Smile! Five nutrients for healthy teeth and gums.

‘Smile and the whole world smiles with you’.  A smile goes a long way in life and it’s even better if you have beautiful, healthy teeth.  Whatever age you are, it’s never too late to look after your teeth and gums.  And, as with so many aspects of health, it’s all underpinned by good nutrition.

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, provides her five top tips for keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top condition.

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GET ENOUGH CALCIUM

The mineral calcium, which is the most abundant in the body, is the most important one in terms of teeth health, right from birth and throughout life.  If you’ve had a good start, and you and your children received sufficient calcium in the womb, then that’s always going to be beneficial.  However it’s never too late, and having sufficient calcium in the diet throughout life is going to help maintain strong teeth.

Milk and dairy products are great in terms of calcium content, but if you can’t tolerate dairy or choose not to eat dairy products there are alternatives. Think green leafy vegetables, other calcium-enriched milks such as almond or coconut, sesame seeds and bony fish such as sardines.

It’s worth bearing in mind that too much stress can create acidity throughout the whole body which in turn can cause you to lose calcium.  So find ways of reducing your stress levels; yoga, meditation, a lunch time walk away from your desk – whatever helps you to unwind.

ADD SOME SUNSHINE

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it’s produced on the skin in the presence of sunshine.  So, with the summer upon us, make sure you try to get 10-15 minutes each day in the sun without any sunscreen.

Vitamin D is essential for metabolising calcium; they’re inseparable nutrients and your teeth certainly needs sufficient of both nutrients throughout life.  As with calcium, bony fish is a great source of vitamin D, as is, to some extent, milk.

Even though the body can store vitamin D, it would seem that a very large percentage of the UK population are deficient and our requirements for this vitamin are much higher than originally thought.  Therefore, the Department of Health recommends supplementation for everyone throughout the winter months but it would also be prudent to continue supplementing all year round.

VITAMIN C IS KEY!

Vitamin C is probably the most well-known of all vitamins; it’s also one of the most hardworking!  There is often some confusion around vitamin C and how it impacts teeth and gum health, primarily because it’s acidic and too much acid can attack tooth enamel. However, vitamin C is also essential for healthy and strong gums.

If gums are weak, teeth can become wobbly and may eventually fall out.  Therefore, the advice is to eat plenty of vegetables, particularly peppers, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts which are high in vitamin C, but also some fruits such as the berry fruits which are high in vitamin C but lower in acid.  Try to avoid fruit juices such as orange juice for breakfast as this coats the teeth with acid. Additionally, don’t brush your teeth for at least an hour after eating fruit.

EAT MORE MAGNESIUM

Whilst calcium tends to get all the acclaim when it comes to teeth health, the mineral magnesium is also important.  This is primarily because magnesium is key in the formation of teeth as well as bones.  Indeed, magnesium and calcium need to be in balance to work at their optimum levels; over-calcification within the body can lead to other problems such as hardening of the artery walls.

The good news is that green leafy vegetables that are high in vitamin C are also high in magnesium; yoghurt and almonds are also high in calcium are magnesium!  It makes dietary choices a whole lot easier.

CoQ10 HELPS SUPPORT GUMS

Healthy gums are as much an essential part of a healthy mouth as healthy teeth.  Compromised gingival (gum) irritations and infections can eventually lead to loss of teeth so gums need to be properly cared for.

Having a balanced diet is key for having a well-nourished and good-working body, including the gums. One often over-looked nutrient is CoQ10.  It is naturally found in the body and functions as a key antioxidant.  However, its production diminishes with age: people taking statin medications are also often deficient.

It is found in many foods such as spinach, broccoli, sardines and mackerel.  However, because it’s so key in gum health, it might be worth considering a CoQ10 supplement of at least 30 milligrams daily.

So there are some easy ways to ensure you’re grinning with confidence (and strong, healthy teeth and gums) by getting the right nutrition. Keep on smiling!

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Nut alternatives: don’t go nuts if you can’t eat nuts!

Allergies and severe reactions to eating tree nuts and peanuts appear to becoming increasingly common.  UK government figures suggest that as many as 1 in 70 children in the UK suffer from peanut allergies.  However there are lots of delicious alternatives if you’re unable to eat them.

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares some of her suggestions.

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Peanuts and tree nuts are actually two different types of foods. Peanuts are not actually nuts but are classed as legumes or ground nuts, like soya beans.  Other nuts such as pistachios, almonds, cashews, walnuts and Brazils are known as tree nuts.  However, both types can cause serious reactions in those that are affected, and definitely need to be avoided in the diet if that’s the case.

Whilst peanuts are a great source of protein, particularly for vegetarians, they don’t contain the benefits of the essential fats; peanuts contain saturated fat rather than the healthier polyunsaturated fats found in tree nuts.

However, if you can’t eat peanuts or tree nuts there are plenty of alternatives that you can substitute into your diet and still retain the great health benefits they provide.

STIR FRIES WITH A DIFFERENCE

Cashew nuts are often used in stir fries, but the good thing is there are no fixed rules when it comes to what goes into a stir fry! If you’ve used cashew nuts to fulfill part of your daily protein needs in the past, then tofu can be a great alternative.  Although tofu has very little natural taste, when added to stir fries containing spices such as garlic and ginger, then it comes alive!  Tofu is also a great source of calcium (just like cashews) so you’ll not be losing out on any nutrients by switching.

Colour variety and texture is the order of the day with stir fries, so add as many vegetables as you can. Throwing together mange tout, baby corn, peppers, onions, chopped broccoli, mushroom and courgettes alongside your tofu will provide a quick and thoroughly healthy main meal – it also works well cold for lunch the next day!

DON’T MISS OUT ON SELENIUM

Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of the mineral selenium – a very important antioxidant nutrient which is great for the hair, skin and nails.  However, selenium is much depleted in the Western diet, partly due to the amount of refined foods that are eaten, and so Brazil nuts have become a popular choice for many.

So where can you get your selenium from? Non-refined grains such as brown rice, pearl barley, oatmeal, whole wheat bread and quinoa are all high in selenium.  In fact all whole grains, rather than refined ones such as white rice and pasta, are good choices.  All of these can be easily and quickly added to the daily diet in the form of pasta dishes, brown rice accompaniments to stir fries or curries, or adding quinoa to some roasted vegetables and goat’s cheese.

RAMP UP THE OMEGA-3’S

Walnuts contain some of the highest amounts of omega-3 fats of all plant sources.  It’s important to get the anti-inflammatory omega-3s into our diets because they help manage inflammation throughout the whole body.  They also improve blood flow, joint health, brain function and the skin.  Athletes need to eat plenty of omega-3s to help to fight joint pain and inflammation after intense exercise.  However, if you’re not able to eat walnuts, don’t despair; there are some really healthy plant- based alternatives, namely seeds of all kinds!

Pumpkin seeds are especially delicious – you could even try pumpkin seed butter. Flaxseeds can easily be sprinkled over cereals and porridge and are really pleasant-tasting. Chia seeds are great added to your acai berry fruit bowl.

Alternatively, hemp seeds are real winners. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of both omega-3s and omega-6 fats as well as protein plus they contain no cholesterol making them really heart-healthy.  Again athletes love them because they’re a power super food and they’re great as part of a protein bar recipe.  Just add cocoa powder, chia and pumpkin seeds, coconut butter and dates and you’ll have yourself a wonderful, nut-free, on the go snack and post-workout recovery bar.

So, don’t despair if you’re unable to eat nuts; there are so many alternatives which are just as tasty and healthy and ensure you’re not missing out on those essential nutrients.

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Boost your creativity in the kitchen with these seven unusual ingredients!

It’s the weekly dilemma… what to eat!  Time pressures, lack of enthusiasm or the fact that we like routine, often means we rotate the same dishes week in and week out.  However, with a little more planning and an injection of new ideas, you can rev up your weekly menus and grab some serious health benefits in the bargain.

Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer shares seven unusual ingredients that will tempt your taste buds and give your health a boost!

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NIGELLA SEEDS

Rumour has it that nigella seeds were once found in Tutankhamun’s tomb in ancient Egypt.  Obviously this is difficult to prove but we do understand they are one of the oldest spices known to man!

Nigella seeds are black and their taste is like a combination of onions, black pepper and oregano.  They are perfect added to curries and stews and are a great alternative to pepper with vegetables and salads. Additionally, they make a great flavouring to home-made breads.

Whilst nothing has officially been proven in terms of their health benefits, nigella seeds appear to help reduce blood pressure and blood fat levels, including cholesterol.

When you’re walking for long stretches at a time, energy levels can become depleted quite quickly, particularly if you’re tackling some challenging inclines. Therefore, what’s needed is quick energy-boosting or high glycaemic foods; these are foods that help the body to break down our preferred fuel, glucose, for readily available energy.

SEA VEGETABLES

Whilst many people have heard of sea vegetables, there is confusion around what to do with them and where to find them. They are becoming increasingly popular, not least because their many health benefits are finally being acknowledged.

There are literally hundreds of varieties of sea vegetables but the most common ones are kombu, nori, kelp and dulse. They are all packed with iodine which is essential for thyroid function and is often depleted in the Western diet. They also contain a wealth of other minerals and some vitamins, plus they contain antioxidants which boost the immune system as well as protecting the body from free radicals.

The easiest and tastiest way to eat sea vegetables is added to soups and stews.  They are fairly salty so you won’t need any additional salt and they can be found in most supermarkets.

STAR ANISE

As the name suggests, star anise looks just like an eight pointed star (almost too pretty to eat!)  It is widely used in Chinese cooking and is, in fact, one of the spices in five-spice blends.  As with all spices, star anise contains numerous potential health benefits: it has been used to treat everything from bacterial infections to back pain to stomach upsets.  Without doubt, it will promote better health.

It is used in many Chinese dishes but also packs a real punch when added whole to slow-cook casseroles.

CARAWAY SEEDS

Caraway seeds are actually from the same family as star anise and provide the same strongly aromatic flavours.  They have been used traditionally to relieve flatulence, colic and bronchitis but generally they are used for digestive upsets.

Caraway seeds are very versatile in many recipes but work particularly well in soups such as spicy roasted parsnip or butternut squash.  They also work well in combination with other spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg.

As with all spices, you’ll be grabbing some health benefits as well as some taste benefits!

SOBA NOODLES

Soba noodles are the Japanese equivalent of buckwheat noodles which means they are gluten-free and make a great alternative to pasta or other types of noodles. They contain almost zero fat but provide some additional calories when you need to bulk up a soup or casserole.  They are fabulous just added to a stir-fry dish alongside chicken, mangetout, soy and red chilli, or as equally fabulous served chilled with a dipping sauce.

As soba noodles are relatively low in protein and very low in fat this means that they are fairly high on the glycaemic index which means they can provide an unwanted insulin spike. Because of this, they are much better eaten with some good quality protein such as beef, chicken, fish or eggs.

REISHI MUSHROOMS

There are so many varieties of mushrooms but some provide better health benefits than others.  Enter reishi mushrooms also known as red reishi or lingzhi mushrooms.  They have been eaten for thousands of years in Asian countries but are now widely eaten around the world; interestingly, reishi mushrooms are eaten more for their health benefits than their taste as they tend to be slightly bitter.

They are particularly prized for their apparent anti-aging properties and for their benefits to the immune system.  They also help to detoxify the liver, protect the body against cognitive decline, reduce blood pressure and boost energy – quite a list! Reishi mushrooms are best added to dishes with strong flavours such as stir fries – you’ll benefit from their wonderful health benefits, whilst masking their slightly bitter taste.

HEMP PROTEIN

Just to put to rest any confusion around hemp, hemp is not cannabis – they just come from the same plant species – and that’s where the similarities end!  Hemp is a great source of vegetarian and vegan protein and it actually contains all the essential amino acids, which is very unusual for a plant-based protein.  It’s got a slightly nutty tasting and can be used in many dishes such as breads, cookies, cakes, smoothies and even pasta!

Hemp pasta is readily available in dried form and can be used in exactly the same way as ‘normal’ pasta.  Hemp is generally mixed with durum wheat flour to produce the pasta which provides a high protein, high fibre dish that’s packed with healthy omega-6 fatty acids together with some omega-3s.

So, with a few unusual ingredients, you can add some wonderful new flavours, textures and nutrients to your daily diet!  Enjoy!

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Boost your hikes with these top energising trail snacks

With the onset of warmer weather, our thoughts turn to the great outdoors!  There are so many activities to be enjoyed outside during the summer months and walking and hiking are becoming increasingly popular.  But what food should you take on your hike, to keep your energy up and those legs moving?

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares her five top energising and portable snacks to keep you going on the trails all day.

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When you’re walking for long stretches at a time, energy levels can become depleted quite quickly, particularly if you’re tackling some challenging inclines. Therefore, what’s needed is quick energy-boosting or high glycaemic foods; these are foods that help the body to break down our preferred fuel, glucose, for readily available energy.

Here are 5 of my top go-to snacks for walking, hiking and trail-blazing!

BAGEL AND JAM

A white bagel provides a dense source of energy which can be quickly accessed by the body without delivering a high fat content. Whilst the body can use fat as a fuel source, it takes much longer to be converted and delivered to the muscles where it’s mostly needed.

Jam of course has a high sugar content, which makes it a very usable short-term energy fix.  Even better, bagels and jam require no refrigeration and are light and easy to carry in a back-pack.

DRIED FRUIT

If you’re out trekking all day and maybe walking at altitude for some of the time, the body actually burns up carbohydrates a lot more quickly than in normal circumstances – so you’ll find yourself feeling super-hungry. Whilst eating lots of dried fruit is not to be recommended too often, it’s actually a great snack when you’re in need of some quick fuel.

You can choose whichever fruit you most enjoy.  Raisins, for example, are also a great source of iron which many people, especially women, are lacking, and iron is good at boosting energy levels. Dried apples, as an alternative, will provide a small amount of vitamin C and dried apricots are high in heart-friendly potassium.  The choice is yours – why not mix with a handful of your favourite nuts and create your own trail mix?

BANANA

Keeping the body fuelled whilst walking or hiking for long periods is essential for maximum enjoyment of the day. However, large quantities of food are not needed and in fact can cause digestive upsets (not great if you’re on a long walk!)

Bananas fit the bill perfectly; they’re very portable, they relieve hunger pangs quickly and they provide an energy boost plus additional vitamins and minerals to top up the body’s normal daily requirements.

However, it’s probably best not to consume more than one during the day as they’re high in fibre and may cause bloating.

MUESLI BARS

For many people, muesli is their favourite cereal.  Therefore, being able to take a muesli snack bar out for the day represents a real treat!  Whilst these bars contain quite high amounts of sugar, and are not recommended on a daily basis, they are perfect for this type of exercise.

Even better, why not make up your own bars using honey, caster sugar, butter, some rolled oats, sultanas, dried apricots and some mixed seeds (such as pumpkin seeds)?  They’re totally delicious and also contain some excellent nutrients: oats are great for reducing cholesterol levels, and pumpkin seeds are a good source of healthy omega-3 fats which are great for the heart, joints and brain.

Bring a few to share and everyone will love you on the mountain!

SPORTS BARS

There are an array of sports bars in the supermarkets and specialist sports shops, but which one to choose?  They all have their own merits but one of the biggest problems with sports bars is that they often contain chemical sweeteners, such as aspartame.  These types of sweeteners are not great for us because they are chemicals, plus many people get digestive upsets and bloating when eating foods containing high levels of sweeteners.

So when choosing a sports bar look for one that’s high in carbohydrates but be sure to check what else is in it before purchasing.  There are plenty of options that use natural sweeteners, particularly if you look in health food stores, and they’ll still keep you well energised throughout the day.

DON’T FORGET TO HYDRATE

Most importantly, don’t forget to take plenty of fluid with you – at least 2 litres if you’re out all day or tackling a more strenuous hike. The body also re-hydrates more quickly if you add a little fruit juice to your water rather than just drinking it plain, so why not take one bottle with water and fruit juice, and one without?

So get out there and enjoy your summer walks to their fullest, and with the right snacks you won’t be flagging up those challenging hills!

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Vegetarian protein: everything you need to know

 

A growing number of Britons are cutting meat from their diets and looking to fruits, vegetables, nuts and other plant-based foods for healthier dietary options.  Whilst this may be considered a healthier way of eating, vegetarians need to keep a close eye on protein intake.

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares some top tips for upping your protein intake the vegetarian way.

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VEGETARIAN VS. PESCATARIAN VS. VEGAN

Vegetarians eat all plant-based food, plus eggs and dairy produce and of course don’t eat any white or red meat.  Some vegetarians do eat fish which is known as a pescatarian diet.  Vegans eat only foods from plant origins – no dairy.

WHAT IS PROTEIN?

Much of the body is made up of protein or uses protein to function. It builds body tissue, including muscle and it can be used as an energy source. It helps build hormones, forms antibodies within the immune system and helps to maintain the essential fluid balance in cells, to name just some of its most important functions.

Protein is made up of amino acids; there are eight essential ones which the body cannot make, and therefore need to be eaten in the daily diet in adequate amounts.  Animal sources, including fish, generally contain all the amino acids essential for life, whereas plant sources (except soya and hemp), need to be combined to ensure adequate needs are met. Combining rice with beans is a great way of obtaining all the essential amino acids.

The body will make protein only as long as it has sufficient levels of all the amino acids stored up.  When one amino acid is deficient, our bodies are unable to produce most proteins; in this case, either muscle protein will be broken down or our metabolism will use protein for energy.

WHAT ABOUT VEGETARIAN PROTEIN?

Whilst we know that beans and nuts aren’t complete sources of protein, we also know that humans don’t need to eat all the essential amino acids at every meal.  For vegetarians this means that whilst combining vegetarian sources is the way to go to ensure adequate protein intake, this doesn’t need to be done at every meal.

Quinoa is an amazing grain that looks a little like couscous but has a much better nutrient profile.  It’s high in protein at around eight grams per serving when cooked, and it’s also packed full of iron and other essential trace minerals.  You can use it like rice but why not just add some roasted vegetables, using as many colours as you can find, and you’ve got a great evening meal.  It will also make an excellent cold lunch on-the-go the next day.

Soy is pretty much a complete protein; it’s a little low in a couple of amino acids but it fares much better than other beans.  Ideally try to use the fermented soya sources such as tofu, tempeh or natto.  Tofu doesn’t have much natural taste but it’s easy to add to smoothies for an additional protein source or can be included in stir fries where it will take on the other strong flavours in the pan, such as garlic or ginger.

Rice and beans tend to make up a large percentage of the vegetarian diet and when combined they provide all the essential amino acids.  Plus don’t forget chickpeas (think delicious hummus with some crudités) and lentils which can be added to soups or stews and substituted for meat in a chill con carne (perhaps with some soya mince).

Nuts and seeds are also great protein sources; if you’re stuck for an energy-boosting breakfast on the run, then nut butters such as cashew, almond or pumpkin are great to spread onto oatcakes or wholemeal bread and help keep blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day.

And finally, one other great source of protein is hemp.  It has an excellent nutrient profile including some essential omega-3 fats.  For those people who need a little extra boost, then it can be bought in powdered form and added to smoothies; this also makes a great recovery drink after a work-out.

And finally let’s not forget dairy and eggs – these provide endless meal possibilities and good levels of protein.

WHAT ELSE IS IMPORTANT FOR VEGETARIANS TO CONSIDER?

As well as protein, it’s worth acknowledging some other potential nutrient deficiencies that may occur with the vegetarian diet.

Although some essential minerals and vitamins are more readily available from meat or fish sources, a balanced diet should provide a vegetarian (although maybe not a vegan) with all the nutrients they need.  Care just needs to be taken to ensure adequate iron intake, as the most bio-available form is found in red meat. Vitamin B12 is also only available in animal sources, so some vegetarians and vegans may like to consider supplementation of these two nutrients.

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In-season: the wonders of asparagus

English asparagus has just come into season and is delicious.  Rich in many nutrients, it is a very versatile vegetable whether boiled, steamed, roasted, cooked on the barbeque or grilled.  Plus, there’s no shortage of foods it can be combined with.

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, gives us the reasons why asparagus should be on your weekly shopping list!

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Asparagus is a spring vegetable with the most edible part being the tips.  It is often more expensive than some other vegetables, even when in season, because of the work taken to harvest it and the fact that its natural season is very short.

 

As with many fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, asparagus was used in traditional folk medicine to treat a number of symptoms, especially inflammatory conditions.  Whilst it’s no longer part of your GP’s medicine chest, asparagus remains a very good source of fibre to keep the bowels healthy and is also a natural diuretic which could help with water retention: it also helps liver detoxification so might be well-chosen for a hangover cure.  Even better, it feeds the good bacteria in the digestive tract, helping to stop bloating, boost immunity and promote healthy skin.

There’s just one little downside; after eating, our urine does acquire a rather strange smell and this comes from the amino acid, arginine.  However, it’s not a prolonged side effect and it also means that asparagus contains some protein, which is another plus!

NUTRIENT PROFILE

Asparagus is rich in folate – the food-form of folic acid – which is great for energy and producing healthy red blood cells; a 100 g portion of asparagus provides around three-quarters of the body’s requirement for folate each day.  It’s high in vitamins C and E which help to boost the immune system, together with beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body – also great for immunity.

Asparagus is also high in vitamin K which is needed for effective blood clotting, strong bones and a healthy heart. As if that weren’t enough, asparagus also contains the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, iodine and zinc.  Minerals in general are often deficient in the daily diet, purely because they are not present in highly refined foods which tend to make up a large percentage of the typical Western diet. So in this respect asparagus really is a mineral star!

ASPARAGUS MEAL IDEAS

Asparagus is delicious lightly steamed and served with some hollandaise sauce.  This can either be made from scratch using egg yolks, lemon juice, mayonnaise and a little cream or the shop-bought versions are generally really good.  Even better, it’s on many restaurant menus, so enjoy it as a starter.

Another really easy way with asparagus is lightly roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt, pepper and garlic. Or why not try roasted and tossed with some parmesan cheese, or sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Asparagus works particularly well with eggs.  It’s great steamed and topped with a lightly boiled egg as a starter or as part of a salad with egg, avocado, peppers and spinach leaves.

For the more adventurous, it’s delicious in one-pot dishes such as chicken thighs roasted with garlic and rosemary, in a soup with peas, or in a stir fry with anything you fancy!

So catch asparagus while it’s in season right now; the taste and texture won’t be better!

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Start the day the right way: 5 top breakfasts

 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you start your morning with the right fuel, you’re much more likely to sustain energy levels throughout the day, stay alert and focussed, and successfully manage your weight longer term.

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares her five top breakfasts for the healthiest start to the day.

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WARMING PORRIDGE WITH BLUEBERRIES

Even though winter is more or less behind us, porridge is still one of the best breakfasts all year round.

Ideally choose whole grain oats because these are filled with fibre to keep the bowels moving.  Whole grains are unrefined, which means they are packed with nutrients, particularly energising B vitamins.  Oats naturally contain beta-glucans which help to keep blood sugar levels balanced (which is one of the reasons eating porridge helps to keep your energy sustained).  If you have high cholesterol beta-glucans are also very beneficial as they are known to help reduce levels.  To finish off, just add some blueberries or fruit of your choice.

Alternatively, for people who find oats rather hard to digest, then here’s a wonderful and quick solution; soak the oats overnight in either some dairy-free milk or dairy-free yoghurt – they’re delicious the next morning, plus they’re really portable.  Add any fruit or topping of your choice and you’ve a wonderful on-the-run, healthy breakfast.

HIGH PROTEIN QUINOA WITH DELICIOUS SPICES

As a change to traditional porridge, quinoa makes a wonderfully filling and sustaining breakfast; quinoa is naturally high in amino acids so it will keep your energy levels even throughout the day.  It’s also a great source of fibre so will rev up your digestive system, particularly if it’s feeling sluggish after the winter months.

Put the quinoa in a saucepan with either some cow’s milk or almond milk and water and cook the quinoa for around 30 minutes. After 15 minutes add some flavourings of your choice; cinnamon, vanilla essence and orange zest work particularly well.  You can also add a little honey to taste, or  fruit, whilst sprinkling some pumpkin seeds or nuts over the top which will give you some added flavour, as well as some healthy omega 3s!

TASTY BREAKFAST OMELETTES

Any egg-based breakfast is always a great choice; eggs are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin D, and a high protein breakfast will keep you feeling fuller for longer.

There are plenty of omelette fillings to choose from, but tomatoes, mushrooms, red peppers and onions are all good choices.  Just gently fry your chosen filling with a little olive oil.  Meanwhile, beat up a couple of eggs with two tablespoons of milk and pour into the pan.  Add some mixed herbs to serve if desired and you’ve got a winning breakfast!

NOURISHING BAKED BEANS ON TOAST

When time is short, this is a great quick and healthy breakfast option.  Plus, it’s great for kids if you’re having trouble getting them to eat a proper breakfast; baked beans will seem like a real treat at breakfast time!

Baked beans contain protein as well as low-glycaemic carbohydrates, meaning the energy will be released more slowly.  Plus they’re also a good source of immune-boosting vitamins A and C, together with calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Always go for beans without added sugar if you can.

Serve the baked beans on wholemeal brown or rye toast for some additional energy-giving B vitamins and you’ve got a great and quick breakfast all the family will love!

POWER-PACKED SCRAMBLED EGG WITH AVOCADO

Many people shy away from eating avocados and this is partly because they’re fairly high in fat.  However, what’s important to know is that they contain good levels of heart-loving monounsaturated fats.  And don’t forget fat is not always the enemy; we need a certain amount for energy and to keep our metabolism functioning well.

Avocados are also high in vitamin E which is great for the skin; you’ll often see avocado on the ingredient list of home-made face masks.

Avocados work really well with eggs, and this breakfast combination is definitely going to sustain you right up until lunchtime without feeling the need to snack. This is a great ‘power’ breakfast and if you want to add a slice of toast of your choice plus a few baby tomatoes or smoked salmon for even more nutrients, then go right ahead!

So make your breakfast fit for a king and you’ll notice just how much better your feel all day long!

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