November’s Health Tips

Shoulders back! Slouching makes us sad…

It goes without saying that poor posture puts us at risk of back and neck pain – but new findings suggest that the issues a slouch can lead to may go a whole lot deeper. Standing and sitting badly can make us feel more stressed and this in turn affects energy levels and sleep, experts report in Health Psychology.

The research team came to this conclusion by splitting 74 people into groups. Half were asked to slump and the others were seated in an upright posture. Their backs were strapped with physiotherapy tape to hold this posture throughout the study and completed a reading task.

The volunteers who were sitting in an upright position had a higher pulse rate and reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood and lower fear, compared to slumped participants.

“Adopting an upright seated posture in the face of stress can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture,” the research team concludes.

The British Chiropractic Association has the following advice:

  • When relaxing in front of the TV at home, the tendency is to ‘slouch’. An ideal sitting position is to let the seat take your weight and, if possible, keep as much of your body in contact with the chair so that your whole body is supported.
  • Don’t sit for more than 30-40 minutes at a time, stand up to stretch, change position and walk around a little.
  • Drink Up! Try drinking water instead of tea or coffee; it will be healthier and keep your body hydrated.
  • Look for small opportunities to exercise during the day; use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, get off your bus/train/tube a stop earlier and walk or take a walk during your lunchbreak.

Source: Memory in Mind



A juicy health tip

Did you know… that drinking grapefruit juice when eating fatty food could lower the amount of weight put on by up to one-fifth? The new study suggests that the fruit juice could keep blood sugar levels under control without drugs. So far the research has been done on mice so wait for the human trials before buying in bulk!


Image credit: Dan Zen


Viagra protects the heart beyond the bedroom

Long term intake of Viagra can protect the heart at different stages of heart disease and has very few side effects so could fairly soon be prescribed as a treatment.

The main ingredient in Viagra is an inhibitor called PDE5i, which works by blocking an enzyme that stops the relaxation of smooth muscle tissue.

A team from Italy reviewed trials involving a total of 1,622 people to see if PDE5i can protect the heart, and if it is safe. Results showed that it improved heart performance in people with different heart conditions, with no negative effect on blood pressure.

Andrea Isidori, who led the work, comments:

“Large clinical trials are now urgently needed to build on these encouraging findings.”

Source: Jump Start


Red wine and grape compound could help treat osteoporosis

A chemical found in red wine and grapes may offer previously unknown bone health benefits for men at risk of osteoporosis says research from Denmark.

Resveratrol has previously been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, protecting against bone loss in mice and rats. So experts decided to look at the bones of 66 middle-aged men to see what impact taking resveratrol would have.

All of the men had metabolic syndrome, which is linked to inflammation that can cause bone loss. For a 16 week period some men were given daily doses of 100mg resveratrol, others took 150mg of resveratrol every day and a third group took a placebo (pretend treatment).

The men receiving the higher dose of resveratrol had a 2.6% increase in bone mineral density towards the base of the spine compared to the placebo group.

And the highest group also experienced a 16% increase in levels of a marker called bone alkaline phosphatase, which means that this is the first study to show resveratrol’s potential in taking on osteoporosis in humans.

The results are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.


Image credit: Per Salomonsson

Take out teeth to sleep: sleeping in dentures doubles the risk of pneumonia

Poor oral health and hygiene have been under the spotlight as risk factors for pneumonia in older people. And now the latest study highlights the importance of removing dentures before you turn in for the night.

A total of 524 people (228 men, 296 women) aged an average of 87.8 years old were examined for oral health status, oral hygiene and had a medical assessment.

Among the 453 denture wearers, 40.8% wore their dentures during sleep. Over the three-year follow-up period, there were 20 deaths from pneumonia and 28 acute hospitalisations.

People who wore their dentures at night were more than twice as likely to get pneumonia. And they were more likely to have tongue and denture plaque, gum inflammation, positive culture for Candida albicans, and higher levels of circulating interleukin-6 (a marker of inflammation).

Healthcare professionals and family members should therefore advise older people with dentures to take them out at night.

Source: Jump Start

water glass

Image credit Cyndi Calhoun

Following in grandmother’s footsteps? Half of grandparents teach their grandchildren domestic skills

Grandparents are ensuring that key life skills aren’t lost on the younger generation; over half of parents say their children’s grandparents play a key part in teaching their children some form of domestic task. If seems that retirement is hardly a time for relaxation, as the figures released from Mintel reveal that 30% of parents claim their children’s grandparents play a key part in teaching their children to cook and bake. And nearly a quarter of parents say grandparents play a fundamental role in teaching their children gardening.

But it’s more than just domestic skills on the agenda and one in ten grandparents even brave the delights of potty training. A further 28% of parents say their children’s grandparents help them learn to read and write. And 12% parents with children aged 0–9 years say their children’s grandparents help with bathing and getting them to brush their teeth.

Children are also turning to their grandparents for a shoulder to cry on, with one in five parents agreeing that grandparents offer emotional support to their children, rising to 29% of single parents.

Jack Duckett, lifestyles, household and personal care analyst, at Mintel explains:

“There has been much media discussion about children growing up in a technology-focussed world, which means that whilst they possess a range of modern life skills, they are often behind in terms of basic household skills, such as cooking, cleaning, mending and simple home improvements. However grandparents today are stepping in and supporting their grandchildren’s development in a variety of different ways, ranging from teaching them to cook and write to brushing their teeth and potty training. Grandparents enjoy being part of their grandchildren’s lives wherever possible and, with many consumers in this age group being retired, they have the time to help.”

Money matters

Grandparents are giving away money as well as time. One-third of parents with children aged 5–18 years say their youngest child receives pocket money from their grandparents. Some 23% of parents report that grandparents put money into their child’s savings account and 10% of parents receive financial support for their child’s education.

“Increasing financial pressures are resulting in a growing number of parents balancing work with raising children, which in turn is leading to a greater number of grandparents stepping in to help with day-to-day childcare duties, as well as financial assistance,” Jack explains. “This strong reliance on grandparents, reflects the growing financial pressures on parents to go back to work after having children, as well as the high price of childcare.”

Source: Jump Start