‘Hormones’. Oestrogen and testosterone are the two that most likely spring to mind, and their role in puberty, libido, the reproductive system. In fact, our bodies produce a whole host of other hormones which play a role in our health and how we function day in day out. Ghrelin, given its name as a ‘growth hormone releasing peptide’, controls hunger, food intake and combined with growth hormone, fat storage.
Stimulated by the cells in our stomach, ghrelin sends signals to the hypothalamus in the brain telling our bodies it’s time to eat. Small amounts are also released by the pancreas and the small intestine. The more ghrelin in the bloodstream, the bigger the appetite and likely, the more food you eat. After food, ghrelin levels are decreased as we’re satiated, and they don’t rise again until your body starts looking for more energy.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you might be wondering how you can keep your levels low. To be clear, ghrelin is no...
Is it all in your head or is your body trying to tell you something? Some might dismiss a ‘wisdom of the body’ theory as quackery. However, if you think about the biological processes happening within your body and the factors affecting these, the argument to substantiate a link becomes more compelling.
Here’s why. Food is so much more than just calories. It’s information. The body is a wonderful machine, constantly sending you signs and signals about the information (or nutrients) it needs to function at its best.
The trouble is, when you fall into unhealthy patterns, you unwittingly train your brain and body to think and crave certain foods. Often these foods give you a quick fix. You feel great for 30 minutes, yet an hour later your energy levels are on the floor and you need another hit to keep you going. Sound familiar?
This concept applies to everyone, not just women in pregnancy who are typically associated with an appetite for unusual or inedible substances such as clay, coal or d...
Easter is going to turn up this weekend, whether you like it or not. Chocolate and hot cross buns are all around; in every shop and TV commercial. It’s enough to melt away your good intentions and, with this much pressure, binging feels almost inevitable.
Of course, chocolate is available all year round. The trouble seems to come when there’s too much chocolate, as is the case at this time of year, which leads to too much temptation, eating too much in one go, then feeling miserable because you over indulged. The worst parts of a binge are the feelings of guilt and failure that you feel afterwards. So let’s fix that.
Let’s accept that Easter will mean chocolate indulgence on one level or another. Here’s how to make the best of it.
1. Try to discourage family and friends from buying chocolate for you. This puts you back in control of how much you have.
2. Ideally you’ll want to choose the darker chocolate eggs or chocolate selection. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less room there i...
Did you ever do a double take as you walked past a mirror and realise that THAT woman is actually you? Sometimes it is almost as if your fat cells take on superpowers while you sleep, adding inches in the space of just a few hours. How is it that all of those tricks you had up your sleeve in your 20s and 30s for quickly shaving off half a stone before the summer holidays just don’t work anymore, despite your dedication and willpower?
The ‘midlife’ years can be a challenge for all sorts of different reasons and, yes, weight loss IS harder. The rules are different when it comes to weight loss when you’re over 40, that’s for sure. Aside from diet, the seven remaining pieces of pie are thyroid hormones, the stress hormone cortisol, the fat storage hormone insulin, oestrogen, sleep, digestion and exercise.
It’s a path you need to navigate carefully to find your own magic formula, but losing weight, regaining your energy, getting back to your best is possible with the right advice, and...
When the temperature drops, the chance of you coming down with a cold or the flu increases significantly. It’s widely accepted you’ll get sick more often in the winter. That’s because you’re likely to be inside more and the common cold thrives better in dry air than where there’s humidity, and, when you spend more time indoors, you’re exposed to more germs.
Here’s something interesting about the common cold: when your core internal temperature falls after exposure to cold, the immune system’s ability to battle the rhinovirus (the virus that causes it) is also reduced. The immune system literally slows down. Cold feet may also play a part. In a recent study, researchers made students sit with their feet in cold water for 20 minutes. These students were found to be statistically much more likely to catch a cold in the next five days than the control group (those who didn’t have to sit with their feet in cold water).
The flu virus is also transmitted much faster when it’s cold out becau...
Hey, would you like to come to this place, spend the evening at that place, have a mince pie, sausage roll, mulled wine, taste my world-beating Christmas cake…? And you’ll go because you can’t resist. You’ll feast like you’ll never see another meal, and you’ll consume frightening amounts of festive tipples because otherwise you’ll be missing out on all the fun, right?
FOMO – shorthand for fear of missing out – is the acute and often unjustified belief that everyone is having way more fun than you, and that you're somehow being left out of all the said fun. And it reaches its annual high any day now.
Small wonder. Apparently, the British cram 44% more social occasions into December than any other month.
But FOMO really is not your friend this month (or indeed any month) – especially if you want to maintain your weight over the holidays. Let’s take a look at how that festive FOMO usually pans out…
You’re committed to healthy eating at Christmas, and you go to one buffet parties or ev...
Just when you feel life should be getting a little easier – you have reached an age when you are more comfortable in your own skin, the kids are a bit more independent, your career maybe more established… and then your health can appear to take a nose dive. Your energy, brain power and mood changes can all become erratic, added to which you may be experiencing…
Discomfort during sexual intercourse
Dry, ageing skin
Shortness of breath
The average age for cessation of periods is 51, but the symptoms can begin many years before and for some, can last for many years afterwards. Yet it is a completely natural phase of life, and in some parts of the world, women breeze through the process with seemingly few symptoms - only 14% of Asians experience symptoms, whereas 80% of Westerners do. Undoubtedly, Western diet and lifesty...
Ask any athlete about their dietary requirements for safe & productive training and they are unlikely to think of Magnesium. Protein, iron, carbs…. But probably not one of the most essential of minerals, Magnesium.
Magnesium is vital for many 100’s of reactions in the body, including production of energy & normal heart function. When our levels are less than optimumthis can lead to reduced athletic performance, tiredness, less energy to train and also poor post exercise recovery. Magnesium deficiencies have also been associated with migraines, PMT, heart palpitations and constipation.
Magnesium is used up faster through sweating, and it can often be the mineral responsible for cramps and heat stroke, so it is easy to see why athletes in particular need to make sure they are getting enough.
Magnesium was once so readily found in our diet, but declining soil quality has lowered the natural levels in many of our foods. Add to this our excessive sugar intake, increased...
The nights may be getting slightly lighter but all these gloomy rainy days can still mean a a reduction in serotonin, the hormone which is responsible to making us feel happier. Without sufficient daylight some people find themselves suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) and consequently facing a whole host of problems, including depression, fatigue, weight gain, sleep disturbances and lethargy. However, there are some strategies which you can put in place which may really help how you are feeling.
Maximise your Essential Fats: Omega 3 appears to help maintain levels of vital hormones, serotonin and dopamine. Studies have long linked the deficiency of omega 3 to depression, whilst research suggests that SAD is less common in people who consume plenty of oily fish. Regular consumption (2-3 times per week) may really help to keep your essential fats at an optimum level. Examples of oily fish are haddock, mackerel, salmon, pilchards & sardines. Vegetarian sources of es...