Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Alzheimer's: a healthy lifestyle can protect you

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In interesting study by the University of California showed that people who eat a lot of fruit a vegetables, as well as exercise regularly, have less harmful debris that builds up in their brain that causes Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's affects nearly a million people in the UK, and, along with other forms of dementia, it costs the UK an estimated £26billion a year.

The study worked with 44 adults aged between 40 and 85.  Throughout the study they underwent brain scans for plaques and tangles, the deadly deposits which trigger dementia.  Those who were a healthy weight, exercised regularly and had a healthy diet, involving moderates amount of alcohol, had smaller deposits.

One doctor said:  "The fact we could detect the influence of lifestyle at a molecular level before the beginning of serious memory problems surprised us.  It reinforces the importance of living a healthy life, even before the development of clinically significant dementia."

Water - why should we drink it?

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There are many rituals around the world that different cultures use to help them with health and fitness.

One such ritual, now deeply rooted within Japanese culture, is to drink water immediately upon waking, and ensuring it is at least thirty minutes before eating.  So why early?  And why on an empty stomach?

Firstly - 70% of your body is made up of water, so it is essential to keep it fresh and topped up to keep the body working properly.  Dehydration can cause many problems.

As you drink water, it naturally urges movement in your bowels.  During the night, your body repairs itself and casts out all the toxins in your body.  The water will flush out these harmful toxins, leaving your body fresh and healthy.

Drinking water can help in increasing the production of muscle cells and new blood cells.

Research shows that drinking water on an empty stomach can increase your metabolic rate by at least 24%, which means an improved digestive system.

Drinking water immediately after waking up purifies the colon, making it easier to absorb nutrients.

Drinking water can trick your body into feeling fuller, reducing cravings for food, and making your less hungry.  This can assist weight loss in a controlled program.

Dehydration causes premature wrinkles.  Studies showed that drinking water on an empty stomach increased blood flow in the skin and makes skin glow.  It also nourishes your hair from inside out.  I did not know this but water makes up a quarter of the weight of a hair strand.

It is a fact that drinking water on an empty stomach dilutes the acids which lead to stones in the kidney.  The more you drink (to a healthy limit of course) the more protected from various kinds of bladder infections caused by toxins.

It also helps in flushing and balancing the lymphatic system, which leads to increased levels of immunity

Felling Blue? How to cheer yourself up

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We all have times in out life when we feel a bit blue.  So how do we overcome it?
Behavioural Psychologist Stephanie Davis lists these ways online:

PLAN SMALL:  Set achievable goals.

EXERCISE:  Physical activity is proven to lift your spirits

TRIGGER HAPPY:  Recall a time when you were content, and this has the ability to trigger the same happy feeling

BE SOCIAL:  Getting out and meeting people helps release oxytocin into the body and lifts your spirits.

SLEEP:  A good night''s sleep wards off negativity by benefiting the part of your brain where happy memories are stored

FAKE IT:  A pretend smile has been shown to trick the smiler's brain into believing they are happy

DO STUFF, DON'T BUY STUFF:  A lot of regrets can include not have good experiences, so don't buy something new, go out and experience an event like a theatre trip or cinema.

GET OUT:  Just 30 minutes outdoors in good weather can increase positivity and boost memory.  Although I would say that the weather does not have to be good.

BE NICE:  Doing good deeds leads to a major increase in positive moods

A study linking mental and physical health

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Why is it the physical health of those with mental illness so poor?  A study by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation found that those with mental health issues have almost FIVE times more emergency health admissions than those without. And yet a vast number of those admissions were for physical health issues.

Published research by the King's Fund found that 40 per cent of mental health trusts have had income cut in the last few years, despite rising demand. To reduce costs, many trusts are trying to shift patients away from acute services to "recovery based care and and self-management services" that sound good on paper but do not always have a solid evidence base, do not have the resources to get them up and running, and are not being properly evaluated.

Without increased and stable funding, together with proper evaluation of new services, the outlook for mental health services and the users that rely on them looks increasingly bleak. The main cause of early death in those with mental health problems has for many years been untreated or poorly treated physical illnesses. Deaths from causes related to mental health illness, such as suicide, account for less than a third of the total.

People with serious mental ill health die on average 10 to 17 years earlier.  And yet the commonest causes of premature death remain heart, lung, liver and kidney diseases, obesity, stroke and diabetes.

Does food guilt exist?

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Apparently, men experience "food guilt" at least nine times a month, according to a poll of 200 people by Planters Nuts!!!  (obviously medically accurate!!! - yikes!)

Three quarters admit to eating for emotional reasons, rather than hunger (I can certainly relate to that one, hence my continuing weight issues - which I am combating).

Chocolate is the top comfort food for blokes, followed by bacon sandwiches and takeaway pizzas.

55 per cent felt bad about themselves for eating unhealthily.  44 per cent went to bed feeling guilty about what they had scoffed.  36 per cent were left unhappy about their body after snacking, and 14 per cent admitted they had let themselves go.

I think I fit into every category!!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Exercise could prevent Alzheimer's

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Scientists from Rush University in Chicago tested 535 people in their seventies and eighties and concluded that some exercise can help prevent Alzheimer's disease by triggering changes in the brain.

People with a high level of a protein called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are at less risk of the incurable illness.

One of the best ways to boost it is by physical activities such as jogging and running.  Brain function declined 50% slower in patients with the highest levels of BDNF, compared to those with the least.

Are gyms a waste of cash?

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City University of New York experts studied 300 gym-goers for a week.  Professor Herman Pontzer said: "The most physically active of them expended the same calories as the moderately active".

Moderate activity, such as a brisk walk or taking the stairs, is as effective as a strenuous work-out, say the experts.  "Exercise for health, not for weight-loss" they continue. "The key to shifting excess pounds is cutting out the bad and unnecessary calories in your diet."

HMHB is not sure if they can totally back up these statements.  We certainly know a healthier lifestyle includes better nutrition and more exercise.

I, myself, am a gym member.  To our service users we say it is all a choice - but that they can exercise and do fitness at home or a park. A gym is not essential.  However, I find it focuses me on exercise, I will physically do things for a longer time, and they do have useful equipment around to enhance the experience. It can be a personal thing.

Whether in a gym or not, anything that helps you push further with exercise can only be a good thing. Therefore, in my own personal view, a gym is not a waste of cash if used often enough, and to his fullest capabilities.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Why is stretching important?

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We are going to add a few entries on why it is important to stretch before and after exercise.

Muscles are made up of myocytes, cells more commonly known as muscle fibres.

When we stretch a muscle, the fibre is pulled out to its full length, which helps to realign any disorganised fibres by straightening them out. The realignment is what helps to rehabilitate scarred tissue, so reducing muscle pain.

Stretching lengthens the muscles, improving flexibility and range of motion in the joints.

Extending muscles can be as good for heart health as physical exercise, according to scientists.  A 2014 Dutch/American study found that yoga poses - asanas - may be as useful as biking or walking in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Stretching releases dopamine, a brain chemical that affects emotional response and increases feelings of happiness.  Just taking moments to stop and stretch out the shoulders, for example, helps to relax body and mind.

Studies into tendon injuries indicate that regular stretching - both static, when you hold a position, and dynamic, such as a torso twist - can prevent injury.

The reason that many people who spend a large part of the day working in front of a computer get a hunched posture is often not because of weak back and shoulders, but due to tight chest muscles.  One of the best ways to reduce upper-back pain is to stretch the pectoral muscles - the pecs.

Stretching has been found to lower blood sugar levels, a key factor in managing diabetes. A 2011 Hawaiian study of people either at risk or already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes found that 20 minutes of stretching lowered glucose levels in the blood by 28ml per decilitre. It is believed stretching opens blood vessels in joints and muscles, enabling glucose to be better absorbed by cells.

Prolonged stretching, combined with healthy eating, has been found to reduce cholesterol.  An Indian study of adults with coronary atherosclerotic disease - hardening of the arteries - found that after a year of yoga stretches and diet, the condition was reversed by 20 per cent and the cholesterol levels of the participants improved.

A study carried out in 2012 found that after ten weeks of stretching one calf, the strength of the calf had increased by an amazing 29 per cent.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Concern re Diabetes

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Health Experts have warned that an incredible ONE IN TEN UK adults could have diabetes by the year 2035.

Statisticians at Public Health England fear the number of sufferers could top five million if obesity rates continue to soar.

Last year, around 3,8 million had the condition, which can damage vital organs.  The cost of treating the diabetes epidemic could soar to 17 per cent of the overall NHS budget.

Diabetes UK chief, Chris Askew, said: "diabetes threatens to bankrupt the NHS if we continue with these trends".

It should be noted that there are different types of diabetes. Some people are born with the issue, and only medical intervention can keep them alive.  But type 2 diabetes can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle, better nutrition, and keeping control of weight. Exercising more can also help.  We have a responsibility to look after our bodies and health.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Binge Eating Gene

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Binge eating disorder (BED) is a serious mental illness where people experience a loss of control and eat large quantities of food on a regular basis. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, or background. ... Unlike those with bulimia, people with binge eating disorder do not regularly use purging methods after a binge

Scientists at Boston University have identified a gene linked to binge eating - and it could lead to new drugs to combat obesity and disorders, such as bulimia.

The gene, known as CYF1P2, suggests that some people really cannot help overindulging on food, drink and drugs.  They also found a network of genes associated with gorging, where a sheath is formed around a nerve fibre allowing impulses to move quickly.

I can personally vouch for food addiction and food problems, centering around mental health and confidence issues. I have fought this for a while. I am aware that if I start getting worried about an issue I tend to head to the kitchen - food gives me comfort. It is something I am battling, but am aware that I need to confront. So I find this news interesting