Monday, February 6, 2012

Tips to beat fatigue

Essential advice on how to avoid tiredness

How do you beat fatigue? We’ve all been there: those days when you wake up shattered, can barely drag yourself into work, and then struggle to keep your head off the desk. More often than not this is because you had a particularly late night which has left your body crying out for more sleep.

On the other hand, sometimes you may be getting to bed in good time, thinking you’ll get a good night’s sleep, and yet when the morning arrives you still feel like every waking thought and movement is a real effort.

So, how can you beat fatigue, regain your verve and put the spring back in your step? Simply check out the following top 10 tips — which aim to help you beat fatigue and ensure you get the most of yourself and your day!
Get enough sleep

It may be stating the obvious, but to avoid tiredness you should ensure you get enough sleep! Remember that your body needs sleep in order to recharge — and staying up and watching a movie which starts at midnight isn’t going to help! If you are having any trouble sleeping, then aim to have a better sleep routine such as going to bed and getting up at the same time. You could also improve your sleeping environment by making sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and comfortable. Also, by using your bedroom for sleep alone, your body will come to associate it with sleeping rather than reading or watching TV.
Try to avoid stress

Stress is one of the most common reasons for feeling tired — so beating stress will naturally help to alleviate your tiredness. There are several ways in which to tackle stress, but the most important thing to do is identify what is causing your stress in the first place. It may be work that is the main cause of your stress — perhaps because of bad work relationships, long hours, or an unfulfilling job. If that’s the case, then look at your options about how you can improve the situation. Also, make sure you switch off from work in your leisure time, and try out some relaxation techniques such as having a massage, taking a hot bath or listening to some music.
Eat well

Your diet can have a big impact on how you feel. Without a proper, balanced diet you can start to feel a bit sluggish and are likely to become fatigued — so ensure that you eat healthy meals and at the correct times. Skipping breakfast will ensure you start your day on the wrong footing and force you to run on empty until lunchtime! Eating ‘little and often’ can work for some people, as it means that they’ve got something to sustain them rather than going for longer periods between meals — which will help them to avoid the feeling of being hungry and tired prior to their main meals. Keeping blood sugar levels stable is also important to avoid fatigue — so make sure you eat enough carbohydrates.
Avoid caffeine in the evening

While caffeine might be great for giving you a boost in the daytime, and while some people just can’t do without their early morning wake-up cuppa, by the evening time you really need to start thinking about laying off the caffeine unless you want to get a restless night’s sleep! Caffeine — contained in things such as tea, coffee, chocolate and cola drinks — can cause restlessness and sleeping difficulties, which will only add to your tiredness the next day. It may also result in you needing more caffeine to keep you going — so it’s best to try and break the cycle by cutting down on the amount of caffeine you drink.
Slow down

People frequently get in the habit of trying to do too much. The demands they are putting on themselves may leave them feel fatigued — and if there are not enough hours in the day to juggle their job, family and friends, then they may end up not getting enough sleep either. On the other hand, having a more balanced lifestyle, making some time for yourself, and learning to relax and slow down sometimes will mean you’ll be more able to function efficiently. Think about what you could change to give yourself more time for relaxation. It’s also best to have realistic expectations about what you can achieve rather than running yourself into the ground!

Read more »

Ways to improve your health

Healthy living tips

There are many ways you can improve your health and just a few small changes can give big results. But there always seems to be conflicting advice concerning what is good for us and what are the right ways to improve our health.

Some pieces of health advice are always useful, however — and so the team at have compiled a list of 25 health-boosting tips which we believe to be pretty much incontrovertible! Doing a combination of our suggested activities will boost your health and improve your lifestyle and well-being — so try them out.
1. Reduce your fat intake

The effect of fat on our arteries and general health are pretty well known, so you should try to reduce your fat intake by changing your cooking methods. Try grilling, baking, steaming or poaching, rather than frying.
2. Improve your sleep

If you’re having trouble sleeping, try cutting out alcohol or caffeine and other such stimulants, as this can help you to nod off and get a good night’s sleep. Also, adding a few drops of lavender oil onto your pillow at night has been shown to have relaxing effects.
3. Cut down on your salt intake

To reduce the impact of salt on your blood pressure, cut down on your salt intake. We suggest using herbs and spices such as oregano, nutmeg and paprika to season your food, rather than always adding salt. You may eventually find that you don’t need to add salt at all!
4. Enjoy a glass of wine

Drinking just one or two glasses of wine a day is thought to cut your risk of heart disease by up to a third. Make sure you go for red or rosé variety, as they contain much higher levels of antioxidants than your average glass of white wine.
5. Be good to your bones

A diet high in calcium and vitamin D will lead to strong bones and healthy nerves and muscles. Good sources of calcium and vitamin D include egg yolk, broccoli, oily fish and direct sunlight.
6. Eat a high fibre diet

Fibre aids the digestive system by helping to speed up the passage of waste material through the body — thereby ensuring that cancer-causing substances do not stay long enough in the bowels to have any damaging effect.
7. Have a good laugh

Laughing can to boost the blood flow by more than 20 per cent, and researchers say it may reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Laughing can also help to fight infections, relieve hay fever, ease pain and control diabetes.
8. Fruits for immunity and blood pressure

Fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit are a great source of vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system. Also, citrus fruits and bananas are also a good source of potassium, which can help to regulate blood pressure.
9. Eat more garlic

Garlic is a powerful cleanser of the body. Regular consumption of garlic (either in natural form or odourless capsules) promotes a healthy heart and good circulation by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol — and it also helps to fight infection and boost the body’s immunity.
10. Drink more water

The general recommendation is that we should drink around eight glasses of water a day. Taking in this amount of water will greatly enhance your digestion‚ nutrient absorption‚ skin hydration‚ and detoxification — as well as many other aspects of your health.

Read more »

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Salmonella outbreak linked to watermelons

A salmonella outbreak may have been caused by contaminated watermelons, health experts said.

Thirty five people in the UK have fallen ill with an infection caused by the same strain of Salmonella Newport since the start of December 2011, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said.

The people affected in the outbreak ranged in age from six months to 85 years. One person has died, although they had serious underlying health complications, the HPA said.

Other cases by the same strain of bacterium have also been confirmed in Ireland and Germany.

Infection with Salmonella Newport causes illness similar to other forms of Salmonella infection, with symptoms including diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever.

Seventy per cent of cases were women, with the East of England registering the highest number of cases.

Dr Bob Adak, head of the gastrointestinal diseases department at the HPA, said: "Although it’s too soon to say with certainty what the likely cause of infection is, early indications suggest that a number of people became unwell after eating watermelon.

"This has also been noted in the cases in Scotland and Germany, although further investigation is ongoing.

"It is always advisable to wash fruits and vegetables – including watermelon – before consumption to reduce the risk of possible illness."

Salmonella Newport has been found in many different foods in previous UK outbreaks. The largest one was in 2004 and was associated with the consumption of lettuce in restaurants and takeaways.

Read more »

Orthorexia: the “healthy” eating disorder

The idea seems surprising. How can trying to eat well become a health problem? How can wanting to take care of your body by adopting a healthy diet lead to a behavioural disorder?

The answer is that “healthy eating” can become a problem when this well-meaning quest falls into excess, and eating “pure” meals becomes the day’s sole preoccupation. This disorder is known as orthorexia. Doctissimo gives you the lowdown on this quest for the perfect diet.
What is orthorexia?

Orthorexia is a recently identified problem which Dr Steven Bratman was the first to describe in 19971. The term comes from the Greek “orthos” meaning right or correct, and “orexis” which means appetite.2 This eating disorder is characterised by a pathological obsession with eating healthily and ends up with numerous food restrictions. Orthorexics will often exclude any food from their diet which contains pesticides, herbicides or other chemical products from their diet.

Bulimics, anorexics and orthorexics all have a distorted attitude towards their food. But where anorexics begin to under-nourish themselves in order to lose weight and bulimics eat excessively without feeling either hunger or satisfaction; orthorexics put emphasis on the quality of food rather than the quantity. “For orthorexics, the objective is to be in good health. They fear the effects of the environment on the body and seek to reduce these by eating healthy, good quality food,” explains Catherine Dijuste, therapist and specialist in eating disorders.

Another big difference between these three food-related problems is that there is no “physiological” aspect to orthorexia, as there is in cases of anorexia and bulimia. “This is one of the reasons why orthorexia is not considered an illness”, the specialist adds.
Orthorexia: what are the risks?

Since orthorexics refuse all food which they judge to be “impure,” and sufferers spend most of their time developing different meals according to their special rules, their social lives can gradually disintegrate. It is difficult to dine at friends’ houses or to go to restaurants when not knowing where the food has come from and how it was prepared is an issue. It is exactly this social isolation which is the most serious consequence of this obsession.

Catherine Dijuste is more reassuring on the subject of the health risks associated with orthorexia: “Orthorexia is all about wanting to be healthy. As a result, the sufferer will eat “well”, not wanting to risk developing any kind of deficiency,” except for in certain, extreme cases where orthorexia becomes too restrictive and leads to weight loss and serious nutritional deficiencies. Dr Bratman describes this rarer, more serious, and sometimes fatal version as orthorexia nervosa.

According to the specialist, the main problem is dietary education given to children by orthorexic parents: “Orthorexic parents try to transfer their fear of “poisonous” foods to their children and there is a risk that the children might then become anorexic or bulimic in adolescence. The risk of obsessional disorders becomes greater, because eating becomes a source of worry and guilt for them.”
Profile of an orthorexic

Not considered as ill, and therefore not treated by medical professionals, it is difficult to estimate the number of orthorexics. However, thanks to certain studies, it has been shown that orthorexia mostly affects adults, with women and people who play sport regularly being the most at risk. For adolescents, “It can be a way of hiding another problem, like anorexia,” Catherine Dijuste speculates. Young girls will explain their new diet by affecting a concern for eating well and staying healthy.

People suffering from orthorexia are often very fastidious and organised, with a keen eye for detail. They want to stay in perfect health above anything else, warding off illness and staying slim (synonymous with good health for them) and will develop their own strict dieting rules, which they will force themselves to follow.

Fatty foods, sugar, salt, chemicals... Orthorexics flee from everything they consider to be poison for the body. They generally consume organic products, and in some cases may become vegetarian or vegan.

If the rules of the diet are ever broken, orthorexics are seized by a strong feeling of guilt and will try to do everything they can to “re-purify” their body: diet, detox and deprivation...
Are we all would-be orthorexics?

At a time when health warnings urge us not to eat too much sugar or salt, and to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day or risk endangering our health, are we all condemned to become orthorexic?

No according to Catherine Dijuste: “We do not all become orthorexic as the development of this disorder requires certain pre-existing conditions.” Conditions that the specialist defines as a certain fragility: “People with fluctuating self-esteem and who are slightly paranoid, always in control and trying to forget certain problems in their lives by projecting them onto food are more likely to suffer from orthorexia than others.”

The Bratman Test: Steven Bratman designed a test in order to attempt to identify people who are orthorexic. If you respond “yes” to four or five of the questions, you should try to adopt a more flexible attitude towards your diet. If you respond “yes” to all the questions, you could potentially be suffering from orthorexia, and it could be worthwhile consulting a nutritional specialist to find out more.

Do you spend more than three hours a day thinking about your diet?
Do you plan your meals a few days in advance?
Is the nutritional value of a meal, in your eyes, more important than the taste and the pleasure of eating it?
Is your quality of life affected negatively when the quality of your diet improves?
Have you recently become more demanding of yourself?
Is your other half forced to eat healthily because of you?
Have you given up foods which you previously liked in favour of “healthy” foods?
Does your diet prevent you from going out, distancing you from your family and friends?
Do you feel guilty when you stray from your regime?
Do you feel at peace with yourself and feel in control when you eat healthily?

1. Dr Steven Bratman’s Orthorexia Home Page
2. "Orthorexia nervosa. A new eating behaviour disorder?" Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2005 Jan-Feb;33(1):66-8

Sources :

Interview with Catherine Dijuste, therapist, eating disorder specialist, member of French study group on obesity and overwieght (GROS)
Orthorexia Nervosa – US National Eating Disorders Association
The European Food Information Council

Article source:

Read more »

Friday, February 3, 2012

The 9 golden rules of digestion

Good digestions help us to avoid from bloating and to keep our digestive system to function properly. This 9 golden rule will help you to achieve a healthy digestive system.
1. Always sit down to eat, and if possible relax
2. Observe good posture – sit up and put your shoulders back, no hunching over the desk typing with one hand whilst cramming a sandwich in with the other
3. Chew like a maniac. It’s free and it’s vital – try to give each mouthful at least 20 chews, which will feel impossible at first but really pays off
4. Don't drink anything for at least 20 minutes before or after food
5. Apart from that, drink at least 1.5 litres of still, plain water daily
6. Keep away from coffee out and have a maximum of 2 cups of real tea daily
7. Avoid fizzy drinks completely
8. Have fruit first thing or around 3pm, away from other food
9. Only eat wheat at one meal, maximum, and never have it white – go for wholemeal everything
Follow the above steps to keep you healthy and stay fit, healthy lifestyle starts with a good healthy digestive system. Happy eating!

Read more »

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fresh or dried fruit – which is better?

Fresh fruit comes packaged as nature intended and therefore it contains all the vitamins, minerals, fibre, phytochemicals and antioxidants you might expect. Fruit also contains water — and lots of it. An apple for example is approximately 85% water and grapefruits, water melons and strawberries all contain over 90% water by weight.

This water content can not only contribute to your daily fluid requirement but it also adds bulk and volume to the fruit which helps to make you feel satisfied and full - a real plus point for anyone looking to control their weight.

As the name suggests, dried fruits have had most of their water content removed. This, in effect, concentrates the remaining nutrients into a smaller volume which is why dried fruits, weight for weight, are often richer in fibre, iron and other key vitamins and minerals. However, this also means dried fruits will also be richer in calories and sugar.

This is partly due to the concentrated nature of dried fruits but also because some dried fruits have sugar added during the drying process. This reduction in overall volume plus the increase in calories and sugar content means that, if you are watching your weight, you will need to keep a keen eye on the quantity of dried fruits you consume.

The drying process varies from fruit to fruit but several dried fruits are also treated with sulphur dioxide as it helps to preserve colour and flavour. There is little evidence to suggest this is hazardous to most people however it can cause skin rashes, stomach upsets and asthma attacks in some susceptible people.

Sulfur dioxide also eliminates the Vitamin B1 or thiamine content within the fruit which in itself is not too much or a problem as vitamin B1 is fairly readily available in foods so a deficiency of this vitamin is rare.

Fruits that are dried without the use of sulfur dioxide are often less appealing to look at though as they tend to be more discoloured. For example, apricots dried without the use of sulphur dioxide tend to be brown and far less appetizing to look at than those treated with sulfur dioxide which are likely to retain more of their original orange colour and shape.

If in doubt, select organic dried fruits wherever possible as these will not have had sulfur dioxide added.

The drying process can also deplete other valuable water soluble nutrients such as vitamin C and other B vitamins. However, eaten in smaller quantities to avoid excess calorie and sugar consumption dried fruits still make a really, excellent alternative to most other commercially prepared snacks.

So, in short, as long as you don't over do it, most dried fruits are a healthy, convenient and nutritious snack. However, fresh fruits are likely to be richer in immune boosting vitamin C and if weight loss is your goal, their high water content will help with hunger control, helping you to feel fuller for longer.

Article source:

Read more »