Healthy Snacking – Around the world

The BBC has a plethora of information on health issues on the health area of its website ( which is well worth a look at. There is a useful article on how to snack without putting on weight. The piece makes the point that snacking is not necessarily unhealthy. It all depends on how many calories you are getting from your normal meals.

For some people like diabetics and sufferers of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) regular small snacks are preferable to large meals at any time. For the rest of us, healthy snacks are a good way of eating as long as we don’t overeat at our regular meals – which alas most of us do. So if you are going to snack, what should you eat?

Well the BBC website makes the point that crisps have become the most popular savoury snack and of course we spend hundreds of millions of pounds on chocolate. Both of these contain loads of empty calories, fat and sometimes a lot of salt as well. In other words they are pretty unhealthy foods on which to snack. Of course the healthy snack foods are fruit, vegetables with a healthy dip, some nuts, unsweetened yogurt etc. Popcorn (unsalted and unsweetened) may not be particularly unhealthy but it doesn’t contain much fat or calories if you make it in a popcorn machine that doesn’t use fat. Of course I’m not recommending some sort of faddish ‘popcorn diet’ but it’s quite nice to nibble in front of the television at times. The BBC site makes the point that popcorn was discovered by the Incas in 300 CE! That probably makes it one of the world’s oldest manufactured snacks. I’m pretty sure fruit and nuts are the worlds oldest snacks and not only for the human species.

The website gives some useful information about how people of various cultures snack.

For example:
The Caribbean – Possibly the worlds healthiest snackers, they get a lot of their daily snacks straight of trees! These include melon, passion fruit, papaya, mango, figs and coconut all of which are a healthy source of unrefined carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins
Nepal – A famous snack here is ‘uncooked rice, soaked, beaten and roasted, then served with yogurt’ Sounds very good.
Chicken kebabs dipped in sauce and grilled = Yakitori
Fresh sliced raw fish = sashimi
Mmmmmm! You can get these here but they tend to be a bit expensive.

And the winner is!

So I hope the BBC and I have convinced you that crisps and chocolate are not the only way to snack. In my experience, fruit is the creme de la creme of snacks. It’s fresh, healthy, easy to carry and available everywhere. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well we doctors do need to make a living, so I can’t agree with that. Still, two or three pieces of fruit consumed by everyone every day and hey we doctors could be out of pocket.

The best time to eat Fruit

It’s interesting to note that snacking is possibly the best way to eat fruit. The thing about fruit is that it’s digested very quickly. If you eat a dessert of fruit salad after a normal meal, the fruit is digested quickly and catches up with the rest of the meal in the bowel. It then gets ‘blocked’ by the other food and starts to ferment, causing wind and discomfort. Thus it is much better to eat fruit as a starter than as a dessert and this is one of the reasons it makes such a health snack.

Homeopathic Tip of the Week: Digestion

Well, remember not to eat fruit after a full meal and you might find your digestion improves a great deal. To take things further you might like to try the food combining diet on this website. (Basically you don’t combine carbohydrates and proteins in the same meal and you keep fruit separate as I have already suggested. If you still have a lot of problems with wind and bloating you should obviously see your doctor. If you get a diagnosis of ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ you could try some homeopathy.

For bloating and discomfort NOT relieved by passing wind you could try Carbo vegetabilis 6c one three times a day for a couple of weeks.

If it is relieved by passing wind – try Lycopodium 6c one three times a day for a couple of weeks.
If you know the bloating is due to psychological stress and pressure and you are of a nervous disposition, try Argentum nitricum 6c one three times a day for a couple of weeks.

Jul29, 2004