Easter Health Tips

chocolate John Loo

Image credit: John Loo

Before you rush out to buy Easter eggs, hunt for hidden stashes at home… as new survey reveals the ‘chocking’ truth about our addition to sweet treats

Almost half of UK adults have lied to their partner about how much chocolate they’re eating, with one third actually indulging in secret on the way home from work.

The average chocolate eater in the UK tucks into almost three chocolate bars a week – that’s over 150 chocolate bars a year. Experts believe that kicking the habit could see chocolate lovers shed up to 11 pounds (5kg) in a year.

A survey of 3,000 adults by the British Heart Foundation found that chocoholic Brits are going to extraordinary lengths to hide just how much they love their sweet treats:

  • One in four (25%) think they would find chocolate more difficult to ditch than alcohol or  caffeine.
  • One-third (33%) said they  eat chocolate in secret on their way home from work while 13% eat it  behind the fridge door or wait until their partner leaves the room.
  • Almost half (43%) said  they have hidden chocolate wrappers to disguise how much they’ve eaten and  have such a sweet tooth they keep a secret stash of chocolate for      emergencies.
  • Some of the most common  chocolate hideaways are in desk drawers at work (24%) and bedside cabinets  (15%). One in ten (10%) hide chocolate in the glove compartment of their car.

“A bit of chocolate is fine in moderation but it should be a treat,” highlights Tracy Parker, heart health dietitian at the British Heart Foundation. “It’s amazing the lengths we’ll go to so that we can hide just how much we love our favourite sweet treat.”

Source: Jump Start Mind, Body & Soul, jumpstart


sun forest  Yinan Chen

Image credit: Yinan Chen

Common medicines can make skin more sensitive to the sun

Some medicines make skin more sensitive to the sun – and can even cause unusual changes in skin colour during sun exposure – so check the small print before sitting out in the sunshine this spring.

“Many medicines can make skin sun-sensitive, even after only brief exposure to the sun,” explains Dr Andrew Boyden from the National Prescribing Service in Australia. “This is called photosensitivity and means that if you expose your skin to the sun while using one of these medicines, you could have an adverse skin reaction.

“A phototoxic reaction often looks like a severe sunburn with skin redness, swelling and blistering on the sun-exposed areas and will usually develop 5 to 20 hours after exposure. The other reaction that people are at risk of is called a photoallergic reaction and that can cause an itchy, dry, bumpy or blistering rash which can also spread beyond sun-exposed areas. This kind of rash develops at around 24 to 48 hours after sun exposure.”

Medicines that can cause these skin reactions include some antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, some antihistamines, some anti-nausea medicines, some chemotherapy medicines, some medicines for diabetes, diuretics, medicines to regulate heart rhythm, some antipsychotic medicines, some antidepressants, acne and psoriasis medicines (oral and topical) and St John’s wort.

Exposure to sunlight whilst taking amiodarone (a medicine to treat heart rhythm disturbances) can even cause blue-grey discolouration of the skin over time.

“This photosensitivity risk doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors and avoid holiday activities,” says Dr Boyden. “But if the medicine’s label, its enclosed consumer medicine information leaflet, your doctor or pharmacist says that you should avoid sunlight when taking a particular medicine, be particularly mindful of limiting your exposure. You can help protect yourself by using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and a hat, and avoiding going out in peak UV times of the day as much as possible.”

Source: Jump Start Mind, Body & Soul, jumpstart


red cabbage  Quinn Dombrowski

Image credit: Quinn Dombrowski

Superfood red cabbage – sales soar as diners realise health benefits

Sales of red cabbage look set to boom this Easter as shoppers get wise to its health benefits. In the past year, 545 tonnes of red cabbage have been bought in Britain, an increase of nearly 50% on the previous 12 months.

Andrew Burgess, agricultural director of Produce World explains that cabbage offers high nutritional value and versatility, with 10 times more vitamin A and twice as much iron than its green counterpart.

“Cabbages have been part of a staple diet of many UK households for years due to its nutritional value and versatility as a vegetable,” he says. “Luckily the UK has the ideal growing conditions to grow the best cabbages in the world.”

Braised red cabbage is a delicious accompaniment to Sunday lunch and is extremely easy to make.


180ml water

1 red cabbage, finely chopped

2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

250ml white wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice


Place water in a large saucepan and add all of the ingredients. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve!

Source: Jump Start Mind, Body & Soul, jumpstart