Cool as a cucumber

Don’t underestimate your new friend in the fridge – the cucumber!  It has numerous health benefits – as well as being something you can slice up and use to relieve tired puffy eyes!  Here are a few more reasons why your cucumber is cool – and not just because you’re keeping it in the fridge:

  • Cucumbers have been found to contain lignans there is continued research into the various health benefits some including how they may assist in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and help to fight cancer
  • Anti inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Contains vitamins B, C and K
  • Contains minerals magnesium, potassium and silicon
  • The fibre in the cucumber aids digestion
  • It’s a hydrating fruit
  • Less than 100 calories
  • Aids weight loss and helps to reduce cholesterol
  • And even aids gum disease as the cucumber juice helps to absorb the acid in your mouth.

If you fancy a change I found some refreshing cucumber drink suggestions on bembu.com: here

Sources: care2.com whfoods.com

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How to be HAPPY!

So with Monday approaching and our weekend coming to an end some of us find our mood sinking.  For those that can wake up in the morning and ‘choose to be happy’ well, more power to you, but there are some of us that think that’s a load of crap!  It got me wondering if there’s any way around it and in keeping with my health kick I wondered:  can diet affect our mood and if so what foods can make us feel happy?

Apparently the answer is YES!! As I like to keep things pretty simple I’ve listed the mood boosters below:

  • calcium (often lower calcium levels in us ladies which doesn’t help our moods so we need to top this up!)
  • chromium
  • folate
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • omega 3 fatty acids
  • vitamin B6
  • vitamin B12
  • vitamin D
  • zinc

Get these into your diet and hopefully you should feel the effects after time – I think it’s worth me trying out so I will keep you posted.  This is the webpage I found with this info that also lists the food where you’ll find these nutrients:  http://greatist.com/happiness/nutrients-boost-mood

Now, for the ladies out there who want to know what I picked up regarding reducing PMS symptoms, I read:

  • limit salt – it reduces bloating;
  • increase B6, Omega 3, calcium, zinc, magnesium (as listed above ‘happy’ foods – in basic terms eat fruit, veg, protein and fibre – avoid fast-food, sugary crap, ready-made meals etc – eat fresh!);
  • avoid alcohol, white flour, caffeine and sugar – they can make symptoms worse;
  • avoid ‘diet’ drinks or sweeteners as they can contain toxins that can have an adverse chemical impact on your brain cells – eek;
  • Get some exercise – even if it’s mild exercise, dance around your room for 10/20mins  – it’s important to get your blood pumping to keep things moving; and
  • stay hydrated – a cup of warm water with half a fresh lemon squeezed in is great for flushing out toxins and an energy booster

I know it can all sound rather dull – I am incorporating these things in my diet and replacing the ‘bad stuff’ but that is not to say I can’t have the ‘bad’ food when I want it.  (I think it’s human nature to want something more as soon as you’re told you can’t have it.)  But what I’m finding is – the more I read and the more I’m eating fresh foods and putting tasty meals / smoothies together (not bland as I assume ‘health’ food to taste) the more I’m actually preferring to eat them over some greasy take-out which I used to eat more frequently than not!

Anyway, ending it there as my Sunday night is almost over!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Source of featured photo: http://www.funelf.net/this-is-my-happy-face/

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates

A bit of a late blog this evening.  After a phone call with my Mum I started researching ways in which food and lifestyle have positive affects on the brain.  Just over a year ago my Mum had an acoustic neuroma tumour removed from her brain, they were unable to remove all of it but enough to prevent it from being life threatening.  Needless to say it shook the family up.  Since the operation there have been various complications, today she told me she is now looking at how to treat Synkinesis/Bells Palsy which has now developed.  One of the suggestions to her was to use Botox – to me this seems incredulous – why would you think that putting poison into your face is actually curing something?  So I have started investigating alternative methods and it’s a long process.

I wanted an answer to a question that popped into my head:
What foods have an affect on the brain and can it be broken down into what part of the brain they affect?

After starting 2015 working on my own personal health choices and what foods I put into my body I have learned many interesting facts about the benefits fresh foods contain and how they can help various parts of the body.  Food also affects hormones produced in the body.  Can I find a link that could show that certain foods included into my Mum’s diet could have a direct beneficial influence on Synkinesis?

In addition to my burning question I have also found (that don’t involve surgery, Botox or drugs) facial nerve physical therapy (not provided on the NHS in her town), acupuncture and of course plenty of water are beneficial but I want to do more research and find more answers.

I will keep on with my search and in the meantime I welcome any advice or information.

(Featured image from: jeffreysterlingmd.com)

8 Amazing Health Benefits of Leeks

Having made a dinner of grilled salmon on a bed of sautéd leeks with other vegetables it got me wondering….are there even any health benefits to leeks?? I picked them up because I know they have a sweet taste and I’m a bit of a sucker for that. In asking my flat mate about the health benefits she didn’t think there was much in it, disgruntled I googled and now happy I came across this great post below!
I shall be eating leeks again!

The leek is a vegetable that belongs, along with onions and garlic, to the genus Allium, however unlike its fellow members, leeks do not form bulbs. The edible part of the leek plant is a bundle of leaf sheaths called the stem or stalk. While leeks may appear unassuming or even boring, they have several health benefits that are similar to those of garlic and onion.leeks

Nutritional Content of Leeks

100 grams of leeks contain about 83g water, 1.5g protein, 14g carbohydrates and minimal fat. Leeks are a source of several vitamins and nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, magnesium and manganese.

Health Benefits of Leeks

1. Fight cancer: Leeks are a good source of allyl sulfides which have been shown to modify certain pathways associated with the growth of tumors.

2. Protects linings of blood vessels: The flavonoid kaempferol which…

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