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7 Time-Saving Tools For Healthy Cooking

7 Time-Saving Tools For Healthy Cooking

We all want to eat healthily but sometimes our busy lifestyles come between us and a better diet. With today’s array of kitchen gadgets on offer though it really doesn’t have to be a choice between saving time and eating well, you can do both.

Here’s our choice of 7 time-saving tools which will help you create healthy meals however busy your day.

Rice Cooker

Rice is delicious, nutritious and can be combined with a wide range of stir-fry meals to create healthy fast food. A rice cooker makes certain you get perfect fluffy rice every time, with no concerns about half-cooked grains or burnt saucepans. Rice cookers also often can be used in a dual purpose way, doubling up as steamers and therefore saving space, as outlined below.

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rice cooker

    Vegetable Steamer

    We are all encouraged to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, but if we want optimum health there’s no harm in increasing that number. A steamer is the best way to preserve the nutrients in the food plus it has the advantage of being quick. Vegetables come out crisp and tasting good, a far cry from the soggy cabbage and over boiled leaks of yesteryear.

    steamer under the white background
      Steamer under white background

      Juicer

      Another way to top up our levels of nutrients is to drink our vitamins. Juicing has become popular in the last few years and there are now many juicer models available which make cleaning and storing them a breeze. If you are often short of time in the morning you can even prepare your juice the night before and then grab it from the fridge on your way out the door.

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      fresh lemon, making lemon juice with squeezer isolated on white background
        Fresh lemon, making lemon juice with squeezer isolated on white background

        Blender

        While some people love juices, others are fonder of smoothies, and blenders can mix these up in a flash. If you add yogurt, or even occasionally ice-cream, this can also be an ideal way to get children to eat more healthily as they often won’t even realize fruit is lurking in the delicious drink.

        healthy smoothie ingredients in blender with fresh fruit on kitchen table
          Healthy smoothie ingredients in blender with fresh fruit on kitchen table

          Slow Cooker

          Another lifesaver if you are out of the house most of the day is a slow cooker. All the ingredients can be popped in first thing in the morning and then the cooker works its magic over the next eight hours. This means you come home to a healthy, hot and delicious meal with little effort. Slow cookers also use small amounts of electricity so they are a great money-saver too.

          Pinto and garbanzo beans cooked in slow cooker with vegetables.
            Pinto and garbanzo beans cooked in slow cooker with vegetables.

            Vegetable Spiralizer

            Many of us now enjoy living a lower carb lifestyle, but let’s be honest we miss the ease and versatility of pasta. Vegetable spiralizers are a relatively new addition to our kitchens but they are a super easy way of increasing our intake of vegetables, while creating delicious meals. You can quickly turn courgettes, carrots and a wide range of other vegetables into spirals, which are a substitute for pasta or can be added to stir-fry dishes or salad.

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            spiralizer

              Water filter

              It’s easily forgotten but the quality of our water can make a big difference to the food and drink we enjoy. Many hard water areas particularly can affect how our food tastes and that’s why it’s important to use a water filter. Making the move to have a water filter fitted at the tap makes it easy to have clean, fresh filtered water available whenever you need it, plus it cuts back on any waste from disposable filters.

              Try out even one or two of these time-saving gadgets and you will be well on your way to living a healthier life, all while spending as little time as possible preparing and cooking meals.

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              blue water filter on a white background
                Blue water filter on a white background

                Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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                Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                4. Feed Your Brain

                Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                6. Write it Down

                If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                7. Listen to Music

                Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                8. Visual Concepts

                In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                9. Teach Someone Else

                Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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