Category Archives: holiday health

Christmas Healthy Holidays

Healthy Holidays – Enjoying a healthy Christmas

Healthy Holiday Eating – A Healthy Christmas

For many of us, the Christmas holidays are a time of indulgence. Festive eating means mince pies, mulled wine, Christmas pudding and brandy butter. Unfortunately, over-indulgence can also make us feel lethargic, impair our immune system and can leave us facing the New Year feeling tired, bloated and run down.

Fortunately there are ways to incorporate some healthy habits through the festive period while still enjoying traditional Christmas treats. Simply adding protein, fibre and superfoods to your usual meals and snacks over the holiday can help to keep your energy levels more stable, reduce your sugar intake and ensure that your meals are nutritionally dense.

Festive Fibre Boost

Adding fibre to your food reduces the glycemic effect of the meal, meaning a lower insulin response and less inflammation. You will also feel fuller for longer, and so less likely to gain weight over the holiday period.

Fibre-rich chia seeds are also a rich source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 and a good source of calcium and antioxidants. Try adding them to cranberry sauce and stuffing. They can also be added to eggnog to make a fibre-rich festive pudding – simply stir a quarter cup of chia seeds into a cup of eggnog and place in the fridge for 15 minutes until the mixture transforms into a thick pudding.

Seasonal Snacking

It can be hard to resist evening snacking during the long winter nights, and bowls of sweets, salted nuts, chocolates and crisps are often at hand while waiting for Christmas dinner.

Nuts are actually a perfect snack as they won’t upset blood sugar levels and are nutritionally dense – packed with essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Raw, unsalted nuts are the healthiest choice, with almonds being the best choice for anyone watching their weight as these have been linked with weight loss. Mix them with some dried fruit and a little dark chocolate or a few cacao nibs for an antioxidant boost.

A nutritious alternative to crisps is roasted chickpeas. Try draining a tin of chickpeas and then soaking them in apple cider vinegar or liquid aminos and then roasting in the oven for a crunchy savoury snack. Those who prefer a sweeter option should try nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger during roasting for a Christmas spice flavour. Simply toss the spice blend through the chickpeas and then roast in the oven.

Boost your Breakfast

Oatmeal is the perfect warming breakfast for cold winter mornings. Beta-glucans in oats support the immune system and stabilise blood sugar levels. Add a further nutritional boost by stirring in some antioxidant rich cacao nibs and acai berries, or some energy boosting maca powder. Another good boost for your oatmeal is to stir in a tablespoon or two of protein powder, which will help stave off sugar cravings throughout the morning. Rather than sweetening with sugar, try stevia or a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Superfood Sides

Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips and potatoes are a key part of the Christmas meal and are a super healthy option. Unfortunately they are usually roasted in plenty of salt and fat.

Coconut oil can be a good alternative for anyone who has problems digesting fat – coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTS) which are easier for the body to digest, and also help to fight infection. Roast your seasonal vegetables in coconut oil by simply adding the solid oil to your vegetables and tossing through, or by melting the oil for a few seconds first.

Try adding some pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds to your roasted vegetables for a boost of omega-3, zinc and calcium. Instead of salt, try stirring in a handful of goji berries for a delicious sweet-tart taste and an extra boost of phytonutrients.

Nutritious meals over the holidays shouldn’t mean forgoing all of your favourite Christmas foods. Adding a few healthy tweaks to the usual Christmas menu should mean that you can enjoy the holidays without feeling deprived, and celebrate a happy and healthy New Year.

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Optibac Probiotics – travel with a happy and healthy digestive system

50% of travellers experience digestive issues when abroad. Don’t be one of them!

Traveller’s Diarrhoea is the most frequently experienced health disorder experienced by those travelling abroad[1]. Research suggest that pathogenic bacteria are responsible for 85% of all cases of Traveller’s Diarrhoea[3], with E. coli being the most common offender[4,5]. Despite it being a generally minor condition, it can ruin your holiday. Statistics reveal that 20% of sufferers are confined to bed for a day, and 33% need to stop their activities[2].

Of course some destinations are higher risk than others and are generally the more exotic locations such as Egypt, India, and Mexico.

So what is the best natural approach to Traveller’s Diarrhoea?

Much research shows the potential for probiotics to be a natural preventative. Studies suggest that probiotics, a.k.a. friendly bacteria, can help to strengthen the gut’s protective barrier against pathogenic bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella. A review of the research on this (meta-analysis) found that 85% of cases of Traveller’s Diarrhoea were prevented by probiotics[7].

How can taking bacteria avoid a bacterial infection?

Well as with other issues with gut health, having enough of the relevant strain of bacteria will help fight the unwanted pathogenic bacteria. It has been found that a combination of B. longum Rosell-175, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11, Saccharomyces boulardii and L. acidophilus Rosell-52 have been shown to be effective in preventing infection with E. coli[8]. Other trials also show that Saccharomyces boulardii may be especially helpful in cases of Traveller’s Diarrhoea due to its unique ability to actually bind to unwanted, pathogenic bacteria and then help excrete them, as well as its documented ability to alleviate diarrhoea during an infection [9,10,11,12].

L. acidophilus Rosell-52 & L. rhamnosus Rosell-11 have also been shown to help prevent infection by less common pathogens including: P. aeruginosa, Klebsiella, and Staphylococcus [13,14].

So all in all these bacteria can be of huge help staying happy and healthy when travelling. Nutritional Therapist, Joanna Lutyens from OptiBac Probiotics says ‘ Your digestive system may be under siege when travelling abroad, both from an intake of foods which your body is not used to, as well as a whole new range of bacteria. It is therefore really important to look after your digestive health when travelling. Taking a probiotic specifically designed to support your gut health in this situation may really help prevent discomfort or illness. Of course there are other things you can do to avoid getting the dreaded Delhi Belly. Tips include avoiding unpeeled fruit and vegetables, avoid tap water even when brushing your teeth, wash your hands regularly, avoid ice cubes and stay hydrated.’

References:

  1. Bradley AC, 2007.
  2. World Tourism Organisation. Tourism highlights. 2008. Available at www.unwto.org
  3. Black RE. Epidemiology of travellers’ diarrhoea and relative importance of various pathogens. Rec. Infect. Dis. 1990: 12 (suppl 1): S73-S79
  4. Jiang ZD; Mathewson JJ, Ericsson CD, Svennerholm AM, Pulido C, DUPont HL. Characterisation of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli strains in patients with traveller’s diarrhoea acquired in Guadalajara, Mexico, 1992-1997. J Infect Dis. 2000;181:779-82
  5. Adachi JA, Jiang ZD, Mathewson JJ, Verenkar MP, Thompson S, Martinez-Sandoval F, et al. Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli as a major etiologic agent in traveller’s diarrhoea in 3 regions of the world. Clin Infect Dis. 2001;32:1706-9.
  6. Centres for disease control and prevention – www.cdc.gov.travel/yellowbookch4-diarrhoea.aspx
  7. McFarland MV, Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveller’s diarrhoea. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2007; 5: 97-105.
  8. Bisson JF. (ETAP), H. Durand (Institut Rosell- Lallemand), Effects of Different Probiotic Formulations on the Traveller’s Diarrhoea Model in Rats. Submitted.
  9. Kirchhelle, A. et al. Treatment of persistent diarrhoea with S. boulardii in returning travellers. Results of a prospective study. Fortschy. Med. 1996, 114:136-140
  10. Kollaritsch, H. et al. Prevention of traveler’s diarrhoea with Saccharomyces boulardii. Results of a placebo controlled double blind study. Fortschr. Med. 1993, 111:152-156.
  11. Kurugol Z., Koturoglu G. Effects of Saccharomyces boulardii in children with acute diarrhoea. Acta pediatr 2005; 94;44-7.
  12. Htwe K; et al. Effect of Saccharomyces boulardii in the Treatment of Acute Watery Diarrhoea in Myanmar Children: A Randomized Controlled Study. Am. J. Top. Med. Hyg. 2008; 78(2):214-216
  13. Tlaskal P, Lactobacillus acidophilus in the treatment of children with gastrointestinal tract illnesses. 1995, Cesko-Slovenska Pediatrie, 51 :615-619.
  14. Wasowska, K. Prevention and eradication of intestinal dysbacteriosis in infants and children. unpublished results 1997
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Sun Safe: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Holiday

Make sure you’re Sun Safe

Sun Safe and Sun FunIt’s holiday season and many of us are looking forward to a hard-earned break. Whether you’re a sun-worshiper, an adventurer or a culture vulture, the summer holiday is one of the key events in our annual calendar. That’s why looking after our health on holiday is especially important. Read on for natural ways to protect yourself against the most common holiday health problems and being sun safe.

Tummy bugs

Traveller’s diarrhoea is the most common health problem related to travelling abroad. Between 10% and 20% of holiday makers travelling to southern Europe or the Caribbean will have their holidays spoiled with episodes of food poisoning. Those travelling to areas such as Asia, the Middle East and Latin America should be particularly cautious as more than 20% will fall ill with traveller’s diarrhoea [1].

The best way to avoid food poisoning abroad is to be extra careful about food hygiene measures. Use bottles or sterilised water if local tap water is unsafe, and avoid ice in drinks. Avoid buffet food that has been left out at room temperature for extended periods – remember hot food should be piping hot and thoroughly cooked, cold food should be cold, and choose fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself. Dressings such as mayonnaise and ketchup are commonly linked with food poisoning, so try using single-serve sealed packages.

A sensible way of protecting against food poisoning is to take a probiotic supplement while travelling. Probiotics bolster the intestinal lining’s protective barrier, making it difficult for infections to take hold. Well-studies strains include L. acidophilus, B. bifidum and L. bulgaricus.
Some probiotics actually secrete antimicrobial substances that protect the body from infection. The probiotic L. Reuterei works in this way, and studies have found it to be particularly effective in preventing gastrointestinal infections and diarrhoea in children [2].

Jet Lag

For those travelling further afield, jet lag can spoil the early days of a long haul holiday, and can leave you feeling tired rather than revitalised on your return.
Jet lag symptoms are made worse by dehydration, so drink plenty of water during your flight, and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Natural treatments for jet lag include melatonin, a hormone involved in the sleep-wake cycle. Food sources of melatonin include goji berries, almonds and raspberries. However, a natural source of melatonin is the Montmorency cherry (used in the CherryActive range. Studies suggest cherry juice appears to raise melatonin levels and to have a positive effect on the sleep cycle [3]. The anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherry juice may also enhance this effect by reducing inflammatory cytokines [4].

Sun Safe ProtectionSunshine

Most of us are aware of sensible sun protection measures, such as covering up, wearing sun-cream and limiting sun exposure. In addition, taking a small amount of the lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, for a few weeks before travelling can also protect skin against sun damage [5]. Just 16mg lycopene has been found to protect against sun damage. This amount can be found is around 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. Other good sources are watermelon, grapefruit and sweet red peppers – all helping to keep you sun safe.

Not taken our advice on being sun safe? One of the best natural treatments for sun burn is topical aloe vera. This leafy plant grows abundantly in hot countries, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Simply break open a leaf and apply the soothing inner gel. Another helpful topical treatment is cider vinegar, which reduces pain, itching and inflammation. Try adding a cupful to your bathwater. Remember the best way to avoid sun burn is to be sun safe in the first place. Whenever and wherever you’re travelling to – have fun!

References

  1. National Travel Health Network and Centre. Traveller’s Diarrhoea. 06/02/2014. https://www.nathnac.org/pro/factsheets/trav_dir.htm Visited 10th May 2015.
  2. Rosemarie De Weirdt (2012) Glycerol Supplementation Enhances L. reuteri’s Protective Effect against S. Typhimurium Colonization in a 3-D Model of Colonic Epithelium. PLoS ONE, 7 (5): e37116
  3. Howatson et al (2010) Effect of tart cherry juice on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr 51(8):909-16
  4. Opp MR (2004) Cytokines and sleep: the first hundred years. Brain Behav Immun. 18(4):295-297.
  5. Rizwan et al (2011) Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans in vivo: a randomized controlled trial. Br J Dermatol 164(1):154-62.
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Does an SPF30 sun lotion give twice the protection of an SPF15 product?

Does an SPF30 sun lotion give twice the protection of an SPF15 product? No – SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and measures the protection against UVB provided by a sunscreen. An SPF15, when applied properly, protects you against 16 out of 17 parts or 93% of UVB. An SPF 30 protects you against 32 out of 33 parts or 97% UVB.

SPF15 93% – 16 parts out of 17 (7% UVB gets through)
SPF25 96% – 24 parts out of 25 (4% UVB gets through)
SPF30 97% – 32 parts out of 33 (3% UVB gets through)

SPF50 will block 98% of UVB rays and SPF100 99%.

Natural SuncareIn reality there is actually not much difference between SPF15 and SPF100 – at least a lot less difference than the SPF figure appears to represent. The fact is that, as long as they are properly applied, most sun lotions offer quite a high level of protection and it just isn’t necessary for most of us to use an ultra-high SPF sunscreen.

SPF ratings higher than 30 are primarily used by sun care companies as a marketing tool, and take advantage of the public’s misperception of what the protection ratings mean.

More worryingly is the fact that these higher SPF levels encourage people to spend longer periods in the sun as they are not visibly burning. However, UVA rays will still be getting through, and it is thought that these are far more damaging in the long term than UVB rays. UVA penetrates deeper into the skin where it can affect living cells in the dermis. This damage can cause symptoms of premature ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles, and can also damage the DNA that carries the genetic code of each cell. If the DNA becomes damaged, cells may mutate and this is thought to be a leading cause of skin cancers.

It is far more important to apply sun lotions in sufficient quantity, to reapply regularly, and to wear protective clothing during exposure to strong sunlight, than it is to use sun lotions with very high SPF factors. Applying half the recommended amount of sun lotion will only give protection equal to the square root of the claimed SPF level. This means that applying half the recommended amount of an SPF15 product will only give approximately SPF4 protection, whilst half the amount of SPF30 will only give approximately SPF5½. As you see from these figures, the difference in protection level between these two products is minimal.

An average adult should use about a 30ml or shot-glass-full to cover the entire body. At this level, an SPF15 sun lotion will filter out 93% of UVB rays, whilst and SPF25 will filter out 96% of UVB. You should also reapply every 2 to 3 hours and always after swimming or profuse sweating in order to maintain protection.

NICE (The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) published guidance advising people to use a broad spectrum sun lotion with at least SPF15 protection.

Content kindly provided by Green People

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Top 4 tips for holiday health

As we roll into the holiday season, many of us will be looking for natural ways to keep our bodies in tip top condition whilst in a new environment.   Whether you are looking for ways to enhance your immune system, avoid the dreaded holiday tummy, protect yourself from bacteria or look after your skin, bodykind is here.   With our top 4 tips for holiday health you cant go wrong and you will be sure to be able to enjoy your holiday, soak up the sunshine and return fit, healthy and raring to go.

Top 4 Tips For Holiday Health
Natural ways to keep our bodies in tip top condition whilst in a new environment (1)

Number one – Grapefruit Seed Extract

What’s the first thing you check when you arrive at your hotel room?….. The bathroom.  But that’s not where the germs are.  It gets cleaned every day.

Instead, it’s the door handles, TV remote, plugs, bedside tables, the hire car steering wheel and money that carry the bugs that can cause the holiday cold or, worse, holiday tummy.  Grapefruit seed extract is derived from the seeds, pulp, and white membranes of grapefruit.  It can be used as a super-powerful; all purpose cleanser for all those areas and even wash fruit and veg with it by putting a few drops in water.  Grapefruit seed extract may also help support and maintain a healthy digestive system and immune system.

Number two – Take a probiotic

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that many people take on holiday to ward off tummy bugs.  These days, most are stable up to around 20°C, so will survive the flight and a short journey to the hotel. But if you don’t have access to a fridge, you’ll need hardier bacteria called L-Sporogenes.  Because it is in a spore form, it survives any holiday heat wave and once taken, changes the environment of the intestines to promote the growth of the friendly bugs and inhibit the bad.  It’s the SAS of bacteria! Try a product such as Probio-Daily by Higher Nature.

Colloidal Silver
Colloidal Silver serves a multitude of uses. It's anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-septic.

Number three – Colloidal Silver for immune support

For those off on a more intrepid trip, Colloidal Silver serves a multitude of uses.  Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-septic, spray it into walking boots to stop the pong, then onto any athletes foot as hot, damp feet provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Use it under the arms to kill the bugs that lead to body odour and on the inevitable skin grazes to keep them clean.

Heard the phrase “born with a silver spoon in their mouth”?  Rich people ate and drank from silver cutlery and tankards in past times, so replicate the protective effect by spraying Colloidal Silver onto eating utensils, pans, crockery and into drinks bottles.

If you’re really travelling, 1 teaspoon left in 250ml water for 6 minutes will render it safe to drink.

Number Four – Natural Sun Protection

Natural sun creams work by reflecting UV radiation off the skin like a mirror.  They protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, without the risk of your body absorbing chemicals which are often present in many mainstream products.  Keep an eye open for the most popular natural certifications such as Soil Association, NaTrue, BDIH and EcoCert. These certifications require a product to meet certain minimum organic and natural standards.

Natural sun care products often contain an array of natural extracts like hemp and coconut oil, shea butter, carrot seed oil and aloe vera, all of which have natural sun protection.  Natural antioxidants from extracts of acai, grape seed and green tea help to protect skin from sunburn and reduce harmful free radical damage and many incorporate gentle, natural botanicals to soothe and moisturise.  Natural materials also help with cell repair – and don’t interfere with the body’s absorption of vitamin D.

Written by Mike Pye

References

1.  Image courtesy of  Grant Cochrane.

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