FEBRUARY 2019 - FOOD FOR THE MIND, BODY & SOUL
Every month we will be blogging about a particular topic - this month it's all about how food can help improve your health in various different ways.
18th February 2019: FOOD FOR THE SOUL
The term ‘comfort food’ is often used to describe foods that are indulgent, filling, warming, nostalgic – all descriptions of what can make us feel good inside. Comfort food can mean different things to different people and can be enjoyed either on our own or in a group, but generally it is about providing nourishment for the soul as well as satisfying a physical need for fuel. The process of preparing this kind of food can also be comforting or stress relieving in itself if you like to cook – chopping the vegetables for a slow cooked soup or stew, continually stirring a creamy risotto, or kneading the dough for a loaf of bread.
‘Soul food’ is particularly important in busy or stressful times, when our bodies and minds are working extra hard to function. It can be difficult to find time to think about what we want or need to eat, and food becomes purely a necessity rather than something we truly enjoy and take pleasure from. Setting aside just a little time each day to really focus on one or all of our meals, whether it be in the preparation or the consumption of it, and allowing our minds to switch off from everything else we have going on is what can be so comforting about food and meal times. What is your favourite food to turn to when you want to unwind and relax in the midst of a busy day or week? At Salfood, our top three comfort meals would be a creamy bowl of porridge drizzled with honey for breakfast, a cheese toastie for lunch, and a British classic of sausages, mash and gravy for dinner!
11th February 2019: FOOD FOR THE BODY - guest blog from our partners at the University of Salford Sports Centre
We hope you are all settling back in nicely as we enter week 3 of the Semester, this Academic Year seems to have flown by, and it has been great to see so many new students at the Sports Centre this year.
Getting into good habits in relation to diet and exercise is vital in relation to maintaining a healthy heart, and this could make a huge difference your general wellbeing. What is very important, at least initially, is building a good relationship with exercise. Making very small changes to daily your routine, with regards to becoming generally more active, could include choices such as walking to University on a more regular basis, or taking the stairs on the way to your lectures (see the fantastic motivational messages on the staircases at Frederick Road!) could make a real difference. Not only do small changes such as these help to increase your daily activity levels, and positively impact on your cardiovascular health, but they also increase the amount of energy you are expending – burning more calories!
There are many ways in which you can stay active on Campus, and our Fitness Classes provide a range of activities within fun, accessible and social settings to engage in. Our Dance Classes are a huge hit with students, activities such as Zumba provide a high intensity low impact aerobic workout which is excellent for the heart, and great fun too! For many Exercise is more fun and less daunting when doing this with others, and having social support is a tremendous motivating tool for all of us, so why not pop down to a class and bring a friend?
With regards to diet, ensuring that you are getting adequate levels of protein is essential within a diet, this is especially true if you are undertaking any form of exercise of resistance training program (which we would highly recommend) as this helps to build and repair muscle tissue, and protein as an essential dietary source provides vital functions to life, including providing structure and support for cells. Also, Complex Carbohydrates such as wholegrains, brown rice and oats can help provide that slow release energy which is important, as we look to ensure that we are adequately fuelled to engage in physical activity, whilst also helping to increase satiety (fullness) which can also be a useful tool with regards to managing our Daily Calorie intake. In addition, ensuring that you are eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables will ensure that you are getting those vital nutrients, which is vital to keeping our Heart and cardiovascular system healthy.
One final point, and this is an obvious one…if you are planning on partaking within any form of exercise ensure to stay hydrated – take a bottle of water with you! This will help to regulate your body temperature and transport vital nutrients to working muscles, ensuring that you can perform at your maximum level. If you are planning on engaging in physical activity, and are unsure where to start, pop in and see the Team at the Sports Centre, and we can look to provide you with guidance and structure to get you on the right path towards achieving your health and fitness goals this Semester.
4th February 2019: FOOD FOR THE MIND
Many of us often consider food as something that somehow ‘solves an issue’ - whether it be feeling hungry, bored, tired, happy or sad… But not many people remember or even realise what the power of food can do for our minds. The term ‘superfood’ is frequently used for various different reasons, and an important one of these reasons is that there are several key foods which really help improve the power of our brains. Whether you’re busy at work or with your studies, planning for a special event or holiday (or just generally busy!) it’s really important to maintain a nutritious diet that will keep us both physically energised and mentally focused. Here are a few key foods that can really help our brains during exam time or leading up to an important event:
Wholegrains - like every other part of our bodies, our brains can’t work properly without energy. Concentration and focus comes from a regular and sufficient supply of energy being delivered to our brain. To achieve this, we should incorporate low GI grains into our diets which release energy slowly and steadily. Where possible, cut out refined sugars and starch and choose wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, wholegrain cereal… and you will start to notice the improvement in your concentration during lectures or revision time!
Oily Fish - not everyone’s favourite item on the menu, but they do contain essential fatty acids that we can’t produce ourselves so we have to get through our diet. These EFAs help improve our brain functioning power and encourages production of the ‘good mood’ chemical, serotonin which can do wonders for helping manage stress levels. If you don’t like the strong taste of oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, try including them subtly in a fish pie or fishcake mixed with other milder flavoured fish and mashed potato.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, linseeds or chia seeds can do a similar job. Pumpkin seeds are also a great ingredient - very rich in zinc, which is essential for enhancing memory and thinking skills. They are also full of the stress-busting chemical, magnesium. Nuts are another brilliant snack that are rich in vitamin E, handy to keep with you when you’re constantly on the go and keeping on top of a heavy workload.
Broccoli - a great source of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower. Studies have found that because broccoli contains a high quantity of compounds called glucosinolates, it can help keep our neurotransmitters functioning better and for longer, allowing the central nervous system do its job properly and keep our memories sharp.