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fruit and vegetables


If you find yourself counting down the minutes to bedtime as soon as you wake, yawning your way through the working day and struggling to stay awake on the journey home, you are not alone. As many as one in five of us feel unusually tired at any one time.

If you feel constantly fatigued, you will know that carrying out even the simplest of tasks can be difficult. Your quality of life is diminished as you struggle to enjoy your usual activities, such as playing sports, reading a good book or spending time with loved ones. To resolve your problem, you first need to determine its cause. To help you, here are five energy-sappers that may be to blame:

1. Lack of sleep

It may seem obvious but lack of sleep can have a disastrous effect on your energy levels. The amount of sleep you require varies depending on age, lifestyle and health. Just because six hours of sleep has sufficed for you in the past doesn’t mean it will be all you need forever. If you suspect you are not getting enough sleep, try to change your routine by winding down and going to bed earlier or setting your morning alarm later. It may be useful to stop watching television, using  computers, phones and tablet devices and finish any work you’ve taken home well in advance of bedtime to improve the quality of your sleep.

Five reasons you’re tired all the time

Five reasons you’re tired all the time

2. Poor diet

Not eating a balanced diet can lead to many problems, including tiredness. It is important to get the right quantities of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals if you are to feel at your best. Try to get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and eat starches, such as potatoes, pasta and bread, for slow-release energy. Avoid quick fixes like caffeine and sugar as once the temporary energy boost has subsided, you will end up feeling even more tired. If you think you are not getting enough of a particular vitamin or mineral, you may want to visit your GP to arrange a blood test to find out if you are suffering from any deficiencies.

3. Exercising too much or too little

Excessive exercise can cause you to feel drained but so too can getting too little exercise. Assessing your activity levels relative to your diet can help you to determine if you are overdoing it or need to move about more. If you are just starting to exercise after a long period of time, build up your activity levels gradually to avoid exhaustion. It is recommended that healthy adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.

4. Drinking too much

Too much alcohol can leave you feeling sluggish and struggling to focus the following day. If you regularly binge drink and often exceed 2-3 units per day if you’re a woman or 3-4 units a day if you’re a man, consider reducing your alcohol intake. Not only will this help you to boost your energy levels, but it will also improve your overall health. If you are concerned about how much you are drinking or are finding it difficult to cut down, you should seek the advice of your GP.

5. Health conditions

There are a number of health conditions that can leave you feeling worn out. If you find yourself tired, gaining weight, being sensitive to the cold, and depressed for no apparent reason, you may have an underactive thyroid. If you are lethargic, short of breath, pale and experiencing heart palpitations, you may be suffering from iron-deficiency anemia. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes also includes extreme tiredness, as well as needing to pass urine more frequently and losing weight unexpectedly. These conditions need to be diagnosed and treated by a GP, so if you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should book an appointment.

If you are experiencing pain from an illness or long-term condition, such as sciatica, joint pain or arthritis, you may find that your sleep is interrupted more regularly. To make life easier, you might want to consider investing in a orthopedic bed. Adjustable Beds provide a range of adjustable beds which utilize cutting-edge cyclo-therapy systems which can help to relieve a range of health conditions that can spoil your sleep and interfere with your energy levels.

Russia has banned the imports of fruit and vegetables from Poland, depriving it of a major export market.

Russia’s food hygiene authorities said the imports had unacceptable levels of pesticide residues and nitrates.

They earn Poland more than 1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) annually.

Russia is Poland’s biggest market for apples.

The move follows EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine – and Poland has condemned Russian actions there.

Russia has banned the imports of fruit and vegetables from Poland, depriving it of a major export market

Russia has banned the imports of fruit and vegetables from Poland, depriving it of a major export market

Poland and some other former communist bloc countries are among the most vocal critics of Russia in the current crisis, accusing Moscow of supplying the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine with arms and volunteers.

The cost to Poland of the import ban is likely to be 0.6% of GDP (national output) by the end of the year, Polish Deputy PM Janusz Piechocinski was quoted as saying.

Agriculture accounts for about 3.8% of Poland’s total GDP. Polish growers plan to seek compensation from the EU for the loss of earnings.

Poles have been posting images of apples on social media as a way of protesting against Russia.

On Thursday Russia announced a ban on more imported Ukrainian food: soy products, cornmeal, sunflowers and fruit juice.

Earlier Russia banned Ukrainian dairy produce and canned fish and vegetables. Last year it banned Ukrainian Roshen chocolate, produced by billionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko, who is now Ukraine’s president.

Previously Russia also imposed such boycotts on Georgia and Moldova – former Soviet republics, like Ukraine, whose pro-Western policies have angered the Kremlin.

Russia is an important export market for Georgian and Moldovan wine. Currently Russia is blocking imports of Moldovan fruit. In each case the Russian authorities say they have public health reasons for imposing a ban.

In January – before its March annexation of Crimea – Russia also imposed a ban on imports of pigs and pork from the EU.

The European Commission says that move was “disproportionate”, closing a market worth 25% of total EU pig and pork exports. In 2013 those exports to Russia totaled 1.4 billion euros.


British researchers suggest that eating meals as a family improves children’s eating habits – even if it only happens once or twice a week.

It is recommended children eat five portions of fruit and vegetables per day – about 400g.

The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health study found those who always ate together achieved this – but those who only did sometimes came close.

Watching parents and siblings eat teaches good habits, experts said.

This study looked at just under 2,400 children at 52 primary schools in south London.

Parents and fieldworkers compiled food diaries at school and at home, ticking off all the foods and drinks a child had in one 24-hour period.

Parents were also asked questions about their attitudes to fruit and vegetables, such as “On average, how many nights a week does your family eat at a table?” and “Do you cut up fruit and vegetables for your child to eat?”

The study found 656 families said they always ate meals together at a table, 768 sometimes did, while 92 families never did so.

Children in the “always” group ate five portions of fruit and vegetables, compared with 4.6 in the “sometimes” group and 3.3 in the “never”.

That equates to the always group eating 125g more fruit and veg, and the sometimes group eating 95g more a day than the
never group.

Eating meals as a family improves children's eating habits, even if it only happens once or twice a week

Eating meals as a family improves children’s eating habits, even if it only happens once or twice a week

Seeing parents eat fruit and vegetables – and cutting up portions for children both boosted their intake.

The researchers say that, while this study gives a picture of eating habits on one day, it was able to investigate the diets of a large, diverse population.

Meaghan Christian, who conducted the study as part of her PhD, said: “Modern life often prevents the whole family from sitting round the dinner table, but this research shows that even just Sunday lunch round the table can help improve the diets of our families.”

She added: “We spend a lot of time looking at interventions at school. But this is showing how important parents are in terms of fruit and vegetable consumption.”

And Prof. Janet Cade, of the University of Leeds’ school of food science and nutrition, who supervised the study, said: “Watching the way their parents or siblings eat and the different types of food they eat is pivotal in creating children’s own food habits and preferences.”

She added: “Since dietary habits are established in childhood, the importance of promoting the family meal needs to be more prominent in public health campaigns.”

Azmina Govindji, of the British Dietetic Association, said: “Eating habits developed in childhood die hard, and eating at a table with the family instead of in front of the TV helps reduce chances of mindless eating, which can increase the likelihood of obesity.

“This study reinforces the view that children learn more from what we do than what we say, so it’s the role modelling that helps shape their future habits.”

Azmina Govindji, a practicing dietitian, added: “If children are eating better in childhood, they are more likely to make healthier choices in adult life – and since food directly impacts risks of conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, eating together as a family seems like a small price to pay.”


Researchers claim that swapping to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil could help protect your bones in later life.

Just two years of eating like the Spanish and Italians who use olive oil rather than less healthy fats may preserve or even build bone in older people, says a new study.

The Mediterranean diet is regarded as the classic eating habits of populations from countries in southern Europe, even though fewer inhabitants follow it today.

It has been thought to improve heart health and stave off cancer because it is high in fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, whole grains and “healthy” fats such as those in olive oil, while low in red meat and dairy products.

But a new study shows further benefits to bones as people eating more olive oil had higher levels of the hormone osteocalcin in their blood – a marker linked to better bone strength.

Researchers claim that swapping to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil could help protect your bones in later life

Researchers claim that swapping to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil could help protect your bones in later life

Previous studies have shown that Mediterranean countries have lower rates of osteoporosis compared with northern European nations, which could be due to different dietary factors.

Osteoporosis is often termed the “silent disease” as there are no symptoms prior to a fracture. However, once a person has broken a bone, their risk of breaking another bone – a fragility fracture – increases dramatically.

In the study, 127 people aged 55 to 80 regarded as high risk heart patients took part in the Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED) study.

They had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or other cardiovascular risk factors, says a report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

They were randomly assigned to three different diets: Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts, Mediterranean diet with at least 50 ml of virgin olive oil a day, and a low-fat diet.

People on the olive oil diet were told to use it for cooking and dressing salads, eat more fruit and vegetables, eat less red meat, avoid butter, cream, fast food, cakes, and, if they were alcohol drinkers, to consume moderate amounts of red wine.

The results after two years showed those on the Mediterranean diet with olive oil had a significant increase in concentrations of osteocalcin and other bone formation markers, and no other diet had the same effect.

Dr. Jose Manuel Fernandez-Real, of Hospital Dr. Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain, said the consumption of olive oil has been already been linked to prevention of osteoporosis in experimental research, but the new study looked at direct effects in people.

He said: “This is the first randomized study which demonstrates that olive oil preserves bone, at least as inferred by circulating bone markers, in humans.

“It’s important to note that circulating osteocalcin was associated with preserved insulin secretion in subjects taking olive oil.

“Osteocalcin has also been described to increase insulin secretion in experimental models.”

Olive oil contains omega-6 fats, a form of “healthy” polyunsaturates which blocks the body’s response to inflammation in chronic conditions such as heart disease and arthritis.

It also reduces blood pressure and improves the ratio of good to bad blood fats.

Dieticians say the Mediterranean diet also appears to improve vascular function, the flexibility of cells lining the walls of blood vessels, particularly in the heart and circulatory system.

The diet is known to fight inflammation and repair oxygen-related cell damage.

Previous research has found strict adherence to a Mediterranean diet could help stave off memory loss and Alzheimer’s.



World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has advised that cutting back on salty foods such as bacon, bread and breakfast cereals may reduce people’s risk of developing stomach cancer.

It wants people to eat less salt and for the content of food to be labelled more clearly.

Too much salt is bad for blood pressure and can lead to heart disease and stroke, but it can also cause cancer.

The recommended daily limit is 6 g, about a level teaspoonful, but the World Cancer Research Fund said people were eating 8.6 g a day.

WCRF estimated that 14% of cases, around 800, could be avoided if everyone stuck to their 6 g a day.

Too much salt is bad for blood pressure and can lead to heart disease and stroke, but it can also cause cancer

Too much salt is bad for blood pressure and can lead to heart disease and stroke, but it can also cause cancer

Kate Mendoza, head of health information at WCRF, said: “Stomach cancer is difficult to treat successfully because most cases are not caught until the disease is well-established.

“This places even greater emphasis on making lifestyle choices to prevent the disease occurring in the first place – such as cutting down on salt intake and eating more fruit and vegetables.”

Eating too much salt is not all about sprinkling it over fish and chips or Sunday lunch, the vast majority is already inside food.

It is why the WCRF has called for a “traffic-light” system for food labelling – red for high, amber for medium and green for low.

However, this has proved controversial with many food manufacturers and supermarkets preferring other ways of labelling food.



A British research suggests that self-service checkouts are turning many shoppers into criminals.

The figures were revealed in a study of 4,952 shoppers by money-saving website watchmywallet.co.uk. They paint an alarming picture of just how many shoppers are willing to act dishonestly to save money.

Although shoplifting can carry a custodial sentence, very few are handed out.

Almost a third of shoppers have admitted to stealing while putting items through the scanners, with many tricking the machines by giving the wrong information.

Additionally, a quarter of those who did not steal admitted their only reason for not doing so was fear of being caught.

The checkouts, which rely on users to scan items, are often poorly supervised – making it easy to abuse the system.

Shoppers admitted to using a wide range of techniques, including slipping extra items through and lying about which items they had.

The most common ruse was to select cheaper fruit or vegetable items when weighing them before paying.

Other popular methods included always selecting “small” when asked the size of items such as salad boxes, as well as bagging goods without scanning.

A British research suggests that self-service checkouts are turning many shoppers into criminals

A British research suggests that self-service checkouts are turning many shoppers into criminals

Supermarket checkouts have devices which detect when an item not paid for makes it into the bagging area, giving rise to the now familiar phrase “unexpected item in the bagging area”.

However, staff regularly overrides the checkout in order to keep queues moving.

When shop staff are not present, small items can easily be slipped into a bag unnoticed and, if challenged, passed off by the customer as a mistake.

Items without barcodes, such as loose fruit and vegetables, provided the greatest opportunities to cheat.

A sixth of shoppers admitted to being dishonest when asked to enter an item manually.

A common trick is to select the cheapest vegetable, typically white onions, when putting a more valuable item through, such as oranges.

Half of those who admitted to cheating said they selected a cheaper item when putting loose items through.

According to experts, offenders are often not driven by poverty but just take advantage of the fact they are unlikely to get caught.

Beverley Stone, a psychologist, said: “Often the people who choose not to obey the rules just don’t have a conscience. They only do the right thing if they think they might be caught, so if the chances are slim they’ll do it.

“I don’t think they can be motivated by poverty because they’ll still be paying for some of the shopping – so they can’t be that poor. These statistics show a lack of morals in this country today.”

The figures come in the wake of a series of cases involving celebrities accused of shoplifting. Earlier this year, television chef Antony Worrall Thompson was cautioned for shoplifting five times in 16 days from a branch of Tesco.

Staff spotted him on camera bagging up goods in the selfcheckout area without paying.

Last year, Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to 360 hours’ community service in the US for stealing a necklace.

And last September, Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea was challenged by Tesco staff after he allegedly ate a doughnut which he had not paid for.


A new research suggests that a diet rich in vitamins and fish may protect the brain from ageing while junk food has the opposite effect.

Elderly people with high blood levels of vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids had less brain shrinkage and better mental performance, a Neurology study found.

Trans fats found in fast foods were linked to lower scores in tests and more shrinkage typical of Alzheimer’s.

A UK medical charity has called for more work into diet and dementia risk.

The best current advice is to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, not smoke, take regular exercise and keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check, said Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The research looked at nutrients in blood, rather than relying on questionnaires to assess a person’s diet.

US experts analyzed blood samples from 104 healthy people with an average age of 87 who had few known risk factors for Alzheimer’s.

They found those who had more vitamin B, C, D and E in their blood performed better in tests of memory and thinking skills. People with high levels of omega 3 fatty acids – found mainly in fish – also had high scores. The poorest scores were found in people who had more trans fats in their blood.

Trans fats are common in processed foods, including cakes, biscuits and fried foods.

The researchers, from Oregon Health and Science University, Portland; Portland VA Medical Center; and Oregon State University, Corvallis, then carried out brain scans on 42 of the participants.

They found individuals with high levels of vitamins and omega 3 in their blood were more likely to have a large brain volume; while those with high levels of trans fat had a smaller total brain volume.

Study author Gene Bowman of Oregon Health and Science University said: “These results need to be confirmed, but obviously it is very exciting to think that people could potentially stop their brains from shrinking and keep them sharp by adjusting their diet.”

Co-author Maret Traber of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University said: “The vitamins and nutrients you get from eating a wide range of fruits, vegetables and fish can be measured in blood biomarkers.

“I’m a firm believer these nutrients have strong potential to protect your brain and make it work better.”

Commenting on the study, Dr. Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“One strength of this research is that it looked at nutrients in people’s blood, rather than relying on answers to a questionnaire.

“It’s important to note that this study looked at a small group of people with few risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, and did not investigate whether they went on to develop Alzheimer’s at a later stage.

“There is a clear need for conclusive evidence about the effect of diet on our risk of Alzheimer’s, which can only come from large-scale, long-term studies.”