Friday, 9 September 2011

Superfoods for a Healthier You - Bananas

As well as bananas being one of the most impressive superfoods available to us, they are also one of the cheapest fruits around, and you can find them in almost any supermarket - healthy and convenient!

This superfood offers a long list of nutritional benefits that are unknown to many, but this tasty fruit will see you saying goodbye to a variety of medicines with their effective medicinal properties, and much, much more.

One of the best things about bananas is the amount of sustainable energy they provide us with, and this is due to the sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with the fibre in the fruit.

Scientific studies have provided further proof of the fruit's energy-providing qualities by showing how just two bananas can provide enough energy for a 90-minute workout - so next time you head to the gym, you know what to do!

In addition to providing amazing amounts of energy, bananas are known for their abilities to protect our bodies against a variety of illnesses and conditions, including:

Depression - Recent studies have suggested that the tryptophan in bananas help combat depression. Tryptophan is a form of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and make you feel happier.

PMS - It is thought that the vitamin B6 found in bananas regulates blood glucose levels, which can effect your mood. So swap the ice cream and chocolate for a banana, ladies!

Anemia - The high levels of iron in the fruit help stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood, therefore reducing symptoms of anemia.

Blood pressure - The US Food and Drug Administration has recently allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and strokes.

Brain power - Research has shown that high levels of potassium can improve performance in students by making them more alert.

Constipation - The high fibre content of bananas improves bowel movement without the need to take laxatives.

Heartburn - The antacid effect bananas have on the body means that they provide a soothing effect for sufferers of heartburn.

Obesity - It would be too obvious to say that bananas are a healthier snack option compared to chocolate and crisps, however the high carbohydrate content of the fruit means that you will feel fuller for longer - this means that it is better to snack on bananas than other fruits.

Smoking and tobacco use - It is thought that the B6 and B12 found in bananas, as well as the potassium and magnesium in the fruit, allows the body to recover quicker from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress - It has been scientifically proven that stress reduces the levels of potassium in our bodies, therefore by eating something with such high potassium levels as bananas, we counteract the negative effects of stress.

The list goes on, however I think it is now clear that bananas are a useful fruit to have around! No wonder monkeys are such big fans.

Superfood tip: Hungover? Why not try and swap that greasy fry-up for a banana milkshake with honey? The banana itself calms the stomach and the honey helps build up depleted blood sugar levels, whilst the milk soothes and re-hydrates your body.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Finally! Guilt-Free Chocolate

Everyone is all too familiar with the nagging feeling of guilt that creeps up on us as we throw the empty wrapper in the bin. It always starts off as one square... two squares... a row... a half a pack... gradually followed by the shameful act of licking up the remains.

Of course, I can only be talking about chocolate.

Chocolate has always been known as a friend and a foe - it picks us up when we're down, but leaves us paying for it as we mentally calculate how many minutes on the treadmill it will take to burn off.

Many of you may have accepted this as a cruel fact of life, however some very clever and considerate people have provided us with a brilliant sollution that will have you eating chocolate on a daily basis - and this solution is known as raw chocolate.

I stumbled across this creation in a magazine and thought it too fantastic to not share with my fellow chocolate lovers. The Raw Chocolate Shop sells only raw chocolate and explains that by preserving the natural goodness of the cocoa bean, there are many nutritional benefits to be had by eating raw chocolate.

The only difference between raw chocolate and normal chocolate is that the cocoa beans used for normal chocolate are roasted at such high temperatures that it destroys the goodness of the beans, as well as other unhealthy ingredients being added.

Raw chocolate also does not offer the refined sugar that makes normal chocolate so bad for us in the first place.

As well as being considered a superfood and offering the first probiotic chocolate in the UK, raw chocolate is known to be a delicious substitute for normal chocolate.

It sounds too good to be true!