Category Archives: Health

Foods to eat to boost your mood

Healthspan have found that women spend nearly five hours a week in a mood, and weather can be a big factor.

Today is the start of autumn so don’t let your mood take a hit this season, the foods you eat can be a big help to this.

Here we explain the foods to eat to boost your mood.

Rob Hobson, Head of Nutrition at Healthspan says: “Our diet can boost our mood and it also works the other way as our moods can also influence our food choices.  Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish have been shown to help with mood especially in the case of depression and deficiencies in folate, Vitamin B12 and magnesium, have also been linked to low mood so try boosting your intake with wholegrains, pulses, eggs, dried apricots, green veggies, nuts and seeds.”

Foods to boost your mood  by Robert Hobson, Healthspan Head of Nutrition

Salmon (omega 3 may help with symptoms of depression)

Oats (slow release sugars useful to help maintain blood sugar levels which can effect mood)

Eggs (great source of B12, a deficiency of which has been linked to low mood and depression)

Brazil nuts (poor selenium take linked to low mood)

Dark chocolate (has been shown to boost mood)

Pumpkin seeds (rich in magnesium, low intakes linked to low mood and depression)

Barley (another complex carb that helps to deliver tryptophan to the brain which is used to make the feel good hormone serotonin)

Lean red meat (keep iron stores up to fight of tiredness and fatigue which can cause low mood)

Asparagus (one of the richest plant sources of tryptophan)

Mussels (one of the highest sources of B12 as well as iron)


Men, get a Golden Wonder body for summer

Trunks feeling a little tight? Moobs making you miserable? Man up! We’re here to tell you how you can still lose the calories, without losing the Golden Wonder crisps this summer….

Whether you’re shopping for swim shorts, or following the Mrs around the mall ahead of the big holiday, you can still crunch on crisps whilst toning up.

Here are a few cheeky ways to keep that fat burning before you fly off…

For Big Guns: burns up to 100 calories

Go shopping! It may sound like the world’s worst activity, but pushing a shopping trolley around for half an hour can burn over 100 calories. Lugging heavy shopping bags home will also help to build up your biceps.

For Stacked Shoulders: burns up to 350 calories

Spending an hour in the attic searching for suitcases, carrying them around the airport, and packing and unpacking them could burn a massive 350 calories before you even get to your destination…awesome!

For Thick Thighs: burns up to 500 calories

Having a quick BBQ with your mates before you head off? Get the beers in son! Lifting crates for 30 minutes can help build up thigh, buttock and quad muscles and burn 500 calories due to the constant squatting action.

For Chiselled Abs: burns up to 600 calories

In the park and getting in some sneaky rays before you go? Watch out for those good lookin’ girls. If you sit up every time to take a look, you’ll be on your way to a stomach that even Peter Andre would envy…(just don’t let the Mrs catch you!)

So go on, munch on, and work that summer strut…

The effects of smoking on eye health

The dangers of smoking are well documented with many aware that cigarettes can lead to health problems such as lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema, yet little is heard about long term eye problems that can be caused by smoking.

Ahead of National No Smoking Day today the Optrex experts provides information on four eye heath issues that can be caused by smoking:

  • Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration develops when the macula (the part of the eye responsible for central vision) is unable to function as effectively as it used to. Smoking leads to premature ageing of cells, which in turn causes the macula to degenerate. For long-term smokers it can lead to irreversible loss of central vision

  • Cataracts

Cataracts are cloudy patches in the lens that can make vision blurred or misty and can be caused by the toxins in cigarette smoke. The risk of smokers developing cataracts is further increased as smoking reduces the levels of antioxidants and enzymes in the body, making it harder to repair any damage to the eye

  • Optic Nerve Damage

Nicotine is a nerve constrictor which, if taken into the body regularly, can damage eyes. Long term smokers are most at risk, as the nerves in eyes become congested and could eventually result in partial to complete vision loss

  • Dry Eyes

Tears aren’t just for crying, the essential nutrients contained in the droplets work to keep eyes clean and moist. Without them eyes quickly become dry and irritated, leading to burning sensations, eye fatigue, blurred vision and itching. The smoke from cigarettes quickly dries moisture in the eyes, and even passive smoke can alter the tear films of eyes, leading to discomfort and irritation

Gok Wan helps you to feel good

Gok Wan is working on a new campaign, that you’ve most probably seen on the TV, with Activia on how to feel good on the inside.

The style and lifestyle guru told us all about what he does to feel good and relax and shares his tips on how you can too.

Here’s what Gok Wan had to say ….

What sort of things will you to help you relax?

Seven hours of sleep a night and I want to read a book every month. I’m not going to put so much pressure on myself; I’m going to try and have as many of my weekends free as possible. And my new one which is going to be switching my mobile off, which I’ve never done. I’ve had a mobile for many years and I’ve never ever switched it off, so now it is going to be switched off from 9pm till 6am. That’s a big thing for me.

How can women make themselves feel good on the inside?

Obviously a lot of it is diet, not lose-weight-diet, but what you eat. Just make sure that you’ve got some balance in your life. I don’t think it’s right for anyone to turn around and say stop drinking so much, don’t eat fried food. What fuel you put into your body is very important. It’s not just about dresses, shoes and handbags, it’s about what fuel you put into your body and again I reiterate that this is not about weight loss, it’s about making sure that you feel as healthy as you possibly can. If you are going to splurge out and have a month of bad eating and drinking, that’s absolutely fine as far as I’m concerned but what you need to do is get some balance to make sure that you are looking after yourself and you are getting your five-a-day, making sure you’re getting your minerals, protein. That’s been a huge part of me growing up in catering, my mum, dad and me we fed people so we had to make sure that we were giving people the right amount of portions, things aren’t too heavily fried because it doesn’t make you feel very good about yourself.

What diet tips do you have for people who want to lose weight this New Year?

I don’t, I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I don’t give diet tips out. There are so many diets out there, whether it’s Atkins, Dukan or your diet clubs, the way I stand I would be slightly a hypocrite to give out tips telling people to lose weight when I’ve always told people to celebrate the body that you’re in and afterwards your body will start celebrating you. A lot of the time when I’ve done the TV shows women have felt better about themselves and naturally they’ve lose weight because a lot of the times people overeat for security, for comfort or because they’re very unhappy. When you feel better about yourself and you feel healthier in your overall aesthetic and when you look in the mirror you get a pleasant feeling as opposed to a feeling of dread you won’t need to find comfort in food as maybe you did.

If you could suggest a couple of New Year’s Resolutions for women to make to make them feel better on the inside, what would you suggest?

I would say definitely look at alcohol, alcohol is a big contributing factor to women not feeling good about themselves. Drinking water is huge and something that we all need to do more of. And limiting yourself to splurging. Then of course don’t deny yourself, just make sure that you’re aware of what you’re drinking and eating. Anything in excess can become quite harmful. Give yourself a new haircut, a new colour, looking after your skin, maybe speak to someone at a beauty counter and ask for advice on new make-up or a skincare regime – all of that stuff can be quite inexpensive and make a huge difference as well. I think if you can afford it just once a month having a massage done, getting a manicure or a pedicure, letting someone do your grooming instead of having to do an at-home job, all of those little treats can help. I think working out a budget as well is important because you can only do what you can afford. Whether you’ve got £10, £50 or £100 a month, making sure that you spend that money wisely and you’re getting the most from it. It might be a new lipstick and it could be as simple as that or it might be a weekend away with your girlfriends at a spa.

Femalefirst Taryn Davies  

Read the full interview here 

Gok Wan is the new brand ambassador for Activia’s Feel Good from Within 2013 campaign. Activia and Gok are on a mission to change the way women feel good this year, and help women all around the UK feel good from within. Activia is a source of calcium. Calcium helps maintain healthy bones. Enjoy as part of a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle

Check out and on here you’ll be able to access Activia and Gok’s top feel good tips for 2013 by clicking on the “I pledge” button

50 Shades of Green

If 50 Shades Of Grey has got you ready for some fun in the bedroom, but your partner needs a helping hand to get in the mood, perhaps they could take a leaf, or more technically a flower, out of France’s book.

In Europe the artichoke has been seen as an aphrodisiac for centuries, where in the 16th Century only men were allowed to eat the unusually edible flower because of its reported libido enhancing qualities. The French Court evem considered Katherine De Medici, who married King Henry II, scandalous for eating such a large quantity of artichokes and she proclaimed in her defence

“If one of us had eaten artichokes, we would have been pointed out on the street. Today young women are more forward than pages at the court.”

It is certainly true that the artichoke is healthy, jam packed with important vitamins and minerals, and said to help with certain digestive problems, and so it should definitely make you feel good one way or another.

How to benefit from artichoke

In the UK it can be hard to find fresh artichokes, but there is now a unique artichoke tea available, which allows you to test out its purported aphrodisiac qualities for yourself in an easy and tasty way.

For further information or to buy visit or ask at your local health store.

New phone app protects people’s moods

Computer scientists have developed the world’s first mobile phone app which automatically colour codes messages so people know before reading them if they’re likely to make you feel good or bad.

The development, for Android phones, could mean the end of people being surprised by an angry or hostile message, whether it’s from Twitter, Facebook or text.

It would also allow smart phone users to prepare for bad news and allocate time to receive it.

Master’s student Lorraine Chambers and her supervisor, senior lecturer Mohamed Gaber, both at the University of Portsmouth’s School of Computing, will present their breakthrough at a conference in Spain in September.

Dr Gaber said: “We are increasingly sending and receiving information via messages on mobile phones. The rate of growth in this area has never been witnessed – everything from Twitter streams and Facebook messages to direct text messages are coming straight at us all the time on our handheld devices.

“This information has an immense power, whether we are reading a worrying social media news story or a warning email from our manager, messages can upset mood and increase stress level, just as good news and encouraging emails can cheer you up.

“The ultimate objective of this application is to make the user aware of the negative contents they receive so they are able to manage their stress in the best possible way. For example, if most of what is received from social media websites by a user on a particular day was negative, it is important that the user attempts to take an action in order to not get stressed, especially if this may affect the individual’s performance at work and/or their behaviour at home.”

The app works by automatically colour coding incoming messages as green for positive, red for negative and blue for neutral so a user can see before opening any message whether it is likely to be worrying or encouraging.

The Portsmouth researchers were inspired to research and develop the app after a visit by their colleague Mykola Pechenizkiy at the Eindhoven University of Technology, in the Netherlands, who had developed a similar capability for emails on desktop computers, together with his Masters student Erik Tromp. Mykola and Eric have worked with the Portsmouth researchers, Lorraine and Mohamed using state-of-the-art technology for sentiment analysis to classify ‘on the fly’ any textual input received on the user’s handheld device.

The researchers tested the technology on a range of Android mobile phones and find it works faultlessly no matter what each phone’s computational power and memory were. The researchers are working on ways to make it freely accessible via Android Marketplace.

If there’s sufficient demand, it will be made available to users of iPhones and iPads.

The results of the project are reported in a research paper that has been accepted for presentation at 16th International Conference on Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Information and Engineering Systems, to be held in San Sebastian, Spain.

Baby massage: Is there really any need?

Whilst the benefits of baby massage are becoming well established and include helping babies relax and improving bonding between mother and child, new exciting research shows there could be even further positive implications for your child…

New research has indicated that baby massage could help nervous system, brain and senses development in young infants, exciting news for both health professionals and new parents.

The most recent study, published last month, showed that baby massage in pre-term infants appears to affect the development of their nervous systems in a positive manner.

Researchers measured the effect of massage on heart rate variability, a measure of autonomic nervous system function (the part of our nervous systems that controls breathing, heart function and many other jobs our bodies perform without us having to think). It was found that over the study period heart rate variability improved in those babies who were massaged, but not in control babies who weren’t – interestingly more so in boys than girls – meaning their bodies were better adapted to deal with and respond to external stresses.

Another recent study looked at the brain activity of pre-term infants by measuring EEG activity (an index of brain maturation) and found that massage positively affected the maturation of brain electrical activity when compared to those babies who weren’t massaged.

Whilst the studies didn’t look at how massage had such a positive impact on babies’ they have added serious weight to support the practise.

Note: Baby massage should only be carried out after a baby’s six week check up and if no contraindications are present.

Baby Massage Products
There are now numerous companies offering baby massage, but leading the way is the company Tiddley Pom who have worked in conjunction with infant massage instructors, an aromatherapist and the musician Fredrik Karlsson, who specializes in relaxing music, to produce baby massage sets that include organic baby massage oil, an instructional DVD and music CD alongside other organic goodies such as moisturizing lotions and nappy balms. They’ve already picked up numerous accolades and awards for their products and have recently launched in Debenhams stores and Debenhams online. For more information, or to buy their full range, please visit

Diabetes care second rate

A specialist health lawyer has raised concers over a new report warning that care provided to patients with diabetes is in a ‘state of crisis’.

Diabetes UK has revealed how less than 50% of people diagnosed with the condition enjoy even the bare minimum level of care, in its State of the Nation 2012 report.

“According to this latest report by Diabetes UK, the level of care recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is enjoyed by less than half of people with diabetes. That is a worrying statistic,” said Neil fearn who is Head of Clinical Negligence at Simpson Millar.

According to Diabetes UK, the increase in diabetes-related conditions is to blame on a lack of regular tests and check-ups.

Neil added: “People with diabetes are at much higher risk of amputation, blindness, kidney failure and stroke. It is absolutely vital that the care they receive matches the seriousness of these health threats.”

“There are many things that people who suffer from diabetes can do to manage their condition but, to do so effectively, they need the full support of the NHS,” said Neil.

It’s finally been found that women do actually love to clean

It’s long been left to the women to do because it was thought that they actually like to do it, the cleaning we’re talking about, but apart from a likeness, in my opinion it’s because the men just aren’t as good.

Researchers found many women find giving the house a once over a ‘relaxing’, ‘satisfying’ or ‘therapeutic’ experience. Others said they felt a sense of ‘pleasure’ and ‘achievement’, mainly because they were safe in the knowledge surprise visitors wouldn’t see the house in a mess.

But ironically, almost four out of ten of those who love cleaning admitted they would never tell their other half they enjoyed getting to grips with the housework.

The admissions emerged in a report carried out among 2,000 women by Zoflora, the UK’s No 1 disinfectant.

Dr Jane McCartney, a chartered psychologist and consultant to Zoflora, said: “There are a growing number of common misconceptions about cleaning, however women can and do get a great deal of satisfaction from cleaning.

“The sense of achievement is an important factor in a person’s well-being and cleaning is an area where this achievement can live beyond the actual task itself.

“There is the therapeutic routine or sense of control in creating a home environment but also, perhaps, that homes also make a personal statement – cleanliness and choice of fragrance adding to their overall sense of personal pride satisfaction.

“Taking on tasks that you have a realistic chance of completing can provide immediate positive feedback; the undertaking and completion of the task will allow you to have a sense of control.

“The sense of achievement is an important factor in a person’s well-being and cleaning is an area where this achievement can live beyond the actual task itself.”

The study found vacuuming, tidying up and wiping surfaces clean are three household chores women enjoy. Cleaning the oven, the toilet and doing the ironing were the ones they were most likely to hate. Household tasks which required too much time, too much effort or were labelled ‘disgusting’ were most likely to be left to their other half.

But chores that left their house looking noticeably clean were the ones women preferred and enjoyed, like dusting and washing up. Making sure their house smelt clean and fresh was also a priority for women, with more than three quarters admitting they would judge someone with a bad smell in their home, or look at them in a negative light.

Dr. McCartney added: ”Not only is it just unpleasant to be near a bad smell, this also stems from our basic evolutionary development too.

”In the past unpleasant smells would signify a danger to survival, in as much as they indicate contamination, illness or even death.”

The study also found the average woman spends just over four hours a week cleaning, with the majority of women cleaning soon after they made a mess, rather than leaving everything until later.

Forty per cent said they did all the cleaning themselves – but most said their partner was equally responsible for the chores.

Incredibly, one in ten of the women love cleaning so much they go as far as to clean other people’s homes because it makes them feel good.




Wiping surfaces clean

Putting the washing on

Hanging things on the line

Changing the sheets


Washing up


Mopping the floors



Cleaning the oven

Cleaning the toilet

Cleaning the shower

Cleaning the bath

Defrosting the freezer

Cleaning the fridge

Sweeping the floors

Washing up

Taking the rubbish out

Vacuuming the stairs