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Health Features

Viva! Health unravels the most recent scientific research and makes it easy to understand. Here we update you on the latest findings...

Antioxidants protect our health but you don’t have to spend lots of money on expensive supplements or exotic fruit extracts as there’s a plentiful supply – and powerful ones at that – hiding in a fruit and veg shop near you.
Folate occurs naturally in some plant foods but in its synthetic form, it’s known as vitamin B9 and folic acid. It mostly tends to be talked of in relation to pregnancy but despite this, it is a vitamin vital for everyone – and many people in the UK are at risk of deficiency.  
Getting enough sleep is vital for our overall health. It can reduce the risk of many common diseases, keep the brain and digestive system healthy and boost the immune system. However, around a third of us are falling short – so what can you do to get a better night’s sleep? Can any foods offer help? 
Whether you’re fighting a cold, flu or just feel run down, there are some foods that can not only boost your health but make you feel better too. 
‘I can’t afford to be vegan!’ It’s one of the arguments you hear far too often. I can see why people say it when they’re new to veganism because it’s so easy to be tempted by all the fancy products in attractive packaging with clever slogans that make you feel like you ‘need’ those foods. The truth is, you don’t! Veganism is for everyone and a vegan diet can be as cheap as, well, chips. But the trick is to make your diet not only cheap but healthy, too. Thrive and not just survive!
There’s a battle going on in your body. Unstable molecules called free radicals are hell-bent on wreaking havoc, causing damage to cells, proteins and DNA. Antioxidants are the home guard, good guys that come to the rescue! But is it really that simple or have free radicals been given a bad rap and antioxidants over-hyped?
Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family and always grow in pods. Beans, lentils peas and chickpeas are a staple in diets all over the world – for example Indian dal, traditional Chinese and Japanese foods using mung, adzuki and soya (edamame) beans, Mexican bean chilli and burritos, Spanish fried beans, African rice and bean dishes, British mushy peas and a myriad of European lentil and pea recipes.  Apart from being very nutritious and super sustainable, pulses also have some splendid effects on our health. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses in order to increase public awareness of their nutritional benefits and to highlight how sustainable their production is.
Navigating through the endless varieties of fruit drinks can be mind-boggling. Are smoothies better than juices? How about nutrients in juices and smoothies? Do smoothies count towards your five-a-day or, ideally, eight-a-day? And are all types of juice the same nutritionally? Here are your answers in a neat package:

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