From the journal

Reduce your food waste

Optimising health, limiting food waste and promoting a healthy balanced lifestyle is at the heart of what we do at The Transformation Chef.

We strongly feel that food waste is on the rise and we all need to play a role in helping The Courtauld Commitment achieve their aim of reducing food waste by 20% per person between 2015 to 2025. Below are some facts from the latest WRAP report which really emphasises the importance of working to reduce food waste. 

  • 41 million tonnes of food is purchased each year with nearly a quarter being wasted! 
  • 10 million tonnes of food is wasted each year (7.1million tonnes of this are from household waste!)
  • 70% of food wasted is considered acceptable to eat.
  • £20billion of food is wasted per year.
  • 9% of strawberries and 19% of lettuces grown are wasted each year. 

As you can see food waste is becoming more and more problematic. Not only is this causing a strain on our environment through the production of greenhouse gases (25million tonnes are utilised to remove food waste) it’s also causing a greater strain on our forever growing population. As this week is Recycle Awareness Week we’ve put together our most simple tips which can help you to limit your food waste and upcycle your meals, optimise your recycling schemes and help to contribute towards a healthier planet:

  1. Avoid BOGOFs and over buying when you shop – unfortunately when it comes to bogofs we end up buying more because it’s ‘free’ and the truth of it is that the second one often gets wasted. 
  2. Prep your meals before your shop – prepping your meals can help you streamline your shop and prevent you buying more food than you need. You’ll also save money too. 
  3. Be aware of portion sizes – avoid over serving food to yourself and your guests. Once it’s on the plate you can’t re-use the dish for lunch the following day. It’s always better to underserve and opt for seconds rather than overserving.
  4. Get creative with leftovers – if you’ve got a small amount of veggies left but perhaps not a enough for a whole meal try making it into an omelette, a pasta dish or even a soup for the freezer. 
  5. Be aware of food storage. Storing your food properly can help to limit food spoiling before their time and therefore reduce food waste. 
  6. Get to know your dates. Best before dates are not the same as use by dates. Best before dates mean that the food is still edible after that time. Take initiative if the food appears, smells and tastes normal then it’s more than likely perfectly fine to eat. 

There you have our top tips for helping to limit our food waste. Next time you’re purchasing food think twice about whether you really need everything in your basket. 


Reference: 

http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Food%20Surplus%20and%20Waste%20in%20the%20UK%20Key%20Facts%2014%205%2019.pdf



Read more

Optimising health, limiting food waste and promoting a healthy balanced lifestyle is at the heart of what we do at The Transformation Chef.

We strongly feel that food waste is on the rise and we all need to play a role in helping The Courtauld Commitment achieve their aim of reducing food waste by 20% per person between 2015 to 2025. Below are some facts from the latest WRAP report which really emphasises the importance of working to reduce food waste. 

  • 41 million tonnes of food is purchased each year with nearly a quarter being wasted! 
  • 10 million tonnes of food is wasted each year (7.1million tonnes of this are from household waste!)
  • 70% of food wasted is considered acceptable to eat.
  • £20billion of food is wasted per year.
  • 9% of strawberries and 19% of lettuces grown are wasted each year. 

As you can see food waste is becoming more and more problematic. Not only is this causing a strain on our environment through the production of greenhouse gases (25million tonnes are utilised to remove food waste) it’s also causing a greater strain on our forever growing population. As this week is Recycle Awareness Week we’ve put together our most simple tips which can help you to limit your food waste and upcycle your meals, optimise your recycling schemes and help to contribute towards a healthier planet:

  1. Avoid BOGOFs and over buying when you shop – unfortunately when it comes to bogofs we end up buying more because it’s ‘free’ and the truth of it is that the second one often gets wasted. 
  2. Prep your meals before your shop – prepping your meals can help you streamline your shop and prevent you buying more food than you need. You’ll also save money too. 
  3. Be aware of portion sizes – avoid over serving food to yourself and your guests. Once it’s on the plate you can’t re-use the dish for lunch the following day. It’s always better to underserve and opt for seconds rather than overserving.
  4. Get creative with leftovers – if you’ve got a small amount of veggies left but perhaps not a enough for a whole meal try making it into an omelette, a pasta dish or even a soup for the freezer. 
  5. Be aware of food storage. Storing your food properly can help to limit food spoiling before their time and therefore reduce food waste. 
  6. Get to know your dates. Best before dates are not the same as use by dates. Best before dates mean that the food is still edible after that time. Take initiative if the food appears, smells and tastes normal then it’s more than likely perfectly fine to eat. 

There you have our top tips for helping to limit our food waste. Next time you’re purchasing food think twice about whether you really need everything in your basket. 


Reference: 

http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Food%20Surplus%20and%20Waste%20in%20the%20UK%20Key%20Facts%2014%205%2019.pdf



Read more


Taking a Balanced Approach To Food

We hear the word ‘balance’ being thrown around all the time at the moment but what exactly is a ‘healthy balanced diet’ and what does it mean by taking a ‘balanced approach to food’...

To be clear this post isn’t about intuitive eating. There’s an argument that if you’re someone who’s come from food rule to food rule, essentially intuitive eating is just another set of rules for how to eat according to your body. So instead, this is about learning to identify your food habits and adjusting where you seem feasible. Disclaimer: this post is not here to heal a poor relationship with food. Should you feel that your relationship with food needs some work please seek professional personalised advice from a qualified individual or take a look at BEAT website.

So, to start with a healthy balanced diet is ultimately one which works for you, which leaves you feeling satisfied, full, free from gastrointestinal symptoms (although this can be associated with gastrointestinal disorders in which case this should be checked separately) and full of energy. For some that might mean a higher percentage of carbohydrates whereas for other it might mean a higher percentage of proteins or fats. We really are all unique and there is no one size fits all!

Please be aware that everyone’s relationships with food are unique and some much more complex than others. So, whilst this information is here to guide you, it’s not here to fix you!

When you start to realise that we are all unique, we all have different needs and just because something worked for your neighbour isn’t to say it will work for you, you’re much more likely to feel at peace with food. In order to develop a healthier relationship to food you should start to identify any common habits, feelings and emotions in relation to food. Ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.

  1. Do you feel out of control when food is around?
  2. Do you feel extreme emotions in relation to food (high or low)?
  3. Are you distracted from other tasks by thinking about food?

From your answers you’ll be able to asses where you think your relationship with food lies. Should you feel as though you crave a little bit too much or rely on food for comfort a few too many times a week/day then below are a few top tips. Remember though you should always seek advice from a professional should you feel that this is having a greater impact.

Check in with your cravings...

Cravings are completely normal to some degree but if you’re experiencing very strong and regular cravings then ask yourself: Could your blood sugar levels be low? Are you thirsty? Have you had a particularly emotional day? Are you currently stress, anxious or nervous?

Opt for self-care... 

Often feeding your emotions with food can be viewed as a way of looking after yourself. Try taking time out, having a bath with a cuppa, read a book, head for a walk or simply watch a movie and allow some you time.

Don’t deny yourself...

Denying yourself specific foods is likely to lead you to wanting them even more. If you want a slice of chocolate, have it, enjoy it and move on

#Balance... 

Balance isn’t about overeating one day and then pounding it out in the gym to ‘burn it all off’. It’s about incorporating a wide range of foods into your diet. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, wholegrains, beans, pulses, eggs, nuts, seeds and high-quality dairy for the most part and then topping up with the odd slice of cake, square(s) of chocolate or scoop of ice cream.

Be yourself...

Speak the truth. Masking your emotions can sometimes lead you to consuming food by way of release as you’re not releasing your emotions out in the open. Understanding how you’re feeling is challenging although can be really important when it comes to your relationship with food.

    These are just a few useful insights which can help make a dent into understanding your relationship to food and finding #balance. Remember though if this is something which has additional roots then please do seek advice.

     

    Read more

    We hear the word ‘balance’ being thrown around all the time at the moment but what exactly is a ‘healthy balanced diet’ and what does it mean by taking a ‘balanced approach to food’...

    To be clear this post isn’t about intuitive eating. There’s an argument that if you’re someone who’s come from food rule to food rule, essentially intuitive eating is just another set of rules for how to eat according to your body. So instead, this is about learning to identify your food habits and adjusting where you seem feasible. Disclaimer: this post is not here to heal a poor relationship with food. Should you feel that your relationship with food needs some work please seek professional personalised advice from a qualified individual or take a look at BEAT website.

    So, to start with a healthy balanced diet is ultimately one which works for you, which leaves you feeling satisfied, full, free from gastrointestinal symptoms (although this can be associated with gastrointestinal disorders in which case this should be checked separately) and full of energy. For some that might mean a higher percentage of carbohydrates whereas for other it might mean a higher percentage of proteins or fats. We really are all unique and there is no one size fits all!

    Please be aware that everyone’s relationships with food are unique and some much more complex than others. So, whilst this information is here to guide you, it’s not here to fix you!

    When you start to realise that we are all unique, we all have different needs and just because something worked for your neighbour isn’t to say it will work for you, you’re much more likely to feel at peace with food. In order to develop a healthier relationship to food you should start to identify any common habits, feelings and emotions in relation to food. Ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.

    1. Do you feel out of control when food is around?
    2. Do you feel extreme emotions in relation to food (high or low)?
    3. Are you distracted from other tasks by thinking about food?

    From your answers you’ll be able to asses where you think your relationship with food lies. Should you feel as though you crave a little bit too much or rely on food for comfort a few too many times a week/day then below are a few top tips. Remember though you should always seek advice from a professional should you feel that this is having a greater impact.

    Check in with your cravings...

    Cravings are completely normal to some degree but if you’re experiencing very strong and regular cravings then ask yourself: Could your blood sugar levels be low? Are you thirsty? Have you had a particularly emotional day? Are you currently stress, anxious or nervous?

    Opt for self-care... 

    Often feeding your emotions with food can be viewed as a way of looking after yourself. Try taking time out, having a bath with a cuppa, read a book, head for a walk or simply watch a movie and allow some you time.

    Don’t deny yourself...

    Denying yourself specific foods is likely to lead you to wanting them even more. If you want a slice of chocolate, have it, enjoy it and move on

    #Balance... 

    Balance isn’t about overeating one day and then pounding it out in the gym to ‘burn it all off’. It’s about incorporating a wide range of foods into your diet. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, wholegrains, beans, pulses, eggs, nuts, seeds and high-quality dairy for the most part and then topping up with the odd slice of cake, square(s) of chocolate or scoop of ice cream.

    Be yourself...

    Speak the truth. Masking your emotions can sometimes lead you to consuming food by way of release as you’re not releasing your emotions out in the open. Understanding how you’re feeling is challenging although can be really important when it comes to your relationship with food.

      These are just a few useful insights which can help make a dent into understanding your relationship to food and finding #balance. Remember though if this is something which has additional roots then please do seek advice.

       

      Read more


      Mindful Eating: What is it and how can you do it?

      Mindful Eating is a term which has gained a fair amount of media coverage recently...

      It’s also quickly being thrown around without really being understood. So, in this article we’ve broken down what mindful eating is, why it’s important and how you can start to embrace it a little more. Eating mindfully is allowing an open-minded awareness of how the food we choose to eat affects one’s body, mind and feelings.

      We’ve all been guilty on working through lunch and not even noticing that we finished the last bite. Eating mindlessly is when we eat whilst distracted and we’re not aware of the food we’re shovelling down. Mindless eating can impair the body’s ability to digest food properly.

      Digestion starts long before you put the first bite into your mouth. The smells, the thoughts and the food preparation helps to stimulate the production of amylase in the mouth and digestive enzymes to help breakdown the food. This is known as the cephalic phase of feeding and it’s a crucial part to get the brain and the digestive system all on the same page.

      When you eat mindlessly you’re much more likely to over eat as it takes longer for the brain to identify that you’re full. You’re also less likely to feel as satisfied from your food so you end up hunting for more which might not help when it comes to weight management.

      The other issue with eating mindlessly is that there’s an increased risk that you won’t be absorbing nutrients as well if your digestive tract isn’t being as affective as it should be. So how can you start focusing more on what you’re eating? Below we’ve listed our top 3 tips when it comes to eating more mindfully...

      Remove distractions

      TV, social media, phones, magazines, newspapers etc. are all huge distractions when it comes to eating mindlessly.

      Focus 

      Focus on the textures, flavours, aromas, any memories you might have when you think about that food. How it’s affecting the way you feel.

      Stick to one eating place in the home 

      When we tend to eat in every room we’re much more likely to be distracted and eat more mindlessly. Stick to one room of your living space to help you associate that spot with food and avoid eating mindlessly elsewhere. Of course when you’re outside the home it can be a bit more difficult. 

      Bonus tip: STOP! 

      It’s too normal to be working through lunch or on your way to a meeting. Start looking after yourself and putting time in to eat lunch (without any distractions). This can also help you to control stress throughout the day as you can take a step back and some time for yourself. There you have our top tips on mindful eating. We urge you all to eat more mindfully and start to notice how the food you’re eating really makes you feel!

      To help reduce stress and time as a barrier to mindful eating check out ours meals here.

      Read more

      Mindful Eating is a term which has gained a fair amount of media coverage recently...

      It’s also quickly being thrown around without really being understood. So, in this article we’ve broken down what mindful eating is, why it’s important and how you can start to embrace it a little more. Eating mindfully is allowing an open-minded awareness of how the food we choose to eat affects one’s body, mind and feelings.

      We’ve all been guilty on working through lunch and not even noticing that we finished the last bite. Eating mindlessly is when we eat whilst distracted and we’re not aware of the food we’re shovelling down. Mindless eating can impair the body’s ability to digest food properly.

      Digestion starts long before you put the first bite into your mouth. The smells, the thoughts and the food preparation helps to stimulate the production of amylase in the mouth and digestive enzymes to help breakdown the food. This is known as the cephalic phase of feeding and it’s a crucial part to get the brain and the digestive system all on the same page.

      When you eat mindlessly you’re much more likely to over eat as it takes longer for the brain to identify that you’re full. You’re also less likely to feel as satisfied from your food so you end up hunting for more which might not help when it comes to weight management.

      The other issue with eating mindlessly is that there’s an increased risk that you won’t be absorbing nutrients as well if your digestive tract isn’t being as affective as it should be. So how can you start focusing more on what you’re eating? Below we’ve listed our top 3 tips when it comes to eating more mindfully...

      Remove distractions

      TV, social media, phones, magazines, newspapers etc. are all huge distractions when it comes to eating mindlessly.

      Focus 

      Focus on the textures, flavours, aromas, any memories you might have when you think about that food. How it’s affecting the way you feel.

      Stick to one eating place in the home 

      When we tend to eat in every room we’re much more likely to be distracted and eat more mindlessly. Stick to one room of your living space to help you associate that spot with food and avoid eating mindlessly elsewhere. Of course when you’re outside the home it can be a bit more difficult. 

      Bonus tip: STOP! 

      It’s too normal to be working through lunch or on your way to a meeting. Start looking after yourself and putting time in to eat lunch (without any distractions). This can also help you to control stress throughout the day as you can take a step back and some time for yourself. There you have our top tips on mindful eating. We urge you all to eat more mindfully and start to notice how the food you’re eating really makes you feel!

      To help reduce stress and time as a barrier to mindful eating check out ours meals here.

      Read more


      How to fuel your workouts...

      It’s officially summer and this is the month of sport and exercise... 

      With the Tour De France, the Netball World Cup and the British Golf Open it’s about time we start talking about nutrition and exercise. You don’t have to be a pro golfer, professional netball player or world class cyclist for this information to apply to you.

      Quite the opposite really. This KNOWLEDGE BITE is all about helping you to understand how to eat around different types of workouts. So whether you’re a early riser or a night owl, a flexible yogi, a regular weight lifter or a casual walker there’s information here for all of you.

      Are you an early riser? Eating around your morning workouts…

      If your morning session is a lower intensity yoga or pilates session you don’t necessarily have to eat something first although it you’re someone who can’t leave the house without breakfast then go for something light like a yoghurt, a banana or a large medjool date (just enough to provide you with some energy but nothing too difficult for your gut to manage).

      After your morning workout go for something light packed with some protein and veggies e.g. eggs and greens or avo, natural yoghurt topped with berries, seeds and cinnamon or a quick smoothie.

      For those of you who are smashing a HIIT workout or heavy strength session in the early hours of your day then ideally you should fuel up before (note: everyone is different and some people workout better on an empty stomach so do what works for you). A banana or a small bowl of porridge is perfect to provide you with some fuel.

      Following these types of workouts you need to replenish your glycogen stores so load up on complex carbohydrates and protein to support optimal recovery. Breakfast examples include: porridge topped with some berries and nut butter, scrambled eggs or peanut butter on toasted rye bread or a fully loaded protein shake with banana or oats, peanut butter, milk (or milk alternative) and a good quality protein powder. Eggs are rich in leucine which helps with muscle repair and so perfect if you have the time. Although if you’re finding breakfast prep difficult then try out The Transformation Chef breakfasts which can ensure you’re supporting your workouts and help to keep you fuelled throughout the morning.  

      Are you a lunch time gym go-oer?

      For those of you who are time poor and time savvy and try to fit your workouts in at lunchtime then it’s advisable you have a larger breakfast and a light snack mid-morning to ensure you have some fuel for your workout. An apple with nut butter, Greek yoghurt (or yoghurt alternative) and berries, some nuts or our energy balls are perfect.

      Following your workout, opt for something high in complex carbohydrates, protein and a range of vegetables. Exercise produces free radicals (a very natural reaction) and so consuming your vegetables can help to neutralise the free radicals as they’re super high in antioxidants.

      A quinoa salad with chicken, salmon or tofu is a great post-workout lunch option as is a mixed bean salad or even a wholemeal wrap with hummus, halloumi and mixed vegetables. Why not try our Spiced Tilapia with Quinoa as the ideal post workout meal. Throughout the afternoon you may also be aware that your appetite can increase in response to your workout. Make sure to opt for a protein rich snack to keep you fuller for longer. Roasted beans, boiled eggs or hummus and crudités are all good options.

      Are you the night owl exerciser?

      If an after-work workout is more your style then try snacking on a carbohydrate rich snack in the afternoon around 1-2 hours prior to your session The Transformation Chef matcha and vanilla vegan blondies are a great way to keep your energy levels high to see you through your workout.  Alternatively opt for a banana smoothie, dates with almond butter or rice cakes with mashed banana.

      Following your workout opt for a protein and complex carbohydrate rich dinner. E.g. bolognaise over a jacket sweet potato (or a mixed bean bolognaise for a plant-based option), grilled meat or fish with brown rice and veggies, a root vegetable frittata or even a tofu stir-fry.

      Finally, make sure you’re getting enough variety in your diet and surrounding your workouts to ensure you’re obtaining a varied micronutrient and amino acid profile. Finally, ensure that you’re staying hydrated throughout the day as dehydration can contribute to lower energy, irritability, headaches and impaired cognitive performance.

       

      Struggling to find the time to meal prep?

      Check out our healthy, pre-prepared meals that we'll deliver direct to your door.

      Read more

      It’s officially summer and this is the month of sport and exercise... 

      With the Tour De France, the Netball World Cup and the British Golf Open it’s about time we start talking about nutrition and exercise. You don’t have to be a pro golfer, professional netball player or world class cyclist for this information to apply to you.

      Quite the opposite really. This KNOWLEDGE BITE is all about helping you to understand how to eat around different types of workouts. So whether you’re a early riser or a night owl, a flexible yogi, a regular weight lifter or a casual walker there’s information here for all of you.

      Are you an early riser? Eating around your morning workouts…

      If your morning session is a lower intensity yoga or pilates session you don’t necessarily have to eat something first although it you’re someone who can’t leave the house without breakfast then go for something light like a yoghurt, a banana or a large medjool date (just enough to provide you with some energy but nothing too difficult for your gut to manage).

      After your morning workout go for something light packed with some protein and veggies e.g. eggs and greens or avo, natural yoghurt topped with berries, seeds and cinnamon or a quick smoothie.

      For those of you who are smashing a HIIT workout or heavy strength session in the early hours of your day then ideally you should fuel up before (note: everyone is different and some people workout better on an empty stomach so do what works for you). A banana or a small bowl of porridge is perfect to provide you with some fuel.

      Following these types of workouts you need to replenish your glycogen stores so load up on complex carbohydrates and protein to support optimal recovery. Breakfast examples include: porridge topped with some berries and nut butter, scrambled eggs or peanut butter on toasted rye bread or a fully loaded protein shake with banana or oats, peanut butter, milk (or milk alternative) and a good quality protein powder. Eggs are rich in leucine which helps with muscle repair and so perfect if you have the time. Although if you’re finding breakfast prep difficult then try out The Transformation Chef breakfasts which can ensure you’re supporting your workouts and help to keep you fuelled throughout the morning.  

      Are you a lunch time gym go-oer?

      For those of you who are time poor and time savvy and try to fit your workouts in at lunchtime then it’s advisable you have a larger breakfast and a light snack mid-morning to ensure you have some fuel for your workout. An apple with nut butter, Greek yoghurt (or yoghurt alternative) and berries, some nuts or our energy balls are perfect.

      Following your workout, opt for something high in complex carbohydrates, protein and a range of vegetables. Exercise produces free radicals (a very natural reaction) and so consuming your vegetables can help to neutralise the free radicals as they’re super high in antioxidants.

      A quinoa salad with chicken, salmon or tofu is a great post-workout lunch option as is a mixed bean salad or even a wholemeal wrap with hummus, halloumi and mixed vegetables. Why not try our Spiced Tilapia with Quinoa as the ideal post workout meal. Throughout the afternoon you may also be aware that your appetite can increase in response to your workout. Make sure to opt for a protein rich snack to keep you fuller for longer. Roasted beans, boiled eggs or hummus and crudités are all good options.

      Are you the night owl exerciser?

      If an after-work workout is more your style then try snacking on a carbohydrate rich snack in the afternoon around 1-2 hours prior to your session The Transformation Chef matcha and vanilla vegan blondies are a great way to keep your energy levels high to see you through your workout.  Alternatively opt for a banana smoothie, dates with almond butter or rice cakes with mashed banana.

      Following your workout opt for a protein and complex carbohydrate rich dinner. E.g. bolognaise over a jacket sweet potato (or a mixed bean bolognaise for a plant-based option), grilled meat or fish with brown rice and veggies, a root vegetable frittata or even a tofu stir-fry.

      Finally, make sure you’re getting enough variety in your diet and surrounding your workouts to ensure you’re obtaining a varied micronutrient and amino acid profile. Finally, ensure that you’re staying hydrated throughout the day as dehydration can contribute to lower energy, irritability, headaches and impaired cognitive performance.

       

      Struggling to find the time to meal prep?

      Check out our healthy, pre-prepared meals that we'll deliver direct to your door.

      Read more


      Health benefits of Chocolate...

      In light of World Chocolate Day we wanted to give credit where credits due!

      Chocolate can sometimes get a bad rep. It’s commonly referred to as a ‘guilty pleasure’ and there appears to be a common misconception that eating indulgent food that tastes good must be terrible for your overall health. However, as we hope you are aware by now. Nutrition doesn’t have to be black and white. As cliché as it may sound… it’s all about #balance.

      It’s not rocket science to know that consuming a family pack of chocolate on the regular isn’t the smartest plan, although a little bit of chocolate here and there may not be quite so terrible after all! Let us explain…Chocolate comes in all shapes, sizes and with many fillings. So whilst a crème egg might not be your best friend, a few squares of dark chocolate has actually been associated with some health benefits.

      So what’s dark chocolate got that milk chocolate hasn’t? Well to start with milk chocolate is often higher in refined sugar, additives and saturated fats and as a result it can often lure you into consuming way more than you originally had planned or wanted. On the other hand dark chocolate is richer, lower in refined sugar and additives meaning that it’s actually harder to over consume as it’s slightly more bitter and richer in taste.

      Aside from the fact it’s not loaded with the same ingredients as milk chocolate it’s actually also got some health benefits. It’s at this point you’re likely wondering what they are…

      Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

      The key component in chocolate is cocoa which is rich in flavanols (a natural chemical found in plants). Flavanols have been found to help increase the elasticity of blood vessels which stimulates vasodilation (this is the widening of blood vessels), improves blood flow and consequently helps to reduce blood pressure. This can prove beneficial in reducing risks associated with cardiovascular disease. 

      Mood enhancer

      Chocolate contains an amino acid known as tryptophan which is required for the production of serotonin (also known as the happy hormone). It’s no wonder you feel a little bit happier with every bite! 

      Increased alertness

      Cocoa contains a combination of caffeine and theobromine (a natural chemical compound) and when combined caffeine and theobromine block the uptake of adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter which is released slowly throughout the day and contributes to sleepiness. When adenosine uptake is blocked, tiredness is delayed and alertness is increased.

      Improved cognitive function

      Some studies have suggested that chocolate has been associated with a lower risk in cognitive decline. However, these studies are correlational which makes it difficult to conclude that chocolate will have a direct impact on cognitive function but it’s still an interesting and promising theory! This may also be due to the role of caffeine and theobromine and their effects on alertness as mentioned above.

      Improve cholesterol profile

      Surprisingly chocolate has been found to reduce oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) these are the types of fat droplets in the blood which can contribute to atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque in the arteries which over time can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease). It has also shown to increase HDL (the good cholesterol). Higher levels of HDL are beneficial to your total cholesterol profile.

      Whilst all of these factors sound great and there certainly is some benefit to eating small amounts of dark chocolate the key is moderation. Opt for high quality dark chocolate where possible and enjoy it in moderation!

       

      Keen, C. L., Holt, R. R., Oteiza, P. I., Fraga, C. G., & Schmitz, H. H. (2005). Cocoa antioxidants and cardiovascular health–. The American journal of clinical nutrition81(1), 298S-303S.

      Martínez-Pinilla, E., Oñatibia-Astibia, A., & Franco, R. (2015). The relevance of theobromine for the beneficial effects of cocoa consumption. Frontiers in pharmacology6, 30.

      Moreira, A., Diógenes, M. J., de Mendonça, A., Lunet, N., & Barros, H. (2016). Chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Journal of Alzheimer's disease53(1), 85-93.

       

      Read more

      In light of World Chocolate Day we wanted to give credit where credits due!

      Chocolate can sometimes get a bad rep. It’s commonly referred to as a ‘guilty pleasure’ and there appears to be a common misconception that eating indulgent food that tastes good must be terrible for your overall health. However, as we hope you are aware by now. Nutrition doesn’t have to be black and white. As cliché as it may sound… it’s all about #balance.

      It’s not rocket science to know that consuming a family pack of chocolate on the regular isn’t the smartest plan, although a little bit of chocolate here and there may not be quite so terrible after all! Let us explain…Chocolate comes in all shapes, sizes and with many fillings. So whilst a crème egg might not be your best friend, a few squares of dark chocolate has actually been associated with some health benefits.

      So what’s dark chocolate got that milk chocolate hasn’t? Well to start with milk chocolate is often higher in refined sugar, additives and saturated fats and as a result it can often lure you into consuming way more than you originally had planned or wanted. On the other hand dark chocolate is richer, lower in refined sugar and additives meaning that it’s actually harder to over consume as it’s slightly more bitter and richer in taste.

      Aside from the fact it’s not loaded with the same ingredients as milk chocolate it’s actually also got some health benefits. It’s at this point you’re likely wondering what they are…

      Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

      The key component in chocolate is cocoa which is rich in flavanols (a natural chemical found in plants). Flavanols have been found to help increase the elasticity of blood vessels which stimulates vasodilation (this is the widening of blood vessels), improves blood flow and consequently helps to reduce blood pressure. This can prove beneficial in reducing risks associated with cardiovascular disease. 

      Mood enhancer

      Chocolate contains an amino acid known as tryptophan which is required for the production of serotonin (also known as the happy hormone). It’s no wonder you feel a little bit happier with every bite! 

      Increased alertness

      Cocoa contains a combination of caffeine and theobromine (a natural chemical compound) and when combined caffeine and theobromine block the uptake of adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter which is released slowly throughout the day and contributes to sleepiness. When adenosine uptake is blocked, tiredness is delayed and alertness is increased.

      Improved cognitive function

      Some studies have suggested that chocolate has been associated with a lower risk in cognitive decline. However, these studies are correlational which makes it difficult to conclude that chocolate will have a direct impact on cognitive function but it’s still an interesting and promising theory! This may also be due to the role of caffeine and theobromine and their effects on alertness as mentioned above.

      Improve cholesterol profile

      Surprisingly chocolate has been found to reduce oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) these are the types of fat droplets in the blood which can contribute to atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque in the arteries which over time can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease). It has also shown to increase HDL (the good cholesterol). Higher levels of HDL are beneficial to your total cholesterol profile.

      Whilst all of these factors sound great and there certainly is some benefit to eating small amounts of dark chocolate the key is moderation. Opt for high quality dark chocolate where possible and enjoy it in moderation!

       

      Keen, C. L., Holt, R. R., Oteiza, P. I., Fraga, C. G., & Schmitz, H. H. (2005). Cocoa antioxidants and cardiovascular health–. The American journal of clinical nutrition81(1), 298S-303S.

      Martínez-Pinilla, E., Oñatibia-Astibia, A., & Franco, R. (2015). The relevance of theobromine for the beneficial effects of cocoa consumption. Frontiers in pharmacology6, 30.

      Moreira, A., Diógenes, M. J., de Mendonça, A., Lunet, N., & Barros, H. (2016). Chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Journal of Alzheimer's disease53(1), 85-93.

       

      Read more