If you are leading a stressful life it is essential you also get a daily dose of calm and clarity. We all know the importance of exercise and meditation and how this helps to relieve stress. You can also look to the natural world for a helping hand with mood-enhancing herbs. These can be taken as a supplement, a herbal tea in your bedtime cuppa or can be found in one of our MEDA beverages.
Turmeric, or the active component curcumin, isn’t just used to zhoosh up a curry. This anti-inflammatory and antioxidant botanical also has powerful brain healing properties which help to improve mood and memory. Turmeric is often used to help with circulation and helps to support the nervous system. We have paired turmeric with liposomal CBD and ginger in our MEDA Recovery drink.
This ancient medicinal herb contains apigenin which is nature’s sedative — reducing anxiety and promoting sleep. Chamomile can be found in MEDA’s Calm drink alongside calming lavender essential oils and lemon balm or enjoyed as an evening cuppa.
Rhodiola is a famed adaptogen. A natural substance that can help support your body’s resistance and adaptation to stress.Try rhodiola as a supplement or tea.
 One study found that those given 400mg per day had a reduction in work related stress and anxiety.
Matcha green tea contains L-theanine, a natural energiser that doesn’t have the stimulating side-effects of caffeine. Matcha green tea is also full of antioxidants which is great for fortifying the immune system and it contains chlorophyll, which is a natural detoxifier. Green tea may help support weight loss, thanks to the increased production of thermogenesis (how the body burns calories).
Adrenal Supporting Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha, or Indian Ginseng, is one of the most powerful and rejuvenating herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s an adaptogen herb which means it provides adrenal gland support (the gland responsible for creating many of our stress hormones). This support can potentially reduce our cortisol levels which in turn may reduce stress or calm our stress responses. Ashwagandha can be found alongside chamomile in MEDA Calm.
N.B: Please always check with your GP before taking any herbs if you are on any medication or havea chronic disease or concern. This information is not a replacement to medical care or intended to diagnose.
With more time than ever spent on Zoom, scrolling on our phones, and taking in TV glare; this lockdown take care of your eye health with these simple nutrition and lifestyle tips:
Remember the saying “eat your carrots so you can see in the dark?” Well there was a good reason for it. Carrots, and most other orange fruits and veggies contain beta-carotene – a form of vitamin A which is important for eye health. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the common causes of blindness globally.
There are two forms of vitamin A; Retinol and Beta Carotene. Retinol can be found in animal foods such as liver, egg yolks, beef and dairy, oh and of course your retinol face cream (not for consumption however!). Beta-carotene is found in orange fruits and veg such as pumpkin, butternut squash and also greens such as kale and spinach.
Make a morning omelette with spinach and butternut squash to boost your intake of Vitamin A.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Sounds like something out of X-Men I know, but these two are carotenoid antioxidants that are found in concentrated amounts in the retina. Dietary intake of these antioxidants has been shown to improve pigment density in the eye.
The good news is they are often found together in foods. Top-up your spinach, kale, peas, pistachios and egg yolks!-
Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in reducing inflammation, brain health, nervous system function, hormone balance, cardiovascular health and eye health.
Omega-3’s can be tricky to obtain in the diet, and in particular DHA. Focus on oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring and plant based sources such as flaxseed oil.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in protecting your eyes and supporting the production of collagen; a protein that plays a role in the structure of the eye. Observational studies have also shown that good amounts of vitamin C intake can help to reduce the likelihood of developing cataracts. 
Our bodies cannot produce vitamin C so we must rely on it from our diet. Enjoy brussel sprouts this winter! Along with red peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and citrus fruits.
While we can focus on our diet being top notch, our lifestyle habits, and in particular our screen usage can take its toll on our eye health. Try to limit screen time in the evenings to prevent the glare straining your eyes and download blue light blocking filters. Notice your eye site is going a bit funny from all the Zooms? Don’t ignore this. Make sure to check your vision with a specialist.
With the new WFH norm we might be spending more time using smaller screens and laptops. If your screen is lower than usual then this might be straining your eyes. The light pumped up to the max? This too. Keep your computer to within 20-24 inches from your eyes and make sure your screen is just below your eye line – this will help with your posture too.
We’ve only got one liver and it is a vital organ. Our liver is responsible for making glucose from carbohydrates, storing nutrients, creating bile for fat break-down and cholesterol. It also helps us eliminate waste products and toxins and it even plays a role in our immune system health. And did you know that the liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate!
While for most of us our liver works the way it should occasionally it could do with some TLC. Read on below to learn how we can support our liver health through diet.
Be mindful of fats
Fats are a fantastic source of fuel and the right kind of fats help us produce hormones, protect our nerves and play a role in cognitive health. However, intake of trans and saturated fats can impact the health of the liver as well as cardiovascular health. Be mindful of your intake of margarines, excess vegetable oils and fried foods and opt for using olive oil, nuts and seeds.
Get in that fibre
Fibre from our diets can help stimulate enzymes in the liver and can encourage bile acid function needed for liver metabolism and absorption of fats. A diet low in fibre can put further pressure on the detox pathways in the liver. Without fibre our digestive systems don’t clear out as much of the debris and by production of waste from our food – leaving the liver overworked!
The recommended daily intake of fibre is 30g per day; so focus on foods such as nuts, seeds, veggies and fruit, pulses and wholegrains.
Moderate your alcohol intake
Alcohol and the liver are not friends. The liver tolerates alcohol but when alcohol comes over a little too often the relationship turns sour. While moderate alcohol consumption is normal and our bodies are equipped to tolerate it, if we consume alcohol in significant amounts and consistently, we can put too much pressure on the liver. Try out lower or non-alcoholic alternative such as MEDA’s NO-LO range which also contains CBD which has been linked in some studies to be potentially liver protective. 
Coffee makes your liver smile
Coffee gets a bit of a bad rep but when it comes to the liver the science is in – your daily cup of joe can actually be a good thing!
Studies have linked coffee consumption to a reduction in liver cancer, liver fibrosis and progression of liver disease.
Keep to under 400mg of caffeine from coffee per day (that’s roughly 5 espresso shots). For further reading, check out the British Liver Trusts advice here: https://britishlivertrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/The-health-benefits-of-coffee-BLT-report-June-2016.pdf
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
The liver, like many organs in the body, requires hydration to function optimally. Ensure you are getting in your H20 even in the colder months ahead. If you find it a struggle to hit your 1.5-2 litres every day try adding in herbs, berries a drop of cordial or half a can of one of MEDA’s CBD drinks.
Please note if you have any chronic condition or liver disease please work with your medical practitioner. This advice is not to be used as a supplement for medical care and is not intended to diagnose.
Inflammation is a buzzword in the wellbeing world, and for a good reason. Inflammation has been linked to the development of chronic diseases; weight gain, depression and more. But what is inflammation? Is all inflammation bad? Our in-house nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr summarises below.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to harm. Think of it like your personal fighting power. This harm can include anything from injuries, toxins, infections and bugs. Without inflammation wounds would be left open, bacteria can run riot, and infections could become deadly; however when the inflammatory process goes on too long then it too can be problematic.
There are two main types of inflammation. Acute and chronic:
Acute inflammation is short-term and speedy. Think of a time when you fell over and cut yourself (hopefully not too often!). Your body triggers an inflammatory response to help protect and heal the cut – that redness, soreness and heat is all part of the inflammatory immune response.
Chronic inflammation is where many of us need to listen up! This is the kind of inflammation that might be low grade but lingers on causing symptoms and potential health concerns – our bodies are in a constant state of alert!
Causes of inflammation
Chronic inflammation can be the result of infections, pathogenic bacteria, autoimmune disorders, long term exposure to chemicals and mould, chronic stress, high alcohol consumption, poor dietary intake, obesity, smoking and dysbiosis in the gut… to name a few!
Signs and symptoms
Inflammation is said to be at the root of many health concerns including for example: depression, autoimmune disease, diabetes and heart disease.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but indicates many signs and symptoms:
Changes in mood Weight gain
Body aches and pains
Foggy mind / brain fog
Food intolerance symptons
Histamine production including hay fever
How to know if you have inflammation
Having a family history of chronic diseases including autoimmune conditions, having a poor dietary intake and being overweight can put you at an increased risk of chronic inflammation.
When it comes to testing — running a C Reactive Protein and an ESR test can show whether you have levels of chronic inflammation showing in your blood. However, not everyone with low grade inflammation may have increased levels of these parameters. Another way is to keep a symptom diary for a month and note your diet, symptoms, lifestyle and how you generally sleep along with your mood. If you have a number of the related symptoms of chronic inflammation book in with a Nutritionist, Nutritional Therapist or Functional Medicine practitioner to try and uncover the root cause of your inflammation.
What to do if you have inflammation?
Look out for our next feature on “how to follow an anti-inflammatory diet”
It’s that time of year again where we ask “when do the clocks go back?” and try to make the most of the daylight hours during the winter season. The change of the clocks often results in a state of confusion for the majority of the country, as we lose or gain an hour throughout the course of the year. But why do we change the clocks anyway? Before we find out, let’s answer the most important questions first:
When do the clocks go back?
Sunday, 25th October 2020.
What time do the clocks go back?
At 02:00 on Sunday morning, 25th October 2020
Do we get an extra hour of sleep?
Yes! This change in time is “the good one” where we get an extra hour in bed on the Sunday morning.
Now that we’ve sorted that, here are some little-known facts about this annual ritual:
1. Why do the clocks change?
It was William Willett’s idea. The proposal for Daylight Savings Time was put forward by William Willett in 1907, as he argued that we were wasting important daylight by rising at the same time in the summer as we did throughout the winter months. He believed we should advance our clocks by 80 minutes via four incremental sets of 20 minutes during April. This would then be reversed in the same fashion during September.
2. When did the clocks first go back?
The clocks first changed in 1916. However, though Willett proposed this in 1907, Britain failed to adopt the idea until 1916, a month after Germany had taken up the idea. The idea was then particularly attractive as the First World War was taking its toll on the nation and anything that could improve productivity was encouraged.
3. Benjamin Franklin joked about changing the clocks back in 1784
Daylight Savings Time was first satirically proposed by Benjamin Franklin in a letter he addressed to Parisians in 1784. His argument was that more daylight would mean people wouldn’t waste candles by having to burn them for longer.
4. Why do clocks change on a Sunday?
Clocks change on a Sunday thanks to the EU. Daylight Savings Time is always kept between the last Sunday of March and the last Sunday of October, and all changes take place at 01:00 GMT as according to an EU directive.
5. Changing the time helped coal supply during World War One
The main reason for turning the clocks back was to make the most of the daylight available in the summer. Another argument, however, was that the different hours would affect the amount of domestic coal usage, thereby increasing the supplies available for manufacture and for supporting WWI.
6. Dairy farmers in the North like changing the time most
There are many other reasons why we change our clocks twice during the year. Agriculture is a major concern, with farmers working hours being more affected by the amount of daylight available in the morning than the rest of us. Farmers often rise or begin work at around 5 in the morning. If the clocks were not adjusted, dairy farmers located in the North of the country would not see dawn until after 9 o’clock, meaning hours of working in the dark.
7. Spring forward, fall back
Next time you’re thinking “when do the clocks go back?” simply memorise the phrase “spring forward, fall back”. The clocks always spring forward an hour on the last weekend in March, and fall back on the final weekend of October.
8. Clocks go back around the world
Only around a quarter of countries in the world have any type of clock change at all and these don’t necessarily occur on the same schedule. Not even all the U.S states operate on the same schedule, with parts of Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S Virgin Islands and American Samoa declining to follow suit.
9. Is it darker in the morning when clocks go back?
It’s going to get dark, very dark. At the height of summer, on the summer solstice, the UK enjoys a hefty 16 hours and 50 minutes of sunlight. However, that is going to shrink to a measly 7 hours and 40 minutes on the winter solstice. Putting the clocks back helps us take advantage of the little daylight we get.
What is the effect of putting the clocks back?
Setting the clocks back by an hour at the end of October means the mornings are lighter, which can have an effect on the time you wake up in the morning. To make sure you’re getting sufficient rest, make sure your bedroom will be dark enough for you to achieve your full 8 hours.
Wake and sleep time are the major effect that the clocks changing can have, with many struggling to get enough rest. One study suggested a spike in reported heart attacks in the week after clocks go forward, possibly due to sleep loss. To ensure you have the best chance of getting a good night’s sleep, consider altering your bedtime by ten minutes over a few days in anticipation of the change.
You should also continue to practise good sleeping habits, by avoiding screens a good hour before bedtime, avoiding caffeine and other stimulants and making sure you have a comfortable sleeping environment in which to spend your extra hour of sleep.
2020 has given us a bit of a wake-up call around our feelings. Without our normal distractions and coping mechanisms many of us have been forced to face feelings we are not necessarily equipped to cope with.
Feelings are what help you communicate with others and they are how we influence each other. They also control our body language which can communicate our feelings faster than our thoughts and words can whether that is our intention or not. Feelings motivate our behaviours and when we are attuned to them they can help us through important events without us having to think through every little detail. The more intense feelings also help us to overcome obstacles both in our internal world and our external world. They are signals and indications that something is happening whether that thing is good, bad, passive or dangerous. Feelings prepare us for action.
Feelings are what make up your ‘energy’. They are literally energy in your body. They are the sensations you feel when something happens: your heart dropping when you get some bad news, butterflies in your tummy when you are nervous or in love, feeling rooted to the spot or frozen when you are scared, that tight feeling in your chest and your heart speeding up. It is these physical experiences that tell you how you are feeling. Lots of us try to think about how we feel rather than feel about how we feel and the truth is you cannot think your feelings, you have to feel them. Yet, many of us do not know what feeling our feelings actually looks like.
How to feel your feelings:
- Identify the signals and sensations in your body.
- Name the feeling if you can or find three words to describe the feeling.
- Observe how the signals and sensations change.
- Ask yourself what message this feeling gives you.
- Fully acknowledge it.
- Express gratitude that your feelings are guiding you to better understand your mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Feelings are hard work. Lots of us do not really enjoy being attuned to our feelings and taking the time to literally slow down enough to allow them to inform us about who we are and what we need. We worry that we will suffer at the hands of our feelings. And right there is a myth worth busting:
Feeling means suffering — Mental Health Myth Busted!
Often the thing that gets us in a muddle about feelings is that we confuse the discomfort we might experience when we start to feel with suffering. Feelings are alleviating and cathartic. They do not mean you are a victim and neither are they as scary as you may believe. Feelings will not kill you. It is the avoidance of feeling that allows us to behave ignorantly, dishonestly, passively.
Feelings help us to make changes and good decisions in life. They are our energy, our charge. I believe that the world would be a happier and more harmonious place if we were all given permission to consider our feelings more honestly and had some guidance on how to handle them appropriately. A great global example, that we can all relate to are the feelings that come up around major movements and work events like Black Lives Matter; Me Too; Global Heating; The Covid-19 pandemic etc. Too often we ignore our emotional reactions in favour of an easy but emotionally unfulfilled life. If you are brave enough it is your feelings, regardless of background, that you are entitled to. Privilege, experience and circumstances might divide us on the surface but when it comes to creating energy for change feelings are our call to action.
We are all equipped to handle our own feelings. Taking yourself to that place can be a challenge and yes a little scary. It is new and you may feel unsure of where it will take you.
If this were a physical workout this would be where the change happens — where the muscle starts adapting to a new form of movement. Your mental health is the same. Each time you learn how to work with feelings and how they connect you with yourself, translating them into healthy thoughts and behaviours, you are increasing your opportunity for a happy, healthy and curious mind.
Many of us will already be aware that exercise is good for our bodies. Regular exercise contributes to cardiovascular health, weight management, immune function…the list goes on. But when was the last time you considered the effect that your workout regime may be having on your mental health?
Read on for our in-house nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr’s top mental health and exercise benefits.
One of the magic ways that exercise helps us manage stress levels, is by reducing our body’s stress hormones — cortisol and adrenaline. Exercise also stimulates the production of brain chemicals that act as mood lifters. Think endorphins!
Exercise can give us a confidence boost. Whether trying to lose weight, gain muscle or improve endurance or performance — it can be a great boost to our self-esteem and with that comes daily confidence.
Our brains thrive on exercise. Cardiovascular exercise can promote neurogenesis — a process that helps to boost brain performance. And as if that wasn’t a good enough reason to hit the tarmac regular exercise has also been shown to support memory and focus.
Boosts your mood
Exercise is scientifically proven to boost our moods and lessen symptoms of both depression and anxiety.
A 2017 review on the effects of exercise published in the journal Brain Plasticity, found that after just one bout of exercise, participants reported improved mood and found a reduction in tension, depression, and anger. Result!
Ways to exercise for your mental health:
It is easy, free and flexible and one of the exercise options that is a thumbs up during the Covid pandemic. Pop on your trainers and rain coat and get out into natural light and nature for a walk. Not only will the movement be beneficial, but exposure to natural light can help boost energy and mood, whilst studies have shown that just 20 minutes of nature exposure a day can reduce our stress hormones. Go and walk around something green today!
This might sound like an obvious one to some, but yoga can be both soothing and a sweaty stress relief. The incorporation of breath work in yoga works to take our bodies from a fight or flight mode, into the rest and digest mode (where we eat and relax). If you don’t have time for a full on vinyasa take a few deep breaths and some downward dogs to feel the yogi benefits.
One of the great things about dancing is it is easy and no equipment is needed. Select your favourite playlist, find a space in your home and MOVE. Have young ones at home, get them involved or ask them to teach you a dance routine. You might just end up with some ab goals from the giggles.
The nights are getting colder, the mornings are getting darker and the winter jackets are being dusted off. With autumn in full swing, you are already likely to be making changes to your routine but have you introduced any changes to your diet to support your body during this seasonal shift? Read on below as our in-house nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr shares her favourite adaptogens for supporting your immune system, energy production and mood.
First-up — what are adaptogens?
The clue is in the name. Adaptogens are a class of herbs and plants that can possibly support your body and help it to ‘adapt’ itself depending on emotional and physical needs. They are non-toxic, help your body to achieve balance and reduce your body’s stress response. For example, adaptogens can help bring clarity in times of confusion, bring peace to a racing mind and bring calm in times of stress.
For immune support
Echinacea is well-known as a remedy for helping fight off an impending cold, but did you know that this wonder herb actually activates our immune system?  Studies suggest that it takes its action by enhancing lymph function (the lymph is where our white blood cells are located), and specifically macrophages which play a vital role in the workings of the immune response. MEDA Defence contains Echinacea alongside a blend of other nutrients and plants to support your immune system.
Panax Ginseng is famed for its ability to boost our energy levels, and for a good reason. In a four-week randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study, where participants were given a placebo or a Panax Ginseng supplement, those taking the supplement experienced less fatigue and more physical energy. It is suggested that Panax Ginseng works its magic due to the antioxidants found in the plant that can reduce oxidative stress and support cellular energy. You can find Panax Ginseng in MEDA Focus – a great replacement to your standard energy drink.
Build up your stress resilience
It has been a long, difficult and stressful year for many of us and we are only in September! As winter approaches, we may find that our work life balance begins to take its toll and that our stress levels feel overwhelming. While stress management and diet can play a role in stress resilience, adaptogens can help the body adapt to these extra pressures and stresses. One of my favourites is Ashwagandha – a root extract that has been shown in randomised, placebo-controlled studies to reduce stress when taken regularly. Find it in MEDA Calm mixed with CBD, lavender, chamomile and L-theanine – all ingredients that may also help promote relaxation and support stress levels.
Now we are in September it is officially Autumn. Dust off the coats, pull out the boots and get ready for soups and cosy drinks to curl up with. The darker days and colder evenings bring with them a slump in health and wellbeing, and for a reason. With longer days and less of the sunshine Vitamin D, increased inactivity and cold weather bugs creeping around, we may find that we become more susceptible to feeling unwell.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to battle off autumn viruses and colds and keep your immune system fighting fit during the autumn months. Our in-house nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr shares her top tips for you to include to prep you for the seasons ahead:
As the colder months descend we might find our favourite exercise form goes out the window. But that shouldn’t stop you. Before we get deep into winter, invest in some outdoor running gear, home weights or machines or try out online classes in the comfort of your own home.
Exercise is one of the best things we can do for overall health. It reduces stress hormones, helps your circulation and blood pressure and contributes to weight management. However, over-exercising can have a detrimental impact on our immune systems. Studies show that after extreme exercise there is a higher chance of catching an infection for up to 72 hours. We recommend aiming for 75 minutes of high intensity exercise per week or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
Take your Vitamin D
The sunshine vitamin makes you feel GOOD. It contributes to our mood, immune system function, energy production, sleep, bone health and more… so when we lose our natural source of it as we enter Autumn and Winter, we need to seek it elsewhere to avoid low amounts or deficiencies.
The NHS suggests that everyone living in the UK should consider taking a maintenance dose of Vitamin D from the months of October to April. This dose is 400IU/10mcg.
Our advice. Get tested so you know if you need higher amounts than the recommended minimum. We like testing company Medichecks who send test kits to your home or Better You who also provides Vitamin D sprays.
Stock Up on Herbs & Spices
Get ahead of the game and make sure your spice and herb rack is filled with natural wonders. Get your hands on some turmeric which is anti-inflammatory; ginger which is anti-viral (and anti-nausea); and oregano which is anti-bacterial. Add them into dishes such as soups, slow cooker curries and stews.
I also suggest checking out MEDA’s Defence drink. It is packed with vitamin C and Zinc but what I really love is the addition of Aronia berry and Echinacea. Aronia berry is packed with anti-oxidants and Echinacea which may contribute to immune system function.
Don’t Forget Veggies
Colours of the rainbow vegetables and fruits give us many of the nutrients we need to support our immune systems! But be aware, that over-boiling, frying, baking at high temperatures and grilling can reduce the nutrient content. Even though in winter we may want to eat warming foods, try to get in some raw veggies once a day and steam for a few minutes when cooking to retain the most nutrients. Aim for a fist of vegetables at every meal and use these colours as a guide:
· Orange – gives you beta-carotene a form of vitamin A which support the immune system.
· Blues give you anthocyanins an antioxidant which helps reduce oxidative stress.
· Reds give you lycopene another antioxidant great for heart health.
· Greens support liver function, eye health and lung health.
Ever wondered just why you get that fuzzy head the day after one too many cocktails? Whether it is disrupted sleep and low energy or nausea and headaches, a hangover is never fun. And while alcohol is definitely partly to blame; it takes two to tango. The second half of this duo is… sugar.
When we consume large amounts of added sugars, particularly in a liquid form, we send our blood glucose and insulin levels sky high. This peak of quick energy is followed by a significant drop. And when our blood sugar levels drop, we can feel dizzy, nauseous, hungry, moody and may develop headaches. Sound familiar?
Did you know that your standard tonic water contains nearly the same amount of added sugar as your favourite cola or lemonade! And while soda water and lime might be the healthy option, it doesn’t exactly blow the flavour water does it?
So how can we enjoy our spirit of choice without the added sugar…have you been introduced to MEDA’s CBD cordials? While cordials tend to be a mixture of flavours and sugar syrup, MEDA’s cordials are a blend of natural herbs, spices, juices, CBD and monk fruit. By using monk fruit, a natural sugar alternative that contains no sugar or calories, these cordials are low in sugar and calories and their taste is delicious.
There are five flavours to choose from: Elderflower and Basil, Strawberry Bitters, Blackberry Citrus, Peach, Lemongrass and Mint + Chilli Pineapple.
Here are some of my favourite ways to use MEDA’s cordials to quench your thirst:
For the No-alcohol drinkers
Mix together a handful of berries, ½ a cup of coconut water, one bottle of the blackberry citrus MEDA cordial and a splash of lemon juice. Serve over ice for a refreshing tipple.
Mix 50ml of mezcal or tequila, one bottle of MEDA’s Chilli Pineapple cordial, a good splash of lime juice and top-up with soda. Serve in a short glass with ice and a rub of salt on the rim.
Mix 50ml of your favourite gin (we love Sipsmith) with your Elderflower and Basil MEDA cordial and a splash of lime juice. Pour in a long glass over ice and top up with MEDA’s Glow mixer for the perfect alternative to your after-work G&T.