The Journal of
January - March 2012
HEALTH & HAPPINESS Mindfulness: Better brains in 8 weeks Exercise to halt dementia
Yoga helps back pain Football header harm
ARE WE KIND ENOUGH? "Think hard before using antibiotics" Atul Kochhar's Health & Happiness recipe : Health & wellbeing in Hounslow
"The first wealth is health." Ralph Waldo Emerson Is your life on auto-pilot? Then train your brain and learn the art or rather the science of mindfulness. One of the UK's top clinical psychologists, Professor Mark Williams says that mindfulness can be an antidote to the ―tunnel vision‖ that we often develop in our daily lives, especially when we are busy, stressed or tired. In this issue we are focussing on subjects such as mindfulness and neuroplasticity. Modern research shows that happiness, compassion and kindness are the products of skills that can be learned and enhanced through training thanks to the neuroplasticity of our brains. We are entering into the second year of our Journal with great expectations. We have been able to sustain this unique experiment with the enthusiastic support of our advertisers. Our feedback suggests that businesses that support us are gaining a huge amount of community appreciation and social recognition for investing in the wellbeing of their community. We participated in many community events where our magazine proved a big attraction. During the World Travel Market 2011 the magazine was warmly received by India's tourism minister Mr Subodh Kant Sahai. We also participated in Hounslow Health Show promoting healthy lifestyle and mental wellbeing. I wish to convey my special thanks to Dr Mike Robinson, Joint Director of Public Health and Medical Director of the London Borough of Hounslow. His appreciation of our magazine was very encouraging. Dr Robinson is working on the Draft Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the borough of Hounslow. In this issue we are presenting a brief summary of some of the aspects of this comprehensive draft strategy.
Vijay Rana Editor, The Journal of Health & Happiness
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C O N T E N T S January - March 2012 Issue 5
Unhealthy lifestyle causes 40% cancers
Eight weeks to a better brain
How to practise mindfulness
Drug-free prevention of dementia
Health and wellbeing in Hounslow
Heading a football causes brain damage
Yoga helps chronic lower back pain
Are we kind enough in London?
Ayurveda: Ginger the magic root
Atul Kochhar's HNH recipe
How to get in touch Editor: email@example.com Advertising enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscription enquiries: email@example.com Tel: 07850 374 595 Website: www.ajivan.com The Journal of Health & Happiness is a publication of Ajivan: The Society for Health & Happiness, a voluntary group dedicated to positive health and wellbeing. Disclaimer: The information available in this magazine is for general awareness only. It is NOT a substitute for the knowledge and judgment of qualified medical experts. We make no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information. Should you have any health or medical condition, you are strongly advised to consult a qualified physician or other health care professional. Views expressed by our contributors are their own and we take no responsibility for their views.
Unhealthy lifestyle causes over 40% of cancers More than 100,000 cancers – equivalent to one third of all those diagnosed in the UK each year – are being caused by smoking, unhealthy diets, alcohol and excess weight, according to new research by Cancer Research UK. This figure further increases to around 134,000 when taking into account all 14 lifestyle and environmental risk factors analysed in this study. Published in the British Journal of Cancer, this new review of cancer and lifestyle in the UK is the most comprehensive undertaken to date. Smoking is by far the most important lifestyle factor causing 23 per cent of cancers in men and 15.6 per cent in women. Overall the review shows that 45 per cent of all cancers in men could be prevented – compared with 40 per cent of all cancers in women. Professor Max Parkin, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist based at Queen Mary, University of London, and study author, said ―Many people believe cancer is down to fate or ‗in the genes‘ and that it is the luck of the draw whether they get it. Looking at all the evidence, it‘s clear that
Advice for men For men the best advice appears to be: stop smoking, eat more fruits and vegetables and cut down on your alcohol intake.
Advice for women For women again the review says the best advice is: stop smoking and watch your weight. "We didn't expect to find that eating fruit and vegetables would prove to be so important in protecting men against cancer. And among women we didn't expect being overweight to be more of a risk factor than alcohol." Prof. Max Parkin, Cancer Research UK
around 40 per cent of all cancers are caused by things we mostly have the power to change." Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK‘s chief executive, said: ―Leading a healthy life doesn‘t guarantee that a person won‘t get cancer but this study shows that healthy habits can significantly stack the odds in our favour. While we have made tremendous progress in improving the chance of surviving cancer during the last 40 years, we need to make sure people are made aware of the risks of getting the disease in the first place so they can make the healthiest possible lifestyle choices. We know that cancer risk can be affected by family history and getting older, but these figures show that we can take positive steps to help reduce our risk of the disease. Stopping smoking, eating a balanced diet, cutting down on alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight could be New Year‘s resolutions that will help save more lives in future.‖
AMAZING FACTS ABOUT YOUR HEART: In under a minute, your heart can pump blood to every cell in your body. And over the course of a day, about 100,000 heart beats shuttle 2,000 gallons of oxygen-rich blood many times through about 60,000 miles of branching blood vessels that link together the cells of our organs and body parts. That's a hefty job for a fist-sized muscle.
Snort. Sniffle. Sneeze. No Antibiotics Please! If You Have a Cold or Flu, Antibiotics Won't Work For You!
Antibiotics cure bacterial infections, not viral infections such as:
Colds or flu; Most coughs and bronchitis; Sore throats not caused by strep; or Runny noses.
"Think hard before using antibiotics" UK hospitals told The Department of Health has urged hospitals to "think hard before using antibiotics". The message was given on the occasion of the European Antibiotics Awareness Day on Friday the 18th November. Similarly, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has called for more prudent use of antibiotics. Their studies have shown that half of all antibiotic use in hospitals is inappropriate. The ECDC estimated in 2009 that each year 25,000 Europeans die as a direct consequence of a multidrug-resistant infection. The ECDC concluded that prudent use of antibiotics, together with good hand hygiene practice, was the best way of preventing the spread of infection in hospitals. In the UK the Department of Health urged doctors to think twice before prescribing antibiotics because too many patients are receiving too many of them. Consequently, the viruses become more and more resistant to these life-saving drugs and when patients use these drugs they become ineffective. The Department of Health has published a new 5 THE JOURNAL OF HEALTH & HAPPINESS
guide titled "Antimicrobial stewardship: Start smart - then focus". The use of the word "Smart" echoes a similarly intended "Get Smart" campaign launched in the US. The guide gives hospital prescribers best practice advice on how to ensure patients get the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time and for the right length of time. Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said: "It is important we use antibiotics in the right way if we are to get the best outcome for the patient, slow down resistance and make sure these important medicines continue to stay effective for ourselves and for future generations."
A poll conducted by the UK Health Protection Agency found that in England one in 10 people keep leftover antibiotics - and many would selfmedicate next time they got ill. Further information on www.nhs.uk/antibiotics
Mindfulness Meditation: Eight weeks to a better brain Participating in an eight-week mindfulness meditation programme appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. In a study that will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Harvard-affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes in the brain‘s grey matter. ―Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,‖ says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH. For the study, magnetic resonance (MR) images were taken of the brain structure of 16 participants two weeks before and after they took part in the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. In addition to weekly meetings that included practice of mindfulness meditation — which focuses on nonjudgmental awareness of sensations, feelings, and state of mind — participants received audio recordings for guided meditation practice and were asked to keep track of how much time they practiced each day. A set of MR brain images was also taken of a control group of nonmeditators over a similar time interval. Meditation group participants reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day practicing mindfulness exercises, and their responses to a mindfulness questionnaire indicated significant improvements compared with pre6 THE JOURNAL OF HEALTH & HAPPINESS
participation responses. The analysis of MR images found increased greymatter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress.
None of these changes were seen in the control group, indicating that they had not resulted merely from the passage of time. ―It is fascinating to see the brain‘s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,‖ says Britta Hölzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH.
What is mindfulness? Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and Welcome principal research fellow at the University of Oxford, says: ―Mindfulness means non-judgemental awareness. A direct knowing of what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.‖ Professor Williams says that mindfulness can be an antidote to the ―tunnel vision‖ that can develop in our daily lives, especially when we are busy, stressed or tired. ―It‘s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It‘s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling, and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our
thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour. Professor Williams says: ―An important part of mindfulness is re-connecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs. ―Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment.
How to practise mindfulness? The first step to mindfulness is to remind yourself to take notice of your thoughts, feelings and body sensations, and the world around you. Professor Williams says: ―Even as we go about our daily lives, we can find new ways of waking up to the world around us. We can notice the sensations of things, the food we eat, the air moving past the body as we walk. All this may sound very small, but it has huge power to interrupt the ‗autopilot‘ mode we often engage day to day, and to give us new perspectives on life.‖ It can be helpful to pick a time – the morning journey to work or a walk at lunchtime – during which you decide to be aware of the sensations created by the world around you. Trying new things – sitting at a different seat in meetings, going somewhere new for lunch – can also help you notice the world in a new way. Professor Williams suggests: ―Similarly, notice the busyness of your mind. Just observe your own thoughts. Stand back and watch them floating past, like leaves on a stream. There is no need to try to change the thoughts, or argue with them, or judge them: just observe. This takes practice.‖ You can practise this anywhere, but it can be especially
helpful to take a mindful approach if you realise that, for several minutes, you have been ―trapped‖ in re-living past problems or "pre-living" future worries. To develop an awareness of thoughts and feelings, some people find it helpful to silently name them: ―Here is the thought that I might fail that exam.‖ Or, ―Here is anxiety.‖
Formal mindfulness practices As well as practising mindfulness in daily life, it can be helpful to set aside time for a more formal mindfulness practice. Several practices can help create a new awareness of body sensations, thoughts and feelings. They include: Meditation – participants sit silently and pay attention to the sensations of breathing or other regions of the body, bringing the attention back whenever the mind wanders. Yoga – participants often move through a series of postures that stretch and flex the body, with emphasis on awareness of the breath. Tai-chi – participants perform a series of slow movements, with emphasis on awareness of breathing. http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/mental-wellbeing
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Drug-free prevention of dementia Behavioural and mental exercises can halt the progression of dementia New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine shows that a regime of behavioural and mental exercises was able to halt the progression of dementia. Symptoms of dementia include confusion, loss of memory, and problems with speech and understanding. Researchers led by Prof. Graessel, from Friedrich-AlexanderUniversität Erlangen, included dementia patients from five nursing homes in Bavaria. After random selection, half the patients
introduction, which the researchers termed a 'spiritual element' (S), where the participants discussed topics like 'happiness', or sang a song or hymn. After 12 months of therapy the MAKS group maintained their level on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS) and, even more importantly maintained their ability to carry out activities of daily life, while in the control group everyone showed a decrease in cognitive and functional ability. Prof. Graessel
were included on the yearexplained, "While we Happiness is a skill we can learn: Western long MAKS 'intervention' observed a better result neuroscience has now confirmed what ancient Indian sages programme consisting of for patients with mild to used to preach thousands of years ago that happiness is two hours of group moderate dementia, the within you and it has to be learned and developed. Now therapy, six days a week. result of MAKS therapy modern research shows that happiness, compassion and In addition all patients on ADAS (cognitive kindness are the products of skills that can be learned and maintained their normal function) was at least as enhanced through training thanks to the neuroplasticity of treatment and regular good as treatment with our brains. activities provided by the cholinesterase inhibitors. nursing home. Additionally we found The MAKS system consists of motor stimulation(M), that the effect on the patients' ability to perform daily including games such as bowling, croquet, and balancing living tasks was twice as high as achieved by medication. exercises; cognitive stimulation (K), in the form of This means that MAKS therapy is able to extend the individual and group puzzles; and practicing 'daily living' quality of, and participation in, life for people with activities (A), including preparing snacks, gardening and dementia within a nursing home environment." crafts. The therapy session began with a ten minute
Neuroplasticity: Your brain is able to change itself after training or practice During most of the 20th century, the general consensus among neuroscientists was that brain structure is relatively unalterable after a critical period during early childhood. This belief has been challenged by new findings, revealing that many aspects of the brain remain plastic even into adulthood. The most widely recognized forms of plasticity are learning, memory, and recovery from brain damage. For example, when you view the brains of people who frequently practice playing the violin under fMRI (functional MRI) they appear to have developed a larger area of their brain devoted to mapping their fingers. This change is directly related
to the quantity and the quality of the practice they’re performing. One of the fun sayings around neuroplasticity is: “neurons that fire together wire together… and neurons that fire apart wire apart.”. This means that when neurons activate at the same time as a response to an event, the neurons become associated with one another and the connections become stronger. Of course the inverse happens as well: if those pathways aren’t utilized, the space will be used by other pathways needing room to grow. So the mantra is:
'Train your brain : Use it or lose it'
Health and wellbeing in Hounslow Draft strategy to reduce health inequalities in the borough Health and wellbeing strategy 20112016 in the borough of Hounslow is focused on tackling the causes of poor health and health inequalities. With good health borough residents are capable of growing, learning, and enjoying life. This strategy is about helping people reach their aspirations and about participating fully in society and in the economy. It is essentially a preventative strategy. Preventing illness prevents considerable physical and mental suffering across the population.
Hounslow Health Inequalities According to the London Health Observatory (LHO) Health Profiles analysis, published in October 2011, life expectancy from birth for the period 2007-2009 for both men and women in Hounslow is below London and national averages. In Hounslow male life expectancy at birth is 77.8 years while national average is 78.3. Similarly, female life expectancy is 82.1 years while national average being 82.3. The proportion of children reaching 5 years of age who have reached a good stage of development is worse than the national average but similar to London as a whole. The number of young people not in education, employment or training is also similar to the London average. Whilst it is difficult to derive what specific actions should be taken in response, these indicators will be useful as baselines against which to monitor progress over the time course of the strategy, i.e. next five years. Children and Young People’s Mental Health: It is estimated that around 5,000 children and young people between 0-18 years have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Hounslow‘s target population in this group is predicted to rise during the next decade, likely leading to a rise in referrals and demand for services. Breast, Bowel and Cervical Cancer Screening: The uptake remains poor in Hounslow and below the London target rate, with only 3 out of 5 women being
screened following invitation. Cervical screening is a proven life-saving intervention, estimated to save approximately 4,500 lives per year nationally. Despite this, the uptake rate of screening in Hounslow is below target and falling, giving the PCT an ‗amber‘ rating. Adult Sexual Health: It continues to be a public health issue for the Borough. The rates of diagnosed chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are higher in Hounslow than the national average, and the rate of HIV is double that of England. Women in Hounslow are prescribed longacting reversible contraception at a rate almost half that for England; while the abortion rate is significantly higher than both the national and London averages. Adult Learning Disabilities: These disabilities have been identified among 714 adults, yet only a small proportion of these are registered with the Borough and as receive funding for support. GP records indicate that these patients tend to experience poorer health than the rest of the population, with increased prevalence of overweight or obesity, underweight, asthma, diabetes, and heart, renal and chronic neurological disease. Continuing Healthcare: It is being provided to an increased number of patients and this has resulted in significant financial pressures in Hounslow. The cost per person of older people care packages in Hounslow is generally between £8,800 and £13,000, while palliative care packages are typically £1,200 to £1,400 per person and funded nursing care packages are around £4,200 and £5,400 per person. The cost and rate of hospital admissions of people in receipt of these packages are ongoing concerns
Overall summary of the context This section pulls together the information described above and in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) into 6 key messages: 1. Overall life expectancy is improving but remains worse than the London and national average . 2. Life expectancy varies greatly between different parts of the Borough and between different sub-groups. Data from the JSNA shows a gap of 8 years for women and 15 years for men between different electoral wards, some but not all of which may be due to random variation. People with learning difficulties and mental health problems have shorter life expectancy. 3. Childhood obesity and children and young people‘s mental health are significant problems which are likely to add costs to public services in the long term. In this context it is notable that almost one third of children live in families receiving means-tested benefits. 4. Adults have high rates of admission for alcohol-related harm, high rates of TB and low levels of physical activity. Each of these issues shows their own pattern of inequalities with ethnicity and geographical area, suggesting no single approach will be satisfactory. 5. Basic preventative services do not reach enough of our population. The dynamics of the population of Hounslow, with relatively large numbers of people moving in and out and within the Borough make the maintenance of accurate population registers a challenge. As a result the levels of uptake of preventative services whether in childhood (mainly
immunisation) or in adults (mainly cancer screening) remains lower than elsewhere. 6. Services for older people and people with long term conditions will come under increasing pressure over the next decade. The number of over-65s is set to rise by nearly one-third between 2011 and 2031.
economic benefits in reducing losses from illness associated with health inequalities. These currently account for productivity losses, reduced tax revenue, higher welfare payments and increased treatment costs. Action taken to reduce health inequalities will benefit society in many ways. Economic growth is not the most Six Point action plan to important measure of our country‘s reduce health inequalities success. The fair distribution of health, Reducing health inequalities is vital well-being and sustainability are for the economy. The cost of health important social goals. Tackling social inequalities can be measured by the cost inequalities in health and tackling climate change must go together. to the economy of additional illness. The highest priority recommendation Actions to raise the general level of health from the Review was to give every child and flatten the social gradient will have
the best start in life, as disadvantage starts before birth and accumulates throughout life, This was the first of six policy recommendations outlined in the review as the way to reduce health inequalities. The others were: - Enable all children, young people and adults to maximise their capabilities and have control over their lives, - Create fair employment and good work for all, - Ensure a healthy standard of living for all, - Create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities and - Strengthen the role and impact of illhealth prevention.
Edited extracts from: 'Draft Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2011-2016' http://democraticservices.hounslow.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=65607
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Heading a football could cause brain damage
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Cristiano Ronaldo may be one of the world's best football header, but here is a warning for him - heading a football can also damage the brain. New research has found using your head to intercept a kick, make a pass or score a goal can lead to brain abnormalities similar to those seen in people with traumatic brain injuries. A mighty football kick flying at the speed of 34 miles/hour can do some real damage to the brain. American neuroscientists used brain images to compare the brain structure of 32 amateur male players, who averaged 30 years of age and had played football since childhood. Those who performed heading skills most frequently had more significant changes to the brain's white matter, which is made of millions of nerve fibres called axons that transport the brain's electrical impulses, compared with players who preferred using their feet. Scientists used specialised imaging, known as diffusion tensor imaging, to observe changes in the movement of water along an axon, a measurement known as fractional anisotropy (FA). In healthy white matter, water movement is largely uniform and gives a high FA reading. One of the study's authors, Michael Lipton, said abnormally low FA within white matter had been associated with cognitive impairment in patients with traumatic brain injury. Presenting his findings to the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago, Lipton said, ''These are findings that should be taken into consideration to protect players.'' Players who performed between 1000 to 1500 headers per year had significantly lower readings than those who used the skill less. Previous studies have shown players who frequently used the technique performed almost 20 per cent worse in memory tests. ''There is compelling evidence that there are brain changes that look like traumatic brain injury as a result of heading a soccer ball with high frequency,'' said Dr Lipton.
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Yoga helps in chronic lower back pain A major study has found that a specially-designed 12week yoga programme provided greater improvements than conventional forms of GP care. The research, funded by Arthritis Research UK, focused on back function - people's ability to undertake activities without being limited by back pain. Although improvements in back function were more pronounced at three months, researchers found there was still an improvement in people's ability to perform tasks such as walking more quickly, getting dressed without help or standing up for longer periods of time even nine months after the classes had finished. The trial involved two groups of people. A 156-strong group were offered group yoga classes specially designed to improve back function, while a second control group of 157 people were offered GP care alone. The findings of the study, which was carried out by researchers from the University of York and the Hull York Medical School, are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine this week. The yoga programme, which involved 20 experienced yoga teachers, was designed and delivered by Truro-based Alison Trewhela, an Iyengar Yoga teacher in collaboration with York-based yoga teacher Anna Semlyen, a Back Care Advisor to the British Wheel of Yoga. Lower back pain is a common episodic condition, with 80 per cent of the UK population suffering from it at some point
in their lives. It is estimated that around 4.9 million working days a year are lost due to back pain. However, few effective, evidence-based treatments exist. Medical Director of Arthritis Research UK Professor Alan Silman said: "We're delighted that our trial has shown that yoga provides such positive benefits for people with chronic low back pain. This extremely common condition cannot be managed with painkillers alone and there is an urgent need to have non-drug therapies that sufferers can utilise in their own home." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------------------
Exercise as good as drugs to treat migraines Research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University and the final third given topiramate. The study lasted for a of Gothenburg, Sweden, has now shown that exercise is just as total of three months, during which the patients' migraine good as drugs at preventing migraines. Doctors use a variety status, quality of life, aerobic capacity and level of physical of different methods to prevent migraines these days: on the activity were evaluated before, during and after their pharmaceutical side a drug based on the substance topiramate treatment. Follow-ups were then carried out after three and six has proved effective. Now exercise is also frequently months. recommended as a treatment. In a randomized controlled study The results show that the number of migraines fell in all researchers from the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska three groups. 'Our conclusion is that exercise can act as an Academy have now analysed how well exercise works as a alternative to relaxations and topiramate when it comes to preventative treatment for migraines relative to relaxation preventing migraines, and is particularly appropriate for exercises and topiramate. patients who are unwilling or unable to take preventative Published in the journal Cephalalgia, the study involved 91 medicine, says Emma Varkey, the physiotherapist and migraine patients, a third of whom were asked to exercise for doctoral student at the Sahlgrenska Academy who carried out 40 minutes three times a week under the supervision of a the study. physiotherapist, with another third doing relaxation exercises, ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------
Hearing loss affects 1 in 5 in the US More than 48 million Americans over the age of 12 have trouble hearing in one or both ears, says a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. And the way we listen to music is partly to blame. ―What we know now is that environmental exposures - like listening to music too loudly can contribute to long term hearing damage over time,‖ says Dr. Frank R. Lin, lead study author from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Here‘s how hearing loss happens with headphones: You have your headphones on and are jamming to your favourite tune on maximum volume. The sound waves enter the ear, travel through the ear canal all the way to the hair cells located in your inner ear. Hair cells help convert
sound energy into electrical signals sent to the brain. This, in return, allows you to hear the music clearly. But when the volume is too loud, those hair cells get damaged and never grow back. ―The tricky thing about loud noise exposure is that most people won‘t see the impact for many years later,‖ says Lin. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, listening to an MP3 player at 100db for just 15 minutes can cause hearing loss. And a good rule of thumb for parents: If you can hear your kid's music through their headphones, it‘s probably too loud. 13 THE JOURNAL OF HEALTH & HAPPINESS
London 2011: Are We Kind Enough Louise Burfitt-Dons set up the UK Kindness Movement in 2005. She writes about a miniconference that asked the question are we kind enough in London. As co-founder of Kindness Day UK on November 13th the idea behind this conference was to get a fresh update on how we are faring in our capital city. Then, in between, came the alarming scenes last August, when London seemed more a war zone than a friendly metropolis. Quite rightly, people everywhere and particularly overseas are asking 'What has happened to the UK?'. Not so many years ago we were pilloried as manners-obsessed, not aggressive enough in competition and too hospitable for our own good. This year reports of neglect in hospitals, rude behaviour in shops and on tubes, buses and trains, blatant misselling of goods and services are a daily read in the press. Then along came the report by The Young Foundation in October suggesting that most British people care about and have had positive experiences of civility. So the question of are or aren‘t we kind seemed relevant. There are a myriad of interpretations of how to run a more considerate society. Big Society Network CEO Steve Moore opened with a précis of how the charity is encouraging practical initiatives, such as Benitas Mafoshka‘s People Who Share, initiative, which is a marketplace connecting those who want to swap or donate just about anything, from goods to businesses. Tom Andrews, a former strategic manager for the Royal Opera House trialled an ambitious project in Herne Bay in Kent which celebrated kindness across a whole town as part of an initiative of his organisation People United. In this new computer-era, when many people have lost the natural art of socialising with strangers to build their business or personal connection it was a good choice to select Judith Perle Co-author of The Network Effect to chair the evening. Dan Thompson, the man with the
gumption and faith in the general public to organise the impressive Clean Up after the riots, told of the great spirit that abounded and his phone call of support from PM David Cameron in the thick of it all. To answer the question: Are We Kind Enough? Dr Paula Boddington, lecturer in ethics at Oxford University referred to the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle who believed the virtuous life was one which had pleasure within. `One simple reason for this answer is to do with what the nature of each individual human is: we are social beings, living together, as Aristotle so charmingly put it, not side by side like grazing cattle in the fields, but with a common life and interest in each other,‘ she said. Mark Williamson of Action for Happiness reminded us though that despite being much wealthier, studies show we‘re actually no happier than we were five decades ago and that there is an essential link here with kindness which was often overlooked. There is no doubt that the more competitive environment forced upon us by the demands of modern society is no breeding ground for the `after you‘ style of politeness which is so pleasant to live amongst. This was a
sentiment echoed by Vijay Rana, who told a very touching story to illustrate the decline in kindness as a result of changing employment conditions. A former broadcasting journalist for the BBC World Service of over twenty years he now publishes the Journal of Health and Happiness. Similar to Dan‘s voluntary leadership to clear the debris from the streets at the end of last Summer George Monck spoke about the extraordinary impact his initiative of Cleanup UK has had in bringing people together out of doors in a simple, basic way. Just pick up rubbish, was his clear message. It stands to reason a cleaner, prettier, tidier community makes you feel better.
How to recognise kindness in the UK Louise Burfitt-Dons is compiling a report on Kindness in the UK. If you have any ideas on practical ways to recognise kind people and organisations, please send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Diabetes:1 in 10 That's the number of adults worldwide predicted to have diabetes by 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation. The advocacy group estimates that 522 million people will have diabetes in the next two decades; currently, 346 million people have the disease, according to the World Health Organization. The projected future rise in diabetes cases is based on population aging and demographic changes, rather than the obesity epidemic.
Ginger: The magic root For more than 5,000 years people have valued the 'hot' and 'warming' qualities of ginger. Today ginger is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, sore throats and to improve circulation and reduce fat deposits in the arteries. In India Ayurvedic practitioners also use ginger as a cure for cholera, anorexia and 'inflamed liver'. Its fresh pungent flavour makes it an essential spice for Indian cuisine. There is an old saying in India that 'there's no tincture without ginger'. Fresh ginger is one of the main spices used for making pulse and lentil curries and other vegetable preparations. Fresh, as well as dried, ginger is used to spice tea and coffee, especially in winter. Many of these traditional medicinal properties are supported by recent scientific research. In 2003, researchers from the University of Minnesota found that ginger may protect against bowel cancer. Medicines containing ginger come in a variety of forms. Over the last decade it has become
a common over-the-counter herbal remedy, taken in many different forms. Its main use in the West is for motion sickness because of its anti-sickness properties. Many of its actions are due to the presence of compounds called oleoresins, especially those known as gingerols and shogoals. These compounds work on the muscles of the gut to improve digestion. They also help to lower blood cholesterol, treat migraines, minimise the risk of thrombosis as well as help prevent cancer. Ginger works best when treating post-operative nausea and morning sickness, although its effectiveness in treating sea and other forms of motion sickness is still questioned by some scientists. Fresh ginger is said to help to reduce inflammation in conditions like osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.
Ginger Tea Simply cut a few slices of fresh ginger root and place them in a pan with a pint of cold water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes add a little bit of honey or sugar to taste. Ginger is quite pungent and some may not find it easy to drink. So you have to have a small slice of ginger. A rough measure is to have a slice of the size of your thumb.
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Atul Kochhar's Health & Happiness recipe
Yellow Pumpkin and Ginger Soup with Coriander Crusted Cod
―Pumpkin is at its best during autumn – winter. Cod is also big and rich in flavours during this season, but please buy Cod caught from sustainable waters only! Pair this recipe with some mushrooms and red kidney beans (Rajmah) – it will turn into a delight! Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you all!‖ Yellow Pumpkin Soup Ingredients: - 3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil - 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped - 500 gm peeled, deseeded pumpkin, roughly chopped - 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger - 1 small green chilli, deseeded and fine chopped - 40 gm Sugar - Salt to taste - 50 ml dry white wine - 400 ml vegetable or chicken stock - 30 ml double cream (optional) - ¼ tsp cinnamon powder - Red pepper corns, lightly crushed for garnish
Cod: - 300 gm clean cod fillet cut into 4 pieces - Salt-pepper to taste - ½ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed - 2 tbsp of black pumpkin seeds, toasted and crushed - ½ tsp coriander leaves, dried and powdered (optional) - Ginger julienne, deep fried to crisp texture (optional) - Oil and butter to pan fry
Greens: - 2 tsp vegetable or olive oil - 1 tsp fine chopped garlic
- ¼ tsp crushed black pepper or red chilli flakes - 200 gm baby spinach or lettuce leaves - ¼ tsp turmeric powder - ¼ tsp coriander powder - Salt to taste
Method: For soup, heat oil, sauté ginger and chilli for a minute and then add onions. Saute onions for 3-5 minutes and then add pumpkin, cook for further 3-4 minutes. Add sugar, salt, white wine and reduce the wine to half. Add stock and cream and cook for further 10 minutes. Cool slightly and then blend the soup with stick blender until smooth. Pass though fine sieve and add cinnamon powder and keep warm until required. For fish, heat oil in a pan, dust it with spices and pan fry each side for 1-2 minutes and finish in oven basted with butter. For greens, heat oil in a pan and sauté garlic until light brown. Add chilli flakes or pepper, spinach leaves and spices. Saute lightly until leaves wilt, season and remove. Place the green in the middle of a deep plate, pour the soup around the greens and place the fish on top of the greens. Garnish with coriander dust and ginger julienne and sprinkle crushed red pepper. 16 THE JOURNAL OF HEALTH & HAPPINESS
HEALTH & HAPPINESS in the community
HNH at World Travel Market During the World Travel Market in Nov 2011, The Journal of Health & Happiness was presented to Mr Subodh Kant Sahai, India's Minister of Tourism (2nd from right). He warmly welcomed and appreciated the magazine. Also in photo are Mr Sanjay Shrivats, Director India Toruism, London, HNH editor Vijay Rana and Mr Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minster of Tourism Jammu and Kashmir.
Creating healthy lives and positive mental health
The Journal of Health & Happiness was in great demand during the Hounslow Health Show, organised in October in the Paul Robson Theatre at the Treaty Centre. More than 300 people asked for the free copy of the magazine. During this highly motivating event visitors were given free health checks and listened to various health and happiness presentations. The HNH editor Vijay Rana gave a presentation on the role of Positive Psychology and happiness while dealing with health problems.
LAMBOURNE YOUR LOCAL LETTING AND SALES AGENTS Serving the community for more than 25 years
Lambourne's OP Sharma facilitated by DL Kalhan. Also sitting in the photo is India's Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai.
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