How Exercise Keeps Your Brain Young

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“Your brain will eventually enjoy exercise for exercise’ sake, right; endorphins and endocannabinoids will create a sense of reward , but it doesn’t know that at first.”

Charles Duhigg

Want a younger brain? How about better memory? Then this blog post is for you. Read on and I’ll explain.

We all know exercise is good. And when asked why we do it, most of us would say we want a six-pack or get rid of unsightly bingo wings. But few would say they want to grow more brain cells. But that’s exactly what happens.

Not too long ago scientists thought the human brain starts going downhill from around age twenty-five — twenty-five! Fortunately, we now know that neurogenesis — the creation of brain cells — can happen well into old age, even nineties and beyond.

Why would movement affect the brain?

Think back to the first humans. Their environment was new. Everything was new. They had to get out there to explore and learn new things; what was food and what was predator; what was edible and what wasn’t; who was friend and who was foe.

Put simply, movement prepared the brain for new experiences, and the ability to learn from them, by making new neurons and increasing the volume of the brain.

Also, with no Lidls or Walmarts around the corner, early humans had to track down, hunt and kill their dinner — not something you’d do sitting down.

So how does it work?

Movement, be it walking in the park or up the stairs, cycling, or jogging puts your muscle cells to work. The largest muscles are those in your butt and thighs, and just taking the stairs instead of the lift (or, elevator for non-UK readers) can break down up to sixty percent of the glucose floating around in your blood.

And once you put your muscles to work, they begin producing proteins called myokines which are then released into the blood stream. Myokines have a range of effects: some make you feel alert, some act as antidepressants and others work like pain killers.


The hippocampus is your brain’s memory centre — think of it as HQ. From about age thirty-five, the volume of the brain shrinks by roughly half a percent every year, and the hippocampus shrinks too. And that’s why memory worsens with age. But it’s not all gloom and doom because exercise increases the volume and creates new nerve cells — at any age.

How much exercise does the brain need to grow younger?

A year-long study split 120 people into two categories: one did gentle stretching exercises, the other walked briskly for 40 minutes three times a week. By briskly I mean fast enough to up the pulse rate a few notches. Or, walking fast enough to become slightly out of breath.

A year later, the brains of the stretch group had, as predicted, shrunk in volume by 1.4 percent. And the group that had done more pulse-raising exercise? Drum roll, please. The volume of their brains… wait for it… had increased by two percent! In other words, their brains had grown two years younger!

And there’s more…

The hippocampus is not the only part of your gray matter that’s impacted by exercise; the frontal lobe is too. This is where the decision maker of your brain — the boss — lives. When faced with contrasting messages, like in the colour test below, it’s the frontal lobe that works out what to do.

A simple example of the frontal lobe in action coupled with the effects of exercise was done on a group of older adults, all regular exercisers. Cards, each with a colour written on it, but in different-coloured pens, were shown to the participants, one by one.

So, the word ‘red’ was written with a green-coloured pen, the word ‘blue’ was written with a red-coloured pen; you get the idea. Each person then had to say the colour the word was written in, not the word itself, as fast as they could.

And, yes, it might sound simple, but it’s something the brain gets worse at with age — unless one keeps active. But in this test, all the older adults — some of them ninety-plus — aced it, outperforming 30-year-old couch potatoes. Now, if that’s not an incentive to get moving, I don’t know what is.

In the ‘colour card test’ active ninety-year-olds performed better than sedentary thirty-year-olds.

Learning about this while writing this post made me realise that exercise is not primarily what we’ve been led to believe — something you do to keep your body fit and healthy.

Rather, from an evolutionary point of view, exercise primes your mind; it prepares you for new learning, new experiences. The fit and healthy body is secondary — a happy by-product.

This is such a huge topic that I’ve just touched on. Hopefully you found it interesting. Please like, share or comment — I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,



Here’s Why You Need To Eat More Mushrooms

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Mushrooms seem to me to be an understated food. I had no idea how great they are until just recently.

I know they taste great sautéed in a little butter, pinch of salt and pepper, on a piece of wholegrain toast. Yummy.

Which brings back memories of autumnal afternoons spent foraging for chanterelles in the woods back home. Then off home to cook them… But I digress.

Mushrooms are… wait for the drum roll… the only plant food to produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. And vitamin D, as we know, helps keep ’em ole bones strong.

And for those calorie-conscious folks out there: six medium-sized button mushrooms contain roughly 22 calories.

Being a fan of antioxidant-rich foods, mushrooms must surely come with some of those. And they do. Namely Ergothioneine. Or ET, for short.

If asked to name foods with antioxidants in them, most of us will say things like: berries, citrus fruits, peppers, green tea, etc. The usual suspects.

But mushrooms. Who knew? Let’s just say they’ve gone up more than a notch in my estimation. But there’s more.

Remember my last post on aging and free radicals? And I spoke about mitochondria, our little cellular power plants where energy from the food we eat is turned into a form the body can use.

Well, listen to this: ET is one of two antioxidants that can get into the mitochondria. And once inside, it helps clean up some of the mess caused by oxidation. How cool is that?

There’s so much more to tell you, so I’ll post a Part 2 on this topic shortly.

Until then,


An Unpeeled Apple a Day May Keep the Doc Away

photography of pile of apples
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“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”

Henry David Thoreau

Every so often, a so-called superfood gets its fifteen minutes of fame. Blog posts extol the virtues of the latest Instagram-worthy plant or seed that happens to be in fashion that week: acai, chia, bee pollen.

So I thought I’d pick something a bit less exotic, like apples, a commonly eaten fruit, and sing their praises a bit. A life-long apple-lover myself, I never realised how great they really are until now.

Originally from Kazakhstan, they have been a staple of the human diet over many millennia. The original, the Eve of all apples, still lives on there, in the wild, and has given rise to the varieties we buy in the supermarkets: Fiji, Granny Smith, Jazz, etc. 1

So what’s so great about apples?

  •  Well, they are inexpensive (yes, there are expensive ones, too, but a five-pack for £1.60 is pretty good, I reckon.)
  •  With hundreds of different kinds there’s something for everyone, from sweet to tart or something in-between.
  • They contain fibre1. Its job as bulker-upper may not be glam but very important. Bulkier stools are easier to pass and pass through quicker.
  •  And, let’s not forget, fibre encourages the growth of friendly gut bacteria which help you stay healthy by keeping the bad guys in check3.
  • They are chockful of vitamins A, C, E, and B9 (folate) as well as potassium, an important electrolyte1.
  • They contain flavonoids, plant chemicals that have antioxidant- and other health-promoting properties3.
  • They contain loads of good bacteria, especially the core (which most people throw away). Some evidence suggests organic apples have a greater diversity of health-promoting bacteria than conventional ones4 .

A bit more about flavonoids

Like our immune system, the function of flavonoids is to protect against disease-causing organisms, like bacteria and fungus. They also protect against damaging UV-light. And like antioxidants, flavonoids are able to neutralise free radicals2, those pesky unpaired electrons I wrote about in Eat This To Slow Down The Rusting.

Most flavonoids are concentrated in the skin, which is usually discarded by peeling. Some are found in the seeds2. Studies show that the peel contains at least twice the amount of flavonoids compared to the flesh, even up to six times more7, depending on variety.

A flavonoid telling a virus where to stick it

Can flavonoids help prevent disease?

Since the first discovery of flavonoids in the 1930s2, thousands have been identified; many have not7. And as more research is done, it seems these plant chemicals may be playing a key role in disease prevention7, alongside their more well-known colleagues: the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

But back to apples. Evidence suggests that the flavonoid-rich apple peel can contribute to better heart health. Eat an apple, unpeeled, and hey presto, within hours artery function is improved3. Better functioning arteries means lower blood pressure and better blood flow around the body and to the brain. What’s not to like?

Another study using dried apple peel ground into a powder improved arthritic joint pain in the subjects8. Maybe just eating the apple would have the same effect?

Of course, no food is ever a cast-iron guarantee you’ll never get ill; but decades of studies have shown that those who eat lots of fruit and veggies have a lower risk of disease than those that don’t. Fact.

So next time you’re reaching for an apple, leave the peeler in the drawer.

Until next time,


  2. Clayton P Health Defence, 2nd edn, Accelerated Learning Systems Ltd, 2004, Aylesbury, pp. 82; 107
  5. Clayton P Health Defence, 2nd edn, Accelerated Learning Systems Ltd, 2004, Aylesbury, p. 89
  7. Boyer J, Rui HL Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits;

PS. The amateurish illustrations are my own and have not been nicked from anywhere, promise 🙂

Want To Slow Down Aging? Cut Down On AGEs.

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“The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings. Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

I thought it’d be fitting to write a post about advanced glycation end products, aka AGEs.  Known as ‘aging’ toxins, they speed up the aging process. They are present in some foods (mentioned below); cooking method also affects the amount of AGEs — dry or wet heat. And they are also a natural by-product of metabolism.

A Bit About AGEs

AGEs cause trouble in our bodies by cross linking protein to excess sugar molecules. Some types of cross linking are normal but not the kind I’m talking about here.

Effects of cross linking are stiffness and inflammation in body tissues. Many common diseases begin with inflammation.

Our bodies are pretty good at cleaning up the damage caused by AGEs produced by metabolism, a natural process. It’s when more is thrown in in the form of junk food that an excess is created and the body finds it more difficult to cope.

So health problems come knocking. Think less energy and joint and muscle stiffness as you age — that’s cross linking in action. Hello, rigid arteries, wrinkles and tissue damage (and much more).

Three Sources of AGEs

  1. The first you have zero control over as they are by-products of metabolism — the energy-extracting processes that convert food into more user-friendly forms for your body. They also accumulate during the normal aging process.
  2. The second you can control: what you eat and the way you cook.
  3. And the third source of AGEs? Cigarette smoke. Apart from the damage caused by free radicals released when smoking, AGEs are just another reason why smoking ages the skin.

Some of the Havoc Caused by AGEs

  • Anaemia
  • Cataracts
  • Dementia
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Osteoporosis, fractures
  • Stroke

Foods with Lots of AGEs

  • Roast BBQ chicken
  • Fried bacon
  • Pan-fried steak
  • Pan-fried turkey burger
  • Big Mac
  • Oven-fried fish
  • Chicken McNuggets
Photo by Min An on

How to Minimise AGEs

Note that it is in dry heat that AGEs are most abundant, so cut back on roasting, frying and grilling; steam or boil instead. Or use a slow cooker.

OK, so maybe a boiled Big Mac doesn’t sound as tasty but, hey, think of the upside. Even better, have a steamed veggie burger. Now, we’re talking!

That’s not to say that having just plant foods on your plate means no AGEs at all. But, compared to animal protein, plant foods contain fewer AGEs; even when cooking over dry heat. Check the difference: McDonalds burger — 4.876 units of AGEs; veggie burger 20 units — both fried the same way.

Until next time. Eat well. Age well.



PS. Please note that this blog post is a simplified snapshot of complex biochemistry. For more in-depth information on AGEs, there’s plenty available online.

Hate Fast Running? Love Slow Jogging.

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“At age 43, when I decided to run again, I realized that the images used to describe runners didn’t fit me. I wasn’t a rabbit. I wasn’t a gazelle or a cheetah or any of the other animals that run fast and free. But I wasn’t a turtle or a snail either. I wasn’t content anymore to move slowly through my life and hide in my shell when I was scared…”
― John Bingham, The Courage To Start: A Guide To Running for Your Life

Could slow be the new fast? Could an easy-does-it approach be as useful to overall health as an all-out, no-pain no-gain way to get fit and healthy? Is the tortoise finally getting his comeuppance?

Surely long and intense workouts are the way to health and fitness?  And if it doesn’t hurt,  you’re not doing it right. Right?

Well, Professor Tanaka thinks slow is better. And he should know. He’s the author of Slow Jogging, an avid slow jogger and marathon runner. And as director of the Institute for Physical Activity at Fukuoka University, Japan, he knows a thing or two about exercise and health.

He believes humans were built for slow, long-distance running. For early hunter-gatherers, survival depended on being able to chase down that bison; an amble walk just wasn’t going to cut it. Likewise, an all-out sprint would have been impossible to keep up for long.

Anatomical features such as elongated Achilles tendons — barely used when walking — act like springs when your feet go off the ground and help cushion the impact of landing. And our ability to sweat helps prevent overheating.

person jogging
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So, how do you slow jog? Easily. Think of it as a step up from walking. Think trot. The wise professor suggests newbies switch between 15 seconds of walking and 30 seconds of slow jogging. That way, your body gets used to the new intensity over time.

Good posture is vital: keep your chin up, look straight ahead; imagine a thread running from the top of your head to the sky above. And keep your shoulders and arms relaxed; swinging your arms forward,  not sideways.

And don’t forget the footwork. Landing on your heel is more likely to cause injuries than if you land on the centre-to-front part of your foot. Injuries caused by poor form are one of the major reasons newbies give up. (I know, I used to be one of them.)

So what’s the ideal speed? In Japanese, the ideal slow jogging pace is known as niko niko — or, in English, if you’re able to smile, chat or sing, you’re good. Beginners should aim for walking speed.

How effective is it? Because more energy is used to switch from walking to slow jogging, more calories are used; in fact, up to twice the calories, but without leaving you feeling like a quivering heap of jelly, unable to take another step.

And what about health benefits? Well, a Danish study in 2015 found lower rates of death among the slow joggers than those jogging more intensely (think running). And an article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that as little as five minutes — five minutes! — of running at slow speed (lower than 6 miles per hour) lowered the risk of death from heart disease by up to 45 percent.

And the beauty of slow jogging is that anyone can do it. It’s a safe form of exercise, even for someone with underlying health conditions. As long as you stick to niko niko pace, that is.

Until next time,


PS. Sadly, Professor Tanaka died in 2018, but his legacy lives on as more people discover this fun, gentle and safe way to get fitter and healthier. I know I’m glad I did.


  3.  Tanaka, H, Jackowska, M. (2016) Slow Jogging: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Science-based, Natural Running [Kindle] Skyhorse Publishing.

What Cycling Made Me Realise About Myself.

close up photo of black bicycle wheel
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“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”

John F. Kennedy

Having commuted to work on bike for the past year and a half has led to not only better fitness and emotional wellbeing but also a realisation about myself; I’m becoming the kind of person I want to be.

I’m now acting like someone who gets on their bike and cycles for an hour to get to work. I’m now behaving like someone who cycles through wind and rain and afterwards laughs about having made a new definition of the word ‘wet’.

When I started cycling, I expected things like improved sleep, and less crankiness — what a bonus; what I didn’t expect was how my sense of self would change. I’ve realised that, yes, I can be determined when I want to; I can persevere. In a nutshell, and as corny as it sounds: I’m seeing myself in a new light.

A recent story in the Guardian talked about beginner cyclists reporting an improved sense of wellbeing; amen to that. And eighteen months on, those good feelings keep coming every time I get on my bike.

I’ve just read a book called Atomic Habits. As self-help books go, it’s definitely up there, in my opinion. Every time you do something that’s good for you, your health, your career, etc., you’re casting a vote for the type of person you want to be.

I really like that.

Until next time,


How Cycling Changed My Outlook On Life

forest bike bulls
Photo by Philipp M on

I started cycling about a year and a half ago. Mostly as a means of getting about. I was beginning to feel like I was being held hostage by bus and train companies whose services are sometimes late or, on a few occasions, don’t arrive at all.

Then, once I’d started cycling, I realised how much I was enjoying it. And I found myself pedalling along with a new sense of freedom and accomplishment, and a grin (out of joy, not pain) on my face.

I began arriving at work, red-faced and sweaty, yes (what do you expect after an hour’s ride?) but feeling good. Buzzing. That expression ‘water off a duck’s back’ suddenly made sense. That’s how I felt. As if nothing was worth getting uptight about.

I felt like I could take on whatever the day had to offer, without self-doubt getting in the way. Just a Zen-like expression of contentment on my face. Or so I like to imagine.

Truth is, looking serene with a face the colour of beetroot (and don’t forget ‘helmet head’) is highly unlikely; but hey, it’s a small price to pay in view of the benefits. (And my face colour does return to normal, eventually.)

To prevent funny looks from my colleagues, I keep deodorant and a packet of baby wipes (who knew they were so good at getting rid of sweat odour?) in my locker, and I have a change of clean clothes in my rucksack.

Once I’ve wiped myself down and changed clothes, I’m as good as new, and still buzzing. Which makes sense because exercise makes the body release endorphins, so called feel-good hormones; plus, levels of the stress hormone cortisol are reduced.

Pre-bike days, I don’t ever recall getting to work feeling that good. In contrast, I’d often arrive bad-tempered about something. I think I was walking around in a semi-permanent state of irritation. The weather (it’s the UK, after all), late buses/trains, noisy neighbours, take your pick.

Now, a year and a half later, although I’m in no way immune to being stressed out on occasion, I feel that little bit more balanced, positive and a tad stronger, mentally. And physically, I feel fitter than I ever did in my 20s or 30s.

And long may it continue. Here’s to cycling.

Until next time,


Why You Should Never Stop Moving


“Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

We live longer than ever before. Gone are the days when people in their fifties or sixties were considered old. Mind you, to anyone below twenty, forty-odd probably seems ancient.

You’d think living longer is good news. And I think it is. But not if those extra years are spent living with poor health, whether mental or physical. Granted, some things, like your genetic makeup, you don’t have much say over. Although there is some science turning that on its head, too.

But some things you can control: the food you eat, whether you exercise or not, getting enough sleep, and learning to take a more balanced view on life. Yes, I know: not always easy. And none of these are guarantees for long, disease-free lives.

But they can help to increase your chances of living a healthier and more stress-free life as you get older. And if illness and disability does strike, with a healthier and more nourished body and mind, you are more likely to be able to deal with whatever challenge comes your way.

Take exercise. It doesn’t have to mean joining a gym, if that’s not your thing. There’s shedloads of evidence that walking, for example, is hugely beneficial, not just for physical health but for mental wellbeing, too. In fact, regular walking can even enhance your cognitive skills. What’s not to like?


A year ago I bought myself a road bike. Mainly because I was getting peeved with public transport (I don’t drive.). Over the years, I must have spent many hours at stations and bus stops waiting for delayed buses/trains, whilst paying for the privilege. No more.

In the last twelve months, I’ve cycled to work on average two to three times a week (about 8 miles or 12 kilometres each way). And it makes me feel good whilst doing me good. And the sense of freedom I get is priceless.

And when everyone else is stuck in traffic (which happens a lot in these parts), there I am, whizzing past in my Hi-Viz gear with a slightly smug grin on my face.

The point is, I’ve found something that works for me. And you have to do the same. If you don’t enjoy it, chances are you won’t stick with it for long. So find something that makes you look forward to doing it. Whatever it is. I know I look forward to getting on my bike tomorrow.

Use your own home as your private gym. You don’t need special equipment. Or fancy clothing. Tins of tomatoes can double up as dumbbells. Use the edge of a chair to do tricep dips. Or spend a few minutes marching on the spot, just long enough to get your heart rate up.

I brush my teeth standing one-legged, just to practice my balance. Sometimes I’ll do squats. No doubt a funny sight but, hey, it works for me.

I brush my teeth standing one-legged, just to practice my balance. Sometimes I’ll do squats. No doubt a funny sight but, hey, it works for me.

My point is, exercise doesn’t have to be a big deal. It doesn’t need to cost a bean. It doesn’t need to be done in a special place, or with specific equipment. Or done for hours on end. All it needs is YOU.

And if you’re stuck for ideas, check out YouTube — there’s lots of exercises. Pick out what works for you and make it your own.

Try and see yourself ten, twenty, or whatever, years from now, feeling as fit and healthy as possible and enjoying your life the best you can. Because I believe we all owe ourselves that much. And you get to set a great example to those around you.

Remember: we weren’t built to sit still. We’re designed to move.

Until next time,



Try This One Simple Thing For Better Health (And Maybe Even A Longer Life)

woman standing near yellow petaled flower
Photo by Edu Carvalho on

Yesterday,  a man named Carl Mattson celebrated his birthday. Like many others, he might’ve had some friends over. Maybe there was birthday cake, flowers and a present, too.

But Carl is not just any other person. He’s officially the oldest person in Sweden. Looking at an image of him, I’d have guessed this sprightly-looking gent to be not a day over eighty. He’s 111.

His answer to the usual ‘what’s your secret?’: ‘Don’t overeat. Eat about half of your meal.’

I don’t want to  promote waste and tell people to bin their food, but I think he’s on to something. And he’s not the only one. The people of the Japanese island of Okinawa — best known for their longevity — have a phrase for it: Hara Hachi Bu, or ‘eat until you’re eighty percent full’.

No doubt there’s more involved in reaching a ripe old age than just not overeating, with your health fairly intact. Genetics, for example. But lots of studies show that overeating is, indeed, very bad for your health.

Many people, myself included, overeat. Mostly because it tastes good. And also because you tend to overestimate your hunger — you ‘eat with your eyes’. Sometimes hunger is confused with being peckish, or bored.

And once you’ve eaten, it takes about twenty minutes for your brain to register that you’re full. So, by the time you’ve devoured that second portion, you feel sick and curse yourself for being greedy.

And if the contents of your fridge doesn’t tempt you, a key stroke or screen swipe can have whatever your stomach desires delivered to your door before you can say ‘egg-fried rice’.

Food is everywhere, twenty-four seven. And much of it lacks nutrients while being chockful of calories, leading to a perverse paradox where you can be overweight yet malnourished.

Your body’s a bit like your car. Put the wrong fuel in the tank and it won’t work very well. And sooner or later it might break down.

So make sure to fuel yourself properly. The Okinawans don’t just eat until they’re eighty percent full, their diet is based on plant foods, with very little animal protein, such as pork and fish.

How do you know you’re eighty percent full? Well, one way is to stop eating when you feel satiated. Satiety is that feeling that you’re no longer hungry; it comes before the feeling of being stuffed. It’s a feeling of just enough. Or as people back home in Sweden would say, lagom.


So, if you’re someone who overeats, try that or put a bit less on your dinner plate than you normally would. Yes, I know, that does require a teeny bit of willpower. Especially when you’re famished.

And to prevent waste, take any leftovers to work the next day.

Then once you’ve eaten, remember to give your brain time to catch up. Chances are that twenty minutes later you’ll feel satisfied. And maybe even a tad more alert. You might even find yourself skipping over the usual I’m-so-full-cum-beached-whale impersonation routine.

Obviously, people suffering from diabetes or eating-related disorders should not experiment with this.

* A note about Okinawa: with several fast-food outlets on the island these days, the healthier Hara Hachi Bu way of eating is sadly something that’s now mostly the preserve of the older generation.

Check out this link for more info:

Until next time,







How To Slow Down Skin Aging


abstract beach bright clouds
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Many of you think wrinkly skin is a consequence of aging. As inevitable as that extra candle on your birthday cake every year, right?

Wrong. Lines and wrinkles have little to do with aging, but a lot to do with exposure to sunlight. (There are, of course, other factors as well. Diet, lifestyle and genetics to name three, but this post will focus on sunlight.)

Think about it. Most, ahem, mature adults have smoother and more line-free skin on the parts of their bodies that are not usually exposed to the sun. Coincidence? No.

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned free radicals and how they’re responsible for aging our cells, and ultimately, us.

And that’s what happens when sunlight hits your skin: it triggers a blast of free radicals. While damaging your cells’ DNA in the process, bad enough on its own, it leads to skin losing its elasticity, becoming thinner. While those may sound like mostly cosmetic changes, the worst-case scenario has got to be skin cancer.

And as if that’s not enough, damaging enzymes are also released, causing an inflammatory reaction. Inflammation, as you may recall from my ‘mushroom’ post, particularly the chronic variety, is an underlying element of most western diseases.

According to Cancer Research UK, getting sunburned just once every two years can triple the risk of getting malignant melanoma, or skin cancer.

Now, that’s scary, when I think back to my teenage years and early twenties when having a tan ranked pretty high on my list of priorities. Sunscreen, what sunscreen?

I vaguely remember someone suggesting cooking oil; apparently you’ll tan quicker! (Please, please, don’t try that!) Which wouldn’t have worked for me, anyway. The times in my life I’ve had a proper tan I can count on one hand. I burn.

So, now I wear SPF all year round, come rain or shine. That’s right. Even on a drab and rainy Tuesday in November. The sun emits UVA and UVB radiation even on cloudy days.

So, anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Before anyone says anything: yes, we all need a certain amount of sun exposure to get our daily dose of vitamin D.

And many of us that live in northern Europe are deficient in this vitamin and would likely benefit from supplementing (still debated among experts, as so many other things).

So, no, I’m not advocating sitting indoors with curtains drawn and hoodie up.

But do take care when out in the sun. According to those in the know, as little as fifteen minutes’ exposure could be all you need to top up with that essential vitamin D.  Per day, that is.

After that, do put on some sunscreen. And make sure you get one with both UVA and UVB protection: one causes sunburn and the other goes deeper into the skin, causing aging.

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Until next time,

References: Clayton, P. (2004). Health Defence (2nd edition). Aylesbury: Accelerated Learning Systems Ltd.