Millions of people around the world are experiencing high levels of stress during these very challenging times. For some of us, it can be debilitating and often damaging to our health. Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems. Stress is a normal part of human existence and nobody is immune to it. Therefore, it is important that we take care of our mental health and arm ourselves with the knowledge of how to recognise the onset of stress and also learn skills on how to cope with it when it arises.
Since April is officially National Stress Awareness Month, we thought we would share some helpful tips on how to reduce stress during these very difficult times.
- Meditate— Since your immune system responds to both negative & positive thoughts, meditation creates a positive mental environment for the immune system to flourish. It also creates a deep state of rest that triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters that enhance feelings of wellbeing.
- Breathe — Doing some slow, belly breathing can calm the mind, which in turn strengthens the immune system. When we slow down the breath, we calm the stress response that can weaken the immune system. Try counting to 4 or 5 with each inhalation and exhalation to slow down your breathing.
- Sleep— Sleep has been known to boost T-cells which help us fight disease, especially viral diseases. Get at least 7-8 hours of natural, restful sleep.
- Eat well – Eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables are vital for our immune system as the vitamins, antioxidants and micronutrients that they contain keep our cells healthy, like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, zinc and other trace elements needed to support our immune system.
- Get regular exercise — Exercise can contribute to overall good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
March is National Nutrition Month!
Are you looking to make some changes towards a healthier you? Than National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to do it! This month focuses on the importance of healthy eating, making informed food choices and creating long lasting fitness goals. Research shows that starting slow and making small changes is the most successful long-term strategy for healthy changes.
Here are just a few habits you can start with:
Eat breakfast – Have a nutritious breakfast to give your body the energy it needs to take on the day.
Make 1/2 your plate Fruits & Veggies – Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Fruits & Veggies are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants & dietary fibre, which is essential for optimum health.
Watch Portion Sizes – Eating too much or too little of any of the major food groups can be bad for your health so it important to be conscious of portion sizes.
Drink Plenty of Water – Drinking enough water is crucial for the functionality of every system in our body. Experts commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 litres, or half a gallon a day.
Be Active –As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day
Eat Fish twice a week – Aim for at least 2 portions of fish every week, 1 of which should be an oily fish such as salmon or mackerel.
Eat Slowly – The benefits of eating slowly include better digestion, better hydration, easier weight loss or maintenance, & greater satisfaction with our meals.
Cook from home – Studies show that people who regularly eat home–cooked meals made with fresh ingredients tend to be healthier as they consume less sugar & processed foods, which can result in higher energy levels & better mental &physical health.
Choose Nutrient Dense Foods – Nutrient dense foods are those that are high in vitamins, minerals, fibre & antioxidants, which are not only good for your health but also low in calories. They include brightly coloured fruits & vegetables, fortified & fibre rich grains, & lean meats, beans, & nuts.
Reduce Added Sugars – Many people consume more sugar than they realize. It’s important to be aware of your sugar intake because added sugars contribute zero nutrients & added calories. Too much sugar can also lead to extra pounds &contribute to chronic illness.
March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Every year, 295,000 women around the world are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and only half will survive beyond five years.
Ovarian cancer has four main symptoms:
- Persistent stomach pain
- Persistent bloating
- Difficulty eating/feeling full more quickly
- Needing to urinate more frequently
These can also be symptoms of other, less serious, conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome so if you’re experiencing them it doesn’t necessarily mean you have ovarian cancer.
If your symptoms are:
- Out of the ordinary
You should make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. Keep a record of what symptoms you are experiencing to have your notes to hand when you speak to your doctor. This will help your GP make a speedier diagnosis.
If you want to help support Ovarian Cancer research, you can get involved in Walk In Her Name and join the Step Challenge and take 295,000 steps across March (one for every woman diagnosed) to fund life-saving research. You can walk, run, dance or even jump your steps and record your progress on your online fundraising page. Get sponsored for your achievements, raise funds for the next generation of ovarian cancer research and save lives.
For more information, visit: https://ovarian.org.uk
Healthy Super Foods that you should eat every day.
💚Spinach contains many essential nutrients & antioxidants, such as carotenoids, Flavonoids, Vitamin E & Vitamin C that can help support the immune system.
❤️Kefir is a probiotic cultured drink made up of kefer grains, (which contain a combination of bacteria & yeast) and then added to milk. Kefir is incredibly rich in vitamins, minerals & has a host of health benefits from digestion, to bone health & inflammation.
💜Blueberries contain flavonoids which is a type of antioxidant that can help reduce damage to cells & boost your immune system. They are also a great source of vitamins.
❤️Tomato’s are a great source of Vitamins & Minerals including Vitamin C , Vitamin K, Potassium and folate, all which can help ensure optimum health.
🧡Carrots are packed with Beta-carotene. Beta Carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, which is essential for good vision along with a healthy immune system & healthy skin.
💙Walnuts are an antioxidant powerhouse, which is protects us against cancer. They also have a high content of ALA & other nutrients, which can improve the risk of heart disease along with their ability to significantly lower LDL “bad” cholesterol. Walnuts may also help reduce inflammation, which can contribute to many chronic diseases.
💚Broccoli is rich in vitamins C & A, potassium, folate, fiber, protein, and iron. Broccoli also contains cancer-fighting sulforaphane.
🧡 Oranges have essential vitamins, antioxidants, protein, water percentage and fibre. These are all necessary minerals that help in keeping the nutrients in your body balanced.
💚Matcha Tea has very high levels of EGCG, which is a part of the antioxidant family known as catechins. Catechins have been linked to better heart health, a healthy metabolism and improved aging. Scientists have now discovered EGCG to be at least 100 times more effective than Vitamin C and 25 times more effective than Vitamin E at protecting cells from free radical damage.
💜 Oats are a natural superfood because they are 100% whole grain with minimal processing. They contain a good amount of of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Today is World Cancer Day. This is a day that unites people, communities and entire countries to raise awareness and take action.
To find out more visit
Cancer is a disease which occurs when changes in a group of normal cells within the body lead to uncontrolled, abnormal growth forming a lump called a tumour; this is true of all cancers except leukaemia (cancer of the blood). If left untreated, tumours can grow and spread into the surrounding normal tissue, or to other parts of the body via the bloodstream and lymphatic systems, and can affect the digestive, nervous and circulatory systems or release hormones that may affect body function.
Key Cancer Facts
- 10 million people die from cancer every year.
- At least one third of common cancers are preventable.
- Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide.
- 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries.
- Up to 3.7 million lives could be saved each year by implementing resource appropriate strategies for prevention, early detection and treatment.
Help Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer:
Cancers can be caused by a number of different factors and, as with many other illnesses, most cancers are the result of exposure to a number of different causal factors. It is important to remember that not all cancers can be prevented. However, around 1/3 of cancer cases can be prevented by reducing behavioural & dietary risks.
Alcohol – The evidence that all types of alcoholic drinks are a cause of a number of cancers is now stronger than ever before. Evidence suggests that , the more alcohol drinks people consume, the higher the risk of many cancers.
Being overweight – Excess weight has been linked to an increased risk of developing 12 different cancers, including bowl & pancreatic cancers. In general, greater weight gain, particularly as adults, is associated with greater cancer risks.
Diet and nutrition – Experts suggest that diets and nutritional intake, particularly diets high in red meats, processed meats, salted foods and low in fruits and vegetables have an impact on cancer risks, particularly colorectum, nasopharynx and stomach.
Physical activity – Regular physical activity not only helps to reduce excess body fat and the cancer risks associated with this, but being physically active can help to reduce the risks of developing colon, breast and endometrial cancers.
Tobacco – Tobacco smoke contains at least 80 different cancer-causing substances (carcinogenic agents). When smoke is inhaled the chemicals enter the lungs, pass into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body.
Lonising Radiation – Manmade sources of radiation can cause cancer and are a risk for workers. These include radon, x-rays, gamma rays and other forms of high-energy radiation. Prolonged and unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiations from the sun, sunlamps & tanning beds can also lead to melanoma & skin malignancies.
Early Detection Testing- Early Screening Tests means testing for early signs of cancer before people have any symptoms. If cancer is detected at an early stage, before symptoms even appear, it is easier to treat and there is a better chance of survival.
Its National Love Your Liver Awareness Month! Our liver is an absolute powerhouse of an organ and is responsible for over 500 functions of the body. Amongst its many important roles, the liver filters, cleanses and breakdowns everything that passes through our body. Quite simply, it is our body’s natural detoxifier. When the liver becomes overwhelmed with toxins, its natural working cycle slows down. This happens when our body becomes overloaded with things such as alcohol, drugs, processed and fatty foods and chemicals (such as pesticides left on produce). The good news is, there are lifestyle habits you can make that will keep your liver healthy and help stimulate its natural ability to expel toxins from the body.
Here are 3 simple steps to improve your liver health:
- Drink less than 14 units of alcohol & have 3 consecutive days off alcohol every week.
- Eat a healthy diet & exercise more.
- Know the risk factors for viral hepatitis & get tested or vaccinated if at risk.
Here are 8 powerful foods to eat to keep your liver healthy:
1. Citrus Fruits: Fruits like grapefruit, oranges & lemons all boost the liver’s cleansing ability as citrus fruits help the liver to produce the detoxifying enzymes that flush out pollutants.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables: Such asbroccoli, cauliflower, kale & cabbage as they contain glucosinolate, which helps the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes. They also contain sulfur compounds that aid with liver health. Leafy vegetables are high in chlorophyll, which leaches toxins out of the blood stream.
3. Beetroot: Beets assist with increasing oxygen by cleansing the blood, & can break down toxic wastes to help them be excreted quicker. They stimulate bile flow and boost enzymatic activity. Beets also contain fiber & Vitamin C, which both are natural cleansers for the digestive system.
4. Turmeric: The compounds in Turmeric have been found to improve liver function & reduce the levels of toxicity in the body by stimulating the lymphatic system & removing toxins efficiently.
5.Walnuts: Walnuts are high in the amino acid arginine & assist the liver in detoxifying ammonia. They’re also rich in glutathione & omega-3 fatty acids, which aid the natural liver cleansing functions.
6.Garlic: Garlic is packed with sulphur, which activates liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. It also is rich in selenium, whichis an essential micronutrient that has been shown to help boost the natural antioxidant enzyme levels in our liver.
7. Avocado: Avocado’s are rich in glutathione, which is a substance that is present throughout the body. It’s function is to protect cells against oxidation & to help the liver rid itself of toxins.
8. Apples: Apples have high levels of pectin, which helps the body facilitate the process of cleansing and releasing toxins from the liver. Apple juice (organic) is also recommended for liver detoxification
9. Green Tea: Green Tea is rich in catechins, which is a powerful antioxidant known to improve liver function.
Good nutrition is an essential part of both mental and physical health. According to the World Health Organization, better nutrition is related to improved health at all ages, a lower risk of diseases, and longevity. Having good nutrition comes from eating a wide variety of foods and drinks to ensure your body gets enough vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients that it needs to function at its best.
If you feel confused by all the conflicting diet and nutrition advice out there, you’re not alone. But having good nutrition doesn’t have to be overly complicated. By using these simple tips, you can cut through the confusion and learn how incorporate good eating habits to ensure optimum health not only for your mind but for your body as well.
- Eat Oily Fish (such as Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines & Herring)
- Eat Whole Grains (such as Whole Grain Pasta, Brown Rice & Rolled oats)
- Eat a Rainbow (a variety of colourful Fruits & Vegetables. Aim for 5 portions a day)
- Eat your Greens (such a Kale, Spinach, Broccoli & Swiss Chard)
- Eat Healthy Fats (such as Avocado, Nuts, Olive Oil & Cheese)
- Eat Nuts & Seeds (such as Walnuts, Chia Seeds, Almonds & Flaxseed)
- Get Enough Fiber (Whole Grains, Fruits & Vegetables, Nuts & Seeds)
- Eat Beans and Pulses (such as Kidney Beans, Lentils & Chickpeas)
- Drink Water (Aim for at least 3.7 litres for men and 2.7 litres for women)
- Include Protein with every meal (such as Lean Meats, Eggs, Tofu & Beans)
- Support Gut Health with Priobotics (such as Kiefer, Yogurt, Miso & Sauerkraut)
- Use Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Extra Virgin is the least processed and refined type of oil)
- Use Herbs & Spices (such as Ginger, Garlic, Cinnamon & Tumeric)
- Eat Real Foods (Replace processed food with real food whenever possible. Eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it can make a huge difference to your health.)
As the festive season comes to an end & everyone has drank probably more champagne than they would like to admit, more and more people seem to be jumping on the “Dry January Train” where you avoid drinking any booze for the entire month. Some do it as a way to detox from the excessive drinking over the holidays while others make it part of a New Year’s resolution to drink less. Either way, giving up booze or limiting the amount you drink can have amazing health benefits on your mind and body. This is because alcohol puts metabolic stress on the liver, raises blood pressure and can also weaken your immune system among many other health problems. (most dependant on how much you drink).
Here are some of the health benefits of having a Dry January:
1.) Better Sleep – Alcohol disrupts the quality of sleep as it decreases “Restorative REM Sleep” reducing the amount of time spent in a deep sleep.
2.) Your waistline may shrink – Boozy beverages are high in calories. So having a few drinks a day can increase your calorific intake which often makes you put on excess weight. Alcohol also wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels causing your body to crave salty, greasy, sugary and starchy foods.
3.) Improved Concentration and Mood – Alcohol has many different effects on your mental health. It can increase your risk of anxiety and depression because it depletes your brains serotonin levels. It also depresses the central nervous system which can make your mood fluctuate.
4.) Better Skin – Alcohol is extremely dehydrating and can leave your skin looking dry and sallow. It can also deplete vitamins and minerals that are essential for healthy skin.
5.) May change your attitude towards alcohol – Studies have shown that 64% of people who participated in Dry January drank less alcohol even 6 months after they finished.
The important thing is to continue healthy drinking habits beyond January. Studies have shown for optimum health, people should be drinking within the recommended low risk alcohol guidelines across the whole year which means that men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units per week on a regular basis.
Christmas is all about enjoying yourself which often means over indulging in alcohol, food and unhealthy treats which usually leaves us feeling bloated and sluggish. If you want to feel completely refreshed and energised for the New Year, a post Christmas detox can often do the trick. A detox has the ability to stimulate the liver and kidneys to drive toxins out of the body, and rejuvenate our organs, thus helping our body and mind feel completely re-energised.
Here are 5 quick and easy ways to give your body a total cleanse for the New Year:
1.) Drink plenty of Water (preferably with lemon) – Water helps your body function properly and is also essential for removing waste and toxins from the body. This makes it incredibly important to stay hydrated. You can also infuse your water with lemon and ginger which are great for aiding the cleansing process.
2.) Exercise – Exercise helps with the body’s detoxification process as it stimulates your digestive track and lymphatic system which eliminates waste. Every time we exercise, we take in more oxygen which is essential to helping our cells to function which also helps our cells remove toxins.
3.) Eat Detoxing Super Foods and fuel your body with the Good Stuff – Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, healthy whole grains and beans. These are loaded with fibre which is essential for healthy bowel movements. Eat veg such as broccoli, kale and spinach as they are super beneficial for the liver and enhance detoxification in your system. Fruits and vegetables are also loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that keep the body healthy and boost the immune system.
4.) Drink Matcha Green Tea – Matcha Green Tea contains high levels of catechin polyphenols that help stop damaging toxins from recirculating in your body. They also help encourage the body to make glutathione which is a liver antioxidant.
5.) Sleep allows your brain to reorganize and recharge itself as well as remove toxic waste that has accumulated throughout the day. Sleep deprivation prohibits your body from performing necessary functions so toxins can build up and affect several aspects of health. Aim for 7 – 9 hour of sleep per night.
There are many factors associated with developing breast cancer and no single food can prevent or cause it. However, research shows that by having a healthy diet can vastly improve your overall health, which ultimately can make a difference to the risk of developing cancer. But even with a healthy diet, you still need to get regular breast cancer screenings like mammograms and manual checks as these early detection tests can significantly increase survival rate.
Many foods contain powerful compounds that could help decrease the growth of cancer. There are also several studies that show that a higher intake of certain foods could be associated with a lower risk of the disease.
Here are 7 of the top Breast Cancer Fighting Foods:
• Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach and chard contain carotenoidantioxidants, including beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which are associated with reduced breast cancer risk.
• Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges and grapefruit are packed full of compounds that may protect against breast cancer, including folate, vitamin C, and carotenoids like beta cryptoxanthin and beta carotene, plus flavonoid antioxidants like quercetin, hesperetin, and naringenin.
• Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel contain vital nutrients such as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked to a lower risk of cancer.
• Berries are an antioxidant powerhouse. Berries also contain flavonoids and anthocyanins, which have been shown to protect against cellular damage, as well as the development and spread of cancer cells.
• Beans- According to Harvard Researchers, for every 10 grams of fiber consumed daily, a woman’s breast cancer risk decreases by 7 percent! The researcher’s speculate the fiber helps to reduce high estrogen levels in the blood, which are strongly linked with breast cancer development.
• Herbs and spices like garlic, oregano, thyme, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger contain powerful plant compounds that may help protect against breast cancer. These include vitamins, fatty acids and polyphenol antioxidants.
• Walnuts are full of the disease-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols whichmay reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research.