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Understanding the balance of bacteria in your body’s gut microbiome can be the key to unlocking good health far beyond the gut itself. The good news is, you can achieve a healthy gut through food and exercise. Naturopathic doctor Sally Horrobin explains how…

Eat a rainbow

‘The different colours and flavours found within the plant kingdom are known as phytonutrients and contain powerful healing properties. You also encourage a more diverse gut microbiome by including many different plant compounds.’

Enjoy prebiotic foods daily

‘Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrate molecules that nourish and stimulate the growth of good bacteria while promoting a reduction in disease-causing bacteria. Foods that have high amounts of prebiotics include asparagus, avocados, bananas, aubergine, garlic, legumes, beetroot, onions, peas, leeks, oats, dairy (if tolerated) and sweet potatoes.’

Try fermented foods

Read more: 5 things to remember when making fermented foods

‘Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, yoghurt, kombucha, miso and fermented vegetables are “pre-digested”, and contain live beneficial bacterial strains that enhance our gut microbiota.’

Add foods high in resistant starch

‘Beans, cooked and cooled grains, green bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, nuts and seeds are all good sources. They increase healthy gut bacteria by resisting digestion in the small intestine and acting as a food source for bacteria which mainly colonise the large intestine.’

Ground flaxseeds and chia seeds will keep you regular

‘At breakfast, add a heaped tablespoon of each to yoghurt, porridge or smoothies. They are rich in prebiotic fibre to support your gut bacteria, and they contain all-important omega-3 to help support heart and brain health.’

Stay fit

‘We think of doing exercise to strengthen our muscles, bones and heart, but keeping fit also benefits our gut microbiome. Exercise improves the blood flow to the abdominal cavity and intestines, and movement stimulates and tones the digestive tract, promoting healthy digestion.’

Read more: Why healing your gut could make you happier

The post How to boost your healthy gut bacteria appeared first on Healthy Magazine | Food | Fitness | Beauty | Health.

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While veganism has recently acquired a hipster cachet, thanks in no small part to buzzy UK festivals and markets, its surging popularity (that’s a 360 per cent rise to over half a million people in the past decade) can be felt pulsing through the country.

Motivations for making the switch range from health benefits (studies show it can help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol and type 2 diabetes) to animal welfare and environmental reasons, such as reducing your ecological footprint.

But if you’re wondering how to go vegan yourself, or are simply looking to reduce your meat, fish and dairy intake, we’ve got some tips to help you on your way.

Planning is key

Eliminating meat, fish and dairy no longer means a life of eating gem lettuce salads, but it does require some thought. Finding foods which you enjoy is the key to longevity and, as long as you’re keeping an eye on the nutrients you’re putting into your body, it can also be a healthy path to follow.

Read more: Meat free? Make sure you get these 4 essential nutrients

Check the labels

Although there are certain foods we automatically think of as vegan – fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and seeds – a surprising number aren’t actually free from animal products. Make sure you check the labels of all packaged foods, such as stock cubes, sauces, spreads and wine – ingredients to look out for include whey, casein and lactose, which are all derived from milk.

Try these easy food swaps:

Dairy milk: Soy, rice, oat, hemp, or nut milk are good options.

Read more: Which plant milk is the right one for you?

Cheese: There are numerous award-winning vegan cheeses readily available; alternatively try crumbled tofu or soaked raw nuts in place of cottage cheese or ricotta.

Eggs: In baking, go for a flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed and 3 tbsp water), or try an on-trend tofu scramble or chickpea omelette.

Honey: Sub in agave nectar or maple syrup instead.

Gelatine: Opt for agar-agar or vege-gel, which are both made from seaweed.

Protein: Tempeh, tofu and seitan are the ones to know about. Jackfruit, the tropical fruit native to South America and South-East Asia, is also becoming a meat replacement thanks to its pulled pork-esque texture, but serve it with beans to add protein.

Read more: 5 things you need to know about vegetarian protein

The post How to switch to a vegan diet appeared first on Healthy Magazine | Food | Fitness | Beauty | Health.

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Ouch, got sunburnt? We’ve got five home remedies that will soothe your UV-damaged skin within minutes.

Aloe Vera

Perhaps the most widely known remedy for those stinging sunburns, Aloe Vera is notorious for its use in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. So, what is Aloe Vera? Originating from the Arabian Peninsula, Aloe Vera – or Aloe Barbadensis – has been harvested for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Known as the ‘burn plant’, it is jam-packed with natural antioxidant properties that will soothe your sunburned skin. Just apply Hollland and Barrett Aloe Vera Gel, repeat whenever needed, and you’re all good!

Read more: What it does… aloe vera

Greek Yoghurt

Who knew your breakfast yoghurt could calm that nasty sunburn? Containing plenty of beneficial probiotics, such as lactic acid bacteria, it will help your burns heal better and faster. Simply apply a tiny dollop of cold yoghurt on top of your blistering skin and it will work its magic within minutes.

Oats

Oatmeal baths – are they a thing? Apparently. To calm your itchy and irritated sunburned skin, add a cup of whole oats to your evening bath. Full of anti-inflammatory properties, it will help calm those burns. Alternatively, mix some ground oats with milk and honey and apply to your UV-damaged skin. Done!

Black tea bags

Earl Grey, Assam or Darjeeling – what’s your cup of tea? Black tea and its anti-bacterial tannic acids works wonders on sunburned skin. Gently apply one or two – soaked and preferably chilled – tea bags onto your skin, leave for a moment and they should ease your pain shortly.

Honey

Oh, honey! Filled with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as highly rich in natural antioxidants, honey is a brilliant remedy for your sunburned skin. To try, apply a thin layer of honey onto your damaged areas and let it sit for up to 30 minutes before rinsing it off. Sweet!

Read more: 7 tips for sunburn relief to try ASAP

The post 5 sunburn remedies straight from your kitchen cupboard appeared first on Healthy Magazine | Food | Fitness | Beauty | Health.

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Hard on muscles but kind on joints, barre workouts are ideal to add into your fitness regime at home or away as they can be easily done with just a chair as a prop.

Strengthen and tone the entire lower body with these six barre moves from fitness expert Louisa Drake. This low-impact, high-intensity, at-home barre workout uses bodyweight to achieve a longer, leaner body and peachy posterior in just 15 minutes.

Start with a simple warm-up to get the body ready and mind focussed. Try some dynamic stretches or jogging for five minutes, then move onto the barre exercises. Follow parts A and B, exercises 1-6 with short rests in-between.

1 Wide second plié

Targets: Glutei, quads, hamstrings, abs, especially pelvic floor.

Alignment & setup: Facing profile, one hand on a chair or countertop, the other lengthens out in line with shoulder. Step feet to point to the corners of the room. Legs are externally rotated and turned out. Lower hips in-between legs into a plié. Knees track over toes (watch for knee placement). Weight is centred between both legs. Torso is vertical, shoulders relaxed.

Movement:
Part A – Bend both knees, lower hips towards floor, wrapping thighs back. Hold for 2 seconds before lifting up to stand. Engage glutes and pull up the thighs. Reps: 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge.

Part B – Stay low in wide second plié and wrap or press the thighs back and forwards to engage glutes for 20-30 seconds, or double up for a greater burn.

Tips: Imagine you are sliding down a wall and aim to get your thighs horizontal to the floor. Don’t let the bottom stick out.

2 Curtsy lunge

Targets: Glutes, quads, inner thighs, calves, abs and back.

Alignment & setup: Start facing the chair or countertop using both hands for support, vertical spine, feet in a ballet first position or small V. Heels together, toes apart so you form a narrow V. Stagger the legs with one foot slightly crossed behind the opposite shoulder. Hips and shoulders square. Knees track over middle toes and back heel is lifted. Don’t go low if you’ve any knee issues.

Movement:
Part A – Bend both knees and lower the back knee towards the floor. Hold for two seconds before lifting up to stand and squeezing the glutes tight and pulling up the front thigh. Reps: 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge.

Part B – Stay low in curtsy lunge and pulse the back knee up an inch and down an inch for 20-30 seconds or double up for a greater burn.
Repeat on the other side.

Tips: Don’t rush through the movement. Keep everything controlled, watch your knee placement and nail the technique.

Read more: Full body barre workout

3 Vertical V

Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and abs.

Alignment & setup: Facing profile, one hand on chair or countertop, the other on hip. Start in ballet first position or small V. Heels together and lifted at least two inches off the floor, toes apart, vertical spine, abdominals engaged, shoulders above hips, knees over middle toes.

Movement:
Part A – Pilé with heels lifted and glued together. Knees are slightly bent but as you lower your hips to your heels your quads will engage and maybe even shake (this is normal). Hold it for two seconds in a deep position before lifting. Make sure the knees stay bent and heels are connected. Really squeeze your glutes together on the lift without straightening the knees fully. Reps – 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge.

Part B – Stay halfway down in a vertical V and add pulses up an inch and down an inch for 20-30 seconds or double up for a greater burn.

Tips: Imagine there is a piece of string on the crown of your head connected to the ceiling to help your posture. The more you press your heels together, the harder the glutes will work.

4 Attitude leg lift

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, abs and back.

Alignment & setup: Facing the chair or countertop, lightly rest hands on top. Walk feet back underneath hips, ballet first position or small V, slight bend in the knees. The spinal alignment will be a curved or slightly rounded back. Bend one leg, lift working leg up and back with a pointed foot. Aim to keep the hips square and soften the supporting leg.

Movement:
Part A – Lift and lower the leg up an inch and hold for two seconds before lowering it down an inch or two. Lead from knee as you lift and lower. Use small, precise movements, really isolating the working leg without arching the back. Maintain a slight bend in the supporting leg, this will also work hard so don’t be alarmed if you feel more of a burn. Reps: 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge.

Part B – Add in small pulses, up an inch and down an inch for 20-30 seconds or double up for a greater burn.
Repeat on other side.

Tips: If you feel that you are sinking into the supporting hip, use the opposite hand to shift your weight – this will help to counter balance. Keep pelvis and lower back still and breathe into your belly to keep core engaged.

Read more: Barrecore’s top 5 moves for toning your arms

5 Arabesque leg lifts

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, abs and back.

Alignment & setup: Facing the chair or countertop, lightly rest hands on top. Start in ballet first position or small V. Heels together, toes apart, vertical spine, abdominals engaged, shoulders above hips, knees over middle toes. Extend working leg so the big toe touches or hovers off the floor while the hips remain square. The leg is rotated in the hip. Start to lift the leg higher, maintaining an upright posture.

Movement:
Part A – Lift and continue to extend the working leg up and back without tilting the torso too far forwards. Aim to maintain an upright posture throughout, and your supporting leg can be slightly bent. Hold the leg lift for two seconds at its highest point before lowering it down to the floor. Isolate the working leg without arching the back. Reps: 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge.

Part B – Maintain arabesque leg lift and add in small pulses, up an inch and down an inch to feel the glutes engage for 20-30 seconds, or double up for a greater burn.
Repeat on other side.

Tips: Lead from little toe as you lift and lower big toe to floor. Try to resist bending the working leg and keep your torso still and abdominals lifted.

6 Standing pretzel

Targets: Glutes, especially as this exercise trims the outer glute and thighs, hamstrings, back, arms and abs – especially the obliques aka waistline.

Alignment & setup: Stand profile to the chair. The supporting hand rests on top of chair or countertop, elbow slightly forward of shoulder, other hand on hip. Feet together, toes angled into the corner of room, heels out. Bend both knees and the outside working leg bends and lifts out towards the centre of the room. Think side plank, standing, hips are square and stacked, tilt in towards the chair (some space might be needed to achieve this, option to hop/step out). The pelvis is pressed slightly forwards so the abdominals engage and you can maintain better posture. The working leg in bent parallel, knee is in line with hip, shoulders, torso, pelvis and thigh in one line. Pull abdominals in tight, this position really activates the oblique muscles and waistline. Aim to keep the working ankle slightly higher than the knee – it’s almost as though you are lifting the working leg over something.

Movement:
Part A – Lift the working leg up in line with hip as you slightly lean towards the chair without sinking or slouching. Hold it for two seconds and lower the leg down towards the floor no lower than your supporting knee. Reps: 8-10 or double up for more of a challenge.

Part B – Reach your arm up to the ceiling or corner of room as the knee lowers slightly. As you lift the knee inline with hip, press the arm and try and tap your hand on your knee. Really use your arm to press and reach to work the back and arms. Reps – 8-10.
Repeat on other side.

Tips: Channel you inner ballerina in B with the arm work and lift the knee higher for that final challenge.

Post workout
Cool down with some static stretches for the legs and spine, taking at least 15 seconds and building up to 30 seconds, to properly lengthen and release.

Louisa Drake is a fitness expert and creator of the Louisa Drake Method (LDM).

The post 6 bum-toning barre moves you can do at home appeared first on Healthy Magazine | Food | Fitness | Beauty | Health.

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You’ve got your perfectly curated capsule wardrobe, a box-fresh pedicure and statement earrings that just say ‘holiday’. But how to ensure your hair brings its A game, too? Pool chlorine, panic diets and tropical humidity can all create a breeding ground for seasonal dandruff, frizzy halos, and even hair loss.

So we spoke to world-leading Harley Street trichologist Sara G. Allison to get the lowdown on how to keep our hair more The Little Mermaid and less Medusa.

The problem: Flat, lifeless strands

‘Excessive heat or sun exposure could cause this by dehydrating the hair,’ says Allison.

THE FIX: ‘Refrain from additional heat styling as much as possible, and minimise surface exposure of your hair; ie tie it up and wrap it under a hat,’ she adds. Encourage volume by doing the same when you go to bed. Try cocooning hair in a wrap or shower cap to prevent it from being weighed down and going flat while you sleep. And add life to your locks by keeping them hydrated. ‘Increase your natural water intake,’ she says. ‘Aim for two to three litres total fluid per day and take omega oils and multivitamins.’

The problem: Humidity-induced frizz

‘Hydrogen atoms from the water in the air form hydrogen bonds between the protein keratin and water molecules in your hair,’ explains Allison, ‘which unfortunately results in it becoming curlier and frizzy.’ If you’ve previously bleached your locks, your hair’s protective layer will be compromised, so the natural barrier against all this excess moisture will be broken down. How can you fight the frizz?

THE FIX: ‘Oils in a serum help to retain the water we need in our hair, while also reinforcing a barrier against absorbing water from the air,’ she says. ‘This can help tame frizz and nourish hair.’

The problem: Chlorine colour chaos

You get your highlights touched up just in time for your summer trip, only to emerge from your first pool dip with green-tinged locks. ‘You will usually only notice this with blonde hair, as it wouldn’t show up as much in brunettes or redheads,’ says Allison. ‘It is usually associated with copper in some form and tends to affect repeatedly bleached hair.’

It’s likely caused by swimming pool water, where chlorine or copper sulphates are used to prevent algae growth. Light hair will then absorb the green tones of the chemicals used in the water. And while bleached hair means your balayage will show up better, it also means that it absorbs all colour better, hence the green tinge.

THE FIX: ‘Using a lemon juice or tomato ketchup rinse may improve the colour,’ advises Allison. Or coat your hair in an oil (argan or coconut works best) before going in the pool to create a protective barrier against the chlorine.

The problem: Holiday dandruff

‘Dandruff is caused by either a dry or oily scalp,’ says Allison. And while a dry scalp would usually improve in the summer heat, those with an oily scalp aren’t so lucky. ‘An oily scalp could potentially get worse with the heat, producing more sebum and sweat,’ Allison adds. ‘This can create a breeding ground for the yeast germ that some sensitive people react to and then get eczema.’

THE FIX: ‘In this instance, it would be important to ensure daily shampooing with good-quality products,’ she advises. Try something with antioxidant vitamin E, to protect the scalp from free radicals and other damage.

The problem: Seasonal hair loss

‘During the summer, more people might be inclined to go on drastic diets to get their “bikini body”,’ says Allison. ‘And sudden weight loss can cause hair loss. When the body is deprived of important nutrients, hair shafts are weakened, which causes hair breakage and slows down the rate of re-growth. The natural hair growth cycle is disrupted so that hair follicles that were growing are converted prematurely to the cycle’s resting and shedding stages, so you may see hair loss and thinning.’

THE FIX: ‘To help minimise this,’ says Allison, ‘it’s important to eat sensibly and ensure you take a good quality vitamin to replace anything you’ve lost.’

Holiday hair saviours we love

The oil
Cocofina Organic Coconut Oil will hydrate hair more effectively than silicon-based products, and the sachets are easy to pop into your hand luggage or beach bag.

The shampoo
Tea tree oil acts as a antiseptic to nourish dry, flaky scalps in Weleda Wheat Balancing Shampoo.

The treatment
Encourages hair growth and increases volume. Dr. Organic Hemp Oil Rescue & Restore Hair & Scalp Treatment, £14.99 for 150ml

The vitamin
Hairburst Chewable Heart Hair Vitamins contain biotin to promote hair growth, and five nourishing vitamins.

Words by Aleesha Badkar

The post Your holiday hair rescue plan appeared first on Healthy Magazine | Food | Fitness | Beauty | Health.

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You may love nibbling a few squares after dinner, but did you know that you can use chocolate in savoury and sweet dishes to add richness, depth and a surprising number of health benefits?

Chocolate olive oil mousse

BEST FOR A heart-healthy dessert

Makes 6

150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
4 large eggs, separated
80ml olive oil
60g caster sugar

1 Gently melt chocolate in the microwave or a saucepan, checking regularly. Let it cool a little, then add the egg yolks and whisk to a thick paste. Whisking continuously, slowly pour in the olive oil.

2 In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Continue to whisk while adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture becomes glossy.

3 Beat one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate, then fold in the remaining egg whites carefully. Pour into ramekins and chill for three hours.

HEALTHY BENEFITS
The plant polyphenols in cocoa and olive oil are a winner for your heart. When a group with at least three cardiovascular risk factors (such as high cholesterol) had 40g of dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil daily for 14 days, it increased levels of EPC (cells that protect against heart damage). It also decreased carnitine, high levels of which can indicate heart problems. Good cholesterol levels also significantly increased, while blood pressure lowered.

Read more: 10 simple ways to boost your heart health

Bean and roasted pepper chilli

BEST FOR Vascular health

Serves 4

1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 celery stick, finely chopped
½ carrot, finely chopped
1 sweet pointed red pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained reserving the water
1 tsp chipotle paste
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tbsp cocoa powder
½ tbsp dried oregano
½ tbsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
½ x 400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed
2 x 400g cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
60g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
Fresh coriander

1 Fry the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and chopped pepper in a little oil over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan, until soft. Blitz a quarter of the roasted peppers from the jar in a food processor with the chipotle paste, vinegar, dried spices, cocoa and herbs to form a purée.

2 Tip into the veg and cook for a few mins. Add tomatoes and juice from pepper jar; simmer until thick. Add the beans, chocolate and remaining peppers, cut into pieces; heat until bubbling. Season to taste, garnish with coriander; serve with rice.

HEALTHY BENEFITS
It’s important to keep that elaborate network of veins and arteries healthy. Research shows that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries and prevents white blood cells from sticking to blood vessel walls, stopping arteries hardening. Other research has found that consuming a lot of beans reduces arterial stiffness, too.

Dark chocolate and hazelnut cookies

BEST FOR A stress-reducing treat

Makes 20

100g hazelnuts
125g cold coconut oil
100g golden caster sugar
150g light muscovado sugar
125ml coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda, salt
200g dark chocolate chips
100g 70 per cent dark chocolate, broken into pieces

1 Toast nuts in a dry pan and halve. Heat oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/gas mark 4. Mix coconut oil and sugars in a bowl, whisk in coconut milk and vanilla, sift in flour, baking powder, bicarb and a pinch of salt, then stir. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts, form the mix into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour.

2 Line baking sheet with paper. Form the mixture into 20 balls and place on the sheet 2cm apart. Bake for 12-15 mins until golden but soft to touch. Leave to cool for 5 mins, then transfer to a rack to cool. Melt the chocolate and dip the cookies into it until half-submerged, then place them on a sheet of baking parchment and cool in fridge.

HEALTHY BENEFITS
Two studies have shown that eating dark chocolate has positive effects on stress, mood and memory, thanks to the antioxidant flavonoids.

Read more: 3 natural ways to beat stress

Banana, cinnamon and dark chocolate porridge

BEST FOR A pre-workout breakfast

Serves 1

50g porridge oats
150ml milk of your choice
1 banana
½ tsp cinnamon
Drizzle of sweet date syrup
Handful dark chocolate chips

1 Put the oats and milk in a pan over a low heat and stir until thickened.

2 Remove from the heat, slice in your banana, sprinkle with cinnamon, drizzle with date syrup and throw in chocolate chips. Gently stir through and serve.

HEALTHY BENEFITS
A UK study found that chocolate gives similar benefits to beetroot juice, a favourite with elite athletes. Epicatechin, a type of flavanol in cacao beans, increases nitric oxide production in the body – this dilates blood vessels and reduces oxygen consumption, improving endurance. In the study, a group of cyclists replaced their usual daily snacks with 40g dark chocolate for 14 days; they used less oxygen when cycling at a moderate pace and covered more distance in a two-minute time trial. Oats, meanwhile, provide healthy carbohydrates, while the bananas are full of fibre, minerals and natural energy.

Read more: Zanna Van Dijk’s 9 rules for eating strong

Roasted butternut squash and mole enchiladas

BEST FOR A mood boost

Serves 6

1 butternut squash, diced
Olive oil
1 x 400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
100g feta, crumbled
6-8 corn tortillas
Fresh coriander
Handful toasted pumpkin seeds
Avocado
For the mole sauce:
25g ancho chillies
2 large tomatoes, peeled
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp flaked almonds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp walnuts
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Pinch of cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp fennel seeds
3 cloves
6 black peppercorns
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
70g raisins
50g stale brown bread, torn into small pieces
50g dark chocolate
Salt and black pepper

1 For the sauce, cover the chillies in boiling water, and leave aside for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/gas mark 6, spread the squash on a baking tray, drizzle with oil, season and roast for 15 mins.

2 Chop tomatoes roughly; put in bowl with oregano. Lightly toast seeds, nuts and spices, then grind spices; add to tomatoes. Fry onion in olive oil for 10 mins, add smoked paprika, raisins and bread. Cook for 10 mins. Drain chillies, but keep juice, slice thinly and add to pan.

3 Stir in tomato mixture, cook for 10 mins. Pour in 200ml of water from chillies and simmer for 10 mins. Grate in the chocolate and season with salt. Blend until smooth.

4 Grease a baking dish and brush a third of mole sauce on bottom. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 10 seconds. Fill each with some feta, squash and black beans. Roll and place seam-side down in a baking dish. Brush mole sauce over the enchiladas, cover with foil and bake for 20 mins. Uncover, bake for 5 mins more. Remove from oven, scatter with coriander and toasted seeds. Serve with a dollop of mashed avocado.

HEALTHY BENEFITS
Using EEG technology, researchers took images of people’s brains while they performed cognitive tasks. After eating dark chocolate, they were more alert. Chillies also boost the brain: when you eat them you get an endorphin rush, which gives the same ‘runner’s high’ as exercise. Olé!

Read more: 7 surprising health benefits of chocolate

The post 6 surprising ways with chocolate appeared first on Healthy Magazine | Food | Fitness | Beauty | Health.

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‘It might be my hormones, but I’m a pregnant bundle of energy. Even at 36 weeks, my daily routine involves a 14-mile round-trip by bike to the office, plus some form of yoga or a swim, so finding a pre-natal group session to satisfy my fitness needs is a challenge.

‘I’m pleased to discover that the Mumhood pre-natal fitness classes at London’s Frame studios concentrate on what you can do during pregnancy, rather than what you can’t. They are created in line with their pregnancy exercise guidelines (so overstretching and crunching your six-pack muscles are off the cards) to give you a full-body workout and prepare you for motherhood. Blooming ideal.

‘Frame is known for being one of the capital’s most colourful fitness studios, so I pull on my bump-friendly jazzy leggings and I’m ready to go. Or I think I am. Grabbing a resistance band, fitness mat and a pair of dumbbells – I opted for two 1.5kg ones, the average weight of a newborn baby, according to our cheery instructor Caroline – I’m out of my comfort zone of exercising solo, and in a studio with seven other bumps.

‘Still, I’m in safe hands. As dance music gets us in the zone, Caroline bounces around the room, checking in with how we’re feeling. Marching on the spot to warm up, our pregnancy pulses race, but she reassures us it’s fine to rest or take water when we need to. Pre-natal fitness means tuning in to your body. ‘Aim to work at 70 per cent of your maximum,’ instructs Caroline. Wise words indeed.

‘The session kicks off with a few choreographed moves and I do my best to mimic Caroline. We use resistance bands to work our arms and, honing the mum skill of multitasking, we stretch them out as we breathe and lift our pelvic floor muscles. ‘Labour is a marathon,’ Caroline says. ‘You wouldn’t approach a race without training, so these moves are key.’ A mantra I won’t be forgetting.

‘”You can never squat enough during pregnancy,” we’re told as we shuffle to the bar and squat with a resistance ball between our thighs. Next, we lift weights at the bar while lunging, before we master a ‘Mumhood’ move: we pick up the weights, hold them at the shoulder, stand up, then reverse the move to go back down again. Just like picking up a baby without using your hands to touch the floor. Several reps in, this is surprisingly challenging.

‘As we position ourselves on our mats for stretching, followed by a cool down, I’m feeling energised, relaxed and pretty empowered by my strength as a mum-to-be. Maybe I should stop working out on my own so much and bump along to a few more pre-natal classes.’

Drop-in classes start at £10. Visit moveyourframe.com/pages/welcome-to-mumhood
Photography by Juan Trujillo Andrades

The post Class crashers: Mumhood Pre-Natal Fitness appeared first on Healthy Magazine | Food | Fitness | Beauty | Health.

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Serves 4-6, as a sharing dish

85g beluga lentils
600g baby potatoes

For the dressing:
60ml olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 tbsp chopped dill, plus extra to garnish
1⁄2 tbsp strong mustard
1⁄2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp chopped capers
1 green apple, cored and finely diced
Pink Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste

To serve:
Handful of watercress
Handful of baby spinach
30g raw walnuts

1 Cook the lentils by following the packet instructions. Drain, then set aside.

2 Boil the potatoes in a big pan with a pinch of salt. Drain, then set aside.

3 Combine the dressing ingredients, then stir well. Add the potatoes and lentils.

4 Add the watercress, spinach, extra dill and walnuts just before serving. Dish up!

Recipe from Happy Food: Fast, Fresh, Simple Vegan by Bettina Campolucci Bordi (Hardie Grant, £20). Photographs: Nassima Rothacker.

The post Wicked potato salad with dill appeared first on Healthy Magazine | Food | Fitness | Beauty | Health.

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You’re on guard against sunburn and upset stomachs, but what about leisure sickness or Mallorca acne? Travel medicine specialist Dr Richard Dawood shares his expert knowledge on how to prevent illness on holiday

1 Leisure sickness

According to Dutch psychologist Ad Vingerhoets, around three per cent of us suffer from what he called ‘leisure sickness’, a syndrome where you become ill when you relax. Symptoms range from headaches and fatigue to colds. Professor Esther Sternberg, a researcher in neuroendocrine immunology at the National Institute of Mental Health, suggested when we take time out from our busy routines, a surplus of stress hormone cortisol can weaken our immunity.

If you have difficulty switching off, try to build relaxation habits into your day, like reading and meditation. While you’re on holiday, remember to eat regularly and stay hydrated to ward off headaches.

Read more: 10 simple meditation techniques you can put into practice today

2 Swimmer’s ear

When you’re dipping in and out of the water all day, your outer ear can stay moist for long periods of time, resulting in an infection known as ‘swimmer’s ear’ (otitis externa). This isn’t as painful as the inflammation of the inner ear that children tend to get, but can cause discomfort and broken skin. Dry your ears well with a towel, then gently use a cotton bud to remove water.

If you’re prone to infections, get a mild steroid or barrier cream from your GP. Sometimes you could be suffering from a fungal infection – seek medical help if it doesn’t clear up after a couple of days.

Read more: 7 ways to keep your ears healthy

3 Airplane trays

We used to blame recycled air on planes for spreading germs, but actually the dryer air impairs the lining of our noses, which is the first line of protection against colds and flu. Be sure to blow your nose more, use a nasal spray and drink water. You’re much more likely to pick up infections from plane surfaces.

A recent study found an average of 2155 colony-forming bacteria units per square inch on airplane tray tables, compared to 265 per square inch on toilet flush buttons. Wash your hands before you eat and carry hand gel when you travel. Also use a paper towel to touch the flush and avoid overhead air vent switches.

4  Mallorca acne

Soaking up the sun is what many of us look forward to on holiday, but around 10-15 per cent of the UK population suffer from polymorphic light eruption, which is like an allergic reaction of the skin to bright sunlight, resulting in raised bumps or hives. The chest, face and arms tend to be affected. It’s thought to be caused by ultraviolet light altering a substance in the skin, which the immune system then reacts to, resulting in the skin becoming inflamed.

Dubbed ‘Mallorca acne’, acne aestivalis can last for weeks after your holiday. Sun creams only filter out the UV rather than strong light, so stay in the shade during the sunniest parts of the day. Antihistamine tablets can also help.

Read more: The real woman’s guide to summer skincare

5 Sky-high sunburn

In a study published in the Journal Of The American Medical Association Dermatology, it was reported that pilots flying for 56 minutes at 30,000 feet were exposed to the same amount of carcinogenic UVA radiation as you would receive during a 20-minute session on a sun bed. Passengers also face more risks than those on the ground, according to the British Association of Dermatologists, as the ozone is thinner and harmful rays are reflected off clouds. It recommends wearing a sun cream with a minimum of SPF 30 plus a good UVA protection during your flight. Those sitting in window seats should pull down the shades to avoid harmful direct sunlight, too.

DR RICHARD DAWOOD is a specialist in travel medicine, director of Fleet Street Clinic and a founding member of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM). His book Travellers’ Health, How To Stay Healthy Abroad (OUP, £16.99) is out now.

The post 5 holiday illnesses you’ve never heard of (but should have) appeared first on Healthy Magazine | Food | Fitness | Beauty | Health.

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There’s nothing quite like a ride in the sunshine, with friends around you and perhaps a pub in the distance. But that’s not to say summer cycling doesn’t bring its challenges, too – particularly in the wardrobe department. So we’ve rounded up our favourite gear for this unpredictable time of year.

The jersey

We love this bright jersey, with breathable side mesh to keep you cool and reflective accents for twilight rides. Moisture-wicking keeps you dry, and the graphic design makes you feel you’re part of the team.
Race Day Short Sleeve Jersey, £59.99

The shorts

Some summer days you just can’t face bibs. And these are without a doubt the most flattering cycling shorts we’ve ever tried, and they stay put, too. Featuring’s Rapha’s new seamless chammois and sleek side pockets to keep phones and similar secure.
Women’s Core Cargo Shorts, £95

The base layer

Setting off early? Ward off morning chills with this sleeveless layer from Megmeister. It offers light insulation and is designed for high intensity warm climate riding, with excellent moisture wicking and a second-skin fit.
Women’s DRYNAMO Cycle Sleeveless Base Layer, £49.95

The warm layer

Because come on, it’s still the UK. When the weather’s not playing ball, this windproof, fleeced jacket keeps you warm while still offering breathability. Plus, it includes a much-needed touch of colour to brighten grey days.
dhb Blok Women’s Windproof Softshell, £75

The helmet

Be seen in this lightweight helmet from female cycling specialists Liv. With airy ventilation and moisture-wicking inner fabric you’ll keep cool, even on the most gruelling hills. It sits snugly thanks to a head-hugging fit system and a super-tough polycarbonate shell keeps your noggin safe.
Rev Comp Helmet, £49.99

The navigator

Nope, we’re not suggesting you stick a cumbersome sat nav on your handlebars. But stopping to check your phone can be a thing of the past with this clever device from Blubel. Waterproof and shockproof, it connects to an app via bluetooth, providing turn-by-turn directions using the LED design. And it doubles as bell.
Blubel Bike Navigation, £79

The backpack

Quite simply, this is a beautiful bag, on or off the bike. With a sleek, minimalist design, this roll top messenger-style backpack features attachments for lights and locks and an ergonomic design to keep you cool. But really, who cares? Just look at it.
Roll Top Backpack, £100

The multi-tasker

This versatile little number stows away in a back pocket or back, ready to slip on when the inevitable UK summer weather hits, or you need a little extra coverage. With a cooling effect and UV protection, use as a scarf, balaclava, headband, wristband or even hairband.
Buff CoolNet UV+, £16.95

Have we missed any kit you feel it’s worth shouting about? Let us know on Twitter.

The post Bike week: our favourite cycling gear for the summer appeared first on Healthy Magazine | Food | Fitness | Beauty | Health.

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