The security code is a three-digit number on the back of your credit card, immediately following your main card number.
The security code is a four-digit number located on the front of your credit card, to the right above your main credit card number.
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Figs are a wonderful, sensual Mediterranean fruit that can be eaten alone as a snack, served with cheese or as the Italians do, with proscuitto and mozzarella as an elegant starter.
Figs have a low energy density, but a high nutrient density - just what we want for our core everyday foods. 2 fresh figs provides around 195kJ (46 calories in old currency), about a gram and a half of protein, no fat and 8g of carbohydrate. They are terrific for fibre with the same serve providing 3.3g. Although prunes are the fruit that comes to mind for keeping you regular, figs fare well in this department too!
Figs are not outstanding for any particular vitamin or mineral, but they do contain small amounts of vitamin C, B group vitamins, magnesium, zinc and iron. The vitamin C is lost in the drying process to make dried figs, but the other nutrients including the fibre, are well preserved. They are a valuable addition to your team of plant foods.
The Ancient Greeks believed so fervently that figs were health promoting, they fed them to their athletes competing in the original Olympic games.
Yoghurt is simply fermented milk and it probably came about as a method of making milk last longer. In doing so there were unexpected side effects and they were beneficial. Many cultures (excuse the pun) around the world from Nepal and India to the Middle East and Europe have long considered yoghurt a medicinal food and for good reason.
Yoghurt is rich in top quality protein, an excellent source of calcium and gives you a serious boost in several B group vitamins including riboflavin, magnesium and zinc.
While many people cut out dairy foods from their diet while trying to lose weight, this is quite contradictory to what the research shows. Studies where dairy foods are included as part of an energy restricted diet show that they promote better weight loss, and most importantly they seem to help improve body composition. That means they help you to lose fat and keep your muscle. Exactly what you want for a lean and fit body. Just what it is about dairy that is responsible for this effect is not fully understood, but it seems to be a combination of the protein and in particular the amino acid leucine high in dairy including yoghurt, along with calcium.
Dairy foods can also help to reduce blood pressure and big population studies show associations with lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
But of course not all yoghurts are the same. They have different levels of fat, added sugars, may have fruit and other additions, and some are thickened with gums or have other additives. Always read the ingredients list to know exactly what you are getting. Your absolute best options are natural yoghurts with live cultures, and nothing else in the ingredients list.
If you buy yoghurt with live cultures (probiotic bacteria) these have the potential to boost the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut while minimising the growth of pathogenic bacteria. The knock on benefits to your health includes a stronger immune system with fewer coughs and colds, and a healthier gut.
The live bacteria in the yoghurt also help to break down the milk carbohydrate lactose. This means that if you are lactose intolerant, as many adults are, you might well find that while you are running to the loo after milk, you can eat yoghurt.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats – they are also only one of two fruits that are fat rich (the other being the avocado). A solid body of scientific evidence supports making these fats the major ones in your diet. They can help you to achieve a healthier blood cholesterol profile, improve your insulin sensitivity, help you to control blood glucose levels, improve a fatty liver, and even reduce the amount of fat you store around your abdomen.
The Mediterranean diet is hailed quite rightfully as one of the healthiest in the world. This diet has been associated with lower rates of heart disease, lower blood pressure, lower risk of stroke, better cognitive health, lower risk of diabetes, and lower risks of many cancers. There are many factors that may contribute to this, but one of the key characteristics is the use of olive oil as a staple food and the principal fat.
It is important to buy extra virgin olive oil however and not products labeled as “light”, “pure olive oil” or “pomace”. These are all refined products and do not contain the health promoting qualities of fresh extra virgin olive oil. Refining the oil removes many of the antioxidants, phytosterols and polyphenols present in the fresh extra virgin oil that benefit us. Oil is not like wine – it doesn’t get better with age. The fresher it is the better. Choose quality over quantity and you will reap the benefits.
It’s a myth that cooking with extra virgin olive oil destroys its benefits. Good quality extra virgin olive oil has a high smoke point of around 210°C. It can be used for stir-fries, on the BBQ, roasting foods in the oven and pan-frying. Store your oil in a cool dark place to retain the freshness and health-promoting properties. And use it regularly so that you are always consuming this year’s batch.
Fat helps deliver taste and flavour, but it is also necessary for the absorption of many antioxidants including beta-carotene, not to mention the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Drizzling extra virgin olive oil over your salad or steamed veg adds flavour (so you eat more plant food) and makes sure you can absorb more of those beneficial plant compounds.
Honey is truly one of the most natural sweeteners we can use. There is evidence of honey being eaten since hunter-gatherer days - yep it's a paleo food - and honey has been found in ancient Egyptian tombs.
Honey bees make honey in their hives using the nectar from flowers. The local flora therefore makes an impact on the flavour profile of the honey. Pure floral honeys have low GI values, but the cheaper blended honeys tend to be high. For a low GI honey look for Yellow Box, Stringy Bark, Red Gum, Iron Bark, Yapunya, Eucalypt or those labeled as pure floral honey.
In terms of nutrition remember that honey is still sugar. It is about 17% water, but the rest is a combination of sugars, primarily fructose and glucose. There are a few vitamins and minerals present, but in very small quantities that are really not all that relevant in the quantities of honey you are likely to consume. But honey does contain prebiotics and has been shown to positively influence the gut microbiome. I have filmed with a researcher at UNSW who is looking at precisely this effect of honey, with impressive results.
So all up, honey is an all-natural, minimally processed sweetener and has been part of our diets for many thousands of years. It is still sugar, but does have some benefits for the gut microbiome and I reckon is a wonderful way to add a little sweetness to your whole food diet.
Honey has long been considered medicinal by many cultures, including in Ayurvedic medicine. Honey has anti-bacterial qualities, although varieties vary in this regard. Manuka honey contains a particular antibacterial compound, made from the nectar of the manuka bush. These honeys have a particular scale used to indicate the antibacterial power of the honey – this is called the UMF factor (Unique Manuka Factor). These honeys are marketed as being effective for sore throats, gastro upsets and several other conditions, however most evidence of benefit seems to be when used topically for the treatment of wounds, burns and infections.
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