Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Tag: vitamin e

Should I Take a Vitamin Supplement?

Fiona Wilkinson.

I’m often asked about supplements and whether it’s a good idea to take them. One of the main questions I get is: “But if I’m eating a healthy diet should I take a vitamin supplement?” Well, like most things, the answer is, it depends…

Personally, I take a good-quality multi-vitamin and mineral every day along with extra vitamin C, Omega-3, a turmeric supplement, and a women’s glandular supplement. Now you could argue that if you eat well you don’t need these. And up to a point that’s true. However, unfortunately most of us don’t eat ‘perfectly’. We’re human and trying to get all our daily needs from food can be quite a challenge. Then there’s all those other things that are nutrient ‘depleters’ such as alcohol (yes, I’m afraid wine counts here too!), pollution, stress, getting older and so on…

Should I take a Vitamin Supplement?

One of the things we do know nowadays is that vitamins and minerals play a huge part in our health, and our ability to age well, and nutrient deficiencies can cause a wide range of diseases. So, my take is: take your daily multi-vitamin and any extras you may need due to your own individual requirements — because you can.

“But isn’t it just expensive wee?”

Oh, I do love this question…! I’m always tempted to say wouldn’t you rather have expensive wee than cheap wee…?! But on a more serious note: your body has a great mechanism for using the nutrients it needs and discarding the rest. Vitamins C and the B vitamins are water soluble. So, yes, to a certain extent you will lose some of these, but the same happens with food too. You know how your wee smells after asparagus? Right… Well, that doesn’t mean you’re wasting your time eating asparagus. You’ll still get the nutrients you need from that too. The price of asparagus compared to even the most expensive supplement? Now that really is expensive wee!

Which brings me on to quality. No, not all multivitamins are created equal. Without blinding you with science I’ll just give you a couple of simple examples starting with calcium. Many brands use calcium carbonate because it is cheap. The only problem with this is you body can’t absorb it. So, taking calcium carbonate in a supplement is bordering on useless. The most absorbable form of calcium is calcium citrate which your body can use. Vitamin E is another example where you need to take it in its natural form to reap the benefits. And finally, most over-the-counter supplements come in large tablet form. Now, to get all those ingredients in one pill means lots of binders and fillers. And, yes, you’ve guessed it — that inhibits absorption too. So, it really is worth buying a decent quality ‘doctors’ supplement.

If you’re not sure what to buy, or exactly what you need to take, you can fill out a mini vitamin and mineral consultation form and I’ll send you a personalised recommendation.



watercress can help lower blood pressure

Watercress Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Watercress, a member of the brassica family (like cabbage), has been valued for its nutritional benefits for centuries.

This green, leafy vegetable is rich in nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, manganese and magnesium.

Watercress can help lower blood pressure and has been shown to have a protective affect against certain cancers. It is also high in carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin that can help maintain vision and cardiovascular health.

In terms of liver support, watercress should be considered a key superfood as it can amplify the effects of the detoxification enzymes.

Raw watercress is very peppery, so ease yourself in gently if you are adding it to a green smoothie. It makes a delicious soup when blended with softened onions, a little sweet potato and vegetable stock.

You can eat it in a salad with avocado, segments of blood orange or pink grapefruit with black olives and a light dressing of olive oil. Or try this recipe for Salmon and Watercress.


nutrition advice

nutrition advice

Memory Boosting Foods

Memory boosting foods

Memory boosting foods

MOST of us can be a little forgetful sometimes, but what if you really seem to be forgetting things more than usual?

Well, there are some foods that help boost memory and are also rich in antioxidants which, let’s face it, we could all do with these days. Now where was I? Oh yes, memory boosting foods

Well, according to several recent studies reported in Science Daily, eating blueberries and strawberries could help prevent memory loss in old age. Berries are rich in antioxidants, which protect cells from free-radical damage. But new research has found they can have a direct effect on how neurons in the brain send signals. But berries aren’t the only memory boosting foods.


These delicious fruits (yes, they are classed as a fruit) are a great source of ‘healthy’ fat and a good blood circulation booster. This is important when it comes to brain function, as this enhances blood flow to the brain, helping with healthy brain function.

Oily fish

The essential omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish such as sardines, herring, trout and mackerel, as well as walnut oil and flaxseeds, or linseeds, are high in Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fatty acid which is vital to maintaining a healthy nervous system.  Low DHA levels have been linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. Fish also contains iodine, which is known to improve mental clarity.

Whole grains

Whole grains improve circulation and help regulate glucose levels in the blood. The more stable your glucose levels, the easier it is to concentrate, which is one of the reasons why it’s important to eat breakfast in the morning. Apart from revving up your metabolism it keeps your sugar levels balanced and protects against diabetes and heart disease.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are a great source of the antioxidant vitamin, E, a lack of which has been linked with cognitive decline as you age. A good intake of vitamin E will help prevent memory loss. Nuts are a great source along with leafy green vegetables, seeds, eggs, brown rice and whole grains.


Blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidants, which are thought to protect brain neurons from damage, build communication receptors between each brain cell, and flush out waste. They also help protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Blackberries are also a great brain booster, as they contain good levels of vitamin C that has long been known to help increase mental agility.


Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells that occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.

Do you have a health challenge that you’d like to discuss with me? I offer online Naturopathic and Nutrition Consultations. Fill out my forms here to book your personal consultation with me.

Or if you don’t have any particular health issues, perhaps you’d prefer one of my off-the-shelf  Health Programmes? Choose from Colon Cleanse, Detox Programme, Ultimate Cleanse or my comprehensive Supplement Programme. All packages include a full consultation.

Thank you for reading!


Jilly’s sweet potato falafel

WELL, after my Facebook posting saying how sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, my friend Jilly, who is a fabulous cook came up with a wonderfully easy and healthy recipe for this traditional Middle Eastern dish. So, here it is.

Serves 4-6

  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potato
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 80g/23/4oz flour
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • A few sesame seeds

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas5 and bake the sweet potato for about an hour. Meanwhile, toast the spices in the oven on a tray for a few minutes.

Peel the sweet potato and mash roughly. Stir all the other ingredients, including a couple of pinches of salt, into the potato and place in the fridge for an hour.

Lightly oil a non-stick baking tray and, using a spoon or a falafel scoop, make your mix into falafel shapes (small round balls) and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6 and cook for 25 minutes.

Jilly serves these with a garlicky yoghurt sauce. Just chop a little garlic into a couple of tablespoons of thick yoghurt and whisk in an egg cup full of light olive oil with some seasoning. She also recommends a bit of chilli.

Pic: Jilly Ballantyne

Eating pistachios may reduce cancer risk

LATEST research from the University of Texas and Texas Women’ University suggests pistachio nuts could reduce the risk of cancer. Pistachios contain high levels of vitamin E in the form of gamma tocopherol which studies have shown is linked to a lower cancer risk.

Thirty six people were involved in the study. Half ate their normal diet while the others ate their normal diet but added two ounces of pistachios a day. Four weeks later, those who ate pistachios had higher levels of gamma tocopheral than the other group.

Other foods rich in vitamin E, which is also excellent for the skin, include avocados, walnuts, soybeans and peanuts. Pistachios also have high antioxidant levels so can also help lower cholesterol, help with cardiovascular disease and stave of dementia.

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