February Healthy Eating Guide

280215 february healthy eating guideFollowing the overwhelming desire to indulge on all things sugary and fatty  during December, and even in to January, February comes as a welcome rest from the excesses of the festive season. If you are feeling sluggish and want to shed a few of the Christmas pounds, check out our guide to what’s hot in Feb’. Our February healthy eating guide gives you the lowdown on which foods are in season and what the health benefits are plus we’ve included a couple of recipes for you to try.

What’s in season?
February has to be one of the best months in terms of good ol’ fashioned British veg as well as some amazingly good coastal catches. Everything is packed with vitamins and nutrients, and there are some super tasty recipes to be tried.

Cauliflower
Okay, so on its own it can be a little bland but cauliflower makes a great side dish and is a brilliant base for some really hearty meals. Its slightly bland flavour lends itself to a variety of herbs and spices. It’s got loads of health benefits – people often think of more colourful vegetables as the ones which contain the most nutrients, however in the case of the humble cauliflower, this just isn’t so. It is said to help combat free radicals which can cause cells in the body to mutate and potentially cause cancer. Plus cauliflower contains Vitamin K which is great for bone strength and the prevention of osteoporosis. Cauliflower also contains choline which aids sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory.

Leeks
Who doesn’t love a bit of leek and potato soup? Part of the allium family, which also includes onion and garlic, the most notable health benefits of the leek are in relation to the cardiovascular system.

They contain flavonoid kaempferol, which has been shown in numerous tests to protect blood vessels from damage. Another vital ingredient is B vitamin folate. Again, this is key in protecting the cardiovascular system. It helps keep levels of homocysteine in balance; when this is out of balance it is a risk factor for a number of cardiovascular diseases. They also contain an impressive amount of antioxidant polyphenols – we didn’t know what these were either, but it turns out they too protect the body by helping to looking after blood vessels and blood cells. So, if you don’t generally cook with leeks, give them a try, your cardiovascular system will love you for it.

Purple sprouting broccoli
This gem has had a little renaissance; its sibling the standard green broccoli is much more widely used, but purple sprouting has some great taste characteristics and some excellent health accolades too. Studies have shown purple sprouting to help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, types of fat which can be found in the blood, making it an excellent tool to help fight against onset of cardiovascular disease. It’s a great source of both vitamins C and A – the list is endless of the benefits of these two essential vitamins including protection against colds, lowering cholesterol and fighting against free radicals.

Horseradish
Don’t be tempted to think that horseradish is only suitable for a roast dinner at your gran’s house; it’s actually a really flexible root vegetable which is great with venison and numerous types of strong-flavoured fish such as tuna and mackerel. Horseradish is a versatile and flavourful root vegetable with loads of potential which can be used in a number of dishes from curry to rib eye steak.

Horseradish contains glucosinolates in vast quantities compared to most other vegetables; in fact it contains 10 times more than broccoli. These are known to be the key to fighting cancer. Horseradish is also used throughout the world to treat sinusitis and urinary tract infections. In fact, in mainland Europe it has been approved as a complementary drug recommended by doctors.

Mussels
The price of mussels is quite amazing – in a restaurant they can appear a little pricey however in reality they make for a really reasonably priced meal when cooking at home. A bag which feeds 6 people is under £3.00 from the main supermarkets which is an absolute steal. You definitely wouldn’t get enough chicken to feed 6 for that price! Cook them with a little lemon, garlic and some herbs and you’re in for a treat. Accompany them with some rustic homemade wedges and you’ll wonder why you’ve been missing out for so long.

Not only do they taste great and cost very little, they are jam packed with protein. They give a great dose of zinc and are known to help improve brain function and to reduce inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. They are definitely under-utilised in the UK, so make the most of them.

Sea Bass
Firstly sea bass is not a badly priced fish at all; secondly, and it seems odd for this to be a positive point, it doesn’t taste too strongly of fish. It’s a great ‘meaty’ fish which is excellent served simply or as part of a pie, curry, in pasta and more. Often people are put off eating fish because they think it will be potent-tasting and fiddly to eat – sea bass is neither of these. As well as its versatility as an ingredient, it is an excellent source of protein which is useful to pretty much every part of the body; and omega 3-Fatty acids which is good for lowering blood pressure.

Rhubarb
Okay, so we’ve had our mains but how about rhubarb? Too often it’s only used in crumble, which is, we agree, delicious! There are so many other options though; how about rhubarb cake? Rhubarb soup? Rhubarb in a sandwhich – the Guardian has got some great, unusual recipe ideas for rhubarb which are a far cry from the classic rhubarb crumble.

Rhubarb contains a decent amount of calcium, which as we all know is key to maintaining strong bones – it is a recommended source for prevention of osteoporosis.

According to sources rhubarb can aid weight loss, (handy!), can improve the health of your skin and can aid prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s really easy to grow at home even if you’ve only got a small area of outside space available. It doesn’t take too much looking after and the fruit will be available in abundance.

Top 5 February Recipes

Twice-cooked braised horseradish rib-eye steaks with crispy onions

Oven-Roasted Sea Bass with Couscous with Tomato Vinaigrette

Noodles with Kale and Spicy Rhubarb Sauce

What’s your favourite February recipe? Tell us at info@tonyprycesports.co.uk or connect with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted in February 2015
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