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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Best Exercises for Women 40+

Once you hit your 40s, staying in shape can become more challenging. That's because as you mature, you'll need to address your diet and activity levels more specifically to maintain your best health.
In other words, the days of eating fast food or late-night high-sugar, high-carb meals are most likely over. One reason you'll need to say goodbye to high-calorie eating is that, according to Dr. Mehmet Oz, your metabolism starts to slow about 5 percent per year after your 40th birthday.
For many women, this slowing metabolism registers as weight gain; with more weight often comes less energy and therefore difficulty motivating yourself to start (and stay) moving. And even with regular exercise, it can be tough to keep your weight in check. Your basal metabolic rate also declines with each decade of life, so fat-burning requires extra effort.

Preparing for body changes

Face the ch-ch-changes

Your thyroid

The thyroid controls your metabolism. You are more likely to develop hypothyroidism (which can cause weight gain). Besides weight gain, your age starts to catch up with you in other ways in your 40s.
After 40, exercise routines that once challenged you with in your earlier years can become painful or difficult. You may start feeling the effects of age in your joints.

Nearing menopause

Menopause is just around the corner (the average age of menopause is about 51). While exercise hasn't been proven to help you better cope with the effects of menopause, experts at the Mayo Clinic say making fitness part of your daily routine can help you manage your weight as you near menopause.
Estrogen loss has also been linked to bone loss, making it important to support your bones with strength training. And as estrogen dips, there is often an accumulation of belly fat. That belly fat — sometimes jokingly called the "meno-pot" — can increase a woman's risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Changing fitness routines

Since excess weight can be a factor in several types of cancer and heart disease, it's worth it to stay active well past your 40s. Cartilage, tendons and ligaments become less elastic, which can cause increased pain and/or injury if you continue to perform high-impact activities such as long-distance running, basketball and aerobics.
However, that certainly does not mean that women in their 40s need to stop all high-impact activities or give up working out.

Good exercises to consider

Chiropractor Dr. Tamara Berger recommends the following fitness suggestions for women over 40:

Lift weights

Our muscles can start to shrink and weaken in our 30s. Using weights is an important way to keep our muscles strong and flexible.


Bone density can also start to diminish as early as your mid-30s. To slow the clock don't be afraid to hop, jump, run, skip, squat or climb stairs.

Move fast (at least for a few seconds)

High-intensity training is a great way to stop the physical effects of the hands of time, and can be done safely at any age. Tabatas are short, high-intensity workouts where you combine max effort movements (run, bike, skips) with rest periods. A typical eight-minute tabata involves a 20-second all-out effort with a 10-second rest period.

Prevent injury

Strengthening your core (below the breast bone to just above the knees) protects your joints from injury. Core strengthening involves slow, complex movements that challenge multiple areas of the body.


The 40s are a time to focus even more on staying flexible. Why? The need for flexibility increases as we age because muscles tighten, shorten and become more prone to injury. "Flexibility is the third pillar of fitness, next to cardiovascular conditioning and strength training," says David Geier, director of sports medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. Flexibility can help your body reach its optimum fitness level, may play a role in injury prevention and, experts say, can even contribute to staving off arthritis and other serious illnesses.
The key to increasing flexibility is to hold stretches (no bouncing) for at least 10 to 15 seconds. Don't hold your breath; focus on relaxing the muscles you are stretching on each exhalation. Many experts recommend yoga or Pilates as good ways to incorporate stretching into your regular routines.
Overall, your 40s will definitely be a time of physical, mental and even spiritual changes, but you can also look forward to a transition toward deeper level of awareness, fitness and well-being.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Build Core Strength with Pilates and Yoga

Pilates and yoga are both increasingly popular in the UK. 

Both are total body workouts. Pilates is a system of strengthening and stretching exercises designed to develop the body's core (abdominals, lower back, hips and gluteals) and ultimately lead to better posture and balance. Yoga aims to improve strength, flexibility and breathing as well as improving mental wellbeing. Some yoga poses can also benefit your calves and other leg muscles.

Woman doing pilates

Thursday, 25 August 2016

11 Lunch Box Snack Swaps


1. Popcorn instead of crisps
2. Malt loaf instead of cake bars
3. Homemade flapjack instead of chocolate
4. Vegetable sticks with houmous instead of cheese biscuits 
5. Fruit scones instead of muffins
6. Boiled egg instead of cheese puff crisps

7. No added sugar squash instead of fizzy drinks
8. Fruit slices instead of biscuits  
9. Homemade mix of fruit and nuts instead of shop bought trail mix 
10. Plain yoghurt topped with fruit instead of chocolate mousse 
11. No added sugar jelly pot instead of sweets

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Vitamin C and diet

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and has several important functions.
For example, it:
  • helps to protect cells and keeps them healthy
  • is necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue, which gives support and structure for other tissue and organs
  • helps wound healing
A lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy.

Good sources of vitamin C

Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Good sources include:
  • oranges and orange juice
  • red and green peppers
  • strawberries
  • blackcurrants
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • potatoes

How much vitamin C do I need?

Adults need 40mg of vitamin C a day.
Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day.
You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need from your daily diet.

What happens if I take too much vitamin C?

Taking large amounts (more than 1,000mg per day) of vitamin C can cause:
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhoea 
  • flatulence 
These symptoms should disappear once you stop taking vitamin C supplements.

What does the Department of Health advise?

You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take vitamin C supplements, do not take too much, because this could be harmful.
Taking less than 1,000mg of vitamin C supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.

Image result for vitamin c rich foods uk

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Vitamin C and beauty

Over recent years, a glance at the ingredients on the back of my face cream has left me wishing I’d done a PhD in chemistry — all those AHAs, nanoparticles and pentapeptides. 

But some good news from the beauty world is that the latest wonder ingredient is something we all know and love. Good old vitamin C.

Look down the beauty aisle of any department store and you’ll see three new products from Origins, Kiehl’s and StriVectin-EV, which feature the old favourite as their key ingredient. Other brands such as Sisley, Vichy, Environ and Philosophy also have vitamin C-based formulas.

The beauty industry has long known that vitamin C — in food and cream form — is vital for good skin. The nutrient helps form collagen and elastin (essential to keep the skin looking plump, taut and young) as well as acting as an antioxidant to protect us from the harsh effects of the environment, such as UV rays, pollution and a bad diet.

In recent years, lowly vitamin C has been left in the shadows as cosmetic companies embarked on a rush to find new (often unpronouncable) ingredients — the likes of acai, glycans and hyaluronic acid. 

‘Yet new technology means we can harness vitamin C in new, more targeted ways — specifically in terms of tackling fine lines and pigmentation,’ says Gillian Barclay from Kiehl’s.
Indeed, dermatologists have discovered that vitamin C is one of the best ingredients to tackle dark spots. It not only brightens the skin but also inhibits the production of tyrosinase, an enzyme that creates pigmentation. 

Scientists have also found that vitamin C is not only an essential building block of skin-plumping collagen and elastin, but it actually kick-starts the body into producing more of these proteins — making it a potent anti-ager.

Look for creams containing Vitamin C. If your skin is sensitive, experts warn you may experience stinging or irritation with products containing the water-soluble form of vitamin C, called L-Ascorbic acid, so do a patch test first. But for most of us it seems our skin would benefit from a vitamin boost.

Do not forget to nurish from within.
 See my next post on getting vitamin C from your diet.

Vitamin C: The latest wonder ingredient


Friday, 12 August 2016

How to get vitamin D from sunlight

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, and in the UK from around late March/early April to the end of September we get most of our vitamin D from sunlight exposure. Find out how to get enough without risking sun damage.
We need vitamin D to help the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet. These minerals are important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
A lack of vitamin D – known as vitamin D deficiency – can cause bones to become soft and weak, which can lead to bone deformities. In children, for example, a lack of vitamin D can lead to rickets. In adults, it can lead to osteomalacia, which causes bone pain and tenderness.

How do we get vitamin D?

Our body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin when we are outdoors. From about late March/early April to the end of September, most of us should be able to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight.
We also get some vitamin D from a small number of foods, including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, as well as red meat and eggs. 
Vitamin D is also added to all infant formula milk, as well as some breakfast cereals, fat spreads and non-dairy milk alternatives. 
The amounts added to these products can vary and may only be added in small amounts. Manufacturers must by law add vitamin D to infant formula milk.
Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements.

How long should we spend in the sun?

Most people can make enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for short periods with their forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen from late March or early April to the end of September, especially from 11am to 3pm.
It's not known exactly how much time is needed in the sun to make enough vitamin D to meet the body's requirements. This is because there are a number of factors that can affect how vitamin D is made, such as your skin colour or how much skin you have exposed. But you should be careful not to burn in the sun, so take care to cover up, or protect your skin with sunscreen, before your skin starts to turn red or burn.
People with dark skin, such as those of African, African-Caribbean or south Asian origin, will need to spend longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D as someone with lighter skin.  
How long it takes for your skin to go red or burn varies from person to person. Cancer Research UK has a useful tool where you can find out your skin type, to see when you might be at risk of burning.
Your body can't make vitamin D if you are sitting indoors by a sunny window because ultraviolet B (UVB) rays (the ones your body needs to make vitamin D) can't get through the glass.
The longer you stay in the sun, especially for prolonged periods without sun protection, the greater your risk of skin cancer.
If you plan to be out in the sun for long, cover up with suitable clothing, wrap-around sunglasses, seeking shade and applying at least SPF15 sunscreen.

Winter sunlight

In the UK, sunlight doesn't contain enough UVB radiation in winter (October to early March) for our skin to be able to make vitamin D.
During these months, we rely on getting our vitamin D from food sources (including fortified foods) and supplements.   
Using sunbeds is not a recommended way of making vitamin D.

Babies and children

Children aged under six months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight.
From March to October in the UK, children should:
  • cover up with suitable clothing, including wearing a hat and wearing wrap-around sunglasses
  • spend time in the shade (particularly from 11am to 3pm)
  • wear at least SPF15 sunscreen

Thursday, 11 August 2016

The new guidelines on vitamin D

"Experts recommend everyone consider vitamin D supplements over winter," says a headline in today's Daily Mail, while The Guardian urges "Tuck into tuna, salmon and eggs or take vitamin D pills – official health advice".
The headlines were prompted by new advice on vitamin D from Public Health England (PHE), which says that children and adults over the age of one should have 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D every day. This means that some people may want to consider taking a supplement.
The advice is based on recommendations from the government'sScientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) following its review of the evidence on vitamin D and health (PDF, 4.2Mb).

How has the new vitamin D advice been reported?

In general the new government advice on vitamin D has been reported accurately.
However, the Guardian's headline, "Tuck into tuna, salmon and eggs or take vitamin D pills – official health advice" is misleading. While it's important to eat these foods as good sources of vitamin D, the advice is to consider taking vitamin D supplements because it is difficult to get enough from food alone.
Meanwhile, the Express headline, "Everyone should take vitamin D: Health chiefs warn millions are at risk of deficiency," overstates the advice. Most people are simply being asked to consider taking supplements.
And, although roughly one in five people has low vitamin D levels, this is not the same as a vitamin D deficiency. It is not accurate to say that millions of people are at risk of deficiency.

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies. Both are needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
Vitamin D is found naturally in a small number of foods, including oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks. It's also found in fortified foods like breakfast cereals and fat spreads.
However, it's difficult for us to get the recommended amount of vitamin D from food alone.
Our main source of vitamin D is from the action of sunlight on our skin. 

What is the new vitamin D advice?

The new advice from PHE is that adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D, particularly during autumn and winter.
People who have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency are being advised to take a supplement all year round.
SACN's review concluded that these at-risk groups include people whose skin has little or no exposure to the sun, like those in care homes, or people who cover their skin when they are outside.
People with dark skin, from African, African-Caribbean and South Asian backgrounds, may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight in the summer. They should consider taking a supplement all year round as well.

Vitamin D helps with bone health

Is there new vitamin D advice for children too?

Yes. It's recommended that children aged one to four years should have a daily 10mcg vitamin D supplement all year round.
As a precaution, all babies under one year should have a daily 8.5-10mcg vitamin D supplement to make sure they get enough.
However, babies who have more than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day don't need a vitamin D supplement as formula is already fortified.
The government recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed until around six months of age.

Why are we being advised to take vitamin D supplements?

The government says it has issued new vitamin D recommendations "to ensure that the majority of the UK population has satisfactory vitamin D blood levels throughout the year, in order to protect musculoskeletal health".
The recommendations refer to average intake over a period of time, such as one week, and take account of day-to-day variations in vitamin D intake.
SACN also looked at possible links between vitamin D and non-musculoskeletal conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis and cardiovascular disease. They didn't find enough evidence to draw any firm conclusions.
In spring and summer, most of us get enough vitamin D from sunlight on our skin and a healthy, balanced diet.
However, SACN couldn't make any recommendations about how much sunlight people would need to get enough vitamin D because there are a number of factors that can affect how much vitamin D is produced in the skin. So the recommendations assume "minimal sunshine exposure".
During autumn and winter (from October until the end of March) the sun isn't strong enough in the UK to produce vitamin D. That means we have to rely on getting it just from the food we eat. 
Because it's difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone, many of us risk not getting enough. Taking a supplement helps to keep levels of the vitamin topped up during the colder months.

Where can I get vitamin D supplements?

Vitamin D supplements are widely available from supermarkets and chemists.
Vitamin drops are available for babies. Your health visitor can tell you where to get them. These are available free to low-income families through the Healthy Start scheme.

You can no follow. See my next post on Vitamin D and sunlight

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