5 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating More Greens

You may have heard of green veg as the ‘powerhouses’ of vegetables. Well without taking too much of your time this week here are 5 reasons why you should be eating more greens (not the skittle variety). We’re talking spinach, kale, broccoli, beans, asparagus and peas to name a few!

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  1. Iron - these vegetables are a great source of plant based iron which is vital for transporting oxygen around the body. Optimise the amount of iron your body can absorb and utilise by adding a source of vitamin C. E.g. squeeze lemon juice on your cooked greens.

  2. Vitamin K - this is a nutrient which isn’t spoken about very much. Essentially vitamin K is vital for blood clotting and regulating calcium levels to support bone health.

  3. Folate - aka B9. Folate is vital (particularly in pregnant women or those looking to conceive). It plays a role in protecting against neural tube defects e.g. spina bifida and in the production of RNA and DNA .

  4. Fibre - I’ve said it many a times but fibre is absolutely vital for supporting your gut health which we now know is linked to mental wellbeing, weight management, skin health, energy and so much more. Supporting your gut is vital to help optimise nutrient absorption so try and ensure you’re getting your 30g.day.

  5. Calcium - these green veg are a source of plant based calcium (as are tofu, nuts, seeds and fortified milks). Calcium is vital for maintaining healthy bones and teeth as well as supporting muscle and nerve function.

There you have a few #smartpointers to encourage you eat more greens. Try adding one portion to every meal!

Everything You Need To Know About The Hype That Is Protein

Protein… Quite a buzzword at the moment and something which many people think they should be packing in as much as possible. The truth is protein can be overdone and cause detrimental effects. Whilst the media and the food industry are doing a great job at selling protein (and don’t get me wrong it’s absolutely essential as part of a healthy balanced diet) it is important that you understand a little bit more about this macronutrient….

How much should you be consuming?

For the average sedentary individual you should be consuming around 0.8g per kg body weight. E.g. a 70kg person would require 56g of protein per day. For those of you who are keen exercisers this can increase to around 1.2g-1.6g per kg body weight although unless you’re a growing teenager, an elite athlete or a seriously avid gym go-oer you shouldn’t need much more than this.

Is all protein equal?

Absolutely not. Is the short answer! Plant proteins have a lower bioavailability than animal proteins. This means less of the protein can be absorbed and utilised in the body. Most plant proteins also don’t contain a complete amino acid profile. There are 9 essential amino acids (these are the building blocks of protein) this means they must be consumed within the diet. Animal sources tend to contain many more (if not all) of these amino acids where as plant sources must be consumed on rotation to ensure that you’re obtaining all of your essential amino acids.

What about protein shakes?

Protein shakes can be really convenient and helpful to ensure you hit your protein requirements, especially if you’re following a vegan diet. Ensure you’re buying protein powders with no added fillers, artificial sweeteners or sugars. Try and consume your post workout protein with a source of carbohydrates as this will help to increase the absorption of the protein.

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How will protein affect my appetite?

Protein will help to slow the release of carbohydrates into the blood stream which will help to keep you fuller for longer. Protein also has the highest thermic effect of feeding (TEF) when compared to carbohydrates and fats. This mean that protein requires the most amount of energy to be broken down. Consider all the amino acids which first have to be separated before they can be used.

What happens if I consume too much protein?

Excess protein consumption over a prolonged period of time can lead to increased risk of kidney disease due to the nitrogen which is produced during the metabolism process. It’s also important to know that the body can’t digest more than around 20g protein in one go and therefore consuming large amounts of protein in one sitting isn’t beneficial!

Overall, protein is vital for our overall health – it plays a role in transport, cell structure, skin, hair, nails, muscle recovery, bone health, strength and the list continues although I wanted to shed some light on exactly how you should approach protein. If you found this helpful please sign up to my newsletter here to get weekly article updates.

How Can Food Packaging Affect Your Nutritional Status?!

When it comes to nutrition and obtaining all our nutrients we tend to think about where we’re getting our nutrients from, although we’re often oblivious to how the packaging affects our food and drink nutrient quality.

Let’s take milk for example. Indoor light (this includes LED and fluorescent lighting in fridges) has shown to significantly reduce the amount of Vitamin A, B2 and B12 in milk through a process known as oxidation. Around 50% of Vitamin A in skimmed milk was lost after just 16-hours of light exposure! These nutrients are very important elements which contribute to the overall health benefits of milk. These losses are then not taken into account when you’re assessing your overall diet. You think you’re hitting your daily requirements although due to oxidation you’re less likely to be. This is especially important for those with certain dietary requirements such as vegetarians whose key source of B12 comes from dairy products. If vegetarians are relying on dairy as their main source of B12 and their dairy products have been exposed to light damage then there’s an increased risk of deficiency.

Although, it’s not all bad news. Research has shown that light-protective packaging can limit these nutrient losses. Noluma, the market leaders in light protected packaging, are currently working with UK milk brands and retailers to ensure there packaging is light protected.  It won’t be long till we see light protected milk on shelf so make sure you look out for the Noluma logo.
Packaging under Noluma’s standards has been through testing to prevent light damage and protect the nutrients found in your produce. Protecting milk against light damage not only has health benefits but can extend shelf life and therefore helps to reduce the environmental impact of our food too. An all-round win!

Please note this article was sponsored by Noluma. For more information on Noluma and light protective packaging click here. #lightdamageisreal

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