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Rude Health News Archive

The latest news and research from the world of natural health

New RDS health show for 2018

Health Stores Ireland has announced a major consumer natural health show – Vitality Expo 2018 will be held at the RDS Dublin on September 8 and 9 in collaboration with INM Events.

Mary Wedel, chair of Health Stores Ireland told Rude Health: “The relaunch of the annual consumer/trade show, with the exciting collaboration of national media organisation INM, will give us the perfect platform to highlight the independent health food trade and our collaboration with many terrific Irish artisans.”

The show will have a festival feel, with an outdoor stage, healthy food offerings, an artisan village and range of family-friendly activities and fun. There’s something for everyone, from inspiring speakers and interactive talks, to show deals, cookery demo’s and tastings from artisan and local producers.

Oliver McCabe will be MC’ing and managing the food demonstration area. There’ll be a wealth of information to help improve family health and wellbeing, plus music, yoga and pilates sessions too.

Rude Health will be playing an integral part in the Vitality Expo event with exciting news to be announced soon. Check out vitalityexpo.ie

Keeping sugar spikes at bay

With the extra calories and added sugar that comes at this time of year, it's important to maintain a healthy blood sugar balance to prevent energy dips, spikes, fatigue, poor skin and lowered immunity.

One true superfood which can help with this is Ceylon cinnamon, used traditionally and recognised for centuries for its medicinal and healing properties.

Read on...

Irish fitness attitudes revealed

In a recent research study delivering a sample size of over 1,000 interviews, Irish Life Health has revealed the nation’s views on being proactive about our health. The research shows that 21% of people said cost is a major barrier in the pursuit of health and fitness management, with 59% of respondents saying that staying fit is ‘expensive’.

The research also examined how parents in Ireland are working to incorporate fitness into family life, with 84% saying they make it a priority to keep children fit and healthy all year round. However, with the colder months upon us, two thirds of parents say they struggle to get their family outside and active in winter.

The research showed that 82% of parents of school-aged children think of team sports as a good way to get children to stick with sports, although 39% say they struggle to find time for fitness themselves.

Irish workers not keen to share mental health concerns

A recent independent survey commissioned by Mojo, a men’s health and wellbeing training programme, has revealed that 60% of Irish workers are not comfortable taking sick leave if they experience mental health challenges.

The survey indicated that, whilst the stigma attached to mental health issues in Ireland is breaking down, efforts need to be made to promote a change of mindset within the workplace.

Other findings from the survey show that almost two-thirds of Irish workers are unsure if they would feel comfortable speaking to their employer if they were experiencing mental health challenges, and over 40% said they don’t know if they would receive the required support.

The survey was carried out face to face with a random selection of 300 employees in Dublin. The Mojo Programme is run by South Dublin County Partnership funded by the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP).

Did you know?

Individuals with darker skin naturally produce less vitamin D, as the melanin in their skin provides more protection against UV rays. This means that they must spend longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D as those with lighter skin.

Whilst many of us live increasingly indoor lives, some individuals have particularly low sun exposure. These include:

  • Elderly people who are house bound or live in care homes
  • Office workers who spend most of their day inside
  • People who wear covering clothing for cultural or religious reasons
  • Those with a disability that prevents them from getting outside regularly
  • Those who work night shifts and sleep during the day

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to ‘surface’ symptoms such as muscle weakness, fatigue and frequent coughs and colds, to ‘concealed’ symptoms such as osteoporosis and bone deformities.

Carotenoids a boost to AMD sufferers

Research conducted over two years by a team from the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) involving over 100 people diagnosed with the early stages of the most common cause of blindness has tested their reaction to a dietary supplement of carotenoids.

Results from the study are published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS).

Participants in the study all had the early stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). They received supplementary meso-zeaxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein, the three carotenoids that make up macular pigment. Improvements in vision were marked among those receiving all three carotenoids compared to those receiving only zeaxanthin and lutein. 40% of trial participants had what is deemed to be a clinically meaningful improvement in their vision after 24 months.

Breakfast important for your arteries

Research from medical research centres in Spain and the US has found that people who regularly skip breakfast are more likely to have hardening and thickening of the arteries.

The study was published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers recruited 4,082 healthy workers aged 40 to 54 from the headquarters of Santander Bank in Madrid and asked them to fill in a questionnaire on their breakfast habits over 15 days.

The researchers looked at their arteries to see if they showed signs of fatty tissue build-up. Only 3% of the participants skipped breakfast; 69% had a low-energy breakfast; 28% had a high-energy breakfast. Overall, about 63% of participants showed some signs of atherosclerosis, and it was more common among people who skipped breakfast than those who ate breakfast every day.

Are you house sick?

Do your hay fever symptoms continue even in the winter? According to airborne allergies expert Max Wiseberg you may have ‘house fever’. He advises:

  • Make sure your house is well ventilated, avoid drying clothes on radiators and/or use a dehumidifier.
  • Vacuum the house regularly using a HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Arresting) filter.
  • Damp dust surfaces regularly, to reduce allergens on surfaces.
  • Wash bedding very regularly to remove allergens.
  • Apply an organic drug-free allergen barrier balm around your nostrils and the bones of the eyes throughout the day to trap dust, pet and mould allergens.
  • Shower at night before going to bed.
  • Ensure your pet is well groomed and shampooed and try to keep them out of bedrooms.
  • Hose down your Christmas tree before taking it into the house to remove some of the dust and mould spores.

Is your supplement sports safe

Do you know what the Tested Sports Safe logo on food supplements means? It’s a quality mark for supplements that reassures the consumer that the product they are taking contains no prohibited substances.

This is all-important for athletes like current Mayo ladies GAA footballer Cora Staunton (above) and former Dublin GAA footballer Alan Brogan who have to be very careful about what they take.

Athletes are encouraged to look for the Tested Sports Safe® logo on packs in health stores and can also visit the website to check their product’s batch number and view its test results: sportssafe.org/safe-batch-checker. Tested Sports Safe® was developed by Co. Wicklow-based company, Naturalife Health.

Beat the microbeads in Irish waters

Microbeads are tiny particles of plastic that are added to thousands of personal care cosmetic products such as soaps, shower gels and facial scrubs sold around the world. These microbead plastics, hardly visible to the naked eye, flow straight from the bathroom drain into the sewer system. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to filter out microbeads and that is the main reason why they contribute to the Plastic Soup swirling around the world’s oceans. Sea animals absorb or eat microplastic beads mistaking them for plankton and the microbeads get passed along the marine food chain.

Researchers from the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway have conducted the first study that investigates microplastic pollution of marine sediments on the Irish continental shelf. The study was published recently in the international journal Scientific Reports.

This research was an NUI Galway student-led investigation by Jake Martin, a graduate of the Masters Programme in Marine and Coastal Environments: Policy and Practice within the Discipline of Geography. The study found that a shallow layer of microplastics has formed along the Irish seafloor within marine sediments and their overlaying bottom waters.

However it’s not all bad news – Irish skincare company Kinvara were recently recognised by the International campaign ‘Beat the Microbead’ for its outright ban of microbeads in all of its skincare products.

Tip for a greener Christmas

  • Shop local for gifts.
  • Cut down on shopping trips by getting organised.
  • Regift anything you don’t want to keep.
  • Make your own Christmas cards, wrapping paper and tags.
  • Keep paper, bows and ribbons to use again.
  • Invest in a battery charger and rechargeable batteries – it’s greener than buying batteries.
  • Choose a real tree – the plastics used in the manufacture of artificial trees have a damaging environmental impact.
  • Decorate with nature – if you have a holly bush cut sprigs to hang from pictures on your walls.

Worrying folic acid figures

New research from safefood has revealed that young Irish women are three times as likely to check their smartphone in the morning as they are to take a folic acid tablet. More than 80% of women who responded to the survey check their phone/social media as part of their morning routine yet only 25% of women take a folic acid tablet.

Following personal hygiene habits or eating breakfast, the most typical morning habits for women include applying make-up (56%) and picking an outfit for the day (56%) followed by preparing lunches (47%), styling hair (46%) and commuting or school runs (27%).

The safefood campaign is reminding women to take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement every day because it can potentially prevent two-thirds of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) like spina bifida from occurring. Ireland has the highest rate of babies born with spina bifida in the EU.

Not enough sports in schools

New national research from Irish Life Health has revealed that 42% of parents in Ireland wrongly believe that their child gets enough physical activity during their school day. However, 90% of secondary schools provide less than two hours of physical education per student each week. With seven hours physical activity required weekly – as a minimum – the majority of parents (58%) admit they are finding it difficult to provide the additional five hours of physical activity beyond that provided in schools. The annual Irish Life Health Schools’ Fitness Challenge has had a huge total of 126,162 secondary school students taking part since 2012. The programme aims to help secondary school students adopt a healthier lifestyle by becoming more physically active.

Vitamin D deficiency linked to age

Researchers from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin have shown in a first-of-its-kind trial that, during the summer, one in eight older Irish people have blood levels of vitamin D below 30 nmol/L. This is viewed as close to being deficient.

In the winter, the deficiency rate increases to one in four in the same age group. The new study, which was recently published in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Science, took into account such factors as age, economic status, and lifestyle factors. The researchers could see that vitamin D deficiency increased with age. Vitamin D comes from sunlight, and is available in foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and mushrooms.

Many people take vitamin D supplements to make sure they are getting enough of this crucial vitamin.

Is your kitchen sponge harbouring billions of bacteria?

Researchers from three medical research centres in Germany have recently published a study into kitchen sponges in Nature Scientific Reports.

Scientists assessed 14 different kitchen sponges using genome sequencing techniques and found billions of bacteria on the surface of the sponges. While this may sound alarming, we should bear in mind that our bodies and homes are covered in bacteria and most are harmless.

The scientists stressed the results are nothing to be alarmed about, however they found that cleaning sponges did not kill the bacteria and suggested weekly replacement instead.

Buying ‘help’ may make you happier

A study by researchers from Harvard Business School in the US, University of British Columbia in Canada, Maastricht University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in The Netherlands and published in the peer-reviewed medical journal PNAS has found that spending money to free up time may make people happier.

The research involved a survey of 6,000 participants from the US, Canada, Denmark and The Netherlands. The respondents who reported spending money on cleaning, cooking, shopping and household maintenance rather than material goods reported better life satisfaction.

Ways to beat dementia

A review published in The Lancet has identified nine risk factors linked to dementia which could be modified or diminished. These are: low levels of education, midlife hearing loss, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, smoking, depression and social isolation.

Even if added together the risk of all of these factors only accounts for 35% of the overall risk of getting dementia – the rest of the risk is due to ageing and family history. The scientists recommended switching to a Mediterranean diet, meeting recommended exercise levels, and using cognitive training to improve memory, attention and reasoning skills.

Other suggestions include encouraging people to become more socially active and continuing to support people who want to give up smoking.

Magnesium linked to depression improvement

Researchers from the University of Vermont have undertaken a study into how magnesium supplementation affects the symptoms of depression. In the clinical trial which had no placebo group, 126 adults with mild or moderate depression spent six weeks taking four 500mg tablets of magnesium chloride daily and six weeks without magnesium supplements. They also continued taking their usual depression treatment.

Researchers monitored their depression symptoms with phone calls every two weeks. Subjects were asked to rate their depression symptoms on a scale of 0-27 and on average in people taking magnesium, symptoms improved by an average of six points. The study which was published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One found that taking magnesium helped people whatever their gender and age. Magnesium-rich foods include spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, figs, bananas and dark chocolate.

Link between coffee and life expectancy

A recent study carried out by researchers from 20 academic and health institutions across Europe and published in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Internal Medicine looked at data from people enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) to see if there were links between coffee consumption and overall deaths.

The study included more than 450,000 people and found men who drank the highest amounts of coffee had a 12% overall reduced risk of death and women had a 7% reduced risk overall. Current guidelines recommend no more than four cups of coffee per day.

Study shows effects of IBS in life

A new study into how IBS affects the lifestyles of young men and women in Britain has found:

  • 42.2 of students between 16-25 said exams cause a flare-up
  • 42.9% say work pressure causes a flare-up
  • 75.7% of women stated stress causes a symptom flare-up
  • 67% have cancelled social outings because of a flare-up
  • 40% have cancelled sports activities

The scientists recommended taking live cultures, micro-organisms found in the human body or in foods that contribute to our health and wellbeing, also known as probiotics. Probiotics are known to reduce bloating, abdominal pain and gas.

Did you know?

Research at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has found that eating walnuts can help to balance the bacteria in the gut.

Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid and fibre, and they contain high levels of antioxidants too.

The study is published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

What's in season in September & October?

In season: aubergine, broad beans, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, kale, marrows, mushrooms, peppers, potatoes, radish, scallions, spinach, swedes, turnips, mint, parsley, sage, thyme, cooking apples.

End of season: cucumbers, mange tout, tomatoes.

Coming into season: brussels sprouts, lollo rosso, parsnips, eating apples.

Menopause and health store humour

“Menopause is that time in your life when all hell breaks out with your hormones, when your body cannot decide whether you are a prepubescent youth and sends you pimply skin, a fertile goddess and sends you painful periods, or an old crone and sends you night sweats and hot flushes,” says Yvonne Deegan of Von’s Health Store in Limerick.

“Hormonal changes can cause you to question your sanity with damage to your confidence and self-worth, while regularly switching your tear ducts on for absolutely no good reason.”

Life coach Gaye Moore, nutritionist Yvonne Deegan and chef Ciara Brennan are tackling this taboo subject head-on in a fun, natural way to ease the physical, mental and emotional trauma of menopause. They will be holding talks in Von’s Health Store and have launched a free ebook on their website www.fookfifty.com

Coeliac or not?

Find out whether you are a coeliac by using the Coeliac Society of Ireland’s new free online self-assessment tool. You will be asked a number of questions relating to your current health and if they match to some of those of coeliac disease, you will be encouraged to seek a medical diagnosis and provided with supporting information.

www.isitcoeliacdisease.ie or coeliac.ie

Traveller's tummy

It’s that time of year! Dust off the suitcase, break out the bathing suit, and get the flips ready to flop. These all-important elements to a great holiday are easy to remember, but one thing we should not forget is how to keep our tummies healthy and happy as we travel abroad to foreign lands.

Read on...

Hay fever survival tips

How to stop pollen from getting into your body:

• When indoors, close windows to stop pollen getting through.

• When going outside, tie your hair up and wear a hat to prevent pollen particles being caught in your hair.

• Wear wraparound sunglasses to prevent pollen particles coming in contact with your eyes.

• Use an organic, drug-free allergen barrier balm on your nostrils to trap pollen particles before they enter the body.

• Dry clothes indoors rather than on a clothes line outside.

• Vacuum the house regularly, especially beds and fabrics to remove pollen particles.

• If you own a pet ensure that it is well groomed and shampooed to remove pet allergens and pollen particles.

• Shower at night before sleeping to remove pollen particles from your hair and body.

Protect your eyes this summer

A survey by online lighting superstore Scotlight Direct asked 1,500 Irish people questions about their sunglasses and found that 60% have no idea whether their sunglasses have any UV protection, and one-third of Irish adults own a pair of replica sunglasses – cheaper copies of classic designer brands. This is of concern because if they don’t carry proper UV protection, you risk causing real damage to your sight.

Almost half of those interviewed (49%) believe that darker lenses provide more protection – even though that’s not actually the case. And over half (56%) don’t know whether the sunglasses they currently own offer high UV protection. Check out www.scotlightdirect.co.uk/infographics/sunglasses-health-benefits

How IBS affects Irish adults

An independent survey of 1000 people in Ireland by Silicolgel, a product used to help treat gastrointestinal disorders has found that 66.5% said that stress is causing stomachache, bloating and nausea which is affecting their ability to work, with 40% admitting to taking time off work due to digestive and bowel problems caused by stress. Nearly half of those surveyed (42.5%) admitted that digestive problems or an upset stomach have ruined a night of passion and three-fifths of people (60%) had to change and adjust their plans to cope with the challenges that these symptoms bring. Recent figures reveal that IBS affects 5-20% of the Irish population, yet it has only been diagnosed in about 5-7% of those who suffer.

For more information visit www.silicol.co.uk

Dairy and heart disease

A new study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology into eating milk, yogurt and cheese comprises a meta-analysis of 29 cohort studies and questions the link between dairy, saturated fat and heart health. In line with a growing body of science, the study shows that dairy has a neutral or protective association on long-term heart health. The meta-analysis, based on 35 years’ worth of research, found no links between milk, total dairy, high- or low-fat dairy and coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.

Grow an aloe vera plant

Did you know that the inner part of the aloe vera leaf contains eight essential amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, salicylic acid, sugars, saponins and sterols? Aloe vera can be used for soothing burns including sunburn, treating minor abrasions and bruises, treating stings and bites. Either pull off a leaf and squeeze directly onto the skin, or buy a gel from your local health store.

Irish Seed Savers

“The Irish Association of Health Stores are official supporters of Irish Seed Savers Association, a non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving and sharing Ireland's rare heirloom seeds and apple trees. The IAHS will be supporting Irish Seed Savers events and using our retail network to publicise and support Irish Seed Savers activities and events. Many health food stores are now stocking Seed Saver seeds.” Mary Wedel, Chair, IAHS

19-27 May is Biodiversity Week and Irish Seed Savers will be holding Blossom Week in their 20 acres of beautiful organic gardens and orchards that contain Ireland’s national heritage apple tree collection in Capparoe, Scariff, Co Clare. Visit for free.

28 May is Plant Share Sunday. “Bring your surplus seeds, plants, seedlings and shrubs to exchange or just come for a chat and a cup of tea and cake,” says Irish Seed Savers. “We will have a free guided tour of our apple blossom orchards. Gardens, orchards, cafe and shop open."


Fit for your heart

A study of over 4,500 people undertaken by the University of Wolverhampton and published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports recently looked at factors affecting heart health including body mass index (BMI), waist to hip ratio (WHR) and waist to height (WTHR) ratio, and has found that more important than all of these is being fit.

The researchers led by Professor Alan Nevill assessed the individuals' risk of heart disease by asking them to undergo a number of tests including fasting, walking on a treadmill and their blood pressure, heart rates and oxygen intakes were measured before and after exercise. The fitter individuals had a lower risk of heart disease regardless of their other measurements.

What you think of Rude Health

We are delighted to announce the results of our third Rude Health magazine readers survey. Thanks again for responding to our annual survey, we appreciate your feedback.

Click here to read on...

Yoga eases symptoms of depression?

A study carried out by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, Harvard School of Medicine, Boston Medical Centre, McLean Hospital, Memorial Veterans Hospital, New York Medical College, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Columbia University and published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine has found that doing yoga can help ease symptoms of depression.

Researchers recruited 32 people with moderate to severe depression. They were split into two groups – one group was given three 90-minute classes each week, with four 30-minute sessions at home, and the other group took part in two 90-minute classes, with three 30-minute sessions at home per week. After 12 weeks the researchers looked again at their depression scores – both groups were found to show less depressive symptoms, with the group doing more yoga gaining the most benefit. The researchers are planning more research in the future.

Screen time linked to type 2 diabetes

Researchers from the University of London and the University of Glasgow have published research in medical journal Archives of Disease in Childhood looking into how screentime affects children’s likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. The study used data collected from 2004 to 2007 on 4,500 children aged 10. They found that children who had more than three hours of screen time per day had higher levels of body fat and insulin resistance when compared to children with an hour or less of screen time per day. This data was collected before the advent of smartphones and tablets in many children’s lives.

Protecting Ireland’s beaches

As an island with a rich heritage of local fishing, fabulous seafood and nutrient-dense seaweeds we know the power of the sea. Look a little deeper, however, and it’s alarming to realise that minor everyday products can have a negative effect on marine life and our coastlines.

Choosing eco-friendly beauty products is an important choice – natural versions avoid ingredients such as microbeads which cannot break down in the sea, and of the 10,000 tons of UV filters produced for sunscreens annually, about 25% of these are applied to skin and end up in the sea. These chemicals mimic the effect of oestrogen and can have a dramatic effect on aquatic life, for example turning fish into hermaphrodites. Certain sunscreens promote viral infections in coral reefs, potentially playing a devastating role in coral bleaching.

Clean Coasts is an Irish body operated by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce. It organises hundreds of beach clean-ups annually, removing considerable quantities of marine litter from our coastline and engages communities in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life. The Marine Conservation Society is a UK charity for the protection of seas, shores and wildlife. Eco-friendly cosmetics company Green People is donating 30p (or the equivalent € value) from the sale of every marine-friendly Scent Free SPF30 Sun Lotion and Children’s Scent Free SPF30 Sun Lotion to this worthy cause.


Make your holiday more eco-friendly

Whether you are jetting off to foreign climes or enjoying a staycation here in Ireland, there are ways to make your holiday greener:

Go local – avoid chains and instead choose family-run cafes and restaurants.

Respect wildlife – do not buy souvenirs made from animal parts.

Look for responsible tour operators – check websites for info.

Take your time – don’t be in a rush to see everything. Walk or cycle and get closer to nature or make your break more intimate and enlightening.

New look Hopsack

IAHS health store The Hopsack in the Swan Centre in Rathmines has been undergoing a process of expansion and revitalisation. “This is the culmination of what we have wanted to do for over five years now,” says Finn Murray. “We have basically doubled the space by expanding into a vacant shop next door. We didn’t do it to put more products on the shelves, but to give customers and staff more room to move and a better atmosphere to the shop. We have massively increased aisle width for our customers, and dedicated a huge portion of the shop to working space for our team. Where we previously tried to cram all the elements of our business into a tiny space we're now giving each one space to flourish, so we can really begin to tell our story in food, how we're growing it, cooking it and educating about it.

“Our fresh food area and organic fruit and vegetables section is now much bigger and we can stock produce from our organic farm and cook them in the kitchen. We wanted to use our cafe area for workshops, screenings and education. It’s about community and sharing – we want to help our customers to come and learn new ideas, developing their relationship with the food they put in their mouths, and on their families' tables. Our upcoming workshops include miso making with cook/educator, Junko Hamilton which will include an amazing Japanese dinner, and a fermentation workshop with Dearbhla Reynolds of The Cultured Club.

“The back wall of the shop is where we now have a number of new innovations including a water refill station, a household product refill section and two nut butter machines where customers can grind their own nuts. We're trying to cut right down on waste, and lead the way for our customers to do the same. With ideas like this we hope to stay relevant and keep exciting ourselves and our customers for many years to come.”


Teenage boys fitter than girls

According to new research into the fitness of secondary school pupils launched by Irish Life Health, boys are 42% fitter than girls in 4th year. Over a quarter of all Irish secondary schools signed up for the Irish Life Health Schools Fitness Challenge in 2016, with 22,764 students taking part.

Students experienced a significant improvement in their fitness levels after just six weeks of exercise training, with first year boys (+11%) and fourth year girls (+14%) showing the biggest improvement levels overall. The programme was overseen by Professor Niall Moyna in the Centre for Preventive Medicine, Dublin City University.

Anxiety helped by meditation

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center with lead author associate professor Elizabeth A. Hoge, MD recently published a study on the effects of meditation on anxiety in the journal Psychiatry Research.

Two groups of over 40 people suffering from anxiety disorder were organised with one group taking an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course and the other group taking a stress management course that focused on eating patterns, sleep, and overall wellness. Before and after the eight week period both groups took a Trier Social Stress Test. This involved giving an impromptu speech in front of a large group of people.

The researchers found that the mindfulness meditation group were less stressed when taking the test the second time, however, the group who had taken a stress management course seemed more stressed.

Baddies in fast food wrappers

Researchers at the Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts have published a study in Environmental Science and Technology Letters expressing concern over PFASs in fast food wrappers. PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) belong to the same family as Teflon and could pose a health risk.

PFASs can stay in the body for long periods of time and have been linked to high cholesterol, insulin resistance and weight gain. Other more serious conditions have been linked with PFASs in studies of animals.

The power of acupuncture

Professor Hugh MacPherson, Professor of Acupuncture Research in the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences has published research in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Journals Library on how acupuncture can be an effective treatment for chronic pain and boost the effectiveness of conventional medication.

The researchers looked at the results of 29 high quality clinical trials involving 18,000 patients diagnosed with chronic pain. The studies focused on patients treated with acupuncture and standard medical care. Some patients were treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy and acupuncture and some with just the drugs and physio. The results show that in the majority of cases patients who also had acupuncture found they had less pain.

Have a greener St Patrick’s Day

It may be the one day of the year when the world goes green, but how can we make it more eco-friendly? Here are some simple tips:

Stay closer to home – there are great parades in all cities and most towns in Ireland plus other events too. Check out www.stpatricksfestival.ie

Walk to the parade – avoid the dash into town in your car and parking problems. Or take the bus. Reduce your carbon footprint.

Choose local foods for your celebration meal – sign up for a fruit and vegetable box that is delivered to your door for guaranteed fresh in-season produce. Choose Irish products in your local independent health store.

Choose recycled decorations – avoid tripping to the euro store for cheap plastic and instead make some decorations. Keep the kids busy painting posters and making shamrock shaped badges and hats out of leftover felt. Put candles in empty green bottles from beer or wine to make table lights.

Choose local beers – for less air miles and supporting the local economy.

Primary school children to grow their own

This year as part of the Sow & Grow initiative 45,000 primary school children will be able to grow runner beans, baby carrots and cress in their classrooms and teachers can apply for a growing pack, which includes, soil, growing pots, seeds and expert growing guides along with details on how to cook and eat the produce they will grow.


Only 1 in 3 women in Ireland take folic acid

Results from the latest survey for safefood’s folic acid campaign have revealed that while more than 95% of women are now aware of the benefits of taking folic acid, only one in three actually routinely take it. Recently published Irish research has also shown that three out of four women who attend for antenatal care have not taken folic acid supplements at the critical time, which is before they become pregnant.

Safefood wants to encourage women to take folic acid supplements and help address Ireland’s high rate of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) like spina bifida among newborn babies.

For more information visit www.safefood.eu/folicacid

Pregnant women at risk of depression

Screening for depression should be an integral part of antenatal care plan, say researchers. Women are advised to tell their doctor or midwife how they are feeling emotionally when they are pregnant.

One in six pregnant women – or 16% of pregnant women – attending maternity services across Ireland are at probable risk of depression during their pregnancy, according to a new survey by the REDEEM research group, based in the Trinity College Institute of Neurosciences (TCIN), TCD and Irish Obstetric Services from Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Castlebar.

Ireland has the second highest birth rate in Europe, with an average of just under 68,000 births a year (2014). This means that in one year, over 11,000 women could be experiencing or at risk of depression during pregnancy, and yet screening for antenatal depression is not routine in Ireland’s maternity hospitals.

The Irish study also shows that rates of depression increase with advancing pregnancy, and that rates of depression are higher amongst women from lower socio-economic groups and with lower educational attainment.

Participants were recruited from: The National Maternity Hospital, Dublin; The Rotunda Hospital, Dublin; Cork University Hospital, Cork; Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar; University Hospital Limerick; and Community Antenatal Clinics, Tallaght, Co. Dublin.

Free-from foods grow in popularity

Due to dietary or health and wellness concerns, over half of Irish consumers now avoid certain ingredients in what they eat and drink, according to new data garnered from an online survey from Nielsen who look at grocery buying trends.

Fifty-two percent eat a diet that excludes or limits consumption of some foods or ingredients. Antibiotics/hormones are the most common ingredients avoided (64%) followed by artificial additives, such as flavours and preservatives (62%) and sugar sweeteners (59%). Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and genetically-modified organisms also feature in the five most avoided.

Over one in four (27%) households contains someone who suffers from food allergies or intolerances. The most common ingredients avoided in Ireland for these reasons are eggs and lactose/dairy (both 47%), poultry (30%), gluten (28%) and grains (25%).

Sales of free-from products rose 15% in Ireland last year. A third of Irish people say their dietary choice is due to helping prevent conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol or hypertension.

The effect of working shifts on health

A new report into the habits of people who work shifts has found more than 2 in 3 (67%) reported skipping meals on work days and almost 8 in 10 (78%) reported getting insufficient sleep. The report by safefood also found that in some employment sectors, 1 in 3 shift workers were smokers, a rate significantly higher than those in the general population.

The study also found that lack of breaks, shift patterns, poor availability of food, inadequate canteen opening times, and tiredness due to long working hours were the most common barriers reported by shift workers to leading a healthier lifestyle.

The research was lead Dr Clare Corish, Associate Professor at the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, University College Dublin in partnership with Ulster University and Dublin Institute of Technology.

New Year revival

At this time of year everybody is planning, making changes and starting new good habits. IAHS member health stores are no exception and are rolling out a coordinated marketing strategy which customers will see reflected in their social media, Rude Health magazine, and the IAHS and Rude Health social media channels. It will also include some exciting in-store marketing and promotions.

For the next two months the themes of revival and detox will be to the fore in health food stores.

So why not take a trip to your nearest independent health food store for a consultation with well-trained and caring staff?

Watch out on Twitter and Facebook for hash-tagged threads with #revival #detox that include the keywords #IAHS and #rudehealth.

Use these search pointers to discover the wholesome and ethical solutions that independent health stores will be featuring over the coming weeks including special offers, food tastings, complimentary therapies, health blogs and in-store events.

Vitamin D linked to asthma relief

A major review of seven different trials involving 1,093 people with different levels of asthma led by Professor Adrian Martineau at Queen Mary University of London for the Cochrane Library has found that people who took vitamin D supplements alongside their normal medication saw the risk of a severe asthma attack fall from 6 per cent to 3 per cent. The scientists have called for further trials.

Bone broth: nourishing traditions

By nutritionist and CNM graduate Jacqueline Ryan

Bone broth – health food’s newest trend isn’t actually new at all! Our ancestors made this traditional, nourishing, easy to digest, nutrientdense food to power through tougher times. The key to nutrient-rich bone broth is in the quality of the ingredients. You can make bone broth with chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, bison, venison or fish.

Read on...

Adjust your body clock with magnesium

Find it hard to adjust to winter time? A recent report in The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine found that when the body’s magnesium levels are too low, it makes it harder to stay asleep.

Being deficient in magnesium is linked with many health implications including migraines, anxiety, depression and extreme fatigue. A magnesium-rich bath or a few body sprays after a shower will leave you feeling relaxed as well as effectively replenishing your body’s levels.

Do you have Christmas tree syndrome?

A team of scientists from Upstate Medical University have analysed clippings from 28 Christmas trees including needles and bark, from a range of species, and found that they housed an unbelievable 53 different types of mould!

Airborne allergies expert Max Wiseberg gives these tips for avoiding Christmas Tree Syndrome categorised by sneezing, sniffling and hay fever-like symptoms:

  • Hose down your tree before taking it into the house, or after getting it out of storage, as this can help remove some of the mould and spores – though it’s probably best to get someone who isn’t allergic to do this.
  • Take care when you’re decorating your tree, or get someone else to, as allergens will be disturbed as you move the tree into position and move the branches to hang the decorations and position the lights.
  • Put your tree up as late as possible to help minimise the risk of exposure to mould.
  • Use an air purifier to help clear the air of mould particles.
  • Apply an organic allergen barrier balm around your nostrils to help stop the allergens getting up your nose.


Grow It Yourself (GIY) Ireland has been busy setting up a brand new GROW HQ on the Dunmore Road in Waterford. The centre will consist of a national food education centre and GIY showcase where people can come to immerse themselves in the GIY lifestyle by growing, cooking and eating home-grown food. There will be a home-grown food training centre, cookery school, café, shop and training gardens plus food awareness, education and outreach programmes. The shop will stock a delicious mix of cookery books, gardening tools, seeds, plants, raised beds, accessories and kitchenware. The cafe will serve fresh, local, seasonal, unspoiled, untampered-with and almost zero food miles.

For more information check out www.giyinternational.org/grow-hq

Have a greener Christmas

Most people would admit to festive habits that are far from green. There are numerous ways to make your Christmas greener. Rude Health has some tips:


Shop local – It may be tempting to order from the internet and large shops, but transporting goods great distances has a negative impact on the environment. Buying from local artisans and producers is a greener option.

Read on...

Did you know?

Only 3% of the eligible population in Ireland are active blood donors?

1 in 4 of us will need transfusions at some stage in our lives?

Blood lasts just 35 days?

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is taking part in a global initiative with blood donor organisations across 21 countries to highlight an almost 30% international drop in people becoming blood donors compared to a decade ago. In Ireland there is a particular need for new donors as there was a 21% drop in people coming forward to donate for the first time in 2015 compared to 2010.

Visit giveblood.ie

Coping with fussy eaters

In a new online poll conducted by the Irish Heart Foundation, 80% of parents admitted it was hard to get their children to eat at mealtimes, with nearly a quarter of parents having to bribe their children to eat their dinner. Here are their tips for reducing the drama at mealtimes:

It’s not a war – ‘No’ is often an attempt to get attention, so don’t panic.

Food is not a bribe – offering the promise of sweets after eating dinner sets children up to view sweets as a ‘prize’.

The Do’s and Don’ts of mealtimes – always praise your children for trying something new.

Trying (and retrying) new foods – it can take up to 10 times for children to try something new – keep offering it.

Peer pressure works – invite a friend with a big appetite to join you for dinner.

Staying calm and relaxed – keep mealtimes as relaxed as possible, and always away from the TV.

Know the triggers – look for the pattern to why your child looks for unhealthy food.

The facts: NATRUE certification

The NATRUE Label sets a high standard when it comes to defining the naturalness of cosmetic products. It helps consumers to identify natural and organic cosmetics truly worthy of that name. To date, thousands of products worldwide carry the NATRUE Label and many more are in the process of certification.

When the NATRUE Label appears on a package, you can be sure that the product it contains is not only compliant with a strict standard, but also that a reliable certification process has been carried out by independent bodies which are themselves subjected to a rigorous accreditation process with NATRUE’s partner, the International Organic Accreditation Service.

A few of the brands that are certified and carry the Natrue label are Lavera, Logona, Dr. Hauschka, Fair Squared, Weleda, Sante, Primavera, Naturalis, Irish Organics.

Khadi Amla Shampoo wins a Free-from Skincare Award 2016

Khadi Shampoo is now an award-winning natural shampoo after coming away with a silver award in the Haircare category in the Free-from Skincare Awards 2016.

And it is well deserved – this beauty of a shampoo uses natural and organic ingredients to cleanse, condition and rejuvenate the hair and scalp.

Amla is high in vitamin C, helping to add softness and shine while preventing dryness of the scalp.

It is also a source of essential fatty acids that serve to keep the hair follicles strong and nourish the hair from root to tip, and ylang-ylang essential oil helps to balance, soothe and maintain a healthy scalp.

Give this winner a try sometime.

Recurring ear infections and child development

By nutritionist and CNM graduate Louise Quinlan. Louise specialises in holistic children’s health.

Children are continuously being exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. A strong immune system allows their natural defences to be able to fight these invaders and ward off illnesses.

When a child gets an ear infection, wax build-up is their body’s attempt at blocking the attacker. Ear infections at a young age can affect a child’s development of good speech and language as they are trying to process and listen through the wax in the ear.

Read on...

New vitamin D study

A recent study at the University of Manchester led by Professor Lesley Rhodes looked at the vitamin D levels of 130 12-15-year-olds at six schools in greater Manchester.

It assessed their exposure to sunlight and the amount of vitamin D they were getting through food. The teenagers kept records of their exposure to the sun and diet and wore sun-sensitive badges.

The study found that 16% of the test group had very low vitamin D levels in at least one season of the year. Nearly 25% failed to reach the level many experts recommend at the end of summer (when levels are normally at their peak), rising to nearly 75% in the winter.

These figures are backed up by figures from the Irish Osteoporosis Society who say that in Ireland 74% of adults and 88% of primary school children, have less than half of the recommended daily amount of vitamin D. Limited amounts of vitamin D can be found in oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals, but for many people it is sensible to take a supplement, especially as we head into winter.

More info at www.irishosteoporosis.ie

Sitting is bad for your health

A study carried out by researchers from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, University of Cambridge, University of Queensland, Oslo University Hospital, Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Sydney University and Harvard Medical School and published in The Lancet looked at research into how sitting for long periods can increase your chance of dying earlier.

Previous studies that included information on sitting time, exercise and mortality were examined by the researchers who found that at least an hour of moderate exercise per day is needed to offset the risk of sitting down for most of the day.

People who sat for more than eight hours a day and were not active were 59% more likely to have died during the study follow-up than people who exercised and sat for less than four hours.

Dried fruit not bad for teeth

A new review of scientific literature undertaken by registered nutritionist Dr Michele Sadler in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition has looked at whether eating dried fruit can cause problems with dental health.

Dr Sadler highlights a number of reasons why eating dried fruit to which no sugars are added during the drying process might be a positive for dental health. Prunes contain relatively high levels of sorbitol, and a health claim authorised for use in the EU suggests that this, when used in place of sugar, can help maintain tooth mineral content.

In addition, the chewy texture of dried fruits and their delicious taste might help to promote the flow of saliva, which neutralises the negative effects of acid produced by bacteria. The review also discusses the possibility that polyphenols in dried fruit might provide anti-bacterial benefits and help to fight harmful oral bacteria present in the mouth.

Get on your bike

A new study by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and published in Lancet: Diabetes-Endocrinology has found that people who cycle to work typically have a lower BMI than those who walk and take other transport options. The study compared the BMI and body fat percentage of 150,000 UK men and women aged 40-69 with their normal mode of transport.

The categories were: car only, car and public transport, public transport only, car and a mixture of all other methods, public transport and walking, cycling or both, walking only, cycling only, cycling and walking. This information was cross-referenced with BMI and percentage body fat. People who cycled to work every day had a BMI about 1.7kg less than those who mainly drove to work. All methods of commuting had a lower body fat percentage than ‘car and public transport’.

Cycling to work has the added advantage of being easy to fit into your routine – and it’s much cheaper than the gym!

Apricot kernels pose health risk

By all means enjoy apricots, but don’t eat the raw kernel says the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).

naturally-occurring compound called amygdalin is present in apricot kernels and converts to cyanide after eating.

Cyanide poisoning can cause nausea, fever, headaches, insomnia, thirst, lethargy, joint and muscle aches and pains, and falling blood pressure. In extreme cases it is fatal.

Based on the amounts of amygdalin typically present in raw apricot kernels, EFSA’s experts estimate that adults could safely consume one large or three small apricot kernels (370mg), without exceeding the ARfD (Acute Reference Dose).

For toddlers the amount would be 60mg which is about half of one small kernel. But safest of all would be not to eat the kernel at all.

Green music festival

This year's Electric Picnic runs from 2-4 September in the lush grounds of Stradbally Hall in Co. Laois and as well as top musical acts will feature Global Green, a pop-up ecovillage featuring cultural creatives, activists, artists, musicians, foodies, hackers, social entrepreneurs and slam poets under the Cultivate dome.

All food is sourced from within a 50-mile radius of Cloughjordan ecovillage where sustainability collective Cultivate is based. You can meet the farmers who have nurtured the soil and cultivated the vegetables, the seed-savers, the craft baker, the cooks and young food entrepreneurs.


Immune boosting smoothie

By Aisling O’Kelly, Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy graduate at the College of Naturopathic Medicine

One thing everyone strives for is a healthy immune system. Eating our green vegetables is one of the best ways to do this. The good thing is, green veggies are both low in fat and calories, while being high in antioxidants, protein, fibre, calcium, iron and minerals.

Read on...

Not all salt is bad

A large worldwide study published recently in The Lancet and involving more than 130,000 people from 49 countries has found that low-salt diets may actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death compared to average salt consumption.

The study was undertaken by researchers at the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences in Canada.

Professor Martin O’Donnell, a co-author on the study and an associate professor at NUI Galway said “This study … questions the appropriateness of current guidelines that recommend low sodium intake in the entire population. Until definitive trials are completed, an approach that recommends salt in moderation… appears more in-line with current evidence.”

Help for hay fever sufferers

For the 20% of people in Ireland who suffer from hay fever the increased pollen count in the summer can mean misery and discomfort. Here Rude Health gives you some top tips for coping with hay fever:

Be forewarned – check www.met.ie for the next day’s pollen forecast.

Stop pollen – with a barrier cream applied around your nostrils.

Don’t mow your lawn – ask someone else to do it for you.

Hot wash – sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers every week.

Hoover it – regular vacuuming will help keep pollen levels low.

Close up – keep windows and doors closed to help keep pollen out.

Cut out dairy – avoiding mucus-forming foods can make a difference.

Ask for health store help – there is a whole range of natural products that may help:

Eyebright – for itchy eyes and general eye irritation

Quercertin – a natural anti-histamine.

Tinctures that can help hay fever include chamomile, echinacea and elderflower.

Eat honey – unfiltered raw local honey contains pollen grains which can help.

Foods to relieve your PMS symptoms

By CNM Naturopathic Nutritionist Karla Bohan. Karla specialises in weight management and sports nutrition.

Pre-menstrual syndrome and menstruation have been associated with symptoms that can leave you feeling miserable.

These are caused by changes in hormone levels and may include: fluid retention, bloating, abdominal pain, mood swings, irritability, headaches, breast tenderness, food cravings, and appetite changes.

Read on...

What you think of Rude Health

We are delighted to announce the results of our third Rude Health magazine reader survey. Thanks again for responding to our annual survey, we appreciate your feedback. We asked you for your ages and found that the majority of you, 58%, are aged between 31 and 50; 20% are 51-6, 21% are aged 18-30. 92% of you are female.

The majority of you at 48% are professionals with 25% home makers and 12% doing clerical work. Social media is popular with 69% involved in Facebook and 27% Twitter.

You, our readers are, not surprisingly, regular shoppers in Irish health stores with 29% spending €31-€60 per month, 16% spending more than €60 and 35% spending €21-30 on natural products.

Their local health store is where 93% of you pick up your copy of the magazine and 25% of you read it online. The magazine has 57,250 readers.

In terms of which features of Rude Health magazine are most valued by readers, 65% said that articles on nutrition are their main interest, 39% consider beauty features to be important, 59% like home cooking and baking, 31% enjoy outdoor exercise and fitness, 37% like to read about natural parenting. Celebrity interviews also rated highly as did competitions.

Some of the great things you said about the magazine:

“I like the information on new products and recommendations from shop staff on products they like.”

“I like alternative therapies, exercise and healthy food so it ticks all the boxes for me.”

“I like to pass it on to a few friends and they have been inspired to become a bit more eco and natural.”

“It makes me aware of products in health shops that I wouldn’t normally find out about.”

Speaking of competitions, congratulations to Liz O’Connell from Galway (pictured above) who wins a €200 Australian Bush Flower goodies hamper as part of Rude Health magazine’s reader survey 2015.

Irish women and PMS

A survey undertaken by Cleanmarine for Women has found that 42% of women find that PMS symptoms prevent them from participating in their usual weekly exercise.

The survey also found that a whopping 90% of Irish women felt that PMS prevented them from being their very best self.

Symptoms suffered included anxiety, bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue and irritability with one-third of those who suffer from PMS having to take a minimum of one day off work over the past 12 months due to the severity of their symptoms.

Cleanmarine for Women is a natural and effective long-term solution for ladies affected by PMS containing Omega 3 Krill Oil, Soy Isoflavones plus Vitamins B1, B2, B6 and D3.

The dangers of energy drinks

A new report by safefood into energy drinks in Ireland has found a massive increase in the number of products on sale and some brands containing up to 16tsp of sugar. Males aged 15-24 were the highest consumers of energy drinks (64%) and over half of those who consumed energy drinks (54%) consumed them at least once a week or more frequently.

Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health & Nutrition, safefood commented “A typical small 250ml can has sugar levels of 6tsp per can which is equivalent to a full chocolate bar. Safefood’s position continues to be that these drinks are not recommended as a mixer for alcoholic beverages, not suitable for children under 16 or for rehydration purposes following sport.”

Did you know?

Turmeric is derived from the underground stems of the plant curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family. It is responsible for the yellow colour of Indian curry and American mustard.

Curcumin, which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, is the most active constituent of turmeric.

For thousands of years turmeric has been prized as a natural remedy for arthritis and it has been shown to work very well in modern studies. The whole turmeric root contains hundreds of phytonutrients, not only curcuminoids – its properties are anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-depressant, anti-ageing, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, wound-healing and memory-enhancing.

Turmeric thins the blood and is the herb of choice for inflammation and digestive disorders.

Apart from adding turmeric to your food – it’s great in stews, soups and cooked in rice – you can now buy curcumin extracts.

How to have a green pregnancy

To avoid exposing your precious unborn baby (and yourself) to unnecessary environmental hazards why not consider these tips?

  • Drink filtered water
  • Wash or peel all your fruit and vegetables before eating
  • Choose organic food where possible
  • Heat up food in crockery rather than plastic boxes
  • Choose natural toiletries and cosmetics
  • Clean your home with natural cleaning products
  • Limit the amount of time you spend on the computer or mobile phone
  • Avoid places with smoky or polluted air
  • Walk outside in green spaces when you can

Green politics

The 2016 general election brought some welcome results for green activists in Ireland. After five years with no green TDs in the Dáil, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan topped the poll in Dublin Bay South and deputy leader Catherine Martin was elected in Dublin Rathdown.

Let’s see whether they can influence the incoming government.

Get fridge-wise

How you refrigerate your food can make a big difference to the amount of electricity you use, affecting your electricity bills, and how much food you end up throwing away. So why not follow these simple tips:

  • Keep your fruit and vegetables in the fridge, to avoid them going off quicker and having to be thrown out.
  • Once opened, wrap up cheese, ham etc really well in foil or plastic wrap or put them in a sealed container in the fridge to prevent them drying out and getting spoiled.
  • Wrap herbs in baking paper and then in cling film and store in the fridge – they will last longer. That’s what the Italians do with basil.
  • Keep bread in a bread bin with a lid – storing it in the fridge just makes it go hard.
  • Use your freezer more – if you are unlikely to eat leftovers within a couple of days store them in an airtight box and freeze for later.
  • Check your freezer setting – many fridges are just not cold enough to keep food fresh. It needs to be set at below 5°C.

What our bodies need after exercise

By Norma Carroll, Nutritional Therapy graduate of CNM

Good nutrition is vital for optimal sports performance and maintaining peak physical and mental health. Adequate recovery from exercise is important to maintain consistent athletic training, and to prevent athlete burnout or injury. What we eat after exercise can have an impact on muscle recovery and energy levels. It can also impact future performance.

Read on...

Irish women agree beauty comes from within

According to an independent survey by Perfectil carried out by iReach 92% of Irish women agree that nutrition is central to achieving optimal skin, hair and nail health and 84% of men agreed.

While 48% of adults said they take a targeted supplement, 52% admit that they have never taken a supplement for their hair, nails or skin. Not surprisingly women are twice as likely as men to take a beauty supplement, with 60% saying they have taken a supplement compared to just 36% of men. The survey shows that 18-34-year-olds are the biggest cohort when it comes to taking beauty supplements.

New food standards for seaweed

An international review of research studies into seaweed for human food was published recently in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Phycologia. The scientists looked at the dietary and health benefits of more than 30 species of seaweed, including the common brown wrack (such as Fucus or Bladderwrack, and Carragheen or Irish Moss), which are abundant around our Atlantic shores.

The scientists called for standards to be implemented and said “Rigid controls need to be in place to ensure the health, safety, consistency and traceability of commercial products containing seaweed”.

During the past few years, the Seaweed Health Foundation has been working with seaweed producers and the Biodynamic Association to develop a new international standard for Nutritious Food Seaweed. For the first time, the standard seeks to ensure that consumers will have the nutritional profile of seaweed products, together with adequate data to satisfy themselves of their total quality and safety.

From provenance and selection through to processing and packaging, the standard will include environmental sustainability and food safety criteria enabling seaweed products to comply with food and health regulations and to succeed in global markets.

The new Nutritious Food Seaweed Standard will embrace artisan collection and drying, mechanical wild harvesting and processing, as well as modern cultivation technologies. The first producer of human food seaweed where the new standard is being applied is Seagreens®.

For more info www.seaweedhealthfoundation.org.uk

20 years of Fairtrade in Ireland

20 years ago the first Fairtrade-certified product was created in partnership with Bewley’s and Fairtrade Ireland. Bewley’s sourced Fairtrade-certified coffee directly from farmers in Costa Rica.

When you buy products with the Fairtrade Mark, you support farmers and workers as they work to improve their lives and their communities. The Mark means that the Fairtrade ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards. The standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and a Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.

Fairtrade works to benefit small-scale farmers and workers, who are amongst the most marginalised groups globally, through trade to enable them to maintain their livelihoods and reach their potential.

For certain products, such as coffee, cocoa, cotton and rice, Fairtrade only certifies small-scale farmer organisations. Working through democratic organisations of small-scale farmers, Fairtrade offers rural families the stability of income which enables them to plan for the future. For products such as bananas, tea and flowers, Fairtrade also certifies plantations that employ large numbers of workers on estates. Ensuring decent working conditions and strong worker rights is central to Fairtrade’s work.

During Fairtrade Fortnight (29 February to 13 March) look out for and support any Fairtrade breakfasts in your community and drop into your local health store which may be holding talks and events.

Read our Fairtrade Fortnight feature here...

Protecting your circadian rhythm from the influence of technology

By Nutritional Therapist Alan Flanagan, graduate of CNM

Your circadian rhythm is an internal mechanism which regulates your sleep-wake cycles, and the physiological functions that occur around that 24-hour cycle, influenced by the hormone melatonin.

Read on...

Irish dental habits revealed

A new survey has revealed that nearly half of Irish adults are ‘too tired’ to stick to their daily dental regime. In the study undertaken by healthcare company GSK almost half (49%) of all adults questioned said that they have gone to bed at night without brushing their teeth. Other reasons for skipping parts of their regime included forgetfulness (40%), laziness (36%), and running late for work (12%).

The survey of 500 Irish adults found that 49% of Irish people are embarrassed by their smile; 51% said this is because they are embarrassed by the colour of their teeth, while 28% said they were embarrassed because their teeth looked 'wonky'.

Cost was revealed as the biggest reason why people delayed trips to their dentist with 38% saying that they cannot afford it. A further 21% admitted they have delayed their dental checkups as they are genuinely afraid of the dentist or suffer from ‘dental fear’. Visit www.LoveYourMouth.co.uk to find out how you can improve your oral health.

Did you know?

Cellulite plagues thousands of women in Ireland, leaving many feeling self-conscious about exposing their bodies and often feeling lost as to how to rid themselves of pesky lumps and bumps.

Many social myths surround the causes of cellulite, but cellulite can happen to anyone, regardless of shape or size. The exact cause of cellulite is not yet known, although because it is more predominant in women it is thought to be partly due to hormonal changes. However, genetics, inflammation and to some degree lifestyle may also be a factor. The appearance of cellulite is due to a weakening of the connective tissue beneath the dermis.

This allows the underlying fatty tissue to protrude through, giving the puckered, dimpled appearance which most of us detest and are on a constant quest to eradicate!

Many do not realise the benefits which can be gained by strengthening our skin tissue and preventing the breakthrough of these fatty build-ups beneath our skin. Collagen is the substance which gives our skin elasticity, firmness and tone, and its production is directly affected by vitamin C. A recent study conducted by Princeton Consumer Research showed that Altrient C, the world’s first liposomal vitamin C gel supplement, increased skin elasticity and firmness by 61% in just 12 weeks.


Apple shapes more unhealthy

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in the US and the University of Ottawa in Canada have undertaken a major new observation study tracking more than 15,000 adults to look at the effect of body size on mortality. The study was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers looked at body mass index (BMI), which assesses overall body weight and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), which is the result of dividing the circumference of the waist by the circumference of the hips to provide a measurement of abdominal (belly) fat.

The researchers found that people with a normal BMI but a large WHR were at a higher risk of dying when they tracked them in following years compared to people who had a smaller WHR. However, only a small number of people were found to be in this high-risk category.

Boosting energy through the winter months

By nutritional therapist Honor Geraghty, graduate of CNM

There are times when all of us feel the need for an extra boost of energy, maybe more so during the winter months. The shorter days can make it more difficult to exercise, and people are more likely to choose stodgy type foods - these combined can contribute to dips in energy levels and lower moods. The answer is not to turn to stimulants (such as tea/coffee/sugar), these will only give you a temporary lift followed swiftly by a sudden crash.

Read on...

Link between probiotics and cold prevention in children

A new consumer survey of 1,000 parents of primary school age children in the UK has found that two-thirds of children took days off school due to the common cold last year. More than 50% of those who went to the doctor were prescribed antibiotics, despite new guidance from NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) that doctors should tell patients when antibiotics are inappropriate and discuss other treatment options.

In a related study 69 healthy children aged 3–6 years attending preschool in Slovakia were recruited into a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled pilot study undertaken by the Bratislava Medical School and commissioned by ProVen Probiotics and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition September 2015.

Fifty seven of the children received daily either one Fit for School chewable tablet containing the Lab4 probiotic consortium and 50mg vitamin C or an identical looking placebo tablet. The Fit for School tablets were shown to be consistently effective in reducing the occurrence and duration of sore throats, coughs and colds amongst primary school children.

For more see www.provenprobiotics.co.uk

Unsaturated fats still the best

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic have conducted an observational study of more than 100,000 individuals to look into how much saturated and unsaturated fats they consumed and how this affected heart health.

The individuals were asked what type of oil they used for frying and baking, and if they used any margarine during the past year. There were then follow-ups several years later to observe heart health. The researchers concluded unsaturated fats such as those from vegetable oils, nuts and seeds and high-quality carbohydrates, such as wholegrains, can be used to replace saturated fats to reduce the risk of heart disease.

They did, however, have some concerns that when people decrease their consumption of saturated fats they appear to increase their intake of low quality carbohydrates containing added sugars. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Did you know?

The mineral silica which contains the element silicon is the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust and is found in plants, animals and most living organisms. Silicon is essential to all living beings for developmental, structural and functional requirements, is essential for the production of collagen and unfortunately levels decline as we age.

Food sources of silicon include bananas, leafy greens and grains, however many of us do not get enough from our usual diet and supplementation may be necessary. Now supplement manufacturers have developed silica supplements designed to aid in maintaining a youthful complexion by replenishing the body’s stores of silica, whilst also revitalising skin and strengthening and promoting hair and nail growth. A real way of boosting beauty from the inside.

See www.qsilica.co.uk

Studies show elderberry works

September and back-to-school time usually mean that the cough, colds and 'flu season are just around the corner. But an effective way to help deal with the sniffles – and one of Europe's oldest traditional remedies – is elderberry, studies have shown.

A team from the University of Giessen in Germany conducted an in vitro study on the two major viruses – Influenza A and B – in 2010 as well as on four bacteria that cause upper respiratory infections. Findings of a second, human study were published in July this year. Both concluded that "elderberry liquid extract is active against human pathogenic bacteria as well as influenza viruses."

Elderberry research has shown that it boosts immunity by increasing the production of vital proteins in immune cells. These proteins are released when our bodies come under attack, and provide a co-ordinated response to oncoming illness.

Read our feature "Beat those bugs" here

Did you know?

Madagascar is not just where the ring-tailed lemur comes from, it is also a major producer of organic spices and oils. In 1979 Jean- Claude Pichot from France, a distiller of wild and organic plants started working there. His company Golgemma joined the Bio equitable (fair trade) Association in 2004.

Working with subsistence farmers in Madagascar, Pichot found that once they had cash crops they stopped growing their own food, so if crops failed or prices collapsed they were worse off than before. This led him to an understanding of the need for a more complex and close relationship with his producers and in co-operation with local businesses, he started a fair trade operation producing spices, vanilla and essential oils. They also grow rice and support micro credit schemes for local producers and crafts people.

Since 2010 they have been certified by Ecocert both for organic status and for the ESR – Fair trade, Solidarity and Responsibility Standard. The oils produced include clove bud, fresh ginger, lemongrass, vetivert, ylang ylang and a mellow patchouli, essential oils used for perfumery, aromatherapy and flavourings. Irish company Atlantic Aromatics sell these oils under their oil label.

Plant sterols lower cholesterol

New research undertaken in the Department of Internal Medicine at Comenius University Bratislava by scientists Sabaka P, Caprnda M, Balaz D, Komornikova A, Gaspar L and Dukat A and presented at the 83rd European Atherosclerosis Society Congress in Glasgow has shown that plant sterols taken in tablet form are an effective treatment in cholesterol management. It has been shown that consuming plant sterols in a dosage five times higher than the average dietary level contributes to a significant decrease in the blood LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol level.

The three month study with 93 participants (41 men, 52 women) showed positive results when taking one Zerochol tablet, twice daily (1.6g plant sterols daily): 12% reduction in total cholesterol and 17% reduction in LDL cholesterol. Zerochol contains natural plant sterols, which are naturally-occurring substances found in plants. There are no secondary side effects and no known interaction with medications. Plant sterols do not interfere with cholesterol-lowering medications.

Find out more at: www.zerochol.ie/register

Star tip

As it is Irish Heart month this September Rude Health magazine asked TV presenter Amanda Byram for her favourite health snack. “I am a big fan of working out! Rope skipping is free and a brilliant HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) exercise. It gets your heart working and will maximise fat and calorie burn. Postworkout I always love to snack on seeds. They are nutritious, healthy and great for building lean muscle as well as looking after your heart.”

See www.9BAR.com and www.irishheart.ie

Seaweed shown to improve iodine levels

Independent research at Glasgow University organised by the Seaweed Health Foundation and published in the British Journal of Nutrition has revealed that low-level seaweed supplementation improves iodine levels in iodine-insufficient women with no adverse effect on thyroid function. Combet E. et al. monitored the iodine levels of women taking dried granules of Seagreens wild wrack seaweed and noted a 60% average improvement in their iodine uptake.

Iodine is a mineral that contributes to normal thyroid, nervous system and cognitive function, the normal growth of children, normal energy-yielding metabolism, and the maintenance of skin. Although obtainable from natural fish, meat and dairy products, certain sea vegetables are the ideal source.

For more information www.seaweedhealthfoundation.org.uk and www.seagreens.co.uk.

New hope for hair loss

A new clinical paper published in the leading peer-reviewed Journal of Applied Cosmetology is the result of 28 years of leading peer-reviewed scientific testing and research across multiple continents and the consolidation of 56 studies into the influence of specific proteoglycans in the treatment of hair ageing over that time.

The study has concluded that a unique active ingredient in hair loss product Nourkrin is the key to helping reverse the process of hair loss. This ingredient, Marilex, has been proven to reverse the process of hair loss through stimulating dormant follicles back into the growth phase.

For more visit www.nourkrin.com.

Irish workers want bosses to respect health

86% of respondents in a One4all survey of 1,000 workers said that maintaining a healthy workforce is not a top priority for their boss.

Almost four in 10 workers (38%) say that they have regularly felt stressed because of work in the past year. Employees also rate wellness programmes highly and 72% of employees said that they would be more likely to stick with a company that cared about their health.

Other findings in the research show that in the recovering economy Ireland’s workers can’t switch off, with over four in 10 workers regularly working through lunch. Check out www.bikes4work.ie

Sleep caption competition winners announced

Earlier this year, Rude Health magazine teamed up with A.Vogel, creators of Dormeasan Sleep Valerian-Hops oral drops to launch a fun competition.

Based on the theme of sleep, the competition, run jointly with our sister title Your Healthy Living, introduced readers to Valerian the dormouse and Hops the bunny, and invited you to come up with a fun caption based on their images.

We were delighted with the number of entries we received and the creativity of the captions you came up with. Overall winner was Laura from Bristol who scooped the €340 prize, but two Rude Health readers took €70 runner-up prizes.

Aisling from Dublin's caption was: "A dormouse named Valerian (a committed vegetarian), peacefully drifted asleep, sound and deep"; Colette from County Limerick's entry was "Hops the bunny, his days are full and sunny, thanks to A.Vogel which keeps him running".

Congratulations to our winner and runners-up, and thank you to all our readers who entered the competition!

Get the lowdown on seaweed

The nutritional properties of seaweed and the various ways it's beneficial for our health are well known, and this September will see the third annual Seaweed for Health event taking place.

Attendance at the event, which is the leading national public seaweed event in the British Isles, has grown each year, and this year's will feature talks, exhibits, demonstrations and much more.

The venue is the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, the dates 5th and 6th September, from midday to 4pm.

For more information, visit www.rbge.org.uk/whats-on

Mediterranean diet tops again

A study of older adults in Spain published online by JAMA Internal Medicine has found that adding antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts to the plant-based Mediterranean diet can improve cognitive function linked to a lower risk of dementia.

Emilio Ros, M.D., Ph.D., of the Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi Sunyer, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, and Ciber Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, and co-authors compared a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts with a low-fat control diet.

The randomised clinical trial resulted in 37 cases of mild cognitive impairment: 17 (13.4 percent) in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group; eight (7.1 percent) in the Mediterranean diet plus nuts group; and 12 (12.6 percent) in the low-fat control group. No dementia cases were documented in patients who completed the study follow-up.

Researchers stated that more research is needed.

Probiotic link to hay fever?

Researchers from the University School of Medicine in Nashville, USA have analysed the results of 23 trials into the effect of probiotic supplements on allergic rhinitis, a common symptom of hay fever.

Their research found that when combined with other treatments probiotics were beneficial in 17 of the 23 studies, but more research is still needed.

The research conclusions were published in the peer-reviewed medical journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology.

Child vaccination in Ireland

According to a new GSK survey 99% of parents in Ireland vaccinate their children against all diseases recommended to them. However, just 44% said they are aware of which diseases their children are vaccinated against.

Nearly a third (31%) mistakenly thought that Meningitis B was currently covered by the national immunisation programme, while some parents thought their child had been immunised against rotavirus (12%) and seasonal influenza (10%).

Furthermore, 60% were not aware that tetanus, and Hepatitis B were included in the programme. One third of parents (35%) say they are not well-informed on how vaccines work, however 87% say they are aware that not vaccinating your children puts others at risk.

Friends help your health

New research from Brigham Young University published in Perspectives on Psychological Science has revealed that loneliness and social isolation are just as much a threat to living to a ripe old age as obesity. In the study scientists led by Julianne Holt-Lunstad analysed data from a number of health studies with more than 3 million participants. Co-author of the study Tim Smith said: “With loneliness on the rise, we are predicting a possible loneliness epidemic in the future.”

The study authors suggested that online communication and texting lacks emotional depth and keeping in touch with others in person is better for our health, although technology does help us to communicate with people far away.

CBT an aid to better sleep?

Researchers from Northumbria University, Newcastle University and the University of Pittsburgh in the US have conducted a randomised controlled trial to examine the use of a single session of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for insomnia. CBT is a therapy where a therapist will talk to a person and examine the way they think. The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, Sleep.

The study recruited 40 adults with short-term insomnia and either gave them a session of CBT or not. They were asked to keep a sleep diary which was assessed after four weeks. The study shows that 60% of the group who had CBT experienced some improvement in insomnia compared with 15% of the group that did not.

Magnesium best as oil

What do the main superfoods such as blueberries, nuts, seafood, dark green vegetables, fish and dark chocolate to name a few have in common?

They all contain a vital mineral many of us are deficient in – magnesium.

Magnesium is vital for the proper working of nerves and muscles. It is essential for heart health and helps control blood pressure and blood sugar. Deficiency leads to problems such as migraine, irritability, anxiety, extreme fatigue, insomnia, irregular heartbeat and lack of concentration.

A clinical trial by Cardiff University showed how well magnesium is absorbed through the skin using magnesium in oil form compared to oral supplements. So it seems rubbing oil into your skin after a shower is an easy way to boost your magnesium levels.

Irish fertility study yields results

Wexford-based nutritional supplement manufacturer Pillar Healthcare has got together with fertility specialist ReproMed Ireland for Europe’s first-ever clinical study on the impact of nutritional supplements on male and female fertility.

The study, led by ReproMed director Declan Keane took three months and involved 20 Irish couples who have been unable to conceive taking nutritional supplement preConceive over a 90-day period with tests before and after.

Independent analysis of the findings showed that more than eight out of 10 Irish men showed improvements in their sperm motility as well as reduced cell damage to their sperm. Results were presented to the Association of Clinical Embryologists in Birmingham.

Experts talk to popular Evergreen event in Dublin

Hundreds of people turned up at the Radisson Blu hotel in Dublin on a Sunday in March for an event organised by Evergreen Healthfood Stores. At the event there were seminars from two of the UK’s leading natural healthcare experts.

Dr Marilyn Glenville spoke to a large crowd of both men and women about improving their physical and mental health through good diet and nutrition.

Author and expert Patrick Holford came on after lunch and spoke for two hours to a captivated audience about beating stress and fatigue. He spoke about supplements that could help balance blood sugar, maintain energy and improve sleep.

PMS study finds relief in krill oil

A new open-label Irish pilot study has examined the effectiveness of a krill oil supplement with added vitamins and phytonutrients on the symptoms of PMS.

Undertaken by Michael P Wakeman at the University of Birmingham and published in Nutrition and Dietary Supplements, the study was conducted with 29 Irish women who suffered from common PMS symptoms including anxiety, bloating, mood swings, breast tenderness, skin outbreaks, food cravings, fatigue, forgetfulness, insomnia and headaches.

The study revealed an overall 44% improvement in symptoms reported by the women who took the supplement, which includes omega 3 fatty acids, rosemary oil, soy isoflavones, vitamin D3 and B vitamins, for a three month period and then completed a self-assessment questionnaire. A larger placebo-controlled trial is now planned.

For more information see www.cleanmarine.ie/womens

Covers of Rude Health Magazine

What you think of Rude Health

We are delighted to announce the results of our second Rude Health magazine readers survey. We asked our readers for their ages and found that the majority, 50%, are aged between 31 and 50; 20% are 51-60 and 13% over 60. The majority at 33% are professionals with 19% home makers and 16% doing clerical work.

Social media is popular with 64% involved in Facebook, 29% Twitter, 21% using Pinterest and 16% Google. Our readers are, not surprisingly, regular shoppers in Irish health stores with 33% spending €31-€60 per month, 26% spending more than €60 and 23% spending €21-30 on natural products and a whopping 56% visiting their local health store every week.

Their local health store is where 86% of Rude Health readers pick up their copy of the magazine with 7% of copies being passed on from family and friends, and 6% reading it online. The majority of readers at 30% read every issue of the magazine and 53% pass on their copy to others.

Over 21% of copies of Rude Health are read by four people, 15% by three people and 40% are read by two people, meaning that the magazine has 57,250 readers. In terms of which features of Rude Health magazine are most valued by readers, 43% said that articles on improving your health are essential, 23% like news and 23% enjoy green living pages. 36% of readers said they think research and reviews are important and 31% consider beauty features (looks) to be important. Celebrity interviews also rated highly as did competitions.

Speaking of competitions, congratulations to Lucy Robus from Coolaney who wins a fabulous Strandhill, Co Sligo experience for two worth €325.

Beat the bloat this Easter

If Easter Sunday family lunch leaves you feeling bloated and uncomfortable you are not alone. During the Easter holidays we are inclined to eat more sugary, fatty and rich foods – with research suggesting that the average adult ploughs their way through 6,000 calories on Easter Sunday alone.

It's hardly surprising that many people suffer from digestive issues - such as indigestion, bloating and wind - at this time of year...

Read on...

A photo of bilberries

Bilberries help prevent inflammation

Eating bilberries can reduce the adverse effects of a high-fat diet, according to a recent study at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio published in Plos One.

For the first time, bilberries were shown to have beneficial effects on both blood pressure and inflammatory responses linked to nutrition. The study focused on the health effects of bilberries on mice that were fed a high-fat diet for a period of three months. Some of the mice were fed either 5% or 10% of freeze-dried bilberries in their diet.

The researchers assessed the effects of the diets by looking at inflammatory cell and cytokine levels, systolic blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and weight gain. Mice on the high-fat diet experienced significant weight gain and detrimental changes in glucose and lipid metabolism, inflammation factors and blood pressure. Bilberries reduced the inflammatory effects of the high-fat diet and also prevented elevated blood pressure caused by the diet.

Bilberries are the first wild berries to ripen in Ireland and traditionally celebrated on Fraughan Sunday, the last Sunday in July, as part of the pre-Christian Celtic festival of Lughnasa.

They are found where heather grows on mountain slopes, hillsides and heaths.

A woman breaking a cigarette in two

Still better to quit smoking

It is still healthier to give up smoking and gain a few pounds than keep smoking to keep your weight down - these are the findings of a recent study at the Health Examination Center of Moriguchi City in Osaka, Japan and presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014.

The study found that people who put on more than 2 kgs/4lbs 6 oz after quitting smoking were still 26% less at risk of death compared to smokers. The study compared the deaths of 2,803 Japanese smokers with 1,305 Japanese adults who stopped smoking. The people who no longer smoked were split up into 362 people who did not put on weight after stopping smoking; 458 who gained no more than 2kg and 485 who gained more than 2kg.

People who stopped smoking and did not put on weight had a 34% lower risk of dying; those who put on 2kg or less had a 49% lower risk and those who put on more than 2kg had a 26% lower risk of death.

Oregano, the wonder herb

A study published in Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology has found that oil of oregano produces positive results against colitis, an inflammation in the gastrointestinal system.

The research suggests that oil of oregano, extracted from only two specific species of plant, has health properties that help to kill bacteria, helping to among other things, heal bee stings, athlete’s foot and nappy rash.

Oil of oregano also contains calcium, zinc, boron, vitamins A, C, and E, potassium and iron. In order to ensure the effectiveness of oregano oil you need to make sure it contains at least 70% of its active ingredient carvacrol.

Oil of oregano is sold as an oil or as tablets. Avoid if you are allergic to oregano, thyme, basil, mint or sage. It’s also a good idea to take an iron supplement as it can reduce iron in the body, so should be avoided by pregnant women.

A woman breaking a cigarette in two

Is jogging good for you?

A study was carried out by researchers from Frederiksberg Hospital in Denmark and other research centres in Denmark and the US, funded by the Danish Heart Foundation and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has studied the habits and health of 1,500 healthy joggers and healthy non-joggers taking part in the Copenhagen City Heart study.

Over a period of two years, they were studied to assess their risk of illness and death. Joggers were categorised as light, moderate or strenuous joggers. When the researchers analysed their jogging and how many died, they found that the joggers least likely to die were those light joggers who jogged up to three times a week – they were less likely to die than sedentary non-joggers.

But those joggers who ran more than three times a week, categorised as strenuous joggers, had the same risk of death as non-joggers.

A photo of a woman checking allergy information on a product

Better labelling of allergens

Great news for people who have coeliac disease and need to avoid foods containing gluten and for others with sensitivities to certain foods.

The new EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation, which came into force in December 2014, now requires food businesses to provide information on ingredients which are allergens.

This means that restaurants, cafés, deli counters, bakeries and sandwich bars will all need to inform customers if any cereals containing gluten (wheat, barley, rye and oats), crustaceans, eggs, fish, peanuts, soybeans, milk, nuts, celery (and celeriac), mustard, sesame, sulphur dioxide, lupin and molluscs are included in the ingredients in the food they serve.

If the food is not packaged, this can be communicated to customers in writing on menus or verbally through explanations by staff.

A bottle of olive oil

Olive oil a heart winner

A recent study led by Dr Bill Mullen of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at Glasgow University has revealed that consuming olive oil could cut the risk of heart issues after about six weeks.

Scientists measured how taking about four teaspoons of olive oil per day in a group of 69 men and women who didn’t normally take the oil reduced scores for coronary artery disease (CAD) when using a CAD scoring system.

Olive oil contains healthy polyunsaturates with omega 6 fats. The report was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

A spoonful of sugar

Too much sugar is stressful

We know that consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain but a new study has revealed that it can lead to depression and stress too.

The study led by lead author Constance Harrell of Emory University in Atlanta, US involved teenage and adult rats being given a normal diet or one high in fructose, a form of sugar.

After 10 weeks the rats were put into stressful situations and the scientists measured their reaction. They found that the rats on the fructose diet showed more stressful behaviour. The scientists found that too much sugar stimulates pathways in the brain which in turn affect its response to stress, and if developed in teenage years can lead to increased susceptibility to stress. Stress carries its own heath risks – increased risk of heart issues, immune system suppression and elevated blood pressure.

A photo of some Montmorency cherries

Cherry concentrate eases gout

According to new research from Northumbria University researchers, drinking Montmorency cherry concentrate significantly helps to reduce the effects of the painful condition gout. The study, published in The Journal of Functional Foods, found that after drinking a Montmorency cherry concentrate, uric acid levels in the body significantly reduced in just a few hours.

Gout occurs when excess uric acid, a naturally-occurring substance found in the body, crystallises in the joints. It is an extremely painful condition that can be debilitating for sufferers. Tart Montmorency cherries are proven to be extremely rich in a number of plant compounds that possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

According to Dr Glyn Howatson, “This is an exciting first step to applying this intervention to a clinical population that suffer from gout. While the condition can be managed with pharmacological agents, more and more people are increasingly reluctant to use them because of potential side effects and are keen to use natural interventions.”

A photo of Only Natural's Gerald Colfer

Only Natural on the web

Independent health store Only Natural, which has been open for almost 30 years in Wexford town, has recently launched a new website www.onlynatural.ie. It provides useful content and valuable rewards for customers through a blog, loyalty scheme and monthly newsletter.

Loyalty card holders can avail themselves of exclusive monthly offers notified in advance through the newsletter. The newsletter keeps all those interested in natural health up to speed on developments in the world of complementary medicine and also highlights new product introductions, interviews with in-store therapists and monthly events centered around particular ailments. A popular feature is a monthly recipe.

Gerald Colfer, Owner Only Natural says, “we run a myriad of events in store every month and encourage our customers to engage with us online as well as in-store so that we can keep them notified of events and offers that are of interest to them.”

IAHS Annual Training Awards

Since its formation in 1986, the Irish Association of Health Stores has recognised the need for a professional and ethical approach to health food retailing, and in conjunction with the Health Food Institute, UK, administers two key training programs each year, the Certificate and the Diploma Courses in Healthfood Retailing. In April 2014, eight Diploma & 17 Certificate candidates sat an invigilated exam.

The Andrew Cape Memorial Award for the Highest Achiever in the Certificate in Healthfood Retailing exam goes to Catherine Weld, Organico, Bantry. The Andrew Cape Memorial Award for the Highest Achiever in the Diploma in Healthfood Retailing exam goes to Sandi Zavidic, of Evergreen, Mainguard St, Galway. Congratulations!

A photo of a baby

Natural help for infant colic

A randomised controlled trial published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health has revealed that a seven-strain probiotic and prebiotic mixture could significantly improve symptoms in infants suffering from colic, without any reported side-effects.

The study involved infants aged two weeks to four months who had been diagnosed with colic. Infants who took the probiotic saw a significant improvement in symptoms and in some cases symptoms had completely resolved. Average daily crying time was reduced by at least half for 82.6% of infants in the probiotic group after seven days. Furthermore, 39% experienced a resolution of symptoms.

For more information visit www.bio-kult.com

Ancient grain, the key to better health

KAMUT® brand khorasan wheat is an ancient grain that has not been adulterated by modern farming methods and is always organically grown. As it has never been genetically modified, it contains a different kind of gluten that’s more easily digestible. It can be enjoyed by many people who have sensitivity to modern wheats.

An IFAA study in the USA (International Food Allergy Association) reveals that most of the people who were tested, and who were non-coeliac but sensitive to modern wheat, had no difficulty eating KAMUT® khorasan products. Recent research published in the British Journal of Nutrition (March 2014) showed that patients experienced a ‘significant decrease’ in the severity of IBS symptoms after replacing modern wheat with KAMUT® brand khorasan wheat. This research is the most recent in a long line of sponsored studies into KAMUT® brand khorasan wheat that started in 2000. Some sponsored studies are published and others still going on.

A study is currently working on the progression of symptoms of chronic heart disease while another is looking into diabetes and how both of these are affected by eating KAMUT® brand grain. Visit www.kamut.com for more details.

A photo of a pie with vote for me made from vegetables

Irish health stores shortlisted for prestigious awards

Irish health stores made a strong showing in the 2014 Irish Times Best Shops in Ireland awards, nominated and voted for by customers.

Shortlisted stores in the Best Artisan/Greengrocer category included Select Stores, Dalkey; Evergreen Fruit & Veg, 34 Wexford Street, Dublin 2 and The Happy Pear in Greystones. Category winner was Ardkeen Quality Food Store, Dunmore Road, Waterford.

The awards were judged by Simon Pratt, MD of Avoca; independent retail consultant Eddie Shanahan; Robert Doherty of AIB Merchant Services; fashion columnists Sonya Lennon and Brendan Courtney, and journalist Alanna Gallagher.

A photo showing Symprove's new packaging

The probiotic that arrives, survives and thrives

Two separate scientific trials on probiotics have given a boost to Symprove in results released this week.

UCL School of Pharmacy's Dr Simon Gainsford conducted a test to find out three things: did the probiotics tested arrive in the gut in the numbers promised on the label; did they survive in the stomach; and did they thrive in the gut. Symprove passed all three tests with flying colours.

In a separate study, Dr Guy Sissons at King's College carried out a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial featuring 186 IBS sufferers. Once again, Symprove was shown to give proven effects on pain, bloating and general IBS symptoms.

Symprove has been rebranded, with new packaging and a loyalty scheme offering free four packs when customers purchase eight packs, making the 12-week course more affordable and encouraging customers to complete the course.

For more information, visit www.symprove.com

A photo of some supplements

Fight threat to tax supplements

Did you know that Irish Revenue is threatening to apply VAT at 23% to many food supplements?

The Irish Association of Health Stores has initiated a campaign to have this policy overturned and is asking all health-conscious people to make their objections heard by immediately writing to or emailing their local Fine Gael TD or Minister Michael Noonan.

This issue has grabbed the imagination of IAHS customers nationwide, with many having approached TDs personally and reporting back some really positive responses. The word is spreading, so keep the pressure on!

Independent health stores in Ireland play a key part in frontline and primary healthcare by:

  • providing free advice and guidance to the public in relation to making dietary and lifestyle changes for promoting sustainable health
  • helping thousands of people annually deal with minor self-limiting ailments
  • reducing the pressure on our public healthcare system, by relieving demand on already hard-pressed GP services and A&E departments
  • Read more on this campaign at irishhealthstores.com/news-events/iahs-campaign-keep-health-tax-free/

A photo of a glass of milk

UK to get wider access to raw milk

Following a review of the current raw milk regulations, the UK Food Safety Authority has proposed exploring the scope for wider access to raw milk, including limited sales from vending machines in shops.

At the moment UK residents are only permitted to buy raw milk directly from farmers, but an FSA public consultation revealed a real enthusiasm for better access to raw milk.

A decision on the matter is expected in December this year.

A photo of some office workers

Irish office workers find it hard to fit in exercise

A recent survey of 500 office workers by Viking has found that almost one-third do not exercise on a regular basis, with most claiming that they are too busy or do not have time to stretch their legs during a normal working day.

The survey also found that just 36% of people make an effort to eat healthy food at work, with the vast majority settling for a sandwich at their desk or a canteen lunch. Men are most likely to buy lunch at work, while over half of women bring their own lunch to work. When it comes to snacking, over 60% choose biscuits, chocolates, sweets or crisps over nuts or fruit.

Of those surveyed, 73% of males claim to exercise regularly with over half exercising more than 2-3 times per week, while 70% of females claim to get regular exercise, just 45% are exercising more than 2-3 times per week.

While many office workers do make an effort to be healthy, the survey shows that a lot of people are simply not getting the exercise they need. Keeping active boosts your physical and mental health – as well as your productivity at work.

A photo of a woman exercising

Herb power

New research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (JAFC) by scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIC) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revealed that both greenhouse grown and commercial dried versions of the herbs rosemary, oregano and marjoram can have an effect on helping the body to control insulin levels, a common problem for people who suffer from diabetes.

The scientists stressed that more research needs to be undertaken, but there is no harm in adding these herbs to your cooking.

Probiotics bring down blood pressure in new study

Scientists from the Griffith University School of Medicine and Griffith Heart Institute in Queensland, Australia led by Jing Sun have published the results of a study into the role of probiotics on blood pressure levels in the journal Hypertension.

The study involved over 550 people taking a probiotic or eating a probiotic-rich food for over two months – average systolic blood pressure levels dropped by 3.56 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), while diastolic levels dropped by 2.38 mm Hg.

The researchers recommend consuming more than 100 billion colony-forming units of probiotics every day in the form of yogurt or kefir.

A photo of some anglers in a boat

Water safety first

Sadly, every year in Ireland, adults and children have accidents in water whether it’s swimming pools, paddling pools, lakes, rivers or the sea. Water Babies and Irish Water Safety, the statutory body established to promote water safety in Ireland have this advice:

  • Parents must keep an eye on their children at all times – they can be easily distracted chatting to other parents, reading a newspaper or talking on the phone.
  • Supervising adults should be in arm's reach of children under five so that if a child slips underwater, they can be pulled to safety immediately.
  • The adult watching must be able to swim and not afraid to jump in the water.
  • Make sure there is a qualified lifeguard in attendance before you or your children enter a public swimming pool.
  • Save the local emergency numbers on your mobile phone.
  • Do not swim at beaches with large waves, a powerful undercurrent or no lifeguards.
  • Stay sober – Drinking can impair your supervision and swimming skills, especially when combined with the heat.
  • When boating or fishing make sure everybody wears a lifejacket that is age- and size-specific and has a correctly fitting crotch strap.

Water Babies operate classes in Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Louth, Galway, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary, Kilkenny and Wexford.

A photo of bergamot oranges

Bergamot oranges aid heart health

Research published online in the journal Advances in Biological Chemistry has shown that the juice of the bitter-tasting flesh of the Bergamot orange could be a powerful aid to heart health.

The study chose 107 patients enrolled at the San Raffaele IRCCS, Rome and University of Catanzaro, Italy who had either metabolic syndrome (several risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease) or Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Half the volunteers took a dummy tablet and the rest took 650mg of Bergamot juice extract twice a day for 120 days.

Volunteers who took the supplement saw levels of harmful LDL cholesterol fall significantly, while the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol increased.

A photo of feet

Survey on Irish foot hygiene results

Let’s Nail It, a survey of 1000 Irish people commissioned by Canespro™ spotlighting nail hygiene, has led to some alarming revelations about the nation’s toenail hygiene habits. The study discovered that 61% of both men and women share nail tools while over a quarter of adults (28%) had no idea that nail fungus infections are highly contagious. Podiatrist Michael Hannan said: “it is worrying that so many Irish men and women don’t see any problem with sharing nail tools. The good news is that fungal infections are preventable.”

Just follow these simple steps for fungus-free feet:

  • Watch out for a discolouration in the toenail, or a thickening, crumbling appearance with white and brown discolouration. If you see a change in texture or colour, get it checked out by a qualified chiropodist/podiatrist.
  • Wash and dry between your toes right after you shower or bath. Keep toenails short and make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect nail clippers after use.
  • Tights, runners, synthetic shoes are optimal environments for fungus to develop, so be sure to alternate days wearing tights or shoes and let them air out overnight.
  • Sprinkle anti-fungal foot powder on your feet and in your shoes, and change your socks right after you exercise to ensure your feet are as clean and dry as possible.

New Vitamin D research

The study of more than 17,000 patients by Chinese scientists has found strong vitamin D levels improved recovery rates for some cancer sufferers. Published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the research looked at 25 separate studies that measured vitamin D levels in cancer patients at the time of diagnosis. Anyone interested in getting their vitamin D levels tested can buy a Vitamin D Home Test Kit from www.betteryou.uk.com.

The tests which cost £25 are sent from Ireland in a special envelope to Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust who test for vitamin D in the blood using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.

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