women

Friendship

Make time for friends and you are investing in your own wellbeing. Good friendships don’t only make us happy – research shows that they also help us to de-stress, feel good about ourselves, provide vital support when the going gets tough, help us live longer and keep our brains healthy as we get older, too.

Make time for friends and you are investing in your own wellbeing

Good Bugs

Is it worth taking probiotic yogurts and supplements for a healthier gut? If you have an infectious tummy bug, suffer from IBS or imflammatory bowel disease, the answer may be yes, says Professor Roger Jones of the charity Core, which fights gut and liver disease. You can also help feed your body’s supply of good bugs by eating more lentils, oats, bananas, asparagus and leeks – they’re all rich in prebiotics that stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial probiotic gut bacteria. Take probiotics for at least four weeks to see an effect, but remember they are all different and the effects are train specific, so if one type doesn’t work, try another. 

Hair

‘When it comes to your general health, hair is an incredibly sensitive barometer. It’s also one of the fastest cell reproducers in your body – second only to bone marrow’, says leading trichologist Philip Kingsley. ‘The hair’s reaction to illness is an invaluable diagnostic tool and sudden hir loss or hair thinning can indicate an underlying problem like anaemia, thyroid dysfunction, hormonal disturbances or nutritional inadequacies.’ For healthy hair, he recommends including iron-rich meat, fruit, salad and plenty of water in your diet.

IBS

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and struggle to find anything to calm troublesome symptoms, it could be time to try hypnosis. Recent research carried out by Gloucestershire Royal Hospital revealed that some 90% if IBS patients treated with hypnotherapy experienced a significant improvement in symptoms, and 40% found that their condition cleared up completely. Hypnosis works by inducing a state of altered consciousness that appears to relieve symptoms and help people feel more in control.

Joint Health

Description: omega 3

The latest research suggests that fish oils may go beyond relieving joint pain and could actually slow down the progress of osteoarthritis. Bristol University researchers who gave omega 3 fatty acids to guinea pigs (an animal that naturally develops the disease) found that those treated with fish oil had a 50% reduction on disease. ‘This research brings us closer to understanding how omega3 might fundamentally interfere with the osteoarthritis process and that it could potentially be taken as a treatment,’ says Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK.

Knitting

Believe it or not, clicking away can induce relaxation, improve mood and even relieve pain. Betsan Corkhill, a former physiotherapist who runs a knitting group in the pain clinic at Bath’s Royal United Hospital, says: ‘It’s the bilateral, repetitive, rhythmic movements of knitting that make it so helpful, and the research shows it can bring on a meditative-like state, which helps relieve stress and pain, and promotes general wellbeing.’ The effect is so powerful that Betsan’s group www.stitchlinks.com is now launching a network of therapeutic knitting groups around the country.

Laughter

Description: Laughter

There’s no better guarantee to lighten your load, melt away stress and give you a health boost all at the same time than having a good laugh. Numerous studies show that when we laugh, stress hormones decrease, immunity improves and cholesterol and blood pressure levels drop. In fact, a study of more than 50,000 people by scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that people with the highest ‘humour score’ have far better life expectancy than those who were less inclined to have a good giggle.

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