Health info

why is this meal good for me?

This breakfast bar is a taste sensation, there’s no baking needed and it is well worth the effort to make. You deserve tasty food that benefits your health and this bar fits the bill perfectly. Use it as a base and mix up your added extras, chuck in some dark chocolate, sunflower seeds or dried apricot.

 

Make it yours. You can toast the oats and seeds, but this is optional and simply gives a different, richer flavour that I quite enjoy. 

 

The best thing about this bar is that it’s perfect for those busy mornings where you need something on the go, and as you can prepare this in advance it’s ideal. Always aim to make time for your meals and sit down to eat, but when you can’t this will prevent those hunger spells later in the day. These are those dangerous times when we may be walking past pastry shops or just passed our snack cupboards and our body is telling us to eat anything and everything immediately. 

 

Avoid these issues altogether whilst munching a bar that is healthier than most people’s cereal. 

 

You know us, we don’t make food simply because it tastes great. It has to actively benefit our bods too, and as you read in the video this potassium-packed goody helps with one of the worlds second biggest risk factors after a poor diet; blood pressure. 


 

According to the savvy scientists at the World Health Organisation, high blood pressure is one of the most significant risk factors for death and illness, causing approximately nine million deaths annually [1]. It’s not just older adults either, at least 2.1 million people 45 years and younger are suffering from high blood pressure in England alone, and many more are not aware that they have it [2].

 

There are easy steps we can take such as munching potassium-rich foods which lower blood pressure. A review of 25 studies proved this link as shown in the video [3] and even when the 3,500mg target set by the NHS is not hit [4], a small increase in potassium can still significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure [5].

 

This happens due to potassium causing our blood vessels to relax more whilst simultaneously increasing the amount of sodium (a blood pressure raising agent) to be excreted [6]. It isn’t just blood pressure it helps either, increasing your potassium has knock-on consequences. For instance, a review many found ‘that 1,640 mg per day higher potassium intake was associated with a significant 21% lower risk of stroke’ [7].

 

We can get potassium from dates, which feature heavily in this recipe and at 656mg per 100g [8], they smash bananas out the water at 358mg per 100g [9]. Other great sources include lentils, apricots, squash and raisins, most of which have close to double that of bananas per serving [10]. 

 

So snack on this breaky bar, grab a few apricots and cook a few lentil dahls and you’ll be on your way to optimal potassium levels and lower risk of high blood pressure.

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Recipe

how do i cook it?

Serves: 6 or 12 sanck size       Time: 15 minutes             Difficulty: medium        Keeps: 4 days

 
Munch
  • 1 mashed cup of dates (softened in hot water for at least 10 mins)

  • 0.5 cups of almonds

  • 1.5 cups of rolled oats

  • 0.25 cups of pure, unsalted and unsweetened peanut butter

  • 0.25 cups of date syrup

  • 0.5 cups of pumpkin seeds

  • 0.5 cups of dried cranberries

 

Method 
  1. Optional extra: toast the nuts, seeds and oats for 5 mins to improve the flavour

  2. If you haven’t already, leave the dates to soak in hot water, then combine the almonds, oats, pumpkin seeds and cranberries in a large bowl. 

  3. Once the dates have softened, drain and blend, then add them to the bowl.

  4. In a mug combine the peanut butter and date syrup and microwave for 30 seconds, then add to the bowl and mix thoroughly.

  5. Pour the mixture into a small square container and press down, the harder you press the better the bars will emerge. 

  6. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes and cut into 6 portions for breakfast bars or 12 for snacks. 

 

Evidence

where is the science from?

1] Organisation WH. World Health Organization (2013), A global brief on hypertension. Report. 2013 April 2013. Contract No.: WHO/DCO/WHD/2013.2.


2] England Public Health. Health matters: combating high blood pressure. WWW.GOV.UK: Public Health England, 2017. Accessed March 2019.


3] Filippini T, Violi F, D’Amico R, Vinceti M. The effect of potassium supplementation on blood pressure in hypertensive subjects: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Cardiol 2017;230:127-35.


4] Public Health England, 2016. Government Dietary Recommendations. Government recommendations for energy and nutrients for males and females aged 1–18 years and 19+ years.


5] Binia A, Jaeger J, Hu Y, Singh A, Zimmermann D. Daily potassium intake and sodium-to-potassium ratio in the reduction of blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Hypertens 2015;33:1509-20.


6] Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, DC; 2005.


7] D’Elia L, Barba G, Cappuccio FP, Strazzullo P. Potassium intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease a meta-analysis of prospective studies. J Am Coll Cardiol 2011;57:1210-9.


8] https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/786605/nutrients [accessed 12.06.2020].


9] https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/786652/nutrients [accessed 12.06.2020].


10] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019.

 
Image by Mike Dorner