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Folic acid should be added to bread on a mandatory basis, the Food Standards Agency has advised government. It says the move could cut the number of babies being born with spina bifida by nearly two thirds, as the vitamin plays a key role in foetal development. Women are advised to take supplements before becoming pregnant, but many do not do so, or take them too late.

Research has linked folic acid to a raised cancer risk, but the FSA said the evidence was not convincing. The US and Canada started fortification of bread flour in the late 1990s, and some of the subsequent research has pointed to an increase in cases of bowel cancer. However the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, which advises the FSA, said this evidence was insubstantial and that any increase in cases could be down to improved screening. It did, however, recommend that those deemed to be at greater risk of colon cancer should receive precautionary advice on taking extra supplements containing folic acid, and that the situation should be monitored.

Unplanned pregnancies

Last month there were calls for all Scottish women to take folic acid – even those not planning a family – after 15 babies were born with the condition since the start of the year.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin found in a wide variety of foods including liver and green leafy vegetables. The body cannot store it, so it must be ingested daily via supplements or folate-rich foods. The vitamin is known to prevent neural tube defects in foetuses, but many women do not take it – in part because pregnancies are often unplanned and can go unnoticed for many weeks.

As well as cutting the incidence of spina bifida, latest research from Canada also suggests it can reduce the risk of congenital heart problems in babies. But while cereal has long been fortified, suggestions that bread should be supplemented have been rejected by those who argue it is tantamount to mass medication. The FSA’s advice has been sent to the UK’s chief medical officer – Sir Liam Donaldson, who is known to be an advocate of fortification. Legislation would be needed however for the move to go ahead.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “We will now consider their recommendation for the introduction of mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid alongside controls on voluntary fortification.”

You can read the article on the BBC website here – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8315836.stm

For more information on the Herbalife products containing Folic Acid, please contact us or visit our online store to browse the full product range.

sknutrition101

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new aviSo my beautiful daughter is 12 weeks old already (gulp) and I’ve decided it’s about  time I started getting back to my pre-pregnancy levels of fitness – and of course weight!

Until her current growth spurt is over (I’m breastfeeding) I will stay on core nutrition including just one shake a day – for good health – and my plan is to gradually start re-introducing more of the weight management products and cutting back on the “normal” food I’m eating, so that it doesn’t affect my milk.

I’m really looking forward to exercising at the gym and studio again, but know it’ll be a few more months before I can use the creche – also I am not ready to leave my baby girl yet, even if it is just for an hour! So here is what I’ve already started doing:

  • I babywear for several hours a day which is great for both of us and also means I can still get out and about with my pre-schooler. Yesterday we were chasing each other around the trees in the woods while the baby was fast asleep in the wrap – fabulous! You can read my previous post on babywearing benefits here.
  • I’ve downloaded a load of Yogamazing podcasts onto my laptop and iPhone (you can subscribe at iTunes too), so I can do a quick workout whenever I get the chance – which means the rare occasions both kids sleep at the same time! I also have a child’s yoga mat so my son can “join in” if he wants to (!)
  • As well as my beloved and much-used Fitflops, I’ve got a pair of the new Sketchers Shape-ups . I am already a fan of MBTs but have to say I prefer these (surprising for me as the Sketchers are much cheaper, and I normally have expensive taste!!!) – as they are not so obviously ‘unbalanced’ making it easier to walk with them from day one, and in my opinion, not taking very much getting used to (although I confess to not having watched the DVD that comes with them). I also think they look more like trainers than MBTs – my husband usually makes disparaging remarks when I wear the MBTs, but thinks these look nice. I’ve been using them for a couple of weeks now and they are absolutely great – I would highly recommend them if you’re looking to get into shape and want to make the most of your regular activities. I can actually feel the muscles in my legs have had a work-out when I’ve worn them! And I suppose I can’t say all that without a picture now, can I?  These are the same as mine:shapeupsNice eh? (I  got them from www.fitnessfootwear.com who in my experience are very quick to deliver and always give excellent service as well as good pricing.)

I think when you’re a new mum, especially when breastfeeding and you have more of an appetite and less time to prepare healthy food, it even more important to watch what you’re eating, and I must admit that I haven’t always followed my own advice in the last three months!

I’ll try to post regular updates over the nex few months, although I can’t post as regularly as I did before I entered the realms of two children – which is a whole new ball-game!

Best of health,
Sarah

sknutrition101

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hospital-bagAs I am now over 33 weeks pregnant (hoorah – not too long to go!) I’ve been preparing my “labour bag” and as well as the usual lists of nappies, nighties and nursing pads, there are some Herbalife products I will definitely be packing and would highly recommend to anyone else:

For Mum-to-be

For Dad-to-be

  • Lift Off – an energy boosting drink (containing caffeine) which won’t give him a “downer” afterwards!
  • NRG – caffiene and guarana in tablet form – also great for concentration when returning to work after sleepless nights!!!!
  • Protein Bars & Formula 1 sachets (as above)

For Mum & Baby

  • Aloe Soothing Gel -cooling &  soothing for any minor skin irritations and gentle enough for baby’s bottom!
  • Being a new mum can be tiring so it’s important you get the daily nutrition your body needs for optimum functioning. If you’re going to be breastfeeding, it’s even more important that you take the right nutrition every day – something that can be hard to do when you’re a tired new mum. However you are feeding, you may want to consider the Herbalife Healthy Breakfast Programme as an addition to your daily regime. It’s a fast and convenient way of getting a good start to the day, topping up your levels of essential vitamins and minerals, and the high soy protein content will help you feel full for longer – so you can prevent snacking on unhealthy mid-morning snacks! (We can also help you get back into shape if you are left with a baby bulge!!!)

For information on how you can incorporate these, or any of the other Herbalife products into your lifestyle, please contact me. You can also visit the UK store to purchase online (international customers click here).

sknutrition101

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Mothers-to-be who are obese increase their odds of having a baby with abnormalities including spina bifida, researchers say.

Their analysis of data from 39 studies found obese women were more than twice as likely to have a baby with spina bifida or another neural tube defect. The risk of heart defects and cleft lip was also raised, the Journal of the American Medical Association says.

Up to a fifth of pregnant mothers in the UK are classed as obese.

Leading clinicians said the government should be focusing anti-obesity campaigns on women of child-bearing age.

It is well known that women who are obese are more likely to have difficulty conceiving and once they are pregnant, overweight and obese women and their babies are at a greater risk of a range of health problems. However, this is the first time that so many studies have been combined to build a more accurate picture of the risks to the unborn child, according to lead researcher Dr Judith Rankin of Newcastle University.

“Given that we are seeing an increase in the number of people who are overweight or obese, then we may see an increase in the number of babies born with abnormalities,” she said. However, she stressed these abnormalities were uncommon.

“Spina bifida only occurs in approximately one in every 2,000 births, so the risk, even among obese women, remains very low.

“Women who are thinking about trying for a baby need to check their own weight first and then think about seeking help if they are overweight.

“While you are pregnant it’s not the time to start a weight loss diet but it is more important to eat sensibly and healthily,” she said. The Royal College of Midwives echoed this advice.

Dr Rankin’s team will now continue the work to examine why there is a link between a mother’s weight and abnormalities in the baby. They say it could be related to nutritional deficiencies or undetected diabetes in the mother.

Both maternal diabetes and a lack of folic acid are established risk factors for birth abnormalities, particularly neural tube defects which affect the brain and spinal cord.

Prevention

Andrew Russell, chief executive of the Association for Spinal Bifida and Hydrocephalus, said: “Folic acid does seem to be involved. It is very important for women planning a pregnancy or likely to fall pregnant to take a folic acid supplement.”

If you are interested in finding out more about increasing your well-being and nutrition in advance of conception, please feel free to contact us via our main website. You can also view related testimonials on our Results page.

sknutrition101

Click here to view the full article on BBC NEWS | Health | Obese mothers ‘risk spina bifida’.

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Danyelle babyRegular readers will have seen Danyelle’s “before and after” pictures on my blog and website in the past. I’ve managed to catch up with her today I am delighted to share her updated testimonial.

I was so excited when I first heard of her pregnancy and have been waiting for Danyelle to introduce her BEAUTIFUL daughter to everyone!

Here is what she said today:

In July 2007 I weighed 15st 9 and my life was a mess.

I had been trying for a baby for 6 years with no success so decided to change my life around. I’d had 4 attempts at IVF before then and nothing had worked so I thought ‘enough’s enough’ booked a trip to Australia, bought a sports car and I started Herbalife with Sarah’s help… and I stuck to it. I was not hungry like many other diets I had been on and I liked the taste (of the products).

By November 2007 when I went to Australia I was 12st and feeling great and even started running and look part in a 10k race and finished it. On 8th January 2008 I took a pregnancy test and it was positive – YES I had fallen pregnant naturally.

Throughout the 6 years I’d hidden behind the fact that it was the weight that stopped me getting pregnant and just wallowed in self pity and ate more.

On 20th September 2008 my beautiful daughter Maegan was born weighing a healthy 7lb and 12.5.

I am back on Herbalife now and breastfeeding and hopefully a brother or sister for Maegan will follow….

I am absolutely delighted for Danyelle and her husband – it’s this kind of “after” picture that really makes being an Herbalife Distributor feel so special. The products really can help people make major lasting changes to their lives that affect their whole families so much.

If you missed the original photos of Danyelle, you can see her before and after snaps on the Results page of the blog.

If you need help with getting your weight on track and would like to embark on a more healthy and active lifestyle, please contact me (Sarah) for more information, or you can browse the product range online at

sknutrition101

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At 24 weeks

My "football" at 24 weeks!

It’s been a while since I updated my own story so I thought it was time for a quick progress report and picture (sorry it’s such a bad one with loads of glare but it’s all I have) as there are now quite a few pregnant readers of this blog who have been in touch.

I am delighted to say that this week saw my pregnancy pass the 24 week point which feels like an important milestone as the baby would now have a chance of survival if it arrived early! (I am still saying “it” because the little wriggler had it’s legs up at the anomaly scan so it wasn’t possible to determine the sex.) (more…)

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milAfter recently reading that stress from bad leadership at work can harm your health, it may come as little surprise to some that scientists have now discovered that living with your husband’s mother can damage your health too!!!

Here is an extract from the article I came across today:

(more…)

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