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An announcement...

Good morning! I hope you had a great Easter and are enjoying the longer nights this week. Before we get into the health info this week, first an announcement....

I'm running a marathon, in ANTARCTICA! It's 26.2 miles in the Autumn, think ice, dog sleds, and COLD!  Here's hoping the training on the ice skating rink at Alexandra Palace pays off over the next few months.

I'd love to be able to help more people so this week I am asking you to forward my email to one of your family members or a friend. If you copy me in, they can ask me some questions about health, fitness etc and I can add them to my weekly email list.  If you find my emails helpful, I'm sure they will too!

Food of the week

This week’s ‘Food of the Week’ is the chickpea. Chickpeas are a member of the legume family and they can be eaten either in their natural form, or modified in order to enable their use in other ways. High in many essential nutrients, chickpeas are mainly sourced from Asian and Mediterranean countries. Chickpeas are often ground down to create chickpea flour, or as it also sometimes known, gram flour. Chickpeas are fantastic for a healthy diet and weight loss due to their low glycemic index value and high levels of dietary fibre. By eating chickpeas, you can help to keep your blood sugar levels more stable and the metabolism of glucose more efficient. By including chickpeas (or other legumes or beans) into your healthy diet, you can help to negate the effects of other high glycemic index foods, as they will help to reduce your overall GI intake.
 
The major benefits of chickpeas:
 
•  Fiber Advantage and Weight Loss: Like other beans, chickpeas are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that collects cholesterol and ferries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent other digestive disorders.

•  Protein for Vegetarians: Chickpeas are a good source of protein. Combined with a whole grain such as whole-wheat carbohydrate, they provide amount of protein comparable to that of meat without the high calories or saturated fats.

•  Manganese for Energy Production: Chickpeas are an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, which is essential in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Just one cup of garbanzo beans supplies 84.5% of the daily value for this mineral.

•  Iron Boost: Chickpeas can boost your energy because of their high iron content. This is particularly important for those who have recently undergone surgery, and menstruating women or pregnant women. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.

•  Stabilizing Blood Sugar and Low Glycaemic Index (GI): Soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, chickpeas can help to balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. They have a low GI value of 28 - meaning the carbohydrate in them is broken down and digested slowly. This is helpful for weight loss as it controls the appetite.

•  Heart Healthy: Regular intake of Chickpeas can lower LDL (bad) and total cholesterol. Chickpeas contain significant amounts of folate and magnesium. Folate lowers the levels of the amino acid homocysteine and strengthens the blood vessels.

•  For Women: Garbanzo contain phytochemicals called saponins, which can act as antioxidants. They may lower the risk of breast cancer, protect against osteoporosis and minimizes hot flushes in post-menopausal women.
 
Some tasty recipes using chickpeas:
 
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10757/roast-summer-vegetables-and-chickpeas
 
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/summer-chickpea-salad

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Salmon = Heart Health + Brain Power!

Good afternoon and happy International Women's Day! There are some great events going on in London and around the world, with so many different cultures getting involved. Check out some of them here.

Also, business leaders have pledged to give more women senior management positions to bridge the gender gap, with recent studies showing that having more women in top positions can help to increase their team's productivity by 66%. Read more about their pledge here.

I hope you have enjoyed some sunshine (even if it is still cold!) and managed to get a small dose of Vitamin D.

Food of the week

Speaking of vitamin D, this week's 'Food of the Week' is salmon, which you may be surprised to find is a great source of vitamin D.

There are a number of health benefits to eating salmon:

  • Heart Health - Salmon’s main health benefit is that it is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, an excellent 'good' fat.  These good fats help to lower LDL 'bad' cholesterol which raising HDL 'good' cholesterol.   Some studies have also shown that salmon can help to lower your blood pressure and even prevent hardening of your arteries (atherosclerosis) which will lessen your chances of having a heart attack.
  • Repair of Muscle and Tissue - The protein in salmon is easy to digest and absorb into your body and the amino acids it contains are vital to the health of your entire body.  Amino acids help to repair muscle and tissue and are the building blocks of our body.

  • Vitamins and minerals.
    Salmon contains a good amount of Vitamins A, B and D as well as the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus and selenium. 

  • Brain and Nerve Benefits
    Omega-3 fatty acids can also help your brain to work better and improve your memory.   The consumption of salmon has been shown to help lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. 

Salmon is power packed with disease fighting acids, minerals and vitamins. So whether you bake it, grill it or eat it raw in sushi, salmon is a powerful addition to your healthy lifestyle.

Here is a link to some tasty recipes:

Don't worry about the fat content listed for each recipe – these are good fats!

A great vegetarian source of Omega 3s is Flaxseed, which you can buy pre-milled to sprinkle on your cereal to get your daily dose.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

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