Exotic World Spices

Why Spice is Nice!

Why Spice is Nice!

Discover a World of Spices

Simply by adding some spices to your foods, you can easily transport your taste buds to every far flung corner of the globe without actually setting foot outside of your kitchen – but did you also know that spices have great health giving qualities too?

 

Cinnamon is a spice that is used extensively in both sweet and savoury recipes, especially in the Mediterranean – everything from rose water rice pudding to lamb with peas and artichokes, chicken soup and even cups of tea are liberally flavoured with either the powder or stick variety. And as well as adding a delicious taste to the dishes, cinnamon acts like a magic wand for a lot of ailments. It fights inflammation and lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. It also excels in lowering blood sugar levels – by as much as 10-29% in diabetic patients which is extraordinary.

 

Cayenne pepper is hot stuff in more ways than one. It gives a kick to our dishes but it also kick starts weight loss as it decreases appetite levels and helps burn fat.

Ginger – which is delicious in chocolate, stir fries and tea is as effective as aspirin for decreasing colon inflammation and it alleviates nausea caused by morning sickness and seasickness.

 

Rosemary – the perfect partner for lamb – suppresses both allergies and nasal congestion.

 

Cardamom – one of the most expensive spices in the world – helps with heart health, digestion, oral health, diabetes, depression, asthma, blood clots and skin infections – and makes any curry taste even more yummy.

 

It is probably true to say that practically every spice – as well as making a recipe even tastier – is good for your body in some way too.

 

In order to get the maximum taste and health benefits from spices, we should choose ones that are produced to the highest standards and we should store them correctly – they should be kept in cool, dry places away from direct sunlight and with containers shut tight.

 

The Fine Harvest only curates the finest quality spices from all over the world; choose them to spice up your life and give your health a boost.

Exotic World Spices
Nuts - The 'Working from Home' Snack!

The Waistline Perils of Working from Home

The Waistline Perils of Working from Home

Nuts - The 'Working from Home' Snack!

We’re bored. We’re stressed. We’re anxious.

 

However we are reacting to our new norm of working from home, one thing is certain, we are in close proximity to the kitchen and we are probably visiting it more than we have ever done.

 

Snacking and working remotely seem to go together hand in hand. Who hasn’t reached for a bag of crisps, a jumbo tub of ice cream, a biscuit or six, or a giant bar of chocolate after wall to wall Zooms or juggling kids and a laptop for hours on end?

 

We know they are all jammed full with sugar and bad for our health and our waistlines but the combination of being stuck at home and working alone seems to have whetted our appetite for snacks.

 

The good news is that we don’t need to cut them out. Nor do we need to sacrifice yumminess for health benefits.

 

Simply think nuts.

 

The huge variety means each one of us will find at least one we find delicious and a huge plus to eating them is that research has shown that they can even contribute to weight loss. Working from home has seen an increase in our weight – probably because we are not walking to the tube, going to the gym or generally running around all day but more likely restricted to the confines of our home and with weight and the propensity to catch Covid19 being linked, now is more important than ever to check those scales – not just for our vanity but for our health.

 

Nuts are good for us in other ways too. An ounce of nuts contains over a dozen different nutrients like protein, magnesium, fibre, Vitamin E and gives us 20% of our daily recommended intake. Our bodies need these nutrients to function, strengthen and grow.  Nuts are also full of antioxidants that help clear and clean our bodies.

 

What’s not to love? Stock up on your favourites (yes, at The Fine Harvest we stock a very wide range of lots of different types including raw, roasted, salted and unsalted – all obviously of the highest quality and responsibly sourced) and let yourself go a bit nuts with your snacks.

Raw Natural Honey

Exploring the Benefits of Honey

Exploring the Benefits of Honey

Raw Natural Honey

We all know honey is made by bees using pollen from plants and most of us know it to be sweet and an ingredient used in a lot of sweet dishes and condiments. Honey is a natural product, rich in fructose and glucose as well as minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium, in addition to natural sugars. Its richness in sugar has led to it being proposed as an almost direct replacement for sugar in some peoples diets due to the range of other health benefits it brings along with it. The plant compounds contribute to some of the many benefits of honey. Here we are going to focus in a bit more detail on the benefits of honey and how these benefits can boost both your health and help support a range of conditions and ailments.

 

One of the first benefits of honey we’re going to look at is how it is rich in antioxidants. Organic acids and flavonoids found in honey give honey it’s antioxidant characteristics and consuming honey has proven to increase the antioxidant level in your bloodstream. These properties are good for your health as it allows your body to cleanse itself naturally. It should also be worth mentioning that antioxidants have played a role in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. These antioxidant compounds found in honey also contribute towards lowering your blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure this can help in regulating it and taking the strain/pressure off your body and your vital organs.

 

Studies have also found that another of the benefits of honey is that it helps in regulating and reducing your cholesterol level. Having a high cholesterol level can lead to increased risks of heart failure and can even increase your risk of cancer. Two forms of cholesterol can be found in our bodies. There is ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol and honey is found to increase the levels of the good form while at the same time decreasing the levels of the ‘bad’ forms of cholesterol as well as, in some cases, contributing towards weight loss as part of a healthy diet.

 

If you’ve incurred a wound or a burn, consuming honey (as well as applying it to the wound), can help speed up the healing process. Ever since the age of the Egyptians, honey has been used to speed up and aid the healing process of wounds. Over two dozen studies have found evidence that for partial burns and wounds, the healing process has been visibly sped up. Its healing properties are thought to be thanks due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nature of honey. Its healing properties are well-known and well-documented.

 

Although it’s not proven to always be the case, Some people have reported that they’ve found that honey helps them with digestive related issues too. It’s also known to be a probiotic which essentially means it cleans up the bacteria that it comes into contact with and so this would go some way to explaining why it has helped certain individuals with their digestion.

 

Another of the benefits of honey that have been recommended throughout the years is to have a teaspoon of honey whenever you’re suffering from a cough as it’s known to be a cough suppressant – soothing the throat and reducing inflammation. It’s one of the oldest and most proven remedies so if you find you have a cough this coming winter why not see if a bit of honey helps?

 

Consuming honey can be beneficial for your health, however, it’s always important to remember that honey can be very high in sugar, albeit natural. You should always go for high-quality honey that is rich in all of the positive elements and not mainly sugar. Here at The Fine Harvest, we have the finest, high quality and raw honey that can offer all of the above health benefits and great value prices. We also specialise in honey gift sets should you want to surprise someone who loves their honey.

Discover a World of Spices

Discovering a World of Exotic Spices

Discovering a World of Exotic Spices

Discover a World of Spices

Spices have been used both for culinary purposes and for health benefits for thousands of years. Dating back to Ancient Egypt we can see records of how spices were used. It’s recorded that labourers who helped in building the Pyramids would commonly consume garlic & onion for their health benefits. From there we start to see spices used in other cultures in nearly every country in the world. Other regions where spice usage was prevalent include; China, India, through to Greece and Roma. The spices used in each region would vary as would the dish they would contribute towards depending upon the traditions and culture of the locals.

 

In this article, we’ll be exploring some of our available world spices and look at the significance they play in each of their respective country’s culture from around the world. One thing to note that hasn’t changed over the years is that spices are still sought after, not only for their flavour but also for their health benefits.

Depending on which country or region in the world you visit, spices can play many different and sometimes a vital role in a part of that country’s culture. For example, you may go to one country where spice is used in medicine. While in another, spices may play a pivotal role in religious ceremonies or even contribute to the production of cosmetics and perfumes. Spice is far more than an ingredient to some cultures and to some countries it can also be a very valuable export. Countries towards the Middle East such as Turkey were hubs for the export of various spices before the industry became decentralized, acting also as a bridge between Asia and the West. However, as the centuries passed we now see that trade routes have evolved to be global and now reach every corner of the earth thanks to developments in transport and commerce. This growth in the trade of spices also contributed quite significantly to globalisation. Certain prolific spices could be sought after from the opposite corner of the world, especially by nobility at that time, paying grand sums for their import.

 

Each country around the world tends to have its unique spice that is a symbol of that country’s culture. For example in Iran you have Advieh, the United Kingdom has mixed spice, the United States created cajun and you have the jerk spice hailing from its native Jamaica. Spice as a compound in itself tends to be very strong in flavour and so nearly all the time you’ll notice that they are used in small quantities as they are so rich in their respective flavours. In terms of where spices around the world are made from, India leads the way by a considerable margin producing and exporting more than 1.5 million metric tonnes each year. Followed by Bangladesh, China & Turkey.

Exotic World Spices

The surge in popularity of spices has also led to a wave of people cultivating their spices in their back gardens. Especially in countries where the weather is favourable, which tend to be countries across the Middle-East, Asia and Africa rather than in the West and Europe. This also goes partway into explaining why countries from these regions of the world are the top producers of spices and the areas that first started to use spices both for culinary and health purposes.

 

With the ideal climate for a variety of spices, production in India, having a mix of both sub-tropical and drier, arid regions, as well as tropical regions with a high amount of rainfall, each respectively suitable for the production of a wide array of different spices. And with the increase in global trade, we can only foresee that the demand for spice for countries around the world is only set to grow and grow even further.

 

Trying different spices from around the world allows you to gain an insight into local cultures and traditions. Here at The Fine Harvest, we’ve searched across the globe to bring you the very best and a great selection of world spices – Our Middle-Eastern inspired collection of spices includes selected spices from both from the Middle-East as well as from the continent of Africa. Each of the spices in this collection is gluten-free, free of GMOs and are also perfect for vegans. It can almost make for the perfect gift if you have a friend or family member who loves exploring and experimenting with world cuisine. We also offer a range of other condiments and spices, so why not head over and have a look?

Raw Natural Honey

Raw Honey – The Bee’s Knees!

Raw Honey - The Bee's Knees!

Raw Natural HoneySweet stuff isn’t normally sweet to our bodies or our health.  One massive exception to this is raw honey which is literally crammed full of incredible health-giving properties. Keeping it raw is definitely the way to go with honey to make sure every mouthful is doing us wonders.

 

What exactly is raw honey? Well, it means it hasn’t been heat-treated; conventional honey is heated over 50 degrees celsius, a process that destroys most of the beneficial nutrients and enzymes. It hasn’t been finely filtered so it retains the beneficial bee pollen, honeycomb and propolis. Some of the honey is left behind for the bees and the climate in Cyprus – where The Fine Harvest raw honey comes from, is mild enough to allow the bees to forage in the winter and get sufficient food so they don’t have to be fed with sugar – which is both bad for the bees and the honey itself.

 

Raw honey is rich in antioxidants, organic acids and flavonoids. In plain English, this means it helps our bodies to naturally cleanse themselves. Antioxidants also help in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes and can lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They increase our immunity and help with respiratory problems.

 

Raw honey contains all the B vitamins, protein-producing amino acids and vitamins C, D and E as well as a large number of plant pigments, proteins, and healthy acids such as citric acid.

 

The carbs in honey make it a natural energy booster; the glucose provides energy immediately while the fructose is absorbed more slowly to provide longer-lasting energy. Unlike refined sugars, honey keeps our blood sugar levels constant.

 

Raw honey also has been used since Egyptian times to speed up the healing of wounds. This is done both by eating it and also applying it directly to the wound.

 

Because it is a probiotic, raw honey aids the beneficial bacteria in our digestive system to help create a better balance in our gut microbiota.

 

A spoonful can also soothe a sore throat, reduce inflammation and suppress a cough.

 

It’s a great substitute for sugar as a sweetener as it contains no empty calories and at only 21 calories per teaspoon, it can even help with weight loss.

 

Pretty impressive stuff – and, of course, it is delicious too

 

At The Fine Harvest, you will find all our high-quality raw honey come in glass jars – no plastic – which can be recycled or upcycled as plant pots meaning the honey is not just good for us but for our planet too. Glass is also the best container for the food itself because it does not release any harmful substances, in contrast to plastic. Definitely the bee’s knees.

Do 'fats' make you fat?

Do fats make you fat?

Do Fats Make You Fat?

Do 'fats' make you fat?Seems like an obvious deduction to make, doesn’t it?

 

But not actually correct.

 

Fats are a nutrient which our bodies need to function healthily and consuming a certain amount is fundamental for a balanced diet. Our bodies need fatty acids and many of which they cannot make so are dependent on getting them from the fats we eat. Certain vitamins, which we also need, like D and E, can only be absorbed with the help of fats.

 

Obviously, certain fats are bad for us – namely saturated ones. These can cause our cholesterol levels to rise and then we are more at risk of getting heart disease, diabetes or other ailments – so it’s best we keep these to a minimum. Saturated fats are usually animal fats so we need to be mindful about how much red meat and dairy we consume.

 

Trans fatty acids are another group to avoid – these are probably the worst culprits for damaging our health and clothes size. These are present in foods that have hydrogenated vegetable oils – in simple language, fried food like chips, baked food like cakes and processed snacks like popcorn. Again, we need to keep these to a minimum.

 

Now let’s look at the good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated ones. Despite their hard to swallow names, fortunately for us they are found in delicious foods.

 

Monounsaturated fats are present in nuts, avocados, oils and butters such as almond and peanut.

 

Polyunsaturated fats are so good they are actually nicknamed “essential fat”. Our bodies cannot create these alone so depend on us getting them from plant based foods.

 

Both these fats help lower our cholesterol levels so minimising our risks of heart disease.

 

Omega 3 is a particularly good fat to try and include in our diets. It is generally found in fatty fish like salmon and trout and as well as protecting our hearts, it also can bring down blood pressure.

 

Knowing the difference between good and bad fats is key in having a healthy and fat free body.

 

Check out our menu and stock up on all our delicious good fat products.

Working from Home

How to Snack Healthily while Working from Home

How to Snack Healthily while Working from Home

Working from Home
Snacking from Home

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown threw all of our lives into disarray. Our day to day routines changed massively overnight. And it was a question of not if but how fast we could adapt. A big part of the lockdown focused on working from home where we could. For those that already worked from home, this wasn’t such a shock to the system. However, for the vast majority of us, it was a huge change.

 

Everything in our schedules changed. The time that we would usually take out of the day commuting would now become free. Costs associated with travel and petrol would be saved. A big part of working from home when it comes to your lifestyle change is your diet. Typically if working from home or from an office you would have a set menu or take your lunch in with you. With this usually happening at set times. However, when working from home you have instant access to all of the cupboards in your house.

The Rise in Unhealthy Snacking

This led subsequently to a surge in people snacking throughout the day when working from home. Most of these snacks, however, were unhealthy, full of sugar and fattening. This harms their health at a time were improving their health should be a focus. The answer to this, however, is not to stop snacking altogether. But rather focus on healthy snacks.

 

Finding A Healthy Alternative

When most people think of snacks they will immediately turn towards chocolate and snacks. However, these are the exact types of unhealthy snacks that people from home binge upon. There is in fact a huge range of healthy snacks out there just waiting to be tried. Here at The Fine Harvest one thing we focus on is making people aware of and offering an abundance of healthy snacks. One of the most popular healthy snacks that have grown in popularity lately is nuts. Not only do they make for the perfect ‘nibble’ but they also have a wide range of health benefits you may not be aware of.

Nuts - The 'Working from Home' Snack!
The Health Benefits of Nuts

An ounce of nuts contains over a dozen different nutrients that your body needs both to function, strengthen and grow. Just some of the nutrients in a typical ounce of nuts include protein, magnesium, fibre, vitamin e and much more. With some of these nutrients in just a single ounce making up to 20% of your daily recommended intake. In addition to containing an abundance of nutrients, they are also full of antioxidants helping clear and clean your body.

 

Studies have also shown that consuming nuts regularly can contribute to weight loss. At a time where there is a war against obesity and with research identifying overweight people being more at risk this is a benefit that is constantly overlooked and undervalued. It is also perfect for those working from home. Working from home usually means that time taken out to walk to work or to public transport is instead replaced with sitting at home. Which of course means you are losing out on your regular daily exercise which of course can be detrimental to your health.

Nuts of All Different Shapes, Sizes and Tastes

In addition to having all of the health benefits we have run through today, Another great thing about nuts being a healthy snacking alternative is the diverse range of different types of nuts. This means that no matter what your tastebuds prefer there will be a type of nut that satisfies them. Here at The Fine Harvest, we stock a wide range of different types of high-quality nuts including raw, roasted, salted, unsalted and much more. All of the nuts that we stock are not only responsibly sourced and of the highest quality but have all the health benefits we have discussed today.

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