Azmina has been told she’s a natural on the telly. Her instinctive passion for nutrition brings an energy to the screen and she makes her segments lively, clear and authoritative. Her highlights are appearing on BBC’s The One Show, advising Bill Nighy about his Marmite and baked beans breakfast and speaking to Lord Alan Sugar about his lifestyle habits.
Over 100 appearances on Britain’s screens, inspiring people to eat better.
Jimmy Doherty’s farm was the venue for this carb-loaded feature on sandwiches. They tasted, tested and rated various breads for calories and nutrition. And the conclusion? Carbs are not the enemy; it’s the filling you need to watch.
Whether it’s Veganuary or not, vegan ready meals and fast food are creeping onto dinner plates across the UK. Azmina explains that if you don’t get the balance right, or change your diet too drastically, you can suffer from headaches, tiredness and fatigue, and can be at risk of low intakes of certain nutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids. You also need to think about where your plant proteins are coming from – filling up on vegetables isn’t going to give you the energy you need. And when your calories are lower, your body will use dietary protein as energy, meaning it won’t be available for muscle recovery.
You just need to look around you to see how vegan fast food is becoming a big business. Look closely at the ingredients and you may find copious amounts of coconut oil – which has more saturated fat than butter. A vegan cookie can have around 350kcal and can be higher in sugar than the alternatives. Vegan fast food is often high in salt, but it can be nutritious if you choose wisely. A soy burger, grilled and served in a wholemeal bun with lots of salad, for example, could be a protein-rich alternative to a classic burger, and it’s likely to be lower in fat and higher in fibre.
Azmina on The Sunday Show talking about Public Health England’s Better Health campaign. The campaign, which forms part of the Government’s new Obesity Strategy, specifically targets groups – including South Asians – that have higher rates of obesity and increased rates of contracting and dying of COVID-19.
We need to work with the food industry, not against them. Making small gradual sugar reductions in reformulation of sugar-rich food and drinks is crucial. But let’s not demonise convenient foods that offer nutritional benefits.
“A jar of pasta sauce is packed with sugar” read the headlines, but Azmina put things into perspective when speaking to Chris Choi on ITV 6pm news. Drawing attention to the hidden salt and sugar in products helps to raise awareness. But you need to look at the sugar in the context of the whole food. Tomato-based pasta sauce is a convenient option that gets people cooking. The jar is made up of around 80% tomatoes, providing vitamins, potassium, and one portion of veg – good. If you choose brown pasta, you get a serving of whole grains – good. If you add frozen veg to the boiling water with the pasta, and serve a side salad, you could get another couple of servings of vegetables. Good food fast!
Azmina was on the ITV Daybreak sofa with John Stapleton and Helen Fospero talking about Change4Life survey results on what consumers know about nutrition. She made a plea for food labels to be simpler. Taste and price are bigger drivers than nutrition so she encouraged retailers to put special offers on healthy foods as opposed to BOGOF deals on crisps and sugar-rich drinks.
Azmina has appeared extensively as resident dietitian for BBC1’s The One Show, alongside celebrities such as Bill Nighy and Lord Alan Sugar.
She has also appeared on BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire show, BBC1’s Watchdog, Gordon Ramsay’s F Word, and was resident nutritionist for ITV’s This Morning and for Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff for three consecutive years.