Keep your heart healthy with ProKardia, a ‘good all-round supplement’, says pharmacist Shabir Daya, in tandem with eating well and taking exercise. The website prokardia.com offers expert tips, and was launched as a ‘heart health hub’ by Anna Hughes after her sister died at just 57 from heart problems exacerbated by high blood pressure. The key ingredient in the supplement is plant-derived L-arginine, which boosts production of nitric oxide. This relaxes arteries, increases blood flow and reduces risk of clots forming. ProKardia, £35 for 180 tablets, from victoriahealth.com.
GET GOING NATURALLY
Q: For the past few days I have been constipated. I usually go to the loo every morning. Now I feel grumpy, lethargic and uncomfortable, plus my skin looks dull.
A: This is a very common problem, according to clinical nutritionist Stephanie Moore (health-in-hand.co.uk). Here is her advice:
- Don’t rush for over-the-counter laxatives. This can result in worse constipation. Instead start sipping plenty of still water throughout the day. Dehydration is a frequent cause of a slow bowel. Drinking water will also perk up your complexion by flushing out toxins which have been reabsorbed into your skin from your stuck bowel.
- Fibre is essential to help your food move through your system. Consume plenty of green leafy vegetables and fresh and dried soaked fruit (prunes and figs) between meals, plus pulses (beans and lentils) and grains such as spelt. These contain a combination of soluble and insoluble fibre, which keep the bowel healthy. Avoid breakfast cereals (eg, bran flakes): they only contain insoluble fibre, which has a scouring effect on the intestines, causing inflammation and actually triggering constipation.
- Chew, chew, chew your food. It is the trigger for your whole digestive system to kick in and move your food through your body.
- Take exercise but also relax. Being overtired and stressed can cause a bout of constipation by putting your digestive system on ‘pause’. To calm production of stress hormones, have a brisk walk each day, take time to relax and do some deep breathing.
- Raise your knees when on the loo. Try putting your feet on a low stool or pile of books.
- If constipation persists, try taking two full tablespoons of psyllium seed husks in a full glass of warm milk or water just before bed. Swallow the mixture immediately as it starts to thicken rapidly. You should find relief by morning. Psyllium Seed Husk Fibre by Nature’s Own, £13.35 for 256g.Other effective supplements include Triphala, a combination of three Indian fruits which you take on an empty stomach before bed, and aloe vera – take it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Triphala by Pukka Herbs, £14.95 for 90 caps; Organic Aloe Vera Juice by Lily of the Desert, £8 for 473ml.
- To prevent constipation in the future, never ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Eat plenty of fibre-containing foods daily, and take a high-potency probiotic supplement for a week every three months or so. Probiotics are the good bacteria in the large intestine and are vital for a healthy digestive system. Mega Probiotic ND by Food Science of Vermont, £18.50 for 60 capsules.
If your problem persists, however, do see your GP.
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD
What can you do to spice up the passion quotient when you’ve been married for years? Start with touching each other is the message from a survey of 2,000 people in relationships, commissioned by Durex. Almost half of Brits feel they don’t get enough physical affection from their partner, and a significant cause is communicating electronically. With Valentine’s Day next week, it’s a perfect time to ditch the emails and texts, and kiss and cuddle the real person instead. If you are feeling more daring, try Durex Embrace new pleasure gels – one warming (in pink bottle), the other cooling and tingling (purple) – designed to help bring new sensations to sex, especially when used together. Our tester couple reported that they ‘do heighten things a bit, and are a non-threatening, inexpensive way to perk up your sex life’. (But do a patch test first, as it advises; our woman tester preferred the cooling one: ‘I used the hot one initially but it was a little too hot.’) Durex Embrace, £14.99.