NEW Healthy Soul – January 2011
The new Healthy Soul has arrived. The so-called most depressing day was this month, the day when the weather is grim and everyone gives up their diets. So it’s timely that we bring you an interview with Ian Marber about his book, How Not To Get Fat – Your Daily Diet, and there’s still one week left to enter this month’s competition – a week for two at Windjammer’s in St Lucia (no flights included).
The relaunch of Healthy Soul
If you look at Healthy Soul today you will see that it has completely changed format – many more pictures, plenty of information, all updated on a regular basis with links to Facebook and Twitter – just click on the links on the website.
Healthy Soul aims to give lots of lifestyle advice about healthy eating, exercise, simple tips to improve nagging ailments and help you to achieve and maintain good health. We are also continuing to add interviews with health and nutrition experts. Healthy Soul is not a substitute for medical advice and does not provide guidance on serious illnesses.
In this newsletter:
• Confused by health messages?
• How Not to Get Fat (Ian Marber)
• Cholesterol – is it all bad news?
Confused by health messages?
Anyone would be confused by the conflicting health messages you get through the media. For example:
• Research frequently appears saying that drinking coffee can help all manner of complaints!
• Nutritionists are adamant that coffee is not good for you, and usually recommend you give it up.
• Studies on rats say that caffeine and an aspirin can cure a hangover – how much do rats drink?
• We are regularly informed that an aspirin a day will thin the blood and prevent strokes and heart disease.
• Some painkillers can be addictive and may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes if you take them daily (according to research).
• Too much aspirin can cause gastro-intestinal bleeding.
With so much information in the media about health it is hard to decipher the truth from the fantasy. My first question as a journalist is to ask if there are vested interests behind the story – the answer is frequently yes and research is often geared to give the answer the people paying for it want to get. This happens on all sides, but it is particularly evident when the ‘vested’ interests have a lot of money to spend.
So therefore you can’t believe everything you read in the newspapers, particularly when it comes to statistics, surveys and research!
How not to get fat
I had the opportunity to interview Ian Marber recently. He is the author of How Not To Get Fat – Your Daily Diet, many other health books, TV broadcaster and the founder of The Food Doctor – the healthy brand you often see in the supermarkets.
‘The fewer rules the better’ is one of his main premises – If you give someone lots of rules they only follow the diet at the beginning. This is timely advice as there has been much publicity this year about how people give up their diets by the second week of January.
So the two main rules are:
• Eat little and often – every 2½ hours - breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack and dinner. This means that your blood sugar levels don’t dip and you don’t end up eating much more than you need, because you feel starving.
• Combine complex carbohydrates with protein so that energy is released slowly and you don’t get glucose overload in the body.
Read more on How Not To Get Fat
Cholesterol – is it all bad news?
Seven million people in the UK are taking statins to lower cholesterol but new research claims that there is no reason for people to be taking them if they aren’t at risk of heart disease. Some doctors have been prescribing statins as a preventative measure to lower cholesterol with the aim of cutting down the incidence of heart disease and strokes. The side-effects of statins include muscle weakness, liver problems, and kidney failure.
Only recently (another confusing health message) the media was conveying the message that everyone over 50 should be taken statins. It is unlikely that seven million people fall into the ‘at risk’ category and on Channel 4 News Dr John Briffa, claimed he did not put his patients on statins. In his book Ultimate Health A-Z Dr Briffa claims that chromium and Niacinamide are useful nutrients in reducing cholesterol.
In a new article on Healthy Soul, our expert, Vinciane Ollington, explains the role of cholesterol in the body to clean up and heal the arteries. Too much cholesterol means that there is plenty of work for it to do, but if you suppress it with drugs you are overlooking why it was there in the first place.
There are two types of cholesterol – one, HDL (high density lipoprotein) has a vital role to play in cleaning up the arteries and healing damaged cells. Too much LDL (low density lipoprotein) in the arteries actually causes plaque and can lead to serious health problems.
It’s important not to throw the baby out with the bath water by suppressing all cholesterol, and Vinciane recommends that healthy eating can help to get the balance right. See The Cholesterol Myth by Vinciane Ollington.
Healthy Soul – December 2010
The snow has come early and caught many of us out. Journeys to work have become difficult and it’s so incredibly cold that we have to work hard to stay healthy, so you need to look after yourself. What with snow, Christmas stress and festivities it’s quite a hard task keeping well, but if you’re in good health in the first place it makes it easier.
When you’ve read our articles about staying calm during the festive season and trying to stay fit and well, have a Happy Christmas.
We hope to have a revitalised Healthy Soul in January… more news in the New Year.
This issue contains:
- Fighting fit in the cold
- Avoiding Christmas overload
- Calpol research
- Supplement of the month: Vitamin D
Fighting fit in the cold
I heard Dr Hilary Jones on the radio saying that you should keep your nose warm if you want to avoid colds, as it is the first sensor in the body – this could be quite hard to do unless you wear a balaclava.
To prevent colds and flu you need to keep yourself in good shape so that your body can fight viruses and infections. Here are some tips:
- Keep warm (rather obvious) – thermal underwear’s a great insulator.
- Eat home-made soups/stews with lots of vegetables.
- Get lots of sleep.
- Take Vitamin C daily.
- Eat little and often.
- Drink plenty of water even when it’s cold, or opt for herbal teas instead of caffeinated drinks.
Echinacea, Vitamin C, Propolis and elderberry are all good for preventing colds and flu, and helpful when you’ve got them. I like to keep in the house:
- A. Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea, 50ml, £8.92
- Comvita Propolis Herbal Elixir, 100ml, £4.95
- Sambucol for Kids (Elderberry), 120ml, £6.00
- Viridian Ester C Vitamin C 950mg, 30 capsules, £9.35
- Salus Haus, Floravital Yeast Free Iron Formula (tonic), 250ml, £8.89
All available at Nutricentre
And read: Fighting Flu
Avoiding Christmas overload
Water is also important when coping with festive indulgence. If you drink plenty of water when you’re drinking alcohol it will dilute the effects, as hangovers are all about dehydration. The best thing to do at Christmas is to have some light days.
If you keep going to parties where you’re being offered pastries of every shape and size, have days off where you don’t drink much alcohol or eat large meals. Most people feel a bit bloated after the Christmas season, because let’s face it, you eat meals that are three times the size of what you eat at any other time. Come January you’re all ready to diet again.
Then there’s the stress of it all – buying presents, spending too much money, worrying about the relatives, too many late nights wrapping presents, buying all the food, cooking to all hours – need I go on? It’s easy to say be prepared in advance, but when it snows it can throw plans into chaos.
The Stress Management Society has a few practical recommendations for coping with Christmas such as:
- Set aside one day to do your shopping and/or shop online.
- Order the bulk of the groceries online – you can always buy the odd bits and pieces at the last moment.
- Set a budget for Christmas and try to stick to it.
- Buy gift vouchers when you don’t know what to get.
If all that fails and you’re stressed out try a few drops of Rescue Remedy to calm you down!
Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, 10ml: £4.25
Rescue Remedy pastilles, 50g: £5.50
All available at Nutricentre
Calpol study found link to asthma
A New Zealand study has found that babies and children given Calpol at a young age are more prone to asthma. As with all research findings, the media has interpreted it in an array of different ways, with dramatic headlines, while others dispute the findings.
The study claimed that children who are routinely given Calpol up to 18 months of age are twice as likely to develop asthma or wheezing by the time they are six, and may also suffer from hay fever. There are now 1.1 million children in the UK who have been diagnosed with asthma, which has risen three times in the last 60 years.
Researchers at the Otago University in Wellington, New Zealand, studied 1,500 babies and young children up until six years old. The findings which were published in the journal, Clinical and Experimental Allergy, also suggested the youngsters were three times more at risk from having allergies such as hayfever.
Calpol, which contains paracetamol, has reportedly been used to subdue fractious children, and can be overused. There are alternatives, particularly when symptoms are not severe, and homeopathy is particularly suitable for young children.
Read the article Safe Remedies for Children
Supplement of the month: Vitamin D
The other thing we need in this country during winter is Vitamin D, which is made in the body when we are exposed to the sun. By the spring most people are seriously deficient in Vitamin D, so unless you can take a winter sun holiday (which is a great idea, but not always possible), it is worth trying to boost D levels through food and supplements.
Good sources of Vitamin D:
- Oily fish
- Cold liver oil
- Butter, milk, cheese
- Dark green, leafy vegetables.
Higher Nature Vitamin D, 60: £3.00 from Nutricentre
© Healthy Soul, December 2010
Healthy Soul – November 2010
Healthy Soul has been running for five years now and has plenty of new visitors each month. Five years is a long time in the digital world so the website needs to be updated and changed. From the beginning of next year the new-look Healthy Soul will look more contemporary with plenty of photographs, and it will be easier to use, but still packed full with information. There will be links to social networking sites such as Twitter and regular blogs on topical health issues.
The Internet is buzzing with parenting, fitness and lifestyle sites, but there aren’t many that specialise in complementary medicine and nutrition. Healthy Soul will continue to specialise in self-help, nutrition, lifestyle, and complementary therapies, and bring you exciting monthly competitions.
In this issue:
- Don’t be SAD
- Why buy organic?
- Progress for Save Our Supplements in Europe
- Supplement of the month: Floradix
Don’t be SAD
Many of us dread it when the clocks go back and daylight diminishes, but for some people it can be a seriously depressing time of year. It is recognised that half a million people in the UK get SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) but there are many more people who feel more prone to depression in the winter than in summer, due to the lack of sunlight.
There are a number of symptoms that can be attributed to SAD and these include:
- Craving carbohydrates (and putting on weight)
- Loss of confidence
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Sleeping all the time
- Anxiety and mood swings
- Loss of libido
The best treatment for SAD is recognised by doctors and natural therapists alike as light boxes, but they aren’t available on the NHS. If you are diagnosed as having SAD you might be able to get the VAT off a light box, but you still have to pay for it.
What else can you do?
- Spend lots of time outside in daylight, when possible.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of protein.
- Talk to a counsellor about underlying issues that are bothering you.
- Do plenty of exercise.
- Take St John’s Wort – but check that it doesn’t interfere with any medication you are taking.
- Go on a winter sunshine holiday if you can afford it.
The lack of sunshine in winter also causes a Vitamin D deficiency which can make you feel down too, so taking a supplement an be helpful.
See the article on SAD
Why buy organic?
Many people believe that all food should be organic as it always was before pesticides, fungicides and insecticides laced with toxic chemicals were introduced into intensive farming.
Instead of which it has often been seen as ‘elitist, expensive’ and its detractors consider it ‘unnecessary’. Other claims are that it’s a massive con. Personally I don’t believe major companies or farms will have built their organic reputation on a big lie.
There are some brands that are virtually mainstream now – look at the yoghurt section in any supermarket and you will see it’s dominated by Rachel’s and Yeo Valley. Similarly see how much space organic chocolate takes up with the huge Green & Black’s brand (unfortunately now owned by Cadbury’s which means it’s actually owned by Kraft’s) and other makes like Divine and Montezuma.
So what exactly are the benefits of organic food and are they worth paying extra for? Here are just some:
- The soil that organic crops are grown in is not intensively farmed and is more abundant with vitamins and minerals, which are abundant in the produce.
- Organic meat is not routinely fed with antibiotics.
- Organic meat only comes from animals that are free range and fed with organic food.
- Organic fruit and vegetables are not routinely covered with pesticides that contain some.
- It does not contain artificial colours, flavourings, sweeteners, or GM ingredients.
- Organically reared animals are treated humanely.
To set the record straight you might not actually pay more. Have a look at the organic alternative to some brands – sometimes they are actually cheaper, particularly with low cost items like pasta, rice, tinned foods, so why not buy them?
When it comes to vegetables if you grow your own you get not only pesticide free but completely free!
See the article: Organic Food is Good For You
Progress for saving our supplements in Europe
The change of government has been good news for anyone who is interested in complementary medicine and wants to see freedom of choice. Consumers for Health Choice has been campaigning hard to ensure that some of our supplements don’t disappear off the shelves due to EU Food Supplements legislation.
The new Health Minister, Anne Milton, Conservative MP for Guildford is enthusiastic about saving our supplements and recommends people to go to the Consumers for Health website where they can find a draft of a letter which can be sent to: Commissioner John Dalli, Health & Consumer Protection Directorate at the European Commission.
Go to: http://www.consumersforhealthchoice.com/ to get a copy of the letter to send yourself.
Supplement of the month: Floravital
Every time I am unwell I remember too late that I need some Floravital. It is the most fantastic vitamin and mineral tonic that can perk you up when your cold has been dragging on too long and you can’t get your energy back. It’s a liquid tonic made from fruit and vegetables which is packed full of nutrients and seems to have a very quick effect. Now I’ve decided to keep it in the cupboard for whenever I need it.
Floravital Yeastfree Iron Formula, 250 ml, £8.99, made by Salus Haus.
© Healthy Soul, November 2010
Research out last week claims that men and women argue differently and that men’s brains shut off when they become stressed. Scientists found that men who looked at angry faces had diminished brain activity in the area responsible for understanding other people’s emotions, while women’s brains became heightened during a row! So if a woman claims her husband’s not listening to her, she now has science to back it up, but the man has a good excuse as well.
Healthy Soul is undergoing a lot of changes at present so watch this space!
This month’s issue:
- Slowing the progress of Alzheimer’s
- Watercress found to fight cancer
- Prozac for PMS – think again
- Product of the month: Oxy for acne
- Therapy of the month: Toyohari
Slowing the progress of Alzheimer’s
Nutritionists have known for years that raised homocysteine levels can cause Alzheimer’s and many other serious diseases. Now new research claims that taking B6, B12 and folic acid will lower levels of homocysteine and can stop the progress of Alzheimer’s. Work at nutritional clinics such as The Brain Bio Clinic in London has already shown that it can prevent Alzheimer’s as well.
Healthy Soul has regularly written about homocysteine and about the home tests you can take to check your own levels. It’s unlikely you will receive these from the GP even when you ask, but sometimes when you visit a specialist you may be given one. It seems to be such a simple way of reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s, strokes or heart disease, but not one that has been widely recognised in medical circles.
It’s great news that this subject was widely reported in the British media because a lot of people have taken notice and dashed out to get their Vitamin Bs.
Recommendations for good combinations of B6 and B12 are:
Viridian High Twelve Vitamin B12 with B-Complex, £13.85 for 90
See the article: Prevent Alzheimer’s, heart disease and strokes.
Watercress found to fight cancer
Greek soldiers were given watercress as a tonic before going into battle. Before it became a food it was considered a medicine. Hippocrates purposefully located his first hospital near to where watercress was growing in Kos Island, Greece, and the Victorians ate it to stave off scurvy.
Watercress is recognised as a so-called ‘superfood’ because of its high content of iron, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. Recent research shows that it also contains a plant compound (PEITC) that has the effect of turning off oxygen and blood supply to a tumour. The research involved two studies, including a small group of women who had previously had breast cancer, who fasted before eating 80g of watercress.
Their blood samples were tested in the next 24 hours and showed increased levels of PEITC. More research needs to be done, but watercress is nutritious and it obviously has no side-effects. The article contains quotes from researchers, background to the studies, nutritional breakdown of watercress, and suggested ways of eating it.
Prozac for PMS – think again
Some 2 million people take anti-depressants with 34 million prescriptions written every year in the UK, yet for many trying to come off these drugs proves very difficult due to debilitating side-effects. Now researchers at the University of Birmingham have found that Prozac can help to ease the symptoms of PMS in rats and are hoping to extend their research to prove that it works for women.
PMS is said to affect more than half of women of menstruating age, but there are many more natural ways to ease the symptoms, the main one being a complete change of diet. Ian Marber, renowned nutritionist, author and broadcaster, has found that young girls quickly change their way of eating when they see how quickly their PMS symptoms disappear.
To read more about PMS and natural solutions, with ideas about nutrition from Ian Marber go to: PMS can be prevented
Product of the month: Oxy for acne
It’s interesting when mainstream products go more natural, following a trend but also what they have been told by the public. When redeveloping their Oxy brand for teenage boys with acne Mentholatum did research among mothers and found that they wanted a more natural product for their teenagers’ delicate skin.
Consequently seaweed has been combined with zinc sulphate in the new formulation which smells natural but manly at the same time. The powerful active ingredient is Phycosaccharide ACP which comes from brown seaweed harvested from the seabed in Brittany from sustainable sources.
It’s been specifically designed for male skin and tackles spots, blackheads, and oily skin . There’s a full range that includes a daily face wash, face scrub, and an emergency Zit Blitz Gel! Available at chemists and supermarkets around the country.
Therapy of the month: Toyohari
I recently tried a different kind of acupuncture called Toyohari. Developed by a blind man, Kodo Fukushima, it was originally taught only to blind practitioners so it relies on touch and senses. I found it particularly helpful for pain I was having in the side of my leg, running down from my knee on both legs.
The aim of Toyohari is to balance the flow of Qi (energy) in the 12 meridians or energy pathways restoring and strengthening your constitution and vitality. This helps to boost your immune system and acts in a preventative way, and also increases your resilience to everyday stresses on the mind and body.
Toyohari is less invasive than most forms of acupuncture as the very fine silver needles that are used are not always inserted. Ele took my pulse regularly throughout the treatment to monitor changes in the body and adjust the treatment accordingly.
Read more about Toyohari in: A-Z of therapies
© Healthy Soul, October 2010