Today is World Health Day.
It marks an important day in the World Health Organisation (WHO) calendar as it provides a great opportunity to raise public awareness of health around a particular topic or agenda that needs focus.
This year’s ‘hot topic’ is food safety. It’s very easy to forget to take simple measures in the kitchen to protect you and your family but with a little extra care, no-one needs to succumb!
It’s surprisingly easy to pick up a bacteria or parasite just from being less than fastidious about cleanliness in the kitchen. And with the barbeque season coming up, many people may be at risk from eating contaminated food, particularly if it hasn’t been cooked thoroughly, or the food preparation has been less than hygienic.
Here are some simple tips general hygiene and cleanliness in the kitchen avoiding any ‘nasties’ from the WHO:
Five Keys to Safe Food
Wash hands, particularly prior or after food preparation
Especially raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods and use different utensils and chopping boards for food preparation
Be especially careful to cook through meat, poultry, eggs and seafood
It should not be kept at room temperature for longer than two hours
Wash fruits and vegetables before use and select fresh and wholesome foods
Eating in Season: what to eat right now
The last point about selecting fresh and wholesome foods is also important. Specifically, eating foods in season, perhaps from local farmer’s markets, may provide greater nutritional benefit because there have been no nutrients lost through excessive storage and, all those food miles that many have travelled.
Vegetables in season around this time of year are broccoli, specifically purple sprouting broccoli, spinach, watercress and spring onions. Watercress in particular adds a peppery flavour to salads, is a classic soup ingredient, is great in juices and gives carrot-based drinks a lovely bite. Watercress also packs a punch in terms of nutrient content providing high concentrations of vitamin C which helps support immune function and vitamin K needed for healthy bones.
So enjoying foods in season, particularly fruits and vegetables is important, and eating them raw, in salads or juicing is another great way of getting more nutrients into the diet. We should all be aiming for at least five portions of fruit and vegetables daily, which is not always easy to accommodate into people’s busy lives, but juicing is an excellent way of increasing fruit and vegetable intake, whilst retaining most of the nutrient content. Why not whizz up a delicious ‘in season’ juice of one carrot, one to two green apples and four to five branches of broccoli florets? Your liver will love it and so will your immune system!
So, try your best to keep your kitchen germ free as well as remembering to grab some foods of the season – happy eating!