Q: My elderly mother, now living on her own, is losing weight rapidly as she doesn’t have to cook for my father any more. Can you suggest simple ways of helping?
A; About one in ten people over 65 in the UK are malnourished but 88 per cent of people do not recognise the most common signs. In December 2014, the I-CARE Checklist (below) was launched by Abbott Nutrition (which makes prescription supplements for elderly patients) with the support of the Patients Association (PA) to raise awareness of the risks. PA chief executive Katherine Murphy said: ‘As families get together, it’s an ideal time to identify early signs that things may not be quite right, using this practical tool.’
As the strength of sunlight fades, boost your vitamin D levels with a supplement. This essential hormone is synthesised in the skin by UV light but many of us have low levels, particularly during winter. Vitamin D is vital for strong bones and teeth, as well as influencing many other functions, including immunity and mood. Choose a product with vitamin D3, such as Better You DLux 1000 Spray.
GETTING TO SLEEP
If you go to sleep easily but tend to wake in the early hours, don’t fret. Bi-or poly-phasic sleep – sleeping in chunks, in other words – was the norm until the advent of electric light. According to neuroscientist Professor Gaby Badre, ‘Sleep is a cyclic phenomenon and waking during the night is natural, although we are not always aware of it. In fact, four to five hours of continuous sleep in the first part of the night covers our need for deep sleep. But to feel refreshed – with enough REM sleep (the dream period) – we generally need seven to eight hours in total. The essential point is the amount of sleep we have over 24 hours.’
You can add shorter chunks when you go back to sleep in the early hours and by napping after lunch. ‘We have a natural dip in alertness between 1pm and 4pm. But don’t nap for longer than 20 minutes,’ he counsels, to avoid feeling groggy afterwards. Read More…
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, also categorised as a hormone. It is made by our bodies from cholesterol by the action of UVB from sunlight on our skin.
It helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies, which are needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
In this country, most people should get enough UVB in the summer months if they get outside in the sun, but UVB dwindles to almost nothing from October to March.
Vitamin D3 (the type we need) is also found in oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines), egg yolks, red meat, fat, liver and fortified foods such as some dairy products and breakfast cereals. While it is wise to eat these, we would have to consume huge amounts to get enough – thus the need for supplements.
So how much vitamin D do we need? The recommended supplementary amount of vitamin D3 from the age of one to 70 is 400 IU (10mcg) and 320-400 IU for babies.
However, many experts believe 1,000 IU or higher is more appropriate for adults.
For people with diagnosed vitamin D deficiency, the recommended maintenance therapy (after testing to ensure an optimal level has been reached) is 800 to 2,000 IU daily.
Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends trying the Better You DLux 1,000 Spray, a sublingual spray that provides 100 doses of 1,000 IU.
When summer comes to an end, there’s an undeniable ‘back to school’ feeling. The arrival of darker nights and dropping temperatures signals a long winter ahead and this has a profound effect on our mood and our systems. Naturally, our minds jump ahead, but actually, we can make the decision to enjoy the seasonal shift into autumn. It is such a glorious time when the earth is still carrying the heat from the warmth of the sun and the leaves begin to change colour from green into a riot of golds, rich copper, nutty browns and honeyed yellows. Too often, it’s tempting to close the curtains and spend more time indoors – but getting out into nature is a great chance to witness all this happening and it slows things down. Read More…
The lead up to Christmas is invariably frenetic, organising presents, food, guests, outings and the rest – on top of the usual day jobs. Then you stop for the holiday and, to add insult to injury, you get ill. As Dr Marilyn Glenville, author of The Nutritional Health Handbook for Women (Piatkus, £25), explains, ‘Your body can keep going on adrenalin while under stress, but as soon as you stop, everything comes crashing down including your immune system. Hence the onset of colds or flu, with aching joints, plus tummy upsets and indigestion, especially with rich food and drink.’
Here are Dr Glenville’s top ten tips for staying well this festive season: Read More…