Eberhard Braun not only holds a degree in Ecotrophology, the nutritionist and trained chef knows how to cook up state-of-the-art cuisine that is both healthy and a treat to your taste buds. He consults star-rated chefs, is booked for show cooking and professional cooking demonstrations, and also writes a blog for the Department of Health in Baden-Wuerttemberg (www.schmeck-den-sueden.de).
Is it a contradiction to speak of food that is both delicious and healthy?
No, not at all. That is precisely the beauty of it: showing people that quality and enjoyment are very closely related. My favorite moment is always during tasting when you practically hear a click – and then the ‘it-really-does-taste-good’ expression appears on the faces of the testers. Making people curious about trying something new and helping them discover unfamiliar culinary worlds is my daily motivation – that’s what drives me.
What’s the connection between coagulation and diet?
Coagulation is a natural bodily function, which requires certain proteins. These are produced in the liver with the help of vitamin K, which is ingested with food. A large group of anticoagulant medications specifically blocks the effect of vitamin K in the body. This makes the blood thinner. When patients who take these anticoagulants also eat foods that are high in vitamin K, it can inhibit the effect of the medications.
Does that mean that foods with vitamin K are not allowed?
At one time, that was the case. Previously the recommendation was to not eat foods rich in vitamin K, like spinach. Today we know that people on anticoagulants are absolutely allowed to eat these foods. But they shouldn’t overdo it. The best recipe is to eat a balanced diet and avoid extremes.
What about alcohol, herbs, and spices?
Large amounts of alcohol can influence blood coagulation, but there’s no need to worry if you drink a glass of wine with your meal. There are also lots of medicinal plants that can have an effect on blood clotting. These include, for instance, umckaloabo, an African root extract that is used to treat bronchitis. The fatty acids in fish oil, the active ingredients in papaya and ginger, along with high doses of calcium, vitamin A and E are also said to have an effect on blood coagulation.
Does that mean that anticoagulation does not rule out enjoyment?
Yes, like I said before, the key here is balance. A sudden and radical change in diet from infrequently eating vegetables to a purely vegetarian or vegan diet is not recommended. As a rule of thumb, dishes containing two vitamin K-rich ingredients should be avoided. A dish can be easily improved and balanced by simply replacing one of the foods high in vitamin K.