from clients. That eggs are high in cholesterol and saturated fats, so promoting heart disease. If not avoided, they should only be eaten occasionally. 
 
Not surprisingly, this has led to a variety of different advice about limiting their consumption. These range from avoiding eggs altogether or, at the very most, eating no more than three eggs a week. As an aside, while doing a little research for this post, we were intrigued to come across the recommendation to only consume a quarter of an egg a week. Exactly how this would work in practice, we have no idea! 
Over the last few winters, there’s been a marked increase in the number of chest infections, particularly Bronchitis and Pneumonia. While many different causes have been suggested for this – colder, damp winters and changes in the bugs doing the rounds being the most common – as yet there’s no definitive answer. 
 
Like many conditions with similar symptoms – such as Sprains and Strains, Dementia and Alzheimer’s – they’re easy to confuse. However, if you know what to look for, they are quite different. So, this week, let’s take a closer look at them. 
It’s now estimated that 8 out of 10 adults will experience back problems at some time during their lives. This is borne out by our experience, with David having treated more people with back – or neck – problems than anything else. 
 
Given this, it’s not surprising that there are so many conflicting pieces of advice about what causes back pain and, more importantly, how to relieve it. Sadly, many of these fall into the “Old Wives tales” category – or myths if you prefer (!) – and only prolong the problem, rather than helping speed it on its way. 
 
So, this week, we’re going to put those we hear most often under the spotlight and see if they’re really true. 
A couple of weeks ago we looked at the difference between minerals and vitamins. How important they BOTH are to good health and the complex web of relationships between them. 
 
As promised this week we’re focussing on one mineral in particular, magnesium, which has been the subject of much research in recent years. Interestingly, this has highlighted the large number of people who are deficient in this mineral AND the part this then plays in many health problems. It has also emphasised, once again, the part played by poor ongoing lifestyle choices. And they’re the ones we mention regularly – lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, dehydration, stress, lack of exercise and smoking. 
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