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Matt Roberts Gym Injury FEATURED

Gym injuries post-lockdown? Fitness guru Matt Roberts reveals 5 ways you can avoid them

Gym injuries are a given if you go too hard too fast. Celebrity trainer and fitness guru Matt Roberts reveals five ways we can avoid post-lockdown injury when working out 

The gyms are open again, hurrah!

Although we have all been keen to get back into our workout regimes, some people may have thrown themselves in at the deep end after months of inactivity throughout lockdown.

The thing is, you simply cannot pick up where you left off  – it’s just not going to ‘workout’ – excuse the pun.

Muscle soreness is a given after a substantial break from exercise, but pulling a muscle, putting too much pressure on your joints or even causing lasting damage to your back or knees, could be caused by lifting too heavy or running too much too soon after a period of prolonged inactivity.

To help ease you back into the gym and avoid injury, Healthista spoke to celebrity fitness guru Matt Roberts, who revealed his five top tips on how to avoid injury when returning to the gym.

Gym Injuries

#1 Perform a mobility warm up before your gym session

Make sure you’re not diving straight into the heavy workouts – both cardio and weightlifting – without taking the time to mobolise your shoulders, hips, knees and back.

I recommend spending around five minutes warming up before your workout.

You can even use a foam roller to make sure you’ve covered some trigger point work and muscle activation. This will ensure you have a range of motion around those big key joints that we use when working out.

Without this initial range of motion, it’s going to be hard for your body to move in the same way it did before lockdown. So in order to be able to perform squats, lunges, chest pressing and pulling properly to the best of your ability and without injury, be sure to warm up first.

Try this five-minute mobility warm up before your workout:

#2 Increase weight slowly

When I say strengthen, it probably sounds like I mean ‘go and lift some nice big weights and hit your workout really hard’, but that’s not what I mean at all.

What I mean by ‘strengthen’ is build up your strength slowly, for the first couple of weeks I recommend focusing on workouts with a high rep range using lighter weights, making sure you can master repetition within those key joints and muscles that you need in order to get stable and stronger.

Once your joint and muscles become stabilised again, they will be able to cope with the loading and higher weights that you were using before lockdown, without hurting yourself.

Without building up this strength and stability and going back to the same weights as before, you could very easily tear a shoulder muscle, tear a hip muscle or strain your back – then you’ll find yourself in big painful trouble.

So take your time, there is no point in rushing.

Avoid gym injury woman in gym lifting weights

#3 Incorporate interval training into your workouts to challenge your VO2

VO2 stands for maximal oxygen uptake, and is an index of the body’s efficiency at producing work.

That means it measures the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise. It’s commonly used to test the aerobic endurance.

Again, like weightlifting challenge your VO2 slowly. Over lockdown, you’ve probably been doing the same routines involving long duration cardio such as going for a cycle, long walk or slow run.

it measures the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise

Now it’s time to start building in some more interval work. To do this why not head over to the treadmill, cross trainer or a rowing machine and aim for short yet intense spells of exercise.

For example sprinting at maximum effort and raising your VO2 for around 20 to 30 seconds, and then rest for a similar or longer period.

Repeat this eight to ten times to give you a slight lift in your heart’s strength again. Go in steadily, not going in for a smash at the start, it’s not HIIT training, it’s starting off with a small amount to build and build and then in a fews weeks time it’s back to more HIIT work in the future.

Over time you can then increase these blasts to 30 to 40 seconds, and this will continue to raise your VO2, heart and lung capacity.

Woman on assault bike avoid gym injuries

#4 Make sure you are eating enough protein

Having done your workout, it’s imperative that you replenish your body with the nutrients it needs.

Yes you’ve probably been eating and drinking for Britain for the last three or four months, but now it’s about fueling your body to help yourself recover from your workouts.

After you finish your workout you need to make sure that your protein intake in particular is sufficient, and now is also not the time to eat junk food.

it’s best to choose a hemp or a plant-based protein

Within the first half an hour to an hour there is a window in which you need to make sure you are giving yourself a decent amount of protein and additional nutrients to refill and replenish the cells in the body that have been depleted through exercise.

In most cases our diets are rich in carbs, so although important, try not to focus on carbs post-workout and instead focus on your protein intake.

Ideally, it’s best to choose a hemp or a plant-based protein, in order to give yourself all the branched chain amino acids that you need in one complex.

woman in the gym avoiding gym injury

#5 Set a clear goal every month

Set a clear goal every month going forwards.

For example, record where you are now and then determine where you want to be one month from now and what you achieve in that time.

That could be a weight change, a shape change or it could mean getting back to doing a 3k, 5k or 10k run that you were achieving before.

It’s time to get back into a pattern, set a clear goal one month at a time and reassess them at the end of each month.

So, there you have it, five quick simple tips to make sure you are back in the gym successfully and safely. Now that we’re out of lockdown we can all get back into great shape.

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Want shiny, long hair? Nutritionist reveals 5 key foods for healthy hair growth

Wish you could have longer hair? Healthista Collective expert and nutritionist Rick Hay reveals the 5 foods to eat for healthy hair growth

Healthy-looking, shiny hair is often seen as a sign of health and beauty.

Long, thick, glossy – whatever your preference, people are always striving for beautiful flowing locks.

Advertisements convince us invest in serums, shampoos, conditioners and hair masks which we end up spending a fortune on, but the truth is healthy hair actually starts on the inside.

healthy hair actually starts on the inside

That’s why a healthy diet is key to help every part of the body function well, and that includes your hair.

Hair is the fastest growing natural tissue in the human body and like every other part of your body, your hair needs a variety of nutrients in order to be healthy and to grow.

While factors such as age, genetics and hormones determine hair growth and the speed of hair growth, consuming the right amount of nutrients is key in order for our hair to grow.

Even though our hair is the fastest growing natural tissue in our bodies, hair is a non-essential tissue. That means your hair isn’t exactly top the the priority list when it comes to nutrient distribution.

shiny hair for article

As well as a possible lack of key nutrients our hair also has to deal with everyday stresses such as pollution, hair dryers, straighteners, colour treatments, social media expectations, rain and wind can impact the health of our hair.

Therefore, it is important to provide the body with sufficient vitamins and nutrients, to give your hair the best possible chance to grow and thrive. A nutritious diet including foods high in vitamins A, C, E as well as healthy fats can help transform a dull and lacklustre mane to flowing hair fit for a princess.

it is important to provide the body with sufficient vitamins and nutrients

Fruits, veggies, wholewheat goods, beans, pulses, protein, fibre – a diet full of these foods will provide you with all the nutrients you need, but if you want to improve the health of your hair even further then there are a couple of nutrients and vitamins you should aim to consume more of.

So, with that said, here are five key foods to add to your diet for healthy hair growth.

#1 Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc, a mineral that plays an important role in hair growth and repair – plus they are delicious sprinkled over your morning porridge.

They also consist of cucurbitin, an amino acid that may encourage hair growth.

Pumpkin seeds

Zinc is essential to good cellular replication and protein absorption which are both essential to having glossy, healthy hair. It also helps keep the oil glands around the hair follicles working properly.

Indeed, zinc deficiency has been shown to be factor of hair loss. A 2013 study in the Annals of Dermatology on 312 people with hair loss found that all participants had lower zinc concentrations in their blood than those in a control group.

A study in the same journal found that supplementing with zinc daily for 12 weeks was enough for 66 per cent of the patients in the trial to see an improvement in hair growth.

Other food sources of zinc include kidney beans, beef, chicken, hemp seeds, tofu, lentils and oatmeal.

#2 Fatty Fish (or Algae for vegans)

Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are great sources of protein, selenium, vitamin D3 and B vitamins. These are nutrients that may help promote strong and healthy hair as well as protect your skin from premature ageing.

Not only that, but fish is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, that greatly benefits your hair and scalp by regulating oil production and boosting hydration.

fish is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 is also important for preventing hair shaft breakage and giving hair a healthy shine, thanks to the essential fatty acids they contain.

When it comes to healthy hair, protein is a must. This is because keratin, which is what your hair shaft is made of, is basically made of protein.

In order to ensure you have optimum levels of protein, make sure your diet includes sources such as seeds like flax, lentils and quinoa as well as fish, eggs and lean meats if you eat meat.

Sources of protein

If you are vegan or vegetarian you can supplement with algal oil which is rich in healthy omegas or you can add Spirulina to smoothies, as this blue green algae superfood is packed full of hair nourishing vitamins including iron, vitamins B and C.

In addition to fish and algae, other sources of omega 3 include chia seeds, soy beans, flax seeds and edamame.

#3 Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, a compound converted into vitamin A by the body.

Vitamin A is vital for cell growth, and that includes hair cells which can speed up the rate of hair growth and encourage the growth of thicker hair.

Not only does vitamin A benefit hair cells, it helps your scalp too as skin glands also use vitamin A to produce an oily substance called sebum, which will help yo keep your scalp moisturised.

Sweet potato wedges

It is best to eat beta carotene rich foods such as carrots, squash and sweet potatoes cooked as opposed to raw as vitamin A becomes more bioavailable in cooked food. It’s also helpful to consume these vegetables with oil as this can improve your absorption of vitamin A.

#4 Avocados

Avocados are the ultimate beauty food as they are packed with your skin and hair’s favourite vitamins: A (mentioned above), C and E. There’s a reason avocado on toast is such a popular breakfast!

Not only that, but avocados also contain antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and folate which help to nourish and strengthen hair, encourages growth, improves the condition of your scalp and prevents hair loss.

Avocado and eggs on toast

Usually when anyone hears the words vitamin C they think of lemons and other citrus fruits but avocados, potatoes, broccoli and strawberries are just some of the many sources of vitamin C.

One of vitamin C’s major functions is to help produce and maintain healthy collagen, the connective tissue found within hair follicles. Without vitamin C, our body struggles to synthesize collagen.

One of vitamin C’s major functions is to help produce and maintain healthy collagen

Vitamin E is also an important vitamin for maintaining and growing healthy hair. Sunflower seeds, almonds and green veggies as well as avocados are all excellent sources of vitamin E.

Indeed, a study was conducted to investigate the effect of tocotrienol (vitamin E) supplementation on hair growth in volunteers suffering from hair loss.

The study published in The National Library of Medicine in 2010, found that the number of hairs of the volunteers in the tocotrienol (vitamin E) supplementation group increased significantly as compared to the placebo group.

#5 Walnuts

Walnuts contain both nutrients mentioned above, omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) and vitamin E, which keep the scalp hydrated and bacteria or fungus infections at bay because of its antibacterial properties.

Walnuts also protect our hair from sun damage as well as keeping it voluminous and lustrous. Snacking on a handful of raw walnuts throughout the day will make your hair extremely happy, so eat up!

Rick Hay

Rick Hay is an Anti-Ageing and Fitness Nutritionist with many years clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathy, botanical medicine and iridology.

He specializes in obesity treatment and weight management. He writes a regular Natural Health and Fitness Blog for Healthista.

Find out more at rickhay.co.uk.

Follow Rick on Twitter @rickhayuk

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6 bento box recipes for beginners FEATURED

6 bento box recipes for beginners

Meal prep can be fun, colourful and time efficient. Author of ‘Bento Power’ Sara Kiyo Popowa shares six bento box recipes 

Whether you want to save money, eat healthier or quit having sad meals at your desk, investing some time in preparing vibrant and fun lunch boxes means you will always appreciate and look forward to eating your lunch.

Inspired by her Japanese roots, Popowa’s collection of recipes are vegetarian, dairy-free, and mostly vegan and gluten-free.

‘Bento originates from a culture where ritual and presentation plays an important part of daily life,’ explains Popowa.

bento – a box of delicious treasures

‘I love the concept and structure of bento – a box of delicious treasures,’ Popowa continues. ‘What I don’t love so much about typical Japanese bento is that it’s heavy on meat and deep-fried food and stingy on veggies.’

‘My bento has less small dishes, more greens and often more raw components than typical Japanese bento. To make my bento, I focus on using these five elements: grains/carbs, leafy greens, protein and fat, fruits and vegetables, and sprinkles and boosts.’

Bento Box #1 Fluffy Grain-free Pancakes with Overnight Chia Jam

At the start of my Instagram journey, I was amazed by the amount of pancakes people posted. Most were the small fluffy kind in a pretty stack with chocolate dribbling down its sides. I wanted some too! Somewhere I read you could make pancakes out of nuts and eggs and so I did.

These little flourless wonders are packed with protein and good fats and are equally good with sweet or savoury toppings. Overnight chia jam is my little hack to have jam ready for breakfast with minimal effort.

What is chia jam? I‘d prefer to call it ‘instant jam‘ with the benefits of gelatinous chia seed (hydrating, fibre, omegas) and being able to use any natural sugar I like.

Makes 12–16 tiny pancakes (6cm diameter), 1–3 portions

Fridge life pancakes and chia jam: up to 3 days

Freezer life (pancakes only): up to 1 month

To make the Overnight Chia Jam

Ingredients:

  • 200g frozen raspberries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp coconut palm sugar or 1 tbsp clear honey, or to taste
  • 4 tbsp water

Method:

The jam is best made the evening before you want to serve it, or at least four hours before, but you can do a speedy version too.

1. Place all the ingredients in a glass jar with a lid, close and give it a good shake. As soon as the water touches the chia seeds they start swelling and sticking together, so if you can, shake the jar a couple of times during the first 30 minutes or so.

2. If you‘re making a speedy version, place your jar in a pan of hot water (to melt the berries) and it‘s ready to use after about an hour.

3. For the overnight version, the berries will slowly melt and plump up the seeds with their juice. Give it another shake and taste to see if it‘s sweet enough; if not, add a little extra sugar or honey.

To make the Cashew Pancakes:

Ingredients:

  • 100g cashews
  • 2 organic medium eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 100ml water
  • a little oil, to fry

Method:

1. Place the cashews in a blender and blend to make a coarse flour, then add the rest of the ingredients (except the oil for frying) and blend on the highest setting until very thick and fluffy, like whipped custard – this will take a couple of minutes in a standard blender.

2. Add a little more water if the mixture seems too thick to blend or pour.

3. Preheat a frying pan over a medium heat and rub with a little oil.

4. Pour the batter straight out of the blender (or use a spoon) to form small pancakes in the pan and then lower the heat (you‘ll need to cook the pancakes in batches).

5. When you start seeing small bubbles at the top of the pancakes, after about one minute, gently flip them over and cook for a further minute or so.

6. Remove to a plate and cover with a piece of baking paper, then leave to cool before packing in your bento. Repeat to make the rest of the pancakes, until all the batter has been used up.

Tip: To make the bear pancakes, once you’ve poured a dollop of batter in your pan for a pancake, use a small spoon and carefully drop a little batter at the edges of each pancake. Flip gently.

For the eyes, melt a little dark chocolate either in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in a microwave oven. Once the pancake is fully cool, draw the face on with a cocktail stick or very thin chopsticks.

To freeze, ensure the pancakes are fully cool, then lay in one layer in a large ziplock bag – you can then take them out one at a time and heat in your toaster, or simply pack in your bento to defrost by lunchtime.

Bento Box #2 No-bake Matcha Brownies

Pretty little treats for your bento! Matcha green tea powder can be used in a similar way to cacao powder and, just like cacao, it adds both flavour (a subtle, multi-layered green flavour that I‘m personally addicted to), and an uplifting effect. I use high-quality ‘ceremonial-grade‘ matcha for this recipe.

In Japan, matcha-flavoured white chocolate is an art form in itself, so I’ve played with it here to make a show-stopping coating (but you can roll your dough into small naked balls instead if you prefer). The recipe is easy to double, or triple, in a food processor (for one batch a reasonably strong blender will work well).

The oats add creaminess and make the bites lighter, brown rice syrup adds a slight chewiness and miso rounds everything off beautifully.

Makes about 18 x 3cm square pieces

Fridge life: up to 3 weeks

To make the base

Ingredients:

  • 50g cashews
  • 50g almonds (blanched if possible)
  • 50g rolled jumbo oats
  • 3 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tbsp raw coconut oil (no need to melt it)
  • 1 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 tsp brown rice miso paste

Method:

1. For the base, line a small baking tin (a loaf tin, about 20 x 10cm, works well) with baking paper.

2. Place the nuts and oats in a blender or food processor and process to a coarse flour.

3. Add all the remaining base ingredients and process until the mixture looks moist and just starts lumping together.

4. Squish the mixture into the lined tin to form an even base.

To make the coating

Ingredients:

  • 20–40g vegan white chocolate (iChoc is ideal)
  • 1/2 tbsp raw coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp matcha powder

Method:

1. For the coating, melt the white chocolate and coconut oil together. You can either do this in a small heatproof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water, or use a microwave.

2. Spread half of it evenly over the base.

3. Using a fork, whisk half the matcha powder into the remaining melted chocolate and drizzle half of it, or a little more, over the base in a random way.

4. Mix the remaining matcha and melted chocolate together for a dark green final touch and drizzle this over the base, again, the more random the better.

5. Drag a cocktail stick through the white and green chocolates to create patterns.

6. Chill in the fridge to firm up, then cut into triangles or squares using a big, sharp knife. For the neatest results, heat the knife by dipping it in hot water and wipe it between cuts.

7. Stack the brownies in an airtight container using a piece of baking paper between layers to keep the coating tidy-looking (optional). Store in the fridge.

Bento Box #3 Hiya-yakko – Cool Tofu Scramble Bento

‘Hiya-yakko‘ is a Japanese summer dish: a block of chilled silken tofu, perked up by soy sauce, grated fresh ginger and spring onions on top. I like making it into a bento, with colourful veggies and a sheet of nori in between the tofu/veggie topping and the rice base.

Why the nori? By lunchtime, the tofu has released some liquid, which softens the nori which mixes with the other seasonings as you dig in – simply delicious.

Makes 1 bento box

Fridge life: up to 24 hours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 portion of pre-prepped 50/50 rice or quinoa
  • 1/2 nori sheet
  • a handful of salad greens, like rocket, watercress or baby spinach
  • 1/4 avocado, flesh scooped out or sliced
  • 1/4 pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe tomato, roughly chopped
  • 75–100g organic silken tofu
  • 1cm piece fresh ginger, washed but unpeeled
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp gomashio (any type) or toasted sesame seeds

Variation: Instead of topping the tofu with tamari, ginger and spring onion on the tofu, try my Japanese friend Akki‘s topping of 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, a good pinch of flaky sea salt and a small bunch of garlic chives, finely snipped with scissors.

Method:

If you have a square box you can make a diagonal shape, as in the image.

1. To assemble, use a leak-proof box. Make a bed of rice, as even as possible, and lay the nori on top. Rip bits off the nori to fit, and include all of it.

2. Place the salad greens at one end of your bed and top it with the avocado, then place the pepper and tomato at the other end.

3. Drain the liquid from the tofu pack and gently slide out your preferred portion directly in between the two veggie mounds. You may need to push down on the tofu with a spoon or your clean hands to break it slightly.

4. Finely grate the ginger over the tofu (using a microplane or box grater) then drizzle the tamari over and the spring onion too.

5. Finish with the gomashio (or toasted sesame), in a small mound, to mix in when eating. Close your box and pack in a bento bag or furoshiki with a fork or chopsticks.

Bento Box #4 Tamago-yaki Bento and Seed Omelette Bento

‘Tamago-yaki’ really is one of the most classic bento fillings, so much so that some think it‘s not a real bento if it‘s not in there! You may have tried it as sushi – a neat, yellow and often very sweet omelette slice.

My version is a lot less sweet and less complicated to make and I‘ve cut out the more difficult-to-source ingredients.

To make a plant-based alternative to Tamago-yaki, I experimented with millet, which has a lovely yellow colour and a decent protein count. Soaking the seed (which I do for this ‘omelette’) you could say, at least symbolically, it is a plant‘s equivalent of an egg – the beginning of their offspring, activated (by water) and ready to grow into a plant! It needs a long soak (best overnight) to work or it will break in the pan.

Makes 1 portion

Fridge life: 3 days.

To make the Seed Omelette
  • 3 tbsp millet
  • 1 tbsp golden linseeds
  • 100ml water
  • 2 tsps tamari
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, to fry
  • a couple of sprigs of flat-leaf parsley or dill, finely chopped, optional
  • black pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Soak the millet and linseeds and measured water overnight.

2. Without draining the water, add tamari and baking powder, and blend on high until very smooth (a small blender jug works best).

3. Heat a frying pan over a medium/high heat, drizzle with a little oil and pour all the batter in, spreading it out like a crepe.

4. Cook for 2–3 minutes, until brown underneath and it seems to hold together enough to flip.

5. Flip carefully as it is more delicate than an egg omelette, and cook for a further 2–3 minutes, until brown and still a little moist inside.

If it seems like it may burn at any point, turn the heat down a little (the omelette likes it quite hot, so not too low).

6. Transfer to a chopping board. To get the swirl effect seen in the image, scatter the parsley and pepper all over the omelette.

7. Then, starting from one end, firmly roll it into a roll. Or, use gomashio  instead of herbs.

8. Let it cool slightly before cutting into 4cm pieces, short enough to fit into your box, standing on one end like in the image and pack immediately (or they may unravel). Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

To make the Bento

Ingredients:

  • 1 portion of pre-prepped farm rice, or any rice
  • a handful of salad greens
  • 2–3 slices tamago-yaki or 1 seed omelette
  • a few cherry tomatoes
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)
  • 1 fig, halved
  • 1–2 tbsp savoury granola
  • toasted black sesame seeds, to taste

Method:

1. Fill one side of your bento box with rice.

2. In the remaining space, make a bed of lettuce, then arrange the tamagoyaki slices, or rolled seed omelette on top.

3. Add the cherry tomatoes, radish, fig and savoury granola in separate mounds and finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

4. Close your box and pack in a bento bag or furoshiki with a fork or chopsticks.

Bento Box #5 Purple Shiso Mini-onigiri Bento

Since that trip to Japan where I got hold of shiso seeds, I‘ve been growing either green or red shiso every year.

Red shiso leaves are tougher than green with a more fruity flavour. Normally they‘re best cut fine and mixed in to flavour a dish (try with kiwi, lime and brazil nuts in a salad, it‘s amazing), or dried or preserved, but I think they work really well wrapped around rice balls too.

I just had to use purple rice for this bento, contrasted by whitecurrants, which I only get once a year when they‘re in season at my farmers‘ market. The pink pepper is a surprise flavouring – its resinous flavour works really well with the red shiso.

Makes 12 mini-onigiri, 2–3 portions. Eat the same day

To make the Onigiri Raw Beauty Box

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of black gradient rice
  • 4–5 tbsp white gomashio, or use the same amount toasted sesame seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 12 red shiso leaves (see Tip)
  • flaky sea salt, smoked if possible, to shape the onigiri

Method:

1. Snip off the shiso stem, close to the leaf.

2. Place the gomashio, or sesame seeds, along with the peppercorns on a small plate, and have a small bowl of water and salt ready.

3. Wet your hands in the bowl and dab some salt on your palms.

4. Grab a heaped tablespoon of rice and gently but firmly hug it into a ball (rather than roll), using rhythmical hugs.

5. Wrap the ball in a shiso leaf and dip one side of it in sesame seeds and pink peppercorns (looks more interesting on one side rather than the whole ball) and pack into your box.

6. Repeat until you have 12 balls.

To make the Bento

Ingredients:

  • 1 pak choi, trimmed and halved lengthways
  • a small handful of salad greens
  • 2 tbsp whole almonds, soaked overnight in cold water (see Tip)
  • 2 small Victoria plums
  • 3 purple cornflowers
  • a few sprigs of flowering thyme
  • 2–3 bunches whitecurrants

Method:

1. Finely shred one half of the pak choi across and mix it with the salad greens to make a bed in the raw beauty box.

2. Lay the second pak choi half on top, cut side-up, and arrange the almonds and plums (whole or cut in half like in the image) in separate sections.

3. Finish with the flowers and currants.

To arrange ingredients around the box/es, like in the image, picture the line of movement of one particular ingredient (pink pepper for example), inside the box.

Continue this line of movement outside of the box, taking care not to make it look too ‘placed‘. The ingredients are your brush strokes – be bold and natural.

Bento Box #6 Rainbow Salad Sushi Roll Bento

I love making nori rolls like this! Raw salad vegetables tightly rolled together, dipped in a spicy dressing – the perfect summer food. If you haven‘t tried making nori rolls before, I find salad rolls easier than rice ones to start with.

The green leaves are your ‘rice’ here, most lettuce works as long as it‘s quite soft, thin and pliable. You can use any kind of vegetable or fruit to fill as long as its not too soft or wet. Just cut them into thin long slices. It‘s quite amazing how much salad you can get into one roll!

Makes 16 bite-sized pieces, 2 portions

Fridge life: up to 24 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 nori sheets
  • 2–6 large salad leaves (enough to cover half a nori sheet in double layers of leaf)
  • 1 each of a small purple, orange and yellow carrot
  • 1 small courgette
  • a couple of 1–2cm slivers of papaya, or watermelon, deseeded
  • a few fresh mint or basil leaves
  • 1 avocado, cut into thin slivers a small handful of green beans, quick blanched and trimmed, optional
To make the Light dipping sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1 hot small chilli (bird‘s eye), cut in 4 pieces on the diagonal
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, optional
  • a pinch of toasted sesame seeds, any colour, optional
To make the Creamy dipping sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp almond or peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1cm piece fresh ginger, washed and finely grated

Method:

1. To prepare the fillings, wash your leaves and pat them dry (very wet leaves will dissolve the nori).

2. Use a julienne slicer, a potato peeler or a sharp knife to slice about half of each carrot into very thin strips lengthways. Do the same with half the courgette (store leftover vegetables in an airtight container in the fridge). If you decide to strip the whole of the carrots and courgette, you can use leftovers to make courgetti – toss the strips in dressing, or gomashio and a little lemon and oil.

3. When you fill the roll, it is best to use a sushi mat, but you can also use a sheet of baking paper, or a clean tea towel laid out on your work surface.

4. Place a nori sheet on top of your mat, shinier side-down.

5. Cover the lower half of the sheet with flattened salad leaves, cut or rip them if needed, to cover as evenly as possible, as this will make it easier to roll. Allow some leaves (and some of the filling) to peek out each end – this will make the finished pieces look pretty.

6. Lay the carrot and courgette strips in an even, horizontal line across the middle of the salad, keeping them as separate as possible colour-wise.

7. Top with strips of papaya (or watermelon), mint (or basil) leaves, avocado and green beans, if using. Make sure everything is put in as even thickness as possible.

to make my bento, I focus on using these five elements: grains/carbs, leafy greens, protein and fat, fruits and vegetables, and sprinkles and boosts

8. To roll the roll start from the bottom, the edge closest to you. Use the mat to start rolling the fillings up, tucking them in with your other hand. Focus on bunching up the inside filling into an even and tightly held long sausage as you roll.

9. To tighten it, use one hand to hold the mat (and, if possible the nori too) at the top while you pull the sausage towards you, compacting it, then continue rolling.

10. Once rolled, keep holding it tight, wet a couple of your fingers then wet the top edge of the nori, then roll it shut, while still keeping it as tight as possible.

11. Leave it to rest for a few moments, seam side-down, before cutting.

12. To cut, use a wet, sharp knife, and cut using quick sawing movements (to ensure the roll doesn‘t get squashed).

13. Arrange the rolls in your box cut-side. Place the end rolls either fringy bit up, or lay them down depending on how much space you have.

14. To make the dipping sauce, if you’d like a light sauce pour all the ingredients into a small, leak-proof container with a lid.

15. For a creamy sauce,  stir the nut butter, water, tamari, lime juice and syrup together in a small, leak-proof container with a lid until smooth.

16. Squeeze the grated ginger to extract the juice straight into the sauce and combine well.

Sara Kiyo Popowa of Shisho Delicious runs bento making events and workshops and is the author of Bento Power, published by Kyle Books, priced £18.99.

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coronavirus FEATURED

Coronavirus symptoms this Doctor says you shouldn’t be ignoring – plus 6 ways to optimise your immune system

Healthista Collective Expert Doctor Gemma Newman reveals possible coronavirus symptoms you shouldn’t be ignoring plus 6 ways you can optimise your immune system

So far in the UK, there have been around 308,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 46,000 deaths.

Unfortunately, we still don’t know all we would like to know about this new virus, and in some people, new effects are emerging even in the months following infection.

What we do know for sure are the main Covid-19 symptoms to look out for:

  • A high temperature
  • A new or continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s imperative you quarantine for 14 days and aim to get a Covid-19 test swab, which are now easily accessible via the NHS website.

it seems so far that people experience many different symptoms

You don’t need to be worried about bothering anyone or that you are wasting NHS time. It’s actually really important for Public Health England to be able to track trends across the country to inform the advice they are giving us in the coming months.

Other potential coronavirus symptoms are quite varied, it seems so far that people experience many different symptoms, including potential skin or mood changes.

Possible coronavirus symptoms to look out for include:

  • Muscle ache/ fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congested nose/ runny nose
  • Nausea/ vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many individuals to pay greater attention to their health, however doctors like me are noticing that many are shying away from visiting their doctor in case they are exposed to the virus or because they don’t want to overburden the NHS.

Because of this many people are ignoring symptoms that could be coronavirus related. They are also sometimes ignoring symptoms that are not Covid-19 related but still potentially serious. This has huge potential risks for delay in the diagnosis of important conditions such as cancers.

If you need to go to the doctors, then you should go

If you are experiencing any symptoms (even those unrelated to Covid-19) that are concerning you, then you must contact your doctor.

Especially if you are noticing chest pain, bleeding from the back passage, swelling of the legs, unusual skin rashes, severe pain or any new symptom you haven’t experienced before.

I like to let my patients feel no more afraid about going to their doctor than they would about going to a supermarket.

Many GP practices are still doing telephone consults

It’s far better to get these things checked and sorted sooner rather than later, and we do have the ability to do that.

Every GP surgery – ours included – has put a lot of effort into making sure it’s as safe as possible, with one-way systems in place, social distancing measures and cleaning protocols.

Many GP practices are still doing telephone consults as a means of triaging, so that we can safely suggest to people whether they need to come in for a check-up or if they need to be sent elsewhere for testing depending on what symptoms they have.

So, if you do have symptoms that are worrying you, give your GP surgery a ring and find out whether you need a telephone consult or a face to face video consult, or what the next steps need to be. Your GP can guide you through this process.

Doctor.jpg

Why you shouldn’t put off a visit to the doctors…

Heart and lung issues as well as many cancers need to be checked and treated as soon as possible as a delayed diagnosis could lead to problems that could have easily been prevented.

What’s more, putting off a visit to the GP could worsen underlying conditions and serious illnesses, making treatment in the future far more difficult.

If you are someone who was tested positive for Covid-19, then you may be experiencing longer term debility such as chronic fatigue, myalgia and breathlessness symptoms many weeks or months after your initial infection. This could still be a cause for concern, or it could just be part of your recovery, but it’s always best to check with your doctor.

Alarmingly, what we have also noticed in some people, is that those who have experienced Covid-19 symptoms in some cases have also been more susceptible to heart attacks and stroke.

Mental health conditions too have been negatively affected during lockdown and are still on the rise

But remember – it seems that for most people, Covid-19 is still a mild infection that doesn’t seem to lead to complications. Many people have even had antibodies without having experienced symptoms.

What is much less talked about in the news headlines is the psychological toll that lockdown has played in the lives of thousands of people.

Mental health conditions too have been negatively affected during lockdown and are still on the rise, especially given the current situation with the uncertainty and potential for reintroducing further lockdowns in the future.

Many people have found lockdown socially difficult, especially those who have spent their time alone, those who have a difficult relationship with alcohol and addiction, or those in difficult home circumstances and abusive relationships.

Again, if this is you, do not hesitate to visit or contact your doctor. Mental health is just as important as physical health and Covid-19.

corona-virus-washing-hands.jpg

Protecting yourself from the virus

Most people are aware that the easiest way to protect yourself from the virus is to avoid prolonged physical contact with potentially affected people, and to wash your hands frequently. Face coverings in public places are suggested in order to protect those around you, if you are unknowingly infected.

Rather than just focusing on face masks, social distancing and hand washing though, I think it’s important that we focus on health creation and optimising our immune system function too.

Health optimisation can prevent and reverse chronic diseases, and in the wake of Covid-19 we are more aware than ever that our short term health choices not only affect our long term health, but also affect the severity of illness we experience should we be exposed to Covid-19.

There are so many unknown factors at play, but there really has never been a better time to focus on health and wellbeing. I believe this is the moment!

Here are 6 ways to boost your immune system:

#1 Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

A poor diet can act as a major stress on the immune system.

Almost two thirds of adults are currently overweight or living with obesity. In this scenario, there is a greater risk of becoming seriously ill from diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes – and now COVID-19.

Due to these observations, Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new adult health campaign, called ‘Better Health’, to encourage adults to kick-start healthier living and helping them to lose weight and keep it off.

With personalised advice on eating better and getting active, a new free NHS Weight Loss Plan app has been made available, helping people make healthier food choices and teaching skills to prevent weight gain.

a new free NHS Weight Loss Plan app has been made available

For example, a diet high in refined foods like white bread and saturated fat like processed meats with not enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans could mean you aren’t getting the immune booting vitamins and minerals you need to stay fit and healthy.

It is also important to look at your intake of refined sugar like biscuits, cakes and other sweet foods if you want to boost immune function as diets that are high in refined sugar can impair immune function.

Remember, brightly coloured foods from nature such as berries, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, sweetcorn, oranges, sweet potato, beetroot, watermelon, aubergines and turmeric to name a few all contain key vitamins and minerals to help the immune system fight off infection.

Colourful foods also contain phytonutrients. These are natural chemicals found in plants that can help maintain immune function and research suggests that they may also have a part to play in helping to prevent lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and even cancer.

Oh, and don’t forget about herbs and spices as these boost your immune system too. Try eating more fresh garlic, turmeric, sage, cumin and oregano as these are well-known for their immune-boosting benefits.

Read More: 17 ways to get a more nutrient rich diet

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#2 Get enough sleep

You have probably heard about the importance of getting enough sleep a million times before but that’s because it really is that important.

Sleep is our body’s opportunity to rest and repair, and poor sleep is a common cause for a weakened immune system.

T cells are a type of white blood cell (part of your innate immune system) that helps you to fight infection when it comes into the body.

Your T cells and microbiome respond directly to the amount of sleep you get, even one day of poor sleep can have a big impact on your immune system.

In a fascinating study published in the journal Sleep, researchers took blood samples from 11 pairs of identical twins with different sleep patterns and discovered that the twin with shorter sleep duration had a depressed immune system, compared with his or her sibling.

So whether you have to turn off all screens after 9pm, count sheep or quit the caffeine – do what you need to do to get enough sleep.

Read More: 9 natural insomnia remedies to help you sleep better tonight

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#3 Breathe through you nose as much as possible

Many people don’t realise that breathing through your nose can help us ward off infections. I often say ‘The nose is for breathing, the mouth is for eating’.

Nasal hairs are there for a reason as they act as a small but relevant defense to airborne pollution and viruses.

Nasal breathing also helps to prevent the drying out of the airways, which much like dehydration can reduce the antibodies in the mucus layer of your respiratory tract.

#4 Up your Vitamin D levels

Vitamin D is integral to a healthy immune system.

The sunshine vitamin, as it is known, is anti-inflammatory with deficiency being associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.

Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased susceptibility to infection according to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

Vitamin D also enhances the natural immune response, against various infections including the flu and upper respiratory tract infections. Many clinical trials to show that people taking vitamin D reduce the risk of contracting a respiratory infection by up to a third.

Just 5-10 minutes of sun exposure on the arms, legs or hands and face, two-three times per week, alongside an increased dietary and supplemental vitamin D intake will give the body sufficient vitamin D levels as reported by the National Centre of Biotechnology.

As well as getting out in the sunshine, you can also keep your vitamin D levels topped up with food, although only ten percent of our vitamin requirements are absorbed this way, so supplements and sunshine are far more efficient.

Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, liver, cheese and eggs yolks. I advocate for a predominately plant based diet for health, and if you are fully plant based like myself, you can also enjoy brown mushrooms and foods fortified with vitamin D such as orange juice, soy milk and cereals.

Read More: 5 signs of vitamin D deficiency affecting your wellbeing

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#5 Keep active

Exercise is the key to keeping fighting fit.

Not only is increased activity great for weight management and overall health, but keeping active helps decrease your chances of developing heart disease, keeps your bones healthy and helps to circulate bacteria out of the lungs, which may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.

What’s more, exercise is important for keeping the lymphatic system moving, which encourages the body’s natural detoxification process through the lungs and skin through increased breath capacity and sweat.

the brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing

Simply put, this means that getting your body moving allows the lymph (the fluid that flows through the lymphatic system) to flow through your body, which moves your immune cells around the body to fight possible infections.

According to Harvard Medical School, ‘For now, even though a direct beneficial link hasn’t been established, it’s reasonable to consider moderate regular exercise to be a beneficial arrow in the quiver of healthy living, a potentially important means for keeping your immune system healthy along with the rest of your body’.

Plus, the brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing and may help the body fight infection better.

Read More: 8 proven ways exercise makes you happier

#7 Save yourself from stress

The World Health Organisation calls stress the health epidemic of the 21st century, add Covid-19 into the mix and well the odds are against us.

Whether your stress comes from your job, your family, illness or Covid-19, it can be detrimental to living a healthy, happy life. No thanks to lockdown, many are now more stressed out than ever, not to mention fearful and anxious.

Reducing your stress levels is one of the main points of healthcare I like to emphasise when I give advice on boosting the resilience of the immune system.

When our cortisol is too high for too long it can lead to physical and mental health problems

When your body senses danger it triggers a stress response that starts in your brain’s hypothalamus, that sends signals to the adrenals (two kidney shaped glands that sit on top of the kidneys) to release stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline.

This raises your blood pressure and gives your body a hit of glucose so you can outrun or fight the immediate danger – but how can you outrun or fight off stress? You can’t.

When our cortisol is too high for too long it can lead to physical and mental health problems in many areas of our bodies because cortisol is an immune suppressant hormone.

Not only that, but stress has a knock-on-effect on many other factors that influence your immune system. For example, if you are in an anxious state, you’re less likely to sleep well or eat healthily.

That’s why it’s important to stress less – maybe start by simply switching off the news.

Whether you decide to take a relaxing bath, switch off your phone notifictions or just do something you love – making a conscious effort to prioritise your needs, will be an important tool to help strengthen your immune system.

Read More: 5 effects of stress that seriously impact your health

Dr Gemma Newman

Dr Gemma Newman has worked in medicine for 16 years and is the Senior Partner at a family medical practice where she has worked for 11 years.

She studied at the University of Wales College of Medicine and has worked in many specialities as a doctor including elderly care, endocrinology, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry, general surgery, urology, vascular surgery, rehabilitation medicine and General Practice.

Her new book, The Plant Power Doctor will be in bookshops in January.

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peanut butter FEATURED

15 best-tasting nut and seed butters you didn’t know you needed

Nut butter fanatic? We’ve rounded up 15 of the best-tasting nut and seed butters that are worth the spread…

Once upon a time, our choice of peanut butter came down to two options: crunchy or smooth.

These days it’s a whole different and rather overwhelming story. The huge array of nut butter options available is enough to give anyone a mini heart attack in the middle of your food shop.

I mean, they may as well have a dedicated aisle to themselves.

With nut and seed butters showing up literally everywhere, from our timelines to every single shop out there – it’s got us wondering what are the best nut and seed butters we can get our hands on?

After searching high and low and gathering Healthista HQ for multiple socially distanced food tastings (we still aren’t nut-buttered out). The Healthista team are officially 60 per cent nut and seed butter – but we aren’t complaining.

From nut butters you have never heard of to creative flavours that will blow your mind we have complied a list of the best new nut and seed butters.

#1 Pip & Nut Crunchy Maple Peanut Butter, £2.25 

‘Long-time peanut butter addict’ Pippa Murray started Pip and Nut in 2013 in her own kitchen as a post-run snack, going through many a food processers in the process.

A 15g serving has:

  • 85 Calories
  • 7g of Fat
  • 3g of Protein
  • 0.07g of Salt

The Pip and Nut crunchy maple peanut butter is a must try, especially when you need some fuel after a marathon of Sex in the City.

It is suitable for vegans so can be enjoyed by all.

During our tasting many liked the ‘subtle sweetness of the maple syrup,’ while crunchy texture from the peanut butter helps to bring in some depth.

And to think that this flavour was limited edition once upon a time…

#2 Yumello Salted Date Almond Butter, £4.95

If bold flavours are your thing, then look no further than Yumello’s salted date almond butter.

A 15g serving has:

  • 84 Calories
  • 7.3g of Fat
  • 2.9g of Protein
  • 0.1g of Salt

Yumello founders Esther and Omar draw their inspiration from the Atlas Mountains, Taghazout (were Omar grew up).

Their mission is creating nut butters that ‘sings and celebrates the Berber people’s sheer inventiveness and adventurous soul.’

Instead of palm oil Yumello use argan oil which they source from their partner cooperative, ‘providing jobs for hundreds of women, who get paid fairly.’ An homage to his heritage results in magic in our mouths.

As a result of the argan oil, the nut butter has a smooth spreadable texture that is creamy and rich in flavour.

After tasting it we found there to be ‘a nice balance between sweet and saltiness’ as the dates add natural sweetness, but nothing too over powering.

#3 Nut Blend Golden Nut Butter, £3.25 

Gabriella, the founder of Nut Blend, began making a natural nut butter that would be able to satisfy ‘indulgent’ cravings in a nutritious and delicious way.

So that means you can enjoy this nut butter guilt free.

A 15g serving has:

  • 96 Calories
  • 8.9g of Fat
  • 2.1g of Protein
  • 0.0g of Salt
  • 1.2g of Fibre

If there is one thing we love about Nut Blend – other than their great flavours – is their message of total product transparency when it comes to their ingredients.

The only food brand on the market that add zero sugar including natural syrup; not even salt or oils.

The golden nut butter is a blend of almonds, macadamia nuts and coconuts – hello tropical vibes.

I have never tried macadamia nuts as a nut butter, but I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. It has the perfect amount of coconut with a nutty and rich flavour thanks to the almonds, while the macadamia nuts add a creamy yet velvety texture.

#4 Butter Bike co Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter, £5.00

Jeni Reeve is a self-proclaimed one-woman empire. She would blend her own recipes of nut butters, back in 2017, to keep her fueled on her adventures.

Today, you can find Butter Bike co jars of joy on shelves across the South West and available nationwide via their website.

Per 100g serving:

  • 568 Calories
  • 41g of Fat
  • 23g of Protein
  • 0.4g of Salt
  • 1.2g of Fibre

Each batch is handmade, which we absolutely love, as this makes sure every bite is is perfect.

Although there is no added sugar, the natural sweetness from the raisins is all you need to satisfy a sweet tooth.

The warmth of the cinnamon and combination of semi crunchy peanut butter creates a great combo. No need to worry when you’re eating the peanut butter as there are no add sugars.

However, proceed with caution because once you pick up a spoon you may not be able to put it down.

#5 Sead Sesame Butter with Caramel, £3.99

Georgia, the founder of Sead, was introduced to tahini 2018. Her ‘tahini addiction’, which I definitely have too, led her to create Sead.

A sesame seed company that focuses on the production and ingredients of their products.

A 15g serving has:

  • 95 Calories
  • 7.5g of Fat
  • 3.6g of Protein
  • 0.03g of Salt

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate more protein in your diet pick up a jar at Holland and Barret.

Initially the taste of the sesame seeds can be quite strong but as it fades the sweetness of the caramel come through.

I was quite shocked that there is no refined added sugar, and the caramel is made up of organic coconut blossom nectar and organic refined sugar.

We have crowned this seed butter best for cooking. The silky texture makes it really adaptable to put in lots of dishes and not just on a slice of toast.

Available at Holland & Barrett.

#6 MyProtein Powdered Peanut Butter, £8.99

You may not know this but MyProtein launched a variety of nut butters including peanut, almond and cashew, with each one coming in 1kg tubs to keep you stocked (while you self isolate).

A 12g serving has:

  • 48 Calories
  • 1.1g of Fat
  • 5.7g of Protein
  • 0.1g of Salt
  • 1.2g of Fibre

Now you may be thinking why anyone would want to eat powdered peanut butter.

But it offers an alternative way to add peanut flavour into your foods with 70 percent less fat than natural peanut butter!

MyProtein powdered peanut butter tastes as good as it smells with the added palmyra jaggery nectar for sweetness.

#7 Whole Earth Chocolate & Hazelnut Smooth Peanut Butter, £3.00

Looking for a healthy alternative to Nutella? Well Whole Earth have brought out a limited edition chocolate and hazelnut spread that is vegan.

Per 100g serving:

  • 613 Calories
  • 48g of Fat
  • 23g of Protein
  • 0g of Salt

A healthier alternative ‘you will definitely get your chocolate craving fix’ and with 80 percent less sugar.

The roasted peanuts help create a deeper flavour for the nut butter, the cocoa and date powder bring that sweet chocolaty flavour reminiscent of Nutella.

Their nut butters are thicker than many of the others in this list as they use sustainable palm oil. So if you aren’t a fan of runny nut butter or oil separation then whole earth is the way to go.

#8 Marmite Smooth Peanut Butter, £2.50

Calling all Marmite lovers, and peanut butter lovers. Behold the flavour combination of modern times…

Who would have thought that peanut butter and marmite would be such a pleasant combination?

Per 100g serving:

  • 88 Calories
  • 6.8g of Fat
  • 4.2g of Protein
  • 0.2g of Salt
  • 1.2g of Fibre

Both Marmite fans and haters seemed to find a common ground with this nut butter.

While doing an office tasting the words ‘marmite heaven’ featured heavily in tasting discussions.

In fact, the jar has been taken and not been seen since the tasting!

The Marmite smooth peanut butter keeps its original flavour but with the richness of the peanut butter.

The nut butter has added peanut oil which may result in oil separation so give it a good mix before you spread it on your toast.

#9 Meridian Pecan Butter, £5.99

Meridian has been in the natural nut butter game for some time and their range has grown tremendously with all sorts of nut and seed butters. From the wide selection we have chosen the pecan nut butter.

Per 100g serving:

  • 758 Calories
  • 74.3g of Fat
  • 9.8g of Protein
  • 0.0g of Salt
  • 5g of Fibre

Meridian don’t use palm oil in their products similar to other natural nut butters so oil separation is natural, you’ll need to give it a good stir before you eat it.

The pecan butter appears to be extra crunchy with many of the pecan nuts still present. The naturally occurring sugars provide enough sweetness that it ‘tastes like a tart.’

Available at Ocado.

#10 Nutcessity Gingerbread Almond, £5.99

This one is for those of you looking for a peanut free nut butter that has interesting and rich flavour.

Per 100g serving:

  • 565 Calories
  • 48g of Fat
  • 16.7g of Protein
  • 0.15g of Salt
  • 11.8g of Fibre

A one man band Mike Duckworthn began Nutcessity in 2016.

He had been making all of his nut butters himself from home including jarring and labelling from August 2016 to January 2020.

Having been diagnosed with a peanut allergy himself, Mike set out on a journey to make products that ‘taste lush and do your body good.’

With a smooth texture the taste of gingerbread with the almond butter combo ‘brings memories of Christmas.’

If your a fan of gingerbread you won’t be able to get enough of this. This nut butter also includes apricots to naturally sweeten the spread.

#11 Manilife Deep Roast Crunchy Peanut Butter, £3.79

For serious peanut butter lovers this deep roast peanut butter is perfect for you. With 99 percent Hi-oleic peanuts and 0.9 percent sea salt this nut butter is simplicity at its finest.

A 15g serving has:

  • 92 Calories
  • 7.6g of Fat
  • 4g of Protein
  • 1.4g of Fibre
  • 0.1g of Salt

The oil separation in the peanut butter may cause the roasted peanuts to float to the surface so make sure to give it a nice stir so that all the oil and peanuts are fully incorporated.

When it comes to flavour, Manilife packs a punch with the deep roasted high-oleic peanuts.

The amount of nut and seed butters out there can be overwhelming so for a hassle free peanut butter that tastes good Manilife is our choice.

Like many natural peanut butters, Manilife includes high-oleic peanuts which contain oleic acid. It basically reduces the amount of bad cholesterol you have whilst boosting your levels of good cholesterol.

We have crowned Manilife deep roast crunch peanut butter that is the most moreish.

#12 Daylesford Organic 3 Seed Butter, £5.29

Why limit yourself to one seed butter when you could have Daylefore’s 3 seed butter.

Per 100g serving:

  • 609 Calories
  • 48g of Fat
  • 34.7g of Protein
  • 0.1g of Salt
  • 7g of Fibre

Daylesford is one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK. They make sure that their produce is ethically sourced and in harmony with the environment.

The 3 seed butter is handmade on their farm in Cotswolds with their packaging is made up of 60 percent recycled glass and is vegan friendly.

The blend of the seed butter complements each other without being overpowering and many commented on how ‘creamy’ the consistency was even though no oil has been added to the spread.

Available at Ocado.

#13 Pariani Sicilian Pistachio Paste, £13.95 

Royalty in the form of the nut butter with this pistachio paste.

Per 100g serving:

  • 608 Calories
  • 56g of Fat
  • 18g of Protein
  • 0g of Salt

Pariani is a family business that began around 2010.

They aim to create ‘unusual ingredients and products, to satisfy even the most demanding palates’ and the Pistachio Paste has definitely satisfied a craving that I didn’t even know I had.

The spread has a smooth yet velvety consistency with bold flavour of pistachios. A pistachio hater commented that ‘the sweetness in the paste makes it pleasant and it would go really nice with a bowl of ice cream.’

#14 Profusion Hemp Crunchy Peanut Butter, £4.29

Hemp is everywhere from skin care to protein powders, so why not put it in a peanut butter?

Per 100g serving:

  • 578 Calories
  • 47g of Fat
  • 25g of Protein
  • 0.04g of Salt
  • 11g of Fibre

An unexpected candidate, the hemp butter was ‘salty but you can definitely taste the hemp’.

The consistency of the nut butter is quite thick but will loosen up a bit when you mix in the oil that has separated.

Available at Ocado.

#15 Sun & Seed, Organic Apricot Kernel Butter £5.99

Sun and seed began in 2004, on a small family farm.Their ingredients are of the finest quality, ethically grown nuts, seeds and fruits.

Per 100g serving:

  • 626 Calories
  • 52g of Fat
  • 23g of Protein
  •  0g of Salt
  • 11g of Fibre

They work with growers whose organic farming methods have a minimal environmental impact.

The nut butter has a very subtle almond-like taste which makes this nut butter a great alternative to almond butter. The apricot kernel butter is smooth in texture as it has been stone-ground which keeps the nutritional goodness in the food.

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mobility-exercise,-mobility-workout-for-balance-and-coordination-by-healthista.com

This low impact exercise for balance and coordination can be done in under 7 minutes

Need help with balance and coordination? This low impact exercise video from celebrity trainer Svava Sigbertsdottir will aid your mobility in under seven minutes

Balance and coordination is a skill we use every single day, without even realising it.

As we age or when we suffer an injury, balance and coordination becomes difficult, which leads us to realise how we should be focusing on not just our fitness and strength but our mobility too.

Your balance and coordination plays a key part in many daily activities, which is why mobility training is one of the first things people focus on during rehabilitation from injury.

During the ageing process in particular our balance and coordination tends to slowly worsen, but this can be tackled by simply applying a few minutes into your day to perform a series of low impact exercises that focus on developing balance and coordination.

Svava recommends doing the workout below once a day.

Try this mobility workout for balance and coordination

Celebrity trainer Svava Sigbertsdottir has put together five simple exercises that can be done in the comfort of your home or even at the office – all you need is a chair and yourself.

This workout can be done in under seven minutes, making it suitable for anyone with a busy lifestyle.

MOBILITY CARDS This low impact core mobility workout can be done in under 10 minutesSvava’s book The Viking Method is available to buy now on Amazon.

Plus, Svava and her mother have created and launched their new Mobility
Cards after discovering that there is a group of people who are not being taken care of – the over 60s.

The older you get, the more important it is that you exercise your body. Exercise can be daunting, especially as we mature. You might have more aches and pains or lack confidence in your body and strength.

If this is the case, Svava’s Mobility Cards, £14.99 are a secret weapon – simple, need no equipment or gadgets and can be followed anywhere, by anyone.

A complete, scientifically-designed, age-appropriate plan to help you take care of your physical health from top to toe. Functionality, strength, balance, co-ordination, flexibility.

For more information head over to themobilitycards.co.uk

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