World Cancer Day

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

World Cancer Day is a day to reflect on what you can do to help reduce the global burden of cancer. The three year campaign with the theme ‘We can. I can’ aims to explore how everyone can do their part to fight cancer. There are many ways to get involved in World Cancer Day from shaping policy change to supporting others. Making healthier lifestyle choices are a great way to reduce the risk of cancer and what better way to start your new lifestyle than on World Cancer Day.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Quit smoking- smoking is the largest preventable cause of cancer across the globe. Giving up today can be hugely beneficial for your health as well as the health of those around you.
  • Maintain a healthy weight- being overweight increases the risk of many cancers including bowel and liver cancer. Stay a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and keeping active.
  • Cut down on alcohol- excess alcohol consumption has been linked with an increased risk of cancer. If you drink alcohol most days, start by having three alcohol free days each week to reduce your weekly intake.
  • Reduce exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation- although those summer beach days may seem very far away it is important to remember that UV radiation from the sun and sunbeds can increase your risk of skin cancer significantly. Avoid using sunbeds and make sure to put on a good quality sun cream when going out in the sun.

For more information on how you can get involved in fighting cancer, visit the World Cancer Day website.



Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 24th-30th January.

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Every day 8 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the UK and 3 women will unfortunately lose their lives to the disease. Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is all about raising awareness of the symptoms and causes of cervical cancer as well as highlighting ways in which it can be prevented.

 What causes cervical cancer?

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the major cause of most types of cervical cancer. HPV is very common with about 4 in 5 women developing the virus at some point in their lives. There are over 100 different types of the sexually transmitted virus but only some types are high risk for cervical cancer.  A woman can be infected with HPV for years and not have any symptoms and quite often people are not aware they have the virus until they have had cervical screening. Additional risk factors for cervical cancer include smoking, having a weakened immune system, pregnancy and taking the oral contraceptive pill for more than five years.

What are the symptoms?

It’s common not to experience any symptoms in the earlier stages of cervical cancer; the most common symptom experienced by women is unusual vaginal bleeding. Although there are many other causes of unusual vaginal bleeding, it is important that you make an appointment with your GP if you notice this.


The UK HPV vaccination programme:

In the UK, girls aged between 12 and 14 years are offered the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. The vaccination gives protection from the virus for 10 years and it is expected that the programme will prevent at least 7 out of 10 cancers of the cervix.

Cervical screening:

All women between the ages of 25 and 49 years are invited to attend cervical screening every three years. Cervical screening is the best way to detect any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix at an early stage. Even though cervical screening isn’t compulsory in the UK, it is important that you attend your appointment even if you have had the HPV vaccine and present with no symptoms.


For more information on cervical cancer and Cervical Cancer Prevention Week visit the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website.

National Breakfast Week

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

This is National Breakfast Week and to celebrate we are highlighting 2 of our delicious recipes that you could try for your breakfast:


Pineapple, banana and orange smoothie

Pineapple, banana and orange smoothie

This is the closest thing to sunshine in a bottle. Pineapple, orange and banana  are all  OK to eat if you have a sensitive gut as long as they are not over ripe. A  breakfast  smoothie is a great way to get some energy, liquid and fibre onboard    first thing in  the morning especially if you do not feel like eating cereals.





Blueberry, banana and cardamom pancakes

Blueberry, banana and cardamom pancakesYou would not guess it but these pancakes do not contain a grain of flour, yet they hold together really well. They are incredibly easy and quick to make if you have a stick blender or a liquidiser.





To see these and all our recipes visit our website:



Recipes and pictures created for Love Your Gut by Dr Joan Ransley:

Today is Blue Monday & Winnie the Pooh Day!

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Did you know that today is Blue Monday and Winnie the Pooh Day?  On the surface it might seem that they are totally different however, delve a little further and perhaps they could complement each other.


Blue Monday has been ‘symbolically’ described as the most depressing day of the year, however, a few years ago organisers of the day decided to start a new tradition and encourage people to do nice things for each other.

The aims of the day are to spread a bit of happiness, remind us all about the benefits of kindness, inspire even more kindness and bring people together.

Blue Monday actions should benefit others – and will probably be something you wouldn’t normally do; whatever you do should be a voluntary act, thought up by you and aim to be as fun and creative as possible.

Winnie the Pooh Day was created to celebrate the birthday of Winnie’s creator A A Milne

With his caring nature the oh-so-loveable old bear appeals to all ages. Who could resist a bear that utters the words:

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside”,

winnie the pooh“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”

or “Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart”.


Stories about Winnie the Pooh celebrate love, friendship and adventure in a timeless fashion.  What are you going to do today to celebrate with Winnie?


Both Blue Monday and Winnie the Pooh Day provides a timely reminder of the importance of lifestyle when it comes to gut health.  Love Your Gut adviser – Dr Nick Read stresses the need to lead a balanced life to “take time off – listen to music, take a long bath, read a book, meet friends or go for a stroll.”

Why not take his advice and spread some kindness for Blue Monday followed by a game of Poohsticks!

Gut Week 2014





For further information see:

Love Your Gut

Blue Monday:

Winnie the Pooh:


Love Your Liver Month

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Over the festive season, you may have had your fair share of alcoholic beverages. This month the charity Alcohol Concern is promoting Dry January, a campaign to encourage people to not drink alcohol throughout the entire month of January. Campaigns such as Dry January have proven to be successful; a recent study concluded that those who took part in abstinence challenges such as Dry January were more likely to adopt healthier drinking habits even up to six months after the challenge (de Visser et al, 2015). But you don’t necessarily need to take part in Dry January to keep your liver healthy.

The campaign ‘Love Your Liver’ by the British Liver Trust encourages individuals to follow three simple steps in order to help keep a healthy liver. Following these steps is a great way to start off the New Year, keeping your liver healthy and also enabling you to enjoy yourself at the same time.

Step 1) Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can have long term damaging effects on your liver. Reduce damage to your liver by drinking within the safe limits. The safe limit for women is 2-3 units per day and for men, 2-4 units per day. If you’re not sure many units you are currently consuming, Alcohol Concern have a useful calculator on their website that works it out for you.

Taking three alcohol free days a week is also a good idea as having a break from alcohol will allow the liver time to repair itself. The British Liver Trust has introduced an app called ‘Spruce’ which helps people to drink less   frequently.

Step 2) Fatty Liver

Cutting down on alcohol isn’t the only way to keep your liver healthy. Decrease your risk of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by following a healthy balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables and reduce your saturated fat and sugar intake. Taking regular exercise can also be beneficial for your liver, aim to take 30 minutes each day.

Step 3) Viral Hepatitis

Viruses such as hepatitis cause damage to the liver and can increase ones risk of liver cancer. Make sure to get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B particularly when travelling abroad to high risk areas and avoid sharing personal items.

For more information on how to keep your liver healthy visit the Alcohol Concern and British Liver Trust websites.



de Visser, R.O., Robinson, E. and Bond, R., (2015) Voluntary Temporary Abstinence From Alcohol During “Dry January” and Subsequent Alcohol Use. Health Psychology: official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association.

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