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Energy Prescription

Dr Sally Norton

By Dr Sally Norton, founder
of www.vavistalife.com

As a doctor I can prescribe drugs to deal with many problems if I need to - although I prefer to avoid them if possible. One area that can’t be solved with tablets, however, is low energy.

Yes, occasionally people really do have problems with their thyroid gland, leading to tiredness, which does need medication – but it’s much more commonly due to lifestyle issues.

So what does cause that energy slump, common mid-afternoon or early evening? If you understand why it is happening, you can choose from my prescription list of cures!

Poor sleep

Poor sleep can result in an energy drop during the day


Not rocket science – if we have slept badly the night before, we may manage to struggle through the following morning but get slower and slower come the afternoon.

Sugar dip

If we have eaten badly during the morning and at lunch, relying on sugary snacks or quick-release processed carbs, our blood sugar will drop mid-afternoon leaving us feeling tired and listless. Not great for a productive afternoon.

Heavy lunch


It’s not just the content but the volume we eat at lunch. A large meal needs digesting – and our blood supply is diverted to our gut to help – leaving us feeling lethargic.

Low light

Studies show that our energy levels respond to natural light. Not surprising really as we weren’t designed to be nocturnal animals. By mid-afternoon, if we have been indoors in front of computer screens and under fluorescent lighting we may be feeling a loss of energy.

Over-heating

Stuffy, over-warm homes and offices may contribute to our general weariness – partly due to dehydration.

Too much sitting

By mid-afternoon/early evening some of us have spent many hours sat in a chair, our muscles stiff, our back aching, our eyes under strain – hardly a recipe for energy.

Natural rhythm

A mid-afternoon slump seems to be programmed into our natural diurnal rhythm. Some cultures just embrace it – think of the Mediterranean siesta – but others try to resist that natural urge to sleep off lunch.

So what can you do about it?

Help yourself to a personal prescription to improve your energy


Now you know what causes your own energy slump, help yourself to a personal prescription! I recommend choosing more than one cure from the list and take the prescriptions daily for best results.

The eat well cure

Ditch the sugary cereal which gives you a sugar dip and munchies at 11 o’clock. Choose a high protein egg breakfast instead or a bowl of hearty oats with a berry topping to give you slow release energy all morning. At lunch, choose protein again – a tuna sandwich on wholegrain bread is a good choice. Choose sugar-free snacks like a handful of almonds – great for heart health as well as avoiding the sugar dips.

The drink clever cure

Steer clear of the breakfast juice – it’s little more than sugar, after all. Caffeine is fine in moderation - proven to give you a welcome energy boost and may have other health benefits too. But avoid it after lunch or it will affect your sleep and leave you more tired the next day. Drinking at lunchtime is a sure-fire way to feel in need of an afternoon snooze. But even drinking at night doesn’t help. You may feel as though you crashed out and slept all night but your sleep quality will have been worse.

The sleep better cure

Talking of sleep, many of us are getting an hour’s less sleep per night than we used to. Thinking we can make up our sleep debt with a lie-in at the weekends isn’t true, I’m afraid so make sure you get 7-9 hours a night to preserve your energy. Steer clear of screens in the evening – the blue light plays havoc with melatonin. And don’t over-heat your bedroom. 16
°-18° is apparently just right for shut-eye.

The move more cure

Nothing energises you more than exercise


Nothing energises us like exercise. Particularly outdoors in the fresh air. Not only do we feel better at the time, but keeping our weight under control means we have less bulk to shift around – and that leaves us with more energy for other things.

Dr Sally Norton is a Health Expert and NHS weight loss consultant surgeon. Sally is also the founder of www.vavistalife.com  
 

Warm Asparagus Salad Topped with
a Poached Egg


Warm Asparagus Salad Topped with a Poached Egg

Eggs are a great way to increase your protein intake. This colourful, warm salad combines healthy asparagus, potatoes and peppers, and is topped with a soft poached egg.

This healthy recipe has been created by Waitrose.

Ingredients

· 500g baby new potatoes
· 2 tbsp olive oil
· ½ teaspoon of Bart Picante Pimentón (smoked paprika)
· 2 packs bunched asparagus
· ½ x 350g jar Gaea Flame Roasted Red Peppers, drained and chopped
· 4 large eggs
· 4 tbsp Maille Hollandaise Sauce

Method

1. Boil the new potatoes for 10-15 minutes until just tender, drain and allow to cool slightly. Cut into thick slices. Combine 1 tablespoon of the oil with the paprika and add to the sliced potatoes. Toss gently to coat.

2. Remove any woody stems from the asparagus by bending the bases. They will snap at the point where the woody part begins. Heat the remaining oil in a griddle or frying pan then add the spears in a single layer. Cook for 5-6 minutes, turning once, until lightly charred and tender (you may need to do this in 2 batches). Transfer to a bowl and keep the spears warm.

3. Add the potato slices to the pan and griddle for 2 minutes on each side until lightly charred. Place in the bowl with the asparagus. Add the peppers to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes to heat through. Tip into the bowl with the asparagus and potatoes and toss together gently.

4. Pour boiling water into a clean frying pan and return to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, then crack 2 eggs at a time into the water and poach until the white is cooked through. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

5. Divide the asparagus salad between 4 plates. Top each with an egg and a tablespoon of Hollandaise sauce. Serve with slices of lightly toasted bread.


For more delicious Waitrose recipes click on www.waitrose.com
 

Health & Wellbeing

Dementia – The UK’s Biggest Fear

Jennie Bond

Jennie Bond's mother has dementia

New research has revealed the extent to which the UK are frightened by the effects of dementia on them and their loved ones.

In a survey by Asda Pharmacy of over 2,000 UK residents, half (49%) said that a loved one being diagnosed with dementia and taken into care is their worst fear. Nearly four in ten said the possibility of being diagnosed with dementia themselves is a greater concern than suffering from a terminal illness, losing mobility, or losing financial security.

 

Key findings of the research

· Half (49%) of people in the UK say dementia is their worst fear for a loved one.
 
· More than a third (38%) fear getting dementia over losing loved ones, losing mobility or suffering from terminal illness.

· But only 15% recognise dementia as Britain’s biggest killer.

· More than 1 in 10 delay doctors visit for fear of wasting GP’s time

Reluctance to seek help

However, despite this fear of the condition, people are often reluctant to seek help. Of those suffering from any early indicators that something is wrong, many are hesitant to confide in anyone about it, whether that be a family member or a health professional.

Over half of the nation said they would wait some time before speaking to a GP about memory loss. More than one in 10 (12%) said that they would only consider seeing a GP about it as a last resort through fear of wasting the GP’s time.

A quarter (24%) of the country would also avoid speaking to a loved one about memory health concerns until they had discussed with a Doctor first. However, people’s hesitancy to speak to a GP means many are missing out on early diagnoses, something which is essential to treat the condition effectively.

Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer*, but the survey showed that only 15% of the UK knew this, instead believing that cancer (45%) and heart attacks (29%) were the most common fatal causes.

Lack of awareness of dementia symptoms 

A further concern is the UK’s lack of awareness of many common dementia symptoms. The survey revealed that over a quarter (29%) of Brits don’t know or failed to recognise the first signs of the condition.

In fact, there is an assumption amongst a significant number of the UK (57%) that memory loss is just ‘part and parcel’ of growing old. Whilst forgetfulness is a natural occurrence, there is a thin line between this and dementia.

Maq Din, Healthcare Clinical Services Manager at Asda Pharmacy says, “Those experiencing age related memory loss will more often than not recall what they have forgotten in time, however dementia sufferers lose their memory much more permanently.”

Asda Pharmacy are training all pharmacy employees to recognise the early signs of dementia to ensure that they are able to spot when patients may be developing the condition. The move is to assist more dementia sufferers in getting the all-important early diagnosis as soon as possible.

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's and dementia is essential

Maq explains, “Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia is absolutely essential to treat the conditions effectively, which is why at Asda Pharmacy we are training all staff to recognise the symptoms.

“Quite simply, the sooner a diagnosis is made the more informed and resourced the sufferer and their loved ones can be. By planning carefully for the future and taking the correct medication in good time, you can have far better control over the progression of the illness.”

There are steps and exercises that can be undertaken to give the brain the best chance of avoiding dementia and having an active mind is highly important. However only 37% of the UK are currently opting to use such techniques.

Jennie Bond, Television Presenter, has personal experience with dementia as her mother is currently in the advanced stages. She says, "She doesn’t know who I am, or who she is. To some extent she has passed beyond the point where she is constantly frightened. She's generally in a calmer, more peaceful frame of mind.

“We were too late in seeking help for Mother. Perhaps she could have had some medical support if we had asked for a diagnosis sooner. It's a condition that follows a clear pattern so I'd encourage people to get help as soon as possible and face up to the illness. But it's important to act sensitively and keep in mind quite how frightening it is for the sufferer.”

About the research

The findings are based on independent research commissioned by Asda Pharmacy, conducted by Atomik Research. 2,003 people aged 18-65 in the UK were surveyed in June 2017.

Further information

 

For further information and advice about dementia please visit the Alzheimer's Society website at  www.alzheimers.org.uk
 

Walking Tall Two Weeks after Major Spinal Surgery

Tony Britton enjoys an active lifestyle after major spinal surgery

Tony Britton enjoying an
active lifestyle once again

Before undergoing major spinal surgery at Spire Leeds Hospital, Tony Britton suffered from pain so severe it caused his spine to curve in a way that forced him to lean over to the left when he walked. His surgeon described the degree of curvature of his spine as “astonishing”.

“I could hardly stand up. I couldn’t walk more than 20 metres and was bent over to the left to take the pressure of my spine, which meant I had to walk sideways to go forward. The pain was excruciating,” said Tony, 54, a business consultant from Bielby, near York who had always enjoyed an active lifestyle.

Just two weeks after having surgery followed by an intensive physiotherapy regime at Spire Leeds Hospital, Tony said his life was transformed. He was able to walk and was pain free. Now ten weeks later he continues to improve “My spine is straight. I cycled sixty miles last week and I’m walking two miles every other day. The result is fantastic, I have my life back,” said Tony who is married with three children.

It started 15 years ago, he would suffer periodically, and the pain would last for a couple of weeks. Then in 2016 he bent over and experienced crippling pain in his back which, this time, did not get better. It got to the point where he couldn’t take part in his usual daily activities and he couldn’t walk without having to find the nearest seat.

Before surgery Tony saw a chiropractor and an acupuncturist but nothing brought long term relief. As he waited for an appointment for surgery the pain became unbearable and he decided to pay to go privately. He was referred to Mr Deb Pal, consultant neurosurgeon at Spire Leeds Hospital. An MRI and X-rays showed disc damage at two levels in his spine. However it was the curvature of his spine that most concerned the experts.

Mr Pal said, “I’ve not seen a case as severe as this before. It was astonishing. The spine was curved significantly to one side as his body was basically trying to alleviate the pressure and adjust to the pain. Until recently he had been able to walk straight and had no history of curvature of the spine.”

Mr Pal diagnosed degenerate lumbar canal stenosis at multiple levels (narrowing of the nerves due to wear and tear). Tony underwent a three-hour discectomy decompression procedure using minimally invasive methods in March 2017 to release the pressure on the spinal nerves.

Mr Pal describes the procedure he performed, “A three cm incision is made in the midline of the back. Muscles are separated off to expose the bones at back of the spine. The thickened bones and ligaments are shaved and a channel created through which the nerves are exposed.

“The nerves are protected and gently separated off the bulging discs which are shaved to adequately free the nerves. The procedure was repeated at both sides and at consecutive levels in the spine.”

Tony felt better very soon after the surgery


Commenting after the surgery Tony said, “I felt better very soon after surgery. My spine was straight and the next day I was up and walking around the hospital room.”

Today Tony continues to improve. “When I walked two miles along the canal with my dog a few weeks ago it was a fantastic feeling because I knew that I could look forward to the future. I’m now getting back to normal – taking spinning classes, gardening, and enjoy activities with my family.”

Commenting on the surgery, Mr Pal said, “It’s a fantastic outcome. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Tony was standing straight on day one after surgery, he saw the results very early and has improved very quickly.

“Tony’s case highlights how severe pain can cause such a significant curvature of the spine, which is not so commonly seen.”

Tony was able to successfully launch his new business, which he had been forced to put on hold, and is now working full time.

“Mr Pal exceeded my expectations. He filled me with confidence and he fixed me. He and his team made the whole experience the best it could be. Without the surgery I wouldn’t have regained my quality of life. I’m very happy and my family can see a huge difference in me.”

About Spire Healthcare

Spire Healthcare is a leading independent hospital group in the United Kingdom, with 39 hospitals, 12 clinics and two Specialist Care Centres across England, Wales and Scotland, treating insured, self-pay and NHS patients. The Group delivered tailored, personalised care to more than 270,000 in-patients and day-case patients in 2015, and is the leading provider by volume of knee and hip operations in the United Kingdom.

Spire offers in-patient/day-case procedures in areas including orthopaedics, gynaecology, cardiology, neurology, oncology and general surgery and also diagnostic services including imaging and pathology. The group also offers out-patient services, such as consulting, minor procedures, treatments, health checks and physiotherapy.

In 2015, Spire Healthcare was voted Private Hospital Group of the year 2015 by Health Investor Magazine for the second year running.

For further information about Spire Healthcare visit www.spirehealthcare.com/leeds
 

 Compact Magnifying
    Bathroom Scales
         from Salter


Compact Magnifying Bathroom Scales from Salter


Compact comes with practicality in the Compact Magnifying Bathroom Scale from Salter. These clever bathroom scales are designed to squeeze into the smallest spaces, without sacrificing the functionality of larger weighing scales.

The dial comes with a nifty magnifying lens, so despite its petite size, it’s easy to read from a distance and with a fine resolution for higher accuracy, you’ll get your weight reading down to the detail. And the comfortable, cushioned mat is an inviting little extra just for tired feet.

Compact Magnifying Bathroom Scales from Salter

Product features include a large dial which has a magnifying lens for easy reading. Size is 12.5cm diameter. The scale has a fine resolution for higher accuracy.

The weighing scale has a soft cushioned white mat for extra comfort and goes up to a maximum weight of 21 stone.

Product dimensions are 25.4cm x 25.4cm x 4.9cm. The scales are guaranteed for 15 Years. Price is £9.99.

Tried and Tested by Jenny Itzcovitz

Compact Magnifying Bathroom Scales from Salter

We currently have a set of digital scales in our bathroom which are very unreliable, so I was delighted to try the Magnifying Bathroom Scale from Salter.

Light to carry and easy to use, there are no complicated batteries or instructions to use with these weighing scales, simply put them on your bathroom floor and step on them to weigh yourself.

I really liked the soft cushioned white mat which is extremely comfortable if you are standing on the scales in bare feet. It's also wipe clean if you splash water on it.

The scales are accurate every time, easy to read, and the magnifying glass means that your weight is clear to see without any error.

These simple no fuss scales are perfect for your bathroom, bedroom or guest room and can easily be carried around. I would highly recommend them.

For more information and to buy the scales click on www.salterhousewares.co.uk
 

   Can Olive Oil help
   Protect you from
Dementia? Plus 8 Top
Brain Boosting Foods


According to latest research, extra virgin oil is not only good for your heart but it can also prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of getting dementia

Your brain, just like your muscles, needs good fuel to run on. According to latest research, extra virgin oil is not only good for your heart but it can also prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of getting dementia.

How does it work? It helps to stop the formation of the amyloid-beta plaques, the classic hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

Brain boosting foods

What other brain boosting foods should you go for to protect your brain and help prevent Dementia? We have asked our experts to give us their top choices.

Eggs

Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritonist and author of Natural Solutions for Dementia and Alzheimer’s suggests, “Eggs are a first-class source of protein and have good levels of omega3 fats and antioxidants, all of which are important for brain health. Eggs are also rich in choline, which your brain uses to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, itself so important for brain health.”

For details visit www.marilynglenville.com

Cassandra Barns, Nutritionist adds, “Eggs are also high in phospholipids, a special type of fat, which is needed for healthy signalling within the brain. Not only do they concentration but they protect against age-related memory decline.”

Buckwheat

Dr Glenville explains, “A diet that includes unrefined carbohydrates rather than refined ones, is the best way to prevent or reverse the insulin resistance that has been linked to Alzheimer’s and it is also the best way to ensure that you lose weight.” This delicious grain is also packed with B vitamins, manganese, phosphorus and zinc that are needed for neurotransmitter signalling in the brain that fights anxiety and headaches.

Almond Butter

“You can improve the low GI effect of unrefined carbohydrates even further if you try to include protein in every meal and most snacks. The body takes longer to process proteins than other foods, so adding protein effectively slows down the absorption of the nutrients in your food, including the carbohydrate," says Dr Glenville. Almonds also contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, two key nutrients that can boost neurological activity and prevent cognitive decline.

Blueberries

Add a handful of blueberries to smoothies or sprinkle on porridge to protect your brain from free radicals

Add a handful of blueberries to smoothies or sprinkle on porridge to protect your brain from free radicals. “Blueberries may boost learning and memory due to the high levels of flavonoids, in particular anthyocyanins – these are thought to protect against oxidative stress (free radical damage) in the brain,” explains Cassandra Barns.

Rosemary

Add a sprig to your roast or smell essential oils to make a difference to your memory. “A compound, called 1,8-cineole, in rosemary can boost levels of acetylcholine (neurotransmitter that functions in the brain) and could act in a similar way to the drugs licensed to threat Alzheimer’s. Studies on animals show that rosemary can improve memory and increase the amount of antioxidant activity in the brain,” explains Dr Glenville.

Dark Chocolate

"Chocolate is chockfull of flavonols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They can also help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain,” explains Cassandra.

“Cacao contains several active substances that may also have a positive effect on our mood. One of these is phenylethylamine (PEA) – a natural compound that’s made in our brain. PEA is associated with good mood, and is said to be released in high amounts when we’re in love! Reach for a good quality, dark options, such as Ombar 90% (available from Ocado, £1.99).”

Turmeric

There is a reason why Turmeric has been described as a superfood. Cassandra says, “The substance that gives it the yellow/orange colour is known as curcumin, which is the main agent that is responsible for its health giving properties. It has an anti inflammatory effect”.

Nature’s Plus Source of Life Garden Curcumin

Studies have shown that a pinch of turmeric a day keeps memory loss away. Now there is more reason to enjoy your favourite curry! Not a big fan? Barns suggests,

“Try taking new Nature’s Plus Source of Life Garden Curcumin. As well as providing that high concentration of the compound, it’s organic too.”

Nature's Plus Garden Curcumin is £31.75 and available from www.naturesplus.co.uk

Beetroot

Beetroot contains nitrates, which convert to nitric oxide in the body. “Nitric oxide is a natural vasodilator (relaxes and opens up the blood vessels), favouring circulation and improving delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, including the brain. Beetroot is also thought to stimulate the production of red blood cells, also helpful for oxygen transport and delivery,” says Cassandra Barns.

* Before including nuts and almonds in your diet, check first for any allergies.

For more information about products from Nature's Plus visit www.naturesplus.co.uk