Are your snacks nutritious pit stops or nutritional black holes of high fat? Learning how to snack smartly can not only improve your nutritional status, but help boost you up, calm you down, aid digestion and even combat cystitis and raised blood pressure.
COTTAGE CHEESEIt's not only a great snack food because it's low-calorie; it's also rich in the protein building block tryptophan, which is converted in the body into the mood enhancing chemical serotonin.
CRANBERRY JUICECranberries can help prevent and treat urinary tract infections, like cystitis. The equivalent of a glass a day of cranberry juice can help guard against infections, even in regular sufferers.
SOYA MILK YOGHURTProducts made from soya beans contain iso flavones, which appear to mimic oestrogen in our bodies. These reduce the effect of our own oestrogens, which seems to help relieve some symptoms of the menopause. Soya products also contain genistein, a compound which may repress growth of malignant cells of the breast and colon.
FORTIFIED CEREALSWith 23-30% of all women in the UK having absolutely no iron stores (we should have 50Orng stored away), breakfast cereals fortified with iron, such as All Bran, make excellent mid afternoon or evening snacks. One bowl of All Bran supplies 3.6mg of iron - that's a quarter of your day's requirement. Pour over some milk and you'll boost your calcium intake, too.
SEEDS AND NUTSIf you're out and about, it's easy to grab a small bag of sunflower seeds, nuts and raisins or even a sesame seed-based bar. All are bursting with essential fatty acids which are vital for the integrity of every cell wall throughout our entire body. Without sufficient essential fatty acids, cell walls become leaky. As far as our skin is concerned, this means dehydration which causes dry and flaky patches.
WITH CELERYThe avocado in guacamole is rich in vitamin E, the tomatoes contain lycopene, and the onions and garlic are rich in immune boosting sulphur compounds, including allicin. Guacamole can be served with celery sticks - the allicin in the garlic and the phthalides in the celery are both good for helping to reduce blood pressure.