Testing capacity in the UK and cruciferous vegetables

The UK seems to be finally catching up to Germany in terms of testing capacity, albeit a couple of months late. I’m not 100% sure why it has taken so long but the government here says it’s because we don’t or didn’t have much of a diagnostics industry in the UK. I think there’s some truth to that.

A couple of years ago I tried to get a blood test to check my iron and B12 levels since meat-eaters tell me I’m deficient in these things. The NHS won’t do these tests for you unless you have symptoms of something and since I was fine I didn’t qualify. Instead, I tried one of those DIY tests where you prick your finger and send the sample off to a lab but to my surprise the lab was in Germany. I didn’t realise at the time because I posted the sample to an address in the UK but it later became clear that from there it was sent to Germany. My sample ended up not being viable so it was a complete waste of time and money but I did wonder why it was not analysed in a lab in the UK. Surely it’s important for a blood sample to be analysed as soon as possible after being taken and the time it sits in the postal service can have an impact on the quality of the sample? I ended up getting the test done elsewhere and my iron and B12 are just fine.

Humans have become so successful partly because we specialise. We don’t all have to know and do everything which means people and countries can focus on what they do best and then trade. But this system falls apart in times of war and during pandemics. If your neighbours, who usually provide you with food in times of peace, are no longer able to do so then you’re in trouble. I hope this is a lesson for us to invest more in food production at home and also manufacturing and industry at home.

If I was going to make just two recommendations for good health they would be to exercise everyday and to eat cruciferous vegetables everyday. Cruciferous vegetables include kale, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy and any vegetable belonging to the family Brassicaceae. What’s so great about this family of vegetables? Cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane, a compound not found anywhere else that is thought to lower cancer risk. Once in the body sulforaphane is involved in the mechanism that removes cancerous cells. It’s also thought to act as an antioxidant and antiinflammatory agent and even provide benefits for the treatment of austrism spectrum disorder.

Fortunately our kids like cruciferous vegetables, even brussels sprouts. Cauliflower is probably Daniel’s favourite food. There’s a recipe in Dr Greger’s How not to die book for whole roasted cauliflower which Daniel loves. Whenever I make it he gets visibly excited. It’s really just a whole cauliflower baked in the oven with a lovely lemon-tahini sauce. We have a quarter each and that’s the main part of our meal. I’ve found the recipe online if you want to try it – Whole roasted cauliflower with lemon tahini sauce. Many people can’t imagine roasting anything other than animals but roasted vegetables are delicious and this roasted cauliflower dish is a family favourite. It’s also much cheaper to buy a cauliflower than a leg of lamb. Plus the caulflower comes with anti-cancer benefits which you won’t get from a sheep or cow.