Healthy foods for every day living (P to T)

Are you short of time but still want to eat healthily?

If you’ve already looked at the other healthy food pages then you’ll appreciate why eating healthy foods is so important. But here’s a quick reminder.

For one thing, every cell of our body needs nutrients to function. That means energy production, to skin repair, menstruation, thought processes and sleep.

So to help you be, stay and feel well, here are some more great healthy food ideas.

Romano peppers

These were once upon a time abundant only from June to October, but nowadays you can get them throughout the year. I’m secretly pleased about that because they’ve become a slight obsession for me.

They’re simply the most versatile vegetable and although they come from the spicy capsaicin (chilli) family, they’re actually quite sweet. They’re also soft and pliable, making them great for soups.

On a nutritional note. With something so vibrantly red it’s a sure sign that they’re packed with antioxidants. They’re also full of vitamin C and capsaicin’s may also have a whole host of other benefits. These range from aiding inflammation, to lowering blood sugar levels and reducing mucus levels. This all makes them great when colds are lurking.

Now, how to eat it. I love these peppers, but you do have to wash them well and deseed them. I have them on the side of a mixed bean chilli or added to nachos, with black beans and a dollop of gorgeous vegan cheese sauce. That’s really satisfying. You can also stuff them with cous cous, rice or quinoa. But the simplest way that I like to have them, is grilled and then popped into a salad with haloumi and olive oil.

Potatoes

For some reason as soon as it comes to September my potato intake seems to go up by 50%. I simply love them. I know that in some circles these waxy carbs are seen in a negative light or to be avoided like the plague, but I think that’s so wrong. For me, potatoes are a staple. In most cases I keep the skins on, even in mash sometimes. Skinned mash can have a fantastic nutty flavour and it goes so well with spinach and garlic.

The variety of potatoes that can be available is astonishing. You may know of Kind Edwards, Maris or Pipper, Jersey, baby and new. But what about Desiree, Vivaldi, Anya (adore these) or salad blues? And of course, there’s a whole variety of sweet potatoes and yams. If you’re ever in London, check out Borough Market, you can find stalls with 30-40 different varieties.

On a nutritional note. As you’d expect from a starchy carbohydrate, potatoes break down easily into glucose in the body. Keeping the skins on is not only beneficial in slowing down this process, giving us energy for longer, but  much of the nutrient goodness can be found in the skins. Potatoes provide a good variety of vitamins B and C, iron, potassium and calcium and the canny thing is that these elements all work well together. That’s why I think of potatoes as an all-round, good health food. *Do be careful not to leave them for too long before eating as they can start to become toxic if they resprout. Also don’t eat them if they’re green.

Now, how to eat it. Steamed, roasted, mashed, jacketed, sliced, diced and even chipped and baked in the oven, they’re so versatile. Now this is a longer process but when making mash, cut out the raw potato and save the skins to make baked skins. I’ve also found this incredible site which has an astonishing amount of potato recipes. There’s gluten free and vegetarian for those requiring ‘under 30 minutes cooking’ and they also have Potato recipe videos.

Spirulina

For me, spring and autumn are the absolute best times for a cleanse. It may be the change in season or maybe when I’m more physically active and needing a boost that I turn to spirulina. I always prefer to go for food before supplements, but sometimes, our body simply needs far beyond what regular food can provide.

This is where additional condensed nutrients (ie, a supplement) can help. For a start spirulina’s blissfully deep green dried algae (always a good sign to me) is easy to use and it’s readily absorbable in the body.

On a nutritional note. Spirulina is good for general gut health. It’s also great for cleansing and aids the development of healthy gut bacteria. So it may come as no surprise that it’s also used to help bad breath which often comes from the gut rather than the mouth. It’s also rich in B12 which is important for the maintenance of healthy red (oxygen carrying) blood cells, magnesium which can help our muscles to relax and folic acid which is so necessary for maintaining healthy cells.

Now, how to eat it. I buy it loose and add it into a smoothie, with spinach, cucumber, avocado (or banana) carrot juice or prunes sometimes, or apple. You can also add it into salads and soup (although heating may destroy its properties so it’s not something that I do). But it’s worth trying for at least a month to experience the benefits.

Tomatoes

I know that the humble tomato is so common that its value can often be overlooked, but I think that they have huge benefits. Yes, I know they’re desperately sprayed so you have to wash them well and be aware of this. And yes, they can be acidic so for gout suffers they’re not the best, but as a nutrient they pretty good.

On a nutritional note. Their red colour denotes the carotenoid properties and they contain lots of lycopene which is really helpful for flushing our systems of toxins and preventing cell damage. Lycopene is also linked to skin protecting properties and possibly lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease.

Now, how to eat it. I really like raw tomatoes in a salad, as long as they’re ripe, they’re fine. But what I really love is roasted tomatoes (and cooking tomatoes actually increases the availability of lycopene). It’s the sweet and gooey combination with a tinge of sourness that does it for me. And it goes with everything, salads, chilli, fish or simply with an egg and although it’s been a tad warm, roasted tomatoes in a soup really brings it alive. The only thing that you have to make sure of is that the lids firmly on!

Are you struggling with your diet or health and want additional nutritonal support to help you to feel well again? Then contact me.