Every Wednesday, MSc Nutrition Student Nuna Kamhawi shares her nutrition tips with us over on our newsletter. Here, we’ve rounded up all of her advice for the month of July to help you live and eat a little bit healthier.
How to drink healthy this summer
With the blue, sunny skies and the reopening of bars and restaurants approaching, you may be wondering how you can keep healthy while still being able to enjoy your favourite summer alcoholic beverage. Although high intakes of alcohol are associated with a number of health conditions, life is about living and doing what you love. So, if this includes a few drinks down at the pub in the sunshine, then so be it.
In fact, you will be pleased to know that moderate intakes of alcohol have been shown to have PROTECTIVE effects against some disorders including heart disease and diabetes. However, the term ‘moderate’ is considered to be about 5 small glasses of wine or 7 pints of beer PER WEEK. So, if your intake is exceeding this, it may help to cut down or simply make your drinks a bit healthier.
Sweet Summer Treats
Summer can mean a few things to us when it comes to food. Whether this be barbecues in our gardens, picnics in our local parks or lunches at your local restaurants or pubs. Wherever we enjoy our summer meals, most of us go weak at the knees for a sweet summer treat.
There is always room for treats. They’re even crucial for our mental well-being. Our brains are hard-wired to release ‘happy’ chemicals like serotonin when we eat foods high in sugar and fat, like ice-cream. So my advice is not to go by this summer depriving yourself, but instead listen to your body hunger and full cues, while also incorporating a couple of tricks that I have up my sleeve!
Red meat, wrapped up!
Now that we’ve entered barbecue season, it seems relevant to talk about the never-ending controversial topic of red meat. Meat is such a nutritious food, providing high quality protein, iron, B vitamins, zinc and other important minerals. Red meat includes both the fresh cuts of beef, lamb and pork, as well as the processed products such as bacon, sausages, ham, salami, pâté and corned beef.
Depending on the type, the cut and whether it is processed or not, red meat contains relatively high levels of salt and saturated fat, which in large amounts may be detrimental to heart health. Also, certain chemicals associated with red and processed meats have been found to damage cells in the bowel and increase the risk of cancer (although this is mainly true of processed meats). It is important not to burn your meat on the barbecue, as the chemicals formed when meat becomes charred also increase the risk of cancer.
A number of different dietary supplements are available to consumers to buy. The way that these products are marketed can often convince us that they are vital for our well-being, often taking advantage that you can’t put a price on health.
In the UK, everyone is advised to take Vitamin D supplements during the winter because of the lack of UV exposure. If you have a balanced diet, there is no need to supplement with multivitamins and there is no concrete evidence suggesting that they improve overall health or reduce the risk of any chronic diseases. Specific vitamin and mineral supplementation can be useful in some cases, however there are some safety concerns associated with high doses.
Most of us take some form of caffeine every day, whether this be taken as tea, coffee, fizzy or energy drinks. As a natural stimulant, caffeine works through the central nervous system and increases alertness. There’s no wonder it’s such an effective boost!
The effect of caffeine is at its greatest about an hour after ingestion, and the body is able to remove HALF of it between four to six hours. However, different people react to caffeine in various ways depending on their sensitivity and the rate they digest it. This is why caffeine’s effect on health is not so clear cut to investigate.