Today is World Digestive Health Day

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

This year, The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) is running a campaign: ‘Heartburn: A Global Perspective’ for World Digestive Health Day in order to raise awareness of heartburn and translate scientific research into dietary and lifestyle advice for sufferers.

Heartburn is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) a highly prevalent disease which occurs when the ring of muscle at the end of the oesophagus (lower oesophageal sphincter) fails to close and enables acid to leak up from the stomach (acid reflux).

At Love Your Gut we thought we would put together some handy diet and lifestyle advice for heartburn sufferers.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Research has found a link between obesity and GERD, showing that those who are overweight are at an increased risk of experiencing heartburn. Increased weight is linked to a lower oesophageal sphincter pressure which results in increased acid exposure. Enjoy a balanced diet with regular exercise to help maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat little and often. Avoid eating large meals as this can prevent the lower oesophageal sphincter from closing. Eating smaller meals more frequently can help lower acid reflux experienced at mealtimes. Try to eat your evening meal at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid irritant food and drink. Avoid consuming food and drink such as coffee, alcohol, chocolate, and peppermint.  These types of foods can relax the lower oesophageal sphincter, preventing it from closing. Highly acidic foods such as tomato sauces and spicy foods can also irritate symptoms further. Following a low fat diet is also advised, particularly as the digestion of fatty foods (which sit in the stomach for longer than other foods) increases acid production in the stomach.
  • Stop smoking. Giving up smoking can help if you suffer with heartburn. Smoking irritates the digestive system making heartburn worse.

For more information on Word Digestive Health Day visit the World Gastroenterology Organisation website: http://www.wgofoundation.org/wdhd-2015.html

It’s National Vegetarian Week

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

This week is National Vegetarian Week. As part of the week the Vegetarian Society is visiting seven cities across the UK and offering delicious pizzas to share. To check out if they will be near you this week visit http://www.nationalvegetarianweek.org/  Also, why not download a toolkit from their website, to help you organise your National Vegetarian Week?

We have included two of Love Your Gut’s favourite vegetarian recipes for you to try out this National Vegetarian Week. Enjoy!

Tofu and mushroom

These are great kebabs for the barbecue or grill. Tofu is fermented soya bean curd, which not only contains protein but is also full of beneficial phytoestrogens. Serve with brown rice.

SERVES 4

75ml (3fl oz) light soy sauce

75ml (3fl oz) fresh unsweetened orange juice

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped coriander

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped chilli

1 head pak choy

450g (1lb) firm tofu, drained and cut in 2.5cm (1in) cubes

20 shiitake or button mushrooms

1 red onion, cut lengthways into 8 wedges

Wooden skewers, soaked in water for about 30 minutes

1  Prepare the marinade by combining the first eight ingredients.                                                                                    2  Separate the pak choy leaves and cut the stems into 2.5cm (1in) sections. Marinate with the tofu, mushrooms and onion for up to 1 hour, depending on how strong a flavour you want.                                                                          3  Thread the ingredients (you¹ll need to roll the pak choy leaves) onto four large (or twelve small) thick wooden skewers, and cook on a barbecue or under a grill for 7 – ­10 minutes, basting with the marinade and turning regularly.

Risotto with peas & asparagus tips

Not one for impatient cooks – you can’t make good risotto in a hurry so do make sure you have Arborio rice for this recipe! Peas and asparagus are valuable prebiotics, so are great foods for the digestive system, while added with spinach makes this risotto, light, creamy and nutritious.

Perfect for summer evenings – let us know how you enjoy it!

Asparagus

Serves 4
Ingredients
4 plump spring onions (chopped into large sections)

3tbsp olive oil

225g (8oz) arborio rice

150g (6oz) frozen peas

12 asparagus tips

900ml (1 3/4pints) vegetable  stock

110g (4oz) baby spinach/rocket

3 tbsp mascarpone cheese

Method
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently sauté the onions for 2 minutes.
2. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Mix in the peas and asparagus tips and add enough stock just to cover. Stir until the stock is almost absorbed.
3. Continue gradually adding the stock and stirring until the rice is tender.
4. Add the spinach or rocket and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the mascarpone cheese.

#nvw15

Mental Health Awareness Week 2015

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (11th – 17th May) an initiative set-up by the Mental Health Foundation in a bid to raise awareness of mental health and create debate around this subject.

The Mental Health Awareness Foundation started their first Mental Health Awareness Week back in 2000, and over the years have explored topics such as loneliness, anger, fear, exercise, alcohol, friendship and the public sphere. This year, their key area of discussion is ‘mindfulness’.

At Love You Gut we thought we would explore the links between nutrition and mental health.

In 2014 a systematic review confirmed a relationship between poor mental health in children and adolescents and ‘unhealthy’ dietary patterns. Researchers have linked a number of different mental health disorders with diet, including depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.

Hot smoked salmon, wilted spinach and lemon salad

The health of the gut has also been linked to mental health, with studies linking constipation to numerous psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

  • Our mood can very much affect the way in which we consume food, with some people turning to food for comfort, while others go off it – both excessive weight gain and loss can affect mood.
  • Missing meals and inappropriate food choices can lead to dips in blood sugar levels and lead to low mood, irritability and fatigue.
  • The types of food we consume can affect our mood, with food groups such as protein and complex carbohydrates playing a vital role in mood control. Furthermore, fish, a great source of protein, is high in omega-3 fats, an important fat for brain health.
  • Increasing variety in your diet, with higher consumption of fruit and vegetables can also help.
  • Ensuring we consume enough water is essential. Early side-effects of dehydration can include low mood.
  • Other factors such as alcohol and exercise can also play a significant role in our mood.

The Mental Health Foundation have a great page on their website, exploring the links between nutrition and mental health. For further information and to order a supporter pack as well as logos and posters visit: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

#mhaw15

 

“Make your feet your friend.”– JM Barrie

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Where will walking take you?  Every May Living Streets encourages people to take to their feet and feel the benefits of walking.  National Walking Month sees events up and down the UK, including – Walk to Work Week and Walk to School Week.

Throughout the month they will be offering tips, tools, fun facts and inspirational stories – not to mention a whole host of activities to get you out and enjoying your walks even more.

Walking can help you:

  • Get into better shape,
  • Clear your head,
  • Discover hidden treasures in your area,
  • Save money on your travel
  • and cut your environmental footprint.

The NHS Guide ‘Walking for health’ notes that walking is an underrated form of exercise but it is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels who want to be more active.

Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. http://bit.ly/1bToz3X

Love Your Gut’s own exercise guru – Sophie Christy – also extols the virtues of getting out and about. “Walking every day can really boost your fitness routine.  Experts recommend taking 10,000 steps a day to avoid leading a sedentary lifestyle, so invest in a pedometer, which will measure the number of steps you take.” See more of Sophie’s tips here: http://bit.ly/1C9otsf

To sign up to National Walking Month and for further information see: http://bit.ly/1e28yAt

Why not let us know about your walking adventures!

Allergy Awareness Week 2015

Monday, April 20th, 2015

This week is Allergy Awareness Week, which aims to highlight the issues faced by those suffering with allergies. The focus this year is on anaphylaxis- which is at the severe end of the allergy spectrum. Although allergy affects a whopping 150 million people in Europe, it is surprising how little some people know about it. To mark Allergy Awareness Week, we have put together some key facts surrounding the symptoms, causes and management of severe allergies, so that you are all up to date with the information on this potentially life threatening condition.

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis, also known as anaphylactic shock, is a severe reaction which develops rapidly in sufferers. It is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. In most allergic reactions the chemicals which cause symptoms (e.g. histamines) are released into the tissue areas of the body thus causing symptoms in specifically located areas. In anaphylaxis, chemicals are released directly into the bloodstream causing a much more rapid reaction after exposure to the allergen.

What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?

The symptoms of anaphylaxis can vary. For some, symptoms often occur with those experienced in milder allergic reactions.  However, mild symptoms such as an allergic rash may not always be present and the first symptoms seen are often severe. Signs of anaphylaxis include:

  • Swelling in tongue and throat which can often lead to breathing and swallowing difficulties.
  • Swelling of eyes, lips, hands and feet.
  • Itchy skin or a raised red skin rash.
  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Wheeze or persistent cough or severe asthma.
  • Abdominal pain and/or vomiting after an insect sting.
  • Feeling light headed, collapsing and losing consciousness.

 

What causes anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis can occur when your body’s immune system overreacts to a harmless substance. The most common causes of anaphylaxis include:

  • Insect stings such as those from wasps and bees.
  • Medications such as antibiotics.
  • Peanuts and tree nuts.
  • Other foods such as milk and seafood.

 

Treatment

Although the majority of allergic reactions are not anaphylactic, it is important that if anaphylaxis does occur it is treated as a medical emergency. The first line of treatment is the administration of an adrenaline injection. Often, people with a history of anaphylaxis will have an auto-injector of adrenaline. This is injected into their outer thigh muscle and held in place for 5-10 seconds. You should always call 999 for an ambulance regardless of whether an injection has been given or not.

For more information on what to do in an emergency concerning an allergic reaction visit the NHS website.

For further information on Allergy Awareness Week as well as different types of allergy visit the Allergy UK website.

 

 

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