Category: Food for Health


Article by  Dominika Zielińska

Increasingly popularized as a healthy food, yogurt has been consumed for centuries in many long-lived nations of the world. Now re-discovered as a probiotic, it is simply fermented with the participation of various strains of bacteria, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteńum bifidum. Bacteria make the milk curd, and this happens thanks to the transformation of milk sugar into lactic acid. One of the biggest advantages of yogurt is that it strengthens the intestines, introducing “friendly” bacteria into them and contributing to the growth of intestinal bacterial flora.

Intestinal flora bacteria support the digestion and absorption of food, produce B vitamins, prevent the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and inhibit internal digestive processes. They also contribute to healthy intestinal acidity.

Yoghurt is especially beneficial for people who treat themselves with antibiotics, those who eat a lot of sweets, and those who drink chlorinated water, as well as those who have “depleted” friendly bacteria in one way or another.

It also helps in the synthesis of vitamin K, preventing internal bleeding, and reducing cholesterol level, reduces the risk of cancer, in particular colon cancer.

Do the health benefits of this so-called 'superfood' ring true?

All the advantages of yoghurt should be added to its huge nutritional value. It is rich in high quality protein, vitamins and minerals: it contains vitamin A, a complex of vitamins B, vitamins E and D, it is a great source of easily absorbed calcium, potassium and phosphorus, it contains only a moderate amount of sodium. It is also highly digestible – most of the protein is digested within an hour.

It is of great value as a food used in cases of mucus of the digestive system, colitis, constipation, disorders in the secretion of bile, bloating, bad breath, high cholesterol, migraines and nervous exhaustion.

In addition, it serves people who can not consume milk in a different form due to lactose intolerance.


This is the general name of all products that regenerate the intestines and rejuvenate the whole body. Probiotics stimulate the growth of intestinal bacterial flora, reducing the risk of diseases caused by microorganisms. In general, they ensure the health of the body as opposed to antibiotics and contraceptive pills that promote intestinal disease processes.

The probiotics include: yogurt, buttermilk and sour milk, digestive enzymes, FOS (fructooligosaccharides), sauerkraut, miso and thorium.

Yoghurts and sour milk contain cultures of friendly bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Bifidobacteria longumand Streptococus thermophilus, which are generally mentioned on the labels. Regular consumption of foods containing these bacteria is very beneficial to the body. They support the absorption of nutrients, increase the production of vitamins, maintain an adequate level of acidity in the intestines, increase resistance to diseases and prevent the development of intestinal cancer, as well as decreasing susceptibility to yeast overgrowth.

FOS is a type of sugar that selectively nourishes only friendly bacteria and stimulates there development. Excessive growth of pathogenic bacteria in the intestines is associated with such ailments as: allergies, eczema, bad odor from the mouth, constipation, arthritis, headaches, sinus disease, high cholesterol, colitis, yeast, mycosis and cystitis.


The general name of the group of bacteria that live in the intestines, forming part of their bacterial flora.

They do not have flagella, do not produce survival forms, are acid-resistant. They belong to the “good” bacterial group, because they are extremely important for the proper course of the nutrient absorption process. They are involved in the transformation of carbohydrates in the intestine into lactic acid. They inhibit the growth of candida albicans yeast (causing mycosis). The intestinal flora is strengthened by lactic bacteria abundantly found in yoghurts. They can relieve many ailments, such as rotting food in the gut, vaginal yeast infection in women, constipation or flatulence, and even prevent them. The main enemy are antibiotics, which kill all bacteria, both “bad”, pathogenic as well as “good”. Therefore, it is very important to supplement the bacterial flora during antibiotic treatment, eating as much yogurt as possible and taking special capsules containing live bacterial cultures. 

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.

Categories: Food for Health


Article by  Dominika Zielińska

They provide more nutrients per calorie than all other animal products except milk. They contain about 73% water. On average,
1 piece has about 6 grams of protein, 5.75 grams of fat and 0.45 grams of carbohydrates.

They are considered the best source of valuable protein: are low in fat, rich in vitamin A, low in calories and cheap. Eggs contain perfectly balanced nutrients: many B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin and pantothenic acid) and many minerals and trace elements such as iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sulfur in particular. Egg yolk is rich in sulfur, contained in two amino acids cysteine ​​and methionine – which play an important role in building the body’s resistance to disease.

For many years, it was claimed that eating eggs leads to an increase in cholesterol. It is true that egg yolk contains 275 mg, but it is balanced by the abundant lecithin (1700 mg) that emulsifies cholesterol preventing its absorption. Only people with a disorder called hyperlipoproteinemia should avoid all foods containing cholesterol.

Notice: raw eggs contain avidin – a protein that binds biotin (a vitamin from group B) and interferes with its absorption.


Lecithin is a waxy substance, present in all cells of the body and various foods. It consists of a compound of the group of vitamins B: choline. Lecithin is essential for the body: it accounts for 30% of the dry mass of brain tissue and 73% of liver fat.

Lecithin helps in transferring fat in the body and together with cholesterol it produces bile. It has a significant ability to emulsify, thanks to which it supports the dissolution of small gallstones, reduces the size of fat molecules in the blood, lowering cholesterol levels and preventing then atherosclerosis.

It is said that lecithin is the “food for the brain” because its component – choline – undergoes transformation in the brain into a neurotransmitter that affects the functioning of the intellect and memory. Lecithin preparations may be useful for people with mental work, and its best natural source is unprocessed fresh vegetable oils, egg yolk, nuts, seeds and soy. In liquid form, granules and capsules are available in pharmacies and health food stores. 

Dominika Zielińska – dietician/nutritionist

She obtained her master’s degree of Dietetics and bachelor’s studies of Artistic education in the field of musical art at the University of Rzeszów in Poland.

During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others in: anorexia and bulimia, celiac disease and primary lactose intolerance, population health –  tacking health inequalities at regional level, fat burning and the role of hormones, oncological nutrition, infant nutrition and diet for the elderly.

During her studies she took n active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszów and the organization of and participation in the  1st, 2nd, 3rdNational Scientific Conference of Students and PhD Students “Medical Aspects of Human Nutrition”.

In 2016, she published in W.Kruk, M. Marć: Public health, part 4: Threats to public health and the challenges of health education. Chapter 5 (Dominika Zielińska) Influence of information and advertising provided in the mass media on the spontaneous use of drugs in the case of ailments not requiring medical intervention.
She is a highly creative individual, very communicative and with interpersonal skills, eager to learn new skills.
Her hobbies are nutrition and healthy food, music and singing, but also scientific activity.

Categories: Food for Health

Gluten-free diet – what to know about it

Article by  Karolina Jakiel

What is gluten?

The definition formulated by FAO / WHO defines gluten as a protein fraction that is as insoluble in water and 0.5 M NaCl present in wheat, rye, barley, oats and their derivatives, as well as in hybrid varieties, i.e. triticale

In the medical sciences, a more concise gluten definition is used, which applies only to the ethanol soluble prolamin fraction, including

-wheat – gliadin

-rye – secalin

-barley – hordein

Damage to small intestine cells after ingestion of cereal products naturally containing gluten depends on the amount of nitrogen in the prolamin fraction, as well as their composition and amino acid sequence.

Based on studies have been conducted, it was shown that fragments with a small amount of proline are not harmful to people with hypersensitivity to gluten, and that the most toxic is the proline-rich sequence at the gliadin N-terminus.

Gluten-free diet

A gluten-free diet consists of eliminating products containing gluten, prolamin found in wheat, barley and rye from the everyday diet.

People on a gluten-free diet should eliminate such products as: barley (barley groats, pearl barley) wheat and its products, bulgur grits, semolina, couscous, spelled, rye and triticale.

It is also recommended to eliminate oat products due to the likelihood of grain contamination in the production process.

In addition, people on a gluten-free diet should not buy ready-made meat dishes, breaded meat, vegetable fish, dairy products with the addition of cereals or barley malt, wheat germ oils, cakes and pastries from gluten-free cereals, cereal coffee, baking powder, soy sauce.

However, gluten-free foods contain much less protein, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and fiber. However, they contain higher amounts of fat, saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, salt and sugar.

Indications for using a gluten-free diet

-> Celiac disease is a genetically determined food hypersensitivity to gluten found in cereals. It is recognized as a systemic autoimmune disease and is characterized by the presence of specific antibodies in the serum, the presence of HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8 haplotype and enteropathy.

This disease consists in disorders of digestion and intestinal absorption, leads to the disappearance of intestinal villi, which prevents the absorption of nutrients from food.

This disease affects people of all ages: children, but also adults, who initially were asymptomatic.

It is also found to be more frequent in women than in men.

Typical symptoms include chronic or recurrent diarrhea, bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, stinky stools with undigested food leftovers, sudden or unintentional weight loss. Less characteristic symptoms are weakness, chronic fatigue, irritability, depression, anemia.

->Duhring desease-  dermatitis herpetiformis is a cutaneous manifestation of gluten intolerance. It is called the dermal form of celiac disease and often occurs in the same families where celiac disease sufferers.

Ailments mainly affect skin eruptions and pruritus, and to a lesser extent, bowel disorders. Skin lesions are most often located on the knees, elbows, near the sacrum, the buttocks, the area of the shoulders, the face and the scalp.

This disease affects mainly children, however, there are cases of its occurrence in adults.

->Non-celiac gluten sensivity (NCGS) the type of food intolerance caused by gluten intake associated with the occurrence of symptoms in patients who were excluded celiac disease and intolerance to gluten. The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, persistent flatulence, unjustified anxiety and sleep disturbances, headaches, fatigue, diarrhea and muscle pain. The condition for NCGS diagnosis is the effectiveness of using a gluten-free diet and the return of symptoms after the gluten has been implemented. This disease entity, however, requires further research.

-> Allergy to wheat can occur in two forms: immediate (IgE-dependent) and delayed (IgE independent). Allergy to wheat can be manifested by skin reactions, ailments in the digestive and respiratory system. WHO has announced 21 allergens responsible for allergy to wheat.

The unfounded implementation of a gluten-free diet in a healthy person

Gluten-free diet is increasingly used by health conscious people, this is largely due to marketing activities promoting gluten-free products and emerging pseudoscientific information. A study by Marcason shows that there is no evidence of the benefits of a gluten-free diet to reduce body weight. This diet contains a small amount of fiber and is associated with the probability of a shortage of nutrients.

In other studies, it was concluded that reduced intake was associated with a reduced amount of fiber in the diet, which contributed to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

In 2017 the American Heart Association concluded that a higher intake of gluten, including fiber, was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Research by Jenkins et al. shows that higher fiber intake has a positive effect on lowering triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.

The elimination of products containing gluten from the diet adversely affects the intestinal flora, which has been confirmed in people with celiac disease

More information:

-Marcason W. Is there evidence to support the claim that a gluten-free diet should be used for weight loss? J Am Diet Assoc. 2011; 111(11): 1786

-Lebwohl B, Cao Y, Zong G, et al. Long term gluten consumption in adults without celiac disease and risk of coronary heart disease: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2017; 357: j1892

-Lebwohl B, Hu F, Sampson L, et al. Low gluten diets may be associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes. American Heart Association Meeting Report Presentation. 2017; 11.

-Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Vuksan V, et al. Effect of wheat bran on serum lipids: influence of particle size and wheat protein. J Am Coll Nutr. 1999; 18(2): 159–165

-Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Vidgen E, et al. High-protein diets in hyperlipidemia: effect of wheat gluten on serum lipids, uric acid, and renal function. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001; 74(1): 57–63,

-Caminero A, Nistal E, Herrán AR, et al. Differences in faecal bacteria populations and faecal bacteria metabolism in healthy adults and celiac disease patients. Biochimie. 2012; 94(8): 1724–1729

-De Palma G, Nadal I, Collado MC, et al. Effects of a gluten-free diet on gut microbiota and immune function in healthy adult human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2009; 102(8): 1154–1160 

Karolina Jakiel – master of dietetics specialist in psychodietetics.
She obtained her master’s degree at the University of Rzeszow in Poland, completed post-graduate studies in psychodietetics at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS University) in Katowice in Poland.
During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others: diagnostics in the office of a dietician, insulin resistance, psychodietetics, sports dietetics, oncological dietetics, and diet for the elderly.
During her studies she took an active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszow.
She is interested in healthy eating and shares her ideas through her profile in social media.

Categories: Food for Health

Dietary fiber – what’s in it?

Article by  Karolina Jakiel

Dietary fiber consists of substances of vegetable origin belonging to carbohydrate food group. Dietary fiber is not digested and absorbed in the small intestine, but undergoes partial or complete fermentation in the large intestine. Fiber induces local reactions associated with the presence in the digestive system, and systemic reactions affecting metabolism.

The fiber consists of the following substances that are soluble in water: cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin. There are also pectins, gums and mucilage that do not dissolve under the influence of water.

Health-promoting effect of fiber:

– products containing dietary fiber have a protective effect if there is a risk of cancer of the large intestine, pancreas and colon.

There are several processes to protect against cancer, including shortening the time of intestinal transit, increasing the stool volume, binding bile acids and carcinogenic compounds, increasing the pH of the intestinal content, stimulating the development of beneficial microflora and stimulating fermentation in the large intestine.

-the presence of fiber results in a faster feeling of satiety, which lasts longer. A high fiber diet is a good solution for people on a weight loss diet and for people who have a snacking problem.

-cellulose and lignin, or insoluble parts of fiber, do not decompose through the intestinal flora, which has a beneficial effect on the acceleration of intestinal peristalsis, as well as limiting the energy value of food

-foods with a lot of fiber reduce the postprandial response of insulin and glucose. In this way, they improve the lipid profile and have a beneficial effect on the treatment of diabetes.

-cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, i.e. the soluble fiber parts, absorb bile salts in the intestine. As a consequence, this leads to a reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL.

– fiber plays a key role in the treatment of constipation. The water soluble fractions become a gel, which limits the intestinal transit and the absorption of other substances. Fatty acids and bile acids are transformed into substances of a laxative character. During the fermentation an increased amount of carbon dioxide and methane are formed. These substances increase the mass of stool and soften it.

-short-chain fatty acids lower the pH, increase the amount of intestinal flora bacteria, which in turn causes a reduction in the amount of pathogenic bacteria and the increase of the gastrointestinal epithelium.

Basic functions of water-soluble fiber

→ regulation of intestinal peristalsis, increase of fecal mass volume, reduction of intestinal transit time

→  postprandial glycemic control

→ lowering of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides

→ regulation of bile acid metabolism, prevention of gallstones

→ increasing the feeling of fullness

→ prebiotic operation

→ lowering of blood pressure

→ removing toxins from the body

Basic functions of water-insoluble fiber

→ beneficial action in constipation

→ stabilization of sugar level

→ regulation of lipid metabolism

→ prevention of cholelithiasis

→ reduction of body weight

→ prevention of colon cancer

→ lowering of blood pressure

→ removing toxins from the body

How much fiber should you provide?

Terapeutic Life Changes recommends eating 20-30 g fiber daily for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. In diabetes, this amount increases to 50g.

Current WHO recommendations say about 25-40 g per day. The upper limit of intake is recommended in the case of intestinal problems or when using a high-protein diet.

It is also worth paying attention to the amount of water drunk. A minimum of 2 liters of water should be drunk daily. If you drink too little, you may get constipation. 

It was found that an excessive intake of fiber will disturb the absorption of fats and thus fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K).

Phytic acid associated with fiber limits the absorption of calcium, zinc and iron.

Too much fiber can cause diarrhea.

There are diseases in which fiber intake is limited or even forbidden. These include: inflammation of the stomach, pancreas, bile ducts, intestines and anemia.

Where to find fiber?

Soluble fiber occurs in

– fruits (plums, bananas, pulp of apples and pears, apricots, peaches)

– vegetables (broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, kohlrabi, potatoes, onions),

– cereal products (oatmeal, rice, groats, bran)

– legumes (soybeans, beans)

– psyllias plantain seed husks

Insoluble fiber is found in:

– wholegrain food

– wheat bran, barley bran, corn

– nuts

– pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds

– vegetables (cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, spinach)

– fruit (raspberries, avocados, bananas, kiwi)

Karolina Jakiel – master of dietetics specialist in psychodietetics.
She obtained her master’s degree at the University of Rzeszow in Poland, completed post-graduate studies in psychodietetics at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS University) in Katowice in Poland.
During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others: diagnostics in the office of a dietician, insulin resistance, psychodietetics, sports dietetics, oncological dietetics, and diet for the elderly.
During her studies she took an active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszow.
She is interested in healthy eating and shares her ideas through her profile in social media.

Categories: Food for Health

About coffee over coffee – is coffee harmful?

Article by  Karolina Jakiel

Coffee is one of the favorite drinks of most people. Often the first thing we do after waking up is drink coffee. We reach for it in the moment of pleasure or the moment of fatigue. This drink has many health benefits and it is one of the most popular drinks in the world.

Coffee contains over 1000 active compounds. Among them, caffeine, kafestol, chlotogenic acid and diterpenes are distinguished. Caffeine is a natural ingredient of vegetable origin. It also occurs in the leaves of the tea bush and cocoa seeds.

The above-mentioned ingredients have a potentially beneficial effect, including oxidative, anti-inflammatory or antineoplastic activity. The final effect of coffee is influenced by the type of coffee, the burning of grains, the method of making coffee and the predispositions, including the genotype and intestinal microbiota of a person consuming coffee.

On the basis of research that has been conducted it was hypothesised that the daily intake of 3 cups of coffee was associated with a lower risk of premature death.

In addition, consumption of 3 cups of coffee was also associated with a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases, stroke and ischemic heart disease

People who drink from 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day are less likely to have cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Consumption of one extra cup of coffee daily among non-smokers reduces the risk of death from cancer by 2%.

People who drink coffee were less likely to have cancer of the prostate, endometrium, mouth, skin and liver.

The research shows that people who consume coffee in comparison with people who do not drink coffee are less exposed to the risk of liver cirrhosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

In the case of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the risk was reduced by 30%.

Consumption of coffee was also associated with a significantly lower risk of cholelithiasis.

Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee have a significant influence on the prevention of type II diabetes.

In addition, coffee protects against neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases.

Despite the positive effects of coffee it is not indicated in pregnant women. High and low consumption of coffee by pregnant women was associated with a higher risk of low birth weight, pregnancy loss and premature birth in the first and second trimester. Caffeine readily crosses the placenta and the enzyme metabolizing coffee in the fetus is low.

In addition to the positive effects of coffee consumption, incidents report an increased risk of fractures among women who consume coffee, while in men the risk is much lower, however, this topic requires further research.

People who suffer from reflux disease should give up drinking coffee since increases the secretion of gastric juice making symptoms worse.  

Consumption of coffee definitely more often brings more benefits than damage. Contrary to the circulating opinion on the dehydrating effect of caffeine, studies have proven that moderate consumption of caffeine (4 mg / kg body weight – 4 cups) does not adversely affect the body’s water content. Intake of coffee in moderation contributes to the daily need for liquids without causing a harmful effect on the balance of fluids in the body.

Caffeine in the amount of 100 – 300 mg affects the central nervous system, thanks to which it supports thought processes, supports concentration, improves short-term memory, reduces fatigue and drowsiness.

Based on current knowledge caffeine intake ranges from 400 mg per day are safe for health . Consumption of this amount of coffee does not cause adverse health effects and may be associated with possible benefits. However, it should be remembered that excessive consumption of caffeine may result in insomnia, hyperactivity, arrhythmia and stomach problems. People with reflux disease, pregnant women and nursing women, people with osteoporosis and high blood pressure should limit caffeine intake.

More information:

  • R. Poole, O. J Kennedy, P. Roderick, J. A Fallowfield, P. C Hayes, J. Parkes; Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes; Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5024
  • S. C. Killer , A. K. Blannin, A. E. Jeukendrup: No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a FreeLiving Population. PLOS ONE. January 2014 | Volume 9 | Issue 1 | e84154
  • Nawrot P., Jordan S., Eastwood J., Rotstein J., Hugenholtz A., Feeley M: Effects of caffeine on human health. Food Addit. Contam. 2003, 20, 1, 1-30
  • Smith A.: Effects of caffeine on human behavior. Food Chem. Toxicol. 2002, 40. 1243-1255

Karolina Jakiel – master of dietetics specialist in psychodietetics.
She obtained her master’s degree at the University of Rzeszow in Poland, completed post-graduate studies in psychodietetics at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS University) in Katowice in Poland.
During her studies, she participated in numerous courses and trainings, among others: diagnostics in the office of a dietician, insulin resistance, psychodietetics, sports dietetics, oncological dietetics, and diet for the elderly.
During her studies she took an active part in the activities of the Scientific Circle of Dieticians at the University of Rzeszow.
She is interested in healthy eating and shares her ideas through her profile in social media.

Categories: Food for Health

Forever Young


Article as appeared on A&H Magazine 24th April 2014

I am always intrigued by those who look young despite their age. I particularly remember one university lecturer who stood out for his joie de vivre, youthfulness and positive outlook on life, even though he was approaching retirement age at the time. He was dedicated, content and rarely seen in a foul mood. He was young at heart, didn’t focus much on aesthetics but was evidently fit and healthy. As we wondered how he kept this up, he explained “Young people make me feel young. Youth generates youthfulness”. He said he was a firm believer in healthy living, exercise, good food, helping others, and mind-over-matter. That works for him, but different people deal with ageing differently. Some resort to cosmetics, cosmetic surgery or botox to make them feel and look younger. Others prefer the more natural approach. They start a new sport, become involved in philanthropic organisations, take up an organic lifestyle, practice meditation, take up yoga or increase their exercise whatever that may be. Still, what works for someone else might also work for you, so we asked readers and specialists what they think.


  1. Load skin with antioxidants, using good products to fight wrinkles.
  2. Target the eye area. The skin around your eyes is thinner and more delicate so give the eye area some extra attention every day.
  3. Protect against sun damage by applying sun protection cream and wearing sunglasses.
  4. Exfoliate and cleanse your skin regularly.
  5. Prevent hair loss.


Francesca Scerri Rizzo, an aesthetician, says “When addressing ageing, we should really be tackling what it is that leads to ageing skin. Primarily it is the sun’s rays that we should be protecting ourselves from. It is very important to use a sunscreen that will prevent pigmentation and uneven skin tone. We also need to follow a healthy diet, to keep hydrated and to exercise regularly.” As a holistic therapist, Ms Scerri Rizzo says she is a firm believer in remaining as stress-free as possible: “Taking time to care for oneself, getting enough sleep and always finding something happy to smile about.”

Caroline Paris, a fashion stylist says as a stylist her main focus is the final look rather than whether certain clothes are age appropriate or not. “It’s more about the style than the actual clothes. The same pair of jeans can be styled to look great on both a 20-year old and a 40-year old depending on what else it is paired with,” she says.
As we mature, she says one should give less importance to having lots of clothes and trendy items and focus more on buying what she calls ‘investment pieces’: “The idea is to invest in a few key pieces of high quality that will last for many years and that can be adapted to be worn with many different outfits.”



Thinning hair is one of the signs of ageing. Prolong hair health by eating right.

OMEGA 3 fatty acids reach both the hair shaft and the cell membranes in the scalp. Omega 3 fatty acids nourish the follicles and promote healthy hair growth. Eat flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, tuna, kale, Brussels sprouts, and rapeseed oil.

Make sure you get enough ZINC. It boosts tissue growth and repair, helping your scalp and hair stay healthy. It also regulates hormones – including testoserone – and helps maintain production of oil-secreting glands on the scalp that help your hair grow. Eat chickpeas, wheat germ, oysters, beef, veal liver, and roast beef.

Eat a diet rich in HIGH QUALITY, NATURAL PROTEIN. The foods to eat: Greek yogurt, eggs yolks, kale, peanuts, beans, peas, lentils, tofu, chicken and turkey.

Make sure you eat foods that are rich in IRON for healthy blood, which helps deliver oxygen to the body’s cells. A lack of iron will result in your blood not being able to carry enough oxygen to your scalp for good hair growth. Eat dark leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, red meat, turkey, egg yolks, clams, mussels, and oysters.

VITAMINS A and C contribute to the production of sebum, the oily substance that protects your hair naturally. Foods to eat: Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.

Magnesium is also needed for good hair growth. Foods to eat: almonds, spinach, cashews, lentils, brown rice and halibut. Selenium helps stimulate hair follicles to encourage new hair growth. Foods to eat include: almonds, spinach, cashews, lentils, brown rice and halibut.

“Dynamism n lifestyle and career, consistency in personal relationships.”
“Constant personal development and humour.”
“Playfulness and a relaxed attitude towards life. Letting my inner child out often helps to keepme feeling young. I don’t think we really ever grow up.We just grow old, so our inner attitude and perspective are key.”
“Love and positiveness.”
“A good laugh, contentment and happiness.”
“Living on the edge and listening to some great music.”
“Meditation, limited sun exposure UV damage, hydration, good skin care routine and supplements, avoidance of alcohol, tobacco and other toxins.”
“Keeping a smile on your face.”
“Adventure, regular exercise and affection. Sometimes affection is overlooked.We all need it”
“Drinking as much water as possible. Limited processed foods. Eating raw vegetables. Laughter and a commitment
to exercising your mind.”
“Drinking two litres of water a day.”
“In my case, having two babies at age 40 makes me feel very young.”
“A smoke-free body.”
“Being grateful for everything you have.”
“Avoiding stress, if possible.”
“A healthy sexual relationship.”
“Wearing jeans, cool t-shirts and a smile that joins both ears.”
“Dance as often as possible. Help others. Think positive. Love fully. Pray. Laugh, laugh, laugh. Learn lessons quickly instead of making the same mistakes over and over again.”

Daniela Allen is a freelance journalist & PR consultant with a main interest in health. She has been involved in the print media for many years. As a journalist she reported on various matters, European bodies as well as the World Health Organization. Daniela has also collaborated closely with foreign media agencies including the BBC, where she co-worked on documentaries and other stories for both the BBC World Service and BBC Radio among others. Her passion involves expertise in bringing together networks of people. Daniela is committed towards raising awareness on health and other matters both through her writing as well as through events She may be contacted at Email:

Categories: Food for Health

The Dairy Controversy


Article by Dr. Antonella Grima

There is an ever-growing group of people who, for one reason or another, have excluded dairy products completely from their diet, opting to obtain their calcium from other sources. I feel I cannot say anything about those who opt out for ethical reasons, such as vegans who refuse to consume any animal products on the grounds of refusing to utilise animals and their products for human gain. It is a life choice and I respect it. However, I at times doubt how well informed the rest of the dairy non-consumers are about the pros and cons of consuming this food group and wonder whether they are somewhat misguided in their choices.

Archeological evidence has shown us that cattle has coexisted with humans since 10,000 BC. Cattle remains have been consistently found in ancestral human settlements worldwide, together with evidence that cattle was kept for milk, meat and hides. This close relationship between man and cattle that spans over twelve millennia gives one reason to believe that evolution has favoured humans who consumed dairy over tribes who did not. Similarly, it is very plausible to believe that over the millennia human genes and digestive systems have evolved to take full advantage of the properties of milk and its products.

Some argue that cow’s milk is made for baby cows, and not for humans. It is true that the digestibility and nutrient bio-availability of cow’s milk is inferior to that of human breast milk. However, this holds true only where infants, whose nutrition is derived entirely from milk, are concerned. In older children and adults breast milk consumption is highly unlikely and cow’s milk is the next best thing. Milk is in fact an excellent source of protein, as well as one of the best sources of calcium. There are other non-dairy sources of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones, among other things. However, ensuring an adequate daily intake of calcium from dairy (3 portions a day) is already difficult to achieve for most, let alone from other sources such as leafy greens and soy beans that are not usually consumed on a daily basis. The consumption of enough calcium is essential for all age groups and is especially important in children and teens where rapid bone growth is occurring, in pregnant and lactating mothers where demands are increased, and in the elderly where bone loss can lead to fractures that impact quality of life and survival.
In fact, in recent years, a disease called rickets, due to calcium or vitamin D deficiency, has resurfaced in middle class Londoner children. Once a disease of poverty and malnutrition, the cause of rickets is now unfortunately faddy diets and dairy elimination by parents who genuinely believe they are acting in their children’s best interest.

Promoters of vegan diets argue that animal proteins are pro-inflammatory, thus leading to chronic conditions like heart disease and cancers, among other things. While there is undebatable evidence that a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits and unrefined grains offers protection from a number of diseases, it is also true that dairy is consumed daily in moderate quantities among the world’s longest living populations, such as the Sardinians and Ikarians. Interestingly, Ikarians consume mostly yoghurt as a source of dairy, one of the lower fat varieties of this food group. In fact, in order to prevent heart disease, most nutritional authorities recommend the consumption of skimmed or low fat dairy rather than the fattier versions, such as hard cheeses and butter.

In the end I truly believe in applying the maxim “virtus est in media res” to nutrition. We are in reality omnivores of hunter gatherer origin. Consuming small amounts of food from the different food groups, while watching things like saturated fat and sugars, where there is undisputed evidence that consumption is harmful, is both pleasant and beneficial.

Categories: Food for Health

Quick tip: About Clean Eating


By Dr. Antonella Grima

Clean eating revolves around the concept of eating food in its most natural, fresh and wholesome form. Fresh unprocessed food is highest in vitamins, minerals and natural materials, such as fibre. Processing and refining of food depletes it from these naturally-occurring beneficial substances, replacing them with harmful additives, such as, sugars, salt and stabilizing chemicals. Eating clean foods helps prevent obesity, diabetes and hypertension, as well as vitamin deficiencies. It might also help prevent cancer. In fact, the link between the consumption of large amounts of processed meats and the occurrence of bowel cancer has been well-documented. Clean foods might be more difficult to find than readily-available processed alternatives. However, growing your own vegetables, cooking your own food from scratch, and getting to know your local farmers and buying produce from them may be an enriching experience to be enjoyed by the whole family.

My Water Challenge


By Dr. Antonella Grima

As appeared on on 27th September 2014

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an article regarding a woman who claimed tohave taken ten years off her face by drinking three litres of water a day.

At first I was rather skeptical about her affirmation, assuming it was yet another one of the many internet phenomena. Then I looked at the logic, and yes, it made perfect sense.

So off to the kitchen I went, measuring jug in hand – three litres of water a day, ten large glasses of water over a period of 24 hours – doable? Doable! I calculated how I would split my water over the day, timing my peak water input around my schedule in order to avoid obvious inconveniences, and my water challenge was launched.

Having been accustomed to withstanding long stretches of time with very little or no water at all, my kidneys initially could not keep up and I spent the first few days within very close proximity of a bathroom. However, being guilty of long-term and self-inflicted water deprivation, despite knowing better, I decided to persevere and see if the lady’s claims held any truth.

After a few days, I got accustomed to the change in my water consumption and the sweltering summer heat on my side, also surprised myself by actually feeling thirsty and exceeding my three litre a day quota on some days! Did I notice any difference? Yes! Three weeks into the experiment, the most noticeable change is my skin. It does seem more even and somewhat plumper than it did a while ago and I do look more refreshed than before.

My digestion also seems to have improved and I noticed I crave food less unless I am hungry. I also managed to lose a kilo despite eating more or less the same amount as I did before. I have become more attuned to thirst and respond to it more quickly now. I do feel more energetic and have less headaches than I normally would have. Shall I continue? Hopefully yes. It has been shown that a considerable proportion of adults consume less water than their body requires, so I do encourage readers to up their water consumption.

If for any reason, including heart or kidney disease, or electrolyte imbalances, you have been advised by your doctor to restrict your fluid intake, please refrain from drinking more water than you have been advised by your doctor as this could cause you serious harm.

Article as appeared on DailyMail

Categories: Food for Health

A Grainy Matter


By Dr. Antonella Grima

Article as appeared on on 20th November 2014

I am often asked about wheat and grains and my opinion about which ones are best and what health benefits are provided by the different forms of grains. The food and health industry is constantly bombarding us with claims promoting the almost-miraculous qualities of this or that grain, so the confusion is inevitable.

Grains, also known as cereals or cereal grains, are a staple of most diets and are a main source of carbohydrates, and, to a lesser extent proteins. Grains have three components: The outer layer called bran which contains fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Refining removes this layer, while whole grains have this layer intact. The endosperm is rich in carbohydrates in the form of starch, as well as proteins. Gluten is the main protein component of certain grains, such as wheat, barley and rye, while other grains contain different proteins, and are therefore gluten-free.

The germ contains unsaturated (healthy) oils, vitamins E and B, minerals and phytonutrients.

I will now go over the most popular classes of grains and briefly discuss their properties.

Wheat: is by far the most commonly consumed type of grain. The most widely used are bread wheat, that is used to make bread, cakes and pastries, and durum wheat, which also includes semolina. Durum wheat is used to make pasta, breakfast cereals, bulgur and couscous. Other, less widely used types of wheat are spelt, emmer, einkorn and kamut. These wheats have more ancient origins than modern wheat and are promoted for their higher protein, fibre and vitamin content. Whenever possible, consumption of wholegrain wheat products or products containing wheat bran is indicated.

Rice: needs no introduction at all. Of note are Basmati rice, which has a lower Glycaemic Index (GI) than normal rice, and brown or wild rice, which have their bran layer intact, thus being whole grains and therefore more nutritious than the refined varieties.

Corn: is either consumed whole, on the cob or as separate kernels, or refined to various degrees to produce a number of products. These include corn starch or syrup used to sweeten foods, corn flour that is used as a thickener, corn meal for making polenta or tortillas, and grits used for cornflakes or chips. Let us not forget that popcorn is a whole grain, making it a tasty high-fibre treat.

Oats: the soluble fibres in oats have been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and are therefore promoted as healthy heart grains, mainly in the form of breakfast cereals. In addition, oats contain a number of antioxidants that also play a role in promoting health. Oats are classified as whole grains.

Barley: is rich in beta-glucan, giving it the same heart-friendly properties as oats. Apart from its use in beer, barley is used to make soups, porridge and breakfast cereals.

Millet: is a very hardy grain that survives in unfavourable climates. Being gluten-free, millet bread may be used as a substitute for wheat bread. Millet is also used to make porridge, boiled like rice or added to foods to improve texture.

Buckwheat and quinoa. These are not true grains but are often included with the grain class as they have very similar properties. Buckwheat is high in fibre and contains beneficial antioxidants and minerals. It is used as a substitute for wheat in many gluten-free recipes and is also used to produce noodles, as well as being a part of many traditional European and Asian recipes.

Quinoa has gained in popularity lately. It is higher in protein, when compared to conventional grains and contains less carbohydrates, that also has a lower GI than those founds in traditional grains. In addition, quinoa is high in fibre, vitamins B and E and contains phytochemicals. Quinoa is either cooked whole or made into flour or flakes and incorporated into a variety of recipes.

More details about these and other grains may be found here

Categories: Food for Health

Snacking It Right


By Dr. Antonella Grima

Article as appeared on on 19th January 2015

I often encounter people who are ever so diligent when having their main meals and who unfortunately commit a number of snacking blunders, thus consuming the wrong types of food and exceeding their daily caloric needs through snacking.

The result is inevitable – weight gain. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will help you snack wisely.

The Do’s:

Keep healthy snacks handy when you are out. This will keep you from purchasing calorie-dense alternatives, such as fast food takeaways, chocolate bars or sweets. Low calorie alternatives that can be easily carried around in your bag include fruit, a low fat yoghurt, a small packet of wholegrain crackers or a handful of nuts in a small container.

Find time to snack and try to have two or three snacks during the day, between your main meals. This will help you keep your glucose and insulin levels stable and avoid craving and overeating at meal times.

Drink plenty of water. Thirst may be misinterpreted as hunger by our bodies. Keeping yourself well-hydrated helps you curb your appetite and keep your food consumption within healthy limits.

And the Don’ts:

Avoid snacking when you are distracted in front of the TV or computer or when you are busy doing something. Mindless eating, which happens when we are concentrating on something else, makes us over eat and to go for the wrong food choices.

When you snack, do not graze. Choose one food item and stick to it. Eating one food item after another and in large quantities, may result in the consumption of a considerable amount of calories over a short period of time. This often happens when we have not eaten for some time and if we are starving or craving food.

Do not fall into the trap of snacking on protein shakes, protein or cereal bars. These might contain a high concentration of sugars and are seldom filling, making you want to eat more, afterwards.

In conclusion, snacks should provide an opportunity for increasing the consumption of healthy nutrients, such as vitamins and fibre, through wholesome and healthy options, while also keeping hunger under control until mealtimes. When chosen wisely, a snack can provide us with a refreshing and energy-boosting break to our daily routines.

Enjoying the Summer Grill… The Guilt-Free Way


By Dr. Antonella Grima

Summer is round the corner and the smell of those fabulous summer barbecues is already in the air. Follow these practical tips to join in the summer fun in a healthy and low-calorie way.

Choose your cuts. When it comes to meat, fish or white meat such as chicken breast are the healthier options as they are lower in saturated fats and hence lower in calories. If you must have red meat, go for leaner cuts, such as fillet, as this is mainly muscle and contains less fat than other cuts.

Eyes on the marinade and sauces. These can drastically increase the calorie content of your meal. Steer clear of oils, mayonnaise and ready made sauces or gravies and instead opt for wine, herbs and lemon to marinade your meat, and vegetable-based sauces, such as hummus or bigilla.

Stick to one main plate. Nibbling on snacks and starters, such as nuts, crisps, cheese, ham and sausages before your meal may add on hundreds of extra calories to your barbecued meal. Try and have one main plate and skip nibbles and starters if you can.

Do not shy away from vegetables. Barbecued vegetables, such as aubergines, peppers or corn on the cob taste divine and usually contain less calories than their animal-derived barbecue counterparts. You may also wish to prepare a cold and crispy vegetable salad to serve as a side dish.

Eyes on that glass. The wine or beer somehow goes down easier while savouring a good grill. One drink for the ladies and two for the gents per day are more than enough. Alcohol is a source of extra calories and causes harm to your liver if consumed in excess. While on the topic of drinks, water or diet soft drinks are low-calorie alternatives to juices and sugary drinks.

When it comes to the dessert dilemma, it is always better to skip or choose a healthier option such as fruit, or opt for a small portion if you really must taste the ice cream or gateau.

Go slow on the charring! Barbecuing releases unhealthy free radicals and oxidizes the food. While a few barbecues here and there will cause minimal harm, one should refrain from having a barbecue on more than one or two days a week and try not to char food beyond the cooking point, while making sure it is well-cooked, of course. Counteract the effect of oxidation by consuming plenty of antioxidants, such as Vitamin C or E or Beta carotene during the day. Excellent sources are colourful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. Supplements are not necessary.

And finally, enjoy the company, the food and the exquisite Mediterranean climate we have been blessed with!

Article as appeared on 23rd May 2015 on

That Nasty Orange Peel

By Dr. Antonella Grima

Cellulite, the appearance of that nasty orange peel on the skin, plagues many women worldwide. The bad news is that, yes, there is a genetic tendency to have it and it does affect thinner women, too. The good news is that there are various ways in which you can keep it at bay or, at least, limit its extent or severity.

What causes cellulite? Collagen fibres which are present in the skin are pushed up by underlying fat. These, in turn, pull on the superficial skin, causing dimpling and making the skin uneven or bumpy, thus bringing about an irregular appearance. The presence of cellulite in itself starts a vicious cycle by putting pressure on tiny capillaries in the skin, making them permeable, and on the lymphatics, resulting in water retention and inadequate drainage of water and toxins from the skin. This brings about increased skin engorgement and unevenness.

What can I do about it?

There are various ways in which one can prevent cellulite from forming and which will go a long way to reduce it once it occurs.

  • Water plays an essential role in keeping our skin healthy and smooth. Drinking at least two litres of water a day will help you combat cellulite, whilst also keeping the rest of your body healthy.
  • Reduce the amount of processed foods you consume – this will help you reduce cellulite. These contain a considerable amount of salt and contribute towards fluid retention and the engorgement of the skin in cellulite-prone areas. The same goes for avoiding salty foods and reducing the amount of salt used in food preparation as much as possible.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight will also help you reduce the severity of cellulite in areas where fat is naturally deposited, such as the thighs and buttocks. Having a larger amount of subcutaneous fat in these areas will make cellulite more conspicuous by pushing on the collagen fibres and increasing dimpling. Losing weight will result in a loss of fat and will lead to an improved skin appearance.
  • Exercise can also help combat cellulite. By increasing muscle tone, overall flabbiness diminishes, thus giving thighs and buttocks a smoother appearance. Exercise also improves our circulation and blood flow to the skin, as well as having many other benefits. This may help in the elimination of retained fluid from cellulite-prone areas.
  • A healthy lifestyle is known to have an effect on the skin’s appearance. Lifestyle factors that may affect the skin include smoking, stress and poor sleep. These may also have an effect on cellulite.
  • Cosmetic treatments play a role in helping you combat cellulite. Numerous technologies are available so be sure to choose a reputable clinic where treatments are performed by trained professionals using safe and approved equipment.

And finally, keep in mind that cellulite tends to return. Keep it at bay by being consistent in your healthy habits.

As appeared on 9/6/15 on

Categories: Food for Health

When Bacon is no Longer an Option


By Dr. Antonella Grima

On the 26th of October 2015 The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research agency of the World Health Organization, issued a press release stating that it had evaluated the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat and classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans and processed meat as carcinogenic to humans. The main cancer associated in both cases was colorectal cancer. Needless to say, this statement made headline news on all the leading international newspapers and became a topic of discussion among opinion leaders, policy makers, heads of government and social networks both locally and internationally.

​As the dust made by this culinary storm started to settle, controversy ensued. There were those who compared the risk of consuming processed meat to those posed by cigarette smoke and felt reassured that, after all, it is not that bad. Others pointed towards health food lobbyists, health enthusiasts, environmentalists, and a myriad of other organizations and blamed them for creating this ‘hype’. There were articles that claimed that consuming fruit and vegetables was also responsible for causing cancer, while others invited us to focus our efforts on environmental pollutants rather than on processed meats.

However, having said all this, the writing has been on the wall for a quite some time now. Over the past few years, there has been the accumulation of a mounting body of evidence against the consumption of processed, as well as red meats. What has changed now? The IARC, via a Working Group of 22 experts from 10 countries, re-evaluated the evidence and grouped findings from a number of independent studies into a meta-analysis, thus increasing the strength and significance of the link between these food products and cancer. The link between processed meat consumption and cancer has now changed from probable to definitive.

The working group was not able to show such a strong association between red meat consumption and cancer, and the association still remains probable.
Putting the cancer perspective aside, one must keep in mind that these food products have already been implicated in a number of other conditions that cause ill-health. Health agencies nowadays discourage the consumption of red meats, stating that their high saturated fat content leads to high blood cholesterol, obesity and cardiovascular diseases, among others. Processed meats are rich in salt and fats, and are usually poor in nutrients. Apart from the health concerns posed by saturated fat, salt is a known culprit for high blood pressure and must be consumed judiciously. One must not ignore the fact that diseases of the circulatory system are the leading cause of death in Malta, causing 40% of all mortalities. In addition, leading experts in the fields of longevity and disease prevention promote a diet rich in plants and fibre, and low in meat and refined sugar consumption, among other things.

Where does this leave us? While the one-off hot dog or bacon fry-up will have little effect on our individual risk of developing cancer, given the evidence, one would be unwise to consume these products on a daily basis, especially since the risk has been shown to be dose-related. There are healthier, and tastier, alternatives to a ham sandwich and yes, children will happily eat other foods instead of sausages or chicken nuggets if these are presented from a young age and often enough.

Categories: Food for Health

HDL: The Neglected Good Cholesterol


By Dr. Antonella Grima

We are often all-too-aware about the foods that contain LDL – the bad cholesterol and we try to avoid them, religiously. However, most of us forget all about our ally – HDL, the good cholesterol – that mops LDL out of our arteries and keeps them clean and healthy, thus preventing problems such as heart disease or stroke.

By consuming foods that are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils, we help our body increase its HDL levels as well as keep inflammation, which plays a role in cardiovascular disease, at bay.

Here are a few foods that are packed with the good stuff:

Oily fish, such as mackerel and salmon are an excellent source of Omega 3 oils. Consuming oily fish once or twice a week instead of red meat or poultry is recommended.

Nuts, such as almonds and cashews, contain healthy oils as well as fibre, both playing a role in increasing the HDL to LDL cholesterol ratio in our bodies. Seeds, such as flax (linseeds), sunflower and pumpkin seeds are also a good source of healthy oils. These seeds can be sprinkled on your breakfast cereal, pasta or salad, giving it a tasty crunch.

Vegetable oils or spreads containing monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as rapeseed (or canola), olive, flax or sunflower should be used instead of butter or cream. When choosing oils, avoid those that are high in saturated fats (such as palm oil or coconut oil). When selecting vegetable spreads, go for brands that are free from harmful trans fats as these increase your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL.

In general, any product containing trans fats should be avoided. These include processed fried or baked foods, such as crisps, ready-made pies, pizza, biscuits and cakes. If you must consume these products, go for those that are clearly labelled as being free from trans fats.

Studies have shown that consuming fibre decreases the amount of LDL in our body. Excellent sources of fibre include oats, peas, beans and lentils, chickpeas, fruit and vegetables. Plant sterols and stanols are naturally found in plant-derived foods. They are also added to certain products, such as yoghurts, milk and spreads. These plant derivatives contribute towards lowering blood LDL and may also increase the level of blood HDL.

One should keep in mind that, although the food mentioned above is good for your health, it also contains calories and thus, like all other food, must be consumed in moderation to avoid weight gain.

Article as appeared on on 12/04/2015

Categories: Food for Health

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