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Boots UK offers Vaccination for Pneumonia

Chris Evans

Chris Evans recently battled
with pneumonia

As the hacking cough that continues to plague the nation is linked to the onset of pneumonia, and Chris Evans reveals his Barbados battle with the lung condition, Boots UK launches a new pneumonia vaccination service which provides the most susceptible with an option to help protect themselves.

Boots UK is piloting a new pneumonia vaccination service to help raise the health and happiness of the nation by providing adults 50 years and over, who are more likely to catch pneumonia than those aged under 50, with an option to help protect themselves. Figures show that there are 40% more people in their 50s who get pneumonia compared to those in their 40s.

Pneumonia is one of the most common causes of death due to infection in the UK, with the nation having one of the highest mortality rates from pneumonia in Europe. With the risk of catching pneumonia increasing with age, particularly after 50, the new pilot service that launched in December complements the pneumonia vaccination currently available on the NHS to those 65 and over or with a long-term health condition.

Pneumonia affects around 1 in 125 UK adults each year, in particular during autumn and winter.2 2016 has seen increasing awareness of pneumonia due to high profile figureheads catching the infection, including Hilary Clinton during the presidential race and Frank Williams, the founder of Williams F1 team. Despite this, and the fact that people are generally aware of the availability of private flu vaccinations, the availability and benefit of a pneumonia vaccination is less well known.

Boots pharmacist, Angela Chalmers comments, “Many people don’t realise that anyone can catch pneumonia, not just those deemed at ‘high risk’. Additionally, flu can increase chances of catching pneumonia. Specially trained pharmacists in Boots stores offering this service are able to provide the pneumonia vaccination service and flu vaccination service and can also offer additional advice on staying well this winter.”

The Boots UK Pneumonia Vaccination Service provides those aged 50 and over
* who are not eligible for an NHS vaccination, an option to better protect their health. The vaccination encourages your body to produce antibodies to help protect you from pneumococcal infection. This means you're less likely to become ill if you come into contact with the bacteria that cause pneumonia.

The new service is being piloted in 51 Boots UK stores across the nation and costs £70. One vaccination is required. To book your pneumonia vaccination appointment at Boots go instore or online at
* Subject to eligibility criteria

Worried about Diabetes? Here
is what you
Need to Know

Dr Alexandra Phelan

From the GP’s surgery by
Dr Alexandra Phelan

Diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions in the UK, and it can require people to use regular medication alongside changes to their diet and lifestyle. Here’s what you need to know…

Diabetes is a serious life-long health condition that occurs when there is too much glucose - or blood sugar - in the blood stream. It is a result of the body being unable to process glucose properly.

If your blood sugar is consistently too high, it can increase the risk of a number of potentially serious health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and eye problems.

If your blood sugar is consistently too high, it can increase the risk of a number of potentially serious health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and eye problems

There are different types of diabetes; Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes, which is temporary and affects women during pregnancy.

According to Diabetes UK, there are almost 3.6 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK. It is estimated that a further 1 million people in the UK are living with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.

There is nothing that can be done to prevent Type 1 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. It occurs when the immune system incorrectly targets and destroys the cells within the pancreas that produce insulin. Without insulin, the human body cannot move glucose from the bloodstream into its cells for conversion into energy. As well as causing cells to be deprived of energy, Type 1 diabetes leads to a build up of glucose in the bloodstream.

Patients with Type 1 diabetes require regular insulin treatment to maintain normal glucose levels. This is normally done by injection or using an insulin pump, which allows insulin to flow into the bloodstream at a rate controlled by the patient.

Type 2 diabetes tends to develop in later life and occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or the body builds up a resistance to the insulin that is produced. Type 2 diabetes most often occurs in people aged over 40, although it is also common in younger people of South Asian, African and African Caribbean descent.

Increasing numbers of children are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, prompting concerns about poor diet.

Some patients can control Type 2 diabetes through diet or exercise. However, it is possible that Type 2 diabetes patients will require medication. Drug treatments for Type 2 diabetes work in different ways, with some stimulating insulin production and others helping to maintain a healthy level of glucose in the bloodstream. The drug most commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes in England is Metformin Hydrochloride, which helps to improve blood sugar control.

Common symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include excessive thirst and hunger, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision, tiredness, frequently needing to urinate and sores or cuts that won’t heal.

Your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is five times higher if you are overweight. However, genetics is also a factor. The children of parents with Type 2 diabetes have a one in three chance of developing the condition.

You can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by eating a balanced diet

You can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by exercising regularly, managing your weight, limiting alcohol intake, stopping smoking, avoiding processed foods and takeaways, and eating a balanced diet.

Speak to your GP if you are concerned about diabetes or want help in managing the condition.

Dr Alexandra Phelan is a working NHS GP and member of the Pharmacy 2U Online Doctor service.

 for further information.

Are You getting Enough Vitamin D?

Lack of Vitamin D can lead to the Winter Blues

How much do you know about Vitamin D? Read below to top up your knowledge and find out some surprising stats:

Think you’re getting enough Vitamin D? Think again!

It’s normal to feel a bit under the weather in the winter months; a lack of natural Vitamin D is often cited as one of the main reasons behind those Winter Blues!

Vitamin D is an essential part of your wellbeing, with the Government recommending everyone take a supplement during the shorter, darker winter months. According to a survey commissioned by Vega Vitamins almost half of UK adults express concern about Vitamin D deficiency, despite 79% admitting to not taking any form of supplement.

Vitamin D is important for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth as well as having the potential to alleviate anxiety and stress.

It’s hard to get all your Vitamin D through your diet alone, so to help ensure you’re getting your daily dose of Vitamin D, we asked our experts for their top ways to get Vitamin D in the winter months:

The Government guidelines state that 10 micrograms of Vitamin D are needed daily, to keep healthy bones, teeth and muscles.

Spray It

Vega Vitamins Every-Day D 50μg Vitamin D3 Spray

If you don’t think you’re getting enough Vitamin D from the natural sunlight or from your diet you should invest in a good supplement. For a quick burst of your daily dose, try a vegan-friendly spray like Vega Vitamins Every-Day D 50μg Vitamin D3 Spray. The sweet orange taste might just help remind you of sunnier times!

Vega Vitamins Every-Day D 50μg Vitamin D3 Spray is £5.95. For more information visit

Light up your life

If the darker winter months are getting you down, you might want to invest in a lamp that may help combat the lack of sunlight.

Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist from, says, “If you feel especially down on dark winter mornings, consider using a special light lamp alarm clock.

“The lamp gradually turns itself on (and gets brighter and brighter) to mimic natural dawn sunrise, to wake you up slowly before your alarm goes off. Research has shown, people feel more positive and find it easier to get out of bed in the darker months after using it.”

* Always check with your GP before taking vitamins and supplements

Health & Fitness

The Importance
of Optimism

Dr Sally Norton

By Dr Sally Norton, founder

Many people see positivity as a genetic trait – something they are either born with, or not. In the same way that we might talk about our eye colour or height, many of us will describe ourselves as naturally optimistic or pessimistic. However, your brain can change! In the same way that we can train our brains to appreciate healthy food, we can train ourselves to have a more positive outlook on life.

When you find yourself thinking those negative thoughts about yourself, your circumstances, or even about others, STOP! Instead, force yourself to think of three positive things instead – there will always be something. If you persevere with looking for the good, instead of the bad, it will become a habit. It’s well worth the effort – the benefits of being more optimistic are now being recognised in numerous studies …

Improved heart health

According to a new study from the University of Illinois, having a positive outlook on life could provide you with better heart health. The study of more than 5,100 adults, found that those people who were most optimistic, were twice as likely to be in ideal cardiovascular health, compared with their pessimistic counterparts, with significantly better blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Not only this, but the optimists were also more likely to be physically active and have healthier BMIs.

More likely to succeed

Studies show that positivity and a happier outlook will increase your chances of success

You might think that succeeding would lead you to feeling happier, but in actual fact, it works the other way round. Studies show that positivity and a happier outlook will increase your chances of success. For example, did you know that ¾ of our success at work is linked to our optimism and how well we manage and deal with stress, rather than our IQ?

And being positive could help you to achieve better results in smaller tasks – in fact, studies have shown that people who are encouraged to think positively before a maths test actually did better than others!

Better chances of ditching the junk food

Struggling to lose that last half a stone? We all know that when we’re feeling negative, we instinctively turn to sugary and fatty foods that will give our bodies a quick burst of energy and feel-good hormones. However, this is swiftly followed by a crash in our blood sugar levels – leaving us feeling even worse than before.

These junk foods also do little to help us lose any weight, adding to those negative feelings that left us reaching for the junk food in the first place! So instead, try focusing on the positives – think about how hard you’ve worked so far, and how good you’ll feel when you finally reach your goal weight, and you’ll find those negative yearnings for junk food soon dissipate!

More likely to stick with your fitness goals

Try swimming to keep fit

Thinking about fitness in a negative way will make you more likely to bail at the first opportunity. Studies show that a positive frame of mind helps people to stick with their fitness regimes as well as their healthy eating goals. Once you get exercising, that positivity is helped even more by the endorphins or feel-good hormones that exercise releases.

If you find that the thought of heading to the gym leaves you feeling miserable (I don’t blame you!), then ditch the gym! Try finding different ways you could keep fit – fitness classes, swimming, or brisk walks in the fresh air. There’s something out there for everyone, and when you’ve found an activity that you really enjoy, those positive feelings will make you more likely to stick with it for the long-haul.

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

Mediterranean Diet
May Have Lasting Effect on Brain Health

Mediterranean diet may have a lasting effect on brain health

A new study shows that older people who followed a Mediterranean diet retained more brain volume over a three-year period than those who did not follow the diet as closely. The study was recently published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers gathered information on the eating habits of 967 Scottish people around the age of 70 who did not have dementia. Of those people, 562 had an MRI brain scan around age 73 to measure overall brain volume, grey matter volume and thickness of the outer layer of the brain. From that group, 401 people then returned for a second MRI at age 76. These measurements were compared to how closely participants followed the Mediterranean diet.

A Mediterranean diet includes large amounts of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, beans and cereal grains such as wheat and rice, moderate amounts of fish, dairy and wine, and limited red meat and poultry.

Dr Clare Walton, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society says, “There is an increasing amount of evidence to indicate that eating a healthy diet that’s rich in oily fish, fresh veg and nuts is good for your brain and can help to maintain your memory as you get older. Our brains shrink by 1-2% per year in old age and this study suggests that a Mediterranean-style diet could also potentially help to slow down this shrinking process.

“While the evidence suggests a Mediterranean diet can help keep your brain healthy as you age, we can’t yet say that it prevents dementia. What’s good for you heart is also good for your head and a healthy lifestyle that features regular exercise, a balanced diet and not smoking can help to lower your chances of dementia.”

About Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia support and research charity.

Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to two million people by 2051.

Alzheimer’s Society supports people to live well with dementia today and funds research to find a cure for tomorrow. They rely on voluntary donations to continue their vital work.

For more information about Alzheimer's Society visit


Burn Calories Around the Home

Burn calories around the home

Every year, many of us promise to take our New Year’s resolutions more seriously, particularly the common goal of getting fit and healthy. Whether we finally join the local gym or force ourselves up for early morning exercise, it can be a struggle to find the spare time and cash to get fit.

However, the good news is that if you’ve decided to do some renovation this year, you may be on your way to a healthier you already! Home services marketplace,, has found out how many calories you burn when doing a variety of home improvement tasks around and outside the house.

Spokesperson for Plentific, Stephen Jury says, “People often forget how much hard work goes into DIY; whether you are painting the walls or assembling furniture, it can require a considerable amount of energy depending on the size of the job. If you’re looking to get fitter this year and are interested in updating your home, why not kill two birds with one stone?

Although if you do prefer to exercise the old-fashioned way and would rather spend your time in the gym, on your bike, or out dancing, you can always find your ideal local Pro on Plentific to do the work for you!”

Cleaning - Calories: 171

Even a little light cleaning could contribute to your resolution! In only 60 minutes, you will burn just shy of 200 calories, and that’s for light jobs such as dusting or hanging clothes! If you add in activities that involve a little more vigour, such as vacuuming or washing the car, you can burn even more and give the house an early spring clean at the same time!

For a more intense workout, why not give your property a top-to-toe clearout? If there are certain cleaning activities you truly dread or it’s too much to face alone, you can always hire one of our local cleaners.

Sweeping - Calories: 269

Be it collecting dust within the house, or brushing away the autumn leaves on the patio, sweeping is a quick and simple method to burn off those unwanted calories. Just 30 minutes of sweeping will burn an average of 135 calories, that’s almost a can of Coke. I guess that’s why Cinderella was in such good shape!

Painting a room - Calories Burnt: 306

To the plain eye, painting a room always appears to be a relaxing and serene task. It’s only when you’ve moved all of the furniture out of the way and are covered in splatterings of paint that the sweat becomes noticeable and you realise this wasn’t as easy as you thought.

On average, painting the walls burns over 1200 calories in 4 hours, and this excludes the energy needed for moving the decor and furniture out of the room. That’s the equivalent of 2 Big Macs or over 5 Mars Bars! No wonder our joints ache so much the following day!

Mowing the lawn - Calories Burnt: 376

We all know you can work up a serious sweat when mowing the lawn, particularly if you’re pushing around a heavy-duty mower and are lucky enough to have a nice, large garden! However, it still comes as a shock to see that we burn almost 400 calories in just an hour of mowing the lawn. This means you can treat yourself to a beer afterwards, as you would have worked off more calories than 2 bottles of Stella Artois in 60 minutes.

So when the time comes for you to cut the grass again, just remember how healthy it is for you. With summer just around the corner, it could become part of your regular workout!

Gardening - Calories Burnt: 339

Even though it doesn’t feel like it at the moment, spring is definitely on the way. It will soon be the time of year to start planting in preparation for summer (if you haven’t started already!). For those who love pruning and weeding, you will be pleased to hear that gardening burns almost 700 calories in only 2 hours.

This means if you squeeze a couple of hours of garden work into your weekend routine, you will not only have a more attractive exterior, but will have burnt off over 3 Mr. Kipling Cherry Bakewells! Time to get out those secateurs…

Carpentry - Calories: 237

Carpentry is a useful skill to have around the home. However, if you choose to hire a tradesman, it’s easy to overlook the energy needed for their work. Whether it’s building a new stairway or repairing the kitchen cabinets, carpenters are constantly exerting energy for their projects.

In general, carpentry burns over 200 calories in just 1 hour of work, meaning that a carpenter working an 8 hour day will have burnt 1,900 calories by the time they finish. That’s just under the recommended daily calorie intake for a woman!

Moving Furniture - Calories: 408

If you’ve found a new home this year and are looking to improve your fitness, then perhaps consider moving some of the furniture yourself. Just an hour of moving furniture burns an average of 408 calories, which in terms of exerted energy, is similar to playing 50 minutes of tennis.

And that’s not all: moving household objects and boxes can burn around 478 calories an hour, so a relocation is a great opportunity to help work off those Christmas curves! Do be sure to hire extra help for those larger, heavy objects if needed, however. Even most removal companies won’t touch a grand piano unless they have the equipment to do it safely.

For more information click on

 Can Your Diet and
  Exercise Alleviate


Incontinence affects approximately 8 million people in the UK alone however a healthy lifestyle can result in you being more comfortable and in control of the condition.

Three ways you can help to control incontinence

· Avoiding fluids can irritate your bladder further, so drink 6-8 glasses of water every day.

· Carry out regular pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles around your bladder.

· There are products available that result in your day to day life being more comfortable

If you are an incontinence sufferer, you are probably aware that diet and exercise can’t cure the condition, however it is scientifically proven that it can alleviate it. By simply making some minor lifestyle changes, it can result in your day to day life being much more comfortable.

Avoiding fluids may seem like the most logical option, however this can make the condition worse as it will train your bladder to only hold small amounts of water, resulting in it becoming more sensitive. It is recommended to drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid per day, preferably water.

Don't panic if you drink less than this, just try to gradually increase how much you drink daily. However, there are fluids that can irritate your bladder such as coffee and fizzy drinks, so try to switch from these to decaffeinated versions or flavoured water. Also, try to cut down your alcohol intake as it is a diuretic, so it makes you urinate more frequently.

As smoking causes you to cough, this results in added pressure being placed on your pelvic floor exercises, meaning it is essential to try and quit.

There are certain foods that can contribute towards incontinence, such as those that are rich in acid and spice such as curries and citrus fruits.

The best and most effective strength training exercise to reduce leakage is pelvic floor exercises. Practicing these every day will help to strengthen your muscles.

A balanced diet is essential if you suffer with incontinence as being overweight can weaken the pelvic floor muscles as fatty tissue is placed on the bladder. Strengthen core muscles via gentle exercise class such as Pilates and Yoga. Try to avoid high impact exercises that can put more pressure on your pelvic floor muscles such as jogging, aerobics, heavy lifting and sit ups.

Attends Lifestyles are a supplier of incontinence care products which have been designed to provide security against leakage and odour, whilst keeping the skin dry.

Even though incontinence can’t be prevented, it can be alleviated by an all round healthy lifestyle, eating well and simple exercises can result in your everyday life being more comfortable.

Attends Lifestyles have carried out thorough research and development into their products to ensure that every one of their customers receives a high level of comfort and security against leaks and odour.

For more information about Attends Lifestyles click on 

  Do you feel tired all
    the time? Healthy
     Tips to Improve
 your ‘Get up and Go’

Top tips to improve your 'get up and go'

There can be many reasons for feeling tired, with the most obvious being lack of sleep! But what you eat and drink can also be important.

The ‘right’ choices will provide slow-releasing energy, as well as all the necessary nutrients to help your body convert that food to energy. Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns reveals 6 healthy choices you can make to improve your ‘get up and go’!

Whole grain oats

Try porridge for breakfast

If you start the day with a sugary breakfast cereal, toast or croissant, your energy is probably taking a nosedive by about 11am. Try swapping them for whole grain oats: as an unprocessed whole grain, they’re higher in fibre and break down more slowly, providing sustained energy.

They’re also a natural source of energy-producing vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, vitamins B1 and B6. Go for Nairn’s Scottish Porridge Oats – as well as porridge, they can be used to make ‘overnight oats’, or to make your own healthy muesli by adding chopped nuts or seeds and a sprinkle of dried fruit.

High-protein pasta

Like sugary breakfast cereals, the average bowl of pasta won’t keep your energy up for very long. As most pastas are made with refined white flour, they’re quickly broken down in the gut and absorbed, giving you a blood sugar high followed by a slump.

Instead, try a high-protein pasta such as Clearspring’s Green Pea and Quinoa Pasta. It contains almost twice the amount of protein of a standard pasta, and more than twice the amount of fibre. This means that breaks down and releases energy more slowly, as well as filling you up for longer – a bonus if you’re watching your weight!


Mackerel is one of our best natural sources of B12

One reason for low energy can be a deficiency in a specific nutrient (or nutrients). A common example is vitamin B12, which works with iron to help build healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body.

Mackerel is one of our best natural sources of B12, and also provides other B vitamins and magnesium, which help our body to release energy from food. Added bonus: it’s also high in heart-healthy omega-3s, and high in protein too, helping to balance your blood sugar.

Sea vegetables

Another nutrient that can be lacking in the average person’s diet is iodine. This trace mineral is vital for making thyroid hormone, which plays a crucial role in metabolism and energy release from food.

When we don’t make enough of this hormone, one of the first symptoms is tiredness. The best food source of iodine is sea vegetables; try snacking on Clearspring’s Seaveg Crispies.


Could your tiredness simply be due to not drinking enough water? Water helps nutrients and oxygen to get where they’re needed in the body, and plays a role in chemical reactions that break down food molecules to make energy. So it’s no wonder we feel deflated (literally) when we don’t drink enough.

Aim to get about 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day, which can include liquid in foods such as soups, caffeine-free teas and watered-down fruit juices.

Raw chocolate

Ombar Raw Cacao

If you’re a chocolate fiend – or even if you’re not – then try raw chocolate. Whereas a standard chocolate bar can give you a quick energy buzz from the sugar content, it’s likely to last for long.

But raw cacao, the unheated, unroasted version of cocoa, is actually a superfood, rich in energy-providing nutrients such as magnesium and iron. It also contains a gentle stimulating substance called theobromine. But by choosing raw chocolate, such as OMBAR chocolate made with raw cacao and without refined sugar, you’re getting the benefits of the energy-supporting nutrients without the sugar rush.

Try Ombar 72% Raw Cacao. For details visit, £1.99.

   Healthy Winter Recipe

Seared Lemon Mackerel
     with Herby Lentils

Seared Lemon Mackerel with Herby Lentils

This delicious mackerel recipe is a great way to boost your winter health. Mackerel offers a rich source of Source of omega 3, and lentils are high in iron content.

This nutritious recipe has been created by Waitrose.


· 8 small fresh mackerel fillets, pin boned (from the fish service counter)
· 1 lemon, zest and juice
· 400g can essential Waitrose Lentils, drained and rinsed
· 250g pack Waitrose Organic Beetroot, drained and diced
· 20g pack Cooks’ Ingredients Flat Leaf Parsley, roughly chopped
· 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
· 4 tbsp Waitrose LOVE Life Sweet Chilli & Mango Dressing


1. Lay the mackerel fillets in a shallow dish, pour over the lemon juice and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Leave to marinate for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the lentils, diced beetroot, parsley, red onion and dressing.

3. Heat a large griddle or non-stick frying pan over a high heat and cook the mackerel for 2 minutes on each side until thoroughly cooked – you may have to do this in batches unless you have a very large pan.

4. Divide the lentil salad among serving plates and lay the seared mackerel fillets over the top.

Total time: Ready in 20 minutes

Serves: 4

For more information and other delicious recipes click on

 Try a Glass of Water
     with Cucumber

Drinking plenty of water during the day is essential for hydration, but for many of us a simple glass of water is not all that appetising.

However, a great way to enjoy water is with one or two slices of cucumber in your glass. Very easy to do, and much more refreshing. It's not bad for your teeth and will quench your thirst more than plain water. It will also help you stop snacking so much.

Pop in a straw and keep a glass of cucumber water on your desk, table or beside your computer. Ditch those fizzy drinks and fruit juices which can be bad for your teeth, and reduce the amount of coffee and tea you consume during the day.