This week we get up close and personal with one of London’s most sought after Nutritionists. Miss Salma S. Khan sheds some light on some of our most burning health question.
Harley Street Nutritionist, Miss Salma S. Khan is the Founder and Director of ZingTality, a Nutrition Consultancy. As well as holding consultations with clients on a regular basis, Salma is also a keen writer and appears frequently in the media.
Salma is a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy (BANT). She is registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), and is also an associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM).
Salma, tell us how you got into the health & wellbeing field?
Some time after my first degree in Biomedical Sciences there came a time when I felt a little lost, and the fond memories of university life were still very vibrant. I wanted to find those vibrant colours once again. There was a strange pull on my heart that really wanted to study further and enhance my knowledge. After much struggling, I came across some nutritional programs that I thought would be perfect for me. I already had a keen interest in health and nutrition, and had been thinking about studying nutrition for quite some time. So when the first opportunity arose in my life, I just went for it! I enrolled on a few different programs all at the same time, starting off quite adventurously with a masters program. Much to my delight it was whilst I was studying nutrition that I had my first nutrition article published, this too was another dream of mine to become a published writer.
When did you start becoming conscience of healthy and unhealthy foods?
I started becoming conscience of what I ate during my early teens. I was made aware of healthy foods by my mother, and fortunately was never keen on fizzy drinks and fast foods, with the exception of pizza. I loved reading all sorts of literature, I would sometimes read my mother’s women’s magazines which really improved my knowledge on nutritional facts.
I knew from an early age that junk food was not good for health, although I still ate various junk foods in moderation only. I enjoyed eating healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables and yoghurt, and from a young age when given the choice I was more inclined towards healthier options.
What’s your favourite meal of the day, and what do you eat for this meal?
My favourite meal is breakfast, even when I’m in a rush I make time for my morning meal. My breakfast varies; Usually I’ll either make a protein based smoothie, porridge or a banana omelette. If I’m eating out, I’ll purchase a daily free protein smoothie, porridge or a breakfast pot containing 2 poached eggs, salmon and avocado. On extremely hectic days I’ll grab a coconut based yogurt, or a banana with a handful of almonds or cashew nuts which is better than eating nothing at all.
What a lot a people don’t know is that making sure to eat a healthy breakfast saves the body from playing catch up all day long, even if it’s something small. Skipping breakfast is thought to disrupt blood glucose balance, making us feel less alert and energetic, as well as slowing down the metabolic rate. Ideally we should be consuming breakfast within an hour of waking up.
In your professional opinion what’s the secret of keeping off excess weight?
Eating small well-balanced meals and snacks every 3 to 4 hours is known to keep blood glucose levels even, and prevent blood sugar spikes which in turn should help keep off excess weight. In addition, we may be able to enhance weight loss further by reducing our portion sizes, particularly the intake of starchy carbohydrate rich foods such as bread, rice and potatoes. Eating little and often has been reported to boost metabolism and prevent cravings for junk food. Plus when we’re eating regularly the body can’t go into starvation mode, so we tend not to overeat. Interestingly, researchers report that the consumption of green tea may help speed up the metabolic rate.
How about skin health, can you provide us with some anti-ageing tips?
I’ve already mentioned green tea to help boost metabolism. Interestingly green tea has been found to also help with delaying the ageing process both internally and externally. So for good skin health, try matcha which is known as the most antioxidant rich green tea around – it’s a nice one to add into breakfast smoothies too. In terms of anti-ageing, avoiding sugary foods has also been found to be beneficial, as has the consumption of Vitamin C in food and supplement form.
Finally, we’d like to ask you about supplements. Do you use supplements? Is this something that you would recommend to your clients, and what are the benefits of using supplements?
I do use supplements on a daily basis, and I do suggest them to clients. I devise tailor made programs for each individual client according to their unique needs. Since the average person does not consistently eat a healthy diet, supplementing may be useful. Even the rare person who consumes a very good diet every day may still benefit from a dietary supplement because food isn’t as nutrient rich as it once was. This is partly to do with intensive farming practices that have depleted soils worldwide of essential nutrients.
Supplements may act as a dietary insurance to ensure a steady supply of nutrients, and it has been found that higher levels of certain nutrients have been associated with optimum health. In fact some individuals have clinical issues for which they may have a higher nutrient requirement. Lastly, I just want to add that when looking for supplements, choose wisely under the care of a health practitioner. Good quality supplement brands are based on scientific research, contain therapeutic doses, and are from forms that are more bioavailable to the body.