Happy Fit Food Friday! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and today is about asparagus. Asparagus is a sign that spring is near and , who would’ve thought it, has a pretty interesting history. One of the oldest surviving recipe books Apicius’s third century AD ‘De re coquinaria book III’ has a recipe for cooking asparagus. Romans froze it high in the alps and and coined an expression ‘faster than cooking asparagus’ when meaning quick action. In England we don’t appear to have paid asparagus much attention until 1538.
But that’s enough of the history. On to why you should be eating it and I’ve included a couple of recipes at the end.
Asparagus can provide us with a variety of nutrients including vitamins A, C and K, fibre and folate. It is also an excellent source of vitamin E, a variety of B vitamins and more.
It has a unique combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients including a variety of asparagus saponins and also quercetin and kaempferol. Inflammation plays a role in many undesirable conditions.
3. Antioxidant content
Asparagus provides plenty of antioxidants. When compared with other fruit and vegetables asparagus ranks high for it’s antioxidant content. If you want to read more about why you need antioxidants you can read my article here.
4. Helps fight cancer
Points 3 and 4 probably play a large part in why asparagus is an anti-cancer food. It also contains glutathione which helps to break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds. Most tests regarding cancer and asparagus have been done on rats and mice but the results are positive.
5. Digestive Support
Asparagus aids digestive support through its inulin content. Inulin is a carbohydrate that is sometimes referred to as a prebiotic. Instead of being broken down like most carbohydrates, it passes through to the large intestine where it becomes a food source for good bacteria.
6. Decreased risk of birth defects
Asparagus is an excellent source of folate. Folate is an important nutrient during pregnancy and asparagus is a great natural source.
7. Heart health
Folate is also an essential nutrient with regards to our heart health. Folate regulates the amino acid homocysteine which, when in high levels, can be a risk factor in heart disease.
If you don’t really cook asparagus much here are a few recipes for inspiration.
Thanks for reading
This week is National Salt Awareness Week. It’s a really good time to do exactly what the title suggests and become aware of how much salt is in your diet. It is easy to eat too much salt without realising it, but it is also easy to cut back on salt once we become aware of where we are eating it.
Salt is actually necessary in our diets. Our bodies need a little salt to survive. The key word here is ‘little’. Most adults are eating far too much and may not even realise it. Regularly eating too much salt increases our risk of developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause strokes and heart attacks.
HOW MUCH SALT SHOULD WE EAT?
The recommended daily limit for salt for an adult is no more than 6g a day (about a teaspoon).
Children and babies should eat less. Salt should never be added to babies foods and you should never use stock cubes or gravy for babies as they are often high in salt, and babies kidneys can’t actually cope with the amount of salt in them.
HOW TO CUT DOWN ON SALT
The problem can be that most people don’t realise they are eating too much salt. This is because salt is hiding in many everyday foods. About 75% of salt in our diet comes from processed foods. Salt can be found in sauces and soups and ready meals, but also in everyday foods such as breads and cereals.
Start reading food labels. Salt is also called sodium chloride. If a food label gives a figure for sodium there is a simple way to work out the salt- simply x sodium figure by 2.5 to get the salt figure (2.4g of sodium is equal to 6g of salt).
Colour coded packages make it much easier to see how much salt is in a product. High salt is highlighted in red and means it contains more than 1.5g of salt per 100g. Products which highlight the salt in green should be low in salt and contain 0.3g or less of salt per 100g.
An obvious way to cut back on salt is to avoid adding it during cooking or at the table. This is something I did once Nathan was old enough to eat the same food as we did. I never add salt during cooking and it’s now very rare that I add it at the table. It’s all about forming new habits. Don’t automatically add salt, taste the food first and be sure you actually need it. It doesn’t take long for our tastebuds to adjust.
Flavour in food doesn’t have to come from salt. Fresh and dried herbs and spices and black pepper can add flavour to food instead of salt.
This nhs article has a list of foods that can be high in salt http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/salt.aspx
And if you’re looking for some low salt recipes try this link to BBC Good Food http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/low-salt
Here are a couple that I’m going to give a whirl:
Here is a link to more information about Salt Awareness Week. Do you need to cut back on salt? Let me know your thoughts.
photo from BBC Good Food Eat Well Show 2015
I’m back! It’s been a while and I hope that 2016 is treating you well. Still sticking to your resolutions? Or have they fallen to the wayside? Perhaps attending a few healthy eating and fitness events will keep you motivated. I’ve had a look at what’s coming up in 2016 and here are some events that are taking place in the UK that you might enjoy. I’ll be putting a few on my calendar!
Diabetes UK Roadshows
These roadshows take place at various locations throughout the year. The one nearest to me is in Leicester on the 10th March. If you want to find the nearest to you then check the website here. The roadshows help people to find out their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also give information to those with the condition about things such as food and exercise.
The Natural Food Show
This is taking place on the 16th and 17th April at Excel, London. This show is all about natural and organic beauty and healthcare. You can sample natural food and drink, check out new product launches and also listen to guest speakers and see cooking demonstrations. To find out more you can visit the website here.
Bodypower UK 2016
This is on the 13th-15th May at the NEC, Birmingham. It is an event dedicated to the international fitness market and you can find out more and book tickets here.
BBC Good Food Eat Well Show
I went to this last year and had a great time. You can read about what went on last year here.
This year it is part of ‘BBC Good Food Show Summer in the City.’ There will be a dieticians clinic, guest speakers, book signings and plenty of products to sample. You can find the website here.
BNF Healthy Eating Week
Schools and nurseries can register on the website here. It is on the 13th-17th June and schools can focus on some healthy eating activities.
SFN Expo 2016
This is Scotland’s biggest ever sport, fitness and nutrition expo and will be held in Glasgow on the 27th-28th August. You can get details on the website here.
The Sport and Fitness Show
This is at Hove Lawns, Brighton & Hove. It is on the 10th-11th September. You can discover sport, nutrition, exercise, health and fitness and be by the sea! Details are on the website here.
If you know of any events I’ve missed feel free to add the details in the comments or let me know and I’ll add them. Will you be going to any health and fitness events in 2016? Maybe I’ll see you there. Thanks for reading