Tag Archives: Health

How to keep fit in the cold!

 By Bella Dunning

With the dark and unbearably cold days upon us, winter seems bleak and depressing. Most mornings I question whether to actually venture into the cold, when I can have the warmth of a cuppa and my hot water bottle by my side instead. This winter season has felt extremely difficult, especially with deadlines looming. It seems easy to fall into hibernation mode and neglect exercise completely. But, surprisingly, doing some form of exercise each week has helped me get me through the tough winter days.

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James Parkinson – 200 Years On

By David Winlo

This year marks two hundred years since the discovery of a progressive neurological condition by James Parkinson, which was then called Shaking Palsy, but is now known with his name, as Parkinson’s disease. What did he discover? And what progress has since been made in its treatment?

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The Start to Your Health & Fitness Goals in 2017

By Warren Tutt

So after a grazing period of chocolates, cheese and monstrous leftover concussions we’re feeling a little uncomfortable heading into the New Year. Obviously hitting the gym three times a day and life of green tea and cabbage soup is the way forward right? …Wrong.

 The New Year calls for a change in lifestyle and habits, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither did everyone work at the same time. Plans had to be made, foundations laid and then building started from the bottom up. So stop the clean-living binge and start a functional evolution to a happier, healthier you.

The first thing you want to do is eat normal food. Sure raw, organic, dairy-free, sugarless meals are nutritionally rich and great for you, but your body will go into shock. My number one rule is if you can eat it, then don’t cut it out. Gluten free, dairy-free whatever it is, companies are brainwashing us with associating these foods with better lifestyles. Of course everything should be in moderation but if you’re not a coeliac (or gluten intolerant) then avoiding bread is only going to frustrate and lead to that fridge night-binge of pizza, garlic bread and sticky toffee pudding.

It takes our bodies up to 40 days to rid ourselves of habits, if you want to quit sugar or processed foods then I’m all for it. But accept cravings and mood fluctuations. Maybe you’re going to need bread to get past the sugar cravings, then once that’s fixed, work on the next food elimination. Don’t use your body past breaking point, it will only fail you and you’ll be back at square one, surrounded by Jaffa cake wrappers and spooning tubs of Ben and Jerry’s.

Now it’s time to hit the gym. Get under that rack and squat twice your body weight, then run four miles on the treadmill and swing the heaviest kettle bell over your head a good dozen times.

How about we slow it down, Mr Motivator.

A friend once told me going to the gym is like reading a book. You have to start with chapter one. Sure, others around you may be on chapter 12 or even on the next book, but they didn’t get there by skipping ahead. Head to https://bodybuilding.com and pick yourself a training programme, and be honest! Don’t put your fitness or experience ahead of reality, injuries are not worth the hassle and setbacks they can cause.

A great way to monitor progress is to take weekly pictures, the scales will always lie, depending on whose you use and your muscle-to-body fat ratio. A weekly picture can show you your progress and it’s something you don’t have to share with anyone. Training with a friend can also be another way to monitor your progress and ensure you actually go. Nothing motivates you more than knowing someone is relying on you to be there.

At the end of the day, you’ve made this decision for you. Ignore what anyone else is doing or saying. As long you are putting one foot in front of the other, thinking and making better choices with your diet and nutrition, then you’re on the right way.

Image from Unsplash

Mental Illness: Let’s Talk About It

By Celine Hawkins

In the UK, 75 per cent of mental illnesses are established by the age of 24. Furthermore, one in ten suicides reported are by those between the ages of 15 and 24. Indeed, these figures could suggest a rise in the people opening up about their experiences, but it also indicates a lack of help for those suffering.

With continuous funding cuts to the mental health services in this country (UEA, as an example, leaves students waiting up to twelve weeks for an appointment with a counsellor as a result of such budget constraints), it is no surprise that the problem surrounding the treatment of mental health is growing, and at an alarming rate. When a government appears to be giving up, how does it make those who need hope and reassurance feel? True, the growing discontent over the lack of sufficient support for those in need of help signifies an overthrow of the stigma of mental illnesses that has been so rampant throughout history, but it would be naïve to think that this stigma has been completely erased.

Though it is placed under another health bracket, mental health is the same as physical health. Nobody has 100 per cent perfect physical health, just like nobody has 100 per cent perfect mental health. It is that simple. So how can we work towards ending the uncomfortable atmosphere that comes with talking about mental health issues? By fighting fire with fire: keeping the conversation going.

Time to Change, set up in 2007 by Mind UK and Rethink Mental Illnesses, is both an annual event and online community that aims for ‘everyone with a mental health problem to be free of fear’ by ‘changing how we all think and act about mental health problems.’ It is a website that allows people to write about their own experiences in order to encourage and inspire others. Similarly, This Space, a submission based magazine, claims to ‘join the movement to destigmatise, without romanticising, mental health issues’.

The romanticism of mental health via social media, in particular Tumblr, often acts as a step in the wrong direction when trying to end the stigma surrounding mental health. Simply put, there is no aesthetic surrounding mental illness, as some websites would rather have you believe, because dealing with a mental illness is an all-consuming and sometimes frightening ordeal. Yet the reality of them is usually ignored in favour of making them a fashion statement (Urban Outfitters have excelled particularly in this – their clothing that celebrated eating disorders and depression definitely left its mark on people after being successfully pulled from its stores). In addition to this, those who do speak out are far too often shut down for seeking attention.

It is time to prove that maybe attention is what is required. Despite all the hurdles, the ability to keep the conversation flowing about mental illnesses is what will persevere over the torment in the end. The more that we open up about experiences, the more people will not only feel comfortable to talk about theirs but will also feel comfortable listening to them. It is a process that due to ignorance is taking longer than it needs to, but if the talk continues then the wall of stigma will fall. Suffering with a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, it is common and something that can be tackled. Focus on you and your wellbeing, not the remarks of those who do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Whether it is a general chat with your friends and family or to complete and total strangers, it is important that the conversation does not cease. It is time to start accepting mental illnesses for what they are: real.

 Statistics can be found at these sites:



 If you’re struggling and need someone to talk to, why not try these. Talking about it shouldn’t just be about ending the stigma but also helping your wellbeing:

  • Samaritans: 116 123 or +44 (0) 8457 909090

  • UEA Nightline:  +44 (0) 1603 503504

    Image from Unsplash


The Risks of a Meat-Based Diet

By Tilly Abraham

As a vegetarian, many people ask me what my reasons are for my choice to not eat meat. Although they are mainly ethical, another strong factor is for the good of my health. After revelations about what meat and other animal products do to your body, the sobering truth about eating meat made my vegetarianism even more justified.

  1. Stay out of my arteries

  The meat industry continually promotes the positives of consuming their products. ‘Meat=protein’ is usually the main benefit boasted. But red meat also amounts to a whole lot of cholesterol. High cholesterol can be life-threatening and the main things that contribute towards bad cholesterol (other than what your body naturally makes) are animal products, especially red meat. Therefore, a Vegan diet will usually mean an astonishing lack of cholesterol. This is not to say that all big meat-eaters have high cholesterol: for example, fish and chicken are much healthier alternatives.

High cholesterol, however, could lead and is linked to a bounty of other health issues such as: coronary heart disease, strokes, diabetes and peripheral arterial disease.

 2.The C Word

Perhaps the most shocking discovery I have made is that high consumption of animal products can actually cause cancer (sources below).

 My first thought upon learning this was ‘Why did no one tell me?’ – it is well documented and factually correct. The World Health Organisation has even gone as far as to classify processed meat – that is, ham, sausages, bacon and salami- as being a ‘Group 1 Carcinogen’, meaning there is strong evidence that processed animal products cause cancer. In fact, eating 50g of processed meat a day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18% and veggies are about 40% less likely to develop cancer compared to meat-eaters!

But why would we be sold food that has the potential to kill us? Well, the meat industry is incomprehensibly huge, and in the same way that we are sold alcohol and sweets, from which an immense profit is made, it is no wonder that they conceal the effects of their produce.

Note however, that many food products are said to cause cancer and the like, so moderation in everything is most important.

 3. The long and short of it

Fact time. Our intestines are around 7-13 times the length of our torso. Contrasting this, the length of carnivores/omnivores is around 3-6 times the length of their torso.

The shorter intestinal length means that rotting meat, animal proteins, cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats pass through the intestines quickly, thus it is nearly impossible for carnivores to clog their arteries. Consequently, with the longer intestinal length, almost 52% of meat-eaters suffer from or are killed from clogged arteries.

Moreover, we humans and other herbivores have carbohydrate digestive enzymes in our saliva – which is a massive nod to the fact we are supposed to eat fruit and veg! Even the way we eat is indicative of this: we grind our food with our teeth (which are broad, blunt and spade-shaped) the same way other herbivores eat. Carnivores, on the other hand, possess sharp, fanged teeth, which are used to rip and swallow flesh (contrasting our grind and chew motion) – hinting to their biological intention for meat-eating.

 4.Got Milk?

Besides meat – the by-products of animals can also have their health risks. As a vegetarian it is true that I drink milk. However, the startling facts of what is actually in milk have left me reaching for the nut-based alternatives… Human breast milk is deemed the most nutritious thing for a newborn baby. This is because it is intended to aid the growth and development of a child. Therefore, cows’ milk is intended to aid the development of a calf – not a person.

But what’s worth further considering is the chemical cocktail that makes up cows’ milk: growth hormones, steroids, hypothalamic and thyroid hormones to name a few.

It is also estimated that there are around 350 million cell-counts of pus per litre of milk– yum. This comes from infected udders on the cow, often caused by excessive milking, and the consumption of this pus is well linked to Crohn’s disease.

Cows’ blood is also mixed in and any antibiotic medication cows are subjected to due to their mistreatment at dairy farms; however, you can still drink cows’ milk and avoid this by purchasing organic milk which may be more expensive but much better for you.

 Believe it or not you don’t just have to eat grass, the alternatives to animal products are endless! Now that supermarkets offer meat-free and ‘free-from’ ranges: try swapping your cows’ milk with the healthier almond milk. Maybe change your beef mince for Quorn or a bean burger. BONUS POINT: a meatless diet is generally the cheaper option for students!

 Though there are many negative health issues attributed to us from meat – it is not only the meat industry that conceals things about their products. Even soy products – which tend to be marketed at vegetarians – have been found to have protease inhibitors which affect digestion and have excess amounts of oestrogen, putting you at an imbalance. Perhaps the need to be more food savvy is more important now than ever.


World Health Organisation – http://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/
Gallagher, James. BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34615621
NHS http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cholesterol/Pages/Introduction.aspx
BHF https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/risk-factors/high-cholesterol
‘Dairy’ link: http://www.adaptt.org/veganism.html#
‘Humans and Herbivores’ link http://www.adaptt.org/veganism.html#
Groop, Edward. Global Health Centre http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-cows-milk/
‘The dangers of soy’ – http://paleoleap.com/dangers-soy/

Image from Unsplash, by Isidor Emanuel

Diabetes – Diagnosed at 19

By Elizabeth Wigley

It’s the same with every long-term or chronic illness – you never think it will happen to you. I am a fit, healthy, active 20 year old, so I certainly didn’t think I would ever say the words ‘I have Type 1 Diabetes’.

But that all changed about two months ago. I had suffered from the symptoms for about a month and a half, however it’s likely that my illness had gone undiagnosed for much longer than this. Fortunately, I am not someone to ignore my body acting abnormally, and so I realised I needed to act.

Diabetes was something I learnt about in GSCE Biology, but the main things I remembered about it was that it was likely to occur in older, overweight individuals; had I known that even 18-month olds could have it, I perhaps would have caught it sooner.

On my fourth trip to the doctor my symptoms had not cleared, despite being prescribed antibiotics. My glucose levels were tested only for the first time, which was when they were noted as worryingly high. Seeing the expression on the nurse’s face confirmed to me the results, and I was submitted to A&E that evening.

I had never been in hospital before that week for anything other than my birth, and having a drip in each arm and my blood tested every hour was a real shock to the system. I ended up being in hospital for five days, whereas I was told I may not have to stay even one night.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on my second day in hospital. The wave of information given to me over that week was overwhelming to say the least, and I found it difficult to absorb it all. My mum remarked that I was handling it surprisingly well, but I think it just hadn’t sunk in yet. When you’re in hospital you’re normally there to get better, and then you go home. But I knew I wouldn’t get better, even when I went home, and I struggled with that.

On leaving hospital with a large carrier bag of medication, consisting of needles, blood-testing kits and insulin pens, I felt like a completely different person. Yes, my original symptoms were gone and I felt a sense of resolution from having an actual diagnosis, but I knew my life was never going to be the same again. Those who know me well will agree that I have a very sweet tooth, and the thought of having juice or chocolate as a ‘treat once a month’ actually upset me (although I am now pretty much eating as I did before my diagnosis).

Two months on I am back at university for my second year, I am injecting myself with insulin and testing my blood glucose levels as if I’ve been doing it my whole life, and I’m doing approximately 10 hours of exercise a week. I was told whilst in hospital that the Diabetes should fit around my lifestyle, not the other way around, and already I feel like I’ve got to a place where that is happening.

I will have this for the rest of my life, but I won’t let my illness change the quality of the life I lead. I would encourage anyone who has Diabetes to not allow it to conquer you, because your life can still be whatever you want it to be.

If you are experiencing any odd symptoms that you think may be a sign of Diabetes it is so important to get them checked out. Even if they are nothing it’s still worth investigating. The help I have received at UEA has been amazing, from my advisor to Student Support Services to the Medical Centre, so I know there are people out there more than willing to help.

Some links to helpful sites about Diabetes:




Physical Health for Freshers

By Alyssa Ollivier-Tabukashvili

gwnsgnsafqm-brooke-larkAs you dive into a new kind of independence at university, it’s easy to get caught up in a spiral of nights out, drunk takeaways, and then hangover food. Of course, you might not be the type to go out at all, but without your parents or guardian looking out for you, it can be difficult to stay in control of your physical health.

The important thing is to have good habits from the start. Sure, it’s called “Freshers’ Week”, but in reality, freshers’ lasts practically a month, and some treat the entire first year as freshers’ week. If you don’t give yourself boundaries from the first day, you’re likely to develop long-lasting bad habits or fall into a downward spiral.

With this in mind, you can go out, drink (or not), and maybe get that late night take out if you really want, while keeping control throughout the day. That’s to say, eating well, getting into a good exercise routine and drinking plenty of water. These three things can be simple enough if you start right.

– Have a water bottle that you drink from throughout the day so you know how much you’re taking in. You could even have 3-4 disposable water bottles nearby (generally 500ml each) so you don’t ‘forget’ to refill.

– Make drinking this much water a habit. Yeah, you’ll have to pee a lot, but think of how satisfying and detoxifying it is, especially when it’s clear or a light yellow.

– We all get a little carried away when student finance comes in, so if you’re going to splurge, why not on good food? Get yourself some fish, lean meats, eggs, tofu, and then fresh fruit and vegetables. If you’re unsure on how to use them, even a 1kg bag of frozen vegetable mix is all you need to get you going and is much cheaper.

– Everyone has different priorities with finance, of course, so if you decide food isn’t one, you don’t have to buy organic or fresh all the time, if you’re making the minimal effort to get a balance of protein and vitamins then you’re starting well.

– To avoid eating processed and high-sugar snacks, don’t buy them. Easier said than done, but if they’re not there to eat, they won’t be going in your body.

– Also, remember that no one will think you’re strange for turning down a flat take out. Sure, they’re great for bonding with your flatmates, but if consumed regularly they’re costly and unnecessary. Your cooking will impress them far more and you can still eat together.

– For exercise, you have a number of options: join a sports club, this keeps you committed to some form of movement on a weekly basis; join the gym, maybe knowing you spent money on that membership will keep you going; or go for a run for free or use online workouts.

– Even if you’re not motivated to do rigorous exercise yet, going for a decent-length walk multiple times a week is enough to get your heart rate up a bit. Walk a couple rounds of the lake by the Ziggurats (you’ll get a nice Insta-worthy picture that way), or walk into the city centre.

If you are going out and drinking, here are also a couple of things to remember:

Pre-drink reasonably. Pre-drinking is this big phenomenon I only heard about once coming to university. In theory it’s excellent, but in practice, from all that I have seen and heard, it defeats itself.

-Remember to be reasonable then, if you’re pre-drinking to save money, don’t actually buy the drinks at the club after.

– Don’t start so early that you have to keep drinking to avoid ‘sobering up’.

– Even better, don’t buy into the idea that you can only have a good time if you’re throwing up at the door.

– If you are capable of making the decision, don’t get the post-club pizza or chips. All the salt and fats that go into your body after all the alcohol won’t do you any favours- except maybe emotionally.

Most of all, freshers’ week is your fun way to ease yourself into your new life. But it’s important to remember that you can be moderate; you can go out and have fun and drink if you want, but that does not mean that everything else has to be crazy too. Do your body a favour and remove your makeup, have a glass of water next to you, and tuck yourself into bed.

 And when you’re not going out, give your body the best remedy possible: a good night’s sleep.

Image from Unsplash, by Brooke Lark

Natural remedies for a cold

By Alyssa Ollivier-Tabukashvili

alwibbfjax8-anda-ambrosiniThe season is upon us; viruses are continuously circulating around campus and there is practically no escaping catching something whether it’s a cold, a cough, nausea or a stomach ache.

 It’s all very well using antibiotics and Paracetamol, but eventually your body becomes immune, and these medications have little positive effect on your body in the long-run. What’s more, GPs are increasingly aware of the uselessness of antibiotics when it comes to viruses, and even when prescribed, there is the high possibility of them killing the good bacteria in your system.So here are some suggestions of simple, natural and accessible – I say accessible because whilst homeopathy is most ideal, it is not the most affordable way to cure that irritating cold.

 Lemons and ginger are a blessing to us all; they keep your immune system running, the latter helps immensely with nausea, and together with honey, they make an excellent hot beverage. Keep these two ingredients in your food stock at all times, you never know when a virus will hit, and there’s no reason why you can’t drink them regularly to keep yourself healthy.You can also put lemon on a lot of food, especially spinach or fish (both great for the immune system), and this helps with maintaining that antibacterial, antiviral diet. What’s more, lemon also cleanses your liver.

 A meal with fish, spinach and lemon, as mentioned above, is amazing because it contains all the nutrients you want to keep your immunity up (with the added bonus of clearer skin). This is thanks to vitamins (C, A and E), protein, zinc, magnesium and other minerals that they are strong in.And on the subject of vitamin C- there is the evident oranges; freshly squeezing your orange juice gives you the ultimate dose of citrus required. Freshly squeezed beats carton juice because the processes involved in the latter often destroy the fruits’ nutrients.

 To unblock your nose, and clear those nasal passages, carry out inhalations. Get a large bowl or bucket, fill it with boiling water and put a towel over your head and the bowl, breathing through your nose. If you have some, add a few drops of tea tree oil.If you have access to additional nutrients, iron will help your body rejuvenate and give you the energy required to heal.So keep a stock of lemon, ginger and honey. Increase your spinach and fish intake, and spicy foods always help fight the cold.

 Remember: these remedies will help relieve simple and mild colds but if your illness lasts a long time, you develop a chest infection or have an underlying medical condition ALWAYS see your Doctor.

Image from Unsplash by Anda Ambrosini

Feel-Good Brain Food

By Natalie Froome

Feeling sluggish? Finding it hard to concentrate for long? It could be down to what you’re eating.

 It’s hard to get the balance right at uni, students tend to keep odd hours and aren’t known for being the best at cooking, but by getting these 5 foods in your diet you can eat well and improve your mental as well as your physical health.

 1. Wholegrains

Choosing wholegrain options such as granary bread, brown rice and brown pasta could help you to feel more alert during the day as they release their energy a lot slower than their white counterparts.

 2. Blueberries

Their health benefits are plenty, but they can be pretty expensive. Try a place that sells fruit and veg cheap, such as Aldi or Lidl.

 3. Tomatoes

Full of vitamin c, easy to prepare and eat either fresh or cooked.

 4. Broccoli

A great source of iron for energy and a green veg that will help to get some essential vitamins in your system, including vitamin K, which is known to help cognitive function.

 5. Get some Nuts

Nuts are a well known source of vitamin E, which is good for your skin as well as your brain.

Image from Unsplash by Rachael Walker