24 May 2012

6 Good reasons to be at work on a sunny day!

Hi folks,

With pretty much all the country having glorious sunshine at the moment many of us would rather be off work. But if work sometimes feels dull, remember that being at work doesn’t just pay the bills! Whether we realise it or not, our workplace and type of job serves many other needs that we have healthy human beings:

  1. It focuses our mind on a task or tests it with multi-tasking

  1. It gives us a sense of challenge & reward (especially if we enjoy our jobs)

  1. It gives our lifestyle routine & structure

  1. It offers a change of environment(s)

  1. In most cases it provides us with a setting for social interaction, expanding our communication skills & friend-base.

  1. ..& yes, it’s even scientifically proven to have therapeutic value!

The government have realised that these points above are vital in society and have launched the ‘Fit-note’ as part of the Early return To Work scheme (replacing the sick-note). Basically, if someone is out of work due to illness, retirement, or even if they don’t financially need to work, then many of the 6 key elements start to disappear. This can ultimately lead to forms of depression, low confidence, low quality of life and poor health…..not good eh!

So next time you’re struggling at work, think if it’s ticking these 6 boxes. Similarly, if you’re out of work for whatever reason, try to involve activities in your lifestyle that equally tick the same 6 boxes.

Have an awesome weekend & get the BBQ on!


18 May 2012

Junk food tax!

Hi folks,

Great week for blogging this week! Have you heard about the potential tax to be added on unhealthy foods?

As a health professional I’m sure you’ll guess what my thoughts on this are. Being that the most powerful way to influence people’s decisions is through money, it has the potential to have a massive affect on our culture in the UK, but only IF it is done in the right way. Some may say that this is another way of the government trying to take away our free choice, but I see it more as them having a positive influence towards our health, & therefore reducing health costs for the UK.

Look at what it has done for cigarettes! Significant amounts of people have given up smoking as a result of higher prices, saving themselves & NHS millions. Those who still wish to smoke can if they are prepared to pay for it, which may indirectly go towards any associated medical treatment. Why shouldn’t junk food go the same way?

The first step may be to put the ‘fat tax’ on the worst offenders (e.g. take-always, energy drinks, sweets, pastries, alcohol etc) then consult nutritionists at the highest level over any further decisions. I have a sweet tooth & crave the chippy just like anyone else but really try to eat healthily. Now these foods may become expensive so people can only afford them every so often, however that’s exactly what they should be – A TREAT!

Even though food manufactures have become a lot more responsible recently by displaying more nutritional information on their packaging, it is still a minefield out there so this new approach may help further educate people about what they’re eating & get them to actually take it seriously. There’s so much healthy & tasty food available but due to our cultures, habits, & possibly up-bringing, many people have never experienced ‘real’ food as the major part of their diet before.

I know I am a bit bias & may only see one side of the discussion, so let me know your thoughts on how it will affect you & the people you know!



11 May 2012

Killer Commutes!

Hi folks,

I read an article this week on commuting that I thought you may be interested in. When considering workforce health we normally concentrate what goes on within the walls of our workplace & don’t look at the bigger picture. The vast majority of us commute to work and this usually involves a sedentary (often sitting) position, so the key question is how long does the commute take?

A 7yr long U.S study found that those commuting significant distances also have a tendency for low cardiovascular fitness, absence of intense exercise activity, higher body fat %, & raised blood pressure levels. Specifically, a commute of 16km+ was correlated with higher blood pressure levels. An earlier study found that for every additional hour spent in a car, the likelihood of obesity rose by 6%.

So by having a longer commute this means a longer day and therefore less time in their lifestyle to be active, eat well, recover etc. and who can blame them! Being ‘healthy’ is bound to take a back-burner when you get home after being stuck in a traffic jam or crowed bus/ train for hours, plus this will raise most people’s stress levels which will of course negatively affect their health further.

So what can we do? Maybe these pointers should be a priority:

         Commute by bike, walk or jog in if possible.
         Opt to stand on busses / trains instead of sitting
         Move jobs / house so your commute is shorter
         Be as active as you can at work to off-set travel sedentary.

These changes can make a huge difference to your health & lifestyle.  Studies show that the happiest cities in the world are also the ones with the highest rates of cycling!



4 May 2012

Be Healthy - add some Food Colour!

Be healthy - add some food colour!

Hi folks,

We all know that a healthy nutrition consists of fruit & vegetables, lean meats, some wholegrains & plenty of water right! But how many of us stick to the same fruit & veg every week? The natural chemicals that give different foods their colour also have their own health properties, so it’s time to do yourself a quick mental review & see.

Fruit & veg is so versatile that’s it doesn’t have to be boring. Grab a piece of paper & jot these foods down to form an ultra healthy & tasty shopping list:

Reds, oranges, yellows, & Purples:
These foods can all help reduce the risk of developing the main ‘killers’ in our society today; various cancers, heart disease, & strokes. Many are also bursting with antioxidants which help reduce damage to your cells.

Include these: Tomatoes, beetroot (unpickled), peppers, radishes, strawberries, watermelon, cranberries, cherries, apples. Sweet potatoes, apricots, carrots, oranges, peaches, & pineapple. Plums, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, raisins, figs, & aubergine (egg plant).

White vegetables can help also help reduce the ‘killers’ but additionally lower your blood pressure & cholesterol (HDL) levels.

Include these: Cauliflower, onions, garlic, potatoes, mushrooms, ginger, turnips, & bananas.

Greens contain powerful anti-cancer properties as well as giving us lots of additional vital nutrients

Include these: Broccoli, green beans, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, kiwi fruit, avocados’ & even those sprouts!

Obviously there is a lot of food here & your shopping bill would be huge, so try to pick out several from each category that you are most likely to use. Also go for ones that are in season, are most versatile, & that you can use as snacks. Then after a while try to rotate your choices.   

If you’re interesting in a workshop on workplace nutrition then please contact me.