For many of us, it’s been a time to forget work and let off steam – even if that’s meant putting our bodies through the wringer! All those mince pies and Christmas pudding, all those delicious chocolates, all that eating to excess. And that’s before you even start on the alcohol consumption.
If you’ve been on a merry-go-round of office parties, business lunches and pigging out with family and friends, then what’s wrong with having fun and being sociable? Nothing at all – it’s just that when January comes around, many of us are left feeling bloated, unfit and decidedly lacking in energy.
Quite understandably, the natural reaction is to seek immediate solutions to repair our pulverised bodies. There’s an almost collective feeling of guilt. We give up alcohol for the month, pack in smoking or join the gym. Detox programmes have become almost as fashionable as the hot Christmas dinner itself!
The temptation can be to put ourselves through purgatory to repair “the damage” we’ve done during the festive period - even if this is, for the large majority, just a seasonal blip.
Let’s be clear, if your lifestyle is dominated throughout the year by an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, then this can pose a great risk to health and wellbeing, leading to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes and cancer.
But don’t think you need to go on a radical detox just because of your Christmas-in- isolation excess.
Whatever your reasons for cleansing the system, there are any number of products and diets out there “claiming” to detoxify the entire body, so be careful you don’t overdo it! One of the most popular is the Master Cleanse diet, which is designed to restore energy, help you lose weight and even alleviate certain chronic conditions, like arthritis. However, there is no evidence or data to support this.
According to Health publications published by the Harvard Medical School, the Master Cleanse diet lacks protein, fatty acids and other essential nutrients. In addition, the daily laxative regimen can result in dehydration, deplete much needed electrolytes and impair normal bowel function.
Research suggests that if a person continues to detox in this manner, they run the risk of developing metabolic acidosis, which simply means a disruption of the body’s acid-base balance, resulting in excessive acidity in the blood. In extreme cases, severe metabolic acidosis can lead to coma and death.
The fact is that our bodies are wonderful things, quite capable of performing detoxification functions - if we simply allow them to do so.
Let’s look at our composition, starting with the skin, the largest organ of the body which serves to protect and act as a barrier against harmful substances.
Then there is our immune system which is there to recognise foreign substances and eliminate them from the body.
The respiratory system, meanwhile, includes fine hairs in our nose that trap dirt and particles which may be inhaled. Smaller particles that do get past this first line of defence and make it to the lungs are then expelled from the airways in mucus.
And let’s not forget the liver- the organ which acts as the body’s principal filter. Liver cells produce groups of enzymes that regulate the metabolism of drugs and are an important part of the body’s defence against harmful chemicals and other toxins.
The kidneys are also incredibly efficient at filtering and ridding the body of waste substances.
Our God-given human body is more than capable of defending itself against most environmental irritants and, yes, this includes the festive or other occasional indulgences to which we subject ourselves!
The point is this. Rather than going overboard on some super-duper detox programme which promises to flush out your entire system, revitalise your body and make you a whole new person, as long as you maintain healthy practices, then you are really doing all that’s required to maintain good health and wellbeing.
We will return to this subject in greater detail in future blogs but, for the meantime, let’s focus on the basics, the essentials. By concentrating on these, then you won’t go far wrong.
First and foremost, resolve to eat a healthy diet, one that consists of fresh fruit and fibre. And maintain an adequate fluid intake of two litres of water per day. Your body is made up of about 60% water, so it’s important to stay properly hydrated. Drinking water is beneficial in so many ways, including aiding weight loss, enhancing your brain function, improving your physical performance and helping maintain a healthy, glowing complexion!
Step two – take regular exercise. The British Heart Foundation recommends 30 minutes of brisk walking per day and between six to eight hours of sleep each night. Easier said than done, we appreciate, but determine to keep active on a daily basis and rest up accordingly.
As for alcohol consumption, the UK Chief Medical Officer’s recommended guideline for both men and women is to drink no more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. Better still, give yourself three or four days a week clear of booze altogether and don’t binge drink.
Despite the fact we run busy lives and going to the doctor or even getting an appointment can be a chore, we also recommend frequent health checks. That’s where Health In Check can provide practical, easily accessible help by coming to your place of work to make sure you stay fit and well.
By taking these simple to follow instructions, you are acting responsibly, allowing your body to function naturally and to stay healthy.
So if you are feeling ever so slightly guilty about having overdone things at Christmas – then don’t. We’re all entitled to a party once in a while.
But, equally, you don’t need to become obsessive about how you allow your body to find its natural equilibrium. Detox isn’t a dirty word – but there’s no need to take drastic steps to find a “cure” this January.
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In line with Breast Cancer Awareness month, I would like to share some useful tips and information to enable you to be more breast aware and confident to self examine your breasts.
According to research by Breast Cancer Care nearly 60,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in UK. Breast cancer also affects men, although the occurrence is more rare.
The key is to perform regular breast checks, paying close attention to any changes and reporting it early to a medical practitioner. Early intervention culminates in better treatment outcomes.
So how often should you be checking or performing self examination?
Once a month, a few days after your menstrual cycle. The more familiar you are with your breasts the more obvious any deviation from the norm will be. Although being "busy" is no excuse to not self examine your breasts regularly, I appreciate that as women we tend to lead extremely busy and hectic lifestyles. Which is why I would like to recommend this brilliant app by Breast Cancer Ireland. Their awareness app lets you schedule reminder for performing your breast checks.
How to perform a Breast Self Examination
There are two checks to perform- visual and physical checks.
Start by standing topless in front of a mirror. Visually inspect your breast for the following:
This can be done with your hands placed behind the back of your head.
For the physical examination, while still standing, use your right hand to feel your left breast and visa versa. Use a firm smooth touch with the first two fingers (keep fingers flat and together) and gently feel your breast working from the top of the breast to the underneath. A good place to start is from the top of the under arm. The key thing is to ensure you cover the entire breast from top to bottom, feeling for a lump or thickening of the skin.
It is also important to bear in mind that not all lumps turn out to be cancerous, some are benign (non-cancerous). So try not to panic should you find a lump, however, report it as soon as possible to your doctor.
So some key points to consider:
Awareness is very important and sharing this information could potentially save a life and save a family from the heartache of losing their loved ones.
On a final note, be breast aware and trust your instincts and do report your concerns to your Doctor.
Keep your health in check.
Abigail - Registered Independent Nurse
Top 4 practical steps to a good nights sleep - Posted by Abigail Fri, June 24, 2016 04:49:56
Sleep is a basic human function and our bodies require it everyday in order to maintain our health and wellbeing. Sleep is so vital and a lack of it can lead to serious long term health problems.
The risks for heart disease and type 2 diabetes are also high, and there’s a growing body of evidence showing that poor sleep patterns are directly linked to overweight and obesity. When there is a low level of serotonin it can cause the body to crave carbohydrates. This in turn make you more likely to eat more sugary foods and refined carbohydrates because these foods increase levels of serotonin.
Lack of sleep has also been shown to increase levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, that stimulates appetite and makes us feel hungry, and it decreases levels of the satiety hormone leptin, which gives us that satisfied feeling after eating that prompts us to stop eating. Furthermore being tired in itself can also lead to overeating because sometimes we eat in the belief that we need food to give us the energy we lack.
On average we need around 7-8 hours sleep per night though this can vary from person to person. Children tend to require more- on average between 11-13 hours per day.
Here's 4 practical steps you can take to help you get a good nights rest.
1. Your sleeping environment
Ensure your room is at a comfortable temperature. Tip-keep your room cool, however, keep your hands and feet warm. A comfortable mattress is key to getting a good nights sleep. You may want to consider in investing in one if you haven't already. It will be worth it!
2. Switch Off!
Don't bring your office back home and that includes working on your laptop in bed, or even going through emails on your smart phone. It's easier said than done, trust me I know and often guilty as charged; however, if your ever going to get a decent nights sleep learn to switch off. Literally! Try turning off your phone or (if you're not brave enough) turn off your notifications, particularly for your emails.
Eating a varied diet can significantly improve sleep pattern. It is also a better option than dependence on sleeping pills-and poses no side effects.
Cherry juice has been shown in studies to help people sleep longer due to its ability to help the body produce melatonin. In a study it was found that drinking 30ml of a sour cherry juice twice a day led to an increase in circulating melatonin, providing improvements in sleep amongst healthy adults. The study used Montmorency cherry juice but if you can’t find this variety in health food stores, Acerola cherry juice is also a sour variety which may be as effective.
Some of the main benefits of exercising are : it improves heart health and blood pressure; it builds and strengthens bone and muscle; it helps combat stress; it helps improve mood; and it helps you look and feel better, it can also help you sleep. Even if you spend most of your time at work, there are simple steps you can take to get your quota of exercise; take stairs instead of the lift. Walk or cycle when you can instead of spending all your time on the bus. The British Heart Foundation recommends 30 mins of brisk walking per day.
Above all don’t be concerned about how much sleep you get, it's about how alert and rested you feel during the day and can cope (or not) with day time activities. Remember quality over quantity is just as important.
Abigail Morakinyo - CEO Health in Check
I'd like to share my story with you today, with the hope that someone might just receive the encouragement and strength they need. A little over two years ago, I was at my lowest ebb. I had to deal with constant unfavourable treatment from a manager at work (this started after my return to work following maternity leave).
I dreaded going in to work so much so that it would make me physically sick. I actually felt like a little kid back in the playground having to deal with a bully. The thing is I wasn't a kid but an ADULT and it wasn't a playground but a HOSPITAL. The caring profession I loved so much was now causing me so much anxiety.
Now for those of you that have had babies, did you experience a sense of guilt at leaving your baby to return to work? Well in my case, add that guilt + bully + anxiety + reduced income and spiralling expenses (and a baby of course, ) and what you have is being on the verge of a nervous breakdown!
My turning point came when one evening I looked down at my little baby girl (who's going on three now) with tears pouring from my eyes on to her innocent face; I said to myself "there's got to be more to life". Surely I wasn't put on this earth to just struggle day in day out, work myself sick for people that didn't even appreciate my contribution to the workplace. I was tired, my blood pressure was up. I was ENDURING and not ENJOYING life.
Ok I understand that I was fortunate to have a job but surely there are other ways of earning that money, other than the corporate Job which often means long hours, not seeing family or loved ones, putting off or missing doctors appointments.
It was not long after that I met a brilliant woman who would later become like a business coach/mentor to me. Vee Roberts of insight2marketing you have no idea the impact you've had on me business wise and personally. Although her second to none expertise is in marketing and branding; being a fellow mumprenuer, she understood where I was coming from. Even more importantly, with her expert help I've been able to get MY BUSINESS (yes it feels so empowering to say that) to the stage it is now.
So that's my story. Have I felt frustrated with life? Yes! Have I felt like giving up? Yes! Do I still face challenges? Yes! Is it all worth it? Absolutely! From a health and wellness nurse, with over 10 years experience working in Harley, to an Independent Nurse Consultant. I run a successful Health and wellbeing company which specialises in work place health and offers freelance services to working mum's or mumprenuers who don't have the time to go to their GP, or simply can't get the time off.
If you are going through or have gone through similar experience I would love to hear from you. I believe as women we should empower one another. Great things happen when women support each other. There is more to your life so start living it today. You can connect with me on Facebook here:
It's Mental Health Awareness Week, with the theme of relationships.
I believe that there is a significant and positive role for employers to play in the support of mental health and in creating a working environment which promotes health and wellbeing. This is absolutely necessary considering people spend on average 43.6 hours per week at work. According to the Trades Union Congress, workers in the UK currently work the longest hours in Europe, take shorter breaks and have fewer holidays.
In light of this I'll be giving 5 tips to make your organisation a more friendly and 'healthy' environment. This will help support individuals, and in particular those experiencing mental health difficulties.
1. Be alert to people who might need help.
Quiet or reserved co-workers may actually be screaming for help. Be alert and recognise who or when to help.
2. Be sensitive to people’s needs.
Respect that your co-workers have needs outside of work. Foster an environment that encourages them to make contributions or requests without the fear of being 'dismissed'.
3. Provide opportunities for co-workers to connect and let off steam with some form of activity at work.
Social isolation is a huge factor in mental health. An occasional activity organised at work can help encourage better working relationships. An activity that has nothing to do with work, like a wellbeing day is great. Not only are you showing interest in wellbeing of staff but also giving them something other than deadlines to think and talk about! Does your organisation have wellbeing days? If not then contact
firstname.lastname@example.org to organise one or visit the website www.healthincheck.co.uk
4. Raise awareness of mental health issues in your organisation.
Make it okay to talk about mental health and wellbeing. One in four people will experience mental health issues over the course of a year, so most organisations will contain people affected, or their families and friends. In the same way you would refer a co-worker to occupational health for support with a medical issue; so also you should have details of service providers that can provide appropriate support and help, for people in need of mental health support. Raising awareness will encourage co-workers to come to you or speak out. You can organise mental health awareness workshops or study days for all staff as they can all benefit in one way or another.
5. Consider Gym membership for staff.
Physical health is very important as without this staff cannot carry out day to day task in the workplace effectively. In addition, physical health can also affect mental health. A positive effect can be achieved by having a gym in the workplace (if your premises allows for this) or an exercise room.
Finally, I'd like to leave you with this. Poor Mental health affects the sufferer just as poor physical health can affect the sufferer. The only difference is that one is not as obvious as the other. Let's start supporting each other because you never know who might just really need that bit extra TLC.
Promoting #health and #wellbeing in the workplace is key to establishing a productive and healthy workforce.
We are all aware of the health benefit of honey. Honey has been commonly used throughout history due to its numerous health benefits and versatile use. However, Australian scientists have found that one special type of honey can kill all kinds of bacteria, even the most serious ones.
This incredible discovery may be of extreme importance at a time when even the best antibiotics fail to deliver the desired results, especially in the case of the resistant “superbugs”. It was published in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in June 2009.
The honey that has been found to possess these incredible properties is in fact manuka honey, produced in New Zealand.
As soon as its miraculous health benefits have been revealed, its growing popularity has led to shortages of manuka honey, as well as the selling of fake products.
Manuka Honey Kills MRSA, Other Superbugs
This remarkable type of honey is a product of bees which forage on the Leptospermum Scoparium nectar, which is the New Zealand manuka bush, and on other tea trees which are native to New Zealand and Australia only.
The Australian reported that studies of researchers found that manuka honey successfully kills all kinds of pathogen and bacteria they have tested. It can be consumed or used topically, in order to treat insect bites, cuts or skin infections.
However, the most incredible and significant difference that was found was the fact that none of the superbugs that have been exposed to this honey could build up immunity, which is one of the major problems in the case of antibiotics nowadays.
Dr. Dee Carter of the University of Sydney’s School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences commented “New antibiotics tend to have short shelf lives, as the bacteria they attack quickly become resistant. Many large pharmaceutical companies have abandoned antibiotic production because of the difficulty of recovering costs. Developing effective alternatives could therefore save many lives.”
Dr. Carter states that this remarkable honey includes a compound known as methylglyoxal, which enters in a combination with other unknown ingredients to lead to “multi-system failure” which kills the bacteria.
You can purchase manuka honey online or in health food stores. However, note that there has been a fluctuation in the amounts of it recently. Also, some fake honey scams were also documented.
Due to all this, you should search for a UMF certification label on your manuka honey in order to know that you are buying the authentic one.
The UMF term actually means Unique Manuka Factor, which is the phytochemical quality derived from the manuka bushes which provides its uniqueness. It has been regulated by the New Zealand’s Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association. Moreover, you can also purchase some certified manuka products on Amazon.com
To experience the most benefit, you should take a dose of about 1-2 tablespoons of Manuka honey a day. The easiest way is to just take it straight, but if it is a little too sweet for you, then you can add it to your favorite herbal tea, over yogurt, or on sprouted grain toast.
quick tip:If you want to enhance the immune boosting effect or heal a sore throat, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Research shows that the antimicrobial properties of cinnamon and Manuka honey are so powerful, that they can really help you recover fast!
This weeks top health tip is: TURMERIC! Read on.
1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, according to MIND. What's even more worrying is that according to Office for National Statistics (ONS), a higher proportion of women than men reported that they suffered from the conditions, with the highest indication of anxiety or depression occurring in the 50-54 age group.
There was evidence of anxiety or depression in 19% of people aged 16 or over, with 21% of women reporting the symptoms, and 16% of men.
Are mental health problems increasing?
The overall number of people with mental health problems has not changed significantly in recent years, but worries about things like money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope.
Depression is a real illness. Treatment can help you live to the fullest extent possible, even when you have another illness.
It is common to feel sad or discouraged after a heart attack, a cancer diagnosis, or if you are trying to manage a chronic condition like pain. You may be facing new limits on what you can do and feel anxious about treatment outcomes and the future. It may be hard to adapt to a new reality and to cope with the changes and ongoing treatment that come with the diagnosis. Your favorite activities like gardening, may be harder to do.
Health in Check aims to empower and educate individuals on how to take steps- no matter how little to improve their health and wellbeing. We will always post tips that can easily be incorporated in your day to day activities. That's why we are sharing with you how turmeric can be beneficial and a simple recipe that will boost your immune system.
There is no doubt that turmeric is an incredibly healthy spice, with numerous health benefits and amazing properties. It is rich in antioxidants, has powerful anti-inflammatory, cancer fighting, anti-bacterial and anti- viral properties.
It has now been found to be extremely effective in the treatment of depression, more powerful than any other conventional drug.
Turmeric is also excellent for brain health, it reduces the risk of heart disease, and has been found to be extremely useful in the case of depression.
Furthermore, a clinical trial on the major depressive disorder (MDD) discovered that its active ingredient, curcumin, is equally effective as fluoxetine, which is a prescription drug used in treatment of depression. And the plus side is it has no side- effects!
People with depression have higher levels of inflammation in the brain. Also, people with depression have lower levels of neurogenesis in the brain, meaning they make fewer new brain cells than people with no history of depression. Curcumin is both a potent anti-inflammatory agent and a powerful stimulator for neurogenesis.”
Numerous studies have confirmed that the regular use of turmeric lowers inflammations in the body. The following turmeric lemonade is extremely effective, so this is how to prepare it:
Recipe — (4 servings)
2 tablespoons of freshly grated or powdered turmeric
4 tablespoons of honey, 100% maple syrup, or Stevia
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons or limes
4 cups of cold filtered or sparkling water
Juice of 1 blood orange (optional)
Method of preparation:
In a small pitcher, add all ingredients and mix them. Serve the turmeric lemonade garnished with a slice of lemon.
If you have any enquiries or need further information you can email: email@example.com
1. Drink up.
Exercising in hot weather increases our body temperature. Our bodies do have built-in cooling systems that help us adjust to heat. That’s why we perspire. However, this natural cooling system can fail if we’re exposed to soaring temperatures for too long. The result may be heat exhaustion and even heat stroke.
To keep cool, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Since our bodies are about 60% water, it is vital to maintain this amount. We tend to lose about 2 to 3% during typical exercise and activity, especially on hot days. And while you’re exercising, carry a bottle of water with you and have a few gulps at regular intervals. Don't forget to drink more water after exercise also.
How do I know if I’m drinking enough water?
A good way to know that you’re hydrating properly is by checking the color of your urine. If it’s pale yellow (think lemonade), you’re well hydrated. If it’s darker (like the color of apple juice), drink more.But do be aware that some medications and supplements alter the color of urine, so this gauge, while good for many, does not work for everyone. To be safe, do drink the recommended 8 to 10 glasses of water (1.5 L) /day.
2. Steer clear of sports drinks. They’re loaded with calories.
Sport drinks should only be considered if you’re of ideal body weight and exercising for long durations at high intensities. Even then, it’s a good idea to dilute sport drinks to avoid excessive calorie consumption.
Eating fruits and vegetables during exercise will provide enough electrolytes for the body. Fruits to consider are bananas or orange or vegetables like celery.
What are electrolytes? Electrolytes are important nutrients for our bodies as they play key roles in sending electrical impulses that influence our heart, muscles and nerves. They also play an important role in fluid balance and hydration in our cells, tissues, and our muscles. Lack of sufficient electrolytes can contribute to muscle cramps, delayed muscle soreness and spasms following exercise and for some can contribute to headaches.
3. Take it easy!
You'll be amazed at how the heat and humidity can quickly ware you down particularly if you've previously been exercising during the colder period. If you normally run, then jog or walk. If you’re a brisk walker, slow it down. As your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase the pace and length of your workout. If you have a medical condition and/or take prescribed medicine do check with your GP if you need to take any additional precautions.
4. Avoid the hottest part of the day.
Get up early to catch the cool of the morning, or go out at sunset or later.
5. Wear light-colored, lightweight clothing.
Dark colors absorb the heat, which can make you feel as if you’re wrapped in a warm blanket. Heavyweight, tight-fitting clothing will also heat you up. Keep it loose. Keep it light. More air will be able to circulate over your skin, keeping you cool.
6. Eat snacks to maintain energy.
But pick juicy snacks like fruit. The last thing you need in scorching heat are dry snacks like crackers, popcorn, or energy bars that require your body to add water. Plus, dry snacks are often dense with calories, which means they can easily foil weight-loss goals, summer or winter.
7. Listen to your body
Never push yourself to the extent your health suffers. If you’re feeling any of the following, find air-conditioned comfort fast.
Remember that even a 20-minute workout has positive health effects. It’s the number of days you exercise that matters most. Frequency of days far outweighs the amount of time of any given exercise session.
Above all be happy, stay safe, keep well.
A major study carried out found that Briton has fallen way behind many western countries on progress in managing preventable diseases.
One of the five biggest killers and increasingly common is cancer. It is estimated that by 2030 three million people in England will have had some form of cancer.
Without a doubt, more awareness needs to be created and necessary screenings made available. However, the onus remains on the individual to seek the right information and invest in their health. What is more costly preventing ill health or treating it?
It is not only the sufferer of cancer, for instance, that suffers but the family at large. You see ill health not only impacts an individual but can also be a strain on their partner or relations- be it financially or emotionally. So in that respect we can't really not afford to take our health in our own hands, even if it means investing in health checks.
Now although a lot of work is being done to improve outcomes for some of the common cancers, the UK still remains behind in terms of cancer survival rate.
According to Cancer Research UK part of the problem is unhealthy lifestyles. It is estimated that about a third of cancers are caused by poor diet, alcohol, obesity and smoking.
The screening tools available for certain cancers like breast and cervical cancer will only prove to be useful if there is a better understanding and awareness of symptoms.
If you have had time to read this blog then I urge you to take a further 8 minutes to follow the link below and watch the brief video explaining how cancer can be prevented quite easily.
You could be saving yourself and indeed a loved one from a lot of stress and heartache.
Information + Action = Results
Thank you for reading!
Health & Lifestyle Consultant - firstname.lastname@example.org | 07568578580
To educate, inform and empower people to take care of their health. To offer a mobile service that builds health awareness at people’s place of work. Values are the bedrock of exceptional performance and our three keys to success are:
We pride ourselves on acting with integrity at all times.
We are not here to judge. Only to provide you with up to date advice and help you live a more qualitative life.
We are passionate and very happy about what we do and about our clients and their employees.