Sunday, 12 February 2017

Are trees making you sneeze?

hay fever, allergy, health, Spring
Winter bug or spring allergy?
If over the next couple of weeks you find yourself with the sniffles, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you've yet to shake off all those winter bugs. But if you're experiencing a runny nose, congestion, itchy eyes, nose and throat and sneezing you might actually be suffering from hay fever - an allergic reaction to pollen and other airborne allergens. And it's the trees that are making you sneeze!

One in four of us suffer from hay fever (or seasonal allergic rhinitis to give it it's proper name!) triggered by tree pollen, which can kick in as early as March. Unfortunately the tree pollen season generally lasts until May and early June, because each type of tree pollinates at different times, and then it overlaps with the start of the grass pollen season (groan). The two most important tree pollen types are the silver birch, which triggers hay fever in approximately 25 per cent of sufferers, and the oak, which affects around 20 per cent of hay fever sufferers. 

Around 15 to 20 percent of the UK population suffer from hay fever, with our bodies producing histamines in response to pollen in the air. But too many histamines in the body produce the symptoms hay fever sufferers know only too well, including sneezing, a runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy, watery, streaming and swollen eyes, an itchy nose and throat, an overall achy feeling, and pressure in the facial area. Not surprisingly the symptoms can end up causing sensitive and irritated skin and fatigue, even affecting sleep quality. Yuk. 

So what can you do?

Sunday, 5 February 2017

GOPO update: Rosehip vs joint pain

injury, knee pain, joint pain, arthritis
GOPO® was discovered over 20 years ago in Denmark

Way back in November (y'know, even before Christmas!) I started a 12-week trial of GOPO - a supplement made from the seeds and husks of a sub-species of the rather beautiful rosehip plant.

The GOPO® Joint Health product contains a high level of GOPO® - a key component of the rose-hip, which may play a valuable role in the care of joints and joint tissues.

Clinical trials involving hundreds of patients with joint pain and arthritis have already taken place. I was hoping the supplement would help with some knee pain I've been experiencing.


Did it work?

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Walk a mile in someone else's shoes..

hip dysplasia, cast life, DDH
Natalie Trice and her son Lucas,
the inspiration behind the first Warrior Walk.
Finding your baby has a chronic condition that could affect the rest of their life is every parent's nightmare. And for mum Natalie Trice, the hardship of discovering her son Lucas suffered from developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) when he was just four months old was exacerbated by the realisation that there was little information and support for parents like her.

DDH occurs when the hip joint fails to develop correctly and two to three in every 1,000 infants will require treatment. To date, Lucas has had five major operations and spent over a year in casts, harnesses and wheelchairs - and is still on his treatment path. 

While caring for her son, Natalie founded DDH UK, the UK’s only DDH-dedicated charity, to support families on their journey towards healthy hips and wrote 'Cast Life - A Parent's Guide to DDH' too - the resources she wishes she'd had all those years ago. And now Lucas - and his school, the Stover School in Devon, are hoping to raise the £5,000 needed to register the charity he inspired with the Charity Commission. 

'If I can walk a mile for healthy hips, anyone can.'

Friday, 13 January 2017

Get fit for free!


workout, healthy, stability ball,
Join the Julia Buckley
online gym for free (yes FREE!).
At this time of year everyone wants to start healthy habits but not everyone has the cash to splash on a gym membership or personal trainer. Particularly right after the expense of Christmas! And if you've failed to keep up with a fitness plan in the past you might also be reticent to start paying to work out if you think you might renegade later. (but you won't this time - will you? Because you've read this!).

Thankfully not all exercise plans come with a price tag. And if you can get a taste for the good life for free - why not take it? What have you got to lose?

Here are some top training ideas that won't cost you a penny:

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Healthy homes are heated homes!

snow, winter health, energy savings
The kids are already planning for snow...
but are you ready?
Okay, we've all heard the hype - the temperature is about to drop and it could snow (and some places are already suffering!). But along with the panic of how you'll get to work in icy conditions and your kids' excitement that the schools may shut, it's important to keep your home at a healthy temperature.

A study by Public Health England found that indoor temperatures below 18 degrees can have an impact on health, and independent expert the Energy Saving Trust is reminding people not to take risks and ensure that their homes are able to cope with the conditions. This comes after a study shows 42 per cent of householders across the country avoid putting the heating on during cold spells due to concerns about high bills. Brrrrrr!

So how can you protect your family's health AND avoid a large bill? Here's what our experts have to say:

Does winter make you SAD?

SAD, winter, depression, health
Wake up the right way this winter
I have to admit I've really struggled with the short days and dark mornings this winter. I juggle herding the kids to and from school, taking two dog walks, a trip to the gym and working (please note my priorities there!) in what has seemed like ever-decreasing daylight! And when the alarm goes off at 7am, I'd really like to hit snooze; for about two hours! And yet, do you see me heading to bed at 10pm, ummm no.

Of course, I'm not alone in hating getting up when the sun has yet to rise! As many as a quarter of us experience the winter blues and seven per cent within that group suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It's thought that the dawn light level in winter is too weak to signal the pineal gland to stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin; which leads to over-sleeping and grogginess in the mornings. And the modern trend of spending most of our day indoors means we also have insufficient light exposure, which can make us feel tired and down.

But hibernating isn't an option - and in most cases - neither is just taking these few months easy. So what can you do to improve your mood and energy levels?

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

How to foolproof your NY resolutions

Let nutritionist Zoe Martin
help you reach your goals in 2017.
Yikes! Figures show that over 500 thousand of those who make New Year resolutions will have broken them by the 2nd of January! And even if you have stood firm for the first few days of the month, motivation often wanes by the last Friday in January, with just eight percent of people actually succeeding with their resolution by the end of the year. Since about half of NY promises relate to health and exercise, it's important that we learn just where we are all going wrong if we want to have a happy and healthy 2017!

Baby steps


Zoe Martin is a nutritionist at Discount Supplements. She believes success is all about goal setting - breaking down that ultimate aim into smaller steps - which will get you over that hurdle of one big challenge seeming so overwhelming that you give up all too easily. For example, if you want to lose three stone in 2017, Zoe suggests setting yourself a target weight to lose over the course of each month, and aiming to reach smaller targets in between (such as going to the gym twice a week or not eating takeaways). With this method you're allowing yourself small - and motivating - wins that will help you make progress in the long term. Which is exactly what you need!

Zoe has some other top tips to help you too:

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Play the game!

There's only a few days left of 'normality' before the school holidays start and Christmas and New Year celebrations kick in big time - and you may be wondering how to keep on track with your workouts. Well, you have several options - including joining an online gym (for free at the moment!) and getting your family involved in fitness. And...you can play Bingo. Yes, that's right Christmas Bingo - with added oomph. Only you won't be needing a pen...