Are you pre-diabetic? Look out for simple symptoms.

No Comments

Are you gaining weight especially around the waist? Are you becoming apple shaped? Do you have high blood pressure? Do you have high cholesterol levels.  Collectively, these could be an indication that you are pre- diabetic.  If you do have these symptoms now is the time act, because with a few simple changes to your diet and an increase in exercise activity, you can slow down or stop the progression into a Type II diabetic condition, with it’s many complications.  It is much wiser to meke these simple changes than to suffer, eye and vision problems and gangerene.  Two of the nasty effects of diabetes.


Follow these simple steps to a healthier you and to reduce the likelihood of your symptoms progressing to type II diabetes.  Or contact me now for a confidential chat about how best to proceed.  It takes no time and can save you a lot of heartache.


Lower blood pressure and stroke risk with Potassium.

No Comments

Potassium Lowers Blood Pressure and helps to prevent heart disease and stoke.


Potassium is a mineral that is found in abundance within the body and is an electrolyte, which means that it takes on a positive or negative charge within the bloodstream.  Almost all potassium is found within cells and it helps to maintain fluid balance within the body.


It has become common knowledge that too much salt in our diet may contribute to high blood pressure. Not so commonly known is that high blood pressure is also related to too little potassium in our diet. In fact, restricting salt alone may not be enough to lower blood pressure. Potassium must be increased. Most Westerners ingest twice as much sodium as potassium.


Along with other electrolytes (phosphorus and calcium) it is used to conduct nerve impulses and muscle contractions, helping to regulate the heartbeat and blood pressure.

It basically, controls the amount of fluid inside the cells and sodium regulates the amount outside cells.


Many population studies have found links between low potassium intakes and an increased risk of high blood pressure and death from stroke. Increasing the amount of potassium-rich foods in the diet can lead to a reduction in high blood pressure. The ratio of sodium to potassium in the diet appears to play an important role in the development of high blood pressure. The typical Western diet is low in potassium relative to sodium.



Too much sodium in the diet can lead to disruption of this balance. Numerous studies have demonstrated that a low-potassium, high-sodium diet plays a major role in the development of cancer and cardiovascular disease (heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, etc.).

How does potassium regulate blood pressure?

Scientists believe it may have something to do with potassium’s ability to pump sodium out of the body’s cells and reduce body fluid. Potassium may also affect blood vessel tone, or resistance. Or it may be that potassium modifies the way blood vessels react to circulating hormones that affect blood pressure, such as vasopressin and norepinephrine.

Studies have shown that people with hypertension who ate one serving of food high in potassium every day reduced the risk of a fatal stroke by 40%


A great amount of potassium is also lost in heavy sweating. The loss of potassium from the cell will result in intracellular water loss – dehydration that will become chronic unless more water and some high potassium-containing foods are added to the daily diet. Continued  potassium loss from the body will result in excess sodium retention by the kidneys and the first stages of high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, heart disease and irregular pulse will ensue.


Rich sources include fruit and vegetables, raisins, peanuts, dates, wheatgerm, bananas, avocado, prunes, grapes, nuts and baked potatoes, cantaloupe melon, apricots and salmon.

How to Eat More and Weigh Less

No Comments 3rd Sept 2012 BBC Radio Nottingham

BBC Radio Nottingham Eat more and Weigh Less.

Most people believe that to lose weight we must eat a lot less. This is only partly true,

because it is true that if you consume less fuel than you use, you are much more likely to

lose weight, but it is also true that by choosing the right kinds of food you can accelerate

the weight loss potential and you certainly do not have to go hungry.

1. Protein increases your fat burning potential, especially, lamb and beef. They have what

is called a thermogenic affect, which means that it creates internal heat that helps to

increase metabolism and thus increase energy consumption.

So a high protein diet is a much more efficient way of utilising energy as it will be utilised

and is not laid down as fat.

2. Good protein sources such as meat and poultry also contain something called CLA

(conjugated linoleic acid) which helps to decrease body fat.

3. Legumes, which means beans and peas help to keep us satisfied for longer, because

they are classified as complex carbohydrates that take longer to be converted into glucose

and thus stay in our digestive system for longer, keeping us satisfied and as they do not

raise blood sugar levels too high they are less likely to be stored as fat.

4. Eating good quality carbohydrates, such as fruit and vegetables help to produce

something called leptin, which is a peptide hormone that inhibits appetite and reduces fat


5. Turkey, eggs and onions contain a a substance that feeds our brain with

neurotransmitters that help us to feel happy. They also help us to feel satisfied and less

likely to over eat. Research shows that anxiety and mood swings can lead to over eating

and tryptophan found in these foods help us to overcome these feelings.

6. Pre and probiotics found in artichokes, asparagus and natural yogurt help to maintain

the integrity of the gut lining and thereby control how much food is absorbed. This in turn,

helps to control weight. Research has shown that obese people have an imbalance in

probiotics in their gut and so can absorb more food than those with an abundance of good

bacteria in the form of probiotics.

7. Chillies and peppers are in fact super super food. Not only do they help to control

chronic inflammation, that is the pre cursor to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes

and cancer, but they also increase thermogenesis, helping to increase metabolism.

8. Essential fats in the form of oily fish, nuts and seeds are an important addition to any

weight management programme, because without them cells become inflexible and less

able to function properly and ultimately this can effect metabolic rate.

The key to sustained weight loss is to eat a balanced diet containing

good quality protein, carbohydrates and essential fats and avoid refined

sugar based foods and of course exercise regularly.

Intravenous Vitamin Booster Drips. Good or Bad?

No Comments

Vitamin and Mineral Intravenous Cocktails.  The pros and cons.BBC Radio Nottingham  interview 11/6/12
It has been reported that Rihanna and other celebrities are being drip fed large quantities of vitamins and minerals as a way of boosting health.  Rihanna, apparently has these intravenous shots administered directly into her blood stream to help overcome exhaustion. Some of the combinations of vitamins and minerals are being marketed for their immune boosting potential and almost as an elixir of youth. It is also claimed that some people are now taking these shots to help overcome a hangover. At £225 per shot it is not for those on a budget
So is it safe?
As a Nutritional Therapist I am qualified to assess, analyse and administer larger quantities of vitamins and minerals than are recommended by the RDA’s, but I do this having determined that the person has a deficiency. Following detailed analysis, I might prescribe a high dose vitamin supplement combination, that has been specifically developed to help with a particular condition, like fatigue, exhaustion or known bio chemical imbalance, but this would be for a given period only and would be tailored to the needs of the individual.
Giving shots of vitamins and minerals after an alcoholic binge though, is quite a different matter. It is almost like baking a cake without the right ingredients then adding them in at the end and hoping the cake will be alright, it won’t.  There is no evidence, clinical or otherwise to show that giving mega shots of vitamins directly into the blood stream, will cure a hangover.  What this method might do, is quickly help to rehydrate you, which is after all what a hangover is…dehydration, and no doubt there is the placebo effect!
This gives entirely the wrong message.  That you can abuse your body at will and just a shot of vitamins will overcome the damage…it won’t. So here are some of the facts about vitamin intake:

Vitamins and minerals work synergistically.  The body will take the right combinations of vitamins and minerals at the right time and either store the rest or expel them. If you have too much of one vitamin and not enough of another your body can become imbalanced. Eg giving B6 alone can cause a deficiency of B2. Ca without mg can cause a build up of excess calcium in the body and exacerbate arthritic type pains.The body utilises vitamins and minerals that are in their most bio available form. That is when taken from the food we eat.  Synthetic forms of vitamins may be useless and sometimes harmfulTaking large doses of some vitamins can be harmful, such as the fat soluble forms, Vitamin A,D and E. Excesses of these vitamins are not easily removed from the body and are then stored mainly in the liver and potentially able to cause damage to organs and cells. The best and easiest way for your body to get the micro nutrients it needs is through eating a whole and balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.  Your body will then take what it needs in the right combinations.

Gluten Free Diet Explained

No Comments

Gluten Free what does it mean and who needs it?

1. Gluten Allergy known as Coeliac Disease.

Gluten proteins can cause toxic fragments that can damage the delicate lining of the intestine.  Overtime this can cause a flattening of the villi lining the intestine, which allow us to absorb food.  This ultimately can affect the immune response creating an allergic reaction and undermining metabolism and energy. This is quite a serious condition and can make you feel very unwell. There is no cure but with the help of a nutritionist it can be controlled and the symptoms overcome.

v  This condition is know as Coeliac Disease and affects about 1 in 100 people, with many thousands undiagnosed.

v  Symptoms include, diarrohea or constipation, bloating, fatigue, sinus problems , headaches and migraines.

v  Coeliac is a serious auto-immune condition and needs to be diagnosed by biopsy from the intestine.

v  Treatment means removal of all gluten sources, which include wheat, rye, barley and oats and means that a lot of food must be completely removed from the diet for the intestine to be able to recover.

v  This type of treatment can only be administered by a dietician or nutritionist, like me!!

v  Foods that will need to be avoided include bread, cakes, pies, pastries, pasta, pizza, sauces, Chinese food, some yoghurt, chocolate and many other processed foods.

v  Always check labels because manufacturers have to state whether an item contains gluten.

v  Get a diagnosis through your GP because if you are a Coeliac you will be given  an identity label that will allow you to get gluten free food on prescription.

2.      Gluten Intolerance

Far more common is an intolerance to gluten, which can give rise to similar symptoms of bloating and constipation, but which can mean that someone can tolerate small amounts of gluten.


In both of these situations you will need the assistance of a Nutritionist, to help work out whether there is a sensitivity or intolerance and to help to devise a suitable diet and ensure that you are getting the right nutrients.  Avoiding gluten can mean that you don’t get enough Vitamin B complex, chromium and zinc all of which are essential for health. And it is usually necessary to administer supplements to help limit the symptoms.




British women are the fattest in Europe

No Comments

Health Headlines 1st Dec 2011 BBC Radio Nottingham.


Over ¼ of women in the UK are now obese.

Recent analysis shows that compared to 19 other European countries, British women are the fattest, followed by Malta, Latvia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.


The survey concludes that it is a lot to do with how well the population is educated!!


The measure they are using however, is BMI or Body Mass Index.  The problem with this is measurement is that it only measures weight to height ratio and therefore a very muscley, but short person can appear to be obese, when in fact they are very fit.

A  better measure is a body composition analysis, which measures your body fat and muscle mass and this tells you whether you have an unhealthy ratio of fat to muscle and therefore whether you might be more susceptible to potentially very serious problems, such as CVD, Diabetes and strokes.


I offer a quick Health Check, which measures Body Composition  and provides you with a diet plan.  It takes half an hour at the Riverside Gym in Colwick.


School Meals are on the slide..again.


Following the sterling effort Jamie Oliver made to improve school dinners, he is now dismayed to see that standards are again on the slide.  Some schools have begun to introduce fizzy drinks and sweet snacks vending machines again.


The importance of good nutrition at an early age can’t be stressed enough.  Poor nutrition has such a massive impact on  everything.  High sugar diets have been implicated in many cases of Attention Deficit Disorder and it’s true that sugar has a real impact on mood, mind and performance and of course weight.  It gives instant energy followed by a bit energy dip, at which point the child becomes,  lack lustre, aggressive or unhappy.


A balanced diet of good quality protein, lots of colourful fruit and veg and seeds and nuts all help to ensure the brain cells keep working as well as they can.



Vitamin D Deficiency.

It is now well acknowledged by several health professional bodies that many british people are deficient in Vitamin D.


Vitamin D is synthesised by the skin from sunlight,  and there are many groups of people who just don’t see the light of day, never mind the 20 mins a day that is needed.  The elderly, children wearing high factor sunscreens, dark skins and pale people who avoid all sunlight.


The consequences of deficiency are quite serious.  Vitamin D is not only essential for bone health and thus preventing brittle bones, it is also involved in 100s of functions and is needed for improving overall immunity.  So if you are frequently getting colds then it could be due to a Vitamin D deficiency.


The best advice is to try to get 20/30 mins of sun exposure before applying a high factor sunscreen, 2 or 3 times a week during the summer months and this should give your body enough to store for year around.


Other sources are oily fish, eggs, some cereals and mushrooms.




Chocolate may protect us from heart disease.


Reviewed research  shows that chocolate consumption can help to reduce the incidence of CVD and strokes and can help to reduce blood pressure.


But as the British Heart Foundation point out chocolate does contain a high level of sugar and fat which if consumed in excess can lead to obesity and other health problems.


However the research is now looking at ways of isolating the good things in chocolate and thus reduced the naughty bits to make it a positive help to health.

Are Supplements Worth The Money?

No Comments

Are Food Supplements really worth it?


As a Nutritional Therapist I recommend supplements regularly. But I only recommend them to people, who for one reason or another, have a therapeutic need.  So for example, dieters, the elderly, those with low immunity, keen exercisers, heavy drinkers.  The reason is that they are either not getting the right level or balance of nutrients or due to other factors they might need more.

There is quite a lot of evidence now to show that certain disease or illness states are need of extra nutrient help and so food supplements can be very helpful in certain circumstances.

But I would only recommend ones from very reputable manufacturers and I would always check for any possible drug interactions.


For the majority of healthy and well individuals who get a balanced and varied diet I would say that supplements are unnecessary.


How are they sold to us?


Vitamins and minerals are legislated for under the Food Directive which aims to ensure safety and dosages are within the guidelines.


But there are many internet based firms and others that sell lots of different combinations of vitamins, minerals and other supplements.


There are alo several food supplement schemes that encourage you to buy into the concept of the supplement and then sell it on to a network of family and friends..


I looked specifically at the fruit and vegetable supplement which contains dried extracts from 26 different fruit and vegetables and which claim to contain the essential phyto-nutrients found in lots of fruit and veg.


It is true that many good quality fruit and vegetables contain nutrients that help to stave off serious diseases including cardio vascular diseases, heart attack and strokes as well as cancer.  The reason for this is because they contain anti oxidants that help to protect cells from damage, some of them contain salvestrols that help stop the progression of cancerous cells and they also contain a lot of fibre that is essential for helping to flush lots of toxins from the body.


The appeal of this supplement scheme is the convenience of getting your 5+ day in a simple capsule form and because it is supported by a lot of research and testimonials from local celebrities, it all seems fairly convincing.


But when you look at little closer you realise that it is quite an expensive investment, about £13 per month and the supplements are sent to you in 4 monthly batches.  This scheme is also what is known as a multi-level marketing scheme, which means you invest in the marketing concept and then sell the product on to family, friends and contacts.  This approach has been criticised by some for only making those at the top of the scheme rich, whilst those at the bottom end often lose money.


Also the research showing the beneficial effects is based on you taking up to 6 capsules a day.  That’s like having your 5 pieces a day without the taste and fullness effect.


As a nutritionist I would rather buy my fruit and veg fresh from the local green grocer or farmers market and there are some great schemes around that allow you to pick up fresh fruit and veg free from local shops because they are the excess harvested from local allotments.  There are also some really good fruit and veg delivery schemes providing a selection of seasonal produce from as little as £7 per delivery.

The fact is, is that in order to get the highest level of protective phyto-nutrients the fruit and veg has to be fresh and as unadultered as possible,  which you will have a good idea about if it is locally produced.

Also the other benefit of fresh fruit is the fibre from it which I’m not sure you would get from a capsule.


So I would then buy a juicer or blender and make my own fruit smoothies to which you can add, honey or ice cream to make them even more delicious.   And eating about three/four  servings of different coloured vegetables with your meals will provide a very filling and nutritious meal giving you plenty of the essential nutrients needed for protection from nasty illnesses.



What Supplements do I recommend the most?



  1. Good quality all round multi-vit and mineral supplement.  Some people just find it difficult to get a varied and balanced diet, that contains lots of different foods such as fish, meat, poultry, fruit, veg, seeds and nuts.  And many people end up just eating the same food over and over and thus don’t get a good balance. EG:  dieters, students, elderly, people living alone, busy mothers.   So this would provide them with the nutrient balance they need on a daily basis to achieve optimum health.
  2. Vitamin D:  The best source is sunlight and because we just don’t get enough of it on a daily basis there are many people who are now being diagnosed as deficient in Vitamin D.  It is vital for bone health and immunity.
  3. Fish Oils.  Many people just don’t eat oily fish (tuna, sardine, salmon, mackerel) or seeds and nuts often enough.  And the Omegas’ are just so good for brain and heart health that I think it’s and essential supplement for most.
  4. Vitamin C.  I recommend this when people have obviously compromised immunity, like when starting with a cold or flu.  This helps to build immunity within cells and is a powerful anti-oxidant for protecting cell health too.  But you can find it in lots of common foods, such as fruit oranges, green leafy veg, and peppers.
  5. A short course of Probiotics.  There are some occasions when probiotics can just help to support digestion and also build immunity.  Good quality probiotics can help to stop bloating and constipation and balance the immune system so that you can fight off infections.  Good bacteria should be in balance within the intestine, but occasionally it can be disrupted.  Say after surgery or poor diets and thus a supplement can help to reset





Nutritional Advice for Marathon Runners

No Comments


Nutritional Advice for Marathon Runners


The aim of your eating plan should be to keep your blood sugar levels balanced, and your energy reserves high before the race, during and after.  The reason is that if your blood sugar levels fall too quickly then your will begin to feel fatigued and may have difficulty completing the run.  You need to try to maintain energy stores for as long as possible throughout your running


Eating plan for training:


v  Eat 3 good meals per day and three healthy snacks. You should be aiming to eat about every 3 hours. This will help to maintain your energy levels and prevent blood sugar dips.


v  Each meal should consist of good quality protein, slow releasing carbohydrates and a small amount of fat.  Ie your plate should contain 30% lean protein, 30% starchy slow releasing carbohydrates 30% vegetables and 10% fat.


  • Starchy slow releasing carbs provide instant /medium term energy,
  • protein helps to maintain energy levels throughout your run
  • Vegetables and fruit provide vitamins and minerals and antioxidants
  • Fats provide lubrication for joints and cells.


v  The rule of thumb is for every Kg of body weight you should have at least 1g of protein.  For an average person this equates to  2 eggs,  one piece of fish, 1 chicken breast, one medium tub of hummus, a small packet of mixed nuts and half a pint of skimmed milk. Per day.  Research suggests that we need to eat a good quantity of lean protein to help stabilise blood sugar levels and provide essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for every cell of the body and especially muscles.


v  Eat healthy snacks.  Fruit is excellent but always eat some protein with it.  Eg Banana and a handful of mixed nuts.  Hummus and crudités.


v  Drink at least 2 litres of filtered water per day. Try to avoid alcohol it’s dehydrating and fizzy drinks disturb the electrolyte balance of your cells.


v  Try sports drinks before the event, to ensure you tolerate them well.  They can cause diarrohea.


Eating plan for the day:


v  Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy and so plenty of slow releasing carbs, such as porridge, rye bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta and beans are good to stock up on, but always include at least 30% protein on your plate.  Protein helps to stabilise blood sugar, helps to maintain energy stores over a longer period and provides essential Amino Acids, which are the building blocks for every cell of your body and in particular muscles cells.


v  Don’t drink too much liquid too quickly.  Ie  Sip filtered water before the race but do not drink too much otherwise the bladder will be full and your electrolyte balance will be disturbed, potentially causing dizziness and fatigue or worse. The key to staying hydrated is to drink on the run.


v  Use sports drinks to provide electrolytes and good hydration.


v  Do not over consume coffee. Whilst it is known to be an ergogenic  aid( increases adrenaline and pumps energy to muscles) it is a diuretic and can cause dehydration.


v  During the race try to drink regular sips of water or sports drinks and if flagging take a sports gel tab.  This provides instant energy.


v  After the race  it is essential to replenish all lost nutrients and energy stores.  Drink plenty of fluid either as a sports drink, water or a protein shake.  Vitamin C is a precursor to the production of many amino acids that help to build and preserve muscle to so eat lots of fresh fruit.  Then lots of slow releasing carbs, for instant energy, a good portion of protein to help restore amino acids and in particular glutamine for muscle recovery,  glutathione to limit tissue damage and several  other AA to ensure cells are replenished.  A fillet steak or salmon steak will do the trick as they contain all the essential amino acids.  If you’re a veggie then lentils and quinoa are good sources of amino acids.



Top Tips on Lowering Cholesterol

No Comments
Why? Cholesterol is a hard waxy fat that is essential for physical health but  it is responsible for a build up of plaques in the artery wall, which can lead to Heart Disease, Stokes and Heart Attacks.  It is therefore important to control the amount of cholesterol we consume.  There are two types of cholesterol:  HDL- good cholesterol and LDL- bad cholesterol.  It is important to ensure that the balance of good to bad cholesterol  is maintained by keeping the bad cholesterol low and the good cholesterol high.   The following are tips on how to do just that.
Eat less red meat Red meat and other animal proteins help to raise LDL’s (bad) in our arteries causing damage and the potential build up of plaques.  Try to eat red meat no more than 3 times a week  by and substitute it for fish or white meat such as chicken or turkey.
Eat more Fibre By eating lots of fruit and vegetables both of which contain fibre, we can help to reduce the level of harmful cholesterol.  Other complex carbohydrates such as oats, wheat germ and whole grains can also helps to sweep  excess cholesterol from out arteries and therefore keep it in balance.
Eat lots of food containing Anti oxidants Antioxidants help to neutralise the harmful effects of cholesterol and prevent free radical damage to the arteries, which if left unchecked can attract more harmful cholesterol and cause a build up of plaques. Strawberries, yellow peppers, blueberries, apples are all good sources of Vitamin C, Sunflower seeds, walnuts and almonds provide Vitamin E  and a good quality multi –vitamin will provide some of the other anti-oxidants. Too.
Eat plenty of food containing Essential Fatty Acids Essential fatty acids help to reduce the stickiness of blood and therefore reduce the likelihood of a clot forming and thus a stroke or heart attack.  Essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and 6 oils can be found in abundance in oily fish,  seeds and nuts, 

You can take a supplement of Omega oils but always check with your GP first, especially if you are taking medications for heart problems such as Warfarin or Statins.

Exercise everyday and lower stress levels Exercise is vital for helping to reduce cholesterol levels.  Just 30 minutes a day of quite strenuous activity, such as swimming, cycling, jogging and running, will help to keep cholesterol levels in check. 

Try to manage stress levels,  by finding time to relax and use positive thinking tecniques, to stop yourself from getting too over heated.


Top Tips for Preventing Brittle Bones

No Comments

Top Tips Brittle Bones