A super-spicy solution for PMS

Don't hit the comfort food - hit the spice rack... When you have PMS symptoms such as tiredness, low mood, headaches and cramping, eating usually involves grabbing the sort of carb- and/or caffeine-laden goodies that give you a fleeting comfort hit but can often make you feel worse.

Food can, however, be an effective way of treating PMS and other everyday ailments, says award-winning chef and nutritionist Gurpareet Bains, whose fans include Goldie Hawn and Gwyneth Paltrow. The answer is to use spices and herbs in abundance,as he explains in his book Indian Superspices, which offers recipes to help with PMS, colds, hangovers, allergies and insomnia.

The recipes are described as ‘lab-inspired’ because the beneficial effects of the ingredients have been verified by research. For example, fennel: in a study of girls with severe period pain, 80 per cent of those taking fennel experienced complete pain relief, compared with 73 per cent of those taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

My colleague Victoria, who suffers from PMS, trialled Bains’s soothing salmon and juniper berry curry which is made with anti-inflammatory spices such as fennel, juniper berries, chilli, coriander and cumin, as well as his ‘no-more-headache baked beans’ flavoured with nigella, which has analgesic properties.

‘Both recipes were simple and quick, and the whole family enjoyed them,’ she reports. ‘They felt light, clean and also energising [a property of cumin].’  I like Bains’s recipe for turkey with blueberries, cinnamon and fennel (right), which is designed to regulate blood sugar levels and will help with any hormonal flurry.

Indian Superspices, £7.20 for the Kindle edition, from www.amazon.co.ukbuy here

TURKEY WITH BLUEBERRIES

200 g/7 oz blueberries 20 g/3/oz fresh chopped coriander plus extra to garnish 4 garlic cloves finely chopped 2 tbsp grated (peeled) fresh root ginger 2 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tsp fennel seeds 1 tsp chilli powder 1/tsp turmeric salt to taste 500 g/1 lb 2 oz low-fat greek yoghurt 500 g/1 lb 2oz skinless boneless turkey breast fillets cut into bite-size pieces 1 tsp garam masala pilau rice to serve

1  In a food processor, blend the blueberries, coriander, garlic, ginger, ground cinnamon, fennel seeds, chilli powder, turmeric, salt and yoghurt to make a purée.  Set aside.

2  Place the turkey in a deep pan and slowly pour in the yoghurt mixture. Bring to a simmer over a low heat, then simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Mix through the garam masala.

3 Garnish with the extra chopped coriander and serve with pilau rice.

(Recipe taken from www.bbc.co.uk)

 

EYES IN FOCUS

Nutrof Total

Age-related macular degeneration is the gradual loss of central vision in the over-50s. With a combination of minerals and antioxidant vitamins, the research-based supplement Nutrof Total can help maintain healthy eyes.  £14.99 at www.victoriahealth.com - buy here.

 

TAKE UV ACTION

The UVA in sunlight can trigger a photosensitivity reaction to some antibiotics, diuretics, oral contraceptives and diabetic medicines where the skin becomes red, itchy and inflamed even if you apply sunscreen. Professor Nick Lowe of London’s Cranley Clinic (www.drnicklowe.com) advises anyone experiencing this reaction to discuss the situation with their GP and, if possible, take their medication in the evening (apart from diuretics) so levels are less during the day.

 

APP OF THE WEEK:  THE ESSENTIAL PARENT COMPANY'S BABY CARE

Essential Babycare‘This free app gives you instant access to expert advice,’ says our mummy reviewer Lucy. ‘It offers 20 short videos on topics including sleeping, feeding, general care and first aid. You can buy more in-depth videos for just 69p each, or buy a bundle from £1.49. The New Baby bundle, for example, has 17 practical guides including umbilical cord care and how often to feed.’  Find the app on www.essentialparent.com