Category Archives: Body Talk

Body Talk 12/8/17

According to latest research, regularly getting less than 8 hours sleep a night, can have the same long term effects as alcohol abuse.  For the body, sleep deprivation results in increased risk of obesity, heart attacks and strokes. Insomnia is now called the modern ill, as so many of the poulation are affected.  Apparently being awake fro more than 18 hours results in the same cognitive impairment as being drunk.  It’s so serious that driving when sleep deprived can be as dangerous as driving when drunk.

Researchers have found that people who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night can suffer many health issues. The odd night here and there isn’t a problem, but continual lack of sleep is.

Sleep plays an important role in regulating the hormones that influence hunger. Sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in appetite and result in weight gain.

Your brain becomes less stable the longer you remain awake, it becomes more difficult to focus on specific tasks.

Quite scarily, another piece of research has found that the brain can actually eat itself!  While we’re asleep, little cells like hoovers move around the brain, cleaning it and keeping it healthy. When we’re sleep deprived these little cells don’t work properly and become confused themselves and over clean, resulting in parts of the brain literally being eaten! I have to add that this has only been researched on mice so far, but it still seems a bit worrying.



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Body Talk 5/8/17

We all know that vegetables are good for you, but depending on how we cook them, or not, they can be even better for us. Important folates can be lost in the cooking process, and according to the experts some vegetables are best eaten raw.

Cooking tomatoes brreaks down their thick cell walls and releases the cancer fighting property of lycopene. Eating plenty of lycopene has been linked to a better ability to fight off cancer or to  prevent it. Cooking them has also been found to boost the amount of lycopene found in them.

Cooking mushrooms releases an agent within them that is thought to inhibit tumour growth. When asparagus is cooked, the amount of cancer fighting antioxidants increases too.

Pressure cooking or steaming vegetables is probably the healthiest way to cook them. If you saute them that can be surprisingly healthy too as many vitamins and nutrients in vegetables  are fat soluble, which means the body absorbs them better when there’s fat present.

To contain as many nutrients as possible, vegetables should be cooked for as little time as possible. Boiling them for too long can cause nutrients to leak out into the water.
Members of the brassica family, including, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage should never be cooked if you want to get the best out of them. These vegetables are the best of all, as they contain powerful cancer fighting nutrients,but are probably the ones that are least likely to be eaten raw.

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Body Talk 29/7/17

Instead of looking at the many different types of diets available and opting for the latest most fashionable one on offer, it may be time to think about what we’re eating to suit our age and our lifestyle. As we age our bodies have different needs according to the different phases we are going through. The type of food we eat in our twenties may not be suitable for us in our fifties and vice versa which may explain why our tastes change as we age.

In our twenties we are very active and use up the most calories, so we can get away with eating more, but we do need to make sure that the foods we are eating are wholesome and nutrient rich,s o it isn’t an opportunity to binge on junk foods. The food we eat at this age and the way we treat our body is laying the foundations for when we are older.

By the time we are in our thirties,if we haven’t already completed our family,this is the time to think about fertility issues and keeping your body rich in tip top condition, definitely cutting out junk foods, smoking and drinking, all of which can take their toll on fertility, and this applies to both sexes.

By our forties we can be suffering from the effects of stress from families, finances and other issues. To keep stress at its minimum try increasing the magnesium in your diet from green leafy vegetables and taking up meditation or something equally relaxing to keep anxiety levels low.

In our fifties is when heart health becomes most importan.This is the time when we need to make sure we are getting plenty of regular exercise and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Taking a collagen supplement coukd be helpful against those signs of aging too.

By our sixties we start to think about our bone strength. Both calcium and vitamin D are important at this time,from dairy products and vegetables. Weight bearing exercise is also very helpful.

As we come into our seventies, muscle strength can become a problem, so staying active and keeping mobile is very important and keeping your diet good by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

If you folllow these guidelines you’ll stay fit and healthy well into your eighties, nineties and beyond.




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Body Talk 22/7/17

Have you ever considered thatbyour diet may be making youill? Well I’m sure we’ve all thought that at some stage, but do you suffer with a hangover, even though you’ve not consumed any alcohol? If the answer is yes then it may be that you are suffering from a food hangover. Yes new research has proved that this actually happens.

The after effects can be fogginess, iritability,tearfulness and depression, just like the after effects of a night on the booze!

Foods that are high fat, high sugar and starch are to blame. If you eat one or all of these in a day and you find yourself a little worse for wear the next day, most of us would put it down to a tummy bug or similar virus, but we could be misdiagnosing what is going on. When we say it must have been something I ate, that’s true enough but for a different reason.

Our busy lives mean we’re often under stress, which also has a damaging effect on our digestive process and makes symptoms such as bloating, lethargy and brain fog more likely.

 Maybe you crave something sugary and that sets you right back in this negative cycle once
again, only giving you some temporary relief.
If  you want to get back onntrack, try a detox for a day or two, then start to include more fresh
fruit and veg in your diet, and once again the Meditteranean diet is the one to go for. Avoid
processed foods and opt for fresh.
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Body Talk 16/7/16

New research has now revealed both the fittest and the laziest countries. Smart phone data from more than 700,000 people has been collected by scientists to show just how active we all are.

The people of Hing Kong can be proud to know that they are officially the fittest walking and avaerage of 6,880 steps each day, about 3 and a half miles. The people of Indonesia are on the other end of the scale and are the laziest, walking just 3,513 steps per day. By comparison we in the UK manage 5,444 (just less than 3 miles) steps per day, placing us 12th in a very long list of countries, so I guess that means we don’t fare too badly in the fitness stakes.  The US manage just 4,774 steps.

This study is 1,000 times larger than any previous study done of this nature. The average number of daily steps taken worldwide was 4,961, or 2 and a half miles. Canada,Australis and New Zealand also fell below that average.

This data will help to tackle fitness and obesity levels in each country. Strangely, the average number of steps taken had little to do with obesity levels Sweden has one of the biggest gaps between active and inactive people but has one of the lowest rates of obesity.

Interesting findings though, gathered from the Argus App,which is an ongoing study.

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Medical Detection Dogs

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My guest this week was Sonia Enwright from Medical Detection Dogs, she was explaining how dogs can be more than just pets, we can use them in a number of different ways to help enhance and even save human lives.


The UK has one of the worst cancer survival rates in Europe – because of late diagnosis. Medical Detection Dogs believe their research will help early diagnosis improve in the future.

Because dogs are able to detect tiny odour concentrations, around one part per trillion (the equivalent of one teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic sized swimming pools), they are potentially able to detect diseases, such as cancer, much earlier than is currently possible. Their pioneering work could help to speed up the diagnosis process and impact on thousands of lives.

They are very excited and proud to be carrying out an NHS ethically approved study into the dogs’ ability to detect urological cancers using their sense of smell. Alongside the urological study is running the first NHS ethically approved proof-of-principle trial exploring the ability of dogs to detect breast cancer and have interest from many in the medical profession on the potential to detect other cancers such as lung and colorectal cancers. The cancer work has two main aims:

To assist scientists through research into the development of electronic systems (E noses) that will assist in the early detection of cancer through cheap non-invasive tests.

In the short term, cancer dogs could provide additional testing for cancers that are currently difficult to diagnose reliably, such as prostate cancer.

For more information on Medical Detection dogs check out their website at


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Body Talk 1/7/17

This week some thoughts on gut health. We’ve all had the odd upset tummy, but when it is constantly rumbling or painful then it’s time to think about how you can do something to bring it back to health again.

A properly functioning gut and digestive system can help with weight loss too,clear skin and helps to keep our moods in check.

Constipation and irritable bowel are two signs that your gut isn’t working as it should be. Constipation can result in bloating, which is a sign of trapped gas. Could be a sign that you have a complex carbohydrate intolerance. Eating foods that help the digestion such as bitter greens before having a protein packed meal willhelp eliminate and prevent undigested food from blocking your system.

If your breath still smells even after brushing your teeth or if your tongue has a white coating you may need to look into gut health management.

Dry skin, blemishes and acne are unfortunate signs that your gut is turning toxic, and a sign of a poor immune system.

80% of the immune system resides in the gut, so it is important to keep it healthy. It’s a good idea to drink 3 litres of water each day to flush out your system. Sounds a lot but the benefits are worth it.  It keeps the bowels hydrated and restores your skin too.

One small dietary change can make a big difference to your overall health.


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Garth McLean – Iyengar Yoga Teacher

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My guest on the show this evening was Garth McLean who is a senior level Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher “CIYT” (Intermediate Sr III) and dedicated practitioner of the subject. Based in Los Angeles, Garth teaches public classes and speciality courses at Namastday Yoga in Beverly Hills. Garth also offers local private instruction in the Los Angeles metro area


Garth studies annually with the Iyengar family in Pune, India. He teaches yoga intensives locally and globally. In addition to regular intensives, Garth offers workshops on the positive effect of yoga on MS and other neurological conditions. He regularly offers workshops in Europe, Australia and most recently Brazil. Garth has served as a guest teacher at the France Iyengar Yoga Teachers’ Convention (2009) and Spain Iyengar Yoga Teachers’ Convention (2011).

He is a founding and current board and faculty member of the Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics group, a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles that is dedicated to helping people manage diseases and conditions through the therapeutic applications of yoga.

Blessed with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1996, Garth successfully manages his course of MS and a hectic schedule with a daily practice of Iyengar Yoga as presented by Yoga master, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar.

Upon learning of his diagnosis, Garth was determined to get his MS symptoms in remission. He immediately took to the daily practice of Iyengar Yoga, heeding his neurologist’s advice to try some yoga with the caveat to not overheat the body. He also heeded Mr. Iyengar’s counsel to proceed with courage, caution and patience. The results have been profound. Garth’s dedication to self-healing has enabled him to successfully manage many symptoms of MS and keep his course of MS in remission without the conventional medicines prescribed for the condition. Since 2005, Garth annually monitors the lesions on his brain via MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) which has shown very encouraging comparative results. His determination and recovery motivates him to provide a safe, uplifting forum for a challenging, rewarding and transformative experience for all students of yoga.

Garth shares his enthusiasm for the healing potential of a dedicated yoga practice with students and teachers around the world. Garth’s personal in-depth knowledge inspires not only those with challenges, but everyone.

Garth will be in the UK later this year, the dates are listed below; or to find out more about Garth you can contact him via his website

Aug 26- 28
Iyengar Yoga Institute Maida Vale
Website: Iyengar Yoga Institute, Maida Vale, London

Sep 01- 03
Manchester District Institute of Yoga
Website: Manchester and District Institute of Iyengar Yoga (MDIIY)

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Body Talk 17/6/17

The state of Florida has the highest rate of cancer in the states, but it’s not just because it’s the retirement state. Cases seem to be clustered around hazardous waste sites and researchers gear there could be a link.

Researchers at the University of Columbia have confirmed that there are more new cases of cancer being confirmed at sites around the country near to hazardous waste sites than other areas. Toxic environments can be bad for you, obviously that;s an American study but the same would apply anywhere in the world where hazardous waste is dumped.

Intra uterine contraceptive devices increase the rate of cancer by 52% in post menopausal women, copper ones are far safer according to the University of Helsinki.  Hair dye raises the risk by 23%, and unnecessary mammograms could raise the risk too.

Apparently genetics don;t play such a big part in deciding whether or not we get cancer, but the food we eat does. Spanish research shows that diet is more important especially in connection with colorectal cancer, where known risk factors including genetics only account for half of all known cases. The amount of red meat and vegetables we eat is directly related to our risk of contracting cancer.

Reducing meat consumption and increasing the amount of vegetables we eat may be the single most important thing that we can do to reduce our colorectal cancer risk, and that may well be the same for other cancers too.

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Body Talk 10/6/17

What’s better for you, full fat or low fat? Full fat milk or skimmed milk? It’s so confusing , we’re being bombarded with conflicting information the whole time.

Latest reports now indicate that people who drink skimmed milk are more likely to develop Parkinsons disease. A major study found a significant link between consumption of low fat dairy such as yogurt, milk and cheese and the neurological condition. The researchers processed data from 130,000 people over 25 years. Of the people who drank skimmed or semi skimmed milk more than twice a day, 39% were more likely to  develop Parkinsons, than those who consumed it less than once a week.  Crucially, the same link wasn’t seen in consumption of full fat milk.

They also analysed how often people ate other forms of low fat dairy, the researchers found that those who consumed at least three servings a day  had a 34% greater chance of developing Parkinsons, than those who consumed less than one serving a day.

Around 127,000 people in the UK have Parkinsons which causes tremors,slow movements and muscle rigidity. It progressively destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement. There is currently no cure and no way of stopping its progression. Experts suspect that low fat dairy products have the potential to raise the  risk of developing it and to hasten its progression.

Researchers believe low fat dairy consumption reduces levels of protective chemicals in the body. Eating full fat lessens this impact and so may stave off the onset or the progression.

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Body Talk 3/6/17

Do you realise how fattening those lovely sounding cocktails are?They may taste good too, but they’re no good for your waistline.  There are certain ones that should definitely be avoided if you’re watching your weight.

Surprisingly, champagne has less calories than wine. So don’t feel that you’re being decadent next time you ask for a glass of bubbly, you’re drinking it in a good cause!! Wine clocks in at about 130 calories per glass whereas champagne has just 90. Plus it has health benefits too, research has proven that drinking more than 5 glasses of white wine per week can make you more likely to develop the skin condition rosacea.

Long Island Iced Tea is one of the most calorific drinks ever invented! Depending on your bartender who mixes it, this drink can contain anywhere from 400 to 780 calories! That’s nearly half your daily calories gone in one go! A Cosmopolitan would be a good substitute : vodka with cranberry juice is just 146 calories.

Lager is about 150 to 200 calories per pint. Several pints will add up to a large portion of your daily calories. Barbell Protein Beer comes in at a much healthier 92 calories per pint,but understandably seasoned beer drinkers may shy away from this one.

On holiday there are usually a large array of cocktails on offer,such as a Pina Colada which checks in at 536 calories!! A Fuzzy Navel is much better ; peach schnapps and orange juice, having 250 calories.

Ultimately,all alcohol is fattening, so if you’re counting the calories it’s best to have it as a special treat every once in a while.Just because it’s liquid doesn’t mean it isn’t fattening!

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Body Talk 27/5/17

Scientists have now discovered that there really is such a thing as starvation mode in our bodies. When we diet our body goes into starvation mode, and as a result when we finish the diet the body works even more efficiently on less calories and stores energy in the form of fat in case food becomes scarce again.

Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that there are certain brain cells that are triggered when food becomes scarce. Our brains actually link the amount of calories that we burn to the amount of calories we eat. When we eat less our bodies compensate and burn fewer calories. The brain has something akin to a calorie burning thermostat, so when you stop eating the body compensates by burning fewer calories.

However cutting calories by about 25% could help you to stay young on the inside and the outside, and occasional fasting could help to stave off or prevent various diseases. Research has proved that it can slow down the ageing of internal organs, although scientists aren’t exactly sure how, although as the metabolism slows down it may slow down cell division which in itself is a symptom of the ageing process.

So on the surface it seems that we have two conflicting pieces of research, although, if you think about it,both pieces of research are pointing towards less food or calories, a more efficient body and slowing the ageing process.

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Body Talk 20/5/17

Mental health has featured a lot in the news lately and more people than ever seem to be suffering from some sort of psychological or emotional issue, resulting in depression or anxiety. Alarmingly, even children are feeling the effects of this pressure.  Mental health problems don’t discriminate between age groups. Two percent of children are deemed to be suffering from clinical depression!  Many more teachers are finding children in their classes are suffering, and many going undiagnosed, Some of those children are just four years old. The causes of their problems are as varied as they are with adults: home life, school, friends, family history,etc.

Childhood mental health problems can be difficult to diagnose in children as often times it will be explained away as shyness, and something they’ll grow out of. Childhood anxieties can be a sign that your child may be susceptible to depression in the future.  So if they are avoiding social gatherings (like other childrens’ parties), if they find it hard to speak up and answer questions at school, or if they tell you they don’t feel as good at things as other children it could be the start of a form of social anxiety.

Early intervention is the key. Setting and keeping to routines,plenty of physical exercise and openly talking about worries at home can help to combat mental health problems for children. Do consult your GP if you feel there could be cause for concern with your child. It may simply be “a phase”, but it’s best to be on the safe side.

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Body Talk 13/5/17

There has been a lot in the news recently about mental health issues, and how to cope with them. Depression is now becoming recognised as a medical condition, rather than something to be swept under the carpet. It still seems that men have a tough time coming to terms with it, and many other emotional traumas, but hopefully that will change after Prince Harry has been so open about his need for counselling.

There’s been a lot of research done into depression and it does seem that women rather than men are more susceptible, or maybe it is that they’re just more able to recognise their emotions. There are lots of things you can do to lift your mood, but for more serious conditions do consult your doctor.

Exercise can lift your mood, whether it’s at the gym or just walking outside in the fresh air can be enough to make you feel more positive.

Natural outdoor light is good too. Exposure to the sun’s rays ensures we are getting vitamin D in our system. Even on an overcast day, it will still have the desired effect. Lack of vitamin D can make you feel very tired and lethargic.

Pay attention to your posture too.We spend a lot of time these days hunched over computers or phones, so lift yourself up and stretch. Try joining a yoga or pilates class where you can learn about posture and how different it makes you feel by standing tall.

Just being in good company can be very uplifting. So if you get the chance, go out and enjoy yourself, even if you don’t feel like it. Sometimes the outings we dread the most turn out to be the best and most memorable.

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Body Talk 6/5/17

Thousands of people undergo cosmetic surgery procedures in a bid to look healthier or younger. Botox, microdermabrasion, fillers,laser hair removal and the list goes on, but how safe are these procedures and are we getting a short term gain but a long term loss?

One of the most common procedures is teeth whitening. The dentist applies a strong bleaching gel which is activated by light, heat or ultrasound. You can also do this at home using whitening systems. this can cost anywhere from £400 to £1000. The problem can be that some salons are providing this treatment but haven’t given their staff the proper training, and some kits bought over the internet are no properly regulated and can contain dangerous levels of bleach. Gums can be burned, teeth can be irritated and in worst case scenarios it can lead to permanent damage to the surface of the enamel. So if you have sensitive teeth, veneers,crowns or a bridge this treatment is best avoided. If you do want to go ahead just check that the treatment is by a qualified dentist or the kit you buy is properly authorised.

Laser eye surgery is also proving popular with people who prefer to ditch their glasses.It’s a surgical way to reshape the cornea and thereby restore normal vision. This can cost from £600 to £1600 per eye. The side effects mostly relate to the cutting of the cornea which can include infection, dry eyes and corneal haze. The vision can sometimes be worse after surgery and not better. So if you are already prone to frequent eye infections or eye related problems maybe give this one a miss. If you do opt for treatment check that your practitioner is qualified with the Royal College of Opthalmologists.

Always do your research thoroughly before any cosmetic procedure and make sure that the person giving you the treatment is properly qualified.


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Body Talk 29/4/17

It could now be possible that a low carb diet could help with diabetes. For over 30 years the advice has been to each starchy pasta and potatoes and pesto. The low carb approach can be more effective with weight loss and therefore health in general. Keeping blood sugar under control is vital.  Carbs turn to glucose when digested and therefore don’t help with blood sugar, whereas a low carb diet would obviously be negating the need for drugs to control blood sugar levels. The NHS currently spends £20 billion pounds on diabetes patients and this figure could be considerably reduced by following a different diet.

More than 100,000 people have tried the low carb approach and found it beneficial. Details can be found on the Diabetes UK website. Many have successfully used it to lose weight and to control blood sugar, and they’ve had their medicine doses reduced by doctors.

Although the studies haven’t been done scientifically it seems to make sense to cut sugar or carbs out of the diet to fix the issue rather than give people drugs in order that they can eat sugar and carbs. In studies that have been done people have managed to lose weight and control blood sugar and the findings would at the very least indicate a good case for giving people an informed choice regarding nutrition and the effects.

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Body Talk 22/4/17

It’s spring once again and all of the gardens are starting to blossom.It’s wonderful to see a beautiful array of flowers, it certainly makes you feel good. However, those same lovely flowers are not only good to look at they do have other healing benefits.

Many promising new drugs and remedies are based on extracts from flowers that grow in our back gardens. Many have been turned into commercial drugs by pharmaceutical companies.

Peonies burst into huge blooms of red, white or pink. Unfortunately they don’t last long enough, but their healing properties can. They contain a chemical that could revolutionise arthritic treatment. It eases joint pain and slows down the destruction of cartilage, which is the shock absorber designed to protect joints. Drug trials are due to start later this year.

Scientists are currently exploring the healing properties of the crocus, which they feel could be beneficial in curing solid cancerous tumours. It contains a poison which can be specifically targeted at these cancerous growths to destroy them. Most importantly it doesn’t do this at the expense of the healthy cells.

Hydrangeas are one of the UK’s most popular plants, and its root contains a chemical which could be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and MS.

Geraniums can help with obesity, it is a particular type known as Jesters Jackets though, possibly not all geraniums. Studies on mice have so far shown them to be very helpful with weight loss, and particularly helpful in shifting visceral fat which is located around the inner organs,also in lowering cholesterol levels. Daffodil bulbs contain a chemical that could be used to treat dementia and Alzheimers.

So the flowers in your garden don’t just make you feel good on the outside, but can help you on the inside as well.

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Body Talk 15/4/17

Who are the healthiest people in the world? What do they eat and how do they live?

It seems strange that the modern world is constantly searching for the secret of youth, yet it is the modern world that prevents us from attaining it. The people who live the longest are those who live far from modern society in a very simple way.

The correct diet could extend your life by ten or even twenty years. There are certain so called Blue Zones around the world where people live well into their nineties or even their hundreds!

There is a region in Costa Rica where people live very close to the land and have a very basic diet, food is minimally processed and includes tortillas, yams, beans,plantains and a very small amount of meat. Breakfast is the heaviest meal and dinner and lunch are light. In addition their water has the highest calcium content.

The average life expectancy in Japan is 84 which is about 10 years more than in the USA. People who live in Okinawa live to be 100 or more.They attribute their longevity to their diet of fresh vegetables, brown rice, tofu, seaweed and fish. They also don’t overindulge  believing in quality rather than quantity.

Sardinia in Italy and Ikara in Greece are also important in terms of the longevity of their inhabitants. They are both home to the mediterranean diet, and both produce food from the land and have very little in the way of processed food. Meat is hard to produce and so features very little in their diet.

The message here seems clear, to live a long and healthy life, eat fresh food, little or no meat and plenty of exercise and fresh air.

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Body Talk 7/4/17

I think we are aware of the dangers of reheating food, but maybe not quite aware of the reasons why and what viruses and germs may be lurking in that leftover meal.

Eating left over rice for example, can give you food poisoning if it isn’t stored properly. Bacterial spores can survive if rice is kept at room temperature for for over two hours allows the spores to survive. However if you put it in the fridge soon after its cooked,that can eliminate the problem. Boiled rice should either be kept hot or cooled quickly and transferred to a fridge within two hours of cooking. Boiled or fried rice must not be stored in warm conditions.

Sushi rice contains vinegar which makes the rice more acidic and therefore can be safely kept at room temperature.

Reheating celery,spinach or beetroot can turn the nitrate within them toxic. The proteins in mushrooms can break down immediately after they’re cut and if prepared ,mushrooms are stored in the fridge for over 24 hours it’s only safe to eat them after they’ve been heated to a very high temperature.

The protein in cold chicken changes when chicken is reheated which can lead to digestive problems unless it’s reheated to a very hot temperature.

Potatoes can also harbour bacteria which will flourish if not stored in the fridge immediately after cooking. Also boiled eggs if they aren’t reheated for long enough can cause food poisoning. Cooked eggs should never be left out of the fridge for more than two hours.

So be careful when storing and reheating yesterday’s take away!

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Body Talk 1/4/17

How to say happy on a diet, a very difficult state of mind to achieve. But scientists have now proved that the food we eat can make us happy or depressed. Omega 3 fish oils are essential for keeping our spirits up, and changing from a high fat to a low fat diet can make all the difference too.

Your mood can also affect the types of food you are drawn to, so if you’re feeling sad you’re more likely to want something sweet and sugary,

The foods you eat can influence your mood by activating the brain to manufacture more of the feel good chemical serotonin. If you have low levels of vitamin B1 you are more likely to feel depressed than if the levels are higher. Increasing intake of this vitamin can lead to a marked improvement in mood and self confidence. Correcting low levels of riboflavin, B2 and selenium can also have a positive effect on your mood.

Aside from supplementing your diet with these things, it is important to avoid alcohol as it acts as a sedative on your brain and inhibits the production of serotonin. So it may make you feel good while you’re drinking but afterwards, I think we all know that feeling.  Instead turn to bananas, they work most favourably with their mood boosting vitamins.

So look for the mood boosting foods when you start your next diet, it may just help you stay on track.

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Body Talk 18/3/17

When us girls are out on a date with a handsome man, we are more likely to choose a salad than go for the chips! What will they research next? Apparently the same isn’t true for men. They’ll quite easily tuck into the most expensive steak and chips, as they want to make a statement that says they don;’t mind spending money. So when you go on your next date, look for the partners eating habits for a clue as to how much they like you.

It seems that superfoods on their own aren’t the answer. So a shot of wheatgrass every day isn’t going to fix your health issues if you still aren’t exercising and the rest of your diet is bad.

It’s about a healthy lifestyle. A typical western diet is not advised if you want to overcome the effects of an ailing body.

Avocados are very nutritious. They contain 20 different vitamins and minerals, but are also loaded with calories, so not advisable to eat in large quantities.

Raw chocolate or cacao can improve memory and reduce the incidence of heart disease.

Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, protein and fibre,and therefore are helpful with weight loss.

Coconut oil helps with heart health and in controlling blood pressure. You can use it on your hair skin and nails as well as eating it too.

Cruciferous vegetables may also be helpful in controlling the onset of some cancers.

All of this healthy eating needs to be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle. So it’s no good eating loads of veggies and then having a large chunk of chocolate cake afterwards!

Oh well, back to the drawing board!!


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Body Talk 11/3/17

The best way to keep your heart healthy is to have a healthy diet. Each year about 4,000 people die from heart disease. There’s a lot of conflicting information about heart health and nutrition.

Current evidence strongly supports eating plenty of fruit and veg, legumes and pulses. Small quantities of lean meat,fish and small amounts of vegetable oils.

Eggs are actually ok but limit their consumption as much as possible as they are high in cholesterol.

Coconut oil or palm oil is very high in calories and as it heats up it changes it’s nutritional properties and could even be a contributory factor to cancer.

Olive oil is better but low amounts as it’s high in calories.

Juicing has been very popular, but the process itself means that the juice is very high in calories.You can eat 5 or 6 apples and be fine, but the juicing process makes it very high in calories for the amount consumed.   Eating whole fruits and vegetables is preferred. If you do juice avoid adding sugar.

You can’t go wrong with following the mediterranean diet. Most of the evidence points to that being the healthiest for your heart. Plus all of the usual general health advice which is to exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid cigarettes and alcohol.

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Body Talk 4/3/17

How about trying the latest diet craze. The flexitarian diet. Apparently we are becoming a nation of flexitarians without even realising it. It’s quite simply having a few meat free days in the week, and having meat as a treat at the weekends.

According to new research about a third of evening meals contain no meat at all. On average we eat meat 5.4 times per week, which means that almost half of us are ditching meat at least twice a week in favour of a vegetarian option. It seems easier than being completely vegetarian which accounts for just 4.6% of the population.

The way we eat meat has changed. It’s no longer about cutting calories, but opting for a healthier lifestyle instead. Supermarkets are now joining in with encouraging  healthier vegetarian options too. Shops are also selling lean and bean mince, containing 40% haricot beans to encourage people to cut down on their meat intake. Also sausages are being marketed with more vegetable content.

So there we have the flexitarian diet. A term used for those who eat less meat than the average person. Last year a survey found that 40% of people agreed with the statement “I eat less meat than I used to”.  In a survey of 18-24 year olds they agreed with the statement “By 2025 my diet will be mostly vegetarian”.

This news comes after high consumption of red meat has been linked to bowel cancer.

The NHS Choices website is advising people to swap sausages in their breakfast for extra mushrooms and tomatoes or swap to a veggie sausage or veggie burger when you can. They advise to eat no more than 70 grams of red meat per day.

There are many veggie options available, try checking them out.

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Body Talk 25/2/17

How are you sleeping? It seems that sleep is a genuine problem for many of us, particularly women. You fall asleep for an hour or so then you wake up, wide awake, thinking of bills to pay, things to do, jobs to complete.

So what can you do?

No matter how small your problems are they seem to be a million times worse in the dead of night. Dreams can seem irrational too.

Anxiety can be a real problem. Therefore it is good to do a little meditation before you sleep.People always say they sleep better after meditating, and there are quite a few apps and meditations available on the internet.

Give yourself time to wind down before you go to bed, so there’s a clear break between waking and sleeping.

make a list of all of the things that you have to do before you go to bed. That way you won’t wake up and worry about forgetting about your tasks, and you are more prepared for the day ahead.

Also during the evening, make a list of all of the positive things that you’ve achieved that day. Even if you’ve had bad experiences, congratulate yourself on how well you’ve handled them.

Take the stress out of your evening and prepare for the next day.

Then make a sleep diary, and see if you can build uo an insight into how you sleep over a period of time. What keeps you awake and what helps you to sleep.

The ideal amount of sleep we need varies in each of us, but somewhere between 6 and 8 hours is good.  Sweet dreams!

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Body Talk 18/2/17

Adopting a superfood diet can be very expensive, so do we have to pay the price for our health, or, can we get the same benefits elsewhere for less? The answer is yes.

Goji berries, chia seeds and other fashionable foods have adopted a fashionable price. That’s not necessarily the case. Researchers from Ohio State University have found in a recent survey that people do think that the higher the price the better the health benefits.

So what are the alternatives? Brussel sprouts can be better for you than kale, not as tasty maybe, but, the health benefits outweigh the humble Brussel sprouts image. They are a lot less expensive too, so price in this instance doesn’t reflect healthy qualities.

One weekly shopping basket of cheaper alternatives could save you around £70, which is a significant difference. Over a year that’s £3,600!!

Try substituting red and orange peppers instead of goji berries. They don’t go as well on your breakfast cereal, but they are full of goodness just the same.

Coconut oil is also quite expensive, and currently very fashionable. How did we cope without it? Well we used olive oil or rapeseed oil, which have just as much goodness and similar health benefits.

Chia seeds are tremendously expensive, so are we losing out if they’re not part of our diet? Well you could try sesame seeds instead as they do a very similar job in maintaining health. Sesame don’t have the omega 3’s but if you have some oily fish each week that will balance out.

Cacao or cocoa? Those raw chocolate pieces are also expensive, but are they better? It’s true that cocoa is the more processed form, but what’s more important is if it’s been alkalised by the cleansing process. If it has then it will contain reduced flavanols and be of less benefit. Best to choose unsweetened cocoa which is far cheaper and still has the bitter taste, therefore less sugary.

So think before you buy. There generally is a cheaper substitute for the fashionable choice. Stay healthy in your body and your pocket!



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Body Talk 11/2/17

Is snoring a problem for you or do you have a partner who snores?

Snoring is a problem for so many people, it is the relaxing of soft tissues in the airways, causing a blockage and subsequent vibration as the air tries to pass through. it could be due to a number of factors, so the first thing to do is to try and find the cause.

One of the most common causes of snoring is weight gain. So if this seems likely, then the first line of attack would be to try and diet, and a bit of exercise too as poor muscle tone can also be a contributory factor.

From middle age onwards the muscle tone in the throat lessens and the throat gradually narrows. Throat exercises can be helpful if you suspect this is the cause.

It could of course be in your genes. Men are more likely to snore than women.You may also be aware of a physical condition that could be affecting the airways, like a cleft palate or enlarged adenoids. Nasal and sinus problems too.

Drinking, smoking and vaping are also possible culprits. Also anti depressants,as they are targeting stress and tension and encouraging all of the muscles to relax. Alcohol related snoring is quite common, so you may notice that you or your partner snore more after an evening tipple.

Sleeping position is one to consider too.If you sleep on your back it’s likely that the muscles will relax back into the throat, so try sleeping on your side and see if it makes a difference.

If you’ve tried all of these possible solutions, then try visiting your doctor for a second opinion. There are many other medical solutions, including operating, so talk to your gp to find out more.


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Body Talk 4/2/17

Foods to make you feel better. If you suffer with bloating there are foods you can eat that will help resolve the problem.

Kimchi or sauerkraut as it is more commonly known, not to everyone’s taste but it’s a traditional food of shredded cabbage that contains gut friendly bacteria. You’ll also find it with a combination of vegetables and spices to give it a bit more flavour. Raw sauerkraut is the best as it will still contain all of the beneficial bacteria.

Garlic has potent antibacterial and antigfungal properties. It’s helpful with a variety of gut problems including candida.

Artichokes are a good source of insulin, and ginger keeps food moving through the gut.

Soups if they are prepared fresh can be very beneficial. The shop bought ones have to go through a very thorough process including taking them to very high temperatures which kills off all of the good bacteria. Look for unpasteurised products.

Oats are good too, and very helpful in keeping you regular. Wheatbran has similar effects but can be quite harsh on the stomach lining, particularly if you already have sensitivities. Oats can be a better source of gentle fibre, and they’ve also been found to help lower cholesterol levels and help to control blood sugar.

Cider vinegar is helpful  in regulating stomach acid levels, and can help relieve nausea and heartburn.

Rocket and watercress can help to stimulate the digestive juices, which in turn help the stomach to digest and absorb vital vitamins and minerals.


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Body Talk 28/1/17

Do your vegetables and fruit go off really quickly when you store them in the fridge? Well there could be a reason for that.

Every year we throw away around 2.6 billion pounds worth of rotting fruit and  veg. That’s approximately 40 pounds per household. A lot of this waste is down to poor storage. We need to keep certain foods apart. Some fruit and veg produce ethylene gases as they ripen which can shorten the shelf life of other items. Apples, pears, apricots,bananas and kiwi fruit all produce these gases as they start to ripen. As they are all doing this together they are fine, but you can’t store these with vegetables as they will make them ripen prematurely.

Even some fruits can’t be stored together, such as apples and watermelon, bananas don’t get along with anything else. Sweet potatoes and potatoes should be stored in a cool dark place to prevent early sprouting, but not the fridge. This is also the case for garlic, onions too.

Fruit and veg that you can store together are berries and grapes, cauliflower and broccoli, apples and cherries, plums and tomatoes, beets and carrots, cucumber and peppers, and peas and sweetcorn.

Fruits that can go in a fruit bowl are tangerines and pears, avocado and kiwi fruit, and bananas on their own.

So next time your fruit and veg seem to go bad overnight, spare a little thought for how you’re storing them, and you might just increase their shelf life  and so prevent some of the waste.

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Body Talk 21/1/17

One of the top new year’s resolutions is to lose weight. But how successful are we? And how successful are the latest diet crazes?

Low carb diets such as the Atkins Diet do work for some people but for others it can be disastrous. The important thing is to find one that suits your body type. Cutting carbs is in effect,must another way of restricting calories. If you take bread,beans and ketchup out of a breakfast it actually becomes a reasonably healthy meal.

Food needs to be enjoyable. Greens need to be spiced up with a drizzle of olive oil or a dab of butter. Salt and fat have been unfairly criticised.Salt can contribute to high blood pressure, but again used in moderation it seems to pose no threat but does help to bring out the flavour of many veg.

Fill your plate with green veg, others colours are good too but the green ones are the most beneficial in terms of weight loss. They contain relatively few calories and it is virtually impossible to gain weight by just eating vegetables.

Protein fills you up and makes you feel satisfied and it’s tasty too! So steak,pork chops or a piece of salmon are the ideal protein accompaniments to your plate of veg.

To diet successfully you need to identify your weaknesses and try to cut down or avoid them. Do you eat late at night, or eat cakes or biscuits? Or is it your metabolism? It does slow down with age.

Try to combine good food with more exercise and less snacking and you should be able to identify a new way of eating which you can maintain in the long term which in turn will benefit your health.


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Try developing a few new positive habits to counteract the bad ones. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference to your health.

Did you know that cinema goers eat more popcorn when they’re watching a sad love story than when they’re watching a comedy. We overeat to cheer ourselves up. This can work just as well with a sad film too, just make sure you load up on healthy items such as fruit or veggie sticks while you’re watching that sad film!!

Many of us spend our days drinking out of refillable water bottles, but make sure you wash them daily, as these bottles can have more germs on them than a toilet seat!! Tests found germs that related to blood poisoning, pneumonia and skin infections.

Supermarket dips like the apparently  healthy hummus can contain more salt than four packets of crisps and they are loaded with fat! Try choosing lighter and healthier salsa dips.

Even better,make your own then you know exactly what you’re consuming.

Did you know that alcohol tastes sweeter when music is playing? Yes it’s a fact. No wonder we get seduced into drinking so much in pubs and clubs with our favourite songs in the background. And we drink faster too. So if you’re trying to abstain from alcohol, try going to a quiet pub or bar instead.

Climbing stairs is an obvious way to get a bit more exercise without too much effort, but the additional bonus is it can make you feel younger in body and mind too. After examining the brains of healthy adults, researchers found that walking up four flights of stairs every day reduces brain age by more than two years.

A few simple changes that can make a big difference to your life.

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Body Talk 7/1/17

If you are suffering from the excesses of rich food in the aftermath of the festive season, don;’t despair there are things you can do to help get your health back on track.

Try switching to low fat foods for a while, like skimmed milk instead of full fat. Foods high in saturated fats take longer to digest and can make heartburn and reflux symptoms worse. A low fat diet can help to make improvements quite quickly.

Bloating after meals is another common problem. Fennel, caraway and mint help to relieve it by releasing the gut wall and balancing the healthy bacteria in the gut.

Tropical fruits like pineapple and papaya can also help to improve your digestion and calm inflammation or bloating, or other digestive issues.

Live yoghurt and probiotics can also help with bloating.

Green vegetables contain iron,magnesium and plenty of fibre to aid digestion.

Golden linseeds have also been shown to help with bloating, wind and diarrhoea, try adding them to your breakfast cereal, or salads or soups.

If you’re suffering from constipation, beans and pulses are a great source of fibre and contain many vitamins and minerals to keep your body both healthy and regular.

Oats or porridge is great for breakfast if you suffer with acid reflux, constipation or diarrhoea, it helps to maintain the healthy gut bacteria.

So if the New Year has left you feeling a little less than your usual bright and energetic self try a few of these tips to get you back on track.


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Body talk 31/12/16

Happy New Year!!

If you’ve over indulged at Christmas try not to be too despondent. Everything that you’ve eaten may not be as bad as you think. The traditional Christmas dinner contains a hideous 6,000 calories!

Smoked salmon and avocado are great superfoods. Both are loaded with healthy unsaturated fats and nutrients that have been shown to help with weight loss, and give you glowing skin as well.  The fish is full of potassium, selenium and vitamin b12 amongst other things, including its exceptionally high content of omega 3.

Turkey is the most traditional part of our christmas dinner. Turkey breast is leaner and lower in calories than chicken breast.  It’s a great source of high quality protein, and is naturally low in fat especially when the skin has been removed. It’s rich in b vitamins which are important for brain health and zinc and selenium which help with the immune system.

If you had a chestnut based stuffing instead of sausage meat you will have saved on calories and saturated fats. Chestnuts are full of vitamin c and potassium, protein, fibre and other nutrients.

Brussel sprouts, not everyone’s favourite, but they are a good source of b vitamins, folate, vitamin c and cancer fighting substances. They are a great source of fibre which helps to keep the digestive system healthy. They are low in calories too so you can eat plenty of them!

So don’t feel too bad over the food overload. Know that you have eaten a few good things, even your cranberry sauce has the beneficial cranberry which is good for the urinary tract.

So focus on the healthy aspects and continue to  enjoy your food and enjoy your health in 2017!


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Body Talk 24/12/16

Freezer tips for christmas. The Food Standards agency has released a list of things to do with your christmas turkey so you’re not stuck with last minute preparations and spend the whole time in the kitchen on christmas day. If you cook in advance and freeze it till you need it, you could save yourself a whole lot of stress.

When your turkey is cooked, let it cool and you can then slice and batch it and store it in the freezer. This allows you to take out only what you need when you need it. Then you can save the remaining turkey for a later date. Just remember that meat previously heated and refrozen should only be reheated once.

To stop cross contamination make sure you store cooked meats separately to raw meats. To prevent the spread of food poisoning germs, don’t wash your raw turkey under the tap, as the splashing water can also splash the germs everywhere. Make sure that you wash everything that’s touched the raw turkey, so you wash away the germs.  Always defrost your raw turkey fully before cooking. If you have an extra large turkey, up to 3kg or over, it can take up to 3 days to defrost. Defrost it in the fridge so  it defrosts slowly and you can be sure that you will cook the inside as well as the outside. You don’t want the middle to still be frozen and pink when you carve!!

Have a wonderful christmas and enjoy the festivities to the full!!

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Body Talk 17/12/16

Exercising self control is very difficult at this time of year. The food and drink abounds and it’s so easy to get carried away. The next best thing when it comes to alcohol consumption is to choose drinks that will be slightly easier on the hangover feeling.

Vodka is a drink that will be a little easier on your liver.Any of the clear liquors like gin, saki,etc are less likely to cause a hangover. It’s best not to mix them with a soft drink as sugar can add to the hangover. Go for soda or fruit juice if you must.

Worst of all is beer. Dark drinks tend to be worse. Red wine can be worse than white and cheap wines can be worse still, containing many additives that the  more expensive wines leave out. Champagne is absorbed into the bloodstream faster than other drinks because of the carbon dioxide making the bubbles. And try to avoid too much of the darker liquors like whisky, brandy or port.

To avoid a hangover altogether try a glass of water. Not quite the same though is it! Certainly the best option if you’re the designated driver though.

Coconut water is good before and after a night out as it helps to cleanse the liver, and it’s hydrating.

Try not to drink on an empty stomach, and have something afterwards too. It will help to soak up the alcohol. Nothing too greasy, or high in sugar. Favoured herbal supplements are milk thistle.

It’s never good to over indulge and to lose the whole of the next day is such a waste. Drink sensibly and enjoy your christmas to the full.

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Body Talk 7/12/16

We all tend to overindulge at Christmas, there are so many lovely temptations that are so difficult to resist at all of the various parties and get-togethers. We try to say to ourselves that a few days of indulgence won’t do any harm. That may not be the case. The average person will consume approximately 2,500 extra calories per day over the christmas period! Which is quite a shocking amount, and could lead to a weight gain of 2 pounds in just a few days!

We can eat as many as three christmas dinners, not in one go, but over the festive season, and each meal will contain about 1500 calories. That’s without all of the additional snacks and cakes. They all contain dangerously high sugar and salt levels too.  To avoid this huge excess try to cook as many things from scratch as possible. The prepacked items contain far more sugar and salt.

So before you reach for that fourth mince pie or third slice of christmas cake, think for a moment if you really need it and how it will make you feel afterwards, or in a few days when you get on the scales!!

Enjoy your christmas food, but as always try to eat sensibly. Those pounds go on a lot easier than they come off!!


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Body Talk 30/11/16

Red Bull is still a very popular energy drink in spite of all of the health warnings against energy drinks. So what does it actually do? Research has proved that caffeine based drinks and liquor cocktails have the same effect as cocaine on a teenagers brain. That’s scary indeed.

After 10  minutes the caffeine begins to filter into your bloodstream, and increase your heart rate and blood pressure. 15 to 45 minutes later you’ll feel more alert. 30 to 50 minutes later the caffeine absorption is complete and your pupils dilate, blood pressure rises and your liver releases more sugar into your bloodstream. After one hour your body experiences a sugar crash. You’ll start to feel tired and your energy levels will be low. Five to six hours later the caffeine in your body is gradually released by about half, if you’re on the pill it will take 10 hours.  12 hours is the time it takes most people to fully remove caffeine from their bloodstream. 12 to  24  hours later withdrawal symptoms kick in, and at that point you’re probably ready for another. If you are drinking these drinks every day you’ll start to feel lethargic, headachey and lacking in concentration. All of which are signs of withdrawal. After 7 to 12 days your body becomes tolerant to the regular caffeine dosage which means the effects are less and so you need more. And so the addiction starts.

Beware of so called healthy energy drinks. Particularly at this time of year when there are so many more parties and so many more reasons to stay awake and energised. Perhaps it’s better to remember that if you’re feeling tired the best thing you  can do is get some rest, and save the partying for another day!!

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Body Talk 23/11/16

Some of the foods you are eating that you think are healthy may not be that good for you. We fool ourselves into  thinking that some of the more sugary foods are ok for us as they seem to come in healthy packaging, fromnatural sources, or they may be marketed as breakfast foods. But beware even organic sugars are bad for you in excess, and not all breakfast cereals are as innocent as they seem.

Agave syrup is often thought to be a healthy alternative to sugar.The syrup is made from the pulp of the cactus leaf, the processing involved in its production destroys any goodness it may have contained. These syrups are dangerously high in fructose  which is considered to be linked to obesity.

Low fat yoghurts are also marketed as a healthy option, but check the sugar levels! Many low fat or no fat yoghurts can be as high in sugar as an average dessert.

Full fat milk, particularly organic milk is good for you. It is now known to contain healthy fats and all of the processing involved in removing those fats is where the health benefits take their toll.

Protein bars are really popular these days , and are labelled as healthy, low sugar, low carb options, but they contain sucralose which is similar to fructose in that it is highly processed and  can contribute to weight gain.

Instant noodles may be quick but they’re not healthy. They have so many ingredients in them that you’d probably need a degree to translate the list, and when you have you would find that at best they have no nutritional value and at worst can lead to heart disease or stroke.

The worst breakfast cereals are the ones aimed at weight loss and children. They are fiklled with chemicals and sugar, opt for the oat based more raw ingredients which will give you the most health benefits and leave you feeling fuller for longer.

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Man flu or actual flu? It’s Movember!

It’s November, meaning it’s Movember time again when men are growing moustaches and the focus is on raising awareness of men’s health issues.

We may all joke about man flu, but Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking men if they can tell if it is flu or just a common cold?

On average, adults can expect two colds a year and children as many as 10, until they develop immunity. Sometimes a bad cold can be mistaken for flu because a severe cold can also cause muscle aches and fever. But it’s how quickly the symptoms come on which is the biggest clue.

Flu usually comes quicker than a cold and symptoms include a high temperature of 38-40 degrees Celsius, muscle aches and pains, sweating, feeling exhausted, needing to lie down and a dry chesty cough.

A person with flu may also have a runny nose and be prone to sneezing, but these are not usually the key symptoms of flu. Flu symptoms appear one to three days after infection and most people recover within a week, although you may feel tired for longer.

Colds on the other hand can cause more nasal problems. This includes a blocked and runny nose which begins with a clear mucus that develops into thicker green mucus as the cold progresses, a sore throat, sneezing and a cough.

Adults are also more likely to suffer a mild fever, earache, tiredness and headache. Cold symptoms develop over one or two days and gradually get better after a few days. Some colds can last for up to two weeks.


Dr Jojo Mampilly, local GP and board member of Basildon and Brentwood CCG says: “Unfortunately, colds and flu are an unpleasant part of winter. No one likes to be ill so whether you’re normally fit and well or if you have an underlying health condition it’s important to take notice of what your body’s telling you.

“If you do start to feel ill the best thing to do is visit your local pharmacist for advice on cold and flu remedies that will help you feel better. If you’re taking other medication make sure you tell the pharmacist so that they can give you remedies that won’t interfere with your medication. Also take lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.”

Other things to remember:

  • Have a free flu jab if you are over 65 or have an underlying health condition
  • Keep paracetamol or ibuprofen-based pain and fever treatment or cold remedies in the house. They will help with the symptoms of both colds and flu
  • If you are prescribed antibiotics because of a bacterial infection, make sure you finish the course
  • Sneeze into a tissue and put it straight in the bin – don’t carry it around and reuse over and over again
  • Have good hand hygiene – always wash hands with soap and water, particularly after sneezing and blowing your nose. Take the time to dry them properly as wet hands harbour and spread germs
  • Keep surfaces clean

Whether it’s a cold or flu, get medical help if you either have a chronic condition, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or have a very high fever as well as an unusually severe headache, abdominal or chest pain.

For more information about pharmacies and staying well this winter visit

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Body Talk 16/11/16

How do you eat you food?

Apparently if you eat in front of the tv it isn’t good for you! According to research by eating in this way you are more likely to eat fast food and are more likely to mindlessly overeat. Even if you have it on in the background and not actually watching it. Chances are you’ll be more unsatisfied by the meal than if you sit with family around the dinner table. Sitting around the table is also a social occasion and gives everyone the chance to catch up on what’s happening in each others lives.

Do you pay attention to sell by dates on food? About a third of the food in the world is thrown away needlessly . We are often so scared of getting food poisoning that we will throw away perfectly good food, just because of the date stamp on it. Alcohol for example takes years to go off, indeed sometimes the older it is the better it is! Chocolate is also safe to eat even when it  has those white spots on it which are called bloom. It might not taste as good as the day you bought it but it shouldn’t make you ill. The same goes for old crisps, the salt on them acts as a preservative. Eggs can last for 3 to 5 weeks, but they have to be kept below 5 degrees centigrade. A simple way to check is put them in cold water and if they sink they’re fresh and if they float they’ve gone off. The hard cheeses like cheddar are ok to eat after their best before date too.

The answer is to use your common sense. If something looks and smells off, then it isn’t safe to eat. Otherwise it probably won’t do you any harm. Years ago there were no sell by or best before dates. Let’s go back to doing what our grandparents did, and cut out the waste!

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Body Talk 9/11/16

Have you heard of the five second rule for food? It’s the one that means if you drop something on the floor as long as it doesn’t stay there for more than five seconds it’s germ free and still ok to eat. Or is it?

It depends on the surface that you drop the food onto and the type of food you’ve dropped. Some foods start attracting germs the moment they hit the floor. The amount of moisture inj the food, the type of surface and the amount of time the food is left there can all play a part in determining how long it is before contamination starts.

Four surfaces were tested; stainless steel, ceramic tiles,wood and carpet, and four different foods: water melon, bread,buttered bread and a chewy sweet. They were all left on the surfaces for varying lengths of time. The slice of water melon was completely contaminated at five seconds and the chewy sweet had hardly any contamination.

The general rule of thumb is to use your common sense, unlike Genghis Khan, who told his troops that food was safe to eat even if it had been left on the ground for five hours!  The conclusion of the research was two seconds is safe, but if it’s longer, beware.

Another urban myth is that you lose brain cells as you get older and there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s plenty you can do as new research is revealing. Brain cells are able to regenerate. The rate of regeneration varies widely in each of us, but you should be aiming for optimum cell renewal which will allow you to feel physically and mentally fit well into your older years.

Sorry to have to keep repeating myself here, but the answer is a good healthy diet and plenty of exercise. Old age doesn’t have to mean loss of brain function.


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What foods should you be eating to keep you in the best of health? Or more correctly what pairs of foods? Yes combining the right types of foods can help or speed up the absorption of different vitamins and minerals into your system.

Turmeric and black pepper.Turmeric has wonderful anti inflammatory properties but some of us can find it hard to absorb, so it is helped along by consuming black pepper.

Cauliflower and beans is another good combination to help your body get all of the goodness out of the beans. Help to release the vitamin D in salmon  by serving it with a spoonful of creme fraiche. Milk and honey combine to make a beautifully sleep inducing nightcap. Green tea with lemon juice a combination that will boost the antioxidant content, and bananas and yoghurt to help unlock the calcium.

Have you been thinking about being a vegetarian? It would seem that research suggests vegetarians appear to live longer. Meat consumption is often analysed, and it now researchers have found that meat eaters don’t live as long as vegetarians, but this may well be due to other lifestyle and environmental factors combined. If you are choosing a vegetarian diet it probably means that you are thinking about your overall lifestyle and would also be a non-smoker, have low alcohol consumption and more keen to exercise. So maybe vegetarianism on it’s own isn’t the key factor but more of an overarching desire to stay healthy.


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Body Talk 26/10/16

Is plastic good for you?

It’s long been known that drinking water from plastic bottles isn’t good for you as they do contain substances that can contribute to cancer. Now it’s been proven that they contain chemicals that can not only contribute to cancer but also diabetes adhd and autism.Endocrine disrupting chemicals interfere with the body’s hormonal system which affects development and leaves the body open to a staggering range of diseases too. These chemicals are found in thousands of every day products including plastic and metal food containers detergents flame retardants and cosmetics. Although this piece of research was done in the US and many of the chemicals referred to in the report are actually banned in the UK it is still worth knowing about. Particularly when travelling abroad, it isn’t only the water we need to be wary of!!

Are you concerned about lack of sleep? It’s a problem that does indeed seem to be unsolvable, but there are many things we can be doing to help change our sleep patterns. A good night’s sleep is worth its weight in gold.

Around 30% of adults experience chronic insomnia, which means it lasts for more than a month. According to research, insomniacs are more likely to have accidents, in particular road acccidents, where they are falling asleep at the wheel.

Are sleeping tablets the answer? The overuse of these can have harmful side effects. Try instead some soothing music. Studies have shown that this does have a positive effect, which the NHS does recommend. The top rated sleep music is Bach, followed rather surprisingly by Ed Sheeran, then Mozart, Emo and Coldplay. So a real mix of musical styles but all of which are soothing for the soul.


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Body Talk 19/10/16

Experts believe that the Japanese diet is the secret behind their longevity. So what is it that they eat?

For a healthy heart eat plenty of fish which is filled with omega-3. It’s also good for the brain,eyes and they reduce inflammation. Fish are rich in selenium which is vital for our antioxidant defences. We eat far less fish in the UK than our Japanese counterparts, so it’s about time we included a bit more in our diet.

Fermented soya foods like miso, tempeh and umami paste are considered to be helpful to women after the menopause, and they can help to maintain bone mineral density reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Seaweed is rich in minerals including iodine, zinc, selenium and potassium which are all good for your health.

Now look at your hands, what do they say about you? If your index finger is longer than your ring finger then you are likely to be bad at sports  but better at verbal memory tasks. Shorter index fingers mean people are less anxious and better at mentally demanding tasks.

Straighten your fingers and look at the palm of your hand. At the base of your index and ring fingers there are creases. Your index finger is likely to have one crease  and the ring finger has a band of creases. Measure from the crease closest to the palm to the tip of the finger.

Scientists have long known that if the ring finger is shorter than the index finger it’s as a result of low testosterone in the womb.

So maybe there is something to palmistry after all!!

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Body Talk 12/10/16

Is high blood pressure a problem? It’s known as the silent killer as it has no symptoms. It actually increases your chances of suffering from a stroke or heart disease or kidney disease. It can be prevented quite easily by simple dietary changes. Rolled oats are really good for keeping the pressure down, so don’t forget your porridge for breakfast!

Beetroot too is full of something called inorganic nitrate which is also very helpful in dilating arteries which in turn lowers blood pressure, along with plenty of vitamin c. Salt, on the other hand is not good. High salt intake equals high blood pressure so try to keep it down as much as possible.

Now for something completely different – how much dirt do you need? Yes scientists are now coming to the opinion that we are becoming too clean, and that as a result we are weakening our immune systems against common germs. Your grandmother probably told you the old adage ” You need to eat a peck of dirt before you die”, and it seems that science is now agreeing.

Allergies have been rising in all developed countries in recent years, so much so that they are now commonplace. Food allergies are only relatively new in terms of diagnosis. The first nut allergy was discovered in 1969! It seems to be associated more with hygiene. A report published many years ago found that poorer families living on farms surrounded by animals and with little opportunity to stay clean actually had less allergies. Hence the argument for not being obsessive over cleaning.

So it’s for you to decide. To clean or not to clean? Think I’ll opt for not cleaning!!


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Body Talk 14/9/16

What are the latest superfoods?

Hippocrates famously told us to treat food as medicine, and indeed he was right. Food can heal us or it can make us ill. So what should we be eating to keep us in the best of health?

The Mayo Clinic suggests five cups of green tea every day to maintain good health. Eat wholefoods and take probiotics to help maintain a healthy digestive system. Eat plenty of oily fish to keep your levels of Omega 3 high. It helps to combat inflammation in the body.

Carrots are a good source of vitamin A. Red and yellow peppers are a richer source of vitamin C than oranges, this vitamin strengthens the immune system and neutralises toxins. Sunflower seeds are high in zinc and vitamin E, and it also helps your body to absorb vitamin C. Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium.Mushrooms are good too for boosting your immune system. Tomatoes contain powerful antioxidants which help to prevent cancer. Egg yolk contains folic acid which contributes to healthy replication of DNA. Broccoli helps eliminate toxins, it’s good for the digestive system and it helps to detox the liver. Beetroot too has cancer fighting properties, if you’re not keen on beetroot then cherries, aubergines and red grapes are almost as good. Lentils, chickpeas and beans are great sources of fibre.

It is important to have a good diet in the challenge to regulate your weight, but surprisingly sleep is also important.If your sleep patterns are irregular it can apparently make you more resistant to leptin which is the chemical that controls your appetite.

So as usual the advice is to eat healthily and get regular sleep to bring you to a place of optimum health.


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Body Talk 7/9/16

Do you suffer with constant pain? Natural therapies such as yoga, Tai Chi and acupuncture can help in the relief of pain according to recent studies. Until now there has been a lack of evidence, but now a group of scientists have got together to give us irrefutable proof.

Many medications that are given may not relieve the pain as much as they used to, the body gets used to them over a period of time, and they can also produce unwanted side effects,so many people now are turning to non-drug approaches to manage their pain.

Acupuncture and yoga both showed promise for treating back pain. Tai Chi showed promise for osteoarthritis of the knee and massage therapy proved effective at treating neck pain. Relaxation techniques were shown to relieve headaches and migraine.

Coconut is being hailed as the current best superfood. It’s in everything everywhere it seems. Sales of all things coconutty are set to exceed sales of over £100K this year alone. Is it really that good?

Coconut milk is said to contain electrolytes that your body needs for healthy muscle function, but scientists argue that you should be able to get these same electrolytes fro eating normal healthy meals. There’s nothing in coconut water that you can’t get from other sources.

Beware of healthy coconut drinks that contain fruit juices as this can raise sugar levels through the roof.

Coconut oil is also popular. It is around 84% saturated fat, which is digested quickly and can give you an energy boost. However it is high in calories, so don’t overdo it.

It is also very good as a moisturiser and make up remover, and it can add gloss to hair and nails.

So be careful over coconut claims. Yes, it is good for you but so are a lot of other things. Balance, I think is the answer, and listen to your body’s reaction.


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Body Talk 30/8/16

What type of exercise should you be doing to lose weight and maintain a healthy body. Slow and steady seems to be the answer according to new research. It seems to work better than building up a huge sweat in the gym.

Strenuous exercise doesn’t necessarily help you to lose weight. After an hour’s intensive workout you may have only burned about 200 calories which is only the equivalent of a biscuit or two. Your resting metabolic rate amounts to about 60 to 70% of your total daily energy expenditure. A further 10% is burned up by the digesting and absorbing of the food we eat.

That leaves around 15% that we have some control over and that can vary according to age and gender.

Many people suffer from sleep difficulties and there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer to the problem. Research shows that only 14% of adults actually get the right amount of sleep.

Feeling tired is the second most common reason that people don’t exercise.

Try eating some foods that encourage sleep. Banana, marmite and lettuce are supposed to be the best, and it is recommended to eat them together in a sandwich!! Doesn’t sound too appetising but marmite is an excellent source of magnesium which helps to relax muscles and marmite contains natural substances that help induce sleep.

If your mind starts to spin as soon as the lights go out,talking to yourself can help.Have a little conversation about your day and talk through your problems. No it isn’t a sign of madness, it’s helping to alleviate your stress. Say positive thoughts out loud and write them down.

Exercise diet and sleep are crucial to your overall well being  so make sure you are looking after yourself in all of these areas.


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Body Talk 24/8/16

What do you prefer, butter or margarine? Well it isn’t that simple any more. There are now lots of new spreads available to choose from Have you heard of avocado spread?  It’s a relatively new recipe that is vegan friendly, however it isn’t the green colour that you might expect as it isn’t entirely avocado but is mixed with other ingredients too. Only 24% is actually derived from the avocado itself. It is a source of vitamins A, D and omega 3 fatty acids,but these are added rather than being contained in the natural ingredients, so you are probably better off just mashing up an avocado and using that instead!

Coconut oil is another spread which is again slightly misleading as it only contains 21% coconut and the rest is a blend of vegetable oils,mostly rapeseed. Again, it is marketed as containing vitamins A,D and omega 3 but these are all added artificially.

Olive spread is another popular one that has appeared on the supermarket shelves, this does contain dairy fats however, but is actually one of the lowest fat spreads.

Soya spread is also readily available and has a high soya content at 42%,but this has been linked to allergies, so just be careful when you first start to use it and watch out for any unusual responses.

Finally, the lacto free spread which has had all of the lactose removed which is generally the cause of most allergies, and also as it’s made from butter is does have more calories than the other options.

So there is no longer a simple choice of what you put on your toast in the morning, but whichever one you choose,make sure it’s the right one for you and your body!

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Body Talk 17/8/16

Some good news for all of you beer drinkers out there. Beer may help to prevent Alzheimers!! Regularly drinking just one or two pints can help to reduce the sticky plaque build up that contributes to the disease. And there I was thinking that it was no good for your memory, especially after a night out. As with all things though, moderation is the key,so this is no excuse to start binge drinking and justifying it as a preventative medicine.

Exercising for around 12 hours per week is good for you according to new research which suggests that will help stave off serious illnesses such as strokes and heart attacks and even diabetes. That five times more than the government and the World Health Organisation currently recommend. Official guidelines fall well short of a truly healthy lifestyle and most of us should be doing much more exercise.

Now for some dietary news; the main thing to aggravate a sensitive gut is a high sugar and low fibre diet. Processed foods in particular will encourage the growth of yeast and unhealthy gut bacteria. Hot and spicy foods should also be avoided, along with acidic foods such as coffee and alcohol. Overuse of some medications can also have an adverse effect.

Take care of your teeth. Unhealthy teeth and gums can be linked to various different health conditions, particularly heart problems. Flossing may be a waste of time as it doesn’t completely clean between the teeth, instead it is now considered that the tiny brushes that clean between the teeth are a much better option as they actually clean the surface.

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Body Talk 3/8/16

What does your breath smell like? Do you use chewing gum or sprays to disguise garlicky breath?Apparently 9 out of 10 of us worry about our breath, and a third of us say that bad breath is a real turn off when meeting with someone. So what causes it?

Mouth wash doesn’t solve the problem, in spite of what the manufacturers say. It will only get rid of the smell of bad breath for a short period of time. Most of the odours come from bacteria lodged on between the teeth. Using dental floss or sticks will help much more. 95% of us have no idea that we have bad breath which is slightly worrying. Apparently breathing into your hands to check isn’t a good enough test. It’s a gradual occurrence too,so we do actually get used to the smell. Try getting a good friend to tell you if you have bad breath,or ask your dentist next time you go. Otherwise you could try licking the inside of your wrist,wait 10 seconds and then smell it, as the smell of your breath or saliva will then be on the inside of your wrist.

Your mind is very powerful and can work for you, which is brilliant, but it can also work against you. Athletes of many varieties now harness the power of thought to improve their performance and improve consistency. Mental rehearsal is now seen as being vitally important, and makes the difference between success and failure. The brain waves have been measured and are shown to be exactly the same whether we’re thinking about doing something or actually doing it. Don’t take that as an excuse for having a rest and just thinking about exercise. Your mind isn’t that good!! Combine the two and you’re on to a winner. Don’t just be healthy, think healthy too!!

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Body Talk 27/7/16

Try some freshly squeezed lemon juice for a quick boost. Not on its own, that makes the mouth water just to think about it, but diluted in water. It improves digestion, helps the immune system, boosts energy, rejuvenates the skin and can help with weight loss. All that from a simple lemon. It’s too amazing to not give it a go!!

If your not keen on drinking the recommended 2 litres of water a day,then try eating some watery foods instead to keep your body hydrated. Cucumbers are 96% water,courgettes are 95% water,tomatoes are 94% water, pineapple is 80% water, watermelons are 92% water  and so are strawberries.

About 40% of the population over 75 are affected by age related hearing loss. There are a few things you can do yourself to help correct this. The first thing to do is check whether your ears are blocked with wax by paying a visit to the doctor. Try not to clear them out yourself with a cotton bud as this just pushes the wax further inside. If you regularly take aspirin it may interfere with the ability to hear properly, it can even bring on tinnitus. The only way to check is to have a little break if you can, for a few weeks, check with your doctor first though. Many other drugs are associated with hearing loss too, so it’s worth checking the list of side effects. Low levels of vitamin B12 and folic acid have been linked to hearing loss too, so make sure that you have a good balanced diet.

So a few tips there to make sure that you can continue to tune in each week and hear Phoenix at it’s best!!

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Body Talk 20/7/16

What does your face say about your health? We are all aware that our face gives away our emotions but it can also give away a lot about your health. We are all subconsciously attracted to healthy faces, but what constitutes a healthy face?

Rosy red cheeks and lighter skin patches under the eyes is apparently the pinnacle of health,and gives a healthy appearance. Symptoms of depression can cause faces to be less socially desirable, but wearing make up greatly helps to mask an unhealthy look. Facial coloration is of the utmost importance, researchers found that people with lighter red or yellow skin is seen as the healthiest. Lighter skin is associated with the ability to absorb more vitamin D. Redder skin indicates better circulation. People with yellower skin tend to have healthier diets, also tanning helps to enhance the skin.

How healthy is your holiday diet? Probably not very as we do generally see a holiday as a time to let loose and eat and drink to our hearts content. However, when we get home and step on the scales, the heart is quite discontent as we realise the damage that has been done. It’s not easy to choose healthy options when we’re away but a little bit of thought into what we’re eating will go a long way. It is possible when visiting destinations such as Spain or Greece or any of the mediterranean resorts to opt for the healthy vegetables and plain fish and meats rather than those covered in oil and sauces. Go easy on the alcohol too as that contains many hidden calories and I’m sure your head will be grateful the next day!!

In other words the usual advice applies; don’t overdo it and you’ll come back from your holiday feeling healthy and refreshed.

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Body Talk 13/7/16

How healthy is the food that you are eating? Or not eating. In direct opposition to the latest diet craze, the 5:2 diet, we are now being informed that skipping meals isn’t actually that good for us. Research has found that people who eat breakfast tend to eat less throughout the day than those who give it a miss.  It can also mean that blood sugar levels will drop leading to an energy drain and the desire to snack on less healthy foods to give you an energy boost.

When you are eating a meal, out your knife and fork down between mouthfuls and chew your food thoroughly.This has been found to be very helpful with weight loss as you are allowing the food to reach your stomach before putting more into your mouth, and so avoiding that totally bloated feeling afterwards. You give your body time to recognise the amount of food that’s being consumed.

Try not to eat too many healthy foods as they are often loaded with calories and can make you put on weight instead. Coconut oil is now being hailed as one of the latest oils most beneficial to health but in large doses is very high in calories.

How are your stress levels? Certainly if you’re not eating properly you will be putting your body under physical stress.

One of the signs of too much stress is a lowered immune system which may make you susceptible to more illnesses and may even lead to cancer if left unchecked. You may find yourself crying more than usual, or becoming more irritable. Try to slow down your life and take up yoga or meditation to ease your anxiety. It doesn’t matter how much you worry, it won’t solve your problems. In fact staying calm may help considerably more.


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Body Talk 6/7/16

In recent times we have all got used to cutting out the carbs in our diets. We have been told that bread, and in particular white bread is very unhealthy. This has resulted in a huge drop in bread sales. To try and redress the balance there is a new carb based diet that has just entered the diet scene. It is trying to dispel the myth that carbs are bad for us.

Carbs are our main source of energy, and without them we can suffer from problems such as muscle cramps, fatigue and poor memory. We need good carbs to keep us functioning properly and those good carbs come from wholegrains and they give us plenty of magnesium and B vitamins which are vital for our overall health and wellbeing.

Have you thought about skipping as a good way of exercising? It’s a good way of burning calories and gives you a good cardio workout and you can do it indoors or out.  It’s great for co-ordination and good for the calf muscles. It also helps to improve balance. 10 minutes of skipping gives you a good workout.

How healthy is your breakfast? Are you eating too much sugar? Cut out the chocolate croissants and replace them with a boiled egg and soldiers.Make sure the bread is wholemeal though. Eating eggs for breakfast has been shown to cut down on calorie intake for the rest of the day. Not all yogurts are created equal. A natural yogurt is your best bet, try and steer clear of the ones that are low fat but loaded with sugar.  Even worse though is toast and marmalade, loaded with calories and it will give you a quick burst of energy followed by a slump. Strong black coffee is also good as it contains no calories, but obviously moderation is needed with this one.

As ever a good balanced diet with moderate exercise is guaranteed to put you on the right track.

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Body Talk 22/6/16

Did you know that housework can actually be good for you? Well a report that I came across this week says it is, however I do feel that this was done a little tongue in cheek, but the basis of it is to put your heart and soul into your housework to use up the calories.Good in theory but quite impractical as you’d never get through the housework!!

30 minutes of vacuuming will burn 230 calories, equivalent to a pint of lager, but you need to fully extend your arm and incorporate some lunges as well. Don’t know about you but I don’t think vacuuming works like that. Going round the furniture and into the corners could be tricky!!

Then they talk about scrubbing the floor and doing what is equivalent to a push up. Does anybody scrub floors these days? Personally I have a mop. This burns 200 calories,or one slice of pizza.

Cleaning windows and mowing the lawn are also good calorie burners, but I think we know that anyway. Just keep up the good work in other words!

And talking about calories as I often do, are you eating right for your age? There is a new diet theory out now that divides people into age groups, and you need to eat according to that.Our eating habits change as we mature,and probably what you ate as a teenager isn’t the same as you eat now, at least it shouldn’t be.  Teenagers need to be eating calcium rich foods, and nuts and wholegrains as their bodies are still growing.
When you get into your twenties and thirties, and the partying starts to take its toll you need to be upping the iron in you diet, so plenty of green leafy veg.

As we come into our forties we need to be thinking more about folic acid as the parenting takes over from partying. COQ10 is needed as we come into our fifties to help with concentration , and plenty of b vitamins. As we progress into our later years try eating more complex carbohydrates to help stabalise blood sugar levels and keep diabetes at bay.



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Body Talk 15/6/16

Tonight my guest was Vernon Harris, hypnotherapist.

From an early age Vernon displayed intuitive concern and empathy towards those with problems. He is a qualified teacher and lecturer, with over eighteen years experience in higher education. His own life took a dramatic turn in 1975 when he personally experienced the power of hypnosis. This proved to be a turning point and a trigger that set him on a path of exploration. Vernon recalls that discovering the breadth and value of complementary therapies was like opening a door into a bright new world of possibilities.

Hypnotherapy – is a safe, proven and effective tool for directly accessing the power of the unconscious mind.

It’s a form of therapy where the client is placed in a trance state, a relaxed and comfortable  state of consciousness allowing specific suggestions to be given to the unconscious in order to lead to a permanent and desired change in behaviour.Unlike hypnosis, hypnotherapy is a counselling tool that uses the state of hypnosis to treat a variety of medical and psychological problems.

It enables the client to review past issues in a safe manner from a new perspective, which allows them to learn and understand more about themselves.

To find out more check out Vernon’s website



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Body Talk 8/6/16

Tonight my guest was Dr Reshma Rakshit, Gastroenterologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects up to one in five adults. It is a condition that is characterised by symptoms including abdominal pain, wind, bloating, and changed bowel habit (ranging from diarrhoea to constipation). Symptoms can often be debilitating and lead to a reduced quality of life.

An Australian research team has developed a new approach to dietary management to control symptoms associated with IBS: the Low FODMAP diet. They have produced strong evidence that a group of short-chain carbohydrates, named FODMAPs, are problematic for those with IBS. They are not well absorbed in the small intestine and quickly ferment due to bacteria in the gut.

A Low FODMAP diet can be tailored to meet an individual’s lifestyle and preferences. The Low FODMAP approach does not cure IBS, but allows patients to successfully manage their symptoms through diet.

Recent evidence is beginning to suggest that patients with IBS may have excessive bacteria in their small bowel, referred to as bacterial overgrowth. Therefore there may be benefits of antibiotic-based therapies for IBS.

Spire consultant gastroenterologist Dr Reshma Rakshit has a special interest in IBS as well as other bowel disorders. She can help you by carrying out investigations including blood tests, X-ray based tests and endoscopy (when appropriate). Using these, she can confirm a diagnosis, which involves excluding other possible conditions such as coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

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Body Talk 1/6/16

Obesity rates have tripled over the last 30 years. We seem to have a dietary epidemic. We know more than ever about the food we eat,yet we still can’t seem to get it exactly right. We are all exercising more regularly and watching calories more than ever before. It seems that what we are eating is more important than our total calorie intake. We are constantly bombarded with information about what is good and what isn’t and often this information is quite conflicting.

We should look to our guts for the answer. Inside the stomach there is a whole set of microbiomes which are unique to each individual. Just as unique as a fingerprint. It is their job to digest food and keep us healthy. Scientists are now analysing how these microbes can be looked at in each of us to help us make better food choices to keep us slim, healthy and happy.

Calories are not all equal. Two people can eat exactly the same food and the same amount, but one will lose weight and the other won’t. This is down to the microbiomes in each of their guts.

Exercise is good, we all know that, but it won’t necessarily make you slim. Your body readjusts to the amount of exercise you do versus your food intake. So if your cutting down on calories and exercising more, your body very intelligently slows down your metabolism to into account the change in your activity levels!! Keep up the good work though as exercise does make you fitter and helps you to live a longer and healthier life.

Microbial diversity is the key to our health. Which means eat as many different types of food as possible but in small amounts to encourage a good healthy gut. We shouldn’t be eliminating food groups but rather eating little and often of as many different food groups as possible.

In other words all foods are good for us, but some are better than others!

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Body Talk 25/5/16

Recent research has revealed some new aspects of the often referred to condition of ADHD. This is a disorder mostly linked to children and is linked to hyperactivity. It now appears that ADHD can develop at any age and there are an increasing amount of adults developing the condition. Three quarters of young adults diagnosed with the disorder didn’t show signs of it when they were younger. There could be a range of circumstances that lead to the late onset, such as stress due to health issues, relationship issues or exams. It seems to be more common in men than women, and potential risk factors are smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.

Potatoes are a staple part of the British diet. Hardly any traditional meal is complete without them, but did you know that eating potatoes just four times per  week can contribute to high blood pressure? Even eating mashed, boiled or baked potatoes, not just the chips! It is suspected that the starch content is to blame. So go easy on those potatoes. Strangely though, crisps were not a problem.

Are you suffering from the dreaded summer cold? Difficult to tell sometimes whether it’s a cold or an allergy. Try a natural remedy first and see if it helps. Thyme and cowslip are especially good for asthmatic conditions. Beard Lichen can help to combat tonsillitis. Sage is good too for throat infections and cold sores. Agrimony is good for clearing runny noses.

Just a few tips to keep you healthy naturally. Give them a go!!


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Body Talk 17/5/16

Yoga really is good for you!! Researchers recruited a group of volunteers to find out whether it could improve memory and the results were all in favour of yoga.It enhanced both memory and spatial awareness. It also had additional spiritual benefits which enhanced emotional wellbeing. All in all a big thumbs up for the practise of yoga and meditation. There are groups available to join locally or you could try on line classes or  even an app.

What does your face say about you? All of your features give a specific message about the state of your health. You can’t necessarily use it as an accurate diagnostic tool but it can give you some clues as to what you should be doing in terms of improving your health.

A crease in the ear can be an indicator of heart disease. Sunken or hollow temples can indicate dehydration. Prominent veins in the temples can indicate high blood pressure.Bushy eyebrows are a sign of a robust constitution. Patchy eyebrows can indicate blood sugar problems and possibly diabetes. Red cheeks can mean high blood pressure. An enlarged lower lip can indicate constipation, thick lips can indicate underactive thyroid and pale lips point to anaemia. If you look into your eyes,a thin white circle around the iris can indicate raised cholesterol.

So you can find out a lot just by looking at a persons face. Be interesting to know just how accurate these signs are. Hopefully I can report more news on this soon.


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Body Talk 11/5/16

We always used to think of fat as the bad guy in food. We knew sugar was fattening but we didn’t realuy consider it’s effects on the body.

Now the fat theory has been turned on it’s head and we are now regarding sugar as the bad guy. There is new scientific research that would seem that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine!! It’s not all bad news though, it is possible to retrain your taste buds and wean yourself off. The health benefits are remarkable including increased energy levels, better sleep pattern and glowing skin to name but a few. Plus you’ll be protecting yourself from a range of serious health conditions.

A series of questions have been devised to determine whether people have serious addictions to drugs or alcohol and theses same questions are now being asked in regard to sugar. How do you rate your  addiction?

Do you have withdrawal symptoms or do you crave sugar?

When you start eating it do you find it difficult to stop?

Do you find it difficult to cut down on your sugar intake?

Do you spend a lot of time shopping for sugar?

You still eat sugar even though you know it’s bad for you and maybe associated health conditions such as diabetes?

Do you continue eating even if you’re not hungry?

The list is quite extensive but if you’re answering yes to a lot of these questions it may be worth considering cutting sugar out of your diet or weaning yourself off of it gradually. It really will be worth it in the long run!

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Body Talk 4/5/16



This week my guest was Nick Dale, Naturopath, and we were talking about iridology.

It’s a fascinating subject and Nick was able to accurately pinpoint a couple of things that I am aware of, without ever having met me before!! Well worth a visit. He is also a naturopath , so anything that does come up in the consultation he can direct you towards the appropriate natural medicine.

It is a diagnostic tool started by German Doctors in the last century, and has become a popular tool used by practitioners to help identify the location of inflammation, weaknesses, and toxicity in the body.

As you can see from the chart of the iris below, sections have been identified as representative of body parts and systems.

After seeing tens of thousands of irises these Doctors agreed upon and put together a system known as iridology, or eye diagnosis.

It is quite exact in its diagnosis, such as pinpointing precise parts of the body and problems that may exist.


If you’d like to know more you can contact Nick by phone 01379 308707, he’s more than happy to answer your health questions or by email or you can find his website at

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Body Talk 27/4/16

Great news for all you coffee drinkers. Coffee is good for you!! Apparently it doesn’t cause palpitations but may even strengthen the heart.That’s according to new research from the American Heart Foundation.Many people are put off of drinking coffee as it has previously been associated with creating heart problems, but now the reverse seems to be true. Just not too much of it, moderation in all things.

Great news for glaucoma sufferers too. Apparently the risks associated with this disease which mostly affects the elderly can be greatly reduced by eating green leafy vegetables. The nitrate in the vegetables gives them this protective effect, encouraging blood flow to the eyes.

Lack of sleep is known to raise the risk of heart problems. Just a week of restless nights is enough to damage the heart. Lack of sleep can cause a build up bad cholesterol which is damaging to the artery walls.So it’s not just about diet, but overall health too.

Healthier lifestyle choices can make all the difference to our overall wellbeing. Scientists are now saying that up to 90% of cancers are caused either by bad lifestyle choices or by environmental pollutants. You may feel that there’s not too much you can do about your environment, but there’s a lot you can do with diet and exercise to try to balance out your health. Research now suggests that rather than give in to our genetic inheritance we can take control of our health.

So give up those bad habits and let’s create some positive new habits, to live a long and healthy life!!

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Body Talk 20/4/16

We all know that garlic is good for you but it can also help to ward off heart attacks by clearing plaque out of the arteries, and it can help to slow down the onset of heart disease.

According to studies approximately 2% of teenagers suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. So if your teenager can’t get out of bed there may be a very good reason other than general laziness.

Now for the bad news on exercise. Researchers have discovered that exercise doesn’t make you lose weight!! Oh No!!

That’s because the body’s metabolism adapts to higher activity levels. You’ll lose weight for the first few days, but after that the body finds it’s own inner balance and allows you to maintain the same weight whilst exercising more. Making more efficient use of the calories you eat.

What does your body language say? Women tend to be more expressive than men in general, so for the hidden meaning behind those words look for the body language!!  80% of what we communicate is non verbal. Resting your head on your hand with your forefinger on your cheekbone will indicate that you’re interested in what the other person is saying. However if you rest your chin in your whole hand it means you’re bored. A person sitting with their arms crossed is closed and defensive. Whereas if the arms are open and relaxed, that person is being much more open with you.

Where you fix your gaze is also important. Looking at a persons nose means friendliness, and looking at the forehead is a sign of wanting to dominate. If your partner is looking at your mouth that indicates a sure sign of attraction!!

So look out for the signals you’re being given and the ones you are giving out. It could change the way you communicate with everyone!!

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Body Talk 27/1/16

Great news for dieters. Scientists are now in the process of researching a gut hormone which could be an appetite suppressant. It can easily be taken in the form of a 6 hour drip feed with the potential to use it in the form of an injection. . Researchers are currently looking for 90 volunteers to take part in the experiment which could revolutionise the world of dieting and could also impact on all those with addictive behaviours such as smoking, drinking or drug abuse. The two hormones that the scientists have identified should be able to control the parts of the brain linked to cravings and stress.

This time of year is always a good time not just for dieting but also detoxing. There are many different ways of doing this. One of the easiest is to take a course of purifying vitamin or mineral tablets. The only drawback is you do need to be taking them consistently every day for at least a couple of weeks to see the results. That in itself can be a problem because if you’re anything like me, I forget after a couple of days and then feel that all is lost!! Don’t give up if you do decide on this course of action, persevere and you will see and feel the benefits.

Another good way to detox is to sweat it out. Saunas and steam rooms are the easier option, but try some aerobic type exercise too which increases the heart rate and and builds up a good sweat!

There is also an excellent yoga practise called Shankaprakshalasana which is a combination of drinking fluids and exercise which is normally done in a one day workshop or retreat. It’s excellent for detoxing your whole system, but it does need to be done under supervision, and if you are in any doubt as to  whether it may be suitable for you, do check with your doctor first.


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Body Talk 20/1/16

Does the mid-life crisis really exist? Scientists have just revealed that it it doesn’t!!. It’s become an accepted phenomenon in films and advertising, but now we’re told it’s not true. and that we are actually happier in our mid 40’s than in the whole of our lives.

Now on to more serious health issues. We are generally advised about what foods to eat and the best one’s to improve certain aspects of our health, but we should also be looking at the other things that we come into contact within our environment for clues to our health issues. In the US they have been looking at the effect of weedkiller on our health and have found it to be detrimental. So much so, that they have now banned a particular brand called Roundup due to its carcinogenic properties. In other words it may cause cancer. It’s a revolutionary step and may be followed by other countries such as the UK. Watch put for more news on this one.

Have you checked how many moles you have? Have a quick count now as they can reveal how much at risk you are of contracting skin cancer. More than 11 moles on your right arm could mean you are at greater risk than the average person. Looking at you right arm can give you a good idea of your total body count. Now make sure you are actually counting moles and not just big freckles!! Moles are the dark brown often raised marks on the skin.

We are now turning more and more to alternative therapies, apparently 64% of us have a regular massage.  71% of us regularly take supplements, 65% have tried acupuncture, 23% of people waiting for treatment on the NHS admit that they are using alternative therapies while they are waiting, 42% have tried osteopathy, but 10% of us won’t admit to our doctors what we’re doing. Why is that? Doctors are becoming so much more open minded these days and many of them positively encourage us to take responsibility for our own health, so if you are using it, tell your doctor. If it’s helping you,it may help others too and I’m sure your doctor would like to know.




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Body Talk 13/1/16

My guest this evening was Mr Shahab Siddiqi ; a Consultant General Surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital. He is also Lead Pelvic Floor Surgeon at Broomfield Hospital and that what he was here to talk about.

General surgery covers everything from hernias to haemorrhoids, but Mr Sidiqi has a specific interest in pelvic floor medicine and surgery, robotic surgery and irritable bowel syndrome.

Pelvic floor issues are a common problem but it isn’t discussed much as it can be embarrassing. Whilst not life threatening it can cause great discomfort and it’s important to realise that pelvic floor problems can be treated and you don’t have to live in continual distress.

The pelvic floor is a network of muscles, ligaments and tissues that act like a hammock to support the organs of the pelvis. Muscles can become weak; ligaments can be stretched or damaged and the result is prolapse of the pelvic organs.

It’s mostly women who suffer with pelvic floor problems, but one in five are men. Any age group can be affected and a surprising number of younger people. A long labour, the need for forceps delivery and hysterectomy are all risk factors.

There are a large number of options for therapy. The vast majority can be helped with simple measures to alter bowel consistency, improving pelvic floor function with physiotherapy and rectal evacuation. Some may need minor surgery for pelvic floor repair.

Pelvic floor medicine is starting to be recognised nationwide, but robotic pelvic floor surgery is only available in a few specialist centres. For more information contact Spire Hartswood Hospital.



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Body Talk 6/1/16

Great news for all of us on our new year diets. Scientists have found a hormone that stops sugar cravings. We are constantly surrounded by sugary treats, scientists may have discovered  an antidote for resisting those treats!! It is apparently a hormone secreted by the liver in response to high carbohydrate levels. It then enters the bloodstream and sends a signal to the brain to stop craving sugar. Sounds to good to be true. It could help those of us who are diabetic or obese, but has only been proven to work in clinical trials so far, so I’ll keep you posted with further updates.

Meantime we just have to be sensible and use our self control, combined with an awareness of what contains the most sugar. Fruit is great for a quick sweet fix, but try to avoid dried or processed fruits as these are high in concentrated sugars. It might sound a lot but on average we could eat as many as seven cubes of sugar per day disguised in our everyday food.Try if you can,switching to a no sugar diet. It is so much healthier and it does help to shed the pounds.

Try switching to a high protein diet, rather than just looking at the calorific content. Find the right diet for you. Use all of the information we haver now around us to find out what you need to stay slim and healthy. There are all sorts of fitness apps available and so much information on the internet. Try not to overload with information, but just choose what’s best for you and your lifestyle.

If all else fails, the latest news from scientific research is to eat in front of a mirror!! That’s right. If we look at ourselves eating it will make us cut down.We become more aware of the types of food we are eating and more aware of when to stop.

Sothose are my tips for healthy dieting this year so far. Stay strong and keep your goal in mind.



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Body Talk 23/12/15

We all seem to spend weeks worrying about getting the christmas shopping done. Maybe next year start to plan ahead. Start stocking up with the food and presents as soon as possible. You could get a few items over the remaining weeks leading up to Christmas along with your regular shopping. As for presents, a great tip is to have an emergency supply, just a few small gifts to save you from embarrassment in the event of someone arriving unexpectedly with something for you.

Don’t expect to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas as it’s  likely to fall short of your expectations. The most important thing is for you and your family is to have fun. That doesn’t mean landing yourself in debt for the next 12 months by buying expensive gifts.  Simply spending a bit of time together can be the best present. If something does not go quite to plan, it really isn’t the end of the world.

If you are  cooking and entertaining on Christmas Day,  don’t try and do it all  yourself. Ask others to chip in with different parts of the meal, such as snacks, salads or desserts. You could even ask the kids to help out. Make sure you have some time for YOU, even if it’s just allowing yourself to watch one special TV show that you really want to see.

Christmas seems to be about excess in everything,  but there is not much enjoyment in feeling completely stuffed and bloated. The best advice is moderation – apply it to everything you eat and drink. Drink moderate amounts of alcohol and try to alternate soft drinks or water with alcoholic ones. As for food, have a bit of what you fancy but try not to overdo it.

If you have overdone it on the alcohol, then it is important to get yourself back on an even keel. Even if you have been good, the chances are you could still be feeling pretty rough. Don’t just sit there feeling ill, drink plenty of water and flush out the liver.

Get active and work off all those second helpings you may have had. It will also help you feel normal again, dispel any festive cabin fever and help repair some of the damage you have done to yourself.

Sleeping is the time when our bodies recover from the excesses of life. Drinking and eating too much can severely affect our sleep patterns, as can the frequent late nights that are a regular occurrence during the festive period. Over Christmas and New Year, many people are sleep-starved leaving them not fit for much after a few late nights, let alone being the life and soul of the party. Therefore, make sure you get some quality sleep – even if it is just a few hours.


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Body Talk 16/12/15

Good news for those who are worried about the risk of breast cancer. The extreme measure of having to have a double mastectomy may well become a thing of the past. Scientists have uncovered new information that may make it possible to stop the spread of breast cancer by controlling menstruation either through drugs or a supplement. Further research is being carried out so as soon as anything definite is discovered it’s sure to be in the news.

It may also be that a constituent of milk is contributing to the onset of breast cancer. How ironic that the milk that comes from the breast is harmful to the breast. Also the taller you are the higher the chance of contracting cancer!! This could be due to many different factors including that taller people have more cells and therefore the the overall risk is greater. The big clue as always is to look into your family history to determine your vulnerability.

The US is now about to ban microbeads from all make up products. Apparently these miniscule beads are finding their way into the food chain and many seabirds are dying from their consumption. It’s important to look at the ingredients in any of the make up that you use, and again maybe organic is best. There are many good organic brands on the market today.

How much tv do you watch? If it’s less than an hour a day then you’re likely to live longer than if you’re watching four hours or more. Guess that’s a lifestyle choice. We all have our duvet days but if it’s regular tv watching every day that would indicate a lack of exercise and probably bad diet. Also if you get more than the average 8 hours sleep it could be shortening your life. Again it would presumably indicate that you’re sleeping while you should be in the gym or enjoying a nice walk in the fresh air. Worth considering if you want to live longer and healthier.




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Body Talk 9/12/15

Is your brain male or female? Yes scientists are now researching the differences between the brains of the sexes!! They really are different.

Apparently entirely male or female brains are extremely rare with most of us having a brain somewhere in between the two. Some men may be brilliant multi taskers and remember birthdays and there may be women who are great at parallel parking and obsessive stamp collectors, but they are the minority.

Scientists have now discovered that we are indeed two entirely different species. It isn’t to do with the way that we’re raised either. The development of the brain starts in the womb, and it’s to do with the way the nerve tissues connect the left and right brain.

Coming up to the festive there will be more than the average amount of alcohol consumed. But there is some good news for red wine drinkers. The resveratrol found in red wine may be able to contribute to the prevention of Alzheimers and dementia. Only in moderation though or I think it may have the opposite effect!!

Also good news for beer drinkers. New evidence suggest that dieting is all in the mind though!!it can apparently reduce the risk of heart attack. Before you guys start start cheering too loudly, it’s only for women. Doesn’t have the same effect in men I’m afraid.

It’s so difficult to avoid gaining those extra pounds at christmas so this probably isn’t a good time to think about starting a diet, but scientists now say that dieting is all in your mind. In other words if you resign yourself to the fact that you’ll put on weight you will!! Try a bit of positive thinking instead and will those pounds away. I’m sure this is more like eating with awareness instead of eating just because it’s there.

As always, everything in moderation.


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Body Talk 2/12/15

How can we stave off the effects of aging? If only we could stop time. Unfortunately that’s not looking likely. So do we just sit back and accept the fact that we’re getting older or can we do something to help us stay healthier and happier into our old age? Well there’s always cosmetic surgery, but there are healthier and less expensive options that we can easily incorporate into our lives.

Health experts across the world are investigating what we can do. The first thing that we can do is to go on a health kick. Take up a vegetarian diet, do some exercise and cut out all of our unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking. If we do this we can affect the way that the chromosones in our body age. It keeps them longer and healthier.

Get your heart rate going, and get hot and sweaty with exercise. It’s essential for physical and mental wellbeing. Apparently it’s better for your brain than doing crosswords. You need to be getting out of breath at least three times per week!! Maybe a sauna or steam if not feeling that energetic!!

Toamato ketchup or salsa can increase the skin’s natural collagen production. So no need to give up the ketchup. Processed tomatoes can can increase the youthful properties of the skin.  Not advisable though if you suffer from arthritis or gout as they are very acid.

Check out the heart health of your family members . If you are predisposed to heart problems there are lifestyle changes that you can make to enhance your health. Go to your GP for a heart health check.

As we are approaching the festive season we normally do increase our alcohol intake. So a few helpful words of advice as you launch into those diet lemonades etc with your favourite tipple. Artificial sweeteners increase the speed that alcohol enters into the bloodstream, according to new research from Boston University. So if you’re feeling worse for wear after a night out it may not always be the alcohol that’s to blame. Especially if you’ve only had a small amount. It may be the low cal mixers!! Bear that in mind as you head off to the office party!!



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Body Talk 25/11/15

Did you know that teenagers are sensitive to light and the glare from mobiles and tablets could be keeping them awake at night. From the age of 9 to 15 even an hour of exposure in the evening can affect levels of melatonin which controls the wake sleep cycle. The brightness of the light slows the production of melatonin. The advice is to keep away from screens for at least an hour before bedtime.

Scientists have now confirmed that saturated fats don’t cause heart disease or diabetes. The problem lies in processed trans fats in cakes, biscuits and margarine, which has long been sold as the healthier option. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, and in fact can contribute to heart disease and heart related deaths.

We all want to live longer and healthier, but in order to do that we need to give ourselves a bit of help.

A brisk 20 minute walk every day  can have significant health benefits.

It’s that time of year again when brussels sprouts make an appearance at the dinner table, but they really are good for you. Brussels, broccoli and other brassicas contain various components that can help protect against cancer.

Researchers have now found that it’s best to sleep in a cool bedroom. 19C or 66F has been found to be just the right temperature for brown adipose tissue to increase in volume and activity which helps to maintain your body’s temperature and and also helps to protect against diabetes through its effects on insulin and glucose.

Small changes that can make a big difference to your overall health.


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Body Talk 11/11/15

This week I reported on the Ataxia UK Conference. This is their 50th anniversary year- half a century of doing all that they can to help,people affected by ataxia and to put what they can towards medical research.

Ataxia means lack of order and is the term given to a group of neurological conditions that affect balance, speech and coordination.

In some cases people get the symptoms of ataxia for short periods of time and then recover. In many cases ataxia is permanent and and the symptoms get progressively worse over time.

More than 10,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with a type of progressive ataxia.

Meeting someone else with ataxia and seeing how they cope can show you that you’re not alone. Ataxia UK brings people together around the country for sharing, friendship and support.

Learning that you have ataxia can generate so many questions. Ataxia UK can help to provide accurate information, answer your questions and help you live with ataxia day to day. With help and support this organisation can fund research and provide support via international research grants programmes. There are special centres in Newcastle, London and Sheffield. There is a national network of branches and groups, with online communities and national and regional conferences.

To find out more you can call the ataxia helpline on : 0845 6440606 or go to the website

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Body Talk 7/10/15

Tonight my guest was Mr Ali Salih, Consultant Breast Surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital. He was here to discuss breast cancer as October is breast cancer awareness month.

Breast cancer is something that affects both women and men, although it is more common in women. Due to raised awareness we are all becoming better at spotting this type of cancer in its early stages. The signs to look out for are lumps or dimples in the skin, or redness or cracked and possibly inverted nipples.

Most women  don’t get invited for breast screening until they are over 50, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get it if you are younger. Here are the statistics:

 Risk up to and including age 29: 1 in 1,950

 Risk up to and including age 39: 1 in 210

 Risk up to and including age 49: 1 in 48

 Risk up to and including age 59: 1 in 22

 Risk up to and including age 69: 1 in 13

(according to breast cancer care website Sep 15)

The key factors that increase your chances of getting breast cancer are :


Gender – Around 55,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, of which about 350 are in men.

Significant family history (genetics)

Having previously had breast cancer
Periods starting before the age of 12
Menopause later than average age (52)

Not having children

First pregnancy at the age of 30 or older

HRT/contraceptive pill

General health – diet, alcohol, smoking

(according to breast cancer care website Sep 15)

Today, breast cancer care has improved greatly. More than 8 out of 10 people survive breast cancer beyond 5 years.

The vital thing is to get yourself checked out. If you notice any abnormalities go along to your GP who can give you a referral, or if you are paying privately just call Spire Hartswood to book an appointment. Remember the earlier you catch it, the easier it is to treat and the greater your chances of survival.

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Time to bust some myths about what we’ve been told. A bit like we were told to avoid fats all those years ago, now we find that we’ve been misinformed and actually some of those fats are actually good for us.

Celery does not have zero calories, it has about 10 calories per stick, which is still pretty good when you think about it!! Definitely one to include in your diet plan.

Juicing isn’t as good as you think it is. Juicing removes all of the fibre from the fruit and veg and leaves all of the sugar. |Blending is much better, then you get the goodness of the whole fruit and veg enabling all of the nutrients to be absorbed properly.

You don’t need to have breakfast if you really don’t want to!! For years it’s been drummed into us that if you want to lose weight you need to eat three meals a day. Well breakfast doesn’t need to be one of them. It depends on the type of person you are. If you’re a night owl you’re body probably isn’t awake enough to have breakfast. Also it can have a negative effect in that it stimulates the appetite so that you want to keep eating right through the day.

Placebos can work even when you know you’re taking them. Trials have shown that they may take a little longer ; up to four weeks, but nevertheless they do work, proving yet again how powerful the  mind is.

Now one to tell the kids. Washing up is good for you!! Studies have shown that mindful washing up actually lowers anxiety and stress levels. Now let’s see if that works for the hoovering and ironing as well!!

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Tonight my guest was Sue Cook from Brainbuzzz. She’s been on the show a couple of times before and she was here again to update us on all of the good work that she’s doing with children with learning disabilities.

Neuro developmental issues are a sensory problem, a problem of interaction with the world, not a low IQ. Neuro developmental delay is separate from intelligence but it affects a person’s ability to prove their intelligence in the ways accepted by society. Children experiencing these problems under-perform at school and as a result can suffer from constant feelings of failure, lack of achievement and being judged as simple. For these children it is frustrating to know and understand things, yet find writing and reading very difficult. For some, just sitting in a classroom chair is impossible.

Sue has been working on the connection between diet and the various learning difficulties. One of the main culprits is gluten. Gluten has been linked to a variety of disorders and now it’s latest link is to the brain, in the elderly as well as the young. It has been found to create a kind of plaque across the brain that causes fogginess and slow reactions and can ultimately result in Alzheimers. The recommendation is to exclude gluten and include fish oils and the problem could be corrected in about three months. Sue advocates dietary changes alongside the special Brainbuzz exercises and her techniques have helped many hundreds of children and their families return to a normal way of life.

Sue has written many books including her latest publication on nutrition; all of which can be found on Amazon. To find out more about Brainbuzz have a look on the website

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Body Talk 9/9/15

Tonight my guest was Mr Pete Acher; Consultant Urologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital. He was discussing prostate disease and diagnosis.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year.

Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs you have it for many years.

Symptoms often only become apparent when your prostate is large enough to affect the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis).

When this happens, you may notice things like an increased need to urinate, straining while urinating and a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied.

These symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, but they do not mean you definitely have prostate cancer. It is more likely that they are caused by something else, such as prostate enlargement.

The causes of prostate cancer are largely unknown. However, certain things can increase your risk of developing the condition such as poor diet and lack of exercise. It has also been linked to consuming large amounts of processed meat.

The chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older. Most cases develop in men aged 50 or older.

It’s advisable to go for a prostate health check if you are in any doubt. There is a simple blood test initially, if any abnormalities are detected it may then be followed by a scan. If surgery is needed it is much better to catch the problem in its early stages, but all surgery is kept to a minimum and modern techniques mean that the affected areas can be directly targeted efficiently and effectively.

If you don’t have medical insurance and don’t want to wait you are able to pay for a one off consultation and test at Spire Hartswood. Contact them for more details.


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Body Talk 2/9/15

Are you young at heart? Most of us feel that we are, but shocking new research has revealed that our heart age may be much more than our physical age. A test has been devised to allow all of us to determine the age of our hearts, it can be found on the Framingham Heart Study website. In order to do the test, you need to know your blood pressure and also your BMI, so take a trip to your GP if don’t already know them.

Heart age is determined by lifestyle and diet. For example, a 45 year old man with high blood pressure, diabetes, is a smoker but has a good BMI could well have a heart age of 75. That’s a whole 30 years older!! A 50 year old woman with high blood pressure, diabetes, smokes and has a high BMI could have a heart age of 85!! That could probably explain why heart attacks and strokes kill one in four of us. Take the test and think about what changes you can make to be young at heart inside and out.

One risk factor is fizzy drinks. which account for about 45,000 deaths related to heart disease each year. Fructose, often considered a healthier option to sugar is also bad for the heart. It can contribute to uncontrolled growth of the heart muscle which can lead to heart failure.

So good things for the heart are exercise, just walking is good exercise, so increase the amount of time you spend walking just by 10 minutes a day is enough to make a difference. Try to adopt a mediterranean diet  with plenty of fresh fruit and veggies. Give up smoking and cut down on alcohol intake. Small changes can make a big difference, that will be noticeable after just a few weeks.

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Body Talk 26/8/15

Bad news girls, apparently we’re putting on weight because we’re not doing enough housework!! A new study has suggested that we are doing less housework than we were in the eighties and blames all of our modern gadgets for our lack of activity, like washing machines and dishwashers. That and the fact that we are doing more office work instead of staying at home and looking after the house!! It may be true that we are doing less exercise, but to blame it on lack of housework? Hmmm…

Moving on to some better news, apparently chocolate really is good for us,and it doesn’t matter whether it’s milk or dark, both have the same positive effect.

This suggests that flavanoids aren’t the only healthy ingredient in chocolate, it may be other things such as calcium and fatty acids that contribute to heart health in particular.

Did you know that some jobs are particularly bad for your health? It would appear that being a hairdresser is among the most dangerous. Breathing in chemicals can cause asthma, working with the chemicals can cause skin irritation, and standing for prolonged periods of time can cause painful feet. Another surprisingly hazardous profession is that of a baker. Did you know that constantly breathing in the fine flour dust can irritate the lungs and cause asthma.

Think carefully before changing career!!

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Body Talk 19/8/15

Tonight my guest was Dr Zia Mazhar; a gastroenterologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital. She was discussing, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and IBD

( Inflammatory Bowel Disease).

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, long-term condition of the digestive system. It can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation.

The symptoms vary between individuals and affect some people more severely than others. They tend to come and go in periods lasting a few days to a few months at a time, often during times of stress or after eating certain foods.

IBS is thought to affect up to one in five people at some point in their life, and it usually first develops when a person is between 20 and 30 years of age. Around twice as many women are affected as men.

IBD is also a condition of the digestive system but as its name suggests is inflammatory rather than how quickly or slowly your digestive system works.Symptoms include:

  • pain, swelling or cramping in the tummy
  • recurring or bloody diarrhoea
  • weight loss
  • extreme tiredness

Not everyone has all of these symptoms, and some people may experience additional symptoms, including vomiting, anaemia and high temperature (fever).

The symptoms of IBD can come and go. People may experience periods of severe symptoms (flare-ups), and go through long periods when they have few or no symptoms at all (remission).

If you have any reason to suspect you may be suffering with either of these conditions do contact your GP or you can call Spire Hartswood for a private consultation on 01277266761.

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Body Talk 12/8/15

Are superfoods really that super? A new report out this week suggests that it may be all hype.

Whilst there are no doubt many benefits to eating more natural foods, there is often no scientific evidence to back up various different health claims.

From what I can make out from this particular report, the best one for overall health that does have scientific backing is kale, along with all other green  leafy veggies. Spirulina is a tricky one, which, whilst it does have a lot of health benefits, you have to be careful where it comes from. The Korean variety has a high lead content, which definitely negates any of the positive health benefits. This further highlights the case for checking where all of the so called superfoods are grown. If they come from countries with little or no regulation on the use of chemical fertilisers there could also be high contamination from agricultural chemicals. The best advice is stick to home grown local produce and you won’t go far wrong.

Cider vinegar has also come under question. It does undoubtedly have many health benefits, helping with weight loss and warding off diabetes. However, it could be that all vinegars have this beneficial effect. That is certainly something that hasn’t been researched. Maybe try for yourself. Can ordinary vinegar do the same thing? Maybe some research will be done some day.

Meantime try testing for yourself. If a food makes you feel good then it probably is good. Just remember not to overdo it. Little and often and a properly balanced diet is always the best policy.

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Body Talk 29/7/15

My guest this evening was Mr John Targett, orthopaedic surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital and Director of Orthopaedics at Basildon and Thurrock NHS Trust for over 5 years. Mr Targett received his Higher Orthopaedic Fellowship in 1995 and he specialises in knee surgery and lower back surgery in both NHS and private practice.

He was talking about the new NHS initiative which is called the MSK Hub. It was launched on 1st April, and it’s a single place for all GPs to refer in to for any musculoskeletal problems. It acts as a triage system which is run by expert physiotherapists who can assess the patient and refer them to the right person depending on what they find.

It’s for people who are experiencing pain in their bones and joints which might be caused by a medical condition or could have been caused by injury. It’s a way of stopping a short term problem becoming long term, by getting it treated quickly and appropriately before it causes any more problems.

The hub itself isn’t a single point but a concept. It’s based within south west essex and doctors  in the area will  refer patients to Basildon Hospital, Brentwood Community Hospital  and St Andrews in Orsett. It’s not  and emergency service and people who have emergencies will continue to attend A & E as usual.

First port of call as always is your GP, or if you have a knee or spine condition you can book a private consultation with Mr Targett by calling Spire Hartswood.

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Body Talk 22/7/15

Try turning to nature for painkillers rather than the over the counter drugs. You may be surprised at how good nature is!!

Try tomato juice for muscle cramps. It’s a rich source of magnesium.

Honey for cuts or sore patches. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It’s a bit sticky, so try putting a plaster over it!!

Krill oil is good for arthritis. In one study it effectively reduced arthritic conditions.

Horseradish is good for clearing the sinuses. Think how you feel if you’ve accidentally eaten too much, it goes into your nose and makes your eyes water.

Grapes are good for backache. Research conducted at Ohio State University found that eating fresh grapes each day can help improve the blood supply to the muscles and tissues. It can happen within three hours!!

Do you have problems with knee pain? Apart from trying some of the natural pain relievers, exercise has been found to be extremely beneficial. It may seem the last thing you want to do if you’re in pain, but if you can put up with a little discomfort it will benefit you in the long run. It seems that the condition of the muscles surrounding the knee, and in particular the quadricep ( the long thigh muscle ) are of paramount importance in maintaining knee health. You don’t have to do hour long workouts at the gym, it’s little and often. Even a simple balance on one leg for a few minutes each day can help.

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Body Talk 15/7/15

Get some colour into your life. Yes do it!! Colour really does have a bigger effect on most of us than we realise. There are many companies toting their colour therapy healing powers, but quite simply all we need to do is to recognise the effect of colour in our lives to male all of the changes we need.

A prison governor noticed distinct behaviour differences in prisoners from different wings.In the end, he realised it was down to the colour.There was much more violence in the green and yellow wings.The blue and green wings were definitely calmer. The calming influence was seen in prisoners who were transferred. This observation has been supported by research.

Viewing red light has been found to increase the observer’s strength by 13.5%. Red is often used to help athletes like sprinters and pole vaulters who need quick bursts of energy. Those participating in long distance evnts are exposed to blue light. Just as red makes more violence,pink can be calming,even within one minute! It’s something that is used by the prison service.Holding cells for the most violent and aggressive prisoners are painted pink.Tests have shown that muscle strength is reduced within two seconds of seeing the colour!!

One of the most alarming headlines I noticed recently was that studies have proved that junk food is addictive. Foods high in saturated fats actually give the brain a high that is similar to the high experienced with drugs or alcohol. That would explain the current obesity crisis. The addict is constantly needing more and more of the food, whatever it may be, to achieve the same high. Junk foods which are high in saturated fats and sugar are the main problem, but even the more healthy oils such as coconut oil should also be scrutinised.

Bring on the colour and ditch the junk food and you’ll be on the road to a longer and healthier life.

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Body Talk 8/7/15

The University of York recently ran one of the largest yoga studies which was funded by Arthritis Research UK. Teachers from The British Wheel of Yoga and Iyengar Yoga designed and ran specialised 12 week yoga courses in five areas of the UK. The positive results showing it to be safe and effective were published in the Annals of  Internal Medicine. It proved to be more effective than regular exercise, Alexander technique and CBT.

If you are a fan of beauty treatments such as false eyelashes then beware. The  long term effects can be less than beautiful.The weight of the false lashes on your real lashes can result in thinning. Short term could mean allergic reactions. One poor lady recently reported that her eyelids were stuck together by an inexperienced beautician. Always check out the salon and make sure they follow proper procedures.

People living near the equator have only one sixth the pancreatic cancer rate compared to those living in the northern hemisphere. So keep your self topped up with vitamin D. Plenty of sunshine while you can.

Vitamin E could be the ultimate brain food, and it’s one that most of us don’t get enough of. It’s found in olive oil, almonds, sunflower seeds and avocados. Approximately 90% of us have a vitamin E deficiency. Without it the brain is deprived of it’s source of maintaining neural health.


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Body Talk 1/7/15

A new study has revealed that the vegetarian diet  is best for weight loss. If you cut out meat altogether and stick to a high protein low carb diet, you are more likely to lose weight. Even more so if you choose to go vegan.

Two simple things that will help you live longer are walking and drinking water. Yes, it’s not earth  shattering but neither is it difficult to do. If you spend most of your day sitting at a desk or simply moving very little, then get up every hour and walk around for just two minutes. In a study, it was found that this one small change had huge health benefits;it can reduce your risk of premature death by a third!!

The other simple change is to cut out one sugary drink per day and replace it with either an unsweetened drink or water. If you have sugar in your tea and coffee then try cutting out the sugar. It may be difficult at first, but you can get used to it and the health benefits are definitely worth it. There’s about a 22% increase in the risk of diabetes for every sugary drink you have regularly each day.

Being grateful reduces your risk of heart disease. It puts you in a better mood, improves your sleep, makes you less tired and lowers your risk of heart disease. It even reduces the risk of a second heart attack for those who take up the practice of feeling grateful!!

All of the time we are being advised not to eat processed foods but now it seems that they have their place too. It all depends what we class as processed. Nearly all of the foods we buy in supermarkets have been processed.Milk has to be processed for health and safety reasons. The obvious processed foods that are bad are mostly the ready meals. Frozen veg are good though. As they are mainly frozen on the day that they’re picked they can even contain more nutrients than fresh, due to the amount of time they have travelled to the shop and also how long they’ve been on the shelf. The same applies to tinned veggies. Although you need to be careful that not too much salt or sugar has been added.

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Body Talk 17/6/15

OMG!! The news I’ve been waiting to hear has finally arrived. Chocolate is good for you, not just dark chocolate but milk chocolate as well!! I can’t believe it’s true. The full impact is still sinking in. I have permission to eat chocolate.

Now, before I get you too excited, It isn’t carte blanche to  eat chocolate all day long unfortunately. It is, however, ok to eat one or two squares a day, or if you can’t stop at that, eat a whole bar once or twice a week. Even milk chocolate contains certain chemicals that help improve your brain power, possibly protect against certain types of cancer, help you to feel good. May even help you to lose weight as it increases metabolism.  The list is endless on the benefits of chocolate consumption. That doesn’t include chocolate covered items though, as they contain far too much sugar and that is the detrimental bit.

All this talk of chocolate brings me nicely on to the other subject that has been in the news this week, which is emotional eating. Do you reach for the carbs when you feel low? It may be due to a dysfunctional childhood. Lack of parental support can be at the root of many emotional eating issues. Feelings of guilt, anger, striving to achieve impossible goals may be traced back to difficulties in relating to your parents according to psychologists.

So try to curb those irrational eating habits by joining a group or connecting with friends and talking over your issues. It’s the best therapy.

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Body Talk 10/6/15

My guest this evening was Rebekah Taylor, a physiotherapist at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Rebekah qualified in 2008 and specialises in womens health as well as musculoskeletal therapy.

Rebekah was talking about Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation or PTNS for short. It’s a treatment for patients with an overactive bladder or faecal incontinence. It’s preferable for many as it’s non invasive. A tiny needle  electrode is temporarily inserted close to the ankle. This is then connected to a battery powered stimulator. The stimulator’s impulses travel through the tibial nerve in the ankle to the sacral nerve plexus that controls bladder and sphincter function; this in turn helps the patient regain control of their bladder or bowel. The treatment is 30 minutes and is once a week for 6 or 12 weeks.

Statistics produced by the Urgent PC Company suggest that it is 60 to 80% successful. Success at the Hartswsood has been 100% so far!! That’s probably because at the Hartswood they offer a complete service that also involves advice on bladder retraining and pelvic floor exercises to help strengthen the appropriate muscles.

Incontinence and overactivity can really have a dramatic effect on people’s quality of life. It can stop people from going out and they can become quite embarrassed about their condition. Overcoming these problems can mean regaining confidence and good quality of life. It can also have a huge effect on personal relationships which tends to be the most distressing for patients.

Top up sessions may be required but  that is down to the individual and may not be necessary if the recommended exercises are adhered to.

To find out more you can contact Rebekah at the Hartswood on 01277 266780. You can also get this treatment on the NHS, in which case contact your local GP  who will then give you a referral.

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Body Talk 3/6/15

Watch out for those heels girls!! They may look fabulous but latest research warns of the dangers of long term heel users. It can shorten the calf muscles, damage the knee and ankle joints and also cause bruising on the ball of the foot. \the researchers also suggest that sticking to flatties isn’t the answer either, but wearing a whole range of different heels each week is best for the feet and legs and ultimately the spine.

Once again, I am prompted to promote the Mediterranean diet. New research has now revealed that  eating a Mediterranean diet halves your risk of heart disease. You are far less likely to develop heart disease if you have followed this diet for 10 years; just a reminder; the diet includes fresh fruit and veg, olive oil and fish. The findings from the university in Athens were based on a study of 2,500 Greek adults whose diet and loifestyle was tracked for 10 years.

Conversely the Western diet can cause depression. This diet high in saturated fats and sugars has already been blamed for heart disease and now it seems it could be responsible for many psychiatric disorders. It changes the mix of bacteria in the gut which appears to affect the brain advbersely.

The good news is it’s never too late to make the diet shift. A study of 162 healthy men and women included some aged  70 and over, who seemed to make positive health changes after just 12 weeks of dietary changes.

So put your best foot forward and make some immediate changes to body and soul today!!

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Body Talk 27/5/15

This week I was joined by Mr Taleb Jeddy, a consultant general surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood. Mr Jeddy qualified in 1981 and offers private consultation, treatment and surgery at the Hartswood and NHS services at Basildon Hospital where he is the lead consultant for endocrine surgery. He was talking about common thyroid and parathyroid problems.

Mr Jeddy has performed more day case operations than any other surgeon in the UK. It is amazing that this kind of major surgery can be performed in a day and the patients can now go home and return to normal within a short time. His results have been presented at various national and international congresses.

The thyroid gland is a gland that produces thyroid hormones. It lies in your neck on either side of your trachea (windpipe), beneath the ‘Adam’s apple’. The hormones produced by this gland are called thyroxine, tri-idothyronine and calcitonin. The first two hormones affect the metabolism of your body cells. l Hyperthyroidism is when too much thyroxine or thyroid hormone is produced and the body cells work faster than normal. l Hypothyroidism is when too little thyroid hormones are produced and the body cells work slower than normal. It is possible to have normal thyroid hormone levels and still have thyroid disease. The third hormone, calcitonin, helps to lower phosphate levels, in response to increases in calcium in the blood. Too much of this hormone may be produced in some forms of thyroid cancer. Thyroid hormone control is regulated by the pituitary gland, which lies underneath your brain in your skull and produces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The more TSH the pituitary gland produces, the harder the thyroid gland works

Symptoms of overactive thyroid are a fast and sometimes irregular pulse, irritability, clammy hands, sweating, shakiness, vomiting and diarrhoea, loss of weight in spite of good appetite.  Symptoms of under active thyroid are muscle weakness, cramps, a hoarse voice, slow heart rate, dry flaky skin, weight gain. Sometimes there are no symptoms and disease is found by chance.

If you have any cause for concern, the first port of call is your GP who will then refer you for tests and then you can ask for an appointment with Mr Jeddy at Spire Hartswood.

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Body Talk 20/5/15

Tonight my guest was  Sarah Vine from Inspirit Coaching, accompanied by her good friend and colleague Angel.

Sarah was a guest on the show a few years ago and so much has happened since. She has now founded and is still growing the Earth Angel Sanctuary, which is a worldwide internet based communication link to all fellow earth angels who can support each other and share experiences.

It may not seem like it with all we have been or are going through.. many earth angels are experiencing very difficult, challenging, traumatic, painful and often very lonely journeys right now. From being told they are crazy, having signs and gifts opening up, feeling completely disconnected and isolated, like no one understands you, feeling like ‘black sheep’ in dysfunctional families, dealing with all kinds of abusive relationships, drug addictions, health issues (depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia…) feeling lost, scared, confused, overwhelmed and the list can go on and on….

Earth Angels are special souls who are here to make the world a better place and the way to do that, is by being aligned and being happy. It does not matter where you are at right now… just that you are willing to start improving your life in ways that are important to you by taking small steps.

If you would like to join the earth angel community you can find Sarah at inspirit


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Body Talk 6/5/15

Did you know that eating a handful of peanuts every day could reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 38% and reduces your chance of premature death by 28%. Even the humble peanut that causes allergic reaction in so many these days could also have its benefits. The peanut has as many nutrients and phytochemicals as any other nut.

E-cigrettes may be healthier but they still contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to the lungs, and of course the long term effects have yet to be identified.

Having a sense of purpose and meaning in life reduces the chances of heart or stroke. 23%  are less likely to die prematurely from any disease. For those with no sense of purpose and feel thatb life is meaningless the reverse is true according to studies  at Mt Sinai Medical Center.

There is a “new” breathing technique that claims to cure insomnia.I’m not sure it’s entirely new as we all breathe regularly but it’s about how you breathe that matters, and this technique is based on an ancient pranayama technique used in yoga. Try it and see if it works for you;

  • Exhale through your mouth.
  • Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
  • Hold your breath for 7 counts.
  • Exhale for 8 counts.
  • Repeat the sequence 3 times.

This is just one of the techniques advocated by Andrew Weil MD, check him out and try out the techniques. You’ve got nothing to lose and maybe a good night’s sleep to gain!!

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Body Talk 29/4/15

Do you know your calories? I’m sure most of us are roughly aware that sugar has a lot of calories and fruit and veg have few, but how does that relate to the food we eat every day. Those little snacks that you eat without thinking during the day could be doing more harm than good. Just one Twix or half a chunky kit-kat has 100 calories. One third of a blueberry muffin, a quarter of a chocolate croissant or three squares of chocolate all contain 100 calories. So think again before snacking, it all adds up!!

Instead of snacking try some techniques for de-stressing. Sugar and comfort eating are known stressors; so try something a  little different that’s guaranteed to chase the blues away. Listening to soothing music is a good choice for many. Yoga and meditation if you prefer more of a group activity. Give your face a massage. We build a lot of tension in the jaw through the day, so ease out those muscles by gently massaging with the fingertips.

Have you looked in the bottom of your fridge lately? It may be that you have a forgotten garlic bulb that’s sprouting some green shoots. Don’t throw it away!!! It may be long past it’s sell by date, but latest studies have revealed that the sprouting bulb actually has more goodness in it. Guess it’s a bit like the sprouted grains or seeds that are packed full of vitamins and minerals. So think again before you bin those sprouting veggies!!

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Body Talk 15/4/15

Can you balance on one leg? If not, get practising, it could help save your life!! A test was devised last year to determine life expectancy. That test was for a middle aged man to stand on one leg with his eyes closed for 30 seconds.If that test was successful, that man could expect to live till at least 66.

Now a new test has been devised which is a little less of a challenge. This time, balancing on one leg with the eyes open for 20 seconds. If you can do this one, it would indicate there is very little chance of dementia or stroke. The theory is that people who struggle to balance are more likely to have narrowing or obstruction of the arteries in the brain, which increases the chance of dementia or stroke.

Be careful of paying too much attention to the downloadable health apps. The latest report from leading doctors  is that they can make us more stressed and are not necessarily that accurate, and aren’t able to tell you how to rectify whatever it is that’s wrong. Stick to the old fashioned methods, like making sure you get regular exercise,and have a good healthy diet.

How healthy are our health foods? Some of the foods that we consider better than junk foods could be doing more harm than good. A prime example are grains. If you are in the least bit gluten intolerant, even the healthiest grains can cause a problem. Barley, millet, oats and rice are some of the more common grains, but can cause an adverse reaction such as extreme tiredness, brain fog, dizziness, premenstrual problems, joint pain and headaches. Instead, try using buckwheat, which isn’t a wheat at all but a seed.

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Body Talk 8/4/15

Tonight my guest was Mr Paul Chatrath, an ENT consultant at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood. He qualified in 1995 and offers private consultation, treatment and surgery for all sorts of ear, nose, throat, head and neck problems. Tonight he was talking about allergies and we began with the common problem of hayfever.

Hayfever can start as early as February with different types of tree pollen being  released into the air. It continues  through the year as the plants , trees and grasses continue to grow and release pollen. Not everyone is sensitive to the same type of pollen and the symptoms may be different for each person, bit in general it means many weeks of sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes.

Not all allergies are seasonal. You may have an allergy to house dust or animal fur, if that’s the case it will be an all year round condition.

Most allergies can be controlled by avoiding contact with the offending trigger. If that isn’t possible, it can be treated with medication. There is normally a simple test to find out what is causing the allergy. A solution is applied to the arm, and if the skin reacts the allergy is diagnosed. If the cause is more elusive, a blood test may be necessary.

If you’d like to find out about your allergy, you can book an appointment with Mr Chatrath at Spire on 01277 266766.

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Body Talk 25/3/15

How to help your heart was the theme of this week’s show.

Bad gums could be an indication of heart problems. But researchers aren’t sure which comes first, wehether the bad gums cause a bad heart or the bad heart causes gum problems. Whichever way you look at it, if the gums are healthy you stand a better chance of a happy heart.

A glass of wine a day can reduce heart risks too. But it needs to be just a glass. Don’t overdo it!!

Your heart will also appreciate a few blueberries for breakfast.A cup of blueberries once a day for 8 weeks could make a significant improvement in your overall heart health.

Optimists are twice as likely to have healthy hearts. They are also up to 76 per cent more likely to enjoy general wellbeing and health too. So if you want to stay healthy, stay happy!!

Beetroot is good for the heart too. Beetroot juice has become the new power drink for athletes because it was thought to improve blood flow to the muscles. New research suggests that the nitrates in the juice relax blood vessels and help use oxygen more efficiently, which takes more strain off the heart, especially after exercise.

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Body Talk 18/3/15

Make the most of your time. We all spend far too much time worrying and stressing over things that may never happen. We are also guilty of procrastinating far too much. We put off enjoying ourselves until the kids have left school, until we move house, until we change jobs and so the list goes on. There’s no time like the present to start enjoying yourself!!

What’son your bucket list? Whether it’s something scary like skydiving or something more down to earth like learning a new language, there’s no time like the present. Don’t keep putting off your hopes and dreams, do them now while you’re still lively and healthy!!

Did you know that one in ten British adults has never tasted celery? Whilst there could be a case for allergic possibilities, that’s still a lot of people who have never tried one of our most common salad ingredients.

Another interesting fact. Did you know that men start putting on weight at an  average age of 44? If that sounds like you, then the mediteranean diet is definitely the answer. All of us are on average four years older physically than we should be. Try to redress the balance by improving your lifestyle and swapping to a diet full of fresh fruit and veg. It can hold back the years.

Today’s technology means that our brains are constantly racing from one thing to the next. From reading texts to checking social media and emails and taking calls. We are always on the go. Our brains need a rest in order to recharge. Try chilling out to some relaxing music. Soothing melodies have been shown to reduce the brains activity, and lower stress levels. Or, get out into the peace and quiet of the countryside, away from the stresses of the modern age, but leave your phone behind!!


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Body Talk 11/3/15

Tonight my guest was Linda Johnson, talking about her experience of cancer and the drugs used to treat it.

It has recently been announced that some cancer drugs are going to be withdrawn from the cancer drug fund on 12th March because they are deemed not to be cost effective, but these drugs do work and extend the lives of people with incurable cancer. Just because it’s incurable doesn’t mean that a person cannot have a good quality of life. They can live much longer, even though they cannot be cured.

8,000 cancer patients are likely to have their lives cut short following a decision to withdraw NHS  funding for 25 treatments. Linda has breast cancer, and she (along with 1,700 other breast cancer patients) will be affected by this decision. Charities have been quoted as saying that drugs which no longer receive funding have increased survival in some cases from 8 months to 2 1/2 years.

These drugs are not just buying people time at the end of their lives, they are buying them time while they are fit and well and enjoying a good qwuality of life. The decision whether or not to take these drugs Linda feels should be taken by the oncologist who is expert in the disease and the patient who is an expert on their own body. These decisions should be taken in the interest of the patient, not in an attempt to save money.

Linda has started an on line petition, and is going to Westminster to present it to John Baron , who is the all party chair for cancer as well as being one of our local MP’s. Help Linda and others like her by signing this petition at http:/

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Body Talk 4/3/15

Tonight my guest was Dr Farooq Maniyar, who was here to discuss migraines. Dr Maniyar is an expert on headache disorders, runs a headache clinic at Basildon Hospital and a private clinic at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood. He won an international award last year for his research in migraines.

A migraine is more than just a headache. There are many symptoms that can warn of a migraine attack. About 25% of people get an aura,  which means they see flashing lights  or patterns. They may also experience tunnel vision. These warning signs can appear several hours before the headache comes on. After the onset of the headache, the sufferer can also experienced heightened sensitivity in all or some of the senses ; light, sound, smell and touch. It can also bring about a feeling of nausea.

The actual attack can last anywhere from one to twelve hours. In serious cases sometimes longer.

In the past it’s been thought that the migraine can be brought on by eating chocolate , cheese or caffeine, but it seems now that these  cravings are simply an indication of the onset of an attack. Tension is another indicator, and although tension accompanies the headache, this is still not directly the cause. It seems to be brought on by a type of electrical storm in the brain.

Migraines can be experienced by anyone,although it does seem to be that it can be passed on in the genes. It is more common in women than men, and more so in adults than children.

Now it can be treated in a few different ways depending on the severity and the type of symptoms. A course of tablets can be effective, but if nausea accompanies the attack, there are injections or nasal sprays. In really severe cases, it is possible to use botox injections to dull the nerve endings, or as a last resort, opersting to relieve the pressure at the base of the skull.

If you would like to know more about migraines call Dr Maniyar  at Spire on 01277 266761.

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Body Talk 25/2/15

Tonight my guest was Dr Debi Ray, Consultant Paediatrician at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Debi was talking about autism.

Debi sees all children from newborn to 18, for a whole range of different health issues. She works with children and their families to help them understand the conditions that are affecting them and works with them in the best way possible.

Autism is a range of conditions that combine to make your child a little different to the average child. They may have problems communicating and understanding general playground chit chat. They may be over sensitive to certain foods. That sensitivity can extend to the feel of clothes against the skin,lighting or noise in the environment. These things can make it extremely difficult to live a normal family life. For children that are diagnosed, the phrase ‘on the spectrum’ is used. The spectrum is a scale that is used to determine the severity of the condition.

Autistic children will need treatment for the rest of their lives. Their symptoms may become more easy to cope with through the careful management of behaviour and diet. At the moment it seems there is no known cause, therefore it isn’t preventable. However there are certain people who will be more genetically disposed to certain conditions. Early diagnosis is important, not just for the child but for the whole family.

If you have any concerns and would like to speak to Debi or attend one of her clinics, she is contactable at Spire Hartswood Hospital on 01277 266761.

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Body Talk 18/2/15

Tonight my guests were Mandy and Daniel Scott, talking about toxic shock syndrome. Their story is particularly heartbreaking as Mandy’s daughter, sister of Daniel, died two years ago on Valentine’s day from TSS.

You may have heard of it before, but would you recognise the symptoms? TSS is an extremely rare but potentially serious illness that can affect anyone.

Toxic shock syndrome is a type of blood poisoning that will make you feel severely ill very quickly. It can affect men, women and children.

TSS is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which normally live harmlesssly on the skin. In rare cases, certain strains of this bacteria can produce toxins that cause TSS. Most doctors will never even see a case of it. There are approximately 40 cases diagnosed each year, and, sadly, out of those two or three people die each year.

A proportion of the cases are associated with women and girls using tampons; the remainder result from localised infections following burns, boils, insect bites or surgery. Some TSS cases are associated with burns or scalds that damage the skin’s defences allowing bacteria to grow and develop toxins.

The symptoms are:

sudden high fever/ temperature, vomiting, sunburn-like rash, diarrhoea, fainting or feeling faint, muscle aches, dizziness, confusion

Consult your doctor at once if you experience some of these symptoms, and you suspect something could be seriously wrong. With early diagnosis TSS can be successfully treated with antibiotics and other medicines.

For more information look on the TSS website:  or email:


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Body Talk 11/2/15

Try some turmeric to keep you mentally sharp. According to research it may also stave off early stage diabetes. The active compound in turmeric is curcumin, and this is the key to good health. In a study, the people who ate turmeric regularly showed an improvement in their working memory that lasted for at least 6 hours.

Curcumin has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is used to treat conditions such as allergies, diabetes and ulcers. It’s now being tested for many different conditions including colon cancer and arthritis. Also for inflammation including heart disease.

Some interesting facts about exercise and weight loss. It isn’t true that strenuous exercise alone will help you lose weight. You need to pay attention to your diet too.

An hour’s intensive workout will burn approximately 200 calories, the equivalent of a couple of biscuits.Your resting metabolic rate accounts for between 60 to 75 percent of your total daily energy expenditure. That means we use up calories just thinking and breathing! A further 10 percent is used up digesting the food that we eat. That leaves 15 per cent that we have control over, and even that depends on our age, hormones, gender, genetic predisposition body temperature and for us girls , the phase of the menstrual cycle.

The  best exercise isn’t intensive, but frequent and moderate. Walking is good but it needs to be fairly brisk. Swimming is also very good for alll round fitness and for increasing lung capacity. Gentle aerobic exercises or classes such as yoga or pilates about three or four times a week.

Combine a healthy diet with a good exercise regime and you will feel better and fitter and the pounds will naturally drop away.

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Body Talk 4/2/15


Today Cancer Research UK launched a new campaign to get us all to check regularly for the red flag signs of cancer. If it’s caught early enough there is a much better chance of finding a cure. The survival rate after all cancerous conditions is much greater now than in the past.Most people will now live 10 years or more after their cancer has been diagnosed. It is also thought that approximately 50% of people born in the 1960’s will experience some form of cancer. These are the signs to look for:

  • Persistent cough or hoarseness – could indicate lung cancer
  • A change in the appearance of a mole – could mean you’re suffering skin cancer
  • A persistent change in bowel habits – could be a sign of bowel cancer
  • A sore that does not heal – depends on where, a mouth ulcer could mean mouth cancer
  • Persistent difficulty swallowing – can mean a person is suffering oesophageal cancer
  • Unexplained weight loss – can indicate several types of cancer
  • Persistent change in bladder habits – could be a sign of bladder cancer and prostate cancer in men
  • An unexplained lump – can be a warning sign of many forms of the disease
  • Persistent unexplained pain – depending on where, can denote many types of cancer
  • Unexplained bleeding – depends where but can mean bowel, cervical or vulval cancer

If you have any of the above symptoms, get to your gp and check it out. The sooner any condition is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.

Diet is important for your health, and one of the best superfoods is garlic. It has been used for centuries across the world to treat a wide range of health conditions. If you don’t fancy the side effect of garlic breath, then make sure those close to you share some too!

Perhaps a little more appetising are berries. Research suggests that they have a powerful effect on the body and brain. Blueberries, could help ward off dementia, goji berries are good for the eyes and strawberries are beneficial for the oesophagus. Cranberries are good for the urinary tract and raspberries are great for your digestion. So grab a handful of berries and eat your way to good health!!


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Body Talk 28/1/15

My guest this evening was Dr Dipak Mukherjee, Consultant Chest Physician at Spire Hartswood Hospital. He was discussing breathlessness and coughing as symptoms of respiratory illness.

Most of us have suffered in some way with coughs and colds. There are two types of cough. Firstly the dry tickle in the throat, which means the upper airways are inflamed. The brain translates this as a foreign object inn the throat and tries to remove it by coughing.

Secondly, there is the chesty cough. This produces phlegm, and the cough helps to remove phlegm from the lung passages.

There are many different ways of catching a cough. It can be caused by a virus such as cold or flu. It may be as a result of an allergy. Asthma can often cause coughing. It could be reflux. Smoking will cause a cough. Less commonly it may be the first sign of a condition causing a long term cough such as lung cancer, heart failure, pulmonary embolism (clot on the lung), cystic fibrosis or tuberculosis.

Doctors often classify coughs according to how long they last. Less than 3 weeks is acute, 3-8 weeks is subacute and chronic is more than 8 weeks.

There’s no quick way of getting rid of a cough caused by viral infection, it just has to run its course. It will usually clear up after the immune system has fought it off.

Some cold and flu medicines have ingredients that may help treat symptoms associated with a cough, such as a blocked nose or fever.

Antibiotics are not used to treat coughs because they are only effective in killing bacteria, not viruses. The simplest way to treat a cough is to try some honey and lemon. Honey is a demulcent which means which means it coats the throat and relieves the irritation that causes coughing.

If you have a cough for more than 3 weeks you should visit your gp who will be able to do some tests to find the cause of the cough.

If your doctor advises further investigations and you get referred to Spire Hartswood, you can undergo a series of tests to determine the cause.

A chest x-ray is to see if you have a chest infection. A sample of your phlegm is taken for analysis to decide if antibiotics should be prescribed. A spirometry test is to see if the airways are blocked. Allergy testing or a bronchoscopy where a camera is inserted into the lungs.

If you have any worrying symptoms contact your gp. The sooner the cough is treated, the sooner it can be cleared up.

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Body Talk 21/1/15

Are those new year resolutions falling by the wayside already?

Don’t worry, just start again. Here are a few tips if you’re struggling:

Make a list and make your goals clear, if you want to lose weight then how much? If you want to do more exercise, what and how often?

Think about what you need. If it’s a new exercise class then get yourself some workout clothes that make you feel good.

Get a friend to support you, you can both encourage each other to reach your goals.

Be positive when you talk about your resolutions. Say I’m losing weight, rather than I’ve got so much weight to lose.

Don’t make too many resolutions. One is good, two are possible but more than that and you could be setting yourself up for failure.

Tell as many people as you can what you’re doing. That way everyone can cheer you on and it’s harder to back down or give in.

Keep a diary of your progress, that way if you do falter you have a record of your successes to motivate you once more.

Set up a time frame for your achievement. According to science it takes 21 days to install a new habit and make it natural. So give yourself at least 3 weeks to make that change for good.

If you’re not sure where to start then maybe a good place to begin your investigations is on This is a website with a test for you to take to determine your chances of getting Alzheimers.Act now and stop the decline. It’s aimed at those between 50 and 70, but it’s a good idea to take the test whatever your age. Think positively about your future.

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Body Talk 7/1/15

Yes it’s that New Year Resolution time again, and as per usual there will be approximately 88 per cent of us that fail to stick to them. So are you one of the 12 per cent that sticks to their guns?

Don’t worry if you’re not. It doesn’t matter what day of the year it is, it’s never too late to make a resolution to change. So even if you started out with good intentions and failed, then pick yourself up and start again.

To make your resolutions stick make sure they are achievable and worthwhile. Start a diary so you can keep a record of how well you’re doing. That way if you do falter for a day or two you can look back at your track record to fire up your willpower again.

Identify the things that stop you from achieving your goals. Stress and boredom can be really challenging, so anticipate your weaknesses and try to make plans to avoid those triggers.

If you do an activity for 21 days it starts to become habit, so give yourself three weeks at least to adopt new ways.

So whether it’s diet or exercise that you’re focusing on, or simply spending more time getting to know yourself, decide to start now!!

It’s never too late, and now is always a good time to start. No time for regrets, put the past behind you and move forward with a smile and renewed confidence in yourself.

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Body Talk 17/12/14

Tonight my guest was Dr Mathias Toth, Consultant in General and Geriatric Medicine at Spire Hartswood Hospital, talking about osteoporosis.

This is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile, mostly as a result of losing minerals. As we grow, our bones grow stronger and by the age of 18 to 20 we have reached 90% of our peak bone mass. Little change occurs to bone strength in women between the age of 30 and the menopause,but with the start of the menopause there is usually an accelerated decline in bone health.

Osteoporosis research has traditionally focussed on women because their risk is higher, but one third of osteoporosis sufferers are men.

The best time to prevent osteoporosis is in adolescence, by sticking to a diet rich in dairy produce and doing weight bearing exercise.

Sometimes osteoporosis affects the young, but this is normally the result of a medical condition such as anorexia or bulimia, and increasingly as a result of medication, especially steroids and anti-epileptic medication.

Osteoporosis affects about 3 million people in the UK.  50% of women and 20% of men will suffer a fracture after 50.The risk of fracture in women is greater than that of breast cancer or cardiovascular disease. There are about 300,000 fragility fractures every year in the UK and 1,150 people are dying every month as a result of hip fractures.

If you have any concerns about osteoporosis, speak to your GP, or call Spore Hartswood and ask for Dr Toth who will be happy to answer your questions.

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Body Talk 3/12/14

Olive oil can prevent heart failure by making a damaged heart function more efficiently. Oleate, which is a common fat in the oil, helps the heart to contract and pump blood. Fats from dairy, meat and palm oil produce toxins that can worsen heart disease and heart failure.

Eating five a day can improve mental health as well as physical health. People who don’t eat enough fruit and veg are far more likely to suffer from depression those who eat their five a day are more likely to be optimistic, happy and have good relationships with others.

Just half an hour of walking every day can protect against a range of diseases and even help prevent premature death. It can help prevent diabetes, reduce the risk of some cancers relieve depression and reduce the chance of hip fractures. According to researchers from Aston University, it can also slow the progression of Alzheimers.

Although mould has been around for centuries, mould related health problems have only been being diagnosed in recent years. It may have something to do with badly built homes or a lowered immune system, but the most likely culprit is air conditioning. It appears that mould only grows on the surface, but as it grows it releases spores into the air and it is the spores that can produce an allergic reaction, or cause disease to set in to the body.

To combat mould, ensure that your home is well ventilated, and try to avoid any form of damp in rooms. If you hang up your wet washing indoors, try to avoid it. A nuisance in the winter months, but it does contribute to damp and mould indoors.

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Body Talk 26/11/14

Tonight my guest was Dr Ben Huntley, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia at Spire Hartswood Hospital.

We spoke about the complex subject of pain.

Because perception and tolerance of pain vary widely from individual to individual, pain is difficult to define and describe. Essentially, pain is the way your brain interprets information about a particular sensation that your body is experiencing. Information about this painful sensation are sent via nerve pathways to your brain. The way in which your brain interprets these signals as “pain” can be affected by many outside factors, including emotions.

Acute pain is of short duration, usually the result of an injury, surgery or illness. This type of pain includes acute injuries, post-operative pain and post-trauma pain.

Chronic pain is an ongoing condition, such as back and neck pain, headaches, nerve pain, musculoskeletal pain, and pain related to illness.

Treatments for acute and chronic pain are different. In some cases, pain can be stopped or alleviated by medication or series of procedures. Sometimes, chronic pain is part of a widespread disease process, and the specific cause may be difficult to pinpoint.  In some patients, the condition causing the pain, such as cancer, cannot be changed, but it may be possible to reduce the pain or help the patient  cope with the pain through a combination of medical, psychological and rehabilitation techniques.

If you have any issues with pain and would like to find out more about how the pain can be managed, then contact Dr Ben Huntley at Spire Hartswood Hosital.

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Body Talk 19/11/14

What can we do to protect our skin in the winter months? All of this dry cold weather can be really damaging so a good idea is to turn to some home made remedies and some glycerine.Iit’s odourless and colourless, and tastes quite sweet. It’s a mild and safe beauty ingredient with no unpleasant side effects.

Mix equal parts of water and glycerine and apply to the skin to help keep the moisture in. It regulates the oil content in your skin and at the same time helps to kee it supple and soft. It also helps to prevent wrinkles!!

It can also help in healing scars by boosting the cell metabolism, as well as helping with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. You can make a face pack by mixing it with fullers earth or honey and milk.

Now on to the more serious subject of obesity which is becoming more of a problem than ever. Steve Miller of the TV show Fat Families has been speaking out on the subject. He is calling for fast food restaurants to refuse to serve obese customers. Saying that people should be shocked into doing something about their health. He says it wouldn’t be cruel but would in fact be saving their lives. Obesity is a killer. These people need to seek help as it is becoming more obvious that food is an addiction which is just as bad as drugs or alcohol. He says that we should stop being so nice about the dieting approach and it’s time to do some straight talking.

And on the subject of alcohol, scientists believe they may have discovered why it is so difficult to stop. Alcohol destroys the part of the brain that we use for self control. It may also be worthwhile investigating whether or not the same applies to food or any other addiction. If this link can be established it may give big clues as to how we can control addictive behaviours in the future.


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Body Talk 12/1/14

Tonight my guests were Sharon Williams and Caroline Tichborne from Action For Family Carers.

 Carer Support Groups and drop-ins are run by a Carer Support and Development Worker and these groups provide emotional support, information and advice for Carers in an informal environment. Caring can be very isolating and  Support Groups offer Carers some time out to talk to other Carers, share their experiences and support one another. There may be times when you want to talk to someone who understands the pressures of being a Carer or you may want practical advice or support to help you cope. Tea, coffee, biscuits and a friendly face will always be available for anyone who needs information, emotional or practical support, or simply feels the need to have a chat.

A carer is someone, who, without payment, provides help and support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour, who could not manage without their help. This could be due to age, physical or mental illness, addiction or disability.

Caroline offers her services as an advocate or go between for those carers who need extra help in voicing their concerns and connecting with the right people. She also runs workshops that  look at effective ways of making a complaint to both public bodies such as social services or within the private sector. By focusing on what you would like to achieve effective complaining can be a very powerful tool to help you to get what you want.

There are many events running in Brentwood, such as monthly lunch get- togethers : workshops on manual handling and nutrition. A pamper day and of course a christmas party!!

To find out more call 01621 851640 or look on their website :



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Body Talk 5/11/14

Find out your brain age by taking a new test that’s just been published by Public Health England. We try to take care of our health in various different ways, but how often do you consider the health of your brain. We know that dementia and Alzheimers are becoming increasingly more widespread with the population now living longer, but not necessarily healthier. This simple test will help you to ascertain just how healthy your brain is and what you can do to rejuvenate it and possibly reverse the aging process.

Just answer True or False to the following statements :

1. I get between seven and eight hours (or more) sleep each night.

2. I eat at least five or more servings of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants daily.

3. I eat at least one serving of blueberries, raspberries or blackberries daily.

4. I eat baked or grilled fish high in omega-3 fatty acids at least three times a week.

5. I take fish oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids or flaxseed supplements at least five times per week.

6. I take folic acid supplementation and a daily multivitamin.

7. I take a low-dose aspirin daily.

8. I drink red wine or grape juice at least five times a week.

9. I exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes each time (total of three hours or more of strenuous exercise weekly).

10. I read challenging books, do crossword puzzles or Sudoku, or engage in activities that require active learning, memorising, computation, analysis and problem solving at least five times a week.

11. I have ‘longevity genes’ in my family, with members who have lived to 80 and older without memory loss.


12. My total cholesterol is below 5.2 mmol/l.


13. My LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol is below 3.3 mmol/l.


14. I am not obese (less than 1.4 stone overweight for a woman; less than 2.1 stone overweight for a man).


15. I eat a Mediterranean style diet — one high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, with olive oil as the source of fat and little red meat.


16. Instead of butter and margarine, I use olive oil and no trans-fat spreads.


17. I have never smoked cigarettes.


18. I have normal blood pressure.


19. I do not have diabetes.


20. I do not have metabolic syndrome (high triglycerides, central obesity, and hypertension), also called insulin resistance syndrome.


21. I do not have a sleep disorder such as snoring or obstructive sleep apnea or untreated insomnia.


22. Daily uncontrolled stress is not a problem for me.

 23. I have a strong support group and enjoy many activities with friends, colleagues, and family members.

24. I have no problems with short or long-term memory.

25. I’m ready to prevent Alzheimer’s and am willing to do whatever it takes.

Now add up how many of those statements were true for you to find out your brain age:

0-11: You have a high risk of Alzheimer’s. Add 10 years to your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.

12-14: You have a moderate risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Add five years to your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.

15-19: OK. Your Real Brain Age is the same as your chronological age. That said, you have a mild risk of Alzheimer’s disease, so pay attention.

20-22: Subtract ten years from your chronological age for your Real Brain Age. You are doing a lot to take care of your physical and mental health.

23-25: Congratulations, you are ageing well! Subtract 15 years from your chronological age for your Real Brain Age. You are presently healthy, with a youthful and productive mind. Unless things change in your life, your risk of Alzheimer’s disease is extremely low.

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Body Talk

This week I was joined by Mr Russell Pearson, Consultant Opthalmologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital. He was discussing vision correction surgery.

Lens-based vision correction surgery is essentially the same as cataract removal and involves exchanging the natural lens in your eye and replacing it with an artificial lens to restore vision. In basic cataract surgery a single vision lens is used eliminating the need for distance vision glasses. With lens-based vision corrective surgery , the natural lens is replaced according to your with a more sophisticated varifocal lens, according to your prescription, restoring both near and distance vision.

This is not something that is available on the NHS, who only provide standard standard cataract surgery.

The surgery is normally over in a few hours and the patient can leave on the same day. A local anaesthetic is all that is required, and normal activities can be resumed within a couple of days.

It is geneally better than laser surgery as after laser surgery eyes can deteriorate whereas lens based surgery isn’t affected by age so there is usually no deterioration. When you think about how much money you might spend on glasses over the years, it is well worth considering. it is possible to call spire Hartswood direct, or look on their website for more information.


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Body Talk 22/10/14

Did you know that arguing with your partner can make you put on weight? It’s been proved according to latest research, living in a hostile environment affects the way your body digests and either uses food for energy  or stores it as fat. You’d think that all of that arguing would use up more energy, but in fact it has the opposite effect. In test subjects , it showed that the metabolism remained slow for several hours afterwards, which could result in weight gain of up to 12 pounds over a year. So if you haven’t changed your eating habits but you’ve started to pile on the pounds it may not be just your diet that you need to be addressing.

Now for something a bit more easy to fix. Simple kitchen cupboard solutions to everyday problems. Did you know that placing a slice of onion on a burn can help to soothe it?

Spray sesame oil into a blocked nose for sinus relief. It apparently works as well as many over the counter remedies. Only a small amount though!!

Celery and star anise can be helpful in preventing hot flushes, a natural alternative to HRT.

A simple decoction of bayleaves can be helpful in easing earache.

Bananas can be helpful in relieving cramp. They are rich in magnesium, and low magnesium is associated with cramp.

So many useful remedies that we have in our kitchen cupboards. There are many more too, and as I find out about them and even test them, I’ll be sharing them with you.








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Body Talk 1/10/14

Click below to listen to the show again:

There’s a brand new watch on the market, but not one that you might want to rush out and buy. It’s the Death Watch!!! Yes that’s right. It’s actually called the Tikker and is supposed to be able to predict the time of your death. Right down to the last second.

It gives you a health quiz, asking questions such as how much exercise you take, how healthy is your diet, whether you drink or  smoke. It also asks for information on your current state of health and what other illnesses may be in your family such as diabetes, heart conditions, cancer. Then from all of this information, it calculates how long you will live. On the face of the watch it gives you years, months and days followed by hours minutes and seconds, so you can literally count down the seconds to your death!!!

It sounds a bit scary but the idea is to make you more aware of the amount of time you have left on this planet and to make the most of it.  On the plus side it does also tell the correct time so you can use it as a real watch as well. It is very much a gimmick, but think I’ll give it a miss. How scary would it be if it said next week!!!


On a brighter note, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Recent studies have shown that apples contain a particular chemical that could help prevent obesity. Not just any old apple though, it has to be a Granny Smith. All those diet pills and an apple could have done it all!!! Maybe a few extra apples will add a few extra years on to the Tikker too.

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Body Talk 24/9/14

I recently came across a group locally that I thought may be of help to quite a few people in the community ; Action for Family Carers. They aim to provide support to families and individuals from age 8 who are caring for someone with an illness or disability. Over 6 million people in the UK provide unpaid care. They are based in Maldon but provide help and assistance across Essex. Visit their website

Tonight I also helped to dispel some of those medical myths. Like the habit of crossing your legs can cause varicose veins. Not true!!!

How many times have you heard that you should drink 2 litres of water per day? I would find this extremely difficult to say the least. Instead check the colour of your urine. If it’s dark, you need to drink more water and if it’s too light you should drink less. Quite simple and it’s a much better way of checking your body’s fluid levels. Ideally your pee should be the colour of lemon juice.

How about the connection between eggs and cholesterol? According to the European Food Information Council, eggs have little impact on cholesterol. Instead they make a valuable contribution to a healthy balanced diet by providing protein, vitamins and minerals.

Drinking coffee  dehydrates you and can make diabetes worse. No!! Drinking around  2 or 3  cups  a day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by around 25%!!

So don’t believe everything you hear about. General rule of thumb is everything in moderation!!!



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Body Talk 3/9/14

Spinach could be the new superfood when it comes to dieting. There’s a special extract that can be used to curb the hunger pangs. Try it and see. Maybe Popeye was right. With it’s high iron content it certainly is good for the body.

Now for something naughty and not so nice. Sugar!!! It’s been in the news a lot lately. For years we’ve been trying to aviod fat and the dangers of sugar have been pushed to one side. Now new research is revealing it as one of the biggest dangers to our health.

Processed foods including juice and other healthy foods release more sugar than the average persons metabolism can cope with. So called healthy juices are loaded with sugar, and two slices of wholemeal bread break down into two teaspoons of sugar. One can of fizzy drink has 10 teaspoons of sugar. Even a healthy granola bar has 3 teaspoons of sugar. And most shockingly a slice of carrot cake can have 15 or more teaspoons of sugar!!!

How much sugar do you have in your diet, and can you live without it? Most of us consume far too much sugar to the extent that it may have turned into a life threatening addiction. Time to start keeping a food diary and thinking abut how you can cut down on the sugar.

Good news though, we can retrain our brains to want the healthier option. Reasearchers have come up with a new way of dieting that focuses on the rewards you get, like weight loss, improved skin condition, more energy etc. so eventually you are only craving the foods that will be good for you. It takes about 6 months, but the message eventually gets through!!

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Body Talk 27/8/14

Tinnitus is on the increase according to new research. It’s a common problem among musicians as it can be triggered by repeated exposure to loud noise. The sensitive hairs lining the inner ear are damaged, creating the illusion of noise.

It isn’t exclusive to musicians though. Around 10% of people in the UK suffer with this condition. More than ever, and the numbers are on the rise. It s possible that the increase is due to us using our ears to much!! Repeated use of mobile phones and headphones plugged into mp3’s or ipods could be to blame.

With mobile phones it’s not so much the noise, but the electromagnetic radiation that’s emitted. It has been suggested that this could cause a calcium imbalance and affect the neural pathways in the brain.

So what can be done? There isn’t actually a cure, but there are several things you can do to improve it.

Supplements have been shown to help ;Gingko Biloba, Zinc or Magnesium.

Sound therapy has also been proved to be effective, particularly with those sufferers whose sleep is affected. Pleasant soothing music, or the sound of waves or waterfalls can provide relief.

Yoga and meditation are effective if the problem is linked to excessive stress.

Look for the cause and take it from there. It could just be something simple like a build up of ear wax, or it could even be due to medication. Aspirin or ibuprofen as well as some prescription drugs can have this as a side effect.


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Body Talk 20/8/14

My guest this evening was Jenny Rooks, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, from Crushes Clinic in Pilgrims Hatch. Jenny has recently become Course Director for CBT Training at London Southbank University, which runs the courses for professional qualifications for CBT therapists.

Tonight Jenny was explaining how Metacognitive Therapy can help in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

Depression can be attributed to many life changes and transitions. People cope differently and moods can be variable. Stress related conditions include general anxiety, OCD, fears and phobias.

Metacognitive Therapy helps to control the brooding aspect, it focuses on how to control the over analytical mind, and attempting to pre-empt and problem solve any given situation.

Thought management techniques are taught to delay the thought processes of the over active mind, through attention training and detached mindfulness.

Stress and anxiety seem to be on the increase. It’s important to recognise the warning signals and stop these all too serious issues becoming life threatening.

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Body Talk 13/8/14

The latest diet craze is vinegar!!! Yes it’s true. cider vinegar has traditionally been used as a remedy for all sorts of ills, but now it’s being used to aid weight loss. Whatever next!!!

Salt injections may help to destroy cancer cells, the latest research has found, but it also destroys healthy cells too. Good news though for the future, and I’ll keep you posted on any further developments.

Take your shoes off when you go indoors!!! Research has found that we bring in so many germs on the soles of our shoes that we are endangering our health. Wooden or tiled floors are much easier to keep clean rather than carpets that just hold on to bacteria.

And now to sleep. There is no wonder cure all for sleep. I have covered this subject so many times but still no closer to n answer. It’s different for everyone. Just experiment, and see what works for you. For us ladies it may be hormonal, or it could be the prescription drugs that you’re taking. perhaps you’re a smoker or maybe drinking coffee before bed. Maybe that little tipple is keeping you awake or maybe you have a food allergy that you don’t know about.

Experimentation is the real answer. Look at all of the options and see what might apply to you. May sound like hard work, but eventually it will be worth it and you will get a good night’s sleep.

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Body Talk 6/8/14

My guest today was Mr Sabu Jacob, Consultant General Surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Mr Jacob qualified in 1986 and has many years experience working in King Georges Hospital, Queens Hospital and within his private practices in Essex and East London. He specialises in vascular surgery and was talking about varicose veins.

Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged veins, usually blue or purple in colour. They may also be lumpy, bulging or

twisted in appearance. They are usually in the legs.

Other symptoms include aching, heavy and uncomfortable legs, swollen feet and ankles and muscle cramp in the legs.

Mr Jacob specialises in the VNUS Closure procedure which is the least invasive and easiest procedure to perform, causing minimal or no damage to the surrounding areas. The procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for superficial venous reflux. A thin catheter is inserted into the vein through a small opening, through which radiofrequency (RF) energy is delivered to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse and seal shut.

Since valves can’t be repaired, the only alternative is to re-route blood flow through healthy veins. Traditionally, this has been done by surgically removing (stripping) the troublesome vein from the leg. The VNUS Closure procedure provides a less invasive alternative to vein stripping by simply closing the problem vein instead. Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over and empty blood from the legs.

This treatment is successful for the removal of all varicose veins, but because it is considered more of a cosmetic procedure is not normally available on the NHS. To find out more about the treatment contact Spire Hartswood Hospital and arrange an appointment with Mr Jacob in his Tuesday morning surgery on 01277 266761.

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Body Talk 30/7/14

Tonight my guest was Natasha Brailey, Hypnotherapist.

Hypnotherapy has been proven to be successful in so many areas ; smoking, weight, loss, confidence, phobias to name but a few.

It works by tapping into the subconscious, the part of us that controls all of our automatic reactions. A bit like when you get up and get dressed without even thinking about it. It’s a habit that’s been embedded over many years. Our minds work in the same habitual manner. We learn to expect more of the same, it’s the easy option.

Change is always a challenge. We are all creatures of habit and the idea of changing what we have is a bit like leaping into the unknown. What if it all goes wrong? Well the simple answer is we don’t know if we don’t try, and if what we have is already wrong, what have we got to lose? In fact we have everything to gain.

Natasha is now working with clients on a process called Future Life Progression. Using this method you can explore your future life options. Apparently we all have four possible futures, we can work towards each one at any time. Natasha takes you through those four options. The first one is to look at what happens if you make no changes, the second is if you make one small change, the third is more changes and the fourth is the best possible outcome if you changed your life completely.

It’s a fascinating process and really does make you stop and think, while at the same time being very empowering.

If you’d like to find out more, check out Natasha on Facebook  at Healing Heart Crystals, or her website is

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Body Talk 23/7/14

Tonight my guest was Dr Parag Jasani, consultant haematologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital. He was talking tonight about blood clots.

Essentially DVT and a blood clot are the same thing, but DVT is in a particular part of the body. DVT stands for deep vein thrombosis and it occurs in the deep veins of the leg. A blood clot in the lung is a pulmonary embolism; a blood clot n the vein is a veinous thromboembolism and a blood clot in the artery is an arterial thrombosis.

Although they can happen to anyone, they are more likely to happen to people who don’t move around much or if you’re ill.

You’ve probably heard about blood clots linked to long-haul plane journeys or the contraceptive pill, but you’re much more likely to get a blood clot after going into hospital. In fact about two thirds of all blood clots happen during or after a stay in hospital.

A 2005 House of Commons Health Committee report stated that every year in England an estimated 25,000 deaths occur as a result of hospital acquired VTE.

It also stated that the estimated number of deaths was more than the combined number of deaths from breast cancer, AIDs and traffic accidents, and more than 25 times the number who die from MRSA.

Mostly these deaths are preventable, and there is a lot that we can do ourselves to prevent the worst from happening.

Lose any excess weight, stop smoking, cut down on salt and fat in your diet, and try to cut down the alcohol intake.

If you have any concerns about any of these issues, then contact the Spire Hartswood Hospital who will be happy to help.

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Body Talk – 16/7/14

My guest tonight was Judy Lewis, personal Trainer.

Judy came on the show about 6 months ago, not just talking about her successes with personal training and fitness, but also to introduce her marvellous new machine Laser Liposculpt. It is a system that removes inches of fat within hours!!! Now that has to be good news.

Judy is now working at a salon in Thurrock and is having great success with the liposculpt. She showed me the before and after pictures of  several of her clients and the difference in just one session is amazing. The machine works while you rest. What could be simpler? You do need to do a bit of exercise immediately after to get the system moving and expel the fat that the machine has loosened up.  But that’s the only down side.

Judy was also commenting on recent research that highlights how important exercise is as we get older. It has been shown that it can even delay the  onset of dementia and alzheimers. It doesn’t matter what age you are it’s never too late to start exercising and to start reaping the benefits.

We did touch on the subject of nutrition too. It’s vital to have a reasonably healthy diet. If you can combine a good exercise routine with a diet filled with fresh foods you will live not just longer but healthier too.

You can find Judy on facebook on judy’s Laser Lipolysis and you can also follow her on Twitter  @judyslaserlipo


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Body Talk 9/7/14

Do you keep forgetting where you’ve put things? Do you  walk into a room and forget why you’re there? It happens more frequently as we get older. One theory is that our minds are just clogged up with too much stuff, and another is that your brain cells are deteriorating.  Green tea could be the answer. It helps us to think more clearly and can improve our working memory. Worth a try.

Another interesting piece of research that I found this week was that the time of day you take your tablets could be very important as to how your body absorbs them. Our body works according to the circadian rhythm, which means that in daylight we wake up and at night we sleep. Lots of things happen to interrupt this rhythm, such as artificial light, people who do shift work, travelling to different parts of the world, etc. All of these can upset our biological functions, but nevertheless we will be more or less able to digest certain tablets better or worse according to the time of day. They are still doing more research into this, but it does seem to make sense. It is also a very individual thing, so each person could be different. But a fascinating theory, and one that we can test ourselves.

Just to reinforce the time of day theory, there is a similar piece of research that has been done into statins but for the time of year. Our statin levels are higher in the winter than the summer. When it’s cold we stay inside more, get less exercise and eat more fatty foods. In the summer, the reverse happens, so it makes sense really to get your cholesterol checked in the summer. In the winter, men can register up to 3.5 per cent higher and women can be up to 1.7 per cent higher.

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Body Talk 25/6/14

Tonight my guest was Noorie Jiwa-Madison from Derma Aesthetics; talking about the Venus Freeze Treatment.

Venus Freeze Concept is the first and only pain free aesthetic solution for Facial and B ody contouring. Venus concept is based on MP² technology which is a combination of Multipolar Radio Frequency and Magnetic pulse that offers clinically proven results for wrinkle reduction, skin reduction, cellulite reduction and body contouring. MP² Technology evenly heats multiple skin layers encouraging the stimulation of new collagen fibers and the reduction in fat cells whilst offering a pleasant pain free treatment experience likened to a hot stone massage.

The number of treatments required will vary patient to patient, but typically, 6 treatments for the face and 8-10 for the neck and body.

Results do vary from patient to patient; there are many factors to take into account. For instance the age of the client or the general initial state of the client’s skin; but after the recommended course of treatments  come in for maintenance. If you follow those steps the results would last and even improve further!

Noorie is offering a special one off treatment of £25 for Phoenix listeners, with a further 10% discount off subsequent bookings.

Contact Noorie on 07799441202 or email



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Body Talk 11/6/14

My guest this evening was Heather Prince, Life Coach.

Heather is no ordinary Life Coach though, she is tackling one of the most daunting and scariest issues that we have to face as parents; teenagers.

It is so refreshing to know that help is  at hand. As parents we do have difficulty in relating to teenagers. The problems and pressures that young people face today are much different to those say 20 or even 30 years ago.

Teenage pregnancies are much more common, and the reasons behind these situations are increasingly complicated. Heather brings it back to basics and works through all of the emotions to help find resolutions to what could be life threatening circumstances.

Other issues that are on the rise are ones of self image. Diet and nutritional education is vital if our troubled teens are to survive the blast of stick thin celebrities that we are bombarded with in the media. Also self harm is something that was very rare, but now has become another symptom of the stress of life.

Heather uses her life  coaching skills along with EFT and meditation on the journey to an effective cure.

You can contact Heather at www.


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Body Talk 3/6/14

At last it’s been proven by research. There is such a thing as comfort eating!! I think we all knew that anyway, but research has now proven that stress actually produces a chemical reaction that leaves us craving sugar. So the best way to combat this is to learn how to relax and cope more beneficially with the day to day issues that put us into that adrenalin fuelled state.

The best ways to do this are to exercise more and to meditate. It had also been proven that the Buddhist form of mindfulness meditation can help curb chocolate cravings, as it puts you into a place of awareness, allowing you to connect with the needs of your body rather than the desire for comfort which is short lived.

Marriage is apparently good for the heart too! No I wouldn’t recommend all of you singles going out and finding yourself a life partner, but it does have its benefits. Being in a long term relationship seems to make heart disease a less deadly condition for women. According to research they were les likely to die from because of it , and this was regardless of lifestyle or socioeconomic or other factors.

Did you know that you are more likely to lose weight on a Monday than a Saturday? it’s obvious if you think about it. the weekend is the time when most of us want to just chill out and reward ourselves for all of the hard effort we’ve put in during the week.

The VTT Centre in Finland discovered this fact when they monitored the weight of about 80 adults over the course of a year. Those who were losing weight had a greater variability between weekends and weekdays, whereas there was only a slight variance in those who were gaining weight.

So if you’re going to diet, start on a Monday and give yourself a positive start to the week!!!


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Body Talk 28/5/14

My guest tonight was Ches Moulton. Ches is an inspirational speaker, therapist and coach. He specialises in working with people who suffer from stress and dysfunctional relationships. Ches is redefining people’s experience of what it means to have a healthy relationship with themselves  and others and reshaping the way in which people view their environment. He’s known for providing lightbulb moments and leaves people feeling liberated and confident about their future.

Ches has just written a book about how to have and maintain healthy relatonships; called Choice and Change. It explains how we can alter our present reality by making different choices in the way we respond and react to people and situations in our lives. We all have choices, but sometimes we don’t realise they exist. Ches brings you face to face with the choices then you can decide if you want the change. At the end of each chapter there are helpful exercises and questions to aid you on your journey of transformation, concluding with a twelve step self help programme.

If you feel that you’d like to discuss issues that crop up or you need further help, Ches is available for one to one sessions, and he will also be giving a talk in London on 19th June.

To find out more you can look up Ches on facebook or his book is available on Amazon.

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Body Talk 21/5/14

My  guest on the show this evening was Sue Cooke from Brainbuzzz.

Neuro developmental issues are a sensory problem, a problem of interaction with the world, not a low IQ. Neuro developmental delay is separate from intelligence but it affects a person’s ability to prove their intelligence in the ways accepted by society. Children experiencing these problems under-perform at school and as a result can suffer from constant feelings of failure, lack of achievement and being judged as simple. For these children it is frustrating to know and understand things, yet find writing and reading very difficult.

This is why Sue has developed Brainbuzzz. To help not just children, but adults too, who have learning dificulties.

She has developed a training course for those who wish to train and develop their own business helping others with learning issues. She is currently giving talks throughout the county.

Her latest baby is her new book; Maximise Your Child’s Potential, which is available on Amazon.

You can find Sue at

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Body Talk 13/5/14

We’re constantly advised that giving up smoking is better for our health. Which indeed it is, but what are the alternatives? The latest self help tool on the market is the e-cigarette. They might seem like a safe option compared to the real thing, but they are unregulated products that contain at least 19 harmful chemicals, including several that are cancer causing according a doctor from Loyola University. It is worth considering other ways of giving up instead.

Hopefully summer will be with us soon, along with the usual good health advice to stay out of the sun and use plenty of sun protection. But we need vitamin d. Absorbing the sun’s rays is a natural way for us to process vitamin d. There is a complex chain reaction that begins when the sun hits your skin, ending with its production in the kidneys.

Vitamin d is actually a steroid growth hormone that regulates growth in more than 30 different tissues throughout the body. It controls calcium absorption for healthy bones and it can also help to  restrict cancer growth by stopping the formation of new blood vessels that feed the tumours.

Stay in the sun long enough to feel the benefit but not the burn.

Mae sure you are getting enough sleep too!! This news has been in the press on and off for some time now. But yet again another staggering fact emerges that we are all actually getting approximately two hours less sleep a night than we were 60 years ago.  This is due to laptops, tablets, games and social networks. Instead of reading a book and gently nodding off, we are stimulating our brains and emotions with internet media. The light given off by these gadgets stimulates the brain into thinking that it’s still daytime.

Bearing that in mind, I’d best switch off the computer and chill out before bed. Have a good night’s sleep!!

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Body Talk 7/5/14

My guest on the show this evening was Ms Desiree Kolomainen, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital.

She specialises in cancers of the female reproductive organs, including ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and cervical cancer. Tomorrow is World Ovarian Cancer Day.

It’s important to educate women on the subject because 80% of women don’t know the symptoms, and many women think that it can be detected in a smear test.

The symptoms are ; persistent stomach pain, persistent bloating, difficulty in eating or feeling full quickly, needing to pee more often, back pain and tiredness.

If you have been experiencing some of these symptoms you can arrange for tests. These include a physical examination to feel for lumps and bumps, a CA125 blood test or a pelvic ultrasound scan.

Treating ovarian cancer often involves surgery followed by chemotherapy, but some women may need chemotherapy before surgery. Surgery is important because it is the only way to remove the cancer from the body.

Ifyou are experiencing any of the symptoms then book an appointment with your GP straight away, or book a private consultation at the Hartswood Hospital.


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Body Talk 16/4/14

According to new research 85% of UK  citizens have more positive than negative daily experiences. people in the UK are are some of the most satisfied in the industrialised world!! This particular report also highlights a huge sense of community in the UK, with 95% of those surveyed stating that they know someone they can rely on in time of need. The report ranks the UK above avarage in several areas including earnings, housing and environmental quality.

Bearing that in mind it could be time for some personal change. One of the greatest obstacles to change is that inner conflict. One part wants to change, the other part doesn’t. So first, make your decision.  In doing this you charge your motivation.

Then prepare. If you’ve failed in the past, it’s all too easy to give in at the first sign of anything going wrong. If you prepare yourself for difficulties, then small failure won’t stand in your way.

Use imaginary hindsight. \pretend you’ve already achieved what it is that you want. Then look back and see how you got there. Sometimes it’s easier to work back from this space than it is to work forward. This also helps motivate as you realise how good it will feel as an achievement.

Keep on going. Be persistent.

Celebrate each step along the way with  little rewards.

Very soon you’ll find that your change starts to take place without the stress and with a huge sense of satisfaction.

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Body Talk 9/4/14

My guest this evening was Dale Rutherford from Beyond Physical. She is a therapist for BEST, which is the Bio-energetic Synchronisation Technique.

This is a system of healthcare that is focused on balancing the mind, body and soul energy fields. When these fields are out of balance and our system is exhausted, health deteriorates and symptoms like pain appear. BEST helps the body balance the energy fields and in doing so, allows the body to heal , repair, detoxify and work at it’s best.

The process is very simple and so relaxing. You relax on a couch, while Dale asks your body questions. It works a bit like the the process of kinesiology and muscle testing. She will then give you a word or number or eye movement, or all three and then the process begins. She uses biofeedback techniques and presure points on your body whilst you think about specific memory stress. This has the effect of rerouting the neural pathways, and taking the stress connection out of the situation.

Having experienced it,I  found the whole session very relaxing and certainly felt a lot less stressed than when I started. Dale is offering you the chance of a free evaluation, so you can judge for yourself if this is for you. Give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose, and maybe a lot to gain. Dale’s website is, or find her on Facebook at Beyond Physical or follow her on Twitter @beyondPhysical.


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Body Talk 5/3/14

The best thing you can do to increase your chances of living longer is to stay socially active. It may increase your chances of a longer life by up to 50%, compared with someone who lives alone and is isolated. That’s an average figure though, and researchers say the figure  could be as high as 62%

It’s one of the things that doctors don’t mention when when they advise patients about keeping healthy into their old age. All the things like exercising, healthy diet or losing weight have obvious health benefits too, but social interaction is top of the list!!

The importance of social connection was first noticed many years ago among children in orpahanages and custodial care. Those  who had little or no human contact died younger irrespective of age or health.

The next worst thing for your health is smoking. If you become a non-smoker you increase your chances of a healthy old age by a further 52%.

So it’s quite clear. If you want to live a long and healthy life, make plenty of friends and get out as much as you can !!

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Body Talk 19/2/14

Goji berries really are good for you. In the region of northern China where they are grown and eaten on a daily basis, there are 16 times as many centenarians as in the rest of the country. Scientists have studied the effects of the goji berry and have found that they have many antioxidants that can help prevent damage to DNA and premature death of healthy cells. They also have properties that can help improve eyesight. Drinking goji juice can also improve feelings of wellbeing, improve sleep and heighten energy levels.

Almonds are also good to include in your diet. They are high in monounsaturated fats which are associated with lowering the risk of heart disease. They also help to reduce spikes in blood sugar which can help with diabetes.

Chia Seeds are a traditional food in south America, and scientists have discovered that they are able to maintain healthy blood fat levels. When they are soaked in water they form an edible gel. This gel slows down the body’s conversion of starch into sugar. This can help you to feel fuller for longer.

Bee pollen is the last one tonight. It’s considered one of the world’s most nourishing foods as it contains nearly all of the nutrients required by humans for health. Selenium is one of the ingredients found in bee pollen, which helps to slow down cellular ageing. It also contains amino acids which support prostate function and and have anti-inflammatory actions.


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Body Talk 29/1/14

What’s good for you and what’s not? There’s so much advice offered from so may different sources it’s difficult to know where to start. Tonight I shared a few tips on where to start on the road to good health.

Find out if you have any food allergies. Besides wheat the other main sources of allergic reactions are corn, soya, sugar, nightshades ( potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers), yeast eggs and dairy. Dairy products can actually accelerate the rate at which calcium is lost from the body. Just one serving per day of green leafy vegetables can cut the risk of hip fracture in half. Find out if you have a leaky gut. If the walls of the large  intestine excessively permeable , allowing larger food molecules through, this will reduce food absorption and lead to allergic symptoms.

Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. About a third of the population is vitamin D deficient. This vitamin offers protection against most cancers and heart disease and can boost the immune system. Your body produces it naturally when exposed to sunlight, or, alternatively you can buy supplements.

Cook with electric if possible. Nitrogen dioxide which is released from gas cookers and gas and oil boilers stays concentrated in the home. It is implicated in asthma, arthritis and various allergies.

Breathe through your nose. Breathing incorrectly can contribute to asthma and various adhd disorders.

Make sure you sleep in the dark. Too much light at night interrupts our production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep wake cycle. Working at night and sleeping in a room that’s too bright have been linked to depression and an increased risk of cancer.

So just a few ideas to help improve your health.

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Body Talk 22/1/14

There’s been a lot in the news lately about sugar. Rather than avoiding fat in our diet we should be looking at the sugar content. In a simple breakfast cereal there can be as many as 6 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Even more if you’re loading the sugar on top. Yoghurts fruit juices and even fruit, seemingly healthy but loaded with sugar. As we all know too much sugar can lead to a variety of health issues including kidney problems, blood pressure and of course diabetes.

Try finding a diet that suits your body type. The metabolic diet is one way. Most of us are influenced more strongly by one or other neurological system, depending on whether we are sympathetic dominant or parasympathetic dominant. A high protein diet has a positive effect on a protein type person, but a completely different effect on a carb person. By customising your diet you can boost your health and vitality.

Another alternative is the GI diet. This diet ranks carbs according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Carbs with a low GI score produce only small fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels, whereas high GI foods cause a sudden sugar rush. Avoid processed foods like white bread, white sugar and white rice, as well as fried foods. Good foods are fish, pulses, beans and most vegetables.

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Body Talk 15/1/14

Joining me this evening on body Talk was Mr Kesava Mannur, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Mr Mannur specialises in weight loss surgery including gastric band, gastric bypass and gastric sleeve. 

Mr Mannur has been a weight loss surgeon for the past 16 years and has seen a lot of new developments in that time. As well as the fact that obesity seems to be an ever increasing problem. To prevent obesity we should be paying attention to diet and exercising regularly.

For some it’s too late to prevent a weight problem and more extreme measures need to be taken, like surgery. If your BMI is more than 30 or if your waist is bigger than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women, then you are clinically obese, and weight loss options need to be considered to protect your health and prolong your life.

Although the surgical options are extreme, there is often no alternative. When a person has reached 30 stone or more it is often too difficult to manage any kind of wight loss regime. In fact, Mr Mannur has operated on a 60 stone man  who was unable to leave his bed. After surgery he was able to lose weight and start to live his life over again.

Mr Mannur also gives dietary advice and counselling before during and after surgery. to find out more about how weight loss surgery can help either contact your local GP or call Spire Hartswood to talk to Mr Mannur or another weight loss surgeon on 01277 266761.

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Body Talk 8/1/14

It’s that time of year again for the New Year resolutions, and how quickly they fade, but if you only stick to one just try to get a bit more exercise into your life.

Exercise can help all sorts of health conditions, even the ones that we know are more serious like breast cancer , depression or dementia. A regular amount of exercise can possibly delay the onset of these and many more health issues, allowing you to live a healthier and happier life.

Walking is probably the easiest exercise option, and it’s not how fast you walk but how long. Walking for about 3 hours a day can reduce your risk of stroke by abut a third. Cycling is another option, about two and a half hours per week. Jogging is a bit more vigorous but still beneficial. Join a dance class, that way you can add a bit of social sparkle to your exercise. Of course we have to include swimming in the list. About 30 minutes 5 times per week is good for your heart and your physical fitness.

Have a great 2014 and make sure it’s a healthy one!!!

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Body Talk 19/12/13

My guest this evening was Jonathan Shaw, a specialist  in chronic pain. He was explaining  how we often treat the symptoms of pain and not the cause. Jonathan likes to unearth the cause of pain, which can often be the result of some emotional as well as physical trauma which is then transferred into the body.  By treating the person as a whole he can identify the reason for the pain, it’s exact location, and eventually leave the body pain free. He had his own experience with tremendous pain in his shoulder which lead him onto his present path of pain therapist.

If you are in pain and not sure how Jonathan can help, you only need to check out his website to see how many success stories he has on there to be assured that  his techniques work. He can work with back pain, joint pain, sciatica and much more . If you have been in pain for a long time and need to make a change to a pain free life, then contact Jonathan through his website Decoding Pain. He also has a book coming out in the new year which will be available through the website.

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Body Talk 11/12/13

We sleep for approximately one third of our lives; at least we should do. Now surveys show that we now have an epidemic of poor sleep. At least one third of the population suffers with interrupted or poor quality sleep. There are many possible causes, stress probably being the biggest one, but maybe there is another area that we hadn’t considered; electrosmog.

Electrosmog is the amount of electromagnetic pollution that we are surrounded by when sleeping. There are ways to reduce it though.

Get some fresh air flowing through the bedroom. That’s no so easy in the winter though. So, prepare for your sleep by switching off and unplugging all electrical equipment, so there’s nothing on standby in the background. Turn off your mobile, and for most of us that is the difficult one, particularly if like me you let it charge overnight!!

Check your lightbulbs too. The low energy ones aren’t as environmentally friendly as you think as they can emit low levels of electrical pollution, so the old fashioned ones are best.

If you are suffering from poor sleep it’s all worth a try. Sweet dreams.

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Body Talk 4/12/13

What’s your real age? You might have reached a certain number of years but your body might be aging faster. Depending on diet and lifestyle your body could be anywhere up to 10 years older than you actually are. Things like smoking, drinking, bad diet and lack of exercise will all be adding years to your body. There’s a new online vitality age check that you can do to see how old you really are. I’ll try and get the courage up to do it!!!

Your frame of mind is so important when it comes to health issues. Depression after a heart attack can have a direct impact on survival rates. People who are chronically depressed are 50% more likely to suffer a second heart attack.

People who feel guilt and shame are also compromising their immune system, and studies have also shown that it isn’t good to bottle up your emotions. Having a generally pessimistic attitude also suppresses the immune system.

We are now in that time of year when coughs and colds are flourishing. So what natural remedies are good to take?

If you take zinc tablets, it can cut down the amount of days that you are sick. 18 different studies found that a zinc supplement reduced the duration of a cold by about 24 hours. Pelargonium, which is a plant native to South Africa, has also been shown to reduce the duration of colds. A bit more tricky to get hold of, but may be available in health food stores or online suppliers. Echinacea is one of the most popular remedies, but needs to be taken as soon as the symptoms start. Finally, there’s good old vitamin C. Some reports say that it isn’t as effective as first thought, but it seems now that this may be to do with the dose. Taking a larger amount may have a better result. One study showed that by taking an 8g dose on the first day of a cold reduced the duration, whereas those given a smaller dose had less of an effect.



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Body Talk 27/11/13

Did you know that male vegetarians live longer than females? It’s a fact according to a recent survey in California.

They are also less likely to suffer from any form of  life threatening disease like heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.

Yoga is good for your memory. Research suggests that after just 20 minutes of yoga your memory improves, compared to 20 minutes in the gym, which makes no difference to your memory or ability to focus.

A positive mental attitude is good for your heart. one study found that a positive outlook with only occasional bouts of depression was powerfully protective against heart attacks and chronic heart disease.

The power of the mind can also reduce pain. 30 osteoarthritis sufferers used guided meditations for a four month period and were able to significantly reduce the amount of painkillers that they were taking.

Mindfulness meditation has also been proven to help IBS sufferers. 34 patients did a 10 week program and reported a 41% reduction in their symptoms. These benefits continued throughout the 6 month follow up.

Proof that the mind really is a powerful healer.


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Body Talk 20/11/13

My guest this evening was Sarah Vine from Inspirit Coaching, and she was talking about Earth Angels.

She has been called the “healer that heals the healers”, because she assists earth angels worldwide who are ready to do whatever it takes and clear whatever is in their way to living their highest purpose.

Earth Angels are ordinary people like you and I who are keen to help heal others. Earth Angels often choose a very difficult and challenging path in life, like being born into a dysfunctional family, abusive relationships, addictions, health issues, feeling lost, confused or overwhelmed.

Sarah helps to clear the blocks, traumas and doubts that arise from various life experiences, and reminds you of how valuable and loved you really are.

If you are interested in finding out more then check out Sarah’s website where you will find lots of help and information on how you can begin your own healing journey.



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Body Talk – 13/11/13

Joining me this evening was Mr Iain Lennox, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Mr Lennox specialises in surgery on the shoulder, hip, knee, ankle and foot, particularly arthroscopic surgery.

‘Key-hole’ hip surgery has advanced in recent years and now is more commonly used as an  intervention for some hip problems. Hip arthroscopy is a key-hole surgical technique allowing the inside of the joint to be visualised and any cartilage damage to be corrected. The cartilage rim of the socket may be torn and need trimming or repairing. Loose bodies can be removed and any irregularity in the shape of the femoral neck region can be smoothed off, reducing subsequent impingement. This may reduce the chances of subsequently developing osteoarthritis.

Hip arthroscopy is done as a day case procedure through three 1 cm incisions at the top of the leg.  Pain is usually not severe and wears off within a few days. It may take 2-3 months to return to full sport and running. Unless there is established osteoarthritis in the joint, the majority of patients make a full recovery.

If you are suffering from hippain and need some advice, call Spire Hartswood Hospital and make an appointment to see Mr Lennox or any or the other orthopaedic surgeons they have available. Just call 01277 266761 or visit the website to find out more.

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Body Talk 6/11/13

Herbs and spices are common items in most of our kitchen cupboards, but what do we do with them? After we’ve used a dash of something spicy in a curry or the odd exotic dish, they tend to be stacked on the top shelf never to be seen again.

They are more valuable than you think. A dash of nutmeg for instance could be just what you need!!

Nutmeg is a spice derived from the seed of a large tree that is native to Indonesia. Nutmeg and mace are produced from this tree. Nutmeg has been used a a medicine since the the Middle Ages when Arab traders first imported it to the West. It is a tonic for the heart and may help  prevent cardiovascular disorders. It’s a boost for the internal organs, good for treating emotional imbalances such as stress and helps with insomnia. Use it in soups and stews or sprinkle a bit on your breakfast cereal.

Saffron is another spice that you would probably only associate with more exotic dishes. It comes from the centre of the crocus. It’s good for treating liver disorders or just cleansing the liver. It’s also beneficial for helping with stomach ulcers.

So look in your kitchen cupboards and get those spices back into your life.

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Body Talk 30/10/13

Talking on the fascinating subject of crystal healing this evening was Natasha Brailey.

Crystals have a long tradition of being used for crystal healing. Each variety of crystal has a unique internal structure, which causes it to resonate at a certain frequency. It is this resonance that is said to give crystals their healing abilities. Applying this resonance in a coherent way can help to restore stability and balance to the bodies energy systems, stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms.

Crystal therapy is a gentle non-invasive form of alternative healing that works holistically to harmonize the mind, body, emotions and spirit, helping to increase our feeling of well-being, neutralize negativity, lift depression and to help us to become integrated, whole beings.

Crystals can be placed on specific points of the body to help with different physical conditions. They can also be used to balance the body’s chakra energy system. crystals can also be placed around the house to balance negative energy or to absorb negativity from computer or tv screens.

If you’d like to find out more about crystals you can find Natasha on Facebook through Cartasha Crystals.

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Body Talk 23/10/13

I was very privileged this week to have as my guest Dr. Nida Chenagtsang. He very rarely visits this country, but he was visiting this week for a series of workshops and talks in the UK.  Including  talk on mantra healing in Brentwood.

He is a tibetan doctor and founder of the International Academy for Traditional Tibetan Medicine. He trained in modern and traditional Tibetan medicine. He has written many books, which have been translated into nine languages. Including the sacred practice of Dream Yoga.

He is dedicated to training students globally in a comprehensive four year Tibetan Medicine programme, as well as other therapies such as Ku Nye massage, dreams, mantra healing and Nejang yoga.

He has travelled throughout Asia, Europe and America and has helped to set up over 20 centres. He has written many articles on Tibetan medicine and and established important research areas and is bringing back into use long forgotten traditional therapies.

He is a founder of the Ngakmang Institue and has helped preserve the Ngakpa culture in modern Tibetan Society.

For more information on courses and workshops contact the UK branch of the IATTM at or call 07969311087.

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Body Talk 16/10/13

My guest this evening was Sue Cook  from Brainbuzzz.

When Sue’s son was 6 years old he was diagnosed with dyslexia, and was told that there was nothing that could be done. Sue didn’t believe that and went in search of answers and that is how Brainbuzzz was born.

She found Svea Gold, who similarly had an autistic son and wanted to help him. Svea had been teaching neurodevelopment for 40 years and taught Sue what she needed to help her own son. Soon her phone began ringing with other parents who also wanted to help their children. Six years later the phone hasn’t stopped ringing and Sue has developed the programme of movements to suit everyone.;  children and adults across the world.

Examples of different conditions that can be helped are dyslexia, dyscalculia, aspergers, dyspraxia, the list goes on. Check out Sue’s website for more details :

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Body Talk 2/10/13

My guest this eveing was Mr Miles Banwell, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at Spire Hartswood hospital in Brentwood. Mr Banwell qualified in 1994 and works within the NHS as well as practising privately in London.

His work covers all aspects of cosmetic surgery including breast reshaping, facelifts, eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty (nose jobs), liposuction, tummy tucks and skin lesions. Reconstructive surgery , means to restore the form and function of the body after a trauma.

If a woman decides to have reconstructive surgery after breast cancer then Miles works alongside the breast surgeon to rebuild what has been removed. Reconstructive surgery  can be done immediately after breast cancer surgery or it can be delayed until the chest has healed from the mastectomy and after she has completed other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

Breasts can be rebuilt using implants or tissue can be taken from elsewhere in the body such as the stomach or thigh.

Risk – reducing mastectomy is what Angelina Jolie had recently. It’s the surgical removal of one or two breasts to prevent or reduce the risk of cancer in women who are at high risk of developing the disease.

October is breast cancer awareness month and Spire Hartswood Hospital are hosting a free breast awareness open day on Saturday 19th October, where anybody can turn up and learn more about breast cancer and breast awareness. Details are on the Spire website or call 01277 266761.

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Body Talk 25/9/13

My guest this evening was Evelyn Quek, a practitioner of ancient Tibetan Medicine. She is a student of Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, a well known ancient Tibetan Medicine teacher and head of the International Academy of Traditional Tibetan Medicine. She is experienced in various different aspects of Tibetan Medicine; ku Nye, Mantra Healing, ejang Yoga, Dream Analysis and Yuthok yingthig Guru Yoga.

Evelyn was talking to us this evening about dream analysis.

Disjointed dreams are often the result of overeating, or other excesses. However, many dreams can be important messages to understand life issues. Everybody does dream, it’s whether or not the dreams are remembered on waking.

Dream analysis comes from a 3,000 year old tradition in Tibet to study dreams as part of  diagnostic training. During sleep our subconscious takes over and all sorts of things can be revealed about our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual issues. Some dreams are predictive and others can be very spiritual.

Evelyn has translated a book from the original  Tibetan on Dream Analysis.

At the end of October there is a rare chance to see Dr Nida and listen to his teachings. He is running several workshops in London. For more information go to the IATTM website at or call 07969311087.



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Body Talk 18/9/13

My guests this evening were Acer and Andrew Morgan, from Forever Living Products, which promotes the benefits of using Aloe Vera.

Acer first became interested in Aloe Vera when she was suffering from chronic fatigue. She was a scientist working to develop different flavours for toothpastes. She started to do her own research into products that might help to ease her condition. Eventually she discovered the benefits of Aloe Vera and after just 3 weeks of taking a combination of Aloe Vera and bee pollen, she found that she had improved dramatically. She hasn’t looked back since. She felt re-energised, her skin glowed , her hair shone and her nails were much stronger. Her husband Andrew also started to take it at the same time even though he didn’t feel particularly unwell, he discovered that his digestion improved and he also started to feel more energised. As a result of taking Aloe regularly, Acer also managed to lose an incredible 4 stone in weight.

Aloe can help with many types of skin disorders, digestive problems, balances the immune system and can assist with arthritis and colitis.

Aloe has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Not just for humans; the plant also appears on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons coat of arms. It benefits the skin, joints and digestive systems of animals.

If you’d like to find out more you can contact Acer on 07979596769 or email:

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Body Talk 11/9/13

My guest this week was Dale Rutherford, BEST therapist.

BEST stands for Bio Energetic Synchronisation Technique. It is a system of healthcare that balances the mind, body, memory and soul energy fields. When these fields are out of balance and our system is exhausted, health deteriorates and symptoms like pain appear. BEST helps the body balance the energy fields and allows the body to heal, repair, detox and work at its best.

Using biofeedback techniques and pressure points on the body whilst having you think about specific memory stress, the body starts to communicate effectively with the brain.

When we see, imagine or remember danger with enough emotion, the body responds as though it is being attacked in the present moment. The nervous system autopilot takes us into fight or flight,even if there is no current threat. Our body reacts as though there is a bear in the room. It’s only when your conscious mind gets the message that the bear is gone that we can harness our human power and our ability to heal.

Over the years we can hold on to many bears. BEST releases all of them, which brings a greater sense of purpose, allows you to express creativity and make choices that benefit you. It is a very relaxing experience. Each session consists of lying on a couch as Dale coaxes the bears out of your system. By gentle movements of the arms and feet, combined with eye movements and focusing on certain cue words, you can feel the emotions as they are released. They might represent themselves as tears, anger or laughter. Either way it feels as though a huge weight has been lifted by the end of the session.  To book your session contact Dale on 07780612610 or email

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Body Talk 4/9/13

My guest on the show this week was Dr Parag Jasani, consultant haematologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood. Dr Jasani qualified in 2001 and offers his services within the NHS and private sector, treating all sorts of blood disorders.

Haematology deals with many aspects of diseases  which affect the blood such as anaemia, leukaemia, lymphoma and clotting or bleeding disorders.

The body has red and white blood cells. The white cells are part of the immune system and help to fight disease.  Anaemia occurs when you have less red cells than normal, or less haemoglobin. Either way it means there’s not enough oxygen in the bloodstream.

It can make you feel tired, lethargic, feel faint or breathless. The most common cause is lack of iron possibly due to pregnancy, childhood growth spurts, heavy periods, poor absorption or bleeding in the gut. . A normal balanced diet  should contain enough iron.  It is more common in women than men. The treatment is fairly asy through a change of diet or iron tablets.

If the white cells are low that can be caused by infection, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis or more serious conditions such as leukaemia or AIDS.

Dr Jasani deals with a wide range of illnesses on a daily basis. If any listeners have any concerns about any of the things we discussed  He can be contacted at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood.


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Body Talk 28/8/13

My guest this evening was Jenny Rooks, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, or CBT for short.

CBT is a relatively new approach to counselling or psychotherapy. Instead of raking over old issues, it tends to focus more on the here and now. It teaches techniques to allow you to move forward with your  life, instead of dwelling on past failures and possible fears.

CBT can help with a wide variety of conditions. Stress is the one that springs to mind most easily, but what is stress? It is the response to a situation that causes us to feel emotionally off balance. It can cause depression, anger, irritability. It can be as a result of a trauma, accident or bereavement.

If you’ve tried everything you can to relieve stress, such as meditation, diet exercise and still can’t seem to shift the problem, then it could be the time to look towards  CBT.

CBT allows you the space to create a different future for yourself. The effects are long lasting and transferrable to many other areas of your life. To find out more you can look at Jenny’s website : , or look on the internet for registered professionals in your area.

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Body Talk 21/8/13

Apparently the average amount of sleep that we get has dropped to about six and a half hours. Which for most of us is far less than we need. Things that keep us awake the most are money troubles, family worries and work issues.

To help improve the quality of sleep try placing a crystal under your pillow. Amethyst prevents nightmares, bloodstone neutralises electronic activity from mobile phones or sodalite to relieve your innermost fears.


If you still need more peace and calm try a herb or two. Thyme contains vitamin b6 which is a stressbuster. Place a few sprigs under your pillow of drink it as a tea infusion. Sage is good for fatigue, and tarragon has sedative properties.

A few weeks ago on the show I interviewed Nikki Cambo from Spire Hartswood Hospital about laser hair removal. This week I was brave enough to give it a go and was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. I was only in the treatment room for about 20 minutes. Nikki really made me feel at ease, and explained the procedure thoroughly. After being zapped with the laser and blasted with cold air at the same time to keep the skin cool, it was over in minutes. There was a slight pin pricking sensation at times, but on balance was a whole lot more comfortable than waxing!!  If  you are considering having it done I would really recommend that you pop along to Spire and have a chat to Nikki.

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Body Talk 14/8/13

It’s time to boost your confidence, but what can you do?

Sit up straight. Upright posture can help boost your mood.

Spray a fresh scent. It enlivens the brain and feels uplifting.

Wear something yellow. The sunshine colour is very positive and optimistic.

Visualise yourself being successful. Think about the laws of attraction. We attract more of what we think about. Therefore depression brings more depression. Turn those thoughts around and start to bring some light into your life.

Lack of sleep can also affect your confidence levels. Are you a lark or an owl?

Larks tend to be early risers who eat breakfast and plunge into life first thing.  Owls are a bit more slow to rise. They prefer a nice cosy lie in, and work late into the night. Hopefully most of us are able to mix and match our sleep patterns to suit our lifestyle. But if you are an owl who has to get up early for work or a lark who has to work late in the evenings it could be cause for concern. Work out which one you are and try to organise your life accordingly, it could boost your confidence and improve performance at work if you get the right amount of sleep at the right time.



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Body Talk 31/7/13

Have you considered the effect of music on your mood and even on your health?

Sometimes a piece of music can bring memories flooding back. It may be a fond memory of a romantic evening or it might be a great party night. Music can certainly enhance your mood.

You may have heard of the Mozart Effect; a study that was done to prove that playing Mozart enhanced childrens’ ability to learn. It has since been proven in various studies that  different types of music can also help in the healing process.

Stroke victims can benefit; music can improve their ability to focus. It has  been proven to lower blood pressure. Listening to music has proved beneficial for ADHD sufferers. It can help with pain relief, PTSD and exam nerves.

A particular molecule has been isolated as being responsible for feeling at ease; nitric oxide is released as we relax and enjoy music, and this in turn helps to restore pathways within the emotional centre of the brain. So it really does mean that we can reconnect with our feelings of comfort and peace. This is similar to the response produced in meditation, so a combination of music and meditation seems to be the way forward for good health and relief from stress.


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Body Talk 24/7/13

What’s the best exercise?

It’s apparently a myth that strenuous exercise helps you lose weight. After about an hour of intensive working out you probably burn off around 200 calories; about one slice of bread and butter.

It’s also a myth that more intensive exercise is better. This type of exercise burns sugar, when you actually want to be burning fat. An energetic walk would be better. This was proven in a study or 173 overweight women. Half did moderate exercise, and half did vigorous exercise. The half that did the moderate exercise had lost more weight and had lower body fat levels than the vigorous exercise group.

So the best forms of exercise are things like walking, swimming, gentle aerobic exercise or pilates or yoga. It’s never too late to start either. One trial got women as old s 78 into the gym for the first time, and another went up to 85. Both studies showed that the women improved their posture, bone health and stability, which means they were less likely to fall and suffer serious injury.

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Body Talk 17/7/13

With all of this wonderful sunshine it’s very tempting to be out in it a much as possible. Try using some natural alternatives to your usual sunscreen. Red raspberry seed oil contains high levels of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acid as well as antioxidants and vitamin E. it has a natural SPF of somewhere  between 8 and 50, and also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Carrot seed oil has an SPF of between 38 and 40. it has antioxidant and antiseptic properties and high levels of vitamin A.

Wheatgerm oil has an spf of 20, is full of vitamin E, as well as vitamins K and B, and choline.

Soybean oil has an SPF of 10, and is high in essential fatty acids. Also containing protein, lecithin, iron and calcium.

Macadamia oil has the lowest SPF of 6. also rich in magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and vitamin E.

Enjoy the sun and make sure your skin is enjoying it too!!

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Body Talk 10/7/13

I was joined this evening by Mr Alagappan Sivaraman. He is a former consultant orthopaedic surgeon at St Bart’s and The London NHS Trust, now a full time  private consultant orthopaedic spinal surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood. Mr Sivaraman offers private spinal surgery and various spinal injection treatments for back and neck pain.

Tonight we were talking about coccydania or coccyx pain. The coccyx is the small triangular bone at the base of the spine, more commonly called the tailbone. It is a myth that it is useless as we don’t have tails any more, it actually helps us to sit comfortably and it has a lot of muscles and tendons attached to it, such as the pelvic floor muscles that help you know when to go to the toilet and those that help you walk. So if you have problems with the coccyx it can cause a lot of discomfort.

Most common causes are falls, childbirth, repetitive strain injury through sports such as riding or cycling, trapped nerves, etc. It is more common in women than men. A woman’s coccyx is smaller and lower down in the pelvis, which means it is more exposed.

The first course of action is to scan the area and determine what treatment is needed. It may be that an injection of cortisone is needed, or it may be that the muscles need to be released by manipulation or exercise. Surgery is only ever a last resort.

If you have coccyx pain and need to get it checked out call Spire Hartswood on 01277 266761 on the self-pay treatment enquiry line.

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Body Talk 3/7/13

My guest this week was Cliff  O’Gorman, Honorary Spokesman for the charity Children With Cancer UK.

Cancer is the biggest child killer disease in the UK. Over 3,500 youngsters, including infants and babies, are diagnosed with cancer each year. The number of children being diagnosed with cancer has increased by around 40% in the last 40 years.

The charity started 25 years ago with the tragic loss of Cliff’s brother Paul O’Gorman at the age of 14. The family decided to do something to raise funds for cancer research; they organised a ball, and from there the charity was born. Princess Diana heard about their fundraising efforts and became involved from the start. Altogether they have  raised over £150 million.

That money has gone into funding respite homes, scientific conferences and Paul O’Gorman research centres nationally.

Childhood cancers are different from the cancers that affect adults, so they have very little benefit from adult funding. They also have no support from the government.

More research is needed, and huge advancements have been made as a result of the hard work of the charity. To find out how you can help, go to their website at Children With Cancer UK.

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Body Talk 27/6/13

Apparently it’s not good to count the calories!! Researchers from the North Carolina School of Medicine have discovered that although very young children seem to be affected by the amount of calories they eat, that seems to change once they hit their teens. 19.125 children between 1 and 17 were studied. The researchers unfortunately didn’t say what types of food the children were eating, as fast foods and highly processed foods would probably have some influence on whether the children put on weight.  a new study has also found that us girls spend about a year of our lives talking about and worrying about diets. That’s a lot of time!! Men are only slightly better. Maybe it’s time we relaxed a bit more, and just ate a little less, and leave the calories to one side.

Beware of too many fizzy drinks. Just one a day could increase your risk of stroke. Women increase their risk by a huge 83%. Men don’t seem to be as susceptible though, having just a small increase.

Meditating halves your risk of a heart attack. According to researchers at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Iowa. Even people who are obese or who smoke, the risk can be lowered by as much as 48 %.

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Body Talk 19/6/13

Tonight my guest was Helen Tebbutt, consultant gynaecologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital, Brentwood.

Helen is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and has been medically qualified for over 30 years.

Gynaecological problems can affect any woman of any age, and about 15% of Helen’s patients are teenagers.Every experience of puberty and menstruation is different. General problems are heavy periods or abdominal pain, but these can lead on to potentially more serious symptoms such as spotting or bleeding between periods, which can be symptoms of endometriosis, cysts, fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the pelvis. It can cause pain or cysts or infertility.

Pelvic inflammatory disease is a bacterial infection of the female upper genital tract. One in 50 sexually active  women are diagnosed with this every year, typically between the ages of 15 and 24.

Treatments are available , and it is possible to contact Helen direct at Spire Hartswood without the need to go through the doctor.

Polycistic ovary syndrome is another common complaint which affects how the ovaries work, but is treatable through medical and surgical procedures.

Thankfully there is now an increased awareness of cervical and ovarian cancers, and all women are encouraged to have regular cervical screenings from the age of 25.

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Body Talk 15/5/13

Are you getting enough nutrients? Malnutrition is normally something we’d associate with a third world country but it’s reckoned that around 2 million Brits are malnourished, and another 3 million are borderline.

Very few of us actually eat a balanced diet, and probably very few of us actually know what a balanced diet is. We all know about our 5 a day, but what else should we be eating? We could be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. Check symptoms like sore tongue, cracked lips, hair loss aren’t to do with vitamin deficiency.

Also check the health of your teeth and gums, and have regular visits to the dentist. People who don’t take care of their teeth and gums are 70 per cent more likely to develop heart disease than those who brush their teeth twice a day and visit their dentist regularly.

Eat your greens too. The slimy ones that is! Things like chlorella, spirulina and ecklonia cava (brown seaweed), are all edible algae filled with beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. They show promise in treating various different conditions from obesity to high cholesterol.

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Body Talk 17/4/13

This week I was joined by Dr Charlot Grech, Consultant Dermatologistat Spire Hartswood Hospital. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Member of the British Association of Dermatology and Royal Society of Medicine. He was discussing moles, skin lesions and cancer – an important subject as summer approaches.

Dr Grech qualified as a doctor in 1989 and decided to specialise in dermatology, and has been practising for 25 years.

People who have fair skin are more susceptible to things like skin cancer. Particularly if their skin has lots of moles. It is important to keep an eye on all moles and watch out for any changes in shape or size and if they become itchy.

Spire Hartswood has excellent facilities for managing all skin conditions, and Dr Grech works closely with oncologists and cosmetic surgeons to ensure the best outcome should the condition prove serious.

Prevention is better than cure, so, if the sun does grace us with it’s presence this year, make sure you are wearing good spf creams, and don’t go out in the sun in the middle of the day. If you have any worries the first port of call is your local GP who will arrange a referral if necessary.

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Body Talk 10/4/13

Did you know how much of your personality is revealed by your face? It is also good for helping you to draw on your strengths and minimise you weaknesses.

Big bushy eyebrows or a monobrow  is an indication that this person holds on to anger and can use it powerfully. Thin eyebrows indicate someone who flares up easily. Knowing how to channel your anger can can help you to take control. Vertical lines between your eyebrows are signs of a worrier. Identifying situations that make you frown  or make you tense can help you to either avoid those situations or find ways in which you can ease the pressure.

Crows feet are good to have, they are a sign of a happy personality. Large eyes are a sign of emotional sensitivity. The larger your eyes the more sensitive you are to the moods of others.

#It really is a fascinating subject. So think about what your face is saying about you!!!

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Body Talk 13/3/13

This week I was joined by Mr Niaz Islam, Consultant Opthalmologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital. He is a member of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons and the Royal College of Opthalmologists. He was discussing diabetic eye disease and age related macular degeneration.
An opthalmologist is who you would be referred to after having been seen by an optician if any of the above conditions are detected. It is important to get any eye condition diagnosed quickly so that treatment can start.
If you have a family history of age related macular degeneration, it would be advisable to get your eyes checked regularly. It is treatable with injections and/or laser therapy.
Diabetics have a higher risk of glaucoma and cataracts, and can even lead to blindness if not detected early. It is possible to keep the eyes at a reduced risk by egulating blood sugar levels , keeping cholesterol low, and generally keeping fit.
For more information on all eye conditions, either contact your optician or call Spire Hartswood hospital who will be happy to help.

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Body Talk 12/2/13

Have you ever tried acupuncture? Acupuncturists have first- degree level qualifications and adhere to strict codes of practise. According to research, it can be helpful for a number of different conditions sch as acne, eczma, nausea, pain and headaches. It also has the benefit of being very relaxing and not at all painful.

Are you feeling stressed, then try to chill out with yoga or meditation. The more good experiences we have, the more positive memories are stored  for future use. Through mindful thoughts we can change the function of the brain. It only takes 5 days for these changes to become evident on MRI scans.

Gentle movement takes the stress out of the body and helps to balance the left and right body and brain. This in turn gives us a more sunnier outlook and a positive mood.


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Body Talk 6/2/13

This week I was joined by Mr Jonathan Benjamin, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital. He is a member of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons. Tonight we were discussing arm pain.

Most people associate the word neuro with the brain and not necessarily with other parts of the body. It isn’t always the brain that is the focus of attention, the brain receives and sends messages to every part of the body. Sometimes these signals relate to genuine pain in the body, at other times the pain is due to mixed signals in the brain.

When every other possible cause of pain has been ruled out, it’s time to consult a neurosurgeon.

If every other attempt at therapy has been tried then it could be a neurological problem. If the pain is persistent and hasn’t cleared on its own within a few weeks, then you could be referred to a neurosurgeon.

As usual the first port of call is always your doctor. He can then advise you of the best way forward. Most importantly with any pain, do go and get it checked out. The sooner the cause is found, the easier it will be to treat.

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Cosmetic surgery and the TOWIE effect

This week on Bodytalk, in association with Spire Hartswood hospital, Jules Bottazzi chatted to Mr Manu Sood, consultant plastic surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital, about cosmetic surgery and, in particular, breast augmentation and uplift surgery.

Mr Sood talked about what’s been described as the “TOWIE effect” – a rise in young women asking for this procedure. He also explained the dangers of PIP breast implants last year and talked about both the benefits and drawbacks of having breast surgery.

To find out more, please visit or call 01277 266 761.

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Body Talk 12/6/12

Coming up to Christmas we need to stay as healthy as possible and try to avoid those christmas hangovers.

Eating asparagus is supposed to help. A study found that extracts from the shoots and leaves increases enzymes that break down alcohol, which means less of a hangover!!c

Avoid champagne. A study found that people had higher levels of alcohol in their blood after drinking champagne. The bubbles speed up the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream. If you drink spirits, avoid the darker ones like brandy as the have a higher number of impurities called congeners, which cause the painful after effects.

The morning after, don’t go for a big fry up. Toast and honey is better. The Royal Society of Chemistry says that fructose in honey helps to break down the alcohol. Eat it on toast and you’ll be getting some much needed sodium and potassium as well.

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Body Talk 28/11/12

Tonight’s guest was oculoplastic surgeon Sabrina Shah-Desai from Spire Hartswood Hospital. Sabrina was talking about the specialist work she does for patients with a condition called dry eye.This is when the eye doesn’t produce enough liquid or tears to keep the eye moist. It can happen to anyone, but mostly affects people over 60, and mainly women. It can be treated with eye drops, but if left untreated it may need to be operated on.

Sabrina also specialises in cosmetic surgery for the eyelids. Eyelid surgery is the second most popular cosmetic operation after breast augmentation. This is probably because it is a relatively small procedure but has a dramatic impact on looks. People often think that it is the lower lids that are baggy, but often it’s the upper lid that needs the most treatment. Sabrina’s expertise can take years off aging and droopy eyes, to restore that youthful bright-eyed look.

There are alternatives to surgery. Botox is still popular but has come a long way in the past few years. Rather than the permanently startled look , it can look much more natural. Obviously we’d all like to avoid any surgery but unfortunately we can’t stop the aging process. We can help by adopting a healthy lifestyle and keeping your skin moisturised. Expensive eye creams unfortunately won’t make much difference on their own.

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Podiatry and Physical Fitness

Shulagh Jacobs

I was joined in the studio by Shulagh Jacobs, a veteran physical training professional who has developed  a successful program dedicated to weight loss and fitness training. She spoke about her program and other matters related to achieving and maintaining a healthy body. the interview can be listened to here. [audio:]




Sue Curtin (BSc Hons, M.Ch.S. SRCh)

Sue Curtin also joined me on Bodytalk and spoke about the perils of diabetes and its impact on foot care. Sue also talked about maintaining proper care of one’s feet and gave advice on shopping for stylish footwear while being nice to your feet. The contents of our interview can be heard here:[audio:]


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Body Talk 6/11/12

Why do we get cravings? What’s your body trying to tell you?

If you’re craving salt you could be zinc deficient. If you haven’t got enough zinc you can’t taste your food properly and you need salt to bring out the flavour. Stress can also make you crave salt. When your adrenal glands are flat out nutrients are drained from your body, leading to salt cravings and exhaustion. Try easing up and relaxing more. Yoga and meditation are both good for relieving stress.

Eating too much sugar makes us insulin resistant, and that is the hormone that keeps blood sugar stable. When the body can’t process sugar properly it gets stored as fat. Reverse the efect by taking a chromium supplement, an essential mineral that’s found in poultry, beef and fruit and veg.

Do you need a caffeine blast to kick start your day, and how much coffee do you drink in a day. Caffeine addiction could mean you have a blood sugar imbalance. Try cutting down slowly to minimise the withdrawal symptoms, like headaches. Replace caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee with water or juices to rehydrate your body.

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Body Talk 31/10/12

Tonight’s guest was Mr AK Salih, consultant breast surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Although his first love is the care and treatment of women with breast disease or concerns, he is also a consultant general surgeon. This means he carries out operations such as hernia repair, gall bladder removal and keyhole surgery procedures for men and women.

As this day was the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we invited Mr Salih to talk about breast problems, including those that are not related to breast cancer, and what prevention startegies you can adopt to minimise your chances of acuiring breast cancer. Mr Salih has published papers on breast cancer treatment and has also completed research to improve the treatment of breast cancer, including sentinel node biopsy and breast cancer genetics.

Breast cancer is no lnger the killer disease that it used to be. there have been so many medical advancements. 85% of women now survive breast cancer for five years or more.

The main risk factors for cancer are obesity and the contraceptive pill. There are a variety of symptoms that can present themselves as a sign of cancer but are actually minor isssues that can be easily treated, so it’s always best to get any abnormalities checked out. Symptoms such as cysts, lumps, discharge, retracted nipple or just strange sensations.  Only 5% of patients will actually be diagnosed with cancer.

Mr Salih runs a clinic on a Tuesday evening, and patients can have their tests done on the night, with some results available immediately.

The hospital offers out-patient breast clinics most days so patients don’t have to wait and can be assured that they will have plenty of time to discuss their worries.

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Body Talk 24/10/12

My guest this evening was Lois Shilton, Yoga Teacher. There are many different types of yoga and Lois teaches Iyengar yoga. This is a system of exercise using classical yoga postures  working on both strength and flexibility.

Lois first took to yoga after hearing that it could be beneficial for her asthma, and indeed it was. She dedicated herself to the regular practise of postures and breathing and started to notice a difference, and after a couple of years dedicated practise found that her asthma had improved considerably. A wonderful success story.

Now Lois is keen to share the benefits of yoga with everyone. She undertook the  three years of study that it takes to become an Iyengar teacher and is now qualified to teach and share her knowledge.

Lois teaches classes in the Chelmsford area, as well as working for Adult Community Learning. New classes and courses are coming up all of the time. Contact Lois for more details on :07960 399350.

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Body Talk 17/10/12

Tonight my guest was the inspirational Sheila Steptoe, Motivational speaker and Author.

Sheila works in ways to improve the lives of her clients and to help remove blocks that are holding them back.She works to empower individuals and create life changing experiences that open up true inner power.

Sheila endorses the power of positive thinking. You attract what you give out. If you feel very negative about life then negativity is what you get back. Sometimes it’s quite difficult to break that train of thought, but if you catch it in time, you can turn your life around. Sheila is living proof of this, having come through very difficult times herself. She speaks from the heart and with true experience.

If you want to gain more purpose and meaning in your life and feel free and alive by doing the things you love, then find out more by going to one of Sheila’s workshops.

Find out more on her website:

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Body Talk 3/10/12 – interview with Mike Conyers

Click here to listen again to the interview:

[audio:|titles=Interview with Mike Conyers 03.10.2012]

Tonight my guest was Mike Conyers, Physiotherapist, talking to us about back problems.

The average age of people with back problems is getting younger. Probably due to our sedentary lifestyles. We most definately spend more time in front of computer screens than ever before. This can create a very unhappy back being stuck in the same position for hours on end.

The answer is to exercise more. Keeping mobile is very important. The other important thing to look at is your bed. We spend about a third of our life in bed so it is important to get the highest quality sleep on the highest quality bed. It is an investment in your health.

If you are unfortunate enough to sufer with back pain, a visit to Mike can set you back on the path to good health. Mike will assess what’s happening with your spine, and give you a course of movements and exercise to relieve the symptoms.

A question that is commonly asked is what is better to treat an injury, heat or cold? The answer is heat. It eases out the muscles and allows them to relax, whereas cold causes the muscles to contract and increase tension, only giving temporary relief.


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Body Talk 10/10/12

This evening we welcomed back Mr Ali Al-Sabti, one of the consultant orthopaedic surgeons at Spire Hartswood Hospital.

Ali specialises in shoulder problems. Apparently it’s the most mobile joint in the body, and one which we take for granted.

Certain people or occupations are more vulnerable to shoulder injuries, such as sports people (golfers, racquet sports, etc) decorators or cleaners, who are constantly working the shoulder joint in repetitive movements for long periods of time.

Shoulder pain can sometimes be an indication that there is a spinal problem. So Ali would give the shoulder a thorough examination and perhaps recommend a course of physiotharapy or anti inflammatories before resorting to surgery. However, todays keyhole surgery means quicker ecovery time, and the patients always say it was worth it.

There is now a new Essex Bones and Joint Service at Spire Hartswood. The hospital has brought together 22 consultants, including orthopaedic surgeons, a hand surgeon, neurosurgeons, pain specialists, neurologists and rheumatologists. By having all of these specialists most musclo-skeletalproblems can be treated, plus there is access to the MRI scanner.

If patients need surgery it can be arranged,but most won’t need it. If they need a physio, there are specialist physios available,and the hospital even has a hydrotherapy pool, pilates classes and a sports massage therapist.

To find out about the Essex Bones and Joints Service call the treatment enquiry line :01277 265765 or the website :

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Body Talk 26/9/12

The fascinating topic of past life regression was the subject of this week’s show. My guest was Anjalee Carey.
Have you had deja vu? Do you feel you or a loved one has been here before? Many people have experiences that cannot be explained.
Anjalee said that some of the issues that we face in this life can be brought forward from a past life and by exploring it we can perhaps release ourselves of phobias and habits that seem to have no reasonable cause.
It might be that you just have an interest in discovering who you were before. Unfortunately not all of us were great kings or queens, but even if you get taken back to the life of a lowly peasant the emotional changes and understanding that it can bring about are often substantial.
The process is quite simple. All you have to do is relax while Anjalee takes you on a journey back in time. It’s like lucid dreaming, when you come round you really feel as though you have lived through the experience.
if you want to learn more about past lives and bring a deeper understanding and healing into your present life, then Anjalee is running a workshop in December in The Albany Centre, St Albans on Sunday 2nd December. You can contact her on 07929 19968.

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Body Talk 19/9/12 – interview with Louise Larner

Tonight I was joined by a guest who returned to Body Talk for the second time. Her name is Louise Larner and a lot has happened since she was last with us in June 2010. For a start she has changed her name and her job !! Louise is now the physiotherapy Manager at Spire Hartswood Hospital and she was talking about a special project that she is involved with.

As Physiotherapy Manager she is still very hands on. Two thirds of her time is spent with patients, mainly specialising in fooot and ankle problems. She is also responsible for a team of about 20 staff.

Amazingly she has also found time for a special project. She is climbing to base Camp of Mount Everest to raise money for St Francis Hospice. She is doing the climb with her uncle and it will take about 19 days to reach the camp which is about 5.5km above sea level. For every metre climbed Louise hopes to raise £1.

If you’d like to donate to this worthy cause you can find details on www.spirehartswood.comhomepage or text 70070-larn82 followed by the amount you wish to donate.

It’s a fantastic tribute to the work of St Francis Hospice and we all wish you every success. We’re looking forward to hearing all about it.

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Body Talk 12/9/12

Tonight my guest was the very colourful Wilma Seston, talking about Chakras and their meanings. Each colour of the rainbow relates to a different chakra or energy centre in the body.

If one of these isn’t functioning at its full capacity it can have negative influences on different aspects of your life. colour has a profound effect on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual areas of our lives.

There are 7 basic chakras. If you have any stress or upset in your life and you don’t release it, you can upset the flow of energy through one or more of them, which in turn can have an effect on a more physical level. Feelings such as butterflies in your stomach, tightness in the throat, painful feet or upset tummy.

By balancing the chakras you can start to gain better control of your life and experience  a general sense of wellbeing.

Wilma has many ways of assessing the energy levels in the chakras, one of which she tried out on me. I was asked to place different colour shapes on to a chart and the colours that I was drawn to reveal which chakras I should be working on. Blue came up as an indication of throat issues. I did actually have a sore throat!! Also orange which indicated a block in my creativity. Something that I am currently working on with Wilma’s help. Getting more in touch with my feelings with a useful little notebook to write my thoughts on waking.

To find out more on Chakras and how to balance them, contact Wilma on 07758073253 or email

So now I’m working on my chakras as well as my diet. The dairy free diet is still tough but I’m doing my best. Clare did  a further test for me and gave me a tincture which she prepared to help with the healing process. She also picked up on a few other foods that might be an issue, but I’m thinking I’ll just focus on the dairy for now.

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Body Talk 5/9/12

What a great time we had tonight with my special guest Clare Gale, Naturopath.

One of Clare’s specialist areas is food intolerance testing. Unsuitable foods can be the cause of  physical discomforts such as indigestion, bloating, tiredness, irritable bowel, migraine and many more every day complaints. We are surrounded by toxins in our environment and in the food that we eat. Identifying these toxins and making the appropriate changes to diet and environment can be key in bringing relief to many health problems.

I agreed to do a food intolerance test live on the show. Unfortunately I am approaching that menopausal phase of life so I was interested to see what the test might reveal and how it might help me. The testing equipment consists of two bronze weights connected to an electronic box. I held the weights for about a minute while the box did its analysis. Simple as that. The results come up on a computer screen that Clare was watching and interpreting.

I waited for the results with baited breath. What was it going to reveal about me? Surprisingly it was quite straight forward. The main intolerance that I have is with dairy. Closely followed by two foods that I thought were really good for me; cucumber and carrots!!

Apparently dairy intolerance is quite common with menopausal women. The hormones that are fed to cows in order for them to produce milk are not entirely compatible with the menopausal hormones. I’ve agreed to give up dairy for 6 weeks and see what difference it makes. This is a real challenge , but one that could make a big difference to me and the way I feel. I’ll keep you updated with my progress over the next few weeks.

Clare has also agreed to do a full intolerance test at the Harlow Health and Healing Festival on 8th and 9th september at Harlow College. We’ll find out what else I can to do to improve my health and help me through that difficult menopausal time.

Clare is based at the Natural Health Clinic in Billericay. To contact her call 07717281604 or visit her website at

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Body Talk 29/8/12

Tonight my guest was Chrissie Astell, Spiritual educator. Chrissie runs celebrated angel workshops and spiritual development courses. She is the author of Advice from Angels, Discovering Angels, Gifts From Angels and The Angel Insight Pack – a best selling deck of angel cards for contacting angels and benefiting from their wisdom and strength through meditation.
Many people have had experiences which they cannot explain, ranging from wonderful visions to receiving help at the right time from a complete stranger. Angels present themselves in many different forms, and Chrissie has studied this for many years.
Contacting your angels gives you an insight into a higher level of consciousness which allows you to help put life into perspective. It gives you an insight into how to love and respect yourself.
Chrissie’s nursing career gave her gave her a good grounding in the physical issues that people face and within this she noticed how physical and spiritual health are closely linked.
Chrissie will be at the Harlow Health and Healing Festival on the 8th and 9th of September, where she will be giving a free talk on angels and healing.

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Body Talk 22/8/12

Joining me on the show this evening were Deputy matron and Breast Care Nurse Specialist alex edghill and one of Spire Hartswood’s patients Graham Willingale. Alex and Graham were talking about Spire hartswood Hospital’s new cancer patient support group, appropriately named INSPIRE. The initials stand for; individuals networking sharing positive insights realities and experiences.
the group has been formed for all patients past and present of Spire hartswood who have been diagnosed or treated for cancer. Graham is a Spire patient and one of the founder members of the group which meets once a month to caht and share experiences and gain support. Quartely activities are planned. The last one was in July which was supported by Grange, and the group members had an opportunity to drive Aston Martins and Jaguars followed by afternoon tea at Marygreen Manor.
If you want to find out more about this group and Spire Hartswood’s cancer care services visit or call 01277 266761. A leaflet is downloadable and you can read more about the group.

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Body Talk 15/8/12

It was great to have Keith Sparling, Osteopath on the show this evening.
I had the opportunity to ask him about the difference betwen an osteopath and a chiropractor. As I now understand it, an osteopath will look at your spine and the way it works and moves for you and how to get it back to it’s normal flexibility. Realigning through feel. A chiropractor will take an x-ray to find out where the spine is out and wil work on that area specificlly to realign. There’s probably a bit more to it than that, but I like to keep it simple!
Keith has worked with people of all ages and many different conditions. It’s an interesting fact that these days the people he sees re getting younger. That may well be a symptom of our computer and technological age. In general we are a lot less active than our ancestors.
Interestingly, Keith has also branched out into horse osteopathy. A brave man indeed! He saysthough, once you have the confidence of the horse they are quite happy to et you manipulate their spine. In fact the biggest danger at that point is the horse becoming so relaxed that it leans on you. So if you are a rider then Keith can help you and your mount to keep yourselves in peak condition.
Keith practises locally from his premises in Plgrims Hatch.

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Body Talk 8/8/12

Hints and tips on a few quick fixes to keep you going when there’s no time to rest.
For puffy late night party eyes, try placing a slice of avocado over each eye for a few minutes just after you’ve woken up. The coolness of the fruit helps to reduce the puffiness.
Had too much coffee? drink water to get you rehydrated. It’s well known that coffe is a diuretic , and whilst one or two may give you that power charged caffeine shot, too much will have the opposite effect and leave you feeling tired and unable to concentrate. For each cup of coffee, drink a glass of watre.
overindulged in lcohol/ try eaing some fructose or fruit sugar before you go to bed. Sugar speeds up the rate at which your body disposes of alcohol. A couple of spoonfuls of honey should do the trick and allow you to have a peaceful sleep and hopefully avoid that dreaded hangover.
Know of any more helpful quick fixes?

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Body talk 1/8/12

Hi. Great to be back with you again on Body Talk. Sharing with you all of the latest news and views on health issues.
A great start talking about how mangoes can help with weight loss. Well at least they are tasty!! Might get a bit boring after a while though. Too much of a good thing etc. Ths is just the latest in a long line of wight loss wonders. do they really work? Only you can say. Let me know if you have any successful weight loss techniques. There’s a lot of us out there that would be really grateful.

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Lung cancer & respiratory disease: what you need to know

This week on Body Talk, in association with Spire Hartswood hospital, Jules Bottazzi talked to consultant chest physician Dr Dipak Mukherjee about respiratory disease. Dr Mukherjee treats chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), tuberculosis, pleural disease, asthma, bronchitis and lung cancer, and talked about the symptoms and treatment of them all.

He stressed that if you suspect you have a problem, the earlier you see your GP, the better – particularly for lung cancer, where early treatment can make all the difference. Lung cancer is still the second most common cancer diagnosed in the UK after breast cancer and 34,859 people in the UK died from lung cancer in 2010.

Dipak also talked about the rise in TB and how it can be treated.

For more information or to make an appointment with Dr Mukherjee, visit or call 01277 266 761.

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New advances in eye treatment

This week on Body Talk, in association with Spire Hartswood Hospital, Jules Bottazzi chatted to Mr Jag Chawla, consultant ophthalmologist and oculo-plastic surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Jag talked about cataracts and how we’ll all get them eventually; the way eye surgery has changed over the years; and in particular the highly specialised refractive surgery which he uses to correct vision.

This new surgery means Jag can prescribe an artificial lens implant to do the same job as a varifocal lens would in a pair of glasses – and it has a high success rate (98%). He is also able to correct astigmatism at the same time as correcting distance and near vision with the special new lenses.

For further information, please check out Mr Jag Chawla’s page on

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Interview with Malcolm Bigg of Diabetes UK

This week on Bodytalk, in association with Spire Hartswood Hospital, Jules Bottazzi chatted to Malcolm Bigg, Chair of the Diabetes UK Voluntary Group in Brentwood. There are 3,000 people living with diabetes in Brentwood alone.

Malcolm talked about the huge importance of educating people with diabetes; simple changes in lifestyle can have an enormous impact.

The voluntary group is putting on a fundraiser on 23rd June to raise money to produce education packs for people living with diabetes in Brentwood. To buy tickets, donate a prize, or simple find out more about the group’s work, please contact Malcolm on 07912 787844.

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Knees and knee replacement surgery

This week on Bodytalk, Jules Bottazzi was joined by Mr Iain Lennox, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Mr Lennox specialises in ankle replacement surgery, sports injuries, cruciate ligament reconstruction, the treatment of early arthritis and hip replacements, plus the subject matter of this evening – knee replacement surgery.

Iain revealed how popular knee replacement surgery has become (roughly 80,000 done a year); why someone might need a knee replacement; and talked through the history of knee replacement surgery.

He talked particularly about the most modern technique – “bespoke” or personalised knee replacement, available at the Hartswood, which involves using data from a MRI scan to plan size and positioning exactly.

For further information on this and other treatments available at Spire Hartswood Hospital, please visit

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Fundraising for health

Tonight on Body Talk, in association with Spire Hartswood Hospital, Jules Bottazzi chatted to 12-year-old Stanley Jopson from Pilgrim’s Hatch. Stanley was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a year ago and on Wednesday, he’s meeting David Cameron to lobby him to release more funds for research into type 1 diabetes. Stanley is supported by JDRF – the charity dedicated to improving the life of those affected by type 1 diabetes. For further info, visit

Also in the news this week is the tragic story of Claire Squires, who died while running the London Marathon last weekend. Before the race, Claire had raised around £500 for her charity, The Samaritans. Tonight, the total raised stands closer to £540,000 – and the family are urging people to keep on giving. Her fundraising page is at

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Trigeminal neuralgia and other facial pain

Tonight on Bodytalk, in association with Spire Hartswood Hospital, Jules Bottazzi chatted to consultant neurosurgeon Jonathan Pollock about facial pain and particularly trigeminal neuralgia – a surprisingly common condition, with 15,000 people diagnosed in the UK every year..

Jonathan described the devastating pain sufferers of trigeminal neuralgia can experience, discussed why it happens, and revealed the groups most at risk. He ran through how a diagnosis is made and treatment options available.

If you think you might have this condition, visit your GP or contact Spire Hartswood Hospital directly on 01277 266 761 or visit

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Dementia: the “quiet crisis”

This week on Body Talk, in association with Spire Hartswood Hospital, Jules Bottazzi talked to Jo Coughlan, manager of Anisha Grange care home in Billericay about what David Cameron recently described as the “quiet crisis” in our country – dementia.

Official figures suggest that around 800,000 people in the UK have a dementia, but the actual figure is thought to be far higher, as many are undiagnosed.

Jo explained that dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of conditions associated with memory loss, and talked about the symptoms and causes. She explained why early diagnosis is recommended and what good dementia care should look like.

For further information about Anisha Grange, visit


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Fabrice Muamba and the cardiologist

This week on Bodytalk, Jules Bottazzi talked about the shocking story of Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba’s heart attack while playing at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon.

It’s been widely reported in the press that a cardiologist was in the crowd at Spurs, and came down from the stands to the pitch, where he treated Fabrice Muamba. That doctor was Dr Andrew Deaner, who is a consultant cardiologist at Spire Hartswood Hospital, and who I interviewed on this show in March 2010. Tonight I replayed that interview with Andrew, where he talked about the prevention and treatment of heart attacks, and about his love of Tottenham.

Tonight, Muamba is still in intensive care but has been reported laughing and joking with friends and family – a remarkable testament to the quick actions of the crew who treated him at White Hart Lane and the team at the London Chest Hospital.

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Health news this week

Tonight on Bodytalk, in association with Spire Hartswood Hospital, Jules Bottazzi rounded up all the news from the world of health this week, including:

…The nappy cream that TOWIE stars swear by – for their face!

…How Essex’s own Stacey Solomons admits she’s wrong to smoke while pregnant

…Is Jamie Oliver ignoring his own advice about healthy eating?

…And how thousands of people are dying unnecessarily because they’re too scared to mention early signs of cancer to their doctor.

Next week, I’ll be joined by consultant Mr Sandy Gujral to talk about how March is prostate cancer awareness month – and what all men need to know about it.

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