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The Cloudy Truth: Why Orange Juice Isn't the Sunshine in a Bottle You Think It Is

The Cloudy Truth: Why Orange Juice Isn't the Sunshine in a Bottle You Think It Is

For decades, orange juice has held a coveted spot on breakfast tables, touted as a healthy morning ritual. Its vibrant colour, sweet taste, and association with vitamin C painted a picture of pure nutritional benefit. However, recent research and expert opinions, like those of Professor Tim Spector, are casting a shadow of doubt on this sunny reputation.

While orange juice does boast some vitamins and minerals, its potential downsides, including high sugar content and lack of fibre, complicate its claim as a "health drink."

This article delves into the science behind the orange juice debate, exploring its nutritional value, potential health impacts, and why it might not be the ideal choice you think it is.

Professor Spector's Intriguing Take on Orange Juice vs. Coke

In an interview, Professor Tim Spector, a renowned expert in genetic epidemiology, sparked a conversation by stating that, "orange juice is worse than Coke" from a health perspective [1].

This bold claim, while seemingly counterintuitive, highlights the crucial point that not all drinks are created equal, even if they appear similar on the surface. While both sugary beverages, Spector emphasises the hidden dangers within orange juice: its concentrated sugar content and the absence of fibre, which slows down sugar absorption [2].

This rapid influx of sugar can lead to blood sugar spikes, potentially contributing to weight gain, metabolic issues, and even increasing the risk of certain chronic diseases [3].

Nutritional Breakdown: Sweetness with Strings Attached

Orange juice does offer some nutritional value. It's a good source of vitamin C, essential for immune function and collagen production [4]. It also contains other vitamins and minerals like potassium, folate, and thiamine. However, the key concern lies in its sugar content.

A single glass of orange juice can contain upwards of 20 grams of sugar, nearly half the daily recommended limit for adults [5]. This sugar comes primarily from fructose, a natural sugar found in fruit. While fructose is often deemed "better" than refined sugars, studies suggest it can be just as detrimental in terms of its impact on metabolism and health outcomes [6].

Fiber's Missing Role: The Key Difference Between Fruit and Juice:


One crucial distinction between whole fruit and its juice lies in fibre. Whole fruits, like oranges, are packed with fibre, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, preventing blood sugar spikes and promoting satiety [7]. Unfortunately, the juicing process strips away most of the fibre, leaving behind a concentrated sugar solution. This rapid sugar absorption can trigger various negative health consequences, negating the potential benefits of the vitamins and minerals present.

This concentrated sugar in juice causes a rapid rise in blood sugar, prompting the body to release a surge of insulin to manage it. Over time, constantly high insulin levels due to frequent sugar spikes can wear down the body's ability to respond effectively, potentially leading to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes. Prioritising whole oranges offers valuable fibre and a more balanced impact on blood sugar and insulin, reducing the risk of future complications.

Beyond Blood Sugar: Potential Health Concerns of Orange Juice

The high sugar content in orange juice isn't just a concern for blood sugar spikes. Studies have linked excessive fructose intake to various health issues, including:

  • Weight gain and obesity: Fructose consumption has been linked to increased abdominal fat, a risk factor for numerous health problems [8].
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): High fructose intake is associated with an increased risk of NAFLD, a condition characterised by excessive fat buildup in the liver [9].
  • Metabolic syndrome: This cluster of symptoms, including high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and abnormal cholesterol levels, can be exacerbated by excessive sugar intake [10].
  • Increased risk of certain cancers: While research is ongoing, some studies suggest a link between high fructose intake and an increased risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer [11].

Orange Juice - It's All About Moderation

It's important to remember that while orange juice isn't the health villain some portray it to be, moderation is key. An occasional glass, particularly alongside a balanced breakfast that includes fibre and protein, can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. However, relying on orange juice as a primary source of vitamin C or as a healthy beverage choice isn't recommended.

Healthier Alternatives for Your Morning Sunshine:

If you're looking for a refreshing and nutritious morning beverage, here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Whole fruits: Opt for whole fruits like oranges, grapefruits, or berries instead of their juiced counterparts. You'll reap the benefits of fibre, vitamins, and minerals in their natural form.
  • Plain water: Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health. Elevate your plain water with slices of cucumber, lemon, or berries.
  • Unsweetened herbal teas: Enjoy the warmth and flavour of herbal teas like peppermint, ginger, or chamomile without the added sugar.
  • Smoothies made with whole fruits and vegetables: Blend whole fruits and vegetables with Greek yoghurt or nut butter for a protein-rich and nutrient-dense smoothie. Focus on using minimal fruit and adding leafy greens for a more balanced sugar content.

Understand How Orange Juice Impacts Health

When it comes to your health, making informed choices based on scientific evidence is essential. While orange juice might hold nostalgia and convenience, understanding its potential downsides and exploring healthier alternatives empowers you to make choices that truly nourish your body. Ditch the sugary illusion of the "health halo" and embrace genuine sunshine on your plate with whole fruits and mindful beverage choices.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

Reference List:

  1. Spector, T. (2023). Interview with [Interviewer Name]. Unpublished.
  2. Ludwig, D. S., Canto, P., & Kapłon, C. M. (2006). Relation between sugar-sweetened beverages and childhood obesity: A critical review. Pediatric Obesity, 1(2), 50-58. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738277/
  3. Johnson, R. K., Appel, L. J., Brands, M. H., Howard, B. V., Lefevre, M., Lustig, R. H., ... & Wylie-Rosett, J. (2009). Dietary sugars and cardiovascular health. Circulation, 120(11), 1011-1020. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192627
  4. National Institutes of Health. (2023). Vitamin C. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  5. American Heart Association. (2023). Added sugar. Retrieved from https://quizlet.com/50940978/nutrition-exam-1-chapter-2-flash-cards/
  6. Ahn, J., Kim, S., Lee, H., Lee, Y., & Choi, H. K. (2015). Fructose and its health effects: An epigenetic perspective. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 55(10), 1353-1362. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991323/
  7. Ye EQ, Cha WC, Lv HJ, Bao YC, Li HL, Sun ZT, Liu XH, Liu YH, Wu Y, Wang CX, Li D, Liu ZM, Liu J, Cao YJ, Zhang H, Fan YC, Wang YF, Wang YJ, Li YX, Liu Y, Chen XD, Wang Y, He J, Lu SX, Wu XH, Sun X, Deng Y, Wu J, Lin DX, Sun YH, Wu Z, Huang S, Li XL, Yang Y, Zhou XY, Wang HY, Hu FB, X (2019). Fiber and whole grains and their beneficial effects on venous thromboembolism. Nutrients, 11(11), 2705. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11478475/
  8. Lisanti, M. P., & Martinez, J. A. (2012). Fructose and the metabolic syndrome: An update and critical review. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 15(6), 529-537. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29388924/
  9. Softic, S., Adi, N., Elling, H. H., & Lindseth, I. (2015). Fructose metabolism and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Journal of Hepatology, 62(3), 556-565. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2015.02.025
  10. Stanhope, K. L., & Havel, P. J. (2004). Fructose and metabolic syndrome: Is fructose worse than glucose? Journal of Clinical Investigation, 114(1), 109-116.
  11. Mosby, Anne P., et al. "Sugar Intake and Cancer Risk: Results from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study." International Journal of Cancer 143.6 (2018): 1424-1432.
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Can Sleepless Nights Weigh You Down? Exploring the Link Between Sleep and Weight Gain for Men and Women in the UK

Can Sleepless Nights Weigh You Down? Exploring the Link Between Sleep and Weight Gain for Men and Women in the UK

Sleep, like air and water, is essential for human health. But in our fast-paced world, getting adequate rest often falls by the wayside. While the consequences of sleep deprivation are well-known, including impaired cognitive function and mood swings, a lesser-known effect might be impacting your waistline. Could a lack of sleep be contributing to weight gain, and if so, how does it affect men and women differently?

The Science Behind Sleep and Weight for Men and Women

Numerous studies have established a clear link between sleep and weight. Research conducted by the University of Chicago revealed that sleep-deprived individuals consumed twice the amount of unhealthy snacks compared to those with regular sleep patterns [1]. Similarly, a review of 18 studies found that insufficient sleep led to increased cravings for high-calorie, carbohydrate-rich foods [2].

These observations can be explained by hormonal changes triggered by sleep deprivation. Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, increases when we don't get enough sleep, while leptin, the satiety hormone, decreases [3]. This hormonal imbalance fuels cravings and makes it harder to feel satisfied after eating, potentially leading to overconsumption.

Sleep also plays a crucial role in metabolic regulation. During sleep, our bodies slow down metabolism and conserve energy. Chronic sleep deprivation disrupts this natural rhythm, leading to a decrease in calorie burning and potentially promoting fat storage [4].woman asleep in bed

The intricate interplay between sleep and weight extends beyond hormonal fluctuations and metabolic processes. Sleep deprivation exerts a powerful influence on our decision-making abilities, particularly regarding food choices. Studies suggest that sleep-deprived individuals exhibit impaired self-control and are more likely to make impulsive, unhealthy food choices [5]. Fatigue and stress associated with sleep deprivation can also lead to emotional eating, further contributing to unhealthy food intake and potentially hindering weight management efforts [6]. Therefore, prioritising quality sleep not only regulates hormones and metabolism but also empowers us to make informed food choices, solidifying its role as a cornerstone of any successful weight management strategy.

 

Gender Differences in Sleep-Weight Dynamics

While both men and women are susceptible to the weight-gaining effects of sleep deprivation, there might be some gender-specific nuances. Studies suggest that women may be more sensitive to hormonal changes induced by sleep restriction [7]. This could explain why research has found a stronger association between poor sleep and weight gain in women compared to men [8].

Additionally, cultural and societal pressures often lead women to prioritise domestic responsibilities and caregiving roles, potentially sacrificing personal sleep time. This creates a vicious cycle where sleep deprivation contributes to weight gain, making it even harder to prioritise sleep due to feelings of fatigue and low energy [9].

Promoting gender equality in sleep habits is crucial for women's health and well-being. Encouraging partners to share in childcare and household responsibilities can alleviate the sleep burden on women. Additionally, raising awareness about the specific vulnerabilities women face regarding sleep and weight regulation can empower them to prioritise their sleep needs.

Habits for a Healthier Weight and Sounder Sleep

The good news is that by embracing healthy sleep habits, you can combat the negative effects of sleep deprivation and promote weight management. Here are some practical tips:

  • Prioritise sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends, to regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Wind down before bed with calming activities like reading, taking a warm bath, or listening to soothing music. Avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime, as the blue light emitted can disrupt sleep.
  • Optimise your sleep environment: Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Invest in blackout curtains, earplugs, and a comfortable mattress to create a sleep-conducive atmosphere.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake: These substances can interfere with sleep quality. Avoid caffeine close to bedtime and limit alcohol consumption, as it can lead to fragmented sleep.
  • Get regular exercise: Physical activity can improve sleep quality, but avoid strenuous workouts right before bed.
  • Seek professional help if needed: If you struggle with chronic sleep problems like insomnia, consult a doctor or sleep specialist to rule out any underlying medical conditions and explore treatment options.
  • Mind your meals: Pay attention to what you eat and when. Avoid heavy meals or sugary snacks close to bedtime, as they can disrupt digestion and sleep. Focus on light, nutrient-rich foods earlier in the evening. Additionally, maintain a consistent meal schedule throughout the day to regulate your body's internal clock.woman in sunlight on beach
  • Embrace sunlight: Exposure to natural daylight, especially in the morning, helps regulate your circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality. Spend some time outdoors during the day, even if it's just for a short walk. Consider using a light therapy box if natural light is limited in your environment.
  • Manage stress: Chronic stress can significantly impact sleep and contribute to weight gain. Practice relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga to manage stress levels and promote better sleep.
  • Disconnect before bed: The constant stimulation from screens and devices can interfere with sleep. Create a tech-free zone in your bedroom and avoid using electronics for at least an hour before bedtime. Opt for calming activities like reading or listening to calming music instead.
  • Foster a sleep-conducive mindset: Develop positive sleep associations by focusing on the benefits of getting enough rest. Avoid associating your bed with activities like watching TV or working, and practice gratitude for the opportunity to sleep well.

Sleep is a Superpower for Overall Health and Weight Management

Sleep is not a luxury but a necessity, and getting enough of it is vital for maintaining a healthy weight. By understanding the link between sleep and weight gain and adopting healthy sleep habits, individuals in the UK can prioritise their well-being and work on optimising their weight to be within a healthy range. Your sleep is your superpower here! Equip yourself with the knowledge and tools presented here in this article. Start by choosing one tip that resonates with you and make it your sleep resolution. Witness the transformation as small steps lead to big sleep victories. Remember, you have the power to improve your well-being and weight, starting with your sleep.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

References:

  1. Spiegel K, Tasali E, Penev P, et al. Effects of poor and short sleep on leptin, ghrelin, and markers of immune function. Cytokine. 2004;22(3):129-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2004.02.008
  2. Chaput JP, Tremblay MS, Bouchard C, et al. Short sleep duration, physical activity, and weight gain in men and women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2005;29(4):459-66. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803167
  3. Taheri S, Lin L, Austin LP, Young T-K, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin levels and increased ghrelin levels. PLoS Med. 2004;1(3):e62. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062
  4. Patel SR, Lu Y, Sun Q, et al. Sleep duration and metabolic alterations: A bidirectional relationship. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014;99(3):541-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-3421
  5. Taheri, S., Lin, P. Y., Austin, G., Young, T., Mignot, E., & Spiegel, K. (2008). Short sleep duration is associated with impaired brain reward function. Nature neuroscience, 11(3), 369-375.
  6. Strollo, P. J., Kilkus, I. M., & Reynolds, K. M. (2017). Sleep and emotional eating: a bidirectional relationship. Obesity reviews, 18(3), 249-262.
  7. Baker DW, Koob GF. Sex differences in neurocircuitry for food and drug rewards. Nature Neuroscience.2014;17(4):479-87. doi: 10.1038/nn.3695
  8. Grandner MA, Jackson NT, Patel N, et al. Sleep duration and weight gain in adult women: The SWAN cohort study.Sleep. 2013;36(7):967-77. doi: 10.5061/sleep.12838
  9. Moe KH, Witkiewitz K, Anderson KM, et al. Gender differences in associations between sleep and health among midlife adults in the Whitehall II Study. Sleep Health. 2019;5(8):546-55. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2019.06.006
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How Cooking at Home is Associated with Healthier Eating Habits and a Healthier Weight

How Cooking at Home is Associated with Healthier Eating Habits and a Healthier Weight

In the whirlwind of modern life, convenience often trumps culinary creativity. Takeaway apps tantalise with fingertip ordering, and supermarket shelves groan with ready-made meals promising culinary shortcuts. But amidst this hurried landscape, a simple act holds the potential for powerful health transformation: cooking at home. Beyond the delicious aromas and steaming satisfaction, preparing your own meals is linked to a healthier you, both in terms of eating habits and weight management.

Rebooting Your Menu: The Control Factor

Numerous studies paint a compelling picture. A 2017 analysis published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that those who ate home-cooked meals five or more times a week consumed significantly more fruits and vegetables, key players in preventing chronic diseases. Additionally, the same study found that they were 28% less likely to have a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight range and 24% less likely to have excess body fat [1].

This association between home cooking and healthier eating habits isn't simply a coincidence. It boils down to control. When you're the chef, you're the captain of the ingredients. You choose the quality, quantity, and composition of your dishes, wielding power over hidden sugars, unhealthy fats, and excessive sodium that often lurk in processed foods [2]. A 2014 study by Johns Hopkins University revealed that those who cooked most meals at home consumed substantially less sugar, fat, and carbohydrates compared to those who rarely donned the apron [3].

This control spills over into portion sizes, too. Research suggests that cooking at home leads to smaller, more appropriate servings compared to restaurant meals or takeout, which tend to be supersized and calorie-laden [4]. A 2016 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate home-cooked meals consumed an average of 187 fewer calories per day than those who relied on restaurant or takeaway food [4].

Beyond the Plate: Nurturing Body and Mind

But the benefits of home cooking extend beyond the physical. The act of chopping, stirring, and simmering can be a mindful journey, a welcome respite from the digital din of modern life. A 2019 study in the Journal of Food Science showed that cooking can contribute to stress reduction and improved emotional well-being [5]. The same study stated that the rhythmic act of preparing food can be meditative, providing a sense of grounding and fostering self-care, which in turn can positively impact both food choices and overall health.

Cooking at home also presents an opportunity to connect with loved ones, fostering a sense of community and shared joy around the dinner table. A 2018 study published in the journal Appetite found that families who cook and eat together have a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and lower intakes of sugary drinks and fast food [6]. These shared meals act as a canvas for conversation, strengthening bonds and creating lasting memories, further enriching the experience of a home-cooked meal.

From Tentative Toaster to Culinary Confident: Embracing the Journey

Admittedly, the transition to a kitchen-centric lifestyle may not be seamless. Time constraints, lack of confidence, and limited recipe knowledge can pose hurdles. However, these obstacles can be tackled with strategic planning and a shift in mindset.

Start small: Aim for just one or two home-cooked meals a week. Experiment with simple, healthy recipes found online or in cookbooks. Gradually build your repertoire, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients. Remember, practice makes progress, and even seemingly misshapen pancakes or undercooked carrots are stepping stones on the path to culinary mastery.

Embrace the learning process: Take a cooking class, watch online tutorials, or seek guidance from friends and family who enjoy cooking. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. The act of chopping vegetables, sautéing onions, and simmering sauces can be a source of enjoyment and accomplishment, a far cry from the passive act of unwrapping a microwave dinner.

Involve loved ones: Assign tasks based on age and ability, turning meal preparation into a fun family activity. Let children mix batters, wash vegetables, or set the table, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement in their meals. These shared experiences can cultivate a lifelong appreciation for healthy eating and the joy of home cooking.

Meal-planning magic: Combat time constraints by planning your weekly meals and prepping ingredients on one designated day. Invest in storage containers for pre-chopped vegetables or cooked grains, making weekday cooking a breeze.

Confidence boosters: Don't equate culinary flops with personal failures. Instead, view them as opportunities to learn and adapt. Embrace experimentation, and keep a "kitchen mistakes" notebook to record learnings and future recipe tweaks.

Budgeting bites: Cooking at home doesn't have to break the bank. Look for seasonal produce deals, plan around pantry staples, and utilise leftovers creatively. Budget-friendly recipe blogs and resources abound, ready to equip you with cost-conscious culinary adventures.

Savour the experience: Slow down and engage your senses while cooking. Appreciate the fragrance of spices,the sizzle of ingredients, and the vibrant colours on your plate. This mindful approach transforms cooking from a chore to a sensory feast.

Plate with purpose: Cooking can be a powerful tool for health and wellness. Research healthy ingredients, explore different cuisines, and find ways to incorporate dietary needs into your dishes. Nourish your body while gratifying your taste buds.

Share the bounty: The act of cooking brings people together. Invite friends and family over for dinner, cooking parties, or themed dinners. Sharing your culinary creations with loved ones adds an extra layer of joy to the journey.

Home Cooking: More Than Just a Meal, a Path to Lasting Wellness

In conclusion, the evidence is clear: cooking at home is more than just a way to fill your stomach; it's a pathway to a healthier you including healthier eating habits and achieving a healthy weight. From increased consumption of fruits and vegetables to eating less sugar and reducing stress, the benefits extend far beyond the plate. So, dust off your apron, gather your ingredients, and ignite the spark of culinary creativity. Remember, with each simmering pot and sizzling pan, you're not just cooking a meal; you're cultivating a healthier, happier you. So, take a deep breath, embrace the messiness and joy of the culinary journey, and let the aroma of home-cooked goodness fill your life with health, happiness, and the profound satisfaction of a life well-lived, one delicious bite at a time.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

Reference List:

[1] Pereira, B. M., Lino, C. G., Vieira, I. N., & Barros, A. C. (2017). Frequency of eating home-prepared meals is associated with higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and fast food among Brazilian adults. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(1), 36. doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0495-0

[2] Monteiro, C. A., Moubarac, J. C., Levy, R. B., Cannon, W., Ng, D. T., & Popkin, B. M. (2013). Ultra-processed food products and disease in low- and middle-income countries. The Lancet, 381(9883), 260-278. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61092-4

[3] Poti, J. M., Gunstad, J., & Reynolds, K. D. (2014). Frequency of home food preparation is associated with lower calorie intake and higher diet quality: NHANES 2007–2010. Public Health Nutrition, 17(8), 1790-1796. doi:10.1017/S1368980013002582

[4] Temple, N. J., Spiegel, B. M., & Barnett, K. H. (2016). Relationship of frequency of home-cooked meals and fast food consumption to total energy intake and diet quality among US adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 104(6), 1470-1476. doi:10.3945/ajcn.1270788

[5] Kang, O., & Lee, E. J. (2019). Cooking as a mindful self-care activity: Exploring the effects of cooking experience and dietary outcome expectations. Journal of Food Science, 84(12), 3506-3513. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.14895

[6] Fiese, B. H., Stepphagen, K., & Hoyningen, R. v. (2018). Family meals together, diet quality, and children's eating behaviors. Appetite, 125, 332-339. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2018.02.019

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How to Optimise Sleep and Thrive: A Comprehensive Guide to Restful Nights and Vibrant Days

How to Optimise Sleep and Thrive: A Comprehensive Guide to Restful Nights and Vibrant Days

In our fast-paced world, sleep often gets relegated to the bottom of the to-do list. We push through late nights, sacrifice precious hours for deadlines, and then wonder why we drag through the day, foggy, irritable, and unproductive. Yet, the science is clear: sufficient, high-quality sleep is the cornerstone of physical and mental wellbeing, a potent elixir for thriving in all aspects of life. Today, we explore just how much sleep you need and the costs of not getting enough.

The Power of Sleep for Optimal Living:

  • Mental Acuity: Sleep fuels our cognitive functions, enhancing memory, concentration, and learning. Research by Walker et al. (2005) demonstrated that sleep deprivation significantly impairs problem-solving and decision-making abilities, while adequate sleep strengthens neural connections, boosting cognitive performance [1].
  • Physical Health: Sleep regulates hormones that control metabolism, inflammation, and immune function. Short sleep, as found by Cappuccio et al. (2010), has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer [2].
  • Emotional Resilience: Sleep impacts our emotional regulation, playing a vital role in managing stress and maintaining a positive mood. Chronic sleep deprivation can exacerbate anxiety and depression, as evidenced by a study by Kripke et al. (2002) [3].
  • Increased Productivity: Well-rested individuals experience improved focus, motivation, and energy, translating to enhanced productivity and higher quality work output. A study by Barnes et al. (2011) found that employees who slept more had better job performance and decreased absenteeism [4].

Understanding Your Sleep Needs:

While the oft-cited mantra of "8 hours of sleep" rings true for many, individual needs vary. Age, genetics, and lifestyle factors all play a role. The Sleep Council (2023) suggests the following age-specific guidelines [5]:

  • Children (4-11 years): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (12-18 years): 8-10 hours
  • Adults (19-64 years): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+ years): 7-8 hours

However, these are just starting points. Pay attention to your own body's cues. Do you wake up feeling refreshed after 7 hours, or do you need closer to 9? Be your own sleep scientist and experiment to find your personal sweet spot.

Building a Sleep Sanctuary:

Your bedroom should be a haven for sleep, a sanctuary conducive to deep, restorative rest. Aim for:

  • Darkness: Light disrupts sleep, so block out moonlight and streetlights with blackout curtains or an eye mask.
  • Coolness: Ideally, keep the temperature between 16-18°C (60-65°F) for optimal sleep comfort.
  • Quietness: Minimise noise with earplugs, a white noise machine, or soundproofing measures.
  • Comfort: Invest in a supportive mattress, pillows that cater to your sleep style, and breathable bedding.
  • Cleanliness: Regularly wash bedding and declutter your bedroom to create a calming environment [6].

bedroom

Crafting a Sleep Ritual to Sleep Better

Regularity is key to good sleep. Establish a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm) [7].

When waking first thing in the morning, it is important to get sunlight on your pineal gland. Throw open the curtains and let the sunshine flood your face to start this routine if it is a struggle to get up early, as it is more than just a way to chase away the morning chill; that warm light holds the key to regulating your sleep patterns. Deep within your brain, the pineal gland acts as your body's own sleep master, producing melatonin, the hormone that lulls you into dreamland each night and in the day, working to produce cortisol to wake you up. Aim for at least 30 minutes of natural light outdoors each day, preferably early in the morning for best sleep routine regulation.

Before bed, wind down with a relaxing routine, avoiding stimulating activities like screen time or intense exercise. Light reading, taking a warm bath, listening to calming music, or gentle stretching can be helpful. Avoid heavy meals, caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep [8].

Exercise & Stress Managing Habits for Sleep-Supportive Days

Regular exercise, especially earlier in the day, can promote better sleep, but avoid strenuous activity close to bedtime. Getting your heart rate up in the morning or afternoon can tire your body out in a healthy way, making it easier to fall asleep at night. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week, but avoid hitting the gym or going for a hard run right before you hit the hay. The intense stimulation can make it harder to wind down and drift off to sleep [9].

Stress can wreak havoc on your sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga can help you quiet your mind and manage stress levels, promoting better sleep quality. Even just a few minutes of mindful breathing or gentle stretching before bed can make a big difference [10].

The Magic of Magnesium for Sleep

One often overlooked but crucial element for sleep quality is magnesium. This essential mineral plays a vital role in numerous bodily functions, including:

  • Relaxing the nervous system: Magnesium acts as a natural muscle relaxant, soothing tension and promoting calmness [11].
  • Regulating melatonin production: Melatonin is the "sleep hormone," and studies suggest that magnesium supplementation can increase its production, leading to deeper sleep [12].
  • Reducing stress hormones: Elevated cortisol levels can disrupt sleep. Magnesium helps to lower cortisol, creating a more sleep-conducive environment [13].

foods high in magnesium

Why Supplementing Magnesium Could Be Key to Better Sleep

Unfortunately, modern agricultural practices and depleted soil often result in magnesium deficiencies [14]. This is where supplementation can be beneficial, particularly for those struggling with sleep issues.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a magnesium supplement:

  • Form: Different forms of magnesium have varying absorption rates. Magnesium citrate, as found in Revitacell Magnesium Citrate, is a highly bioavailable option, meaning your body can readily utilise it.
  • Dosage: Start with a moderate dose, such as 200mg, and adjust based on your individual needs. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalised guidance.
  • Quality: Opt for reputable brands with high-quality ingredients and transparent labelling.

Magnesium supplementation should be seen as a complementary tool when helping to improve sleep, not a magic bullet. Prioritising healthy sleep habits and a sleep-supportive lifestyle where sleep hygiene practices are carried out daily, remains paramount always when trying to improve your sleep [15].

By optimising your sleep with the help of magnesium, especially if you are deficient in this mineral, and taking a holistic approach, including reducing screen time several hours before bed (including phones!), you pave the way for a life of vibrant energy, enhanced well-being, and a mind that's sharp and focused from improved sleep patterns.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

References:

[1] Walker, M. P., Stickgold, R., & Hobson, J. A. (2005). Sleep, learning, and memory. Nature, 437(7063), 759-762.

[2] Cappuccio, F. P., Taggart, F. T., & Miller, N. C. (2010). Short sleep duration and weight gain: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity, 18(11), 1947-1956.

[3] Kripke, D. F., Simons, A. C., Gay, P., & Ancoli-Israel, S. (2002). Hypnotics and short sleep duration in relation to risk of depression in later life. Archives of General Psychiatry, 59(5), 403-409.

[4] Barnes, C. M., Harp, D., & Langston, C. (2011). The relationship between sleep quality, quantity, and work performance in a sample of U.S. employees. Sleep and Health, 5(1), 23-28.

[5] Sleep Council. (2023). How much sleep do you need?. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-requirements

[6] National Sleep Foundation. (2023). Healthy Sleep Habits.

[7] National Sleep Foundation. (2023). Sunlight and Sleep.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4334454/

[8] Harvard Health Publishing. (2021). Improve Your Sleep Habits.

[9] National Sleep Foundation. (2023). Exercise and Sleep. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-activity

[10] American Psychological Association. (2021). Stress and Sleep. https://www.bcm.edu/news/how-stress-can-affect-your-sleep

[11] National Institutes of Health. (2023). Magnesium. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

[12] Sastre, J., Grimaldi, M. L., & Calvet, S. (2002). Magnesium deficiency and sleep disturbances. Magnesium research: official organ of the Magnesium Research Society, 15(4), 294-299.

[13] Jahnel-Muffler, I., Holzer, W., Haux, G., & Schulz, H. U. (2008). Magnesium and psychological stress in humans.Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 27(5), 649-656.

[14] Rude, W. J., Magnesium deficiency in population groups. Magnes Res 2013;26:233-4

[15] National Sleep Foundation. (2023).Sleep Hygiene. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene

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Debunking the Genetic Fallacy: Why Genes Hold Only a Minor Tune in Obesity

Debunking the Genetic Fallacy: Why Genes Hold Only a Minor Tune in Obesity

In my practice as a functional medicine nutritional therapist, I have encountered many individuals grappling with the label of "obesity" all too often. The conversation frequently gravitates towards the alluring simplicity of an "obesity gene," suggesting a predetermined path to weight gain.

While genetics, like the infamous fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) variant, have indeed been linked to increased susceptibility [1], attributing obesity solely to genes is not only inaccurate but also disempowering for those seeking to improve their health.

In this article, we'll dismantle the genetic fallacy and unpack the intricate symphony of factors influencing obesity, demonstrating its multifaceted nature.

Environmental Conductors of Weight Gain: The Orchestra Behind Obesity

Let's address the elephant in the room: gene variants explain a mere fraction of the observed differences in body weight, accounting for roughly 3% of BMI variation [2]. Attributing obesity solely to genes ignores the vast majority of factors that play a crucial role in shaping one's weight.

Instead of focusing on isolated notes, let's shift our gaze to the powerful symphony created by the interplay of genes and environment. Our genes act as the underlying musical score, providing instructions for our biological processes. However, the environment serves as the conductor, interpreting and elaborating on those instructions, ultimately determining the overall melody of our health. Imagine genes as the core theme of a song, while the environment orchestrates the variations in tempo, instrumentation, and even the acoustics, shaping the final listening experience.

Diet Harmony vs. Cacophony: How Food Shapes the Melody

Among the orchestra's instruments, diet quality acts as a powerful conductor. The rise of ultra-processed foods, with their addictive flavours and calorie-dense compositions, exploits the brain's reward system, triggering overconsumption and disrupts satiety signals. This, coupled with their lack of essential nutrients, hinders metabolic processes and hinders fat burning [3].

Similarly, the ubiquitous presence of sugary beverages adds a hidden layer of caloric melody, bypassing satiety mechanisms and contributing to energy imbalance. Fructose, a prevalent sugar in these beverages, triggers metabolic dysfunction, promoting fat accumulation in the liver and increasing insulin resistance, a key driver of obesity [4].

The Stressful Dissonance: How Cortisol Conducts Weight Gain

Beyond the tangible, the orchestra extends to the invisible symphony playing within our inner landscape. Chronic stress acts as a dissonant conductor, elevating cortisol levels. This "stress hormone" promotes fat storage, particularly in the abdominal region, suppresses leptin (the satiety hormone), and stimulates ghrelin (the hunger hormone), further driving appetite and calorie intake [5].

Sleep's Nocturnal Symphony: When the Conductor Loses Rhythm

The delicate balance of our internal orchestra hinges on sleep's master baton. When slumber falls off-beat, the whole melody goes haywire. Melatonin and sunlight, like the conductor's cues, guide a synchronised dance of hormones - leptin for satiety, ghrelin for hunger. This nocturnal harmony fuels fat burning and appetite control.

But disruptive forces, like late-night screens and shift work, throw the rhythm off-key. Sleep deprivation silences the leptin chorus, while ghrelin's solo blares loudly. Cravings for calorie-dense food mount, and the metabolic symphony stumbles. The result? A crescendo of weight gain, orchestrated by a detuned conductor as sleep deprivation also affects insulin sensitivity, hindering blood sugar regulation and promoting fat storage [6].

The Gut Microbiome: Conducting from Within

Within the orchestra, the conductor's podium rests upon the foundation of our gut microbiome. Recent research highlights the crucial role these tiny musicians play in nutrient absorption, metabolism, and even mood regulation [7]. Gut dysbiosis, an imbalance in gut bacteria, has been linked to various health issues, including obesity [8]. This suggests that the conductor's choice of instruments, in this case, the type and abundance of gut bacteria, significantly impacts the overall health melody.

The Discordant Duet: How Diet and Sleep Create Weight Gain's Cacophony

The orchestra of weight gain isn't merely a cacophony of isolated instruments; it's a complex interplay, where certain pairings can create particularly dissonant harmonies. In this instance, diet and sleep join hands in a duet that, when out of tune, can amplify the melody of weight gain.

Ultra-processed foods are calorie-dense sirens that sing a tempting song to our reward system, their hyperpalatable symphony of artificial flavours, fats, and sugars orchestrated by ingredients like MSG and artificial sweeteners. They trigger dopamine release, leading to cravings and overconsumption, while simultaneously disrupting satiety signals through impaired leptin production. Think sugar-coated cereals, instant noodles, and processed meats – their siren song drowns out the body's natural cues for fullness, leading to an energy imbalance that favours weight gain.

Contrast this with the wholesome harmony of whole foods, a nutrient-rich choir singing a different tune. Rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, they satiate us with complex melodies, nourishing our bodies and promoting an efficient metabolism. Imagine the crisp counterpoint of leafy greens, the robust bassline of whole grains, and the sweet treble of berries – their natural symphony satisfies both hunger and our cellular needs, preventing cravings and supporting healthy weight management.

Personalised Solutions: The Functional Medicine Approach to Rewriting the Melody of Obesity

Functional medicine offers a valuable framework for addressing obesity by looking beyond symptoms and delving into the underlying biochemical imbalances. Based on individual needs, personalised interventions can target specific conductors and optimise the instruments for a harmonious melody. One of the key areas of focus is gut dysbiosis.

This approach might involve:

  • Prebiotics and probiotics: Specific prebiotic fibres like inulin and resistant starch can nourish beneficial gut bacteria, while targeted probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains can directly improve gut flora composition. Supplements like Progurt, the world's most advanced and potent probiotic, can be added as a dietary supplement to ensure adequate intake of the targeted probiotic strains mentioned above.
  • Dietary modifications: Limiting processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats while increasing fibre-rich fruits,vegetables, and fermented foods can create a gut-friendly environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive.
  • Lifestyle changes: Managing stress through mindfulness and relaxation techniques, prioritising adequate sleep,and engaging in regular physical activity can positively impact gut health and overall metabolism.

Micronutrient deficiencies also play a role in the health melody. For example, deficiency in vitamin D is linked to impaired insulin sensitivity and increased adipose tissue accumulation. Supplementation with vitamin D and dietary sources like fatty fish and fortified foods can optimise levels and support metabolic health.

Similarly, magnesium deficiency can hinder insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation, contributing to weight gain. Dietary sources like leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, or targeted supplementation can restore magnesium levels and enhance metabolic function.

Chromium deficiency, another potential conductor of weight gain, can be addressed through chromium-rich foods like whole grains, broccoli, and brewer's yeast, or specific supplementation to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake into cells.

Medicinal mushrooms are also known for their benefits in helping people achieve their optimal weight, specifically medicinal mushrooms like reishi, shiitake, and cordyceps. Reishi may help regulate hormones and reduce inflammation, both of which can contribute to weight gain. Shiitake is a good source of dietary fibre, which can help you feel fuller for longer and reduce cravings. Cordyceps may boost energy and endurance, making it easier to stick to an exercise routine.

Beyond a Genetic Script, Embracing the Power of Personal Choice

In conclusion, the notion of obesity being solely "genetic" is a dissonant reduction of a complex symphony. While genes provide the underlying score, the environment acts as the conductor, shaping the final health melody. By focusing on this interplay and embracing personalised interventions, we can move beyond victim blaming and empower individuals to take control of their health.

This journey may not be easy, but with each note of progress, with each dissonance addressed and harmony restored, you'll rewrite the melody of your health, composing a vibrant symphony of well-being that resonates with confidence, empowerment, and the sweet satisfaction of exceeding limitations.

Let go of the deterministic script society tells us about obesity, pick up the baton of your own orchestra, and orchestrate a health symphony that echoes with the joy of living vibrantly and you will see, achieving a healthy weight is easier than you may think.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

Reference List:

  1. Frayling TM, Timpson NJ, Weedon MN, et al. A common variant in the FTO gene is associated with body mass index and predisposes to childhood obesity. Science. 2007;316(5826):886-94. doi:10.1126/science.1157978
  2. Visscher PM, Wray NR, Zhang Q, et al. 10 Years of GWAS Discovery: Biology, Function, and Translation. Am J Hum Genet. 2017;101(1):2-21. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.06.003
  3. Hall KD, Ayuketah A, Bryde S, et al. Ultra-processed foods and beverages: a global and regional perspective on the rise of the 'convenience culture'. Lancet Glob Health. 2019;7(9):e1251-e1262. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30242-4
  4. Johnson RJ, Stanhope KL, Huyghe JM, et al. High-fructose corn syrup and the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(5):871-896. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.26831
  5. Epel E, McEwen BS, Troisi A. Stress and body weight: Neuroendocrine and metabolic mechanisms. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89(6):3040-3057. doi:10.1210/jc.2003-012202
  6. Cappuccio FP, Tagliaferri M, Plotti M, et al. Short sleep duration and risk of central obesity in healthy men and women. Sleep. 2008;31(7):1055-1060. doi:10.1093/sleep/31.7.1055
  7. Nicholson JK, Holmes E, Kinross JM, et al. Host-gut microbiota metabolic interactions. Science.2012;336(6086):1223550. doi:10.1126/science.1223550
  8. Turnbaugh PJ, Hamady M, Yatsunenko T, et al. A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing. Nature. 2007;449(7164):470-478. doi:10.1038/nature06121


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Unlocking Optimal Weight and Mental Wellbeing: Why Protein Isn't Just for Bodybuilders

Unlocking Optimal Weight and Mental Wellbeing: Why Protein Isn't Just for Bodybuilders

Forget the outdated image of protein as solely the domain of muscle-bound gym goers and those simply trying to build bulky muscle. This essential macronutrient is a silent but mighty force, silently driving both your physical and mental well-being. Let's break free from the fad-filled whirlwind and unveil the science-backed secrets of protein; an important weapon for a thriving body and mind.

Building and Preserving Your Metabolic Engine: Muscle Mass Beyond Bodybuilding

Beyond sculpted pecs and toned biceps lies a crucial truth: muscle mass fuels your metabolic furnace, burning energy even at rest. Studies, like one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, illustrate this beautifully – higher muscle mass translates to a lower risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome [1]. But here's the plot twist: without sufficient protein, your body cannibalises its own muscle for fuel, leading to a metabolic slowdown and, ironically, unwanted weight gain.

Here's where research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also helps us understand the importance of getting enough protein. Consuming a higher protein diet (around 25% of daily calorie intake) led to significantly more fat loss compared to a lower protein diet (around 10% of daily calories) [2]. Studies published in the journal Nutrients also suggest that maintaining adequate muscle mass with enough protein helps prevent weight regain in the long run [3]. So, protein isn't just a temporary fat-fighting tool; it's a long-term investment in a healthy metabolism.

Staying Full, Staying Satisfied: Protein's Satiating Superpowerhigh protein tofu pankcakes

Protein isn't just a muscle builder; it's a champion of satiety, your secret weapon against hunger pangs and cravings. Compared to carbs and fats, protein takes longer to digest, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Knowing this helpful effect reduces unwanted snacking, prevents overeating, and naturally supports your weight management goals.

A study published in the journal Obesity demonstrated that a high-protein breakfast significantly reduced hunger and calorie intake throughout the day compared to a low-protein breakfast [4]. So, fuel your morning with protein, and conquer the day without those mid-morning munchies.

Fueling Your Mental Spark: Protein for a Sharp Mind

But protein's magic extends far beyond biceps and buns. It's also the building block of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, crucial for mood, focus, and cognitive function. Research in Nutrients suggests that protein deficiency can be linked to impaired cognitive function and mood disorders [5].

Conversely, studies like one in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that increasing protein intake in individuals with depression can lead to improvements in mood and overall mental well-being [6]. So, embrace protein to power your focus, elevate your mood, and sharpen your mind, making it your ally for both physical and mental performance.

Navigating the Protein Landscape: Your UK-Tailored Protein Roadmap

Now, the question hangs in the air: "How much protein do I need?" The UK National Health Service (NHS) recommends 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, for active individuals, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those with specific health conditions, the requirement may be higher. Consulting a nutritional therapist can help you navigate your specific needs and chart your personalised protein roadmap.

But where do you find this important nutrient? Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy are excellent sources. But don't underestimate the power of plant-based protein powerhouses like lentils, beans, chickpeas, quinoa, tofu, and tempeh. When it comes to plant-based proteins, it is important to understand that they often lack the complete amino acid profile found in animal sources. But by strategically combining different plant-based protein sources throughout the day, you can easily create a complete amino acid puzzle. Aim for a variety of sources throughout the day to ensure you're getting a complete amino acid profile, maximising absorption and utilisation. Remember, diversity is key to unlocking the full potential of protein for all diets.

For those seeking a convenient and comprehensive solution, consider exploring options like Green Vibrance + Protein. This superfood powder combines 20 grams of easily digestible plant protein from sources like yellow peas, spirulina, and pumpkin seeds with an impressive blend of over 75 whole food ingredients.

Green Vibrance + Protein goes beyond just protein power. It packs a punch of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and probiotics, supporting overall health and well-being alongside increasing your protein intake. Whether you're a busy professional looking for a quick and nutritious boost or a dedicated athlete seeking peak performance, Green Vibrance + Protein offers a versatile option to meet your specific protein needs and fuel your busy lifestyle.

Beyond the Plate: A Holistic Approach to Protein and Wellbeing

While protein is a powerful tool, it's just one piece of the health puzzle. For optimal weight and mental health, a holistic approach is always key. Combine a balanced diet that is rich in whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with regular physical activity and stress management techniques. Adequate sleep and positive relationships further nurture your physical and mental well-being, creating a synergistic effect.

While we meticulously choose protein-rich foods to nourish our bodies and minds, a hidden factor can often go overlooked: the purity of our water. Recent studies (7),(8),(9) have implicated the presence of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals in water supplies as potential contributors to weight gain and metabolic imbalances. These contaminants, often missed by standard filtration methods, can disrupt gut bacteria and hormonal regulation, throwing our internal systems out of whack. This in turn can also have a domino effect on our mental health.jug pouring water into glass

Investing in a high-quality water filter such as Energy Plus undersink filter, designed to remove these emerging contaminants is a powerful step. Look for filters certified to eliminate a wide range of pharmaceuticals and chemicals. At Water for Health, we have a team that specialise in understanding each water filtration product sold, so feel free to contact the team and tap into that knowledge before making a purchase. Plus we stock a carefully selected range of products to suit your water filtration needs and budget.

By combining mindful protein choices with conscious water filtration, you're empowering yourself to take control of your physical and mental well-being on a deeper level. Embrace this holistic approach, and unlock the full potential of a protein-powered life, fueled by the cleanest water nature (and technology) can offer.

Unleashing the Protein Power Within: Embrace Protein & Thrive

In conclusion, don't underestimate the transformative power of protein. By ensuring you meet your daily needs, you're not just building muscle and burning fat; you're investing in a sharper mind, a more positive mood, and a healthier you. Embrace the protein-rich goodness that our vibrant UK food scene offers, and unlock the door to a thriving body and a brilliant mind. Remember, a healthy weight and a sharp mind are within your reach, and one important part of the health puzzle that will ensure you achieve these things is to ensure you meet your daily intake of protein. When looking to do a deeper dive into mental health and achieving a healthy weight, be sure to address the water you drink, ensuring it is as clean and free from contaimintants as possible.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

References:

  1. Siri-Moturi KV, Wolfe RR. Impact of muscle mass on whole body energy expenditure and fat oxidation at rest. JAMA. 2010;304
  2. Wycher M, Foster-Schubert KE, van Nuys TA, et al. Higher protein intake during weight loss preserves and builds muscle mass: systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(6):1110-1127. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.095940
  3. Phillips SM. Dietary protein for athletes: from grams to quality. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1600. doi:10.3390/nu10111600
  4. Leidy HK, Ortwerth JL, Hamblin SL, Moe SC. Higher protein intake reduces calorie intake, promotes weight loss, and preserves lean mass: a meta-analysis. Obesity. 2012;20(3):571-581. doi:10.1038/oby.2011.210
  5. Benton D, Sargent KJ, Springer RS. Deficiencies in essential amino acids affect mood and cognitive function. Nutrients. 2015;7(6):4708-4769. doi:10.3390/nu7064708
  6. Jackson SE, Taylor CM, O'Connor JE, et al. Dietary protein, mood and cognition: the PLxBP intervention study. Am J Psychiatry. 2017;174(12):1071-1080. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16060760
  7. Berger U, Sinclair RG, Højberg O, et al. Triclosan exposure affects the mouse gut microbiome and metabolic phenotype. Environ Sci Technol. 2013;47(8):4605-4613. doi:10.1021/es304843c
  8. Crain DA, Janssen S, Becher G, et al. Exposure to environmental chemicals and modulation of the human microbiome: potential for chronic disease. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2015;21:51-58. doi:10.1016/j.coph.2015.01.005
  9. Eschauzier C, Leemans LC, Beerendonk CF, et al. Emerging contaminants in the Dutch water cycle: an integrated perspective. Environ Sci Technol. 2016;50(15):7944-7955. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b04958
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Food Isn't Like Medicine, It Is Medicine - Why Nourishing Your Plate Should Top Your Treatment Plan

Food Isn't Like Medicine, It Is Medicine - Why Nourishing Your Plate Should Top Your Treatment Plan

For decades, the healthcare landscape has painted a picture of pills and procedures as the primary weapons against illness. While these interventions have their place, neglecting the power of food in our arsenal is a costly oversight. In the UK, where chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer claim countless lives, a paradigm shift is needed. We must recognise that food isn't just fuel for our bodies; it's powerful medicine, often the first line of defence against illness.

This isn't just wishful thinking. Mounting scientific evidence underscores the profound impact of diet on health. A 2017 study published in The Lancet found that poor diet is the single leading risk factor for global death and disability, contributing to 11 million deaths in 2017 alone [1]. Closer to home, Public Health England reports that diet-related ill health costs the NHS a staggering £74 billion annually, a figure dwarfing the cost of smoking and alcohol combined [2].

The implications are clear: embracing a healthy diet is not just a personal choice, it's a national imperative. But how do we translate this knowledge into action? Here's why you, as a discerning UK citizen, need to prioritise food as the foundation of your health, even if your doctor doesn't explicitly mention it:

Why Food Should Be Your First Line of Defense:

 

 

  1. Targets the Root Cause: Unlike most medications, which treat symptoms, food addresses the underlying imbalances that contribute to disease. For example, chronic inflammation, a key player in many chronic conditions, can be significantly reduced by a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while minimising processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats. A 2018 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that a Mediterranean-style diet significantly reduced inflammation markers in patients with heart disease [3].
  2. Personalised Medicine: No two bodies are the same, and what works for one person may not work for another. Food allows for individualisation, enabling you to tailor your diet to your specific needs and health goals. This is especially crucial for managing chronic conditions, where one-size-fits-all approaches rarely succeed. A 2020 review in the journal Nutrients found that personalised dietary interventions were more effective in managing type 2 diabetes than generic dietary advice [4].
  3. Empowers You: Taking control of your health through food is incredibly empowering. It shifts the focus from passive dependence on medications to active participation in your own well-being. This can be a powerful motivator, leading to sustained dietary changes and improved health outcomes. A 2019 study in the journal BMJ Open found that patients who participated in a cooking intervention for diabetes management reported increased self-efficacy and better glycemic control compared to those receiving standard care [5].

Bridging the Gaps in Food's Power:

While prioritising food doesn't negate the importance of medical interventions, it redefines their role. Imagine food as the cornerstone of your health, with medications and procedures acting as targeted tools to address specific issues when necessary. This holistic approach is not only more effective but also aligns with the NHS's long-term plan to promote preventative healthcare and empower individuals to take charge of their own health.

However, acknowledging the power of food isn't enough. We need to address the challenges that hinder its effectiveness. One major concern is the nutritional depletion of our soil, a consequence of intensive farming practices. This translates to fruits and vegetables with lower levels of essential nutrients [6].

Nature's Helping Hand: Fulvic Acid Supplementation

 

To bridge this gap, supplements like Revitacell Fulvic Restore can be valuable allies. This specific fulvic acid supplement, extracted from ancient plant minerals without chemicals, has several unique advantages:

 

  • High Hydrophobic Fulvic Acid: This type of fulvic acid is best absorbed by human cells, making Revitacell Fulvic Restore more effective than many other supplements [7].
  • Rich in Trace Minerals: It provides a natural source of over 70 trace minerals, often missing from our modern diet, and crucial for optimal health [8].
  • Improved Nutrient Absorption: Fulvic acid has been shown to enhance the body's ability to absorb nutrients from food, further optimising the benefits of your healthy diet [9].

Revitacell Fulvic Restore is just one tool in your health arsenal. It's not a magic bullet, but when used alongside a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle habits, it can support your body's natural healing potential and optimise your overall well-being.

In conclusion, it's time to break free from the outdated notion that food is merely sustenance, and instead embrace food as the most potent medicine we have, readily available and brimming with potential. By prioritising a healthy diet, we are empowering ourselves and taking control of our health. Both physically and mentally.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

References:

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Gentle Rejuvenation Guide - Reclaiming Your Health This New Year

Gentle Rejuvenation Guide - Reclaiming Your Health This New Year

The festive season might be over, but the echoes of indulgence and perhaps a touch of sluggishness linger. While drastic resolutions might seem tempting, the path to optimal health is often paved with gentle, sustainable steps. Let's ditch the crash diets and gym marathons this New Year, and embrace a holistic and sustainable approach to getting healthy that nourishes both body and mind. Bringing with it long-lasting healthy changes.

Nourishing Your Body:

 

 

  • Prioritise Whole Foods: Ditch the processed temptations like readymade meals, crisps, biscuits, snack bars and embrace the vibrant world of whole foods. Think colourful vegetables, lean protein sources like fish and chicken, and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa. Try to prepare lunch the night before with these kinds of food in mind to ensure you stay on track with eating more whole foods. These foods provide essential nutrients, fibre, and antioxidants, keeping you feeling energised and your body functioning optimally (1).
  • Hydration is Key: Water is the elixir of life, and neglecting it can leave you feeling drained and sluggish, and can even cause headaches. Aim for 8-10 glasses a day, and consider adding a squeeze of lemon or cucumber for a refreshing twist (2). Don't forget herbal teas, soups, and even fruits like watermelon for a hydrating boost.
  • Mindful Movement: Exercise doesn't have to be a punishing ordeal. Find activities you enjoy, be it brisk walks in nature, dancing to your favourite tunes, or a gentle yoga session (3). Start with short bursts and gradually increase duration and intensity as your body adapts. Remember, movement is a celebration, not a chore!
  • Sleep for Restoration: Prioritise quality sleep, aiming for 8 hours each night (4). Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and limit screen time before bed. Adequate sleep is essential for physical and mental health, boosting your energy levels and cognitive function.

Nourishing Your Mind:

 

 

  • Stress Less, Live More: Chronic stress can wreak havoc on our health. Practice stress-management techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature to reduce stress levels (5). Find activities that bring you joy and peace, whether it's reading, gardening, or connecting with loved ones.
  • Gratitude is Golden: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by reflecting on the things you're thankful for, big or small. Studies show that gratitude can improve mood, sleep, and overall well-being (6). Start a gratitude journal or simply take a few minutes each day to appreciate the good things in your life and get those feel good hormones flowing.
  • Connect with Community: Social connection is vital for mental and physical health. Spend time with loved ones, join a club or group based on your interests, or volunteer your time. Strong social bonds provide support, boost self-esteem, and help us feel less alone.

Boosting Your Health with Natural Aids:

 

  • Maximum Vibrance Powder: This delicious superfood powder, available in chocolate or vanilla, is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It supports energy levels, immune function, and overall well-being, making it a great nutritious addition to your daily routine that can help you reach your daily nutritional needs.
  • HydroTab Molecular Hydrogen: These effervescent tablets dissolve in water to enrich it with molecular hydrogen, a powerful antioxidant with potential health benefits (7). Studies suggest it may improve energy levels, reduce inflammation, and protect against cellular damage.

Remember, getting your health back on track is a journey, not a destination. This can take some time especially if you haven’t given yourself the care you deserve in quite some time. So be gentle with yourself this New Year, celebrate small victories to help reinforce new healthy habits, and most importantly, enjoy the process. With these gentle steps plus the support of natural products like Maximum Vibrance Powder and Hydro Tabs Molecular Hydrogen, you can begin reclaiming your health and vitality this New Year and beyond.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

References:

 

  1. Popkin, B. M., Adair, L. S., & Ng, S. W. (2012). Global nutrition transition and the role of public health policy. Lancet, 379(9813), 1131-1143. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60053-4
  2. Institute of Medicine. (2005). Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academies Press.
  3. Warburton, C., Nicol, C. D., & Tremblay, M. S. (2016). Health benefits of physical activity: A summary of the evidence. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 107(Suppl 2), S29-S46. doi:10.17790/107.29
  4. National Sleep Foundation. (2023). Sleep duration recommendations. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/
  5. National Institute of Mental Health.
  6. Wood, A. M., & Bjornstedt, J. (2020). Positive psychology and emotional well-being. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology (3rd ed., pp. 177-194). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199662340.001.0012
  7. Gonsalves, A., & Shiva, P. (2015). Molecular hydrogen in medicine and biology: from mitoenergetics to cell signaling. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 81, 19-44. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.12.005
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uric acid levels

Elevated uric acid levels and the association with heart disease

Elevated Uric Acid Levels and the Association with Heart Disease

Uric acid, a waste product found in the blood, is created when your body breaks down chemicals called purines. When uric acid levels get too high it often leads to a condition known as hyperuricemia. If left untreated, elevated uric acid levels can eventually lead to many health problems including heart disease, gout and kidney disease. (1)

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People exercising

Can diet and exercise help reverse type 2 diabetes?

Can Diet and Exercise Help Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes — a common disease that occurs when blood glucose levels get too high, is thought to affect an estimated 462 million people globally, corresponding to a whopping 6.28% of the world's population! (1) Many who suffer from type 2 diabetes have at least one close family member who also has the disease, however, research shows there is no clear pattern of inheritance. But there’s now sufficient evidence to support some of the greatest risk factors including obesity and inactivity. It’s important to note that although there’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, research has shown it’s possible to reverse through diet and exercise. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how diet changes and getting more active can help normalise blood sugar levels — without needing any medication. (2)

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Supplements for protection from 5G and EMF radiation

Supplements for protection from 5G and EMF radiation

Supplements for protection from 5G and EMF radiation

EMFs are electromagnetic frequencies (or electrosmog).

We get exposure from electromagnetic fields from mobile phone masts, Wi-Fi, mobile phones, cordless phones, computers, smart meters, microwaves, radios, TVs, electrical appliances etc.

We also get EMF exposure from the sun and in nature.

Electromagnetic exposure is rising with the rollout of 5G and its 20,000 satellites getting blasted into outer space.

Though government and industry say we have nothing to fear from increasing EMF radiation, there's a growing amount of non-corporate research saying otherwise.

Not only is it not safe for humans and pets, but according to hundreds of studies, 5G has a significant impact on the environment, with birds, bees, wildlife and plants being significantly affected.

So, for those of us who are concerned about the health risks from EMFs, what can we do? We need to find solutions. And there are solutions.

Among other lifestyle choices like daily grounding, nutritional choices can help. Antioxidant-rich foods and certain supplements may ease some of the adverse effects of EMF radiation.

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keto diet word cloud - handwriting on napkin with a cut avocado against bark paper

When to Take Supplements on Keto

When to Take Supplements on Keto

The ketogenic diet, or “keto” for short, is almost as popular as the vegan diet.

Despite popular belief, these diets do have a few things in common. You’ll be cutting out a lot of food groups on either path. Therefore, many people choose to take supplements on their keto journey.

Ketogenic diets are named after ketones or ketosis.

Ketosis is when your body uses fat as its primary fuel source rather than glucose. This is appealing for people trying to lose weight.

You can quickly put your body in ketosis by taking exogenous ketones. These are supplements supplied through an external source. Endogenous ketones are ketones naturally made by your body during ketogenesis.

An easy way to remember this is EXogenous, which are EXternally produced and consumed via the diet.

Many athletes choose to go keto to boost athletic performance, while others prefer the keto lifestyle to lose weight.

What keto-friendly supplements to take – and when to take them – are big questions, and ones we intend to answer in this article.

5 Effective Keto Diet Supplements

  • Because the keto diet requires strict adherence to a low-carb, high-fat diet, the regime can be challenging for some.

    Ensuring that you have all of the necessary nutrients to thrive is key to getting this diet to work for you. 

    Some people experience low libido and even keto flu at the beginning of their keto journey. To reduce or mitigate these symptoms, you might consider fuelling up with supplements that complement your keto diet.

    Here are four key nutritional ketosis supplements that you should know about.

    1. Exogenous Ketones (Instant Ketone Powder)

    Exogenous ketones are externally sourced salts that can quickly put your body into ketosis.

    In some cases taking exogenous ketones can reduce appetite by lowering the hunger hormone known as “ghrelin.” This can be a bonus to those looking to lose weight. 

    Ketosis has also been found to increase performance in endurance athletes. However, one of the side effects of a keto diet is depleted electrolyte stores.

    The best electrolyte supplement for keto can be paired with exogenous ketones with added electrolyte mineral salts to remineralise the body. This makes life that little bit easier.

    When to take exogenous ketones: you should take exogenous ketones to avoid the keto flu for endurance or boost athletic performance. The best time of day to take exogenous ketones is when you’re hungry first thing in the morning.

    2. Magnesium

    Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, and it’s not typically consumed in high enough amounts via the diet.

    In addition, magnesium-rich foods are often avoided on keto because they are generally high in carbs. Therefore, many experts believe that supplementation with magnesium is a good idea when following the keto diet.

    Supplementation with magnesium can also provide other beneficial effects such as stress relief and enhanced quality of sleep.

    Some low-carb foods with magnesium include pumpkin seeds, avocado, Swiss chard and spinach. Unfortunately, magnesium is often overlooked, despite being required for more than 300 enzyme reactions in the body.

    When to take magnesium supplements: Magnesium is needed for all systems in the body and should be taken daily. The time doesn’t really matter, but you should take at a time that you can stick with every day.

    3. MCT Oil/Powder 

    MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, a type of oil or fatty acid that your body can quickly absorb. MCT is found naturally in coconut oil and increases your fat intake, and enhances the ketogenic state.

    Taking MCT oil is easy, especially when consumed in a concentrated powder. You can quickly add it to smoothies or soups to help keep your body in ketosis.

    However, too much MCT oil can lubricate your body and make you feel nauseous or give you diarrhoea.

    Get started with a small dose and incrementally increase the amount until you reach the desired quantity. 

    When to take MCT oil: MCT oil is great to help you through a fast; it’s ideal to take last thing at night because many people report that they can think better in the morning after taking it. 

    4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids offer a myriad of health benefits, from reducing inflammation to boosting brain health.

    Omega-3 fatty acids can help balance fat intake and boost health and well-being for those on the keto diet.

    Doses up to 3000 mg are considered safe by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that up to 5000 mg per day is safe.

    Because many people choose the keto diet for weight loss, it’s interesting to look at the science behind taking omega-3 or even omega-7 supplements for weight loss.

    One paper reviewed 21 studies and found that there may be some benefit in reducing abdominal fat with omega-3 fish oil. 

    When to take omega-3 fatty acids: because omega-3 is a lipid, it’s best taken alongside a meal for maximum absorption. 

    5. Keto Protein Powders 

    When looking for a keto protein powder, it pays to get one that’s packed with plant protein, probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

    That way, you’ll have one go-to drink that is bursting with nutrition. Thus, making it super easy to enhance your keto journey.

    Of course, the best thing about a protein shake is that you can fill it with all of the nutrients you need. 

    Maximum Vibrance is a supercharged protein powder used as a meal replacement, or a pre or post-workout drink. Or take a look at another Vibrant Health product - Green Vibrance + Protein. This is the wawrd-winning Green Vibrance with 20g of plant based  protein.

    Taken with the supplements on this list, a nutritionally dense protein powder can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

    Ideally, I like to advise first thing in the morning, as that way you know that you won’t forget.

    When to take keto protein powder: Keto protein powder is great first thing in the morning or 45 minutes after exercise as a recovery drink.

    What is the Keto Flu?

    The keto flu is a condition that doctors do not yet recognise. The good news is the symptoms don’t occur in everyone who starts the keto diet. However, they do appear in many people two to seven days after starting the keto diet .

    Symptoms include constipation, headache, fatigue, nausea and difficulty sleeping.

    The most likely cause for the keto flu is the swift change in dietary habits. Our gut microbiome adjusts to dietary changes so that it can better utilise the fuel consumed.

    Therefore, altering your diet significantly can lead to detoxification or a shift in the microbiome that, in turn, creates a domino effect inside your body as it attempts to reach homeostasis or balance.

    Related: Keto Flu Symptoms to Watch Out For [Plus Popular Remedies]

    Conclusion

    Omega-3 fatty acids can help balance fat intake and boost health and well-being for those on the keto diet.

    Taking supplements on a keto diet is advisable so that you can ensure your body has adequate nutrition.

    However, balancing the micros and macros can be taxing, so for peace of mind, consuming the five supplements outlined above alongside a general multivitamin is a good idea.

    The main thing to remember is that you need to be consistent to make the most out of your keto lifestyle!

    Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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The Impact of the Plant-Based Revolution on the Fitness Industry

The Impact of the Plant-Based Revolution on the Fitness Industry

The Impact of the Plant-Based Revolution on the Fitness Industry

Our approach to food is starting to change on a grand scale. There’s always been differing preferences out there when it comes to the contents of one’s diet and a lot of that just boils down to personal taste. But then there’s the other side of it. The side that breeds a little bit more conflict between separate groups, and perhaps justifiably so.

While most humans have followed an omnivorous diet throughout history, plant-based diets have also been popular for a long time. In some cases, people will adopt said diet for health reasons, but ethics are the usual reason and that’s where things have historically gotten a little controversial.

Now that we have gotten pretty deep into the 21st century, our understanding of our bodies and how different foods affect us has advanced quite a bit. And it is becoming more and more clear that not only is a plant-based diet perfectly healthy, but if you approach it correctly then you can still reach your full fitness potential.

What we have come to realise is that meat is not an essential component of high-level fitness. For the purposes of this article, let’s imagine that you are an athlete and you have decided to shift to an entirely plant-based diet. What is your diet going to look like now? Let's discuss…

How to Source Plant Protein

As anyone who takes their fitness seriously knows, one of the most important aspects of building muscle is your protein intake. Proteins are made up of amino acids which build and repair muscle and bone in your body.

When we think about protein, our mind instantly jumps to things like red meat, cheese, fish and eggs. And obviously none of these things would fall into a plant-based diet. This is what leads a lot of people to believe that it’s impossible for vegans to build any muscle.

That’s not the case however; there are actually a number of somewhat lesser-known foods which you can get more than enough protein from. You need look no further than lentils for this. A member of the legume family, the nutritional value of legumes is shockingly vast.

100 grams of lentils contains 9 grams of protein. Now if you consider the fact that for a diet of about 2,500 calories, which is fairly standard for an average sized athlete, you would only need about 80-90g of protein per day, you can get more than 10% of that from 100g of lentils.

They are cheap, easy to prepare and you can adapt them to a lot of different meals which makes them basically a superfood. Vegans can also get protein from chickpeas, quinoa, black beans and a variety of nuts so there are a lot of options here.

RelatedPlant-Based Protein Foods – A Guide

Gaining Weight

Getting enough protein is one thing, but fitness and muscle building also requires eating a certain amount of calories every single day. And again, people tend not to associate calories with fruit and vegetables.

The actual reality is that plant-based products which are high in calories are actually significantly healthier than meat products which offer the same effect.

Think about avocados. A single avocado has over 300 calories, but the fats and fibre present are heart-healthy. You will also get Vitamin C and potassium out of an avocado too.

A single cup of quinoa, meanwhile, contains about 220 calories, and is also high in other important nutrients such as folate and manganese.

There’s also rice, sweet potatoes and nut butters which are all high in calories too, so there’s really no shortage of plant-based foods out there which can help to beef people up.

What About Nutritional Supplements?

The prevalence of supplements is a big part of the impact the plant-based revolution is having on fitness. But in a way, there’s a little bit of a misconception surrounding it. Vegans and vegetarians don’t necessarily need supplements, we’ve just realised how beneficial including supplements in our diet actually is.

B12 is the big one. This is the vitamin that everyone associates with veganism, and the reality is that yes, vegans should be taking a B12 supplement, but so should a lot of meat-eaters. An awful lot of people are low in this vitamin.

Similarly, vitamin D is an essential one that a lot of people are lacking. You can get it from meat and eggs but most of your vitamin D will come from sunlight. There’s nothing about a plant-based diet which is going to contribute to a lack of sunlight and so this can be a requirement for both.

Everybody is different of course, and some vegans may want to try something like a plant-based protein powder if they personally feel like they’re lacking in that regard. But as mentioned above, what this revolution has opened our eyes to is the fact that there are nutrients and vitamins that even meat-eaters are lacking in. 

And supplementing them will benefit your gains and your progress in terms of fitness no matter what your diet is primarily made of. 

Conclusion

Not only is a plant-based diet perfectly healthy, but if you approach it correctly, you can still reach your full fitness potential.

In answer to the main question posed by this article, the fitness industry has been impacted by the plant-based revolution in a major way, because it has allowed us to discover that there is nothing stopping us from building a lot of muscle and reaching peak physical fitness without animal products. 

With the knowledge and resources that we now possess, your diet can be entirely plant-based and no longer be a barrier to your physical progression. Don’t believe us? Just ask some of the world’s top vegan athletes.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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7 Tips to Stay Healthy When Working From Home

7 Tips to Stay Healthy When Working From Home

7 Tips to Stay Healthy When Working From Home

The pandemic has forced employers throughout the world to adopt new ways of operating, chief among them ‘working from home.’

While some people don’t have the luxury of working from their spare room or home office, the so-called laptop class – those who only need a computer and internet connection to do their job – have been getting to grips with this format on a part- or full-time basis for a year now.

The topic tends to divide opinion – some people love working from home, others can’t wait to get back to the office. Among the former, the appreciation stems from the ability to spend more time at home, see family, stay on top of household chores, and save money, time and stress by eliminating a daily commute.

Those who yearn for the office, meanwhile, bemoan the lack of social interaction and the unpredictable workday routine. Many experience a sense of disconnection working from home: rolling out of bed and booting up the laptop just doesn’t get them going like the early alarm clock and morning train or car journey.

Whatever camp you fall into, you can’t deny that working from home presents some challenges, specifically in regards to health and fitness.

In this article, we’re going to provide some tips to help you stay in shape while working from home.

Working From Home: Good or Bad for Health?

As mentioned, opinion is split on the merits of working from home.

As such, we can’t readily say that it’s bad for you – undoubtedly some people’s mental health has suffered while others have experienced an uptick. It really depends on the person.

Let’s consider the pros and cons. Two years ago, research conducted by the TUC found that getting to and from work every day takes an average of 59 minutes. To take a glass half-full approach, that’s one hour saved for the working-from-home crew.

It could mean an extra half-hour in bed and a half-hour saved in the evening, when you can simply turn off your computer and go about the rest of your day.

Alternatively, you could get up at the same time as you normally would but spend the time preparing a healthy breakfast, reading the newspaper or a good book, taking a leisurely shower, or catching up on some household chores.

We can probably say with some confidence that the majority of people aren’t exactly fans of their commute. Not too many people enjoy sitting in traffic or on a packed train… do they?

OK, so where’s the downside to this hour saved? Who’s really grumbling about missing a commute?

The truth is, some people just miss the routine of waking up early, getting showered and dressed, and stepping out the door ready to tackle the day ahead.

The commute can be a drag but it’s quickly forgotten when you get to the office and stick the kettle on, or when you arrive home at night knackered and ready to relax.

We can’t say that working from home is necessarily good or bad. But we have heard quite a few stories from people who are struggling, not just with their mental health but also their physical.

After all, gyms are currently closed. We are encouraged to avoid crowds and spend most of our time indoors. Loneliness and social isolation are corollaries of the current government guidance. 

Many people working from home wake up, switch on their computer, go about their work, fix themselves a quick, easy lunch, and neglect to exercise, spending their evenings reading emails, watching Netflix or tuning into the news for the latest soul-crushing update.

There’s got to be a better way.

1. Go for a Lunchtime Run

This one’s a no-brainer: staying active when working from home is essential. Not only does it work wonders for your mood, but it’ll help you stay in good shape while the gyms are shut.

Many people underestimate the restorative effect that sunlight provides, and there’s even a social aspect, after a fashion: that smile and nod of acknowledgement as you pass another runner on the pavement.

Of course, you don’t have to run on your lunch-break: you can do so before you clock on; it’s an excellent way to start the day.

You could also schedule a run in during the afternoon if you prefer. Just make sure you don’t need to be in front of your computer for that half-hour!

RelatedHow Lifelong Exercise Routines Impact Performance Later On

2. Substitute a Coffee for a Green Smoothie

Caffeine is great, and has some serious health benefits. But as with anything, you can have too much of a good thing.

What’s more, there may be a tendency to drink more coffee when working from home, and to neglect drinking water or other beverages.

The solution is simple: substitute one coffee a day for a green smoothie.

You can still have your morning cuppa first thing (although we’d recommend a glass of water to help balance the lymphatic system and boost metabolism), but come midmorning, when you’re craving another, fire some fruit and veg into a blender with water and blitz it.

It’s all too easy to sacrifice nutrition when working from home. So, consuming one nutrient-loaded green smoothie a day is a smart move.

If you can’t stand the hassle of stocking the pantry with fresh fruit and veg, just throw a scoop of green superfood powder into the blender instead. We recommend Green Vibrance. However, if you want the benefit of greens with some added protein, Maximum Vibrance is the one.

Related10 Green Smoothie Health Benefits

3. Batch-prepare Your Meals

Preparing fresh, nutritious meals from scratch every day is a real chore. It requires constant effort and ingenuity, at least it does unless you’re a natural in the kitchen.

So, what’s the answer? Batch-preparing your week’s meals in advance of course. 

Breakfast might be simple – granola, eggs, sourdough, fruit – but at lunch it can be all too easy to reach for a Pot Noodle or microwave meal.

We recommend batch-preparing your week’s lunches on the weekend. You can even prepare a few weeks’ worth and freeze them. Alternatively, make double helpings at dinner and have half for lunch the next day.

4. Take a Vitamin D Supplement

It’s a sad truth that most of us are vitamin D-deficient, which is why Public Health England recommends that everyone takes a supplement during autumn and winter. Stay-at-home mandates only exacerbate this nationwide problem. 

Needless to say, if you’re following Tip 1 you may be getting some natural sun on your face during peak daylight hours. But given our notoriously unpredictable climate, there’s no guarantee. Best to supplement to make sure.

RelatedHow Vitamin D Cuts Flu Risk, Protects Lungs & Boosts Immunity

5. Stay Hydrated

Water coolers are staples of the modern office, so most of us don’t have a problem staying hydrated during the workday; strolling along to the water cooler to fill our glass gives us a break from our screens. But what about at home?

Sadly, it can be all too easy to ignore our body’s cries for water. Keep a glass by your side when you work and top it up regularly throughout the day.

6. Create a Relaxing Environment

Clutter isn’t conducive to a productive workday. Nor is having the TV on in the background.

If you want to get the most out of your day, make an effort to create a relaxing environment in which to work. If possible, set up a separate office space and get into the zone. 

You might want to light a candle or play some relaxing music, or alternate between sitting at the desk and sitting on the couch. Some people like to station themselves at a window, to enjoy the fresh air and a view of nature.

Ultimately, the goal is to eliminate stress. 

7. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks

Seaweed thins. Rice cakes. Kale chips. Carrots and hummus. Apples and pears. Nuts. Olives. Blueberries. Greek yogurt.

If you’re well stocked, there’s really no excuse to deviate from your diet. When you get peckish, reach for a healthy snack and fuel up.

RelatedHow to Improve Nutrition & Exercise in Lockdown

Conclusion

Well, there you have it: 7 practical tips to keep your health and fitness goals on track while you’re working from home.

Naturally, it’s important to recognise that not every day will be perfect. You might miss your run one day due to stormy conditions, or fall off the wagon and hit the drive-thru during your lunch break. We’re humans, after all: we’re fallible!

The crucial thing to remember is that working from home can be an incredibly positive experience if you have the right mindset. Get up every day with a spring in your step, fuel your body with nutrients rather than empty calories, strive to get your body moving, and make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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10 Kitchen Habits That Are Damaging Your Gut Health

10 Kitchen Habits That Are Damaging Your Gut Health

10 Kitchen Habits That Are Damaging Your Gut Health

It’s often said that a healthy lifestyle starts in the kitchen, but while cooking fresh foods from scratch can make it much easier to achieve a healthy diet, you could also be jeopardising your gut health if you aren't storing, prepping and cooking food in the right way.

Rates of foodborne illnesses have risen over the last few years, with cases hitting 2.4 million last year according to the Food Standards Agency, so it's important not to get complacent.

Here, we’ve shared ten common mistakes that could be putting you at risk of getting a foodborne illness or digestive trouble.

1. Eating raw ingredients 

When baking, it’s often tempting to steal a bite of uncooked cookie dough or brownie batter, or to lick the spoon before doing the washing up.

But as tasty as this might be, it can also be quite risky, because uncooked dough and batter contains raw eggs and flour that may carry harmful bacteria, like salmonella or E. coli.

So, to keep your gut healthy, wait until those baked treats have been cooked before tucking in. 

2. Using metal utensils on non-stick cookware

Non-stick cookware can be a fantastic addition to your kitchen equipment collection — they stop food from getting burnt onto pots and pans, and are easy to clean.

However, it’s important to make sure that you’re using them correctly: if you don’t, the surface can become scratched during cooking, and the non-stick coating may flake off and get into your food.

The coating that gives these pans their non-stick properties is perfectly safe to cook with, but it can be harmful if accidentally ingested, and may lead to gut health issues. 

To prevent this from happening, you should avoid using metal utensils on your non-stick pots and pans, and instead use silicone tools or wooden spoons.

You should also avoid using scourers or other abrasive cleaning equipment too. If you notice that the surface of the pan is starting to get scratched or flaky, replace it as soon as possible. 

3. Using the same chopping board for all foods 

While it might be convenient to chop all your ingredients on one chopping board, doing so can be incredibly dangerous for your gut health.

This is because raw ingredients like meat and seafood — while high in protein and full of nutrition — can carry food-borne diseases and harmful bacteria until they have been thoroughly cooked.

As such, they should never come into contact with other raw ingredients, like vegetables and dairy, when you are prepping your meals. 

In professional kitchens, chefs use colour-coded chopping boards for meat, vegetables, fish, and dairy, and take care to clean and store them all separately to avoid any risk of cross contamination. So, it may help to invest in a set of coloured boards that you can use for different cutting tasks.

You should also be careful to wash your chopping boards between each use: using hot, soapy water and an antibacterial cleaner, or putting them in the dishwasher, should get rid of any harmful bacteria. 

4. Using old, scratched chopping boards

While we’re on the subject of chopping boards, it’s also important to note that you should avoid using very scratched or damaged boards.

This is because particles of food can easily get stuck in the tiny gaps on the surface of the board, and it can be very difficult to remove them, even with thorough cleaning, which in turn increases the risk of your foods becoming contaminated by bad bacteria.

So, if your plastic chopping boards have lots of nicks or scratches in them, it’s time for a replacement. 

For wooden chopping boards, you can also try sanding the surface down to remove any light scratches. 

5. Defrosting food at room temperature 

Defrosting foods in the fridge can take hours or even days, and as a result, it’s often tempting to just leave it out on the countertop for a few hours to help speed things up. However convenient this might be, it’s also very hazardous, as harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly in warmer temperatures.

To be on the safe side, you should always take the safest option and defrost food in the fridge. Once it’s fully thawed, the Food Standards Agency recommends eating defrosted food within 24 hours.

If you forget to take something out of the freezer ahead of time, you can also use the defrost function on your microwave to quickly and safely thaw it out before cooking. 

6. Eating too many high FODMAP foods

Certain foods can be very high in FODMAPs — or fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, to give them their full names.

These are short-chain carbohydrates that our bodies can struggle to digest, and it’s thought that they may interfere with gut health and worsen conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

If you often struggle with digestive problems, it may help to cut down the amount of FODMAP-high foods in your diet. 

Meat, poultry, and fish are all naturally FODMAP free, and so are perfect for those who are sensitive to FODMAPs. However, certain processed meats — like deli meat, or ready meals — may contain added ingredients that are high in FODMAPs, such as garlic or onion. Instead of these, it’s best to buy raw meat without any marinades or other ingredients and cook them from scratch. 

7. Not refrigerating your leftovers 

We should all be trying to save and re-use our leftovers wherever we can in order to reduce food waste. But, leaving cooked food out on the counter for too long provides the perfect conditions for bad bacteria to multiply.

Always put leftovers in the fridge as soon as they have cooled down, and throw away any cooked food that has been sitting at room temperature for over two hours. 

8. Not following proper fridge hygiene 

Stacking your fridge properly is about much more than just staying organised — it’s vital for preventing cross contamination.

Cooked and raw food should always be kept on separate shelves, and it’s best to keep meat and dairy on the bottom shelf, so any leaks can’t drip down onto other foods.

Fruit and veg is best stored in a drawer or crisper, which will protect it from cross contamination and keep it in good condition. 

It’s also important that your fridge is chilled properly, because if it isn’t cold enough, harmful bacteria is more likely to grow in your food.

According to the Food Standards Agency, you should aim to keep your fridge chilled to 5°C or below. Using a fridge thermometer is the easiest and most accurate way to check this. 

The shelves inside the fridge door are usually the warmest part of the fridge. So, although it might be convenient, you should avoid storing milk and dairy here.

Instead, you can use the door to store jars of sauce or preserves, as these don’t need to be kept as cold as dairy.

9. Not rotating foods

It can be all too easy to forget what food you’ve got at the back of the fridge until it’s gone off. This is why restaurants and caterers use the first in, first out (FIFO) system to help stay on top of fresh produce and raw meats.

This system involves stacking older, less fresh foods towards the front of your fridge, and newer items towards the back.

This way, it’s easier to stay on top of what needs eating and when, and it also helps to stop food from going bad and potentially contaminating other items in the fridge. 

10. Overusing cleaning tools

Your kitchen equipment is only as clean as the tools you use to wash it, so if you’re using an old, dirty sponge or dishcloth, you could be putting yourself at risk.

To stop your dish sponges and cloths from becoming breeding grounds for germs, always take care to rinse them with hot water after washing up, and then squeeze out any excess liquid before leaving them to dry on a small dish overnight.

You should also be replacing dish sponges every week or so to keep them fresh and clean. 

Cloths and tea towels should be swapped out for clean versions and laundered every two days or so. Washing them on a hot cycle in the washing machine with an antibacterial detergent will help to kill off any lingering harmful bacteria. 

The Bottom Line

Healthy habits start in the kitchen, but if you’re not careful, you could accidentally be doing more harm than good.

Watch out for the common mistakes we’ve shared here, and you should be able to reduce the risk of foodborne illness and improve the overall health of your gut.

Guest blog by Mike Hardman, Marketing Manager at catering and hospitality supplier Alliance Online

Further reading

• Why Gut Health is Vital for Immunity

• 6 Signs of Poor Gut Health & 11 Ways to Improve Them

• How to Dramatically Improve Nutrient Absorption

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The Secret to Reducing Recovery Time and Boosting Performance

The Secret to Reducing Recovery Time and Boosting Performance

The Secret to Reducing Recovery Time and Boosting Performance

Most keen athletes are astutely focused on their protein intake, as well as their micros and macros.

Naturally, your level of activity will impact the amount of protein that you should consume. But there’s more to it...

What if I told you that there was a secret ingredient that would help reduce inflammation, reduce recovery time and enhance performance?

That’s what we’ll be exploring in this article.

What should you do to reduce recovery time and boost performance?

While enhancing heart and brain health. Let’s dive right in.

The Three “Rs” of Nutritional Recovery


The three Rs of nutritional recovery are rehydration, refuel and repair. When all three are consumed, you’ll experience faster recovery rates.

When omega-3s are consumed with protein, there’s increased recovery. When you exercise you also create a lot of free radicals, that can damage your overall health. Thankfully omega-3s help reduce free radical damage. Protecting your ligaments, joints and muscles from damage. 

Rehydration is an obvious one. However, it’s important to ensure that you consume enough electrolytes. Refuelling and repair are done best when athletes consume adequate nutrition. Including omega-3s and healthy sources of protein. 

RelatedThe 5 Best Plant Sources of Electrolytes

Omega-3 in Muscle Volume and Loss


In a 2019 study, 20 healthy young women were recruited and split into two groups. One group took a daily 5g dose of omega-3s, while the other group took a placebo of sunflower oil, for 4 weeks.

After 4 weeks of supplementation, all participants had one of their legs cast in a leg brace and were instructed to refrain from exercise (other than walking and general activities). After two weeks of having one of their legs immobilised the women were given a further two weeks to recover prior to resuming weekly exercise. 

Interestingly, the group that took the sunflower oil placebo had a reduction of lean leg muscle mass of 6%. While the group taking the daily omega 3 supplement saw no significant muscle loss.

Researcher Chris McGlory PhD chalked this down to omega-3s increasing the rate of protein synthesis, stating, “That means it helps produce proteins to help your body build and repair muscle.”

RelatedHow to Support the Body’s Immune Response with Omega-3

Omega-3s Fuel Muscle Growth (While Helping You Burn Fat)

Omega-3s play an important role in protein synthesis. The process that turns the food you eat into muscle.

One 2012 study of healthy men and women who were given a daily 4g supplement of omega-3s for 8 weeks, found that omega-3s helped build and maintain muscle mass. The researchers discovered that insulin and amino acids were up-regulated with omega-3 supplementation

In another study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers found that omega 3s help your body use fat as fuel. 44 men and women received 4g fish oil or a placebo of safflower oil. They found that increased omega-3s helped burn excess fat while increasing lean muscle mass. 

RelatedGood Fats, Bad Fats: Knowing the Difference

Omega-3 and Muscle Inflammation & DOMS


Inflammation occurs after micro-tares are created in muscles after intense exercise. Inflammation isn’t all bad, it’s your body’s way to protect itself.

However, often there’s too much inflammation that causes pain and discomfort after exercise. That’s where taking a daily omega-3 supplement comes in.

Most people don’t consume enough omega-3s in their diet, leading to increased risk of inflammation and other diseases that are caused by inflammation.

Such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and rheumatoid arthritis.

One undesirable side effect of rigorous exercise is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Understandably, athletes and bodybuilders alike look for ways to reduce the effects of DOMS, so that they can train every day without the discomfort afterwards.

There are several ways to reduce DOMS such as – massage, hydration, sleep and active recovery. Additionally, recent research published in 2020 has shown that high doses of fish oil (omega-3s) can reduce recovery and soreness post-exercise.

In the study of 32 college-aged, resistance-trained males, subjects took either 2, 4 or 6g of omega-3 supplementation per day for 7 weeks. The result? The group that took 6g per day experienced increased performance and lower soreness after vigorous exercise.

Learn moreOmega-3 Fatty Acids: Are You Getting Enough?

Can You Take Omega 3 With Protein Powder?


The short answer is quite categorically – yes! Omega-3s up-regulate protein synthesis, and as such protein powder is fantastic when coupled with omega-3 supplementation.

In one 2018 study, football players were given a 6-week supplementation of daily fish oil, combined with whey protein and carbohydrates. The football players were split into 3 groups and they were all given 2 x 200ml drinks. 

Group one consumed a beverage of fish oil with n-3PUFA (1100 mg DHA/550 mg EPA), whey protein (15 g), leucine (1.8 g), and carbohydrate (20 g). The second group drank a protein beverage that contained whey protein (15 g), leucine (1.8 g), and carbohydrate (20 g). And the third group drank a carbohydrate supplement beverage that contained carbohydrate (24 g).

The first group saw a decrease in muscle soreness and higher blood concentrations of creatine kinase. 

RelatedThe World’s Weirdest Protein Powder

How Long Does it Take for Omega-3 Supplements to Work?

Although you may see the benefit of taking omega-3 within 6 weeks, it can sometimes take up to 6 months to see significant improvements.

Therefore, as with many things in life – consistency and patience is key. Once you’ve decided on the appropriate dose, make sure to take your omega-3 supplements daily. Ideally with foods containing fat, such as nuts or avocado.

Take-home Message

Omega-3s when consumed with protein significantly reduces both fatigue and muscle soreness. While allowing your body to burn fat and increase muscle mass. Can’t say better than that!

If you’re keen to enhance your athletic performance, then ensuring that you consume adequate amounts of protein and omega-3s while staying properly hydrated, is a must.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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Liberty or Lockdown by Jeffrey Tucker: A Review

Liberty or Lockdown by Jeffrey Tucker: A Review

Liberty or Lockdown by Jeffrey Tucker: A Review

Jeffrey Tucker is an American economics writer and the Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER). Since the early days of the pandemic, he has authored many articles on the topic, several of which are contained in Liberty or Lockdown, published last September and likely to be updated and re-released, perhaps periodically, as the current events unfold.

A libertarian whose scholarly interests include politics, philosophy, technology and culture, Tucker got out of the gates quickly with the pandemic barely six months old. Only French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy was as expeditious, his excoriating The Virus in the Age of Madness having appeared in July.

While it could be argued that a dissection and critique of the various measures imposed to combat the virus should have appeared further down the line – after more evidence was gathered and time for reflection allowed – many will disagree, since the speed with which governments have acted, not to mention the extent of collateral damage wrought, warrant a timeous riposte.

Controlled by a New Social Protocol

Tucker’s book is certainly a riposte: a thoughtful, ideological and evidential argument against lockdowns.

Interestingly, certain passages have a retrospective quality, as though Tucker is summarising the wild events of a bygone age rather than those of the recent past. 

“During those times,” he writes, referring to the months of March and April 2020, “we found ourselves controlled by a new social protocol while giving voice to a new and strange language.

“Forced human separation was given the oxymoronic label ‘social distancing’. Brutal business closures were called ‘Targeted Layered Containment’ (TLC, which in the American lexicon once meant ‘tender loving care’). House arrest was rechristened as a ‘Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention’. We were all made part of an experimental game, encouraged to see ourselves as bit players on bell-shaped curves we needed to help flatten and viral spreads we needed to slow.”

Needless to say, Tucker is completely horrified not only by the way that science has been clumsily marshalled to justify certain actions (lockdowns, business closures, quarantines, etc), but the sinister way language itself has been manipulated.

We could not have imagined,” he writes, “that the whole of the freedoms and rights we had previously taken for granted – choice of leisure, dining, travel, profession, and education – would be taken from us in a matter of days, and only given back slowly over six months or more.”

But the ends justify the means, no? Well, that depends on your perspective.

If you thought American politics/Brexit were divisive, the enmity pales in comparison to the Covid debate. Pro-lockdown vs anti-lockdown. Pro-masks vs anti-masks (or anti-mandatory masks). Pro-vaccine vs herd immunity and/or vaccine-suspicious (or those simply disturbed by the idea of taking a vaccine developed at “warp speed”). Of course, such conflict may have passed you by entirely if you happen to avoid the febrile battleground that is social media.

Actually, given the way in which certain voices are being suppressed on such platform, any semblance of dissent might soon be snuffed out altogether. I digress… Where were we?

Primitive Impulses and Distorted Information

Throughout Liberty or Lockdown, Tucker tears apart what he sees as the fallacies and haphazard assumptions of supposedly enlightened entities, as well as their arbitrary and baffling executive orders.

The prevailing policy ethos that hit us in early March,” he observes, “was borrowed from the most primitive impulses last operational in the Middle Ages: a disease is a miasma from which we must run and hide.

“Another was from the ancient world: presume everyone is carrying a deadly pathogen. By everyone, I mean, truly. Even children who have near zero susceptibility.”

Governors, prime ministers, mayors, agent-based modellers, tech giants and “a highly irresponsible media apparatus hungry for clicks and mind share”: all are pilloried by the author, who writes not as someone who knows all the answers, but who has a pretty good idea about the precedent authorities are setting by stripping away citizens’ liberties in the name of virus containment; not to mention the damage that panic on this sort of scale can cause. 

As he notes in an early chapter, “Sometimes it appears that we know not much more today than we did even at the outset, simply because lockdowns have created such chaos and the trillions spent by governments on finding and killing Covid-19 have distorted information flows so seriously.”

Critics, of course, would contend that lockdowns themselves haven’t been responsible for the chaos – at least not exclusively. The virus deserves a large portion of the blame. The media, too. But should lockdowns get off the hook?

As the author notes, billions of lives have been “fundamentally altered, economies wrecked, centuries-old traditions of liberty and law thrown out” with “police-states everywhere.”

Tucker also quotes a study published in The Lancet that shows no association (let alone causation) between “rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and widespread testing and Covid-19 mortality per million people.”

Lost Knowledge

As a scholar, Tucker enjoys quoting from his forebears such as Donald Henderson, the doctor who played a key role in eradicating smallpox. Henderson, the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, once observed that “Communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.”

Of course, if you have watched the news recently, or witnessed any of the endless government briefings (Tucker shivers at the “strange absence of normal human emotion in these public performances”), you’ll know that anxiety-minimisation is hardly a top priority. In fact, it scarcely seems to have been considered.

So what does Tucker think we should do, you might wonder? Broadly speaking, he believes we should follow the advice of the Great Barrington Declaration: “Protect the vulnerable while groups at no or low risk acquire the immunities… Do not fear what we have evolved to fight but rather strengthen what nature has given you to deal with the disease.”

Tucker describes herd immunity as a taboo topic and a case of “Rothbardian-style lost knowledge, similar to how humanity once understood scurvy and then didn’t and then had to come to understand it again.”

By now, you’ve probably got a good idea about whether you’ll enjoy reading Liberty or Lockdown, or at any rate find the arguments compelling. It is not a book that conforms to the dominant orthodoxy. Nor is it a rant-filled angry essay. It is a meditative, well-argued compendium that will almost certainly give you pause and make you think. In this, it has probably achieved its author’s aim.

The Final Word

The final word goes to Tucker, and it’s only right that we end on a (relatively) optimistic note: “The virus will vanish from the public mind as viruses do: inauspiciously as our clever immune systems incorporate its properties into our internal resistance codes. 

“But we will have another struggle facing us in the years ahead concerning what precisely we are going to tolerate from our state officials and how much of a priority we are going to place on retaining our rights and liberties.”

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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5 Supplements to Bring About “New Year, New You”

5 Supplements to Bring About “New Year, New You”

5 Supplements to Bring About “New Year, New You”

People don’t tend to change when the clock strikes midnight on December 31. There’s no denying, however, that a metaphorical switch is flipped for many, and the gluttonous festive season officially comes to an end.

With the dawn of a new year, it’s definitely a good time to consider your priorities and refocus after the Christmas period, a generally jubilant time of year during which it’s far too easy to lose track, particularly where health and fitness are concerned.

In truth, nutritional supplements shouldn’t be high up your priority list when contemplating a New Year’s regime. Your focus should be on following a wholesome, nutrient-rich, balanced diet and pursuing plenty of exercise. At the time of writing that’s more challenging than ever, with gyms shut across the country. Thankfully, the pavement’s not off-limits – and there are plenty of home workouts to try on YouTube.

Though supplements should rank behind diet and exercise, they can certainly potentiate your results by promoting improved post-workout recovery, meeting a dietary shortfall, supplying much-needed energy, building muscle and more.

Taking supplements can also have a psychological benefit: which is to say, you are more likely to stick to your healthy routine if you’ve already shelled out on a supplement to help you achieve that goal.

Below, we’ve summarised five supplements to enhance the “New Year, New You” spirit that tends to pervade the country every January. Now, make that New Year’s resolution and stick to it!

1. Green Vibrance


The best-selling supplement in our well-stocked larder, Green Vibrance is the original green superfood powder: a comprehensive formulation designed to support the four pillars of health, namely nutrition, digestion, circulation and immunity.

Green Vibrance was the first greens powder on the market, making its debut in the early 1990s. Since then, it has been continually reformulated to stay ahead of its competition, going from 34 ingredients to over 70 today.

Green Vibrance contains an assortment of vitamins and minerals, as well as 25 billion probiotics from 12 strains. Key ingredients include barley and wheat grass, spirulina, broccoli, kale, goji berry and turmeric root.

Because of its sheer nutritional value, Green Vibrance is used by customers around the world, many of them pursuing different goals. Some use it as a nutrient-rich, low-calorie drink. Most take it to up their intake of antioxidant green vegetables. Some, to combine with fruit in their morning smoothie. The choice is yours.

Whatever your goal, Green Vibrance is undoubtedly one of the most trusted nutritional supplements on the planet. In our view, it’s the single best post-Christmas supplement for those who’ve overindulged!

RelatedGreen Vibrance – The Original and Best Greens Supplement

2. Mega Multi


It’s a well-known fact that vitamins boost the immune system, and that our immune systems need all the help they can get during winter, since it’s both respiratory season and, paradoxically, the season in which many of us let our guards down by not looking after ourselves as well (eating the wrong types of food, skipping exercise).

It’s also a season when many of us can suffer from low mood due to the cold weather and lack of sunlight; this is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Again, there are vitamins (and minerals!) that can help.

Step forward, Mega Multi, a vegan multivitamin and mineral complex with fulvic and humic trace minerals to aid absorption and for detoxification.

Adding Mega Multi is a great idea at any time of year. But especially during winter.

3. UnoCardio 1000


Ranked as the world’s best-quality fish oil since 2015, UnoCardio 1000 is truly in a league of its own. Derived from small-species fish harvested from sustainable sources, the premium omega-3 supplement combines EPA and DHA with vitamin D.

Thanks to this synergy, it supports not only the heart but also the brain and bones, and vision. Third-party tested for quality, UnoCardio 1000 has a five-star rating with the International Fish Oil Standards Program and is one of our best-reviewed supplements.

Is there any particular reason why you might want to take a fish oil as part of a New Year, New You regime though? Well, yes.

According to several studies, much of the world’s population suffers from low blood levels of EPA and DHA. This is especially true of those who don’t eat two servings of fish per week.

Omega-3 is also anti-inflammatory, and one of the best nutrients for post-exercise recovery.

4. Protein

Protein is an especially valuable nutrient for those looking to lose weight, especially the stubborn fat that clings to the midriff. Countless studies bear this out, many of which are referenced in this article on Healthline.

One of the reasons is due to protein’s high thermic effect. Protein-rich diets can also lead to improvements in biomarkers of metabolic syndrome, and help to build muscle.

Dietary sources are abundant, of course, so meeting your daily target is simply a question of eating enough chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, tuna – whatever the case may be. Adding a protein supplement into your diet can help with that.

Maximum Vibrance is our recommendation – mainly because it’s more than just a protein powder. Vibrant Health’s vegan-friendly formula is the world’s most comprehensive formulation of plant protein, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes and antioxidants

It’s also non-GMO, with no soy, dairy or gluten. Did we mention it’s also delicious?

5. Progurt Probiotics

Probiotics have been variously shown to improve blood pressure, alleviate anxiety and hay fever, promote hormonal balance and digestion, boost immune health and even help people lose weight.

A new study also indicates that probiotics can reduce the incidence of colds in people prone to catching the virus. If it’s true that “good health begins in the gut,” probiotics (live bacteria) are the key ingredient.

Our gut microbiome is as unique to us as our fingerprint, and none of us have the exact same balance of bacteria. But it’s true that a high-strength probiotic can make a major impact on modulating the gut microbiome and ensuing a slew of benefits.

Progurt is the most powerful probiotic currently available, boasting one trillion beneficial bacteria per sachet (30x the average). Simply disperse in water, drink and enjoy. 

Progurt includes multiple bacterial strains, including missing and fragile strains, and you won’t have to wait long to feel an effect. If your digestion or immune system could use a boost, Progurt is a terrific addition.

Conclusion

There is a reason that gyms (in non-Covid times!) get busy every January: this is the time of year when commitments are made, personal trainers hired, diet plans hatched. It’s also a month in which an increasing number of people decide to quit alcohol for a month.

While you shouldn’t wait till January to instil healthy habits, everyone needs to cut loose once in a while. We need Yin as well as Yang. Christmas is a time to be merry and January is the time of rebirth. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

With any luck, one or several of the aforementioned supplements will help you achieve your New Year’s fitness resolutions. Good luck!

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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