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Posts tagged “Vitamins”

Go into any shop selling food – or, more often, food like products rather than real food (!) – and you’re virtually guaranteed to go past a shelf of energy drinks on your way to the till. Or, all too often, conveniently placed within easy reach along with other sugary snacks as you wait for your turn to pay. 
 
Marketed as a quick and easy way to boost energy levels, sales have rocketed in the last few years, with no end in sight. Along with a take away coffee and sugary snack, they’re used by many people to kick start their day instead of breakfast. Or, in the evening, with alcohol to keep going late into the night. And, while we’ve all seen the short term effects of both approaches – although, hopefully, not directly from personal experience (!) – very little thought seems to be given to the long term consequences… 
A couple of weeks ago we waxed lyrical about the joys – and simplicity – of eating with the seasons. Even better, how easy it is to grow things at home, to enjoy straight from your garden or kitchen windowsill. Yes really! If you missed it, click here
 
While people tend to think about all things salad, particularly at this time of year, herbs are just as easy to grow. Even better, you’ll often find pots of them at your local supermarket, if you don’t want to wait (!) or grow your own from seed. Not only do they taste great – and are nothing like their dried counterparts – but have a host of health benefits too. 
 
So, this week, we’re going to take a quick look at three herbs which are used in most kitchens – at some time at least – and are easy to grow. Parsley. Mint. Basil. 
With the recent bout of warm weather, we were very tempted to write about one of our pet subjects this week. And there are no prizes for guessing what it is. Water and the importance of keeping properly hydrated all year round (!). Not just when the weather is hot, although it’s much easier to take the hint at this time of year… 
 
To us it’s very obvious but, from the calls we get from Clients, it seems the message still isn’t getting through. If you need a quick reminder about the importance of water, as well as the signs you may be dehydrated, click here
 
Following on from this is a very common sign of dehydration which also features regularly in calls from Clients at this time of year. Cramp, particularly those excruciating leg cramps which always seem to come on in the middle of the night. Again, if you need a quick reminder, click here
 
Which neatly brings us on to what we’d like to talk about today. True, it’s another of our pet subjects but, as always, there is method in our madness. Yes, really! 
We often talk about the joys of seasonal eating. Enjoying whatever foods are in season right now, however short their season may be. Not only does it mean we’re eating foods when they’re at their natural best – both in terms of flavour and nutrients – but it’s an easy way to eat local, avoiding the dreaded food miles. 
 
We’ve all learnt about this the hard way. Succumbing to those perfect looking out of season fruit and vegetables found in the supermarkets during the Winter, flown in from the other side of the world for our delectation. And then bitterly disappointed to find they’re nothing like those grown locally and enjoyed at their natural time of year… Strawberries are a prime example of this which, sadly, most of us have fallen for at some time or other… 
How things change. A few years ago, Vitamin D was only mentioned in connection with helping maintain healthy bones. Although, as an aside, this is still the case on NHS Direct when we googled it a few days ago… 
 
Moving swiftly on (!), the good news is that the message is finally getting out that Vitamin D does so much more than help support healthy bones. In fact, it’s increasingly becoming clear that it’s just as important as Vitamin C in supporting the Immune System. And much more besides. There’s also been some interesting recent research in connection with the current madness – as well as to winter bugs in general – showing just how important it is. Not only in helping reduce susceptibility, but also in improving the outcome, should the worst happen. More about this later. 
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. 
Mention Adrenal Fatigue to a conventional practitioner and you’ll probably receive a very short answer. That it’s complete rubbish. A myth. How the – often vague – set of symptoms being experienced are probably all in your mind. Oh and there isn’t a specific blood test to diagnose it. Sadly, this isn’t a joke but something we hear all too often from Clients. 
 
At best, another label may be put on the symptoms. Depression. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Glandular Fever (which, ironically, may not show up on a blood test depending on the virus concerned). However, as this means that a deeper underlying cause isn’t identified, any improvement tends to be short term at the best. 
 
Why is this? 
Eating a healthy diet – along with drinking plenty of water – are, to us, such obvious things to do. Not only are they simple, they’re one of the cornerstones of good health. After all, if we don’t put the correct “fuel” in our tanks, how on earth can we expect our bodies to function in the way we would like? 
 
Despite this, many people still seem to find the subject of what to eat completely overwhelming. As a result, they’re all too easily swayed by the latest “scientific discovery” or scare story in the media. Not forgetting the perennially persuasive advertising and confusing labels. “Healthy”, “natural”, “low fat”, “low sugar” and the like. 
 
Given all of this, it’s hardly surprising that many fall back on the offerings of their local shop, whether a supermarket, 24 hour garage or convenience store. But, sadly, there’s always a price to pay, although it may not become apparent for many years – or decades… 
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
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