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Fatima Sheikh
Follow me to live Healthy Life :-)
Follow me to live Healthy Life :-)

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What are the healthiest foods for a balanced diet?

Everyone knows that a balanced diet is essential to enjoying a long, healthy life. And we all know that we're supposed to aim for five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day, as well as avoiding the temptations of a McDonald's Big Mac.

However... what does a balanced diet actually mean? Apart from the obvious – a little bit of everything and not too much of anything – it may not be clear what specific foods you should look to eat. For example, it's estimated that 75 per cent of the population doesn't reach the recommended dose of 300mg of magnesium a day. Clearly an imbalance – but how do you fix it?

Fear not – we're here to help. There are a number of nutrient rich foods that you can add to, or increase in, your diet, en route to attaining your maximum health. Below, we've listed twelve of the key additions, from cruciferous vegetables, to quinoa.

Bon appetit...

1. Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale. They're largely part of the family of brassicaceae, which takes its alternative name crucifare from the Latin for cross, because their four central leaves resemble a cross.

Curciferous vegetables really have it all: vitamins, fibre, and disease fighting phytochemicals. A nutrient-packed powerhouse.

2. Lean beef and chicken breast

We all need protein in our diets – and for meat eaters, it's beneficial to find the leanest source going. Chicken and certain cuts of beef (ask your butcher) are best.

Studies show that increasing your protein intake to around 30 per cent of your daily calorie intake can reduce late-night snacking resulting in the loss of around half a pound of fat a week. However, you should also be careful not to overeat meat protein – remember, we're going for a balanced diet here. A few times a week should do nicely.

3. Boiled potatoes

Despite falling out of fashion in the post-Atkins era, potatoes are a wonderful, nutritious ingredient. They're particularly high in potassium, a nutrient of which most people are deficient, and which plays an important role in keeping blood pressure at a minimum.

Roasting them is delicious – but also adds unnecessary fat to your diet. Instead, boil them, then allow them to cool for a short while so that they build up resistant starch, a fibre-like substance that has lots of health benefits, including keeping you fuller for longer.

4. Quinoa

Quinoa has become an increasingly trendy 'health food' – and the hype is justified. There are multiple health benefits to eating it, including that it's high in protein (a good source for non-meat eaters), anti-oxidants and minerals.

The super-food is often incorrectly referred to as a grain, but it is actually an edible seed that's native to the Andes, and is related to beetroot, Swiss chard and spinach.

5. Salmon and oily fish

Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are a key way of upping your protein and Omega 3s – essential to healthy bones, skin and hair. If you are vegan or vegetarian, make sure to include a good quality vegetable-based Omega 3 oil to your daily diet, which is abundant in sources such as soy, walnuts, canola oil, and chia, flax, and hemp seeds.

6. Beans and legumes

Legumes, a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils, are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. They're typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium (so there's an answer to that earlier question, for the 75pc of people who are deficient). They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fibre – perfect for keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

Whip up a bean casserole as a great, protein and mineral rich alternative to meat.

7. Whole eggs

Eggs are great source of inexpensive, but still high quality protein. Eggs are rich in several nutrients that promote the health of the heart, and are recommended to pregnant women as they are rich in choline, which is essential for normal brain development. As an addition to your day-to-day diet, eggs provide a large dose of Vitamin D, which is great for your bones, and prevents osteoporosis.

Why not poach one for breakfast, and eat with some smashed avocado on sourdough? This may sound hipster, but the additional protein will help to keep hunger locked up until lunch!

8. Oils, spreads and healthy fats

Oils and spreads are a key aspect in a balanced diet, because including some healthy fats into the diet is essential. It's important to swap cholesterol-inducing trans fats with healthy unsaturated alternatives.

Try cooking with coconut oil, which burns at a much higher heat than other oils, meaning it's less likely to produce carcinogens. Other brilliant oils that are essential to include in a healthy diet are olive oil, and fats from vegetables such as avocados.

9. Avocados

Avocados are included in the range of healthy fats - which are essential to the health of our bodies and overall well-being. Some of their many health benefits include that they're mineral rich, they're high in vitamin K which is good for your bones, and they help maintain low cholesterol, which in turn is great for the heart.

Include them in your diet by smashing them on sourdough toast, and eating with poached eggs for a delicious breakfast.

10. Nuts

Of course, there are many different nuts, and each has its own specific health benefit. However, as a whole, they're packed with protein, as well as being a source of polyunsaturated fats, and heaps of fibre. A golf-ball sized amount of mixed nuts – about 30g – is recommended as a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

Almonds are a great source of calcium for those who avoid dairy; Brazils are a source of selenium; and walnuts contain an impressive amount of antioxidants, which could fight against cancer.

11. Fruit and a range of vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals, and should make up at least a third of your daily diet. It's advised that you aim for eating five portions of fruit and vegetables each day in order to maintain maximum health. There is evidence that people who eat their allotted quota every day decrease their chances of contracting cancer, heart disease and strokes.

12. Dairy products or dairy substitutes

There is one main benefit to including dairy in your diet, and that's calcium. Calcium is essential for the normal development of our bones, and regular consumption is key for avoiding ailments such as osteoporosis in your old age. It's high potassium and magnesium content is also essential for the health of your heart.

If you're avoiding dairy due to a lactose intolerance, it's important to include a calcium supplement in your day-to-day diet. Calcium-enriched alternatives such as fortified soy milk, cheese and yoghurt are great alternatives.

By Lowenna Waters

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Medical marijuana has no health risks: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially given the tick of approval to cannabidiol, a relaxing compound in medical marijuana, ruling it is not a dangerous drug.

The compound, also known as CBD, can be an effective treatment for cancer, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and in palliative care, with WHO now ruling it does not have any risks of addiction.

The ruling means that it should not be a scheduled drug – meaning that it is not drug that has a high potential for abuse or is illegal to manufacture or distribute.

WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence announced: “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions.

“Current evidence also shows that cannabidiol is not likely to be abused or create dependence as for other cannabinoids (such as Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC), for instance).”

The organization is now set to launch a more complete review in May next year to look into cannabis and cannabis related substances.

Currently anyone found possessing cannabis can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both punishments under UK legislation.

Supplying or producing the class B drug can land people in prison for a maximum of 14 years an unlimited fine, or both.

There has long been an argument to legalize the drug to help people with chronic pain and anxiety.

By Brittany Vonow

Image Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Bella Hadid Just Gave Us Life in the Tightest Dress We’ve Ever Seen

For the viewing of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Bella Hadid shut things down in a body-hugging dress inspired by lingerie. When you're wearing a show-stopping number like this, there's no need to add busy accessories. So Hadid kept things chill with delicate jewels and dainty black heels.


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Should diabetics include jaggery in their diet?

Jaggery comprises up to 65 to 85 percent of sucrose which increases the blood sugar levels

Made by boiling sugarcane juice, jaggery is a good source of iron, potassium and calcium. Though the sweetener is comparatively less refined than sugar, it is not recommended for consumption for diabetic patients.

Jaggery even helps in maintaining blood pressure and combats oxidative stress thanks to the iron content present in it, but people with high sugar levels better keep it aside.

Jaggery comprises upto 65 to 85 percent of sucrose -- a compound which is the chief component of cane or beet sugar – which increases the blood sugar levels in the body.

Jaggery has the ability to impact your blood glucose levels just like sugar. Many people believe that if they use jaggery as a substitute for sugar, it will help them maintain their blood sugar levels; it's a wrong idea.

The only way the jaggery differs from sugar is that our body takes time to absorb it.

Though not recommended for diabetic patients, people not having high blood sugar can definitely replace sugar with jaggery as it is a healthier option.

Diabetics are recommended by the doctors to have a lower glycemic index diet as it results in having a lower demand for insulin, hence jaggery should not be consumed by people with high blood sugar levels.

According to Ayurveda, jaggery helps in treating various ailments, such as sore throat, migrane, asthma and even lung infections.

Jaggery is defined as an "offender for a diabetics's diet" a TOI report said.

By Nupur Jha

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Anyone getting out ionto the garden and sowing there seeds? It might be a bit late for that but the weather is still keeping us in our wellies and inspired this amazing cake :))

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How Long Can You Keep Meat In The Freezer?

You might be tossing perfectly good food.

Before the invention of the freezer, snow and cold weather were the only ways to keep food cold. In order to preserve our foods, those who lived in cooler climates had to make freezers by digging holes in the ground, filling them with nearby snow and covering with straw. Food was gathered for more or less immediate consumption.

But in the mid 1800s, the refrigerator was invented. And though it took some time to become a staple in home kitchens, this appliance eventually changed the way we consumed and ate — and we’re not just referring to the inclusion of frozen TV dinners into our diets.

And yet today, we take our freezers for granted; the funny thing is, we don’t even know how to fully take advantage of them. Most of us will throw a piece of meat or chicken in the freezer to prevent it from spoiling in our fridge. But then what? How many times have you thrown out a frozen piece of meat because, well, you’re not sure how long it’s been in there — or how long the freezer can keep things fresh? You might be surprised to find that frozen meat can last in the freezer for a long amount of time.

We bet that a lot of good meat has been unnecessarily thrown out — and that’s just a shame. If you feel this might be you, take a moment to look over the meat guide below with information provided by the USDA.

And with the use of a zip-seal bag and a permanent marker, you can avoid wasting your good food. Before you put meat in the freezer, you should always write the date on it — that way you don’t have to question how long it’s been frozen. And, believe it or not, some meats can last in the freezer for up to one year without suffering in quality.

Freezer times:

--- Cooked poultry — 4 months
--- Uncooked poultry parts — 9 months
--- Uncooked whole poultry — 12 months
--- Cooked meat — 2 to 3 months
--- Uncooked roasts — 4 to 12 months
--- Uncooked steaks or chops — 4 to 12 months
--- Uncooked ground meat — 3 to 4 months

By Julie R. Thomson

Image: Difydave via Getty Images

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Instant Pot Sunday Sauce and Meatballs

Sure the idea of “Sunday sauce” is great, but the reality is, you’re not always going to have the flexibility to start a pot of sauce in the morning and stay home while it cooks throughout the day—even on the weekend. However, thanks to the ever-handy Instant Pot you can enjoy the robust flavor of a slow-simmered tomato sauce in less than an hour. Serve the sauce and meatballs over your favorite hot, cooked pasta for a hearty, highly comforting meal.



--- 1 1/2 ounces parmesan or Romano cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
--- 1/4 cup dried minced onion
--- 1/4 cup half-and-half
--- 2 large eggs
--- 1 large egg yolk
--- 2 garlic cloves, minced
--- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
--- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
--- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
--- 1 pound ground round
--- 1/2 pound ground pork
--- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
--- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
--- 1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
--- 1 tablespoon olive oil


--- 1 tablespoon olive oil
--- 3/4 cup chopped white onion
--- 1 garlic clove, minced
--- 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes with basil
--- 1 (28-oz.) can tomato puree
--- 1/2 cup water
--- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
--- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
--- 2 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
--- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
--- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
--- 1 bay leaf


--- 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and parsley (optional)
--- Hot cooked pasta

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare the Meatballs: Whisk together parmesan, dried minced onion, half-and-half, eggs, egg yolk, garlic, parsley, basil, and oregano in a large bowl until well combined. Add ground round, ground pork, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix just until combined. Stir in breadcrumbs just until incorporated. Shape mixture into 18 (2-inch) meatballs.

Step 2

Set Instant Pot to “Saute,” and add oil. Working in batches of 6 meatballs, add to Instant Pot, and cook, stirring often, until browned on all sides. (Meatballs will not be cooked through.) Remove browned meatballs from Instant Pot, and set aside.

Step 3

Prepare the Sauce: Heat oil in Instant Pot. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is transluscent. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, water, tomato paste, sugar, basil, salt, pepper, and bay leaf; stir until well combined. Add meatballs, and gently stir to coat. Cover with lid, and turn knob to seal position. Press “Manual” and “Adjust,” and set time to 25 minutes.

Step 4

Carefully turn knob to vent position to release steam. Remove lid. If desired, stir in fresh herbs. Serve over pasta.


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Dentures put wearers at risk of malnutrition because they can't chew healthy food

Dentures put wearers at risk of malnutrition because they cause wearers to avoid healthy foods which are difficult to chew, a major study has shown.

Researchers at King’s College London found the same was true for people with teeth loss, who also struggle to chew food properly.

In both cases, tooth loss and wearing dentures was associated with joint and muscle frailty which can leave people at risk of bone breakages and falls.

The scientists said that people with dentures, or fewer teeth find it difficult to eat foods such as fibrous fruits and vegetables, nuts and meat, which are essential for good nutrition.

Although dentures improves chewing function, the bite force is much weaker than that of natural teeth, meaning users often avoid certain foods.

“Persons with inadequate dentition are less likely to eat hard food that is difficult to chew, for example, some of the fresh fruits and vegetables, apples, pears, carrots, nuts etc,” said Dr Wael Sabbah, from King’s College London Dental Institute.

“They could also have difficulties in eating some cooked food such as meat, depending on the way it is cooked.”

Around 11 million people wear dentures in Britain. Although just six per cent of people now have no teeth compared to 37 per cent in 1978, 74 per cent have needed at least one tooth extracting.

The study examined the health of more than 1,800 people who had an average age of 62, and were categorised into three groups; having at least 20 teeth, denture wearers with fewer than 20 teeth, and people and non-denture wearers with fewer than 20 teeth.

Researchers tested all groups for strength, frailty, BMI and oral health and interviewed about their nutritional intake.

The group that had less than 20 teeth and did not use dentures, and those who used dentures, were found to have consumed the least amount of nutrients, compared to recommended daily amounts. They were also found to be more frail.

Denturewearers and those with fewer teeth were 32 per cent more likely to be frail and 20 per cent more likely to be nutritionally deficient.

The researchers say the study demonstrates how important oral health is in preventing tooth loss which can cause nutritional deficiencies in later life.

Nutrients are crucial to maintain muscle mass and stave off musculoskeletal frailty.

“Few studies have examined the relationship between oral health, the number of teeth and general frailty,” added Dr Sabbah.

“One of the important findings of the study is the significant relationship between the condition of teeth and deficiency in intake of essential nutrients, regardless of the use of dentures.

“To date, the majority of efforts to improve frailty have focused on nutrition strategies, including health education, while the influence of teeth on dietary restraint of the elderly has been neglected.

“The findings of this analysis, along with that reported in earlier research, suggest that the use of denture could be a neglected intervention that could potentially have a preventative impact on musculoskeletal frailty.

“The results also highlight the importance of developing oral health policies to ensure older adults maintain functional dentition throughout their life.”

The research was published in the journal Geriatrics & Gerontology International.

By Sarah Knapton

Image Credit: Elena Veselova / Alamy Stock Photo

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Everything you need to know about beef cuts in one chart

From loin to rib here's the best trimmings

Beef cuts don’t have to be intimidating.

Whether it’s chuck, brisket, rib, loin, round, plate, or flank, the most important thing you need to know is how to cook it.

The experts at the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association created a chart of all the different kinds of beef cuts. It’s coded by what part of the cow it comes from and includes the recommended cooking methods like grilling, broiling, stir-fry, slow cooking, roast, skillet, or skillet-to-oven.

The meat can be styled in a variety of ways Cattlemen's Beef Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association


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Eating Cheese Is Good for Your Heart Now, Apparently

There's nothing I like more than waking up to news that science has declared a delicious food to be very healthy. Whenever a new study comes out saying that wine can help you lose weight or drinking coffee may help prevent heart disease, I'm thrilled. Now a new study says eating cheese every day might actually help reduce the risk of heart disease, but this news might actually be too good to be true.

According to a new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, people who ate cheese every day were less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke, compared with people who do not eat cheese, or who eat it only occasionally.

Cheese contains protein, calcium, and probiotics, and researchers say those nutrients could be providing heart health benefits.

The idea that cheese could be healthy is fantastic! I mean, nobody in the world wants this to be true as much as I do. I was ready to put together a cheese plate as soon as I read the headline. Unfortunately, the study does not actually give us permission to eat a whole wheel of brie every day and call it health food, because the amount of cheese associated with these health benefits is actually very small.

The people who benefitted the most in the study ate only 40 grams of cheese every day. Forty grams of cheese is tiny. A one-inch cube of Parmesan is about 30 grams. A Kraft single slice is 20 grams, which means a good grilled cheese sandwich would take you well past 40 grams.

Beyond 40 grams of cheese, the health benefits appeared to shrink as more cheese was eaten. By the time a person ate 80 grams of cheese a day, the benefits had basically disappeared. So long, giant cheese wheel for one.

It's still pretty cool that tiny amounts of cheese are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular heart disease. It just so happens that 40 grams of cheese is the size of two of those little Babybel cheeses with the red wax around them, which would go well with the glass of red wine that science says is good for the heart. Happy hour is settled!

By Elizabeth Licata

Image credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani

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