Author Archives: daniatrapani

About daniatrapani

I believe in teaching, educating and making people aware of their health, diet and lifestyle choices. I encourage my clients to understand the importance of a healthy diet as well as a balanced lifestyle in order to achieve optimum results. Each of my clients is treated as an individual and I combine a mixture of nutrition and naturopathy to create a tailored health programme.

The Importance of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Today is Wold Sleep Day. Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep is very important and essential in our lives. It is as important as making sure you drink enough water, feed your body the correct nutrients and breathing. Poor sleep affects your mental and physical health which is why it is important you get a good night’s sleep so you can function correctly. Sleep deficiency will increase the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, depression, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.

We all lead extremely busy lives. If you work in a big city like London where everything is pretty fast paced, it is easy to become stressed due to work. Stress causes lack of sleep. In order to sleep well you need to be in a relaxed environment. I divide my time between London and Italy and my life in these two countries is very different. When I am in London there are never enough hours in the day to achieve everything that I want to do. I am constantly rushing, running from the gym to work. Work often stresses me causing me to stay up at night over thinking. I never seem to switch off and I often struggle to fall asleep. In Italy however it is the complete opposite. I am much more relaxed and therefore sleep really well. I will often fall asleep in front of the TV at around 10pm and the minute my head hits the pillow I instantly fall asleep.

How many hours of sleep do you need?

Everyone is different. No shoe fits all. Personally 6 hours a night works well for me. Others may require 8 hours sleep. The important thing is that you are getting good quality sleep. If you wake up early, go to bed early so you can rest your brain and body.

Sleep Improves concentration

Sleep is vital in brain function. If you sleep well cognitive function will improve greatly. You will be more focused and sharper in tackling your daily job as you will be able to concentrate properly, as good sleep enhances memory.

Improves athletic performance

A good night’s sleep means that  not only your brain will be sharper but your body too. When the body is rested it will perform better in physical activities as you will have more energy. Lack of sleep will make you feel exhausted even before you begin to exercise.

Lack of sleep can cause diseases 

If you go for long periods without proper sleep, you are seriously putting your health at risk. You are greatly increasing your chances of getting a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and adrenal fatigue. Lack of sleep will eventually cause your body to break down.

Lack of sleep can cause depression

Not getting enough sleep can bring on depression which can become a serious illness. Most people that suffer from insomnia have also complained of depression.

Impacts your immune system

Poor sleep puts a stress on the body and when this happens it compromises your immune system. If your immune system is strong you are less likely to catch a cold or flu. However a weak immune system means that you will fall ill frequently.

Ways to improve your sleep

Try to go to bed and get up at the same time. The body likes routine.

Do not exercise late at night before going to bed.

Have a relaxing bath listening to classical music before bedtime.

Switch off all mobile phones, laptops and TV. Read a book instead. You want to create a relaxing environment.

Avoid stimulants like alcohol, caffeine and sugar 3-4 hours before going to sleep.

Try yoga and meditation that are very good at relaxing both the body and mind.

I hope you have found the above advice useful and will try to get a good night’s sleep. Enjoy World Sleep Day everyone!

The benefits of Drinking Celery Juice For 30 Days

You may have seen all the celery juice hype on social media.  The man responsible for this is Anthony William who wrote Medical Medium which is a great book. In the beginning  I didn’t really take much notice as I always drink green juice so I assumed that it would be the same. Apparently not. There is something special about celery juice according to William. It is really thanks to my stepdaughter for doing the 30 day celery juice. She insisted that my husband and I try it, so I bought a juicer and our celery juice journey began.

As mentioned before I have always been a fan of green juice. Juicing is good for quick absorption. It takes 15 minutes for the nutrients from a juice to hit the blood stream. This is very good in people that have digestive issues, are suffering from an illness and their digestion is compromised. it is also good for people that are stressed as stress places a strain on the digestive system. Juicing is also good as it includes raw foods packed full of enzymes that are lost during cooking. Juicing places less of a strain on the liver. Ideally fruit and vegetables should not be mixed together. Apples and carrots are the exception.

Removing the fibre is what makes juices easier to be absorbed as your digestive system does not have to work hard to absorb the nutrients. Also in a juice you can pack larger quantities of vegetables than you would be able to eat. This means you are able to get more nutrients from a glass of juice.

It is important to remember that fibre in your diet is important so if you tend to have lots of juices remember to also eat your greens.

Anthony William recommends 16 oz of celery juice a day taken in the mornings on an empty stomach. You can have breakfast 15 minutes later. I bought organic celery and started juicing. In the first week I felt bloated, had lower abdominal pain and kept going to the toilet all morning. My stepdaughter and husband were jealous as they wanted to spend most of the morning in the bathroom. I certainly didn’t. However as I continued and reached the end of the 30 days I had positive results. Although my energy levels remained the same, I noticed three main changes.

It helped my bloating

This has been the biggest change I have noticed. Due to my uterine fibroids I have a tendency to bloat a lot. Some mornings I would wake up and be so bloated that I looked 6 months pregnant. Now I wake up with a really flat stomach which I am really happy about.

Improved my digestion

I have always had problems with my digestion and as we age our digestion can become worse. Often in the past I would take digestive enzymes. Whenever I would eat meat I would really get a stomach ache, I felt like a pain in my stomach as though the meat that I had just eaten was stuck there and wouldn’t go down. I have noticed that this has changed and my stomach feels rather good. I do not have any digestive issues at the moment.

improved my metabolism and made me slimmer

I have always had a good metabolism in my teens, 20s and 30s but as we age our metabolism tends to slow down. While still slim, after the age of 40 I did notice that my metabolism had slowed down a little. During the 30 day celery juice I noticed that I was getting slimmer even though I was eating exactly the same amount of food as before.

Clearer skin

I noticed my skin became much clearer. I wasn’t born with beautiful skin and I have had acne in my 20s and my skin is now ok but hardly great. while all green juice improves the skin as it is good for the liver, I noticed a particular improvement with the celery juice.

Overall my experience was a good one but you can’t really go wrong with juicing. I would encourage that you all try it. If any of you have been on the 30 day plan please do let me know how you got on. I would love to hear from you.

The Importance of Regular Health Checks From the Age of 40+

If you are over 40 it is definitely time for a health MOT. I cannot stress enough the importance of having regular medical check ups. Go visit your GP and discuss all the tests available. It is better to be safe than sorry. Early cancer diagnosis for example can improve your chances of survival. You must also learn to listen to your body, paying attention to the warning signs. We all know our bodies. If something feels amiss go to see your doctor straight away. It is also equally important to lead a healthy lifestyle eating well with regular exercise. A sedentary lifestyle sets you up for disease. Here below are medical tests for both women and men.

Medical tests for women

Regular blood tests are important to check cholesterol levels, hormones making sure they are not out of balance and to check if you are pre menopausal. After the menopause a women is more prone to heart attacks and strokes so regular blood tests are essential. From a blood test you can check your CA 125 which is the marker for ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer so early detection is important especially if there is a history of cancer in your family. A blood test can also check kidney and liver function.

A smear test and pelvic exam are very important especially if you are sexually active.

Checking your blood pressure is also important. High blood pressure can lead to all sorts of problems affecting your kidneys, brain, lungs and blood vessels.

Blood sugar levels are also important to check as elevated levels of glucose in the blood can lead to diabetes.

Mammograms are necessary for checking breast cancer.

Bone density exam is useful to detect osteoporosis which is more common in women than men.

Medical tests for men

While women are prone to heart attacks and strokes after menopause a man can be prone to a heart attack from the age of 35. Regular blood tests checking for cholesterol and triglycerides are essential. Elevated levels can lead to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. I would get a blood test every 3 months and get a full profile checking liver and kidney function, and sugar levels.

As men grow older it becomes very important to check their prostate. From your blood test you can check your PSA which is the maker for your prostate. Elevated levels could indicate a problem with your prostate or cancer. Like with ovarian cancer for women if you have a family history of prostate cancer then regular tests are a must.

Men should also get their testosterone levels checked which can be done via a blood or saliva test. Low levels of testosterone can lead to weight gain, erectile dysfunction, fatigue and other problems.

The NHS offers a health check which is worth asking your GP about. If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact me. I hope the above has helped.

How to Become a Morning Person

“Early to bed and early to rise , makes a man healthy,wealthy and wise.” Benjamin Franklin. I totally agree. Studies show that people who wake up early in the morning are not only more productive but also successful as they tend to set higher goals, be more persistent and plan for the future. For me I find that my energy levels are so much better if I go to bed early. I wake up refreshed ready to plan my day. I usually wake up at 5.30 – 6 am every morning and by 9am I would have had breakfast, answered emails, prepared lunch for my husband, worked out and planned my day. Of course if you are a night owl it does not mean you are doomed to failure. I understand that some people may have night jobs. I also understand that we are all different and not everyone will be a morning person. No one shoe fits all. No point getting up at 6am if you go to bed at 1am. You will be mentally and physically exhausted. Here below are a few tips to help those who would like to become early birdies.

Go to bed at the same time every night

You need to set a suitable time for you to go to bed each night. As mentioned before no point staying up into the early hours of the morning expecting to get up early. You need to establish how many hours sleep you need per night. Personally I need 6 good hours of sleep. Others will need maybe 8. Once you have established how many hours you need then set a time and try to go to bed at that time every night. If you are someone that is used to going to bed late this may take some adjusting and it will not be easy and the next tip could help you.

Wake up at the same time every morning

If you start to follow a pattern you will find that your body will automatically adjust and you will begin to feel tired at night and wake up at the same time. No matter what time I go to bed I always wake up at 6am. This is what my body is used to. If you are a night owl as mentioned above waking up early in the morning may help in getting you to bed early as you will be pretty exhausted.

Avoid triggers that will keep you awake 

If you want to train yourself to go to bed early you will have to switch off. This means no social media before bedtime. Try a hot bath  and reading a book ( not a kindle ). You need to stay away from any computer or phone screens. No technology at all, not even TV at least one hour before bed. It is important that your room stays absolutely dark in order to get a good nights sleep.

Get yourself a good alarm and don’t press snooze

If you are new to getting up early you may want to invest in a good alarm. One that will be very loud so you cannot miss it. Do not hit the snooze button, you want to be awake not fall back asleep. I suggest getting out of bed and jumping straight in the shower to fully wake up.

To do lists

This is a great way to plan your day, writing down all you wish to do during your hectic day. Writing a to do list is a fantastic way to start your morning. It brings order and great satisfaction as you tick off what you have done.

Do not nap

As tempting as it may be to have a little nap in the afternoon, don’t. By not having a nap you will be more tired in the evening and able to go to bed at your usual time.

Exercise

Working out is good both physically and mentally. I would say that the best time to work out would be in the morning. It puts you in a good mood and by exercising early morning you get it out of the way. Also the more active and productive you are during the day the more likely you are to sleep well.

I hope the above tips have helped to make you become a morning person.

 

 

 

 

Coffee: Friend or Foe?

The whole world loves to drink coffee. Everyone is looking for their caffeine fix to get them through their busy day. I must be one of the very few that hates the taste of coffee. I have always been more of a tea drinker. So is coffee really that bad for you? There are so many articles out their stating that coffee is either good for your health or it is the absolute evil. Personally I believe that moderation is key. 1-2 cups a day won’t kill you however too much coffee can cause side effects.

Caffeine is a stimulant and most people will sit at their desks all day working or studying drinking coffee to keep them alert, sharp and focused. While coffee does make you more alert one must also remember that overdosing yourself with coffee can also cause anxiety, heart palpitations and may give you the shakes. When I used to study I used to drink lots of tea and at one point I felt quite anxious and had to stop.

Drinking too much coffee increases cortisol which is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands which is released in response to a person being afraid or stressed. In a ‘fight or flight’ situation in the old days the cortisol would be utilised as the person either fought or ran for their lives.  Today we sit at our desk drinking coffee to keep going producing more cortisol and not exercising to get rid of it. Cortisol levels are high in the mornings and lower at night. It regulates blood pressure, helps the body to utilise glucose for energy. It sends a message to the liver to release stored glycogen to fuel the muscles and the brain. However too much stored in the body can result in weight gain, depression, mental illness, impaired memory and brain function.

Too much caffeine can dehydrate both the body and skin giving a dull complexion. It is therefore important to always drink plenty of water through out the day and hydrate before your cup of coffee.  Also it is best to drink coffee black with no sugar or milk as this decreases calories and makes it healthier.

Coffee contains a group of compounds called polyphenols that are antioxidants  that reduce the risk of strokes,heart attacks and lower blood pressure. However as mentioned before you should not consume more than 1-2 cups a day.

I hope you have found the above tips useful.

 

 

Why Your Desk Job Is Slowly Killing You

Most people including myself have an office job and we tend to spend many hours a day, a week sitting at our desks answering emails, conference calls and attending endless meetings. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to an early death. According to a recent study if you spend more than 4 hours  sitting down whether at your desk or on a couch, you are more prone to an early death and diseases like diabetes, heart attacks, blood clots and strokes. Endless hours sitting in front of a computer can also affect your eye sight, posture and brain.

Exercising every day may not be enough

Exercise is good for both the body and mind. However running every morning or going to the gym may not be enough if you end up hours sitting at your desk, driving to work where you are sitting in your car or commuting sitting on the tube or bus.

What to do when at the office

Get moving. Ideally every 30 minutes you should get up and have a walk or a stretch. Do calf raises which are great for circulation. when you are sitting at your desk try rotating your ankles. Take a break to go and get some fresh air to refresh your brain. After lunch is a good time to go for a stroll.

Try to stand more at your desk as opposed to sitting. You can stand while you are checking emails on your computer or your phone.

Try walking and talking when answering calls or on a conference call. By being active as much as possible you are burning calories.

Posture is so important to prevent neck and back pain. So make sure to sit up right at your desk. No slouching. A strong core is the secret to a strong back so try to work your core when you next work out.

Long hours sitting at your desk can lead to stress so it is important that you do take regular breaks when you are feeling tired.

After Work

Try to walk as much as possible. Take the longer route to the bus stop or tube or get off a stop earlier. If you have been siting at your desk all day the last thing you should do is spend hours on the couch.  Always keep moving.

Healthy eating

Do not eat junk food. If you are sitting all day at your desk you need to fuel your body and mind with the correct nutrients to keep your brain alert and improve your circulation. Drink regular green juices, smoothies and plenty of water. Never skip breakfast as this will give you energy and make it a nutritious breakfast by eating porridge or eggs on toast with avocado.

Include ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper in your cooking which are good for circulation. Eat oily fish rich in omega 3 like wild salmon and sardines and you could also take a fish oil supplement.

Limit your salt intake as salt will harden your arteries and arteries need to be elastic.  Too much salt in your diet can also lead to high blood pressure.

I hope you have found the above tips useful. If you require a bespoke nutritional and lifestyle plan please email me.

Stress and the Digestive System

We have all suffered from stress at some point in our lives whether due to exams, work, a bereavement, an illness, children, divorce, financial troubles or other. Most of us when under stress instead of finding ways to relax tend to have more coffee, fizzy drinks and sweets to keep us going. When you are stressed the digestive system tends to shut down and you are not assimilating any nutrients. Therefore it is best to eat very light small meals through out the day.

Coffee, cortisol and stress

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands which is released in response to a person being afraid or stressed. In a ‘fight or flight’ situation in the old days the cortisol would be utilised as the person either fought or ran for their lives. Nowadays unfortunately we seem to be more and more stressed and cortisol is not utilised and too much remains in the body. Today we sit at our desk drinking coffee to keep going producing more cortisol and not exercising to get rid of it. Cortisol levels are high in the mornings and lower at night. It regulates blood pressure, helps the body to utilise glucose for energy. It sends a message to the liver to release stored glycogen to fuel the muscles and the brain. However too much stored in the body can result in weight gain, depression, mental illness, impaired memory and brain function. This is why too much coffee when stressed is not a good idea.

Juicing

Juicing is good for quick absorption of nutrients. It takes 15 minutes for the nutrients from a juice to hit the blood stream. This is very good in people that have digestive issues, are suffering  from an illness and their digestion is compromised. It is also good for people that are stressed as stress places a strain on the digestive system.  Juicing is also good as it includes raw foods packed full of enzymes that are lost during cooking. Juicing places less of a strain on the liver. Ideally fruit and vegetable juices should not be mixed together. Apples and carrots are the exception. Since a juice is very quick in hitting the blood stream it is important not to use too much fruit as this can cause a spike in sugar levels. Vegetable juices are best for people suffering from blood sugar problems. Fruit juices are high in sugar and can also cause weight gain as juicing removes the fibre.

Removing the fibre is what makes juices easier to be absorbed as your digestive system does not have to work hard to absorb the nutrients. Also in a juice you can pack larger quantities of vegetables than you would be able to eat. This means you are able to get more nutrients from a glass of juice.

Foods not to eat and foods to eat

Red meat should be avoided as it is hard to digest. Avoid all stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and all fizzy drinks. These will put pressure on the adrenal glands. Reduce your intake of refined white carbohydrates like white pasta, bread and all cakes and biscuits. Stay away from all dairy. No rich sauces.

Cook everything fresh from scratch. No ready made meals. You want to eat foods that are easier to digest like soups, sweet potatoes mashed, steamed fish and vegetables. Include more ginger, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, dandelion greens, broccoli, bananas, tofu, quinoa, millet, spelt, lentils, chickpeas, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, flax and chia seeds, oily fish like wild salmon and sardines. Try to eat everything baked, grilled or steamed. If you are particularly stressed I would recommend smoothies, juices and soups as these are probably the best foods when highly stressed.

Include more super foods into your diet like wheatgrass shots, barley grass and spirulina. Wheatgrass shots should be taken on their own. barley grass and spirulina you can add to smoothies.

I hope the above has helped. If you would like a bespoke nutritional and lifestyle plan please email me or purchase my online initial consultation.