Word Heart Day 29th September

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s biggest killer and is currently responsible for 17.3 million deaths per year, a figure which is expected to continue rising. One of the big reasons for this is the lifestyle choices we make in today’s society.  Fortunately, most cases of CVD can be prevented by making some lifestyle changes such as following a healthy diet, taking part in regular exercise and quitting smoking. World Heart Day 2015 focuses on creating healthy heart environments in order for everyone to make healthy heart choices.

We have put together some helpful tips on how you can stay heart healthy at home, work and when socialising in order for you to decrease your risk of developing CVD.

Keeping heart healthy in the home

Transform your cupboards

Diet has a big role to play in the development of CVD. The regular consumption of foods high in saturated fat, salt and sugar such as crisps, cakes, chocolate and pizza have been found to increase ones risk of developing heart disease. Avoid the temptation by swapping these foods for healthy fruit, vegetables and wholegrains in your next weekly shop. Why not keep prepared and chopped fruit and vegetables in your fridge for those vulnerable moments.

Ban smoking in your home

Banning smoking in the home is not only beneficial to your health but also the heart health of others around you. The risk of developing CVD is increased by 24% for those who smoke. Second-hand smoke also contains up to 4,000 toxins which can increase ones risk of CVD and is particularly harmful to children. Opening the windows is not a simple solution; these toxins can remain present in the air for up to 2.5 hours after smoking even if the room is well ventilated.

The NHS has a range of expert resources and services to help you quit. http://bit.ly/1FML6Cv

Know your risk

It’s important to have regular health checks with your healthcare professional, particularly if you have a close family member who has suffered with CVD or if you fall within a certain age range. The NHS health check is a free health service which is offered to those aged between 40-74 years living in England. The health check will assess your risk of developing some of the most preventable diseases as well as giving you advice on how to reduce this risk. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/1KcQvUR

Keeping heart healthy in the workplace


Sitting at your desk for long periods throughout the day and being physically inactive at work can increase your risk of developing CVD. Increase your level of exercise at work by walking to and from work, taking a lunch time walk, taking the stairs where possible and making an effort to move throughout the day. You could encourage your colleagues to take part in a walking challenge.

The World Heart Federation have partnered up with BUPA to create ‘Ground Miles’, an app which tracks your steps. You can use this to start a walking challenge/competition in your workplace. http://bit.ly/1JqIuwD

Social Life

Watch your alcohol intake

Drinking above the recommended daily allowance of alcohol can have harmful effects on your health. Current guidelines for alcohol consumption are 3-4 units of alcohol per day for men and 2-3 units per day for women. If you drink alcohol every day, you may want to consider having a few alcohol free days each week.

There is some evidence to suggest that drinking small quantities daily can be beneficial to heart health through increasing antioxidant levels and the healthy (HDL) cholesterol in the blood. However, these beneficial effects can be also be achieved through increasing fruit and vegetable consumption as well as taking part in regular physical activity which are much healthier ways to protect your heart.

Gut friendly foods from around the world: Greece

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Individuals living in Mediterranean countries such as Greece have lower rates of heart disease and cancer when compared to other developed countries. It’s thought that the Mediterranean lifestyle and diet plays an important part in this reduction of disease risk. Here, we take a look at some of the top ingredients used in Greek cuisine for you to try at home, or even on your travels, for a healthier holiday.


Olive Oil

Olive oil is very popular in the Greek diet; you are likely to find a bottle of it on every table when in Greece. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. The consumption of monounsaturated fats is beneficial to heart health as they can help reduce blood cholesterol levels lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Vitamin E is an antioxidant; antioxidants have a role in protecting the body against free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to body cells and organs and can contribute to the process of some diseases such as heart disease and cancer. When in Greece why not pop along to your local taverna enjoy a Greek salad drizzled with olive oil or make your own at home.



Legumes such as lentils, chick peas and broad beans are commonly found in Greek soups and casseroles. Although these legumes are often not well tolerated by those with a sensitive gut, they are a great source of fibre and the frequent consumption of legumes has been found to be protective against cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Try swapping your Gyros for Gigantes Plaki– a dish consisting of butter beans in a tomato based sauce. For those with a more sensitive gut, look out for Fasolakia Giaxni, a low FODMAP alternative, of green beans in a tomato sauce with feta cheese.


Greek Yoghurt

Like all yoghurt, Greek yoghurt is a great source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iodine and B vitamins including B1 and B12. What’s also great about Greek yoghurt is its protein content. Greek yoghurt typically contains twice the amount of protein compared to standard yoghurt and is generally lower in carbohydrates. However, do enjoy in moderation as Greek yoghurt can be particularly higher in fat when compared to other yoghurt varieties.





Recipe for baked aubergine with feta: Melitzane me feta.

Why not give this recipe a go at home for a real Greek dining experience:stomach1


  • 2 aubergines, sliced
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 handful of fresh chopped basil
  • 3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 150g of feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Prepare the sauce by frying the garlic in a little olive oil on a medium heat for 3 minutes, and then add the tomatoes, followed by chopped basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Spread out the sliced aubergine in to a large baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Place the tomato sauce mix on top of the aubergine and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour at 200 o
  • Half way through cooking, place the crumbled feta cheese on top.


Gut friendly foods from around the world: South America

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

To celebrate the holiday season this year, Love Your Gut has been exploring healthy foods from around the world so that you can all add a bit of sunshine to your diet. This week we look at two healthy foods from South America; Quinoa and Chia seeds.


The consumption of quinoa in South America dates back thousands of years when it was cultivated by the Native Americans and used to supplement their diets of potatoes and corn. Although European migrants in South America were slow to incorporate quinoa into their diets, it has become increasingly popular in western countries. Quinoa, a seed, offers a great nutritional profile, providing a source of fibre, B vitamins, protein and iron. To add to this, it is also gluten free. You can even use it in place of breadcrumbs to coat meat and fish.

Why not try our aubergine, quinoa, feta and fresh herbs recipe for a tasty summer dish: http://bit.ly/1N9tJO4


Chia Seeds

Chia seeds were traditionally consumed in South America by the Aztecs and continue to be consumed in several countries across South America today. Chia seeds are becoming increasingly popular in Europe and are often used in smoothies, as cereal toppings and in bread. Chia seeds are rich in the omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) as well as fibre, calcium, magnesium and some B vitamins.

Why not try our super easy chia seed pudding recipe below for a healthy treat or even as a refreshing breakfast alternative to porridge in the summer months.


Chia seed pudding


  • 75g chia seeds
  • 450mls of almond or rice milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • A handful of any fresh fruit for topping



  • Place chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract in to a medium sized mixing bowl and mix well.
  • Cover and place in a refrigerator overnight or for a minimum of 3 hours. The seeds will absorb the liquid to form the pudding consistency
  • Place the chia pudding in to small bowls, top with your favourite fruit and enjoy!

Summer Holidays – are you prepared?

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Whether you are jetting off to sunnier climes or staying at home, see our top tips on Summer Health and be prepared for all eventualities:


  • Travel Health Kit

Your travel health kit should include: Antiseptic, Antihistamines, Insect repellent, Anti-diarrhoea pills, Gauze squares, Non-adherent dressings, Bandages, Fabric plasters, Adhesive tape, Scissors, Tweezers, Safety pins and Tick removers.

In addition you could also include Rehydration sachets – these help replace fluids and salts lost through diarrhoea, vomiting and too much sun.

  • Heat

Remember the very young and old are vulnerable when it gets hot.  Make sure that everyone keeps hydrated with plenty of water (avoid tea, coffee and alcohol).

Stay out of the sun and avoid the heat – don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day).  If you have to go out – wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat.

  • Sun Safety – prevention

Pack a ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.  Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. The higher the SPF, the better.

Remember to reapply regularly.

  • Sunburn

If you do get sunburnt – painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, will ease the pain by helping to reduce the inflammation. Apply soothing after sun, calamine lotion or aloe vera. If you feel unwell or the skin swells badly or blisters, seek medical help. Stay out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone.

  • Medication

If you are on medication always bring extra supplies in case you get delayed on your return.

  • Drink wisely

Cocktails are always a treat especially when on holiday, but remember cocktails are also packed with lbl40-peopleraisingglassescalories. For a lighter alternative, consider white wine spritzers, light beers or even vodka and soda.

  • Stay hydrated

On any long journey, but especially on planes, the low humidity makes air in planes dry which make us more vulnerable to bugs and viruses. Make sure you drink plenty of water as it will help keep bugs out of your system.

  • Don’t aggravate your gut

Even on holiday there is no excuse to treat your gut badly – Dr Nick Read’s advice on keeping your gut healthy can be found here:  http://bit.ly/1CLpwj7


For further information see the NHS Choices Summer Health guides here:  http://bit.ly/1rj1Lb2

Dance Yourself Fit during ‘Two Left Feet Week’

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015


Two Left Feet Week 2015 is all about encouraging us get out and about and start dancing.  In doing so, you can improve your posture, balance and co-ordination.  Dancing will also help to strengthen and tone the muscles in your legs, back and shoulders.

According to the NHS, to stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities.

To start dancing you can be any age, any size, any ability and you don’t need to be sporty or fit.

If you’ve always professed to have “two left feet” – maybe it’s time have a rethink, especially if you are trying to improve your gut health. Love Your Gut’s exercise expert – Sophie Christy – notes “ It may seem strange, but exercise can really help improve your digestive health. That doesn’t mean preparing your body to run a marathon; it’s about taking simple steps every day to better health” http://bit.ly/1C9otsf

For further information on Two Left Week Feet 2015 see:  http://bit.ly/1GbsXdv

NHS Guide – Dance for Fitness seehttp://bit.ly/1CQHP33



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