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"How many nuts should I be eating?" Paul
I know nuts are good for me but am also aware that they can be high in calories, Please could you give me an indication of the amount of nuts I should be eating to reap the benefits without eating too many?
Thanks for your question.
You are right, nuts have many nutitional benefits but too many can significantly increase calorie consumption.
I would personally shoot for around 40g per day which is just over 250 calories (it varies a little depending on the nuts). If you prefer to keep the calories down then you can reduce this to 30g which is the average sized portion and equates to a palm full. For example: approximately 10 brazils or 25 almonds or 7 walnuts. Basically the smaller/less dense the nut, the more you can have.10g is around 60 cals.
Hope this helps and if you have any further questions just let me know.
"What is the best kind of bread to buy?" Amina M
I'm a mum of one trying to adapt better healthier lifestyle changes into our lives and thought I would change from white bread to brown and seeded yummy and healthy but then saw your post about how this is often white bread and through omg !! What is the best bread to buy? I like rye bread too?
When shopping for bread if you want to avoid white flour then be sure to check the ingredients. Look for 'whole wheat flour' or 'whole grain flour' as the first ingredient. Avoid ingredients like 'enriched flour' or just 'wheat flour' as this indicates white flour is being used even if the bread is sold as 'brown'. Again with rye bread look for 'whole grain rye'. Whole is the key word!
Hope this helps and if you have any further questions just let me know.
All the best,
"Is coconut oil healthy or not?" Olga
I have heard mixed messages on coconut oil recently. They say it is no longer in a "super food" list and is actually bad for you? Should it be avoided altogether? What is your take on that?
This is a tough one, hence the lengthy reply!
Coconut oil seems to be the source of much disagreement right now. Some claim it is worse than butter and should be treated as the enemy as it raises our bad cholesterol. This is because it is high in saturated fat, which in itself splits opinion on whether it's harmful or not. Many say different and claim coconut oil is high in a healthy type of saturated fat which raises good cholesterol and is metabolised quickly and less likely to be stored as fat. They recommend we ditch other fats in favour of coconut oil suggesting we cook with it, spread it on toast and add to shakes. The way both views are often publicised seems to me to be designed to create impact and headlines!.
So, what to believe? I can only go on what I read and what makes sense to me. When it is the general consensus that something is bad for us ie sugar, trans fats, then I tend to live by these views. However the opposed views which come with coconut oil and the sweeping all-or-nothing statements used by both camps prevent me from taking either as gospel.
Saturated fat does play a role in supporting how the body functions when part of a balanced diet and I include these fats and oils in my own diet. This includes eating coconut oil but I dont go over the top. For me eating spoons of pure fat on its own doesnt feel quite right, I occasionally fry using coconut oil and use a little oil in dressings but rather than consuming pure fat on its own I tend get most of my fat intake from foods. For this I eat nuts, olives, avocados, full-fat dairy, meat and fish.
To conclude, I think that like many fats, coconut oil has its benefits and can play a role as part of a balanced diet. However I am hesitant to say that any one single food will bring about life changing improvements to your health, rather, be sure to include important foods types and food groups. If you are already in good health and eating a balnced diet which is low in foods containing sugar and without the types of fat widely known to be harmful then this is the most important thing.
I hope this offers a little help! If you have any further quesions don't hesitate to get in touch!
"I feel constantly tired" Laurent
I feel constantly tired even though I have enough sleep, do sport once or twice a week and my weight is normal. Do you have any advice what I should do?
I have three areas of suggestion that you may wish to consider.
1. Identify changes/triggers
The first thing I would suggest is to think back to when your tiredness started and try to identify any changes in your life that occured around this time. For example, change of routine, environment, lifestyle or diet. This may help identify the possible cause. Also look at when your tiredness is at it's worse and try to identify potential triggers that way. Ie activities, before/after/during work, what you have eaten, when you ate last, time of day or anything else that is relevant.
2. Dietary influences
Another option is to just look at possible dietary causes. Many essential vitamins and minerals are responsible for energy production so if we are low in any of these we can suffer from fatigue. These can be raised through dietary changes or supplementation. I would start by looking at ensuring you have adequate levels of the following which help contribute to energy:
Iron - This can found in fish and animal products and in foods like leafy greens, iron-fortified cereals and and beans. When eating non-animal iron foods taking or eating vitamin C at the same time (examples: broccoli, peppers, strawberries, kiwi, oranges) can increase absorption of iron.
Vitamin B12 - Another consideration is to ensure you are taking in enough B12 which is found in animal products (meat, fish, dairy, eggs) (vegetarians usually take this as a supplement).
Magnesium - Magnesium also supports energy. Spinach, almonds, pumpkin seeds, salmon, dark chocolate are some of the sources.
Work can sometimes be relentless and a major contributing factor in tiredenss. If you feel that your job could be contributing then make sure you give yourself proper breaks throughout the day that take you mentally and physically away from your work station. Also keep sugar intake low and if you drink alot of coffee try reducing this. Keep energy levels topped up throughout the day by snacking on foods like berries, nuts, seeds yoghurt, avocado and veggies.
If you need further advice just let me know!
"When is the best time of day to practise my physio exercises?" Martyn
I have been given some hip and back exercises and stretches by my physio, when is the best time of day to do these?
First and foremost it should be a time of day where you have the time, energy and mental focus to ensure you do your routine with accuracy and necessary attention.
Secondly if you experience pain in the back/hips after certain activities or as a result of sitting, which can be quite common, then this may not be the best time to practise your exercises, However if you find that the stretching helps relieve this pain then do so.
Often later in the day our muscles are well warmed up, particularly after movement so they may respond better at this time of day.
With all of this in mind, you could merely try the exercises out at different times on different days and see what feels more comfortable and beneficial.
I hope this helps.
"Can I start exercising at 70?" Glenise
I feel that I need to start exercising more but I have lower back issues and quite bad shoulder problems at the moment. At 71 and under the circumstances is it wise to start exercising now? If so what can I do? I dont particularly like gyms and have previously enjoyed sports but I think this is out of the question. Are there any exercises I can do at home?
I believe we can start exercising at any age and see sigificant results in fitness, strength and shape. My main concern is avoiding making any issues you currently have worse, so at present any upper body work should be avoided until your shoulder improves.
Start by making a bit of a plan to ensure that you include some activity every day. Walking is extremely beneficial and I would suggest a daily walk as a positive start. You could include three walks a week that challenge you a little more (as long as they don't aggrivate your lower back). This could mean walking a little further than usual, or including uphill walking. Another 'walking workout' is to intermittently increase the pace for a couple of minutes and then slow down to get your breath back until you are ready to up the pace again. WIth any of these walks you can increase the intensity or distance when you feel ready.
To help strengthen the core; the muscles that support your lower back I would use a Pilates instructor, even if it is now and again or just to set you up with the best exercises for you and to ensure your technique is correct. Make sure any instructor you use is highly experienced; if the instructor is also a qualified osteopath or chiropractor then even better.
There are certainly some exercises you can do at home. I would suggest focusing on strengthening the legs and this is an area that you can work with less risk of pain. I will email over some suggestions along with instructions.
I hope this is helpful.
"How can I tone my inner thighs?" Ali
Please can you tell me the best way to tone my inner thighs? I'm 30 and in quite good shape but cant seem to firm these muscles up. I've tried the machine specifically for these muscles, laying on my side lifting my bottom leg up and standing with a band around my ankle pulling my leg across.
None of these have made a difference, do you have any suggestions?
I have always found squats very effective for firming up the muscles of the leg including those of the inner thighs.
Try back squats (squatting with a bar across the upper back). Make sure the weight is challenging and that you squat below paralell (lower than 90 degrees!) Turn the toes slightly out and keep the stance hip width rather than narrow, this will allow more depth and the inner thigh muscles (as well as glutes) will have to work hard. The knees should track the toes; don't let them come in. Make sure you keep tension through the back of your thighs and glutes at the bottom of the squat.
In my experience when exercises are performed correctly using a challenging weight (rather than the Jane Fonda type floor exercises) this results in firm and well-developed muscles.
I recently started heavy squatting for sets of 6 reps with a female client and she said that the next day her inner thighs and glutes ached more than ever.
Let me know how you get on :)
How can I alleviate my desk-based shoulder pain? Melissa
I have a desk-based office job and often get aches in my shoulders (especially my right shoulder) from using my computer - do you have any tips to help alleviate this?
Sorry to hear you have been suffering with shoulder pain, this is prevalent in many who have desk-based jobs. However, there are a few things you can look at that may help. I presume you are right-handed and if so this will be why you are experiencing more pain on this side.
If your desk is too high or your chair is too low then you may well have to raise your shoulders as you work.
As you sit at your desk and type be aware of an unnecessary tension in the shoulders. Occasionally rolling the shoulders backwards can help release the muscles and bring awareness to this area.
If you use a mouse then ensure you aren’t having to move your arm too far away from the body during use. If possible use a cordless mouse with a trackerball so you can keep it close or you could look into a vertical mouse. These keep the arm in a more neutral position with less twisting inwards. Anothrer option is to learn to use the mouse on both your left and right so you can regularly switch sides.
Keeping any jointed flexed over a period of time can cause pain or discomfort. Give your shoulders, arms, wrists and hands regular breaks from working in fixed positions and also from repeated movements. Often tightness in other areas can have a knock-on effect, so if you can, get up and walk around to give your whole body a break from sitting.
Try not to rest your phone inbetween your shoulder and ear and if you have to talk while you type or write then use a hands-free or headset.
Try not to load your shoulder on one side and use a rucksack instead.
Perform regular stretches and movements at your desk to release the neck and shoulders. The chest muscles can also get tight when we sit with our shoulders forward. Performing the stretch in the image below is my favourite in helping to release the chest muscles and improve posture.
I hope this helps.