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We’ve been working with our expert academy to talk all things berries - take a look here

How to make your fresh berries last longer this summer

13th May 2020

As we’re entering British berry season, it’s well known that berries can provide an array of vitamins, minerals and bioactive components such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and carotenoids to benefit health and the immune system.[1] At this time of year berries are naturally sweet and deliciously fresh so perfect for eating straight out of the punnet.  However, there are plenty of ways to make the most of berries in your weekly shop and reduce potential food waste. British Summer Fruits, the berry experts, share these tips on enjoying berries all week long:

 


[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0899900713002207?via%3Dihub

  • Day 1-2 – Eat them fresh.  Berries are naturally firm and sweet at this time.  Add them to natural or frozen yogurt or eat them straight from the punnet as a tasty and convenient snack. We recommend washing fresh berries in cold water before eating them.
  • Day 3 – Use them in smoothies.  Three days after purchase berries may naturally begin to soften so adding them to a smoothie is a great way to benefit from the nutrients and delicious flavours.  You can also add a sprinkle of chia or hemp seeds to your smoothie, if you have them in the cupboard. That will add some texture and increase your intake of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid.
  • … or jazz up ice cubes – Another useful way to use berries on day 3 is to add them into ice cubes. Simply add a raspberry, for example, into each square of an ice cube tray, top this up with water and freeze. Your berry ice cubes are perfect for using in G&Ts, Prosecco or Pimm’s this summer.
  • … or simply freeze fresh berries just as they are. Freezing fresh berries just as they are and defrosting at a later day has been found to keep goodness ‘locked in’ and doesn’t negatively affect their antioxidant activity or anthocyanin levels.[1] Simply rinse and separate the fresh berries, lay them flat in a freezer bag or box, pop them in your freezer and they’ll be ready to use at a later date!
  • Days 4 to 6 – Pureé or bake with berries.  By day 4 berries tend to soften so pureéing them or baking with them is a great way to use them up and avoid waste.  Berry pureés are delicious in yoghurts, porridge or mixed into muesli.  Berries are also a great addition to so many recipes - try adding them to muffins or banana bread, not only a great, tasty way to use up berries but also a good way to help children develop their home cooking skills!

 

For more berry recipe inspiration head to lovefreshberries.com/recipes

 

                                                                                         ENDS                   

 

 


[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15577185/

Celebrate summer at home with British strawberries

12th May 2020

British strawberry growers are excited to announce that the much-anticipated British strawberry season is now here! Warmer and sunnier April weather has meant that the season has started around a week earlier this year and strawberry lovers can now buy their favourite British fruit in supermarkets (in-store and online) around the country.

Many social events might be off the calendar this summer, but British strawberries can be enjoyed at home or in the garden as part of classic summer moments. From garden picnics or BBQs, to Wimbledon-inspired strawberries and cream from the comfort of your couch, British strawberries are here to remind everyone that despite recent challenges summer has arrived!

 

The start of season is also great news for Brits looking to boost their health and immunity. Gram for gram, strawberries contain more vitamin C than oranges.

 

Dr Emma Derbyshire, British Summer Fruits’ public health nutritionist, explained: "Berries are a fantastic snack that offer numerous health benefits. Not only is the whole strawberry rich in antioxidants, but the red fleshy part is also abundant in vitamin C. In fact, eating just nine strawberries (108g) can provide all of your recommended daily vitamin C intake.”

 

Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries) have the biggest market share of all fruit grown in the UK, making up an impressive 22.8 percent, and this has pushed the value of the berry industry over £1.5 billion[i]. Fresh berries are the most popular fruit item in shoppers’ baskets with strawberries topping the list[ii].

 

During the past year, nearly 150,000 tonnes of strawberries were sold in the UK, that’s the equivalent to the weight of 1.67 million average men[iii]. Despite the very different supermarket shopping experience right now, berry growers are confident that British berry sales will remain strong this year.

  

 

Nick Marston, Chairman of British Summer Fruits, the industry body that represents 95 percent of berries supplied to UK supermarkets said: “Like most industries facing challenges during this unprecedented time, our growers have had to overcome their own issues to ensure our loved British berries are available to the UK public. We are sure that consumers will continue to choose fresh British berries as part of their shop to enjoy and stay healthy. And in doing so, they’ll help to safeguard the future of our important British berry industry.”

 

-ENDS-

 

 


[i] Kantar data across 52 weeks, week ending 19 April 2020

[ii] Kantar data across 52 weeks, week ending 19 April 2020

[iii] Average man weights 197.6lbs. 1 tonne – 2,204.62lbs. 1 tonne equivalent 11.16 men. 11.16 x 150,000 = 1.67 million

Consuming your 5-a-day, including berries, could give mental wellbeing a boost

5th May 2020

While we’re all trying to stay positive at home, diet and healthy eating can play a huge part in mental wellbeing. New research suggests that getting your 5-a-day has beneficial effects on mental health.

While we’re all trying to stay positive at home, diet and healthy eating can play a huge part in mental wellbeing. New research suggests that getting your 5-a-day has beneficial effects on mental health.

 

We know that berries are mini powerhouses, providing an array of vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, tannins and phenolic and bioactive compounds[1]. Now recent research published in the Nutrients[2] journal has shown total intake of fruit and vegetables and some particular subgroups – including berries - can also have positive effects on mental wellbeing, including higher levels of optimism and reduced levels of psychological distress and depressive symptoms.

 

The research reviewed evidence from 61 studies looking at links between fruit and vegetable intake and mental health.

 

 

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits commented: “These findings are really interesting and very applicable to modern life.  We already know that berries are great for other aspects of our health, including cardiovascular wellbeing, cognition and bone health and this adds to the evidence even further. 

 

“These important findings shows that we must not overlook berries when we think about striving for 5-a-day – a small daily handful of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or blackberries are naturally sweet, tasty and now may help to give mental wellbeing a boost too!”

 

ENDS

 

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

About British Summer Fruits

British Summer Fruits is an organisation that represents 95 percent of berries supplied to UK supermarkets.  It funds Love Fresh Berries – a year-round campaign that celebrates the seasonality of soft fruits.

 

 


[1] Baby B et al. (2017) Antioxidant and anticancer properties of berries. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 58(15):2491-2507.

[2] Głąbska D et al. (2020) Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Mental Health in Adults: A Systematic Review. Nutrients 12(1). pii: E115.

Berries and Immunity: What is the Evidence?

1st May 2020

With the rise in SARS-CoV-2 infections (COVID-19) now is a time when immunity matters more than ever before.  There are many myths when it comes to which foods may help to reinforce the immune system but for berries there is some interesting, peer-reviewed research…

With the rise in SARS-CoV-2 infections (COVID-19) now is a time when immunity matters more than ever before.  There are many myths when it comes to which foods may help to reinforce the immune system but for berries there is some interesting, peer-reviewed research…

 

An article published in Nutrition Reviews[1] considered the evidence looking at berries and their phytochemical profiles on the digestive and immune system.  These systems were considered together as a large part of the immune system resides in ‘the gut’.

 

The authors concluded that whole berries were more likely to demonstrate effects on the immune system rather than separate compounds found in berries.  The research showed that berry phytochemicals may work in synergy and be more effective at providing immune stimulation rather than separate exposures to single berry components.

 

From an evolutionary point of view, the human digestive system evolved on a diet abundant in raw fruits.1  As a result it is likely to contain the enzymes, microbiota composition, gut epithelium and other functions that coincide with the consumption of these fruits thus passing on the benefits to the immune system.1

 

Dr Emma Derbyshire, Public Health Nutritionist and adviser to British Summer Fruits commented; -“Improving our health - be it through exercise or what we eat is more important than ever at the moment.  Factors such as stress, illness and the natural ageing process can all influence and reduce our immunity.” 

 

“Certain lifestyle modifications, however, could help to counteract some of these effects.  This includes exercise, good quality sleep and having a healthy and balanced diet.[2]  Including berries within our diets could be naturally pleasant way to improve nutrient and phytochemical density during these challenging times.”

 

ENDS

 


[1] Govers C et al. (2018) Review of the health effects of berries and their phytochemicals on the digestive and immune systems. Nutr Rev 76(1):29-46.

[2] https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/helpingyoueatwell/covid19immunity.html

British blueberries hit shelves

9th Aug 2019

The British blueberry season is now in full swing, and with blueberries thriving due to an excellent growing season, now is the time to head to supermarkets to enjoy them at their very best.

The British blueberry season is now in full swing, and with blueberries thriving due to an excellent growing season, now is the time to head to supermarkets to enjoy them at their very best.

 

Often overshadowed by the start of British strawberry and raspberry seasons, many consumers aren’t aware that we have a British blueberry season.  In the recent past, blueberries were a little known berry in the UK and the blueberries that were sold came from overseas. However as the popularity of the healthy and delicious berry grew rapidly, British berry growers started to plant blueberry bushes to meet the soaring demand with home grown fruit. As a result, British Summer Fruits members’ production has grown from a tiny 281 tonnes in 2008 to 2,666 tonnes in 2018 – an increase of nearly 10 times with an even larger crop expected in the UK this year as more bushes reach maturity.        

 

This year shoppers will see a whole range of varieties to enjoy including Liberty, Last Call, Draper, Aurora, Duke and Top Shelf.

 

Blueberries continue to grow in popularity. Since May last year, over £400m[i] worth of British blueberries were sold in the UK with shoppers spending 10.5 percent more on the health-boosting berry than in the previous year. In total, 41,000 tonnes of blueberries were sold in the 52 weeks (the equivalent weight of 6,500 elephants), an increase of 10 per cent compared to the 52 weeks up to 14th July 2018.

 

Berries, including blueberries, have the biggest market share of all fruit grown in the UK, making up an impressive 24.9 percent, and this has pushed the value of the berry industry over £1.4 billion[ii]. Fresh berries are now the most popular fruit item in shoppers’ baskets and their great health credentials are one big reason for their popularity.

 

Nutritionist Emma Derbyshire said: “Eating blueberries is one of the easiest ways to add nutrients to your diet and give your immune system a boost. Blueberries are packed full of fibre and antioxidants, including Vitamin C. They are perfect as a snack or to bake or cook with.

“There is also a growing body of evidence around how blueberries can contribute to cognitive function and also anti-ageing.”

 

Nick Marston, Chairman of British Summer Fruits, the industry body that represents 95 percent of berries supplied to UK supermarkets said: “Blueberries are continuing their rapid growth in popularity and are loved by consumers of all ages. British Growers are developing and innovating more than ever to ensure we are producing the more and more of the best blueberries throughout the British season.”

 

-ENDS-

 


 

[i] Kantar data across 52 weeks, week ending 14th July 2019

[i][i] Kantar data across 52 weeks, week ending 14th July 2019

 

Our Ask the Grower series

6th Aug 2019

We have recently launched our new Ask the Grower series on Instagram, where we are asking consumers to put their questions about berries to our specialist berry growers around the country. Have a question you'd like an answer to? Email us at bsf@redbrickroad.com

 

Thanks to Berries Farming Direct for the below blog post and grower Ilja Pavlov for being the first grower in our series, answering all your strawberry related questions. 

At the end of July, right at the peak of the outdoor tunnel strawberry crop, our chief grower Ilja featured in Love Fresh Berries campaign #askagrower.  Love Fresh Berries is the consumer campaign for British Summer Fruits, which is our industry body for berries in the UK. This was the first time they have used social media to promote behind the scenes with member growers and Ilja was first to feature on their Instagram stories.

Ilja Pavlov

Following a visit to the farm and a tour of the tunnels, Ilja was busy answering all strawberry related questions for the #askthegrowerseries, where followers on Instagram and Twitter could send in their questions on all things berries.

You can see the answers to the questions over on Love Fresh Berries Instagram – checking out their Ask a Grower stories highlight and here’s a quick peak behind the scenes with Ilja and a few answers to questions that were sent in

Q. Can you grow strawberries by planting a shop bought strawberry?

A. No you can’t grow strawberries in this way, it’s impossible

Q. Do you grow your strawberries from seeds?

A. No you don’t grow from seeds but you grow from runners; these grow at the same time as strawberries and are good to create new plants with.  We receive plants in an early state from propagators who prepare different varieties and we plant them out when it is the right conditions

Q. How do you decide what varieties are you are going to grow?

A. Every year we have trials based assessing quality, yield and taste and suitability to pick, ease of harvest etc and we then choose what new varieties to progress with
 


Q. What is the hardest thing about growing strawberries?

A.    Environmental control can be difficult. Glasshouses have the best control as you can control ventilation, heating and CO2 – polytunnels is mostly just ventilation and protect from the rain

Q. What are polytunnels and why do you use them?

A. Polytunnels are different constructions that help to protect strawberries from different weather conditions  

Here’s what Ilja had to say about the outdoor tunnel crop this summer:

"The tunnels crop is doing really well this year. We already get 600g per plant which means if we carry on as normal, we have big chance to get about 1200 g per plant - 20% above our budget

Both varieties (Favori and Murano) are very similar with yield but Favori as always have a longer gap between 2 flushes. All fruits have very good brix and minimum disease." Ilja Pavlov, Berries Direct

We just hope the hot weather we have experienced lately hasn't been too hot for our precious strawberry plants!
 

 Want to get social? Follow Berries Direct Farming over on Facebook and Soloberry on Instagram 

 

The Health Benefits of Eating Blackberries

5th Aug 2019

Blackberries contain a wide range of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, potassium and magnesium as well as fibre and other plant nutrients that have numerous health benefits. These include flavonoids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. They also give blackberries their deep purple colour.

 

The Health Benefits of Eating Blackberries

By Nutritionist, Anita Bean

Blackberries contain a wide range of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, potassium and magnesium as well as fibre and other plant nutrients that have numerous health benefits. These include flavonoids[1], which have powerful anti-inflammatory[2] and immune system benefits. They also give blackberries their deep purple colour.

 

·         “Blackberries are a rich source of vitamin C”

A 100g portion provides 15 mg, which is 35% of your daily requirement. Vitamin C  is an important antioxidant, which protects cells from damage, and strengthens the immune system. It maintains healthy skin and plays a role in the production of collagen, which keeps the skin smooth and elastic.

·         “Blackberries may help reduce hunger”

Swapping your usual snack for blackberries may help you eat less at your next meal. A study at Loughborough University[3] found that people who ate a handful of mixed berries (including blackberries) instead of a sugary-snack (with the same calorie content) mid-afternoon ate 134 fewer calories at dinner in the evening.

·         “They may help fight off colds”

Eating foods rich in flavonoids can significantly reduce your chances of catching colds and coughs. A study from the University of Auckland, New Zealand[4] found that people were 33% more protected from colds and upper respiratory tract infections if they regularly ate foods containing flavanoids compared with those who didn’t. Because flavonoids have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, they can boost your immune system and make you less likely to catch a cold.

 

·         “They are a perfect post-workout snack”

Flavonoids play an important role in performance and recovery and studies[5] suggest that these compounds help reduce muscle soreness, muscle damage and inflammation after intense exercise, as well as speed up muscle recovery

 

·         “They may help reduce inflammation”

Blackberries contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds[6], which suggests that they may provide protection against inflammatory conditions[7]. A growing body of scientific research indicates that inflammation contributes to diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and obesity.

 

·         “They may help keep your brain young”

A study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry[8] found that blackberry extract may provide a protective effect on brain, improve memory, learning and general brain function, as well as slowing the decline in age-related memory loss thanks to their high concentration of flavanoids.

 

·         “Blackberries may help prevent weight gain”

The high flavonoid content of blackberries may help prevent weight gain by blocking fat absorption and boosting helpful flab-fighting gut bacteria.  A study[9] conducted in 2734 UK female twins linked a flavonoid-rich diet to lower body fat. Those whose diets contained the most flavonoids had significantly less total body fat and abdominal fat compared with those who consumed the least.

·         “Blackberries may help keep your heart healthy”
The high flavonoid content of blackberries may contribute to their role in protecting against heart disease. Scientific studies[10] have linked diets high in flavonoids with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension. Flavonoids are thought to lower the risk of atherosclerosis through protecting LDL cholesterol from free radical damage and strengthening blood vessel walls[11]

 

The humble blackberry has a number of benefits. Eating around 10 blackberries will count towards one of your five-a-day. These berries are readily available in abundance and tasty straight from the punnet.

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23697506

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23697506

[3] http://www.seasonalberries.co.uk/snack-smart

[4] https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/news-events-and-notices/news/news-2015/05/flavonoids-reduce-cold-and-cough-risk-.html

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3742027/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22082199

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23697506

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22082199

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28100511

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12198000

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12818719/

 

 

Nutrition myths revealed

16th Jun 2019

Eating too much fruit rots your teeth, oranges are the best source of Vitamin C and avoiding fruit in the evening are food ‘facts’ we get totally wrong.

Eating too much fruit rots your teeth, oranges are the best source of Vitamin C and avoiding fruit in the evening are food ‘facts’ we get totally wrong.

A study of 2,000 adults, carried out by Love Fresh Berries, revealed the main food myths which consumers believe.

A third of people believe organic fruit is healthiest and a fifth think that juicing fruit detoxes their body.

Nicholas Marston, chairman of Love Fresh Berries, said: “There are so many food myths and misinformation around that it’s sometimes hard to know what is actually good for you and what we should be eating.

“Often the difference between truth and a myth can be somewhat unclear so it’s important to distinguish between them and get information from reputable sources, not hearsay.”

Almost half of those surveyed admitted that they believed something about food which they later found to be untrue, although 50 per cent say they are knowledgeable about food.

Two thirds of people agree that it is hard to know which food facts to believe as there are different pieces of advice flying around every day, with a fifth of those strongly agreeing.

But almost half of Brits don’t bother sourcing nutritional information. The majority that do use websites to do so, or seek nutrition knowledge from TV over speaking to a medical professional or nutritionist. Another quarter will decide whether something is good or bad to eat after looking through social media.

Nicholas Marston added: “There’s so much information online, it’s often hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t.

“With the growth of social media we have seen a huge rise in unqualified influencers giving nutritional advice to followers, even telling them not to eat fruit or berries because of high sugar content, or because they’ll rot your teeth when in fact, berries are nutritional powerhouses which have many health benefits.”

Dr Emma Derbyshire: “We are in the information era yet it seems that ‘over’ information could be confusing the lay public. We must remember to utilise information that is evidence-based rather than trusting ‘popular’ followers.  

“With social media, people’s views on food are now openly public. When it comes to fruit there are many myths but we should not let these impact what we eat.  The benefits of fresh fruits far outweigh any mythological drawbacks.”

 

ENDS

 

British raspberry season arrives early

10th Jun 2019

 

Raspberry lovers can enjoy an early start to the British raspberry season this year with the berries already on the supermarket shelves in abundance.

Growers estimate that this season is starting three weeks earlier than usual and they put that down to the good spring weather. Mid-June sees the raspberry season already in full swing with high quality British raspberries widely available. Strong raspberry plants, prompted by the spring sunshine, are ensuring good flavour and bigger, bolder raspberries.

Not only will the fruit be of high quality, growers expect the British season to last right through to early November. This is as a result of careful planting to ensure a continuous supply of the berry over the upcoming summer months.  The leading raspberry varieties grown in the UK have the ability to flower and fruit over a long period of up to five months, whilst traditional types typically produced fruit for just a four to six week period.

This year shoppers will see a whole range of varieties to enjoy including Berry Gem, Berry Jewell, Driscolls® Maravilla™, Vajolet and Lagorai.

Since May last year, almost £320m[i] worth of raspberries were sold in the UK with shoppers spending 16 percent more on the classically British berry than in the previous year. In the last four weeks alone, the volume of raspberries available in stores has grown by 20 percent[1].  

Berries, including raspberries, have the biggest market share of all fruit grown in the UK, making up an impressive 22.9 percent, and this has pushed the value of the berry industry over £1.4 billion[ii]. Fresh berries are now the most popular fruit item in shoppers’ baskets and their great health credentials are one big reason for their popularity.

Nutritionist Emma Derbyshire said: “Raspberries are a powerful source of nutrients including vitamin C, manganese, dietary fibre and polyphenols which are thought to have potent antioxidant properties.

“There is a growing body of evidence[1] that raspberries could have a valuable role to play in helping to maintain wellbeing, as part of a heart healthy diet. Their mechanisms are in need of further study but it is thought that their consumption may help to regulate and maintain healthy metabolic activities in our body’s cells".

Nick Marston, Chairman of British Summer Fruits, the industry body that represents 95 percent of berries supplied to UK supermarkets said: “We are always striving to deliver the highest quality fruit to our customers. Ongoing innovations in the industry allow us to prioritise sweetness and flavour which has helped berries become the most popular fruit in shopper’s baskets.”

[1] Kantar data to 19th May 2019

[i] Kantar data across 52 weeks, week ending 19th May 2019

 

Warmer winter and spring mean an early summer – British strawberries are now on supermarket shelves in abundance

13th May 2019

 

The British strawberry season has started earlier this year, after a warmer winter and spring have helped to speed up strawberry flowering and ripening. Strawberry lovers can enjoy their favourite British fruit right now, available to buy in supermarkets across the UK.

This summer, there are new strawberry varieties to enjoy including the large and delicious Malling Centenary, bred In Kent by the UK national berry breeding programme. Centenary has rapidly become the mainstay of early to mid-season British strawberry production and is proving as well-loved by consumers as it is by growers.

Berries have the biggest market share of all fruit grown in the UK, making up an impressive 24.5 percent, and this has pushed the value of the berry industry over £1.4 billion[i]. Fresh berries are now the most popular fruit item in shoppers’ baskets.

During the past year, more than 131,000 tonnes of strawberries were sold in the UK, with shoppers spending more than £653million on the classically British berry - an increase of 9% from 2018. Consumption of fresh raspberries has increased by 17% and blueberries by 14%.[ii]

Dr Emma Derbyshire, British Summer Fruits’ public health nutritionist, explained: "Berries are a fantastic healthy snack that offer numerous health benefits. Not only is the whole strawberry rich in antioxidants, but the red fleshy part is abundant in Vitamin C. In fact, eating just nine strawberries (108g) can provide all of your recommended daily vitamin C intake.

Nick Marston, Chairman of British Summer Fruits, the industry body that represents 95 percent of berries supplied to UK supermarkets said: “Ongoing innovations in our industry including the introduction of great new varieties of berries delivering sweetness and flavour, and advanced growing techniques such as large-scale glasshouse production for season extension, has meant that we can now offer shoppers the freshest, highest-quality British berries for nine months of the year.”

 

[i] Kantar data across 52 weeks, week ending 21st April 2019

[ii] Kantar data across 52 weeks, week ending 21st April 2019

Boost your winter skin with berries

17th Feb 2019

 

Our skin definitely needs some extra TLC when it’s colder; it’s coping with the cold outside and the drying central heating inside. We tend to eat less fruit during winter, which means that our antioxidant, mineral and hydration intake might suffer at the time our skin needs it the most. Love Fresh Berries has teamed up with dermatologist and skin guru Abigail James to discover why berries are a great source of skin loving nutrients and will benefit your skin all year round.

 

A key vitamin that appears in abundance across all berries is Vitamin C. This is a mega anti-oxidant and great when eaten and applied topically to the skin. Our bodies constantly need Vitamin C to be replaced as we don't create it ourselves in the body. It’s essential for a healthy immune system, growing and repairing tissue, wound healing, healthy bones, strengthening blood vessel walls, staving off damage from the sun’s harmful rays and is an essential ingredient to help support pigmentation issues too.

 

Vitamin K does not get as much attention as some other vitamins, but it’s essential for strengthening capillary walls. It prevents our arteries from calcifying and supports the blood clotting process, all essential parts of maintaining a healthy circulatory system. If our circulation is working well, our skin is being fed by fresh nutrients and oxygenated blood efficiently from our internal circulation supply. Vitamin K is a key ingredient often used in eye products because it strengthens capillary walls helping to reduce the appearance of dark circles.

 

Vitamin A is essential for boosting cell turnover, which helps combat the ageing process, reducing the appearance of acne, pigmentation, fine lines… the list goes on.

 

Minerals – magnesium, copper, potassium, zinc, iron are all found in different strengths across berries and are all essential minerals for healthy skin formation; from collagen production, healthy red and white blood cell formation, balancing hormones and helping balance oil production too.

 

All berries are rich in plant fibres which support a healthy gut without being an aggressive or stodgy fibre source. If our gut is healthy then our skin is going to be happy and clear.

 

Reinvigorate your winter skin with berries…

 

Raspberries have one of the highest levels of combined antioxidants - 40% more than other berries, making them good for the fight against UV damage, pollution and stressful lives.

 

They also contain omega 9 and have been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties due to their natural flavonoids which help protect our cells and combat inflammation. This makes them good for skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea.

 

Raspberry ketones have been found to reduce the production of melanin in our skin (the pigmentation). There are some sunscreens that use raspberry seed oil as a natural ingredient to help combat pigment issues with sun exposure. Raspberries are also rich in folates supporting in the formation of healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen around our bodies.

 

Blackberries are an ancient British berry which are made up of more than 85% water. This, coupled with all the natural fibres and nutrients makes them an amazing skin hydrator. The combined Vitamin A, C and K along with omega 3 and 6 oils in the seeds are all perfect for the skin.

 

Strawberries have anthocyanins which is the antioxidant that created their red colour, a great support to our circulatory system. They also have slightly astringent properties making them good for treating puffy eyes. As an alternative to the slices of cucumber, take strawberries straight from the fridge, cut them in half and glide them under the eye area.

 

They have natural AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids) which are widely used within the skincare industry for their skin brightening and exfoliating effects. There are many fruit acid peels available; strawberries and blueberries are often used alongside other fruits for their skin rejuvenation effects. Strawberries might also be good for breakouts as they contain a natural form of salicylic acid which is widely used as clinical antibacterial ingredient.

 

Strawberries are also great for your hair and scalp, the vitamins and AHA’s help stave off dandruff whilst the high levels of Vitamin C encourage a better iron absorption which can promote healthy hair growth. Plus, because they are loaded with silica they can support split ends and thick lustrous hair too.

 

Blueberries have a high concentration of salicylates, the salt part of salicylic acid. Within the facial treatments at my spa, my most commonly used low level peel is actually a blueberry peel. They are great for treating all skin types, especially spot prone skins because of this natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. They are great for keeping pores clear and sloughing off dead skin cells for a smoother complexion. 

Secrets To A Healthy Heart

11th Feb 2019

 

Our heart is the most precious organ we have and is vital to every aspect of health. Coronary Heart Disease is largely preventable, yet it currently affects over seven million people in the UK alone. In fact, over half of all adults in England have raised cholesterol levels, while one in three have high blood pressure!

 

It’s easy to take our heart health for granted, but by making a few simple tweaks to our diet and lifestyle we can help to protect our cardiovascular health and achieve a long and healthy life. With February being National Heart Month, there’s really no better time to start a heart friendly diet…

 

1.            POLYPHENOLS

 

Whilst all fruit and veg contains an array of polyphenols, berries are unique in that they contain a high content of the polyphenol, anthocyanin, which is thought to have heart protective effects.

 

Data gathered from the Nurses’ Health Study showed that women who consumed the highest amounts of blueberries and strawberries were 34% less likely to suffer from a heart attack than women who ate the least of these fruits 1.  What’s more, a large review of intervention trials has shown that berry consumption may reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) 2.

 

Since berries are low in calories yet rich in fibre and vitamin C 3. they can only be a good thing to add to your weekly shopping list!

 

TOP SOURCES: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries

 

 

2. VITAMIN E

 

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant, which may help to prevent the development of atherosclerosis. It protects our harmful LDL cholesterol from damage and preventing its build up within blood vessel walls. Vitamin E rich foods can also help to minimise blood clots and may play a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.

 

TOP SOURCES: NUTS, SEEDS, OLIVE OIL AND AVOCADO.



 

3. HIGH FIBRE FOODS

 

As a population we currently only consume a shocking and average of 15-18g fibre per day, which is just half our recommended 30g per day!

 

If you’re suffering with high cholesterol then soluble fibre is just too important to go amiss. This special fibre binds to ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and bile acids in the digestive tract. This means that cholesterol is eliminated from the body rather than absorbed into the bloodstream.


We all know that wholegrains are rich in fibre, but did you know that berries such as raspberries come with a whopping 7g fibre per 100g! Get your daily fibre dose by adding raspberries to your morning porridge, smoothies, desserts or even enjoy as a tasty snack.

 

TOP SOURCES OF SOLUBLE FIBRE: OATS, OAT BRAN, ALL BERRIES – RASPBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES, STRAWBERRRIES – BEANS, LENTILS, PSYLLIUM AND FLAX SEEDS.

 

 

 

4. VITAMIN C

 

We all know that fruit and vegetables are good for us, and people who have a higher intake have been shown to have higher blood levels of vitamin C, which has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease 4.

 

Vitamin C is an antioxidant nutrient and test tube, and animal studies have shown that this nutrient contributes to a reduction in the oxidation of harmful cholesterol. It may also help to maintain healthy blood pressure.

 

The benefits of vitamin C to heart health have not been replicated with supplements, so the key takeaway here is to always eat your five a day!

 

While many of us think of oranges as a top source of vitamin C, fruits such as strawberries actually have a higher concentration of this crucial vitamin! In fact, just 100g strawberries provide 100% of our recommended daily intake. Strawberries are rich in fibre, yet low in calories and sugar making them a perfect snack to balance blood sugar and keep hunger at bay.

 

TOP SOURCES OF VITAMIN C INCLUDE: BERRIES (PARTICULARLY STRAWBERRIES)

 

 

 

5. OILY FISH

 

All fish has been shown to support heart health, however oily fish is extra special as it’s a potent source of omega 3 fats. These healthy fats may help to protect heart and blood vessels from disease. The current government guidelines are to consume two portions of fish a week, one of which is oily.

 

TOP SOURCES OF OILY FISH INCLUDE: SALMON, TROUT, MACKEREL, and SARDINES & HERRING



 

6. POLY AND MONOUNSATURATED FATS

 

It may be time to put down the saturated fat-rich coconut oil and switch back to humble olive oil.

 

A diet high in saturated and trans fats can elevate our ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, which can increase our risk of heart disease. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help to maintain levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and decrease levels of ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol.

 

TOP SOURCES OF UNSATURATED FATS INCLUDE: OLIVE OIL, NUTS, SEEDS, AND AVOCADO

 

7. HERBS AND SPICES

 

Did you now that the UK population is currently consuming close to 9g salt per day when the maximum recommended intake is only 6g?

 

There’s no doubting that excess salt within the diet can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke. Ditch the table salt and get experimenting in the kitchen with flavoursome herbs and spices!

 

TOP HERBS & SPICES TO TRY: TURMERIC, OREGANO, CHILLI FLAKES, CUMIN, GINGER, CARDAMOM, ROSEMARY, THYME, PARSLEY AND DILL

 

 

  1. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.122408
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4804301/
  3. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.122408
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25948669

 

Lily Soutter, BSc (hons) Food & Human Nutrition, Dip NT

The Food Medic: Tips on how to reduce free sugars in the diet

6th Jan 2019

 

You might be thinking, hey, why all the fuss about reducing sugars? First things first, sugar is not poisonous or toxic, nor is it uniquely to blame for obesity or poor health. However, we could generally do with consuming less “free” sugars. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), a committee of independent experts that advises the Government on nutrition issues, recommends that the average intake of FREE sugars should not exceed 5% of total dietary energy intake, as they can contribute to excess calories in our diet and tooth decay. But what are free sugars and how might we limit our intake?

 

Free sugars includes sugars added to food and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, but also includes ‘natural sugars’ found in honey, syrups and juices. These are sugars we generally need to eat less of as they can contribute to excess calories in our diet and tooth decay. Sugars found in fruit and vegetables, grains and cereals, or lactose naturally present in milk and dairy products are not included in this.

 

How can I cut down my consumption of free sugars?

 

Most of the free sugars we consume come from sugars that we add to food and drink, including fizzy drinks and juices, jams and condiments, biscuits, pastries and cakes. There’s no need to totally avoid these foods completely, but you can reduce the amount of free sugars in your diet by basing your meals on fibre-rich, carbohydrates such as brown rice and sweet potatoes, protein-rich beans and pulses, essential fatty acids from oily fish and flaxseed, and a variety of colourful fruit and vegetables, such as berries and leafy greens.

 

Here are some helpful suggestions:

 

  1. Make your own chia jam - Although there is nothing quite like old fashioned jam, it does contain quite a lot of added sugar, which isn’t great for our teeth or health if we eat too much of it. Chia seed jam is a quick, low-sugar alternative to regular jam. All you need is a punnet of berries and a tablespoon of chia seeds -  You can whip this up in 5 minutes and have an incredible, homemade jam in your fridge for up to 2 weeks! 

Simply stew in a pot with 2 tablespoons of water over a medium heat. Cook until the fruit breaks down and becomes syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes. Mash the berries with the back of a wooden spoon and stir in the chia seeds. Cook for another 2-3 minutes then remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes, until thickened. If you’d like a thicker consistency, especially with very juicy fruits, stir in more chia seeds 1 teaspoon at a time. Once the jam has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to a jar.

 

  1. Many breakfast cereals are quite high in sugar, including those marketed to be “healthier” options. One way to reduce your sugar intake at breakfast time is to swap to lower-sugar cereals such as plain porridge oats. You can make it just as, if not more, satisfying and delicious by jazzing it up with some warm berries, cinnamon and chopped nuts.

 

  1. Smart snacking - despite their healthy image, many cereal bars and “energy” balls are often pretty high in sugar and fat. Instead of trying to navigate the snack aisle, plan ahead and make your own snacks to take with you - it’s also a great way to save money. How about your own DIY trail mix made with a small handful of chopped nuts, fresh berries, and a square or two of dark chocolate roughly chopped?

 

  1. A large proportion of the added sugar in our diets comes from sugar sweetened beverages such as fizzy drinks and juices. If swapping to water isn’t something you feel particularly excited about, you could try flavoring it with a herbal tea bag, a handful of chopped strawberries or cucumber, or simply just mint.

 

  1. Surprisingly for some, there are also some sugar added to savoury foods - what some people call “hidden sugars” - such as in; condiments, sauces, and ready meals. This is usually to improve taste and texture but it can mean you’re consuming some extra sugar. By making your own sauces at home, and cooking from scratch as much as possible, you are likely to reduce the amount of added sugar in your meals.

2018 / 19 Top Foodie Trends

26th Nov 2018

 

2018 will be the year that’s remembered for its endless summer, when we*almost* won the world cup, witnessed our favourite royal tie the knot, and of course, endured endless Brexit chat. Turning our attention to the food and drink scene, Love Fresh Berries, a campaign funded by British Summer Fruits, the industry body that represents berry growers in the UK, has partnered with founders of Hackney and Mayfair restaurants Pidgin and Magpie, James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy, to identify the top food and drink trends of 2018 and predictions for 2019.

 

According to James and Sam, flexitarianism, veganism, carbs, comfort food and fermentation were the main trends of the year. Looking ahead, we’ll be seeing more plant-based meat, Kakigori - the Japanese flavoured shaved ice dessert, powders, non-alcoholic drinks and functional foods.

 

2018 trends

 

FLEXITARIANISM - This year has seen the ongoing growth of flexitarianism as we continue to remove certain things from our diets. This is principally about removing animal protein, but also incorporates a days-of-the-week approach to going carb-/gluten-/dairy-/sugar- free.

 

The benefits of flexitarianism are not only around health, but also environmental and even cost – as there is a perceived financial upside of consuming less meat and fish.

 

Restaurants, supermarkets and food publications have responded in turn. Eating out has never been easier for those with dietary restrictions – that’s not to say there isn’t more to do, but many more restaurants are now willing to accommodate diners’ requests. The free-from range in supermarkets is growing enormously, with more and more dairy and sugar alternatives available. Food and drink producers are also following suit – the days of Becks Blue being the only 0% beer available, for example, seems a long time ago.

 

VEGANISM - A knock-on effect of flexitarianism has of course been the huge growth in those following vegan diets. Films such as Cowspiracy and Carnage have highlighted some of the actual and philosophical realities of the meat and dairy industry, resulting in a significant shift towards full-on veganism. The vegan trend quadrupled in the 5 years between 2012 and 2017, according to Google search[i], though it is only in the last year or two that we have seen a more concerted response from supermarkets and restaurants. Waitrose has introduced a vegan section in over 130 of its stores[ii]; Iceland has reported a 10% increase in sales of plant-based food in the past year[iii]; 2018 has also seen a steep increase in vegan-related Google searches in the UK. How much of this interest comes from the flexi community, and how much is due to full-on veganism isn’t entirely clear, but what is clear is that our use of animal products is dropping significantly - our consumption of meat has fallen by 13% since 2007.[iv]

 

CARBS ARE BACK - Seemingly almost as a counter-point to these first two trends, and equally as Instagram-driven (perhaps now is the time to mention the umbrella influence Instagram has over all of these trends), is the continued popularity of indulgence, with carb-heavy food leading the charge. Patisserie in particular stands out as symbolic of this trend, an artisanal angle adding foodie legitimacy to what is essentially a (delicious) onboarding of starch and sugar, though a corollary of this is the rise of artisanal bread, with a growing number of restaurants opening their own bakeries. Add to this the hysteria around certain pasta restaurants, the renaissance of the pie, the spread of doughnut vendors, and in the most extreme cases a fondness for carb-on-carb, aka beige food, and it’s clear that when we’re not on our flexi-no-gluten-no-carb-no-sugar days we’re hitting the carbs hard.

 

COMFORT FOOD AND DRINK - The renewed popularity of carbs is symptomatic of a broader trend towards comfort foods. As well as pies and pastries garnering so much attention, we’ve seen an almost endless parade of new restaurants cooking over wood, as comforting and atavistic a style of cookery as one can imagine. A look at the signature dishes of some of the hottest new restaurants gives an insight into this development; from Cornerstone’s brown shrimp crumpet, to roasted meats at Kym’s, to the eggs and bottarga on toast at Brat, while the rich, coconutty depths of Laksa have become one of our favourite things to eat.

 

Hot alcoholic drinks have come into their own, with more of us now transcending the standard mulled wine and exploring the world of eggnog, hot buttered gin, mulled berry toddies and spiced negronis.

 

PICKLING AND FERMENTATION - Finally a trend that we’ve seen brewing for a while but one that seems to have picked up pace this year is picking and fermentation. Pickling, preserving, fermenting and conserving tick a lot of boxes and overlap with many other trends – there’s a frugality which speaks to our growing sensitivity to food waste, there’s the practicality in these uncertain times – an assurance that there’s always food in the house – there’s the maximization of produce when it’s available to complement a plant-based diet when there may be less abundance in the fields, and there’s the straightforward fun of slowly transforming an ingredient into something else. What we’ve seen this year in particular is a shift beyond the more familiar practice of preserving vegetables into doing so with fruit in a non-jam fashion. A bumper berry crop and long growing season during 2018 has meant we’ve had to be more creative with our fruit. So fermented and pickled blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and gooseberries have featured more than they might have 10 years ago (which was, admittedly, probably not much at all).

 

2019 Trends

 

PLANT BASED ‘MEAT’ - Sales of so-called ‘plant-based meat’ increased 23% in 2018 and in 2019 we expect this trend to continue both in restaurants and also in the home. A growing move away from animal protein has coincided with advances in science and technology that have transformed meat alternatives from often dry and tasteless products into delicious meals.

 

These ‘meats’ are made from a variety of sources including wheat, potato or pea protein and often flavoured with heme, a soy-based molecule with the ‘flavour’ of meat. Leading products in this area are now stocked in supermarkets for consumers to cook at home.

 

The world’s first burger restaurant selling only these ‘bleeding’ plant-based burgers is to open in Brixton in December 2018. The Halo Burger is based around the Beyond Burger patty from the USA.

 

The two-site Temple Of Seitan restaurant is also primed for further expansion selling seitan (wheat gluten) based ‘fried chicken’ dishes.

 

KAKIGORI - Kakigori is a Japanese dessert of flavoured shaved ice. The start of its newfound rise to popularity came alongside poke bowls. Kakigori has long been popular in Hawaii having been introduced there by Japanese sugar workers.

 

A kakigori is made by shaving ice to a fine granular texture, mounded by hand then flavoured and decorated. Various purees, often berries or tropical fruits, are used to flavour the ice. Powders, matcha and sesame are also popular. The kakigori can then be dressed with sprinkles, jellies, syrups, condensed milk and other decorative touches.

 

Kakigori’s appeal is based on the adaptability of flavouring (they can also be made with savoury ingredients), the clear visual appeal and the ability for low-calorie versions to be created using alternative natural sweeteners and garnishes. High-end restaurants such as Majordomo in Los Angeles are already serving strawberry-avocado or horchata versions. Bessou in NYC serves a kakigori with three different blackcurrant preparations involved. On the more budget end of the market, Honi Poke in London serve a strawberry or a matcha syrup version. 

 

POWDERS - The use of powdered ingredients has proliferated in 2018 but mainly when used in juicing and smoothie preparations. In 2019 the use of powders will continue to feature here with turmeric, berry powders and carob powder (an alternative to cocoa powder) particularly popular. Powders will also move more directly into the kitchen to be used by home cooks. The use of powdered teas such as green matcha, pu’er and coca leaf are seen to have health benefits but also bring out new flavours in both sweet and savoury dishes.

 

Consumers are also more aware of the so-called fifth flavour, umami, and powders are a simple route to add umami to food. Mushroom powder, particularly shiitake, or powdered seaweeds, enable large amounts of umami to be added to dishes without the use of more artificially created, and controversial, MSG.

 

Unusual spicing powders such as arima sansho, (a Japanese mix of dried and powdered sake, sugar and shoyu), will also become more widespread.

 

Maca powder, the powdered root of Peruvian Ginseng, will move from generally only being used as a health supplement in smoothies and health shakes, to the kitchen where it can be used to add an earthy, nutty note.

 

HIGH-END NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS AND MIXERS - There is a downward trend of adults consuming alcohol.[v] Increased knowledge of the health downsides, higher prices and a younger generation drinking less than their parents have all contributed to this.

 

Alcoholic beverages are being replaced with ‘soft’ botanical based drinks such as Seedlip, a non-alcoholic distilled spirit, drinking vinegars or shrubs and fruit and berry-based ferments.

 

Alongside this there is a move to higher quality, often lower sugar mixers to be served with traditional spirits such as gin and vodka. The huge success of Fever Tree in particular (valued at £4.5 billion July 2018) has created a more competitive market where more unusual mixers such as matcha collins mix, activated charcoal tonic and thai-basil infused soda water are becoming more widespread. The popularity of mixers is also part of a trend towards ‘longer’ style, lower alcohol drinks such as spritzes.

 

Kombuchas will continue their rise in popularity and move into the bartender’s pantry. Particularly popular are those incorporating more unusual fruits such as greengage, barberries and kumquat, as well as those that help to conserve a surplus of seasonal fruit.

 

FUNCTIONAL FOOD - Ingredients believed to directly improve health and wellbeing such as brain function and gut health, as well as foods associated with beauty, and mental wellbeing, will become more mainstream in 2019.

 

Research[vi] conducted by the University of Reading suggests that berries will become even more popular as consuming mixed berries in the first half of the day could sustain or improve cognitive function, accuracy and reaction time for up to six hours after consumption.

 

Probiotics, particularly in relation to intolerances, will become more popular. A2 dairy products in particular (dairy products with the A1 protein are believed to cause lactose intolerance) are extremely popular in many countries.

 

Collagen is a waste by-product from the production of gelatine. Long used in cosmetics, collagen is now being used in protein bars, drinks and broths and is believed to assist with beauty and skin health, sports nutrition, especially in injury prevention and recovery, and healthy aging. Globally there were twice as many collagen containing products brought to market in 2018 than in 2017.[vii]

 

While cannabis and its main psychoactive substance THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) remains illegal in the UK, CBD (Cannabidiol - another substance contained in cannabis), is not psychoactive and is now classed as a medicine. However, it should be noted that legally claims as to its medical benefit cannot be made. Although only available currently in health food stores, expect CBD to feature in more food applications. Vegan chain By CHLOE in London recently launched a temporary range of CBD infused desserts as one example.

 

To summarise, we’re seeing some exciting food and drink trends emerge and it will be interesting to continue to monitor how these trends develop and help shape the way we enjoy food and drink in the future.

 


 

[i] Vegan Society. 2018. Statistics. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.vegansociety.com/news/media/statistics. [Accessed 26 November 2018].

[ii] Plant Based Magazine. 2018. [ONLINE] Available at: https://plantbasedmag.com/waitrose-launches-dedicated-vegan-food-section-in-134-stores/ [Accessed 26 November 2018].

[iii] The Guardian. 2018 [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jun/08/appetite-grows-vegan-products-uk-supermarkets-waitrose-iceland [Accessed 26 November 2018].

[iv] The Guardian. 2013 [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jun/05/meat-consumption-uk-global-trends [Accessed 26 November 2018].

[v] ONS. 2018. Adult drink habits in Great Britain: 2005 – 2016. [Online] Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/drugusealcoholandsmoking/bulletins/opinionsandlifestylesurveyadultdrinkinghabitsingreatbritain/2005to2016 [Accessed 26 November 2018].

[vi] Whyte, R., Cheng, N., Lamport, D., Butler, L, & Williams,C.M. (2017) Polyphenol rich mixed berries maintain cognitive function over a 6 hour period. Nutritional Psychology Group.   

[vii] Nutraceuticals World. 2018 [Online} Available at: https://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/issues/2018-11/view_features/key-trends-in-functional-foods-beverages-for-2019/992 [Accessed 26 November 2018].

Little over six weeks till Christmas...

10th Nov 2018

With a little over six weeks till Christmas, it's maybe time to start planning those festive meals. Have a look at our Christmas recipes for inspiration.

With a little over six weeks till Christmas, it's maybe time to start planning those festive meals. Have a look at our special Christmas recipes for inspiration.

You could even make some Strawberry Chilli Jam to give to your loved ones as gifts!