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.⠀⠀
Let’s be honest, the holidays are such a wonderful time of year to celebrate with loved ones, but it can also be incredibly stressful! Here are 5 tips to help keep your mind, body and spirit healthy not only during the holiday season but all year long.
1. Be intentional with your time – Before committing to one activity or another, check your intention. Are you doing something because it brings you joy? Or are you committing to something because you feel obligated? Allow yourself the freedom to say no or to postpone activities to a time where you really feel up to it. People will understand if you need some downtime. We all need time for self-care and rest. It is important that you take some time for yourself to engage in the activities that light up your heart.
2. Practice Mindfulness – By practicing mindfulness, we allow ourselves to enjoy the pleasures of life and become grateful for what we have. Mindfulness allows us to become aware of where we are and what we are doing rather than being overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
3. Sleep Well – Mentally, sleep helps our brain function properly when it comes to memory, learning, problem solving and decision-making and because it balances our hormones, it helps safeguard us against stress and depression. To stay healthy in body and mind, it is crucial to prioritize sleep. Aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
4. Stay Active – Research shows that even just 20min of exercise a day reduces stress and anxiety. Choose a physical activity that you enjoy and if possible, make it part of your daily routine.
5. Balance your Expectations – Daily life does not need to be flawless to be beautiful. In fact, sometimes within the imperfection lies the journey from where we are to where we want to be. When you expect something that you don’t end up getting, it is only natural to feel let down. However, expectations set you up for disappointment; The trick is to avoid becoming attached to your desired outcome. By adjusting your expectations, you can free yourself and others from the pursuit of perfection.
The cold winter air is upon us and the holiday season is here. But unfortunately with all that cold air comes the inevitable cough and cold season. Once everyone starts staying inside, germs start to spread and those wintertime maladies start coming on. While there is no cure for a cold (your GP will tell you it has to run its course), there are a few things you can do naturally that will help fight it off and thankfully alleviate some of those horrible symptoms.
Speaking of symptoms, one thing to remember is that the cold symptoms you are experiencing are actually your body’s way of healing itself. For instance, a fever is the body’s way off trying to kill off viruses by creating a hotter-then-normal environment. Coughing is also an effective system for clearing breathing passages and ridding the body of thick mucus that carries germs to your lungs and other parts of the body. So in essence, the symptoms you are experiencing are actually making you better.
The good new is, there is a lot of research that suggests that there are some really effective health remedies that can not only shorten the time you are ill but also prevent a cold and flu before it starts.
Here are 5 Natural Immune Boosers that can help fight off those nasty colds.
1.) Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that improves the body’s immune function. It also strengthens your body’s natural defences and protects cells from harmful free radicals. Studies have shown that taking Vitamin C supplements can not oly reduce the severity of cold symptoms, but alsodecrease the recovery time of a cold by 8% in adults and 14% in children, on average.
2.) Echinacea – Echinacea is a flowering plant called coneflower. Echinacea has been a popular herbal remedy for centuries. Today, it is often used to prevent or treat viruses that cause colds and the flu because of its effect on the immune system. Research shows Echinacea increases the number of white blood cells, which fight infections. When taken in the early stages of a cold, it can reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms. It seems to be most effective if you take it when you notice cold symptoms coming on and continue it for 7 to 10 days. However, you should not take Echinacea for more than a few weeks and always consult a doctor before taking any supplements.
3.) Zinc – Zinc is one of the most crucial minerals for overall immune function. It is found in cells throughout the body and helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Some studies show that taking zinc glauconitic or acetate lozenges every 2 hours within the first two days of a cold can decrease its duration. This is whyzinc lozenges are such popular cold fighters.
4.) Flavonoids – These are antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Studies suggest that flavonoid supplements may reduce the risk of infections in the lungs, throat and nose by 33%, on average.
5.) Garlic – This common spice contains some antimicrobial compounds that may help fight respiratory infections. Studies show that garlic can help fight colds and the flu. It can reduce your chances of catching an illness, and help you recover faster. To maximize these benefits, it is best to consume raw garlic or aged garlic extract.
Always consult your GP or Pharmacist before taking these or any type of supplement.
If you want glowing healthy skin, the old saying ‘You are what you eat’ has never been truer. To celebrate National Skin Month, we thought we would share some great nutrition tips to help nourish your skin from the inside out
Fatty Fish such as Salmon, is full of Omega-3 fatty acids which keep your skin thick, supple and moisturised. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation, which can reduce redness and acne.
Avocados are a great source of Vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage. This delicious fruit is also full of good healthy fats, which are essential for improving elasticity and keeping your skin moisturized.
Brazil Nuts – Studieshave shown that a selenium-rich diet may help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. Brazil nuts are a great way to boost your intake of selenium. Just 4 nuts will provide the recommended daily amount. Try mixing Brazil nuts with other nuts such as Almonds, which are rich in Vitamin E for the perfect skin-boosting snack.
Red & Yellow Bell Peppers are a rich source of both beta carotene and vitamin C, these are essential antioxidants for your skin. In fact, Vitamin C is necessary to create collagen, which is the structural protein that keeps your skin healthy and strong.
Broccoli is packed full of vitamins and minerals that are important for skin health, including zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of carotenoids and vitamin C which is amazing for maintaining skin health and protecting against sun damage.
Matcha Green Tea – The antioxidants in matcha tea help to strengthen skin cells and diminish the signs of aging. Matcha also stimulates elastin production to add volume to the skin.
Blueberries are an Antioxidant and Vitamin C Powerhouse. Together they strengthen new collagen formation and help prevent cell-damaging free radicals produced by sun exposure and pollution. The anti-inflammatory properties in blueberries also help to fight inflammation in the body, which helps skin blemishes heal properly.
Water – Your skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Even the slightest bit of dehydration will cause your skin to look dry, tired and slightly grey. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day to ensure you stay fully hydrated.
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.
As it’s National Stress Awareness Day, we thought we would share 5 helpful tips on how you can help reduce stress in your every day life.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Sleep— Sleep has been known to boost T-cells which help us fight disease, especially viral diseases. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
4. 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 and support our immune system.
5. 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 and do their job efficiently.
This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so to help bring awareness to the cause, we thought we would share some helpful information that may help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.
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 & chard contain carotenoid antioxidants, including beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which are associated with reduced breast cancer risk.
🍊Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges & grapefruit are packed full of compounds that may protect against breast cancer, including folate, vitamin C, and carotenoids like beta cryptoxanthin and beta carotene.
🐟Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines & mackerel contain vital nutrients such as vitamin D & omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked to a lower risk of cancer.
🍓Berries are an antioxidant powerhouse. Berries contain flavonoids & anthocyanins, which have been shown to protect against cellular damage, as well as the development & 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 & ginger contain powerful plant compounds that may help protect against breast cancer.
🌰Walnuts are full of the disease-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants & phytosterols which may reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research.
To help bring awareness to World Mental Health Day, we thought we would share 9 simple ways to help look after your Mental Health.⠀⠀
🌸Be physically active⠀
🌸Talk about your feelings⠀
🌸Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night⠀
🌸Try something new⠀🌸Practice mindfulness⠀
🌸Keep in touch with friends and family ⠀
🌸Preform acts of kindness ⠀
🌸Ask for help⠀
Breast cancer is a scary thought and all too many women assume that it won’t happen to them. However the fact is, every 10 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer & it is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Most women that are diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50 but younger women also get breast cancer. 1 in 8 women are diagnosed during their lifetime. If breast cancer is discovered in its early stages, there is a great chance of recovery. This is why it is so crucial for all women to check their breasts on a regular basis and have their routine Mammograms.
Symptoms of Breast Cancer: Breast cancer can have a number of symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue. Most breast lumpsare not cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by your doctor.
You should also see your GP if you notice any of the following:
🔴Change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
🔴Discharge from any of your nipples which may be streaked with blood
🔴A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
🔴Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
🔴A rash on or around your nipple
🔴A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
🔴Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.
Even if none of these symptoms present themselves, a doctor should be visited to be sure. All women in the UK are invited for a Breast Cancer Screening (Mammogram) every 3 years. A mammogram examination can often detect cancer before any symptoms arise.
Reducing your risk of Breast Cancer:
Cancer is often unpredictable and the causes of cancer are not fully understood, but there are things everyone can do to help reduce their cancer risk or improve their chances of beating the disease if they do get it. These lifestyle habits changes can also help lower your risk for other serious diseases & boost your odds of living a longer, healthier life.
💖Maintain a Healthy Weight
💖Have a low intake of saturated Fat
💖Limit your intake of Alcohol & Don’t smoke
💖Limit dose and duration of Hormome treatments.
This year has brought more changes to our world than anyone could have foreseen. In the face of climate change, diet related ill health and a widespread decline in wildlife, the need to change our food systems has never been greater. Organic September aims to bring awareness to these issues and encourage people to take the steps to a more organic lifestyle. By becoming part of the organic movement, you can help make a world of difference.
How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.
So what is organic? If foods are classed as organic, the soil where crops are grown must be inspected and shown to be free of most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and the crops cannot have been genetically modified. Animals raised on organic farms do not receive antibiotics or growth hormones, are given feed that has been grown organically. Processed organic foods must not contain synthetic additives.
By getting involved in Organic September, you are helping to support:
💚Biodiversity and wildlife
💚Helping to combat climate change
💚The highest standards of animal welfare
💚Reduced exposure to pesticides
💚Food as it should be, and food you can trust to put into your body
If you want to ‘Go Organic’ but find the thought of changing all your everyday products too daunting, then why not make a pact to replace just one of your everyday items each month with an organic one instead? As well as food items, you could also replace beauty products, household cleaning goods, and even clothing.
It’s easy to get involved, just look for the organic logo on the product that you buy or why not even about growing your own!
5 Habits to Protect Your Brain and Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 40 million people globally. Science suggests that thedisease develops gradually over time. However, the disease is not an inevitable part of aging. Research offers hope for building a better brain as you age and preventing dementia. By adopting certain lifestyle changes, you can help protect your brain and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimers.
Here are five key habits to protect your brain:
BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE– Exercise helps activate brain plasticity (the brain’s ability to change its own structure as a result of experiences) and positive growth of connections in the brain while decreasing inflammation. Each week, you should aim for either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, fast swimming or riding a bike up a hill.
MOVE IT OR LOOSE IT– Learn new skills and keep your mind active.Research shows that engaging in mentally stimulating activities is an important element in strengthening cognitive reserve, which is the brain’s resilience and capacity to function even when there is damage to brain cells. Stimulating the brain on a regular basis boosts cognitive pathways between neurons and builds resiliency in brain function. Try to find something that you like doing that challenges your brain such as learning a new language, games and crossword puzzles.
DEVELOP GOOD SLEEP HABITS -Getting regular, adequate sleep is necessary for good brain health. Without adequate sleep, humans experience cognitive deficits of many kinds, including attention issues and declines in the ability to learn and process information. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night.
EAT A BALANCED HEALTHY, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET– The food you eat can enhance brain function, prevent disease, and improve memory. Although each person is unique and has specific nutritional needs, eating a variety of healthy foods in their whole-food forms provides your body with essential nutrients that protect and nourish your brain.
STOP SMOKING– Smoking does a lot of harm to the circulation of blood around the body including the blood vessels in the brain. Smoking contributes to a higher risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Studiesshow that people who smoke are at a higher risk of developing all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.