Category Archives: Body Talk

Body Talk 4/3/18

Intermittent fasting diets have become popular in recent years, and now research has shown that it can improve endurance. Fasting of any kind is going to shed the pounds, but it can have other benefits too.

When paired with moderate aerobic exercise, intermittent fasting may improve endurance. It could be that the average person could benefit by being able to do activities like running or cycling for 20 to 30 minutes longer.

It means that body fat is being burned instead of sugar, or other foods which may have been eaten,and stored body fat is a more efficient energy source.

The 5:2 diets and the Warrior diet are viable ways of losing weight, and researchers are now saying that this kind of diet puts the body into hunter gatherer mode, the way we used to live thousands of years ago, when eating three meals a day wasn’t an option.

Lead researchers have told us that through evolutionary processes the brain may work at its best with intermittent fasting, and it may also be beneficial to health issues like diabetes.

Intermittent dietary energy restriction can enhance the beneficial effects of aerobic exercise on endurance performance.

More research is needed to examine the effectiveness of these findings, but it is looking very positive.

Body Talk 25/2/18

Antidepressants are the latest thing to be hitting the news headlines. Latest research has concluded that they do work, and more people should be taking them. The study included 120,000 people, and the researchers said that only one in 6 people are receiving the correct medication for their condition and that antidepressants are the answer for depression and not enough people are getting access to them.

Poor access to medication would not be acceptable if it were for other treatments like diabetes, and so they researched 21 different antidepressants and monitored the effects. The study found that some were more effective than others, but all were more effective than a placebo.

They found that those suffering from loss of self worth, tiredness and stress would all benefit from treatment. This clearly shows that these drugs do help in lifting mood, despite the fact that we already prescribe more antidepressants in this country than in most other countries.

Antidepressants have traditionally received a bad press but this research does prove that they are effective in the management of depression.

Personally, I do feel that other pastimes which relieve stress and help to settle the mind could also be useful. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi, massage and many other natural therapies have also been proven to help with the relief of depression.

Ultimately, we are fortunate to have the ability to choose and also to monitor how each of these things may work for us as individuals, so make sure you continually assess treatments that you are receiving.

Body Talk 11/2/18

When it comes to showering,most people will either have one first thing in the morning or last thing at night. But which is correct? Some experts say that a shower in the evening aids sleep, whereas others say a morning shower is best to kick start the day.

Both have their pros and cons. An evening shower washes off the dirt and sweat of the day, which gives you a better sleep and better skin. By the end of the day your body is covered in all sorts of allergens which can irritate the skin. If nothing else you should be cleaning your face to cleanse off all the excess oils and prevent spots or acne from developing.

Showers help to regulate the body’s temperature, and can work as a stress reliever too, regulating the adrenal glands. Skin regenerates at night and you will shed lots of dead skin cells, which is why it’s important to wash your face before bedtime, giving the new skin cells a chance to flourish. However,that is also a good case for showering in the morning, to get rid of all the dead skin.

A morning shower can help you, if you’re feeling stressed, to be a little more creative. Your cognitive processes relax,renew and regenerate. For men, warm water can soften the skin and help with shaving.

Don’t shower too much either, as it can dry out the skin and deplete your body of its natural lubricants.

So there is no conclusive evidence which is best, so maybe a mixture of the two to find out which works best for you.

Body Talk 4/2/18

Is fat good for you? It’s being seen as a much more healthy option theses days. For many years skimmed or semi skimmed milk has been viewed as better for you, but it seems now that full fat milk may be good for your heart.

It boosts levels of good cholesterol in the bloodstream,and bad cholesterol wasn’t increased. Other studies have also shown that full fat dairy is linked to lower levels of diabetes. Their findings add weight to the idea that full fat milk is no worse than low fat and may even be better for you.

Volunteers who ate low fat or full fat cheese over a three week test period were found to have no change in their cholesterol levels. We have been told by the experts to opt for low fat dairy, and that has blossomed into a multi million pound industry, but it seems that we may not be reaping the benefits we were told to expect.

What will lower your cholesterol is a plant based diet. If we eat more grains,fruit and nuts,we will have less saturated fat intake.Vegetarians were found to have less cholesterol than meat eaters.

So maybe what we take from this is that a vegetarian diet is the best option, and then we can include full fat dairy, which seems to be beneficial, contrary to the message we have been given over the years.

Body Talk 28/1/18

Are you getting enough sleep.7 to 9 hours of sleep allows the body to regenerate itself and could be the best form of attack when it comes to the latest flu virus that’s doing the rounds.

Many people are dying from flu related causes, and lack of sleep can make the flu vaccine less effective and is related to heart problems too. The National Sleep Foundation recommend 9 to 11 hours of sleep for children aged 6 to 13, and 8 to 10 hours for teenagers and 8 hours of sleep for 18 and over.

There are four different stages of sleep,the first one is when we’re just dropping off and it can be easy to wake up again. The other stages are light sleep, deep sleep and rapid eye movement sleep.

Deep sleep which starts around 35 minutes after falling asleep is when the immune system regroups itself and regenerates its immune responses. Sleep deprivation therefore can weaken the immune system.

Sleep deprivation can have the same impact on the system as stress. When a sleep deprived person gets a flu shot only half the antibodies will develop. With more deep sleep you can stave off viruses, and the general medical opinion is that we would all be healthier in general.

Health officials are urging everyone to wash their hands and stay away from others with germs, but it would also appear to be equally as important to get enough sleep.

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.