Author Archives: Mel Watson

Body Talk 20/5/18

500,000 people in the Uk are apparently suffering from Coeliac Disease without even knowing it. It’s a disease where the body attacks itself, sending out antibodies to attack cells which it believes are harmful. Their body triggers an immune response to gluten in the gut and the immune system sends out responses which aren’t all tummy related.

It can often be misdiagnosed, which means that many are suffering. It can be that children miss days of school,adults miss days of work;  it can trigger depression, and, in terms of ongoing health, it can have a huge impact on life.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though, the symptoms can be reversed by cutting gluten out of the diet. Although it’s a problem that affects the gut, symptoms can be varied. Gastrointestinal problems are common, nausea, diarhoea and constipation can be wrongly linked to IBS.

Mouth ulcers can also be linked, and can be a symptom of a generally run down immune system.

Tiredness is almost an everyday symptom,but can also be linked to gluten intolerance.

Skin rashes can also be a problem, a rash like dermatitis can appear on the elbows and knees, and can be easily tested.

Anaemia can occur too, as can deficiencies in B vitamins.

Neurological problems can become apparent too. Co-ordination, balance and speech can be affected.

So there are a surprising range of symptoms that can be connected to Coeliac disease, if you feel that you can identify with these things then it may be time to visit your doctor and get tested,or try your own experimentation and try leaving gluten out of your diet and see if you can identify any changes as a result.


Body Talk 13/5/18

Love conquers all, so they say, but could being in love be bad for you?

You could be addicted to your partner in the same way as you can be addicted to drugs, food or alcohol! There are different signs that will tell if you are addicted to your partner. When the thrill of new love dies down, and the addiction sets in.

If you have to be with your partner constantly, this could be un unhealthy sign. If you annoy your friends to the extent that you have to be with them whatever the event, and it is invading your and their lives.

If you are regularly skipping work to see your partner, things could be getting out of control.

Maybe you are constantly buying presents for your partner or getting into debt because of them.

Time spent together should be enjoyable, if you don’t have other people or things in your life,things can become a little strained.
You may feel anxious when they’re not around, like when you go to bed at night,, or when you’re at work.

You should be able to enjoy time alone with your friends, and so should they, and if you can’t stop texting them while you’re out, that relationship may be unhealthy.

If you bump into their ex and get angry,if you pick fights about petty things, and if you feel  ecstatic when you’re together and miserable when they’re apart all could be signs of addiction.

If the housework doesn’t get done and if you were used to be spending time with friends and family and now you never see them, it could be time to have a rethink.

Set boundaries and start to love yourself first, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help. If you have an addictive personality, it is easy to become addicted to anything at all. Watch out for the signs.

Body Talk 6/5/18

Omega 3’s are essential fats that our bodies can’t make themselves,but are crucial for our heart and overall health. You can find them in flaxseeds and oily fish, poultry, omega 9 are found in cashews. Omega 7 can be found in salmon and anchovies, olive oil and macadamia.

News is just emerging as well that Sea Buckthorn is also a rich source of Omega 7.  The nutrients found in Sea Buckthorn oil is essential for the health of the mucus membranes, whose function is to keep our eyes, skin, mouth and intimate areas well lubricated.

They also have anti inflammatory effects, and could help to stave off hayfever. It’s great for vegetarians and vegans who don’t eat fish oil.

It can help with dry eyes which affect about 30% of the population.

It is great for the skin as it helps with the production of collagen,and can help with psoriasis and eczema, and mouth ulcers.

It can alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth and aid the production of saliva.

A diet rich in oily fish and green beans could help delay the menopause,but those who eat pasta and white rice and other refined carbohydrates could speed it up. Research has found that the natural age for menopause is 51, but those who ate green beans, peas, oily fish grapes and poultry delayed it for about a year, whereas those who were eating the refined carbohydrates started a year earlier.

So try to avoid, pasta, white rice, white bread, cakes and biscuits, not just for the menopause but for your health in general.

Body Talk 20/4/18

What effect is social media having on us all?

The older generation often worry about it’s effect on young people, but it is also taking its toll on those of us who aren’t so young!

It can cause anxiety and depression in the upper age groups too. Research has found that those aged 30-40 could be suffering more than we realise, and could be making that mid-life crisis worse. They are more likely to report problems with mental health, while those aged 18-29 are more likely to suffer no harm as they have grown up with it as a normal part of everyday life.

After 30 people are more likely to dwell on their life and compare to others in terms of what they have achieved and how successful they seem to be.

In their desire to validate accomplishments, they compare themselves to their peers, and, of course, the posts always look great, which may not be a true reflection of reality, but to those on the outside looking in, it can make them feel as though they don’t measure up.

The research found that 22% of those over 30 were receiving treatment for depression, but this wasn’t the case for those under 30. It may be because the younger generation stay in contact and don’t notice the changes so much, whereas the older generation are suddenly making contact with people after many years and can often be surprised by the difference in the lives of their peers.

Also the under 30’s are much more comfortable with sharing their innermost thoughts and problems online, and so have a built in support system.

Facebook in particular has been in the media a lot recently, and not in a good way, however, it has to be said that if used in a positive way it can be helpful to connect with groups and individuals who can enhance your life too. It all depends on the way you use it!

Body Talk 22/4/18

Bright electric light in the evenings can suppress melatonin production in young children, which basically interrupts the circadian rhythm,or sleep wake cycle, which can result in poor quality sleep, and possibly other serious problems in the future. Although this research was done with fluorescent lighting, the researchers said it would also apply to the use of mobile phones, tablets etc, late into the evening.

Excess evening light is part of the light pollution problem that many of us experience these days,which can also be from things like street lighting too. One of the causes of depression can be linked to excess exposure to light, another being social isolation, and these could be the reasons that so many more teenagers are suffering with mental health issues.

Migraine affects approximately one in seven people,but a new self injected drug could be the answer for millions of sufferers. This drug blocks pain signals in the brain, and a test group halved their number of headaches. 25 million days are lost each year in this country due to migraines. There has been no real advancement in this area for more than 20 years, so this drug could be the start of changes in this area.

Back pain is also very common but many patients are wrongly prescribed painkillers or told to rest when a few simple stretches and gentle exercise could be the answer, this is more effective than painkillers,which can induce various different reactions, including gastric problems.So check out a therapeutic yoga or pilates class to help ease out your back and maybe even stop the pain naturally.


Body Talk 15/4/18

Exercise is not just good for us,but for future generations too. Research has proved that parents who exercise are more likely to have children with improved abilities to learn.

It can apparently change DNA to the extent that it can enhance decision making and take in new information more easily, but it has only so far been tested on mice, but nevertheless it’s a good reason to get down to the gym! This research follows hot on the heels of another study that claimed dancing can boost your intelligence. People have to learn steps and stay in time to the beat which means they cannot lose concentration, so if the gym doesn’t seem appealing, then join your local dance class.

It has also been suggested that exercise such as walking and running could delay the onset of dementia. Being active several times a week keeps the parts of the brain associated with memory active as well.

Exercise can be seen as a maintenance programme for the brain.

An interesting fact, discovered recently, is that eating cheese three times per week could prevent men from developing osteoporosis. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the same for women, who are more susceptible to this condition.

Another alarming fact is that tinned tuna contains 100 times more zinc than is safe for us. It’s to do with the canning process and the lining of the tin which is used for its anti-microbial properties and so prolongs shelf life. This is absorbed into the fish, and could be bad for the gut.



Body Talk 1/4/18

Dementia and Alzheimers are now the leading cause of death in the UK. 850,00 people are living with dementia in the UK and that figure is expected to grow in the next 20 years. It is estimated that the global number of dementia deaths will increase by about 40% by 2030.

The good news is that there has been plenty of research into these diseases and how they can be curtailed or prevented by simple lifestyle changes.

The brain needs glucose to function, and so sugar is needed in our diets, but too much is damaging as we know. A far healthier option are the natural sugars of honey and maple syrup. Sweets cookies and cakes,contain a lot of sugar, but not the valuable glucose that is needed by the brain. In general, it is important that your diet contains a wide variety of nutrients, living on take aways is not an option,and eat organic when you can.

High quality dark chocolate is low in sugar and rich in antioxidants, and a small glass of red wine is recommended too.

Brain cells strengthen themselves when they are hungry, so diets, like the 5:2 are very good.

The people who live the longest and healthiest lives, consume less meat, and are active. The mediterranean diet is the best. Olive oil is very good, also being high in antioxidants.

Good diet and plenty of exercise are as always, the keys to good health as we age.





Body Talk 25/3/18

38% of us aren’t getting enough sleep according to recent research, which is incredibly high. Women aged 35 to 44 are the worst affected. Out of 14 countries surveyed, we in the UK were found to be the worst sleepers!

People have been using food and herbs for centuries to help them get to sleep. Everything from cups of milk to camomile tea, but what actually works?

Green, black or white tea have been found to be very calming. They contain an amino acid which can enhance sleep and reduce anxiety. A supplement has also been found to help younger boys with ADHD too. Camomile tea has long been associated with calming and soothing,but it does indeed contain chemicals that do induce sleep, so the old wives tales are correct. In fact it has also been shown to be beneficial to breathe in the scent of camomile, in the form of an essential oil.

Cinnamon nourishes the nervous system by calming the blood sugar levels, which is important because if you find yourself waking in the early hours of the morning it could be due to blood sugar spikes, which wake you up as they drop.

Ginger relaxes the stomach and is soothing for the body in general, and has a calming effect for people suffering with anxiety.

Liquorice has long been used by herbalists as a treatment for depression and anxiety, it is a tonic for the adrenal glands, as is passionfruit.

If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping it would be well worth experimenting with these remedies. They are easy to find in supermarkets, and at worst won’t make any difference, and at best could change your sleep patterns for ever!


Body Talk 18/3/17

Can falling in love make you fat? Well,new research is proving that it does. Cosy nights in watching the tv and snacking all evening is piling on the pounds. Being in a settled relationship really does increase the likelihood of weight gain. Couples weigh more than single people, despite adopting a healthier lifestyle, exercising more and eating better.

Researchers put this down to the fact that you don’t need to be as careful over your appearance when you have already attracted your partner. When couples have children in the household, they will then eat the children’s leftovers too, which all contributes to weight gain.

Date nights and romantic dinners are also to blame, we are now going out to eat more often than ever before and it is a very sociable and fun activity.

For couples in long term relationships, food plays a big part. It tends to be the longer you’ve been together, the more food will be consumed. The food does tend to be healthy though, with more fruit and vegetables being consumed.

Now for some shocking news; apparently recycled toilet water is healthier that tap water, and volunteers even preferred the flavour of the toilet water! Amid fears of a global water shortage, marketing is aiming to promote the benefits of recycled sewage water. Recycled water is safe to drink as all harmful components are flushed out before they reach the drinking supply.  I think it might take a while before we are all ok with that concept!


Body Talk 4/3/18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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