Free Vitamin D!

So far this summer we haven’t seen too much sunshine, but the last couple of days have been an improvement here in Essex, and we have enjoyed the almost-forgotten-experience of warm sun! Taking just 10 minutes to be in the sun around lunch time is the best way to increase your vitamin D levels. The following article by Nutri explains.


There’s been much talk in recent years about growing levels of vitamin D deficiency in the UK population.  A recent survey in the UK showed that more than 50% of the adult population have insufficient levels of vitamin D and that 16% have severe deficiency.  What many people don’t realise is that very few foods naturally contain vitamin D so the solution is not as simple as just getting more of this essential nutrient in our diets.  Fortified milk, egg yolks and oily fish are the best sources, but we certainly cannot rely on food to provide us with optimal amounts of vitamin D on a daily basis.  In fact, the major source (80 – 100%) of vitamin D is actually sunshine!  Vitamin D is primarily manufactured in the skin on contact with sunshine.

Modern lifestyles are causing vitamin D deficiency

A modern day lack of bare skin exposure to sunlight is a major cause of vitamin D deficiency.  Millions of years ago, our ancestors lived naked in the sun, spending most of the day working and travelling outside.  Over the years, we have put on clothes and started working inside, travelling in cars and living in cities where buildings block the sun.  In addition to this, in more recent years, skin cancer scares have further minimised sun exposure for all ages, especially for children.  The recommended liberal use of high factor sunscreen has had additional negative impacts on the skin’s natural vitamin D production process.  Before the sun scare, 90% of human vitamin D stores came from skin production not dietary sources.  When you look at how our lifestyles have evolved to cut out the sun’s contact with our skin, it is easy to see why we now have such epidemic proportions of vitamin D deficiency.

Know how to safely increase vitamin D in the sun

In addition to supplementation, it’s a good idea to consider upping your bare skin exposure to sunlight to optimise your vitamin D levels.  This is easier said than done however, as concerns over skin cancer have left people feeling worried about leaving the house without a full covering of SPF 40.

In response to these concerns, we’ve put together a simple guide to safe sun exposure so you can maximize your own body’s production of vitamin D whilst keeping safe in the sun.

Simple guide to safe sun exposure:

 • How much sun? – Between 10 and 15 minutes in the UK summer sun without sunscreen is considered to be a safe balance between adequate vitamin D levels and any risk of skin cancer.  The time required to increase vitamin D is typically short and less than the time needed to redden or burn.

 • What time of day? – Midday in the summer is best, or as close to this time as possible.  This is down to the angle of the sun and a higher chance that the vitamin-D producing UVB rays can get through.  Your shadow gives a good clue as to whether you are producing vitamin D.  If it’s longer than you are tall (as happens in winter for most of the day) it’s unlikely you are making any vitamin D.  However, in summer, when your shadow is shorter, especially around midday, you are more likely to produce vitamin D.

 • How much bare skin? – Large areas exposed to the sun’s rays, such as the back, will produce more vitamin D.  Completely naked is best but not very practical!! The more skin that is exposed, the greater the chance of producing vitamin D before burning.

 • How often? – At least several times a week is recommended

Enjoying the sun safely, while taking care not to burn, can provide the benefits of vitamin D without unduly raising the risk of skin cancer.

Muffin Alternative


By Emma Cockrell

Many clients with Nutritionhelp come with a number of food sensitivities, and this is not surprising when we understand how intestinal yeast impacts the digestive tract. Intestinal yeasts – including Candida albicans – feed on sugars in the diet, so the typical Western diet provides it with an absolute feast. Combine with this the release of stored sugars in the stress response, and the wiping out of beneficial bacteria, which should keep gut yeasts in check, by antibiotics, and you have a recipe for Candida overgrowth. Other medications and hormone treatments such as the Pill and HRT, further disrupt the delicate balance of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract.

Once Candida is encouraged, it changes to its fungal form, putting out ‘legs’ or hyphae, which can burrow into the gut lining, causing inflammation and leading to gaps in the intestinal membrane. This is commonly known as ‘leaky gut’ These spaces allow partially digested food to pass into the bloodstream, where the immune system recognises them as foreign particles, and thus, over time, sets up an immune ‘allergic’ response. A number of other factors can lead to leaky gut, but it is common for Candida to be involved at some point.

So there are potentially two types of food reaction:

  1. A gastrointestinal reaction, caused by the presence of food in the damaged digestive tract. This might result in digestive complaints such as diarrhoea, pain, bloating or IBS.
  2. An immune response following eating a culprit food, which may result in symptoms such as a headache, a panic attack, depression or anxiety, increased fatigue or aches and pains.

The starting place with these type of reactions is to get intestinal yeast under control, removing the main cause of the gaps in the digestive tract wall. A nutrient-rich diet, a supplement programme to include key nutrients to support gut health, and avoiding foods which encourage yeast are all part of the Nutritionhelp protocol to kill off Candida.

However, in the meantime, many clients still have to cope with a limited diet due to a number of food sensitivities. This may affect what vegetables can be tolerated, how well meat or seeds can be digested, and may make their grain options very low, in addition to avoiding all gluten and dairy.

51ysfoyZoAL._SX382_BO1,204,203,200_Erica White’s Beat Candida Cookbook (2014) covers a basic yeast-free and sugar-free protocol and recipes to bring Candida under control, and also includes a great many recipes which are specifically designed for clients with a number of limitations in their diets, and this can be a fantastic resource. These meal and baking ideas offer a comprehensive starting-place from which you can experiment, and this week I did just that.20160701_104406_resized

Following a Skype conversation with a client who is struggling with limited foods due to a number of food sensitivities, I produced a brown rice flour muffin, using just the simple ingredients she could manage. This may not compare with a high street coffee shop muffin, but I was pretty pleased with the result. This makes a helpful ‘bun’ which I would spread with sunflower seed cream, and use as a breakfast meal, but can be eaten as a snack at any time. The inclusion of cooked carrot helps to keep the ‘muffins’ moist. Keep them in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.

Emma’s Carrot Muffins


  • 1 large carrot- 170g, finely chopped  (well scrubbed if organic, otherwise peeled)
  • 1 mug of brown rice flour
  • 3 level dessert spoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon of dried ginger – optional


Place the chopped carrot in a small pan with an inch of water. Add a lid, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, until carrot is well cooked. Check water doesn’t boil dry. When carrot is soft, remove from the heat, pour off any remaining liquid into a jug (there shouldn’t be much left). Mash the carrot with 1 tablespoon of the cooking water, using the back of a fork or a potato masher – or a food processor. When carrot is well mashed stir in the olive oil and the brown rice flour, and dried ginger if using, and mix well. Then stir in a beaten egg. This should form a sticky, stiff batter. Place spoonfuls, about the size of a small satsuma, on a greased baking tray and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-30 minutes, until golden. spread with seed butter and top with some pure ground vanilla.






Anyone for Fizz?

By Emma Cockrell.

Drinking more water is top of the list for supporting health. Keeping well hydrated is essential for immune health, skin condition, encouraging bowel regularity, flushing out toxins and minimising headaches. In my effort to encourage clients to consume more water, a question I am regularly asked is whether Sparkling ‘fizzy’ water is good or bad. Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE at Authority Nutrition, has brought together some related research, to enable us to drink sparkling mineral water with a clear conscience! The article helpfully starts with identifying the difference between the not-so-healthy soda waters and tonic waters, compared to pure, sparkling mineral water.


Extracts from Spritzler’s article:

Carbonated water is a refreshing beverage and a good alternative to sugary soft drinks. However, concerns have been raised that it may be bad for your health. This article takes a detailed look at the health effects of carbonated water.

What is Carbonated Water?

Carbonated water is water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure. This produces a bubbly drink that’s also known as sparkling water, club soda, soda water, seltzer water and fizzy water. With the exception of seltzer water, they usually have salt added to improve the taste. Sometimes small amounts of other minerals are included.

Natural sparkling mineral waters, such as Perrier and San Pellegrino, are different. These waters are captured naturally from a mineral spring, and tend to contain minerals and sulphur compounds. These waters are often carbonated as well.

Tonic water is a form of carbonated water that contains a bitter compound calledquinine, along with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.

Carbonated Water is Acidic

Carbon dioxide and water react chemically to produce carbonic acid, a weak acid that’s been shown to stimulate the same nerve receptors in your mouth as mustard. This triggers a burning, prickly sensation that can be both irritating and enjoyable for many people .

The pH of carbonated water is 3–4, which means it’s slightly acidic. However, drinking an acidic beverage like carbonated water does not make your body more acidic. Your kidneys and lungs remove excess carbon dioxide. This keeps your blood at a slightly alkaline pH of 7.35–7.45, regardless of what you eat or drink.

Does it Affect Dental Health?

One of the biggest concerns about sparkling water is its effect on teeth, since the enamel is directly exposed to acid. There is very little research on this topic, but one study found that sparkling mineral water damaged enamel only slightly more than still water. Furthermore, it was 100 times less damaging than a sugary soft drink.

…Plain sparkling water appears to pose little risk to dental health. It’s only the sugary types that are harmful. If you’re concerned about dental health, try drinking sparkling water with a meal or rinsing your mouth with plain water after drinking it.

It May Increase Feelings of Fullness

Carbonated water may also help you feel full longer than plain water does. Sparkling water may help food remain in the first part of the stomach for longer, which can trigger a sensation of fullness. I

It May Help Relieve Constipation

People who experience constipation may find that drinking sparkling water helps relieve their symptoms. In a two-week study of 40 elderly people who had suffered strokes, average bowel movement frequency nearly doubled in the group that drank carbonated water, compared to the group that drank tap water. What’s more, the participants reported a 58% decrease in symptoms.

There’s also evidence that sparkling water may improve other symptoms of indigestion, including stomach pain.

Does Carbonated Water Affect Bone Health?

Many people believe that carbonated beverages are bad for bones because of their high acid content. However, research suggests the carbonation isn’t to blame. A large observational study of more than 2,500 people found that cola was the only beverage associated with significantly lower bone mineral density. Carbonated water appeared to have no effect on bone health.

Unlike carbonated water and clear soda, cola drinks contain a lot of phosphorus. The researchers proposed that the cola drinkers may have been consuming too much phosphorus and not enough calcium. This is a potential risk factor for bone loss.


Does it Affect Heart Health?

There’s very limited research on how carbonated water affects heart health, but the existing evidence is positive. In the same group of 18 postmenopausal women from the bone health study, the researchers measured indicators of heart health. Those who drank sodium-rich carbonated water had a decrease in LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol, inflammatory markers and blood sugar. What’s more, they also had an increase in HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.

Additionally, the estimated risk of developing heart disease within 10 years was 35% lower for those drinking the carbonated water, compared to the control water. However, since this was only one small study, a lot more research needs to be done before drawing conclusions.

So is Carbonated Water Actually Bad For You?

There is currently no evidence that carbonated or sparkling water is bad for you. It is not really that harmful for dental health and seems to have no effect on bone health. Interestingly, a carbonated drink may even enhance digestion by improving swallowing ability and reducing constipation.

It’s also a calorie-free beverage that causes a pleasurable bubbly sensation. Many people prefer it over still water. There’s no reason to give up this beverage if you enjoy it. In fact, it may actually improve your overall health.

Read the full article with footnotes here

Herbs and Spices that Fight Inflammation

By Emma Cockrell

At this time of year the fresh herbs in my garden are healthy and strong, ready for inclusion in all sorts of recipes and herb teas. The following article by Food Matters has listed some of the herbs and spices most helpful in reducing inflammation. It is interesting to note that most of these herbs and spices also possess antifungal properties, so these can be beneficial if you are currently working to balance the ratio of your intestinal flora. However, don’t go overboard in using one of these foods if you are also taking an antifungal supplement, since the combination may lead to increased intestinal yeast being killed, thus creating more toxins and increasing symptoms, such as fatigue, low mood or aching joints and muscles. Using the herbs and spices for flavouring meals should be fine, while also benefitting from some of the plants other nutritional qualities. James Colquhoun writes: 


Part of the mint family, rosemary has a scent similar to pine. Often used in Mediterranean cuisine and to accompany lamb dishes, rosemary has a handful of health benefits. Rosemary has been researched by a number of universities to help uncover its anti-inflammatory powers. The health benefits of rosemary include the potential to improve memory, relieve muscle pain, aid digestion and reduce areas of inflammation.

Incorporate rosemary into your life by:
Adding a sprig of rosemary to your tray of vegetables or sprinkling onto homemade potato wedges before roasting in the oven.

Emma’s Comment: This herb is so easy to grow, in a patio pot or a rough piece of garden. I particularly like it with roasted courgettes and tomatoes.

Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Rosemary


Like rosemary, sage is a herb also used quite frequently in Mediterranean cuisine. Sage is renowned for its ability to soothe menstrual cramps and digestive discomfort as well as increase circulation. Sage is also known for its naturally occurring antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Incorporate sage into your life by:

Adding 3 or 4 fresh sage leaves to your favourite herbal tea, or infuse sage leaves into your olive oil to give it a flavour kick and nutritional boost.

Emma’s Comment: Tear 3 or 4 sage leaves and add to ‘bread’ recipes with some finely chopped onion and olives, for a savoury loaf. This can work with a low carbohydrate coconut loaf or a basic rye soda bread.


…Oregano many offer you a range of health benefits you may have never considered. Oregano contains a powerful substance called beta-caryophyllene that helps fight inflammation. This herb is said to benefit people suffering conditions such as osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis. On top of it’s anti-inflammatory properties, antibacterial and antifungal properties can also be added to the list of what make oregano one of our top picks.

Incorporate oregano into your life by:
…You can add a teaspoon of oregano to your homemade pasta sauce for a flavoursome, nutritional boost.

Emma’s Comment: Oregano is so versatile. I love sprinkling some fresh or dried oregano over salad with some grated lemon rind (well scrubbed and organic).


A vibrant yellow spice most commonly used in Indian cuisine, it can be found in almost any grocery or health food store. Turmeric has been used for medicinal purposes to treat infections, wounds, colds and liver disease for centuries. Turmeric is arguably one of the most powerful herbs on the planet with over 6,000 peer-reviewed articles proving its benefits.

Incorporate turmeric into your life by:
Adding a pinch of turmeric to scrambled (free-range, organic) eggs or your favorite frittata. Add a teaspoon of turmeric to pumpkin soup or toss through roasted vegetables.

Emma’s Comment: I regularly use turmeric when making cauliflower ‘rice’. Place cauliflower florets into a food processor to make fine ‘grains’. Melt 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan and when melted add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 crushed clove of garlic. Stir into the oil and allow to cook for a minute, then tip in the cauliflower ‘grains’. Stir well, add a lid and turn the heat down low. Cook for a few minutes until the cauliflower is tender.


Cinnamon is a popular spice often associated with baked treats, cereals and smoothies. However, you may not have considered that the teaspoon of cinnamon that you add to your baked treats may doing you more good than you realized. Studies have shown that cinnamon could assist with boosting brain function, fighting cancer, aiding in digestion, supporting weight loss and fighting diabetes.


Incorporate cinnamon into your life by:
Adding a cinnamon quill into your morning  (herb) tea, sprinkling half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon onto your homemade granola or adding a sprinkle of cinnamon into your next bowl of breakfast oatmeal.

Emma’s Comment: See my previous blog on choosing the best quality cinnamon.


Pungent, aromatic and a little spicy, ginger is a zesty addition to many Asian dishes. Ginger has an impressive nutritional profile and, as well as being packed full of nutrients, also offers a vast array of health benefits. Ginger has been acknowledged for its anti-inflammatory effects, and as a safe and effective relief of nausea and vomiting, particularly during pregnancy. Ginger may also protect you from a number of cancers including colorectal and ovarian cancer, as well as give your overall immune system a boost.

Incorporate ginger into your life by:
Adding some freshly grated ginger into your next Asian (mild) curry or stir-fry, or combine with olive oil and garlic to make a healthy salad dressing.

Emma’s Comment: I love ginger in vegetable smoothies. Try combining 75g of raw sunflower seeds  and 4 tablespoons of chia seeds(both soaked in water overnight), 2 kale leaves – chopped and stems removed, 1 cm piece of ginger, finely chopped, 1/2 medium organic cucumber, washed and chopped, Juice of 1/2 lime and 8 mint leaves, with 250 ml water – more or less for desired consistency. Blend until smooth.


We all know that the downside to garlic is needing to brush your teeth almost immediately afterwards.  But did you know garlic has a long list of health benefits too? Garlic has been used to ease the pain of arthritis, reduce nauseous feelings, reduce inflammation and blood pressure as well as detoxify the body of heavy metals.


Incorporate garlic into your life by:
Adding a minced clove of garlic to mashed potatoes, salsa or stir through pasta sauce.

Emma’s Comment: My favourite use of garlic at the moment is to toss a crushed clove into salad leaves. This adds ‘zing’ to the salad without any other dressing. If everybody eats it then you don’t notice the smell!


Cloves come from an evergreen plant and have been used for thousands of years in India and China. Cloves have been praised for their large list of health benefits including aiding in better digestion, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as for boosting the immune system.

Incorporate cloves into your life by:
Adding cloves to hearty soups and stews, or include in hot drinks such as  chai tea (Redbush).

Pass the Popcorn!

When someone is following the Nutritionhelp yeast-free and sugar-free diet protocol they can sometimes find it hard to know what to snack on – especially if they find they are losing weight on the diet. Authority Nutrition has a helpful article on popcorn, and how, if prepared in the right way, it can actually be a healthy treat.

Popcorn is one of the world’s healthiest and most popular snack foods.

It is loaded with important nutrients and offers a variety of health benefits.

However, it is sometimes prepared with large amounts of fat, sugar and salt, which can drive overeating.

For this reason, it is very important to prepare your popcorn the right way.

It can be either super healthy or very unhealthy, depending on how you prepare it.

This article reviews popcorn’s nutrition facts and health effects, both good and bad.

What is Popcorn?

Popcorn is a special type of corn that “pops” when exposed to heat.

At the centre of each kernel is a small amount of water, which expands when heated and eventually causes the kernel to explode.

The oldest piece of popcorn was discovered in New Mexico and is said to be over 5,000 years old.

Over the years, it has become increasingly popular. It became especially popular during the Great Depression because it was so cheap.

Popcorn Nutrition Facts

Many people don’t realize it, but popcorn is a whole grain food, making it naturally high in several important nutrients.

Many studies link whole grain consumption to health benefits like reduced inflammation and a decreased risk of heart disease.

This is the nutrient content of a 100-gram (3.5-oz) serving of air-popped popcorn:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 7% of the RDI.

  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 12% of the RDI.

  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 8% of the RDI.

  • Iron: 18% of the RDI.

  • Magnesium: 36% of the RDI.

  • Phosphorus: 36% of the RDI.

  • Potassium: 9% of the RDI.

  • Zinc: 21% of the RDI.

  • Copper: 13% of the RDI.

  • Manganese: 56% of the RDI.

This is coming with a total of 387 calories, 13 grams of protein, 78 grams of carbs and 5 grams of fat.

This serving also contains a whopping 15 grams of fibre, which is extremely high. It makes it one of the world’s best sources of fibre.

It is High in Polyphenol Antioxidants

Polyphenols are antioxidants that help protect our cells from damage by free radicals.

A study done at the University of Scranton showed that popcorn contains very large amounts of polyphenols.

Polyphenol are linked to various health benefits. This includes better blood circulation, improved digestive health and a reduced risk of many diseases.

Several studies have also shown that polyphenols may reduce the risk of cancer, including prostate and breast cancer.

Extremely High in Fibre

Popcorn is very high in fibre.

According to research, dietary fibre may reduce the risk of many diseases like heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Fibre can also help with weight loss and promote digestive health.

The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. However, most people are eating much less than that.

100 grams (3.5 ounces) of popcorn contain 15 grams of fibre, which goes a long way towards satisfying your daily fibre requirements.

Pre-packaged Microwave Popcorn May be Harmful

Most microwave bags are lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been associated with a variety of health problems.

These include ADHD, low birth weight and thyroid problems, to name a few.

Microwave popcorn may also contain diacetyl, which is a chemical found in artificial butter flavouring.

Although the risk to the general public has not been clearly identified, animal studies continue to show that breathing in diacetyl can damage airways and cause lung diseases.

Many brands of microwave popcorn are made using hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils, which contain harmful trans fats. Studies have linked trans fats to an increased risk of heart disease and other serious diseases .

Even if certain brands say they are free of these chemicals, you may still want to avoid them since it’s so easy to make your own healthy popcorn.

Some Toppings and Preparation Methods Are a Bad Idea

Despite all of popcorn’s healthy qualities, the way it is prepared can greatly impact its nutritional quality.

When air-popped, it is naturally low in calories, but some ready-made types are extremely high in calories.

For example, a report by CSPI found that a medium-sized popcorn at a popular movie theatre chain had a whopping 1,200 calories – even before factoring in the buttery topping!

Varieties bought from movie theatres or stores are often smothered in unhealthy fats, artificial flavourings and high amounts of sugar and salt.

These ingredients not only add a significant amount of calories, but some of them can also be bad for you in other ways.

How to Make Healthy Popcorn

Popcorn made on the stove or in an air-popper are going to be the healthiest options.

Here’s a simple recipe to make healthy popcorn:


  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil.

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels.


  1. Place oil and kernels into a large pot and cover it.

  2. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes or until the popping almost stops.

  3. Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl.

For the full article with references see here. A yeast-free way to serve is to sprinkle with herbs of choice,and a little black pepper. For a ‘sweet’ variety try topping with cinnamon or ground vanilla pod.

Despite the great health benefits listed in the article I do need to add however, that if you are working to reduce weight, even wholegrain carbohydrates should be kept to a small portion – no more than a quarter of your plate for lunch and dinner, and a small serving as a snack.

What is Histamine?

Histamine is a natural substance produced by the body and released  during times of stress and allergy. It is also present in many foods.

When an allergen triggers the immune system, a type of white blood cell called mast cells release histamines as part of the inflammatory immune reaction. Histamines can also be absorbed from histamine-containing foods or be produced by certain bacteria in the gut.

The presence of histamines should usually be balance out by an enzyme called Diamine Oxidase (DAO) which naturally breaks down histamines. However, some people have a deficiency of DAO, allowing histamines to build up in the body, leading to varying symptoms. This build up is known as histamine intolerance and can include typical allergy-type reactions such as rashes, hives, runny nose, swelling throat and itching, and these same symptoms may be experienced by an overload of histamine. Additionally migraines, digestive upset, low blood pressure and anxiety attacks and mental health symptoms may also be experienced from a build-up of histamine.

If you are struggling with any of the above symptoms and have not seen complete benefit in your initial Nutritionhelp dietary recommendations, it may be worth considering reducing the ‘high histamine’ foods, to see if these are contributing to your current health status. As you can see from the list below, avoiding high histamine foods isn’t easy, especially if you are already on a yeast-free and sugar-free diet. A consultation with me can help firstly explore how much histamine may be adding to your symptoms, and then build a menu plan, so that you don’t miss out on vital nutrients or go hungry.


The biggest source of histamine is not from the specific high histamine foods themselves, but the bacteria that is on the food. Therefore, aged and fermented foods should particularly be avoided, and even left-over food may increase symptoms. Overripe fruit and vegetables have increased levels of histamine. Consistency varies between studies, but as a general guide:


All fish and shellfish (unless caught, gutted and cooked within 30 minutes)

A small amount in baked products may be tolerated

Such as luncheon meat, salami, pepperoni, smoked ham, cured bacon

All types of cheese, yoghurt, buttermilk and kefir.

Apricots, bananas, cranberries, cherries, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit), currants, dates, loganberries, pineapple, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries

Aubergine (eggplant), avocados, olives, pumpkin, red beans, soy and soy products, spinach, tomatoes, tomato sauces, ketchup, seasonings, anise, cinnamon, cloves, chilli powder, curry powder, nutmeg, pickles, relishes, sauerkraut and other foods containing vinegar

Tea (black/ green), chocolate, cocoa, cola, alcoholic and ‘de-alcoholised’ drinks

Colourings such as tartrazine (E102), preservatives such as sulphites, benzoates, BHA and BHT.

A second category of foods doesn’t actually contain histamine but can stimulate an increase in release from the body.

  • Citrus fruit
  • Shellfish
  • Pork
  • Chocolate
  • Raw egg white
  • Nuts

Sensitivities to these foods may vary, and many people find that only the high histamine foods need to be avoided to see benefit. Buying frozen meat is one way of ensuring that it is as fresh as possible.

The biggest source of histamines, other than food, is from bacteria within the gut. Some kinds of bacteria produce histamines while others help to break them down. If too much fermentation is occurring within the gut, histamines will be released. Therefore, working to support the balance of microbes within the digestive tract and healing the gut lining is an important aspect of reducing histamine intolerance. Increasing water intake to prevent constipation may help reduce the subsequent fermentation of food in the digestive tract as it lingers before elimination.

Certain nutritional supplements may be helpful in counteracting histamine production, while other nutrients might contribute to increasing histamine levels. a Nutritionhelp report takes into account the basic histamine status of a client, and adapts the nutritional supplement recommendations accordingly.

Help Protect Skin with Lycopene

Last week I wrote about the benefits of lycopene in helping to protect the skin from sun damage. Since tomato puree is a rich source of lycopene, I have posted below one of my favourite recipes that includes this simple ingredient. The recipe is suitable for those on a Nutritionhelp yeast and sugar-free diet, and can be used for any meal – including breakfast.

Before I launch into the recipe, I do need to mention that there are some clients who need to be careful about consuming tomatoes. The nightshade family – tomatoes, peppers, aubergine and potatoes – can cause an allergy in some people, either as the individual foods, or the as the whole food-group.  If you are struggling to see progress in your Nutritionhelp recommendations it may be worth booking a consultation with me to explore whether any or all of the nightshade family are impacting on health. Occasionally, one or more of these foods may be causing a sensitivity reaction, thus putting an extra load on the immune system. Others who may struggle with the nightshade family, are those who suffer with arthritis. Not all people with arthritis need to avoid these food, but a subgroup may find benefit in avoiding nightshades. The same also applies for some – again not all –  with psoriasis. Avoiding these foods is a step to try in the journey of working to support health as optimally as possible.

Another group of people who may find benefit in avoiding tomatoes, along with a few other foods, are those with an elevated histamine status. This is potentially playing a role when there are ongoing allergic reactions in the health status, including anxiety. I will write more about this next week, but for now I just wanted to highlight that while tomatoes may be great for the majority of people and clients, there are some who are better off not going over-board with them. Get in touch with me if you currently avoid tomatoes, and need some ideas for replacing tomato puree etc in recipes.

Cauliflower Crust and Vegetable Tart

Chop 150g cauliflower into florets and whizz in a food processor to make small ‘grains’ like rice. Stir in 30g of sunflower seeds, and a large egg to bind, adding ½ teaspoon of dried oregano and some black pepper. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and grease with coconut oil, and spread the mixture into a circle with slightly raised crust. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes until golden brown and crust is beginning to crisp.

While crust is baking, pan roast some vegetables – chop 2 carrots into 1cm chunks and place in a pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil and a sprig of rosemary. Add a lid and gently fry for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop 1 courgette, 1 red onion and ½ red pepper into 1 cm chunks. And add these to the pan and continue to cook until soft. Remove from heat. Add 1 beaten egg,  2 tablespoons of tomato puree, black pepper and some oregano and stir together. Spoon the mixture over the crust. Top with some cherry tomatoes cut in half. Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes for egg to set and veg to become golden. Serve hot or cold with a crispy side-salad. It also works well to make in advance and use for a quick and easy breakfast.

tomatoes 2