Fuss about food – A new series on nutrition

tomatoes.jpgWe are always hearing about the latest superfood, essential fats or good carbs but what do they actually do for you? Every week a new study tells us we should be eating more tomatoes, or how much more important omega 3 oil is than omega 6.

Sadly, with each bit of new information we find ourselves just that little bit more confused. In addition to the announcements of what we should be eating each week, there are also regular reports and scare stories on how fat we are all getting.

Diet food is getting us nowhere fast. Levels of obesity are going up as fast as the amount of money we all spend on the latest meal replacement, shake or appetite suppressant. We have also recently been told that extended periods of time on low carbohydrate diets can be extremely damaging for our bodies.

That news is going to be a ‘body’ blow to many of us: the revelation that cutting out carbohydrates was an easy way to a flat stomach meant many of us could get ready for a holiday or wearing a tighter dress in a couple of weeks rather than months.

It is not hard to see where the problem lies If you walk around a supermarket and pick up random items off the shelves, how many ingredients do you actually recognise? Most foods have extra salt and sugar added to them as standard – even so called diet or reduced-calorie foods.

This has a worrying effect on our health and energy levels. The only answer is for us to learn how food affects our bodies on a chemical level. In the coming weeks Elixir will break down each of the superfoods, oils, essential vitamins and magic ingredients into small manageable pieces of information which can help us lead a healthier (and skinnier!) life.

So look out for our future ‘fuss about food’ articles, starting next Monday – we promise you will be an expert on glycaemic load and complex carbohydrates in no time at all. Monday: All the fuss about…. Omega 3

Rosehips the new superfood for joints

London: Rosehips are the new superfood, according to a new study from Denmark.

The rosehip which is packed with vitamin C also contains another compound which reduces inflammation in joints.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, said they could have a ‘wide therapeutic effect’.

The reddish-orange fruit has more than ten times the vitamin C content of oranges and was used by Vikings to present scurvy on their long sea voyages.

It was also given to millions of children during and after World War ll to compensate for a lack of vitamins in the rationed diet.

The Danish research found than 80 per cent of the osteoarthritis sufferers who took part found rosehip extract helped ease their pain within three weeks.

After three months they noticed a significant decrease in the stiffness of their joints, making movement easier.

Super anti-ageing berry arrives in UK


Acai is a small purple berry from the Amazon that has been heralded as the ultimate anti-ageing supplement: renowned dermatologist, Dr Nicholas Perricone believes it’s one of the most powerful anti-ageing superfoods in the world.

Acai (‘ass-i-ee’) berries are so rich in nutrients that they help to keep the body fit, young and beautiful from within – as opposed to ‘patching up’ the external signs of ageing and fatigue.

What is Acai? The Acai Palm is one of many species of palms native to tropical South America. Its dark purple berries are about the size of a grape. But they deteriorate quickly after harvesting, so they must be pulped and frozen to retain their benefits.

Pulpa Acai Powder from The Brazilian Fruit Company, is made from acai berries that are processed within an hour of being harvested while they are still at their best – giving them the greatest potency of all products on the market.

Measuring Antioxidants Acai contains more antioxidants – specifically anthocyanins – than otherrecently celebrated superfoods such as pomegranate, Goji Berries, blueberries and red wine grapes. Very simply, antioxidants are measured by Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) which is a unit value assigned to determine the antioxidant power of a given food.

Foods with a high ORAC value are beneficial to the body by increasing
antioxidant levels, therefore helping to protect cells from damage by free radicals. Antioxidants are renowned for their anti-ageing properties keeping organs fit and healthy and skin, hair and nails looking young and vibrant.

A 100g serving of an antioxidant rich fruit such as blueberries will typically yield 2400 ORAC units. Amazingly, Pulpa Acai Powder will provide the equivalent amount in a single 5g serving and is ideal for adding to juices, smoothies, yogurt and porridge. Acai Anti-Ageing Ingredients Acai berries are packed with vitamins and minerals. They are rich in potassium, other vital minerals and 16 amino acids.

The synergy of these many health-giving nutrients make Acai a true superfood. Many of its inherent vitamins and minerals have specific roles in keeping
the body young and beautiful:

· Vitamin E is essential for healthy skin, but is removed from the body by the contraceptive pill, environmental pollution and poor diet
·Vitamin B2 is vital for healthy skin, hair and nails

The berries also contain oleic acid (an Omega 9 fat), lineolic acid (an Omega 6 essential fat), palmitic acid and beta-sitosterol which is a plant sterol capable of lowering the body’s absorption of harmful cholesterol.

How do I take Pulpa Acai? Add 3g of the powder to a smoothie, juice or yogurt. It has a subtle, pleasant fruit flavour that complements fruit-based food and drinks. Where Can I Buy It? You can find Pulpa Acai Freeze Dried Powder at Revital Health Stores, www.revital.com or by calling this UK number 0870 366 5729. 90g (30 servings) costs £25.95; 60g (20 servings) costs £18.49.

Eggs the new superfood

London: Eggs blamed for raising levels of bad fats in the blood are now being labelled a “superfood” following new research.

According to a new report published in the British Nutrition Foundation’s Bulletin they have no “significant impact” on heart disease or cholesterol levels and could actually protect against these health problems.

Dr Bruce Griffin of the University of Surrey’s school of biomedical and molecular science analysed 30 egg studies, among them one from Harvard University which showed people who consumed one or more eggs a day were at no more risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease than non-egg eaters.

Egg yolks contain cholesterol, but nutritionists now know it is the saturated fats in food, not dietary cholesterol, that raises blood cholesterol levels, a risk factor for heart attacks.

Dr Griffin said that it was erroneous to view eggs soley in terms of their dietary cholesterol content and to ignore the potential benefits.

The British Nutrition Foundation says that one egg provides 13 essential nutrients, all in the yolk (egg whites contain albumen, an important source of protein, and no fat). They are also an excellent source of B vitamins, which are needed for vital functions in the body, and also provide good quantities of vitamin A, essential for normal growth and development.

An egg’s vitamin E content protects against heart disease and some cancers; there’s also vitamin D, which promotes mineral absorption and good bone health. Eggs are rich in iodine, for making thyroid hormones, and phosphorus, essential for healthy bones and teeth.

Teenage girls who eat an egg a day may give themselves additional protection against breast cancer in later life, according to a study in the journal Breast Cancer Research. It is the essential nutrients in eggs, such as amino acids, vitamins and minerals, that may be responsible for this protection.

Egg yolks contain the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which could help to prevent or even reverse the age-related eye problem macular degeneration (MD). This is one of the leading causes of blindness and occurs as a consequence of getting older — however, low lutein intake is implicated as a risk factor.

Eggs are also low in calories — a large egg contains only 75 calories and 5 grams of fat — and other research suggests they can help you lose weight.

A study published last year in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition looked at the breakfast habits of obese women. Scientists from the Wayne State University in Detroit found that when the women were given either an egg or bagel breakfast, each providing the same number of calories, the women eating the eggs felt fuller and consumed fewer calories overall in the following 24 hours.

Health experts used to recommend a maximum egg consumption of three a week to avoid a rise in blood cholesterol levels. But since evidence has shown that it is saturated fat intake that affects cholesterol, advice has changed.

According to the British Egg Information Service, storing eggs correctly is vital to maintaining their freshness and nutrient content. They advise buying eggs only from a reputable retailer, keeping them in the fridge in their box and eating by the use-by date.