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Naturally Healthy Living in Spain

This is where we all learn how to take advantage of the health advantages right here on our Spanish doorstep. And I'll be reviewing some great natural products too.

Making the Cabbage Soup Diet work for me
14 April 2017

Mention the Cabbage Soup Diet and mosty people look at you as if you've just suggested they eat their own entrails in an effort to lose weight. In fact, the way it's perceived, most people would probably eat their own entrails than spend a week on this most vilified of diets. However, because I find it difficult to lose weight due to the cocktail of drugs I take to manage my Lupus - and my fondness for cava and vodka  - I was willing to try anything. This sounded good, and I love soup and fruit and vegetables, so I ran the diet past my doctor.

He agreed that the diet was pretty healthy, and as you only follow it for one week in four, he couldn't see any problem with it, as there was some provision of carbohydrate and protein in there. However, he did say that I needed a more balanced intake each day, so he suggested doctoring the diet a little to allow for that. I did just that, and although I don't lose the 10lbs that is achievable following the Cabbage Soup Diet as is, I managed to lose 6lbs last week, and never felt hungry once. Here's how I did it.

Basic cabbage soup recipe - enough for at least one person for 7 days 

1 large green cabbage

5 onions

6 carrots

2 large peppers

5 sticks celery

1 large cup brown rice

I large tin chopped tomatoes

Chop all ingredients, season with any herbs, stock cubes, salt and pepper. Add plenty of water and cook for at least 1 hour. If you want a thicker soup, liquidise some of it and return to the pan. Freeze half of the soup and keep the rest in the fridge. Ring the changes by seasoning individual servings of the soup with curry powder, Bovril, paprika, etc.

You can have as much of the soup as you want, whenever you want it. However, I tend to have a bowl at lunch time with some fruit, then another bowl either as a starter for my evening meal or supper later in the evening. Any more than that and I'm sick of it after three days.

On the original Cabbage Soup Diet, there is one day when you can eat up to six bananas, and drink two pints of milk as well as the soup. I spread the bananas over the week and have them for breakfast, and allow myself 1/4 pint of milk each day for tea, or a small pot of Greek yogurt. Over the space of the week, that's sufficient without going over the two pints, as the original diet allows a little milk each day.

I also fit in a small jacket potato or baked sweet potato, or a small serving of pasta or brown rice to fill the carb quotient.

I take care of the protein bit by having a had boiled egg occasionally as a snack, and cooking a small chicken breast or oily fish such as salmon or tuna to go with a jacket potato and/or salad. Another way to get a protein hit is to steam a selection of vegetables - anything you like other than parsnips or peas - toss in a little tomato frito, sprinkle with grated cheese and brown under the grill. Served with a jacket potato, that's a filling and balanced supper.

Don't drink any alcohol during the week - god, that's hard! Drink water, tea or coffee black or with milk from your allowance, freshly squeezed fruit juice and other low calorie, alcohol free drinks.

Another good thing about the Cabbage Soup Diet is that it boosts your metabolism, so if you eat sensibly once the week is over, you're likely to lose more weight. I've lost another 1lb in the last week, despite eating out with friends twice. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you can repeat the diet after a month. I have the UK premiere of The Cucaracha Club coming up in May, and I want to look my best for that, so I'll be doing another stint on it. And with fruit and vegetables so plentiful and cheap here in Spain, it's not an expensive way to lose weight either. Why not try it and let me know how you get on?

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The 63 year old yoga virgin!
29 January 2016

By the time you get to 63, you've done most of the things you want to do, and a few things you wish you hadn't done. Maybe more than a few, actually! However, one thing I've managed to avoid so far is yoga. It was a conscious decision - I couldn't be doing with chanting vegetarians and stuff, and wrapping my leg around my neck. That's the picture that's been in my head since the 1960's, and it wouldn't go away. However, when I met up with my friend Bev after too long between catch ups, there was clearly something different about her. She'd lost weight, and she looked - well, glowing is the only word for it really. And it was too early in the day for a cava glow.

I asked Bev what had brought about the transformation, and she told me she'd been going to yoga classes. Now Bev is many things, but she certainly isn't a chanting vegetarian, and her leg showed no inclination to wind itself around her neck, so I got to thinking maybe I should give this yoga thing a go. At around the same time, Jessica Laslett set up a yoga studio at El Rancho, Los Montesinos, so it seemed as if Karma was steering me in the direction of yoga. You can't fight Karma, so I rocked up at El Rancho a few days agp.

Jessica is a great advert for yoga - lean but not skinny, with a healthy glow about her. I wondered how long it would take me to look like that, then got depressed, as I probably don't have that many years left! Jessica asked if we had any problems, but when I started to tell her how my husband doesn't understand me, she hastily interrupted and explained she meant physical problems that might make yoga difficult. I don't see my Lupus as a problem, but it is something I have to live with, and it can be a bitch sometimes, so I told her about it, just so she knew if I landed on the deck it was probably Lupus rather than cava related - although you can never be certain with me!

Jessica explained that Hatha Yoga is particularly good for people with auto-immune conditions such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis. It's low impact, and it helps with flexibility and breathing, opening out the lungs and improving their capacity. Lupus is different things to different people, and for me, my lungs are the worst affected, so it was all sounding pretty good. So, off with the shoes, into the studio, and let's get this party started!

Jessica explained that all of the postures were optional - if you couldn't make it, listen to your body, do what you could, and if the only thing you managed to do during the session was breathe, that was okay, because breathing wasn't optional! Sounds easy, doesn't it, but you try getting the breathing right. I was exhaling when I should have been inhaling, and vice versa, and I thought I would never get the bloody hang of it. Then there were the postures - they looked so easy, but every muscle was protesting. At least for the first 10 minutes or so. Then, with Jessica's guidance, I began to 'get' it. I wasn't relaxing into the poses, I wasn't opening myself up - and no, that isn't naughty. Wash your mind out with soap! Once I actually started to ease into the poses, rather than forcing them, it got a lot better.

Just as I was starting to enjoy it all, Jessica directed us into the Eagle pose. That just wasn't going to

happen. Google the pose, and you'll see what I mean. Long story short, imagine turning yourself into human fusilli pasta - that's the twisted spiral stuff - and you'll know what I mean. I could twist the hands and arms, and I could twist the legs - one or the other, but not both together, and that's what the pose entailed. Still, I managed the cheat pose, and apparently, that's good too. That's the thing with yoga - even if you can't do it all, you're still getting benefits, because you're doing what your body is capable of, and it's more than you thought you'd manage.

I managed pretty much everything except the Eagle, which would not have landed elegantly had I persisted with it. At the end of the class, I was wondering if I'd put enough into it, because I didn't feel as if I'd done a workout. Until I stood up and walked away from the mat. Then everything was wobbly, and I realised that Jessica was right when she said Hatha Yoga was a total body workout.

I expected to feel like shit the next day, but I didn't. Maybe that's because the night I first went to yoga, I had the best night's sleep I've had in months. And although I was hungry when I got home, I didn't want stodgy, fill up food. I fancied a baked sweet potato with tuna and salad, which proved another point. Jessica said we'd feel so good after practice, we wouldn't want to eat crap - and I didn't. I think I like this yoga stuff - can't wait for next week. Why not come along and see what it's all about?

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Living in Spain is cheaper and healthier - I'm the proof!
02 October 2015

It beats me how people can say they're going back to the UK because prices have gone up in Spain and they can't afford to live here any more. What planet are these people on? We've just come home after two months in England, and we're short on cash and a bit short on temper, because life has been very different to what we're used to.

For a start, we've hardly been out for a meal in two months. Not that we eat out all that often in Spain - maybe once every week or 10 days, and the odd snack - but it's just way too expensive in England. Tony's favourite snack lunch, Cornish Pasty, is up over £3 now in England, and there's so much pastry it's repeating on you all day. Yesterday, my friend and I had  chicken and prawn sandwiches with salad, and paid just over €3 each for the privilege of enjoying a healthy, filling lunch to keep us going.

Most of the tapas on offer come out at around €2 each, and for that you can get magra - lean pork in a delicious sauce - Russian Salad, seafood, chicken wings, and all manner of delicious, nutritious food. Two tapas with bread comes out at the same price as a Cornish Pasty, but without the indigestion!

As for eating out, last week we went to our favourite Chinese restaurant, and enjoyed three courses each and a bottle of wine for just €15. The wine with the meal costs more than that in England, and you'd have a job to get one 3 course meal, let alone two, for €15 (around £11).

People say groceries are cheaper in the UK, and they are, if you want to eat stuff like pies and ready meals, but if you're looking for healthy ingredients for a home cooked meal, you'll be digging a lot deeper into your pocket. Free range eggs are about half the price in Spain that they are in the UK. I pay €1.35 for a dozen large eggs, and you can't even get 6 medium for the equivalent price in the UK.

Another one of the 'cheap things' in the UK is sausages, and unless you pay the equivalent price of a small joint of meat, you're not going to get decent sausages - they'll be full of cheap fillers such as suet and breadcrumbs, and it will come through in the taste. Plus you'll have a pool of grease left in the bottom of the pan, or the barbecue will be up in flames from all the dripping fat. When I cook fresh Spanish sausages, I need a little oil to stop them from sticking to the pan or the barbecue griddle. That tells me there's more meat than fillers in my sausages, and the taste confirms it.

Okay, you can get cheap fruit and vegetables from the supermarkets in the UK these days, particularly Aldi and Lidl, but the problem with most of them is that they're harvested before they're fully ripe and shipped around the world in cold storage. Here in Spain, produce is picked and sold when it's ready to eat, so you're getting the full hit of vitamins, nutrients and flavour. I can honestly say the only vegetable I really enjoyed back in England was Savoy Cabbage - everything else was disappointing. Except for the strawberries and raspberries that is. Nowhere does those quite like England!

I'm not a big fan of lettuce, but I do enjoy a Cogolla - it's okay, it's not a new kink I've developed, it's what Little Gems are called here! And at 4 for €1 on the market, they're a real bargain, but the poor specimens I managed to get in England had obviously had a flavour bypass - they tasted of nothing at all.

Like many people of our generation, Tony and I moved out to Spain to have a healthier lifestyle, and to make our money go further. The area around the salt lakes of Torrevieja is the healthiest in the world for people with joint problems and breathing issues, and we tick both those boxes between us. When we were in the UK, I was popping painkillers for pastime, and Tony spent so much time at the doctor's he was worried they'd charge him rent! In almost 8 years in Spain, he's never needed to test out the Spanish health service, and that's pretty impressive for an 81 year old.

The truth is, the climate here is healthier, and it's cheaper to eat well, whether you eat out or cook at home. And because of the warmer weather, you don't tend to eat so much, and you go for lighter foods like salads, rather than loading up on bread and potatoes. Most importantly, we both enjoy much better health here. It's not just about Pounds versus Euros, it's about quality of life, and for us the quality of life is so much better here. Cheaper and better in the UK? You cannot be serious!

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Visit the market in Spain and fight internal inflammation!
07 June 2015

Everybody has to contend with inflammation at some point. It’s the body’s natural response to trauma or injury, and the area affected will be hot, swollen and red, as well as painful,. That’s down to two factors:  the release of white blood cells, containing chemicals to protect the scene of the crime, and increased blood flow to the area due to the automatic response of the immune system to any perceived threat to the body.

Inflammation may be acute or chronic, and it can also affect the internal organs. Internal inflammation contributes to a several chronic, life-limiting illnesses, including diabetes, asthma, arthritis and coronary heart disease. Poor lifestyle choices and excessive stress can set off an internal inflammatory response, which is invariably chronic, or long term.

The single most significant factor in chronic inflammation is diet –you really are what you eat. If you put junk into your body, rubbishy things will happen inside you. Regular overeating can also trigger an inflammatory response, and habitually taking in more calories than your body needs messes around with the immune system, thereby hampering any attempts by your body to fight inflammation.

I have Lupus – it was a deciding factor in moving from divine but damp Devon to the healthy climate of the salt lakes of the Costa Blanca, and I battle chronic inflammation on a regular basis. For reasons I won’t bore you with, I can’t take any sort of anti-inflammatory medication. However, in the seven years since I moved here, I’ve discovered that I can control my internal inflammation naturally, just by rocking up at the local market on a regular basis.

Anti-inflammatory diets are mostly based around the Mediterranean Diet, and that’s acknowledged by health and nutrition experts to be just about the healthiest diet going. It’s also the way we eat here in Spain, so there’s lots of fruit and vegetables, lean meat and fish, as well as lots of fibre and healthy complex carbohydrates.  

Now here’s the science bit – those with a low boredom threshold might want to skip this. Fruits and vegetables are brimming with lots of antioxidants which combat inflammation. That’s  flavenoids and carotenoids to you. Here’s a tip - brightly coloured stuff has the highest  antioxidant content.  It looks prettier on the plate too, but maybe that’s just me being whimsical.

All plant-based foods contain different, naturally occurring phytochemicals, and the People Who Know believe these help to control chronic inflammation. Okay, phytochemicals like lycopene in tomatoes, or flavenoids in fruits are not essential, and you won’t die if you don’t get them. However, they do help to protect plants from disease, and it appears that they can also do the same for humans when it comes to internal damage due to oxidation and those pesky free radicals we keep hearing about.

So, what’s the market got to do with it? Well, that’s where I get all my anti-inflammatory medication, in the form of fresh, in season produce that’s picked ready to eat, so the flavour is perfect and the vitamin and nutrient content is at its best. If you buy Spanish strawberries in England, they won’t taste the same as mine from my local market, because they’ll have been picked before they’re ready to eat, then shipped in cold storage. Not only will you be disappointed with the flavour, you won’t get the full antioxidant hit either.

I’ve highlighted strawberries because not only are they my favourite fruit, they are also just about the best anti-inflammatory food going. The latest research concludes that eating 3 – 4 bowls of strawberries a week has the same anti-inflammatory effects as taking COX inhibiting medication. That does fancy things with enzymes in the body to help reduce inflammation, but it is also a no-no for people with hypertension or a history of heart disease in the family, as it can cause strokes and other nasty side effects. I might be wrong here, but I never heard of anyone getting a stroke through eating strawberries!

It’s not just strawberries either.  At the time of writing - (late May) - the cherries, blueberries  and apricots are piled high on the stalls, and there are avocadoes a-plenty to be had. Sweet potatoes (boniatos) are also looking good. Try one baked with tuna and home-made coleslaw for lunch. Those lovely pointy sweetheart cabbages make great coleslaw, and you can get three or four for a Euro.

Google ‘Anti-inflammatory foods,’ then head down to your local mercadillo to fill your trolley. It may take a while to notice a significant difference, but I find that I hardly ever need to take pain killers now, and the only lifestyle change I’ve made is switching to an anti-inflammatory diet. Give it a try – you have nothing to lose, and great new taste experiences to gain!

Image credit: Maggs224.com

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The Doggy Diet - the next craze to sweep the nation?
24 October 2014

Some people have no problem remaining effortlessly slim, whatever they eat. I have a friend who regularly consumes enough food to relieve the famine in about 6 countries you've never even heard of, yet remains a steady and annoying size 12.  Then there's me, who only has to look at a calorie to gain a pound. I've always had a problem maintaining a healthy weight. I've lost the equivalent of about 9.5 people over the years, and regained the lot. But now it seems I might have finally cracked it due to the Doggy Diet.

Before you head for the sick bucket, the Doggy Diet does not involve eating Bakers Complete and snacking on rawhide chews. Nobody - not even a dog - deserves to be fed Bakers Complete. However, to take full advantage of the Doggy Diet and all its benefits, you do need a dog. Please read through to the end of the post before skinning and jointing the dog and putting him in the slow cooker. You're not going to eat him, but he is going to help you to lose weight, just like Paddy is helping me.

One obvious benefit of owning a dog is the need for regular exercise. The dog needs it, and the human has to go along too, so they get exercised along with the dog. Now Paddy is 9 months old, he needs a lot of exercise, so I take him into the orange groves, let him off the lead and walk the ridges while he bounds around chasing rabbits, climbing hills and wearing himself out. Okay, I'm not running with him, but I am out walking for around an hour every day, whatever the weather.

However, there are other, less obvious benefits of owning a dog when it comes to weight control. As any dog owner will tell you, food is a major motivation in a dog's life. They can't get enough of it. When we brought Paddy home, we were determined that he was not going to be the kind of food pest dog that won't let you eat a meal in peace. So we hit on the strategy of saving him a little of the food on our plate, as long as it was suitable for him, and then putting it into his dish when we'd finished eating.

Paddy's a clever boy, and he soon cottoned on that if he sat quietly under the table while Mummy and Daddy were eating, there were two big advantages. He was there to catch any scraps that fell from Daddy's plate - which happens on a regular basis,as Tony, unlike the dog, has proved impossible to house train. Also, if he was a very good boy and didn't drool on Mummy's knee while she was eating, he'd get to share the crumbs from the rather poor man's table.

And there are two advantages for us in this as well. For a start, I'm very much aware that the dog needs to eat healthily, so I tend to make sure all our meals are low in fat with plenty of nutrients. I kind of did that before, but it's a requirement now Paddy shares our stuff. The other advantage is that, if I'm saving something for him, that's calories I'm not eating, since I serve up the same size portions as normal, but Paddy gets at least 10 - 15% of it.

Another advantage of the Doggy Diet is that it stops you snacking. Paddy can't hear me when he's a few feet away and I bellow at him to drop the knickers he's just stolen form the washing machine. However, no matter how carefully I open the fridge door, he can hear it from the farthest reaches of the garden, and he comes bounding up the terrace steps to see what he can scrounge. As I can't bear to see the look of sheer disappointment on his face when I say 'No Paddy - nothing for you,' I tend to keep the fridge door closed unless it's unavoidable, so there's less temptation to snack.

Thanks to the Doggy Diet, I've lost 15 lbs over the last 3 months without even trying. I'm looking and feeling a lot better for it too, and people are  starting to notice. So, forget all about the fad diets, and the special menu diets delivered to the door. Get yourself a dog and try the Doggy Diet. It works, and you got yourself a friend for life into the bargain!

 



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Cherries - the superfood that's also great for skin care
04 July 2014

The Spanish cherry season is well under way, and it's possible to buy a kilo of large, juicy cherries for just a couple of Euros. As one of the deeply coloured fruits, cherries are chock full of antioxidants, so it's a very healthy food indeed. No wonder they call cherries 'superfood.'

Antioxidants mop up the free radicals that can cause diseases such as cancer. Free radicals can also cause premature aging, so if you want to keep young and beautiful, gorge yourself on cherries. Cherries also have anti-inflammatory properties, so they can ease painful joints and reduce redness and puffiness on the body.

Cherries contain melatonin, which helps you to relax and sleep well, so they are great stress busters, and as everyone knows, restful sleep means good all around health. So, if you fancy a healthy late night snack, grab a handful of cherries. It doesn't stop there, though, because cherries are also great for natural skin care. Here are some simple recipes for face masks using cherries.

Take a handful of really ripe cherries, remove the stones and then mash them up with a fork or a potato masher. Mix the cherry pulp with a couple of tablespoons of Greek yogurt, then apply to the complexion and leave for around 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. It's a great pick me up for dull skin, and if you add a tablespoon of sugar, it doubles up as a natural exfoliant.

If you have a problem with age spots or fine lines, take another handful of cherries, mash and mix with a couple of tablespoons of honey. Again, leave for about 20 minutes for best results. For a great mask for dry skin, mix your handful of cherries with the flesh of a ripe peach and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. It may be easier to do this in a food processor or blender.

Of course, there's one problem with using cherries for skin care. They are so delicious, you might find you've eaten them all before you make that beautifying face pack. No problem - just head for the market and buy some more. They're certainly cheap enough!



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Figs - one of the healthiest foods around, and so good for the skin
15 June 2014

If you've been out and about around the markets in Spain, you'll have noticed there are loads of fresh figs around. Some people are a bit unsure about what to do with fresh figs - they are more accustomed to dried figs. While dried figs are also very good for you' it's a really good idea to make the most of the fresh ones while they are around. They are great to eat just as they are, and you can also use them for skin care.

We have a fig tree in the garden, and for the first time since we planted it four years ago, the tree is heavy with fruit. There are far too many for us to be able to eat - even if we pass them around our friends. So I've been looking for different ways to use figs, and there are a surprising number of things you can use them for.

The milky juice that comes from the stem of the fig is a good remedy for warts and facial blemishes. If you have a problem with acne or spots, mash a couple of fresh figs into a paste and spread it over your face. Leave it for 20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.

For a great face and body scrub, mash two figs and mix with a tablespoon of sugar, two tablespoons of fresh orange juice and a few drops of olive oil. Use once a week to remove dead skin cells and leave the skin healthy and glowing.

Eating figs can help your skin from the inside. Figs are high in calcium, which is essential for the production of collagen. And because figs are high in water content, they help to hydrate and moisturise the skin. Figs are also high in antioxidants, which help to mop up disease-causing free radicals, which can also damage the skin, so they're great for helping you to stay younger looking.

As well as being good for the skin, figs are great for general health too. They help to lower cholesterol and brood pressure, and are excellent for controling blood sugar levels. Some doctors advise people with diabetes to eat figs to help control the condition. And of course they are high in fibre, so they can help sort out any digestive problems you may be experiencing.

All things considered, figs are one of the healthiest foods around, and here in Spain and the Mediterranean region, we're lucky enough to have a steady supply of fresh figs through the summer. If you haven't done so already, maybe you should take a fresh look at fresh figs.



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Why mineral oil is an ingredient to avoid in personal care products
03 June 2014

Mineral oil is a by product of the refining process which produces petrol from crude oil. It’s classed as a petrochemical, so it’s absolutely not a natural product.  Mineral oil is derived from fossil fuels, so it’s non-renewable, and this means its extensive use will eventually have adverse environmental implications for the future.

Mineral oil is inexpensive, colourless and odourless as well as being an effective moisturiser, which is why it’s so popular as a filler in many skin care products. It can be found in most major brands in the UK, as well as an incredible 98% of all skin care products in America. Even expensive, so-called premium products list mineral oil high in the ingredients. The mineral oil used in personal care products is admittedly highly refined, but opinion is divided on whether it is a safe ingredient.

Some experts believe that mineral oil is carcinogenic as a result of the processes it goes through. The World Health Organisation classes untreated or slightly treated mineral oil as a Class 1 carcinogen, so they definitely believe it is cancer causing. Refined mineral oil used in skin care products is designated as a Class 3 carcinogen, and although it is not thought to cause cancer in humans, there is insufficient information and research to place it in the safer Class 4 category.  This classification places a question mark over the safety of mineral oil.

Mineral oil acts as a barrier on the skin to prevent environmental damage from the sun and air pollutants , and highly refined oil is not thought to block the skin’s pores. However, something that produces an effective barrier on the skin will prevent things getting out of the body, as well as preventing things getting in. In other words, mineral oil can interfere with the body’s natural cooling mechanism, which expels sweat as well as some of the unwanted toxins in the system.

There is also the worry that mineral oil will block the skin’s natural absorption of moisture. Some experts suggest that the barrier effect of mineral oil could even inhibit the natural renewal of cells, since this depends on the absorption of moisture and oxygen from the atmosphere. The interference with cell renewal could lead to premature aging, which defeats the object of using expensive skin creams.  And remember that environmental moisture is essential for the effective functioning of the body’s natural defence mechanisms.

Why do so many major skin care and cosmetic manufacturers persist in using mineral oil, when there are natural and sustainable alternatives available like coconut oil, argan oil and avocado oil. Cost and convenience obviously come into it, but surely the health and welfare of customers should be paramount? Natural skin care companies tend to use only the safest and best natural ingredients in their products. You will never see mineral oil listed in the ingredients panels of natural skin care products.

 



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Cherries are on the markets in Spain - and they are so healthy and cheap!
16 May 2014

The fresh cherries are on the market stalls now from as little as 2 Euro a kilo. They are my favourite fruit along with strawberries, and they have many health benefits.

Fights disease

Like all highly coloured fruits and vegetables, cherries are very high in antioxidants, so theycan reduce the risk of cancer, particularly cancers of the organs. Cherries also have anti-inflammatory properties, so they can ease the symptoms of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Cherries are also a good source of quertecin, which helps to prevent heart disease. And the high potassium content of cherries can help in treating diseases of the auto-immune system and connective tissues. Cherries can also help to regulate blood sugar levels, which is good news for diabetics.

Natural pain relief

Cherries are actually more effective than aspirin and ibuprofen for reducing inflammation and relieving pain. Many athletes eat cherries to reduce the effects of pain from muscle damage. The anthocyanins present in the fruit are powerful painkillers, and can also ease the pain of headaches and fibromyalgia.

Good for weight loss

Cherries are low in calories and high on fibre and water, so they are a diet friendly food. They also boost the metabolism, which helps in weight loss. And because cherries are sweet, they also satisfy sugar cravings without adding significantly to calorie intake.

Good for bone health

Cherries have very high levels of boron, which is essential for healthy bones.

Good for digestion

Cherries are high in fibre, so they can help relieve constipation. They are also low on acid, so they are a good food choice for people who suffer from heartburn and other digestive disorders.

Aids restful sleep

The melatonin in cherries promotes restful sleep and improves memory function. Melatonin is often used in supplement form to treat jet lag, so a handful of cherries should give you a good night's sleep.

Natural anti-aging product

The antioxidants in cherries mop up the free radicals which cause cell damage. So eating cherries can help you to look younger by slowing down the natural aging process.

Cherries are small, but the health benefits are mighty. What tastes good isn’t always good for your health, but when it comes to cherries, you can eat as many as you like, knowing that they're good for you. And here in Spain, they’re really cheap as well!



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Naturally Mediterranean Magic Hair Oil and Body Silk review
10 May 2014

Since meeting Deborah Baker for my blog post about her skin company, Naturally Mediterranean, I’ve tried out a couple of their products, and I thought you might be interested to know how I got on. I was a bit sneaky in that I got a friend to order the stuff for me, but I wanted to be sure my review was totally unbiased, and that I got the same service as anyone else ordering from the website or through Amazon.

I ordered Naturally Mediterranean Magic Hair Oil and Body Silk with argan oil, because it sounded like a miracle all-purpose product that you could use for your hair, skin and nails. Nothing is really that good – or is it?

My main interest in the product was what it might do for my hair – which is like wire wool after a summer swimming in the pool and the Mediterranean, and is only just about recovering by spring, when I’m ready to go back into the water. I also wanted to see if it could heal the scratches I’ve acquired as collateral damage from my boisterous Border Collie cross puppy, Paddy.

First the hair. I must say I was sceptical that only a drop or two of this stuff could make a difference - especially as I have long, thick hair – but I thought let’s give it a try anyway. When all else fails, read the instructions, as they say, so I rubbed just 4 drops of oil into my hair, wrapped it in an old scarf, and left it overnight.  Next morning, I shampooed as usual, and this hardened freelance writer was amazed at how soft and silky my hair felt after just one application. It wasn’t just my imagination either, because the friends I met for lunch that day thought I'd had a salon treatment!

It’s also worked a treat on my Paddy scars. I have Lupus, so I don’t heal easily, and even my trusted aloe vera gel straight from the plant was having a problem erasing the evidence of Paddy’s undying affection and boundless energy, but in a matter of 3 or 4 days, my arms and legs were almost completely healed.

I’ve also been using a drop each morning as a facial moisturiser, and it seems to have evened out my complexion tones in just a few days, as well as giving me a really healthy glow. I really can’t believe that a product with absolutely no chemicals can be so effective on my skin and my hair.

At £19.95, it’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way, and in any case, it’s an all purpose product, so you really don’t need anything else. I’m certainly a convert. You can find out more about Naturally Mediterranean Magic Hair Oil and Body Silk on the company website, and there is lots of information about natural skin care too.

 

 

 



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