Thursday, 12 March 2020

Obesity numbers double in 20 years - the facts!!!

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The number of obese people in England has almost doubled to 13 million in just 20 years.  According to statistics, in 2018 there were just under 56 million people living in England, so that is just under 25% of the population - that includes all ages.  That is a frightening number!!!

Experts say the rise ha fueled a Diabetes epidemic which threatens to bankrupt the National Health Service with an annual bill of £14 billion.

Some 6.9 million adults are reported to have had a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or over in 1997, which rose to 13 million in 2017, the latest year of figures available. Obesity is the biggest risk factor for type 2 Diabetes, which affects 3.7 million in Britain.  The estimated annual cost to the NHS for drugs and treatment for complications, such as blindness and amputations, is £14 billion, around 10 per cent of the entire health service budget.

The charity Diabetes UK says that more than half the number of type 2 cases could be prevented if the obesity problem was tackled. It wants food and drink firms to make their products healthier and has called for restrictions of junk food adverts.  Their Chief Executive said: "We are facing an urgent health problem. Tackling this requires ambitious and sustained action."

Diabetes UK analysed figures from the annual Health Survey for England. Almost one in three adults is obese. Even more terrifying is that one in five children aged 10 and 11 is also classified as obese.

HMHB says:
These figures are a stark reminder that obesity is a dangerous public health threat - and we all need to take responsibility over our diet and nutrition habits, as well as combat an ever-growing sedentary lifestyle. We believe it also centres around education and showing people what they need to stay healthy and fit. Parents need to be stronger. There is room in this world for fast food, cakes, etc. There is no need to remove them. We just need to look at our cooking habits and make changes. It isn't rocket science!!!

Monday, 9 March 2020

Do you have low energy levels? What can you do.

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"Warning. Being more active will increase your energy levels significantly
and make you feel amazing"

It can happen to all of us. That feeling of tiredness, lethargy, and a reluctance to do things. Obviously, it is possible there is an underlying health issue, but more than often it is down to apathy, a poor diet , a lack of exercise, or mental health stress.

What can we do?  Well, for a start, please do not look to use a chocolate bar, a cup of coffee, or an energy drink, for a quick lift.  The sugar and/or caffeine might give you an immediate pick-me-up, but after that quick high wears off, you will crash and feel even more drained.
What you really need is a more lasting solution to keep sluggishness at bay.

Have breakfast
People who eat breakfast every morning report less fatigue and stress than people who skip it, according to multiple studies and research. High-fibre foods, like porridge, stick with you longer than sugary cereals. They also help stave off feelings of hunger.

Drink some Water
Dehydration can leave you feeling drained and fatigued. You do not necessarily have to follow the "eight glasses a day" rule, but you do want to drink enough water to keep your body well hydrated. You can tell if you are doing it right because you will not feel thirsty, and your urine is light coloured. Remember, water is vital to keeping you alive and healthy.

Have some nuts
Nuts are not only a good source of protein, but eating a handful of almonds, peanuts, walnuts etc. means you are getting a good dose of magnesium and folate (folic acid).  These nutrients are essential for energy and cell production. A lack of them can leave you feeling weary.
Just be careful, as nuts are high in calories. A handful is sufficient - do not eat the whole bag in one go.

Get Moving
Exercise can be a scary word. But really we are talking about moving more, moving more often, and this is a natural energy booster because, when you do it, oxygen rich blood surges through your body to your heart, muscles and brain. Even if you can only spare ten minutes at a time, this can help top up your levels. Move around every chance you get.
It should be added that the best exercise is one that gets you slightly out of breath, and maybe breaking a sweat. You know your body is working hard then.

Sunshine - get outdoors
It is tempting to hibernate when we feel fatigued, especially if we are going through some mental health issues. We tend to isolate ourselves as we do not want to mix with people, or even talk.
But exposure to daylight and regular exercise will help to counteract seasonal sluggishness.  In winter, open blinds and curtains fully to let the light in. Sit near windows as much as possible if indoors.
Most importantly, get outdoors, especially when the sun is at its highest. Lack of sunlight affects crucial Vitamin D levels, and that has a negative impact on our health.  Go for a walk, meet friends, keep moving.
NHS guidelines suggest taking a 10mg Vitamin D supplement daily during the colder, darker months. But do check with your doctor first.

Have a snack
Your brain needs fuel to function at its best, and it feeds off glucose. When your blood sugar levels drop, your mind will start running on fumes and will feel fuzzy as a result. So if your head is starting to droop during the day, eat a snack that will give you energy. Maybe combine protein with slow release carbs. Peanut Butter (high percent peanuts) is fantastic, as is Hummus, or fresh berries and fruit.  Try and avoid Trans Fats and Refined sugar - which are sadly in the most fattening but tasty cakes and biscuits!! Lol.

Be around Positivity
I know this might be difficult to understand, but emotions have been shown to be surprisingly contagious.  People who are constantly negative and down have been shown to sap the the energy from those around them, while those who are always up and excited can give you a real lift.
You choose your friends, so choose wisely!!

HMHB says:
Ultimately, you are responsible for your own happiness and energy levels. You decide what you eat and when. You decide if you go outdoors, who you mix with, and how much fitness you do. Please be responsible. Look after yourself. It is not only physically, but also mentally.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Are these strange saying around health and wellbeing true? Part 2

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Following on from your four tales in the previous entry - let's have a look at a few more tales around health, and if they are based in truth.

"Carrots help you see in the dark."
This is the tale:
During World War 2, the Luftwaffe often struck under cover of darkness. Therefore the government ordered "blackouts", to make it more difficult for planes to hit targets. The RAF were able to repel the fighters in part due to the development of a new, secret Radar technology. However, to keep that under wraps, we removed any evidence of this research, and provided another reason foe their success - carrots!!  The Ministry of Defence announced to newspapers that because the pilots were eating an excess of ths vegetable their eyesight had improved.  There is no actual evidence the Germans were fooled, but it was an interesting discussion.

Ironically, the orange root vegetables have now been found to be a rich source of beta carotene, a type of Vitamin A, that helps to maintain good vision. (it should be noted that "maintain" is the crucial word there. It does not improve vision).
If you are deficient in beta carotene, you may suffer from night blindness, so including carrots in your diet can possibly help your eyesight not deteriorate in the dark.  If you do not have sight issues, a balanced mix of fruit and vegetables will help to maintain your general eye health.

"Crusts make your hair curly."
Sorry. No spooky diet trick can magically give you a dream hairdo.  Science is very clear. It says that whether your hair is straight, wavy, or covered in curls, that is all down to genetics, and crunchy sandwiches will make no difference at all.
But are crusts healthy anyway?  This depends very much on where you look for your information. Some say they are one of the healthiest bits of a loaf - with higher amounts of nutrients and good bacteria. However, I have also come across sites that say there is no real difference at all.  But, I have found no site that says eating them is bad.

"Cheese at night will give you nightmares."
There was a study that worked with 200 people. They were all asked to eat slices of cheese before bedtime and the report back on their slumber. Around 75 per cent slept soundly with no nightmares.
So what do we think?  Well, you certainly should not go to sleep with a full stomach. If you do it means you might spend more of the night in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which science has proven is the state where you have the most vivid dreams.
Eating too close to bedtime may also cause indigestion, bloating, gas and other tummy troubles.

"A hot bath can make a man infertile."
It probably will not go that far. But we should listen a bit to this advice.
Relaxing in a steaming bath significantly raises your body temperature, and that can affect the male ability to make healthy sperm.  Apparently sperm mobility is better in people who avoid regular hot baths. Experts recommend a lukewarm shower.

"Cracking your knuckles gives you Arthritis."
No, no and no again,. This is definitely just an old wive's tale.
There is no scientific evidence of any kind that popping or clicking joints raises the risk of Arthritis. The noise can make others wince, but it is caused by air bubbles in the liquid that lubricates your joints.

Are these strange saying around health and wellbeing true? Part 1

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When it comes to your health, many stories are passed down through generations. I am sure your past relatives would try and solve health issues using strange remedies. From using mouldy bread or dead mouse pate, to sacrificing animals.
But is there any base of truth in some of these folklore and superstitions.
Let;s have a gander!!!

"Feed a cold, starve a fever" - I recall this from my youth.
This actually originated centuries ago from a belief that food would warm the body and help you get rid of any sniffles you had.  And eating well when you have a cold is a sensible plan. You need the vitamins and nutrients to help you get better.
However, starving yourself when unwell is not clever.  Even though it is quite common to lose your appetite when suffering from colds, flu, or viruses, your body needs energy and nutrients to help fight off infection. Therefore, feed a cold, and feed a fever.
In both cases, staying hydrated, restful, and gaining good nutrition will aid recovery.

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away." - another one I recall from my days as a child
Apples are jam packed with dietary fibre, fructose, vitamins B and C, essential minerals - Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium, Zinc - as well as antioxidants. If eaten regularly they are proven to lower the risk of premature death from heart disease and stroke.  It has also been shown to help lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, as well as levels of LDL (the "bad" cholesterol). A lot of the benefits are actually in the peel, so try and eat it whole.
It is clear that eating apples will not stop you having to use the doctor, but it is a healthy habit.

"Screens will damage your eyesight." - i remember my mum always telling me not to sit too close to the television.
Nowadays, this saying applies to smartphones, tablets and computers, as well as your telly.  And it is true, staring too long at any monitor without a break can cause eyestrain.
Squinting and peering close up means that your vision often can become blurry or difficult, and your eyes can feel tired and dry.  Eye experts actually suggest frequent screen breaks and turning off your devices before bed.
A good word of warning too - especially those who use phones or tablets. Researchers have found that staring at screens in the dark increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
note from Lazza - I have had 2 detached retinas - which then lead to 2 cataracts - both described as "macular off" - the part of the retina at the back of the eye. No evidence that had anything to do with screens. but could have caused blindness.

"Chocolate can give you spots"
Most people who are blessed with a clear complexion are unlikely to break out after a tasty bar of chocolate. However, if you have acne-prone skin, this can be affected by an unhealthy diet.
Consuming high amounts of fat and sugar can lead to increased amounts of sebum production. Sebum is an oily, waxy substance produced by your body's sebaceous glands. It coats, moisturises, and protects your skin. It's also the main ingredient in what you may think of as your body's natural oils.  In normal levels, this is fine. However, too much can block pores, causing spotty lumps and bumps. This can promote inflammatory responses in the body, which can result in increased breakouts.
Therefore, chocolate itself is difficult to blame. But unhealthy eating habits could certainly be affecting your skin.