Monthly Archives: December 2012

The benefits of broccoli

Love it or hate it broccoli contains more nutrients per

 Ounce than any other green vegetable available in UK


What is broccoli?


Broccoli from the Brassicaceae family of plants is a fast growing annual that’s native to Italy. It grows to a height of
around 80cm tall and both the flowering heads and stalk is edible. Although broccoli was being cultivated in Italy in Roman times it wasn’t until 1720 that is was introduced to England.

 Health Benefits:

The list of health benefits broccoli can offer us is nearly endless but here are the top reasons why broccoli should be part of your diet.

 Cancer Prevention: Broccoli contains a substance called indole-3-carbinol this antioxidant compound holds significant chemoprevention properties and has been found to hinder the growth of many different types of cancer. Also within broccoli is a chemical known as glucoraphanin once consumed the body turns this into sulforaphane a compound that rids the body of cancer causing bacteria thus greatly reducing the risk of gastric cancer.

 Nervous System: Broccoli contains high levels of potassium; this essential dietary mineral is used by the body for a number of different purposes on of the most important of these is maintaining your electrochemical gradient that allows your nerves and muscles to function properly. Muscle cramps, weakness, intestinal paralysis and heart arrhythmia may result if your potassium level falls too low.

Bone Health: Broccoli is abundant in both vitamin K and calcium both of these are essential for strong healthy bones.

 Blood Pressure: broccoli is a great source of magnesium , this naturally occurring mineral plays a key role in regulating blood pressure and has been used to treat hypertension for more than a decade.

 Immune System: your immune system is your only line of defense against viruses and bad bacteria so it’s very important to make sure it’s functioning properly. Broccoli contains large amounts of a substance known as ‘Beta-carotene’ that helps to keep your immune system functioning properly as well as this broccoli also offers your body trace minerals such as zinc and selenium which further ace to strengthen immune defense actions.

 Eye Health: studies show that the carotenoid lutein found in broccoli helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. In addition to this broccoli is also a great source of vitamin A which is needed to form our retinas

 As I am sure you can now see this somewhat tasteless vegetable packs a powerful health punch and we would strongly recommend eating broccoli at least two times a week for those of you that don’t like broccoli there are some great easy to follow recipes online That can disguise its taste well keeping all the great health properties it can offer.



Eat healthy this Christmas with our festive roast dinner guide.

It’s at this time of year most of us like to indulge. Whether you let your sweet tooth get the better of you or you have a tendency to have a few extra drinks. Christmas has always been known as a time of excess. But what can we do to minimize the negative effects of this seasonal glutton on our bodies?

We are going to cover how to make a healthy version of the classic Christmas lunch as well as natural treats sweets and stocking fillers that will keep you and your family on track to a healthy Christmas

What’s for dinner?

The classic turkey is a good source of protein and dose provide the body with B vitamins, unfortunately the way in turkeywhich we cook the bird can leave a lot to be desired as far as keeping your body healthy. So what can be done? There are a number of options available for people wanted to minimise their fat intake and avoid piling on the pounds.

A single serving of turkey contains around 5.8g of fat by simply removing the skin you can reduce this by 50% This is a huge saving with very little effort involved. If you wanted to take things a step further, another method would be us a slow cooker or a pressure cooker meaning that they is no oils used in the cooking process and making your meal healthier once again.

her-roasted-potatoesRoast potatoes these little guys have got to be my favourite part of any roast dinner but they do soak up a lot’s of trans-fats and nasty oils during the cooking process. One method I have tried before is baking potatoes rather than the traditional shallow fry this method works great but its best to bake lots of smaller potatoes rather than the large baking potatoes most of us are now used to. This can reduce the fat from around 9gs per portion to just 0.4g

Vegetables the traditional vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and carrots are low in fat and high in anti-oxidants but through over cooking you can lose a lot of the good stuff they can offer your body. Steaming is a great way to cook vegetables without letting all the nutrients escape through the water they are boiled in (Although that can be a great stock for your gravy)

But what’s for dessert

This is where we may well have to make a break from tradition as Christmas pudding are notoriously high in calories. There are healthier methods of making them but if you really are trying to keep of the pounds it might be a better idea to replace this desert with something a little more forgiving. Fruit crumbles are always a good idea and can be nice and healthy depending on which recipe you’re following.

And to wash it down?

Sorrel is probably the best loved Christmas drink in the Caribbean.  The drink is made from the petals of the sorrel plantsorrel drink and produces a deep red drink with a fruity, yet tart taste. Often it is made with ginger and spices such as cloves or cinnamon for a richer flavour. Sorrel is usually served chilled although it can also be served as a hot tea.

As well as being delicious, Sorrel is also highly nutritious and is said to have anti-cancer properties and provide a significant boost to the immune system. In fact Sorrel is so health enhancing it is now being considered as a ‘nutraceutical’ and spirits such as vodka or gin can be added to put a bit of kick in your Christmas punch bowl.



The dictionary definition of a Nutraceutical is a ‘food or parts of food that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention of disease’

 But what caused the rapid emergence of Nutraceuticals?

A few months ago I started to notice that I was reading the word on nearly a daily basis. It struck me that their must be a reason for its sudden rise to fame. I ran a quick check on Google and found that there are currently 90,500 global searches a month for this one word alone.

 One of the main reasons I could see as to why these natural super foods were making such a big name for them selves was money. Consumers dissatisfied with drug costs, large pharmaceutical companies and conventional health care are now looking to nature to provide the answers to their health issues. More than 40% of Americans now use alternative medical therapies and nutaceuticals account for a significant proportion of this with the industry being worth around 90 billion dollars a year in the US alone.

Unfortunately there are still some major barriers stopping nutraceuticals from being commercially grown as alternative cash crops.

  • There is currently very little data on the cultivation methods and adaptability from more traditional crops.
  • It’s thought that many nutraceuticals would be less profitable than current cash crops.
  • A lot of nutraceutical plants take a lot of processing after harvest to extract the parts of the plant with medicinal properties.
  • Government regulations that could further restrict the supply of natural products.
  • As natural products are not patentable there is little money to be made by large pharmaceutical companies.

This being said I am a firm believer that nature holds the key to the treatment of most modern diseases and to ignore the health properties of these medical plants would be a crime in its self. With no patent the drug companies can’t make their billions and so through their ignorance they may directly be responsible for the deaths of countless millions of people throughout the world.