From the journal

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week and with around 1.25million people in the UK suffering with an eating disorder it’s about time we were all equipped with the information on how to identify and approach this subject.

Before you approach the subject with a loved one there are a few key things to note about eating disorders:

  • Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Individuals suffering are not always underweight. In fact, of the three main eating disorders anorexia (where part of the diagnostic criteria is to have a BMI of less than 18.5kg.m2) accounts for 8% of total eating disorders, binge eating accounts for 22% and bulimia for 19% with other eating disorders included in the rest.
  • 25% of total cases are men. It’s commonly thought that only women are affected although this is not the case.
  • Eating disorders are most common among teenagers although they can develop at any age, in particularly menopausal women and vey young children.
  • Eating disorders change the personality of the individual. Individuals suffering with an eating disorder may become very reserved, defensive, angry and secretive. Note that this is not the fault of the individual but it is a common symptom associated with eating disorders.

Eating disorders are hugely complex and may look different between individuals. Although, should you be concerned about yourself or a loved one below is a list of behaviours which are just a few common amongst eating disorder sufferers. Please note the list could go on and therefore should you be concerned we encourage you to further your research.

  • If an individual is pre-occupied with food. Are they weighing/ obsessing over food?
  • Social withdrawal
  • Avoids situations where food is involved
  • Carries out excessive and rigid exercise routines
  • Denies hunger
  • Becomes aggressive, secretive or defensive
  • Expresses huge weight concern

Due to the nature of eating disorders individuals can be a very difficult subject to approach so here are a few key pointers of what you should be aware of when approaching a loved one.

  • Avoid approaching the subject when food is involved/ around meal timings.
  • Show care and concern rather than attacking the individual
  • If they agree, go prepared with information on where they can find help. Check out BEAT Charity and the NHS for further guidance.
  • Explain that you’re there to listen and not judge them.
  • Avoid discussing this in public
  • Be sensitive in your nature
  • Avoid approaching them in a group environment as this can seem intimidating.

Remember eating disorders are not something in which the individual chooses and in many cases they may feel embarrassed or ashamed of their behaviour. Therefore, approach the topic with kindness, concern and an ear to listen.

Read more

This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week and with around 1.25million people in the UK suffering with an eating disorder it’s about time we were all equipped with the information on how to identify and approach this subject.

Before you approach the subject with a loved one there are a few key things to note about eating disorders:

  • Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Individuals suffering are not always underweight. In fact, of the three main eating disorders anorexia (where part of the diagnostic criteria is to have a BMI of less than 18.5kg.m2) accounts for 8% of total eating disorders, binge eating accounts for 22% and bulimia for 19% with other eating disorders included in the rest.
  • 25% of total cases are men. It’s commonly thought that only women are affected although this is not the case.
  • Eating disorders are most common among teenagers although they can develop at any age, in particularly menopausal women and vey young children.
  • Eating disorders change the personality of the individual. Individuals suffering with an eating disorder may become very reserved, defensive, angry and secretive. Note that this is not the fault of the individual but it is a common symptom associated with eating disorders.

Eating disorders are hugely complex and may look different between individuals. Although, should you be concerned about yourself or a loved one below is a list of behaviours which are just a few common amongst eating disorder sufferers. Please note the list could go on and therefore should you be concerned we encourage you to further your research.

  • If an individual is pre-occupied with food. Are they weighing/ obsessing over food?
  • Social withdrawal
  • Avoids situations where food is involved
  • Carries out excessive and rigid exercise routines
  • Denies hunger
  • Becomes aggressive, secretive or defensive
  • Expresses huge weight concern

Due to the nature of eating disorders individuals can be a very difficult subject to approach so here are a few key pointers of what you should be aware of when approaching a loved one.

  • Avoid approaching the subject when food is involved/ around meal timings.
  • Show care and concern rather than attacking the individual
  • If they agree, go prepared with information on where they can find help. Check out BEAT Charity and the NHS for further guidance.
  • Explain that you’re there to listen and not judge them.
  • Avoid discussing this in public
  • Be sensitive in your nature
  • Avoid approaching them in a group environment as this can seem intimidating.

Remember eating disorders are not something in which the individual chooses and in many cases they may feel embarrassed or ashamed of their behaviour. Therefore, approach the topic with kindness, concern and an ear to listen.

Read more


Eat Red Day

This month is ‘Wear Red Day’, a day designed for all of us to show our support to congenital heart disease by wearing red coloured clothes and accessories.

Congenital heart disease is an overarching term for heart conditions which are developed in the womb. To raise awareness for this day we thought we have highlighted some key red foods along with their associated health benefits. Disclaimer: this post has been written to raise awareness for congenital heart disease, whilst the foods we mention do have health promoting benefits we do encourage a healthy balanced diet containing a range of colours.

Below are a few of our favourite health promoting red foods:

Strawberries


These popular summer berries are a rich source of vitamin C, a key nutrient which plays a role in supporting the immune function. It’s often believed that vitamin C will help to cure a cold although we’re sorry to be the barer of bad news but vitamin C is required over a prolonged period of time to build up a healthy immune function rather than fight off an attacking pathogen.

Cherries


Cherries are a great source of potassium. Potassium plays a role in helping to lower high blood pressure. Cherry juice is also one of the few independent foods which has been proven to aid sleep. Cherry juice increases the availability of tryptophan, a key amino acid which is required for the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Struggle to get your Zzzs it might be worth trying some cherry juice for the win.

Tomatoes


This fruit (yes you read that correctly) are most well known for their lycopene content. Lycopene is a phytochemical (chemicals found naturally in plants) which provides the red colour in tomatoes and has been associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer in men. The bioavailability (amount of the nutrient which is absorbed and utilised) is increased when you combine it with a source of healthy fats. We recommend drizzling some olive oil over your tomato salad.

Red apples


Apples (both red and green) contain prebiotic fibres which help to feed the good bacteria in your gut. We recommend eating them whole rather than juicing them to ensure you’re getting in all the good stuff! The fibre will also help to slow down the release of the sugar into your blood stream and keep you fuller for longer.

Red grapes 


Grapes (red in particular) are a source of resveratrol. Resveratrol is another phytochemical which has been associated with heart health promoting benefits. It’s resveratrol which underpins the associations between red wine and heart health. Although, some research suggests you’d need to drink 40 bottles per day to actually see any benefit (Note: WE DON’T RECOMMEND THAT). Remember though grapes are high in sugar and therefore we recommend you watch your portion size.

Watermelon


It’s all in the name! Watermelon is packed with water which makes it a really great hydration option on those summer days.

Red peppers


Red peppers are rich in vitamin B6, a water-soluble nutrient meaning that it cannot be stored in the body. Vitamin B6 plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism and the synthesis of stress hormones.

Red chilis


Red chilis are rich in Vitamins A and C, two vital immune boosting nutrients. It’s the capsicum in chilis which is commonly associated with increased ‘fat burn’, we’re sorry to let you down but to put it simply there is no evidence to suggest that eating chili (in the moderate amounts which we can handle) will have any affect on your metabolic rate and consequent fat burn.

Pomegranates


These powerhouse jewels have been associated with numerous health benefits including heart health and reducing inflammation. They’re also rich in vitamin K, a nutrient which is required for blood clotting.

In light of Wear Red Day to raise awareness for congenital heart disease we are promoting the health benefits of red foods although please remember a healthy diet is one which encompasses a wide range of colours, nutrients, textures and flavours!

Read more

This month is ‘Wear Red Day’, a day designed for all of us to show our support to congenital heart disease by wearing red coloured clothes and accessories.

Congenital heart disease is an overarching term for heart conditions which are developed in the womb. To raise awareness for this day we thought we have highlighted some key red foods along with their associated health benefits. Disclaimer: this post has been written to raise awareness for congenital heart disease, whilst the foods we mention do have health promoting benefits we do encourage a healthy balanced diet containing a range of colours.

Below are a few of our favourite health promoting red foods:

Strawberries


These popular summer berries are a rich source of vitamin C, a key nutrient which plays a role in supporting the immune function. It’s often believed that vitamin C will help to cure a cold although we’re sorry to be the barer of bad news but vitamin C is required over a prolonged period of time to build up a healthy immune function rather than fight off an attacking pathogen.

Cherries


Cherries are a great source of potassium. Potassium plays a role in helping to lower high blood pressure. Cherry juice is also one of the few independent foods which has been proven to aid sleep. Cherry juice increases the availability of tryptophan, a key amino acid which is required for the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Struggle to get your Zzzs it might be worth trying some cherry juice for the win.

Tomatoes


This fruit (yes you read that correctly) are most well known for their lycopene content. Lycopene is a phytochemical (chemicals found naturally in plants) which provides the red colour in tomatoes and has been associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer in men. The bioavailability (amount of the nutrient which is absorbed and utilised) is increased when you combine it with a source of healthy fats. We recommend drizzling some olive oil over your tomato salad.

Red apples


Apples (both red and green) contain prebiotic fibres which help to feed the good bacteria in your gut. We recommend eating them whole rather than juicing them to ensure you’re getting in all the good stuff! The fibre will also help to slow down the release of the sugar into your blood stream and keep you fuller for longer.

Red grapes 


Grapes (red in particular) are a source of resveratrol. Resveratrol is another phytochemical which has been associated with heart health promoting benefits. It’s resveratrol which underpins the associations between red wine and heart health. Although, some research suggests you’d need to drink 40 bottles per day to actually see any benefit (Note: WE DON’T RECOMMEND THAT). Remember though grapes are high in sugar and therefore we recommend you watch your portion size.

Watermelon


It’s all in the name! Watermelon is packed with water which makes it a really great hydration option on those summer days.

Red peppers


Red peppers are rich in vitamin B6, a water-soluble nutrient meaning that it cannot be stored in the body. Vitamin B6 plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism and the synthesis of stress hormones.

Red chilis


Red chilis are rich in Vitamins A and C, two vital immune boosting nutrients. It’s the capsicum in chilis which is commonly associated with increased ‘fat burn’, we’re sorry to let you down but to put it simply there is no evidence to suggest that eating chili (in the moderate amounts which we can handle) will have any affect on your metabolic rate and consequent fat burn.

Pomegranates


These powerhouse jewels have been associated with numerous health benefits including heart health and reducing inflammation. They’re also rich in vitamin K, a nutrient which is required for blood clotting.

In light of Wear Red Day to raise awareness for congenital heart disease we are promoting the health benefits of red foods although please remember a healthy diet is one which encompasses a wide range of colours, nutrients, textures and flavours!

Read more


Spotlight on Nuts

In light of ‘World Pistachio Day’ (yes – there really is a day for everything now) we wanted to share some health promoting benefits of nuts, dispel some of the common myths associated with eating these plant-based nutrient powerhouses and shine some light on some of the lesser known varieties.

For this article we’ve partnered with our friends at Protein and Pantry who deliver some delicious and innovative nutritious snacks using one of our favourite ingredients – the humble nut.

So firstly, let’s dispel the most common myth associated with the consumption of nuts:

MYTH: Nuts cause weight gain


It’s well understood that nuts are a great source of healthy fats and unfortunately with that understanding comes the assumption that healthy dietary fats cause weight gain. This is not the case at all. In fact, healthy dietary fats have been associated with increased brain health, improved joint health and improved heart health. Monounsaturated fatty acids (the kind found in nuts) are associated with increasing the HDL (high density lipoprotein – aka the good cholesterol) and decreasing the LDL (low density lipoprotein – aka the bad cholesterol). We have a whole article on this so please click here for more on cholesterol.

One of the reasons why it is assumed that dietary fat contributes to weight gain is due to the calorie content of dietary fats. 1g of dietary fat contains 9kcal compared to carbohydrates and protein which contain 4kcal per 1g. Although, dietary fats and protein contributes to satiety and therefore you’re likely to consume less when you’re more satiated.

Another reason why dietary fat and the healthy fats from nuts are so important is that they help to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, namely: Vitamins A, D, E and K.

Now that we’ve gotten over that myth lets talk about some of the benefits associated with individual nuts.

As this post is in light of ‘World Pistachio Day’ we thought we would start with the great pistachio!

Pistachios


These green goods are a rich source of plant-based iron. You can increase the bioavailability (the amount of the nutrient which can be absorbed and utilised) of plant-based iron by adding a source of vitamin C. We recommend chopping up an apple and enjoying the pair together.

Almonds


These are among the most popular kids on the block. Almonds are rich in magnesium, a nutrient which is required in over 300 processes in the body and helps with muscle and neve relaxation. When almonds are consumed whole the fibre prevents the absorption of around 25% of the calories, therefore if you are someone who is concerned about the calories in nuts these may be a better option. Why not try the popcorn almonds delivered by our friends over at Protein and Pantry.

Brazil nuts


These are less common, although no less nutrient dense. Brazil nuts are known for their selenium content. Selenium is required in male fertility as it’s role is to help the sperm to swim. Selenium is also vital in supporting a healthy immune function. Remember though portion size is key when it comes to these larger nuts.

Macadamia nuts


Macadamia nuts are said to have the best omega-3: omega-6 ratio. A low ratio of omega-3 to higb omega-6 is associated with increased inflammation. Therefore, try mixing your nuts up to pack in the omega-3s too! Try our roasted fruit and nut mix to load up on the macadamias.

Cashew nuts


Cashews are a very good source of magnesium that ever so important micronutrient discussed above. They also contain some calcium which is important if you’re on a plant-based diet.

Peanuts


We apologise that we’ve lumped these in with the nuts when they’re technically a legume. Although, forgive us please as we felt it was important that these kings didn’t get left out. Peanut are very high in protein (significantly higher than the other nuts). Therefore, they’re more likely to keep you even fuller for longer and help to stabilise your blood sugar levels. Peanut butter is one of the most popular ways to consume peanuts in the diet. Ensure that you’re going for one with no added sugars and no palm oil where possible. We also recommend trying our delicious chicken satay made with Manilife peanut butter… If you don’t know, let us introduce you!

There you have the spotlight on nuts. Hopefully we’ve managed to convince you that these really are nutritional powerhouses which we would encourage you to incorporate into your diet (unless of course you have an allergy). Remember though portion size is key. A typical portion is around 25g (one small handful).

Happy snacking!

Read more

In light of ‘World Pistachio Day’ (yes – there really is a day for everything now) we wanted to share some health promoting benefits of nuts, dispel some of the common myths associated with eating these plant-based nutrient powerhouses and shine some light on some of the lesser known varieties.

For this article we’ve partnered with our friends at Protein and Pantry who deliver some delicious and innovative nutritious snacks using one of our favourite ingredients – the humble nut.

So firstly, let’s dispel the most common myth associated with the consumption of nuts:

MYTH: Nuts cause weight gain


It’s well understood that nuts are a great source of healthy fats and unfortunately with that understanding comes the assumption that healthy dietary fats cause weight gain. This is not the case at all. In fact, healthy dietary fats have been associated with increased brain health, improved joint health and improved heart health. Monounsaturated fatty acids (the kind found in nuts) are associated with increasing the HDL (high density lipoprotein – aka the good cholesterol) and decreasing the LDL (low density lipoprotein – aka the bad cholesterol). We have a whole article on this so please click here for more on cholesterol.

One of the reasons why it is assumed that dietary fat contributes to weight gain is due to the calorie content of dietary fats. 1g of dietary fat contains 9kcal compared to carbohydrates and protein which contain 4kcal per 1g. Although, dietary fats and protein contributes to satiety and therefore you’re likely to consume less when you’re more satiated.

Another reason why dietary fat and the healthy fats from nuts are so important is that they help to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, namely: Vitamins A, D, E and K.

Now that we’ve gotten over that myth lets talk about some of the benefits associated with individual nuts.

As this post is in light of ‘World Pistachio Day’ we thought we would start with the great pistachio!

Pistachios


These green goods are a rich source of plant-based iron. You can increase the bioavailability (the amount of the nutrient which can be absorbed and utilised) of plant-based iron by adding a source of vitamin C. We recommend chopping up an apple and enjoying the pair together.

Almonds


These are among the most popular kids on the block. Almonds are rich in magnesium, a nutrient which is required in over 300 processes in the body and helps with muscle and neve relaxation. When almonds are consumed whole the fibre prevents the absorption of around 25% of the calories, therefore if you are someone who is concerned about the calories in nuts these may be a better option. Why not try the popcorn almonds delivered by our friends over at Protein and Pantry.

Brazil nuts


These are less common, although no less nutrient dense. Brazil nuts are known for their selenium content. Selenium is required in male fertility as it’s role is to help the sperm to swim. Selenium is also vital in supporting a healthy immune function. Remember though portion size is key when it comes to these larger nuts.

Macadamia nuts


Macadamia nuts are said to have the best omega-3: omega-6 ratio. A low ratio of omega-3 to higb omega-6 is associated with increased inflammation. Therefore, try mixing your nuts up to pack in the omega-3s too! Try our roasted fruit and nut mix to load up on the macadamias.

Cashew nuts


Cashews are a very good source of magnesium that ever so important micronutrient discussed above. They also contain some calcium which is important if you’re on a plant-based diet.

Peanuts


We apologise that we’ve lumped these in with the nuts when they’re technically a legume. Although, forgive us please as we felt it was important that these kings didn’t get left out. Peanut are very high in protein (significantly higher than the other nuts). Therefore, they’re more likely to keep you even fuller for longer and help to stabilise your blood sugar levels. Peanut butter is one of the most popular ways to consume peanuts in the diet. Ensure that you’re going for one with no added sugars and no palm oil where possible. We also recommend trying our delicious chicken satay made with Manilife peanut butter… If you don’t know, let us introduce you!

There you have the spotlight on nuts. Hopefully we’ve managed to convince you that these really are nutritional powerhouses which we would encourage you to incorporate into your diet (unless of course you have an allergy). Remember though portion size is key. A typical portion is around 25g (one small handful).

Happy snacking!

Read more


Emotional Eating: A Deeper Understanding

January is the time for quick fix dieting, ‘new year, new me’, high expectations and unrealistic goal setting.

When it comes to dieting there’s often much more to it than the oversimplified saying of ‘eat less and move more’. After Christmas there’s also an added pressure to lose weight which the media pushes despite whether you have weight to lose or not. All of these pressures can be contributors to the struggle to lose weight.

You might be surprised to hear that we’re not here to jump on the ‘new year, new me’ bandwagon. In fact, we’re here to talk more about the emotional aspect of eating. This is something which regularly gets swept under the carpet in all the all-consuming talk around diet and weight loss. It might be January but let’s take weight loss out of the equation for now whilst we highlight some key facts around understanding emotional eating and top tips for what you can do about it.

Firstly, emotional eating is to some degree very normal, it’s not something to feel guilty about, it’s more just something to be aware of. Emotional eating often refers to the excessive overconsumption of highly palatable (high sugar, high fat) foods consumed in one go.

Although, emotional eating can also describe eating patterns which are utilised to manage emotions. One doesn’t always have to be consuming large amounts of high sugar, high fat foods. Everyone’s eating patterns will look different and your emotional eating might look different to someone else’s.

How to know when you’re emotionally eating.

Learning to identify the difference between emotional hunger and true hunger is really important when it comes to identifying whether you’re eating for comfort or whether you’re eating as a result of biological hunger. Below are a few key signs which will help you to tell whether you’re emotional eating are.  

  • If the hunger comes on suddenly
  • If you’re craving certain foods
  • Feeling guilty after eating
  • Acknowledging a large consumption of food but feeling out of touch whilst eating or eating at a fast speed
  • Removing yourself from social situations and comforting yourself with food
  • Negative self-talk around eating

If you’re beginning to feel out of touch with your eating patterns and have noticed some chaos within your eating behaviours there are a few questions which you can ask yourself.

  • Are you experiencing any difficult relationships?
  • Are you stressed at work?
  • Are you worried about something?
  • Is there something you’re not speaking up about?

For some people, their emotional eating may be a familiar pattern which has played a role in their life for many years and therefore it might be rather challenging to identify. In such cases, we encourage you to seek professional personalised help. Should you find that you’re emotional eating every now and again there are a few things which you can do to help to manage this style of eating.

 

  • Engage in self-care activities.

Emotional eating often comes about as a result of stress. Opt for relaxing activities such as reading a book, enjoying a cup of tea or listening to a podcast.

 

  • Get active

This has nothing to do with the food you’re consuming. Getting active can play a huge role in helping to reduce overall stress.

 

  • Sleep, Sleep and Sleep

The combination of a lack of sleep on your mood and appetite hormones makes emotional eating more likely when you’re tired. Try to ensure that you’re getting between 7-9 hours sleep per night.

 

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet

Eating a healthy balanced diet rich in good quality proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables can help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and contribute to a reduction in sugar highs and lows.

 

We hope these tips are helpful. Remember should you feel that you’re struggling to control your eating patterns or your relationship with food then we recommend seeking personalised, professional advice.

Read more

January is the time for quick fix dieting, ‘new year, new me’, high expectations and unrealistic goal setting.

When it comes to dieting there’s often much more to it than the oversimplified saying of ‘eat less and move more’. After Christmas there’s also an added pressure to lose weight which the media pushes despite whether you have weight to lose or not. All of these pressures can be contributors to the struggle to lose weight.

You might be surprised to hear that we’re not here to jump on the ‘new year, new me’ bandwagon. In fact, we’re here to talk more about the emotional aspect of eating. This is something which regularly gets swept under the carpet in all the all-consuming talk around diet and weight loss. It might be January but let’s take weight loss out of the equation for now whilst we highlight some key facts around understanding emotional eating and top tips for what you can do about it.

Firstly, emotional eating is to some degree very normal, it’s not something to feel guilty about, it’s more just something to be aware of. Emotional eating often refers to the excessive overconsumption of highly palatable (high sugar, high fat) foods consumed in one go.

Although, emotional eating can also describe eating patterns which are utilised to manage emotions. One doesn’t always have to be consuming large amounts of high sugar, high fat foods. Everyone’s eating patterns will look different and your emotional eating might look different to someone else’s.

How to know when you’re emotionally eating.

Learning to identify the difference between emotional hunger and true hunger is really important when it comes to identifying whether you’re eating for comfort or whether you’re eating as a result of biological hunger. Below are a few key signs which will help you to tell whether you’re emotional eating are.  

  • If the hunger comes on suddenly
  • If you’re craving certain foods
  • Feeling guilty after eating
  • Acknowledging a large consumption of food but feeling out of touch whilst eating or eating at a fast speed
  • Removing yourself from social situations and comforting yourself with food
  • Negative self-talk around eating

If you’re beginning to feel out of touch with your eating patterns and have noticed some chaos within your eating behaviours there are a few questions which you can ask yourself.

  • Are you experiencing any difficult relationships?
  • Are you stressed at work?
  • Are you worried about something?
  • Is there something you’re not speaking up about?

For some people, their emotional eating may be a familiar pattern which has played a role in their life for many years and therefore it might be rather challenging to identify. In such cases, we encourage you to seek professional personalised help. Should you find that you’re emotional eating every now and again there are a few things which you can do to help to manage this style of eating.

 

  • Engage in self-care activities.

Emotional eating often comes about as a result of stress. Opt for relaxing activities such as reading a book, enjoying a cup of tea or listening to a podcast.

 

  • Get active

This has nothing to do with the food you’re consuming. Getting active can play a huge role in helping to reduce overall stress.

 

  • Sleep, Sleep and Sleep

The combination of a lack of sleep on your mood and appetite hormones makes emotional eating more likely when you’re tired. Try to ensure that you’re getting between 7-9 hours sleep per night.

 

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet

Eating a healthy balanced diet rich in good quality proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables can help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and contribute to a reduction in sugar highs and lows.

 

We hope these tips are helpful. Remember should you feel that you’re struggling to control your eating patterns or your relationship with food then we recommend seeking personalised, professional advice.

Read more


A balanced approach to Veganuary

The Health Benefits of Eating More Plants (A Balanced Approach)

We’re pretty sure you’re aware by now that it’s officially Veganuary. You might be trying out the vegan diet for yourself and if you’re not it’s highly likely that you know someone who is. This week we’re not going into how to eat a vegan diet healthily (we’ve covered that one. See here for more information of nutrients deficiency risks in the vegan diet). Rather we’re focusing on the health benefits of consuming more plants. This isn’t exclusive to those following a vegan diet at all. As the question we pose is: “Are the health benefits of the vegan diet influenced by a reduction in meat consumption or simply an increase in plant consumption?” We believe eating more plants is more beneficial than reducing your meat consumption. Equally you could argue that by increasing your plant consumption you’re naturally displacing meat and animal-based products. This is true yet this isn’t to say you have to become vegan in order to reap the benefits.

Dietary patterns


Within the world of nutrition it’s all too easy to draw premature conclusions rather than ask ourselves a wide range of questions. The point of this weeks blog is to encourage you to think about dietary patterns. Research suggests that meat consumption has increased by 62% since 1962. Alongside this, we have also seen a rise in type two diabetes incidence, risk of cardiovascular disease, increase in population obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol etc. Consequently, it might seem appropriate to suggest that meat were the cause of all this. It’s important to also consider the rise in stress, inactivity, sleep disorders, fast food and highly processed foods which may also play a role in the prevalence of these diseases. Therefore, before we go on to discuss the role of plants in our overall health we wish to highlight (once again) that you don’t have to go vegan to reap these benefits. If you’re a lover of meat or fish, it might be better for you to limit the highly processed meats, fast food and increase activity and plant consumption to reap your personal benefits.

So, what exactly are the benefits of increasing plants in your diet?

Much of the research has been conducted on plant-based diets. This term is commonly used interchangeably with the vegan diet although, there are large differences. The vegan diet excludes any animal or animal derived products, some vegans will also avoid the use of vegan derived products in their clothing, skincare and everyday products too. The term plant-based refers to a wide range of diets which focus on consuming more plants than animal products.

Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease


Research has shown that following a plant-based diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s suggested that eating a diet rich in plants naturally increases intakes of fibre, antioxidants and micronutrients. One study found that consuming 200g of fruits and vegetables daily reduces stroke risk by 16% and cardiovascular disease risk by 8%. Nuts have also been shown to contribute to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease due to their fibre, healthy fats and protein content.

Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes


Research suggests that a plant-based diet (one based on wholefoods, rather than just the exclusion of animal products) is associated with improved insulin sensitivity and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This would suggest that the role of plants are more beneficial than the reduction of animal products as the research showed that these associations were stronger in relation to fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. 

Improved general wellbeing


Some research has suggested that eating more plants is associated with an improvement in general mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing and quality of life in individuals with diabetes. 

Evidently there are some benefits associated with eating more plants. Plant-based are not by default healthy. One common misconception is that people believe that by reducing their meat consumption they automatically become healthier. Research suggests that those following an animal free diet which is high in fried foods, refined grains, sugar sweetened beverages and sugar had an increased risk of coronary heart disease when compared with whole-food plant-based diets. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that everyone will feel differently on a plant-based diet and it’s recommended to eat in a way which suits you best as there is no one-size fits all!

Luo, C., Zhang, Y., Ding, Y., Shan, Z., Chen, S., Yu, M., ... & Liu, L. (2014). Nut consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American journal of clinical nutrition100(1), 256-269.

Satija, A., Bhupathiraju, S. N., Spiegelman, D., Chiuve, S. E., Manson, J. E., Willett, W., ... & Hu, F. B. (2017). Healthful and unhealthful plant-based diets and the risk of coronary heart disease in US adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology70(4), 411-422.

Qian, F., Liu, G., Hu, F. B., Bhupathiraju, S. N., & Sun, Q. (2019). Association between plant-based dietary patterns and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine179(10), 1335-1344.

Toumpanakis, A., Turnbull, T., & Alba-Barba, I. (2018). Effectiveness of plant-based diets in promoting well-being in the management of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care6(1), e000534.

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The Health Benefits of Eating More Plants (A Balanced Approach)

We’re pretty sure you’re aware by now that it’s officially Veganuary. You might be trying out the vegan diet for yourself and if you’re not it’s highly likely that you know someone who is. This week we’re not going into how to eat a vegan diet healthily (we’ve covered that one. See here for more information of nutrients deficiency risks in the vegan diet). Rather we’re focusing on the health benefits of consuming more plants. This isn’t exclusive to those following a vegan diet at all. As the question we pose is: “Are the health benefits of the vegan diet influenced by a reduction in meat consumption or simply an increase in plant consumption?” We believe eating more plants is more beneficial than reducing your meat consumption. Equally you could argue that by increasing your plant consumption you’re naturally displacing meat and animal-based products. This is true yet this isn’t to say you have to become vegan in order to reap the benefits.

Dietary patterns


Within the world of nutrition it’s all too easy to draw premature conclusions rather than ask ourselves a wide range of questions. The point of this weeks blog is to encourage you to think about dietary patterns. Research suggests that meat consumption has increased by 62% since 1962. Alongside this, we have also seen a rise in type two diabetes incidence, risk of cardiovascular disease, increase in population obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol etc. Consequently, it might seem appropriate to suggest that meat were the cause of all this. It’s important to also consider the rise in stress, inactivity, sleep disorders, fast food and highly processed foods which may also play a role in the prevalence of these diseases. Therefore, before we go on to discuss the role of plants in our overall health we wish to highlight (once again) that you don’t have to go vegan to reap these benefits. If you’re a lover of meat or fish, it might be better for you to limit the highly processed meats, fast food and increase activity and plant consumption to reap your personal benefits.

So, what exactly are the benefits of increasing plants in your diet?

Much of the research has been conducted on plant-based diets. This term is commonly used interchangeably with the vegan diet although, there are large differences. The vegan diet excludes any animal or animal derived products, some vegans will also avoid the use of vegan derived products in their clothing, skincare and everyday products too. The term plant-based refers to a wide range of diets which focus on consuming more plants than animal products.

Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease


Research has shown that following a plant-based diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s suggested that eating a diet rich in plants naturally increases intakes of fibre, antioxidants and micronutrients. One study found that consuming 200g of fruits and vegetables daily reduces stroke risk by 16% and cardiovascular disease risk by 8%. Nuts have also been shown to contribute to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease due to their fibre, healthy fats and protein content.

Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes


Research suggests that a plant-based diet (one based on wholefoods, rather than just the exclusion of animal products) is associated with improved insulin sensitivity and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This would suggest that the role of plants are more beneficial than the reduction of animal products as the research showed that these associations were stronger in relation to fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. 

Improved general wellbeing


Some research has suggested that eating more plants is associated with an improvement in general mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing and quality of life in individuals with diabetes. 

Evidently there are some benefits associated with eating more plants. Plant-based are not by default healthy. One common misconception is that people believe that by reducing their meat consumption they automatically become healthier. Research suggests that those following an animal free diet which is high in fried foods, refined grains, sugar sweetened beverages and sugar had an increased risk of coronary heart disease when compared with whole-food plant-based diets. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that everyone will feel differently on a plant-based diet and it’s recommended to eat in a way which suits you best as there is no one-size fits all!

Luo, C., Zhang, Y., Ding, Y., Shan, Z., Chen, S., Yu, M., ... & Liu, L. (2014). Nut consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American journal of clinical nutrition100(1), 256-269.

Satija, A., Bhupathiraju, S. N., Spiegelman, D., Chiuve, S. E., Manson, J. E., Willett, W., ... & Hu, F. B. (2017). Healthful and unhealthful plant-based diets and the risk of coronary heart disease in US adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology70(4), 411-422.

Qian, F., Liu, G., Hu, F. B., Bhupathiraju, S. N., & Sun, Q. (2019). Association between plant-based dietary patterns and risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine179(10), 1335-1344.

Toumpanakis, A., Turnbull, T., & Alba-Barba, I. (2018). Effectiveness of plant-based diets in promoting well-being in the management of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care6(1), e000534.

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