Author Archives: Mel Watson

Body Talk 21/1/18

Do you believe everything that advertisers tell you?

According to Public Health England, two thirds of adults and a quarter of children between two and ten years old are overweight or obese. By 2034, 70% of adults are expected to be overweight or obese. Obesity related diseases such as heart disease,cancer and type 2 diabetes are crippling the NHS.

A new charity has been formed called Living Loud UK, whose aim is to reduce childhood obesity by introducing better eating habits to families.

Ad campaigns can teach us to stress eat and comfort eat. We can associate a chocolate bar with feelings of comfort after a long day, or a quick chocolate snack to give you energy or caffeinated drink will apparently make you grow wings! They are glamorising quite unhealthy snacks and drinks.

They can also normalise increasing portion sizes and encourage snacking. We are encouraged to impulse buy and spend more. Many of these ideas are sold to us so well that they become entrenched in our everyday language.

Complete this well known phrase “Have a break have a …………………”

Snacking between meals is largely a concept generated by the advertising world. Children are the ones who are aimed at in these campaigns. As adults we are able to formulate our own opinions on what is good for us, but how many parents have been pestered to buy a brand name product rather than a supermarket own brand.

Think before you buy, and just ask yourself is that child’s meal really going to make them happy? Or will it be the beginning of a journey to obesity and illness?

 


Body Talk 7/1/18

Maybe we should be learning to love those extra pounds that we’ve put on over the holidays rather than hate them and try to lose them. Scientists have discovered that those extra pounds may develop pathogens which help boost our immune system and can fight off disease.

These memory cells are very densely packed into the fat cells in our bodies. Fat transplants may also be available in the future to help fight off disease.  The role of fat in the immune system isn’t yet fully understood, but it could well be vital to keep our immune system as strong as possible. As usual though, everything in moderation, too much bodily fat will be harmful.

As usual there will be a host of new diets hitting the market this year, and each one will be claiming to be the best one for you, so it’s important to be fully informed in order to work your way through this minefield and not be disheartened if you choose the wrong one.

The Dash diet is the winner so far over in the States, which recommends low fat low sugar and small amounts of red meat.  It’s a healthy eating plan that supports long term dietary changes. This and the Mediterranean diet are the top two as they include a wide variety of fresh foods and have been linked to good heart health,

The Keto diet for example is very restrictive, which is ok while you’re on it, but returning to normal eating habits usually leads to weight gain.

Beware of diets that cut out fruit and vegetables and whole grains which are vital for our health and well being.

I will be keeping you informed of new crazes as and when they arise.

Let’s look forward to a Happy and Healthy new Year.

 

 


Body Talk 17/11/17

It’s Christmas party season, and most of you will be enjoying a good deal of festive cheer. Office parties, however, are not offering the copious amounts of alcohol that they have done in the past, and many of them are avoiding mistletoe too. It’s part of a business initiative to cut back on binge drinking and messy behavior!

Research shows it can be impossible to stop at just one drink, so beware. There are some things you can do to slow down your alcohol consumption,and the main one is to be mindful of your drinking at all times. You can overdo it without realizing, and research shows that heavy drinking can damage the liver and cause depression. The brain contains neurons to let us know when to stop eating and drinking, but alcohol suppresses these neurons.

51% of companies this year are choosing not to serve alcohol, compared to 38% last year.

Drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before you go out can help. If you have food, and some water too, it will help to soak up the alcohol.

Pace yourself with the number of drinks you have; a glass an hour will be more than enough. Using a straw tends to make you drink faster, so sip from the glass, and put your drink down in between sips.

Healthier drink options mean staying away from sugary drinks, and perhaps opting for vodka or red wine.

Try to avoid drinking shots, as you will get drunk more quickly. Drink plenty of water before, during and after, to stay hydrated and avoid that awful hangover the next day.

75%  to 80% of us suffer from hangovers, and ask yourself is one evening’s drinking worth being ill for the whole of the next day.

Have a fantastic Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year.

 


Body Talk 3/12/17

Your personality can effect your health! So are you the life and soul of the party or the more cautious conscientious type? Are you a hopeless romantic or argumentative? Whichever category you fall into, gives an insight into the state of your health.

Research has revealed that your personality traits can reveal details about life expectancy and how likely you are to develop various diseases.

Overall those who are conscientious and agreeable are more likely to have better health than those who are more neurotic and angry.

If you are organised and hard working, you are less likely to suffer from a stroke.

People who are more conscientious at age 26 are more likely to be in much better health at age 38. Among the least conscientious who were studied, 45% went on to suffer from multiple health problems, compared to just 18% from the most conscientious group.

People low in conscientiousness were more likely to be overweight and have higher cholesterol levels, sand suffer from hypertension. If you are conscientious you are more likely to have an active lifestyle and display more self control,so less likely to smoke or abuse alcohol and drugs.

However, being neurotic at age 26 was not linked to poorer physical health at age 38, contrary to popular thinking which points to neuroticism being linked to stress.

Ultimately, if a doctor knows a patient’s personality, it may help them to assess and diagnose illness more easily. Worth getting to know your doctor, but hardly time to sit and have a friendly chat while you’re in  your 10 minute appointment slot!


Body Talk 19/11/17

Four out of five adults get stressed every week,and one in ten are stressed all the time. What category do you fall into? or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t suffer at all, but for the millions of us who do, there are some things we can try to combat the effects.

We are constantly under pressure from external sources, and work stress isn’t just restricted to the workplace with our technological culture making it easy to receive emails and calls out side of work hours, along with financial worries and health worries, it seems that there is no escape.

The findings from this particular survey seem to indicate that men suffer more than women.

Many of those questioned said to ease the pressure they watch tv, read a book, exercise or drink alcohol. It’s encouraging to see that almost a third of people interviewed turned to exercise. It’s much healthier than smoking or drinking.

Physical activity has positive effects on our health, but we also need to make sure we are getting the correct nutrients from our diet. Stress uses up a lot of energy, so we need to be taking in extra calories, which could lead to bingeing on sugary or junk snack foods, so make sure you are getting a healthy supply of snacks and stay away from takeaways if you can.

We can start to feel more tired but actually get less sleep and suffer from brain fog or irritability.Increase your intake of b vitamins and folate, and try to get some valuable vitamin by getting out in the sun,which can prove very challenging at this time of year, but is vital to our sense of well being.


Body Talk 12/11/17

Have you been a victim of fad dieting? There are so many diets, and all of them claim to have the ability to make you lose weight.

This isn’t a new problem, since the beginning of time it seems, we have been trying our best to shed those extra pounds. Thousands of years and we still don’t seem to have the answer.

The lengths that some people will go to to get their desired figure is amazing. In 1028 when William the Conqueror was born people were still waging their own inner battle with food. He was healthy for most of his life but as he got older the pounds started to pile on, so he tried a a liquid diet, which consisted of mostly alcohol. He lost enough weight to start riding his horse again but a riding accident lead to an untimely death, maybe that was connected with his liquid diet.

In 1558, another liquid alcohol diet emerged that claimed it could make you live longer. This diet consisted of 12 ounces of food and 14 ounces of wine. Rumor has it that its inventor lived to 102, but that’s not one I would recommend.

In the 1960’s the drinking man’s diet was introduced. This consisted of manly foods like steak and fish and as much alcohol as desired. There are no testimonials that this worked, surprisingly.

Lord Byron, accredited his healthy weight to vinegar and water. This is still around today as the cider vinegar diet, apparently 3 teaspoons of cider vinegar before each meal will curb your food cravings.

These are just some of the more unusual diets that I’ve come across, there are many more I’m sure. The key to dieting, I believe, is finding what works for you, and making it about not just diet but lifestyle.


Body Talk 5/11/17

Do you suffer with brain fog? The sense of confusion, like walking into a room and forgetting why you’re there. It’s more common than you think and there could be some very simple reasons why it is happening. Other symptoms are forgetfulness or an inability to focus. Doctors say it can happen to anyone at any age.

Your diet or a vitamin deficiency could be to blame. Stress or lack of sleep could also be contributing factors. Your brain works hard 24 hours a day and it needs fuel to keep it going, so you should be eating a healthy diet. Food allergies can contribute to the symptoms. Eating an anti inflammatory diet could help. Foods rich in antioxidants like blueberries are good too.

Because chronic inflammation is linked to brain fog and also a lack of b vitamins and vitamin c; vitamin b12 and folates are important for normal brain functioning.

Alcohol and caffeine can also mess with our brains. Binge drinking as a teenager before the brain is developed can have long lasting effects on the adult brain.

Caffeine is a stimulant known to improve mental alertness but too much can lead to insomnia which in turn will impair mental function. You may find that giving up caffeine gives you a headache, that’s due to the toxins leaving your body, so you may want to gradually wean off it.

Not sleeping enough has been linked to a host of health conditions. Most experts say that seven to eight hours a night is best, and that means not sleeping in at the weekends too, regular sleep patterns are vital to the optimum functioning of the brain.  If you suffer from disrupted sleep it may help to use ear plugs or an eye mask to block out noise or light.


Body Talk 29/10/17

What are the ingredients in the food that you are eating? The saying goes that you are what you eat, but do you know what it is that you are actually eating?

By looking at the list of ingredients on the packaging, it isn’t always easy to work out what the manufacturer means. Would you still be eating the same foods if you knew how much sugar, salt and fat they contained!

Tomato ketchup may seem healthy, but nearly a quarter of it is sugar, whilst it may be low in salt and approximately three quarters tomatoes, that is a lot of sugar to be consuming, especially if you are a ketchup lover.

Crisps we know are bad for us, but maybe you’re not aware just how bad. Kettle chips market themselves as being more wholesome, if that is possible with a crisp, but they are nearly a third fat from sunflower oil. At least sunflower oil is better for your cholesterol levels, however do try to use them as a treat rather than every day.

Dark soy sauce may seem innocuous, but at 15% salt and 25% sugar, it could seriously be taking a toll on your health. 25% sugar is the same amount as in a bottle of squash, and whilst you are obviously not drinking it like squash it is nevertheless something to be used in moderation.

Heinz beans are not as innocent either at 0.6% salt , 4.7% sugar and just 51% beans, that’s only half, the rest is tomatoes and flavorings.

The light version of Flora spread is an amazing 65% water! That’s why it’s light. I’m not a chef but surely getting the ordinary version and watering it down would be more cost effective.

Do check the ingredients for what you are actually getting for your money, and it is true, some of the unbranded supermarket versions do offer less expensive and sometimes healthier options.

 


Body Talk 22/10/17

The Victorians really did have some strange ideas about health and what was good for you. So strange that it’s a wonder any body survived.

It wasn’t unusual for cocaine to be used as pain relief or for women to place weasel testicles in their bosom as a contraceptive! I think it may have worked better for the weasel population than humans.

Cocaine was widely used during routine surgery, and was used for piles and toothache, and marketed for children too. Coca cola also contained an estimated 9 milligrams of cocaine per glass, because it’s inventor wanted to make the world a happier place.

Then there was the tapeworm diet, which worked on the basis that you could eat all you want because the tapeworms inside you would eat all the food. The tapeworms usually arrived dead in the post which was probably just as well as all sorts of other problems could be created by eating them alive. Tapeworms can grow to 30 feet long!

Human fat was believed to have healing properties. Mans grease was used for wound healing, pain relief, gout  and an aphrodisiac. It could even be used in cosmetics,particularly good for smallpox scars.

Radioactive water was considered good for you too. A special piece of equipment called a revigator was designed to keep  by your bed so you could have a constant supply of radioactive water.

Mercury was used to cure depression, flu and constipation, and for childrens’ teething powders.

Heroin was named as it  made users feel mighty or heroic, and could help clear the complexion and regulate the bowels, and could help people who had become addicted to morphine.

Thank goodness for modern medicine!

 

 


Body Talk 15/10/17

Fitness gurus and nutritionists have now been talking about the 8 hour diet or 16:2. It basically means that you eat for eight hours a day and fast for the other 16. No, it isn’t an excuse to eat as much as you can in eight hours, for those times set aside for eating, you do so with thought and with your health in mind,but not counting calories.So there are no forbidden foods as such, but you are encouraged to eat more healthily.

Those who follow it, eat breakfast at 10am, lunch at 2pm and dinner at 6pm, then nothing until  10am the next day. This is achievable, as you have specific mealtimes, allowing plenty of time for your body to digest each one, then giving your body a complete break overnight, hopefully kick starting it into fat burning mode.

By practising intermittent fasting you give your body and gut a chance to digest, rest and heal. It can also increase the speed of cell recycling and regeneration, which means we get sick less and experience less pain. It can also lower cancer risk.

If you eat whole foods you won’t feel hungry, eat good wholesome foods that will make you feel full.

We live in a world obsessed with snacks,so it can be difficult at first, but we are reliably told that after two weeks,you will be experiencing the benefits.