An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

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That quote that your mum used to (or still does!) repeatedly drum into your ears is actually truer than you think, unlike eating your crusts to make your hair go curly. Apples are packed with many fantastic vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to the body. By consuming a minimum of one apple a day it helps you meet the nutrient requirements for maintaining optimum health.

Did you know that apple can make you have whiter teeth? Biting or chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, which decreases the chance of tooth decay and levels of bacteria. Much better than that caffeine and a healthier source of energy!

The fibre intake from apples is also linked to lower cholesterol levels, giving you a healthier heart! The high soluble fibre found in apples reduces the build up of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries, which can cause a reduction in blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

The consumption of apples could also reduce the risks of developing some cancers. It has been found that the apple peel contains compounds that act as anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, lung, colon and breast, and with its high fibre content can reduce chances colorectal cancer. Apples also reduce problems involving the respiratory system associated with asthma and smoking.

Although apples help your insides they can also improve your outsides too! It sounds funny in this context but apples are strongly linked to weight loss and clearer skin. Having a fibre rich diet is recommended when trying to lose weight as foods with high fibre fill you up easily. Apples are high in fibre, not to mention that apples are also negative calorie foods! So you burn more calories eating them than they actually contain! Apples are also a great anti-aging mask, by providing the skin with antioxidants. They balance the oil production in the skin and provide great hydrating, cleansing effects by acting as an exfoliant.

On top of all this apples also contain quercetin, an antioxidant which has been shown to sharpen memory and learning. It helps with the prevention of age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Show me one good reason why you shouldn’t have an apple a day, and I’ll show you a liar!

Negative calorie foods

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I thought since tomorrow is Friday I would add to the good news and provide you with some light reading on negative calorie foods! Negative calorie foods don’t literally have negative calories, but your body burns more calories digesting the food than the actually contains. So get chomping on these delicious fruits and veggies!

Fruits

apple
cranberries
grapefruit
lemon
mango
orange
pineapple
raspberries
strawberries
tangerine

Vegetables

asparagus
broccoli
cabbage (green)
carrot
cauliflower
celery
cucumber
dandelion
garlic
green beans
lettuce
onion
papaya
radishes
spinach
turnip

Ever thought about playing a musical instrument?

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The Chinese philosopher Confucius said long ago that “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” It is no surprise that he was right. Music creates an indescribable internal happiness and pleasure. There are many benefits with playing a musical instrument, including capacity for memory, improved perseverance, enhanced coordination, better mathematical skills, relief of stress and promotion of happiness.

 

Research has shown that playing a musical instrument can enhance the capacity of your memory by stimulating the brain. This strongly refers to the use of words as opposed to images. The parts of the brain that is linked to learning an instrument is also used to control motor skills, hearing and storing audio information. These parts of the brain become larger  and more active when learning an instrument.

 

Learning an instrument also takes time, effort, patience and perseverance. It is almost impossible to perfect an instrument straight up. By repetition and patience, people tend to teach themselves how to persevere in order to play music. Playing an instrument also requires a lot of hand-eye coordination. You are forced to convert notes on a page to a particular pattern on an instrument, incorporating rhythm and breathing.

 

Many people may be unaware of the mathematical benefits of playing an instrument. It can enhance your mathematical ability by counting notes and rhythms. Pattern recognition and mental representation are likely to significantly improve as a result of learning an instrument.

 

Music is an art and a way to express emotion. It has been proven that music relieves stress and is often used as a form of therapy. It is useful for treating children and teenagers with disorders such as autism and depression. Learning an instrument gives you a sense of pride and achievement. This promotes happiness and joy, which links in with the relief of stress.

 

It is evident that learning an instrument has many benefits for a range of areas. Memory, perseverance, coordination, mathematics, relief of stress and an increase of happiness is just the beginning. Music can be beneficial to anyone and is a fantastic outlet.

Teen self esteem: Should we be worried?

Self esteem is all about feeling good about yourself, which is descended from how much you feel you are worth and how much you feel other people value you. Common phrases heard from teens these days often include ‘I’m too fat’ and ‘Why can’t I look like that?’. This is becoming more and more prominent in today’s society. We should be encouraging our upcoming generation to be comfortable within themselves and their appearance. This self doubt can affect their mental and physical state.

Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses is the key foundation to being able to gain self esteem and accept who we really are. By accepting our faults and recognizing our strengths and talents we will live in a much healthier frame of mind.

Poor self esteem in teenagers is most commonly influenced by going through puberty and the impact of media. Teenagers tend to compare themselves to their peers and role models. As teenagers go through their development stages at different times it is often hard to accept all shapes and sizes. They often wonder why they don’t look like their friends. This is also evident when looking at the subject of media, as it is constantly thrown in our faces that we are not good enough and that we should always be improving our appearance. It is seen everywhere, from magazines to television, video clips and advertisements.

This makes it hard for teenagers to be accepting of the way they look and feel about themselves when they are constantly comparing themselves to celebrities and unrealistic advertisements. It is brainwashing from an early age, we are surrounded by it. The sexualisation in video clips is another factor, it’s encouraging the viewer to have to appear ‘sexy’ to be noticed. Is this what we want teens to think? Looking from a different perspective, the young male generation have this sudden need to ‘bulk up’. Where did this come from? Is it really healthy?

In my opinion I think we should definitely be worried about this subject. It is hard to be accepting of our flaws. With the way our future generation is heading, it seems as if we are going to be a very unhealthy society, both physically and mentally. Do you know any girls that starve themselves just to be skinny? Do you think this is helping their mental or physical state? This is what we should be worrying about.

We should be recognizing and celebrating each individual and their own identity. Think realistically and accept that we are all imperfect, yet we are our perfect selves. Nobody is exactly the same and nobody is the same YOU. Ban all negative comments and thoughts by giving compliments and celebrating our own uniqueness. Teen self esteem is an issue in which is almost impossible to solve, but not impossible to improve. We can all make a difference, whether you are a parent, teacher, student or any member of the public you can encourage the importance of self esteem and acceptance.

The hidden benefits of carrots!

ImageWe all know carrots as one of the most popular and well loved vegetables but they also provide the body with extra hidden benefits! Carrots have been found to prevent cancer and heart disease, improve vision, nourish the skin, improve dental health and also help with anti-aging.

Carrots help with lowering the risk of breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. They are partly made up of a compound named falcarinol, which is a natural pesticide which prevents the roots from fungal diseases. It is also believed that a regular intake of carrots lowers cholesterol, which is associated with lowering the risks of heart disease.

Vitamin A is needed for the retina of the eye in order to function. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a substance which is converted into vitamin A. In addition, beta-carotene is also helpful with preventing the development of cataracts as well as providing anti-oxidants which help to slow down the aging of cells and effects associated with aging. The vitamin A and other nutrients from carrots also nourish the skin and can be effective for treating acne and skin blemishes, due to its strong cleansing properties.

Believe it or not, carrots also help to keep your teeth clean! They act as natural abrasives. This helps to eliminate plague and dirt, as well as triggering saliva which helps to keep your teeth from staining. Carrots also contain minerals which help to kill germs and contribute to prevention of tooth damage.

The hidden benefits of carrots can be extremely  beneficial to the body. They are also easy to add to your diet and don’t require a large amount of preparation. Time to start chomping those carrots!

Green stir fry with sesame and soy

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  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 4 bunches baby bok choy
  • 200g snowpeas
  • 200g sugar snap peas
  • 100g baby corn
  • jasmine rice

Mix together soy sauce, hoisin sauce and stock in a small jug.

Heat wok over high heat and add vegetable and sesame oil. Add garlic, ginger and bok choy, stir fry for approximately 3 minutes. Add snowpeas, sugar snap peas and baby corn. Stir fry for a further 5 minutes. Pour in sauce in toss until ingredients are lightly coated. Once vegetables are tender, serve immediately with jasmine rice.

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What does your eye colour say about you?

Brown eyesImage

Those with brown eyes are known to be very grounded and not swayed by materialistic objects or desires. They are independent and strong people who love to make new friends with a polite and caring manner. They have an affectionate nature which helps with the ability to cheer people up and make them laugh. People with brown eyes tend to be self confident and determined with a love of nature.

Hazel eyesImage

People with Hazel eyes are considered to be elegant, independent and courageous. They do not hesitate to try new things and love a challenge. They are fun-loving and spontaneous people.

Blue eyesImage

Blue eyes are very desirable. People with blue eyes tend to be sensitive and romantic with a desire for true love. Blue eyed people are more likely to have long lasting relationships. They are peaceful, kind, sentimental and smart. They are spiritual beings, especially those with deep blue eyes.

Green eyesImage

People with green eyes are curious and imaginative with a certain mysteriousness behind them. They are intelligent and have a connection with nature. They are passionate people who aim to live their life to their fullest potential. They are the most advanced souls and have a great potential in life. Negatively, jealously is a huge part of their personalities.

Grey eyesImage

People with grey eyes are wise and gentle individuals and the least aggressive. They are sensitive with an inner strength beneath them. They think rationally and analytically.

Black/Dark brown eyesImage

People with black or very dark brown eyes are considered to be trustworthy and responsible. They are quite reserved people with strong spiritual minds. They are secretive and passionate with a lively personality. They never leave a friend in need.

Do you have a mix of colours?

If you have colours within your normal eye colour it could mean you have some health problems you weren’t aware about.

Yellow- Suggests poor kidney function

Neon Orange- Suggests blood sugar imbalances and problems with digestion of carbohydrates

Dirty Orange- May suggest gallbladder problems

Dark Brown- Related to liver function

Reddish Brown- Suggests problems blood purification and building. Also possible problems with liver, spleen and bone marrow

It is also known that people with lighter coloured eyes are believed to have fewer obstacles in life.