Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Contents Page (July 2009)

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

In the News: recent progress in the world of health


–  Case Study

  • This month’s case study is 40 year old ‘Stephanie’ who came to the clinic with psoriasis

Ask Marilyn:

Ingredient Spotlight:

  • Red peppers – the health benefits

Monthly meal idea:

  • Piedmontese Peppers with Anchovies

Naturally healthy summer

  • Marilyn’s top 20 tips

Eat healthily

  • On a budget

– Boosting energy

  • With high energy foods

Good hygiene

  • Fod good health

– The hygiene hypothesis

  • Are we too clean?


Top tips:

Get moving

  • To beat cancer

Feeling hearty

  • Omega-3 oils can help prevent heart attacks

Massage cuts blood pressure

  • Regular massage can lower blood pressure

Coming Next Month (August 2009)

Menopause: Rekindle your libido naturally

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Most women experience a temporary loss of libido at various times of their lives, and this is perfectly normal. Stress and fatigue are well known libido dampeners but sex drive is governed by both life style factors and sex hormones.  Both men and women have levels of all three major hormones (oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone) and as always with nature it is about balance so to encourage hormonal balance (and a healthy libido) the first step is to make sure that you eat healthily and exercise regularly.  

Although loss of libido can occur at any time, with the onset of menopause and the hormonal changes it brings, many women find that it is harder for their bodies to get aroused. Lack of lubrication can cause painful penetration, arousal is more subdued because blood flows less quickly to the genitals and breasts are less sensitive to touch again due to a decreased blood flow. (There is a natural organic lubricant I use in the clinic called Yes, so see the Resources Page for more information.)


If you are approaching the menopause and experiencing a loss of libido don’t blame your changing hormones because studies show that as you enter the prime of your life many women gain a new sense of self and feel sexier than ever before. In other words far from noticing a loss of libido the opposite occurs. The following tips should help kick start your sex life, whatever age or stage of life you are:


Libido boosting nutrients

Vitamin A, B, zinc and selenium are all crucial for libido. Good food sources of vitamin A include carrots, eggs and fish oil. Vitamin B rich foods include whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and lentils. For zinc go for eggs, mushrooms, nuts and pulses and for selenium try garlic, seeds and whole grains.

It is also important to make sure your diet is rich in naturally occurring plant compounds called phytoestrogens which are found in legumes like soya, chickpeas, lentils etc.  Phytoestrogens have hormone balancing properties and can reduce hot flushes and night sweats and restore vitality and energy.

Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil, nuts and seeds have been found to raise dopamine levels in the brain the neurotransmitters that help women experience sexual pleasure. (For a good Omega 3 supplement try Omega 3 Plus, see the Resources Page).


Get up and dance

Exercise helps too, by easing stress and boosting your mood and body image so aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you don’t want to jog or join a gym just put on your favourite music and dance.


Avoid the libido killers

Caffeine, trans fats (hydrogenated vegetable oils) and saturated fats found in red meat and processed and refined foods- smoking and alcohol are all libido killers that need to be avoided.


Check your stress levels

In general, stress dampens libido. A stressed woman may blame a host of other factors for her symptoms, without realising that stress is the real cause of the problem. Taking time out, yoga and learning to meditate are all tried and tested stress busters you may want to experiment with. Relaxing in a warm bath, especially with sensual aromatherapy oils works wonders too.


Get an early night

Ensure that you are getting enough sleep. There is nothing more libido dampening than fatigue. This doesn’t mean, though, that you should have a long morning lie-in as this will just upset your body clock and give you symptoms of jet lag without the holiday. To maximise your energy potential go to bed earlier if you need to catch up on sleep.


Ask for support

Depression is a major inhibitor of sexual desire. Try to understand why you are feeling low, so that you act appropriately when low feelings come. If you feel you can’t cope alone, reach out for the support of family and friends or see your doctor for referral to a counsellor or therapist.


Setting the mood

Most sex therapists agree that sex begins in the head – in a way it’s an idea that overtakes you. Your body’s physical reaction follows. A key part of starting that sexual idea is setting the mood and romantic music can help, as can low lighting, a candlelit bath, or your favourite romantic or raunchy film. Devote more time to foreplay, exploring and discovering what you are and your partner enjoy. If you haven’t felt sexy for a while, touching yourself can also be a way to reconnect with your body as a sensual, sexual pleasure. Once you’re back in touch with your own desires it can be easier and less daunting to connect with your partner’s.

If you feel you haven’t got time for romance, make time. Give it a higher priority in your life. However busy or stressful your life gets, try to make sure that you have some ‘couple time’ where you can unwind together and talk about your day. And plan regular meals out, cinema trips or weekend breaks so that the two of you get some special time together away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life.

The power of touch should never be underestimated; being hugged or petted is necessary for our physical and mental well-being. A massage is an excellent way to help you and your partner relax and put you both in the mood for sex.


Re-evaluate how you feel about your body

Remind yourself that your ability to become aroused, achieve sexual satisfaction and reciprocate is there no matter what you weigh or look like. Stop focusing on what society tells you is beautiful and concentrate instead on what you find beautiful and pleasurable about yourself.


Open the lines of communication

Relationship troubles can also contribute to loss of sexual desire. If you don’t feel listened to, respected or important it is natural to respond with resentment and that resentment can dampen libido. It’s important to open the lines of communication with your partner so that anger can be expressed in places other than the bedroom. If the problem is severe, such as infidelity, you may want to go to a relationship counsellor.

If you find the idea of sex unappealing or uncomfortable, talk to a sex therapist to discuss your health, your upbringing, your circumstances, any body image issues you may have and your relationship so that you can find ways to give yourself permission to satisfy your sexual needs. You may want to do this alone or you may find that it is more productive to talk to a sex therapist with your partner.


Just do it

The less often you have sex the less likely you are to enjoy it or look forward to it, so make time for sex in your life. Regular sex keeps your sex organs healthy and releases tension. If you haven’t got a partner masturbation is a positive way to explore your body and release sexual tension.


Libido boosting supplements

There are numerous herbal remedies that are thought to help put sexual desire and drive back into your life and these include celery, wild oats, parsley, and damiana. Agnus castus has a hormone balancing effect and St John’s Wort is another herbal product that has been shown to have the potential to increase sex drive. A German study on a group of 111 women with libido problems showed that 60 per cent of the participants had regained their libido after a twelve week course of St John’s Wort.  (See the Resources Page for information on how to obtain these herbs.) 

If a dry vagina is making sex uncomfortable for you and your partner refer to the Ask Marilyn section of this issue.


Light at the end of the tunnel

Although the menopause can contribute to a loss of libido it’s important to understand that it isn’t the only cause of low libido by far. Common factors include stress, fatigue, children, illness, too much alcohol, poor diet and medical conditions such as under active thyroid which can be more common in the menopausal years. Some of these contributory problems can be worked on to great effect and a determined effort to put your love life back into a more prominent position on your list of priorities will help. All this suggests that there is no need to accept waning libido as a sign of age. There is light at the end of the tunnel if you learn how to meet the needs of your body, balance your hormones naturally through healthy eating, regular exercise and stress management and give yourself the time and space to set the mood and rekindle your libido naturally.

And remember contrary to the myth of sexual decline with age, some women, about one in six, report increased sexual desire after menopause.

Why you’ve got to lose the bag

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Plastic bags have become a subject of huge debate in 2008 but why is everyone so interested?


The reason why plastic bags are finally hitting the headlines is that they are bad not just for our health but for the environment. Around 13billion plastic bags are given free to UK shoppers every year and these bags can take between 400-1,000 years to break down, and like all forms of plastic they do not biodegrade. Instead they photodegrade, breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits that contaminate soil, waterways and oceans, entering the food chain when ingested by animals.


Many plastic bags end up as waste on our beaches, streets and parks. When a plastic bag enters the ocean it becomes a harmful piece of litter. Many marine animals mistake plastic bags for food and swallow them, with painful and often fatal consequences. Nearly 90% of floating marine litter is plastic.


Fortunately, a number of shops are limiting the number of plastic bags they give out or making customers think twice by charging for them. And now with increased awareness we can all do our bit by refusing plastic bags in shops, and trying to recycle or reusing the ones we do have. You can also buy a woven cotton “eco-shopper” bag and keep it with you for when you need to go to the shops.