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…

 

 

 

Eight tips to improve work-related back pain

If, like me, you are becoming increasingly wary of what working long hours each day is doing to the health and wellbeing of your back, these tips from the British Chiropractic Association will help to relieve the aches, pains and potential long-term damage our poor posture and bad habits are causing. 

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1. Relax when sitting into your chair, making sure your bum is against the back of the seat with your shoulder blades touching the back rest of your chair.

2. Make sure your feet touch the floor, or use a foot rest.

3. Remove any obstacles from under your desk to ensure you have enough leg room.

4. There should be space between the front of your seat and the back of your calves.

5. Your hips should be higher than your knees. Tilt your seat, if needed.

6. Arms should be flat and your elbows level with the desk or table you are using. The BCA also advises using a chair with arm rests.

7. Take regular breaks. Never sit at the computer for more than 40 minutes, aim for less if possible.

8. When you take a break, walk around and stretch a little, do something completely different.

 

 

Keep your eyes on the healthy food supplies…

 

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To keep your diet or healthy eating plan on the right track, the advice from psychologists is simple: putting healthy foods at eye level in the fridge can help you to lose weight (or stay trim) as you eat what you first see.

When faced with junk food temptation in the fridge and in our cupboards, experts say we often absentmindedly eat what is in front of us whether we are hungry or not.  

If your fridge currently resembles a tuck shop, and your cupboards are heaving with crisps and biscuits, putting snacks and sweet treats out of sight, so they are less accessible, can make a big difference, say psychologists. Changing the environment around you and ensuring you see only wholesome healthy food alternatives can help you to eat better without even realising it.

Becoming more aware of what you are eating by opting to use smaller plates and consuming meals at the table, away from TV distractions, can also help you to subconsciously eat less, and lose up to 2lb per month, studies have shown.

It makes perfect sense to me. If I look in the fridge and staring right back at me is a slice of cheesecake, I’d need some serious unswerving willpower not to dive in, whether hungry or not. If, when I next opened the fridge, a tray of blueberries were at my eye level instead, I’d still be happy to munch away, except this time I would have made a far healthier choice without thinking about it all that much.

So, just a load of twaddle or very useful advice for keeping you on the healthy track? Over to you…

 

 

Beware of the huge barbecue calorie splurge this summer

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Summer is here, the sun is shining (well, most of the time!) and it’s impossible not to love this time of year. One of our most favourite seasonal outdoor activities is to get together with friends and family over a barbecue and eat and drink to our hearts content.

The bad news? New research has revealed the average person consumes a whopping 2,030 calories per barbecue due to the high in fat/high in calories food staples such as burgers and sausages that we crave. This is an additional 3oz of fat – nearly an ounce more than a woman’s recommended daily intake and 30 more calories than a woman on a normal diet should be consuming.

Portion control can very easily fall by the wayside as we just can’t help popping back for more high calorie food while often washing it all down with alcohol. And, as barbecues tend to roll on for hours as we idly chat, eat, drink and be merry, many of us are unaware of just how much food we do consume.  

A woman will, on average, eat two sausages, two burgers, a rib, a chicken leg, a kebab and a jacket potato, which pushes their calorie intake over the recommended healthy limit. While men can put away: two burgers, two ribs, one and a half chicken legs, two kebabs and one and a half jacket potatoes in one sitting, according to the survey.

So, what can you do to continue enjoying barbecues but keep your calorie intake more in check?

British Dietetic Association spokesperson, Anna Raymond says: “Make sure your guests can pack out their plates with lots of fresh salads. Try to limit your portion to just one plate and fill up with salad rather than bread and try to alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water.”

Nutritionist Jayne Wilson says: “As Brits are becoming heavier, summer is a good time to change your eating habits, but this doesn’t mean you cannot still enjoy a barbecue. Fish, chicken, seafood or turkey marinated in plain yoghurt, herbs, spices or chilli, is a great alternative to burgers and sausages or sugar-laden marinades. Snacking on vegetable crudites or fruit kebabs at social occasions rather than crisps and dips will also help avoid hidden fats.”

Alternatively, go vegetarian at barbecues! Veggie burgers and sausages are naturally lower in fat as are vegetable kebabs.