30 Jun 2011

Another excuse to sunbathe!!

Hi guys,

Hope you coped last week without my usual blog, I was away on holiday which sparked inspiration for this one. How hot was it last weekend? ...& I think this coming weekend if supposed to be sunny too! If you feel guilty about a little sunbathing or if anyone thinks your being lazy, just say “I’m getting my dose of vitamin D!”

Our body cannot make vitamins itself so we have to attain them. We require 400 IU of vitamin D which can be found in fortified cereals, dairy products, & yes you guessed it, sunlight. The more intense the sunlight, the higher the ultra violet (UV) radiation we are exposed to which our bodies use to make vitamin D.

It is needed for healthy bones & teeth, plus for phosphorous & calcium production (also involved in nerve / muscle health). Deficiency in vitamin D is not uncommon; you may know it as rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults.  Both result in low mineral counts in bones & lower bone density, especially in the legs & spine. Symptoms may include thinning of tooth enamel & easily broken bones. Treatment involves vitamin D supplements until levels of calcium & phosphorous increase.

Remember though, use sunscreen when sunbathing and limit exposure according to your skin type. More guidance on this can be found on this NHS website.



16 Jun 2011

A nation of inflammation?

Hi folks,

Last week I was chatting to a colleague who is training to be a nutritionist. It was one of those conversations where you find yourself getting more and more passionate about it as it gets more complex, the subject…inflammation!

We often think about inflammation around our joints, muscles, skin etc but actually it occurs inside us all the time. It is widely recognised that cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, viruses, arthritis, and in fact most diseases are caused by chronic low-grade inflammation.   

As you know from previous blogs, the food we choose to eat has a huge impact on the health of our bodies. Here are my top five super foods to reduce inflammation.

  1. Coco-biotics & wholegrain-biotics are cultures from your local health food shop that boost the microflora (good bacteria) to rebalance your gut & ease inflammation.

  1. Lightly steamed broccoli helps fight eye inflammation and is loaded with calcium & vitamin C.

  1. Natural omega 3 fatty acid oils such as hemp oil, flaxseed oil, high-grade fish oil, or rapeseed oil. Make sure they are not refined or solvent tested.

  1. The onion family, including leeks & garlic contain great antioxidants that help fight inflammation & stimulate your immune system.

  1. Pineapple contains an antioxidant to help boost your immune system & also helps digest proteins.

Eat fresh unprocessed foods regularly & as many of the above foods as you can to significantly decrease your risk of falling victim to some of the worlds biggest killers!

Why not go out and get some this weekend?


9 Jun 2011

Are you having a laugh!

Hi folks,

‘You don’t have to be mad to work here but it helps!’ Arrrrrrhhhhhhhhh!! do you cringe as much as me whenever you see that poster? Well this week’s blog shows there may be something in a little laughter at work. I know what you’re thinking, we go to work to earn money, not to mess around and have fun. But have you noticed that the people that enjoy their jobs tend to be the ones that are the most social and partake in a little banter? After all, we spend most of our time there so why not lighten the mood eh? Research shows that a little laughter goes a long way.

According to a recent survey, 63% of workers said that job pressures interfere with their personal lives, and that 60% said it affects their physical & emotional well-being. Further research found that good humour is one of the most cost effective ways of reducing such stresses:
  • Laughter gives employees an effective way of releasing tensions, which allows them to concentrate on their work more efficiently.
  • A good laugh counteracts boredom and reduces personal conflicts.
  • Enjoying co-worker interaction reduces the need to get social support from outside the workplace by calling home, bunking off with friends or staying away from work. It seems that being able to laugh on the job does go hand in hand with increased productivity.
I’m not suggesting that you should have fancy dress days or start a comedy club (that would probably cause more stress) but maybe have an embarrassing photo / caption board up with the latest staff doo’s Polaroid’s on, play a harmless trick on a co-worker, or pull a face through the office window once in a while. It seems getting the right balance is the key - be serious about your work and problems but don’t take yourself too seriously. Build this ethos in to your workplace culture and the difference will be surprising!

Have a good weekend,


2 Jun 2011

Essential calories

Hi folks,

At first, nothing sprang to mind for this week’s blog, but I soon came across what is potentially the most important blog ever!

Recently I conducted a health assessment with a client, this included everything from blood pressure to nutritional intake. We found that…

a)      He was under-eating (up to 500kcal a day less than guidelines recommended),
b)      His body mass index was low, indicating that he was slightly underweight for his height,
c)      Yet his body-fat percentage was high.
….work that one out!

All I could think was that on the occasions he was eating, he was eating the wrong foods. After consulting his food diary this proved true and I realised that this may be a common trend on a global scale.

The problem starts when people aim to reduce their body-fat by eating less, but still of the same food types. In fact what would be beneficial is to switch to healthier alternatives before reducing calorie intake. So, what the main lessons to take away from this?

1) Calories are good (it’s the media that’s made them bad). We need them to survive, the more we do – the more we need!

2) Make sure these are ‘good’ calories from simple foods rather than ‘bad’ calories from greasy, salty foods.

3) No single test / measure is enough to gauge your health by, especially not BMI. The more health tests - the more accurate the result.

Hope this makes sense and may relate to / help some people,