1stVitality UK News

Would you drink water with added fat? Believe it or not it's the latest health craze.

  • Combination of coconut oil and water is supposedly effective at hydrating
  • But some experts have argued that the drink is no better for you than water
  • FATWater was launched by Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof Coffee  
By Heather Campbell | | Heart Health, Weight Loss | 0 comments | Read more

The drinks with up to TWENTY teaspoons of sugar: Doctors urge ministers to slap a 20% tax on sugary drinks to fight obesity crisis

  • British Medical Association is to demand a 20 per cent tax on sugary drinks
  • In landmark report, doctors to urge Downing Street to take on food industry
  • It found poor diet costs the NHS £6billion a year while claiming 70,000 lives  
  • Levy would raise the price of a one-litre bottle of Coke from £1.50 to £1.80 

Sugary drinks should be taxed at 20 per cent to tackle the obesity crisis, doctors will demand today.

In a landmark report the British Medical Association will urge Downing Street to take on the food industry.

It found that poor diet costs the NHS £6billion a year while claiming 70,000 lives.

The BMA’s proposed levy on fizzy drinks and sugar-laden juices would help subsidise the sale of fruit and vegetables.

 

Sweet tooth: This graphic shows how many teaspoons of sugar are in each of the fizzy drinks and sugar-laden juices above. Doctors will today demand that sugary drinks be taxed at 20 per cent to tackle the obesity crisis

The report will pile pressure on ministers who have repeatedly rejected a sugar tax.

The levy would raise the price of a one-litre bottle of Coke from £1.50 to £1.80. A can of Red Bull would go up from £2 to £2.40.

Professor Sheila Hollins, who led the team behind the report, said: ‘If a tax of at least 20 per cent is introduced, it could reduce the prevalence of obesity in the UK by around 180,000 people.

‘We know from experiences in other countries that taxation on unhealthy food and drinks can improve health outcomes, and the strongest evidence of effectiveness is for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

‘The majority of the UK population, particularly low income households, are not consuming enough fruit and vegetables, so financial measures should also be considered to subsidise their price, which has risen by 30 per cent since 2008.’

Tackling tooth decay: Nigel Hunt, dean of the Royal College of Surgeons’ dental faculty, has said sugary foods and drinks should carry cigarette-style warning pictures to highlight the risk they pose to children’s teeth

She pointed out that Britons were consuming far too much sugar and doctors were linking this to a rise in illnesses such as diabetes.

Kawther Hashem, a nutritionist and researcher for the Action on Sugar campaign, said: ‘Parents and children are drowning in a world full of sugary drinks, cheap junk food and aggressive marketing targeting children.

‘Around the world there are examples where regulations and duties work to reduce sugar intake. All we need now is the Government to show they are genuinely committed to promoting the public’s health.’

Ian Wright of the Food and Drink Federation said, however, that firms were already cutting salt, saturates and calories from their products as well as offering size options.

He added: ‘For well over a decade, UK producers have voluntarily provided clear nutrition information on packs.

‘The food industry is also helping health professionals to encourage people to use the information provided.

‘Where additional taxes have been introduced they’ve not proven effective at driving long-term, lasting change to diets.’

Gavin Partington of the British Soft Drinks Association said: ‘Evidence from other countries has shown this type of tax does not work.

‘In fact, the soft drinks tax in Mexico has reduced average calorie intake by just six calories per person, per day.’

He said that product reformulation, smaller pack sizes and increased promotion of low and no calorie drinks had led to a 7 per cent reduction in calories from soft drinks in three years.

A Government spokesman said: ‘We are not considering a sugar tax. Tackling obesity is of great concern to this Government, and we have already committed to producing a childhood obesity strategy.

‘There is no silver bullet but we do want to see industry go further to cut the amount of sugar in food and drinks so that people can make healthier choices.

‘We have asked for expert advice about the amount of sugar we should be eating, which will be published soon, and this will be taken into account as we continue to work on our childhood obesity strategy.’

Downing Street was forced recently to slap down a junior health minister who said he would favour a sugar levy.

George Freeman, who has the life sciences portfolio, said: ‘Where there is a commercial product which confers costs on all of us as a society, as in sugar, and where we can clearly show that the use of that leads to huge pressures on social costs, then we could be looking at recouping some of that through taxation.’

But the next day the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said David Cameron ‘didn’t believe that the right approach here is to put sugar taxes on hard-working people’.

The doctors said: ‘[Unhealthy products] are often situated at eye level or within easy reach of young children, which may encourage them to use pester power to persuade their parents to purchase snacks.

‘Regulations should be developed that prohibit retailers from displaying unhealthy food and drink products at checkouts and in queuing areas and the use of schemes that require retail staff to promote unhealthy food and drink products at checkouts.’

The BMA, which represents 153,000 doctors, is seeking a ban on advertising unhealthy food and drink around children’s television programmes and an end to the marketing of sweets by children’s TV characters.

Professor Hollins added: ‘Children and young people are heavily influenced by the relentless marketing of unhealthy food and drinks, and doctors are left picking up the pieces.’

The BMA report comes shortly before a Government advisory body is due to deliver recommendations on sugar consumption.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is expected to say people need to more than halve their intake of added sugar. The final guidelines, expected in the next fortnight, are likely to suggest a male adult should consume no more than the equivalent of seven teaspoons of sugar a day.

The NHS currently recommends a daily sugar maximum of 12 teaspoons (50g) for a woman and 17 teaspoons (70g) for a man.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, has called for a change ‘in the terms of trade’ in the food industry while stopping short of explicitly calling for a sugar tax.

He said it was striking that one child in ten is obese when they start primary school and one in five is by the time they leave.

He added: ‘So the question for all of us is, are we going to, as the National Health Service, stand by and get ready to treat that burden of illness, or are we going to rattle the cage and advocate for something different?

‘I fundamentally believe we need to get a big national conversation going about what we do as parents, about what we do about the food industry, about reformulation [reducing sugar in food], about the role of the NHS in supporting prevention programmes.’

  Source: DailyMail - Click here for the full article...

By Heather Campbell | | 0 comments | Read more

Could the World Food diet help you beat disease? From Ethiopian wholegrains to heart-healthy Mediterranean feasts, experts reveals top tips from across the globe

  • Japanese people eat a lot of seaweed that contains important minerals
  • The Swedes add berries - high in antioxidants - to yoghurts and desserts
  • Chinese chopsticks can slow down eating time, reducing calories  
  • And Indians eat spices like ginger and tumeric which aid digestion 

Have you ever wondered how French women maintain their slim figures?

According to experts the secret could lie in a 'miracle' nutrient in red wine, which encourages the body to produce more calorie-burning 'brown fat'.

And, despite large bowls of pasta and a tendency to let their meals run late into the evenings, Italians are one of the healthiest nations.

That, nutritionists say, is down to high levels of nutrient-rich fresh fish, lean meat, wholegrains and lots of olive oil in their diet.

Below, we asked a range of nutritionists to reveal the best diets from around the world.

From Swedish ryebread for to fill you up, Chinese green tea to help fight cancer to Indian lassi to aid digestion, here, they share the best foods for good health...

 

From lamb in Iceland to sushi in Japan, a range of nutritionists reveal the best diets from around the world

CANCER-BUSTING JAPANESE DELICACIES 

‘The Japanese diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world,' nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville told MailOnline.

'The fish is supplying important Omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.

'Both the cruciferous vegetables and fermented soya have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer as they have a balancing effect on hormones.

'The Japanese also eat lot of seaweed (sea vegetables) that contains important trace minerals like selenium and iodine for healthy thyroid function.

'Sushi, the most popular dish in Japan, provides energy but it’s also low in fat and high in omega acids that keeps blood healthy.

'In general, many Japanese vegetables are unprocessed which means greater levels of vitamins and minerals.’

HEART-HEALTHY MEDITERRANEAN FEAST

Seafood, olive oil, vegetables, fruit and grains – all these foods are packed with vitamins and minerals, and have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes,' Sharon Morey, a nutritionist at Quest Vitamins, said.
'Although Mediterranean dishes usually contain some cheese and meat, they are used in moderation.

‘High amounts of olive oil lower the levels of total blood cholesterol and fight inflammation.

'Mediterranean diet also emphasizes fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids and foods containing antioxidants that can reduce the risk of memory loss and decrease brain function, as we get older.’

KEEP IT SIMPLE THE ICELANDIC WAY

'When it comes to food, Icelanders keep things simple – fresh seafood, lean lamb,' Dr Glenville said.

'Most of foods are grown and produced locally with hardly any pesticide use.
'Dairy products are often higher quality than ours as first Nordic settlers to Iceland had a good knowledge of food preserving.

‘High-quality yoghurt with beneficial bacteria are a must in Icelander’s daily diet.

'Fresh fish is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which help keep our hearts and brain healthy.

'They can help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as heart disease and strokes.'

GO SCANDINAVIAN TO BOOST DIGESTION

'Just like Icelanders, Swedes eat high quality fermented dairy products that are crucial when in comes to digestion and immunity (70 per cent of our immune system is in our gut),' Dr Glenville told MailOnline.

'Although vegetables don’t play an important role, Scandinavian cuisine still has healthy elements.

‘Berries, which are very high in antioxidants are favourite fruit in Sweden – usually picked up locally and used in deserts are great source of vitamins.

'Swedes eat plenty of high quality complex unrefined carbohydrates in the form of ryebread, which is served alongside main meal.

'Rye is full of fibre and keep us fuller for longer.'

Swedish people add locally-sourced berries - high in antioxidants and vitamins - to desserts and yoghurts 

Teff - a wholegrain high in fibre, iron, protein and calcium is used to prepare most Ethiopian dishes

HIGH IN WHOLEGRAINS IN ETHIOPIA

'Ethiopian cuisine is low in fat and high in nutrients with grains being the main component,' Dr Glenville said.

'Teff - a whole grain high in fibre, iron, protein and calcium is used to prepare most of the dishes.

‘Grains are crucial in promoting digestive health and reducing the risk of bowel cancer.

'The most famous Ethiopian salad, Azifa, eaten with brown rice or pita bread, consists of green lentil.

'Lentils, which are high in fiber and protein but low in fat, are also classed as phytoestrogens with a balancing effect on hormones, both for men and women.’

CHINESE CHOPSTICKS HELP YOU FEEL FULLER FOR LONGER

‘Using chopsticks can help you to slow down while eating, which may ultimately decrease the amount of food eaten,' said Elouise Bauskis, a nutritionist at Nutricentre.

Resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine, delays premature ageing 'Digestion starts in the mouth and as we chew we are releasing salivary enzymes like amylase that begin the breakdown of food, specifically carbohydrates.

'The more you chew your food, the smaller the particles will be as they pass into the stomach and the easier they are to digest, meaning you will be getting more nutrients from your food from easier absorption.

'You will find green tea in every Chinese house, which is their favourite hot drink.

'It eliminates toxins, aids digestion and curbs cravings.

'It can also fight free radicals, which cause cancer and heart disease.’

Resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine, delays premature ageing

HOW DO THE FRENCH STAY SO SLIM? 

'Why French stay slim and healthy even though their diet is high in fat and carbs?

'Apart from cheese and baguettes French also tend to drink red wine with their dinner, which is packed with resveratrol,' said Michela Vagnini, nutritionist at Nature's Plus.

‘This powerful antioxidant is produced in plants to defend them from invading microorganisms.

'It can not only protect you from damaging free radicals but it also boosts cell replication.

'By promoting a healthy, inflammatory response in our body it delays premature aging process.

'A recent study shows, that there has never been a drug in the history of pharmaceuticals that speeds up cells regeneration like resveratrol.
'Another study suggests, that it can turn an additional weight into calorie-burning brown fat.'

SPICY INDIAN DELIGHTS RICH IN 'FRIENDLY BACTERIA'

'Indian cuisine includes spices, which not only add flavour and appealing colour but also great health benefits,' Adrienne Benjamin, a nutritionist at Proven Probiotics said.

'Turmeric has significant anti-inflammatory effects and helps relieve the symptoms of IBS.

'Ginger is very effective in easing discomfort in the stomach. It also promotes the elimination of excessive gas from the digestive system and soothes your gut.

'To refresh themselves, Indians drink Lassi – a traditional, yogurt-based drink.

‘Made of fermented milk and often flavoured with mint or mango, this healthy beverage is rich in "friendly bacteria" and aids digestion.’

Indian spices, including tumeric and ginger can aid digestion, reduce the symptoms of IBS and eliminate gas

 Source: DailyMail - Click here for the full article...

By Heather Campbell | | 0 comments | Read more

Fat doctors 'should be struck off for setting a bad example to their obese patients', weight-loss expert tells NHS chief

  • TV presenter Steve Miller says doctors should face annual weight tests
  • Fat doctors should be sacked and forced to lose weight to return to work  
  • Patients do not take advice about weight loss seriously if it comes from a doctor the 'size of a sumo wrestler', he said 
  • Has written to NHS chief executive Simon Stevens asking him to 'get tough' on obese GPs who set a poor example for patients

Overweight doctors should be struck off and banned from practising on the NHS, a weight-loss expert.

Steve Miller, presenter of the TV show Fat Families, told MailOnline family doctors should be fired and told to lose weight if they pile on the pounds.

The move is one of a raft of measures Mr Miller believes the NHS should introduce to combat the obesity epidemic.

He has written to NHS chief executive Simon Stevens, calling on him to get tough on obese GP's who set a poor example to their patients.

He wants family doctors to face an annual medical examination including a weigh-in to ensure they maintain a healthy body weight.

Any doctors whose weight to height measurements stray into the obese zone would have to agree to pay to attend a privately funded GP boot camp to shed the pounds, he suggested.

And an obese GP who refused to take part in the boot camp or to sign up for a personal training programme at their own expense, should face disciplinary action and ultimately be struck off if they didn't bring their weight back under control, he added.

NHS England says it already has a target to reduce sickness, including obesity, among its staff.

To do this, it is introducing voluntary weight-watching schemes for NHS workers, as well as encouraging active travel to work and banning unhealthy products in hospitals.

But Mr Miller said there should be harsher consequences for overweight doctors as they are in positions of responsibility.

He said: 'Doctors are role models for their patients and that means setting a good example in their actions as well as their words.

'But there are far too many overweight and obese doctors sitting behind desks in surgeries across the UK.

Doctors should be forced to face an annual medical examination including a weigh-in to ensure they maintain a healthy body weight, Mr Miller argues (file photo)

He said he had written to Mr Stevens in a desperate bid to urge him to get tough on obesity within the medical profession.

'Simon Stevens needs to acknowledge the dangers of obesity and its acceptance in this country,' he told MailOnline.

'We need to take action and I'm willing to step up if he will.

'The sooner we start speaking out, the sooner we start saving lives. Isn't that the purpose of the NHS?

'It needs to start within the medical profession. 

'Once they bring their own house in order then perhaps we have a chance of stemming the ever increasing tide of the obesity epidemic.'

He added: 'GPs have a responsibility to manage their weight. 

'No patient deserves to be advised by a fat GP who is lazier than they are.

'Overweight docs need to get their mind over the platter. They need to be hypnotised fast so they can lose weight and be an inspiration to obese patients.

'Fat GPs are a shockingly bad example to kids. Child obesity is out of control and a fat doctor does nothing to motivate overweight kids to slim down.

'Every GP needs to look in the mirror. If they see a fat bulge, they need to realise they will be perceived as a joke and their advice ignored.'

NHS England said it has a target to reduce sickness among staff, including obesity, by a third, which could save £550 million, the equivalent of adding an extra 15,000 staff and 3.3 million working days.

To do this, it will measure staff health and wellbeing, and introduce voluntary work-based weight watching and health schemes.

Studies have shown these schemes achieve sustainable weight loss in more than a third of people who take part.

It will also cut access to unhealthy products on NHS premises and provide healthy options for night staff and support active travel schemes for staff. 

Source: DailyMail - Click here for the full article...

'If I hadn't lost weight, I would have died a painful death': Obese man reveals how he shed 150 POUNDS - without following fad diets, counting calories or having surgery

  • Ryan Footit, 40, weighed 330lbs on his 40th birthday
  • In one year, he's managed to get down to 180lbs - and is just 15lbs away from losing half of his original body weight
  • The Tennessee resident focuses on eating nutritious food and gets up at 3am to exercise before going to work

An obese man has revealed how he managed to lose nearly half of his body weight - without counting calories, carbs, or fat.

Ryan Footit, 40, was 5’8” and 330lbs when he decided to change his life. Now weighing just 180lbs, the Hendersonville, Tennessee, resident is just 15lbs away from his goal weight.

'I knew that if I didn’t do something about my weight, I was going to die an early, painful death loaded with medicines and procedures,' he told Yahoo! Health. 'I was ready to change my life.'

Working hard: To lose 150lbs, Ryan hit a nearby gym the day it opened, and even wakes up at 3am so he can exercise before work 

n June 2014, Ryan, a chiropractor, tipped the scales at 330lbs on his 40th birthday - and made the decision to do something about his weight immediately.

He knew from the start that didn't want to use fad diets, drugs, or surgery. Ryan figured that a lot of them were short-term fixes, and once he stopped, he would gain the weight he lost right back. Since Ryan wanted to make sure the weight loss stuck, he knew he needed to change his lifestyle.

Plus, he said, he wanted the gratification of doing it all by himself.

So he started by cutting out wheat, dairy, and anything processed or microwaved from his diet. His eating habits slowly evolved, and now he sticks to mostly raw fruits and vegetables, with little meat. He noted that the slow changes to his diet were one of the reasons that he has been successful - it's not realistic to cut out everything at once.

To ensure that he's 'never really hungry', which might tempt him to make poor food choices, Ryan usually grazes on fruits, veggies, and nuts throughout the day.

Bust most importantly, Ryan said, he doesn't count calories, fat, or carbs. Instead, he focuses on eating what is healthy, which he determines by doing extensive research. He concentrates more on picking food that is going to 'provide maximum nutrients' than chowing down on all things fat-free and low-cal.

In fact, Ryan doesn't place any food off-limits, because he doesn't like restrictions - so if he really wants pizza, he'll eat it. But that doesn't happen often, because he knows how long it will take to burn those unhealthy foods off.

'I say to myself, “If I eat this cake or cookie I am wasting, say, 30 minutes of my treadmill time this morning.” I could have slept an extra 30 minutes or watched my favorite television show or listened to my favorite music with those extra 30 minutes - rather than working off a piece of cake,' he explained, noting that usually - with the exception of some special occasions - that's enough to make him stay away.

Gradual change: He started exercising by using the treadmill for just 30 minutes, but would add 10 more minutes to his workout every week

Ryan also lets himself eat chocolate every day. One large bar with 72 per cent or higher cacao content can be rationed throughout the week, especially if he sticks to his 'two bite rule', which allows him two bites of rich food to satisfy his cravings.

He has a rules for eating at restaurants, as well, which he calls the Dolly Parton diet. The country singer once said that she cut portions in half to lose weight - so when Ryan eats out, he consumes just half of what he is served.

But making healthier meal choices wasn't the only adjustment Ryan made to his lifestyle - he hit the gym, too. The same month that he turned 40, a Planet Fitness gym opened less than a half a mile away from his home. So Ryan showed up on the first day, ready to start getting in shape.

He started use the treadmill for 30 minutes at a time - and every week, he'd add an additional 10 minutes. He said that it's important to push yourself a little bit everyday - but not too much, which can lead to burning out.

The dedicated exerciser has only missed a workout five times in the past year, even hitting the gym when he travels. When he needs to squeeze workouts in before work, he get to the gym at 3am.

'When people tell me they do not have time to go to the gym, I tell them that we all have a 3am or 4am - what we do with that time is up to us,' he said.

Healthy attitude: Ryan's diet consists of mostly raw fruits and vegetables, though he doesn't deny himself sweets when he really wants them

All of his progress meant that Ryan's wardrobe had to change as quickly as he dropped pounds. Over the course of a year, he went from XXXL shirt and size 46 pants to a medium sirt and size 34 pants. To give himself no wiggle room to gain back the weight, he's donated 15 bags of 'fat clothes' to Goodwill.

Now, a much healthier Ryan is happy to know that he will live longer, so he can spend more time with his kids and eventual grandchildren.

He's also thrilled to be at his lightest weight since high school. He loves when he runs into people he hasn't seen in a while and they say they didn't recognize him. Others who've seen his progress on Facebook tell him that he inspired them to lose weight, which he said is 'the ultimate reward'.

'Never, ever give up,' he tells those who are trying to get fit. 'There is a skinny you inside that is just dying to get out!'

Source: DailyMail - Click here for the full article...

By Heather Campbell | | Heart Health, Weight Loss | 0 comments | Read more

Dry 'computer eyes' soothed by fish oil pill: Supplement thought to help by reducing inflammation and promoting circulation

  • Study of 478 people with dry eye as a result of excessive computer use
  • Participants were given either two omega-3 pills a day, or placebo pills
  • Those taking fish oil had more of the cells responsible for lubrication

 Dry eye can be eased with fish oil supplements, according to new research from India.

In a three-month study, 478 people with dry eye as a result of excessive computer use were given either two omega-3 pills a day, or placebo pills that contained olive oil.

The results, published in the journal Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, showed that those taking fish oil experienced a greater reduction in symptoms than the olive oil placebo.

They also had more conjunctival goblet cells on the surface of the eye - these cells are responsible for lubrication.

Omega-3, which is also found in walnuts & small oily fish is thought to help by reducing inflammation and promoting circulation to improve eye health and increase tear production.

The results of the study have been published in the journal Contact Lens & Anterior Eye.

Breath test tells if your heart is at risk

A simple breath test has been developed to identify patients with heart failure and speed up diagnosis.

Cardiologists at the Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. collected breath samples from 41 patients who had been admitted to hospital with different heart problems, some of whom had heart failure. 

The researchers looked for chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, which have been linked to heart failure - a condition where the heart doesn't pump efficiently.

The results, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that the breath test was 85 per cent accurate in distinguishing between patients with and without the condition. 

The researchers say there is potential for the technique to be used in hospitals to help diagnose heart failure more conveniently and quickly.

Electric shock can heal wounds faster

Stimulating a wound with electricity makes it heal faster, a study by the University of Manchester has found.

Researchers gave 40 people harmless cuts on both arms with a device used for taking biopsies. One of the wounds was left to heal naturally, while the other was treated with 30 minutes of electric pulses, four times over the two-week study.

Results published in PLOS ONE showed there was a substantial increase in growth of new blood vessels in the treated wound, which made it shrink faster.

Electrical stimulation is thought to trigger the release of growth factors as well as immune cells needed to heal a wound.

The researchers are now working on developing and testing new bandages based on the technology.

Source: DailyMail - Click here for the full article...

By Heather Campbell | | Eye Health, Heart Health, Omega-3 | 0 comments | Read more

Furred-up arteries. Diabetes. Eye disease. Dementia. Depression. Why doctors now believe they could all be triggered by one SILENT KILLER

  • Sprained ankle or an infected splinter can bring on inflammation
  • We recognise its heat, swelling and discomfort - but it's not just skin deep
  • Low-level reaction is recognised as being at heart of most chronic diseases
  • Include atherosclerosis, age-related macular degeneration and dementia

  • Whether it's the result of a sprained ankle, an allergic reaction to pollen, or an infected splinter, we all recognise the heat, swelling and discomfort that inflammation brings.

    But while these complaints may seem relatively trivial, inflammation is far from being just skin deep. Increasingly, a low-level form of this reaction inside the body is recognised as being at the heart of most, if not all, common chronic diseases.

    From diabetes to atherosclerosis, the eye condition age-related macular degeneration and even dementia, inflammation may be the silent killer that links them all.

    Although clues about the importance of chronic inflammation have been there for a long time, it wasn't until 15 years ago that scientists really started taking it seriously.

    'Even diseases which we have traditionally thought of as degenerative, such as dementia, are turning out to have a major inflammatory component,' says Professor Paul Morgan, an immunologist at Cardiff University.
    The good news is that this could prompt a whole new approach to treating such illnesses using anti-inflammatory drugs. Better still, many of these drugs already exist; you probably even have some of them in your bathroom cabinet.

    Under normal circumstances, inflammation is an extremely effective way of clearing up infection and promoting healing.

    'Inflammation gets turned on by the immune system when trouble is spotted, whether it's due to infection or tissue damage,' says Graham Rook, emeritus professor of medical microbiology at University College London. 'It has three jobs to do: kill off the infection, clear up the mess, and help to repair the damage.'

    The body brings about inflammation through the release of chemicals that summon immune cells to sites of trouble, and make the blood vessels leaky enough to enable these cells to infiltrate the damaged tissue. This is what causes the swelling and redness associated with inflammation. The immune cells then kill off the infection by releasing further chemicals, or gobbling up the invading virus or bacteria.

     

    Inflammation can cause increased levels of toxic molecules within the brain, while levels of other chemicals, such as serotonin (important for regulating mood), decrease (file photo)

    That's a marked difference from, for example, indigenous populations living in the Ecuadorian Amazon, as a recent study in the American Journal of Human Biology suggested.

    'What you find there is that every now and then an individual will have enormously raised levels of CRP because they have an infection, but when it clears their levels of CRP will go down to zero,' says Professor Rook.

    In other words, their off-switch really means off - whereas in Western populations, a pilot light is left constantly burning.
    The cause of chronic inflammation is up for debate. Professor Rook suspects it's down to a change in our relationship with so-called 'old friends' - bacteria and parasites that we've lived with peacefully for much of human history.

    Now that we're living cleaner lives, our immune systems are no longer receiving the same input they would have done during the first two to three years of life, and so are more likely to unleash inflammation at the slightest stimulus. It's a similar theory to the rise in allergies and auto-immune disease: the body overreacts to even minor threats. But there may be other explanations, too, such as rising levels of obesity.

    Fat cells release some of the same inflammatory substances that are produced in response to infection and injury, and people with a higher body mass index have higher levels of inflammatory markers.

    Then there's the fact we're all living longer lives, meaning there's more time for inflammation in response to everyday wear and tear to accumulate. 'Often it's very hard to pin down a single thing as the trigger for chronic inflammation,' says Professor Morgan. 'Probably, in most people, it is a combination of things that provides the initial trigger.'

    Once established, though, that smouldering fire can have multiple effects. Take type 2 diabetes: for several decades, scientists have noticed higher levels of inflammation in patients with the condition.
    It is now thought inflammatory chemicals released by fat cells (many people with type 2 are overweight) make tissues less sensitive to the effects of insulin, resulting in raised blood sugar levels, and these can promote yet more inflammation. Fat on your belly, and which can wrap around your organs - visceral fat - is thought to be the biggest culprit.

    It's a similar story with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in older people which is caused by damage to the macula, the area of the eye responsible for central vision. Here, damage brought about by everyday exposure to stressors such as chemicals and bacteria triggers inflammation and tissue damage.

    Many of the AMD drugs currently under development aim to reduce inflammation and stop the disease from progressing.

    There's a growing consensus that inflammation elsewhere in the body can also affect the brain - possibly resulting in diseases, such as dementia, as well as depression and schizophrenia.

     

    Even 100 years ago, doctors recognised that serious infections could trigger delirium - characterised by extreme confusion and hallucinations. Having a fever can also make people feel lethargic and depressed. For a long time, such observations were considered a mystery, because the brain was thought to be physically isolated from the immune system by the blood-brain barrier.

     

    We now know this isn't strictly true. In fact, inflammatory chemicals can get into the brain and, once there, they activate resident immune cells called microglia, which produce more inflammatory substances as a result.

    'That leads to increasing levels of toxic molecules within the brain, while levels of other chemicals, such as serotonin (important for regulating mood), decrease,' says Golam Khandaker, a psychiatrist at Cambridge University. 'This is very relevant for something like depression, where the problem is feeling low in mood and not being able to think straight.'

    Here, too, anti-inflammatory drugs could help. For instance, a 2012 study found that a daily aspirin reduced the risk of depression by 40 per cent in elderly men with a history of the condition - although more research is needed.

    What if you're healthy but are worried you might have undiagnosed inflammation that could be boosting your risk of future disease?
    Popping anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen as a long-term prophylactic isn't a great idea, because of possible side-effects such as stomach bleeds.

    Dr Khandaker suggests looking at your diet. While a diet rich in sugar and the trans-fats found in some processed foods has been shown to boost inflammation, one rich in oily fish, fruit and vegetables has been shown to reduce it.

    'We know that regular exercise and a healthy diet leads to a reduced risk of heart disease, depression, diabetes, you name it,' says Dr Khandaker.

    'Recent work also shows exercise and a healthy diet lead to a reduction in inflammation in our bodies, so it's possible that this is how the mechanism works.'

    Source: DailyMail - Click here for the full article...

    The diet plan that works for EVERYONE: From office workers to menopausal women, newlyweds to fitness fanatics, expert reveals what you should be eating depending on your age and lifestyle.

  • Menopausal women need to eat more fats and go easy on grains.
  • Office workers should eat protein-rich snacks to keep cravings at bay.
  • Shift workers should eat foods containing tryptophan to encourage serotonin, a calming chemical which encourages sleep.

  • Is everyone around you losing weight on some new and guaranteed weight loss diet but you are not? 

    Are you cutting calories like crazy only to see the needle on the bathroom scales stubbornly refusing to move to the left or worse still, moving depressingly to the right? 

    You are not alone. 

    Research reveals that for every 10 people that launch into the latest weight loss diet with gusto, only two or three shed those unwanted pounds of flesh within the promised timescale and keep them off.

    Depressing? Yes! Inevitable? Not so fast.

    Fiona Kirk, nutritionist and author of the new Diet Secrets Uncovered series of ten books, believes that permanent weight loss is all about acknowledging that our nutritional needs change, often quite dramatically, throughout our lives dependent on our age, our lifestyle, our health status and our level of fitness.

    Ms Kirk says: 'A weight loss diet that works for a single woman in her 20s is unlikely to reap the same results when she is in her 40s and struggling through the early stages of menopause. 

    'A diet that is going to encourage post pregnancy weight loss is never going to suit a teenager who wants to stay strong and healthy whilst shedding a few pounds and a diet that sees results for regular exercisers who want to shed a bit of fat around the middle is a million air miles away from the weight loss diet that a stressed executive who regularly jets around the globe should consider.

    'With a bit of focus, most people can successfully lose weight but we have to take quite a number of things into consideration before we leap into the unknown!

    She added: 'In just two weeks, you can make some positive changes to your eating, exercise and supplement habits and see some very pleasing weight loss results when you embark on a diet that is tailored to you. 

    'If you want to see results, you have to consider what best suits you. Don't fret about the diet that your co-workers or friends are following, this is about you. 

    'Follow my guidelines for a month and look forward to losing up to a stone, feeling great and gorging on delicious and nourishing foods rather than reduced rations and grazing on unappetising titbits.'

    Here, she reveals the secrets to diet success...

    Ms Kirk says menopausal women need to eat more fats to create hormones at a time when they are being disrupted. She suggests eating oily fish like salmon a regular habit

    MENOPAUSAL WOMEN 

    If ever there was a time in a woman's life where she wants to sob into her cornflakes with frustration over fluctuating weight issues, it is before, during and after the menopause. 

    Some of the lucky ones sail through the whole thing without too much turmoil but most of us face all manner of physiological and emotional disruptions and to make matters worse, no two days are ever the same.

    It is little wonder that the menopause merits the change of life label as change is what we have to address.

    Our hormones are changing their behaviour so we have to change our behaviour - and our diet. 

    We have to convince the body that all is well and whilst it prefers to store fat to meet the hormonal havoc head on, there is a great deal we can do nutritionally to manage the stress, thwart invasive mood swings and prevent weight gain.

    DIET SECRETS 

    Eat More Fats. Hormonal disruption starts to occur in the premenopaual years, can last right through menopause and it doesn't stop there but to keep hormones happy, you need fat in your diet. 

    Make oily fish a regular dietary habit, snack on seeds or add their oils and butters to your meals and snacks and consider supplementing with Omega 3 fats.

    Go easy on grains. Yes, unrefined grains offer fibre, vitamins and minerals but they are still a rich source of sugar when broken down into their component parts after digestion and you don't need many of them in a day unless you exercise a lot. 

    Menopausal women should go easy on unrefined grains like pasta and rice, as they are a rich source of sugar when broken down and most people don't need them unless they exercise a lot

    Include them in your breakfast and/or lunch but cut back or exclude them in the evening and if you struggle without bread, opt for womens' breads made from sprouted grains (Ezekiel etc) which are rich in not only vitamins, minerals and natural fibre but are also a good source of protein which helps to keep insulin spikes at bay.

    Feed your thyroid. Your thyroid gland can become sluggish pre, during and post menopause and may need a bit of help to stay healthy. 

    Iodine is the thyroid's best friend when it comes to encouraging the action of the thyroid hormones which play a major role in a healthy metabolic rate which encourages weight loss so you will be doing it and yourself a big favour if you get the sea vegatable habit. 

    Sushi and sashimi provide good sources, a tablespoon of spirulina in a smoothie provides a boost and you can buy dried sea vegetable flakes in jars which make a great alternative to table salt to add to meals and snacks.

    Sushi and sashimi are good sources of iodine, which feeds the thyroid. The thyroid can become sluggish before, during and after the menopause.

    OFFICE WORKERS 

    Gaining weight when you are at a desk for endless hours is easy, losing it is not. 

    We were born to move and whilst just breathing or shifting a computer mouse around burns calories, they won't compensate for the number we consume in a day. 

    Sad but true. Studies reveal that desk-bound jobs are amongst the worst when it comes to packing on the pounds no matter how dedicated we may be to lowering the calorie content of our meals and snacks. 

    What is important is the nutritional content of the meals and snacks rather than the number of calories.

    To keep your metabolism firing while you are sedentary depends on a diet that keeps it nourished and that means eating more fats than you are probably used to consuming and a whole lot less starchy carbohydrates than you might imagine.

    Office workers should limit starches like bread, pasta, rice and other grains. Instead, eat carbohydrates from vegetables and limit starches to one or two a day.

    DIET SECRETS 

    Limit Starch. Carbohydrates should always feature in a healthy meal or snack but the starchy ones (bread, pasta, rice and other grains) need to be carefully monitored as they can all too quickly upset blood glucose levels, prompting weight gain when we are sedentary for many hours. Get the bulk of your carbohydrates from vegetables and limit your starches to one or two meals or snacks per day.

    Plan Ahead. Not always possible dependent on how busy your day is but a lunchbox filled to the max with delicious and nourishing goodies beats the sandwich and crisps option from the local fast food outlet hands down, keeps hunger at bay for hours and greatly reduces the chance of a mid afternoon energy dip.

    Plan a head in order to create a lunchbox of nourishing foods rather than sugary snacks

    Avoid Cravings. It's all too easy to reach for a sugary snack when you are at the desk and need a little something to keep you focused and energised for a while but the resulting surge of sugar in the bloodstream merely encourages a greater need for more all too soon. 

    Make your snacks protein-rich (a couple of rye crackers with nut butter, a piece of fruit with a handful of almonds or a small carton of natural yoghurt with berries and seeds) and keep the sugar monster at bay. You may also wish to consider a supplement that helps to blunt cravings.

    SINGLE MEN AND WOMEN 

    What you eat when you are with others probably has an impact on your food decisions but few see what you eat when you are home alone. 

    Perhaps you reason that the tub of ice cream, the large bag of Kettle Chips or the takeaway pizza occasionally hoovered down whilst relaxing in the evening is justified because you work long hours, you are over-stressed and often, way too tired to cobble together a healthy meal. 

    But you know this kind of behaviour isn't waistline-friendly and when it gets a grip, you neither like what you see in the mirror nor on the bathroom scales.

    Shopping and cooking for one can be arduous and it is all too easy to continually snack rather than prepare and sit down to a meal but this discipline can have a huge impact on how our appetite hormones respond - they will thank you for a good feed but continue to nag at you if they don't get one.

    DIET SECRETS

    Consider Two Meals a Day. Many singles, both male and female find the habit of having two really good meals a day and leaving around five hours between each works well for waistline management.


    A proper lunch, such as a hearty bowl of soup and a mixed salad with plenty of protein, keeps hunger at bay for hours and prevents snacking.

    A filling breakfast rich in protein and good fats (eg ham and eggs or porridge with fruit and seeds plus a nourishing vegetable smoothie) provides plenty of energy to get you through the morning. 

    A proper lunch (eg a hearty bowl of soup and a mixed salad with plenty of protein) where you take time to sit down, get the cutlery out and savour every bite keeps hunger at bay for hours and unless you have a physically-demanding evening ahead, a light meal or snack in the evening won't see you heading to bed feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.

    Little and Often? If you find regular small meals and snacks work better for you, focus on keeping them small and ensure that each one is light on grains and rich in protein, fats and vegetables or fruits. 

    A small tub of hummus and a selection of raw vegetable sticks or a 2 egg omelette with a selection of steamed greens will fill you up and keep the metabolic fire burning until your next meal/snack, a blueberry muffin and a caramel latte won't and will do little other than please the palate for a short time.

    Head to the Discounted Shelf. When time is tight or you are tired and have to opt for a ready meal, make a beeline for the discount shelf. 

    Good quality ready meals that have been prepared with care are light or devoid of preservatives, meaning they have a short shelf life. And remember, the shorter the list of ingredients, the more natural the product and the better it will be for both your health and your waistline.

    FITNESS ENTHUSIASTS 

    One of the biggest frustrations many recreational fitness enthusiasts have to deal with is that despite hours dedicated to exercise and training, some still struggle to reach their desired body fat percentage and cart excess flab either around their middles or in other areas of the body that makes getting the lean look they desire a battle.

    Could you be nutritionally deficient or could your diet be working against you?

    Regular and strenuous exercise requires attention to detail on the nutritional front. 

    Fitness enthusiasts should avoid sport-focused products like energy drinks as they are full of sugar.

    Source: DailyMail - Click here for the full article...

    By Heather Campbell | | Diet, Omega-3 | 0 comments | Read more

    10 health benefits of Omega-3s.

    You always hear about omega-3s but what does it all mean and what benefits do these fatty acids have?

    When you hear the word ‘fat’ and ‘food’, you often believe this will mean the food is bad because fat is bad for you. Well, this is actually not true as omega-3s are in fact some of the most crucial fatty acids we need, and are comprised of three types, EPA, ALA and DHA, which you may have heard of. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function well, but also they deliver some big health benefits but the key lies in a general understanding of the fats, and in knowing which ones to include in your diet.

    Omega 3s are “essential” fatty acids, because they are necessary for health and must be included in your diet as unfortunately, our body cannot make them on its own.

    Overall, omega-3 fats help to reduce inflammation and increase cognitive function. Aside from these, omega-3s are also great for:

    1.  Rheumatoid arthritis

    Fish oil studies have shown that it can help those with rheumatoid arthritis. Taking it daily can reduce the time of morning stiffness felt commonly by sufferers. This means that those who choose to take fish oil can then reduce their reliance on steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), therefore reducing any stress on the body that these drugs cause.

    2. Heart disease

    There is evidence that suggests those already suffering heart disease are at a reduced risk of complications when fish oil is taken on a daily basis. Omega 3 and its beneficial fatty acids assist in the continuation of healthy heart activities and limit blood clotting. For these reasons, fish oil can also be used to prevent heart disease.

    3. Cholesterol/blood pressure

    Triglycerides are found in the blood and are responsible of transfer of fat and sugars in and out of the liver. However, high concentrations of these contribute significantly to heart disease. Research has shown that taking fish oil daily can be responsible for reducing triglycerides between 20 to 50 per cent.

    4. Alzheimer’s and dementia

    Many people have heard that fish oil is a brain food. That’s because the research shows that fish oil has the ability to improve thinking skills and brain accuracy. What’s more is that the oil can help with other thinking disorders such as depression, and reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

    5. Skin irritation/Psoriasis

    Fish oil can limit the swelling and itching of skin conditions that cause irritation and rashes.

    6. Strengthens immune system

    By boosting your white blood cell count with fish oil, you can fight off infections and bacteria, which is crucial in your later years.

    7. Reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis

    UK research has shown that Omega 3 fish oil can reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, a large problem in over 60s. Joint pain can be cut in half by a regular intake of fish oil.

    8. Depression

    According to WebMD, some researchers have found that those with diets high in omega-3s have lower levels of depression. Fish oil also has been shown to boost the effects of antidepressants. If anything, it can just make you feel good within as antidepressants can lead to loss of appetite.

    9. Kidney stones

    Omega-3 fatty acids may prevent the formation of kidney stones.

    10. Prostate cancer survival

    Fish consumption is associated with a 63 per cent reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality.

    So where can you get omega-3s from?

    • anchovies
    • bluefish
    • herring
    • mackerel
    • salmon (wild has more Omega-3s than farmed)
    • sardines
    • sturgeon
    • lake trout
    • tuna
    • fish oil tablets/supplements/liquid

    While there are clearly a number of great benefits to taking fish oil, it has to be noted that taking too much fish oil can be harmful to your body. Not to worry though, taking the recommended dosage of 1 – 2 tablets a day will have you feeling fantastic in no time at all.

     Source: Starts At Sixty- Click here for the full article...

    Penn Study: Omega-3 Could Reduce Antisocial And Aggressive Behaviour In Kids.

    PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Could something as simple as a supplement curb aggressive behaviour in children?

    Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania say the answer might be yes.

    According to a new study, omega-3, a fatty acid that’s commonly found in fish oil, could help reduce behaviour problems in kids who tend to be aggressive and anti-social.

    Three Penn scientists worked on the research, which focused on children living on Mauritius. The control group of 100 kids between 8- and 16-years-old received an omega-3 infused juice drink once a day for six months, while one hundred other kids got the same drink but without the gram of omega-3.

    In the beginning of the study as well as at six months and 12 months, the kids and their parents took a series of personality assessments and questionnaires to determine the effects of the supplements. Those personality tests had parents rate their kids for “externalizing” aggressive and anti-social behaviour (like fighting or lying) as well as “internalizing” behaviour (such as depression and anxiety). Children were also told to rate themselves.

    Both groups shows improvement in externalizing and internalizing behaviour after six months, which lead researcher Adrian Raine suggests is due to the placebo effect.

    “But what was particularly interesting was what was happening at 12 months. The control group returned to the baseline while the omega-3 group continued to go down,” Raine says on the school’s website. “In the end, we saw a 42 percent reduction in scores on externalizing behaviour and a 62 percent reduction in internalizing behaviour.”

    While researchers say their work is still in the early stages, they also say it provides “reason to further examine omega-3’s role as a potential early intervention for antisocial behaviour.”

     Source: CBS - Click here for the full article...

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