Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Tag: good nutrition advice (Page 2 of 10)

These Dietary Changes Reduce Diabetes Risk

Type 2 diabetes risk can be reduced by adjusting the dietary intake of certain foods.

Dietary fibre — especially from cereal and vegetable sources — can reduce diabetes risk, a new study finds. Diabetes is a serious health condition which affects over 360 million people in the world.

It is estimated that by 2030 more than 550 million people worldwide will suffer from diabetes. Previous studies have reported possible benefits of dietary fibre to reduce diabetes risk. But, until now, the exact type of fibre had not been evaluated.

In the study participants were divided into four groups: from lowest to highest fibre intake. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes over 11 years was assessed. Participants consuming 19g, or less, of fibre had an 18% higher risk of developing diabetes compared to those consuming over 26g per day.

Cereal and vegetable sources of fibre had the most impact on reducing diabetes. But fruit fibre didn’t have any effect on reducing the risk of diabetes. The study also found that dietary fibre can help people maintain a healthy weight.

This in turn also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Mr Dagfinn Aune the co-author of this study said:

“Taken together, our results indicate that individuals with diets rich in fiber, in particular cereal fiber, may be at lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

We are not certain why this might be, but potential mechanisms could include feeling physically full for longer, prolonged release of hormonal signals, slowed down nutrient absorption, or altered fermentation in the large intestine.

All these mechanisms could lead to a lower BMI and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

As well as helping keep weight down, dietary fiber may also affect diabetes risk by other mechanisms — for instance improving control of blood sugar and decreasing insulin peaks after meals, and increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin.”

This research was published in the journal Diabetologia (The InterAct Consortium, 2015).

sara's banana bread

Sara’s Banana Bread

Banana Bread Ingredients:

Makes around 12-14 slices. 

  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cardamon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder/ 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 apple grated
  • 1/2 cup of raisins/sultanas
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts, crushed
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 180c and lightly grease a loaf tin with coconut oil.

2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

3. Beat the egg and add the mashed bananas, coconut oil, water, sugar, apple and combine well.

4. Lastly, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and add the nuts and raisins and fold through. Once all is combined well pour the mixture into the greased loaf tin.

5. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown (a skewer/knife inserted into the centre should come out clean)

Serving Suggestions

  • Plain and simple
  • Topped with homemade almond butter
  •  Homemade nutella (for those extra naughty days)


Sara Borg

About Sara

I was born into a family of healthy eaters and from that my passion for healthy eating and all things good for you grew, that’s why we make our own bread with the best bread machine we found at this site that review the best bread machine online. I am very conscious about giving my body all the goodness that it deserves, especially in today’s fast-paced lifestyle where pre-packed ready meals and sugar loaded snacks are so easily available.

Read more about me here…

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake

Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake

By Sara Borg.

Ingredients for a Healthy Christmas Fruit Cake:

  • 100g Pitted dates
  • 100g Dried apricots
  • 50g dried figs
  • 30g raisins/sultanas
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts
  • Juice and zest of one orange
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract/1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 100g spelt flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinammon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup of coconut oil, melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and line a 18-20cm baking tin with parchment paper.
  2. Start by chopping the dried fruit and place these in a bowl together with the zest of one orange.
  3. Beat the eggs and add the vanilla, spices and orange juice. Then pour this mixture over the dried fruits and combine well.
  4. Add the melted coconut oil to the fruit mixture then add the spelt flour and baking soda and mix well.
  5. Pour the cake mix into the lined baking tin and flatten over the top making sure the mixture is evenly spread out.
  6. Bake in the oven for approx. 1 hour and 15 mins or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool. Then cut into squares or delicate slices. You should get approximately 30 pieces out of this recipe.
  8. Store in the fridge in an airtight container


Sara Borg

About Sara

I was born into a family of healthy eaters and from that my passion for healthy eating and all things good for you grew. I am very conscious about giving my body all the goodness that it deserves, especially in today’s fast-paced lifestyle where pre-packed ready meals and sugar loaded snacks are so easily available.

Read more about me here…

How To Look After Your Eyes

How To Look After Your Eyes

It’s National Eye Health Week and like all of the other systems in your body, your eyes can be affected by what and how you eat.

Most of us have been told, “carrots help you to see in the dark” at some point but let’s take a look at some of the other foods and nutrients that are essential for good eye health.

Antioxidants are integral to good eye health, particularly carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are potent free-radical busters so they prevent damage to the retina. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the found in green leafy vegetables, avocados and green peppers. Make sure that you have some kind of oil with them as this helps with the absorption of the antioxidants.

Look After your Eyes — Cataracts and B vitamins

A recent study shows that B vitamins could have a protective effect against cataracts. The study, published in the journal Ophthalmology was large, involving over 3000 people and looked at vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12 .

The researchers, led by Tanya Glaser, MD, found that the B vitamins could slow down the development of cataracts. The results showed B2 and B12 lowered the risk of moderate cataracts by 38% and B6 lowered the risk of cataracts by 33%.

Cataracts are often the result of oxidative stress and B vitamins may work with antioxidants as co-factors to combat damage to the eye. It is more convenient to take a B complex supplement rather than individual B vitamins.

But don’t forget to eat your carrots!

Why Tasty Foods Like French Fries Leave You Wanting More

Why Tasty Foods Like French Fries Leave You Wanting More

How processed foods change the brain’s ability to recognize fullness.

Eating high-fat, processed foods may stop the brain sensing fullness, leading to overeating, a new animal study reports.

The research was conducted at the University of Georgia, Washington State University and Binghamton University (Cooper et al., 2015).

They switched rats’ normal diet to a high fat diet and found that the new diet changes the populations of bacteria living in the gut and alters the signalling to the brain.

Consequently, the body doesn’t feel full and wants more food, which leads to obesity. Dr Krzysztof Czaja, the principal investigator on the study, explained:

“When we switch the rats to a high fat diet, it reorganizes brain circuits. The brain is changed by eating unbalanced foods. It induces inflammation in the brain regions responsible for feeding behavior. Those reorganized circuits and inflammation may alter satiety signalling.”

After a switch to an unbalanced diet, microbiota in the gut will change. Dr. Czaja said:

“In the regular physiological state, many different strains of bacteria live in a balanced environment in the intestinal tract. They don’t overpopulate. There are little shifts, but in general this population is quite stable.

When we start feeding the rats a different diet, there is an immediate effect. Suddenly, different nutrients are changing the micro-environment in the gut and some bacteria begin to overpopulate.

Some sensitive bacteria begin to die and some populations may even vanish. So, introducing a significant change in the gut micro-environment triggers a cascade of events that leads to this population switch.”

Why Tasty Foods Like French Fries Leave You Wanting More

These changes lead to gut-brain miscommunication which happens when nerve cells that carry signals from the gut to the brain are inflamed and damaged.

Whether or not the change is reversible or permanent is a question that Dr Czaja and his colleagues will address in the future.

The body is accustomed to foods sourced naturally and so highly processed and artificial foods are new to our bodies.

This research shows how the introduction of modified foods high in fat and sugar can disturb intestinal microbiota and gut-brain communication which can result in obesity.

Unlikely diet trick

Most Unlikely Weight Loss Trick Revealed by Psych Experiment

This has to be one of the most counter-intuitive, and most unlikely weight loss trick, or dieting tip ever.

Apparently, just looking at endless pictures of foods can make them less enjoyable to eat, a recent study has found. While a few photos might enhance the appetite, contrary to what you’d expect, people are actually put off the taste by looking at loads of pictures of food.

Professor Ryan Elder, who led the study, which is published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, said:

“In a way, you’re becoming tired of that taste without even eating the food.

It’s sensory boredom — you’ve kind of moved on. You don’t want that taste experience any more.”

What’s happening is that each time you look at another photograph of some food, you get less pleasure from it.

Like the first taste of chocolate mousse giving you a frisson, the first photograph whets your appetite.

But each subsequent picture — like each subsequent mouthful of mousse — is less and less exciting, until you get sick of it.

The Instagram diet

In the studies themselves, hundreds of people looked at and rated pictures of food (Larson et al., 2013).

One experiment had half the participants looking at pictures of salty foods like French fries and pretzels, while the other half looked at sweet foods like ice cream and chocolate.

Afterwards, they rated their pleasure from eating both salty and sweet foods.

People who’d been looking at salty foods gave lower pleasure ratings to the salty foods and people who’d been looking at sweet pictures gave lower ratings to the sweet foods.

The study found that the more pictures they looked at, the less pleasure people got from related foods.

Professor Elder explained:

“You do have to look at a decent number of pictures to get these effects.

It’s not like if you look at something two or three times you’ll get that satiated effect.

That’s good news for food-photo enthusiasts, because, let’s be honest, showing everyone the awesome food you’re eating really is cool.”

For those trying to enhance their pleasure, rather than reduce it, co-author, Jeff Larson, had this advice:

“If you want to enjoy your food consumption experience, avoid looking at too many pictures of food.

Even I felt a little sick to my stomach during the study after looking at all the sweet pictures we had.”


eat this for breakfast

Eating This For Breakfast Can Reduce Food Cravings Later in The Day

What you should eat for the ‘most important meal of the day’ to reduce food cravings.

New research shows that eating a good breakfast — particularly one rich in protein — boosts a critical neurotransmitter, which may reduce food cravings later in the day.

The research comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that many teens skip breakfast and adolescent obesity has quadrupled in the last 30 years.

Dr. Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology who led the study, said:

“Our research showed that people experience a dramatic decline in cravings for sweet foods when they eat breakfast.

However, breakfasts that are high in protein also reduced cravings for savory — or high-fat — foods.

On the other hand, if breakfast is skipped, these cravings continue to rise throughout the day.”

The study looked at how different breakfasts affected the levels of the critical neurotransmitter, dopamine (Hoertel et al., 2014).

Dopamine is involved in how we process rewards, including cravings for food. When you eat, a burst of dopamine is initiated, which gives you the feelings of reward.

Dr. Leidy explained how this relates to obesity:

“Dopamine levels are blunted in individuals who are overweight or obese, which means that it takes much more stimulation — or food — to elicit feelings of reward; we saw similar responses within breakfast-skippers.

To counteract the tendencies to overeat and to prevent weight gain that occurs as a result of overeating, we tried to identify dietary behaviors that provide these feelings of reward while reducing cravings for high-fat foods.

Eating breakfast, particularly a breakfast high in protein, seems to do that.”

This is particularly important, Dr. Leidy, given the rising levels of obesity:

“In the U.S., people are skipping breakfast more frequently, which is associated with food cravings, overeating and obesity.

“It used to be that nearly 100 percent of American adults, kids and teens were eating breakfast, but over the last 50 years, we have seen a decrease in eating frequency and an increase in obesity.”


spaghetti squash with egg

Spaghetti­ Squash­ with ­Spinach and­ ­Egg

This recipe is a extract from What to Eat — A 14-day guide to healthy eating — 14 days of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks to get you on the road to a healthy lifestyle.

 Spaghetti­ Squash­ with ­Spinach and­ ­Egg

Serves 1

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 5-ounce bag baby spinach
1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated
about 1 1⁄2 cups roasted spaghetti squash
1 large egg
1 tablespoon parsley leaves
1⁄2 tablespoon sliced chives

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced shallot and cook, stirring often, until the shallot is soft — about 2 minutes.

Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant — about 30 seconds.

Add the baby spinach and cook, stirring, until the spinach is soft and wilted — about 1 minute.

Add the Parmesan and the roasted spaghetti squash and cook, stirring often, to melt most of the cheese and heat the squash all the way through.

When the mixture is hot, turn the heat off and let it sit in the skillet while you fry the egg.

Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a non- stick skillet over medium-low heat. Crack the egg into the skillet, season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and cook until the white is set but the yolk is still runny, 2-3 minutes.

Transfer the spaghetti squash to a plate or bowl, then top with the fried egg and herbs.

Nutritional Information:
403 calories, 22 g fat (7.7 g saturated fat), 31 g carbohydrate (8.1 g dietary fiber, 8.4 g sugars), 22.8 g protein, 205 mg cholesterol, 694 mg sodium


How to Make Courgette Spaghetti

So, last week — and I really can’t imagine why it’s taken me so long — I finally got around to learning how to make courgette spaghetti and buying a spiralizer.

A what, I hear you ask? You know, one of those contraptions for shredding courgettes so you can eat raw vegetables and pretend you’re eating spaghetti.

I can hear you all sniggering now… But not so fast! I have to tell you it is the best thing I’ve done since I spent ridiculous amounts of money of that whizzy juicer that’s now lurking in the loft. Seriously, I have been having lots of fun. And I’ve discovered a whole new world of ‘spiralizing’.

My all-time favourite has to be spiralized courgette with a spoon of pesto, some baby tomatoes and a handful of pistachios. BUT chuck in a few M&S oriental chilli and lime prawns and you’d have a hard time finding a better dish in any Michelin starred restaurant. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little — but not much.

Courgette spaghettiThese are a few of my favourites so far:

Avocado, Feta and Spinach and
Turkey Meatballs.

Actually, what I have found is you can use any of your favourite pasta sauces or any combination you fancy.

I’m off to try asparagus and mozzarella, with an egg, a squeeze of lemon and lots of parmesan…

Bon appetit!


wheat allergies and celiac disease

Wheat Allergies, Celiac Disease and the Importance of a Gluten Free Diet

If food allergy testing uncovers celiac disease, wheat allergies or gluten intolerance, the only option is a gluten free diet.

Gluten is a protein-carbohydrate mix found in wheat and wheat products. Gluten intolerance, which is a type of food allergy, is becoming more common as more people are developing sensitivities to gluten. Wheat allergy in the form of celiac disease is the body’s inability to handle wheat and sometimes other grains containing gluten.

Symptoms of celiac disease can include weight loss and anemia. It is worth remembering that rye, barley and occasionally oats can trigger gluten intolerance reactions. Food allergy testing is the only way to determine if either wheat allergy or gluten intolerance is the root of the problem. If so, the answer is a gluten-free diet.

wheat and food allergies

Gluten intolerance and celiac disease

Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance

At one time celiac disease affected around one in every 200 people. Today, the figure is thought to be close to one in every 33. Some experts such as James Braly, MD believe it is actually more common than that.

He also believes many cases of related gluten intolerance go undiagnosed every year. Wheat is one of the seven most common allergens in a standard Western diet. In his book Dangerous Grains he reports many nutritionists, naturopaths and doctors look at wheat allergies and gluten intolerance as a first step for patients with multiple complaints. They then recommend food allergy testing and a gluten free diet. Celiac disease can often go undiagnosed as it is often mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome.

Food and Allergy Testing

A specific way to screen for celiac disease is to have an anti-endomysial, anti-gliadin and tissue transglutaminase antibodies test, according to Liz Lipski, Phd. Anti-endomysial antibodies are the most specific. Other food allergy testing should include: wheat, oats, rye, barley, gluten and gliadin with IgE and IgG antibody testing. Gluten antibodies are positive in anyone with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. IgA levels are also higher in those with celiac disease. Intestinal permeability screening is also suggested to test for leaky gut syndrome or intestinal hyperpermeability. A comprehensive digestive stool analysis and lactose intolerance testing is also advised.

A Gluten Free Diet

the importance of a gluten free dietAny gluten free diet should obviously eliminate all gluten and gluten containing products. Grain alternatives such as corn, quinoa, rice and buckwheat are all non-glutenous. It is important to read all labels carefully. Foods such as texturized vegetable protein, desserts, processed meats, cheese, dairy and pasta often contain gluten. Some people with gluten intolerance can tolerate oats. Digestive enzymes can also be useful to aid digestive function. Specific amylast enzymes can be especially beneficial.

James Braly, MD. Dangerous Grains: Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous To Your Health. Penguin Putnam.
Elson M Hass, MD. Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Celestial Arts.

Elizabeth Lipski, Phd. Digestive Wellness. McGraw Hill.


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