Good afternoon and Happy Tuesday! I hope you are having a great week so far. It's been busy here at Clinical Exercise - putting the finishing touches to our new Online Programme, cycling a lot and planning an August getaway. What are your holiday plans?

This week we are talking about Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah), a trendy grain that's new in shops but has actually been around for thousands of years. 

Also, some tips on how to maintain a health cholesterol level and some foods you can eat to help reduce it.

Let me know if you have any questions at all!

Food of the week

Keen-wah...what is it?! It seems like it is everywhere now. Even Pret is doing a mini pot with salmon. So what is it, is it good for you and does it taste any good?

This week's 'Food of the Week' is Quinoa, which is gaining in popularity as a healthier grain than wheat and is now available in most supermarkets.

There are many surprising health benefits of this 'super grain':

  • Complete protein. Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.
  • Magnesium helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and effects blood pressure. Quinoa contains high levels of this vital nutrient.
  • Fiber. Quinoa is a wonderful way to ensure that you consume valuable fiber that eases elimination and helps to clear your colon.
  • Manganese and copper. Quinoa is a good source of these minerals that act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease-causing substances.
  • Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn.

Taste? It's a bit like a mix between brown rice and chia seeds. Still no idea? Like millet crossed with white rice. No? Ok, you may have to just try it for yourself.

You can eat it in several different ways, depending how creative you are! Here are some recipes that use quinoa - give some a try!

Quinoa Patties

Blueberry Lemon Quinoa Porridge

Superfood salad

Stuffed butternut squash with quinoa




High cholesterol levels can be genetic, but your lifestyle can also influence how good your levels are.  It's important to look at the overall picture when thinking about ways to maintain a healthy cholesterol levels, however one of the most important things is to not smoke. Smoking reduces the amount of 'good' cholesterol and increased the amount of 'bad' cholesterol produced.  Refined carbohydrates are also a main factor that increase the amount of bad cholesterol levels in the blood. This is especially true for quick-digesting carbs such as sweets, juices, sugar and biscuits. In many people, these foods elevate insulin levels, and insulin boosts both triglyceride synthesis and the storage of fat. 

We recommend the following lifestyle changes to help keep your serum triglyceride levels down in the desirable range:  

  1. Get regular exercise that is at least moderately intensity along with some weight training (aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days per week)
  2. Opt for your carbohydrate sources to be wholegrain and un-refined. Vegetables, fruits, rolled or steel cut oats and wholegrains such as barley, rye or quinoa provide you with a lot of variety and very little in the way of blood sugar surges.
  3. Cut back on alcohol (even small amounts of alcohol can elevate triglyceride levels).
  4. Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating salmon, sardines, kippers and herring on a regular basis, and consider taking a fish oil supplement that contains both EPA and DHA.
  5. Choose healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds and flaxseed which can all help to maintain healthy 'good' cholesterol levels.

If you want to find out more, read all about cholesterol HERE.

Let me know if you have any questions at all!