Obesity crisis: Eating slowly could tackle UK weight epidemic

Arthritis pain - FIVE foods to avoid for preventing joint inflammation

Arthritis is a common condition that causes joint pain, restricted movement and warm, red skin over affected joints, according to the NHS.

The two most common types of arthritis in the UK are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the wearing down of cartilage lining joints, while rheumatoid arthritis is where the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells lining joints.

Arthritis patients should avoid these foods to reduce joint pain.

“When you have arthritis, your body is in an inflammatory state,” said the Arthritis Foundation.

“What you eat may not only increase inflammation, it can also set you up for other chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.”


Arthritis patients are sensitive to gluten, said the Arthritis Foundation.

Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye.

“Those diagnosed with coeliac disease, in which gluten sets off an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine and sometimes causes joint pain. may find relief when they adopt a gluten-free diet,” it said.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats could trigger fat tissue inflammation, studies have claimed.

Pizza and cheese are sources of saturated fats, as well as meat, palm oil and pastries.

Eating a diet rich in saturated fats also increases the risk of high blood cholesterol levels, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Omega-6 fatty acids

While omega-3 fatty acids could be beneficial for arthritis pain, omega-6 may have the opposite effect.

It’s an essential fatty acid that the body needs for normal growth and development, but too much omega-6 triggers inflammatory chemicals in the body.

“These fatty acids are found in oils such corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable; mayonnaise; and many salad dressings,” said the Arthritis Foundation.

Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates have a high glycemic index, and could trigger inflammation.

“White flour products [breads, rolls, crackers] white rice, white potatoes [instant mashed potatoes, or french fries] and many cereals are refined carbohydrates.

“Processed carbohydrates may trump fats as the main driver of escalating rates of obesity and other chronic conditions.”


MSG, or mono-sodium glutamate is a food additive that’s most commonly used in Asian food and soy sauce.

“This chemical can trigger two important pathways of chronic inflammation, and affect liver health,” said the foundation.

MSG is also found in some fast foods, soups, salad dressings and deli meats.

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Anaphylaxis: What is the deadly condition after calls for Peter Rabbit film to be removed?

The creators behind the new Peter Rabbit film apologised after a scene in the film saw the leading character and his friends throw blackberries at a man who was allergic to the berries.

The scene, which included a serious allergic reaction, was unacceptable, said charity Allergy UK.

The charity wants the film to be withdrawn, as it shows a “complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of food allergies”, it said.

Anaphylaxis is a severe and life-threatening reaction to a trigger, such as an allergy to food, according to the NHS.

Allergy UK’s CEO, Carla Jones, said: “Anaphylaxis can and does kill.

“To include a scene in a children’s film that includes a serious allergic reaction and not to do it responsibly is unacceptable, as is bullying.

“Mocking allergic disease shows a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of food allergy and trivialises the challenges faced by those who live with this condition, particularly parents who live in fear of their child suffering a life threatening reaction. 

“We expect to see a significant response from our community, and we will be communicating with the production company about  the film’s withdrawal.”

Anaphylaxis, which is also known as anaphylactic shock, usually develops suddenly, and gets worse very fast.

Signs of the condition include feeling lightheaded or faint, and shallow breathing.

Having a fast heartbeat, confusion, anxiety and having clammy skin could also be signs of a reaction.

The NHS said: “There may also be other allergy symptoms, including an itchy, raised rash [hives], feeling or being sick, swelling [angioedema], or stomach pain.”

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency.

If someone is showing symptoms of analwphylactic shock, the first thing you should do is dial 999 for an ambulance.

If possible, remove anything that may be causing the reaction. That could include food, or any wasp or bee stings in the skin.

Lie the patient down flat, and use an adrenaline auto-injector if they have one, the NHS advised.

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High blood pressure: You need these foods to avoid deadly hypertension

High blood pressure, or hypertension, hasn’t got any obvious symptoms unless the condition is extreme, according to the NHS.

Signs of extremely high blood pressure include vision problems, having an irregular heartbeat, and finding blood in your urine.

Having hypertension increases your risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes.

But, adding more magnesium into your diet could lower your risk of the condition, scientists have claimed.

People with high blood pressure eat lower amounts of magnesium-rich foods on a daily basis, according to a University of Hertfordshire study.

Researcher Lindsy Kass said: “Magnesium is a key factor in blood pressure regulation and our study suggests that not only can low dietary magnesium intake lead to hypertension but that worryingly, dietary magnesium intake is at lower than currently recommended levels across the board.

“It is important to understand how dietary magnesium impacts blood pressure as that way we can push initiatives to increase knowledge and awareness of this micronutrient, which may help to reduce blood pressure in the UK and subsequently save the NHS money on costly drug intervention.

“Figures show that by reducing the blood pressure of the nation as a whole, £850 million of NHS and social care costs could be avoided over 10 years.”

Spinach and Swiss chard are both rich in magnesium.

Other foods that are packed full of the nutrient include dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, figs, yogurt and bananas.

Eating more magnesium-rich foods could also lower blood sugar, studies have claimed.

Patients have also reported getting better quality sleep with a diet rich in magnesium.

The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have it checked.

Left untreated, hypertension increases the risk of serious conditions. That includes heart failure, kidney disease and vascular dementia.

Cutting back on salt could help to lower your blood pressure.

More than 25 per cent of UK adults have high blood pressure, the NHS said.

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Coughs could be naturally cured by using this herbal treat

Coughs are caused by the body trying to get rid of harmful micro-organisms or dust.

It may also be an underlying symptom of pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma or lung cancer.

A cough will usually go away by itself within three weeks, according to the NHS.

But, you could speed up that process by drinking liquorice root tea, a study has claimed.

“The cure for a cough must treat the cause,” said nutritionist Dr Josh Axe.

“Liquorice root benefits a sore throat or cough immensely because it is a powerful expectorant, helping to loosen and expel mucus from the throat.

“Researchers have also found that liquorice root has powerful antiviral and antimicrobial activities.

“Demulcents need to make contact with the part of the body that needs to be soothed, so extracts in cough drops and syrups, as well as tea, are most effective.”

Liquorice contains almost 300 flavonoids and 20 triterpenoids, which may help to relieve coughs and sore throats, researchers claimed.

Flavonoids play an important role in treating bacterial infections.

The herb could also be used to treat heartburn and acid reflux, Axe said.

Used in a cream, liquorice root could reduce eczema pain, he added.

Adding more vitamin C to your diet could also help to treat coughs, as it boosts the immune system and white blood cell production.

Breathing in peppermint essential oil with a diffuser can help to reduce coughing, said the nutritionist.

Coughs are mainly caused by a cold or flu, said the NHS.

But, it could also be caused by smoking, heartburn, allergies, or mucus dripping down the throat from the back of the nose.

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Diabetes symptoms? These 17p a day supplements could lower your blood sugar

Diabetes type 2 is a condition where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body doesn’t react to insulin.

The lack of insulin means glucose isn’t converted into energy from the blood.

Signs of diabetes include unexplained weight loss and loss of muscle bulk.

But, taking ginger supplements everyday could help to reduce symptoms, scientists claimed.

“Ginger is a medicinal and culinary plant that may help moderate blood sugar levels, fight inflammation and prevent some negative outcomes of diabetes,” said medical website Healthline.

A 2014 study of 88 diabetes patients found the ginger supplements eased some of the condition’s symptoms.

Patients were given three grams of ginger everyday for eight weeks.

Their blood sugar was lowered by more than 10 per cent on average by the end of the study, it was reported.

Nutritionist Dr Josh Axe said: “Gingerols are widely known to naturally improve diabetes and enhance insulin sensitivity.

“Simply put, ginger not only helps prevent and reverse diabetes itself — it protects against and improves diabetic complications like diabetic retinopathy.”

Arthritis patients could also benefit from taking ginger supplements, it’s been claimed.

Ginger reduces knee pain in osteoarthritis patients, and is a natural anti-inflammatory, said Axe.

Diabetes can cause serious long-term health complications, including vision loss and kidney failure.

Patients are also up to five times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

You could lower your risk of diabetes by eating a healthy, balanced diet, and by exercising regularly, said the NHS.

About four million people in the UK have diabetes.

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Adapting houses so elderly people can stay in their homes could save NHS '£2.5bn a year'

Report lead author Dr Helen Meese said: “About seven million UK homes are headed by someone aged over 65, who will undoubtedly need some form of assistive technology to help with everyday living within the coming decade.

“Homes built with older people in mind, as well as retrofit technology for our existing housing stock, could not only allow people to live in their homes for longer, but also massively reduce costs for the NHS and social care system.”

Physical inactivity costs the NHS £10billion a year and £2.5billion is spent on care annually as a result of poor housing according to the report Healthy Homes: Accommodating an Ageing Population.

But Dr Meese said simple, low-cost home modifications such as installing handrails, outside lighting and slip-resistant surfaces have been shown to result in a 39 per cent drop in injuries and a 26 per cent reduction in medical treatment. 

And building or adapting homes to suit the ageing population could help them avoid the need to downsize, which often exacerbates mobility issues and the onset of frailty.

The Healthy Homes report calls for the Government to introduce financial incentives for construction firms to build homes that are “flexible and will span the generations”.

It also recommends the inclusion of older people in the design process and outlines the potential for new markets in smart technology to help to tackle the existing inadequate housing stock.

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Green tea ‘can beat diabetes’ and help control blood sugar levels, scientists claim

The "super-drink" is packed with chemicals that can help reduce the risk of diabetes in overweight women.

Scientists from the University of Goias in Brazil looked at how green tea and diabetes drug, metformin, worked on 120 non-diabetic overweight women.

They concluded that green tea was "superior" to metformin in improving blood sugar control in women at risk for developing the condition.

But when combined with metformin, there was no effect at all.

Green tea also reduced cholesterol levels in the women.

The predominant active compounds in green tea are flavonoid monomers known as catechins, in particular epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which is the most abundant and most effective catechin in metabolic care, particularly among obese patients. 

Writing in the journal Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, they said: "Green tea extract is a promising alternative for reducing Type 2 diabetes risk in overweight women."

Type 2 diabetes affects almost 1 in ten adults in the UK and costs the NHS around £14billion a year to treat.

More than four million Britons have Type 2 diabetes and another 12 million are at risk of developing the condition.

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Pancreatic cancer WARNING – why you should never ignore back pain

Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause any symptoms in its early stages.

As the disease progresses, some signs of the cancer may begin to show.

While the symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have pancreatic cancer, you should see a GP if you’re worried about it.

One of the earliest signs of the condition is a pain in the abdomen or back, according to charity Pancreatic Cancer UK.

“Pain is a common symptom of pancreatic cancer,” said the charity.

“It often starts as general discomfort or pain in the tummy area that can spread to the back.

“The pain may vary from person to person. For example, it may come and go at first but become more constant over time.

“It can be worse when lying down, and sitting forward can sometimes make it feel better. It may be worse after eating. The tummy area may also feel tender.”

Other early signs of pancreatic cancer include unexplained weight loss and indigestion.

As the cancer progresses, it could lead to difficulty swallowing, vomiting and a change in bowel habits.

Yellowing of the skin – also known as jaundice - and a loss of appetite are also signs that you should see your GP.

If you have jaundice, you should see a doctor without delay. If you have any of the other symptoms and they don’t improve after four weeks, you should speak to a doctor, said Pancreatic Cancer UK.

The exact cause of pancreatic cancer isn’t entirely understood by scientists.

But, you could lower your risk of the disease by cutting back on alcohol and red meat.

Your chance of developing pancreatic cancer increases as you get older.

Nearly half of people diagnosed with the disease in the UK are over 75 years old.

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Problems sleeping? Make these five easy lifestyle changes for a peaceful night's slumber

Trouble sleeping can have a big effect on how you function during the day. 

As well as lack of sleep affecting your mood, it can also impact on your memory, health, looks, and even your ability to lose weight. 

But making some simple changes to your day-to-day routine can help you get a better night’s sleep. 

Naturalmats sleep expert, Christabel Majendie, has revealed her five top tips for a peaceful slumber. 

Don’t take long naps during the day 

There are differing opinions about day napping. But Christabel’s general advice is to avoid it altogether because it can disrupt your circadian rhythm. 

She said “If you do nap during the day, make it no longer than 20 minutes.”

Exercise during the day 

Christabel explained: “Excess exercise promotes biochemicals such as endorphins, endocannabinolds and neurotransmitters, all of which can help reduce stress and anxiety. 

Expose yourself to sunlight 

Christabel said: “Make sure you get enough sunlight during the day. This promotes higher levels of melatonin which is essential for maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. 

“Sunlight can also help you get more vitamin D. Some studies suggest that vitamin D has a positive influence on sleep.” 

Develop a healthy balanced diet 

The right foods contain compounds that promote sleep. So good nutrition is an essential part of sleep hygiene. 

Christabel’s tip? Eat protein foods high in tryptophan and amino acid that promotes melatonin. 

Pumpkin seeds, chicken, cheese, nuts, lentils, oats and beans are considered good foods for sleep. 

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Low libido? Add these foods to your weekly shop to boost your sex drive

Low libido is a common problem that may be linked to stress, tiredness or relationship issues, according to the NHS.

Stress, anxiety and exhaustion could all be playing a role in a loss of sex drive.

Certain medications may also be causing your low libido.

But, you could boost your sex drive by eating more of these aphrodisiac foods, according to nutritionists.

“If you have little to no sex drive, you’re definitely not alone,” said nutritionist Dr Josh Axe.

“The great news is that there are a lot of natural remedies to increase libido, and you can start increasing your sex drive naturally today.”

Asparagus promotes testosterone production in men, and oestrogen in women, because it’s rich in vitamin E. 

Natures Plus Nutritionist, Michela Vagnini, added: “Also, the amino acid asparagine in asparagus protects the urinary tract from infections, which is one of the main causes of a low sex drive.”

Spinach could increase the blood flow to the genitals, which heightens arousal, added Vagnini.

Oysters boost the amount of dopamine in the body, which is linked to libido, she said.

“Celery contains androsterone and androsterol, two pheromones that are involved in triggering your sex drive.

“When you chew celery stalks the two pheromones travel from your mouth to your brain, which can increase your arousal,” said Vagnini.

You could also try adding berries to your porridge, or eat them as a snack to kick-start libido, according to Dr Marilyn Glenville.

“Berries are rich in the mineral zinc, which is important for the production of sex hormones and are also high in antioxidants, which helps to optimise blood flow to the sex organs,” said Glenville.

Omega-3 fatty acids could encourage the production of more sex hormones, according to nutritionist Cassandra Burns.

Fish is a good source of omega-3, including salmon, sardines and herring.

A GP could offer advice for low libido. They could also refer you to a specialist, including psychosexual therapists.

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Miracle twins told one had to die so the other could live defy odds

Parents Amie and Paul were devastated when they were told a rare condition in the womb meant that tiny Ellis was not growing properly. At one point, doctors said Ellis had just two weeks to live. 

If he died in the womb, it could also affect Blair’s chance of survival. A termination seemed the only solution. 

The couple felt they could not take that step and decided to leave it to fate. 

Instead, Amie drank five litres of water a day and cut out chocolate and sweets in order to improve her babies’ chances. Both were born in June last year at just 29 weeks. 

Amie, 29, who lives in Glasgow, said: “The doctors said to terminate Ellis to save Blair but now when I look at them they wouldn’t be without each other. It’s a bond that just couldn’t be broken. 

“Against all the odds, they both managed to fight through. We are so incredibly proud of them both.” 

The couple, who also have an eight-year-old son, Lewis, were thrilled when they discovered they were having twins. 

Amie said: “‘When I went for my scan at 10 weeks we got a double surprise. We couldn’t believe it – I was pregnant with twins. It was such a shock but we were both thrilled.”

Just five weeks after the scan, doctors told them their twins were sharing a placenta and Blair, the bigger baby, was getting much more of the nutrients from it than Ellis, who was much smaller. 

Amie recalls: “They showed us a scan of the boys and it looked like he was shrink-wrapped in his amniotic sac. He hardly had any fluid in there at all and he could hardly move. It was awful to see, knowing that the twins were in such danger. 

“The doctors told us that the best thing we could do was to terminate Ellis’s life to give Blair a better chance of survival. We couldn’t believe it. It was awful. We were being told that one of our twins must die to save the other. It was too much to take in.” 

She added: “We wanted to let nature take its course and see if both babies would live. 

“I looked on the internet to see what could help improve the function of a placenta. If my placenta worked better, then Ellis may get more nutrients. 

“It said to drink five litres of water a day and eat lots of protein. So that’s what I did. I cut out sweets and chocolate and just ate lots of chicken and eggs. Twice a week I kept having scans and each time he was still there. He had defied the doctors’ predictions. 

“When I was 24 weeks pregnant, we had a scan and Ellis was waving at the screen, giving me a thumbs-up. It was as though he was saying, ‘Don’t worry mum, we’ve got this’.” 

Doctors were forced to deliver the twins 10 weeks early because there was a problem with one of Ellis’s heart valves. He weighed just 1lb 7oz and Blair was 2lb 8oz. 

Ellis then underwent a bowel operation and eye surgery as a result of being born prematurely. He also suffered a series of infections. 

Now, at eight months old, both babies are thriving. “They were such incredible little fighters,” said Amie. 

“It was the most amazing feeling in the world when we finally had them both home and we were together as a family after everything we had been through.”

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