Health Blog


Breast Health Awareness Month

Every October, the media and product companies jump on the bandwagon in promoting Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the world suddenly turns pink.  Although it is good to raise awareness of this all-too-common disease in women (and some men, too), I, and many other practitioners, believe the emphasis should be on breast “health” awareness rather than breast “cancer” awareness.

Cancer rarely develops in healthy breasts, so surely helping women understand what they can do to keep their breasts healthy is the best possible way to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer?  Sadly, this information is hard to find in the media and many of the “pink ribbon” promotion products and services offered by manufacturers and retailers during this month actually increase breast cancer risk!

For example, many cosmetics, toiletries and perfumes contain hormone-disrupting chemicals, similar to oestrogen, which is known to feed cancer cells.  Another example is breast-enhancing lingerie which squashes the breasts, allowing toxins to build up in the lymph ducts, potentially leading to congestion and inflammation, known to be at the root of cancer development. And there are many more examples.

Retailers often use the pink ribbon symbol to market their products in October with the incentive of promising to donate a percentage of the price to a cancer charity.  Although I have nothing against helping charities in this way, many of the charities which receive these donations do little in promoting prevention.  That is why I only support charities like Cancer Active and Breast Cancer UK because they do raise awareness of the potential causes of breast cancer and ways to reduce that risk.

If you want to know more about what increases breast cancer risk, safe ways to check for it, and diet and lifestyle measures to help reduce your risk, you may find my ebook helpful, called How to Keep Your Breasts Healthy.  It contains a wealth of information on breast health in an easy-to-read and concise way.  It is available for only £3 and £1 of that is donated to Breast Cancer UK (of course!).

The book can be purchased here.

Sue Bedford, RGN

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The Wonders of Chia Seeds

Posted in Uncategorized by Pulse Health Screening on May 20, 2013
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Chia seeds are gaining recognition in the UK as a superfood.

Here are 13 reasons to eat chia:
1. Chia is gluten free
2. It is  high in dietary fibre, making it great for digestion and healing digestion issues.
3. It contains 20% Omega 3 ALA, making it a super food for the brain and heart. Chia has eight times more Omega 3 than salmon.
4. It contains 20% protein
5. The protein is a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids
6. It is high in antioxidants (It has a four times higher ORAC value than blueberries)
7. Chia contains five times more calcium than milk
8. Chia contains seven times more vitamin C than oranges
9. It contains three times more iron than spinach
10. It contains twice the potassium content of a banana
11. It is food for healthy skin, hair and nails
12. It has a positive impact balancing blood glucose levels (making it ideal for diabetics)
13. Chia makes a great egg replacement. Just combine with water to form a gel, and add it to recipes that call for egg.

How to eat it:

+ Sprinkle it raw onto almost any food
+ Add it to breakfast cereals, salads and soups
+ Add it to bread and muffin recipes
+ Mix with water or coconut water to form a thick gel
+ Add to a smoothie (see recipe below)

Chia seeds are available from Detox Your World.

Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie

What you need:

1 banana or berries (thawed frozen berries are good)

1 cup of coconut milk or unsweetened almond milk (from supermarket) topped up with water to make 250mls

1 tablespoon each of cashew nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds/flaxseeds and chia seeds  ground in a coffee grinder and added to the liquid.

1 teaspoon of raw cacao powder 

1 teaspoon maca powder (for balancing hormones)

Sprinkling of cinnamon powder (helps blood sugar)

1 teaspoon of flax oil 

1 teaspoon of coconut oil

These quantities are approximate.

Put all of the ingredients in a liquidiser and blitz until combined.  Leave for a few minutes before drinking to allow the chia seeds or flax seeds to make the liquid thicken.

If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can soak the nuts and seeds overnight and then strain. They should blend into the smoothie when liquidised.

Bon appetit

Common Chemicals Threaten Male Fertility

Posted in Uncategorized by Pulse Health Screening on June 4, 2009
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A leading scientist has warned that chemicals found in many food, cosmetic and cleaning products pose a real threat to male fertility. Professor Richard Sharpe, of the Medical Research Council, says that these hormone-disrupting chemicals are “feminizing” boys in the womb, leading to rising rates of birth defects, testicular cancer, and low sperm counts.

It is thought that all these conditions, collectively called Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome (TDS), are linked to disruption of the male sex hormone testosterone. Professor Sharpe concluded that exposure to a cocktail of hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment is likely to be at least partly to blame by blocking the action of testosterone in the womb.

His latest report, commissioned by an organisation called CHEM Trust, highlights animal studies showing that testosterone-disrupting chemicals can cause TDS-like disorders.

CHEM Trust Director, Elizabeth Salter Green comments:

“Chemicals that have been shown to act together to affect male reproductive health should have their risks assessed together. Currently that is not the case, and unfortunately chemicals are looked at on an individual basis.

Therefore, government assurances that exposures are too low to have any effect just do not hold water because regulators do not take into account the additive actions of hormone disrupting chemicals.”

Endocrine disrupting chemicals are everywhere these days. You are exposed to them from a variety of sources, including countless common household products, toys, personal care products, and cosmetics.

Here’s a list of twelve common agents with hormonal activity, i.e. potential endocrine disrupters:
1. Phthalates — Exposure to phthalates can lead to incomplete testicular descent in foetuses. Phthalates are found in vinyl flooring, detergents, automotive plastics, soap, shampoo, deodorants, fragrances, hair spray, nail polish, plastic bags, food packaging, garden hoses, inflatable toys, blood-storage bags, and intravenous medical tubing.
2. Bisphenol A — a common ingredient in many plastics, including those in reusable water bottles and resins lining some food cans and dental sealants, can change the course of foetal development in a way that increases the risk of breast cancer.
3. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) — found in grease- and water-resistant coatings like Teflon and Gore-Tex, is a likely carcinogen.
4. Methoxychlor and Vinclozin— An insecticide and a fungicide respectively, have been found to cause changes to male mice born for as many as four subsequent generations after the initial exposure.
5. Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) — Known to be potent endocrine disrupters, these chemicals affect gene expression by turning on or off certain genes, and interfere with the way your glandular system works. They mimic the female hormone estrogen, and have been implicated as one reason behind some marine species switching from male to female.
6. Bovine growth hormones, commonly added to commercial dairy have been implicated as a contributor to premature adolescence.
7. Soy products, which are loaded with hormone-like substances.
8. MSG — A food additive that’s been linked to reduced fertility.
9. Fluoride — This chemical in at least 10% of water supplies in the UK has been linked to lower fertility rates, hormone disruption and low sperm counts.
10. Synthetically produced pharmaceuticals that are intended to be highly hormonally active, such as contraceptive pills and treatments for hormone-responsive cancers. Your body is not designed to be exposed to these synthetic hormones, and long-term use will invariably increase your risk of developing serious chronic illness.
11. Other natural chemicals, including toxins produced by components of plants (the so-called phytoestrogens, such as genistein or coumestrol) and certain fungi.
12. Other man-made chemicals and by-products released into the environment. These include some pesticides (such as pyrethroids, linuron, vinclozolin, fenitrothion, DDT and other chlorinated compounds), and a number of industrial chemicals like polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) and dioxins.

For more information about potentially harmful ingredients in everyday products, visit www.healthychoices.co.uk/toxins.html.

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/06/04/Common-Chemicals-Threaten-Male-Fertility.aspx

Taking Probiotics Can Help to Reduce Weight

Posted in Uncategorized by Pulse Health Screening on May 30, 2009

Two new studies show that obese people have different intestinal bacteria than slim people. What’s more, the microbes in an overweight body are much more efficient at extracting calories from food.

One study looked at mice, the other looked at humans. In both, a family of bacteria known as firmicutes were more plentiful in the obese (20 percent more). Bacteria called bacteroidetes were also much more abundant in those of normal weight (the obese had almost 90 percent fewer bacteroidetes).

Most likely because of the firmicutes, the obese mice were more efficient at taking calories out of complex sugars and depositing those calories in fat. When these microbes were transplanted into the normal-weight mice, those mice started to gain twice as much fat.

As obese people lost weight, their bacteroidetes increased, while the numbers of firmicutes decreased.
By taking probiotics with lactobacillus and bifidus strains of bacteria, you could help to prevent the proliferation of firmicutes. Therefore, this could help you to normalise your weight.

Advanced ProBiotic from NEWAYS contains five strains of beneficial bacteria, including lactobacillus and bifidus, so it may be worth taking a daily dose if you wish to lose weight.

Source: How The Bacteria In Your Gut Can Make You Fat and The Newfound Link Between Probiotics and Your Weight

Swine Flu – Don’t be Fooled by the Hype

Posted in Uncategorized by Pulse Health Screening on April 29, 2009

With the headlines in the media focussing on the recent outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and its spread across the world, you may be concerned for your own health.  There have been outbreaks of flu across the world before, and some of them did prove to be deadly to large numbers of people but things are different, today.  We have a far better knowledge of what caused the deaths, usually a secondary bacterial infection and not the virus itself, so we are better prepared.

It’s hard to know what to believe with the talk of a swine flu pandemic but most of it is just media hype, nothing else.  Remember SARS?  The same media tactics were used, then, but barely anyone was affected across the world.  Even the dreaded Bird Flu has been overblown out of all proportion.

If you want to be sure to protect yourself from swine flu or any other virus, the secret is to boost your immune system.

1)      Make sure you get adequate sleep.

2)      Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

3)      Take regular exercise, such as a brisk walk for half an hour daily, to oxygenate the body.

4)      Get at least ten minutes of sunshine a day, where practical, without sun block as this will boost your Vitamin D levels and protect you.  Alternatively, increase your Vitamin D intake.

5)      Address any stress in your life, and if you can’t, increase your intake of vitamin C to at least 1gm a day.

6)      Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

7)      Take a daily, food-based vitamin and mineral formula, such as Maximol Solutions*.

8)      Take a broad-spectrum antioxidant formula, such as Revenol*.

9)      Eat oily fish or take fish oil supplements such as Omega 3 EPA*.

10)   Take a broad-spectrum pro-biotic formula such as Advanced ProBiotic*.

11)   Avoid nutrient-depleted processed foods and NEVER microwave foods.

12)   Reduce your sugar intake and avoid artificial sweeteners. The natural sweetener, Xylitol, is a better alternative.

13)   If you start to experience flu-like symptoms, take a formula with the herb, Echinacea*.

To read Dr Mercola’s report on Swine Flu which includes scientific details and no hype, go to http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/29/Swine-Flu.aspx .

These products can be found at http://www.healthychoices.ukhq.co.uk/products.html

Pine Bark Extract as good as medication for Arthritis

Posted in Uncategorized by Pulse Health Screening on February 19, 2009

A new study has discovered that the aches and pains of mild osteoarthritis can be successfully treated with pine bark extract (Pycnogenol).

The supplement was tested against a placebo on a hundred sufferers of mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee.  After eight weeks, the Pycnogenol group reported a significant reduction in pain, and the benefits continued four and eight weeks later.  They also had less stiffness in the joint, were able to carry out more daily activities, and could also reduce their use of painkillers, while 10 per cent in the placebo group had to increase their dose of analgesics.

Source: Phytotherapy Research, 2008; 22: 1087-92

An excellent supplement containing pine bark extract as well as other beneficial nutrients is Revenol from NEWAYS, available from www.healthychoices.co.uk/UKStore.

Mouthwashes containing alcohol can cause oral cancer

Posted in Uncategorized by Pulse Health Screening on February 13, 2009

Independent scientists in Australia have published a study in the Dental Journal of Australia which states that “alcohol-containing mouthwashes contribute to the increased risk of development of oral cancer”.

 

It is thought that ethanol (an alcohol), in many mouthwashes, allows cancer-causing substances to be absorbed more easily through the lining of the mouth.  In addition, when mouthwash is swished around the mouth, a cancer-causing by-product of alcohol, acetaldehyde, is produced.

 

A Brazilian study at the University of Sao Paulo found that regular use of an alcohol-based mouthwash is associated with oral cancer, regardless of alcohol and tobacco consumption. 

 

One of the best-selling mouthwashes contains 26% alcohol, which is deadly if drunk by a child.

 

As a result of the research, scientists are warning that alcohol-based mouthwashes should be avoided for long-term use. They are urging dentists to review their stance on recommending an alcohol-based mouthwash to patients.

 

If you still want the benefits of mouthwash for oral hygiene without the health risks, Eliminator Mouthwash by NEWAYS is the ideal choice.  It is alcohol-free, totally safe and very effective in eliminating the harmful bacteria which cause tooth decay.

 

Source: The Daily Telegraph; http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24896583-5001021,00.html