Got a nutritional question? Our expert has the answer ...
Question: Is there any limit to eating seafood like prawns and smoked salmon? As in, is it okay to eat them both four times a week?
There is no real limit on the amount of marine foods you can consume on a weekly basis as long as it's excellent quality, from a reputable source and eaten as part of a varied diet.
The Inuit tribes are known to consume a vast amount of their energy from foods like fish, seals and whales and they have some of the lowest levels of lifestyle-related diseases, such as coronary heart disease and arteriosclerosis.
If you eat a lot of marine foods it is best to keep your selection as diverse as possible. That way you are getting a wide range of nutrients, amino acids and essential fats. The key considerations when buying fish or seafood is where it comes from and how it is processed.
Where possible, avoid processed fish and aim to buy fresh, whole, wild fish from your local fish monger.
Question: Is making porridge with coconut milk healthier/lighter than its dairy alternative in a Low GI diet?
Dairy-free alternatives are becoming more and more popular, mainly due to celebrity endorsement and the rise in popularity of wheat and dairy-free diets.
Porridge can be made in a variety of ways, for example with water, coconut water, almond milk, coconut milk, goat's milk or cow's milk. Dairy alternatives like good quality, no-added-sugar almond milk and coconut milk are ideal for people who are lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies, but in my opinion they are not necessarily healthier.
It's good to vary the flavours and the toppings you have with porridge to keep it interesting, but that doesn't mean you have to avoid dairy if you don't need to or want to.
You can continue to enjoy your porridge with some fresh whole milk if that's what you prefer.
Question: Are dried fruits fattening, and have they health benefits?
Dried fruit contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so yes, eaten in the right amounts it does have health benefits.
Fresh fruit is relatively high in naturally occurring sugar called fructose. When fruit is dried the water is removed making it taste a lot sweeter because the natural sugars are more concentrated.
This usually means dried fruit is very palatable and easy to eat in large amounts. For example, 100g of fresh cherries contains 63 calories and 16g of carbohydrate whereas 100g of dried cherries contains 352 calories and 84.5g of carbohydrate.
This makes dried fruit a great snack option for athletes or anyone who trains regularly to a high intensity because they are easily digested and provide a fast supply of energy. However, if you are trying to lose body fat, it is better to stick to fresh fruit because it is lower in energy and the water and fibre content makes it harder to over eat.
Another consideration is that dried fruit often has additional sugar added for more flavour, which makes it more like sweets than fruit! So be sure to check the label for added sugars before purchasing.
Daniel Davey BSc MSc, CSCS, NEHS is a performance nutritionist