Mixed healthy diet messages overcomplicate healthy eating.

Healthy eating. A balanced diet. We grasp the concept. And we understand the wide-ranging benefits — lower risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, improved immunity, healthier ageing, less weight gain…

But then it gets messy. A constant stream of conflicting nutrition and diet advice blurs our perspective.

Food adverts offer health benefits “backed by science”. Junk food packaging brags about healthier ingredients. Evangelists preach their fad diet commandments across social networks. And media headlines portray nutrition science as capricious — yesterday’s must-have nutrient is today’s toxic ingredient. Healthy eating sells — and everybody wants your attention.

It’s overwhelming. Healthy…

Eating calcium-rich food is essential for bone health. But not all sources of calcium are equal.

This article takes a look at

  • the importance of calcium to your health
  • why calcium matters to your bone health — now and in the future
  • how much calcium you need
  • the different calcium food sources
  • why not all foods high in calcium are good sources
  • choosing good dairy-free sources of calcium
  • how to get enough calcium if you’re gluten-free

In the UK most of us rely on wheat and dairy for calcium

Oats are arguably the healthiest grain you can eat.

The humble oat fed Scotland for 100s of years. But now its more often relegated to an occasional breakfast ingredient.

But you shouldn’t pass over this delicious, multipurpose grain. Oats’ nutrition credentials are impressive.

A brief history of Oats

Farmers first cultivated oats in Northern Europe around 1500 BC (1). Originally an annoying weed, our bronze age ancestors realised oats grew better in their colder, wetter climate than wheat.

In fact, oats need a temperate climate to grow well. They don’t like intense heat or extreme cold. But they thrive in a cool damp climate. And they survive in very poor soils where other cereals…

A kettlebell workout for strength and health designed for busy people.

20–30 minutes twice a week. This minimalist kettlebell workout is all you need and doesn’t get in the way of life.

Finding the time to exercise is hard!

You have a busy life. Full with work, family, friends and well-earned relaxation. Finding the time to exercise can be tough.

How often have you enthusiastically started a new fitness regime only to struggle and fail when life got in the way?

Back to the square one. No fitter. No healthier. And the gym or fitness class’s monthly direct debit quietly taking money out of your bank account.

Time for a new approach. No frills. No beach body promises.

The science is complex and the health claims extravagant. But what are antioxidants?

This article explains what you need to know and answers the important questions

  • What are antioxidants?
  • How do they work? (or at least, what do we know?)
  • How do you get the antioxidants you need from ordinary food?
  • Do you need expensive superfoods or supplements? (you don’t!)

I dip into the science, but never too deep. This is a practical, nutritionist’s guide to antioxidants. Just the information you need — no more.

So what are antioxidants?

An antioxidant is a substance that prevents oxidation.

In biology, oxidation isn’t always a bad thing. But when we’re talking nutrition, oxidation is often a problem. And antioxidants are usually beneficial. …

A lack of iron in your diet can lead to iron deficiency anemia — leaving you lethargic and exhausted. Even a lack of iron without anemia can wear you out.

This guide tells you everything you need to know about iron intake, iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia.

And what you can do to make sure there’s plenty of this vital nutrient in your diet.

Iron deficiency and anemia — the big picture

Iron is the 4th most common element on earth. You’d think we’d have no trouble getting enough in our diet. But lack of iron is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world (1). …

Broth - a traditional Scottish health food

Given the current reputation of Scotland’s diet, you’d be forgiven for thinking “Scottish health food” was an oxymoron. But many traditional Scottish foods are a nutritionist’s dream. And one of the simplest is a Scottish Broth. Packed with nutrients and fibre and endlessly adaptable, it’s a perfect, satisfying meal for the winter months.

Broth was a staple of the traditional Scottish diet. The way my mother tells it, there was a permanent pan of broth on every stove, in every farmhouse, across the country. …

Being overweight is normal

But if being fat is so bad for you, why are so many of us carrying extra weight?

If you’re carrying a few extra pounds you’re not alone. Two-thirds of Scots are overweight — and nearly a third obese (1).

Being overweight is the new normal.

But this new normal comes with severe consequences. Increased risk of chronic illness. Fewer healthy life years. Premature death.

Being fat reduces your chances of a long, independent and active life. Body positive or not.

So why are so many of us overweight?

Obesity is a worldwide problem

We’re getting fatter as a nation. In fact, we are getting fatter as a planet. Globally, being overweight now contributes more deaths than being underweight (2). Worldwide, governments are…

the best all-around conditioning exercise you can do

No other conditioning exercise is as easy on your joints as the hardstyle kettlebell swing yet delivers the same health benefit. Train the swing and you’ll develop the essential components of long-term physical health — a strong back, glutes and legs combined with cardiovascular endurance. The swing can’t stop the years, but it can slow their effect.

The hardstyle kettlebell swing is a full body exercise. It works the hamstring, butt and back muscles or “posterior chain”, like no other. Swings challenge the grip, forearms and shoulders and simultaneously exhaust the thighs. And swings deliver spectacular results — quickly.

Strength conditioning for life


The 21stcentury has to be the greatest time to be alive. Life is easier than it’s ever been.

Thanks to modern medicine and technology you can expect to live longer than your parents. But you can’t assume you’ll enjoy those extra years in good health. Because the convenience of modern living is working to prevent it.

And you have to push against some of that convenience in the interests of your long-term health.

So, do you want to be part of the growing “ageing and unwell” population? …

Ralph Brooks

Nutritionist, kettlebell coach and yoga teacher specialising in nutrition, movement and strength for long-term health

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