nutritionDay worldwide

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015


nutritionDay worldwide aims to improve the knowledge and awareness of malnutrition in healthcare institutions in order to improve nutritional care. When it comes to health awareness you often hear more about obesity than malnutrition. However, malnutrition is a big problem in the UK. Malnutrition affects around a third of hospital and nursing home populations and 3 million people are at risk of being malnourished at any time. Malnutrition refers to a state of nutrition where there is an imbalance in energy, protein and other nutrients from food. Malnutrition can occur after a deficiency or excess of these nutrients and can have many widespread effects on physical, social and psychological function.

Whether you work in a healthcare setting or if you know somebody who might be at risk of malnutrition you can do your bit for nutritonDay worldwide. Identifying somebody who may be at risk of malnutrition can be a huge help -decreased food intake, weight loss and changes in appetite are all risk factors for malnutrition. Many disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) require particular attention in order to maintain an adequate food intake.

There are several key signs of malnutrition including:

  • Loose clothes, jewellery and dentures
  • Reduced ability to perform normal tasks
  • A change in mood- e.g. lethargy and depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor growth in children
  • Delayed wound healing and recovery from infection.

It’s important that we recognise the sign of malnutrition in our friends, relatives or patients. Malnutrition can have many negative effects on quality of life and can also affect a patient’s health outcome and recovery.

To find out more about malnutrition and how you can participate in nutritionDay worldwide visit the nutrition day website.

Who is Banting?

Saturday, November 14th, 2015


Frederick Banting

Nobel prize-winner Frederick Banting was born today in 1891. Together with John McLeod, Charles Best and Bertram Collip he discovered insulin – one of the biggest medical discoveries of the 20th Century.

The men chose to make insulin available to diabetes patients without charge which led to insulin therapy and production spreading across the world.  Their discovery has saved the lives of millions of people and allows diabetics today to lead a relatively normal life.

In honour of Banting’s birthday, World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes.

Since then World Diabetes Day has been celebrated annually on 14 November.

The theme of World Diabetes Day, from 2014 to 2016 is ‘Healthy living and diabetes’, this year the focus is: ‘starting each day right with a healthy breakfast’.

If you have diabetes or you know someone who is diabetic take some time today to look at/tell them about some healthy options for your/their breakfast:




For further information about:

Frederick Banting’s discovery see the Nobel Prize website:

The International Diabetes Federation & World Diabetes Day:

Diabetes UK:

NHS Choices – information sheets on Diabetes:



Men’s Health Awareness Month- Bowel health.

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Earlier this year, Love Your Gut released some new research into the UK’s embarrassment around the subject of gut health. One key thing we found was that women are more open about discussing their bowel problems than men are. 41 % of women admitted that they had discussed their bowel problems with someone other than their doctor compared to only 29% of men. These figures are quite concerning particularly when the risk for some bowel diseases is actually higher in men than in women. Here at Love Your Gut we have explored the extent to which bowel disease can also affect men in our support for men’s health awareness month.

Bowel Cancer

In the UK, 23,000 men were diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2011 making it the third most common cancer in men following lung and prostate cancer. Figures released by Cancer Research UK in 2013 show that bowel cancer rates have increased by nearly 30% for men compared to only a 6% increase in women in the last 35 years. It is still not clear why bowel cancer rates have increased particularly for men. Lifestyle factors play a big role in the risk of developing bowel cancer, so this large increase could be down to increased levels of smoking, increased alcohol consumption and a reduction in exercise for males. Whatever the reason for these differences, it still remains important to know the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer so that it can be detected earlier:

Common symptoms

  • Bleeding from the back passage or blood visible in the stools
  • An increased frequency of bowel movements and looser stools
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloating, swelling and a pain in the abdomen
  • Tiredness

Bowel Cancer Screening

The NHS offers bowel cancer screening to all men and women registered with a GP aged between 60-74 years. Those who take part in the screening are sent a Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) test to carry out at home. This test checks for the presence of blood in the stools, often an early sign of bowel cancer.  There is also the option of a one off test called bowel scope screening for men and women at 55 years of age. This test involves using instruments to look inside the bowel and remove any growths (polyps) which may lead to cancer.

If you are younger, the risk of developing bowel cancer is a lot lower for you so you will not be invited for the screening programme. However, some people can have bowel screening at a younger age if they have certain conditions that can increase their risk of developing bowel cancer such as; Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis or a strong family history of bowel cancer. You may wish to discuss this option with your GP.

Meat and Cancer risk

You may want to rethink that Sunday morning fry up, post football hotdog and your weekly burger and pint night at the pub. Research over many years has suggested that those who eat large amounts of red and processed meat are more likely to develop bowel cancer than those individuals who eat small amounts. Red meats include those which red in colour before cooking and processed meats include those that are preserved e.g. bacon, sausages, salami, and ham. The evidence is now sufficient enough in this area to lead the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to rule that processed meat ‘definitely’ causes cancer and red meat ‘probably’ causes cancer. However, this does not mean that you should cut out these meats from the diet altogether. Instead you could occasionally swap processed and red meat for healthier alternatives such as fresh chicken, turkey or fish.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is the term used to describe Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease, both long term conditions that involve inflammation of the gut. IBD is just as common in males as it is in females, so if you have any of the following symptoms it is advised that you go to your GP:

  • Pain and swelling in the abdomen
  • Recurring or bloody diarrhoea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tiredness


Take a look a Love Your Gut’s digestive health page for further information on digestive disorders.

Do you struggle with Stress?

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Stress is what you feel when the pressure you are under exceeds your ability to cope.  We all react differently to stress depending on our personality and how we respond to pressure.

Our automatic stress response to unexpected events is known as our ‘fight or flight’ response.

When we perceive something is a threat, then our body releases hormones such as adrenalin. These hormones increase our heart rate and blood pressure so that more oxygen and glucose can get to our muscles. We also breathe faster and sweat more to cool these muscles down. All of these reactions prepare us to take action against a possible threat.

While some stress can be positive – helping us to prepare for challenges, too much stress over prolonged periods can cause physical and emotional upset to the body. Indeed, long-term stress can have a negative effect on how we cope with situations and may damage our health.

There are many ways of treating stress, they include:  exercise, adopting a healthy lifestyle, knowing your limits and stress management activities such as mindfulness.


Love Your Gut supporter – Dr Maxton Pitcher, a Consultant Gastroenterologist at St Mark’s Hospital, Harrow indicates that stress can also affect our digestive health:

Maxton Pitcher

“In stressful situations (exams, job interviews, driving tests etc), adrenalin pumps around the body and speeds up everything inside it. And this includes the rate at which food is passing through it. When this happens it can mean that diarrhoea can occur or you could experience looser and more frequent bowel movements. Making time to relax can help you minimise the effects of stress and putting in simple leisure pursuits, such as going for a walk or swim, into your weekly schedule will help you achieve this. Or you may want to try something more luxurious like a body or head massage or aromatherapy.”


If you are worried about how stress is affecting you, why not take the opportunity today – National Stress Awareness Day – to investigate ways of reducing the amount of stress you are under and improve your health.


Information Sources

For further information about Getting Gut Healthy and de stressing see:

National Stress Awareness Day 2015

Stress Management Society

NHS Choices Fact Sheets ( ) including:

Struggling with stress? Low Moods and depression, Ten stress busters and Relaxation tips to relieve stress.


Men’s Health Awareness Month- Prostate awareness.

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Over 42,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK. In order to raise awareness of prostate cancer this month, we have put together some key facts on what you need to look out for.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of the cells in the prostate. Prostate cancer cells can spread from the prostate to other parts of the body forming secondary tumours commonly in the bones and lymph nodes.

What are the risk factors?

  • Age: The older a man is, the more likely he is to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  • Family History: A man with a family history of prostate cancer is more likely to develop the disease.
  • Ethnicity: Black African and Afro- Caribbean men are more likely to develop prostate cancer.


Many cases of prostate cancer often progress without men noticing any symptoms. This is particularly concerning as the chance of survival is lower in those cases which are diagnosed at a later stage. Some men may experience symptoms relating to urinary function which can indicate prostate cancer. These symptoms include:

  • More frequent urination, particularly at night.
  • Having to rush to the toilet in order to urinate.
  • Difficulty passing urine including straining or taking a long time urinating.
  • Experiencing the feeling that your bladder has not emptied properly after urination.

Although these symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, they do not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer.  They can be caused by a non-cancerous enlarged prostate known as a benign prostatic hyperplasia. When the prostate becomes enlarged it puts extra pressure on the urethra which blocks the flow of urine, this also causes similar symptoms. However, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it is best to book an appointment with your GP to be on the safe side. Your GP will be able to perform tests and can refer you to see a specialist if necessary.

Movember 2015Moustache

Why not sign up for Movember this month and grow your moustache throughout November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer. You can find out more about Movember and sign up here.

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