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General Wellbeing

  • Allergy Season: Prepare for Battle

    While many of us look forward to the beauty of Spring, for allergy sufferers it is probably the most annoying season of the year as the runny noses, puffy watery eyes, sneezing and itchiness starts.

    With the official start of Spring only a few weeks away, let’s look at how you can prepare your body to help fight off, or at least reduce the effects associated with seasonal allergies naturally.

    Our top 5 weapons are: -

    Natural supplements: Natural supplements boost your immune system and may reduce the need for common over-the-counter allergy medications, such as anti-histamines and decongestants.

    Vitamin C: The most common complaints during allergy season, such as watery eyes, sniffing, itchy throat and sneezing, are caused by one bad guy - histamine. Histamine is a natural chemical produced by the body's immune system that causes the symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as the red, itchy bump after a mosquito bite. Vitamin C is histamine's natural foe because it prevents its formation.

    Probiotics: Probiotics are "good" bacteria that live in our guts. Taking a broad-spectrum probiotic supplement can increase your immunity and decrease the likelihood of experiencing allergy symptoms.

    Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are fats commonly found in oils from marine animals and plants, such as salmon and flaxseed. They have been shown to support good health in a variety of ways. They can also help you beat allergy symptoms! Omega-3s reduce inflammation in your sinuses and strengthen your immune system so that your body is ready to fight off allergens more effectively.

    Water: Staying hydrated can do a lot to relieve allergy symptoms. Dehydration triggers the body to release histamine (a nasty). Drinking around eight glasses of water every day is an easy, healthy way to feel better during allergy season.

  • 10 Ways to Beat Bloating

    Bloating is very common and is generally caused by a range of dietary, lifestyle, and health factors. Although it is extremely uncomfortable for anyone that has experienced it, the good news is that it can be prevented and alleviated with relative ease in most cases. Here are our top ten tips to help you prevent and ease bloating.

    1. Try and identify the source of bloating. Do you only get bloated after eating certain foods or is it more on an on-going problem that may need investigation?
    2. Drink lots of water. Water flushes waste out of your system helping bowel movement if you are constipated.
    3. Limit certain foods. Many vegetables and fruits such as sprouts, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, prunes, pears and peaches contain natural sugars that can be challenging for some people to digest.
    4. Eat more fibre. Fibre prevents constipation by adding bulk, which helps everything flow through your intestines more quickly.
    5. Eat with your mouth closed. This helps prevent you swallowing too much air when you eat - one of the biggest causes of bloating.
    6. Take small bites. Take more time over your meals and try to avoid drinking too much while eating.
    7. Increase probiotic intake. This ‘friendly’ bacteria helps to encourage good digestion and regulate bowl movements which can ease bloating. They can be found in certain foods such as yoghurt, kimchi and miso or taken in supplement form.
    8. Try peppermint. Peppermint has a long history as a digestive aid and can help ease discomfort as well as helping to reduce bloating and flatulence.
    9. Exercise! A quick ten-minute walk can relieve bloating and exercise overall helps move the contents of the gut and allows gas to pass through the digestive tract more quickly.
    10. Keep ‘regular’ – many of the tips above are aimed at helping keep your bowel movements regular as constipation is a major cause of bloating as well as other unpleasant side effects.
  • Varicose Veins

    If you have achy, tired legs or swollen ankles these could be an early warning sign of varicose veins, which affect around 1 in 2 adults in the UK. While they aren’t dangerous, they can be uncomfortable for those that suffer with them.

    What are Varicose Veins & Why do we get them?

    They are dilated veins under your skin in your legs and are caused by increased blood pressure in the veins. Our blood moves towards the heart by one-way valves in the veins and when the valves become weakened or damaged, blood can collect in the veins. Pregnancy and being overweight both increase the risk of varicose veins as pressure bears down on the veins in the groin area.

    Are they Harmful?

    While they aren’t deemed dangerous as such, they can cause discomfort and lead to other problems. The pressure in the veins, especially when standing, can lead to pain, swelling, eczema and even ulceration. In some cases, they can cause a clot (thrombosis) to develop causing the vein to become red, hard, and tender - known as “phlebitis”. If they get knocked or injured, they may cause bruising or occasionally bleed.

    Are there any Treatments?

    There are a variety of things you can do to help reduce the chances of getting varicose veins and help improve your condition if you already have them. These include:-

    • Exercise is important as the natural working of the leg muscles massages veins keeping them working well. While walking, running, cycling and swimming are all beneficial, walking is the simplest to do and really helps improve circulation.
    • Elevate your legs whenever possible. Putting up your feet for 10 minutes several times a day or adding a wedge or pillow under the bottom of the mattress at night can help. While elevation will be beneficial, if you can raise the feet above the level of the heart (chest) this will be particularly beneficial.
    • Avoid crossing your legs or standing around all day. If you do need to stay standing, do discrete exercising rising on to your toes several times to exercise calf muscles and raise your leg when on breaks.
    • If you are overweight, try and reduce your weight to get nearer to your ideal weight range.
    • Support stockings can help to keep legs comfortable and reduce the progression of the problem.
    • Good nutrition will help!  Blood flow can be improved by eating oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines) two or three times per week. Garlic is another potent agent to help improve blood flow - and garlic, onions and ginger also help to break down scar tissue in varicose veins. Drinking enough water is also beneficial – aim for around 1.5 - 2 litres of water daily.

    Can Supplements Help?

    There are several supplements which help to support leg vein health. It is important to take the early warnings of varicose veins seriously and to ward off any future damage as prevention is always better than a cure.

    • Vitamin E has potent blood thinning properties, reducing platelet ‘stickiness’ which helps to keep blood flowing.
    • Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is involved in making cellular energy and has been shown to reduce spider veins.
    • Ginkgo Biloba has been used in Chinese medicine for 3,000 years to improve blood flow to the extremities. Research has shown that Ginkgo reduces blood thickness, is an anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant effects important for blood vessel health.
    • Bilberry contains powerful dark-purple-coloured anthocyanins, a group of flavonoids, which help to strengthen blood vessels and prevent collagen breakdown to improve capillary fragility.
    • Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties help prevent cell damage, helps build collagen and strengthens blood vessels – helping to prevent varicose veins from worsening.
  • Beat the Blues

    Now we have packed away the last bauble and firmly put the fun and frolics of the festive season behind us, January can leave us feeling a little glum.  Here are a few basic tips to beat the January blues and embrace the New Year feeling more upbeat.

    Don’t set unrealistic resolutions

    While making plans to better yourself is a good thing, make sure these goals are realistic and achievable. Unrealistic goals are likely to end in failure and this is never a good feeling – don’t set your self up to fail. If you have set yourself a challenging resolution, set mini goals so you can get a sense of achievement along the way. This should help keep you motivated to stay on track.

     Try something new

    Look to find a new hobby or introduce something new into your routine. Getting passionate about something new can help relieve stress and gives you something to look forward to – a great way to lift your mood.

    Have a little me time

    Christmas and New Year is often fun but exhausting! Take some me time and relax. This could be anything from a simple bath, curling up for an hour with a good book, going for a walk or booking a spa treatment - just make sure you have some you time away from the stresses of daily life.

    Healthy eating

    Most of us ‘overdo it’ in December and feel a little heavier and more sluggish in the New Year. Take time to focus on enjoying a healthy diet and keep hydrated. Try to have a diet rich in wholegrains, lean meat, oily fish and at least 5 portions of varied seasonal fruit and vegetables. Not only will you feel better physically, your mood will also improve as you start to feel better.


    You don’t have to rush out and join a gym like everyone else in January! A simple 30-minute walk can boost your mood, raise your heartbeat and release endorphins – lifting your mood!  Regular exercise can increase energy and increase overall physical and mental health.

  • We Wish you a Healthy Christmas

    With the average Brit consuming more than 5,000 calories on Christmas day alone, it's no surprise that the festive season sees many of us gaining weight! On average, we gain 6 lbs (nearly half a stone) in the 7-days from Christmas to New Year - the equivalent of 5 basket balls!

    While none of us here at Woods would begrudge anyone a mince pie or two, we have put together a short guide on some simple yet effective things you can do to make your Christmas a little bit healthier and avoid heading into the New Year feeling bloated and sluggish.

    Keep Hydrated

    Many of us reduce our water intake and up our alcohol intake over the festive period. Remember to still drink your recommended 2 litres of water a day - not only does it have many health benefits it will also give you a sense of being full which may limit a lot of snacking on all the goodies lying about.

    Keep Moving

    Do try and keeping moving as much as possible - you don't have to even leave the house. There are many great workouts for all levels available online or simply use your home stairs to get the heart rate up - approx. 10 mins of up / down the stairs will burn 100 kcals. If you have a regular workout regime, try and stick to it as best you can during the festive week.

    Get Creative

    Healthy food can be fun and delicious! Not all Christmas nibbles and dinners need to be calorific...the internet offers many fun yet festive alternatives such as a broccoli Christmas tree dipping platter, grinch fruit kebabs & strawberry Santa’s!

    Choose your booze wisely!

    The good news is that Champagne/Prosecco are one of the lower calorie drinks with only about 90 calories and 6 grams of sugar per glass, compared to approx. 153 calories and 11 grams of sugar in Irish Cream Liquor. All those liquid calories and sugar intake add up quickly so make sure to drink water between drinks - this will also leave you with a clearer head the next morning and help avoid the hangover munchies.

    Portion Control 

    Try and just eat a normal size meal on Christmas day and pace yourself - there is no need to supersize your dinner and then immediately follow it with a huge pudding! It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that your stomach is full so eat slowly and enjoy the feast. Being overly full will not only lead to weight gain but can also be very uncomfortable causing heartburn and indigestion.

    These are just some basic tips to help you have a jolly Christmas without the less fun side effects of overindulgence.

    Have a wonderful healthy merry Christmas!


  • Gummie Goodness

    Over the past few years, the dietary supplement market has grown among consumers of all ages. However, for some, the thought of adding various pills to their daily routine isn’t very appealing, especially amongst the younger and older generations. Chewable options are available but again, the thought of chewing a pill, does not appeal to many and this is where the yummy gummies come in!

    If you’re someone who understands the importance of taking daily supplements but just cannot remember to take then or simply don’t like swallowing tablets, gummies are the perfect solution for you!

     These alternatives to the traditional capsules and tablets commonly sold, have the same dosages as capsules and tablets but are instead contained in a tasty sweet, to make taking them a lot easier to take. So, if you’re someone who shudders at the thought of swallowing various pills as part of their daily routine, gummies as a brilliant and tasty alternative as gummies do not look like medicine, nor do they taste like it either!

    Gummies provide a much more fun, tasty, and convenient way to take your daily nutritional supplements while still receiving the health benefits sought.

    Our Gummies range currently includes: -

    • Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies
    • Elderberry Immunity Gummies
    • Energy Gummies
    • Multivitamin & Mineral Gummies
    • Omega 3 & Multivitamin Gummies for Adults
    • Omega 3 & Multivitamin Gummies for Kids
    • Skin, Hair & Nail Gummies
    • Tummy Gummies
    • Vitamin C & Zinc Gummies
  • Festive Spirits

    As we begin to approach the festive season, there is a good chance that our average weekly alcohol consumption is going to increase. While it has been established that a moderate intake of alcohol is generally beneficial for health, drinking large amounts of alcohol regularly and/or binge drinking can have detrimental affects to both our mental and physical health.

    The main benefit of drinking in moderation is improved cardiovascular health - with a lower risk for heart attack and stroke. Reduced risk of age-related dementia has also been noted in some studies. Red wine is thought to be particularly beneficial as it contains flavonoids (members of a group of plant compounds called polyphenols) which are important antioxidants. Research suggests that polyphenols can help protect against atherosclerosis (fatty degeneration of the arterial wall) and thrombosis (arterial blockage).

    However, when it comes to booze, there can be too much of a good thing! And unfortunately, it doesn’t work by saving all your alcohol allowance for a special occasion – little and often is the guidance when it comes to enjoying a tipple. A little alcohol each day is beneficial, but the same total amount drunk in one or two hits over a weekend is detrimental to health. The worst cardiovascular profiles are seen in those who abstain completely, as well as in those who binge drink.

    The guidelines for alcohol are no one should have more than 14 units in a week, and this should be split over several days. For example, a bottle of wine (12%) is 10 units, and an average can of beer / cider is 2 units.

    Of course, there are many other ways to support heart health, from eating fruits and vegetables (particularly delicious berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries – all high in polyphenols), consuming fibre from wholegrains and oats, as well as nuts such as pecans and hazelnuts - to enjoying oily fish or taking omega-3 supplements.

    So, while its time to ‘eat, drink & be merry’ – please do so in moderation for the sake of your heart and overall health.

  • Gut Health: All About Probiotics

    On a day-to-day basis, looking after the health of our digestive systems is something we tend not to worry about until it gives us problems. However, there is growing recognition that, just like caring for our skin in our previous blog, our gut and general health will feel better given a bit of TLC. One way to do this is to take ‘Probiotics’.

    So, what are Probiotics?

    Probiotics are dietary supplements, drinks or foods containing ‘friendly’ bacteria that can benefit health. We usually think of bacteria negatively, more as harmful ‘bugs’ to be avoided - but not all are ‘bad guys’: there are the good guys also!  Friendly bacteria are needed to keep the gut functioning properly.

    Probiotics are also important to help our immune system, the body’s defence against outside invaders. The gut doesn’t just break down our food – it also makes up nearly three quarters of our immune system. By boosting the immune system, probiotics can help protect the gut and the rest of the body from attack. Probiotics also help to produce nutrients such as vitamins, which are vital for keeping the body working properly, as well as helping to neutralise some potentially toxic by-products of digestion.

    How can probiotics help me?

    Good health is all about getting the right balance and the gut is no exception. Certain diseases, stress, poor diet, infection and medicines such as antibiotics, can all wipe out the good bacteria in your gut. This can then lead to other health problems including diarrhoea, wind, bad breath, ‘candida’ yeast infections, skin problems and coughs and colds.

    The most commonly used ‘friendly’ bacteria are ‘Lactobacilli’ and ‘Bifidobacteria’. Lactobacilli may help reduce gastrointestinal dysfunction, vaginal yeast infections and may also boost immune function. Bifidobacteria can help lower cholesterol levels, prevent food poisoning, help digest lactose (the sugar in milk) and make B vitamins (to protect against heart disease). A healthy population of these beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract enhances the digestion and absorption of nutrients, detoxification and elimination processes, as well as helping to maintain your immune system.

    Sounds great! Where can I get Probiotics?

    Probiotics are available in a range of food supplements and in some foods, including yoghurts and yoghurt drinks. Eating live yoghurt can help top up your levels of good bacteria, but you may not know which strain of bacteria you’re eating. With probiotics in supplements, you know just what you’re getting.

    Probiotic supplements provide a convenient and easy way to help protect yourself against these potential gut problems. They ensure your body has enough ‘friendly’ bacteria, especially when they become depleted or there is an influx of harmful bacteria, to keep balanced and healthy.

  • Radiance From Within

    As is evident by the number of filters available on most photo apps these days, most people desire radiant, glowing, healthy-looking skin. However, while they may take time and spend a fortune to moisturise and protect their skin externally, not many ensure their diet provides the necessary nutrients needed for healthy skin.

    The skin is the largest organ in the body covering approx. 1.8m2 and has many important functions such as forming a barrier against disease and injury and regulating the body’s temperature.  From a nutritionist’s perspective, the skin is a good indicator of what’s happening within the body with regards to the patient’s nutritional status and its appearance is often used to help identify nutrient deficiencies.  For example, dry skin can indicate a lack of essential fats or pale lifeless skin a lack of B vitamins.

    Your diet or supplement regime can have a major impact on the appearance of your skin. Here are some key elements to consider: -

    Nurture your skin from within

    The membranes of every cell in your body are made up of essential fatty acids (EFAs).  If you have dry or sensitive skin, you are probably deficient in EFAs. EFAs are available in abundance in our diet from vegetable oils, oily fish, nuts and seeds. However, many people don’t get the amounts they need through their diet alone and turn to supplements such as Omega Fish Oils to increase their intake of EFA’s.

     Tackling your lines and wrinkles

    Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water per day will have a significant effect on the way your skin looks and feels.  Water rehydrates the cells in your skin, plumping them up and smoothing out lines and wrinkles. Water also helps flush toxins from the body giving your skin a clearer appearance.

    Sun damage

    Protecting your skin against sun damage is very important. The sun's ultraviolet light can cause major damage to the skin. In addition to sunburn, more long-lasting effects such as reduce elasticity and premature exposure to the sun.  Antioxidants are nature’s answer to reducing the impact of UV exposure on the skin.  Taking antioxidants will not stop you burning but they can help to reduce the damage done by the UV. UV creates free radicals damage within the skin and antioxidants help to reduce their effect within the body.

    Vitamins A, C and E are excellent antioxidants and have long been used topically in face creams but taking these nutrients internally will be more effective in maintaining the long-term health of your skin as internal consumption gets nutrients into every layer of the skin as opposed to only the top few layers.

    Support your skin’s building blocks

    Collagen gives your skin it’s strength and structure and accounts for approximately 70% of its volume. Collagen is one of the most common proteins found in our bodies, as it’s one of the substances that helps to hold our bodies together with it being found in the muscles, bones, skin and tendons. Our bodies can produce collagen naturally, but production reduces as we get older. It’s the decline of Collagen production that causes fine lines and wrinkles and weakens joint cartilage.

    These recommendations may take a few weeks to show and are not instant fixes. However, in time, they will benefit not just your skin but many other parts of the body also. As they say ‘beauty isn’t only skin deep’.

  • Heart Health

    Your heart is arguably the most important and busiest muscle in your body, pumping blood and oxygen to all your other organs none stop, 24-hours a day! With that in mind, it is extremely important to give it the care and attention it needs as when your heart gets out of shape, serious problems can develop.

    In July 2021, the British Heart Foundations statistics showed that there are 7.6 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK and that people with these diseases account for a quarter of all deaths annually. Additionally, the total cost of healthcare treating these diseases is £9 billion.

    The good news is that there are various ways in which we can help look after our hearts ourselves! Here are our top 5 tips to help in keeping your heart healthy…

    1. Smoking!  Try to avoid smoking or give up if you are a smoker. Smoke not only reduces the amount of oxygen your blood can carry around the body, but also oxidizes blood cholesterol which allows it to stick to the artery walls.  This can increase blood pressure and susceptibility to clotting.
    2. Lifestyle - stress can thicken the blood and increase blood pressure.  This means heart attacks and strokes are far more likely so learn to relax through anyway you can. Gentle exercise is great for reducing stress and being active can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Try and do 30 minutes of activity 5 times a week.
    3. Weight management is also key as it goes without saying that the larger you are, the harder the heart must work to pump more blood around the body. This in turn can cause an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure is also a common cause of heart attack.
    4. Maintain a healthy diet. Not only will this help you keep your weight under control, but it will also help your heart health. A heart friendly diet requires-
      • High fibre (at least 30g a day) It’s good to get your fibre from a variety of sources such as wholemeal bread, bran, oats, nuts & seeds, wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, and plenty of fruit and veg (see below).
      • Your 5 a day Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg each day. Approximately 80g of fresh, canned, or frozen fruit or vegetables, 30g of dried fruits or 150 ml of fresh fruit or vegetable juice (limit to 1 of these per day) count as a ‘portion’.
      • Low saturated fats Eating too many foods that are high in saturated fats can increase the level of cholesterol in your blood, which in turn, can increase your risk of heart disease.
      • Manage salt intake To help maintain healthy blood pressure be aware of the amount of salt you are having in your diet.  The NHS recommend that Adults should eat less than 6g of salt a day in total – that's about 1 teaspoon so be careful of the amount you are adding to your food and check food labels.
      • Eat fish Incorporate fish into your diet at least twice a week, including a portion of oily fish. Fish such as pilchards, sardines and salmon are a good source of omega-3 fats, which may help protect against heart disease.

    5. Supplementation is always an option for those that struggle to get the right nutrients through their diet alone and may need some extra help. Supplements can also be used to help manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Speak with your doctor to assess your health and lifestyle to see which supplements may be of benefit to you.

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