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EAT YOURSELF STRONG
Taking care of yourself should optimally include the following
Some people require the
addition of vitamins and other substances in food supplements. These can be fairly inexpensive to very expensive and could make a difference, even starting today, to how you manage your resistance to infection, supporting energy and sleep levels, during the pre-exam and exam seasons, any time of stress, or
just as part of your regular regime.
If you are buying folic acid tablets, for example, buy Folic Acid BP ~ much cheaper than branded versions. Always ask for a generic
brand of any supplement or vitamin you choose to buy.
As with every product, check the contents to see what
percentage of what you want is included, and what percentage is filler. See below for folic acid rich foods.
YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM & CARE FOR YOUR MIND & BODY
GARLIC ~ Research has found that people who eat fresh garlic are two-thirds less likely to catch a cold. This is because it contains allicin, which fights infection. Odour-free garlic products are available; but I do not know if they are equally beneficial. The potent sulphur compound
in garlic, allicin, is responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity of this plant. You can increase the activity
of allicin by letting garlic sit for about 10 minutes after crushing or chopping it before adding to ingredients or heating
it. Add the garlic towards the end of cooking to retain its nutrients.
MUSHROOMS ~ Many modern medicines come from fungal extracts. Mushrooms contain Vitamin D, and are great at combating
viruses. They are also a handy source of Vitamin B12, an essential Vitamin which helps with mending
cells and with eye care, especially in relation to the maintenance of the essential eye mucous. Vitamin B12, other
than in mushrooms, is difficult to source in ordinary food.
Ordinary white button mushrooms, brown caps, large flats, or breakfast mushrooms, are all good sources of Vitamin
B12. Don't imagine you need to spend a lot on special, expensive, mushrooms for your Vitamin B12 requirements.
Without sufficient Vitamin D, your body’s T-cells lie dormant, and these
are what help fight infections.
Mushrooms also have powerful bioactive components that reduce inflammation. Try a stir-fry dish,
including a choice of mushroom varieties plus, maybe, a few maitake, enoki, or oyster mushrooms.
Recent research has shown the many health benefits of Maitake mushrooms, including
their ability to boost the immune system. This is due to maitake’s beta glucan content. Beta
glucane is a complex sugar that activates and increases the activity of the immune system to help the body fight illness more quickly and efficiently. Studies show that beta glucan may also trigger cancer fighting cells, possibly making chemotherapy more effective.
addition, maitake mushrooms have been SHOWN to decrease the negative side effects of anti-cancer drugs, including nausea, vomiting, and hair loss, when consumed
Enoki mushrooms have a somewhat sweet flavour, and are frequently used in soups and dishes like nabe
and sukiyaki. Similar to the shiitake mushroom, enoki mushrooms are low in calories and in fat, and sugar free. In addition, like other mushrooms, enoki is high in B Vitamins; it’s particularly rich in niacin,
which helps support adrenal functions and is necessary for metabolism. In a single cup serving, enoki mushrooms offer 23 percent
of the daily recommended value of niacin. This can help reduce
the potential for heart disease and may be useful in preventing second heart attacks in those who are at risk.
The Eryngii (King Oyster) mushroom is the largest species of the oyster mushrooms. It has a thick white
stem and a meaty texture and can be thickly sliced and grilled like steak. Eryngii has naturally occurring antioxidants, including the amino acid ergothioneine, which protects the body’s cells
against free radicals (harmful damaged cells), thus reducing the risk of chronic disease. Ergothioneine, an antioxidant found in eryngii mushrooms, is not reduced by cooking. Eryngii also contain
a disease fighting compound called Lovastatin, which helps clear cholesterol from the body’s circulatory
system, improving blood flow. They also contain significant amounts of zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and folic acid. They're an excellent
source of the essential mineral selenium, and easier to absorb than the inorganic selenium typically found in dietary supplements.
GRAPES ~ Grapes have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruit. These antioxidants
are largely concentrated in the skin. Anti-inflammatory
properties of grape skin have been demonstrated. Grapes have also shown to have anti-microbial, anti-cancer, and anti-allergic
activity. Freeze them and use them in place of ice cubes. Add them to all your salads. Add them in the last few minutes of cooking to any sauce for sweet bursts of flavour.
DILLISK ~ is a seaweed found spread widely in the oceans of the world. The Dillisk I get comes from the West Coast
of Ireland, and is about as pure as one could get. Dillisk contains astonishingly high levels of Vitamin B12, plus calcium, and other vital trace elements.
It is very beneficial in reducing inflamation. I go to Wild Atlantic Seagarden <firstname.lastname@example.org> for my information on the many benefits of the numerous, various, seaweeds. Don't overdo the quantity used, as Dillisk is so rich in B12 it remains, for a week and more, in the
system after the last dish containing it has been eaten. It would appear as a spike in any blood test results soon after taking it.
CARE FOR YOUR EYES ~ for further information on eye care please see my Post, BEWARE
THE LIGHT!! YOUNGSTERS ARE AT RISK ON THEIR SMARTPHONES AND ONLINE!!
CINNAMON ~ A generous sprinkle of cinnamon will help expel toxins from the body. It is antiviral, antibacterial
and anti-fungal: A TRIPLE SHIELD against illness. Some people cannot bear the taste of cinnamon, so try adding a couple of spoonfuls regularly to curries or to robust, well-flavoured casseroles full of herbs and vegetables, or other
strong tasting dishes. An inhalation of cinnamon aroma is said to raise one's mood!
FOLIC ACID ~ Spinach is rich in folic acid, a key ingredient
for repairing cells, this SUPER-FOOD is also a great source of Potassium and Vitamin C, which
help keep you healthy. Young spinach leaves are very good in a salad, and you are retaining all the vitamins.
KALE, and other cruciferous vegetables should be consumed at least five times a week because they are rich in sulphoraphane, which helps eliminate harmful toxic compounds in the body that might otherwise promote inflammation. Kale stands
out among this stellar group, because it is one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet. Try kale in salads, smoothies, soups, casseroles, and stews. Mix it into pasta dishes near the end of cooking, well chopped
and well mixed in. Bake them in the oven to make kale crisps. Please see below for further information.
Also, incorporate other cruciferous (brassica oleracea) vegetables like cabbage,
broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts into your diet. These vegetables are related to each other and are all rich in folic acid.
The shorthand version is green
leaf vegetables all contain folic acid, these include rocket and other salad leaves.
There is an increased risk of the foetus developing a serious birth defect, known as a neural tube defect, if the mother has a poor folic acid intake before and during pregnancy. The neural tube is a narrow channel that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord.
Examples of neural tube defects
Bifida – where the baby's spine does not develop properly;
Anencephaly – where a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull;
Encephalocele – where a membrane or skin-covered sac containing
part of the brain pushes out of a hole in the skull.
go to the following site, from which I quoted above on neural tube defects, for further information on infertility due to a lack of folic acid in the diet and other matters
VITAMIN C ~ Taking
a high dose of Vitamin C could help shorten a cold if you take it at the first sign of symptoms. It is not just found in citrus fruit, but in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. It could also cut your risk of the common cold in the first place. However, a good diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables, or those speedily frozen from picking, is an excellent source of all the vitamins and
trace elements we require.
Most vitamin supplements would not give us the essential trace elements found in fresh fruit and vegetables or quickly frozen vegetables and fruit.
MAGNESIUM ~ Taking Magnesium daily helps to regulate your sleep patterns and is
helpful in keeping mental well-being in balance. Any time of stress can cause some people to lose control of their sleep
regime, starting to worry, and thus beginning a cycle of poor sleep. Start a Magnesium supplement now and and it will help in the coming weeks and, indeed, years. Some
of us cannot uptake Magnesium from our food and need extra support. Magnesium oil spray for applying to the body helps those who cannot uptake via diet, and this oil spray reduces cramps greatly, which is a constant
curse for those with Magnesium deficiency. See notes above under the Section, MIND YOURSELF.
Prepared products containing mixes of various vitamins and supplements are usually expensive and
often do not contain sufficient of any of the ingredients listed to have a specific effective impact. A judicious selection of the basics would be much less expensive
and have more impact.
BANANAS ~ Using
bananas as your snack of choice while having a break during study, research, tutoring other students, gives you a supply of trace elements not found in any other
fruit or vegetable. They are very easy on the digestive tract, and if you add a dribble of honey now and then, between them they will keep your gut active and calm, and help reduce gastric upsets
which are common at times of stress. Unripe bananas have a higher starch content. As they ripen, the starch is converted to sugar (and the fruit becomes sweeter).
bananas are also a good source of pectin, which is a type of dietary fibre found in fruits and helps them keep their structural form. Pectin breaks down when a banana becomes overripe, which causes the fruit to become softer.
loaded with valuable micro-nutrients, especially potassium. Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in the body, helping to regulate heart function as well as fluid balance – a key factor in regulating blood pressure. The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, in lowering
blood pressure and protecting against heart disease and strokes is well accepted and bolstered by considerable scientific evidence.
Bananas are soothing to the gastrointestinal tract due to their high content of pectin –
as soluble fibre that not only lowers cholesterol but normalizes bowel function. The high fibre content of bananas promote
satiety (feeling of fullness). However, as a tropical fruit, bananas are higher in sugar and aren’t a great choice for diabetics. The resistant starch in bananas also has a prebiotic effect, helping to keep gut bacteria happy by
increasing the production of short chain fatty acids for digestive health.
HERBS & OILS ~ Echinacea and Pelargonium herbs are both immunity super-boosters, and can help reduce
the number of colds you get if you take them throughout the cold season. These are available in various sources from capsules to powders. Echinacea is
a vital source of Omega 3, 6, and 9, especially for vegetarians and vegans, as it is plant derived, rather than the usual fish oil sources, and so there is no after-taste of fish.
However, halibut and cod liver oil capsules are good value, and easily available sources of Omegas. A regular fish element in your diet, two or three times a week, would give you all the Omega
you require, and it is low in cholesterol.
Less expensive fish rather than the usual salmon, sea trout, cod, and tuna, are equally beneficial nutritionally. Some may be lacking the flavour of the above mentioned
species, but that can be helped by using a strongly flavoured marinade of dried chilli, garlic, mustard seeds or powder, or whatever you like, plus a tablespoon of rape seed oil, either all mixed in a blender or in a pestle and mortar. Add
more oil if required to coat the fish well.
below for more information on good value fish varieties.
Go to a real fishmonger and ask for advice on what types
of fish stay together if sealed on the pan and added to a casserole; which ones fall apart easily if fried; which can be added straight to a sauce or casserole without requiring sealing first. Also,
ask for fish carcasses, which you need to use immediately you get it home. When you break open the carcass on the cutting board, use a teaspoon to scoop out any bloody matter and remains of organs. Then
rinse the fish clean under gently running cold water. Keep all the skin and head on your carcass to add to the pot. Let your ingredients simmer very gently in a pot of water from cold, along with a couple of yellow or brown skin onions cut in quarters, with the skin left on (the skins give a rich colour to your fish stock / liquor), a bay leaf or two. Depending on your plans for
the stock, you may wish to add some rosemary, parsley, and a little sage.
When your onions have
come apart and the flesh comes away from the fish bones in the water, your liquor is cooked.
Adding your fried-off and
sealed fish chunks to a gently simmering casserole near the end of the cooking process gives it a great lift and helps the fish keep moist. Please
don't use olive oil for frying fish, it burns at too low a temperature; stick with corn oil or, preferably, organic rapeseed oil.
As soon as you have strained your fish carcass, wrap all the leftovers, including onion pieces, in newspaper and add to your composting bin or waste
bin, according to your local rules.
You really want to get the fish detritus out of the kitchen promptly, at any time of year. Your fish liquor can be reduced to the quantity you require for the liquid in your soup, chowder, sauce, or casserole. It
freezes very well in yoghurt cartons or in ice trays, and can be defrosted easily put sitting in a bowl in the 'fridge overnight.
stocks always have a richer, deeper, flavour - we give it time to reduce and reduce, and develop this richness of aroma and flavour, with no added salt.
Tins of sardines in olive or sunflower oil can be kept in the larder for a
good while, always available for breakfast on toast, lunch, or supper. Rich in Omega 3, this is a very good value, very handy source, especially for those living alone, or snacking while studying.
PLEASE consider where your fish is
SOURCED. I would never buy fish taken from the Irish Sea, for example, as it is described as a 'sewer' by marine biologists, given its contributions from the nuclear power plant, Sellafield, in Britain, and the untreated sewage pumped out of Irish towns and cities along the coast.
KEEP IT CHEAP
Even though they don’t make headlines, many of the foods that are
actually super are very cheap. Sarah Keogh is a no-nonsense Dublin-based dietitian and nutritionist and is dismissive of the whole notion of superfoods. “I don’t think there is anything that is really a superfood,
although some foods do have more nutrition then others.”
She says foods such as goji berries sometimes make inroads into our consciousness because they are new and because journalists can’t be running the same story over and over again by continuously tell readers
that a varied diet of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, dairy, and wholegrains is a good idea.
“ ... kale is full of nutrition and probably deserves the title of a superfood.
" ... So do almonds.
" ... Carrots are brilliant and very high in vitamin A.
"Tomatoes are excellent and very high in lycopene, which can
help in reducing heart disease. Even the poor banana is great and is a very good source of potassium.”
She also points to dairy products. “Many people have turned away from dairy products such as milk and yogurt and
most of the time people are avoiding them unnecessarily, and I fear that we will have serious problems with our bones in the next 20 years or so.”
She says studies have repeatedly suggested that not only does dairy not cause cancer, but the people
who consume it get less bowel cancer.
When it comes to POTATOES, they are also full of nutrition, especially Vitamin C, as long as the skin is eaten.
Keogh says that to get the best out of food, people need to eat fruit and vegetables, oily
fish – particularly mackerel and salmon, with tinned varieties being almost as high in nutrition as fresh fish – nuts and seeds and wholegrains.
TOP AFFORDABLE ‘SUPERFOODS’
MACKERAL ~ An oily fish loaded with protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins,
selenium and iron.
SALMON ~ Another oily fish that
even those who are not mad about fish can eat. It is high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids and loads of B vitamins and selenium and more besides. It is good for the brain and the heart.
Tinned salmon is almost as nutritiously rich as the fresh variety and costs much less.
~ This nut is a real superfood and one that is high in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, copper, magnesium and protein. They also have high levels of bioactive molecules such as
fibre, phytosterols, vitamins, other minerals and antioxidants.
KALE ~ This contains Vitamins A, K, C and a range
of the Bs. It also has manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, iron and phosphorus. It is high in beta carotene, antioxidants, great for all round organ health and particularly the heart. It is good for the skin and mind
and a kilogram of kale costs less than a fiver.
CARROTS ~ The humble carrot is loaded with vitamin A, antioxidants
and other vitamins, minerals and fibre as well as beta carotene. They are one of the cheapest superfoods on the market.
HUMIDITY ~ Normally, tiny hairs in your lungs waft germs and mucus into your throat, where you clear them by swallowing. But very cold air slows this movement, giving
viruses longer to take hold in your lungs and cause an infection.
FEW can invest in humidifiers. So, I suggest keeping containers of water (changing the water daily) beside
every heater, radiator, or heat source, in your home. Keeping humidity levels between 40-60% using a humidifier reduces the period viruses survive in the air, and keeps your respiratory system warm and moist.
Now, the system I suggest is clearly not so scientifically accurate, but it will help. If you added essential oils of lemon,
sweet orange, bergamot or lime to the water, the atmosphere shall be more relaxing and uplifting.
Be careful that the water containers are safe from
being knocked over, and should never be put near electric heat sources.
PORRIDGE ~ Trinity College Dublin has come out with even more good news on the benefits of porridge. We already know
a bowl of porridge for breakfast reduces random, unhealthy, snacking, it fills one until lunchtime; it is very good for the skin; and now we hear that the active parts of the oatmeal work to breakdown cholesterol build-up, and plague build-up in blood vessels.
It assists in weight loss; and of course it is a very good value food ~ considerably better for us than the
processed breakfast cereals claiming to contain seeds and fruit which are hugely more expensive, with their frequently added sugar / sugar-types and salt. Please don't soak
your porridge oats overnight, to speed up cooking in the morning, as this reduces some of the benefits of the oats. We can add our own, in season, fresh fruit, as we like!
For example, LINSEED (flaxseed) cannot be digested by the human system as the coating is too dense for our digestive juices. Also, bought milled linseed is
of little value, except maybe as a very expensive contribution to roughage consumption. Linseed is very rich in Omega, and should be milled
as one has one's breakfast or whenever one plans to use it, as it loses it nutritional value within
twenty minutes after milling.
LENTILS, BEANS, PEAS, etc ~ Lentils, chickpeas, beans, and split peas of all sizes
and colours are an excellent, very inexpensive source of protein, which comes without the bad cholesterol of meat.
found the best way for me to have a good, readily available, mix of varied lentils, beans, and their friends, is to put the largest dried ones you have soaking overnight in cold
water, this definitely includes chickpeas which, I think along with cockroaches, will be the only survivors of the nuclear holocaust!
Packets of dried lentils, beans, etc, are much cheaper than the tinned varieties (and the tinned ones frequently get mushy very fast when added to a dish one is cooking). The next day when you have time to spend
checking on the saucepan, you can build up a wide-ranging collection of cooked protein.
Having rinsed them from their soaking water, add the largest, toughest, lentils, or beans to unsalted,
gently boiling, water to which you have added a good dash of olive oil or rape seed oil; chickpeas go in first, alone, for ages. Don't
put the lid on, and stir regularly and gently. As the larger ones soften, add the smaller beans and lentils, etc, down to the tiny ones at the end, keeping
an eye on the water level all the time.
You want to end up with enough water so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the saucepan, but not too much
because you will be reducing the liquid quotient as much as possible at the end of the cooking process. When you are happy everything is heading to nearly
cooked keep an eye on the saucepan as you wish to reduce the liquid level to a loose coating of the lentils, beans, peas, etc. Then turn off the heat, put the lid on
the pan, and let the contents cool.
You will need some of those 1 litre and / or 3 litre ziplock type freezer food bags. When your
lentil / bean etc mixture is cold, spoon it into your ziplock bag with a tablespoon, having folded back the opening of the bag by one-third so that the zip closure remains clear of your mix; lay the half-filled bag on a cutting board, and flatten the mixture as thin as you can get it, squeezing it into the corners, expelling any air, and then closing the zip.
Fills as many bags as you have mixture, and when they are all flat as boards, put them
in the freezer, on the cutting board, to harden.
Mark the bags previously, with indelible marker before filling them, and let the ink dry; mark as 'mixed cooked lentils, beans, peas, etc', and add the date.
We all think we'll remember
what's in freezer bags, but we don't 90% of the time. Most bags of frozen 'something' look like asteroids.
Because you've added oil to your
cooking mix, it will be easy to break off chunks of the thin frozen lentil / bean / split pea mixture, to add to any dish you are cooking. If you are planning a stir-fry, break off your lentil mixture the night before and put in a bowl in the 'fridge to defrost, and to collect the defrosted water / oil mix, which you may or may
not choose to use. If you choose to benefit from its strength of protein, use it early so that it may reduce as much as possible and also help avoid steaming and making soggy the vegetables. It's like breaking chunks
off a slab of chocolate! You've done the work, and can feel suitably virtuous.
Even if you are cooking a meat based stew or casserole, adding some of your lentil
/ bean mixture increases the protein level and the roughage content. You might choose to reduce the quantity of meat used, and so reduce the cost.
remember to keep all your lentils, beans and split peas, etc, in airtight jars. Please cut the name of the lentil, etc, off the packing or bag, plus any particular cooking instructions you think would
be useful, and put those in the jar facing out, followed by filling the jar to keep the labels in place; we think we'll remember which is which, but
Empty mayonnaise, instant coffee, pickle, and jam jars are all great for storage. Sterilize jars and lids before use in a diswasher or in a pot of rolling
boiling water for 10 minutes minimum, after washing well. Let them dry fully on a sunny window sill, not in the oven. Plactic lids don't survive that second
The above information is based on my own Montessori Training including nutrition and general healthcare; //rheumatoidarthritis.net/nutrition/top-15-anti-inflammatory-foods/; my
keen interest in good quality, good value food, skin, and general physical and mental welfare; the Health Section of the 'Sunday Times Magazine'; //www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-bananas; the Holland & Barrett website; plus advice from
a Local Authority Dietitian regarding stress management, and continuous reading of up-to-date research. Conor Pope, Consumer Affairs Correspondence, The Irish Times.