Lifestyle Tips

National Heart Month

National Heart Month

By Joanie in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 22 February 2022

Its National Heart Month! Did you know that  the most important thing you can do to look after your heart is to have a healthy lifestyle?  Making just small changes in your habits can make a huge difference to the health of your heart.

Here are 6 simple Healthy Heart Tips:

1.)Exercise – Physical Activity is great for heart health. Aim for a minimum of at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity for 5 or more days a week. If exercise isn’t your thing, just keep it simple, try walking for 30minutes a day or find an activity that you really enjoy that gets you up and moving.

2.)Eat Healthy & Maintain a Healthy Weight – Maintaining a healthy weight is key in controlling your blood pressure and lowering your risk for heart disease.  A diet low in saturated fats and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can lower your risk of heart disease by 73 percent. Make sure to eat a balanced diet with a wide range of nutritious foods to ensure that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals that you need.

3.)Get enough Sleep –A good nights sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your body. Aim for 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

4.) Don’t smoke – Smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases which include heart disease and stroke. Smoking is one of the top controllable risk factors for heart disease.

5.)Manage Stress – Stress raises the blood pressure which has an immediate effect on your heart. Try to manage your stress levels by using some relaxation techniques such as meditating, yoga, or gentle breathing exercises.

6.) Keep your blood pressure in check – High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major factor for around half of all heart disease and strokes. Therefore, it is very important to get your blood pressure checked regularly by your GP and if its persistently high, it needs to be controlled.

♥️A healthy heart is a healthy you!♥️.

8 Health Checks that can save your life.

8 Health Checks that can save your life.

By Joanie in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 15 February 2022

Its National Self-Check Month which is an amazing reminder to make sure we get all the necessary health checks that could potentially save our lives.

As we get older, the more we tend to worry about our health. But undergoing routine health checks can drastically improve the outcome of some age related diseases. Early diagnosis helps save lives as it provides treatment options at the earliest possible stage & often before the disease starts to spread.

It is not just cancer screenings that are important to our health. There are many other health screenings that are just as important such as cholesterol, blood pressure & routine health checks. Prevention is always better than a cure.

Here are 8 tests that could literally save your life.

✳️Bowel / Colon Cancer Screening– Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. More than 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if detected early.

✳️Breast Screenings– More than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive their disease for at least 5 years compared to around the 15% for women diagnosed at the most advanced stage.

✳️Cervical Screening- Cervical screening is a method of preventing cancer by detecting abnormalities&  precancerous cells in the cervix. If left untreated, these abnormalities could lead to cervical cancer. 

✳️Skin Checks– Keeping an eye on moles is essential for spotting the early signs of skin cancer. .

✳️AAA screening- The aorta is the main blood vessel in the body. It pumps blood from the heart around the body. If a swelling in the aorta is left to get bigger it could burst, causing life threatening bleeds inside the stomach. .

✳️Cholesterol Checks–High levels of cholesterol can build up in the arteries, which increase your risk of heart attack, cardiovascular diseases or stroke. 

✳️Prostate Check– Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. If there are any causes for concern such as an increased need to urinate, straining or not feeling emptied after urinating. Men can be offered a PSA blood test.

✳️Blood Pressure Check–  High blood pressure can put you at risk for multiple conditions such as heart failure, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease  This is a common test that is incredibly important and could even save your life.

World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day

By Joanie in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 4 February 2022

Today is World Cancer Day. This is a day that unites people, communities & entire countries to raise awareness & take action. 

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. If left untreated, tumours can grow and spread into the surrounding normal tissue, or to other parts of the body. 

Key Cancer Facts
📌10 million people die from cancer every year.
📌At least 1/3 of common cancers are preventable.
📌Cancer is the 2nd 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  strategies for prevention, early detection & treatment. 

Cancers can be caused by a number of different 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.

Help Reduce Your Risk Of Cancer: 

🍷Alcohol –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.

🏃‍♀️Excerise – Regular exercise  helps to reduce excess body fat & the cancer risks associated with this. 

🚬Tobacco – Tobacco smoke contains at least 80 different cancer-causing substances. When smoke is inhaled the chemicals enter the lungs, pass into the blood stream & are transported throughout the body.

☀️Radiation – Manmade sources of radiation can cause cancer. Prolonged  exposure  to ultraviolet radiations from the sun and tanning beds can also lead to skin cancers. 

🍎Diet and nutrition – Experts suggest that diets & nutritional intake, particularly diets high in red meats, processed meats & low in fruits & vegetables have an impact on cancer risks.

✔️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, it is easier to treat & there is a better chance of survival.

Got them January Blues?

Got them January Blues?

By Joanie in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 14 January 2022

Beat the January Blues by adding these 5 Mood Boosting Foods to your diet. 

1.) Oily Fish.

Fatty acids make up a large percentage of our brain tissue. By eating salmon, mackerel and sardines regularly will keep your brain healthy and improves your mood by keeping brain cells flexible, so the brain’s messaging chemicals neurotransmitters can work more effectively. 

2.) Spinach and Kale. 

Vitamin B Deficiencieshave been linked to depression, as serotonin production can actually be hindered by low B vitamin levels. The VitaminB to look out for  should include folate, vitamins B3, B6 and B12, and eating leafy green vegetables such as spinach or kale will help keep your levels up. These dark leafy greens are also full of iron, which also helps us produce energy. The more energy we feel often leads us to feeling happier and more productive. 

3.) Berries.

Beries are rich in flavonoids, which helps regulate mood and improve memory and also reduces inflammation. Research as shown that increased inflammation in the body can cause depression

4.) Almonds

This health boosting nut is full of magnesium, fibre and Vitamin E. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E can help combat free radical damage in the brain and has been shown to improve memory and cognition.

5.) Dark Chocolate.  

Dark Chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that create feelings of pleasure. Dark chocolate also contains serotonin, an antidepressant that can elevate mood.Studies have shown that chocolate can improve mood and cognition, plus it’s a rich source of antioxidants, iron and magnesium that can help us relax. Make sure you consume quality dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content. 

Dry January and beyond

Dry January and beyond

By Joanie in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 6 January 2022

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.⠀⠀

5 ways to keep your Mind, Body & Spirit Healthy

5 ways to keep your Mind, Body & Spirit Healthy

By Joanie in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 20 December 2021

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.

5 natural ways to beat the cold & flu season

5 natural ways to beat the cold & flu season

By Joanie in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 7 December 2021

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.

National Skin Health Month

National Skin Health Month

By Joanie in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 16 November 2021

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.

National Stress Awareness Day

National Stress Awareness Day

By Joanie in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 5 November 2021

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.

The Breast Cancer Diet

The Breast Cancer Diet

By Joanie in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 27 October 2021

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.