Mediterranean-style diet may lower women’s stroke risk

Following a Mediterranean-style diet may reduce stroke risk in women over 40 but not in men – according to new research led by the University of East Anglia (UEA). A new report, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, reveals that a diet high in fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and beans, and lower in meat and dairy, reduces stroke risk among white adults who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

It shows that the diet may be especially protective in women over 40 regardless of menopausal status or hormone replacement therapy. Over a 17-year period, researchers from UEA, the University of Aberdeen and the University of Cambridge examined the diets of more than 23,000 participants and compared stroke risk among four groups ranked highest to lowest by how closely they adhered to a Mediterranean-style diet.

The study participants consisted of 23,232 white adults, aged between 40 and 77. In participants who most closely followed a Mediterranean-style diet, the reduced onset of stroke was 17 per cent in all adults, 22 per cent in women and 6 per cent in men.

Facing fertility facts

Recent news shows that sperm counts have dropped by over 50 per cent from 1973 to 2011.

Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD, the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s health, says: “With half the problems with fertility concerning the man, it is important to look at male fertility rather than the couple being rushed into IVF when the woman may not have a fertility problem. Male fertility is affected by poor diet, stress, smoking and alcohol. There is also good research on improving sperm count, motility and number of normal sperm using antioxidants such as vitamin E, selenium, vitamin C and zinc as well as omega-3 fish oil, vitamin D, co-enzyme Q10 and two amino acids arginine and carnitine. It is so important for the man to eat healthily and to take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement designed specifically for male fertility.”

Dr Glenville is the author of a number of internationally best-selling books including Getting Pregnant Faster. For more tips on how to improve your fertility naturally, read our feature article Pitter Patter here.

Expectant mums at risk of overeating

Eight in ten mothers are baffled by advice given on nutrition during pregnancy with many believing they can excessively overeat, which could be putting their babies at risk, a new study has revealed.

Almost half (46 per cent) of the women surveyed claimed to be receiving conflicting dietary advice resulting in a third (34 per cent) admitting they have stopped eating certain foods because they simply didn’t know whether they were safe or not. The survey also revealed that 23 per cent of UK women wrongly think they should be consuming a whopping 21,960 extra calories over and above the recommended amount across the term of their pregnancy.

The survey of 1,500 women across the UK, with 1,118 women who are either currently pregnant or have been pregnant, was for the launch of Aptaclub’s Eating For 2 – a free expert-led pregnancy nutrition resource designed to support women during pregnancy, including a selection of pregnancy-friendly recipes developed by celebrity Chef Lorraine Pascale.

To find out more, visit

Schools sign up to healthier menu programme

A food awareness organisation is helping to introduce a range of healthier, more sustainable meat-free menu options to schools across the UK.

The new School Plates programme was launched earlier this year by ProVeg UK and a total of 110 primary schools will benefit from the new menus. Changes include the adoption of Meat-Free Mondays, new daily meat-free meals, and new descriptions for the meat-free and plant-based dishes to make them even more appealing to the students.

“We all want children to thrive and these new-look, healthier menus are a big step in the right direction,” said Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK. “Eating more plant-based foods is such a great way to improve children’s health in the short term – particularly by helping to reduce childhood obesity – and also in the long term by helping to reduce the risk of all kinds of chronic health conditions including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”

Over the next 12 months, around 3.1 million meat-based meals will become meat-free, based on commitments from the schools and local authorities currently engaging with School Plates.

Seasons eatings

“Whilst Brussels sprouts tend to get thought about at Christmas time, they’re actually coming into season very soon,” says nutritionist Suzie Sawyer ( “And do give consideration for this much-maligned vegetable because it provides some great health benefits. Brussels sprouts are particularly healthy for the liver because they’re high in sulphur and encourage liver detoxification. Plus, they’re packed with vitamins and minerals and provide all the wonderful health benefits of other cruciferous vegetables, such as high fibre to keep the bowels regular, hormonal balance, cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant protection. Hopefully you’re convinced to go out and buy some!”

App of the month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and leading charity Breast Cancer Now has created the Breast Check Now app which aims to get women into the habit of checking their breasts regularly. The app sets up a plan that’s easy to remember and fits in with your daily life. It also gives all the information on potential signs and symptoms to look out for and enables you to keep a record of your checks to help you learn what’s normal for you and to see if anything changes.

Download the free Breast Check Now app here:

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