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Let's get cooking with Parveen the spice Queen!

A healthy, balanced and colourful diet is the cornerstone to emotional and physical wellbeing. However, COVID-19 has certainly had a detrimental impact on health. A recent survey by the Health Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA)[1] of 10,000 respondents found 31.5% felt their general health had worsened since the start of the pandemic. And in a survey conducted at the end of last year, by Alive![2], one of the UKs leading manufacturers of vitamin and mineral supplements, 37% of people questioned said their BMI (body mass index) was over 25, the number indicating you’re overweight and heading towards obesity. With many people now admitting they have put on weight during lockdown, this figure is only going one way.

The Alive! survey also discovered only 20% of people meet the daily recommended minimum target of ‘5-a-day’ of fruits and veggies, which confirms people are missing out on valuable nutrients, needed to protect overall health. This is also documented in National Diet and Nutrition Surveys (NDNS)[3] which found only a quarter of the population achieves their five a day, plus vitamin D deficiency levels have barely improved in the latest stats[4] (a fifth of the population showing deficiency), further putting health at risk, especially immunity. The facts are clear; our plates are lacking colour and imagination, nutrient deficiencies are getting worse, and health is on a downward trend, only compounded by lockdown. Indeed, we know mental and physical health have bombed during the pandemic[5].

However, there is a lifeline! Fancy spicing things up in the kitchen and plating up some great colour? Here Alive!, the multivitamin brand, formulated in the UK and specially created for men, women children throughout all life stages as well as a unique blend of 26 fruits and vegetables, has teamed up with TV chef, Parveen Ashraf, to share some quick, easy and nutritionally balanced recipes you can do at home.

SPICE QUEEN’S TOP RECIPE DELIGHTS

Love curry? Chicken Masala I know ticks the boxes for many of us, and the good news, cooked in the right way, with a bit of health love from Turmeric it’s also a great choice when it comes to our nutrition needs as it wraps lots of vegetables and spices together, ensuring a plate of colour! Plus, if you like to follow a curry with something sweet, check out my cinnamon oat pancakes. https://www.jamesmartinchef.co.uk/recipes/parveen-ashrafs-chicken-masala/

SPICE QUEEN FACT: Ingredients such as fresh garlic, turmeric, fresh root ginger and fresh coriander are referred to as Cilantro by our American cousins.

SPICE QUEEN’S TURMERIC TOP TIPS:

This is a spice that I grew up with and I remember my mum used to add it to nearly all of her curries. But not only curries, when I had my son by C-section my mum came to look after me and used to give me turmeric milk to heal on the inside. She would add a spoon of honey to make it more palatable. In our culture, we often refer to this as ‘The Golden Milk.’


  1. I make homemade spicy potato wedges with cumin and chilli but you can also add a little turmeric too.

  2. Add ½ to 1 tsp of turmeric to butternut squash, vegetable soup


Love lentils? Tarka Daal is a very popular lentil dish in south Asia and easy to make, as well as bursting with flavour. And to ensure that taste burst, my recipe includes garlic, fresh coriander, dried fenugreek leaves, turmeric…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smIMmZYVH0E&feature=youtu.be

SPICE QUEEN’S 7 FOOD ESSENTIALS:

Here’s my 7 list of those fresh food and kitchen cupboard essentials which are my health and wellness musts. Ingredients include:

  1. Chicken – protein-rich and loaded with key micronutrients including vitamin B3 (great for energy and reducing high cholesterol), and vitamin A (essential for supporting the immune system).

  2. Basa fish – as with all white fish, Basa is high in protein and low in fat. However, unusually for white fish, it contains some essential omega-3 fats, which are needed for a healthy brain and heart, joints and eyes.

  3. Chickpeas – are high in fibre and protein, making them the perfect antidote for blood sugar imbalances, helping keep weight in check, whilst delivering plenty of immune-boosting antioxidant nutrients.

  4. Spinach – rich in life-boosting chlorophyll and high in energising iron and magnesium with a broad range of essential vitamins.

  5. Turmeric – packed with the mineral manganese for joints and vitamin B6 for energy, turmeric is most acclaimed for its benefits to the heart, liver, digestion and joints and it doesn’t take much to make a real difference.

  6. Cinnamon - rich in antioxidant polyphenols, cinnamon has long been prized for its amazing health benefits, warming the body, balancing blood sugar levels and warding off unwanted invaders to the digestive tract.

  7. Garlic – it’s the sulphur compounds that help reduce blood pressure, protect artery walls from free radical damage, provide antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and help detox the liver.

PARVEEN’S RECIPE FOR GOOD HEALTH

“As you get older, you realise that ‘Health is Wealth’ so I am passionate about good food, eating right food and taking the proper range of supplements to stay healthy. Plus, I am a menopausal woman in my mid 50’s so I need to invest in my health. However, one challenge I think we all have is ensuring we are eating the right amounts of fruit and vegetables daily and I think we are all guilty some days of not eating enough. So, for me, that means bridging those nutritional gaps with a good daily multivitamin and multimineral from Alive! plus their soft and fruity Immune Support containing Vitamins A, B6,C, D and Zinc which can be taken by all ages from 3 years. These are most definitely my health and wellness insurance policies.”

For more information about Alive! multivitamins from Nature’s Way visit www.feelaliveuk.com

For more recipes and top tips, just go to Parveen’s website www.ParveenTheSpiceQueen.com or her IGTV channel, Parveen The Spice Queen. Follow Parveen on Instagram @parveenthespicequeen


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