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Healthy Soul
October 2012

We’ve had the exposés of the banks, the politicians and the newspapers – now it might be time to look at some of the drugs that are making huge profits for their manufacturers, but not really helping patients.   NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) has recommended that over-use of medication for headaches causes more of them.This has been recognised by complementary practitioners for a long time but painkillers have remained the favoured choice of most people.  We are a long way from the health service recommending therapies widely, but it is encouraging that NICE claim that acupuncture is the best remedy for persistent headaches or migraine.

Similarly a book published by two eminent French medical professionals claims that 50 per cent of drugs prescribed in their country are useless (also see below).

We had a very popular competition last month with Thea’s Rebalance Starter/Travel Kit – congratulations to Heather who won the prize.  This month we have another fantastic skincare prize from Chery Lin Skin Therapy.


Healthy Soul Competition 


October’s lucky winner will receive Nourishing Rose Skin Care from Chery Lin Skin Therapy, worth £57.40, containing three products that all contain 100 per cent organic ingredients. This month’s password is (optimistically) autumnsun.  Go to to take part.


In this issue: 

  • Half of prescribed drugs in France considered useless
  • Coping with headaches
  • Vision boosting shopping list
  • A good soak for a tired body

Half of prescribed drugs in France considered useless

A Guide to the 4,000 Useful, Useless or Dangerous Medicines by Professor Philippe Even, director of the Necker Institute,and Bernard Debré, a doctor and member of parliament, claims that half of the medicines prescribed in France are useless (as reported in the Guardian, 15 September 2012).  It’s fairly certain that these findings are not confined to France as all western countries over-prescribe drugs partly due to patient demand and also due to very successful marketing by drugs companies.


Professor Even claimed, ‘The pharmaceutical industry is the most lucrative, the most cynical and the least ethical of all the industries. It is like an octopus with tentacles that has infiltrated all the decision-making bodies, world health organisations, governments, parliaments, high administrations in health and hospitals and the medical profession.
‘It has done this with the connivance and occasionally the corruption of the medical profession. It is the pharmaceutical industry that now outlines the entire medical landscape in our country.’

Read the full article:  Pharmaceutical Industry’s Octopus Tentacles


Coping with headaches


As mentioned above NICE has recommended that the over-use of painkillers for headaches is exacerbating the problem and causing more headaches.  They claim that anyone taking aspirin, paracetamol, or ibuprofen for at least ten days a month over a three month period are at risk of ‘medication over-use headaches’.


NICE recommends acupuncture as the best treatment for persistent headaches and migraine, and is asking doctors to prescribe it. This in itself is interesting as it quite hard to get referred for acupuncture at many GP practices, so it’s worth asking the doctor and seeing if they can provide it.


There are plenty of other tips for preventing headaches, which we outline in our article: Painkillers not best for headaches.  Dehydration is such a major cause that drinking the recommended amount of water (6 to 8 glasses a day) is certainly one way of preventing headaches.

Other suggestions include yoga, Pilates and t’ai chi to stay calm and avoid tension headaches, osteopathy and chiropractic to find and correct causes in other parts of the body, and the Alexander Technique which helps you to recognise how and where you are tensing up.


Vision boosting shopping list

• Oily fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines

• Leafy greens = Kale / spinach / cress / parsley / leafy cabbage

• Carrots

• Tomatoes

• Broccoli

• Seeds and seed oils, such as sunflower and safflower

• Nuts and nut oils, such as almonds and hazelnuts

• Red pepper

• Blackcurrant

• Kiwi fruit

• Red meats, especially beef, lamb and liver


Information provided by Bausch & Lomb


A good soak for a tired body 

Recent research at Manchester University found what many people have known for years that salt baths can ease aches and pains, particularly for arthritis.  Scientists found that regular salt baths reduce painful inflammation of the joints of arthritis sufferers.

The salt is even more effective when combined with magnesium chloride which encourages the body to absorb calcium resulting in relaxed muscles and increased flexibility. Another trial at Cardiff University found that magnesium was well absorbed through the skin, feeding every cell of the body.

Click  here to purchase Better You’s Magnesium Flakes, 1kg, £9.95 at Nutri Centre.


 Healthy Soul
September 2012

 A survey carried out after the Olympics found that 83 per cent of people said that the Games had a positive effect on this country and 80 per cent thought that people felt more proud to be British.  The great atmosphere just showed how life can be when people are happy.

One thing that people particularly noticed about the Olympics was that the news was generally positive, instead of being the usual sequence of negative events that we hear day in, day out.  How good it would be if this atmosphere  prevails throughout the Paralympics and beyond. apparently the legacy of the Olympics is that so far five million British adults have taken up adults, and a fifth of them are aged 45 and over.

In this issue:

• Hours in front of the games console – Alexander Technique can help
• The key to optimum health
• Is it safe to give a child Echinacea?
• Stop Thinking; Start Living – book of the month

Hours in front of the games console – Alexander Technique can help

Many parents are concerned about their children spending up to four hours (or more) a day on games consoles or computers.  According to a survey by STAT (Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique) parents worry about their children’s wellbeing citing lack of concentration, backache, neck ache, and headache.

The Alexander Technique is taught to children and adults to help them to see where they are putting strain on their bodies.  If taught to children at a young age it can prevent posture, mobility and other health problems in later life, particularly as so many of them will go on to have sedentary jobs sitting in front of PCs.

See the article: Alexander Technique helps kids who spend hours playing games

The key to optimum health

Many complementary therapists believe that the health service is really a ‘sick’ service, treating illness when it has become chronic instead of encouraging healthy living. To attain optimum health requires a combination of efforts – including exercise, healthy eating, taking appropriate supplements (such as multivitamins), and dealing with emotional issues so that they don’t build up inside and make you ill.

In a perfect world we would all have access to complementary therapies before taking more radical steps such as surgery and drugs, but also to help us prevent serious illness.  There are a few very forward thinking GP centres (such as Dr Michael Dixon’s practice in Cullompton, Devon – see Visionary Health Care ) where the doctors recommend and provide therapies for a very small fee.  Taking  the natural route first by trying a complementary therapy or a homeopathic/herbal remedy can take away the need for more serious interventions.

Our Therapies A-Z outlines the majority of popular and some less well known complementary therapies available in the UK – currently at a cost, but often an investment worth paying.
Is it safe to give a child Echinacea?

The MHRA, (the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency)  has issued advice to parents not to give Echinacea to under-12s due to a risk of allergies.  However, the herbal medicines industry feels that this advice is not quite accurate. It is confusing evidence because some Echinacea brands were licensed two years ago according with EU regulations.

Evidence about allergies in young children is confined to just five cases of adults who had allergic reactions, and that was in studies published 10 years ago.  The MHRA agrees that these were not serious reactions and has indicated that ‘this is not a serious safety issue’ and that ‘parents should not worry if they have given Echinacea to children under 12 in the past’.
According to Dr Jen Tan, of A. Vogel, ‘Since introducing a monitoring system for reporting side effects back in 2003, we have not had one single report of an allergic reaction following use of Echinaforce in children’.  A parents helpline has been set up on 0845 6085858 at A.Vogel.

Read more about Echinacea in: Top Ten Herbs.

Book of the Month: Stop Thinking; Start Living, Richard Carlson

This isn’t a new book but it turned up in the mail and I thought it was excellent.  It’s all about negative and positive thinking, but it doesn’t tell you to snap out of it and think positively all the time, emphasising that everyone, even happy people, have bad times.
The problem is that when you feel down you have a lot of negative thoughts which feel very real and valid. If you can dismiss these thoughts and ignore them it will prevent a vicious circle of feeling worse.  Richard Carlson says, ‘Try to imagine how much better your life would seem if you had a more positive outlook. What would it be like if, in response to an unfortunate event, you thought to yourself, ‘I’m glad it wasn’t worse.’?

The writer advocates the Buddhist philosophy of living in the now: ‘Live your life in the present moment and be grateful that you have that moment.  The present moment is where you will find your mental health and happiness.’

To buy the book go to the Healthy Soul picks Amazon carousel at the bottom of the page  on

Healthy Soul
August 2012

At the time of writing Olympic fever is in full swing, but maybe you’ve had enough of this so-called ‘summer’ and are about to jet off to somewhere with guaranteed sunshine.  We have plenty of tips about avoiding sunburn, traveller’s tummy, insect bites, travel sickness and much more in our A-Z of Travel Tips. Also an article on Traveller’s Tummy,  which affects up to 50 per cent of holidaymakers,  makes some great suggestions about how to avoid getting a nasty bug when you go abroad.  And as you’ll see just below you can win some travel probiotics in this month’s competition.

Travel probiotics to be won

We have five packs of ProVen travel probiotics to be won to help you avoid stomach problems when on holiday.  Just go to to enter the competition. The password for Healthy Soul’s competition is: olympicshs

In this issue:

• Suspect sports products
• Why organic fruit and veg are better
• Magnesium oil helps you sleep

Suspect sports products

I have long wondered about the huge industry in sports drinks and supplements. BBC’s Panorama programme shone the spotlight on sports drinks and supplements. A research team at Oxford University found that most of the claims for leading ‘sports’ drinks such as Powerade and Lucozade Sports were very dubious.

Lucozade Sports was said to contain the equivalent to eight spoonfuls of sugar and is not really appropriate for children. However, as it is sold in the supermarket alongside other fizzy drinks children drink it in large quantities during sports and activity sessions.  One of these drinks gives them 1/3 of their recommended daily upper limit of sugar.

It appears that there isn’t any scientific evidence to back up the manufacturers’ claims, but various athletes claim that the drinks have helped them in their sports. This is certainly enough for  impressionable youngsters to believe that the drinks are going to work for them.

Water is considered the better option for the average person doing sports, as they are not elite athletes.  Coconut water is also brilliant for rehydration – go to the Nutri Centre to purchase Coca Vita coconut water.
Why organic fruit and veg are better

Researchers at the University of Barcelona have found that organic produce (which is not grown with nitrogenous fertilisers) has to activate its own defence system thereby increasing the level of antioxidants. Organically grown tomatoes have higher levels of phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants that protect against cardiovascular disease, degenerative diseases and some cancers.

The good news is that even ketchup and juice from organic tomatoes have higher phenol levels than non-organic brands. In all, the researchers found 34 different phenolic compounds in the organic tomatoes they analysed.

Apparently the greater the stress a plant experiences – by protecting itself against pests and disease – the more polyphenols it produces.  Plants that are protected by insecticides don’t suffer the same stress levels  and therefore don’t produce the health-giving antioxidants.

(Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2012; 60: 4542-9).

Magnesium oil helps you sleep

Recent studies suggest that magnesium, among its many important properties, can have a calming effect on the nervous system and can help ease anxiety, relax stiff and aching muscles helping to maintain  good quality sleep. But it is also helpful for other conditions such as headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, back pain, anxiety, pregnancy aches and pains.   Magnesium is important for sports  performance and recovery.

Philippa James, aged 59, has periods of wakefulness in the night brought on by stress, which often results in her having trouble getting back to sleep.  Philippa said: “I used to suffer badly from poor sleep. During a bad phase of insomnia I was only achieving up to five broken hours per night. This often left me feeling sluggish and irritable all day.

‘But Magnesium Oil Original Spray has been a massive help in achieving a deep, natural sleep, leaving me feeling well rested. It also helps to restore normal sleep patterns.  It is so much better than sleeping pills which have many side effects. With Magnesium Oil I wake up feeling energised and not dopey. Plus, it also eases my sore muscles which is an added bonus.’

Magnesium Oil spray is applied directly onto the body, and can be massaged in to the shoulders, abdomen and upper legs. If you do this before going to bed the magnesium is quickly absorbed into the muscles, helping to promote deep relaxation. Unlike sleeping pills there is no morning-after drowsiness.

Better You Magnesium Oil original spray and Magnesium Oil Goodnight spray, 100 ml each, £12.20. Better You Magnesium Oil soak, 1,000ml, £35.00 from the Nutri Centre


Healthy Soul – July 2012

The World Drug Report 2012, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, claims that young women are using prescription drugs, often illicitly,  as a way of dealing with stress, with consequent risks to their health.  The study states that “illicit use” of prescription drugs is an “alarming pattern among females” and cites figures for 2005-10 that show across 14 European countries, 13 per cent of women had tried tranquillisers or sedatives, compared with 7.9 per cent of men.

In the book The Secrets of Healthy Ageing, Patrick Holford and Jerome Burne  say, ‘Long ago as teenagers some of us flaunted our use of illicit drugs as a badge of rebellion and cheerfully ignored the harm they could do.  Now we are encouraged to take drugs in far greater quantities than even whenever we did as youngsters’.

Read Healthy Ageing to find out more about this book.   Also read Frances’  blog about stress on Need2Know Books.

Healthy Soul competition

There are three prizes this month – all from Royal Green. Their Astaxanthin is a compound that apparently has a whopping 64 times more antioxidants than Vitamin C. The two runners’ up prizes are Royal Green Omega 3 fish oil and the vegetarian Omega 3 algae.  Go to  The password is still an optimistic sunnyhs.


In this month’s issue: 

  • Free gym day for the over 55’s
  • Stop snoring tips
  • Gluten free tennis players
  • Product of the month – Glutamine

Free gym day for the over 55’s

Healthy Soul welcomes the initiative by Age UK to get a number of top health clubs to offer a free session for the over 55’s on Tuesday July 10th.   The Age UK’s new Gym Open Day 2012 offers anyone over 55 the opportunity to try out local gym facilities for free at Bannatynes, David Lloyd Leisure Ltd, LA Fitness and Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centres.

To find out more about Age UK’s Gym Open Day and which gyms you can visit in your local area on Tuesday, 10 July you can  visit or call 0800 169 6565.

 Stop snoring tips 

 Ian Myles Black, ENT consultant of The Private Clinic suggests:

• By losing any excess weight you might be carrying, you could reduce not only the amount you snore, but also the volume of your snoring.

• Eat spicy foods in moderation, because it can lead to acid reflux. By reducing the amount you eat, like curries or chilli, you could    reduce the amount that you snore.

• Smoking can cause mucus to form and can often make breathing more difficult, which both increase the chances of snoring.

• Avoid major consumption of alcohol because it can cause the muscles in our throats to relax, narrowing the airways and encouraging snoring.

• Switch to just one, quality pillow that is firm.

• Change bedding regularly and hoover and dust frequently to reduce the dust that builds up in the bedroom.

• Sleep on your side, rather than your back.


If the prospect of a lifetime of snoring fills you with dread, it may be time to look into a more long term solution.


Gluten-free tennis players


First of all it was Novak Djokovic and now it’s  Andy Murray, and German tennis ace,  Sabine Lisicki, who have changed their diets and gone gluten free after discovering they had food intolerances. They have all reported improved sporting performance since changing their diets.

Commenting on this, Matt Lovell, elite sports nutritionist, said; ‘Food intolerance can compromise performance on a number of levels. Studies have shown significant improvement in sports stars who remove trigger foods from their diets, and Novak Djokovic has widely attributed his stellar rise to the top of his sport to the identification of gluten intolerance.’

Allergy UK estimates that 45 per cent of the UK suffers from food intolerance – a different condition from food allergies and one with an incredibly varied array of symptoms including migraine, extreme exhaustion, skin inflammation, fatigue and IBS.

To find out about testing for intolerances read: Tennis players go gluten free.


Product of the month: Glutamine

Described in The 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing as ‘like a health farm for your insides’ glutamine is an amino acid which is abundant in food, but destroyed by cooking. It enables the body to get its energy from something that is not glucose, so that glucose is available for other functions in the body.


One heaped teaspoon of glutamine in a glass of water, preferably at night can help the body to heal after infection, too much alcohol or antibiotics.  It is also helpful for people recuperating from surgery.   It was suggested by our healthy expert, Alison Cullen, for healing the bladder after repeated infections.


See:  Healthy Soul’s expert panel


We recommend Viridian Nutrition’s Glutamine: 100g, £18.45 from the Nutri Centre

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Healthy Soul – February 2011  Welcome to the new look newsletter and we hope you like the website. Please leave your comments after articles, send in your feedback on the Contact Form, and let us know if you have any questions for any of the Healthy Experts.An amazing 30 per cent of people don’t sleep well all the time causing relationship problems, depression, poor concentration and ill health. Everything seems much worse when you haven’t slept, particularly while you’re lying awake in the small hours. Read more about this below and link to our two articles on sleeping which provide some solutions.Contents:Are you getting enough sleep?
Breast cancer – what can you do?
Square eyes?
Therapy of the month: Energy Healing

Are you getting enough sleep?

A new survey has found that 30 per cent of people in the UK suffer from disturbed sleep or insomnia – insomnia is counted as having three disrupted nights a week. You can expect anyone with a young baby to be short of sleep, but what are the problems with everyone else? They include:

• Problems getting to sleep
• Waking in the night and not getting back to sleep
• Waking up very early

Many old people think it’s normal not to sleep well but for anyone who has to hold down a job or look after children it is very debilitating. There’s no magic bullet for insomnia but there are quite a number of natural remedies you can try, as well as different routines, food and drink to avoid, and relaxation methods. Read more in:  Sleeping Soundly.

The findings of the survey have prompted a campaign by the Mental Health Foundation and Sleepio to raise the awareness of the importance to health of sleep. It is just as important as healthy eating and exercise, but is often overlooked.  Read more in:  Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Breast cancer in the news

Most people  know someone who has had breast cancer, but many women have less dramatic surgery these days and carry on living a normal life. It’s official that more people are surviving for at least 20 years, but breast cancer is affecting more women – one in eight – in the UK.  There must be several reasons for this – chemicals, diet, alcohol, obesity, environment, and oestrogen from HRT or continuous and prolonged use of the combined contraceptive pill.

Many women  have lumpectomies these days which usually leaves a small scar, but often means that they get better quicker. There are plenty of things you can do to back up treatment and a couple of great charities that offer advice on diet and provision of complementary therapies.  Many NHS hospitals also  provide free access to massage, reflexology, and healing for any patients with cancer, sometimes in their Macmillan centres.  Find out more in: Breast Cancer – What Can You Do?


Square eyed?

Any parent will be aware of how difficult it is to get a child off Facebook when they’re supposed to be doing homework, and how it preoccupies them to the point of oblivion.  This generation of kids are frequently watching screens – from TV to phones, and computers to games consoles and the children doing so are getting younger and younger.  It’s hard to tell if it will increase health problems as they get older, but we already know that children who spend most of their time indoors are not getting enough exercise – hence the rise in obesity.

It’s hard to find a solution to this, apart from encouraging outdoor activities.  So many adults also work all day at the computer and relax in front of the TV, so children are just following their lead.  This article points out some of the issues and attempts to point you in directions to help: Screened out?

Therapy of the month: Bio-energy healing

There are many different kinds of healers some of whom are amazing and others less so.  I have just been to see Seka Nikolic who is renowned for her energetic powers, although she believes that all of us possess the same ability.  Healing is usually very relaxing for me, and this session was no different.

If you are in pain it might be more dramatic, but I defy anyone not to feel anything. Seka found out that she could heal people years ago when she felt compelled to lay her hands on a colleague in a wheelchair and he got up and walked for the first time in years.  Since then she has worked with people with numerous health issues including infertility, digestive problems and depression. Read more in: Unlock Your Own Power.

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
  • Eggs
  • Butter, milk, cheese
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables.

Higher Nature Vitamin D, 60: £3.00 from Nutricentre

See: Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun

© 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:

  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • 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: 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


Healthy Soul – October

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.

Sessions cost from £45 per hour. Ele Denman practises in Reigate, Surrey and Brighton, 07531 279120, European Branch of the Toyohari Association,

Read more about Toyohari in:  A-Z of therapies

© Healthy Soul, October 2010