Women

Life is richer when you’re glowing with health. We’ve got the recipe for a total wellness overhaul

Want bags of energy, fewer sniffles and glowing skin? Who doesn’t! Luckily, it’s not an impossible dream. For a body that runs like a well-oiled, illness-fighting machine, you simply need to make a few easy diet swaps.

‘Diet is inextricably tied to your health and this connection goes beyond mere fuel to supporting just about every bodily function and the health of tissues and cells,’ explains Pat Thomas, co-author of Neal’s Yard Remedies’ new book, Healing Foods ($26, DK Books).

Reviving your body with the right nutrients will help to reduce stress, kick-start your digestion and eliminate toxins from your body. But, no single food can supply all the nutrients you need, so it’s important to include as many different foods in your diet as possible. ‘Scientists have discovered more than 1, 200 phytochemicals present in fruit, vegetables, beans and grains and animal products, and - although they’re not essential - many of these appear to have a positive impact on health and wellness,’ says Pat. ‘The goal should be to increase diversity, not quantity, and aim for around 30 different foods a day to ensure you get a wide range of essential nutrients.’

Reviving your body with the right nutrients will help to reduce stress, kick-start your digestion and eliminate toxins from your body.

Reviving your body with the right nutrients will help to reduce stress, kick-start your digestion and eliminate toxins from your body.

Feeling daunted? Don’t! What this means is a huge range of exciting foods to choose from for your wellness boost. We’ve enlisted Pat’s help to steer your menu in the right direction.

Veggie power

Ready to supercharge your menu? Start by increasing your levels of phytonutrients - plant compounds with a powerful health-protective punch. Here’s the best of the bunch...

The disease fighters: Green foods like cabbage are rich in anti-cancer antioxidants such as lutein, chlorophyll and insoles.

The skin smoothers: Purple fruits such as grapes are packed with anthocyanin and resveratrol, which support healthy ageing.

The vision enhancers: Lycopene, found in tomatoes, watermelon and red peppers, helps to protect against loss of vision.

The immunity boosters: The beta carotene in oranges and carrots keeps your immune cells firing to ward off illness.

3 ways to eat smarter

Add Pat’s top foods to your plate for a nutritional kick-start

Buckwheat: ‘Pseudo grains like buckwheat can be used as flours, sprouted, cooked like rice or soaked to make a nutritious drink. Buckwheat is one of my favorites because it’s so good for blood sugar control, it’s easy to digest and it helps maintain a healthy hormone balance.’

Buckwheat is one of my favorites because it’s so good for blood sugar control, it’s easy to digest and it helps maintain a healthy hormone balance.

Buckwheat is one of my favorites because it’s so good for blood sugar control, it’s easy to digest and it helps maintain a healthy hormone balance.

Berries: ‘Berries are rich in antioxidants and packed with vitamins. Most berries have big benefits for your heart and eyes and contain substances known to fight cancer. Freeze fresh berries for later or use dried berries out of season by adding them to porridge or smoothies.’

Fermented foods: ‘Fermented foods such as Asian kimchi, sauerkraut and miso contain friendly bacteria that can help keep your gut healthy. We now understand that a healthy gut is important for both our physical health and emotional wellbeing.’

Fermented foods such as Asian kimchi, sauerkraut and miso contain friendly bacteria that can help keep your gut healthy.

Fermented foods such as Asian kimchi, sauerkraut and miso contain friendly bacteria that can help keep your gut healthy.

The well thy diet

Rev up your menu with these health-boosting meal ideas

Energizing snack

Humus with coriander: Chickpeas release their energy slowly, so humus is a great snack to keep hunger at bay between meals. This recipe is delicious with oatcakes or whole-meal crackers.

Humus with coriander

Humus with coriander

Chickpeas help to keep your gut healthy.

Sesame seeds act as a general health tonic.

Coriander adds flavor without the need for salt.

Garlic has antibacterial immune-boosting properties.

How to make the humus

·         Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.

·         Place 2 large, peeled garlic cloves in a small baking dish, add 120ml olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white wine, ½ a teaspoon of chopped thyme leaves and ½ a teaspoon of chopped rosemary leaves. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Blitz the mixture briefly in a blender to make a purée.

·         Put 1 tablespoon of the purée in a blender with 400g cooked chickpeas, 3 tablespoons of dark tahini paste, the juice of ½ a lemon, 1 teaspoon of crushed coriander seeds, ½ a teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper.

·         Blitz to a semi-coarse paste. Add 2 teaspoons of black sesame seeds, taste, and add more seasoning or lemon juice if needed. If the mixture is dry, add water. For a smooth texture use a hand-held blender and add the sesame seeds along with the rest of the ingredients.

·         Serve in a bowl with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and coriander leaves.

Balancing soup

Watercress soup: Watercress is a true super-food. It contains an abundance of phytonutrients that help to support women’s health. This salad staple is also wonderfully nourishing.

Watercress is a true super-food.

Watercress is a true super-food.

Onion is rich in phytochemical compounds to boost skin.

Watercress contains cancer-inhibiting properties.

Pears are low in calories and high in dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Crème Fraiche is a good source of calcium.

Olive oil contains good essential fatty acids.

How to make the soup

·         Fry 1 onion in butter until soft, stirring to prevent burning. Add the stalks of a large bunch of watercress, 3 chopped pears and 1 liter of vegetable stock.

·         Season and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the watercress leaves and blitz the soup in a blender. Stir in 200ml crème fraiche and the juice of ½ a lemon.

·         Serve the soup garnished with Parmesan cheese.

Positive brekkie

Homemade granola: A healthy breakfast can set the scene for better health choices throughout the day. This combination of granola, fresh fruit and honey provides a wealth of nutrients to support your wellbeing.

·         Rolled oats contain several nutrients that support a stressed nervous system.

·         Banana is packed with potassium, which regulates nerve function.

·         Pumpkin seeds are full of stress-busting magnesium, B vitamins and tryptophan.

·         Honey contains antioxidants to protect cells,

·         Sultanas are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

How to make the granola

Drizzle rolled oats with honey on an oiled baking tray and toast in the oven until golden.

Remove and leave to cool. Mix with ingredients such as pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and bran flakes to taste.

The world in food

Take your taste buds on a culinary holiday inspired by some of the world’s healthiest diets

The Arctic diet

The lnuit people of the Arctic eat a fish and meat- based diet. Living in such a remote region provides little access to grains, fruits or vegetables, but they maintain good health by eating a wide variety of freshly caught foodstuffs containing a broad spectrum of nutrients.

The Mediterranean diet

Renowned for its life- preserving properties, the Mediterranean diet is packed with fresh veg and fruit, some whole-grains, olive oil, fish and small amounts of red wine and meat.

The Japanese diet

Traditional Japanese food is high in fat-soluble vitamins and minerals from seafood and organ meats. It’s rich in digestion-boosting fermented foods like tempeh and miso, too. This nutrient-filled diet contributes to the low Japanese obesity rate.

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