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Stoptober – Quit Smoking Today!

Stoptober – Quit Smoking Today!

With Stoptober now approaching its half way point, what better day to quit than today? Most of us are all aware of the numerous health, as well as social and financial benefits to quitting. If you do smoke, quitting is the single most beneficial action you can take to improve your general health. As you can see from the list below, quitting will drastically improve not only your health, but the people around you can your future generations. Health Benefits: Reduce your risk of developing cancer Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke Protect the health of people around you, who are affected by your smoking Improve your fertility levels and increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy Improve the quality of your skin and teeth Look and feel healthier and younger Improve your general fitness Reduce the chance of your children developing asthma Quitting actually improves your confidence Enjoy the taste of food Reduce your risk of developing Erectile Dysfunction (E.D) There are numerous ways of quitting smoking. These range from using Nicotine Replacement products (such as patches, gum, lozenges and the inhalator), hypnotherapy, homeopathy through to strong medications. These strong medications can have some very harsh side effects, so it’s well worth exploring the other options before trying these drugs. Some people can quit instantly, without needing to use any products for support. Good...

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Pulses Reduce Cholesterol

The cholesterol debate continues to roll on, with the use of statin medications continually on the rise. These medications have caused a divide within the medical profession. Many GP’s and cardiologists have questioned their use and effectiveness in preventing heart disease. The facts show that more people are prescribed statins than before, and this number growing. Many people are not able to tolerate side effects such as muscle pain and tiredness, which are fairly common with statins. Changes in diet and general lifestyle can make significant changes to cholesterol levels. Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital have found that pulses like beans and lentils “significantly” reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, and therefore reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease. It is worth noting that LDL cholesterol, alongside HDL cholesterol is required for good health. The study was led by Dr. John Sievenpiper of the hospital’s Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre and was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The results of the study found that eating one serving (130 grams or ¾ cup) of pulses a day could lower LDL cholesterol by five per cent. According to Dr Sievenpiper, this translates into a 5 – 6 per cent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease. This study demonstrates a simple, effective and inexpensive way to reduce cholesterol levels, increase fibre intake and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. An added benefit is that pulses have a low glycemic index, as they breakdown slowly, and don’t raise blood sugar...

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Broccoli Prevents Osteoarthritis?

A compound found in broccoli has been found to slow down and prevent the progress of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and usually affects hands, knees and hips. This condition destroys the cartilage between joints, causing swelling and pain. Osteoarthritis is sometimes referred to as wear and tear. According to Arthritis Research, more than 8.5 million people in the UK suffer with osteoarthritis, and the annual cost to the NHS is around £5 billion. The standard treatments include strong anti-inflammatory pain-killers and surgery, such as knee and hip replacements. The most common causes are wear and tear due to ageing and obesity, which is a growing problem. The cases of knee arthritis have been forecast to reach over 8 million by 2035, from 4.7 million in 2010. The good news is that an everyday vegetable can help to reduce the risk of developing this condition. Broccoli contains sulphoraphane, which works by blocking the enzymes and interferes with the inflammatory process associated with osteoarthritis. Sulphoraphane is released when eating vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli. Researchers from the University of East Anglia propose that eating 100g (a handful) of broccoli every day can help to prevent the disease and possibly even slow down the progress of osteoarthritis. The added benefit of adding this vegetable to your diet, is the subsequent weight loss, which can further reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis. So, its worth swapping the odd portion of potatoes with a serving of broccoli.  ...

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The Second Brain

The second brain is a phrase that has been mentioned in various books and articles, but what actually is our second brain, what does it do and how can we look after it? Many studies have been conducted over the past few years which have analysed the importance of the second brain and its connection to various chronic illnesses that in the past would have been overlooked. The second brain is actually the gut, which starts at the oesophagus and ends at the anus. The wall of the gut consists of various types of neurons and neurotransmitters that produce up to 95% of all serotonin in the body. These neurotransmitters also produce 50% of all dopamine that is produced in the body. The vagus nerve connects the digestive system to the brain. Serotonin and dopamine are widely regarded as “feel-good” molecules that are involved in the prevention of depression and in the regulation of appetite and sleep. Dopamine is also heavily involved in illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A simple example of the connection between the two brains is how fatty foods can make us feel good, and the digestive reaction to stress such as the feeling of “butterflies” in the stomach. This indicates that the second brain could potentially play a vital role in the prevention and treatment of illnesses such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, insomnia, obesity, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. With this connection in mind, how can we look after and nourish our second brain? Studies have found that certain strains of probiotics can result in the production of neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which are necessary for a healthy neuro function. Scientists have also found that these beneficial bacteria change the expression of certain receptors in the brain. This is communicated via the vagus nerve, which is a direct link between the gut and the brain. Preliminary animal research has found that a variety of these friendly bacteria may help to treat a number of mental illnesses such as depression, autism and anxiety. We can help to maintain our digestive health, by eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and avoiding excess sugar, salt, animal fats and processed foods....

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Benefits of Dry January

We are now two weeks into dry January and we hope people taking part in this event are feeling the benefits of a booze-free few weeks.  As a gentle reminder and motivational boost here are a few benefits of an alcohol free January. Most of us see January is a perfect way to start the year in a healthy fashion. Giving up alcohol can help to lose weight and cut out excessive calories.  For example pint of beer contains on average 150 calories and a glass of wine contains 170 calories. Cutting these out automatically reduces the calorific intake and can help you start to the year without excessive extra calories. Excessive alcohol intake can cause dips in blood sugar levels which can lead to increased sugar cravings which can result in further weight gain. People generally eat fast foods and junk food after a night out drinking and this food does not get enough time to undergo proper digestion which needs to unwanted weight gain. One the main drawbacks of alcohol intake is the dreaded hangover, or “heavy head”, which can have a detrimental impact on work performance and can reduce energy levels and mental altertness. This resultant low enery can therefore impact on our levels of activity and this can lead to weight gain. Cutting out alcohol during January can result in increased energy levels, and help us to start the day with increased motivation which leads to improved mental performance. This can also have the knock-on effect of feeling more motivated to go out and exercise, which can help to reduce stress levels, reduce weight and help to maintain a healthy general lifestyle. Regular alcohol intake is also related to and can cause the low mood and depression staying off booze for a whole month can help to improve mood, not to mention improve energy levels. Many people suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which is related to a lack of a lack of daylight. This condition naturally affects more people during autumn and winter months.  January can be a particularly bad month as the days are generally shorter. Cutting out alcohol during this month can help to maintain and improve mood levels. Alcohol is metabolised...

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Top Tips For Keeping Healthy This Year: Part 2

3. Diet (continued). Foods that can give you energy and help your circulation include fruit and vegetables, whole grains and goods oils such as olive oil, flax seed, fish oils and coconut oil. Incorporating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and lentils in your diet will also help you to lose some extra weight and benefit your immune system. Red meat and fats from fried and junk food also produce free radicals in our body. These free radicals have been linked with causing a number of diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Cutting down on fizzy drinks is also a must in your new health plan. These drinks are full of sugar and regular intake can be harmful to general health. The sugar free versions of these drinks are actually more harmful, as the artificial sweeteners have been linked with a host of illnesses such as osteoporosis and digestive problems. Water has many health benefits. You should aim for 8 glasses a day (1-1.5 litres). It is important to remember that water is also present in fruit juices, salads and certain fruits. Fluid intake is a must for a healthy body. A good way to start you day is to have hot water with lemon and ginger. This healthy drink has the benefit of boosting immunity and stimulating your liver to kick start the detox process. 4. Health Supplements. You can easily include some health supplements as part of your daily routine to improve your immunity and general health.  The number one supplement that I would recommend is a good quality probiotic. This will provide you with essential good bacteria, which is required for a healthy digestive system. Probiotics also help to support and boost the immune system. You can take the probiotics throughout the winter months to aide digestion as well as help fight the winter bugs. Essential fatty acids from either fish oils or flax seed oil is another food supplement that will help your general health. These essential oils are required for a healthy cardiovascular system, brain function and they are excellent at reducing inflammation in the body. These fatty acids also help to maintain healthy joints. Antioxidants are required to “mop up” the free radicals that...

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How to help with Christmas stress

The run up to Christmas unfortunately brings about stress and panic in many people. This can be related to family pressures, financial problems or work pressures. To make matters worse, this is usually the time of the year when most of us are generally slightly run down due to the shorter days and lack of vitamin D. Whilst, natural remedies cannot remove or treat the cause of the Christmas stress, they can help you cope in the short term. These natural remedies and supplements can help your body to remain in a state of harmony and in turn help you to get through the stressful Christmas period. The following natural remedies are available at most pharmacies and health food stores. Vitamin B Complex is a supplement that has multiple benefits. B vitamins help to nourish and maintain a healthy nervous system. This group of vitamins also help to support the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for releasing the stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, DHEA, ephinephrine). Ginseng is a Chinese herb that has adaptogenic properties. Adaptogenic herbs help to support the body through times of stress (physical or mental). Ginseng is available as a capsule, tablet or liquid. This herb is sometimes combined with multivitamins in a single preparation. Please consult your pharmacist if you are taking prescription medications. Other adaptogenic herbs are astragalus, rhodiola and ashwagandha, which is often referref to as “Indian Ginseng”. All of these adaptogenic herbs can help to maintain good immune function and help the body through times of stress. Please consult with your pharmacist if you take regular prescription medication before taking these herbs. Valerian and Passiflora are herbal remedies that are available as tinctures or combined tablets, such as Kalms Stress, Quiet Life or Stressless. Bach Flower remedies such as Nelson’s Rescue Remedy or Ainsworths Emergency Spray and Recovery Remedy provide can help you get through stressful periods. Magnesium supplements can help to relieve insomnia that may be caused to excessive stress and fatigue. This supplement works be relaxing muscle tension and aiding good quality sleep. Theanine is an amino acid that is naturally found green tea leaves. This amino acid has gained in popularity over recent years as a supplement to...

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A Healthy Diet may Prevent Dementia

Doctors have written to the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, suggesting that persuading people to eat fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and olive oil was “possibly the best strategy currently available”, in the battle against dementia. This is a very different treatment method than the usual advice of taking more medication. The group, which consists of doctors and health workers said that the prevention of dementia should be based on the benefits of a Mediterranean diet and not on questionable drugs. Last week brought together dementia experts from G8 countries in London.  Worryingly, according to a recent report the number of people living with the condition is expected to triple worldwide to around 135 million. There is at present an increasing number of prescriptions of anti-pyschotic medications written in the UK, with many possibly the result of mis-diagnosis. The letter also states that encouraging people to eat a healthier diet could have a greater impact in the battle to reduce the rates of dementia than the “dubious benefits of most drugs”. London cardiologist, Dr Aseem Malhotra said, “The evidence base for the Mediterranean diet, in preventing all of the chronic diseases that is plaguing the western world is overwhelming. This includes cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer”. Dr Simon Poole who organised the letter said that educating the public, including young children in the importance of a good diet in maintaining good health is a project that will take years, but which is absolutely essential. This letter needs to be taken seriously by all key decision and policy makers, to educate and promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle in disease prevention. We hope you found our article on how a healthy diet may prevent dementia useful. Please let us know by rating it...

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Exercise for a Healthy Pension

Exercise for a Healthy Pension

It’s never too late to start exercising….that’s a fact! Taking up exercise in your 60’s can still help to prevent major illnesses. These are the findings of a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which followed 3,500 healthy people at the age of retirement. The eight year study found that those who exercised three times were more likely to remain healthy than their non active peers. The results found that exercise cut the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. A fifth of the participants were classified as healthy eight years after the study. This group was mainly full of people who regularly exercised and exercise “newbies”. Dr Mark Hamer, from University College London said, “The take-home message really is to keep moving when you are elderly. It’s [a] cliche, but it’s a case of use it or lose it. You do lose the benefits if you don’t remain active.” Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This shows us that even if you don’t become active until later in life your health will benefit. However, there’s no need to wait until retirement to get started. Adults should try to be active daily and aim for 150 minutes of activities that get you breathing harder and feeling warmer each week. “Every 10 minutes counts, so even hopping off the bus a couple of stops early or taking a brisk walk on your lunch break will help.” The article A Workout a Day Helps Keep the Doctor Away reports on another large study highlighting the benefits of exercise on maintaining good health and preventing illness. We hope our health article “exercise for a healthy pension” has helped you. Please let us know by rating it above....

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Can homeopathy help with flu prevention?

Homeopathy may be able to play a role in preventing seasonal flu by helping to support the immune system. There are a number of remedies that can be taken to support the immune system at this time of the year, although the most effective form of treatment is to consult a professional homeopath and have constitutional treatment. This is given in the form of a homeopathic remedy that is specific to the individual’s personality and general health. The homeopathic remedy Anas Barb 200c  and Aconite 200c should be taken at the first sign of a cold, as it can act as a preventative. It is important to take this remedy at the earliest possible stage for maximum benefit so therefore it is important to have this remedy on stand-by. This natural remedy is extremely safe and can be taken by the whole family. Several homeopathic pharmacies also make specific remedies to help prevent colds and flu’s. These are normally based on the current strains of flu that are in circulation over the season. For more information on these remedies, please contact the specialist homeopathic pharmacies. Influenzinum is a homeopathic remedy that is added to many flu prevention combinations. This remedy has also recently been included as part the flu prevention vaccination programme in Canada. If you found our article “can homeopathy help with flu prevention” useful, please rate it above.   Homeopathic remedies have not undergone stringent clinical trials, so we cannot make any claims for their effectiveness against flu prevention. The information in this article is only recommended as a guide to various homeopathic remedies that are available. Please consult your GP or pharmacist to discuss further treatment...

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Natural supplements for immune boosting

There are many immune boosting herbs and supplements available, but which ones are the most effective and safe to take? Which ones are a waste of money? Alongside taking natural immune boosting supplements you can also make some simple life-style changes that will have dramatic results. A healthy diet, good quality rest, minimal alcohol and caffiene consumption, regular exercise and cutting out smoking are simple measures that will result in a better functioning immune system. Here are some good quality natural supplements that can be taken to boost the immune system. Echinacea is one of the most commonly used herbs to treat the immune system. It provides a boost to the immune system and seems to have a beneficial action on all infectious conditions. Studies have shown that echinacea reduces the severity of cold symptoms and increases the speed of recovery. Echinacea is best taken at the onset of a respiriatory tract infection such as a cold or cough, and should only be taken for periods of no more than three weeks at a time. If you are taking any prescription medication or have a long standing illness, please consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking echinacea. Probiotics such as acidophillus provide good bacteria which protect the digestive system from infections. Research has shown that probiotics may boost the immune system by stimulating the immune cells that line the gastro-intestinal tract. Probiotcs should also be taken following a course anti-biotics, as they will replace the good bacteria that has also been destroyed by the anti-biotics. Acidophillus is also very good at treating candida infections such as thrush. Garlic and Ginger both have immune boosting, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Garlic is also known to have anti-funal action, and can be taken to treat thrush. Vitamin C is a strong immune boosting nutrient. It has been shown to reduce the severity and speed up the recovery of a cold. The herb Astragalus is an adaptogen and works very well in stimulating the immune system. This herb can be taken for long periods as well as in speeding up the recovery during a cold or a respiratory tract infection. If you are taking any prescribed medication, or you have a long standing illness, please consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking...

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Can you prevent a hangover with asparagus?

New research has found that eating asparagus before a big night out could prevent a hangover the following morning. There are many so-called hangover cures that claim to work, ranging from a fry-up, drinking a glass of water before bed, yoghurt, and fruit juices. With the party season about to start, a hangover is an unwanted side effect. Drinking plenty of water alongside alcohol is a helpful tip, but there are also certain foods that can help to prevent the unwanted hangover. So let us explain how you could prevent a hangover. These potential “cures” may help, but it is very important to drink water alongside alcohol to prevent dehydration. Asparagus contains amino acids and minerals that can help prevent hangover symptoms by supporting the liver though the detoxification process. The study conducted at Institute of Medical Science, and Jeju National University in South Korea was published in the Journal of Food Science, analysed the components of young asparagus shoots and leaves and compared their biochemical effects on human and rat liver cells. B.Y. Kim, the lead researcher said, “Cellular toxicities were significantly alleviated in response to treatment with extracts of asparagus leaves and shoots. These results provide evidence of how the biological functions of asparagus can help alleviate alcohol hangover and protect liver cells.” Asparagus contains glutathione, which is an amino acid that is required for the detoxification process in the liver. This amino acid helps to remove toxins during phase 2 of liver detoxification process. Phase 2 detoxification removes harmful toxic compounds from the liver. The researchers found that of the asparagus had higher amino acid and mineral content than the shoots. They therefore concluded that the leaves would be better at protecting the liver from damage and prevent the dreaded hangover. Previous studies have also found asparagus can help to stimulate the liver to speed up the breakdown and elimination of alcohol from the body. So we hope our advice can help you to prevent a...

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