Cooking in the winter
When it’s cold, cooking is more appealing. Broths, stews or any hot dish are ideal to battle the winter. During this season, we choose less salads and more creams.
We always try to choose healthy dishes for our family, but during this time of year, we also want them to be hot.
Furthermore, if you’re pregnant, you try to take better care of your nutrition. Experts recommend choosing seasonal foods, those that provide the highest caloric value and contain less fat. The best thing to do is to have a weekly calendar in order to follow a balanced, organised and varied diet. Several casseroles a week, without too much fat, lots of legumes and vegetables, creamed or baked, can be good options for a starter. The meal can be completed with a stew or seared or poached fish. It is recommended to eat five times a day.
In addition to eating, a good and proper hydration is very important. It’s even more important during this time, to ensure an ample liquid intake. Drinking a lot of water, eating several pieces of fruit every day (ideally between meals) and drinking natural juices is essential during pregnancy.
In order to control hydration and help ease a woman’s pregnancy, Solán de Cabras launches the Somum app, specially designed for them. This application will not only be a companion during gestation, but also during breastfeeding. The levels of hydration are measured by a smart bracelet, in a personalised and real time manner. Furthermore, the app includes health and nutrition tips, counts the calories consumed and the number of steps taken, advises on weight control and monitors Body Mass Index. An app created for pregnant women to obtain, at all times, information pertaining to their hydration levels, which are health levels.
Energy 24/7 – Tips to make you feel unstoppable
Feeling your energy drop mid-day and that your body needs a rest, is one of our more habitual problems, yet solving it is possible by incorporating foods, routines and healthy habits that will make us function better and feel more active.
These are our 5 tips for continuous energy:
–Eat breakfast as a foundation for the day: often, due to our routine or because we’re in a hurry, we neglect such an important step as is breakfast, and this lack of food is one of the most common causes of that tired mid-day sensation.
Include protein, slow-absorbing carbs and fruit in your first meal of the day, in order to help your body take off and last longer.
A tip you can add to your morning routine is to create a list of daily objectives; this will help you face and focus the day.
–Non-stop hydration: drinking at least 2 litres of water a day and keeping the body hydrated will ensure an adequate blood pressure and avoid bad circulation, with the muscles getting less oxygen and thus, making us feel fatigued.
–The importance of eating between meals: providing energy to our body in small doses throughout the day is key to maintaining high glucose levels and avoiding the fatigue caused by hypoglycaemia. Snacks such as nuts, dark chocolate or green tea will recharge our batteries.
–Stay active: contrary to popular belief, daily sports generate energy for our body to use subsequently for hours. A walk, an indoor bike circuit or a 20 minute run will make us feel more agile and active throughout the day.
–Resting is key: we shouldn’t sacrifice sleep time. A base of 7 to 8 hours of rest each day is essential for our performance. The lack of sleep affects our mental agility and bodily dexterity.
A tip to help you fall asleep faster? Lavender aromas and the use of diaphragmatic breathing: taking deep breaths, from the abdomen, will allow our body to relax and will induce a deep and repairing sleep.
DO WE KNOW WHAT WE DRINK? BRIEF MINERAL WATER DICTIONARY
We identify them by the shape of their bottle, their colour, and where they are located in the supermarket. Advertisements emphasise some words, we’ve gotten used to its taste and perhaps have even learned to distinguish it from others. But do we know what water we drink? What properties and benefits it offers us? The following is a brief dictionary to help you know what we drink and how we are affected by the minerals it contains. Types of water:
BICARBONATED: Water with over 600 mg/l of bicarbonate, good for people with gastric acidity and favours the elimination of uric acid. Bicarbonate water is recommended for people with difficult digestions as it boost s pancreatic exocrine secretion and favours digestive function and intestinal transit. Also associated with an improvement in cholesterol levels.
CALCIC: Each mineral water contains its specific minerals. Some have chloride, sulphates or iron. When water is calcic, it means it is rich in calcium. Water is calcic when its calcium content is greater than 150 mg per litre (milk contains 1200 mg of calcium per litre). Therefore, although its calcium content is not as high as it is in dairy products, it is still and extra source for the organism. Several studies consider that calcium is a contributing factor for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The presence of a certain amount of calcium in drinking water could reduce cardiovascular risk and help reduce systolic pressure (high blood pressure), through daily and frequent consumption. Furthermore, calcic water is associated with anti-allergenic, sedative and anti-inflammatory properties.
HYPOTHERMAL: It is the classification of the water based on its temperature. Subterranean water is classified as thermal depending on its temperature at its point of exit. In this case, hypothermal water is that which emanates at temperatures of between 20º and 35ºC.
LITHIA: Lithium is a mineral which has been used for ages to treat physical and psychological diseases, due to its calming and stabilising power. Furthermore, it is considered beneficial for people with skin conditions. Lithia water is that which has 1 mg of lithium per litre.
WEAK MINERALISATION: The type of water is determined by the geological characteristics of the terrain and the type of mineralisation depends on the rocks found in the springs. When water is categorised, by law, as water of weak mineralisation, it means it has up to 500 mg of minerals per litre. That’s all well and good but, what does it mean? Well, basically, that this type of mineralisation helps eliminate toxins faster than other types of water. It is smack in the middle. That is why it is recommended for babies, older adults (whose bodies have a harder time detoxing with age) and, for those with hypertension, renal conditions or water retention.
POTABLE: Potable water is any which can be consumed with normality as it does not surpass the tolerable sanitation limits. All mineral water is potable, but not all potable water is mineral. Running water that comes out from our kitchen tap is potable, it quenches our thirst, but it does not contain mineral salts. Only water categorised as such offers specific health benefits.
9 NATURAL SUGAR SUBSTITUTES
There’s been a lot of talk recently about sugar and its advantages and disadvantages for our health. As with most of the foods we eat, sugar or sucrose is not bad if we consume it in moderation, not in excess, as recommended by the Spanish of Basic Applied Nutrition (SENBA), which add the importance of following a balanced diet and practising physical exercise.
Remember that sugar, in addition to boosting the taste of our foods, provides our organism with energy, needed for the proper functioning of both our bran and our muscles and tissue. However, overindulging in sucrose could have adverse effects on the body, as its intake lowers the wish to eat nutritious foods, thus incurring in dietary deficiencies. On the other hand, some of the most problematic conditions of the XXI Century are associated with high sugar consumption, such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cancer or alzheimer’s, among others. That is why we must be cautious and, most of all, be aware of the pros and cons of this delicious additive.
Along this line, and thinking of those people who choose substitutes for natural sugar which are less harmful to the organism, here are a few replacements. We begin with stevia, a plant that has leaves which are sweeter than sugar, it is native to South America and is low-calorie. It has an active ingredient called estevioside which works like a hypoglycaemic and has a hypotensive effect.
Another interesting product which provides the sweet taste we like so much is honey, the oldest natural sweetener, composed of a mixture of glucose and fructose, as well as small quantities of vitamins, minerals, free amino acids and protein. It is a very caloric food, yet is a splendid source of energy, which is why so many people include it in their breakfasts, to start the day with a boost. Apple concentrate is another alternative, made by slow-cooking the juice provided by this fruit.
Other options are malt or barley syrups, half as sweet as white sugar; agave syrup, obtained from the root of a typically American cactus and used by the Incas and Aztecs from time immemorial; whole rice syrup, which tastes similar to caramel and provides nutrients for our organism; or even the infamous maple syrup which so many American pour over their hot cakes and ice cream, it comes from a natural tree native to Canada and the Nordics and is a delicious sweetener containing important proteins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium or potassium.
Some people prefer whole sugar, obtained from the sugar cane juice, or even coconut sugar, very present in Asian dishes. The latter contains a very low glycemic index and high levels of minerals and vitamins, in fact, the World Bank’s Committee on Food and Agriculture (FAO) considers it one of the most sustainable sweeteners on the planet, as it comes from a tree which is beneficial for the natural ecosystem.
Although there are natural substitutes as those previously mentioned, sugar is currently consumed in over one hundred countries around the world, reaching 120 million tons, a number which doesn’t stop increasing, which is why there is greater awareness-raising on behalf of international organisms, who are trying to prevent the pandemics of this century from winning the battle.
TRICKS FOR PRESERVING FOOD PROPERTIES FOR LONGER
Learning to adequately preserve food allows then to retain all their essential nutrients and makes them last longer in our pantries and freezers. For this reason, it’s important to know small tricks which will help us keep our food in the best state possible, not only during the summer. You will need airtight containers and jars, as well as kitchen paper and plastic bags, they will be your greatest allies in this objective. Another key point, before beginning to ask around for advice, is to avoid raw foods come in contact with cooked food, whether inside the fridge or outside; thus, it is advisable to place the prepared dishes in the top of the fridge and all uncooked food in the bottom. Another non-written rule we should all keep in mind is to avoid storing fruits and vegetables together, as – due to many of these foods emitting ethylene gas – if we place them together, they will rot faster and will lose some of their properties and vitamins.
Tricks for preserving food properties for longer.
One of the most common ways of preserving our food for longer is to freeze it, a process which, in addition to eliminating parasites present in fish, such as anisakis, allows for the consumption of those products to be delayed without it supposing a loss of nutrients or flavour, as long as it is carried out adequately, using special bags and containers. You must keep in mind that not all food or dishes should be frozen, as is the case, for example, with hard-boiled eggs, cooked potatoes or raw tomatoes as their quality will diminish. Don’t forget to never freeze anything that has already been thawed.
Other popular natural preservation techniques are to vacuum pack, preventing the air from oxidising our food and bacteria from forming, fermentation, ideal method for wine or beer, dehydration, which entails removing the water from the products, leaving them dried, the use of vinegar as an optimum preservative for certain vegetables, or salting, used for meat and fish. There are also those who lean more towards bain-marie, placing the food in glass jars filled with water which will later be boiled in a pot, also filled with water, for approximately fifty minutes. More rudimentary, but equally effective, is the process of preserving with sand and salt, used to keep potatoes or onion, and must be in a dry place, removed from sunlight.
We will now pass on small tricks, for specific foods, which will be very useful. We will begin with fruit, it is recommended that it be kept in the lower drawer of the fridge in order to be better preserved, except for bananas which will turn black. Something else to keep in mind is that apples ripen the fruit placed around them, so it’s best to keep them separate. If we want our vegetables to stay fresh, we must put them in the fridge, placing a clean, dry sponge next to them in the lower drawer of the fridge, as it will absorb excess humidity and will prevent them from getting moistened and rotting faster.
For meat, protect it with the special wrapping it came in from the butcher’s or in cling film, in order for it to maintain its original colour and be better preserved; if you want to avoid a smelly fridge, smear the meat in oil. Fish should also be placed in the coldest part of the fridge and packed in an airtight container so as to prevent its smell from impregnating other foods.
A very useful tip for better preserving onions is to wrap them individually in aluminium foil, if what you’re trying to preserve is half an onion, smear it with butter and keep in mind that, once started, it is not recommended to keep for more than a day as it generates toxins. Eggs should stay fresh for longer if you submerge them in olive oil for a few seconds and place them in the fridge with the pointy side down.
We hope you’ve found these simple tips practical,and that they help to lengthen the life span of your essentials and better preserve their properties.
THE BENEFITS OF JUICE BASED ON ITS COLOUR
Fruit is an essential part of a healthy and varied diet. Because of this, juices are, for some, a quick and tasty way to have their daily “ration” of fruit, of ingesting the minerals and vitamins their bodies need.
Thanks to their high fibre content, nutritious properties and hydrating action, juices provided many health benefits, among which some add their purifying and detoxing action, present in certain diets.
The Spanish Association of Juice Manufacturers even details the benefits offered by juices depending on their colour:
– Thus, white and green juices (from pear and/or apple) protect our cells, thanks to a bioactive compound known as flavonoids, and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.
– As for blue and dark red juices (from berries), they help increase blood flow and reduce vascular inflammation thanks their content of anthocyanins (polyphenols).
– In the case of red juices (tomato, grapefruit, watermelon, guava, papaya), the bioactive component of the red pigment known as lycopene (carotenoid) reduces the probabilities of suffering prostate cancer and prevents cardiovascular diseases.
– Orange and yellow coloured juices (carrot, apricot, mango, pineapple…) are composed of beta-carotene (carotenoid), which acts as an antioxidant in our organism, capturing free radicals, reducing the risk of cancer and improving our immune system.
Furthermore, apples help bowel movements due to the gel-forming fibre, pectin, found in its skin. They have a flavonoid called floridzine which can protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis and can also increase bone density. Boron, another ingredient in apples, also strengthens bones. They reduce cholesterol.
The high content of vitamin K is essential in fixing calcium to the bones, which is why it’s important for bone health. And they are easily ingested in juices.
Spinach and its high fibre content make it an obvious intestinal tract cleanser. The system is cleansed through the elimination of residue accumulated in the digestive tract by way of a soft laxative effect. It regenerates and re activates red blood cells in the blood and supplies fresh oxygen to the body due to its high iron content.
WHY WE SAY YES TO ECOLOGICAL FOODS
These foods are tastier, have more nutrients, they are healthier for our organism, free of toxic residues and are respectful with the environment. It is truly important to include them in our gastronomy. Want to know more?
Do we know the difference between biological, ecological and organic food? Although in Spanish legislation these are all synonyms, there are slight differences between these terms, basically focused on emphasising certain intrinsic aspects of each product. Although generally speaking, these are foods which come from ecological agriculture and which are therefore free of industrial or chemical treatments, it is important to point out that ecological foods are those that originate in a space which is environmentally respectful, while the “bio” category emphasises that the food has not suffered genetic alterations and, lastly, the word “organic” highlights that the product is free of transgenics and pesticides.
Foods that meet these characteristics are, in addition to being tastier, more beneficial to our health, as they prevent our organism from storing toxic residues which can even lead to the development of certain cancers or allergies. Furthermore, our body better assimilates nutrients – greater in these types of foods – when we digest something natural and free of industrial additives. We should keep in mind that in order for the organism to absorb the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibre it needs to function with normality, the consumption of vegetables should be varied and balanced.
Aside from being beneficial for you, ecological foods are also beneficial for the environment, as they come from sustainable agriculture and ranching, which carry out a rational use of natural resources, not jeopardising them for future generations. They also avoid pollution and favour biodiversity.
Ecological foods, by dispensing with chemical substances, avoid air, land and water pollution. Furthermore, by employing more respectful techniques, they generate an increase in the soil’s biological activity. Ecological agriculture requires a greater work volume and thus generates employment in rural areas. The search for medicinal and therapeutic effects provided by foods should be carried out under medical supervision.
If to this we add the “sustainability” factor of ecological farming with the environment, the benefits of ecological foods multiply. In rebuttal, it should be mentioned that their current price is elevated and they are not that easy to find.
ALGAE: RICH INGREDIENTS FOR YOUR DIET
From seawater to your Tupperware, these vegetables have a lot to offer your gastronomy: flavours, textures and nutrients. Algae are in.
Spain is a leading force in the use of fresh algae which is used more and more in haute cuisine. More than 600 species are cultivated just in the Galician coast! Infinite flavours, textures and nutrients which can be easily incorporated into salads and sides in a wide variety of dishes.
Algae are widely used in Chinese medicine, but their therapeutic uses have been practically unexplored in the west. Preliminary studies suggest that certain polysaccharides called fucoidans and which are generally found in brown algae such as kombu and wakame, could have anti-carcinogenic properties. However, these possible health benefits have yet to be proven in humans. The fibre in algae is beneficial for the digestive system and the metabolism of lipids. It seems they also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, although this aspect has also not yet been proven in people. Algae are an excellent source of fibre, minerals and phytonutrients. The can be consumed safely, although you should be careful with some varieties which have elevated levels of salt, iodine or heavy metals that could be harmful. Generally speaking, marine algae are a useful complement for achieving a varied diet. Try them crumbled over rice, baked potatoes and salads, or add them to soups, broths, casseroles or stews.
Aside from being exquisite to the palate, they are an invaluable source of health (they have more calcium than dairy products and more iron than lentils). Although the use of marine vegetables is not new in the kitchen, their use in new recipes increases every day, from north to south. When will you include them in your diet?
If you’d like to learn more, check out the complete article:
HEALTHY BUT HIGH-CALORIE FOODS: MODERATE EATING
Not everything healthy is light. There are healthy foods which, although they provide many benefits, should not be consumed in excess if you’re intending a balanced diet.
Seeds: Source of unsaturated fatty acids and minerals. 600Kcal/100g.
Dried fruit: Source of fibre and micronutrients. 300Kcal/100g.
Nuts: Source of nutrients such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E and omega 3. 600Kcal/100g.
Dark chocolate: Source of antioxidant polyphenols, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. 500Kcal/100g.
Fruit and vegetable juices: Source of vitamin C, potassium, sodium and other micronutrients. 100Kcal/glass
Olive oil: Source of unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E. 900Kcal/100cc.
Honey: Source of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. 300Kcal/100g.
Now you know; healthy food doesn’t mean calorie-free, so be cautious when you eat them. Although, water, that you can drink as much as you like!
A BALANCED MENU FOR A PERFECT DAY
We present our proposal of a balanced menu:
A glass of water to hydrate and calm the sensation of hunger. You can also try an anti-ageing elixir with half a lemon and a tablespoon of olive oil.
As complete as possible. It should include vitamins, low-fat dairy, protein, and carbs. A good and tasty option? Wholegrain toast with scrambled eggs and salmon. And fresh fruit, lots of it!
The ideal snack to satiate hunger is a piece of fruit. You can add 5 or 6 natural almonds. If you’re into salty, have some protein, like tuna or a ham and cheese roll.
Time to have an energizing dish to take you through the remainder of the day, without too many calories. Ideal: a chickpea salad or cooked lentils. And a low-fat yoghurt for dessert!
When hunger hits in the afternoon, eat! If you’re going to the gym later, choose a banana or a cereal bar. If you won’t be exercising, a fruit or a piece of dark chocolate will do nicely.
It must be healthy and light, centred on protein. A portion of baked oily fish, accompanied by steamed vegetables is the ideal dish. And to finish: a relaxing herbal tea and a couple of ounces of dark chocolate.
Before going to sleep, take a stroll to clear your mind and help with digestion.
Furthermore, it is recommended that you drink water or fruit juices, prepared with water and without sugar, half an hour before eating, to aid digestion, and at least 1 hour after eating, so as not to interrupt the digestion of solid foods. It’s also important to drink a glass of water as soon as we wake up, then let 15 to 20 minutes pass before having breakfast. Throughout the day, when our stomach is “empty”, is another great time to drink a glass of water, as is right before going to sleep, although you should reduce the amount to half a glass, or less, to avoid having to get up in the middle of the night, interrupting valuable sleep.