Health and Fitness

5 Tips For A Healthy Heart

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September is Vascular Disease Awareness Month! Every clinician we have working here at IMC from our doctors to our nutritionists will tell you the importance of keeping your heart healthy. It really is the heart of you, without which nothing would function. With this in mind we list our top five tips to help you keep your heart healthy….

Make sure you’re managing your weight. Extra weight means your heart is having to work harder to pump blood around your body which puts strain on it. If you struggle with weight management and would like some help, book in with one of our nutritionists today.

Don’t drink too much! Yes, we all regularly hear that ‘one glass is good for you’ but the problem is that one glass every day can start adding inches to your waistline which, as we saw in tip one, is bad news for heart health.

Make sure you eat enough fish. At least two portions a week is the recommended intake to help prevent heart disease. And make sure one of those is an oily one!

Cut down on saturated fat. The ‘baddie’ of the food world – eating a diet too high in saturated fat can lead to increased cholesterol in your blood stream. Not all saturated fat is bad though so make sure you choose wisely! Avocados, despite being a source naturally rich in fat, have actually been shown to lower cholesterol so make sure you include these in your diet.

Quit the smoking habit. With most things in life there are usually arguments for and against it but with smoking this is not the case. No part of smoking cigarettes has been found to be beneficial and it is now thought to be solely responsible for 14% of deaths from heart disease in the UK. However, the most important thing is that it is preventable! So give up today and start reaping back the benefits, in your wallet and in your health.

If you’re concerned about your heart or just want some advice on anything, from nutrition to giving up smoking, book an appointment today and we will find the right specialist for you!

Alternatively you can give us a call on 02037 949 108

5 Foods To Help You Have A Great Autumn

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Once the weather starts getting colder you can wind down your healthy eating plan, right? Think you can reach for the chocolate now the shorts have been put away? Wrong! It is more important than ever to eat healthily during the colder months. Coughs and sneezes are on their way so a careful consideration of nutrition keeps your immune system in tip-top condition. Keep healthy with these nutritional powerhouses from the autumn harvest…

Autumn brings plenty of local pears! Pears contain an abundance of essential phenolic phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are used in the body for their anti-inflammatory properties, as antioxidants and for their role in preventing cancer. But make sure you’re eating those skins! Studies show that there are up to four times as many of these nutrients in the skin as in the flesh.

The local hedgerows are full of juicy blackberries! Not only are they low in sugar and virtually fat-free they are also bursting with manganese, a nutrient that’s vital in maintaining and improving brain function. Plus, picking them gets you up and out and breathing in that fresh autumnal air!

Rhubarb does more than look pretty in pink. One serving contains 45% of your daily requirement of Vitamin K which, as well aiding healthy bone growth, has been shown to limit neuronal damage and help to prevent Alzheimer’s. Just make sure that you leave the toxic leaves out of your crumble!

Kale seems to be the apple of the nutritionist’s eye at the moment but with good reason. Kale’s health benefits are hard to beat and the nutrients it contains play a role in everything from the formation of blood to maintaining healthy skin and vision. 

Finally, it’s pumpkins! Perhaps the most well known of the autumn harvest but definitely not one to be kept just for Halloween! Pumpkins are good for your mood as they contain tryptophan, an amino acid which is essential in the production of serotonin-your favourite feel good friend! So whether you roast the seeds or make pumpkin soup with the flesh just make sure you’re doing something with it after you’ve carved it!

For information on how you can optimise your health this autumn book an appointment with our nutritionist Claudia Gravaghi here.

Alternatively call The Italian Medical Centre on 0203 794 9108.

Food Safety Tips This Christmas

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With the Christmas countdown now in full swing, many of us may be turning to cookbooks and magazines to plan our festive feast. To ensure your big day is joyous and smooth sailing for all the family, we’ve put together some food safety tips and guidelines below.

Avoid cross-contamination – Ensure all raw food is kept completely separate from food that is ready to eat. Most definitely use separate chopping boards! Raw food can contain harmful bacteria and spreads incredibly easily.

Wash your hands – Bacteria and bugs are easily spread between food and kitchen surfaces so be sure to wash and dry your hands before handling food. ESPECIALLY when handling raw meat.

Wash your veg thoroughly – Be sure to remove all the soil attached to your vegetables as this is where most of the bacteria is. Rub them under fresh water thoroughly and then an extra final rinse for extra precaution!

Cook food thoroughly – To avoid food poisoning ensure your food is steaming hot all the way through. Triple check meat such as poultry, pork, kebabs, burgers and pork are cooked until steaming hot with no pink meat in sight.

Cleaning up – Wash all your worktops and chopping boards before and after cooking thoroughly and remember to replace your kitchen clothes and sponges regularly – studies have shown they contain the highest rate of bacteria and germs in the home!

After you’ve indulged in a successful clean healthy festive meal, sit down and relax for some down-time!

We hope you have an amazing day.

Beating the Winter Blues the Natural Way

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Do you find yourself feeling affected by the change of season? Cold weather, darker mornings and shorter days can often leave us feeling lacklustre and low on energy. If you find yourself suffering during the darker months, you may be one of the many people who experiences Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. Symptoms usually start in Autumn and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.

We’ve put together some natural ways to boost your mood and ward off the winter blues. If you would like to find out more and work on a tailor made plan based on your individual requirements we have a variety of doctors and therapists that can help. For more information on our services please click here or give us a call on 0203 794 9108

1. Take a walk
As much as you may be tempted to stay indoors, wrapping up warm and taking a brisk walk to start your day or during your lunch break can be incredibly beneficial to your mood. Take advantage of the day light and getting some fresh air can reinvigorate you and make you feel more positive.

2. Eat well
When the weather gets colder it is easy to indulge in sugary comfort food that may leave you feeling more sluggish. Nurture your body with healthy foods such as leafy greens, protein rich foods and good fats to stabilise blood sugar levels and give you slow release energy to get you through the day. For more top tips see our previous post with nutritional advice for winter by clicking here.

3. Get a good sleep
During the darker months it is easy to get out of a regular sleep routine, but it’s important to keep a good routine and aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to ensure your body is recharged. Creating a bed time ritual can help to gently remind your body it is time for sleep; drinking a camomile tea, lighting a candle on your bedside table, switching off from technology at least 30 minutes before bed and having a warm bath are all great ways to improve the quality of your sleep.

4. Practice mindful meditation
Listening to guided meditation or simply closing your eyes and focusing on relaxing each part of your body and trying to clear your mind has been shown to improve mood and uplift your spirits. If you are unsure where to start, downloading mindfulness apps or searching guided meditation on Youtube can help set you on the path to understanding meditation and the benefits it can have on your life.

5. Try light therapy
If you are really suffering in the darker months, consider investing in a light box to give yourself a boost of light therapy. Even 15 minutes a day can significantly boost your mood.

Nutritional Tips For Winter

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Most people should be able to get all the vitamins and minerals they require from a healthy, balanced diet. With some nutritional planning, you can help boost the immune system through good food and exercise and reduce the chances of getting the horrid winter ills.  Therefore we have gathered some healthy food tips to include in your winter diet!

 

▪Limit the sugar in your diet,  as the weather gets colder its easy to indulge in comfort food but its important to limit our intake of sugary foods, ensure you are still eating plenty of fruit, avoiding the sugary ones like grapes or mango, and vegetables including pulses— at least 5-8 portions a day.

▪Include food items containing protein such as meat, fish, eggs and beans giving your body the energy it needs before and after winter exercise. Protein foods and good fats, such as omega-3 from salmon and sardines, have a low GI and help to stabilise blood-sugar levels, which in turn will help control those sugar cravings.

▪Stock up on food containing vitamin C – It is important to help support your immune all year long but particularly in the winter! Fruit like lemons and berries high in Vitamin C and may also help contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Avoid drinking juices from concentrate as they are high in sugar levels.

▪We often forget to keep our water intake up during winter, however it is extremely important to drink plenty of water all year round for good health – Ensure you are still drinking at least 2 litres a day.

For information on our nutritionist Claudia Gravaghi click here: http://theitalianmedicalcentre.com/our-doctors/claudia-gravaghi/

Alternatively call The Italian Medical Centre on: 0203 794 9108

Are You Boosting Your Children’s Natural Immunity This Winter?

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Winter is fast approaching, alongside this comes a variety of colds and winter bugs that spread around schools like wildfire. Avoiding a cold during the Winter is almost impossible, however, we have some top tips that will help you keep your children’s immunity up this Winter.

Wash hands – Ensure your children wash their hands regularly with antibacterial soap, it sounds simple but it is one of the most effective ways to prevent cold and flu bugs – especially in a school environment where germs are high.

Eating the right diet – Immune boosting foods such as ginger, garlic, spinach are all full of vital immune-boosting vitamins, nutrients and minerals. Keeping the body well nourished is important so when viruses do strike the immune system has fuel to work efficiently.

Vitamin C – There is evidence that Vitamin C helps make cold symptoms less severe and may shorten the duration of a cold. Foods that contain a high level of vitamin C that you can incorporate into your child’s packed lunches are dark leafy greens, kiwifruit, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes and papayas.

Keep sugar to a minimum –  Sugar has been known to decrease the immune response, so if your children are consuming lots of sugar on a regular basis this could lower their immune system making them more vulnerable to flu’s and viruses.

Plenty of sleep – Getting at least 8 hours of sleep is vital, sleep is the way our bodies repair and heal. So, during cold and flu season it is immensely important your child is gaining the sleep they need. Diffusing essential oils like lavender and chamomile before bed is the ideal way for you and your children to unwind and relax in preparation for a deep sleep.

Anxiety and stress levels can be high when you’re looking after a poorly child, however try to remember that most illnesses pass in a week or so and remember it will all ultimately help strengthen your child’s immune system – The Italian Medical Centre offer a variety of services for young children and adolescents, from paediatric care to psychological support including paediatric nutrition, allergies and general medicine. If you would like to speak to us about how we could help you, please contact us today.

Find the Fitness That Works for You

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Find Your Own Fitness

Fitness doesn’t have to involve the gym

Are you a serial gym joiner? Do you join the gym every year in a bid to get fit, only to leave again four months later? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. A common misconception of fitness is the expectation that we should all be members of a gym, or going running every evening after work, but in reality your fitness regime should reflect you in a way that makes you feel motivated and happy. We tend to forget that exercise can and should be something that makes us happy, as opposed to a chore that we force ourselves into.

It might require a bit of time and experimentation to find what works for you, but we’ve come up with a few tips to get you thinking:

  • Consider what didn’t work for you before.Perhaps you found running boring, or made too many excuses to not go to the gym? Reflect on what you didn’t like and how it made you feel in order to think about what you want to accomplish going forward.
  • What do you want to achieve?Your fitness goals might revolve around weight loss, flexibility or strength, and different activities will produce different results. Yoga, for example, works to improve your core strength, helping with balance and flexibility, whilst also being an extremely therapeutic activity for those leading stressful lifestyles.
  • Think about where makes you happy.Do you love the outdoors or prefer staying in? The thought of joining a class or going running might terrify some and motivate others, so think about what you could be doing in the spaces you are comfortable in. With the advances of Smart TVs and fitness apps, you can push yourself in the comfort of your own home and still see results.

Do you have an experience of finding a new fitness regime that you’d like to share, or have an activity that you’re really passionate about? Let us know on our Facebook page over at www.facebook.com/TheItalianMedicalCentre.