Latest Nutrition/Food News



A reminder that this list doesn’t try and cover everything but a selection along with some alternative inspirational ways of using them rather than the normal steam, boil, bake...Feel free to contact me via or Twitter @Ninanutrition, with your ideas, I will try then and then if I use them in future editions I will credit you accordingly.  You can also check out my foodie travels by visiting my travelogue







The shorter days, a crispness both underfoot and in the air means that this is certainly the time to retrieve the slow cooker if you have had it packed away over the summer.  I must admit mine is out all year round and used regularly.  Soups and casseroles are now starting to reappear in all the popular magazines.  So using some of the locally sourced and abundant seasonal foods will maximise your spend and hopefully your nutrition too.  You will find quite a few recipes on my recipe pages to entice and encourage you to be creative.

Below is a selection of foods and a few different ideas to help you enjoy them or try them if it happens to be something you hadn’t cooked before.


Plums – I have had to start with these following quite a glut on our tree this year  Obviously after you have made the jam, crumble and eaten a few ripe ones what else are you going to do with them. Well Poached in white wine with a drizzle of honey and a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon makes quite a grown up dessert.

Plums go really well with pork or duck so cook along side your meat and then squash slightly when serving and they blend into the cooking juices.

Plums are a good sauce of potassium, which is useful I regulating blood pressure.


Butternut Squash – if you have ever walked the back lanes of Greece, you see butternut squash growing like weeds, often in abundance far too many to use.  I must admit I enjoy it peeled, deseeded and chunked then roasted in olive oil and garlic.

Soup – I designed this last year and it is now a firm favourite -

Peel, deseed and chunk one butternut squash, 

6 green cardomom pods

Take 1 leek, clean and chop

1 litre of veg stock or water if you prefer as the flavours are strong. [ Watch the salt content if you use a stock cube]

In a heavy pan, pour tablespoon of rapeseed or olive oil, fry the whole cardomon seeds for approx 3 mins then add the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer till the squash is tender, remove the cardomon pods and blend till smooth.  Here you have a delicious soup.  It is great at this point if you have some leftover cooked chicken, shred the meat then stir it in and heat thoroughly.  A very well balanced meal giving you protein lots of Vit A and complex carbohydrates a great way of getting 2 of your 5+ veg portions in one meal.


Aubergine – another favourite of this time of year. You know that you don’t need to salt this delicious vegetable. All you need to do is slice it lengthways, drizzle with a little oil and place on a baking tray and cook for approx 10 mins till it starts to soften. Then use either in your moussaka or on its own baked with a cinnamon tomato sauce – there is a recipe on my recipe pages that you can use for this. Also you will find that cumin and mint work incredibly well with the flavour of aubergine. This really is a versatile vegetable and can be stuffed, grilled, baked, sliced dipped in flour and fried – often a popular starter in a Greek Taverna. If you are really overrun by aubergine, then consider using one for a dip, mash a cooked aubergine with yoghurt, mint , garlic and cumin then enjoy......


Beetroot – don’t just use as a vegetable but use in your chocolate cake recipes, it adds an earthy yet sweet taste and keeps the cake moist. It became quite popular with the lower calorie recipes, yet how very healthy. I do find that when I cook beetroot and I have been known to throw some in the slow cooker with water to cook it, although it does lose some extra colour I find doing it this way, however if you are short of time this may be an option. When you come to peel it remember to pop those rubber gloves on otherwise it can look like a murder has been committed.


Watercress – should always come from fresh, flowing water, never from still water. It is related to mustard, coupled with its peppery flavour its certainly gives a warm glow when you eat it. You can use all of stems rather like bean sprouts, so in stir fries. Whilst the leaves add flavour and nutrients to any salad. As a filling with either beef and horseradish or egg mayonnaise to enhance your sandwiches. Watercress is a real nutrient dense food, it is packed with Vitamins A and K, perfect for keeping bones healthy and eyes, helps keep the cardiovascular system healthy and its packed with antioxidants.


Spinach – ideal to add to stews, soups and curries.  I also like to likely steam add black pepper then mix in some crème fraiche and serve immediately with a plain roast meat or a fillet of fish.


Onions – doesnt matter which colour you prefer be it red or brown.  These are a powerhouse to help prevent colds and boost the immune syste.  When you cut or slice one try not to cut through the root as this is where most of the sulphur rich oil lives that makes you cry when you peel onions.  So cut this last.... if at all


A lovely warming dish is a white onion soup, where the key to keeping the colour is not to brown the onions but just soften them when cooking.

A good warming dish is a rich onion gravy served over sausages. - delicious.


Another is to make a fools cassoulet, using onion, cannelini beans and sausages and making a sauce with tomato based spiciness then throw together in the slow cooker and come home to a one pot meal.  Just need a chunk of bread to go with it.


Kohlraabi – peel away the thick skin and the inner fibrous bit twill you reach crisp flesh which you can steam, eat raw, stir fry, casserole.  If you pick one up with the leaves still attached use the leaves as you would spinach.  This veg makes a good alternative to mash it is lower in calories and if you add some 0% fat free yoghurt to it you can really make a substantial creamy mash without the fat.

Alternatively slice into thin rounds, lightly brush olive oil over and dust with ras el hanout spice then cook on a baking tray until crisp and brown.


Feathers wise you will find wild duck, partridge, pheasant, and guinea fowl available. These all are complimented by blackberries either cooked with them or a sauce made of them to serve with them.  The richness of the game is complimented by the slighty tartiness of the fruit.


Blackberries - we have just said accompany  seasonal game dishes, but dont just then revert to crumble or pie, whilst nothging wrong with that it is nice to be imaginative and take 50ml of wine vinegar, mash 4 blackberries into it and serve with goats cheese either on their own or on crostini pieces of toasted bread






Some interesting nutritional articles to give you "food for thought"!


Tomatoes are a major source of lycopene, which is a carotene [ vitamin A sourced] antioxidant, it is known to help fight heart disease and also preventative against prostate cancer.

Tomatoes also have anticoagulant properties and contain a good source of vitamin C, potassium [ helps to regulate the body's fluids] and fibre.

Tomatoes are unusual because the lycopene is more active in processed tomato products such as tinned, puréed, tomato juice and ketchup rather than in their raw form. However, don’t discard the raw product as there is a way to maximise the lycopene and to help you do this ;-

  • the redder and more ripe the tomato is the higher its content of lycopene


  • Vine ripened tomatoes contain more lycopene than those ripened after picking, because they are ripening whilst still taking goodness from the mother plant.

  • Tomato peel is richer in nutrients that the flesh and the central seed is high in salicylates [an anticoagulant] so avoid peeling and don’t de seed unless you have too.

  • The Lycopene in raw tomatoes is better absorbed by the body if its eaten with some oil i.e. olive oil dressing in a salad dressing.

The additional benefit of using oil works with either raw or cooked tomatoes as it helps the lycopene to be absorbed better by the body. This is because the lycopene is from the Vitamin A source, Vitamin A being a fat soluble vitamin.



A very general guideline for a low-oxalate diet 

is to eat meat, dairy and eggs, which are very low sources of oxalate. Plant foods and virtually all nuts and seeds are low to high sources. Some examples of high level foods are almonds,spinach, soy milk, potato and tomato.


A low-oxalate diet may benefit sufferers of kidney stones as well as those suffering from many other chronic conditions. Oxalate are organic acids that occur naturally in plants, animals and humans. Only when there is an excess or sensitivity to them are there problems such as kidney stones, inflammation, pain, and irritation of tissue and mucous membranes. They are eliminated in the urine, but because they are crystallized in structure when combined with calcium, they may irritate vulvar tissue and cause vulvar pain.


An acceptable amount for those following a low-oxalate diet is between 40 to 60 milligrams a day. Levels present in foods can vary according to factors such as the type of soil the food has been cultivated in, the climate, and the cooking methods.

The issue of oxalates in the body is very closely linked to gut problems and gut function. People who have these problems find that one of the benefits of a low-oxalate diet is improved gut function. Others who follow this diet but did not have any initial kidney trouble have experienced improvements in other chronic conditions.

Drinking water can help dilute oxalate in the blood and make it easier for you to flush it out of your body, reducing your risk of kidney stones. Drink at least 8 to 12 cups of fluid each day. Citric acid from lemons and other citrus fruits can also help prevent the formation of calcium oxalate fluids


Although a high level of calcium in the blood is associated with the development of kidney stones, calcium in the diet may be able to protect against kidney stones. Dietary calcium, such as that found in dairy, can bind to the oxalate in the digestive tract and keep the oxalate from being absorbed. Three to four servings of dairy each day may help neutralize oxalate from the diet


Hard water (which contains calcium and magnesium) is likely to exert a beneficial effect with respect to oxalate absorption because these minerals will tie up much of the oxalate consumed in the diet within the gastrointestinal tract, thereby decreasing oxalate absorption. Less oxalate absorption translates to less oxalate gaining access to various tissues within the body.


Most foods do not contain significant amounts of oxalate. The primary sources of dietary oxalate are plants and plant products. Although the physiological role of oxalate in plants is not clearly understood, it is well established that a number of plants have the ability to synthesize oxalate. Seeds and leafy plants related to spinach and rhubarb contain the most oxalate.


Meat:All fresh and frozen meats: beef, pork, chicken, turkey; fish and seafood such as flounder, salmon, tuna, shrimp, scallops; and eggs. (Avoid cured meats.)

Dairy: Dairy products made with cow’s and goat’s milk, including buttermilk, skim milk, 1% and 2% milk, whole milk; butter; all cheeses, including cheddar, feta, farmer, goat, mozzarella, Parmesan; sour cream, whipping cream, half & half; yogurt, plain, or with low oxalate fruit.

Fruits: Apples, avocados, cherries, cranberries, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon), seedless grapes (red and green), peaches, plums.

Vegetables:Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers; iceberg and Romaine lettuce; radishes, mushrooms, onions (yellow and white); squash (zucchini, acorn, and yellow); red sweet peppers, turnips (root), water chestnuts.


Beverages:Spring and filtered water, chamomile tea, ginger ale, beer, apple juice, apple cider.


Chocolate:White chocolate.


Grains:White and wild rice; barley.


Herbs and Spices: Basil, cilantro, mustard, nutmeg, white pepper, saffron, tarragon, vanilla, salt.


Condiments: Mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar.


Nuts, Peas and Seeds: Coconut; black-eyed peas, green peas, and yellow split peas; flax seeds.


Fats and Oils: All vegetable oils, including olive, rapeseed, safflower, soy; margarine. My preference would be a good quality Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil – this is the best olive oil for not having been “messed about with”


Sweets and Sweeteners: Sugar (white), maple syrup, corn syrup, honey.


Increasing your calcium intake when eating foods with oxalate can help lower oxalate levels in the urine. Choose high-calcium dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt, and cheeses. Vegetables can also provide a good amount of calcium. Choose broccoli, watercress, kale, or okra to increase your calcium levels. Cheese, milk and buttermilk are all low in oxalate and valuable sources of calcium, vitamin D and protein. Calcium is important within a low oxalate diet, says the NKF, because it binds oxalate in foods, preventing its absorption. Choose low-fat dairy products most often to avoid excessive saturated fat intake, which can increase inflammation and kidney stone symptoms.


Many fruits are considered low-oxalate, meaning they contain less than 2 milligrams per serving. These include bananas, cherries, grapefruit, grapes, mangoes, melons, green and yellow plums and nectarines. Canned fruits including peaches and pears and dried fruits such as raisins are also low in oxalate.


Low-oxalate vegetables, which are also low in calories, include cabbage, chives, cauliflower, cucumbers, endive, kohlrabi, mushrooms, radishes and water chestnuts. Peas, which are legumes, are also low-oxalate.





Certain illness affects your immunity and can leave it lacking the fight and a little weak.

Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are two such illness. This reduced immunity means that a simple cold can turn into a chest infection, a muscle twinge can last months with swelling and pain, what others fight of quickly lasts and lingers.

Inflammation is high in the body with both these forms of arthritis, it is caused because the antibodies produced by the body attack itself as opposed to just fighting infection.

Medication prescribed for such illness help manage the pain but leave the immunity very weak, so one thing you can do is ensure that your nutritional intake maximises the nutrients from the food you eat, so, it might be worth a bit of a food stock-take and some home truths to help you self manage your condition.


Your 5+ a day portions of fruit and veg needs to become far more than this, originally the advice was to have 7-9 a day but it was felt by some that this was not achievable when the averages in Northern Europe fall well short of this recommendation. In fact consider this key information when deciding which lifestyle or food diet to follow;-


In the UK Britons east 258g of fruit and vegetables per day compared with a European Average of 386g [ and this is higher still in Greece – hence my love of the Greek Diet]

So you can guess from this what the first thing is you are going to do;-


  • Up your fruit and vegetable intake

  • Concentrate on your vegetable green leafy and ensure it is there every day in one form or another

  • include garlic and onions

  • Boost also by using any cooking liquid and make into a vegetable broth to capture every last bit of goodness.


Concentrate on including foods which include the following vitamins and minerals as these are known to have the biggest influence on our immune system, these are;-

  • Vitamins A, C, D and E

  • Zinc – helps viruses enter the body

  • Selenium – acts like a sponge mopping up the free radicals caused by infection once in the body

  • iron

  • copper


Some of these help protect the nasal and mouth lining which in turn can prevent nasties entering the body. Others such as a vitamin D rich yoghurt will help to keep the gut bacteria healthy and in turn help with the fighting of illness.


You can see that if you are suffering from any of these immune depleting illnesses one of the worst things you can do is to cut all healthy fats out of your diet, Avocado is a great source of Vitamin E, yet left out of diets owing to its high fat content. This healthy fat along with olive oil is integral to keeping you healthy. Like anything its important to vary your diet, unprocess your diet but not remove any food groups i.e. dairy free, wheat free unless you have a medical need to do so that has been confirmed.





Around 50% of a woman's body and 60% of a man's body is made of water. Water is needed by every single cell in your body to help it function properly, to keep healthy you need to drink 6 – 8 glasses [each being 225ml or 8fl oz in old money!] of water every day. In hot weather or if you exercise this amount needs to be increased.


Not drinking enough water can result in;-

  • feeling tired

  • dry eyes

  • headaches

  • dry mouth

  • difficulty concentrating.


Drinking enough water also gives many positive health benefits including;-

  • fewer cases of kidney stones

  • lower risk of colon cancer

  • not as many urinary tract infections

  • lower risk of urinary cancer

  • less chance of constipation


So as you can see there are many reasons to drink enough water. In addition to the above water also;-

  • controls body temperature

  • assists with weight control

  • gives you energy

  • transports nutrients and waste in and out of cells

  • stops dehydration

  • keeps digestive processes healthy


For Children, they are less likely to feel a need to drink, this is because the mechanism in their body which alerts them to being thirsty doesn't fully form until they are a little older. So especially during hot weather, when they also don't perspire as much as adults do, this means their bodies do not control their temperature. So it is important that they are encouraged to drink water especially during and after exercise to prevent heatstroke and dehydration.


A good tip for anyone is to carry a bottle of water, not only is it on hand then but it is measured so you know exactly how much you are drinking.


On the adverse side of the coin, excess drinking of water can result in the body losing nutritional salts which in turn cause a confused state to set in. This is often prevalent in the elderly and can be mistaken for the early onset of dementia.



Some recent donations

From my talks over the last few months I have been able to support the following charities

Blood Bikes £100, Gnosall First Responders £100, Pensioners Presents in the village at Christmas £150, Lions Club £100 - A Grand total to date of £450 from my Food and Nutrition Talks. 


Handing over a £100 donation, from some talks and masterclasses I have delivered in the last months at Good Food and Nutrition, to the Staffordshire and Shropshire Blood Bikes to help keep the wheels turning throughout the year.  Volunteers do a sterling job, spending many hours transporting life saving blood, breast milk and other medical supplies to our hospitals across Staffordshire and Shropshire. and supporting our hospitals in Staffs and Shropshire including a little bit of Cheshire and the borderland of Wales too.
Have a read of my blog to catch up on my recent foodie adventures!. 

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BBC Radio Shropshire - Invited to be the guest on their Food Programme, where I spent the hour promoting local and seasonal foods, sharing ideas and recipes to get you cooking.



Thank you to all the people who took part in my Mediterranean Masterclasses at Ludlow Food Festival, we had a great time, lots of nutrition tips, cookery ideas and you all had the opportunity to cook with me and create the dishes to eat and enjoy.