Hello…sorry it’s been so long

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Hello,

I can’t remember the last time I blogged – deadlines (lots of ’em), keeping fit and regular longer runs have very much got in the way. However, I’ve been nudged into getting back on the horse (so to speak) by hearing that I’ve somehow made the VoucherCodesPro Top 50 Fitness Bloggers list.

Those lovely people rate my blog because they say: “every post is well researched and very clear so even novices will be able to gain useful information from them”. They then go on to explain why you should follow Happy Talking Health…”this blog is all about targeting every aspect of health, not just what you eat or how much you exercise, which is something we should all take notice off” – kind words indeed.

I’m very flattered (and also a little ashamed that I haven’t posted on here for so bloody long).

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos

Five ways to tackle your energy slumps

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2.16pm is the most common time for us to experience energy slumps according to research – at this time we are most likely to feel drained and unable to concentrate.

Find out how to beat your energy slumps.

1. Eat more protein – this provides our bodies with long-lasting energy and avoids blood sugar drops that can negatively affect our alertness. Tuck into: oatcakes, wholegrains, lean meat, low-fat dairy options and nuts at lunchtime.

2. Have a mid-afternoon snack – beware that energy boosts from sugar snacks wear off quickly. Opt for fresh fruit, dried fruit or nuts instead as these are a longer-lasting source of energy. If you’re desperate for a chocolate fix – have a couple of squares of good-for-you dark chocolate. I also recently tried a new juice-based organic energy drink, Scheckter’s Organic Energy Lite. It’s made from all natural and organic ingredients and was a perfect pick-me-up from a big energy slump after an early start.

3. Don’t skip meals – having long gaps between meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop – try and eat something every 2-3 hours.

4. Drink water – keep a filled bottle of water on your desk so you’re more likely to have a drink regularly. Water can help you to feel less sleepy and also boosts concentration.

5. Get outside at lunchtime – the fresh air will perk you up and help to improve your concentration when you return to work.

Have a comedy giggle and grab a health boost

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Whether it is repeats of Friends or maybe one of the current crop of TV funnies such as Twenty Twelve, Facejacker, Benidorm or Celebrity Juice that tickles you and has you crying with laughter; those 30 minutes on the sofa can be a real health booster. 

New research has revealed watching 30 minutes of telly that makes you laugh is very good for you. Having a good giggle not only helps to relieve stress but researchers also believe it is an excellent calorie burner.

While you sit back and have a hearty chuckle, experts say you can burn as many calories as you would in a short gym session. Though do bear in mind, coupling your comedy TV time with a snack attack, will significantly negate the positive health benefits!

Have a jolly Easter!

Bored at work? Beware of those calorific snack attacks

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Female office workers consume 650 to 750 calories in snacks each day, just under a third of their daily recommended calorie allowance, a new study has revealed. Wowzer.

The survey by My Voucher Codes, found 87% of female office workers snack at their desks, while 50% confessed to eating between 650 to 750 calories on snacks alone. 2% admitted they can eat up to 850 to 950 calories over a working day, almost half of the 2,000 calories women are advised to eat each day.

Boredom was the main reason stated for snacking at work, while others said they snack to be more sociable. Over two thirds of the female office workers surveyed felt they snack more at work than they do at home. Chocolate and biscuits were cited as most favourite snacks with fruit and crisps also polling highly too.

Having healthy snacks in and around the office can help. I try to keep away from an every-single-day chocolate fix by keeping fruit on hand and having a regular Graze box delivered. If you would like to try a free Graze box, simply visit the site and enter the following code: 92Z1VF5D. The treat’s on me!

 

Image courtesy of Press Loft/Treat Her

Five reasons to go nuts for almonds

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As today is National Almond Day (no, I never knew it existed either!) – here are five fabulous health reasons why these tree nuts are bursting with good-for-you-ness.

1. Almonds are a great natural source of protein and fibre. They’re also high in essential nutrients including vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and zinc.

2. Celebrity almond fans include Elle Macpherson, Lisa Snowden, Karren Brady and Gary Barlow who enjoy a handful every day. Rumour has it that Mr Barlow insisted his X Factor contestants incorporated daily snacking on almonds as part of their strict diet.

3. Omega 3 fatty acids are natural providers of good skin health. Though oily fish is often cited as the best source, did you know, flaxseeds and almonds are also excellent vegetarian-friendly sources?

4. Along with dates, almonds are believed to be among the earliest cultivated foods, with both getting a mention in the Old Testament of the Bible.

5. In India, almonds are considered a prized brain food for children.

“When you snack on almonds, you can feel satisfied knowing that you’re eating something you love which is also providing you with the nutrients you need,” says dietician, Kimberly Haider. “That’s positive news on National Almond Day and every day.”

Visit Almond Board for more information including smart snacking tips from Karren Brady, snack suggestions and almond recipes.

Can we boost our grey matter with the white stuff?

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I’ve had mine today, have you had yours? Yes, we all know milk is a great source of calcium which helps build and maintain healthy bones, as well as giving our bodies a vitamin and protein boost. But did you know, a glass of milk a day could also boost your brain power too?

New US research certainly seems to think so. Milk drinkers, irrespective of age and health, performed significantly higher on a range of brain and cognitive tests than those who drank little or no milk in the study of 972 men and women.

Each participant was asked to keep a detailed record on their diets and how often they consumed dairy products, even including milk added to tea and coffee. The research, published in the International Dairy Journal, showed adults who consumed dairy products five or six times per week performed better in a series of tests to check memory, concentration and learning ability.

Interestingly, the study also found those who regularly drink milk also tend to maintain a healthy diet, compared to non-milk drinkers.

So, will this new research make you more likely to reach for a milky drink before tackling a looming work deadline? I’d love to know…

 

Image courtesy of Press Loft/Dotcomgiftshop

Get outdoors, laugh and sing to beat winter blues

Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity, is urging us to get outside to guard against winter blues and to improve mental health.

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Many of us feel a dip in mood as the days get darker and research shows this is largely due to a reduction in sunlight. Our internal patterns of sleep, appetite, sex drive, temperature, mood and activity all rely on natural light cycles. As daylight hours diminish to just eight in December, the winter blues can be something that affects us all. You may feel low, eat and sleep more or feel less inclined to get out and socialise or even go to work.

Getting outdoors, or ecotherapy, increases our exposure to sunlight and can positively impact on our mood. Research shows outdoor exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

Exercise, laughter and music all stimulate and boost endorphins, the feelgood chemicals in our bodies that help to lift our mood. Make a point of spending time with those who make you smile. Or pop on a quality tune and sing-along gleefully. It is also important to eat well.

“By simply getting outdoors, we can all help ourselves in strengthening mental resilience,” says Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind. “Whether going for a lengthy bike ride, a quick jog around the local park or just time pottering in the garden, I encourage everyone to step outside and find something they enjoy this winter.”

Mind has developed a super information and ideas site to coax people outdoors this winter. Use the Ecominds activity picker to conjure up some truly inspiring, fun and unusual suggestions…