SUPERFOODS – GRUB TO GRAB
- Cook with coconut oil. Yes, it’s a bit trendy. Food bloggers and celebrities rave about it. Even chefs love it. And there’s a reason. 100 per cent organic coconut oil – the ‘virgin’, unrefined stuff – is rich in lauric acid, shown to improve levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and known to help fight off infections and viruses. Buy a jar of it and dig out a few sweet scoops when baking, or frying fish and veggies. Just be sure to use a teeny tiny amount to stop everything tasting tropical.
- Eat your fibrous foods. Fibre is key for good digestion, which slows down as we age, causing toilet issues and unpleasant gripes and pains. Boost your intake by stocking up on things like lentils, beans, apples, pears, wholegrain breads and cereals, and flaxseeds.
- Load up on potatoes – just make sure they’re of the sweet and orange kind. Swap white, starchy potatoes for sweet potatoes and start reaping the rewards. Not only are they packed with rich, creamy flavour, when eaten with their skins on, they’re one of the most nutritious veggies you can eat thanks to their high levels of potassium and vitamin A. Load them up with healthy toppings, like black beans and tomatoes, quinoa and mushroom or spinach and feta.
- Snack on berries. Sounds like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many people are put off by all that (natural) sweetness. But the likes of strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries shouldn’t be ignored. These little beauties are great sources of antioxidants and a cocktail of vitamins, helping mop up nasty free radicals (which can lead to cancer), infection, colds and viruses and bad bacteria.
- Don’t be afraid of plenty of protein and ‘good fats’. Oily fish, like wild salmon, mackerel and sardines, will bless you with brain-loving omega 3 fats, while green veg such as kale, spinach and avocado will give your body all the minerals and vitamins it needs to keep your skin, eyesight and hair and nails healthy.
DITCH THE BOOZE – 5 TIPS TO HELP YOU CUT DOWN
- Buy a drinks measure so you know exactly how much you’re drinking. Making up your own measures means you’re more likely to over-drink, without even realising it. Know your units, too. One unit equals 10ml and experts say men and women shouldn’t drink more than 14 units per week – that should be your max. A small glass of wine is 125ml.
- Set a budget – because buying alcohol soon adds up. If you’re heading out, decide on a fixed amount of money to spend on booze and stick to it. Not only will you savour the drinks you do have, you’ll save money too. Leave any credit/debit cards at home if you think you’d be tempted to spend more.
- Downsize your choices. You can still enjoy a drink, but just try and make them smaller. Try bottled beer instead of pints. Order a small glass of wine instead of a large one – or a bottle.
- Never drink on an empty stomach – leave all that to the students. They have a lot to learn. Eating while you drink means alcohol is absorbed into your system more slowly. If you’re eating in, have one glass of wine on the table. Put the bottle away and out of sight.
- Winter is the time of year for cosy nights in on the sofa with our favourite snacks and beverages – but this isn’t an excuse to pop the bubbly every night. Have several drink-free days and nights per week, swapping glasses of red for glasses of fruity, herbal teas, a glass or two of lime and soda if you like your fizzy drinks, or a smoothie if you’re craving something sweet.