Fear causing people with Parkinson’s to miss out on support

Many sufferers of Parkinson’s disease are struggling with their diagnosis alone due to fear of what people might think.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra, and exactly what causes this loss remains unclear. According to the National Health Service (NHS), there around 127,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the U.K, with the three main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease being tremors, slow movement or stiff and inflexible muscles. A person with Parkinson’s disease can also experience a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms, including depression, memory problems and insomnia.

In a new study, Parkinson’s U.K. interviewed over 1,800 people with the disease and noted an alarming level of fear around sharing a diagnosis. The research, which was released to mark the start of Parkinson’s Awareness Week (18-22Apr16), found nearly two fifths of people with Parkinson’s have felt forced to hide their symptoms or lie about having the condition.

Those who did feel the need to hide their symptoms reported not wanting people to feel awkward or embarrassed around them, felt they would be judged, or were concerned that their symptoms were not socially acceptable. Those who delayed telling family or friends said it was because they often did not know how to bring it up, did not want to accept their diagnosis or weren’t able to find the words.

This means people can be cut off from the vital support available at a time when many report struggling to come to terms with their condition.

Positively, 45 per cent of those surveyed and who shared their diagnosis with their immediate family reported feeling able to accept they had Parkinson’s. Meanwhile one in four reported feeling relieved and 15 per cent said they felt glad they didn’t have to hide their symptoms any more.

David Burn, Clinical Director of the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network said it is alarming to discover so many people felt that they could not share their diagnosis with those around them because they were worried about the consequences, or couldn’t word it correctly.

“But it’s also promising to see that those who did have the confidence to share felt it made a positive difference,” he said, further urging medical professionals to be proactive in encouraging people to access support.

Superfoods: The raw power of strawberries

Aside from longer days and warmer temperatures, strawberries are one of the first signs of spring. The season starts to peak in mid April and runs until late June. And while there’s no denying that the bright red berry is a popular fruit, not everyone realizes what a healthy punch they pack. We break down all you need to know about this humble and delicious superfood.

Strawberries, also known as Fragaria, are one of the popular berry fruits in the world and are grown primarily in the United States, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Italy, and Canada. There are over six hundred varieties of strawberry, all of which have the same characteristic heart-shaped, red flesh and seeded coat together with small, regal, leafy green caps and stems. Strawberries are not actually fruits as their seeds are on the outside, and they are actually a member of the rose (rosaceae) family. Wild strawberries have been popular since ancient Roman times and were used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes such as alleviating inflammation, fever and kidney stones.

Health benefits

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamins C and K as well as providing a good dose of fiber, folic acid, manganese and potassium. Studies have shown that their fiber and fructose content may help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and the fiber is thought to have a satiating effect. According to HealthLine, strawberries have a glymaemic index rating of 41, meaning they can satisfy your sweet tooth without negatively affecting your blood sugar levels. Further, the vibrant red color of strawberries is due to large amounts of anthocyanidin, which also means they contain powerful antioxidants and are thought to protect against inflammation, cancer and heart disease. They also contain malic acid which helps brighten and whiten tooth enamel. Another reason to eat these berries as a treat!

Portion sizes

A cup of sliced strawberries contains only 53 calories and around 3.3 grams of fiber. However, Britain’s NHS recommends one portion should consist of around seven strawberries.

How to select and store

Choose berries that are firm, plump, and unblemished. Look for those that have a shiny, deep red color and bright green caps attached. Once picked, strawberries do not ripen further so avoid those that are dull, or have green or yellow patches. Wash and handle them with care and bring to room temperature before serving.

Safety

It may come as a surprise to learn that strawberries are a common allergen. The NHS advises that if you have allergies to birch pollen, you are more likely to develop a secondary food allergy to strawberries. Most common symptoms are experienced in the mouth and throat – tingling, itching, watery eyes and runny nose. If you are concerned about food allergies consult your doctor before consuming.

Turn to Turmeric for beauty

If you’re a fan of Indian food, you may be familiar with Turmeric, also known as Haldi, one of the country’s most widely used spices. A part of the ginger family, Turmeric adds flavor and a deep yellow-orange color to many dishes, mostly in curries and mustard. But for centuries it has also served as a main ingredient in medicine and beauty, mainly for skin and hair. Because of its anti-inflammatory power and numerous antioxidants, there are many uses for Turmeric in your beauty routine that can greatly improve your complexion.

Turmeric is greatly effective in keeping acne away, thanks to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It fights pimples and breakouts and reduces the oil secretion in your glands, thus preventing super oily skin. A simple scrub will do the trick, by adding a few drops of water and lemon juice to the Turmeric powder. Apply the paste to the affected areas and leave on for about 15 minutes then gently wash away with lukewarm water.

Turmeric is also an exfoliating agent, which means it can provide great relief to ageing skin. In fact, Indian brides and grooms have been incorporating a Haldi ceremony on the big day, since it makes your skin glow. By mixing the Turmeric with equal amounts of besan (gram/chickpea flour) and raw milk or water, you’ll be left with a paste to put generously and evenly on the skin. Allow it to dry, and rinse with lukewarm water. If you’re using the paste on your face, scrub gently in a circular motion to exfoliate properly.

You can also use that same paste to help lighten stretch marks and even out the skin tone. If you want to change the mixture up a bit, use rose water or yogurt instead of the raw milk or water to give the paste a different feel.

If you still have that paste left over, it can surprisingly be used to inhibit hair growth, thanks to a property called curcumin found in Turmeric. Curcumin can stop the activity of a growth agent which causes death of hair follicles resulting in hair loss. Reducing hair growth won’t happen overnight, and it usually takes about a month of consistent use to notice results.

Speaking of hair, Turmeric has been proven to also get rid of dandruff and other scalp issues. Apply a mixture of the Turmeric and olive oil into your scalp prior to taking a shower. Leave in for 15 minutes then wash off with a natural shampoo. After a while, the Turmeric helps to provide nutrition to the hair follicles and increases circulation on your scalp.

So the big question – will all these scrubs and exfoliators leave a stain on your skin? Turmeric usually stains fabric and clothing, but on skin, the simple answer is no. However, there is a possibility that you will see a slight yellow-tint to your skin. After a few washes, it will go away, but if you need the yellow to disappear sooner, wipe the area with a few drops of a mild facial toner on a cotton ball and you’ll be back to brand new.

Call for healthier diets to combat alarming surge in diabetes

Diabetes is a global problem now affecting one in every 11 adults, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims.

In a major report, released to coincide with World Health Day on Thursday (07Apr16), WHO warns cases of diabetes had nearly quadrupled to 422 million in 2014 from 108 million in 1980.

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive non-communicable disease (NCD) characterized by high blood sugar. It occurs when the pancreas fail to produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

High blood sugar levels are a major killer – linked to 3.7 million deaths around the world each year, it says.

While the report lumps both type 1 and type 2 diabetes together, the rise in cases is mainly down to type 2, which has been linked to excess body weight and physical inactivity, once only seen in adults, type 2 diabetes now increasingly occurs in children and young people. In 2014 more than one in three adults aged over 18 years were overweight and more than one in 10 were obese, reports WHO.

Officials said the numbers would continue to grow unless drastic action is taken. WHO advising governments throughout the world to make more effort to address physical inactivity and unhealthy diets, and strengthen programmes nationally to help people with diabetes receive the treatment and care they need to manage their conditions.

“If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain,” said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

“Even in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes.”

Complications of diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. “Many cases of diabetes can be prevented, and measures exist to detect and manage the condition, improving the odds that people with diabetes live long and healthy lives,” said WHO’s Dr Oleg Chestnov.

“But change greatly depends on governments doing more, including by implementing global commitments to address diabetes and other NCDs.”

Is your toddler drinking too much milk?

Parents are feeding their toddlers too much milk and putting them at risk of obesity, experts warn.

New research has found that a significant portion of children are consuming excess protein each day, putting them at risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Researchers from University College London, Oxford and Bristol universities claim that protein consumption was so high because parents are giving their toddlers too much milk, yogurt and other dairy products.

The study focused on data for 2,336 children and found that average daily calorie intake “significantly exceeded” the recommended 968 limit, with 63 per cent of children consuming an average of 1,035 calories. Protein intake, at around 40 grams a day, was also nearly three times higher than the recommended 15 grams, while fiber intake at 8 grams was half the recommended amount.

Researchers also found that at 21 months, the average British toddler was getting a quarter of their calories from cow’s milk. However, the National Health Service (NHS) advises they should not have more than 600ml of milk per day.

Lead study author Hayley Syrad said it is important for parents to understand what their little ones are consuming as dietary preferences and habits are established during the first two years of life.

Experts advise that toddlers need good eating and drinking habits, and should have at least five portion so fruit and vegetables, oily fish and starchy food, while consuming limited amounts of sugary and fatty foods.

The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Yoga to wake you up

Monday mornings can hit hard after a busy weekend and you may find yourself nodding off while on the way to work. You can do other things other than sip a strong coffee to wake yourself up though, and yoga happens to be the perfect way to stretch, energize and revitalize your body first thing.

Here are some moves to get you going effortlessly without feeling the aches and pains of your constant partying.

Standing forward bend with twist

Slowly walk your hands down to meet your feet, all the while keeping them apart at hip-width. Gently put your right palm flat on the mat so your arm is resting straight, with your shoulder slightly over your wrist. Next bend your right knee a bit as you lean on your right hand, pushing upwards with your left arm extended fully. Make sure your neck is relaxed, and your hips remain square, to prevent any straining, and breathe deep. Hold for five deep breathes, then swap.

Camel pose

Take to your knees on this one, with your weight evenly distributed throughout your shins, keeping them hip-width apart.

Hold your hands on your hips, gently leading your tailbone down and rising your lower belly, then slowly move your hands onto your ribcage so your upper body begins to curl. You should move your arms until your feet are comfortable clasping your heels behind you, your chest pointing upwards. Breathe deeply, as you feel your vertebrates rolling. Repeat for three rounds of eight breathes, taking breaks between to prevent muscle pain.

Seated forward bend

Sit down with your legs stretched out in front of you, with your back upright. Flex your feet and inhale while lifting your chest, then exhale as your reach forward while maintaining your length to touch the outer edges of your feet. Don’t round your upper back, keeping your neck loft and legs relaxed. Hold for eight breathes.

Sheet masks made simple

Face masks have certainly come a long way from the sachets of goop you could buy in the supermarket for a girls’ night in. Now it’s all about the sheet mask. These have long been popular in the Asian skincare market, but have only recently become a worldwide phenomenon. Countless celebrities relied on sheet masks to get them red carpet ready over awards season, thanks to the instant injection of product benefits it gives the skin. They’ve also become an unusual selfie accessory, with stars including Adele, Rita Ora and Alexa Chung all snapping pictures while wearing them. You don’t have to be a celebrity to splash out on a sheet mask though – high street shops are stocking their shelves with different options that can make you look Instagram ready without the need of a filter.

STARSKIN’s masks are the perfect choice for celebrities and regular folk alike. The company worked with dermatologists, aestheticians and celebrity make-up artists to create their Bio-Cellulose Sheet Masks, which are packed with naturally fermented coconut juice. This enables the mask to effectively fuse to the skin for the 20-minutes it’s recommended to be used for, and leaves the complexion flawless and radiant. They come in options for blemish-prone, dehydrated or ageing skin among others, as well as versions for your hands and feet.

From coconut to charcoal – Timeless Truth use the carbon product as the basis for their Charcoal Detox Brightening Mask. It’s the perfect choice if you have congested or acne-prone skin as the Bamboo Charcoal Extract is freeze-dried and impounded into the cloth to ensure the skin really gets a good dose of beneficial ingredients. If stressed skin is more your issue, try the Timeless Truth Calming Revitalizing Multipeptide Mask. This is infused with negative ions, which can help boost circulation and relieve tension in the face.

Green tea isn’t just something that you brew in your kettle – Masque Bar have used it as the main ingredient in their innovative new sheet mask, which is designed to reduce the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation on the skin. It contains vitamin E, collagen and green tea, which all contribute to leaving the skin soothed, refreshed and moisturized.

The newly-released MEDER BEAUTY Hydra-fill Masque contains the beauty buzz ingredient hyaluronic acid, as well as tranexamic and thioctic acids, seaweed extract and minerals, to hydrate skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines – giving a “Photoshop effect” finish.

The final of our tips of the best sheet mask options is GOLD COLLAGEN’s Hydrogel Face Mask which has been formulated with a special technology that causes the mask to melt as it reaches body temperature – then causing the ingredients to be released into the skin to help restore radiance in the complexion

Control your bangs

When getting a short fringe in it’ll either take a lifetime to grow out, or you’ll find yourself blowing hair out of your eyes after two weeks.

What’s most important is that you go for a style which won’t go out of fashion quickly, which is where senior hair stylist Michaela Galvin of Jo Hansford comes in with some of her expert tips.

“With fringes, it is important to blow dry them regularly to keep them tame and in shape,” she told Cover Media. “To keep your fringe updated, try varying the width or adding some rounding at the edges. You can revitalize a heavy fringe by taking weight out and creating a textured look. For the more adventurous, short fringes that sit above the eyebrows are becoming increasingly popular.”

And if you’re having trouble keeping your bangs at bay during the awkward in-between stage, where it’s too long to wear down but not long enough to ignore, we have some quick and easy fixes for you.

Twist it out

Rocking a side parting at the moment? Now’s the time to get central, as you can pin both sides of your fringe back effortlessly. Simply split your hair down the middle, bunch together and twist at the roots with strands from the rest of your hair then secure with a pin or clip. Use neutral toned accessories if you want to blend the hair in, or pick statement pieces for a cute touch.

Side sweep it

Turn your full fringe into a side fringe when it’s too long to sit on your forehead. After choosing which direction you want your hair to flow in, create a diagonal parting and using a fine-toothed comb, tease your hair across your forehead. Again, keep in place with a slide or clip – maybe two if you have a lot of tresses to control.

Half-knot

The top knot has become a go-to hairstyle, and it can include your fringe. Gather your hair as though you were to wear it half up, pulling your bangs into the mix, and twist it up starting at the roots. As you twist you’ll see a natural circle/bun finishing beginning to form, and all you need to do is loosely form the shape and secure – keep it messy for a relaxed look! We suggest using spiral pins to keep everything in place as they will also keep the volume to your bun.

Cover it up

Arguably the easiest, but also the boldest. Simply stick a bandanna/hair band on over your bangs – doesn’t matter what they look like underneath, as long as they’re hidden! Or you could wrap and tie a scarf around your hair for a retro vibe.

Take your exercise outdoors this springtime

The sun is shining and the days are longer, yes springtime has finally arrived! For those of you that turn your back on outside exercise during the colder months, now’s the time to embrace the spring sunshine and take your workout to the great outdoors.

Forest and park runs

Dedicated runners will still have pounded the pavement during the cold, dark winter days while many of us stuck to the gym. Now the weather is milder, take your run to your local forest or park to enjoy nature as well as fitness. Starting your day with a jog in lush green surroundings will invigorate both your mind and body. It will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead with a smile on your face.

Garden yoga

Yoga is such a versatile activity and can be done anywhere; from in front of the TV to a gym studio. Why not make the most of the sunny weather and move your mat to a nice piece of grass. Whether it’s your own back garden, or a communal class in the park, doing the downward dog outside will add a whole different dimension to your workout.

Sand sprints

If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, then running on the sand is a must. Keeping fit at the beach gives your body a tougher workout, as sand adds resistance, making exercise more challenging. Running across a beach as opposed to the pavement will see calf circumference increase and keep your lower body engaged at all times. You don’t have to just stick to running though; crab walks, mountain climbers and planks are just a few exercises that will yield impressive results.

Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

Most would agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The NHS insists that research shows that people who eat breakfast are slimmer because they tend to eat less over the course of the day, and in particular, snack less. Experts have previously warned that missing breakfast is a sure fire way to make people raid the snack drawer and pile on the pounds. Yet it seems there isn’t conclusive evidence to back such claims.

Research conducted by the Bath Breakfast Project at the University of Bath in the U.K. examined breakfast consumption or morning fasting and used assessments of energy balance and health in an obese population. They found that neither obese people who eat breakfast, nor those who miss it, lost weight.

These are similar findings to the group’s earlier study of lean people, who were found to have consumed in excess of 500 calories more a day on average if they ate breakfast.

“Despite strong public belief regarding the role of regular breakfast in human health, most evidence linking the omission of breakfast with negative health outcomes is based on cross-sectional associations and prospective cohort studies,” wrote the authors.

Scientists add the evidence fits in with what others have been finding recently.

“Randomized controlled trials in free-living adults have begun to question the causal nature of these links between breakfast habits, components of energy balance, and health,” they said.

The link between missing breakfast and overeating later is further contradicted by another randomized controlled trial of 283 people that found no difference in weight gain between those who ate breakfast and those who did not.

The breakfast issue is part of the ongoing debate around fasting, and researchers conclude that eating in the morning is a personal choice.

If you are not hungry, and especially if you are overweight, then don’t eat out of some notion that breakfast is essential. Breakfast is of course important for children, athletes, and for people who need to perform at their top capacity.

The research was first published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.