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Trying to get through a Dry January? This may help!
January 11th, 2021
Are you trying to get through January without an alcoholic drink?
Many people are and are finding it harder than expected!
Symptoms may include poor sleep, sugar cravings and an increase in anxiety levels. This is a common experience and can be attributed to low levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain.
GABA helps the body and the brain to relax. It helps us feel calm and also promotes tiredness at the end of the day.
Alcohol targets GABA receptors in the brain and mimics the effect of this neurotransmitter and many of us use alcohol to unwind at the end of the day.
So if you are going without alcohol this month and struggling with some of the symptoms described above, you may like to try some natural ways of increasing your GABA levels.
Vigorous exercise or mind- body movements such as yoga, can increase levels of GABA.
Diet can also play a part. Two nutrients are particularly important: they are magnesium and vitamin B6.
Magnesium has been shown to modulate GABA activity in the brain. The UK diet is often low in magnesium and consequently many people can be deficient in this mineral. It is found in nuts, dried fruit, pulses, nuts – particularly almonds and cashew nuts, buckwheat flour, chickpea flour and crab meat.
Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of GABA and is found in pulses, nuts and seeds, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts.
I hope you enjoy the Courgette and Chick pea fritters. They are rich in magnesium and vitamin B6 and are a favourite with my family.
By our Nutritionist, Nicky Seabrook
Spiced Courgette Fritters (with tomato, cucumber and mint salsa)
3-4 courgettes (500g weight)
1 red chilli deseeded and finely chopped
3 Spring onions, finely sliced
1 tblsp medium curry powder
1tsp finely grated ginger
3tblsp chopped coriander leaves
100g gram (chick pea) flour
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and lightly mashed
Oil for frying
½ large pot of plain yoghurt
Finely grated zest of lime or lemon
For the Salsa
480g punnet of tomatoes
1 chilli finely chopped
2 tblsp. Olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
small bunch of mint finely chopped
Line a colander with a clean tea towel and place it over a bowl.
Tip in the grated courgettes and wring the towel several times to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Wash and dry the bowl and tip the courgettes back in.
Add the chopped chilli, spring onions, curry powder, ginger, coriander and gram flour. Mix well, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the zest from the lime into the yoghurt.
For the Salsa, mix all the ingredients in a bowl, season and leave to stand.
Roughly shape the courgette mixture into eight balls, then flatten into patty shapes. Heat the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden.
Serve with a dollop of citrusy yoghurt and salsa on the side.
This is a great recipe for anyone with an intolerance to gluten as it uses a gluten free flour. Chickpea flour is made from dried chickpeas and is also known as garbanzo flour, gram flour and besan. Chick peas are rich in phytoestrogens, plant –based oestrogen-like compounds that appear to protect against hormone related cancers.
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