Good afternoon and Happy Wednesday! What a weekend - I hope you had a good one and enjoyed watching Murray win Wimbledon again! What a great match and a great pick me up for the country.

Speaking of Wimbledon, this week's food of the week is the strawberry. We are now in strawberry season, which means that summer feeling is finally here.  As the season goes on, the strawberries get better and sweeter.  Check out to see what other fruit and vegetables are in season at the moment.

Strawberries have been eaten since Roman times, when they were also used medicinally to help with digestive ailments, discoloured teeth and skin irritations. Strawberries are considered to be one of the healthiest fruits. They are packed with antioxidants, can help to lower blood pressure and protect your heart. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, they are also sodium, cholesterol and fat free.  There is around 54 calories in 1 cup of strawberries which is 1/3 the amount of calories in a banana.
There are several health benefits to strawberries:
Can help to boost short term memory:  The anthocyanins in strawberries can help to boost short-term memory
Lower your risk of cardiovascular disease : Flavonoids which are responsible for the colour and flavour of strawberries have been found to help reduce damage to the lining of the arteries.
Promotes bone health : Strawberries contain potassium, vitamin K, and magnesium which are important for bone health.
Anti-aging properties: Strawberries contain biotin, which helps to build strong hair and nails. They also contains the antioxidant ellagic acid, which protects the elastic fibers in our skin to prevent sagging.
Good for weight loss: The compound nitrate found in strawberries which promotes blood flow and oxygen in the body helps with weight loss.
Promotes eye health:  Eating three or more servings of fruit like strawberries may lower the risk of macular degeneration.  

Enjoy them with some natural yoghurt rather than cream to make it healthier.


Exercise and your heart - do's and don'ts
When you have any type of heart condition - whether it be high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a previous heart attack or stroke, an arrhythmia or any other type of heart problem, you may have been told that you should exercise more to help improve your heart's fitness. However do you know which exercises are good and which ones you should avoid? I've summarised the 'Do's' and 'Don'ts' below. Please ask me for further information if you aren't sure about something.

Do's - What exercises are good for my heart?

  • Walking - yes you've heard it before but walking is one of the best activities you can do - it helps to build up your fitness gradually and studies have shown that walking can help to heart attack, stroke and cancer (read more here). Aim to build up gradually - buy a step counter (this one is great), make a note of how many steps you do on a normal day (around the house, at work etc) and add 10% each week.
  • Resistance exercise - building stronger muscles helps the heart to work more efficiently. Resistance exercise also helps to reduce bodyfat, strengthen the bones, improve blood sugar levels and increase your metabolism. Exercises to include are:
    • Squats - pretend like you are sitting back into a chair, lower yourself down keeping your bottom back. Push through the heels to return to standing. Repeat x 10.
    • Wall press. Stand 30cm from the wall. Place your hands against the wall, a few inches lower than your shoulders, a few inches wider than your armpits. Bend your elbows out to the side until your nose is a few inches from the wall. Press into the palms of your hands to straight the elbows. Repeat up to 10 times.
    • Other aerobic activity that you enjoy - choose swimming, cycling or dancing (or anything that you enjoy). The key is to always warm upwith 5-10 minutes of walking/marching on the spot to ensure you don't start any activity with cold muscles.

Don'ts - What exercises should I avoid?

  • Any activity that feels too hard, makes you uncomfortable, gives you pain or is not enjoyable. The key to any exercise is that you should always be able to hold a conversation, without feeling like you are too breathless. If you feel like you can't catch your breath, slow down, rest and restart slower.
  • Any exercise that makes you hold your breath - exercises like the plank or holding one position for a prolonged period. Holding your breath puts your blood pressure up very quickly.
  • Using weights that are too heavy for you. You should be able to complete at least 10-15 reps. If you are struggling to push the weight then you are more likely to have poor technique and hold your breath (see last point).
  • Moving from lying to standing very quickly - exercises like burpees, down/ups, press ups then jumping up etc. By moving from lying to standing very quickly your blood pressure has to make a rapid change to cope with the increased demands. It then increases rapidly and can make you feel dizzy/unwell. 

Do ask if you have any specific exercise you are worried about.

Have a great week!