Q: I’m thinking of switching from bottled mineral water and getting myself one of those Brita filter jugs, but is filtered water better for me?
A: Lily Says...
In the UK we are extremely lucky to have clean drinking water, which is deemed safe to drink. However, if contaminants such as lead, chlorine and microplastics are of concern, then water filters can be handy to have at home. However, it’s important to note that the choice of water filter can impact the quality of the water quite drastically. For example, some filtered water might be worse than tap water as a result of bacterial growth on the filter. On the other hand, some water filters may remove beneficial minerals alongside the contaminants.
If using a water filter, ensure that it’s from a credible brand and that the filters have been independently tested in accordance to international standards such as NSF. What’s more ensure that your water filter is regularly maintained or changed to minimise the risk of bacterial growth on the filter.
Q: I've recently started using ghee in my cooking as it's natural, but a friend told me that it's bad for your health. What is your opinion on ghee?
A: Lily says...
Ghee is a form of clarified butter and can be used within cooking as part of a balanced diet. However, it is important to note that ghee is still a saturated fat and if following a diet, which is high in this type of fat, it could increase your cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.
The current UK guidelines are to consume no more 20g saturated fat per day for women and no more than 30g for men. To put this into context just, 1 tbsp. Ghee comes with 9g saturated fat. On the other hand it could be noted that ghee is useful if you have lactose intolerance and it is relatively heat stable, meaning that it can be used for high temperature cooking.
Q: I really can’t afford grass-fed organic meat. Am I doing myself harm by eating regular meat or do the benefits outweigh any cons?
A: Lily says...
Grass fed meat tends to be leaner than grain fed meat. A study conducted by the British Journal of Nutrition has shown that grass fed beef provides a higher level of healthy omega-3 fats in comparison to grain fed beef. Research also suggests that fully grass fed animals can provide higher quantities of beta-carotene and vitamin E.
It's important to note that these nutrients can also be obtained from other dietary sources including oily fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. This means that if choosing grass-fed meat is too costly, you really won’t be losing out as associated benefits can be obtained from other dietary sources.
By Lily Soutter, leading London Nutritionist BSc (hons) Food & Human Nutrition, Dip NT