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Health

NHS Hospital Beds

In the last 30 years the number of beds in the NHS has been reduced from approximately 300,000 in 1987 to 148,000 now. The population has increased from 56.8 million to 66.2 million. So hospital beds have reduced by a half, and population increased by 17%. This information comes from a recent Iain Dale book “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along…”.

In general and acute beds, the biggest category, the figures are:

  • 1987/8 – 180,889
  • 1997/8 – 138,047
  • 2010/11 – 108,958
  • 2016/17 – 102,369

For mental health beds:

  • 1987/8 – 67,122
  • 1997/8 – 36,601
  • 2010/11 – 23,448
  • 2016/17 – 18,730

This is not party political. This has been happening with New Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments. The average decline under Blair/Brown was 1,315 beds per year. During the coalition and Conservative years it was 783 per year. The figures must demonstrate that hospital bed cuts are part of a long-term strategy.

Categories
Health

The Anti Cancer Diet

David Servan-Schreiber is a psychiatrist who, diagnosed with a brain tumour, was shocked at how little information there was on how to help yourself when faced with a cancer diagnosis.

The book is the story of his search for the science behind the effect of exercise, meditation, support groups, addressing the possible reasons for developing cancer and the best anti-inflammatory foods to eat and the worst foods to avoid.

It also explains how cancer develops and the fact that we all have cancerous cells that most of the time either don’t develop or get wiped out.

It is very well written and a good read beyond the invaluable information. Below are his recommendations for what foods to eat. For brevity I’ve left out why although in the book he explains the science and reasons. 

One thing I will say is this is not ‘woo-woo science hope this helps’. Everything suggested below has been researched and proven to make a difference.  

Green Tea

You can use decaf. Drink 6 cups a day

Olive Oil

Has to be cold pressed extra virgin. Have between half to one tablespoon a day used in cooking, salad dressing or added to vegetables.

Turmeric

Must be mixed with black pepper to be assimilated in the body. Ideally dissolve in olive oil. Mix a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric powder with half a tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of black pepper. Add to vegetables, soups and salad dressings.

Ginger

Add grated ginger to a vegetable or meat mix while cooking in wok or pan. Or marinate fruits in lime juice and grated ginger. Or cut into slices and steep in boiling water for 10-15 minutes and drink as a tea.

Cruciform Vegetables

Brussels sprouts, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Only steam cabbage and broccoli to preserve necessary chemicals.

Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Shallots, Chives

Eat all cooked or raw every day. (Garlic molecules are released when clove is crushed and dissolved in a little olive oil).

Vegetables and fruit

Carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, certain varieties of potimarron squash (Hokkaido squash), tomatoes, persimmons, apricots, beetroot, and all bright coloured fruits and vegetables.

Tomatoes and tomato sauce

Tomatoes must be cooked to release necessary nutrients. Use canned tomato sauce with olive oil and no added sugar. Or make your own: cook tomatoes in olive oil. Add onions, garlic, tofu or eggs rich in omega 3 along with cumin, turmeric, pepper and seasonings. Avoid cans with plastic linings inside or choose brand in glass jar. Olive oil helps assimilation of nutrients.

Soy

Replace conventional milk with soy milk and yoghurt. Soy beans and mung beans can be cooked or sprouted. Also use tofu, tempeh, miso. Tofu can be cooked or eaten raw.

Mushrooms

Shiitake, maitake, cremini, portobello, oyster and thistle oyster mushrooms all good. Good for supporting immune system during chemotherapy.

Herbs and spices

Rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and mint.  Also parsley and celery.

Seaweed

Nori,  kombu, wakame, arame and dulse are main seaweeds although there are more – they are all brown seaweeds.

Berries

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries.

Categories
Health

The Diet Myth

Nutrition is not a simple science. 

Tim Spector, Professor of Epidemiology at Kings College London, explains the proven science of diet and good eating.

There are some excerpts below but the message is the health of our bowel flora is a good indicator of our overall health. Improve your bowel flora and you improve your health. The Mediterranean diet, unpasteurised cheese and natural unsweetened yoghurt, eating a greater variety of foods, particularly fruits, olive oil, nuts, vegetables and pulses, and intermittent fasting are all good. Sugar, processed foods, including pre-prepared meals, snacks, crisps, cakes, biscuits and sweetened drinks are bad.

In the UK in 1980 only 7% of men and women were obese – now it is 24%.

15,000 years ago it seems our ancestors regularly ate around 150 different ingredients in a week. Now, we often eat less than 20. Keep a diary and find out how many you eat in the next week.

Most things we eat now are artificially refined and come from four main ingredients: corn, soy, wheat and meat. 

Most of us do not lose weight exercising. (However there are many good reasons to exercise – bone density, muscle mass, respiration, heart health, flexibility, reduces risk of chronic disease, the list is endless but we have to spend more time exercising than most of us would want to lose weight and too much exercise can be bad for us).

Approximately 270 hours of exercise per year adds around three years to a lifespan. That’s just under 45 minutes a day and walking does count.

Our brains use 20-25% of our daily energy resources.

Saturated fat in products like cheese and yoghurt is not unhealthy but likely to be beneficial provided the food is real and contains living microbes, meaning not over-processed and full of chemicals and sweeteners.

Exercise can reduce blood pressure.

For many people salt reduction only has a minor effect on blood pressure.

Extra virgin olive oil and nuts taken regularly on top of a basic Mediterranean diet reduces the incidence of disease and early death.

Brightly coloured vegetables and fruits contain polyphenols. Polyphenols and considered good. They are impoirtant in helping the body clear and regulate.

Extra virgin olive oil is definitely good which means eating saturated fat is not bad. Also natural yoghurt and unpasturised cheese is also good for a healthy gut.

There is no doubt  that diverse, real, fresh foods from the Mediterranean are what we should be eating more of.

Trans fats are seriously bad and have been banned by many countries. They are chemically manufactured vegetable substitutes that increase the shelf life of packaged foods. Margarine is a trans fat and was sold as a healthy alternative to dairy fats.

The dogma we should reduce total fat intake has no scientific basis.

Fats in processed foods with lots of salt and sugar are bad for us.

Artificially created trans fats are even worse.

Many fats such as the saturated varieties are good for us.

The Mediterranean diet is high-fat but heathy – the key is diversity, colour and freshness.