battered chicken

How to easily get your kids to want healthier food

What influences children’s eating habits? Many parents want their children to eat more healthy food, but struggle to find an effective way to do it. Shouting, wheedling and bribing don’t work, or only work for a short period of time. We feel they are influenced by television, their friends or just engage in a power-struggle with us. But there is a solution. That solution varies depending on the age of your child. Fortunately, there are three pieces of research that can give you the insights you need to help your children enjoy healthy food. Getting young child to eat vegetables We know that vegetables are good for us, but a lot of children don’t wnat to eat vegetables. The first is research on three to five-year olds. The study is published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. In the study, Lanigan and her colleagues wanted to see if statements that t simply convey the benefits of healthy food would influence their choices.  Before beginning, the 87 children in the experiment ranked how much …

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fruit in heart shape

Chronic disease prevention

How to prevent chronic diseases It’s not your genes. except in a very limited number of cases. It’s not bad luck. It’s the food you eat. Does what you eat affect chronic diseases? Decades of scientific research has shown that with your food choices, you have immense power over your health.  For example, simple changes in diet and lifestyle may help prevent more than 90% of type 2 diabetes, 80% of coronary heart disease, and 70% of colon cancer. These changes involve increasing the amount of plant-based meals you eat. It means reducing the amount of sugar, meat (particularly processed food) that you buy.  It also means eating more beans and seeds. Ultra-processed foods include packaged baked goods and snacks, fizzy drinks, sugary cereals, ready meals containing food additives, and reconstituted meat and fish products — often containing high levels of added sugar, fat and salt, but are lacking in vitamins and fibre. Researchers have found that higher intake of ultra-processed food is associated with a higher risk of  irritable bowel disease and other health …

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What nutritional advice should I believe?

A report from Mintel in the UK showed that 69% of 988 adults interviewed felt that it was hard to know which foods were healthy, because expert advice was always changing. Of course, there is some nutritional recommendations that have stood the test of time and should be followed by everyone, and undoubtedly some people use the changing expert advice to justify appalling eating habits. Nutritional information keeps changing! But the age-old strategy of listening to those in authority no longer seems to work as some information (or at least its emphasis and presentation) changes on an almost regular basis. The plethora of advice from medical and scientific experts, supplement manufacturers, non-orthodox nutritionists, popular books and the media can seem overwhelming. We need some way of judging all this information and advice and deciding which to follow. How do I decide what to believe? The starting point should be reviewing information in terms of the conditions that people have experienced in the past.  For example, people have survived well without nutritional supplements. Mankind has not …

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What causes food cravings and what to do about it

Many people suffer from food cravings. They spend a lot of time thinking about food, fantasising about food and trying (and not always succeeding) in restraining themselves in order to lose weight or eat healthily.  Often people give up the unequal fight and decide they’ll eat whatever they want and just not worry about it. Do you often feel ‘hungry’ even when you should be full. You know you’ve eaten enough, but somehow you still feel vaguely hungry and dissatisfied. You tell yourself you’ll leave the rest of the packet for another day, but somehow 5 minutes later the packet is just back in your hand. If you’re one of these people, what can you do about it? How can you stop food cravings? Food cravings can be caused by food allergies If you often get the urge to eat something and feel almost immediately better after you eat it, you could be allergic to what gives you this good feeling. If you find yourself saying,” I’d be happy if I could live on X”, …

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Improving the quantity of sperm

How to improve the quantity and quality of sperm A study by Dr Albert Salas-Huetos from the Human Nutrition Unit (Universitat Rovira i Virgil in Reus, Spain) shows the positive effects of eating nuts on men’s sperm. The study was a 14-week randomised clinical trial in which 119 healthy young men aged 18-35 were allocated to either their usual western-style diet supplemented with 60 grams/day of mixed almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, or their usual western-style diet without nuts. Improvements in the former group were by around 16% in sperm count, 4% in sperm vitality, 6% in sperm motility, and 1% in morphology. Dr Salas-Huetos says it is too early to draw conclusions and more research needs to be done. Yet including nuts in our diet is good for many reasons, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. Nuts are packed with protein, fibre and essential fats, as well as a mix of valuable vitamins and minerals. So whether you are concerned about fertility or not, eating nuts on a daily basis can …

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Is caffeine really bad for me?

Caffeine is a stimulant that is found in coffee, tea, cola, ‘energy drinks’ and chocolate. Many people rely on it to pick them up in the morning and keep them going during the day. But is all that caffeine harmful? What are the health effects of caffeine? How much caffeine is there in coffee, tea, cola and chocolate? The amount of caffeine varies between drinks quite considerably, and these figures for different types of beverage and chocolate can only be a guide. Tea that has been brewed longer will contain more caffeine than a cup of weak tea.     1 mug of instant coffee contains approximately 100mg     1 cup of brewed coffee 100mg     1 cup of espresso approximately 40 mg     I cup of decaffeinated coffee approximately 3 mg     1 cup of tea is approximately 40 – 50mg     1 can of cola is 18-38 mg     1 can of ‘energy’ drink up to 80mg     50g bar of plain chocolate up to 50mg     50g bar of milk chocolate about 25 …

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junk food

Are food colourings safe?

30 years ago when my children were small I became concerned about the effect of colourings in food on their behaviour. I talked to other mums about this and was generally greeted with incredulity. They would say, “Manufacturers wouldn’t put things in our food that could be harmful” or “The government wouldn’t allow such a thing.” In those distant days manufacturers were not obliged by law to list individual food colourings in the ingredients: it was enough just to say ‘colourings’. Requests from campaigning organisations, such as the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group, were fobbed off by manufacturers with the excuse that labels were too small to allow the inclusion of the list of actual colourings used. This excuse of the manufacturers disappeared when the list of European Community ‘E numbers’ was approved. Tartrazine became E102 and amaranth E123, and manufacturers legally had to include the name or the code for the food colouring on their products. The E number coding system dealt with the manufacturers apparently legitimate objection that there was not enough room on …

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