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National Blood Week 2019

This week is National Blood Week here in the UK.
NHS Blood and Transplant needs 400 new people to register as new donors every day in order to keep up with demand.

To support this effort, here are five foods you can eat to support red blood cell count:

Red Meat.

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Red Meat, such as beef, is high in iron, and can increase your body’s production of red blood cells. Normal RBC counts range from 4.7 to 6.1 million cells per microliter for men, and 4.2 to 5.4 million cells per microliter for women.

Red meats are also high in Vitamin B-12, which supports blood health.

Dark, Leafy Green Vegetables.

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Vegetables such as spinach and kale are also iron-rich, and are also high in Folic Acid and Vitamin A, which support healthy red blood cell production. The average person needs about 100 to 250 mcg per day, though this number jumps for pregnant women.

Dried Fruits.

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Dried fruits, such as prunes and raisins are high in iron also, and provide other nutrients to support the body’s overall health.

Iron deficiency causes low RBC production, and women need about 18 milligrams per day, where men tend to only need about 10 milligrams per day.

Beans.

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Beans, while high in iron and Folic Acid, are also high in Copper, which doesn’t directly result in RBC production, but does help your RBC’s access the iron they need to replicate. Women need about 18mg per day, and men need about 8mg per day. This number can vary based on other factors such as age and body weight.

Egg Yolks.

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Egg yolks are surprisingly high in iron, though this doesn’t help vegans at all. Eggs are high in a number of other nutrients, so if supplements are needed due to a special diet, it is best to talk to your physician about what your body needs for healthy operation.

If you are anything like me, while you pay attention to your overall health, you don’t consider the individual processes that occur in your body that contribute to that health. One of these aspects is the importance of blood health.

Blood supports various functions in the body, including supplying oxygen to cells and tissues, providing vital nutrients to cells, and protecting the body from infection through the white blood cells.

For more information about supporting National Blood Week and/or becoming a blood donor, please visit https://www.blood.co.uk

Food Photographer: Tom Davies, Lead Photographer, Full Steam Pictures.
Written by: Kate Davies, Media Manager, Full Steam Pictures.

National Barbecue Week

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The barbecuing experience is a long-standing fond joke in our family. When my brother and I were kids, nothing would stop our Dad from wheeling out the barbecue; not snow, not rain, nothing.

I remember one particular Saturday when the family was all huddled around the picnic table, shivering and soaking, while the rain poured down and our Dad flipped burgers with one hand and held an umbrella with the other.

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This week we see the celebration of National Barbecue Week, which was first launched in 1997. Back then, there were 9 million barbecue occasions, and this grew to over 135 million in 2018. All hail the British barbie!

As with most things, people are divided on what kind of barbecue provides the best tasting food; gas, wood or charcoal.

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While gas is cleaner and faster, the majority of barbecue aficionados will tell you that cooking over gas fails to bring out the smoky flavours that cooking with wood or charcoal provides.

The reason for this is due to a chemical called lignin which is present in wood. When heat is applied, this chemical breaks down into something called guaiacol which provides the smoky flavor. Guaiacol is also present in charcoal.

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Barbecues seem to have become more sophisticated since I was a kid; the days when a barbie consisted of hamburgers, hot dogs, and the height of refinement was foil-wrapped corn-on-the cob.

These days, a typical barbecue is likely to present spicy chicken skewers, beer-braised short ribs and lamb and rosemary koftas. Nor is the barbecue as limited to meats as it used to be. With the increase in popularity of vegetarianism, you are just as likely to see black bean burgers, jerk grilled eggplant and cauliflower steaks.

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And now I’m starving, and these barbecue photoshoots we have done for our clients are making the cravings worse… I’m off for a chicken skewer!

For more information about National Barbecue Week, please visit https://nationalbbqweek.co.uk

Happy grilling!

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Food Photographer: Tom Davies, Lead Photographer, Full Steam Pictures.
Written by: Kate Davies, Media Manager, Full Steam Pictures.

Supermarkets and the Vegan Movement

Over the past week, we have seen more supermarkets introducing vegan products than ever before.

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Aldi just added plant-based ‘chicken’ burgers, sausage rolls, no beef burgers and superfood burgers to their product range. These products are made from quinoa, couscous, pumpkin seeds, butternut squash, red pepper and sweet potato.

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Morrisons brought out vegan tuna, called TUNO, which is made using soya protein and natural flavourings, and apparently has a flaky texture, much like the real thing. It also has a high protein count and low calories.

Sainsbury’s Jackfruit Quarter-Pounder was just named the ‘Best Vegan Supermarket Burger’, and in an article today, the supermarket giant predicted that 25% of Brits will be vegan or veggie by 2025.

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So why are vegan alternatives proving to be so popular that supermarkets are falling over themselves to introduce supporting food products?

According to the Vegan Society, “Demand for meat-free food increased by 987% in 2017, and going vegan was predicted to be the biggest food trend in 2018”.

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Much of this increasingly popular trend seems to be a result of the combined factors of increased awareness of treatment of animals, health concerns, environmental impacts, celebrity influence, and ready availability.

Many of our clients are bringing out vegan options, and all of the photographs used in this post are celebrating their diversity.

For more information about going vegan, please visit www.vegansociety.com

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Food Photographer: Tom Davies, Lead Photographer, Full Steam Pictures.
Written by: Kate Davies, Media Manager, Full Steam Pictures.