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News: November 2018

Eating a Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of depression

A salad of olives, tomatoes, cheese and basil representing the mediterranean diet

Yet more research has emerged in support of the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. A new study from University College London has found that a diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, plant-based food and fish, typical of a traditional Mediterranean diet, could help lower the risk of depression. The authors said avoiding pro-inflammatory foods and favouring anti-inflammatory foods rich in plant fibre, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, olive oil and nuts, may reduce the risk of depression[i].

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

A range of foods containing Vitamin D

The debate about the benefits (or not) of vitamin D supplementation rumble on with a recent Canadian overview of research suggesting that vitamin D supplements do not prevent fractures or falls.

But, with a fifth of people in the UK showing low vitamin D levels, the advice from Public Health England (PHE) remains the same – we should all consider taking a vitamin D supplement in autumn and winter.

The reason? Vitamin D, vital for immunity as well as healthy bones, teeth and muscles, is synthesised in our skin when exposed to the sun’s UVB rays so short bursts of sunshine and a healthy balanced diet mean most of us get all we need in spring and summer. However, at this time of year when the sun is too low in the sky for us to catch its rays the only source is foods naturally containing vitamin D – think cheese, egg yolks, oily fish, pork and UVB-treated vitamin D-2 enhanced mushrooms – or fortified foods like fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.

It can be difficult to get the daily10 micrograms of vitamin D recommended by the PHE from diet alone, which is why they suggest a daily supplement as insurance in autumn and winter.[ii] [iii]

Support mouth cancer awareness month

Close up of woman's lips in blue lipstick

Show your support for Mouth Cancer Action Month by going for blue on Blue Wednesday November 14th. Buy a blue ribbon, wear something blue or put on some blue lipstick! Alternatively, host a ‘blue’ party for friends and family. Suggest they wear blue wigs, and face paint – and don’t forget some blue decorations. To find out more visit the website.

Do you want to go vegan? New app could help

Vegetables laid out to spell the word vegan

If you’ve been thinking about going vegan but don’t where to start look out for the new app from the Vegan Society launching this month to celebrate World Vegan Month. All you have to do is download it and follow their easy 30-day programme. Each day, you will be treated to a short video covering the most common topics that arise in the early days of going vegan. You can also select your motivation for going vegan and receive regular encouraging boosts along the way, especially tailored for you!

VeGuide will be available to download on Android and iOS from November 1st.

Ginger can help with bad breath

Ginger root and groud ginger spice in wooden pot

Chewing on a sprig of parsley or mint are well-known breath fresheners and now a recent study reveals ginger may also help to banish halitosis (bad breath). The secret lies in gingerol, the chemical which gives ginger its spicy flavour. It seems it helps stimulate an enzyme in the mouth, which breaks down the substances that trigger smelly breath. It Is not known how much ginger is needed for optimal effect but for starters why not try a daily cup or two of ginger tea[iv].


[i] Source:  Rowan Walker, UCL Media Relations. T: +44 (0) 20 3108 8515 / +44 (0) 7769 141006 E: rowan.walker @ucl.ac.uk

[ii] Bolland MJ, Grey A, Avenell A. Effects of vitamin D supplementation on musculoskeletal health: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and trial sequential analysis. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2018 Oct 4. pii: S2213-8587(18)30265-1.

[iii] https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-study-looking-at-vitamin-d-supplementation-and-bone-health-in-adults/

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29957939


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