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French government confirms three-stage plan to open restaurants


The French Government has confirmed a three-step plan to open restaurants, although no firm date has been set for when it will begin. Following a meeting between hospitality representatives and government ministers on March 16, Didier Chenet, president of hospitality union GNI, told news source FranceInfo the date for reopening was dependent on two factors: “The daily number of Covid cases and the number of people vaccinated”. Since the second national lockdown was imposed more than four months ago on October 29, 2020, restaurants and cafes have been closed in France. The government’s initial plan was to reopen such establishment on January 20, 2021, but this was delayed indefinitely as daily Covid-19 cases remained high and health experts feared a spike could occur as a result of Christmas and New Year celebrations. The three-stage plan, Mr Chenet said, would begin with the opening of hotels for breakfast and dinner. Next would be terraces and interiors in cafes and restaurants, including hotel restaurants, with a 50% capacity limit. Finally, “In the third phase establishments would be fully open, with health protocols in place,” he said. Mr Chenet also revealed that each phase would last four weeks.

Avoid fad diets and ‘party drips’ this New Year, says UK’s top doctor


It’s now 2020, the start of a New Year, and for many people that means following a set of resolutions, one of the most common of which will be to lose weight over the next 12 months. But if you’re keen to shed some pounds in 2020, don’t try to do it using fad diets because they don’t work and can even be harmful, says NHS England’s top doctor. Speaking about diet pills, "tea-toxes" and appetite suppressant products, Prof Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said they are not quick fixes. Furthermore, they can even cause side effects, such as diarrhea and heart issues, he added. How to spot a fad diet? Well, according to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), any diet that promises rapid weight loss of more than 2lbs (0.9kg) of body fat a week should be viewed with caution. If it sounds too good to be true, then it more than likely is – despite any celebrity recommendations it might have. The best way to get in shape safely is through sensible eating and regular exercise. Professor Powis also warned the public against using so-called ‘party drips’ as quick fix hangover cures. These nutrient therapy IV drips are usually made up of saline solution, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and vitamin C. But some individuals can react badly to them and, in the most serious cases, death can occur due to a toxic overdose.

Dry January: What is it and what are some of the health benefits?


The inevitable abundance of food and alcohol you consumed over the festive period has probably left you feeling as though you need to detox a little now the New Year is here. One of the simplest ways to do this is by choosing to not drink alcohol for the entire month of January. Started by UK-based charity Alcohol Change UK, Dry January, as it is known, has become something of a widespread phenomenon, with an estimated 4.2 million people in the UK alone expected to participate this year. Taking part is easy. All you have to do is not drink any alcoholic drinks throughout the month of January. If you’ve curbed your drinking already this month, well done! If you haven’t, it’s not too late to start. Here are some of the health benefits of quitting alcohol for at least a month: Save money (alcoholic drinks can be expensive) Improve your general health (you can potentially lower your blood pressure and cholesterol) Promote weight loss (alcoholic drinks contain plenty of calories) Sleep better (alcohol is not your best friend when you want a good night’s sleep) Improve your long-term relationship with alcohol (prove to yourself that you don’t need it and don’t have to rely on it going forward) Are you up for the Dry January challenge? It’s only for a month and the potential health benefits speak for themselves.

Mediterranean diet Linked to healthy brain aging


The New Year is here and for many that means attempting to stick to one or a bunch of resolutions. Eating more healthily, doing more exercise and quitting smoking will be at the top of the list for many people. If one of your goals for 2019 is eating more healthily, perhaps you should consider following a Mediterranean diet. While it varies depending on where you go, a Mediterranean diet, in a nutshell, is one that incorporates all of the healthy eating habits of people who live in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including France, Greece, Italy and Spain - so more vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, grains, cereals, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. And less meat and dairy foods. As well as being linked with better health, including a healthier heart, a Mediterranean diet also promotes healthy brain aging, according to new research. A recent study involving 116 healthy adults aged 65–75 years, conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, found that participants who ate a Mediterranean diet performed better in memory, general intelligence, and executive function tests. “Our study suggests that diet and nutrition moderate the association between network efficiency and cognitive performance,” said Aron Barbey, a psychology professor at The University of Illinois.

Exercise can help middle-aged people reverse heart risk


While many people will be using the start of the New Year to kick-start certain lifestyle changes in an attempt to become “healthier”, there are some who might think it’s too late based on their age. However, a new study has revealed that it’s often not too late for many who want to improve their fitness. In fact, with exercise, even individuals who are into their late middle age can reduce or even reverse the risk of heart failure caused by years of sedentary living. But there’s a slight catch – it requires at least two years of aerobic exercise four to five days a week. According to the study, which was published in the journal Circulation, individuals aged 45-64 who followed an aerobic exercise routine for two years showed an 18% improvement in their maximum oxygen intake while exercising and a more than 25% improvement in "plasticity" in the left ventricular muscle of the heart, compared to their counterparts who didn’t follow such an exercise regime. The take-home message of the research is that exercise needs to be part of a person’s daily routine, like teeth brushing. Dr Richard Siow, vice-dean for the faculty of life sciences and medicine at King's College London, said: "I think that's a very important take-home message for those of us who may have a doom and gloom view there's nothing we can do about it. Yes there is, we can start by getting off the couch to have a more active lifestyle."

More exercise could be the key to quitting smoking


It’s January 2 and for many people that means it’s time to start thinking about those New Year’s resolutions. The inevitable over-indulgence during the festive period will have triggered many of us to consider eating more healthily and exercising more this year, while others will be looking to give up smoking. The problem is that nicotine is a very addictive drug and many people struggle to give up cigarettes easily. But new research shows how exercising may reduce tobacco withdrawal symptoms. So, if you’re planning to try and quit, exercise could be the answer. Irritability, trouble sleeping and even depression are all withdrawal symptoms associated with giving up smoking. However, it’s been shown that exercise can reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. In fact, some older studies have discovered that even 10 minutes of exercise can immediately reduce the effects of tobacco cravings. A team from St George's, University of London, led by Dr. Alexis Bailey, a senior lecturer in neuropharmacology, found that mice addicted to nicotine who undertook two or 24 hours a day wheel running displayed a significant reduction of withdrawal symptom severity compared with the sedentary group. Furthermore, in the group of mice that exercised, researchers were able to see an increase in the activity of alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine, a type of nicotine brain receptor. Most startling of all was the fact just two hours of exercise daily had as much effect on relieving the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal as exercising continuously for 24 hours. SO, if you really want to crack your smoking habit and give up this year, maybe more exercise could be the key to your success.

Dopamine could be to blame for people's reduced motivation to exercise


The New Year is here and for many of you that will mean a new exercise regime designed to get you into shape and improve your overall health. For some people, though, sticking to a disciplined program of physical exercise is one of the hardest resolutions they can make because a lack of motivation gets in the way. But now new research sheds some light on why many people, despite understanding the benefits of regular exercise, find it hard in practice to stay physically active. Researchers from the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), led by Alexxai V. Kravitz, focused on why obese animals also have a hard time carrying out physical activity. They found that a dysfunction in obese rodents' dopamine systems might help explain why. Mice fed on a high-fat diet started gaining significantly more weight than mice fed on a normal diet. They were also observed to have fewer movements; spend less time moving; and were slower when they did move, compared with the lean mice. Most interesting of all was that the overweight mice's changes in movements did not correlate with body weight gain. Instead, the researchers found that a deficit in striatal D2R explained the obese mice's lack of activity. "In many cases, willpower is invoked as a way to modify behavior. But if we don't understand the underlying physical basis for that behavior, it is difficult to say that willpower alone can solve it," said Kravitz.

Low-carb diets better for weight loss than low-fat diets, at least in the short-term


It is something many people will be considering in the New Year, but the plethora of diet advice available out there can be confusing and contradictory. That's why the Mayo Clinic in Arizona set out to see which of the so-called 'low-carb' diets in the weight loss market is the most effective and, more importantly, how safe they all are. They published the results of their study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Their analysis of some 41 trials that evaluated the weight loss effects of low-carb diets found that individuals lost between 2.5-9 more pounds than individuals who followed a low-fat diet. Dr. Heather Fields, an internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic and lead researcher on the study, said that adhering to low-carb diets in the short-term appears to be safe and promotes weight reduction. "However, that weight loss is small and of questionable clinical significance in comparison to low-fat diets. We encourage patients to eat real food and avoid highly processed foods, especially processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, deli meats, hot dogs, and ham when following any particular diet," she added. This is the biggest warning to come out of the research and it's because when people are following low-carb diets they tend to eat more meat, and this could increase their risk of death from all causes, including cancer - especially if they consume a lot of processed meat. Nevertheless, the studies showed that compared with many other diets, low-carb ones were effective for weight loss without adverse effects on blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol.

Exercise Could Cancel the Harm Associated with a Week's Overeating


Christmas is just around the corner and for many people that means gorging themselves on all manner of delicious food and drinks. But all that festive feasting can play havoc with people's waistlines, which is why so many individuals make dieting one of their New Year's resolutions. However, the effects of overeating might not be as disastrous for a person's health as we may think, as long as people keep exercising. That's the findings of research presented at the American Physiological Society (APS) Integrative Biology of Exercise VII meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. For their study, researchers from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, wanted to find out what would happen to people's fatty tissue if they continued to exercise while undertaking a week-long food blowout. The researchers got study participants to consume 30% more calories over the course of a week than they would usually. The participants also exercised for at least two and a half hours spread over at least 6 days of the week. What the study team found was that the participants' fatty tissue showed no signs of inflammation and no change was witnessed in their glucose tolerance or chemical breakdown of fat. In people who do not exercise, the markers of inflammation in fat tissue would normally increase after a week of overeating.

The Secret to Keeping a New Year’s Resolution


The New Year is finally here and many of you will have undoubtedly made New Year’s resolutions for 2015. And whether you’ve set yourself the goal of giving up smoking, eating better or going to the gym more, they’re all objectives that are very much health-related. But why is that? Maybe it’s because we’ve gorged ourselves over the festive period and the subconscious guilt that we’re all feeling urges us to make some changes to our lifestyle going forward. No matter what the reason for our sudden urge to improve our health, it remains our greatest wealth and asset and so taking good care of it is in all our best interests. However, New Year’s resolutions often fail and people who make them without the right intentions will find them extremely difficult to adhere to. That’s why, when it comes to adhering to your newly set goals, intention is critical. For example, being more specific about the reasons behind your New Year resolutions will see you more likely stay the course. The trick is to constantly remind yourself why you’ve quit smoking, stopped eating chocolate or started exercising more – all of which are to improve your overall health. Write down all the reasons and display them in plain sight, so that they can be used as a constant reminder to keep you on track. Making a few lifestyle changes now could make all the difference to your health in the long-run. It’s all up to you…

Uber Data Reveals Paris Revellers Partied Hardest on New Year’s Eve


We recently told you about the Champs-Elysées holding its first ever New Year’s countdown and now that 2015 is well and truly here, further data shows that revellers in Paris partied harder than anyone else in the world on December 31. Uber - the app-based taxi and transportation network - knew that New Year’s Eve was going to be one of, if not the, busiest nights of the year for its service. But recently revealed data from the firm shows at exactly what times the company experienced its greatest demand and which international cities stayed up latest. While many cities across the world saw spikes in usage between 8pm and 10pm – presumably when people were heading out to celebrate – and spikes again between 1am and 2am – when they were heading home again – Paris peaked in the early hours at 4am! In fact, out of all the cities surveyed, including Cape Town, New York, Sydney and San Francisco, Paris usage peaked the latest out of all of them. It obviously says something about just how much fun people in Paris were having on New Year’s Eve and further cements the city’s position at the top of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Contact us today to discover how France Surgery can help facilitate medical procedures for you here in France and you too could be celebrating New Year right here in Paris.

Champs-Elysées to Host First Ever New Year Celebrations


New Year revellers in Paris will be treated to a first this year if they venture to the Champs-Elysées before 11:45pm. For the first time ever, the legendary Parisian tourist attraction will boast a New Year’s Eve countdown featuring a 3D mapping light show. Visitors and residents alike, who make it to the Champs-Elysées before 11:45pm, will be able to watch a la vie en rose-themed light show and a Parisian-based spectacle be projected onto the iconic Arc de Triomphe. The Champs-Elysées has always been a popular destination for people looking to celebrate the New Year, even though no official festivities have been organised in the past. New Year’s Day will see the boulevard closed and a host of bands and floats will entertain onlookers. The Champs-Elysée, however, isn’t the only Paris landmark that’s putting on a show this year. Visitors to the Eiffel Tower will get to see the magnificent structure’s usual New Year celebrations, which will feature a rainbow light show and close with its signature sparkles. Paris knows how to put on a party and this is just one of the reasons why it’s the most visited city in the world. France Surgery can help facilitate a range of medical procedures for you, which means you could also be celebrating New Year’s Eve in Paris at some time in the future. Contact us for more information.

Quick fix for weight loss


This is the time of year when people around the world overindulge with food and drink and usually start regretting both come the New Year. Resolutions to get fit and healthy are very common as the clock strikes midnight on New Years’ Eve, however there are always just as many people who want the same effects without putting in the required effort. For the people who wish to lose weight without hitting the gym or changing their diet there is the temptation to look to surgical techniques such as gastric bands or gastric bypass surgery. These surgical procedures work by either restricting the stomach with a ‘band’ which means the patient becomes full quicker and so cannot eat as much as they did previously, or the route that the food takes is altered in order to bypass part of the digestive system which also means the patient cannot physically eat as much food. These procedures are very effective in reducing weight and can be thought of as an easy way to solve a complex problem. What many people do not realise however, is that there really is no quick fix to weight loss. Any reputable healthcare provider, such as France Surgery, will not entertain completing these types of surgical procedures because the patient is unhappy with their weight. A patient must have seriously tried various weight loss techniques before considering surgery and these efforts must have proved to be ineffective. The patients’ health must also be suffering due to their obesity. Weight loss surgery is definitely not for people who simply want to change the way they look.

Where to celebrate New Years’ Eve in Europe


New Years’ Eve is actively celebrated throughout Europe with fantastic celebrations organised in advance and partygoers advised to book their accommodation in their chosen celebration city months before the New Year is welcomed to avoid disappointment. London There are few clocks around the world that are as famous as Big Ben and so celebrating New Years’ Eve in the capital city of the UK is particularly special as you get to countdown with the chimes of this awesome monument. Not only that but the usual fireworks display that begins on the strike of midnight over the River Themes is well worth braving the cold, and often rainy, weather to experience. Rome The capital city of Italy offers a family friendly celebration of New Years’ Eve, or San Silvestro as it is referred to in Italian. The people of Rome and all the visitors wishing to experience the New Year in this fantastic country, populate the Pizza del Popolo where a fabulous fireworks display can be seen as well as a musical completely free of charge. Paris In France New Years’ is called la Saint-Sylvestre and lasts from January 1 to February 1. If you wish to begin the New Year by celebrating New Years’ Eve in Paris then you won’t be disappointed. Often referred to as the ‘city of light’, this city is a fantastic place to welcome in the New Year. The celebrations focus around the Eiffel Tower with a fireworks display that is second only to Bastille Day. Photo credits: Flickr

Tips to staying healthy over Christmas


Christmas is a time of over-indulgence where people eat, drink and generally be merry. Of course there is nothing wrong with this but if you choose not to look after yourself this Christmas then your New Year might not get off to a very healthy start. Follow these tips to ensure you have fun but stay healthy this Christmas: Drink enough water – remaining hydrated is key to staying healthy. If you choose to drink alcohol over Christmas then keeping your water levels up is particularly important. Get enough sleep – 7-8 hours of sleep is generally the recommended amount. Even if you are enjoying the party season make sure you catch up on your sleep the next day to remain fresh and healthy. Relax – most people have some time off work over Christmas so use it to relax and de-stress so that you can return to work feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the new year. Watch what you eat – Christmas can appear to be about sweets, chocolate and puddings but remember to eat your fair share of fruit and pile up the vegetables on your Christmas dinner so you can make sure you don’t leave your body feeling sluggish. Photo credit: Flickr