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Just two servings of avocado per week cuts risk of cardiovascular disease

31/03/2022

Eating just two servings of avocado each week can cut your risk of cardiovascular disease by a fifth, new research reveals. According to the study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, one avocado a week (equivalent to two servings) appears to cut the risk of coronary heart disease by 21% compared to people who do not eat avocado. Furthermore, by replacing half a serving of margarine, butter, egg, yoghurt, cheese or processed meats per day with the equivalent amount of avocado, people can lower their risk of heart disease by 16%-22%. Avocados contain dietary fibre, healthy monounsaturated fats and other key vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and vitamins C, E, and K. The new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAMA), involved almost 70,000 women from the NHS Nurses’ Health Study and around 40,000 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Speaking about the findings of the research, Dr Cheryl Anderson, chair of the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, said: “We desperately need strategies to improve intake of American Heart Association-recommended healthy diets — such as the Mediterranean diet — that are rich in vegetables and fruits. “Although no one food is the solution to routinely eating a healthy diet, this study is evidence that avocados have possible health benefits.” *Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay

Losing sleep over the COVID-19 outbreak? These 5 tips will help

26/05/2020

The widespread panic and uncertainty being caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means sleep isn’t coming easy for many people right now. But good quality sleep is the bedrock of our lives, consuming about a third of our total time on this planet and dramatically influencing the other two-thirds. That’s why it’s so important that we all get enough good quality sleep on a regular basis. With that in mind, here are five tangible tips to promote better sleep at this difficult time: 1. Get into a routine By getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, you can significantly boost your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. If you get into a routine of sleeping and waking at the same times each day, you’ll feel more refreshed and energized than if you follow random patterns. 2. Exercise more In addition to the physical and mental health benefits, regular exercise also helps you sleep better. And while cardiovascular exercise, strength training and yoga are all great for helping you sleep – especially if you do them during the day and not just before bed. 3. Watch your diet For the best sleep, try and eat a balanced diet that contains vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, and low-fat proteins that are rich in B vitamins - like fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy. 4. Consume less alcohol While some people rely on alcohol to help them fall asleep, studies show that alcohol does not improve sleep. In fact, it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is thought to be the most restorative kind. 5. Limit gadget use at night Blue light from TVs, smartphones, tablets and other gadgets plays havoc with your circadian rhythm and, as a result, the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin is suppressed. For the best night’s sleep, limit your use of gadgets and other visual devices to around one to two hours before bed.

What is IVF?

29/10/2019

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of several techniques that can be used to help people with fertility problems have a baby. With IVF, an egg is removed from the woman’s body and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized egg – known as an embryo – is then placed inside the woman’s womb where it will hopefully implant in the lining of her uterus and grow and develop. IVF can be carried out using a woman’s eggs and her partner’s sperm, or eggs and sperm from donors. There are seven main stages associated with IVF treatment: Ovary stimulation – Medication is used to encourage the woman’s ovaries to produce more eggs than usual. Progress monitoring and maturing of eggs – Ultrasounds and blood tests are used to monitor the eggs, while medication is administered to help them develop. Egg retrieval – A needle is used to collect eggs from each ovary. This step takes around 30 minutes and the woman can usually go home afterwards. Egg fertilization – The retrieved eggs are mixed with sperm. They have the chance to find each other and fertilize the same as they would inside the body. Embryo development – If the sperm fertilizes the egg, it becomes an embryo. The embryo is then placed inside a special incubator where conditions are perfect to encourage growth and development. Embryo transplant – Once the IVF specialists are satisfied that the embryo is developing correctly, it is then transplanted into the woman’s uterus. Final blood test – Approximately two weeks after the embryo has been transplanted, a final blood test is performed to check the woman’s hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels, which are used to determine if she is pregnant or not. It is important to note that not all eggs, unfortunately, will fertilize and reach the embryo stage. This can occur as a result of immature eggs and/or weak sperm. If you and your partner have been struggling to conceive naturally, IVF could help you get pregnant. Find out more about how we can facilitate IVF treatment for French-speaking patients in Spain by contacting us today.

An egg a day to keep the doctor away?

24/05/2018

Most people are familiar with the phrase, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, but what about an egg a day? New research suggests that a daily egg may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Despite sometimes getting a bad press for their high cholesterol content, eggs, it seems, could help us steer clear of cardiovascular conditions, according to research published in the journal Heart. For their study, researchers from the School of Public Health at Peking University Health Science Centre in Beijing, China analysed survey data relating to more than 500,000 individuals. Of those individuals, 461,213 were free from cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes at baseline. Egg consumption among the study participants was noted and the individuals were followed up with after a median period of 8.9 years. The researchers' found that individuals who usually ate about one egg per day had a 26% lower risk of experiencing hemorrhagic stroke; a 28% lower risk of death due to this type of event; and an 18% lower risk of CVD-related mortality. Current NHS guidelines in the UK relating to egg consumption state: "although eggs contain some cholesterol, the amount of saturated fat we eat has more of an effect on the amount of cholesterol in our blood than the cholesterol we get from eating eggs". So, in other words, it’s not eggs that are necessarily the problem when it comes to cholesterol, but rather how you cook them. Indeed, eggs are a great source of healthful nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, phospholipids, and carotenoids.

Platypus milk could be used to develop new superbug-killing antibiotics

20/03/2018

Last month, we reported how scientists in the US had found superbug-killing antibiotics in soil. While that might have seemed an unlikely place to find something that has the potential to save countless lives, where scientists have now discovered powerful proteins capable of fighting superbugs is even stranger. Back in 2010, Australian scientists found that platypus milk contains a potent protein which is able to fight superbugs. As if Platypuses weren’t weird enough, what with their duck's beaks, venomous feet and the fact they’re mammals that lay eggs, their potentially beneficial milk only adds to their uniqueness. While it’s been years since scientists made the discovery, it’s only now that they understand why platypus milk is so good at fighting superbugs. Being monotremes, platypuses lay eggs and produce milk. However, they don’t have nipples and instead secrete milk through pores along their stomachs. It is this strange feeding system that is thought to give platypus milk its antibacterial properties, according to scientists. Dr Janet Newman, from Australia's national science agency CSIRO, said: “Platypus are such weird animals that it would make sense for them to have weird biochemistry.” While mammal milk is usually secreted via the animal’s nipples and remains sterile, platypus milk is decidedly dirtier. That’s why scientists think it contains unique antibacterial properties. Scientists hope the milk can be used to develop new antibiotics that can help fight superbugs.

Some Chinese takeaway meals contain as much salt as five Big Macs

14/03/2018

Do you know how much salt you consume on a daily basis? If you’re a fan of Chinese takeaway meals, it could be far more than you ever imagined, according to a campaign group. For their research, Action on Salt analysed more than 150 Chinese takeaway dishes from both restaurants and supermarkets. They found that most contained way too much salt – almost half the average person’s recommended daily amount of salt (6g) in some cases. When it comes to the saltiest meals, dishes like beef in black bean sauce topped the list. If a person adds a portion of egg fried rice, their salt intake could rise by as much as 5.3g in one meal. In fact, one portion of beef in black bean sauce and a side of vegetable noodles was found to contain as much salt as five Big Macs. While it’s vastly more difficult with Chinese takeaway food, Action on Salt recommends people check the nutritional information on supermarket bought food to see how much salt it contains. The campaign group says that many Chinese takeaway meals should carry health warnings because of the amount of salt they contain. Too much salt can lead to increased blood pressure, which can in turn increase a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke. Public Health England (PHE) has been encouraging the food industry to reduce the amount of salt found in food. Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist for PHE, said: "A loaf of bread has 40% less than it used to. "However, some products are still too high in salt and we know this can be reduced further. "We've been very clear with the food industry on the importance of meeting the 2017 salt targets. "We'll report on their progress this year and on any necessary advice to government on the next steps." So, the next time you reach to grab your favourite Chinese takeaway meal from the supermarket, just have a quick read of the nutritional information. What you discover might just make you choose something else instead.  

Non-Invasive Treatment Helps Paralysed Men Move Again

27/08/2015

A new technique, which has been reported in the Journal of Neurotrauma, has helped five men who were totally paralysed from the waist down move their legs. The non-invasive procedure  is thought to represent the first time patients have regained voluntary leg movement, without undergoing surgery. Electrical stimulation therapy was utilised by scientists along with physical rehabilitation exercises, instead of invasive surgery. These initial results could offer hope to millions of people with paralysis and allow scientists to look at spinal cord injuries “in a new way”, according to Senior author Prof. V. Reggie Edgerton. Experts believe that spinal cord injuries may no longer affect someone for the rest of their life. "The potential to offer a life-changing therapy to patients without requiring surgery would be a major advance; it could greatly expand the number of individuals who might benefit from spinal stimulation,” said Roderick Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This recent study involved five men who were paralysed from the waist down for more than two years. They each underwent a specific training regime, which involved electrodes being placed on the skin on their lower backs. At the beginning, the patients’ legs only moved when strong stimulation induced involuntary movements. However, by the end of the study, the patients could move their legs with buspirone – a drug which mimics the actions of serotonin – but without additional stimulation. Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf5OMQbcJ90 The study has been described as “remarkable” due to the fact that experts had previously believed that paralysed individuals no longer had any neural connections in their spines. "The fact that they regained voluntary control so quickly must mean that they had neural connections that were dormant, which we reawakened,” said Prof. Edgerton.

5 Protein-Packed Breakfasts that Contain No Eggs or Meat

02/07/2015

  Protein is made from amino acids, which are also known as the building blocks of muscle. Therefore, the importance of protein in our diets is huge. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to build, repair or even maintain our muscles. Furthermore, following surgery, many patients often need to eat protein to help with their recoveries. It aids the healing process and boosts the reparation of muscles. But with more and more people trying to limit the amount of meat they consume and with eggs – particularly in the US – becoming increasingly expensive, obtaining protein from other sources has become very significant; especially for breakfast, as a protein hit in the morning can really set you up for the day. With that in mind, here are five protein-packed alternatives to a meaty or eggy breakfast: Spicy Bean Burrito Grab a tortilla (preferably wholegrain) and stuff it with half a cup of black beans, a quarter of a cup of diced avocado, salsa and grated cheddar cheese (optional). Approx. 15g protein. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Combine half a cup of cooked oats with one cup of dairy or soy milk. Then add two tablespoons (the big ones) of peanut butter. Approx. 21g protein. Chickpea Scramble Mash up about one cup of chickpeas and then cook them on a skillet with spinach and other seasonal vegetables you fancy, ‘scrambling’ it throughout. Approx. 15g protein. Fruit & Nut Quinoa Bowl Throw one cup of cooked quinoa into a saucepan with half a cup of dairy or soy milk and heat. Then add two tablespoons of chopped nuts, sliced banana or berries. Approx. 15g protein. White Bean & Avocado on Toast Put a quarter of a cup of avocado and half a cup of white beans into a bowl and mash. Lightly toast a slice of wholegrain bread and spread the mixture over the top. Add herbs to garnish. Approx. 14g protein.   Photo credit: Blisstree

Essential Vitamin Triggers Acne, says Study

30/06/2015

  A new study has found that the essential vitamin B12 could trigger outbreaks of acne in susceptible people. The essential nutrient, which is found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, is thought to alter the activity of skin bacteria and that leads to spots and pimples appearing on the skin. Now you may be thinking that this sounds familiar and that’s because vitamin pills have long been associated with acne flare-ups, but until now this phenomenon remained unexplained. It’s hoped that the findings of the research will now lead to the development of new acne treatments and reveal more about why some people develop spots when they take vitamin B12 supplements. The study found that the vitamin affects the metabolism of the bacteria that causes acne. As a result, it secretes an inflammatory compound which triggers spots. The US-based team, led by Dr Huiyang Li, from the University of California, reported their findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine: “Our findings suggest a new bacterial pathogenesis pathway in acne and provide one molecular explanation for the long-standing clinical observation that vitamin B12 supplementation leads to acne development in a subset of individuals. “Our study... provided evidence that... interactions between the host and the skin microbiota play essential roles in disease development.”   Photo credit: Zliving 

Foods that heal: optimise your nutrition following surgery

03/07/2014

Many people follow strict eating regimes before any surgery, be it minor or major. However, few people realise that what you eat after surgery is just as important. This is because surgery is a major trauma on our bodies and as such, they have to significantly repair themselves following any surgical procedure. This is why it’s vital that you give your body everything it needs during this crucial healing stage. Many people think that because they will inevitably be inactive following surgery they should reduce their calorie intake. The opposite, however, is often true and post-surgery patients need additional essential calories and nutrients to facilitate the reparation process. Protein It’s important that you follow a balanced diet after surgery, but one of the key components of this has to be protein. Muscles are often damaged or disturbed during surgery and need protein in order to heal. That’s why it’s important to fill your diet with foods like poultry, meat, fish, eggs, yogurt, cheese, beans and nuts. Alternatively, you can use protein supplements to boost your intake and aid the muscle healing process. Vitamins Furthermore, there are a number of vitamins that are vital for the healing process. For example, vitamin C aids in soft tissue repair and vitamin E is important in antioxidant defence. Some individuals may be prescribed vitamin supplements by their medical professional, but the best source, of course, is from food. Almonds, wheat germ, peanuts, sunflower seeds and plant oils are all loaded with vitamin E, while strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and bell peppers contain high levels of vitamin C. Whatever your surgery, it’s important that you don’t shy away from food. The surgeons have done their bit and now it’s time for you to do yours. Photo credit: © NOBU - Fotolia.com

DESTINAZIONE FRANCE

02/05/2014

DESTINAZIONE FRANCE La francia ha attratto 83 milioni di turisti nell'anno 2012, questo la rende la destinazione più popolare al mondo. Nel paese ci sono 37 siti classificati come patrimonio mondiale dall'Unesco, oltre alle sue città di grande interese culturale, Parigi in primis, ma anche Tolosa, Strasburgo, Bordeaux, Lione ... Potrete trovare alcune tra le spiagge più belle, stazioni sciistiche e regioni di campagna molto diverse apprezzate soprattutto per la loro tranquillità e bellezza (turismo ambientale). Alcuni piccoli paesi pittoreschi sono stati classificati e promossi dall'associazione les Plus beaux villages de France. E' stata creata anche una classificazione per proteggere più di duecento tra giardini e parchi presenti sul territorioselezionati dal ministero della Cultura Francese. Non potrete mai dimenticare alcuni luoghi, le atmosfere e i paesaggi. Questo è il caso, per esempio, di Tolosa, Rocamadour, Conques e del Cirque de Gavarnie, posti magici perfetti per una visita di un giorno o per un lungo soggiorno. La regione dei Midi-Pyrénées conta circa 25 destinazioni turistiche indimenticabili che permettono di scoprire non soltanto la storia e la bellezza della regione, ma anche l'innato senso di ospitalità della sua gente. La “Festa della Musica” Completamente diversa da un festival musicale, la festa della musica è prima di tutto una festa popolare, aperta a tutti i partecipanti: musicisti professionisti, dilettanti e amatori. Questa giornata della musica è aperta a tutte le espressioni e gli stili musicali in un atmosfera di festa. E' destinata ad un grande pubblico per diffondere le composizioni musicali sia per i giovani che per i meno giovani di qualsiasi estrazione sociale. Queste caratteristiche creano l'occasione di condividere un momento molto particolare attraverso la musica. Tutte le cliniche e gli ospedali selezionati sono situati vicino ad aereporti internazionali e città che offrono differenti attrazioni di interesse culturale e turistico per permettere ai pazienti in convalescenza o alle loro famiglie e amici di scoprire nuovi orizzonti.

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