Healthy foods for every day living (F to J)

Are you short on time, but still want to eat healthily? Then let’s get on to the next segment of our healthy foods.

Not to lecture, but do you remember why we’re eating healthy foods and why it’s so important? For one thing, every cell in our body needs nutrients to function. Without these, so many essential interactions from energy production, to skin repair, menstruation, thought processes and sleep, simply don’t work as they should.

So to help you have the vitality, energy and zest for life that you want, here are some more healthy food ideas.

Figs

The fig season goes from about July to September (although you might find them around a little earlier). I’ll admit that I am slightly obsessed with them. They’re gorgeously squidgy, full of flavour and contain lovely butterscotch type seeds.

They’re also really interesting too. For one thing, figs aren’t technically a fruit, instead they’re an inverted flower that is pollinated by a specific fig wasp which creates the fruit. I think that’s amazing.

On a nutritional note. The benefits are immense. Figs are high in fructose (as anyone who’s ever tried a sweet dried fig can testify to), but they’re also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. So that’s good for bone and blood health, the nervous system and blood pressure. And they’re also a good source of fibre. You’ll know if you’ve had constipation that figs, in addition to prunes, are recommended. Now it’s really important to note, dried figs are basically figs with a large proportion of the water content removed, so you shouldn’t be eating more than 3-4 in one go.

Now, how to eat it. My preference isn’t actually for dried. I like to put them in a smoothie. But I keep meaning to pop a couple in the oven with a bit of oil and salt. Here’s a really simple recipe which can be used as a gorgeous treat.

Iceberg lettuce

I’ve been enjoying this often overlooked (and I happily disagree) lesser variety of lettuce. Iceberg or as it’s also known; ‘head’ or ‘crisp head lettuce’, packs a punch, not only in nutrients, but also in taste.

On a nutritional note. Not only does iceberg have a high-water content, making it a great hydrator, but it’s also a great source of soluble fibre. This means that it’s able to absorb water in the colon, bulk out your stools, and as it does flush out your system. As you’d expect with such a high-water content there’s also a diuretic element making this a lovely nutrient, particularly if you have a urine infection or constipation. Iceberg is also rich in chlorophyll, the substance which absorbs energy from the sun, so think of it this way. The fresher the lettuce, the natural energy for your body. And added to this is a touch of vitamin K, essential for blood clotting.

Now, how to eat it. Well, I personally think that the crisp and sweet goes well all on its own. But for something a little more filling, I go for a huge salad. Two of my favourites (which I tend to have on rotation) are; iceberg with haloumi, beetroot and walnuts or iceberg with carrots, tofu (optional), spring onions, a dash of soy or a little chilli sauce and nuts and/or seeds.

It’s useful to add a little oil; one to enhance the flavour, but also to aid nutrient absorption. For storage, make sure that it’s dry. Pop it at the bottom of the fridge and use within 5 days.

Kohlrabi

Many years ago, an American colleague mentioned kohlrabi to me. I acted as if I knew what they were talking about, but I’d never heard of it and had no idea what they were. To be honest, as a foodie, working for an amazing food, health and growing organisation I was slightly embarrassed and didn’t say any more. But I didn’t investigate it either. So, for years, kohlrabi was alien to me. What was I thinking! Kohlrabi are the best. They’re simply the most wonderfully tangy, small bundles of joy.

 

On a nutritional note. It’s a brassica, part of the cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and sprout family and they look a little like a mini cabbage with tentacles. They contain lots of iron, potassium, vitamin C and fibre. So they’re great for digestion, developing healthy gut bacteria and possibly preventing cellular damage. I tend to find them in ethnic shops and markets. They’re well well worth the effort to source.

Now, how to eat it. You can add it to a stir fry, although cooking can reduce its properties. So I tend to put them in a coleslaw. There’s nothing like it. They’re crisp and nutty and give a real zing to carrots and cabbage.

Marmite

I’m in the ‘love it’ camp with this one. “Aaaaah marmite”, is what I literally say every time I spread it on a rice cake. Taking a bite and getting that gooey delicious tangy taste and sensation, causes a real sharp intake of breath. It’s simply gorgeous.

It’s so popular in some circles that there are actual cookbooks dedicated to Marmite. I get some of that. It’s great as a drink, can liven up a Bolognese or build up a broth, but adding it to a smoothie is where I’d draw the line!

On a nutritional note. Marmite’s rich in B vitamins. Thiamin (B1) good for energy, nerve function and processing collagen, so good for keeping your skin supple. Riboflavin (B2) good for energy and a major antioxidant. Niacin (B3) good for blood sugar balance and DNA repair. Then Folic Acid, vital for fatal  growth in the womb and processing proteins and Cobalamin (B12) for red blood cell production and processing fat. It does have a high salt content though, so that’s something to be aware of, but other than that I think it’s great.

Now, how to eat it. I actually like it to be quite simple, so with some butter on a rice or spelt cracker or with a cracker and some scrambled egg . I regularly make vegan cheese, as a sauce, but this recipe caught my eye. It’s a vegan semi-solid cheese made from cashew nuts which uses marmite. Do let me know how it works out if you make it.

What has this page made you think about your own health and that of those around you? Remember, if you want additional support to manage your health through nutrition do contact me.