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Archive for the ‘Food and Drink’ Category

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How to lower cholesterol levels naturally with food. By dietitian and health coach, Andrew Wilson

August 20, 2013

We’ve known for some time that having high cholesterol or blood fats can damage your health, leading to heart disease, stroke and dementia.

Keeping your weight and your waist circumference within the healthy ranges, and taking regular exercise can all help to keep you and your cholesterol levels healthy.

What you eat plays a big part in what happens to your cholesterol too.  I’ve known for some time that my cholesterol is a bit high due to my family history and genetics, so lowering my cholesterol naturally is really important for my health. There are essentially 3 steps you can take to keeping your cholesterol levels healthy naturally by choosing better options.

To learn more about health screenings, including cholesterol checks click here.

Step one – replace saturated fat

Saturated fat plays an important role in the body, but eating too much raises LDL or the bad cholesterol. Most saturated fat comes from animal sources such as meat products and high fat dairy products like cheese. It’s also in foods containing animal or highly processed fats, such as cakes, biscuits, chocolate, pastries and pies. Replacing these damaging fats with heart healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, lean meat, poultry and oily fish reduces the amount of saturated fat leading to lower levels of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of the good cholesterol HDL. I like to have a handful (30g) of walnuts or pecans as my mid-morning snack.

Also, oily fish such as salmon, trout or herring have omega 3 which helps keeps all your bloods vessels in good condition and reduces the risk of blood clots, which are what cause heart attacks and strokes. Salmon, horseradish and beet root are a delicious and great health combo!

Step 2 – eat a rainbow 

Fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants and phytonutrients which protect the blood vessels and also soluble fibre which lowers cholesterol. They all count and help towards better heart and blood vessel health, but I’d recommend getting as many colours in as possible – broccoli and peas, blueberries; orange peppers, red apples, sweetcorn – I love a handful of cherry tomatoes and a good chunk of cucumber with my lunch. The more variety and colour the better!

Step 3 – fill up on fibre!

Soluble fibre, especially from oats which contain the fibre beta-glucan, has been shown to have a beneficial effect of cholesterol levels – a 30g portion (dry weight) of porridge for breakfast and 3 plain oat cakes will provide enough beta-glucan everyday. I add a handful of blueberries plus some cinnamon to my porridge.

Other whole grains are also great for soluble fibre and include wholewheat pasta, or why not try 2-3 handfuls of popcorn, of course it’s best if it is unsalted or unsweetened.

Baked beans, chick peas and lentils as well as other beans are also a really great source of soluble fibre. My favourite lunch is good old baked beans on wholewheat toast – yummy and great for my cholesterol!

We’ll be sharing related lifestyle tips on our social media sites – so visit our FacebookGoogle Plus and Twitter pages this week for motivating and exclusive content!

If you’re thinking about leading a healthier lifestyle, you might want to consider getting a health screening to determine the status of your health first. Click here to learn more about health screenings or cholesterol screening.




Mediterranean diet: A healthy heart eating guide

June 18, 2013

If you’re looking for ways to improve your diet and help protect your heart, learn how the Mediterranean diet and regular health screenings can help.  A Western diet is typically high in animal fats and processed foods – a combination which can increase your risk of heart-related disorders. The good news is, you can help keep your heart in shape by switching to healthier eating habits.

Inspired by the traditional dietary choices of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea – health experts have recommended a Mediterranean style eating plan to prevent heart disease.

The new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been developed following recent research amongst people from Mediterranean countries. This group of people exhibited lower rates of heart-related complications than their western counterparts. The popular diet has also been associated with a longer lifespan and good weight management, both of which are factors that promote a healthier heart.

How do I incorporate the Mediterranean diet into my lifestyle?

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and beans that are rich in anti-oxidants
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates and go for whole grain pasta, bread and cereal
  • Replace saturated fats like butter with healthy fats such as olive and canola oil. Olive oil in particular is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels.
  • Use herbs and spices to season foods instead of adding salt
  • Reduce the amount of red meat you eat, ideally only three times a month
  • Add fish and seafood to your meals twice a week and eggs and chicken once a week
  • Consume low fat cheese, yoghurt and red wine in moderation
  • Nuts have also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and are a good source of fibre and healthy fats
  • Try choosing natural peanut butter or honey-roasted nuts instead of heavily salted ones.
  • Avoid eating ‘fast foods’ or ready made meals which are usually loaded with salt and sugar

Promoting a healthy heart

Although the Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to encourage a healthier heart, – it is also important to incorporate regular exercise into your lifestyle and avoid other risk factors such as smoking.

You may also want to consider getting a health screening to get a clearer picture of your heart health, which includes a heart disease risk assessment.

Click here to learn more about health screenings or visit our Facebook page this week for more heart health and Mediterranean Diet tips.  Why not share some of your delicious Mediterranean recipes with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 




Warm Mackerel & Beetroot Salad

April 26, 2013

Two weeks ago, we at Life Line Screening were talking about the importance of Omega 3 in our diets, and especially the goodness found in oily fish. Then, on Wednesday, we tweeted that beetroot have a secret power to lower your blood pressure and so we thought, why not post a recipe that combines both of these wonder-foods? And here it is from BBC GoodFood, a simple but delicious spring salad.

Ingredients
450g new potatoes, cut into small mouthfuls

3 skinned smoked mackerel fillets

250g pack cooked beetroot

100g bag mixed salad leaves

2 celery sticks, finely sliced

50g walnut pieces

Method

First, boil the potatoes for 12-15mins until they’re tender. While they’re boiling, flake the mackerel fillets into large pieces and cut the beetroot into chunks.

Drain the potatoes and leave them to cool slightly. Mix the salad dressing and horseradish sauce together in a salad bowl and season. Tip in the potatoes.

Add the salad leaves, mackerel, beetroot, celery and walnuts, and toss. Serve with some crusty bread.

Also, if you want to make your own salad dressing, whisk together 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp wine vinegar or lemon juice and 1 tsp Dijon or other mild mustard. Season to taste, and then mix with the horseradish.

Et, voila! A delicious, healthy salad to make as the weather gets warmer, full of omega 3 and healthy beetroot. Read more about how to keep up a healthy lifestyle here.

What do you think of our health mackerel salad recipe? Will you be trying it yourself? Let us know in the comments, or join us over on Facebook and Twitter.




Foods that Might Extend Your Life

April 12, 2013

Here at Life Line Screening, we’ve spoken often about our love of fish dishes, but we didn’t know that they could make us live longer!  Scientists have found in a recent study that people with the largest amounts of the fatty acids in their blood lived on average 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels.

The key ingredient is omega-3, which is found in fish like mackerel, salmon, tuna (but only fresh tuna) and sardines. If fish isn’t your thing, then omega-3 can also be found in flaxseed, walnuts and rapeseed oil.

A particular favourite omega-3-rich recipe of ours is this grilled tuna with balzamic glaze, served with some couscous and green beans. Or, remember our heart-healthy salmon burger recipe? You could even have a handful of walnuts for desert to add extra omega-3! If fish and nuts really aren’t your thing, omega-3 is also available as a supplement, sometimes also called ‘fish oil’.

Other foods that can help your ticker keep ticking are:

-        Fresh herbs, like rosemary, sage and thyme, which contain antioxidants, can be make a dish tasty as a replacement for heart-harming salt

-        Black beans are packed with nutrients; just make sure to buy them canned in water with no added salt

-        Extra virgin olive oil used instead of butter could help to lower your cholesterol levels. It’s also yummy on salads, or with bread

-        Almonds are full of heart-healthy fats which could reduce your risk of diabetes

Of course there are other ways we can extend our lives, the most important steps being giving up smoking, as well as taking regular exercise, and – when needed – preventive screenings.

What are you favourite heart-healthy foods? Do you have a favourite recipe that contains omega-3? Tell us all about it in the comments, or share it with us via Twitter or Facebook.




Tasty Easter Treats

March 27, 2013

With Easter fast approaching, shiny egg-shaped treats are inevitably beginning to catch our eye – however, celebrating this weekend needn’t be punishment for the waistline.  You can keep up with your healthy living even during the Easter break. So, with this in mind, we’ve collated our favourite, healthy Easter treats to try out this weekend:

Zesty St Clement’s Cake (via Female First)

A spring favourite and full of seasonal ingredients, these light, fresh cakes are a delectable addition to your Easter weekend. Best served with a warming cuppa, a roaring fire and a comfy pair of slippers.

Delicious and Nutritious Carrot Cake

Carrot cake can often be rather misleading – the reference to “carrot” tends to make people assume that it’s a healthy alternative, when in fact, it’s not.  This recipe from Eatingwell.com however, is just that – a deliciously homemade, healthy alternative to the popular recipe – a perfect pud to top off your Easter meal this weekend.

Colourful Easter Egg Cookies

Rather than spending lots of money of sugar rich, shop bought treats – homemade bakes are a much healthier alternative, with the added benefit of being lighter for your purse.  One of our favourite home baked treats comes from MyRecipes, Easter Egg Cookies.  Tasty, fun and perfect for all the family – these are a really simple treat to celebrate this Easter.

Health Boosting Easter Eggs

For the health conscious chocolate lovers amongst us Easter can be a very challenging time, but it needn’t be.  Shifting your focus from the dairy and sugar rich milk and white chocolate to a darker alternative will do wonders for your health and taste buds. Known to boast a number of health benefits, including reduced cholesterol, if you’re looking for a delectable, but healthy treat this Easter, dark chocolate is the perfect solution.

What are your favourite Easter recipes? Let us know in the comments or via Twitter and Facebook, and for more healthy eating tips and recipes, check out our healthy living pages.

Don’t forget that if you’re worried about your health and welfare, preventive health screenings can help to give you peace of mind. We’re here to help.

Happy Easter from all of us at Life Line Screening!




Beat the Christmas Bloat!

December 28, 2012

At Life Line Screening, we love to overindulge over the holidays as much as everyone else! From Christmas dinner to sneaking a third Quality Street on a lazy afternoon watching Love Actually, the holidays are a time of fun and relaxation. However, so often we end up with that horrible bloated feeling, which makes time with family and friends uncomfortable and embarrassing.

We’ve come up with some quick tips to help beat the bloat after all that wonderful Christmas food:

1. Eat slower!
It sounds silly, but if you take more time eating, you’ll swallow less air, which is often the cause of bloating. So relax and take some time eating that piece of left-over Christmas pudding!

2. Avoid the fizzy drinks, stick with water
Carbonated drinks are a prominent cause of bloating, while water can help with digestion. So switch the Diet Coke for a glass of ice water, and you’ll be bloat free

3. Stay away from the salt
Salty foods are also a primary cause of bloating, so try and avoid food that’s high in sodium, and watch out not to add too much to your meal

4. Eat fibre
High fibre foods help with bloating, so make sure to pick up some nuts, dried fruits and wholemeal bread.

What are your tips for beating the bloat during the holidays? Let us know in the comments or via Twitter and Facebook.

For more tips and advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, check out our healthy living pages.




Recipe of the Week: Healthy Christmas Turkey

December 21, 2012

Christmas is a time of indulgence and treats, laughter and lazy days in front of the telly, even for us at Life Line Screening! However for those of you worried about the Christmas excess, we’re making our weekly recipe a healthy way to cook that beautiful turkey currently dominating your fridge!

Originally published on EatingWell.com, this apple-shallot roasted turkey recipe should make Christmas lunch a joy, without the guilt!

Ingredients

1 4.5-5kg turkey

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus 3 sprigs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus 3 sprigs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 3 sprigs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

680 grams shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise, divided

1 tart green apple, quartered

3 cups water, plus more as needed

Method

Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 475°F.

Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavities and reserve for making Turkey Giblet Stock. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; pat dry with paper towels.

Combine oil, chopped parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place herb sprigs, 6 shallot halves and apple in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups water to the pan.

Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. If using a remote digital thermometer, insert it into the deepest part of the thigh, close to the joint. Cover just the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting as necessary to fit. Scatter the remaining shallots in the pan around the turkey. Reduce oven temperature to 180° and continue roasting until the thermometer (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone) registers 75°F, about 1 to 1 3/4 hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water.

Transfer the turkey to a serving platter (reserve pan juices and shallots) and tent with foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Remove the string and carve.

We wish you all a healthy and happy Christmas, and hope you’ll join Life Line Screening again in the New Year for more tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and more tasty recipes!




Last Minute Christmas Inspiration

December 17, 2012

With Christmas just around the corner and thoughts turning to the New Year and the opportunities it brings, give your friends and family a head start with these resolution friendly, fun and healthy gift ideas.

Graze Subscription

Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar when those elevenses hunger pangs kick in, why not treat your health conscious friend or relative to a Graze subscription this Christmas?

With a choice of over 100 delicious and healthy snacks, Graze boxes offer the perfect antidote to those of us who aspire to give up sweet treats in the New Year and are a firm favourite within the Life Line Screening team.

For more details, and to take a sneak peek at the food on offer head over to http://www.graze.com/uk/.

Fitbit

It’s no secret that we are fascinated by the emerging digital health and quantified self space and one piece of fitness based technology that has particularly caught our eye this year is the Fitbit.

Affordable, non-imposing and easy to use, the Fitbit is an ideal stocking filler for those looking to take a proactive approach to understanding and improving their health.

For more information on its uses and benefits, check out our review from earlier on in the year.

Running Earphones and Spotify Subscription

When you think about New Year’s resolutions, “getting fit” often springs to mind,   and the team at Life Line Screening is no exception.   But rather than stumping up  the cash for an expensive single or joint membership at the gym for your fitness conscious friend or relative – why not invest in a pair of state-of-the-art shock resistant running earphones and a Spotify membership to aid their fitness focused New Year resolution?

To get things moving, Spotify has collated a number of fantastically up-beat, fitness focused playlists which can be subscribed to here.

 “Rugged” Camera

Getting out and about is a fantastic way of not only clearing your head and de-stressing, but also integral to maintaining your fitness levels. There are a number of “rugged” camera options, but we are currently rather partial to the GoPro offering.  Whether you’re going for a post-Christmas lunch hike, or an off-road cycle, the GoPro camera adds a completely new, fun dimension to getting active outdoors.

What are your favourite gift ideas for the health and fitness fanatic in your life? Let us know in the comments or via Twitter and Facebook.

For more tips and advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the run up to the New Year, check out our healthy living pages.




Recipe of the Week: Festive Nut Roast

December 14, 2012

With Christmas fast approaching, the inevitable supermarket raid is soon to commence – but what delights will you be feasting on this year?

When planning Christmas lunch, thoughts often turn to a meat centrepiece, but this week we’re going to share one of our favourite vegatarian alternatives – a festive nut roast.

Developed by food blogger and author Kerstin Rodgers and published on the Channel 4 recipes site, this deliciously warming recipe will offer either a hearty replacement or fantastic addition to any Christmas lunch – give it a go and let us know what you think!

Ingredients

250g of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 fennel, thinly sliced

5 tbsp of olive oil

500g of mixed nuts

75ml olive oil

200g dried wild mushrooms

3 small onions, diced

3 cloves of garlic

A handful of parsley

3 tbsp walnut oil

150g roasted smoked almonds

50g dried cranberries

250g blue cheese, diced

150g of macadamia nuts

50g vegetarian Parmesan, finely grated

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas mark 4.

Place the sliced Jerusalem artichokes and fennel into a baking tray with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes until soft.

While the vegetables are baking, dry roast the pistachios and hazelnuts in a frying pan over a low heat, then grind finely in a food processor.

Soak the dried wild mushrooms in hot water, leave until soft, then drain, (keeping the water to make a mushroom gravy if you wish) and chop finely.

Fry the diced shallots for around five minutes until just starting to soften, then add the garlic, drained mushrooms and parsley and cook for a couple more minutes.

Combine the mushroom mixture and the ground nuts, adding a little walnut oil and season with salt and pepper.

Line the bottom of a greased 900g loaf tin with the smoked almonds and cranberries. Then add layers of the ingredients in the following order: mushroom mixture, diced blue cheese, mushroom mixture, whole macadamia nuts, mushroom mixture, roasted Jerusalem artichokes and fennel, mushroom mixture, finely grated Parmesan cheese.

Finally, decorate with a layer of smoked almonds and cranberries.

Pat the ingredients down firmly in the tin, cover with foil and put it in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 180°C, fan 160°C, gas mark 4.

Take it out of the oven and stick a skewer in the centre. The skewer should emerge hot.

Then, using a palette knife, pressing against the sides, turn out the loaf tin onto a plate.

Finally – serve, in slices, with parsley and pomegranate seeds and enjoy!

Have you planned your Christmas lunch yet? Do you think you’ll give this recipe a try? Let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter.

For more fantastic vegetarian alternatives from Kerstin, head over here and to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and for more tasty recipes, please visit Life Line Screening’s healthy living pages.




Recipe of the Week: Healthy Courgette and Sweet Potato Latkes

December 11, 2012

If you have been celebrating Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, this week what better way to enjoy the remaining festivities than to make your own, very delicious Latkes?

A popular tradition during the Hanukkah festival, Latkes can be enjoyed with a variety of condiments from sour cream to apple sauce. However, here at Life Line Screening we fancied turning our hand to this tasty, and healthy, alternative.

 

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 medium courgette, grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Olive oil, for drizzling

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 230°C and coat a baking sheet in vegetable spray.

Place the courgette and sweet potato into a mixing bowl and gradually drop in the rosemary, parmesan, breadcrumbs, egg whites, salt and pepper – mixing the ingredients until combined.

Heat 3tsp vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat, and add the vegetable mixture in – using a spatula to evenly distribute the mix across the pan.

Drizzle olive oil over the top and cook in the pan for a maximum of eight minutes, or until the edges of the mixture begin to brown.

Remove the pancake (carefully) from the pan, and place the cooked side down onto the pre-prepared baking tray.

Cook in the oven for a further 20 – 25 minutes at 230°C, or until the pancake begins to brown.

Once you’ve allowed it to cool for a couple of minutes it’s time to get stuck in! These are great either on their own or with a tasty accompaniment (We are particularly partial to sour cream).

Are you celebrating Hanukkah? Do you think you’ll give this recipe a try? Let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter.

To learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and for more tasty recipes, please visit Life Line Screening’s healthy living pages.




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