Anti-ageing for 2018: The FIVE trends you will be following next year to turn back time

Anti-ageing brings to mind face creams, but in 2018 the term will be applied to multiple aspects of your lifestyle.

Scientists recently confirmed that it was biologically impossible for humans to live forever, but there is no reason why you can’t boost your longevity.

Much advice about how to live longer stems around diet, with Mediterranean eating in particular said to ward off death. 

However, 2018 will see the anti-ageing focus shifted into other areas of wellness fro how you sit, to where you workout.

Would you try these five new anti-ageing health trends? 

Posture training

Back pain and other musculoskeletal problems are on the rise, and poor posture is often to blame. However, learning how to sit and stand properly could save your life.

A study published earlier this year by Sydney University linked back and neck pain to an early death among the elderly.

As such, Upright Technologies, who have created a wearable device called UPRIGHT GO to encourage good posture, argue that ‘sitting is the new smoking’, and believe that posture training will be one of the health trends to watch next year.

Musculoskeletal problems are the second most common cause of sick days, and cost the UK economy around £2.3bn a year. What’s more, 80 per cent of the nation is likely to suffer with back pain at some point in their lives.

Preventative health

Stopping diseases in their tracks - and even before symptoms have begun to appear - will be a focus of next year in healthcare.

Approximately 70 per cent of premature deaths worldwide each year are due to preventable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

In response, wellness retreats - known as medi-spas - are increasingly revolved around helping people lower their risk of such conditions. 

These ‘preventative health holidays’ will involve health check-ups, counselling and spa therapies that cater to disease prevention.

Palacio Estoril Preventative Health in Portugal, Kurotel Healthy Longevity in Brazil and The Farm Heart Health & Stress Reduction in the Philippines are just some of the destinations providing these services.

All-in-one fitness

It is well-known that exercising regularly increases our lifespan by boosting heart health.

Indeed, working out lowers levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, reduces blood pressure and burns body fat.

But if pilates is good for joint pain, and HIIT boost cardiovascular fitness, how can you ensure you have enough variety to your gym routine?

All-in-one memberships, like London-based ClassPass and nationwide MoveGB, allow you to try a wide range of fitness so you’ll never get bored.

The latter provides unlimited access to thousands of local venues across the UK from just £1.25 a week.

DIY health tests

Looking after your heart and brain could have an anti-ageing effect and help you live longer.

Dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK, with cardiovascular disease following closely behind.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help keep your brain and heart in top health - but how do you know you’re getting enough? Next year you'll be able to do a test from the comfort of your own home.

“Whether it’s to reveal underlying health issues such as allergies, food intolerances and even deficiencies, at-home testing kits are taking the health world by storm,” Amy Morris, naturopathic nutritionist at Water for Health.

“Performed from the comfort of your own home, these kits are normally incredibly easy to use and time saving, allowing you to take control of your health and understand what’s really going on in your body.

“I recommend the WHC Omega 3 Testing kit (£57.75 from www.water-for-health.co.uk). The test determines the levels of omega-3 EPA and DHA in your blood, key metrics for heart, brain, joint and eye health, and following a simple skin prick test your results are analysed by a leading lab in Belgium before your results are emailed to you, clearly indicating if there is a deficiency or cause for concern.”

‘Clean’ beauty

There is a move towards natural skincare without toxins - known as ‘clean’ beauty - and 2018 will see this area of skincare shed even more potentially harmful ingredients.

According to Sara Werner, founder of Cocunat - whose range of toxic-free skincare and hair care recently launched in the UK - ‘clean’ beauty is following ‘clean’ eating as a wellness trend.

Indeed, Mintel’s 2018 Beauty Report suggested that the concept of natural beauty is expanding, with consumers increasingly aware of the substances they are applying to their bodies. 

This is said to include parabens, silicones and sulphates among other ingredients. A celebrity hairdresser recently revealed to Express.co.uk the damaging effect of sulphate in shampoos on the hair, revealing that it could exacerbate hair loss.



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Gym workout diet: Build muscle by eating THESE kind of eggs before you exercise

Gyms are likely to be packed from tomorrow, but make the most of your new membership by ensuring you are fuelling yourself with the right diet.

Exercising to build muscle is a focus for many people, and it is particularly important for older people at risk of frailty.

From the age of 30 years, muscle declines by as much as three to five per cent each decade.

Enjoying eggs for breakfast could help combat this, according to new research.

Scientists from the University of Illinois have discovered that eating whole eggs - as opposed to just egg whites - is better for muscle building and repair.

Consuming just the whites of an egg has been popular in the past for weight loss and lowering cholesterol.

However, people who consumed 18g of protein from the entire egg got more out of doing resistance exercise than those who consumed the same amount of protein from just egg whites.

In fact, post-workout muscle-building was 40 per cent greater if the former, rather than the latter, was consumed.

Egg yolks not only contain protein, but also key nutrients.

“This study suggests that eating protein within its most natural food matrix tends to be more beneficial to our muscles as opposed to getting one's protein from isolated protein sources," said Professor Nicholas Burd, study leader from the University of Illinois.

“We saw that the ingestion of whole eggs immediately after resistance exercise resulted in greater muscle-protein synthesis than the ingestion of egg whites.

"There's a lot of stress on protein nutrition in modern society, and research is showing that we need more protein in the diet than we once thought to maintain health.”

Eggs are naturally high in protein, as well as vitamin D and the antioxidants choline and beta carotene.

How you cook your eggs can also influence how good they are for you.

An expert recently revealed to Express.co.uk whether scrambled, boiled or poached was most healthy.

Rob Hobson, Healthspan’s head of nutrition and author of The Detox Kitchen Bible: “If you are watching your weight, poaching and hard boiling are going to contain fewer calories and fat compared to scrambled or fried which are often cooked using oils, butter and cream.”



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New year diet? Forget weight loss, THIS is the unhealthy habit you should be giving up

New year’s resolutions are a time when Britons have the opportunity to ditch their unhealthiest habits.

More often than not people will set out to lose weight by a trendy diet or by increasing their exercise levels.

However, new research suggests we should be focusing our ‘new year, new you’ intentions elsewhere.

A survey by A. Vogel discovered that looking at our phones before bed tops a list of our unhealthiest habits.

A study by the University of California found that the more time spent browsing on your phone before bed the worse your sleep quality was.

Other bad habits we want to change, but feel powerless to, include not going to bed early enough, too much screen time and eating late at night.

Here is the full list of our 20 top unhealthy habits:

1.   Looking at your phone before bed               

2.   Spending too long on your phone and looking at screens 

3.   Eating late at night            

4.   Making excuses not to work out or exercise 

5.   Eating ZERO fruit or veg in a day 

6.   Ordering take-aways at weekends               

7.   Taking sugar in tea and coffee       

8.   Raiding the fridge after dinner     

9.   Drinking too much coffee               

10.  Taking the lift or escalators rather than the stairs   

11.  Drinking too many fizzy drinks                      

12.  Relying on ready meals and quick fix foods              

13.  Putting too much salt on your food           

14.  Driving everywhere rather than walking 

15.  Secret eating       

16.  Drinking more than your weekly alcohol units

17.  Not brushing your teeth in the morning 

18.  Parking as close to the shops as possible 

19.  Never taking off make-up before bed          

20.  Picking food from your children’s plates                  

Not getting enough sleep has a knock on effect for several other bad habits.

Dr Becky Spelman, said: “Failing to get enough sleep should not be underestimated in terms of its impact on our habits. 

“Most of us should try to get eight or nine hours of good quality sleep every night. However, a lot of us live with chronic sleep deprivation because we’ve got into the habit of staying up late to watch TV, play video games, browse the Internet, or just have one more drink. 

“This can play havoc with our metabolism, and make us crave ‘quick fixes’ such as drinks high in caffeine and/or sugar, which may make us feel better in the short term, but only contribute to our feeling worse overall.

“We are also, obviously, less inclined to exercise when we are tired. Any attempt to kickstart a healthier lifestyle should start with ensuring that we are getting enough sleep.”

Tiredness also means we rely on coffee more to get us through the day.

Emma Ross, nutritionist for A.Vogel, said: “Relying on coffee isn’t such a good idea to make it through the day.

“We all have days where we take short-cuts, but making simple, yet small changes such as keeping hydrated and moving away from sugary or caffeine drinks can have a huge positive impact. 

“There are natural energy drinks such as A.Vogel’s Balance Mineral Drink that contains electrolytes with calcium and magnesium to support our energy levels more naturally and help reduce tiredness and stress.”



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What is Dry January? THREE ways to help you stop drinking alcohol for a month REVEALED

Dry January, which begins tomorrow on New Year’s Day, will see many give up wine, beer and other forms of alcohol for an entire month.

A recent report has suggesed more than three million people were likley to get involved this year.

Taking a break from the booze comes with positives for your health, including allowing your liver to recover and helping with weight loss.

Additionally, you’ll feel better. Research by Alcohol Concern revealed that 62 per cent of those who participate in Dry January have better sleep and more energy.

It’s not hard to see why five million Britons took part last year.

While the benefits are enticing, how will you actually stick to 31 days off the sauce?

Download an app

The Dry January app, created by the charity Alcohol Concern, aims to help keep you on the alcohol-free wagon.

As well as support from the charity, helpful features include a progress calendar and trackers to log how much money and calories you have saved.

Participants are also encouraged to raise money for causes close to their heart.

The app is free and can be downloaded on the App Store and Google Play.

Avoid temptation

The New Year’s Day hangover may make it pretty easy to get going with Dry January, but two weeks in and saying no to a beer may be a bit more difficult.

The charity Drink Aware recommends removing yourself from situations where you might be tempted.

They state: “This could mean opting out of the weekly pub quiz for a while, or if you tend to drink when eating out, try going to restaurants that don’t sell alcohol or simply volunteering to drive.

“Similarly, try to identify the times when you would usually drink and fill the gap with something else.”

They suggest going to the cinema or heading to a swimming pool.

Reward yourself 

Not spending your cash on alcohol means you’ll have money in the bank to treat yourself with.

Drink Aware recommend rewarding yourself for sticking to your alcohol-free regime.

“If you tend to drink in front of the TV after work, try replacing that glass of wine with something else you enjoy, or treat yourself to some new clothes or a day out with the money you’re saving on alcohol,” they state.

“The cost of alcohol mounts up with surprising speed – you could try putting aside the money you would normally spend on alcohol at home or while out, and spend it on another treat at the end of the week or the month.”



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New Year’s Eve WARNING: Watching fireworks in the cold could trigger DEADLY illnesses

New Year’s Eve will see millions around the UK head outside to enjoy fireworks welcoming in 2018.

But with temperatures set to dip below freezing in many parts of the country, the government has issued a health warning.

The elderly and vulnerable are being urged to take extra precautions tonight in order to avoid developing potentially-deadly illnesses from the cold.

Temperatures are predicted to dip to -7C in northern Britain, while snow is set to hit Scotland and northern England today.

The government stated: “There is a 90 per cent probability of severe cold weather, icy conditions and heavy snow which could increase the health risk of vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.”

Public Health England (PHE) also issued a statement: “Cold triggers thousands of illnesses and deaths across the UK every winter and the PHE is urging people to wrap up warm and take extra care when out and about.”

Their warnings come as the NHS has expressed fears in recent weeks that plummeting temperatures in December could trigger a rise in the number of people admitted to A&E.

They revealed that a 5C drop in temperature corresponds to a ten per cent rise in older people seeking medical attention.

The health service revealed an increased risk of heart attack and stroke from cold temperatures.

Icy conditions also place the elderly and vulnerable at risk of developing potentially-deadly flu.

The latest figures revealed that the so-called Aussie flu caused eight deaths in the UK so far this winter.

While flu can often be treated at home, the NHS recommend people should call 999 or go to A&E if they develop sudden chest pain, have difficulty breathing or start coughing up blood.

In recent weeks Asthma UK warned that those suffering from the respiratory condition were more likely to experience a flare-up.

There is also a higher risk of heart failure in frosty temperatures. 

A study published in September by the Universitié Laval, in Québec, Canada, found that the cold could trigger the condition in some people.

The researchers advised elderly people - who are at a higher risk - to avoid fog and low cloud in the winter months.



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New flu superjab breakthrough to replace vaccine that fails the elderly

The injection used this year as part of the £100million winter vaccine campaign will be scrapped for those over 75 next winter and replaced with a new jab experts hope will prove more effective.

NHS England wrote to all GPs last week to inform them of the move.

Those 65 and over who could also benefit from the boosted jab will have to wait until there is a large enough supply to include them too, it added.

The UK is on high flu alert this winter with more than 1,000 people infected with the virus last week alone – a 156 per cent jump on the previous week. 

The sharp rise has in part been triggered by new strains, including so-called Aussie flu – a strain of influenza A which has hit Australian hospitals.

This H3N2 subtype led to two-and-a-half times the normal number of flu cases in Australia.

The instructions for next year’s flu season follow recent research from Public Health England which found that having the vaccine did not reduce the chance of pensioners developing flu at all last year.

But until the new jab is in place, the advice is to rely on the existing one as it is better than no defence at all. 

Some 34,300 more, mainly elderly, people died between December 2016 and March 2017 because of winter illnesses.

The biggest increase was among the over-85s, while respiratory death rates were up 50 per cent.

Between 2015 and 2016 the number of “excess” winter deaths was 24,580.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “Last winter was not specially severe but the number of deaths was high. A less than fully effective fl u vaccine is likely to be one reason and it is clearly important older people get access to an effective vaccine as soon as possible.” 

Professor Robert Dingwall, an expert in influenza and social sciences at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Research shows over the last 10 years this vaccine has not been terribly effective in older people. It is welcome that the public health system is responding to the fact things are not working.”

Last year’s flu vaccine was 66 per cent effective in children and 41 per cent effective in adults under 65.

But it had little or no effect on older people. Studies also show over the past 10 years it has at best been only minimally effective in older people.

In a recent meeting, independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the Government, claimed the current jab has had “no discernible impact” on rates of flu among pensioners. 

The present vaccine is altered each year to protect against the three strains most likely to be circulating.

But the new vaccine has compounds which make the virus more visible to the immune system, so it is better able to cope.

John Newton, of Public Health England, has previously said: “The flu vaccination is the best protection we have against fl u and it’s really important to have it if you are eligible.”



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Keeping it simple is key to dieting in the new year, says leading heart doctor

Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra recommends eating a balanced diet of plenty of vegetables, fish, dairy and healthy fats.

There’s no need to sign up to a gym. Maintain fitness with lots of brisk walking, says the top doctor.

Cutting sugar and refined carbohydrates, like cakes, pasta and pizzas, is also key to good health.

His findings are detailed in his book The Pioppi Diet, which promises to increase longevity by 10 years. 

Dr Malhotra said: “It is clear that diet and lifestyle are far more powerful than drugs or taking to the gym.

“Lifestyle changes such as consuming less sugar are more powerful than any medication doctors can prescribe. You cannot outrun a bad diet – this should be what doctors are advising their patients. Eating junk food and then trying to beat the bulge with heavy workouts is a waste of time.”

Enjoying dark chocolate and a glass of wine in moderation, however, would be beneficial to health, said Dr Malhotra, who will be giving a keynote speech to members of the European Parliament in February as part of his campaign to halt the growing obesity crisis.

Dr Malhotra, a founding member of Action on Sugar, a pressure group run by senior doctors, will also reveal his health and diet plan to the Exercise and Medicine Symposium in Cardiff next month.

He says following his diet and lifestyle techniques can transform a person’s health in just 21 days, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes and increasing longevity.

His work is largely based on the study of the inhabitants of Pioppi, a fishing village in Italy, where the average age is almost 90 and only a small minority suffer conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Dr Malhotra’s advice comes ahead of a major government health campaign to be launched next week which will encourage parents to reduce children’s intake of sugary snacks to two a day and each of which is no more than 100 calories.

The Change4Life campaign, being launched to help reduce childhood obesity, follows research showing children eat at least three times more sugar than is recommended.

Jack Winkler, Emeritus Professor of Nutrition Policy at London Metropolitan University said: “This is both radical and sudden and looks more aspirational than feasible.” 



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Fancy a low-cal drink? These are the alcoholic tipples with the fewest calories

Calories from alcohol are ‘empty calories’ - they have no nutritional value. Most alcoholic drinks have very small amounts of vitamins and minerals, but not enough to make any nutritional difference, said Drinkaware.

A single pint of beer contains the same amount of calories as a slice of pizza, the charity said.

A large glass of wine (250ml) could add up to 228 calories to your dinner - the equivalent to an ice cream or a couple of fish fingers.

But, there are ways to drink in moderation while keeping your weight down, according to Superfood UK nutritionist, Shona Wilkinson.

“To keep the calories down when you’re drinking, try going with single shots of spirits such as gin, whisky or vodka with a sugar-free mixer such as slimline tonic,” said Wilkinson.

“If you’re drinking cocktails, then look for those made just with fruit juice and spirits rather than those containing sugary syrups or extra added sugar.”

For those that prefer beer, Wilkinson said: “Go for a light beer, which can contains around 100 calories or fewer per bottle – fewer than half the calories in a large glass of wine.”

Prosecco could be good for the blood, as it contains high levels of polyphenols, she said.

“Polyphenols slow down the normal removal of nitric oxide from the blood, which helps to increase circulation,” Wilkinson added.

According to MuscleFood.com, these are the best drink swaps to make to lower calorie intake:

  • Sweet White Wine 175ml 160cal - Champagne 120ml 89cal
  • Gin & Tonic 210ml 170cal - Slim Line G&T 210ml 115cal
  • Vodka Tonic 280ml 175cal Skinny Vodka Tonic 280ml 106cal
  • Lager 568ml (1 Pint) 208cal - Barbell Brew Beer 330ml 92cal
  • Mojito 230ml 242cal - Martini 250ml 70cal
  • Long Island Iced Tea 420ml 424cal - Cosmopolitan 250ml 100cal
  • Margarita 230ml 280cal - Moscow Mule 170ml 120cal

Drinking alcohol reduces the amount of fat the body burns for energy, according to Drinkaware.

While we can store nutrients, proteins, carbohydrates and fat in our bodies, we can’t store alcohol, so our systems want to get rid of it. It becomes a priority, meaning burning fat and absorbing nutrients are put on the back-burner, it said.

You can calculate how many calories are in your alcoholic drinks by heading to Drinkaware.

Excessive drinking can cause major health problems. For more information, see Drinkaware.co.uk.



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Why do Dry January? Weight loss and better sleep top benefits of going booze-free

Taking part in Dry January will help people to reset their relationship with alcohol, according to charity Alcohol Concern.

A month without alcohol will help people to feel healthier and happier, and will help them realise they don’t need it, it added.

People have reported losing weight, and feeling better about life after the end of the month.

It could also save people money, as the average person in the UK spends about £50,000 on booze in their lifetime, the charity said.

“Dry January is popular partly because it feels like a detox: an opportunity to clean up after weeks of excess,” said Alcohol Concern’s Policy and Research Director, Dr James Nicholls.

“Often what people are really doing in Dry January is resetting their relationship with drink.

“It's partly about seeing how it feels to go without alcohol for an extended period, and plenty of people report better sleep, weight loss and better mood - not mention the money saved.”

By November, more than three million people in the UK were already expecting to take January off alcohol, Nicholls added.

The campaign isn’t a ‘magic bullet’ - it won’t magically fix everything in your body if you’re drinking too much for the remaining 11 months, the charity said.

Similarly, Dry January isn’t a moral crusade, it claimed. It won’t make you a better person, and it’s not about looking down on others who aren’t taking part. It’s about reflecting on your own choices, said Alcohol Concern.

Some people find a month without alcohol difficult, while others find it to be a revelation, Nicholls added.

“Over the years, I have often stopped drinking in January - with varying degrees of success,” he said.

“Once I lasted through until mid-February; in other years, I've caved in within days.

“Like millions of people, though, I'm planning to do it again this year.”

Sign up to Dry January to get tips and tricks from experts on making your 31 days a success.



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Diabetes breakthrough? New skin patch could end misery of daily insulin injections

Live longer: Secret to good health unveiled and it could be easier than you think

Researchers who polled 2,000 adults found almost three quarters of Brits believe forgetting you are an adult from time to time is important.

One in four of those revealed they wanted to stay 'child-like' as long as possible.

The study commissioned by Healthspan to launch their new range of Multivitality Gummies for men and women found that feeling nostalgic and identifying with those things from our childhood makes us happy.

Dr Meg Arroll, a psychologist on behalf of Healthspan, said: "Perceiving ourselves as younger than our age is linked to a more future-orientated outlook, which means that we make better health choices such as engaging in exercise and healthy eating."

The study also found men are still embracing their inner child well into their twenties by playing video games and enjoying practical jokes.

And it seems men don't 'mature' fully until the age of 29.

But women aren't far behind - only acting like a fully-grown adult once they reach the age of 27.

The research revealed over half of Brits hankered after their childhood and 19 to 25 years of age was identified as the 'carefree' years of youth.

Watching kid's films and old TV shows, pulling silly faces behind other people's backs, and mimicking what other people say are just some of the ways people behave child-like.

Other signs of not becoming a fully-fledged adult include blowing bubbles through a straw, driving with the music turned up loud and daydreaming all the time.

More than half of those revealed that they feel nostalgic for their childhood.

One in four of those surveyed said that one of the things they love most about being a parent is that is gives them an excuse to be a big child again and play with toys.

Dr Meg Arroll said: "The findings of this survey support previous research that has shown nostalgia boosts our mood.

"Which may be why the majority of survey respondents stated that Christmas was their favourite time of year as this is a time when adults shake off their daily worries and jump into playing games, spending time with loved ones and reconnecting with their inner child."

Monopoly, playing cards and Lego were the games that most helped us connected with our childhood in a positive way.

Watching old movies, listening to songs from our childhood, old TV programmes, playing board games, eating old fashioned sweats and pouring over old holiday photos were some of the things Brits do to recapture those memories.

Dr Meg Arroll added: "The research shows that nostalgia can buffer against depression, boost social connectedness, so doing things/activities from childhood can be important in maintaining health, specifically with regard to social connectedness as isolation is so damaging to health, e.g. as bad as smoking."

The study carried out via OnePoll.com, found unanimously that being a 'Kidult' is good for your health from thinking yourself younger, to indulging in some nostalgia and getting in touch with your inner child or doing something child-like will make you feel happy.



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Black poo? THREE reasons for strange bowel symptom - and if you should see doctor

Black poo is one of a number of shades your stools can turn, and it could indicate diet or a medical condition.

It is worth paying attention to poo colour since it can often be a good indicator of health.

According to the Mayo Clinic, all shades of brown - and even green - are considered normal.

However, dark red poo can indicate bowel cancer, while white or clay-coloured stools may point to diseases of the liver or bile ducts.

Black poo could be caused by iron supplements, and even a handful of Oreos can turn them dark.

But you should see your doctors as soon as possible since it could be a sign of something much more serious.

Bleeding ulcer

Black poo may be triggered by bleeding in the upper digestive tract, such as the oesophagus and stomach.

In these cases blood is digested for longer than if bleeding was taking place in the bowel and around the anus which would leave the stool a red colour instead.

Bleeding in any of these parts of the gastrointestinal tract could be very dangerous and you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

This is because bleeding could be potentially caused by an ulcer or tumour, and may prove fatal.

Bowel cancer

According to Cancer Research UK, dark or black-coloured stools could indicate cancer higher up in the bowel - known as the colon.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause cancer death in the UK.

Black poo may be accompanied by other symptoms, including a change in bowel habits - like diarrhoea and constipation - as well as rectal bleeding.

Gastritis

This is inflammation of the stomach lining and could be caused by over-indulging in alcohol, spicy foods and smoking.

It could also be triggered by over-use of NSAIDs and a bacterial infection.

The condition could be caused by black or dark-coloured stools due to bleeding.

If left untreated, it could lead to dangerous loss of the stomach lining and glands.



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Weight loss diet: Five EASY ways to start shedding excess Christmas pounds NOW

With Christmas over and ‘dry’ January on the horizon, shedding excess pounds is likely to be on the thoughts of most Britons in the lull before New Year’s Eve.

However, jumping from a diet of mince pies and mulled wine to one far lower in sugar and unhealthy fats can seem daunting.

“Food is there to be enjoyed as much as it is needed for nourishment,” said Lily Soutter, a nutritionist.

“However, for some Christmas can take its toll on their waistline, which can lead to that depressing January diet.”

But Soutter said that by taking some simple steps towards a healthy, balanced diet before January can prevent the need for strict calorie counting in the new year.

Here are five easy diet switches to help you begin trimming down now.

Eat breakfast

Never skip the first meal of the day, advised Soutter.

“Set yourself up for success by having a healthy but hearty breakfast,” she said. “Research has shown that those who eat breakfast tend to have a more of a balanced diet, are less likely to be overweight, lose weight more successfully and are less likely to snack unnecessarily.  

“One study has also shown that participants who consumed good quality protein at breakfast stayed ‘fuller for longer’, which in turn prevented overeating later on in the day.”

She added that you could add protein to breakfast by eating Greek yoghurt with seeds or berries, and boiled eggs on wholegrain toast.

Use up the leftovers

While ploughing through all the leftover turkey from Christmas dinner may seem like a chore, it could help your waistline.

“Turkey may be a perfect festive choice when it comes to weight management,” explained Soutter.  “This lean meat is low in calories and is a source of good quality protein. 

“Research suggests that protein may help to stave of hunger and maintains that all-important fat burning muscle mass.

“It’s also rich in tryptophan, the precursor to our happy hormone serotonin. The happier we are the more satisfied we tend to feel.

She recommended using it up in salads, burgers, stews and soups. 

The same goes for leftover potatoes, which you may be tempted to cook in goose fat, butter, lard and ghee.

“But by swapping saturated fats for monounsaturated fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, you may be one step closer to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and better heart health,” she explained.

Pile on the winter veg

Salads are understandably the last thing you want to devour when it’s cold outside, but vegetables can be served hot too.

Soutter recommended filling your plate with lots of festive winter vegetables.

“It’s easy to eat a 400-calorie mince pie within seconds, but not so easy to eat 400 calories worth of vegetables quite so quickly - you’d be stuffed,” she said. “Vegetables are a rich source of fibre, which can help to keep hunger at bay.

“Fill at least half of your plate with them and you’ll be guaranteed to have a lower calorie and healthier dish.

“Try rainbow coloured winter veg such as vitamin A rich carrots, vitamin C rich broccoli and antioxidant rich beetroot to support immunity.”

She added cooking them with spices or roasting them with olive oil could give them a twist.

Choose the right carbs

Many people believe January diets mean low or no carbs, but Soutter pointed out that carbohydrates are important to still include in our diet - just make sure they’re the right ones.

“During the winter months, there is a tendency to gravitate towards carb-heavy, high-calorie meals to make us feel warm and cosy,” she explained.

“Filling up on refined carbohydrates such as white rice, bread, pasta, cakes and pastries may reduce fibre intake and lead blood sugar imbalances. Both can set up a cycle, which keeps appetite in motion. But there’s no need to cut carbs during winter, the key is to choose carbs with health benefits. 

“Whole grains such as brown rice, bread and pasta are a great source of fibre – an important factor for balancing blood sugar and keeping hunger at bay. 

“Whilst root vegetables, beans, lentils and chickpeas are low in calories, nutrient dense and can satisfying those stodgy, carby cravings.”

Don’t go to a New Year’s Eve party hungry

“If you’re worried about your waistline, attending parties starving hungry may be a recipe for disaster,” warned Soutter.

“Whilst there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a canapé or two, it’s important to note that they tend to be high in calories and fat, without being particularly filling. 

“Try consuming a small meal or snack before parties to line your stomach.”

If you’d still like to celebrate the beginning of 2018 with an alcoholic beverage just make sure you avoid high-calorie cocktails.

“For a lower calorie beverage try a clear spirit - such as vodka or gin - with a no sugar mixer, like sparkling water, and a squeeze of lemon or lime,” she suggested.

“With only 70 to 90 calories per glass and zero sugar, this is a top choice for those aiming for balance.”



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New year weight loss diet: Eating carbs is good for your waistline

The new year will bring with it a host of complex diets, but weight loss could be as simple as eating more carbs.

Scientists have discovered that eating more fibre could help trim our waistlines and combat obesity.

Fibre can be found in whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes, and it is recommended we consume around 30g a day.

However, most Britons only mange to consume around 15g, and this could be causing weight gain.

A new study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe revealed that fibre intake could affect weight, as well as blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and bowel health.

They point out that the food group could be as important to a healthy diet as counting calories.

This is because fibre helps promote gut health by being consumed as fuel by ‘good’ bacteria during digestion.

The researchers discovered that low-fibre diets led to weight gain, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance in mice.

Previous research has linked low amounts of fibre to an increased risk of inflammatory bowel diseases and diabetes.

“Diets that lack fibre alter the bacterial composition and bacterial metabolism, which in turn causes defects to the inner mucus layer…something that triggers inflammation and ultimately metabolic disease," said Gunnar C. Hansson, a study author from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

In May, experts revealed that a high-fibre diet could ease painful knee osteoarthritis.

After looking at the diets of 4,051 people, they discovered that a high cereal fibre intake reduced symptoms.

Eating more fibre for weight loss goes against the philosophy of many new year diet regimes which recommend low carbohydrate intake.

These include the ketogenic diet which encourages people to fill up on protein and fats instead.

A number of weight loss diets were recently criticised by the British Dietetics Association, including raw veganism and the Pioppi diet.

Obesity is a growing problem in the UK with recent NHS figures estimating that 27 per cent of adults are obese.



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What is the link between bacon and cancer? New type of bacon lowers cancer risk

Naked Bacon is the first product to be sold in the UK without nitrites, preservatives, E numbers and all allergens, according to its Northern Irish makers Finnebrogue.

The nitrite-free rashers will go on sale from January 10. But at 50p a slice compared to the usual 25p, each pack is twice the price of regular supermarket brand bacon.

Many shoppers may be wondering whether it’s worth the splurge in order to stay healthy. So, is traditional bacon bad for you? And is there a link between bacon and cancer?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has previously said there is evidence linking processed meats with bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer.

In 2015, a WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report said: “Processed meat was classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer.”

Processed meat refers to any meat which has been transformed by salting, curing, fermentation or smoking to enhance its flavour and preserve the product.

Bacon, sausages, ham, corned beef, salami and beef jerky are all examples along with canned meat and meat-based sauces.

What makes these types of meat dangerous are the carcinogenic chemicals, such as nitrites, that form during the cooking or curing process.

Health experts concluded that for every 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily, the risk of developing bowel cancer rose by 18 per cent.

This was supported by independent academic organisation Global Burden of Disease, which said 34,000 cancer deaths a year worldwide were because of diets high in processed meat.

However, the risk dropped to “probably carcinogenic to humans” for red meat, which includes veal, port, lamb, mutton, horse and goat.

Dr Christopher Wild, director of IARC said: “These findings further support current public health recommendations to limit intake of meat.

“At the same time, red meat has nutritional value. Therefore, these results are important in enabling governments and international regulatory agencies to conduct risk assessments, in order to balance the risks and benefits of eating red meat and processed meat and to provide the best possible dietary recommendations.” 

Earlier this year, the American Institute for Cancer Research reported eating wholegrains daily, such as brown rice or whole wheat bread can lower the risk of bowel cancer.

However, with many people not willing to give up the bacon just yet, will Naked Bacon provide a tasty alternative?

Finnebrogue chairman Denis Lynn believes so. He said: “Our Naked Bacon is not only safer than any other bacon on the market, it also tops the charts in blind taste tests.

“This really is the biggest revolution to the British breakfast for a generation.”



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Hair loss treatment: Three everyday habits that could be causing you to lose your locks

Hair loss is a common problem for men and women, and can be caused for a number of reasons.

While half of men will experience male pattern baldness by the age of 50 - often due to genetics - women can lose their locks too.

A common cause is pregnancy, and postpartum hair loss tends to affect women after they give birth. Thinning hair can also happen because of stress or certain conditions.

Your hairdresser will usually be able to alert you to unexplained hair loss possibly caused by a medical problem, and would recommend you see a GP as soon as possible.

“If hair loss is more a result of an underlying health condition there are some things to look out for,” explained Edward James, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Edward James Salons and Spas (edwardjameslondon.com), who also recently spotted melanoma skin cancer on the scalps of two women.

“Hair loss around the hairline and temples can often be a result of a hormonal imbalance or a thyroid issue.”

However, everyday habits may be the real trigger for hair breakage. Do you do any of these on a regular basis?

Tying hair up in a tight top knot

If you tie your hair up a lot in a ponytail or bun it could be causing hair loss.

“When done repeatably, tying your hair up using certain hair ties, and if it’s tied tightly, can cause hair loss and breakage,” explained James.

“It causes excessive strain on the hair and hair follicles which weakens the part of the hair near the hair tie.”

He acknowledged that in most cases this is only temporary, but warned that if pressure is repeatedly caused on the hair it could become permanent.

Tying hair up straight after washing before you o to sleep is particularly damaging.

“The hair is very fragile when damp, and if it’s then rubbed against a pillow it could cause more breakage,” said James.

He recommended wearing hair down whenever possible to avoid hair loss and breakage, and that if hair is put up in a top knot to keep it loose and soft. 

Using shampoo containing damaging ingredients

Certain hair products may be causing your unexplained hair loss due to their harmful ingredients.

James explained one of the most common culprits was sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS). 

“It makes shampoo bubbly and lather up, but in the products of certain brands - where it is enlisted by manufacturers to make hair thicker - it can be as harsh on our hair as a household cleaning product,” he explained.

“But in fact it has the effect of stripping the hair of its natural oils and breaks down the protein in the hair. This can also cause a dry itchy scalp which encourages hair loss.”

James added that if the shampoo also contains fragrances not made from essential oils it can leave you with more irritation to the scalp.

As well as SLS, he recommended avoiding shampoos and conditioners containing isopropyl alcohol, proplyene glycol (PG) and polyethylene glycol.

“These ingredients are used in many industrial strength cleaners for car engines and household items, however they are becoming increasingly used in certain drug store shampoo brands,” he said.

“In short, if it can degrease an engine it shouldn’t be going near your lovely locks.”

He recommended choosing products containing natural ingredients, with low PH levels, no or naturally-derived sulphates and minimal fragrances.

Eating a restrictive diet

As well as being essential for glowing skin, ensuring we fuel up on a wide range of vitamins and minerals can help ward off hair loss too.

If you don’t consume a lot of meat, fish, eggs, pulses or green leafy vegetables, you may find yourself with thinning hair.

That’s because they are all rich in iron, a key mineral.

“If hair falls out without much tension being applied this can be a result of a dietary imbalance, and can often indicate an iron deficiency,” said James.

Enjoying foods rich in vitamin B12 and zinc could also help us keep grey hair at bay.



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Sore throat remedies: The scary reason you should avoid taking THIS to cure it

Sore throats are a common problem at this time of year, with freezing temperatures and a snowy forecast compromising our immune systems.

While it may be tempting to beg your doctor for a quick-fix solution in the form of antibiotics, doing so could be dangerous for the future.

Antibiotic resistance - when certain strains of bacteria are resistant to being killed off - is a growing problem globally, and it is estimated the life-saving medicine will become ineffective by 2050.

Scientists have warned that the main driver of growing antibiotics resistance are likely to be small infections - some of which could be treated in an alternative way.

They revealed that antibiotics prescribed for strep throat, sinusitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis, and bladder infections could be to blame.

“Antibiotic prescriptions against those smaller ailments account for about 90 per cent of antibiotic use, and so are likely to be the major driver of resistance evolution," said Sam Brown, an associate professor in Georgia Tech's School of Biological Sciences.

If bacteria survive such small infections they could go on to develop into antibiotic-resistant strains.

The researchers, in recommendations published in the journal PLOS Biology, suggested that developing alternative non-antibiotic treatments for small infections could be a better cause of action. 

Sore throats are often a symptom of step throat, which is triggered by bacteria known as group A streptococci.

Many people often carry the bacteria without it breaking out, and scientists suggest an anti-virulence drug could be used instead of antibiotics.

But until a new drug is developed, what can you use instead to ease a sore throat?

Most sore throats usually get better within a week and can be treated at home, according to the NHS.

They suggest taking painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen, drinking cool or warm fluids, eating cool or soft foods and avoiding smoking.

Gargling a homemade mouthwash of warm, salty water can help, and so can sucking lozenges and ice lollies.

If your sore throat is accompanied by a cough, there is no evidence that over-the-counter cough medicines work.



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New year diet: Make these 10 simple changes to eat your way out of the January blues

These are the three things you MUST do before booking a doctor's appointment

Constipation warning: Why you shouldn’t ignore bloating and pain - it could be THIS

Constipation happens when stools become infrequent or hard to pass, and it is an issue many people are likely to have during the Christmas break.

This is because it can be caused by not eating enough fibre, like fruit and vegetables, and doing little physical activity, according to the Mayo Clinic.

It is defined as having three movements a week or less, and it may be responsible for accompanying bloating and stomach pain.

While it is a common problem, many people feel uncomfortable talking about it, particularly since it goes away within a week or two on its own.

However, ignoring it could be deadly, since it could be a symptom of a more serious condition.

Chronic constipation is when it lasts for several weeks or longer, according to the Mayo Clinic.

These are three worrying reasons it could be hanging around.

Blockages in the bowel

This is where stools are stopped or slowed, according to the Mayo Clinic.

It could be triggered by bowel cancer, which is sometimes called colon cancer or rectal cancer.

Additionally, anal fissures, a bowel obstruction or bowel stricture could also be to blame.

Problems with nerves around the bowel

Neurological issues can affect the nerves that tell the colon and rectum to help move the stool through.

Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or stroke could be behind this issue.

Hormones

They are important for most major bodily functions, and if their balance is upset it could cause constipation. This is why pregnant women often suffer.

However, if you are not pregnant, diabetes, which affects one in four people in the UK, could be disrupting levels. 

Additionally, having an overactive parathyroid gland or an underactive thyroid could be to blame.

There are a number measures you could take to try and eliminate your constipation in the first instance.

These include tweaking your diet by eating prunes, bananas and onions.

However, if this doesn’t help or you are at all concerned about why your bowel issues are lingering you should see a GP.

Dr Sarah Brewer told the MailOnline: “If this continues for more than a week or two, seek medical advice - earlier if you develop abdominal pain or notice blood or slime in your motions. 

“Try not to feel embarrassed - your doctor is used to dealing with problems like this.”



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How to sleep: Needing eight hours is a ‘myth’ - clock up THIS much instead

Sleeping is important for health and wellbeing, and it is crucial for tissue growth and repair.

However, Britons aren’t getting enough of it, with an estimated 20 million reportedly not clocking up enough snooze time.

This could be having a detrimental effect on our brains, with research by the University of California suggesting that not getting a good night’s sleep could be contributing to memory loss.

Researchers found that this particularly affected older adults’ ability to remember.

But how do you get a good night’s sleep? Try these four ways.

Stay calm

Worrying about when you nod off or how much sleep you will clock up will do you no favours.

There aren’t set rules, and some of us are naturally ’night owls’ while others are ‘larks’.

“Most of us have some degree of preference for late nights or early mornings,” said Dr Roger Henderson, who is working in collaboration with Somnuva.

“Where an individual falls on this spectrum largely determines their individual disposition toward the timing of daily periods of activity and rest. 

“Some of us are clearly ‘larks’ — early risers — while others of us are distinctly night owls. The rest of us – probably the majority - fall somewhere in between the two.”

“It is a myth that everyone needs eight hours sleep a night as we all need different amounts of sleep as we age.”

He revealed that most research suggests we actually need six to seven hours.

Drink coffee early

While some people can sip on coffee after dessert in the evening and still fall asleep, others are more sensitive to caffeine.

“In some people caffeine is not metabolised efficiently, leaving you feeling its effects long after consumption,” said Pippa Campbell, a nutrition and weight loss coach.

She recommended people try experimenting with when they consume caffeine, and to initially avoid having it after 2pm.

Stick to a pattern

Don’t assume you can catch up on or stock up on sleep at the weekend and always feel better.

“Even one night of disturbed sleep can impact on mental and physical performance the following day,” said Dr Henderson.

“It is however possible to catch up but can take days or even weeks for the body to return to a normal pattern. 

“If trying to make up for lost time, go to bed early and wake up at a normal time instead of sleeping in late.”

Don’t ignore night sweats

For those who suffer from night sweats it can be difficult to establish whether you have woken because you are sweating, or you woke and then started to sweat.

“If the sweat wakes you up then you are having a menopausal night sweat and should look into ways of reducing this, such as eating healthy foods little and often,” revealed Dr Marilyn Glenville, author of The Natural Health Bible for Women.

“However, if you wake and then you start to sweat or get other symptoms like palpitations, or just feel wide awake, then this is most likely caused by an adrenaline surge because your blood sugar has dropped during the night.”

She explained it is possible to reduce this by keeping blood sugar balanced during the day, and having a slice of brown toast or another carby snack before bed.

“One way you can help do this is by having a small snack of complex carbohydrates, such as an oat cake, half a slice of wheat or rye bread, about an hour before bed,” she suggested.

“This will stop your blood sugar dropping overnight, and prevent adrenaline from being released into your bloodstream and causing you to wake.”

Eating turkey could also help you sleep right through.



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Prostate enlargement: One in three men over 50 at risk – BPH symptoms explained

The prostate gland, along with the bladder, epididymis, penis and scrotum, is part of the male reproductive anatomy.

It is unique to men, the size of a walnut, and wraps around the urethra, the base of the bladder and the vas deferens.

By adding fluid to the sperm, the prostate gland works to create semen that is then ejaculated.

While it may be small, Dr Renee Hoenderkamp, a GP, warns that it can be the source of “distressing” problems in older men.

“Prostate problems are common in men over 50, and prostate enlargement is one of them,” said Dr Renee.

“It is where the prostate gland increases in size, often naturally due to age and sometimes because of medical conditions.” 

She explained that this growth in size is properly known as BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia. 

Risk increases with age, with one in 12 men suffering between the ages of 31 to 40 years. This rises to one in two men diagnosed between the ages of 51 and 60, and 80 per cent of men over 80 years living with the condition.

“The symptoms of BPH can be quite distressing,” acknowledges Dr Renee.

“As the prostate gets bigger it applies pressure on the urethra, which triggers a number of problems.”

She revealed these include difficulty beginning to pee, needing to strain to get pee out and having a weak flow.

Men may also find they dribble when they pee, that they feel like their bladder isn’t empty but none is coming out, and they may also find themselves getting up multiple times in the night to go to the toilet.  

If you have these symptoms, Dr Renee recommended seeing a doctor since prostate enlargement could lead to worrying complications.

“You could develop acute urinary retention, where urine can’t come out at all,” she warned.

“This is a medical emergency usually solved with a catheter - a tube used to empty the bladder and collect urine in a drainage bag.

“Men may also suffer recurrent urinary tract infections because BPH slows flow and some urine may sit in bladder. Low-dose antibiotics may be prescribed.”

In severe cases medications, such as alpha blocker and diuretics, may be given. Surgery is also an option, although it may come with a risk of erectile dysfunction.

Lifestyle changes could help mild to moderate symptoms. Medications like decongestants for colds and hay fever and antidepressants could make symptoms worse, but you should seek medical advice before changing anything you take.

“Cut down on alcohol, fizzy drinks and caffeine, do enough enough exercise and make sure you are consuming enough fibre through fruit and vegetables to prevent constipation,” suggested Dr Renee.

“Reducing fluid in the evening could reduce likelihood you need to get up in the night, and double voiding and bladder training could also help.”



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Dementia symptoms: Exercising THIS many times a week could help preserve memory

Dementia may not yet have a cure, but scientists are getting closer to discovering how to reduce people’s risk of the condition and slow its onset.

New guidelines revealed this week put forward exercise as a key way to ward off debilitating symptoms, which include memory loss, issues with language and difficulty thinking.

Fresh recommendations, published in the journal Neurology, suggest that people who are beginning to show signs of mild cognitive impairment could benefit from being active twice a week.

“Regular physical exercise has long been shown to have heart health benefits, and now we can say exercise also may help improve memory for people with mild cognitive impairment," said Ronald Petersen, lead study author from the Mayo Clinic.

“What's good for your heart can be good for your brain.”

He recommends those at risk walk briskly, or jog or do another type of aerobic activity for a total of 150 minutes a week.

People need to work hard enough to break a sweat, but do not need to exert themselves to the extent that they can’t hold a conversation.

Mild cognitive impairment is defined as the stage between the expected cognitive decline associated with normal ageing and the early stages of dementia.

Sufferers tend to have difficulty with  memory, language, thinking and judgement that are more serious than might be associated with getting older.

Mild cognitive impairment is thought to lead to an increased risk of dementia, which is now the leading cause of death in the UK.

However, it is possible for people with the condition to get better.

The new recommendations for doctors in the United States come as research revealed in April by the University of Canberra endorsed running, walking, yoga and tai chi as ways to boost brain power.

Researchers behind the new guidelines discovered that people with mild cognitive impairment who exercised twice a week were better able to manage symptoms.

In addition to working out, making tweaks to your diet could also be beneficial.

The past year has seen oily fish, mushrooms and salad enshrined as ‘brain foods’ by scientists who have shown that eating them could stave off memory loss.

There are currently 850,000 people in the UK with dementia, and the most common form of the condition is Alzheimer’s disease.



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New year diet plan: Would YOU try these NINE health food trends set to be BIG for 2018?

Gym membership warning: Exercising too much could have THIS worrying effect

Gym membership sign-ups are likely to spike over the next few weeks, but over-exercising in order to shed the excess Christmas pounds could be dangerous.

Working out is an important part of a healthy lifestyle - including boosting cardiovascular health and warding off dementia - and the NHS recommend we do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week.

It is also great for weight loss, and research has shown that working out can help you slim down in addition to eating a healthy diet.

However, too much exercise can take its toll on our bodies.

Mandie Nugent, a personal trainer and ambassador for sports nutrition brand USN warned: “We all know the saying ‘too much of anything can be bad for you’. That includes exercise.

“When weight loss is your ultimate goal it’s amazing to see the pounds fall off, but sometimes it’s hard to know when to stop, and over-training can be dangerous to our health and our emotional stability.

“The body is designed to do some pretty amazing things, but there are some dangers you may encounter if you’re over-doing your workouts.”

One of these is burnout, defined as severe physical exhaustion. 

“Take a car for example. If you continuously use it and leave it running, eventually it will run out of fuel. Your body works in the same way,” explained Nugent.

“Over training can cause physical fatigue which prohibits you from functioning at your normal rate. 

“It’s the feeling of the 3pm lull every minute of the day, hitting a brick wall or not wanting to get out of bed.”

Your body needs ‘rest’ days to recuperate, and hitting the gym every day of the week will not allow it to do so.

But how do you know if you’re suffering from burnout from exercise?

“If you’re feeling tired, low in energy or your immune system has taken a beating then stop what you’re doing,” advised Nugent.

Over-training can also place you at risk of injury, and research by BUPA earlier this year indicated a link between a rise in hip replacements, and other operations, and the popularity of high-intensity workouts. 

“Repetitive strains on joints and muscles is the most common cause for injury,” said Nugent.

“Listen to the niggles of pain and don’t simply plough through your workout.

“Tennis elbow, runner’s knee and Achilles tendinitis are the three main culprits that tend to hit us without warning 

“A few days absent from the gym could prevent a few weeks or months off from injury.”

What’s more, not over-doing exercise could help you see results.

“If your body is no longer responding to hour-long sessions anymore, it could be because you’ve hit a plateau,” warned Nugent.

“Weight training is designed to tear the muscles and allow them to build and repair bigger and stronger. 

“To build and repair they need sufficient time to recover which, because of overtraining, you’re not allowing your body to do. 

“It all circles back on itself, the key is to rest. Know when you need it, and know when to take it.”



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Best superfood to detox: Drink five cups of THIS to get ‘the best’ detox

Green tea may help to protect against cancer, while improving cardiovascular function, alertness and cognition.

It contains the organic compound EGCG - epigallocatechin gallate - which is an antioxidant.

Drinking five cups of green tea a day is the best way to detox your body after the festive period, according to nutritionist Georgios Tzenichristos.

While cocoa and turmeric also have health benefits, he’d always turn to green tea for a health boost, he said.

Turmeric has cucurmin - an anti-inflammatory - while cocoa contains flavanols, chemicals which boost the cardiovascular system and brain health.

“I am a big fan of all three nutrients, but in terms of simplicity, concentration and cost, it’s a no brainer”, said Tzenchristos.

“If I had to choose one of those famous super ingredients, that would be the humble green tea.

“A cup is easy to prepare, costs next to nothing and provides you with a whooping seven per cent active molecules [EGCG], the most of any other drink or food.

“This is in contrast to turmeric, which is a hassle to prepare and only contains two per cent active [curcumin]. Plain cocoa fares even worse, as it usually needs milk and sugar to be palatable and only contains 0.5 per cent actives (flavonols).”

Green tea contains 14 times more polyphenols than cocoa, and three and a half times more curcumin, said Tzenchristos.

Five cups of green tea a day could give you 350mg of EGCG - the amount used in clinical studies.

But, to get 1,000mg of curcumin - which would provide equal health benefits as five cups of green tea - you’d need to have 20 spoonfuls of turmeric.

Matcha green tea provides no added benefit than regular green tea, either, the nutritionist said.

Other superfoods with health benefits include lentils, eggs and avocados.

Lentils are rick in potassium, calcium, zinc and vitamin K. They have been proven to boost the immune system, and lower cholesterol.

Eggs are a good source of vitamin D, and could help you to lose weight. They’re also high in protein, and could help you to build muscle, while also easing muscle pain after a big workout.

Your eyesight could be improved by eating more avocados, because they’re packed full of carotenes and vitamin E.



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Flu symptoms between Christmas and New Year? THIS is why you get ill on holiday

Flu and cold symptoms have a knack for developing just when you want to enjoy your Christmas break.

But why do we always seem to get ill when we down tools and put the ‘out of office’ on?

It’s called ‘leisure sickness’ and scientists believe it affects some people more than others. 

A Dutch psychologist, called Ad Vingerhoets, believes that there are real reasons why people fall ill when they slow down.

He conducted a study of 1,128 men and 765 women from Holland between the ages of 16 and 87, and concluded that three per cent of people suffer from ‘leisure sickness’ during holidays and weekends.

They tend to experience flu-like symptoms and colds, as well as headaches, migraine, fatigue, muscular pains and nausea.

He suggested to The Guardian that it may be because people - who may be ill all along - become aware of their symptoms when they have little else to distract them.

“One possibility is a kind of competition for symptom perception,” he said.

“There is a competition between information from the outside world, external information, and information from the body, internal information.

“If you are very busy with external information, then information from your body might be repressed by it.

“If you are in a boring environment, it is more easy to recognise those signals from your body. When you are in a stimulating environment, you don't attend to those signals."

Another theory is that when we relax, our stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, fall out of balance and this leaves us at risk of infections. 

During periods of work, our stress hormones help us cope with pressure and keep us well, but they may fall out of sync during holiday time and this could correlate with illness.

There is another reasons, according to experts, why we may fall ill during the festive period in particular.

“The problem around Christmas time is that the weather is cold and wet and the days are shorter,' said Dr Dan Robertson, Medical Officer at Push Doctor, to Elle UK.

“This forces people to congregate indoors, while they're also more likely to use public transport rather than walking.

“This provides cold and flu viruses with much better opportunities to spread between people.”

The theory fits with another of Vingerhoets’s suggestions that being in an enclosed space - like on an aircraft - and humidity, are perfect conditions for a cold.



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How to get rid of a cold: Flu symptoms stopped by drinking tea and wine

Flu could be prevented by drinking more tea and wine, a study revealed.

Both black tea and red wine contain flavonoids - a chemical known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Some gut bacteria break down flavonoids to produce a chemical that boosts the immune response.

Having a stronger immune system reduces the risk of developing flu symptoms.

“For years, flavonoids have been thought to have protective properties that help regulate the immune system to fight infections,” said first author Dr Ashley Steed, from Washington University.

“Flavonoids are common in our diets, so an important implication of our study is that it’s possible flavonoids work with gut microbes to protect us from flu and other viral infections.”

Senior author, Dr Thaddeus Stappenbeck, added: “It’s not only having a diet rich in flavonoids, our results show you also need the right microbes in the intestine to use those flavonoids to control the immune response.”

The researchers analysed human guts to find which micro-organism broke down flavonoids.

Once they found the particular bacteria, they discovered it metabolised flavonoids to produce a certain chemical which triggered the immune response.

When the chemical, known as DAT, was given to mice that were infected with flu, the mice experienced far less lung damage than mice not treated with DAT, the scientists said.

Despite showing far fewer symptoms, the mice still had the flu viruses after chemical treatment.

“The infections were basically the same,” said Stappenbeck.

“The microbes and DAT didn’t prevent the flu infection itself; the mice still had the virus. But, the DAT kept the immune system from harming the lung tissue.”

That’s important, because it means the chemical targets the immune response, as opposed to the virus. Seeing as flu vaccines aren’t 100 per cent effective, it could help to reduce the symptoms of flu viruses that vaccine’s don’t target.

There are between 250,000 and 500,000 global deaths linked to flu every year, according to the World Health Organization.



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Chesty cough? Dry cough? Why you should NEVER ignore a tickly throat

Chesty, dry coughs are likely to be a regular occurrence at this time of year as snow and low temperatures persist around the UK between Christmas and New Year.

They are a common feature of a cold, and are when the body is attempting to expel mucus or foreign irritants.

According to the NHS, they usually go away on their own within three weeks - there is no evidence over-the-counter cough medicines work - and don’t usually require medical attention.

However, if your cough is persistent and accompanied by shortness of breath, it could be something more serious.

Dr Sarah Brewer, a GP, told the MailOnline: “A cough is caused by irritation of the airways, while breathlessness suggests that your lungs are not working as well as they might – most likely due to asthma, COPD or other lung diseases or heart failure.

“Both symptoms need checking out - urgently if you also notice chest pain, cough up blood or lose weight and have a change in voice or notice a swelling in your neck.”

Additionally, your cough could be due to tuberculosis, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and bronchiectasis.

Dr Brewer advised seeing a doctor as soon as possible so the cause can be investigated.

These are four serious reasons for your cough, and their accompanying symptoms.

Lung cancer

The condition kills thousands of people in the UK each year, and a cough that won’t go away is one of its main signs.

According to Cancer Research UK, it could also be indicated by a change in a cough you have had for a long time.

This may include it being more painful, having a different sound, bringing up coloured mucus or phlegm, or coughing up blood.

Smoking is often to blame, due to the chemical irritation it causes.

As well as coughing, symptoms of the deadly cancer include shortness of breath, an ache in the chest or shoulder, loss of appetite and fatigue.

Heart failure

Chronic coughing or wheezing is also a common sign of heart failure, caused by a build up of fluid in the lungs.

According to the Heart Rhythm Society, sufferers may also cough up mucus or phlegm.

Additionally, the NHS warn that persistent coughs may be worse at night.

Other symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue and swollen ankles and legs.

It is important to catch the condition early since it can prove deadly for many people.

Tuberculosis

The disease is caused by bacteria which usually attack the lungs.

It is caught by inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person, warn the NHS.

A persistent cough that lasts more than three weeks is a sign, and particularly if it brings up phlegm that is bloody. 

Bronchiectasis

It is a long-term condition where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened.

This can lead to a  build-up of excess mucus that could make the lungs more vulnerable to infection, according to the NHS.

A persistent cough that brings up phlegm is the most common symptom of the condition.

People may also begin to cough up blood, and experience shortness of breath and chest pain.



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Boost your libido by sleeping more: Six signs of sleep deprivation

Winter’s cold weather can make getting to sleep more challenging, as colder air affects hormone levels in our bodies.

But, not getting enough sleep could increase the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity, according to a psychologist.

“A good night’s sleep is about the biggest all-round health boost you can get, and the right mattress is key,” said psychologist, and SIMBA Sleep’s ‘Think Well Sleep Well’ Ambassador, Hope Bastine.

“You might think your five-hours-a night is nothing to worry about, but chronic sleep deprivation can affect your cognitive performance at work, and has been linked in some studies to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and can even affect your performance in endurance sports.”

These are the six signs you need more sleep:

Having a low libido

Women are 14 per cent less likely to have sex than those that get a good night’s sleep, according to researchers.

Bad sleep habits in men lowers the amount of testosterone they produce, scientists from the University of Chicago revealed. Lower levels of testosterone in men reduces their interest in having sex, they found.

Always feeling hungry

Sleep helps the brain to recuperate after long days. When it doesn’t get enough sleep, it looks to other sources for energy, including food.

Sleep deprivation increases the amount of the hunger hormone ghrelin that the body produces. Too much ghrelin makes us crave sugary and fatty foods.

Being more clumsy than normal

We’re all guilty of being a little clumsy sometimes. But, feeling overtired could make you clumsier than normal.

Sleep deprivation lowers neurological function in general. Just like running a long-distance race, if you’re busy rushing about, the brain becomes fatigued, and slow downs.

Being forgetful

Getting plenty of sleep helps the brain to consolidate memories in the long-term.

Not getting enough sleep makes it harder to form memories.

Emotional rollercoaster

Your reactions to emotional stimuli can send your emotions into overdrive if you haven’t had enough sleep.

It could be a sign that you need more shuteye if you’re quickly switching from overly happy to a bit weepy.

Bad decision-making

Sleep deprivation can affect speed, and higher-level cognitive processing.

So, decision-making, problem solving and time management can all be affected.



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Melanoma skin cancer: Early symptom spotted on Piers Morgan by an eagle-eyed TV viewer

Melanoma is a particularly deadly type of skin cancer, but if it is caught early it is mostly curable.

And talking of catching it early – Piers Morgan was alerted to a possible symptom of the cancer by a member of the public. 

The Good Morning Britain presenter featured in 'Serial Killer with Piers Morgan' documentary back in November when a melanoma expert spotted something worrying.

Gillian Nuttall, founder of Melanoma UK, spotted a blemish on the 52-year-old’s chest just above his open necked shirt, and emailed in to suggest he get it checked out.

She emailed: “Piers, at the risk of sounding like a lunatic, I’m just watching your programme and there’s a blemish on your chest. Have you had it checked?”

Morgan visited a dermatologist who told him the blemish could have turned cancerous - and potentially deadly - had he not had it checked out and removed when he did.

But what is melanoma? It is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body, according to the NHS.

A new mole, or changes in an existing one, are the most common signs of the cancer.

However, like Morgan, it could be another mark on the skin, such as a sore, lump or blemish. It could also be indicated by a dark stripe on your emails.

In fact, any change in the way skin looks or feels could be an early warning sign, suggest the American Cancer Society.

Moles and other changes will tend to appear in areas exposed to sunlight, and are rare in places like the buttocks and scalp.

Most cases are caused by ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, but some are also linked to time spent on sunbeds.

Those more at risk include people with lots of moles or freckles already, pale skin that burns easily, red or blonde hair and a family history of the condition.

The NHS advise that if you notice any changes on your skin you should visit your GP as soon as possible.

An ABCDE moles checklist has also been created to help people tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma.

Rates of melanoma skin cancer are on the rise, according to Cancer Research UK. Between 2014 and 2035 there is expected to be a seven per cent increase.



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Tramadol: The powerful painkiller that is 'legal but addictive'

Although available in Britain, it is only handed out with a prescription and strict instructions regarding its use.

Doctors use it to treat “moderate to severe” pain such as that following an operation or after serious injury.

Originally produced and marketed in Germany in the late 1970s, Tramadol is in use across the globe under brand names Invodol, Larapam and Mabron.

It is prescribed in the form of tablets, capsules, drops or as an injection. 

Side effects include feelings of nausea and dizziness.

Tramadol’s addictive effects are similar to those of heroin and include feelings of warmth, wellbeing and drowsiness.

Earlier this year, I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! host Ant McPartlin sought rehab after taking the drug in a cocktail with morphine and alcohol.

NHS officials warn that it is possible to take controlled medicines abroad for personal use, but only if accompanied by an explanatory note from a doctor.

After Miss Plummer’s arrest, the Foreign Office updated its travel advice to holidaymakers heading for Egypt: “If you are travelling with prescription medication you should carry a medical certificate confirming that the medication has been prescribed for a medical condition.”



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Arthritis symptoms: THIS festive treat could relieve joint pain and inflammation

  • Ginger could help to reduce arthritis symptoms
  • Inflammation reduced by eating ginger, some scientists claim
  • Arthritis symptoms include inflammation
  • Ginger helps the body to make salicylic acid - needed to treat arthritis

Gingerbread can be first traced back to Elizabeth I, when she had ginger biscuits made in the shape of some of her guests.

But, more than 400 years later, gingerbread has become a staple part of the festive season in the UK, with some families baking gingerbread (snow)men or houses as an annual tradition.

Eating gingerbread this year could bring more Christmas tidings, as some scientists have claimed ginger could help to reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is one of the signs of arthritis, according to the NHS.

Ginger could lower the amount of inflammatory chemicals the body makes, scientists have claimed.

Arthritis symptoms include inflammation, joint pain, red skin and restricted movement.

The herb also helps the body to produce salicylic acid - a natural compound that’s also found in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are usually used to treat arthritis medically.

The compound helps to ease joint pain and discomfort, it’s been claimed.

“In theory, ginger can reduce the activity of several chemical substances that promote joint inflammation,” said Arthritis Research UK.

“Ginger is a relatively well-tolerated herbal remedy with minor side-effects. The most commonly reported side-effects are stomach upset and mouth irritation.”

A study claimed arthritis patients, that were taking ginger supplements and ibuprofen, experienced a significant reduction in joint pain, compared to those taking tablets with no medical effect.

Another study of 247 people found osteoarthritis patients had far less pain when taking two 255mg ginger supplements a day for six months.

There is currently no cure for arthritis, but some medications and supplements could help to reduce symptoms.

About 10 million people in the UK have the condition, including people of all ages.

The most common forms of the condition are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. But, other types of arthritis include gout, lupus, psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Painkillers, NSAIDs and corticosteroids were the best way to treat osteoarthritis, according to the NHS.



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Type 2 diabetes symptoms: Is it possible to REVERSE the condition?

  • Diabetes type 2 symptoms are mainly caused by lifestyle factors
  • It is a life-long auto-immune condition that causes blood glucose levels to get too high
  • Losing 15kg of weight could lead to total remission
  • Regular exercise and bariatric surgery could also reverse condition

Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition where your blood glucose level is too high because the body doesn’t make enough of a hormone called insulin.

Unlike type 1 diabetes which is triggered by an autoimmune reaction, lifestyle factors - such as diet and being overweight - are often the reason people are diagnosed with type 2.

However, experts earlier this month suggested that it is possible to reverse the condition.

This is defined by diabetes.co.uk as a significant long-term improvement in insulin sensitivity.

Recent research published in the British Medical Journal revealed that losing a certain amount of weight could ‘cure’ type 2 diabetes.

Sustained weight loss of around 15kg was found to lead to total remission, according to scientists at the University of Glasgow.

Shedding pounds was also associated with an extended life expectancy in people with diabetes, and those who have reversed their condition also generally feel less tired.

The researchers said many people were unaware they could reverse the disease.

Emily Burns, Head of Research Communications at Diabetes UK, said:  “The ability to put type 2 diabetes into remission could be transformative for millions of people around the world, and evidence is building to suggest that it's possible.

“In the meantime, we need to ensure that those who do achieve remission are recognised in the right way and receive the right care.

“Diabetes UK is funding crucial research to find out how to put type 2 into remission, who might benefit and whether it's effective for the long-term."

According to diabetes.co.uk, four key ways to reverse the condition include:

- Eating a low-carbohydrate diet

- Consuming a very low-calorie diet

- Exercising regularly

- Having bariatric surgery

It is often not recorded when type 2 diabetes sufferers reverse their condition.

The Scottish Care Information Diabetes database - which includes every patient in Scotland - showed that less than 0.1 per cent of those with the condition were coded as being in remission.

They believe this is probably because few patients are attempting or achieving remission.

“It is in everybody’s interest to reclassify people with type 2 diabetes when they become non-diabetic,” said the authors.

“Official guidelines and international consensus for recording diabetes in remission are needed.”

Not trying to reverse type 2 diabetes can lead to long-term complications, including increased risk of heart disease.

Additionally, sufferers tend to live up to six years less than people without diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes affects 3.2 million people in the UK.

The NHS currently spends an estimated £1 billion a year, or £22 million a day - on antidiabetes drugs - and costs are rising globally as diabetes rates and drug prices increase.



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