Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Round Up – Sally Cronin


I began this series 10 weeks ago with the aim of offering some strategies to increasing our resilience to disease. Not just Covid-19 but any opportunistic pathogen who feels we might make a good host.

Since then the world has struggled to return to normal, with varying success and a great deal of uncertainty. However, it is becoming clear that the experts can not find a consensus on what will happen next, whether the virus will fizzle out, or come back as a second wave or an annual event.

The fact that the supermarkets have erected permanent perspex barriers for cashiers and service industries such as hairdressing have done the same, seems to indicate that we will need to take precautions to stay infection free for some considerable time to come.

I believe that we need to take responsibility for our own health where possible, and since the majority of modern disease is lifestyle related offers plenty of scope!

What has not changed is our role in what comes next.

Our bodies may have genetic tendencies towards some specific diseases. But the vast majority of health issues are lifestyle related and involve our own decisions about what we eat and drink, how much exercise we take, and what harmful contaminants we ingest or inhale.

I am not guiltless as far as this is concerned and I was 42 years old before I starting taking back control of my body and its health. Twenty-five years on I hope that the changes I made to my diet and lifestyle at that point was enough. At 330lbs with high Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar levels, and high levels of the most unhealthy Low Density Cholesterol, I was told I would be lucky to reach 45 years old.

And if that had been today, it would have put me smack bang in the middle of the most vulnerable to the infection.

As more and more analysis is done on the pandemic and those that were infected and tragically died; risk factors have been more clearly defined. Obesity is very high up on that list.

With any respiratory infection being severely overweight is a risk. When I weighed 330lbs 25 years ago, I could not lie on my back because the weight of the fat on my chest and stomach restricted the movement of my lungs. Just walking made me extremely out of breath, and I was not getting sufficient oxygen into my system.

Other risk factors.

This leads directly into the identified key risk factors for all ages during the pandemic which include obesity, underlying health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory diseases such as COPD and heart conditions. Being deficient in Vitamin D for example has also been included in this list although there has been some doubt raised recently. However, Vitamin D is a very important element of our general health and that of our immune system, and as such it plays a vital role in limiting our susceptibility to infections.

The most at risk members of our society are those over 65 years old, not just because they are more likely to have underlying health issues, but because the human body as it ages goes through some fundamental changes in structure and function.

For example, we are more likely to become less active and our lungs, which are the organs most impacted by a respiratory virus, stiffen and do not have the flexibility to work effectively enough to get rid of the infection.

There is also a likelihood of a suppressed immune system and that can be the result of a deficiency of essential nutrients. This happens when a person begins to eat less due to lack of activity and appetite, but also due to a less efficient digestive system.

More older people have dental issues and opt for foods that are easier to eat and are missing components such as fibre.

Stomach acid may be less and therefore food is not in the right format when it passes into the intestines to have nutrients extracted and passed into the bloodstream.

There is also a severe risk of Vitamin D deficiency in older members of our society who are less active and particularly those who are in care homes who have restricted access to the outside. This risk however, is not limited to the older generation as scientists have identified a high percentage of Covid – 19 patients are deficient in the vitamin.

The majority of men and women over 65 are also on a cocktail of prescribed medication that have side effects such as blood pressure pills, other heart medications and Statins for cholesterol. And whilst you should not stop taking any drugs that have been prescribed for you by your doctor, there is an opportunity that working with them, you could reduce your need for them over time.

One of the key issues facing us as we get older is inflammation within the body and is a result of our own immune system going into overdrive resulting in arthritis, myocarditis – inflammation in the heart resulting in breathing problems, inflammation in the small vessels in the lungs, water retention and in the kidneys resulting in high blood pressure. Inflammation in  the brain is also a cause of memory loss and dementia.

Issues that I covered in Project 101 – Resilience.

The posts encouraged small changes over a period of time to improve both function and resilience of the body so that should you catch a virus, including Covid-19 you are better equipped to fight off the infection.

To back up the posts I created pages of the relevant series such as weight loss that you can read in full should you wish to find out more. This includes the entire Size Matters the Sequel series of 17 Chapters that I have put into one page that you can bookmark and read at your leisure. I also created other pages that I hope will make them easier to access for reference.

Among the topics I covered:

  • Weight loss and some hacks that helped me lose over 150lbs
  • Inflammation in the body and brain one of the leading causes of disease
  • Lung function improvement and how to breathe.
  • Immune system boosting
  • Vitamin D and its vital role in keeping our bodies safe.
  • Exercise – keeping moving and the body functioning.
  • Flexibility – not just in body but in mind.
  • Blood Pressure – we need it to pump blood around our bodies, but too high and it can be dangerous.
  • Type II Diabetes and Pre-diabetes – risk factors that are simple to reverse
  • The Brain – The control centre of the body and it needs to be treated with respect.
  • Stress and its impact on weight and major organs such as the heart.
  • Acidity and Alkalinity in the body and how are creating the perfect environment for pathogens.
  • Candida Albicans

The hopeful outcome of the series.

I cannot promise that if you lose weight, improve your blood pressure, reduce your risk of diabetes, address inflammation in your body and great a better acidity/alkaline balance in your body that you won’t catch Covid-19… but I do hope it might give you a fighting chance in avoiding serious complications.

If you missed the posts and the pages here is a list that you can dip into at your leisure. I will be putting them together at some point as a book but I hope you will find useful in the meantime.

The Posts.

  1. The start of the project, my story and weight loss part one.
  2. Improving lung function, Weight loss hack – The Power of One
  3. Weight Loss Hack No 2 – Improving lung function No 2,
  4. Chronic Inflammation and the Immune System
  5. Sleep Part One – Weight Loss, Heart function and Immune System
  6. #Sleep Strategies and Music Therapy
  7. Flexibility – An Apple a Day
  8. How much do you get for your 1500 calories
  9. Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part One
  10. Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part Two
  11. Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part Three
  12. Vitamin D Deficiency Part One
  13. Vitamin D Deficiency Part Two – Getting Sufficient
  14. The importance of a healthy gut (part one)
  15. The importance of a healthy gut (part two) #Candida
  16. The importance of a healthy gut (part three) #Candida

The Pages

Thanks for all the support during the series and I hope that you have found useful. As always your feedback is much appreciated.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – Size Matters the Sequel – #Morbid Obesity – A physical rollercoaster – #anti-biotics #Candida #hormones #yo-yo dieting


Chapter Four – Physical Responses

Looking for physical significance in the pattern of weight loss and gain in my life has been a complicated process. The first step was to look at all the times when I was overweight and see if there was in fact a physical event that activated that particular phase.

I have been overweight, in a significant way, at least five times in my life. Up to the age of ten I seemed to have been tall and well built, but not particularly heavy. As I mentioned earlier, photographs, taken after this time, show that I had gained a considerable amount of weight over a relatively short period. I was looking for a physical trigger for this change, apart from the stress caused by moving to another country and another school?

To answer this, I have to fast-forward to when I was forty five and living in Ireland in 1998. I had worked really hard and managed to get my weight down by 120lbs to about 210 lbs. (15 st, 95 kg), but from that point on I seemed to hit a brick wall.

I was walking for a couple of hours a day, I ate sensibly on a low-fat, moderate carbohydrate regime, but I could not seem to shed any more weight. Despite this, I was experiencing some disturbing symptoms that worried me sufficiently that I had blood test done to see if that would uncover the source of my problem.

I was feeling very tired and had watery and itchy eyes, my ears constantly felt irritated and I was having mild dizzy spells. I had also developed an overwhelming urge for sweet food and bread. Having spent three years learning to control the urge for chocolate and sweets, it was frustrating and a little frightening to be in this position. At that time, a new range of biscuits and cakes came on the market which were low in fat and supposedly sugar free. I had being eating these for several weeks and it was not unusual for me to eat a packet a day. My weight started to creep up again and I became increasingly concerned that all my hard work was going to be for nothing.

The blood test showed that I was not suffering from diabetes. However, I still needed to find some answers. My husband got on the Internet and searched for some of the symptoms that I was experiencing. We got back some very interesting information, some of which could have been relevant to the problem. However, it was the data that we obtained on something called Candida Albicans that set alarm bells ringing. In the next chapterf there is more information on Candida, and a questionnaire that everyone who is overweight should complete.

What is Candida Albicans

Candida is a fungal infection of the intestine. There is a delicate balance of bacteria in our gut and it works very much like a waste-disposal unit. However, certain conditions can activate changes in the balance between healthy flora and this opportunistic fungus, and this can result in Candida taking control of the intestine. Candida is a yeast that thrives on sugar. Among the many symptoms of this condition is an irrational craving for sweet foods including high sugar savoury foods such as pasta sauces.

The list of symptoms attributable to Candida seemed endless, but when I completed the questionnaire, my score was so high that there was no doubt at all that I was indeed suffering from an overgrowth in its most chronic form. While it was an enormous relief to have identified what had been causing my problems, it was devastating to realise that Candida had been a part of my life since childhood and was likely to be one of the main reasons for my weight problems. It was not just a childhood event that had triggered Candida, but its fire had been fuelled several times since.

You will not be surprised to learn that one of the prime causes for this condition is the over use of antibiotics, and also some other medications prescribed for conditions such as asthma. Once I realised this, I put together a chart showing the periods in my life when I had experienced weight gain. Bingo! In every instance the weight gain followed heavy doses of antibiotics prescribed for a variety of reasons. In one way this discovery was reassuring.

Overweight people often look for a physical problem to blame for their condition, such as their glands, so it was a revelation to learn that there might indeed be a physical reason for my excessive weight gain.

The start of the anti-biotic affect on my health.

Tracking back through my history, I saw that until I reached the age of ten, I did not have a weight problem. When we lived in Cape Town, I suddenly developed chronic tonsillitis and was sick every few weeks, until I had my tonsils removed. Each bout of tonsillitis was treated with antibiotics and, within a few months, I had gained 30 or 40 lbs. (14 to 18 kg). The photographs taken of me leaving Cape Town, and on the ship coming home, have always been a source of embarrassment to me, including the one of me in a bright yellow dress and red shoes which made me look like a little barrage balloon!

Puberty and hormones

I was also entering puberty and hormonally, all kinds of havoc was going on in my body which were contributing to the physical turmoil that all of us go through at that age.

When I was going through puberty, we rarely ate industrially manufactured foods. Most meals were cooked from scratch.Today however, it is a different story with the prevalence of foods in the modern diet that are manufactured, containing additives, chemicals and high levels of sugar. These chemical enhancers to the food that many children and teenagers are eating, are contributing to the stress placed on the body and its operating systems, including the adrenal glands.

Even the chronic stress that I was experiencing (despite seemingly putting a good face on things) resulted in my adrenal glands producing cortisol consistently, rather than when needed in a flight or fight situation. This upset the balance between progesterone, and estrogen which led to the storage of fat.

Once you get into this imbalance between progesterone and estrogen, you may find that you experience the following symptoms throughout your reproductive years, unless it is diagnosed and treated. As you will see later in the post the hormonal changes during puberty combined with stress, is reinforced by yo-yo dieting in adulthood.

  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Hair thinning, loss or loss of colour
  • Fertility problems including higher risk of miscarriage
  • Moderate to severe PMS symptoms such as mood swings and bloating.
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Breast health issues including swelling and tenderness
  • Low testosterone in men
  • Thyroid disease
  • And a key factor in weight gain – damage to the metabolism resulting in consistent weight gain without necessarily overeating.

Finally my hormones began to settle down as we settled down for the last two years of my schooling and my first full time jobs.  Photographs show me as chubby until I was about fourteen (never to see the light of day), when there was a marked change. Remember that it was the 1960s and we had some pretty skinny role models then, such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton. The mini-skirt was the ultimate fashion item of the day and podgy thighs looked horrendous in them.

This began another cycle of yo-yo dieting as I started skipping meals and hiding the fact from my parents. They naturally assumed that the money they gave me for my school lunch was being spent on just that, and not on cigarettes! I walked to school a mile each way and the same over the weekend to my part-time job along the seafront. I was on my feet all day and would be out in the evenings with friends, and of course as boys came on the scene. I was on the go all the time.

We always ate well at the weekends when my father cooked and I certainly made up for the starvation during the week eating steamed suet steak and kidney puddings and apple pies and custard, but it was not sufficient to make up for the very low calorie and therefore nutritional value of food during the week.

I married at twenty years old and at twenty-one I was pregnant. I stopped smoking and ate well and put on the normal amount of weight and it was a reasonably happy time in my marriage. I miscarried at 24 weeks and there were complications that would have long term affects on both my physical health and stress levels. I was put on anti-biotics for the resulting infection and it was also the beginning of a difficult time in my marriage.

Between the ages of twenty one and twenty five, I gained and lost 30 to 50 lbs two or three times a year, until by the time my marriage broke up at 25 years old, I was four stone (56lbs) overweight, suffering from shingles and in a very bad place. I am sure that some of you reading this will know exactly what depths that takes you to. I am not going to go into details of my marriage or the three years of legal wrangling involved,as it is over forty years ago, but suffice to say the physical and mental scars stay with you for a lifetime.

Thankfully I managed to pull things together, and got a fantastic job at a boarding school where I was the caterer/housekeeper cooking from scratch for 140 three times a day. A year of good wholesome food, combined with an active working day, helped bring my weight down to healthier levels.

Unfortunately it was more difficult to cope with the chronic stress as my former husband made it impossible for me to remain safely at the school, and I had to move as a far as I possibly could within the UK. I started working as the assistant manager of a hotel in Wales and until my divorce came through on April 1st 1980, I existed on one meal a day and a packet of cigarettes, which did not do my health any good at all. In retrospect, and having worked with clients with eating disorders, I recognise that I was creating rituals about food, eating very little, and at one point existed on a handful of roasted parsnips each night for my one meal of the day. I was becoming anorexic, if not already fully fledged.

I met my second husband David when I was twenty seven and had been officially, and blessedly divorced for six months.. I was at my lowest weight ever, and thought I looked the bee’s knees. Unfortunately, I was also very unhealthy. I repeatedly suffered from chest infections and was put on several courses of antibiotics. I always had the feeling that I was just about to come down with an illness: colds, coughs, and any infection that was about.

We married in November 1980. My eating habits improved and my exercise level increased, because I began helping out on the sheep farm where we were living. After about six months we moved to Liverpool and I started work in the city centre. We were saving for a house and working hard. There were little treats, however, which began to take their toll. Sunday morning breakfast in bed, for instance. Two rounds of bacon, tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches and a family packet of those tasty chocolates with the less fattening centres – that was just my portion!

After about a year I developed an abscess under a tooth. This was not unusual for me, because I had suffered several in the past, but on this occasion it nearly cost me my life. Since we were fairly broke, I attended the Liverpool Dental Hospital and was treated by senior students that ‘needed the practice’, which is not to imply that they were in any way at fault. However, as is normal practice, I was prescribed more antibiotics. Eventually, after several weeks of root-canal treatment and medication, the dental students were not able to save the tooth and so had to extract it. The infection was so bad that I was given an injection of penicillin. We flew to Ireland that weekend for my brother-in-law’s wedding and I became ill and was rushed into hospital in Cork. We now know that not only had the infection spread throughout my entire system, but I had developed a blood clot after the tooth extraction that had spread to my lung. So it was blood thinner and more antibiotics!

After this episode, my weight ballooned to over 220 lbs. (15 st 10 lbs., 100 kg) and I didn’t manage to lose any weight until we were living in Texas in 1986. We lived in the United States for two amazing years. While there, I led a healthy, active life, with a diet which consisted of lots of fish, salads and vegetables, and I was not sick once. By the time we returned to England in 1987, I weighed about 180 lbs. (12 st 12 lbs., 82 kg), which was not hugely overweight, given my height. Encouraged by the fact that 40 lbs. (18 kg) had stayed off for about two years, I decided to lose another 30 lbs. (14 kg) and really get my life in gear.

A new diet of 600 calories per day was in fashion in 1987: a diet bar for breakfast and lunch and then vegetables in the evening. The promoters promised a weight loss of 30 lbs. (14 kg) per month and I achieved that very easily. I was hungry but triumphant at less than 150 lbs. (10.7st, 68 kg). Unfortunately, within two months 40 lbs. (18 kg) had leapt back on to me from ‘nowhere’. My diet was good: three meals a day, no fried food, chocolate or alcohol. A normal, everyday eating program. So how did the weight gain occur?

Over the next few years I would swap between very restrictive calorie intake of around 800 calories a day for weeks on end, followed by binge eating. And one day at age forty -two years old I was 330lbs (150kilo, 24 stone)

What was worse is that I would not eat fresh food when I was restricting my calories. I relied on the magic diet shakes and bars providing my body with its daily dose of sugar.

When I was tracking all this at the age of forty three, I was simply writing down the sequence of events. Clearly, the use of antibiotics was a primary cause, but this was not the only factor. It was also obvious that I had been suffering from Candida from the age of ten. When I had reached puberty underlying chronic stress had affected my adrenal glands, resulting in a hormonal imbalance leading to fat storage. And, what was also becoming clear was that after each extended crash diet, I would put on more weight than before and a pattern was emerging.

I now had several avenues of research to follow, and with the newly available Internet, I was able to find a certain amount of information about continuous restrictive dieting.  I discovered that  I had compounded the original weight problem by starving my body into protecting me. Every time I starved myself, my body, in its will to survive, stopped processing food and stored it instead.

How the body reacts to a cycle of restrictive calories and binge eating.

When our body perceives there to be a food shortage, it will take matters into its own hands. It is now a medically proven fact that such a condition exists; you will find details of the research into this condition on the Internet and in professional fitness publications. It is often called ‘Starvation Response’, or ‘Famine Response Syndrome’. These terms do not however adequately describe the condition for me.

The body appears to detect both calorie restrictions and nutritional deficiency. A person could be taking in 3,000 calories per day, but if the food is very high in fats and sugars and has little nutritional value, the body will consider this to be a form of starvation. I have therefore changed the name of this response by the body to ‘Nutritional Deficiency Syndrome’.

This is a condition that goes back to our very origins. It is more prevalent in women, because we were always the child-bearers and had to be able to nourish the unborn child. The female body’s response to famine was to store fat on the hips and thighs. This is the source from which the foetus would have taken its nourishment.

Nutritional Deficiency Syndrome and the reproductive system

The Hypothalamus

The other name of the hypothalamus is actually the word homeostasis, which means balance, which is very appropriate. It is located in the middle of the base of the brain and is connected to the pituitary lobes, which form the most important gland in the body and is often referred to as the Master Gland.

The hypothalamus regulates body temperature, blood sugar, water balance, fat metabolism, appetite, body weight, sensory input like taste and smell and sight, sleep, sexual behaviour, emotions, hormone productions, menstrual cycle regulation and the automatic nervous system that controls automatic functions such as breathing and the heart muscle.

The Pituitary gland

The pituitary gland has an anterior and posterior lobe. The anterior lobe regulates the activity of the thyroid, adrenals and the reproductive glands producing a number of hormones.

  • Growth hormone stimulates the growth of bone and body tissues and plays a part in the metabolism of nutrients and minerals.
  • Prolactin, which activates milk production in mothers who are breast-feeding.
  • Thyrotropin which stimulates the thyroid to produce hormones.
  • Corticotrophin which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce its hormones.
  • Gonadotrophs are cells that secret the two hormones that stimulate hormone production in the ovaries and testes. These are called luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and whilst not essential to life are essential to reproduction.

The pituitary gland also secretes endorphins, which act as natural pain relief within the nervous system. It is also the gland that releases hormones that signal the ovaries and testes to make the sex hormones and controls the ovulation and menstrual cycle.

Amenorrhea (irregular or absence of periods)occurs when the normal secretion of Gonadotropin-releasing Hormone from the hypothalamus is interrupted.

Something that I suffered from most of my reproductive years between 14 and 54.

So now I had acquired two important pieces of information. Not only did I have chronic Candida, but I was also suffering from ‘Nutritional Deficiency Syndrome’.

So I had now established that several factors that had contributed to my obesity. I say contributed, since I was still the one who had been putting food into my mouth, or not depending on where I was in my dieting cycle.

  1. Chronic stress leads to the hormone cortisol to be secreted leading to fat storage and to comfort eating, particularly in children and young adults who do not have other coping mechanisms.
  2. The overuse of antibiotics in childhood is decimating the healthy gut bacteria needed to process food effectively, and to maintain a healthy balance of Candida Albicans.
  3. Repeated yo-yo dieting, alternating between starvation and binging results in a calorific and nutritional deficiency. This forces the body into survival mode and whilst you could clearly keep starving to an extreme, leading to anorexia, most of us will start to eat normally after six to eight weeks and the body will put the weight back on, plus an extra stone every time.
  4. This cycle repeated two or three times a year can lead to an overall weight gain of three to four stone a year. You will find that the starvation phase gets shorter and the binging last longer. Until you might lose four or five pounds over six weeks but put back double that within a couple of weeks.
  5. The body does not like change, it likes to get its nutrients regularly and in a form that it understands and can process. If that does not take place certain functions within the body will cease.
  6. The body does not like to lose weight quickly, especially when it is given shakes and bars that have little relation to real food. It will work hard to refill the fat cells once real food in quantity is consumed, as storage ready for the next famine that it has been trained to expect every six to eight weeks.
  7. It is estimated that at least 70% of all people suffer from an overgrowth of Candida. And as our diet becomes increasingly industrially produced and sugar laden, this fungal infection will continue to have a part in the obesity epidemic.

Extract from an article The Largely Unknown Health Epidemic Affecting almost all Americans (and likely UK population as well).

Research from Rice University shows that 70 percent of all people have Candida, a systemic fungal infection, in their bodies. According to the molecular biologists at Rice University, Candida is common in humans and is often found in colonies in their intestines, mouths, or on their skin. When researchers delved deeper into how Candida albicans moved throughout the body, with findings published in the journal PLOS One, they noted that the “remarkable pathogen” Candida can cause infection in the body that is both superficial and systemic by penetrating epithelial barriers.

If you have a strong immune system, you could still unknowingly have a fungal/yeast infection. It most likely is low-grade and chronic.

A Harvard University fellow in infectious disease, Julia Koehler, found that Candida is the predominant fungal infection behind human disease. According to Koehler, Candida was responsible for 60 percent of the fungal infections acquired in hospitals, killing one in three people with a bloodstream infection. Comparing Candida’s shape-shifting ability to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Koehler considered the fungus particularly dangerous because of its ability to change forms. When immunity is low, Candida can take over, and a systemic infection can quickly become lethal.

Source: https://bodyecology.com/articles/unknown_health_epidemic.php

Since Candida Albicans, is in my opinion, one of the major causes of our current obesity epidemic, the next two chapters will deal with it in more detail and provide the strategies needed to bring the overgrowth back under control. And the eating programme to limit its access to the food it thrives on; Sugar.

You can find the previous posts in this series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-the-sequel/

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments.. or if you prefer send in an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Health Column – Health in the New – Obesity Research – Fat Accumulation Table by Sally Cronin


I probably wrote most of the excuses for my life threatening obesity in my 30s and 40s in my quest to blame anything and everything other than myself.

“It must be my genes” is one of the favourite excuses, and certainly used by many of my clients over the years. Unfortunately, whilst there may be a small proportion of people who do have a real genetic reason for their ability to put on weight, it is not applicable to the majority.

I originally lost 11 stone or 154lbs 22 years ago and there have been times when that weight has drifted back by a couple of stones, it is usually because I have also drifted back into bad habits.

There is no doubt that age and lack of activity do count for some of it. Our body’s systems are not as efficient, and we still feel we can get away with eating the same way we did 30 years ago. Provided you are still very active, that may well be the case, but you still need to keep an eye on the amount of food you are consuming.

Eating a diet that is fresh and cooked from scratch is a great start, but unfortunately even the finest of fresh meats and whole grains still contain calories.

However many ‘fad’ diets there are littering the Internet, you cannot get away from the fact that if you eat more than you expend in energy…. you put weight on.

I don’t believe in giving up any food group that supplies the wide variety of nutrients the body needs to be healthy.

But, you can have too much of a good thing.

You cannot eat unlimited healthy fats and not put on weight. You only need a moderate amount to achieve the nutritional benefits, and the same applies to wholegrain carbohydrates which are so essential for our energy levels.

You have to find the balance, as I have as I have become less active. Portion control is a pain, but it means that you can eat all the foods you enjoy but just less of them.

I have found Intermittent Fasting to suit me best, and eat between 11.00 or midday – to 7.00 or 8.00 pm. every day. I do have a glass of coconut water and tea first thing, which is not strictly within the guidelines, but does not seem to impact the end result.  I eat a good lunch but only have a light supper at night and always make sure that I leave three hours before going to bed. The digestive process for a light meal is complete, and I sleep a great deal better.

The health benefits to me, besides helping me get back down to my optimum weight is that I am not on any medication and my BP, Blood Sugar and Cholesterol are balanced.

This does not suit everyone… if you have an active job or lifestyle, you need to start the day with a good breakfast. The key is to find what suits you, gives you the nutritional requirements your body needs to do the job you demand of it, and maintains a healthy weight and fully functioning immune system.

The magic bullet for treating obesity is like the holy grail, and billions have been spent on finding a short cut to reducing people’s weight. Gastric bands, fasting, fat busters, diet shakes and sometimes harmful diet pills and potions.

At the end of the day slimming clubs are probably the most effective as they limit your intake of less healthy food, and instil willpower which works for many of their members.

At the end of the day, if you are overweight then you are doing yourself harm. Some may like to assure you, that you can still be fit and be severely overweight, but it is not the fat that you can see is the problem. It is the fat around your major organs, such as the heart that are dangerous.

I have written several series on healthy weight loss and will repeat them from time to time. However, one of the most effective weight loss tools that I put together for myself and my clients all those years ago was this table.

It shows you the accumulative factor of having two or more portions of particular foods regularly on your weight.  In most cases, simply halving the quantity of that food will achieve your healthy weight in a matter of months and perhaps in some cases a year.

It is important to remember that 1lb of fat lost a week is 52lbs/24kilo in a year which is usually what most people are looking to achieve. At the recommended weight loss of 2lbs per week that is 104lbs/ 48kilo in a year.

Take a look at the foods in the table and see if there are some that you are eating a little too much of. And if your favourite daily snack is not on the list… check out the calories and multiply by 365 and then divide by 3,500 (equivalent to 1lb of body fat) and see how much weight you could lose by halving the amount you eat over the year.

Obviously weight loss is assisted when you combine sensible portion control with some moderate exercise too.

A brisk mile walk a day accumulates to 36,500 calories per year or in body fat terms 10lbs.

 

Here are some of the recent studies on obesity.

Effect of genetic factors on nutrition: The genes are not to blame

Individualized dietary recommendations based on genetic information are currently a popular trend. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has systematically analyzed scientific articles and reached the following conclusion: There is no clear evidence for the effect of genetic factors on the consumption of total calories, carbohydrates, and fat. According to the current state of knowledge, the expedience of gene-based dietary recommendations has yet to be proven.

Overweight and obesity have become a global health problem. According to the World Health Organization, 39 percent of adults in EU countries have overweight. In Germany more than 50 percent of adults suffer from overweight, almost one fifth is according to the Robert Koch Institute currently considered obese. This is primarily due to the modern lifestyle which is characterized by low physical activity and high-calorie foods.

Also genetic factors play a role in the occurrence of obesity. To date, around a hundred genes (loci) have been identified which are related to the body mass index (BMI). However, the functioning of these genes as well as the biological mechanisms behind them are still largely unknown. The investigation of the relationship between genetic factors and nutrition can shed light on whether the genes which are linked to BMI play a role in nutrition.

You can read the rest of the report on how research is failing to implicate genes in the global obesity epidemic: Science Daily – Genes link to obesity.

 

Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity among people looking to shed extra kilograms and maintain a healthy weight. Researchers argue that this type of diet may also slow down aging and disease.

In intermittent fasting, what essentially takes place in the body is that one source of energy — which can facilitate the accumulation of body fat — is switched for another.

Our bodies run on glucose, or simple sugar, but when we fast for a longer period of time, that energy source becomes unavailable.

Our system needs to identify a different kind of “fuel.” That is when the body begins to convert certain types of body fat into fatty acids, which are easily absorbed by the blood.

Fatty acids, in turn, produce molecules called ketones, which the body uses as its new source of energy.

Stephen Anton, a researcher at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, calls this process “flipping the metabolic switch.”

“This switch,” explains Anton, “can happen after a certain period of time fasting. It’s a gradation in which your metabolism over time shifts to use higher and higher amounts of ketones for energy.”

He and his team were interested to learn more about how this switch occurs, and whether it could bring other health benefits, alongside weight management.

For this purpose, they reviewed numerous recent studies focused on the mechanisms and benefits of intermittent fasting.

The team’s review, published in the journal Obesity, suggests that intermittent fasting may be more healthful than other dieting strategies, as ketones put less stress on cells than the byproducts of other dieting styles.

Significant weight loss regardless of style 

Read more about the research and its conclusions: Medical News Today – Intermittent Fasting

 

Half of Britons will be obese by 2045 if current trends are not halted, according to new forecasts.

Experts said that without radical action the NHS will be “overwhelmed” – with one in eight suffering from type 2 diabetes.

The condition already costs the health service around £10 billion annually.

Almost one in three British adults are now estimated to be obese, according to the study. by University College London and pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.

And if trends continue, 48 per cent of adults will be classed as obese by 2045.

The figure is more than double the forecast global average of 22 per cent, with the US the only developed country predicted to fare worse, reaching 55 per cent.

Around 10 per cent of adults in the UK already have type two diabetes, which is closely linked to excess weight. And the data presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna suggests this will reach almost 13 per cent by 2045.

Read the rest of the article: Telegraph – Obesity forecast.

©Just Food for Health 1998 – 2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

I would love to connect to you on social media.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58
Google + : https://plus.google.com/+SallyCronin/about
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1

You can find all my health posts this year in the directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

I hope this has given you something to think about, not just in relation to your own health but that of your family. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Flights of Fancy – Getting Away with Murder by Sally Cronin


Flights of Fancy was my first short story collection published in 2009 in paperback and audio with a later ebook edition. The stories were written over twenty years and scribbled down on odd pieces of paper… Over the next five weeks I will be sharing them on Saturday and Sunday whilst I get on with editing the next book.. I hope you will enjoy my early efforts.

Getting Away with Murder.

On my forty-third birthday, I murdered a woman. She made me do it. For over fifteen years, she had made my very life, a misery and a mockery. This woman had bullied and forced me into behaviour that had made me ashamed, fearful for my life and sanity. She jeopardized my health and destroyed my self-esteem.

As I stand before you, I freely admit to this killing. I realise that this is my chance to have my say, to explain and to acknowledge this deed of mine. Firstly, let me say, that given the chance, I would kill her all over again. I can show you no remorse or guilt. I cannot stand before you with head bowed and accept your condemnation. It was self-defence in every sense of the word.

This woman came into my life one dreary, wet Irish day, when the clouds met the horizon in a solid sheet of grey. I usually came to the beach when I felt a bit down, sometimes the water washed away my blues, but today the chill wind simply intensified my mood. I didn’t even notice her approaching me. One minute I was alone, and the next she was beside me.

“You look a little sad dear, is there anything I can do to help?”

I looked at her and saw a homely, motherly type of woman, with a gentle, slightly worried look on her face.

“I’m fine, thank you.” I replied, trying to smile warmly, as if I didn’t  have a care in the world.

How come then, ten minutes later, I find myself at a table at the almost deserted seaside café, pouring my heart out to this complete stranger? My husband loved me whatever weight I was, but I knew that others were not so forgiving. I dragged up baggage from my past and held onto it defiantly; determined not to let go of the weight of it. Self-pity flowed like hot lava from my mouth, and she sat quietly, listening intently and nodding her head from time to time.

When I think back, she said very little. She didn’t even tell me her name at that time; I used her like an absorbent sponge, soaking up my misery. All she did was push the plate of fresh cream cakes towards me, urging me to take another; that I would feel better if I did.

We met time and time again, sometimes in cafes or restaurants, and as we got to know each other, in my own home. I kept her a secret from everyone. After all she was my friend and nobody else’s. She understood me, and at first I welcomed the comfort she brought me in the form of chocolate and cakes; sweet things that took away the bitterness that was beginning to grow inside about myself.

Soon I could add being fat to my list of woes. I tried several times to tell her that I didn’t want to eat her sugary offerings, but my will was weak and I always succumbed as she sat there smiling benignly at me. One day I realised that my clothes no longer fitted. My husband began hinting gently, that perhaps for my health’s sake, I should lose some weight, and why didn’t I join a slimming club or perhaps take up more exercise?

I reinforced my defensive position and turned instead to my special friend. I would moan to her, shouting about how unfair it all was. It was my body anyway. She would pat my hand, comfort me, and make me feel safe and loved. She loved me however fat I was getting. She was my friend, the one who never criticised me, or made me feel an outcast.

Over the next fifteen years, she became an even better friend, although there were times when I rejected her and asked not to come around anymore. I told her that I needed to try and lose some weight, make new friends and stand on my own two feet. It would only last for a few weeks. Something would upset me. There would be an emotional crisis, an imagined slight, or a comment from someone about losing weight. I would weaken and call her to come around; knowing that she never came empty-handed.

My secret relationship with her went from strength to strength. She was there whenever I needed her. Late in the night when the urge for a kind word and sweet comfort would overcome me, I would call for her to come around and bring her treats. I lied to my husband and family and pretended that I was eating only the best of foods; that I never touched anything fattening. I certainly never mentioned the chocolate or cream cakes that I shared with my special friend daily. Secretly I would buy my own supplies and would tell outrageous lies to the disbelieving, skinny women behind the pastry counters.

‘Oh, the family is coming over this afternoon for tea, will you ever let me have six of those big chocolate éclairs.’ Or wonderful nights of nights, Halloween, the bliss of a legitimate excuse to buy ten pounds of chocolate bars; never destined to see the inside of a child.

When I was forty-three, after an enduring friendship throughout all those years, our relationship was put to the test. I became ill, tired and listless with nosebleeds and pains in my chest. I went to the doctor who put me through the shame of standing on that infernal machine that always seemed to multiply my weight by three. I stood down, expecting the usual lecture, but was met with a resigned and serious look from my family physician. An hour later, I was standing on my beach, looking at the clouds meeting the horizon and remembering my first meeting with my best friend all those years ago.

I had been told the stark truth of my situation. I would die if I didn’t lose weight. My blood pressure was through the roof and my heart was on the point of bursting. It was lose weight or die. Soon. The ultimatum that I had been given reverberated through my numb brain. My friend was coming to see me, she would be at home now, with a batch of newly baked scones, strawberry jam and fresh whipped cream. I couldn’t turn my back on her friendship.

How could I survive without her sweet temptations? She would never accept a friendship that was so empty of comfort and sweetness. I had a choice, and I knew that it was mine to make alone. She wouldn’t go willingly. I had tried so many times to break off our relationship, but every time, one way or another, she slipped back into my life within a very short space of time.

There was only one solution. If she wouldn’t go voluntarily, then I would have to kill her. But I was not sure that I was strong enough to do this face to face. I didn’t have the courage. I would have to find a way to infiltrate her defenses; alter her perceptions and remove her hold on my life by terminating her own if necessary. It would be a shock to my system, after so many years, to be suddenly bereft of this companion of mine. Did I have the survival instinct to kill this woman before she killed me?

That night, we really fought for the very first time. Sure we had quarrelled and parted company for the odd week or even month, but this time it was a physical, mental and emotional battle of monumental proportions. I argued, she cajoled, holding out her hands filled with chocolate bars and promises. I refused and turned my back; she came up and laid her hands on my shoulders.

“You are mine and you must never, ever forget that.”

For the first time I sensed malice and threat in her voice and her manner.

Her hands moved to my neck and I felt them caress my skin as they closed around my throat. I couldn’t breathe and felt my strength and will ebbing from me. I turned and using all my considerable weight, I throw her away from me. She landed in a heap on the floor, staring at me open-mouthed; I lifted the lamp above my head and smashed it towards her.

She looked surprisingly small suddenly, shrivelled and lifeless. I opened the front door and turned to pick up her remains and laid her in the trunk of the car. Slamming the lid, I headed towards my refuge at the beach where I carried my burden of guilt, shame and fear to the water’s edge. I walked forward and stood up to my knees in the cold, dark green water and watched as my nemesis floated away out into the Irish Sea. She slowly bobbed around, this way and that, until she settled on a direction. I turned my back on her lifeless form and trudged up the sand to my car.

Over the next two years I walked that beach every day – shedding my weight and slowly my guilt and my neurosis. No trace of the woman. She just disappeared. Slowly I came back from the brink and every day I would get stronger and stronger. It was as if she had sapped the very life from me during those fifteen years. Taking away my will, forcing me into behaviours that were alien to the woman I had once been. What had begun as a sweet and innocent relationship, had turned sour and harmful in every way possible.

That is why today, I am standing before you. I am fit and healthy with a positive outlook on life. No longer under a sentence of death, I emerged the victor, lighter in body and heart, with hope for a future that suddenly seemed filled with promise and opportunity. There was no doubt that I had lost some of myself. I had killed that part of me that had driven me to the brink. I had killed the woman inside of me that would have taken me to the grave with her without tasting the real sweetness of life.

So no, I will not plead guilty, nor will I feel remorse. I stand before this mirror in all my glory and am proud that I got away with murder.

©sallycronin Flights of Fancy 2009

Other short story anthologies.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Thank you for dropping in and as always I value your feedback. Sally.

Smorgasbord Health – Nutrition in the news – Salt – we may have been getting it all wrong!


Smorgasbord Health 2017I have been a nutritional therapist for nearly 20 years, and one of the essential elements of my work has been to remain informed of new research as it becomes available. This has sometimes turned previously held beliefs on their head, and these latest findings from Dr. James DiNicolantonio certainly qualifies as that.

I have always watched my salt intake as high blood pressure has been a family health concern. I have also been obese for a great many years of my life and certainly have always struggled to maintain a healthy weight. I do not take any medication of any kind and I have worked to keep my blood pressure at normal levels.

However, if this new research is to be believed, I may well have been going about this the wrong way by reducing my salt levels too far.  I have read several articles written by Dr. DiNicolatonio and I am sharing excerpts from two that I suggest you read and consider.

I am not suggesting that you suddenly dive into the salt pot and certainly not to stop taking any medication. I am however excited to discover more about this line of research and will be looking into it in more detail when the book is published.

Top scientist says all you’ve been told about salt is WRONG: It won’t give you a heart attack – while having too little will make you fat and ruin your sex life

For more than 40 years, we’ve been told eating too much salt is killing us. Doctors say it’s as bad for our health as smoking or not exercising, and government guidelines limit us to just under a teaspoon a day.

We’re told not to cook with it and not to sprinkle it on our meals. The white stuff is not just addictive, goes the message — it’s deadly. Too much of it causes high blood pressure, which in turn damages our hearts. We must learn to live — joylessly, flavourlessly but healthily — without it.

Well, I’m here to tell you that all of that is wrong. As a leading cardiovascular research scientist — based at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute, Missouri — I’ve contributed extensively to health policy and medical literature.

I am associate editor of the British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, published in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society, and I sit on the editorial advisory board of several other medical journals.
In my work, I’ve examined data from more than 500 medical papers and studies about salt. And this is what I’ve learned: there was never any sound scientific evidence to support this low salt idea. What’s more, as I explain in my new book, eating too little of it can cause insulin resistance, increased fat storage and may even increase the risk of diabetes — not to mention decreasing our sex drive.

Current daily guidelines limit you to 2.4g of sodium, which translates to 6g of salt (or sodium chloride) or slightly less than a teaspoonful.

If you have high blood pressure, or belong to a group considered to be at greater risk of developing it — such as being over 60 or Afro-Caribbean — doctors even advise you to cut your intake to two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt per day.

Yet salt is an essential nutrient that our bodies depend on to live. And those limits go against all our natural instincts. When people are allowed as much salt as they fancy, they tend to settle at about a teaspoon-and-a-half a day. This is true all over the world, across all cultures, climates and social backgrounds.

Read the rest of the article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4546722/Salt-won-t-heart-attack-says-scientist.html

The Mineral Deficiency That’s Making You Gain Weight by Dr James DiNicolantonio

“Salted foodstuffs make people slim, whereas sweet ones make them fat.” —Pliny (A.D. 23 to A.D. 79), an ancient Roman author and philosopher

We’ve been told for decades to hold the salt at the dinner table for the sake of our hearts and blood pressure. The anti-salt campaign has blurred the picture about what salt actually does for us—besides making everything taste better. Salt is an essential mineral that has many vital functions in the body, which I go into more in my new book, The Salt Fix. Since we lose salt every day through sweat and urine, we need to consume some salt in order to live.

What happens when we aren’t getting the salt we need?

When our bodies become depleted in salt, the brain seems to react by sensitizing the reward system—and not just the reward system for salt, but the same reward system that drives us to other pleasurable activities. The purpose of that sensitization is that when we eat salt it induces a greater reward than usual, leading to an increase intake of salt. This primitive “reptilian” response in the brain is over 100 million years old and it has carried over from our ancient ancestors. Its goal is to keep us alive by preventing or quickly fixing a salt deficit in the body. In other words, the brain controls our salt fix.
In our modern world, though, this reward system, intended to save our lives after salt deficit, could be inadvertently leading to weight gain, and even obesity.

Read the rest of this revolutionary post on the subject of salt in our diet: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/is-salt-deficiency-contributing-to-the-obesity-epidemic

The Salt Fix by Dr James DiNicolantonio, to be published by Piatkus Books on June 6 at £13.99.

Dr. James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, is the author of The Salt Fix, and a cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri. A well-respected and internationally known scientist and expert on health and nutrition, he has contributed extensively to health policy and medical literature. He serves as the associate editor of British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, a journal published in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society. He is also on the editorial advisory board of several other medical journals, including Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases and International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (IJCPT). For more information on Dr. DiNicolantonio, please visit http://www.thesaltfix.com.

Available for pre-order: https://www.amazon.com/Dr.-James-DiNicolantonio/e/B0711HJV9C

And another reason to ‘Cook from Scratch’ based on a Russian study.

Do you believe high amounts of salt provoke thirst and contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease? If so, you’re likely wrong. Studies have consistently failed to support either of these notions, showing the converse is actually true. Here’s a summary of findings that may surprise you:

• Eating large amounts of salt will not make you thirsty or cause greater urine output (which could lead to dehydration). A study1 involving Russian cosmonauts reveal eating more salt actually lowered their thirst — yet increased hunger.2,3 Recent animal research4 support these results, showing a high-salt diet resulted in increased metabolism, forcing the animals to eat 25 percent more calories just to maintain weight. This suggests salt may have a surprising influence on your weight

• Evidence shows having the correct potassium to sodium balance influences your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease to a far greater extent than high sodium alone, and processed foods are typically low in potassium and high in sodium

• Studies suggest a low-salt diet can actually worsen cardiovascular disease and raise rather than lower the risk for early death among patients at high risk of heart disease5

• The vast majority, approximately 71 percent, of your salt intake comes from processed food.6 Hence, if you avoid processed foods, you have virtually no risk of consuming too much salt.7 Eating a whole food diet will also ensure a more appropriate sodium-to-potassium ratio

• When lowering salt in processed foods, many manufacturers started adding monosodium glutamate (MSG) instead — a flavor enhancer associated with obesity, headaches, eye damage,8 fatigue and depression. Due to its ability to overexcite neurons, MSG may even raise your risk for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease

Read the rest of the article here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/05/29/salt-health-effects.aspx?

About Dr. Joseph Mercola

Dr. Joseph Mercola is a New York Times bestselling author with a shelf of books on health.

My motivation, whether you are a member of the Mercola.com community or have just heard about me for the first time, is to make you as healthy as you can possibly be. This involves:

Providing the most up-to-date natural health information and resources that will most benefit you and,

Exposing corporate, government, and mass media hype that diverts you away from what is truly best for your health and often to a path that leads straight into an early grave.

Mercola.com is not, in other words, a tool to get me a bigger house and car, or to run for Senate. I fund this site, and therefore, am not handcuffed to any advertisers, silent partners, or corporate parents.

Read the rest of Dr. Mercola’s impressive C.V. here: http://www.mercola.com/forms/background.htm

A reminder again that this is not a recommendation that you stop taking medication and suddenly start eating high levels of salt. But, as always I do recommend that you stay away from industrially produced foods and add salt to your food as you prepare and then eat.

Whilst you may spend a little more time in the kitchen preparing fresh ingredients think of it in terms of adding years to your lifespan!

 

Smorgasbord Health – The Digestive System – Candida Albicans an opportunistic pathogen.


Smorgasbord Health 2017

It is not possible to do a series on the digestive system without spending time covering our intestines and the delicate balance of bacteria that populate it. More and more research is showing that an imbalance has a profound effect on our overall physical and mental health. There are many diseases that have their root cause in the gut brain of our body.

It is not my intention to lay the blame for all diseases at the feet of Candida Albicans but it is I belief important to understand how an overgrowth of this pathogen can result in a lifetime of health issues. I will share how this impacted me later in the post.

Over the next few posts I will be repeating the Candida series and I hope that those who have already read two years ago will still find something of interest.

Recently I was asked about the difference between Probiotics and Prebiotics and will explain that now before we get into the issue of this rogue gut inhabitant.

Probiotics are the bacteria and yeasts that are classified as ‘friendly’. They inhabit our digestive tract and are a vital part of the process of digesting food and turning it into something that the rest of the body into a form it can utilise. Without a healthy balance of these probiotics systems such as the immune functionn can be compromised as well as the health of other operating systems and the major organs.  If you eat live dairy products including Kefir or fermented foods such as sauerkraut it will encourage the essential bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria to flourish.

Prebiotics are processed from insoluble carbohydrates in most fruit and vegetables including Apples (skin on) bananas, beans, artichokes etc (which is why we need to eat several portions of vegetables and fruit daily) This survives the stomach acid and digestive process that some foods such as yogurts might not do, and reaches the gut where it acts like a fertiliser for the existing probiotics and maintains a healthy balance.

As far as Candida Albicans is concerned this balance in the intestinal flora is crucial and I will explain that as we mover through the upcoming posts.

I am 42, 330lbs/150kilo and with severe health problems in 1994

My acquaintance with Candida Albicans was back in the mid 90’s. I was determined to lose my additional 10 or 11 stone and so began studying nutrition and in the process I decided to create a timeline to identify events and activities in my life from childhood that might have triggered weight gain.

At age 10 I suffered a number of bouts of tonsillitis and was given penicillin at least five times before the tonsils were removed. Before these infections I was a normal size child – three months after the operation I was three stone overweight. Something had changed.

It took me a while once I began to study nutrition, but slowly over a period of about five years I began to join the dots and came to the conclusion that this first trigger and subsequent thrush and cystitis infections, crash dieting, sugar and bread cravings were linked in some way. Candida Albicans began to get more publicity and I compared my symptoms with those described and I experienced at least 80% of them.

My first book that I originally wrote as a journal,was published in 2001.Size Matters  was the story of my journey of my weight loss from 330lbs to 180lbs, and how this most common human fungal pathogen was largely responsible for my weight and health problems.

Before I cover the scary bit – because it is overwhelming to think that there is this predatory pathogen inside the majority of us (mainly living the western world and our high sugar diet!) There are steps we can all take to ensure that our diet and lifestyle support our immune system by keeping the intestines in balance with plenty of beneficial bacteria to maintain Candida in its proper proportions.

We are all familiar with the concerns about the rain forests and their devastation and long lasting consequences for our planet. Well our gut is an eco-system too – teeming with life that is as varied and as exotic as in any rain forest. And, like the many species that are at risk in the wider world, our bacteria that populate our gut and keep us alive are under threat too.

70% of humans contain Candida Albicans in small amounts in our gut and urinary tract. In those amounts it is harmless – however – advances in medical treatment and our modern diet have given this opportunistic pathogen all it needs to develop from harmless colonies to massive overgrowths. It is also referred to as Monilia, Thrush, Candidiasis and Yeast Infection. The most at risk are those with an already compromised immune system, but because of our high sugar, white carbohydrate and processed foods in our diets, most of us are now at risk. We also have been treated with broad spectrum antibiotics for the last 65 years as well as newer drugs that we take long term, that manipulate our hormonal balances. We as yet do not know the long term impact on our bodies of the modern drugs we take and it may be generations before we do. Which is why there is now great concern that the pathogens are becoming more and more resistant to drugs such as antibiotics.

The eco-system which is our gut.

Our intestinal tract, like our hearts, brains, livers, kidneys etc is a major organ. Some refer to it as the gut brain – How many times do you mention your gut feelings? Without it there would be no way to process the raw ingredients we eat to keep our immune system healthy enough to protect us from pathogens. The good bacteria or flora in the gut, two of which are, Bifidobacteria bifidum and Lactobaccillus acidophilus normally keep the Candida in balance.

In most cases antibiotics are broad spectrum, not specific, because, without a lab test it is difficult to tell the specific strain of bacteria responsible for an infection. The use of broad spectrum drugs usually guarantees that the bacteria in question will be killed off. Unfortunately, not only the bad bacteria are killed off but also the good bacteria in your gut. Candida remains unaffected because it is not bacteria it is a yeast and this is where it takes full advantage.

What happens to Candida to allow it to take over?

If Candida yeast is allowed to grow unchecked, it changes from its normal yeast fungal form to a mycelial fungal form that produces rhizoids. These long, root-like components are capable of piercing the walls of the digestive tract and breaking down the protective barriers between the intestines and the blood. This breakthrough allows many allergens to enter the blood stream causing allergic reactions. Mucus is also formed around major organs and in the lining of the stomach. This prevents your digestive system from functioning efficiently. The result is poorly digested food and wasted nutrients. Your body begins to suffer a deficiency of these nutrients and it leads to chronic fatigue, an impaired immune system and disease.

There would appear to be a strong link between this overgrowth of Candida Albicans to a huge list of symptoms and illness. Here is a snapshot.

  • People who are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME usually test positive for Candida although there are also other issues involved in this complex condition.
  • Numbness, burning or tingling in fingers or hands.
  • Insomnia,
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhoea,
  • Bloating,
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Thrush and Cystitis,
  • Sexual dysfunction and loss of sexual drive.
  • Endometriosis or infertility
  • PMS and heavy and painful periods.
  • Depression and panic attacks
  • Irritablity when hungry.
  • Unexplained muscle or joint pains often diagnosed with arthritis.
  • Headaches and mood swings.
  • Chronic rashes or hives
  • Food intolerance.
  • Liver function due to build up of toxins leading to  chronic fatigue, discomfort and depression.

The list is virtually endless – which just adds to the confusion at the time of diagnosis.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then you may have a varying degree of overgrowth.

©sallycronin 1998 – 2018

Next time I will be looking at ways to feed the body but starve the fungus…

 

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Weight Reduction – The Accumulative Factor


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Over the years I have found it fascinating to hear what people believe about the food they are eating. I ask my clients to complete a lengthy questionnaire on general health and eating habits from childhood and also a two week food diary. Many times I will see quite healthy food diaries but the interesting thing is that rarely do I see One piece of toast, One biscuit or cookie, One roast potato etc. Most of these items seem to come in pairs…..or multiples thereof….

The other interesting topic of conversation with some clients was that they did not eat fruit such as bananas because they were fattening!  However, they would think nothing of eating a 100gm bar of chocolate per day as their one treat! An average banana has about 100 to 150 calories depending on size and a huge number of health benefits.. 100gm of chocolate does have anti-oxidants in the darker variety but comes in at 500 calories and rather a lot of fat!

Retaining-Food

I first began to think of the accumulation factor when I was working and looking at ways to improve the company image and productivity. I began project 101 – everyone in the company, around 150 people, were involved from our Italian handyman to all the senior executives. Instead of making one or two major sweeping changes, everyone was invited to submit any change that they felt improved the product, company image, customer service etc. At the end of three months we had a fantastic list of small changes that we implemented and which made a real difference to not only the bottom line and customer satisfaction but also to team dynamics and work environment.

When I retrained in my mid 40’s as a nutritional therapist I began to apply the same principal to my work with clients both in weight loss and also in their general health. For example, for someone with rheumatism to begin walking for five minutes gently per day, adding a minute each week until they were walking comfortably for 20 minutes per day.

For weight loss clients it was quite an eye opener when they discovered how much weight in pounds of fat they were carrying due to their habit of just eating two cookies or biscuits a day with their afternoon tea. In the table below I have used some averages for the calorie equivalents but roughly 80-120 per biscuit.

fat accumulation tableSo at 200 calories for 2 biscuits everyday with a cup of tea that is 1400 calories per week, 72,800 per year which at 3,500 calories per pound amounts to around the 20lbs in body fat per year.

I am not a kill joy and love a good biscuit or cookie occasionally but if you need to lose 10lbs to 14lbs you could do so by just having one biscuit with your tea instead of two!.

The Fat Accumulation Table compares the most common foods in our diet. Many are very healthy foods and should be included regularly but they do give you a comparison to some of those that are best eaten from time to time.  Just check to see if something you are eating on a daily or very regular basis may be the reason that you cannot shift that last 10lbs, even though you are eating healthily the rest of the time.

Having said that I also believe in eating the real food.. I use full fat milk and butter along with olive oil.  Although still processed they have not been industrialised, which is the term that I use for food that has been through a number of chemical changes and been added to with artificial elements to enhance taste and texture!

Because the foods are generic the calories are average estimates too but serve to give you a rough idea. Biscuits average calories refers to choc chip and other filled biscuits which is why they are slightly higher in calories.

As always I do recommend that you Cook from Scratch. And that you limit your industrialised foods to no more than 10 to 20% of your diet with the remainder being fresh, unenhanced vegetables, fruits, lean protein and carbohydrates. It is the hidden extras in processed foods that very often do the damage and certainly even eating healthy fats and carbohydrates can accumulate if you do not exercise enough to use up before they are deposited in the fat cells.  I literally had to put on not just my reading glasses but my normal pair as well the other day to read the labelling on a jar.. but it was worth the effort when I saw how much sugar was in that particular brand of pasta sauce.

The old fashioned calories in and calories out equation still works and if you have a look at what you are eating on a daily basis you may spot one or two items that would be better to the power of one... However, I don’t believe in counting every calorie for the food you are taking in… if you are eating natural and unprocessed foods from the shopping list that I posted the other day you are doing well.

Next time..Food is often used for comfort or to reward us for daily events and the manufacturers are pretty slick when it comes to appealing to our basic instincts!  If you are going to become healthy and reach a healthier weight you need to create a new reward system.

You can find all the other posts in the series on Weight Reduction in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/weight-reduction-programme-2017/

©sallycronin 2016

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and if you would like a private word then please email me sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Before you begin that crash diet in the New Year!


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I will be repeating my weight reduction programme again in 2017. The programme is designed around your body’s needs rather than your desire to get into a size or two smaller. From a nutritional perspective it is vital that when you are removing unwanted weight that you still provide your body with the nutrients that are essential for health.

However before you make plans to buy the latest wonder diet products you might like to read this first.  You can reduce weight healthily and safely and a great deal cheaper by cooking from scratch and by taking moderate exercise.

The “diet industry” is worth billions of pounds/dollars a year. The body is 100,000 years old or so – yet it is only really in the last 50 years that we have been told by experts that we have been doing it all wrong for the last 99,950 of them. Foods that provided us with nutrients during that lengthy period that are easily processed by the body are dismissed as “bad”. Well, there you go. For most of my adult life I believed the marketing – and certainly contributed to those billions – however this is where it got me!  One of my ‘before’ photos from 22 years ago.

sally at over 24 stoneHere I am, 22 years ago at 42 years old.

I was 24 stone and I had just made a rare but desperate visit to a GP (usually they just told me to go away and lose weight) who had laid it on the line for me. BP – so high it was causing headaches and nosebleeds – Total Cholesterol levels off the chart and very high blood sugar levels. He had told me that I would be very lucky, even with medication to reach 45, if I did not get my weight under control.

You will obviously have gathered that I am still here, 64 years old, not a supermodel but I am fit and healthy with more importantly a different perspective about health and more respect for my body. I orginally lost 11 stone over two years… I am not quite so slim now but getting our new dog in the spring will fix that.  Here is one of my ‘after‘ photos…..

113-1345_img

This does not mean that for the last 22 years I have existed on a lettuce leaf and a couple of tomatoes a day. In fact despite the trend at the time for low fat and high carbohydrate diet options I went the other way entirely and have always consumed good fats every day. This includes real butter and full fat milk. Also, the prevailing ‘expert’ opinion that grains are now not as health as once believed is one that I do not prescribe too. What I do however exclude from my diet at least 80% of the time is ‘Industrial Food’.

The term processed food is too hackneyed and actually some of the natural products we consume have gone through some form of processing before we consume them. Milk and cheese are two prime examples. But ‘Industrial Foods’ have been manufactured with the inclusion of artificially engineered ingredients. Whilst we have become obsessed with GMO foods the manufacturers are sighing with relieve in the background as their chemical concoctions continue to contaminate the food chain.

As we eat more Industrial foods that are made from artificial ingredients we move further away from our body’s natural diet that it is programmed to process. The results are obesity and lifestyle related disease.

Weight Reduction.

If you are now expecting me to give you the “Quick Fix” then I am sorry – I cannot oblige. Taking my own experience into account, and those of the hundreds of clients I have worked with, the process of regaining health is not just a question of popping some pills, doing a quick 30 minutes on a treadmill a day, having a protein drink for lunch and starving yourself a couple of days a week. (Before I give some readers who take supplements or supply them raised BP – let me clarify that certain nutritional support is necessary from time to time and provided they are high quality and used only as part of a balanced food diet, they can be beneficial.)

Believe me I have tried every diet and “wonder pill” under the sun and I certainly lost weight at the beginning but it was very evident that when I stopped “starving” my body it repaid me by putting the weight back on with a stone or two for good measure. Hence getting to 24 stone, 336lbs or 153kilos.

A rude awakening and a turning point for me. I decided that I had better find a way to change my prognosis. In 1995 I began to study nutrition and also dived into medical books. I had started what was to be a fascinating journey. After I had lost my 11 stone over 24 months, I studied for a diploma in nutritional therapy which covered the basics. I then took my own experience and knowledge out to other people, running a dietary advisory centre and health food shop in Ireland for a number of years and then in the UK and online. I have also written books, articles, magazine columns, radio programmes and now blogs on the subject and I will work until my dying breath (hopefully another 30 years or so) to get my message out.

That message is that there are just three things you need to lose weight successfully.

YOURSELF (physically, mentally and emotionally)

SUPPORT TEAM (loving family and friends)

THE FRESH PRODUCE AISLES OF YOUR LOCAL SUPERMARKET.

On my blog you will find many health posts. I have covered how to reduce BP, unhealthy cholesterol and Blood Sugar – tackle Candida which is highly prevalent in overweight men and women. I have encouraged the consumption of fats in healthy variations and I have demonised the sugar in our modern lifestyle that is one of the main contributors to our current obesity problems. I have also covered exercise and music – foods to improve brain function and produce the feel good factor.

In the first few weeks of 2017 I will be updating and posting my weight reduction programme that I have guided my clients through over the last 19 years. I hope that you will find it useful and that it helps you reach a realistic and healthy weight reduction safely and enjoyably.

Finally today I want to give you an insight into what being morbidly obese meant to me and how this threat looms over modern society.

The Perfect Storm.

When I went to see the doctor and got the true numbers about my weight and what I call the key indicators of BP, Cholesterol and Blood Sugar – I was at the epicentre of my own perfect storm. A storm that I had brought upon myself by creating anomalies within my body, physically, mentally and emotionally. I had also gone through external events that caused turmoil adding to the pressure building up inside me and that is why I use this analogy to explain the triggers that cause this turbulence in our lives.

When I say that I was at the epicentre of the storm, I do not mean the eye of the storm but the vortex – it was a drain that was about to suck me in and I would be gone for good.

Dragging myself back from the edge of that vortex and getting to safety was the hardest but most satisfying journey of my life, one I continue today. Unfortunately, complacency and sometimes outside events start to pull you in again towards the centre of the storm and this happened to me a few years ago.

My mother was in her 90’s and I spent much of the last three years of her life with her. Suffice to say being away from my own home and my husband until the last year when he joined us to support me, were stress triggers. I started to put the weight back on again and I had to really fight hard to pull myself back physically as well as mentally. It was not my mother’s fault and I am so pleased that her last months were in her own home with the rest of my family there and a very peaceful end. However, in the following months and then being back at our home in Madrid full time from 2013, I reduced the weight by simply eating well and getting regular exercise.

2016 has been a rollercoaster and with house and country move and living for the first few months in someone else’s home it was easy to see that my weight was fluctuating again. I have my own work to do in the New Year and I know how much focus and commitment it requires.

I tell you this so that you understand that even with all my experience, my knowledge of nutrition and how my mind and body works; I still have to keep my eye on the ball.

Global obesity.

This perfect story analogy also applies globally. Our health services are already in overwhelm and the future is looking bleak. The rising obesity epidemic with its attendant health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes is like a perfect storm waiting offshore ready to hit land at any time.

I believe that our own NHS has given up on getting the majority of us to change our lifestyles – there are little projects in place that affect a few hundred or thousand people but if you read the headlines there is obviously a mad rush to find a pill that will cure everything from Heart disease to Alzheimer’s all for 5p. Recently it was Statins for everyone over 50 – to prevent future heart disease and dementia. (Statins lower cholesterol – supposed to be just LDL – the problem cholesterol – but total cholesterol also is lowered. We need the substance to produce our hormones, protect the brain and our eyesight amongst other essential processes- so if you are 50+ and have a healthy cholesterol level – what exactly is this pill going to do for you!)

Pills for life all have side effects, albeit possibly smaller ones that are cheaper to treat than the major diseases! They are not the answer. Getting people to accept responsibility for what they put in their mouths is however and that is going to take a tough line. Not sure we have anyone in charge of our health care who can take the gloves off and get enough control to turn this around.

This is a shame, as we have one of the best health services in the world, with dedicated healers at all levels. Trouble is they will be so busy dealing with the aftermath of the perfect storm that has already begun to hit land, to deal with those medical and health emergencies that are beyond our individual control.

Hopefully, if you are overweight, I have given you something to think about. Whether you need to lose a stone or 10 stone I hope you will find this series of help.  I understand that you might have questions and if they might benefit everyone then please use the comments section.  If you would like to ask a question privately then please contact me on sally(dot)cronin(at)moyhill.com and I am very happy to help in anyway that I can without charge of course.

The next post on Monday 2nd of January – Most people will say ‘I need to lose weight’. However very few know exactly how much they should lose to be healthy. That is important as with any project, you need to know where you are today and where you should be in a specific time frame. On Monday I will show you how to work out how much you should weight for your height, age and gender and you will be pleased to hear that it does not mean being as thin as a whippet!

In the menu in the heading you will find several directories on health issues and if you are suffereing from high blood pressure, Candida or your cholesterol is out of balance you might like to take a look at those.

Men’s Health Week Revisted – Key Risk Factors for major and fatal diseases – Number 1 – Obesity


men's health

Welcome to the second in the posts from Men’s Health Week last year and I hope that you will find the articles useful and informative.  If you read them last year then I would be grateful if you would still share on social media to reach a new audience.

On saturday I gave you some statistics that are pretty concerning.

An estimated 56 million people die each year worldwide.Tragically, 6 million children die before the age of five years old and of the remaining 50 million, more men than women will die at certain life stages. Particularly during the years 18 to 24. After that it will converge.

However, assuming that there is a more or less an even division, it is estimated that 25 million men will die in the next twelve months. It is even more disturbing that 65% to 75% of those men, depending on the report, will die from noncommunicable diseases.

Noncommunicable includes the top four diseases – Cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases. Diseases that are usually lifestyle related.

That means that in the next twelve months 16.25 million to 18.75 million men will die from mainly preventable diseases. Or diseases that if detected early enough can be cured.

There is rarely just one factor that triggers a lifestyle related disease. It is usually a combination of all the following. However, there is no doubt that obesity not only impacts our size but also severely impairs the functions of both organs and operating systems in the body.

When I weighed 330lbs, twenty-five years ago, being that overweight was not common. The reasons were simply put down to eating too much. I discovered during my studies and my own weight loss that there were a number of factors in play. Today the rise in obesity has at least provided plenty of scope for intensive and desperate research programmes!

Being overweight in itself leads to the other six risk factors that I shall be covering.  I have therefore put it into pole position. I have written a number of posts on the subject that I have linked to and the serialisation of my own book. However, the decision for you to lose weight is not mine… but YOURS.

Do the simple sum below and determine if you are overweight. If you need to lose more than three stone you are obese and therefore at far greater risk of the other factors that could develop into a life threatening condition.

Scare tactics? Absolutely.  And if a doctor had not scared the wits out of me 22 years ago that pushed me to study and to change my lifestyle… I would not be here today.  I already had the other six risk factors.  Today I do not.

It is as simple as that.

Here are the seven main risk factors for cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes and other potentially fatal conditions.

  1. Being more than two to three stone overweight.
  2. Late diagnosis of fatal diseases
  3. High Blood Pressure,
  4. Poor balance between LDL (unhealthy) and HDL (healthy)cholesterol
  5. High Blood Glucose Levels.
  6. Low Exercise levels.
  7. Stress

Risk factor Number One – Obesity

Being more than two to three stone overweight puts enormous pressure on your body structurally and also on your major organs. Unhealthy fat is not just stored under your skin but around major organs and is especially dangerous if around your middle. A beer belly is not about the beer but is about the sugars.

The closer you are to a healthy weight the lower your risk for most of the major and fatal health issues such as cardiovascular disease, cancers and diabetes.

There are a number of ways to measure your weight but it can get complicated. I use this method for a quick and dirty check on weight.

Using the method for a medium framed men

As a base, use 106lbs up to five foot and then 7lbs for every inch over that height. Modify either way by 5% if you have a light frame or heavy frame.

A light framed man of 5’ 6” would have an optimum weight of: 106lbs + 70lbs = 176lbs Subtract 5% for light frame = 9lbs -This gives an optimum weight of 167lbs or 75.9Kilos.

Most of you will know if you are light, medium or large frame build but if you are unsure here are a couple of sites that will guide you through the process.

Take your wrist measurement with a tape measure and plug in with your height.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/17182.htm

http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/fsz

Further Information.

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/dietandphysicalactivity/bodyweightandcancerrisk/body-weight-and-cancer-risk-effects

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=39840

Safe weight loss.

Dieting is as individual as we are and if you do need to lose weight safely and healthily then I do suggest that you join a group or find a qualified weight loss counsellor. Please do not use diet programmes that are chemically formulated, often full of sugar and have little nutritional content for your body’s needs. You are simply contributing to the billion dollar diet industry. For the same money you could buy an huge amount of fresh produce.

It is very important that you do not suddenly stop eating. You need a balanced and varied diet that supplies you with all the nutrients you need to be healthy.  This means cutting out the Industrially prepared foods and sticking to natural fresh vegetables, fruit, protein, eggs, dairy and some wholegrains. It definitely means cutting out the refined sugars that are loaded into prepared foods including those using artificial sweeteners.  These have the same effect on your body as actual sugar an can also be toxic.

I will be starting one of my six week weight loss programmes on the blog starting in a couple of weeks and that is aimed at losing a stone in that time safely and eating great food prepared well.

Next time another reason that men are at greater risk from early death. Millions of men do not go to a doctor in the early stages of a disease. This late diagnosis is costly.

Thank you for dropping by and please feel free to comment and share.

©sallygeorginacronin 2015

 

Smorgasbord Women’s Health Revisited – Cardiovascular Disease – Heart Attacks and Strokes


smorgasbord health

Welcome to another of last year’s posts featured in Women’s Health Week.  Many health issues are shared by men and women equally but there are some diseases that are either female specific or in the case of cardiovascular disease becoming more prevalent in women than every before.

Most of us dread hearing C for cancer but we should really be concerned about C for cardiovascular disease. The signs can be subtle and it is only when there is a catastrophic event that a condition might come to light. Understanding how your body works and keeping an eye out for abnormal tiredness, breathlessness and unusual heart rhythms is very important.

Key Indicators.

In the western world we can also have key indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar and elevated LDL (low density lipoprotein) checked regularly.

Some facts about this silent killer.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) – heart disease and stroke – is the biggest killer of women globally, killing more women than all cancers, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.

  • Heart disease and stroke cause 8.6 million deaths among women annually, a third of all deaths in women worldwide. Of this:
  • 3.4 million women die of ischemic heart disease
  • 3 million women die from stroke each year
  •  Remainder 2.2 million women die primarily of rheumatic heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, and inflammatory heart disease
  • Not just a male disease
  • Women in low- and middle-income countries fare worse than men, experiencing a higher proportion of CVD deaths than men
  • Women with diabetes have higher CVD mortality rates than men with diabetes
  • Younger women who have a heart attack have higher mortality than men of the same age
  • Women are more likely than men to become more disabled by stroke
  • Immediately following stroke, women are more likely to experience serious problems compared to men
  • However, women are less likely to be prescribed aspirin in prevention of a second attack, less likely to receive sophisticated pacemaker models and less likely to be recommended for potentially life-saving cardiac surgery

Under-recognition of the risk

  • Women do not perceive CVD as the greatest threat to their health.
  • Young women still feel more threatened by cancer than they do by CVD

Risk Factors

Risk factors for heart disease and stroke are largely similar for men and women.

    • Factors such as age and family history play a role, but it is estimated that the majority of CVD deaths are due to modifiable risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol, unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes
    • A woman who is obese, even if physically active, increases her risk of coronary heart disease by 2.48 times, compared to a woman of normal weight
    • Women who engage in physical activity for less than an hour per week have 1.48 times the risk of developing coronary heart disease, compared to women who do more than three hours of physical activity per week
    • Women who smoke double the risk of stroke. The more cigarettes smoked, the higher the risk
    • Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of dying from heart disease by 15 per cent in women

Women with high blood pressure have 3.5 times the risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to women with normal blood pressureIn the western world we can also have key indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar and elevated LDL (low density lipoprotein) checked regularly.

blood pressure

Key Indicators.

In the western world we can also have key indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar and elevated LDL (low density lipoprotein) checked regularly.

Ideal Blood Pressure for your age.

blood-pressure-chart-by-age1

Symptoms of a heart attack differ between men and women and here is what to be concerned about.

These six heart attack symptoms are common in women:

  • Chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but some women may experience it differently than men. …
  • Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw. …
  • Stomach pain. …
  • Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness. …
  • Sweating. …
  • Fatigue.

It is also important to recognise the symptoms of a stroke in yourself or in others.

If any of these five symptoms appear suddenly, you may be having a stroke:

  • numbness or weakness of the arm, face, or leg, especially on just one side of the body.
  • confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding speech.
  • trouble seeing in one eye or both.
  • trouble walking, loss of balance, lack of coordination or dizziness.
  • Unable to raise arms above your head.

In both cases call Emergency services immediately or get someone you are with to do so.

Both of these outcomes can be avoided by regular checks for the Key Indicators.

For further information visit this link.

http://www.world-heart-federation.org/press/fact-sheets/cardiovascular-disease-in-women/

Infographic http://www.idealbloodpressure.com

For further information on the circulatory system there are a number of posts in the Health Directory in the menu.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-directory/

Even if you read this post last year, it would be terrific if you could share to your wider readership base to get the message out there.. Thank you Sally