Ways that gardening is good for your health

With summer finally here, we cannot think of a better way to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather than to encourage you to get out into your garden.


In the following guide, The Plastic People — a manufacturer of various products which are ideal for enhancing both your home and garden — looks into how gardening can help improve your health and wellbeing:

Gardening has been found to ease stress

Gardening can reduce stress more than other relaxing leisure activities, according to the findings of a study titled Gardening Promotes Neuroendocrine and Affective Restoration from Stress.

For the research, those taking part were initially asked to complete a task aimed at making them stressed. Following this, the individuals were split into two groups — one group was instructed to read indoors for 30 minutes and the other group was assigned gardening tasks for the same period of time.

When the half an hour was up, the people who had done some gardening were reported to have felt in a better mood and were identified as having lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Gardening has been found to improve mental health

Research carried out by gardening company Bakker Spalding has claimed that gardening can have positive effects on a person’s mental health as well as their physical wellbeing.

Upon surveying a group of people, 88 per cent said that a key benefit for them spending time in the garden is due to the mental wellbeing that such an activity brings them.

Kathryn Rossiter, the CEO of leading disability and gardening charity Thrive, acknowledged the value of gardening on health in an interview to The Telegraph: “As well as the strong therapeutic value of gardening, it can help people connect with others, reducing feelings of isolation. It makes us more active, gaining both physical and mental health benefits.”

Gardening has been found to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke

In a 12-year study reported on by The Guardian, it was found that regular gardening or DIY can reduce the chance of someone in the 60-plus age bracket suffering a heart attack or stroke, as well as prolong life, by as much as 30 per cent.

The research, led by Dr Elin Ekblom-Bak at Karolinska University hospital’s department of medicine and involving close to 4,000 60-year-olds based in Stockholm, involved people initially asked questions about their diet, lifestyle and inclusion in physical activity. Lab tests and physical examinations were also conducted, with those identified as having an active daily life been much less at risk of having a heart attack than others involved in the study.

Regular activity was seen as offering more benefits throughout the course of the 12-year study, such as reducing the risk of individuals experiencing cardiovascular problems.

Worried About Your Health? Get Back On Track With These Steps

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Are you worried about the state of your physical health? Perhaps you looked in the mirror recently and realised your stomach is standing out more than it should. This could be posture, but it could also be the beginnings of middle aged spread. A lot of people think that middle age spread is a natural occurrence that can not be prevented. It’s just another curse of getting older, but that’s not quite true. In fact, middle age spread is commonly due to a poor diet and limited exercise. You might think that you’re still looking after yourself. But research shows as people get older they tend to stop exercising. They may not have time due to a heavy work and family schedule. Or, they might just put it off until it’s no longer a concern. Then there’s the diet. In your youth, you might have been eating healthily. But now you’re set in your ways, and you’re easing off on healthy living. You’ve upped the doses of salt in your food, and you’re eating more sugar. Does this sound familiar?


Now, you might be thinking what’s the harm? I’ve put on a little weight and I’m slightly out of shape, but I’m definitely not in any trouble. You’d be surprised how much a poor lifestyle could alter your life expectancy. Or even, how it could affect your current quality of life. If you want to still be active with your children or just for your own personal enjoyment you need to get your health back on track. Here are the steps that we suggest you take.


Step 1: Dieting For Dummies

You’ll find that around this time of year a lot of people start to think about dieting. Are they taking it seriously? Probably not, they’re just cutting out junk food or chocolate for Lent. They have no plans to continue this commitment after forty days. Even if they did, giving up one kind of food isn’t the right way to diet. You need to think about this as a medical treatment. It’s the only way you’re going to fix the situation. That’s why we suggest you start by consulting a dietician.


In particularly we recommend you seek out a compound practitioner. Compounding practitioners mix and match meds and treatments to find the best solution for the patient. This is exactly what you need when attempting to fix your diet. We’re all different. We have different metabolisms, BMIs and allergies. Different foods, substances and treatments will affect our bodies in unique ways. Treatment that might work for one person could be completely ineffective with another. A practitioner will be able to look at your individual needs and find the treatment to match. They will aim to put you on a diet plan that you can follow.


You can also look into taking supplements. Supplements are useful if you think that your body does not get the minerals and nutrients that it needs. We recommend that you only look at taking natural supplements rather than fat burners or muscle builders. Both of these can be incredibly dangerous. They can be filled with chemicals that have not been fully tested. Similar to legal highs these often fall into the grey area of not being illegal nor legal. Even if they are safe, they tend to act as a placebo effect. They have no powerful effect on your body unless you believe they do. Supplements or pure nutrients and vitamins, on the other hand, are worth taking. Just don’t over do it and don’t try to take supplements instead of eating. This will only deteriorate your health.


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Step 2: Lessons For The Lazy

You may think that there are lots of things stopping you from exercising. But these are mental roadblocks you’ve set up yourself. You have to decide what’s more important, your health or your hobbies. Even if you don’t think you have time during the day, exercise doesn’t have to take an age. You can complete a quick workout each morning after you wake up. You should start with some basic stretches, preparing your muscles and limbs. You can then think about trying some small exercises. You could complete some squats or star jumps.


Remember, completing an exercise one hundreds of times with the wrong technique will show no effects. You have to make sure that you’re doing it properly. For instance, when you squat your feet should be parallel with your shoulders. Your knees should not cross over your toes. If you struggle to maintain balance doing this, put the back of your feet against a step or box. This should help.


Don’t forget that you don’t have to join a gym or partake in a sport to exercise every day. You can work it into your living routine. For instance, you could start cycling to work. All you need is a bike and you’ll be working out your legs each day, every morning. By doing something similar to push ups on your handlebars while riding you can also work out your arms.


We’re not looking to turn you into a muscle-bound god. Instead, we want you to be healthy, and that doesn’t require a lot of work. You just can’t afford to be lazy. Staying in bed all day at the weekend is a one way trip to a heart attack. Taking a walk each morning will add a few years onto your life. We don’t think this decision is rocket science.


Step 3: Bad Habits Gone Forever

Finally, if you want a healthy lifestyle, there are three habits that need to be eradicated. These are drinking, smoking and binge eating. If you have any one of these habits in your life, it’s time to think of ways to get rid of it. Drinking is perhaps the only exception where a little is good for you. Once the glass of red wine a day keeps cancer at bay, supposedly. Okay, maybe not a day but every so often. The latter two, on the other hand, should be gone for good. Despite what you may have heard, there are no health benefits to smoking. Any smoking! So don’t think that you can cheat and vape because you can’t. Vaping has been proven to be just as bad for you, so you do need to go cold turkey.


Using these three simple steps you can get your health back on track. Then, you can look forward to a longer and better quality of life.

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Don’t Let Yourself Go This Festive Season! Do This Instead…

Letting yourself go over the festive period is way too easy. There are so many delicious foods, and so many tempting ways to fall off the wagon. You can end up going out way more than usual, and eating all of the Christmas foods under the sun while you’re hungover. Not to mention many gyms are closed, making it difficult to get active. Don’t let yourself go this festive season! Do this instead…

Get Outside

Get outside. It might be cold, but why not go out and enjoy the Christmassy atmosphere? Go for a walk in the snow with your family. Enjoy the decorations. Try not to lay around in the house all day! It’ll make a big difference.

Work Out at Home

You can easily work out at home if you want to burn a few calories and stop those Christmas cakes from affecting your figure. Simply grab a workout matt and put some all over body exercises together to create your very own circuit. You can even use Youtube to help you think of something.

Go to the Gym

If the gym is open and you’re motivated enough, you can get a weight loss program for the Christmas season. You’ll feel and look so much better, especially in your Christmas outfits. Then you won’t need to feel guilty come January!

Eat Well 80% of the Time

You can have treats over Christmas. Just know the difference between a treat here and there and a full on binge. Try to eat a decent breakfast, lunch and dinner and you’ll be less likely to binge on chocolates at night time. Everything in moderation!

Drink Lots of Water (Even on Drinking Days)

Even on days you plan on having an alcoholic beverage, drink lots of water. This will stop you from having too much of a hangover, and you won’t be as likely to binge when you feel like rubbish the next day. You can even alternate alcoholic beverages with water if you like.

Christmas Cookies with sprinkles
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Don’t Mix Your Drinks

Mixing your drinks will make you feel worse the next day. We all know what happens when we feel awful after drinking: we eat! Don’t mix your drinks and you’ll do your head and waistline a favour.

Drink Something Light

When you do drink, drink something light. Having a bottle of cider might be nice, but it’s full of calories. Instead, have a vodka or gin with slimline tonic. Even having it with a diet drink can be so much better than calorific drinks and cocktails.

Instead of letting yourself go this year, use these tips. You’ll feel and look so much better. No need to feel guilty come the new year either! Many people let themselves go during December and vow to clean up during January, but this rarely happens. Start now instead and you’ll feel so much better. There are so many guides you can use online to help you if you need it. Your mindset is the most important thing!


5 Counter-Intuitive Health Tips

Think you know a lot about health? There is so much health information out there, with new articles posted daily about the best new tips and trick to achieve your healthiest body and lifestyle. But while you might think you know what’s what with your health, there are a few great health tricks which are totally counter-intuitive! Check them out:


Drink a cup of coffee to nap better

What?! Isn’t coffee supposed to buzz you up and keep you awake? This is the commonly held belief, but it actually takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to kick in and get you feeling alert. This means there’s a perfect 20-minute period before that caffeine kicks in, that you can get a great power nap and feel the boost right after.




Flossing is more important than brushing

Okay, we’re not saying to stop brushing your teeth. But if you absolutely had to choose one over the other, you might want to consider flossing! While brushing is great for giving your mouth that polished feel, shine and fresh minty taste, flossing is what removes the food particles from between your teeth that cause decay. So make sure you practice both regularly and your dentist will be impressed at your next dental check-up.


Gain weight to get small

This one might make absolutely no sense at first, but stay with us. Muscle weighs more per pound than fat, but someone who weight trains and gains muscle is more likely to maintain a small size than someone who doesn’t work out and weighs less, but has more body fat. Muscle burns more calories than fat does, so you will stay more toned and lean.


Eat more fat

Contrary to common belief, fat does not make you fat! In fact, it’s the processed snacks that tempt you with their promises of “low calorie” and “weight loss” that can actually pack on the pounds. Foods high in fat like nuts, fish, olive oil and avocado help keep you full and nourish your body the natural way, so you’ll be less likely to binge later.


Drink water when feeling bloated

When your tummy is puffing out and you’re feeling bloated, the last thing you might want to do is put even more in there! But drinking water is actually going to help your body pass whatever is causing the inflammation, helping you to de-bloat more quickly. Make sure to drink plenty of water if you’re eating salty foods, and drink water first thing upon waking up to help flush your body.


About the Dentistry

Whites Dental Care near Twyford is a full-service dental clinic which performs high quality general dentistry, implants, cosmetic procedures, and a wide range of other dental procedures. Talk to their professional staff today to book your free consultation. Call today at 01489 892240, visit their website, or stop by their dental practice at

Whites Dental Care
Hoe Road,
Bishop’s Waltham,
SO32 1DS.


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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Chaga Mushrooms

You might not have heard about them before, but chaga mushrooms (or Inonotus Obliquus to give them their official name) offer a multitude of health benefits which doctors and pharmaceutical companies around the world don’t want you to know about, for obvious reasons.


chaga mushroom
image credit: natureluvr01 on flickr


Chaga mushrooms don’t look particularly pleasant or appetizing as they often look similar in appearance to what you see in the example photograph above, but trust me, it’s what it does rather than what it looks like that people are interested in – and you too, considering you are reading a blog post on chaga mushrooms!

Are you new to the world of chaga mushrooms and how they can benefit us in a variety of ways? If so, you should read up on these 7 interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about!


1. Chaga mushrooms look like burnt charcoal

As you can see above, chaga mushrooms take on the appearance of burnt charcoal. This is because they contain high amounts of melanin (a natural pigment). However, it should be noted that chaga mushrooms are definitely mushrooms, and not charcoal!


2. Chaga mushrooms only grow in certain conditions

They aren’t particularly abundant in the wild, but you will typically only see them growing on dead birch trees across European, Asian and North American forests. They only grow on the main trunk of a tree, not on individual branches.


3. Chaga mushrooms have been used in Russian medicine for centuries

The first known uses of chaga mushrooms for medicinal use were first recorded in 16th-century Russia and Siberia. In fact, the name ‘chaga’ is a latinization of a Russian word for fungus, a name which supposedly originates from indigenous people living west of the Ural Mountains.


4. Chaga mushrooms are natural painkillers

One of the numerous chaga benefits that you could learn about is the fact that they are nature’s painkillers. This is because they contain betulinic acid, which is something their host trees have an abundance of. Betulinic is used in Western medicine today because of its anti-inflammatory properties.


5. Chaga mushrooms can help you lose weight

Before you ask, they aren’t a ‘wonder drug’ that will instantly make you lose weight! However, if you consume chaga mushrooms in one of many different methods (i.e. as a hot tea drink), they are the perfect accompaniment alongside a balanced diet and regular exercise to help you detox your body.


6. Chaga mushrooms boost your immune system

Some clinical trials have concluded that chaga mushrooms have had a positive impact on a number of patients that have been diagnosed with various conditions including cancer and HIV, and that their immune systems have been boosted as a result.


7. Chaga mushrooms are full of vitamins and antioxidants

Perhaps the reason why chaga mushrooms are so beneficial to improving a person’s immune system is the fact that they contain a wide range of vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamins B, D2 and K, calcium and iron. Chaga mushrooms can therefore help to prevent a number of medical conditions, as a result.

Alcohol Addiction: 5 Ways to Help Beat It

For many people drinking alcohol is just a social pastime to be enjoyed at parties or over dinner at a restaurant. For others it is a serious addiction, a habit that seems impossible to break. Alcohol dependency can creep up gradually, until it becomes an unhealthy problem. Alcohol addiction can be treated. The road to recovery may not necessarily be quick and without pitfalls, but it is most definitely possible.

alcohol addiction
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Decide to Change

The first step in recovering from an alcohol addiction, and possibly the hardest step, is to decide to make a change. Most people struggle with this step. Change isn’t easy and it is very likely that alcohol has become your best friend, your comfort, your stress free zone. It is also probable that your alcohol addiction is causing issues in your life. You may well wonder if you have the willpower or the determination to quit the habit. This is normal. Think about the pros and cons of continuing to drink; think about what is important to you, like your partner, your children or your job; and talk it over with someone who won’t judge you, someone you can trust. Maybe discuss your feelings with someone professionally trained to help you through these conflicting emotions, like the psychologists at Talking Minds who specialise in alcohol counselling.


Investigate Treatment Options

Everyone has different needs, so check out the different alcohol rehab and treatment options and look for a fit that is good for you. The treatment you choose needs to address more than just your alcohol use; the reasons behind why you drink need to be uncovered for you to move forward. Treatment is not overnight. You will need to commit to a treatment plan and stick with it.


Get Support

You will need a solid support system in place. Beating alcohol addiction is not something you want to attempt on your own. Seek out positive and healthy people to help you with your recovery. Your family and close friends can be a great help at this time. If you don’t want to burden them because you have hurt them in the past, think about attending family counselling to mend the bridges. If your social network consists of people you used to get drunk with you will need to find some sober friends.


Learn How to Deal with Stress

If you started using alcohol to relax and deal with stress, it is imperative that you learn new and healthy ways to deal with stress. Stress is a part of modern day life, so you need to implement strategies that will help you deal with it. You may have used alcohol to deal with other feelings too, like loneliness, depression or anger. Alcohol may have been covering these up, and without its numbing effects they will resurface. Get help to deal with negative emotions.


Avoid Triggers

To stay sober you need to identify and avoid triggers. When cravings become intense have a strategy in place to deal with them. Avoid people and places that trigger your urge to drink.

alcohol addiction
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