Apple Cider Vinegar – Does It Live Up To The Hype?

Everywhere we look now it seems that apple cider vinegar is the modern cure for all ailments! You’d nearly believe at this stage that if could sprinkle some on your exam paper you’d come out with 100%- it’s apparently that amazing! Really though, did we all just jump on a band wagon full of apple cider vinegar? How many of these so-called health benefits are true?!

Blood glucose levels: research has shown that ACV can reduce blood glucose initially after you eat a carbohydrate-rich meal BUT it doesn’t stop glucose being absorbed.. it just delays it. Therefore, it may be beneficial for people suffering from diabetes but an overall healthy balanced diet and exercise should do the job!

Weight loss: Everyone is looking for a miracle weight loss cure. Well, I’m afraid that there is little research on the benefits of ACV for promotion of weight loss. Some studies suggest it may promote satiety and led participants to consuming approx 200kcal less during the day. But, this may be just due to a delay in gastric emptying or by the nausea experienced by some people who consume ACV. Hmmm.. ok.

Teeth whitening: It’s a form of acid people?! Research does not support people using it as a teeth whitener and frankly, neither do I. It can cause damage to enamel and overall dental health if used in excess. Just brush twice daily and reduced the amount of sugar you consume and your teeth will benefit friends.

Cardiovascular disease: Many studies which look at the effect of vinegar consumption on cardiovascular disease have been carried out on rats and some show reduced blood pressure, triglycerides and total cholesterol but there is a lack of evidence in relation to humans so proceed with caution on this one.

Digestion: ACV may help to break down food as it is added to the stomach acid. However, it can be harmful to people who suffer with digestive or stomach problems (particularly stomach ulcers).

We must remember that apple cider vinegar is highly acidic so if you are going to use it then ask your GP just to rule out any health issues which may be underlying and try to dilute it down with water. Many of the studies in relation to ACV have been carried out in small sample sizes with varying results. More controlled studies with larger sample sizes are needed before we clear the shelves of ACV. Read the label and find out the facts before use.

Top 6 Brain Boosting Foods for Exam Season

We all use up a lot of energy and we know that fuelling their bodies is so important to keep them healthy and going all day. Fuelling our minds is just as important particularly when studying or doing exams. The brain uses glucose as an energy source so the correct foods as part of a healthy, balanced diet will make sure we stay focussed throughout the entire day. Here are some foods to include at meal times which I like to call brain superheroes!

1. Wholegrains– these are a low glycaemic index food which means that when they are eaten they release glucose slowly throughout the body. This is good for our brains as it means we avoid a sharp burst of energy and focus and then a slump and the inability to focus. Try to choose mostly wholegrain sources of breads, cereals, rice, pasta etc for meal times to maintain levels of concentration. Perfect for keeping us going during school, study time and at home!

2. Omega 3 fatty acids– these are essential fatty acids which cannot be made in the body and must be obtained from the diet. EPA and DHA contained in oily fish are super brain boosting foods and can be used very easily by the body. Essential fatty acids can also be obtained from plant foods like flaxseeds, soya beans, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. If you do not like the taste of fish and do not fancy any of the other plant foods listed consider an omega 3 supplement.

3.Green Veg: You’ve heard it before and I’ll say it again: EAT YOUR GREENS! Broccoli contains vitamin K which can help to aid concentration and brain function so these little green powerhouses are brilliant for our mind.

4. Blueberries – beautiful brain boosting berries! These yummy little superstars have been shown to help delay short term memory loss. Who would have thought?! Add them to cereal, yoghurt and salads or as a tasty sweet snack in lunchboxes

5. Nuts and Seeds– these contain excellent vitamins and minerals that help boost memory and thinking function. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are especially powerful as they contain the mineral zinc which has been linked to a positive brain function

6. Avoid foods high in sugar and fat -or those which are highly processed as these will cause a sharp rise in energy levels followed by a slump. Swap the biscuits, chocolate bars and jellies for unsalted nuts and seeds, fresh and dried fruit and vegetable sticks. Of course we can all have a treat now and again, we are human after all!!

Check out our fabulous recipes page for some inspiration when planning meals for all of the family plus some quick, simple and HEALTHY lunches for school and work! Now go and ACE them exams!! 

 

Top 5 Tips for Men’s Health Week

It is Men’s Health Week 2019 and we have our top tips for ensuring you guys stay healthy and happy!

1.It’s boring but you HAVE to eat a wide variety of foods! There is no magic pill I’m afraid. Make sure you get lots of fruit and veggies, wholegrains, some protein, unsaturated fat (oily fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado) and water of course. Don’t drink too much alcohol, avoid a lot of added sugar and don’t smoke. 

2.Mind your mood. Suicide is one of the biggest killers of males under 45 years of age which is a SHOCKING statistic. Try to find something which helps you stay calm, destress and unwind. Talk to friends, family or someone who is not related to you in any way if you feel like you are feeling down, stressed or otherwise. 

3.Do some exercise. It doesn’t have to be running a marathon or joining a hiking group. Find a way to include movement in your day that you ENJOY and can continue. This may be gardening, walking, yoga or something completely different. Find what works for you and make time for it! It will benefit your physical and mental health hugely. 

4.Get regular health checks. It is so important to regularly book appointments with your GP even if you feel okay. Get a full check-up done to rule out any potential issues. It will put your mind at ease.

5.Do something you REALLY enjoy every day. Even if it’s for five minutes, try to include something in your day that fills you with joy. If it’s a book by the fire or listening to music or walking the dog DO IT! 

Long Distance Fitness Male Running Runner Jogging

Should you eat before a workout?

Achieving your fitness goals can be hard and sometimes even knowing if you should eat or WHAT to eat before a workout can be difficult! No one wants a stitch half way through a run but we don’t want to be starving either. Let’s chat a little bit about what to snack on before a workout.

Not eating something before a workout isn’t something I recommend however it may just suit some people particularly if they are early risers and get that gym session in at 6am!  For others it can leave them feeling dizzy, nauseated and tired. It can also affect our performance as our muscles need that energy to work to their best ability.

Carbohydrates provide energy in our bodies and our muscles store carbohydrate in the form of glycogen for times when we need it. Eating carbohydrates before training can allow us to use this energy in the form of glucose to fuel our workout. It also saves the glycogen stored in our muscles for other times we may need it. It’s a good idea to eat a bit of protein before training too as it allows repair and building of muscle cells which are damaged when we workout.

Make sure to drink water!! Water is essential for any type of training. Sip on it before and during your workout for optimal performance.

Examples of carb and protein snacks to have before a workout:

  • some fruit and unsalted mixed nuts or seeds
  • a slice of wholegrain toast and peanut butter
  • low-sugar oatmeal bar/granola bar
  • dried fruit and Greek yoghurt
  • chicken/turkey/pitta on wholegrain crackers
  • scrambled/boiled eggs on wholegrain toast
  • milk
  • apple/pear and nut butter

Ideally we should be eating a pre-workout snack about an hour before a workout but this may not work for some people and that is FINE! Find what works for YOU and GET MOVING!

Don’t forget our Good4U snacks are great sources of pre-workout carbohydrates and have that extra protein boost to keep us going! Grab a snack NOW! 

Hunger and Fullness: How much control do we REALLY have?

How much control do we really have in terms of how full or hungry we feel? Is it simply a case of ‘self-control’? Well, no, not so much. We all have hunger and fullness hormones which are made in the body and send signals to our brains. The two main signals involved in hunger and fullness are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is primarily made in fat cells and it is associated with feelings of DECREASED hunger (fullness). Ghrelin is made mainly in the stomach lining and it tells us when we are getting hungry (ie. increased feelings of hunger). When released both of these hormones travel to the hypothalamus in the brain and deliver their message.

There are so many different things can influence the levels of these hormones in a persons body and we are all very different. What we do know is that people who are obese can develop leptin resistance whereby, often, despite eating large amounts of foods these people will struggle to feel full. 

On top of this our genetics plays an important role in the levels of these hormones in our bodies and people can often forget these when struggling to gain or lose weight. Physical activity, the environment and our eating behaviours (eg. if someone reduces energy intake constantly) are other factors which play a roll in the activity of leptin and ghrelin. If someone is always on a diet our body will fight back and make us hungrier to prevent an energy deficit. 

All of these factors coupled with the fact that we are surrounded with highly palatable foods (high-sugar, high-fat foods etc.) means that our signals will vary greatly from person to person.

So what can we do to help? Well, aim to eat plenty of high-fibre, high-protein snacks and meals which increase satiety and helps to stabilise blood sugar levels. These prevents dips in energy levels and reduces fatigue. Eat a wide variety of foods to ensure essential nutrients for hormones are obtained. Include lots of fruit and vegetables at each meal and avoid going long periods of time with food. Sleep plays an important role in appetite and when we are tired we know that hunger is often increased so get 7-9 hours sleep per night if at all possible. 

Don’t forget that our Good4U Salad Topper range is bursting with essential vitamins and minerals, protein and fibre. They are also incredibly tasty and versatile. Pick them up NOW in Sainsburys & Waitrose!!

Pumpkin seeds – not just for Halloween!

Pumpkins are just for Halloween right? Wrong! Pumpkin seeds have an array of health benefits and are the perfect snack to have on their own or add to yoghurts, salads or soups!

  • Pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants like vitamin E which help to protect our bodies from damage. Antioxidants also help to reduce inflammation in the body which has been linked to a wide range of disease. 

 

  • Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium which helps to control chemical reactions. Therefore magnesium helps to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, reduce risk of heart disease and help to keep bones healthy.

 

  • Pumpkin seeds are high in fibre. Research shows that consuming a diet high in fibre can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Eating foods high in fibre can also help us feel fuller for longer.

 

  • Pumpkin seeds may help us to sleep as they are a source of tryptophan, magnesium and zinc which are linking to improved sleep or helping people to get to sleep more easily. 

 

Did you know that our new SALAD TOPPERS contain loads of fabulous, nutritious pumpkin seeds among other amazing flavours and ingredients. Pick them up NOW in Waitrose stores! More retailers will be announced very soon so stay tuned!

 

Seeds

Why seeds?

Why eat seeds? Emmm ‘coz they are Nutritional Superheroes!! No..seriously..they are AMAZING!

We wouldn’t be called Good4U and specialise in seeds for no reason now, would we?

In Good4U seed products you’ll find loads of different types of seeds such as pumpkin, hemp, flax, chai, sunflower and quinoa seeds. Many of our seeds are also roasted to give them a delicious taste and texture. I’m gonna give you a quick break down of some of their nutritional benefits so you can see for yourselves just how powerful the humble seed is and why we love it so so much!

These are the top 10 reasons you NEED to eat more seeds!

  1. Seeds are good sources of a range of minerals like iron, folate, vitamin B6 and zinc which are all needed to boost our immune systems. No need to worry about awkward sniffles in the office – you have your seeds!
  2. Bone health is extremely important for people of all ages and minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc all help to keep bones strong. Guess what.. all these minerals are found in.. YEP – SEEDS!!
  3. Poor heart health is one of the main issues we see among people today. The B vitamin Thiamine is super for keeping our hearts healthy and for overall physiological function. Our Focus Super Shot is a great source of thiamine and is particularly tasty sprinkled on porridge. Yum!
  4. Seeds are a great source of zinc which is important to maintain our skin, hair and nail health. Think of zinc as the natural beauty booster!
  5. Many seeds contain vitamin B3 (Niacin) which plays a role in reducing tiredness and fatigue in the body. It helps us to produce energy from carbohydrate food that we eat. So next time you’ve hit the 3pm slump think about snacking on some seeds.
  6. These nutritional superheroes also help to support our nervous system and brains because they contain B vitamins (or Brain Vitamins!).
  7. Are you convinced yet!? No! Okay because I’m not done boasting (*evil laugh*). We also have our amazing Sprouts! Spouted seeds are a living foods and one of the healthiest things on the planet you could eat. At Good4U we have Super Sprouts, Lentil Sprout Mix and Quinoa Sprout Mix. These are all high in fibre and fibre and protein and add a delicious and highly nutritious boost to any meal.
  8. Our Super Sprouts are a unique powerful mix of four sprouted seeds has published research on its anti-cancer properties. This particular sprouted seed mix is rich in sulforaphane (up to 50 times more than mature broccoli) an anti-cancer compound which helps mobilize the body’s natural cancer fighting resources and reduce the risk of developing cancer. Sprouts also contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants and powerful plant compounds.

 So, we know it and now you know it. Seeds are BRILLIANT!! Naturally nutritious food is so important for maintaining overall physical and mental health and seeds are a perfect food to boost your intake of vital vitamins and minerals.

Check out our range of Salad Topper Seeds and Sprouted Seed Salad Toppers!!

 

 

 

The Top 10 Facts You Need To Know About Protein

Good4U Prawn Salad

Good4U Prawn Salad

1.Protein comes from animal and plant sources. Animal sources include meat, fish, eggs & dairy. Plant sources include pulses, grains, nuts, seeds, tofu and soya products

2. Protein is made up of amino acids. Some of these must be obtained from food and are therefore called ‘essential amino acids’. Animal sources of protein contain all of the essential amino acids while plant sources may contain more of one essential amino acids but less of another. However, eating a variety of plant protein sources throughout the day will ensure you get all of the essential amino acids that you need.

3.We do not need to drink protein shakes. Protein shakes should act as a supplement to the diet only if you are not reaching your protein goals from food first. They are a handy thing to have on-the-go if you have not got time to make a meal, however, they are not essential.

4. Eating protein at each meal can help absorption and make it easier to hit protein intake targets. Aiming for 20g of protein per meal can be a good starting point for this.

5.Different ages of people and different lifestyles need different amounts of protein. For example, a breastfeeding woman will need different amounts compared to a sedentary elderly person.

6.An active person will require between 1.2g-2.2g of protein per kg of body weight depending on their goals. A person involved in heavier resistance training may need more protein to help repair muscle damage so they should opt for approx. 1.5g – 2.2g per kg of body weight.

7.Protein is needed for repair and growth of all body cells but also has a role to play in keeping our bodily tissues and immune systems healthy.

8.Snacking on higher protein snacks can be a great way to boost protein intake.

9.Protein has a satiating effect (it makes us feel fuller). In this way it is helpful for people who are trying to lose weight.

10.New Good4U Protein Balls are high in protein, fibre and absolutely delicious! They are the perfect high protein snack to have on-the-go! Check them out in yummy Vanilla Crisp or Orange Crisp flavours.

Veggie Protein

Fitness for Beginners

Exercise: you can love it or hate it but you cannot deny it has endless health benefits, both physically and mentally. Regular exercise has been link to a reduced risk of disease, better mood and overall body composition. The one thing we all must try and do when it comes to exercise is to find something we enjoy and can keep up for a long period of time. Just because your colleague runs 5km every morning does not mean it’s something you will enjoy and be able to keep doing. Walking, dancing, cleaning, skipping, playing sports, lifting weights.. the list of possible exercises is endless. Maybe you’re a water baby and love swimming or water aerobics! Go for it. Find what you and make it a habit.

Setting goals is important when it comes to fitness as it can help to motivate and reward you. Make sure your goals are measurable and relative to you and your fitness level. For example, if your aim was to run 5km by Christmas you wouldn’t go out right away and pound the pavement. Break it down into achievable steps each week. A journal  is a great way to do this and make sure you acknowledge your achievements. Even if you went a quick 5 minute walk at lunchtime or walked to another bus stop to make your commute a bit longer make sure you say ‘well done me!’

Exercise with a friend or family member. When someone else is involved it can make things much less daunting, make time go faster and can motivate you greatly. Pick one or days per week and book a ‘fitness date’ with a friend. Promise each other not to bail and you’ll be much more likely to keep it up for longer.

Don’t put pressure on yourself! Simply moving more is an amazing way to boost your physical and mental health. Try not to compare yourself to others online, it’s not helpful! They are not the same person as you and do not have the same goals or lifestyle.

Simple tips to move more during the day:

Go for a walk at lunch – even for 5 minutes!

Get off one or two stops earlier if you take public transport to work.

Walk to work if possible or walk part of the way.

Integrate walking meetings into your work schedule. You’ll find you and your team are more creative with this too!

Get up 10 minutes earlier and do some stretching, yoga or a short walk in the morning. It will help to wake you up and you’ll feel better before seizing the day!

Turn coffee and lunch dates into coffee/lunch & exercise dates. Or take that coffee to go and chat and walk instead of sitting down.

Bottom line: move a little more and find what works for YOU!!

Top 7 School Night Cooking Hacks

Child Cooking

Child Cooking

Having dinner ready every evening isn’t always easy, especially at the start of the school year when you’re trying to get the hang of your routine again.

Check out these 7 top tips that should make life a little easier…

1.Keep your kitchen well stocked: Always keep staple ingredients on hand and you’ll find it much easier to throw together a balanced meal quickly. The same goes for flavour, ensure you have all of your favourite seasonings and spices in the cupboard to add that something extra to the simplest of meals.

2.Plan, plan, plan: 6pm on a weeknight is not the best time to try and figure out what to cook for dinner that day. Make a list once a week so that you know what to buy/ take out of the freezer in advance.

3.Cook everything at once:The freezer is your friend! Take a few hours at the weekend and batch cook your proteins or grains for the week so that they can go in the freezer. You can even divide pre cooked meals up into individual portions, meaning all you have to do is reheat each one when you get home from work.

4.Go for frozen veg: Frozen veggies quick and easy to cook and there is very little difference in the nutritional content of frozen vs fresh.

5.Try an all-in-one: Not only are one-pot meals like beef stew or your favourite chili easy to make, but you’ll also use fewer pots and pans, which means less clean-up.

6.Go high-tech: Whether it’s a pressure cooker or a slow cooker, find one that you like and watch as cooking meals comes down to plugging it in in the morning and coming home to dinner on the table in the evening.

7.Plan Leftovers: When possible, make a double batch of your meal so you can have dinner tonight and a second batch to freeze for another night. Chicken stir-fry can be used for wraps the next day. A large batch of Bolognese can be used to make a super quick lasagne the following day.

Good Luck 🙂