Mulled wine – packing a healthy punch

Mulled or spiced wine is a traditional Christmas treat dating back centuries and with many variations across Europe. In fact one mediaeval English recipe circa1390, sounds very familiar, including ground cinnamon, ginger, galangal, cloves, pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, and cardamom. These spices were mixed with red wine and sweetened with sugar (‘for the Lords’) or honey (‘for the people’). For those who don’t get on with red wine, traditional variations include spiced hot cider or ale. The addition of fresh fruit (sliced apple, pear, orange) or dried fruit (raisins, prunes etc) and fruit juice (apple, orange or grape juice) make the drink into a sweeter, less alcoholic hot punch.

In this article I am going to look at the health benefits of several of the key ingredients.

Read time 9 minutes (1800 words )

Continue reading

Coffee – its light and dark side


First, the good news about coffee consumption, then a warning for ‘slow caffeine metabolisers’.

Many people really enjoy a good cup of freshly brewed coffee, but there are lingering doubts in some peoples mind about it’s health promoting credentials. A decade ago there were scare stories about possible links to heart disease and the caffeine content was considered harmful. Continue reading