Good4U’s Top 5 Tips for Sleep

Sleep

Tired from a long hard busy day at work and just want to catch some ZZZ? We all know the feeling of just wanting to hit the pillow and fade away to dreamland. But nope. That does not always happen but here are a few ways to make falling asleep faster a more regular occurrence. This won’t just make you healthier and happier it will prevent you from Obesity and other diseases.

 

Reach for tryptophan-rich foods: We’ve all heard of warm milk’s magical ability to send us off to dreamland. Do you know why it’s true? Dairy foods contain tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other tryptophan-containing foods include poultry, bananas, oats and red meat. So, grab a bowl of porridge in the evening, cuddle up and relax and you will not have to start counting the sheep tonight!

 

Indulge your craving for carbs: Carbohydrate-rich foods complement dairy foods by increasing the level of sleep-inducing tryptophan in the blood. A few perfect late-night snacks to get you snoozing might include a bowl of cereal and milk, yoghurt and crackers, or bread and cheese. But keep the snack small and preferable not too close to bedtime.

 
 
 

Caffeine: can be a huge cause of insomnia or disrupted sleep. It’s no surprise that an evening cup of coffee might disrupt your sleep. Even moderate caffeine can cause sleep disturbances. But don’t forget about less obvious caffeine sources, like chocolate, cola, tea and decaffeinated coffee as well as a variety of medications (pain killers, weight loss pills, cough and cold medicines e.g. paracetamol can contain up to 100-130mg of caffeine). For better sleep, cut down your caffeine consumption and avoid caffeine in the hours before going to bed. But don’t skip out on your medications – talk to your doctor first. If you still want that warming comforting hot drink before bed try chamomile to get set for a good night sleep or a cup of hot milk.

 
 
 

Skip the nightcap: Here’s the catch-22 with alcohol: it may help you fall asleep faster, but you may wake up in the night more frequently in a less deep sleep, a less restful sleep, and you may be more likely to have headaches, night sweats and nightmares. And honestly who wants that? If you’re consuming alcohol in the evening, balance each drink with a glass of water to dilute the alcohol’s effects and limit consumption to the recommended amounts.

 

Beware of a heavy meal: Lying down with a full tummy can make you uncomfortable, since the digestive system slows down when you sleep. Spicy cuisine, especially, can lead to heartburn making it harder to fall asleep due to the discomfort. Make sure you finish a heavy meal at least four hours before bedtime. Any other food you consume after that and before bed should be a small snack like the examples above.

8 health and wellness trends to watch out for this year

gym gear

gym gear

Sleep. There has been a growing trend towards maintaining a healthy sleep routine. Sleep has a high impact on our physical and mental health and more and more people are striving to ensure they good adequate and good quality sleep. Watch out a rise in digital apps to help track and aid sleep, supplements to help us achieve them zzz’s and foods and drinks claiming to help us sleep better. Always check if a supplement/food or drink has proven benefits and is approved by a regulatory body for health claims such as EFSA.

Plant-based isn’t going anywhere. There has been a significant rise in the number of people eating a more ‘plant-based’ diet or becoming a vegetarian or vegan. This may be due to personal choice, ethical reasons, environmental reasons or otherwise. Nevertheless ‘plant-based’ diets, foods and lifestyles are growing FAST! Watch out for a whole new range of innovative products in this area in 2019.

Home workouts. Forget the cringey home workout DVDS – being physically active in your living room is about to get a whole lot easier. In 2018 the smart Mirror was introduced which streams workouts into your living room or bedroom! Wearable technology is evolving also which means that we have a range of activities possible anywhere, at any time! Who knows what 2019 will bring.

Rest. ‘No pain, no gain’ has been a popular saying in the last few years however now we will see people prioritising rest and recovery. This goes for people who are physically active but also those who just need to slow down, destress and rejuvenate themselves. This ties into improving sleep but includes making time for breathing and calming exercises. Mindfulness and mental health are sure to rise in 2019.

Unplugging from social media. There are many apps which now tell you how much time you spend on your phone and on each application. We will see people being more mindful of the amount of time they spend on social media and unplugging from the digital world. As a society we are obsessed with social media, likes and validation for others which can have a detrimental impact on our health – both physically and mentally.

Edible insects. Fancy some crickets as a snack? Edible insects as a snack are growing whether they make us squirm or not! Many insects are a good source of lots of nutrients including protein and their production has been shown to be environmentally friendly compared to meat production. This year expect to see snack products in particular incorporating more insects. Don’t knock ‘em ‘til you try ‘em!

Sea snacks. In the past few years there has been a high rise in the number of products containing seaweed and sea life. In the coming months we can be sure that we will see more and more snacks make from seaweed, fish and other sea creatures. Seaweed in particular has been hailed for it’s nutrient content and can be an extremely food to incorporate into the diet. Here at Good4U HQ we use a red algae seaweed in some of our kids products which gives our Nutri Balls a calcium hit!

Middle Eastern & North African flavours. I hope you like cardamom, chili, coriander, cinnamon and paprika because these flavours are predicted to feature heavily in various dishes this year. Spices and herbs are a great way to add a burst of flavour to dishes. Check out some of our Good4U recipes for inspiration!

Comfort food recipes to get you through the cold spell!

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be getting any warmer, and as the temperature drops we become tempted to fill our bellies with creamy soups, rich pasta dishes and cheesy breads.

Instead of over indulging, why not satisfy your comfort food cravings with healthy foods. Foods loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help your body boost its way through the chilly winter months. Read on to discover some of our go to favourite winter warmers foods, their nutritional benefits and some soul warming recipes.

Oats

You just can’t beat a bowl of piping hot porridge on a winter’s morning!

Oats are packed with nutritional benefits. They are rich in fibre which helps keep you feeling fuller for longer and helps promote a healthy digestive system. Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of fibre well known for supporting heart health, lowering cholesterol and also boosting immune systems which is essential this time of the year!

You can also enhance the nutritional value of your porridge bowl with the toppings you add! Why not add a sprinkle of Good4U Apple and Cinnamon Super Seeds to boost your magnesium intake to help reduce tiredness and fatigue. Try our recipe here.

Roasted Vegetables

Bursting with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, make sure to stock stock up on your green veggies this winter! Broccoli is packed with Vitamin C, an essential Vitamin for supporting your immune system while also promoting healthy skin. A serving of broccoli actually has more Vitamin C than a medium orange.

Vitamin K is known to play a role in maintaining the skeleton. A deficiency in Vitamin K has been linked with a high risk of bone fractures, making it one to consider this time of year with the icy weather! Try our yummy Good4U Roast Veggie Salad

Sweet Potato

Not only a delicious and versatile vegetable, it also has an abundance of nutritional benefits. Sweet potatoes provide a slow release of energy, helping ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to tiredness and fatigue. Sweet Potatoes are rich in Beta-Carotene which supports the normal function of our immune system while also supporting our eye health. They also contain Vitamin D, needed for maintaining bone and teeth health. Vitamin D is essential during the winter months due to our limited sunshine.

Chocolate

Nothing satisfies a comfort food craving like a bit of chocolate and our delicious Good4U Chocolate Orange Bark is the perfect sweet treat!

Get the recipe here 🙂

Chocolate Orange Bark with Good4U Orange Protein Balls

When the best plan is not the best plan!

Every January you rush into a new fitness regime, give it everything for two weeks and then things start to slip. You miss a workout. You eat a full packet of biscuits instead of the one biscuit you had intended. Soon you realise it’s been two weeks since you did a workout and the weekly treats have become daily treats. You’re back to square one and self loathing kicks in. Sound familiar?

I’m not a psychic but I think I may be able to predict what happens next. At some point in the future you’ll decide, once again, that it’s time to get your act together. So you’ll rush to the gym and train at your maximum. Alternatively you’ll seek out the most intense, challenging plan you can find. The one that is “hardest” because you need results. And you need them immediately. And therein lies the problem.

Consistency trumps intensity every time. An average plan done consistently is better than the best plan not done at all. What does that mean for you? It means if you haven’t trained in a while it doesn’t make sense to go after the most intense workout. The best plan is actually the one that you’ll stick to in the long run. For somebody who is relatively inactive that probably means starting small and building it up gradually. That “hardest”, most intense plan you were seeking might be the perfect plan for an elite athlete whose body is conditioned to training five days per week. However, if you’re at a less advanced stage it’s probably not the perfect plan for you.

The very same principal applies to your eating habits. The number of people who decide to get in shape and quit within the first two weeks is staggering. For the most part it’s because they make the exact same mistake with their nutrition as the training mistake outlined above. They try to be “perfect”. Determination and will power take over. This time it’s going to work, no matter what. So we cut out all treats, we reduce our calories more than we should, and we decide we’re going to live off Broccoli and Chicken forever. The problem is that, for most people, willpower is not enough. A solid plan is a better option. The more you deprive yourself of something, the more you’ll want it. At some stage a binge is likely to happen when you’re willpower caves.

So what’s the solution? If you’ve been following the Good4U challenge you’ve probably made a nice steady start. You’ve been implementing small changes, which were relatively easy to work into your daily life. This is a great way to go about the process and it’s a strategy I would typically use with those who are new to a fitness journey or who have fallen off track. I call this one the Compound Effect. In essence the idea is that small changes, while seeming like not very much at the time, stack up on top of each other to lead to great change over time. Typically when people rush into a fitness goal with an all or nothing approach, they overwhelm themselves. The goal can seem a million miles away and they start to feel like a failure when they’re not reaching it. The Compound Effect works the opposite way. When I set a small challenge the client will feel that it’s very manageable. When they complete the challenge they’ll usually come back and ask “what’s next?”. As each little task is accomplished confidence begins to build and the client wants to do more.

With those at a slightly higher level I use what I call the 80/20 rule. This is the concept that we will eat nutritious, healthy food 80% of the time. I actively encourage my clients to aim for 80%, not 100%. This means there’s room for the occasional bar of chocolate. If you are on track 80% of the time you’ll get away with the 20% for the most part. Progress may be slower initially but you’ll still be feeling positive and moving toward your goals in six months time.

Long term change has to be the primary thought for those looking to create a healthy lifestyle. In that regard, consistency is king. So that intense, perfect plan may not be the right plan for you. The right plan is the one which you can stick to. Progress, not perfection. Whatever you do this week is more than you were doing last week. That’s the approach that will lead to lasting change. We’ve all got it within us to create change and to be the best version of ourselves. In order to do that it’s worth consider the approach before diving in. All the best going forward and if I can be of any assistance don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Alan.

Top 10 fruit and vegetables in Season this January

There are so many reasons to eat foods which are season! They taste amazing, their nutrition is optimal because they are fully ripe and fresh, it helps to protect our environment AND it can be cheaper! Win win! I have picked out (excuse the pun!) some of the most delicious fruit and vegetables which are in season RIGHT NOW!

  1. Kale: this veggie is fulll of iron, vitamin A, potassium, fibre and B vitamins and makes a yummy alternative to spinach.
  2. Butternut Squash: Ever tried roast Butternut Squash in a salad or soup? It is delicious and is full of some amazing nutrients like Vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins plus potassium and magnesium. Stock up!
  3. Potatoes: Ah the humble spud! Potatoes are low in calories, high in fibre and contain good amounts of potassium and vitamin C. They are extremely versatile and can be easily incorporated into a wide range of dishes.
  4. Beetroot: This is an extremely tasty and nutritious food to add to salads, sandwiches and other dishes. If you want to top up on potassium, fibre, folate, iron and vitamin C then this is the food you need!
  5. Carrots: Full of vitamin A and fibre and other valuable antioxidants, carrots are the perfect addition to your shopping trolley. Plus they taste incredible when roasted!
  6. Parsnips: These are another root vegetable which are so tasty when roasted or pureed! Parsnips contain a good source of vitamin C, folate and manganese plus plenty of fibre to keep digestive systems healthy.
  7. Seville oranges: These fruits are delicious and nutritious! Oranges contain lots of Vitamin C, potassium and B vitamins. Why not add them to a smoothie or pop some segments into a fruit salad?
  8. Apples: the perfect healthy snack! Apples contain an abundance of nutrients plus are high in fibre to keep us fuller for longer. They taste absolutely delicious at this time of year.

Keep an eye on our recipe page for some delicious ideas on how to incorporate foods which are in season into dishes for all the family!

Emma

Why fruit is so-called ‘nature’s candy’?

Fruit contains naturally-occurring sugar called fructose making it sweet and delicious! People worry about sugar in fruit..please don’t! The recommendations in relation to sugar we hear so much about are referring to added sugar. Added sugar has been added to the food during manufacture. It could appear on a food label as ‘sugar’, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup,rice syrup.. the list goes on! Point is, fruit is amazingly healthy. It contains naturally occurring sugar BUT is also packed full of nutrients, fibre to keep us full but is also naturally very low in energy.

We know that eating enough fruit can help to reduce our risk of disease such as diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Eating fruit provides us with lots of fibre which keep our digestive systems healthy plus keeps us feeling fuller for longer. Other common snack foods often do not contain enough fibre. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 6g of fibre per 100g when choosing a food. Fruit is naturally a great source of fibre so it’s a super choice. Eating fruit as a snack or after a meal can satisfy a sweet tooth and provide a whole host of water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and Vitamin B. Minerals like potassium, phosphorous and magnesium are just some of the important minerals that can be found in fruit.

Aim to include a wide variety of both fruit and vegetables throughout the day – pop some fruit on your breakfast in the morning, add it to your break-time snack, add some more veggies into your dinner, finish the day with a fruity snack and enjoy natures delicious candy! In terms of portion size 2 small fruits such as mandarins, plums or kiwis counts as one portion, a handful of berries counts as one portion, a medium apple or pear counts as one portion and a slice of pineapple or melon counts as one portion.

‘A Great Food Transformation’ is needed to save the planet! What we know about the EAT-Lancet report.

Firstly, who wrote this report?  

EAT is a global, non-profit foundation established by the Stordalen Foundation, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Wellcome Trust.  The Lancet is one of the world’s best known medical journals. The EAT-Lancet Commission involved a three-year collaboration between 37 scientific experts from 16 countries aiming to address the need to feed a growing global population a healthy diet while also ensuring sustainability within global food systems.

With the global population expected to reach approx. 10 billion by the year 2050, this report is encouraging us to eat a much more sustainable diet in order to protect both the health of humans and the health of our planet. The authors predict that adopting this approach will prevent 10.8 – 11.6 million deaths per year.

In terms of diet we are encouraged to increase our intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and wholegrains by more than 100% and decrease our intakes of red meat, added sugars, refined grains and starchy vegetables by more than 50%. A moderate reduction of poultry (equating to 29g per day) and fish is also recommended.

This reduction equates to approx one hamburger per week, one and a half eggs per week or half a slice of bacon per day.

In terms of sustainable food production boundaries have been set out in relation to climate change, land use, freshwater use, nitrogen cycling, phosphorous cycling and the loss of biodiversity.

So, more plants, less meat! What are your thoughts on this new report? Get in touch and let us know. Stay tuned for more blogs on this topic and keep an eye on our social media channels 🙂

The top 5 questions a nutritionist ALWAYS gets asked about hydration

Water from pipes

Water from pipes

Do I have to drink only water to hit my fluid intake?

Nope. Milk, juice, coffee,tea..basically  all sources of fluids contribute to your intake. Of course water is an excellent choice because it is readily available, inexpensive and is the healthier choice. Sipping on fluid throughout the day is very important but don’t get too stressed about just drinking water. Aim for no added sugar sources of fluid as we can often forget that drinks can add extra calories to our overall intake. One can of fizzy drink can contain around 200kcal. Also be aware that certain sources of fluid can contain caffeine. Some people are more sensitive than others so it’s important to be mindful of our overall intake.

For healthy adults, up to 400 mg/day is considered safe. Pregnant or breastfeeding women are advised to consume no more than 200 mg/day. A regular cup of instant coffee usually contains around 100mg of caffeine.

How much is enough?

People will have a wide variety of fluid requirements. We lose water every day through perspiration,excretion and even through breathing. People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, ill or exercising need different amounts of fluid and this is extremely important to be aware of. A rule of thumb is for the average, healthy person to aim for at least 2 litres of water per day and closer to 2.5 or 3 litres for men.

I find it so hard to drink plain water and it is stopping me  from drinking enough – help!

Have you tried adding some fruit to plain water? Or some no added sugar cordial? Setting yourself some goals throughout the day to drink more can really help. For example, mark a spot halfway down on your bottle and vow to drink much by 11am. Continue this throughout the day and see how you feel!

What really happens if we do not drink enough water?

Dehydration can occur very, very easily and it can hinder the body from carrying out it’s normal functions. We will have less energy, feel tired, dizzy and have darkly-coloured urine. Always ask yourself – Am I feeling thirsty? If you are exercising, ill or even during warmer weather you will automatically need more to keep hydrated.

Some food contains water too – does that count?

Food can help with fluid intake but you should still aim to drink 2L per day. Food like fruit and vegetables have high water content and soups and stews can help us to top up our overall fluid intake and prevent dehydration.

Often when we feel thirsty we are already dehydrated. Maintaining adequate hydration helps maintain energy levels, focus, keeps skin clearer, aids digestion and can help prevent muscle cramps. 

Stay hydrated with our top tips, hacks and fun facts during the Good4U 4×4 Challenge!! Stay tuned!

6 tips to help you stay active- even when it’s cold outside!

1. Do a 15 minute workout at home! Youtube has any hundreds of workouts that can be done at home. Choose one which you know you will enjoy whether that be yoga, resistance exercises or dancing. Set aside 15 minutes of your day to get a quick workout in – you’ll feel a whole lot better!

2. Try an indoor activity class. Many local community centres or gyms have a number of activities running throughout the day which can fit into any schedule and which suit all ability levels. Signing up for a few weeks usually also brings down the price. Bonus!

3. Go walking or running with a group. It is much easier to motivate yourself to do something with other people rather than heading out in the cold on your own. Even going with one other person can help us stay motivated.

4. Try exercising in the morning if you can. This will help to wake you up and will help you feel you have accomplished something before the day has even begun. Exercising in the morning also frees up your time in the evening and means you don’t feel you have to push yourself to head outside if you don’t want to.

5. Go ice skating! Many towns have ice rinks set up this time of year and this can be a great way of getting some movement into your day and having a laugh! Just please be careful!

6. Layer up! It sounds simple but ensuring your body is insulated well will help you feel more comfortable when you are and about and it won’t be so daunting the next time you venture out. You can always take the top layer if you get too warm. No excuses!!

Keeping active throughout the year has amazing benefits for out physical and mental health so although it may be FREEZING, try and keep active in whatever way you can!

There are some AMAZING nutrients in your Christmas Dinner!

Nutrients in Christmas Dinner

Nutrients in Christmas Dinner

Normally when people think of their Christmas dinner they are excited but know that at the end they will be half asleep on the couch too full to move but still with one hand in the Roses tin beside them.. sound familiar?!

Did anyone ever think of the health benefits of their Christmas dinner? If not, read on, you could be pleasantly surprised!

Turkey: the lighter coloured meat on turkey is a great source of easily absorbed protein. Choosing the lighter coloured meat also ensures you do not consume as much fat. The darker coloured meat and the skin contain a higher fat content but if you enjoy them go ahead – it’s one day of the whole year remember!!

Brussel sprouts: you love em’ or hate em’! If you’re like me and you ADORE  a good brussel sprout then congratulations because you’ll be stocking up on valuable nutrients like vitamin C to boost immunity, folate for DNA synthesis and repair and fibre to keep our digestive systems healthy. All hail the humble sprout!!

Carrots: contain beta carotene which is needed in the body to make Vitamin A. Vitamin A can help with our vision. Carrots are also a great source of fibre.

Roast potatoes: SPUDS!! Potatoes are a source of potassium which helps with muscle contraction, healthy blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. These are a source of both fibre and vitamin C. 

Cranberries: Mmmm I’m dreaming of them already!! Cranberries are packed with antioxidants to fight free radicals in the body, keeping us healthier and free from disease. Why not make your own cranberry sauce this Christmas? By doing this you can control exactly what goes into it and reduce the sugar content in comparison to shop- bought varieties!

Parsnips: Delicious roasted parsnips are filled with valuable fibre, potassium and vitamin C! Plus they are so tasty!

Smoked salmon: This is a brilliant source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are so important for healthy brain function in particular. Smoked salmon is delicious AND healthy! Bonus!

Now, don’t go mad on Christmas Day and tell everyone you’re eating 5 plates of dinner because ‘it’s full of nutrients-Emma told me!’. It’s just nice to know we are getting some pretty amazing nutrients from our lovely Christmas meal. As I said before – it is ONCE a year, enjoy it!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year!