Friday, 20 December 2019

New content coming from Jan 2020 - apologies to all

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Lazza here, from Healthy Minds, Healthy Bods.

We took a little break from this blog, to concentrate on finances, funding, courses, paperwork, etc.

However, we love this blog. This is here to show research and news - not to tell people what to do.

HMHB believes we have our own responsibility to look after our bodies and our health - through our routine, exercise, nutrition and actions. But it is good to hear about foods, medical research, fitness news, and anything else that can affect our behaviour.  Then we can make our own minds up on what we should be doing.

We may put our own thoughts at the end of an entry, but really it is up to us as individuals to decide what we eat and drink, how much exercise we take and what exercise that is. It is up to us to look at our daily routine and any necessary changes that can give us the best opportunity of having a longer, happier, healthier life.

Many blogs preach and tell you what to do. Not us. That is why it is important to keep going.

From Jan 2020 we will make at least one daily entry. So please follow this blog, and we love likes and comments, and sharing.

Happy Christmas everyone - and we look forward to having you along in 2020.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Stroke risk for Vegetarians and Vegans - important research

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We are living at a time when our health is talked about more and more, and what we can do to improve it and make us healthier.  And this centres on different factors, one of which is our diet and nutrition. In the media, especially over the last few months, there has been more and more talk about removing meat from our diets and becoming either vegetarian or vegan.

However, a major new study has found that Vegetarians and Vegans are 20 per cent more likely to suffer from a stroke.  This is because experts say a plant-based diet may be deficient in protective fats and vitamins.

Oxford University followed nearly 50,000 adults for 18 years.  The research appeared to show that non-meat eaters were vulnerable to haemorrhagic strokes; this is when blood vessels burst in the brain.  It should be noted, however, that they were 22 per cent less likely to suffer from heart disease, and fish eaters also had a 13 per cent lower risk of heart problems.

Meat eaters were more likely to suffer heart disease, with experts warning regular consumers were likely to be fatter, have higher blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as diabetes issues.

Apparently, over 1.7 million Brits are thought to be vegetarian or vegan (to put that in context there are said to be 66 million people living in the United Kingdom).  It was found that vegetarians and vegans had lower levels of Vitamin B12 and cholesterol.

B12 is found in many animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy, and a deficiency has been linked with increased stroke risk.  The study actually was quoted as saying: "Overall vegetarians had higher risks of stroke".

Both Oxford University's Doctor Tammy Tong and Cambridge University's Doctor Stephen Burgess agreed that taking up a vegetarian diet may not be universally beneficial for all health outcomes.  They did add that more research is probably required before any change in diet guidelines.

Bacteria a bigger threat than Climate Change - let's take a look

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A major new report has stated that nearly 20 new lethal superbugs have been identified in the UK.  A superbug is a strain of bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotic drugs.  Officials say that this ia a bigger threat to human life than climate change. That's a bold statement.

England's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has warned that superbugs could kill up to ten million people a year unless drastic action is taken. Antibiotic overuse is already blamed for 5000 superbug deaths in the UK each year.

These latest findings were revealed in a five-year plan from Public Health England aimed at tackling urgent threats. Among them were 19 new superbugs identified in the past decade. These include mutant forms of MRSA, Gonorrhea and Enterococcus.

The drug resistant bugs, found in 1300 patient samples, meant that sick Brits failed to respond to "antibiotics of last resort", such as Carbapenems and Colistin.  Medics were instead forced to use unlicensed drugs, combine old medicines, or ratchet up the dosages to save patient's lives.

Infectious Disease's expert, Doctor Susan Hopkins, who was at the Public Health England annual conference, said:
"The doomsday scenario is that we cannot treat patients."

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Exercise or die!!! Inactivity causes early death. Research here

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It is official, couch potatoes (watching their box sets, playing their computer games, and not getting to enjoy the wonders of the outdoors) actually double their risk of dying young, according to a new major study.

Scientists followed more than 23,000 adults for two decades and discovered that those who were more active throughout gave themselves the best chance of survival.  People who were inactive for the entire 20 years (and it is reported that four in ten adults - 40% - fail to do even ten minutes of brisk walking a month) were 99% more likely to die prematurely than those who did two or more hours of exercise a week.

Incredibly, the inactive people were an astonishing 168% more likely of suffering a heart attack of stroke.

However, they did note that if people took up exercise after a life-time of inactivity, this cut the risk of dying young by around half.  Your body can change - you can make a difference - it just takes time and effort.

The research was performed by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, and presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Paris.  The lead researcher, Doctor Trine Moholdt, said: "you can reduce your risk of premature death by taking up physical activity, even if you have not been active before."

HMHB says:
We actively promote the benefits of exercise, movement, and flexibility, as well as guiding people to get outdoors more and experience the world face to face, and not through a screen.  Every study performed demonstrates the benefits of physical activity, how it can affect hyour energy levels, confidence and mental health.
Obviously, due to technological advances, our lifestyles have become more sedentary. We need to realise this and push ourselves to take responsibility and be more active.
And it is entirely preventable!!!!  Live or die? It seems an obvious choice.

Smoking can lead to leg amputations; Serious research here

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Around 25 British people are having legs amputated every day due to Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) - a "cruel" disease linked to smoking.

Smokers are being urged to quit the habit as a report shows that a million adults - 90% of whom are smokers or ex-smokers - may be living with PAD. Around half a million have been diagnosed with it, but a top surgeon warns the actual number could be twice as high.

Ten million UK adults smoke - which is around 18%. Experts say quitting is the single best thing you can do for your health.

According to the British Heart Foundation, PAD happens when there is a build up of fatty deposits in the walls of the leg arteries. If that happens it can restrict the blood supply to the legs. If you have PAD you are at a much higher risk of developing serious forms of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and stroke. This is because it is likely that blood vessels elsewhere in the body are also affected.

If the symptoms are left untreated - and PAD is very difficult to recognise, and only normally diagnosed when something serious happens - the leg tissue may begin to die. This itself causes gangrene and, in its severest form. Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI) - and that results in amputation in around 30% of cases.  Wow!!!  Around 9000 British people have to undergo leg amputations as a result every year, which works out to one every hour or 25 a day.  PAD mostly affects smokers.

This is what Dr Mike Knapton, the British Heart Foundation's associate medical director had to say:
"Peripheral arterial disease can lead to horrific consequences and the silent nature of the condition means that opportunities to diagnose and treat it are often missed.  We do know that stopping smoking is the single most effective way of reducing your risk of developing this potentially deadly disease. This is a great time to start your quitting journey."

HMHB says:
We are very careful at HMHB to stress that people have a responsibility to make the best choices possible to look after their body.
We also do not want to tell people what to do. We pass on knowledge, awareness and information, and individuals can make up their own mind.
However, we naturally press people to review their lifestyle and make appropriate changers - like giving yourself an MOT on a regular basis. Ask yourself, what can you do to improve yout chances of a longer, happier, and healthier life.

Every study, every expert, recommends NO SMOKING. It goes without saying. People naturally link it to lung cancer, and breathing problems. But this blog entry, om PAD, should be a wake up call to smokers too. It affects the whole body. And incredibly it is Preventable!!!!!!

Working on your glutes at home (getting a shapely bum).

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Your glutes are the largest group of muscles in the body. Yes, it is nice if they look great, but they are also very important as they consist of three muscles that work together to abduct, rotate, and extend the hip, making them vital to everyday movements.  By strengthening these muscles (the glutes minimus, medius, and maximus - see pic above) your posture, athletic performance and overall strength will improve drastically.

Too much sitting can actually lead to organ damage, muscle degradation, and damaged backs. If you strengthen your glutes, your spine will have more support and your pelvis will automatically begin to stabilize - which is essential for good posture.

Having strong glutes can prevent serious injuries to your knees, lower back and hamstrings, all of which are essential to simple daily activities.

There are some fairly simple exercises you can do to help you get a "peachy bottom" - with a bit less sag. The best thing is you can do them at home, and there is no need for any equipment.  It just takes a little time and effort - isn't that worth it??

With the help of a qualified fitness professional - here are some of them.

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Wide leg squat pulse

Stand with your feet wider that hip distance apart - this is sometimes called a Sumo Squat position - if you think how sumo wrestlers stand in the ring.
Drop down into a low squat (or as far as you can) by sending your bum backwards and bending your knees - as if you were sitting down in a chair. Keep your chest lifted. Shoving your bum back first is imperative. It is a squat - you are not just ducking down.
While you are down in the squat position, perform pulses up and down (slow small movements - maybe for 30-60 seconds depending on how fit you are).

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Glute Bridge

Start on your back, lying flat, but with your legs bent (your feet fairly close to your bum). Your head, arms , back and feet should all be in the floor.
Slowly raise your back up off the floor, thrusting your hips towards the ceiling, and clenching your bum tight. When you can go no higher, just your feel and shoulders and head should be touching the floor.
Hold that position for a count of five, maintaining a tight squeeze in your bum, then lower down slowly and gently till you get back to the original position. Repeat several times.

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Curtsy Lunge

Stand with your legs hip width apart. Relax you shoulders and get your breathing to a nice gentle easy way.
From the position, take a side step behind you with your left leg, lowering youe left knee so it hovers just above the floor, and bending your right knee so it remains above your right foot. You have now curtsied. Then just reverse this to get back to the original position and do the same with the opposite leg. It is just a version of the lunge, but puts even more emphasis on the glutes.

HMHB says:
There are many many more exercises to help with the bum - but most of them will include some kind of squat or lunge version in them. It is about finding exercises you enjoy, but also push you to get out of your comfort zone. Don't only do exercises you find easy. Do those that hurt more, that your find difficult, that if offered you would probably back out of.
Remember, it is your responsibility to look after your body, and make the best choices possible - with nutrition, exercise and routine - to keep it healthy and active.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Swap your beefburger for a chicken burger. Here is why!!

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Once again, red meat is under scrutiny. It feels like every week we get different information. Many people say we should all be vegan, but at HMHB we feel everyone has a right to choose what they eat, and others should respect that decision.

It is good, though, to look at research. It gives us the information to make our own decisions. Well, a new study has said swapping beef burgers for chicken burgers cuts the risk of breast cancer by more than a quarter!!!  Now, I like a McDonalds Big Mac, or a Quarterpounder - but I also have a taste for the Chicken Burger (and let's not forget the wonderful Fillet O Fish).

Eating too much red meat has previously been linked to diabetes, heart disease and several cancers (although it does not say just how much is that down to size of meals and accompanying dishes - if you have steak many have chips and other more fattening foods).

The US study, that followed more than 42,000 women over seven and a half years, now suggests that those who switch to poultry from a regular diet of beef - as well as lamb or pork - are 28 per cent less likely to get breast tumours.

Doctor Dale Sandler, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said: "our study adds further evidence that red meat consumption may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer, whereas poultry was associated with decreased risk.

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, showed cooking methods made no difference to risk.

On the other side, Professor Paul Pharoah, from Cambridge University, explained the links found between meats and cancer risk were very weak.  And Doctor Emma Derbyshire, of the Meat Advisory Board, cast doubt on the conclusions, adding "as with most things, balance is the key."

HMHB says:
Every day we are told that various different aspects of our nutrition can cause cancer, or other serious health issues. It may be true. But ultimtately it is your choice what you eat, and how you cook it. Our mantra is "everything in moderation". Life is too short to try and be perfect and eat nothing that could possibly cause harm. Eat a healthy diet, have some treats now and then, and get outdoors and enjoy life!!!

Is there a new Weight Loss Injection to tackle obesity?

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With obesity becoming a national crisis - we have made plenty of blog entries covering this subject, experts have just revealed that a wonder weight-loss jab helped patients shed 10lbs in just four weeks.  I have to say, as I have battled a yoyoing fight with my weight, I am reading this with anticipation!!!!

Apparently, the new injection has been called the "best anti-obesity treatment yet."  Where do I sign up??? It relies on a cocktail of hormones to burn fat. It actually is said to mimic having a gastric band fitted, without any of the side effects.  I am starting to go green with jealousy of the people on this study.

Volunteers - all with type 2 diabetes (I am very pleased to say that I do not have that, and therefore very glad I was not part of all this), lost an average of 9.7lbs in the trial held at the Hammersmith Hospital in West London.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said "we are getting towards the Holy Grail of tackling weight loss. Millions could lose fat with an approach like this. The real hurdles will be safety, cost and how keen people will be to have a regular hormone jab. It is a small trial and we need to see success with bigger studies, but this is a step in the right direction."

Professor Tricia Tan, from Imperial College London, said: "there is a real need to find new medicines so we can improve and save the lives of many patients. Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease."

Previous studies have found that gastric band operations work because three hormones that originate in the bowels are released in higher levels. The team wanted to see if injecting the same hormones would have a similar effect. Fifteen patients were given the treatment for four weeks, using a pump that slowly injected the mixture under the skin for 12 hours a day.

The group ate 30 per cent less food than before and lost nearly twice as much weight as a control group given a salt water jab as a placebo (i think I would be annoyed if I had not been in the first group). The new injection also helped return the group's blood sugar levels to near normal within a month.

Professor Tan said: "while wearing the pump you feel less hungry. The sensation is like after you have eaten a big meal. What is even  more exciting is that we are able to normalise blood sugar levels and people can come off of diabetes medications."

Gastric band operations, while often successful, can cause abdominal pain, chronic nausea, vomiting and debilitating low blood-sugar levels.

HMHB  says:
Wow. This is an interesting approach. The hormone injection shows promise. The effects are looking good, and anything that can help people to lose weight and combat obesity is a good thing. But until larger studies are completed we need to be careful. And also, it should not be the case that people can think it is okay to put on weight as then they just get an injection to lose it again.
Putting on weight can be easy, while removing it can feel like an enormous uphill struggle - take it from me, I know. Exercise and good nutrition is the most important thing of all, as well as understanding things take time and effort - no pain, no gain.  Good luck everyone.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Grim effects of lack of sleep.

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As I have detailed many times, sleep issues are very common - and we at HMHB also have our own problems. It happens to many, and it feels like you are trapped sometimes.

Now, an expert has warned that a lack of sleep leads to heart disease, weight gain, and even interferes with our DNA. It was spelled out in a survey that concluded that just one in six of us is getting the recommended eight hours of rest a night - I know I am not!!!

When you are sleep deprived you are at risk of raised blood pressure, higher cholesterol and damage to the immune system. This is according to Professor Paul Gringas, who works in the field of sleep medicine in London.

"Just one night's bad sleep changes epigenetic signals to our DNA, that cause weight gain and loss of muscle mass and can affect thew way that memories are laid down in the hippocampus - part of our brains."

44 per cent of people get under 6 hours of sleep a night.
85 per cent of people found their sleep improved when they exercised during the day.

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Sleep deprivation can also result in an increased risk of new and advanced respiratory diseases. A lack of sleep can affect body weight. Two hormones in thee body - leptin and ghrelin - control feelings of hunger  and satiety, or fullness. The levels of these hormones are affected by sleep.

Your central nervous system is the information highway of your body. Sleep is necessary to keep it functioning properly, but chronic insomnia can disrupt how your body usually sends information. During sleep, pathways form between nerve cells (neurons) in your brain that help you remember new information you have learned. Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted, so it cannot perform its duties as well.

Without sleep, it negatively affects your mental abilities and emotional state. You can feel impatient or prone to mood swings. It compromises your decision making and creativity. It takes away your focus.

HMHB says:
We firmly see the link between mental health and sleep. Anxiety, stress, depression eat away at you, and at night, when things are generally quiet, this is when our brains seem to go into overdrive, concentrating on all that is bad. There is no easy answer. No easy solution. All we can do is try and address issues affecting us, try and change that mindset and push ourselves on. It is tough.