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14 Breathtakingly Beautiful Places in Bedfordshire to Take a Date for Free

14 Breathtakingly Beautiful Places in Bedfordshire to Take a Date for Free

Bedfordshire is a truly beautiful county with a vast number of wonderful and romantic places available to visit completely free of charge. If you want to impress, consider taking a date to one of these fourteen breathtakingly beautiful places for an unforgettable day out in the Bedfordshire countryside.

1. Go for a Hike on the Breathtaking Dunstable Downs

    The Dunstable Downs are one of the most beautiful parts Bedfordshire, and indeed of the whole country. If your date enjoys walking, a hike around here will be the perfect way to spend a pleasant day exploring the landscape.

    2. Enjoy a Relaxing Picnic at Bedford Park

      Bedford Park is one of only three parks to have been awarded the prestigious green flag for cleanliness and it’s easy to see why. This is a stunning park and a great place to spend the day. There are lots of secluded and romantic little spots to enjoy a picnic and get to know one another a little better over a glass of wine.

      3. Experience the Magical Beauty of the Whipsnade Tree Cathedral

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        Witness the remarkable tree cathedral consisting of various trees, hedges and shrubs planted into the shape of a cathedral, and wonder at the skill and time that would have gone into creating this impressive site. Your date will be sure to be impressed.

        4. Get Close to Nature at The Lodge RSPB Nature Reserve

          This RSPB owned nature reserve is a great place to go birdspotting, so take a nature loving date here and you’ll be sure to impress. If the birds alone aren’t enough for you, take time to learn about the stone age settlements which once housed whole communities on the very spot you are now standing and wow your date with your knowledge.

          5. Wander Beneath the Willows at Wardown Park

            Wardown Park in Luton is uniquely beautiful with rows of stunning willow trees lined along the banks of the River Lea. Take a picnic and relax while watching the ducks and swans swim past then walk across the pedestrian suspension bridge to take in the views from the other side. Take the time to visit the park’s more formal gardens too, of you have the time.

            6. Take a Leisurely Stroll around Swiss Garden

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              Take a date on a leisurely stroll around the stunning gardens taking in the lakes, the woodlands and the stunning views of the Bedfordshire landscape stretching far into the distance. This beautiful garden is set around the grounds of the Swiss Cottage and a wonderful place to explore.

              7. Get Lost in the Forest of Marston Vale

                The Forest of Marston Vale is an incredible place to wander around with over 1 million trees planted by the Woodland Trust and a huge array of wildlife to spot. This is a great place to spend a day exploring and learning about the conservation efforts of the volunteers.

                8. Take a Walk around Stockgrove Country Park

                  Stockgrove Country Park is a charming place for a visit, with stunning woodland and paths to walk along while talking with your date or find a secluded spot to enjoy a picnic and admire the stunning scenery.

                  9. Explore the Ruins at Houghton House

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                    This English Heritage owned 17th century mansion in Bedford is a mere shadow of what it once was, but even so it is a remarkable building with breathtaking views of the nearby countryside. Read the informative and interesting plaques dotted around the house and soak up the history together, or just sit and enjoy the wonderful views.

                    10. Relax by the Tranquil Embankment Bridge

                      For a lovely chilled date, why not visit the Embankment Bridge in Bedford and enjoy the views across the river and the stunning scenery. This is a wonderful place to walk or just sit and enjoy the peace and tranquillity.

                      11. Get Close to History at Jordans Mill

                        Although a guided tour around the mill itself will include a small entry fee, the gardens are free to enter and are beautifully kept with a wide range of native British plants on show throughout the year. The grounds around the mill offer some wonderful views of the Bedfordshire landscape.

                        12. Explore the Sharpenhoe Clappers

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                          Sharpenhoe Clappers is a lovely, unspoilt nature reserve set in ancient woodland taking in some of the best scenery in Bedfordshire. It’s a great place to take a romantic stroll or more vigorous hike, and perfect for wildlife spotting.

                          13. Spend a day at Rushmere Country Park

                            Rushmere Country Park is a huge space with something to do to keep everyone occupied. Take you date for a walk around the woodland or go for a cycle ride on one of the many beautiful trails around the park.

                            14. Admire the Unspoilt Beauty of Harrold-Odell Country Park

                              Take a date to this breathtaking location for a wonderful day exploring over 144 acres of unspoilt natural beauty. Make sure to spend plenty of time appreciating the two stunning lakes and the wild beauty of the nature reserve.

                              Image Source: 1. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 2. via redwoodworld.co.uk; 3. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 4. via rspb.org.uk; 5. via bedsbucksherts.org.uk; 6. via shuttleworth.org; 7. via centerparcs.co.uk; 8. via mapio.net; 9. via nglish-heritage.org; 10. via hikemtshasta.com; 11. via apdoorsandjoinery.co.uk; 12. via nationaltrust.org.uk; 13. via bridgetdavey.com; 14. via raisingemily.net.

                              Featured photo credit: Unknown via bedsbucksherts.org.uk

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                              Last Updated on July 28, 2020

                              14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

                              14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

                              Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

                              What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

                              The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

                              Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

                              It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

                              Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

                              In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

                              Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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                              Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

                              1. Quinoa

                              GI: 53

                              Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

                              2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

                              GI: 50

                              Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

                              3. Corn on the Cob

                              GI: 48

                              Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

                              4. Bananas

                              GI: 47

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                              Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

                              They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

                              5. Bran Cereal

                              GI: 43

                              Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

                              6. Natural Muesli

                              GI: 40

                              Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

                              7. Apples

                              GI: 40

                              Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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                              8. Apricots

                              GI: 30

                              Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

                              Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

                              9. Kidney Beans

                              GI: 29

                              Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

                              10. Barley

                              GI: 22

                              Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

                              Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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                              11. Raw Nuts

                              GI: 20

                              Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

                              12. Carrots

                              GI: 16

                              Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

                              13. Greek Yogurt

                              GI: 12

                              Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

                              14. Hummus

                              GI: 6

                              When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

                              Bottom Line

                              If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

                              More Tips on Eating Healthy

                              Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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