Archive for July, 2009

Can wedding stress cause tummy troubles?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Don’t forget your stomach on the big day

Hitting the middle of summer, even if the sun isn’t shining, means coming to the peak of the wedding season.

And while it should be the happiest day of their lives for the bride and groom, it seems that over 2.5 million weddings have infact been hampered by digestive problems.

A Gut Week survey, carried out in 2006 showed that stress has a big impact on the gut and especially ahead of big occasions. As well as weddings, exams, driving tests and job interviews have all been affected by digestive problems.

So how are stress and problems such as diarrhoea linked?

Gut Week expert, Dr Tony Leeds says: ”Stress is a common trigger for digestive disorders: it can have a bad effect on the digestive system and can cause diarrhoea, nausea and stomach-ache.  When we are stressed we’re more likely to indulge in lifestyle habits that are bad for the digestive system – smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, taking less exercise and eating an unbalanced diet – which all increase the risk of digestive health problems like constipation, diarrhoea or IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).  According to research taken at the time of this study, 65% of us take no action at all to protect our bodies from the effects of stress. ”

So if your big day is fast approaching, what does Dr Leeds suggest you should do?

” My advice is to sleep well – ideally for seven hours daily, exercise sufficiently, eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol to excess, drink sufficient water and try the effect of a regular probiotic.”

If you’ve got other great tips on how to combat stress then please share them. Am sure many an anxious bride will be pleased to hear them!

Not stuffy enough this summer – try stuffed peppers!

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Heat up the summer with this recipe 

Stuffed red peppers

These are wonderful to eat hot or cold. Red peppers are a nutritional feast on their own, but when you add the valuable antioxidants and other phytochemicals from the sweet corn, watercress, fibre from the brown rice and prebiotics from the onions, you’ve got an all round feast.

Serves 4
Per serving
320 calories  14g fat
5g saturated fat 6g fibre

110g (4oz) brown rice
1 large onion (chopped)
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g (7oz) frozen sweet corn
1 bunch or bag watercress
4 large, flat bottomed red peppers (cut in half, de-seed and remove membrane)
8tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 quantity hot tomato salsa (see p47)

1. Cook the rice according to instructions on the packet. Sauté the onion gently in the oil until soft – about 5 mins.
2. Drain the cooked rice, pour into the onion mixture and stir until coated with the oil. Add the sweet corn and mix thoroughly.
3. Mix in the watercress leaves. Soak the peppers in boiling water for 5 mins. Remove and stand in a large baking or casserole dish.
4. Spoon the rice mixture into the pepper. Add 5tbsp of water to the dish. Cover with foil and bake at 180C/350F/gas 4 for 30 mins.
5. Remove the foil and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for 10 mins.
6. Serve with the hot tomato salsa on the side. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for
10 mins.
7. Serve with the hot tomato salsa on the side.

Are you getting a good night’s sleep?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

sleepLittle sleep can lead to digestive woes sleep.

When you’ve not had enough sleep do you find it’s a struggle the next day? Especially if you’re in an office, staring at a screen, you may find that you’re constantly getting refills of coffee to get through the day.

But what you might not realise is the amount of sleep you get can affect your bowel habits too. Like the rest of our bodies our digestive systems need time to relax and recuperate but we don’t always think about this organ when it comes to sleep patterns.

You know what it’s like – you stay up to watch a late night film, and you can’t help just having a snack to go with it – so when it should be resting, our digestive system is still having to work to digest the latest bit of food. Eating in the early hours can also mean we’re more likely to put on weight and this is also something that can put more stress on the digestive system.

And of course, getting back to work – lack of sleep can affect performance and could make us irritable and stressed and yes, stress can have an adverse affect on our digestive systems too.
So think about your sleep patterns, try and get up and go to bed at the same time each day and help your digestive system. And hopefully improve those bowel habits too.

Are you a junk food addict?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Brits admit to over indulging      

Once in a while, surely it’s ok to break from the healthy diet and treat yourself?

Well of course it is, the problem is, a new Love Your Gut survey has exposed that some of us, like our junk food a little bit too much!

In fact, last year’s city of culture, is this year’s city of junk as it’s been revealed that Liverpudlians eat more junk food than any other people in Britain.

Residents of the north west city scoff six chocolate bars or cakes, six biscuits and four packets of crisps each week – an average of two fatty snacks each day.

And on top of that, they treat themselves to a weekly takeaway meal as well as one time-saving ready meal as well as four fizzy drinks and six alcoholic drinks a week.

It would seem that people in Wales are also tempted by junk, as those in the capital city of Cardiff confessed to munching on 14 cakes, chocolates bars and biscuits each week, making them second unhealthiest, followed closely by those from Belfast.

But if you want to join the healthy brigade then it may be an idea to move to East Anglia. People in Norwich were found to be the healthiest in the country – eating just three packets of crisps and four biscuits a week.

Second place went to people from Portsmouth, followed by Plymouth, Leicester and London.

Of course treats are fine every once in a while but having large amounts of junk food, week after week can be bad for your whole body.

This is a view echoed by Dr Simon Gabe, Consultant Gastroenterologist at St Mark’s Hospital, Harrow. He says; “The long-term health implications for people eating too many of cakes, chocolates, crisps and fizzy drinks can be quite serious. Diabetes, obesity, joint problems, high blood pressure, heart disease are just some of the problems people might encounter if they eat too much of this sort of food.

“I am not suggesting that people shouldn’t eat things they enjoy, just have a banana instead of a piece of cake, a small bag of nuts and raisins  instead of a bar of chocolate and by making a simple change like that once or twice a week, they can do themselves a lot of good.
Some good news, is that people do seem to be identifying they have a problem – almost two thirds of people have said that they do eat too much junk food and more than a third owning up to supping too many fizzy and alcoholic drinks.

So what can we do to get ourselves back on track? Well it can be simpler than you think. We need to think about eating more fruit, vegetables, starchy fibre-rich foods and fresh products and fewer fatty, sugary, salty and processed foods.

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