Seven ways to manage irritable bowel syndrome

IBS can cause severe discomfort and is often difficult to treat as patients have different triggers.


Irritable bowel syndrome may be inherited. It is linked to oversensitive nerves in the gut, causing debilitating pains and cramps among other symptoms. But there are ways to manage it and reduce its impact on your life.

1. Consider medication

Speak to your doctor about what is recommended for your particular type of IBS. If you have IBS with constipation (IBS-C), then laxatives could help. These range from osmotic laxatives, which increase water inside the colon, to cathartic laxatives, which stimulate the colon walls, although the latter may not be effective long-term. If you have IBS with diarrhoea (IBS-D), then over-the-counter medications such as loperamide can help control your symptoms.

2. Try probiotics

Research has suggested that changes in gut flora may trigger IBS by increasing inflammation and altering digestive motility. For some people, probiotics – available in capsules, powders and yoghurts – can alleviate symptoms, balancing gut flora by inhibiting the growth of disease-causing bacteria, slowing down bowel movements and fighting inflammation.

3. Move to a high-fibre diet

If you have IBS-C or IBS-D, then increasing dietary fibre with fruit, vegetables, beans, whole-grain breads and cereals may relieve symptoms. High-fat meals can cause problems by inducing vigorous colon contractions more rapidly than usual, which can trigger cramping and diarrhoea. However, IBS has quite a wide spectrum and only one in six IBS patients experience improvements from this diet. Others find that it worsens symptoms, and may benefit from a different regime such as a ketogenic (low carb) diet, aimed at reducing inflammation.

4. Take exercise

Research has suggested that 30 minutes of exercise, such as walking at a moderate pace, five days a week can significantly help to ease common symptoms such as constipation and abdominal cramps. It is best to consult your doctor about what exercise regime may be suitable, but try to keep a routine so you exercise at the same time each day and avoid exercising within an hour of meals.

5. Reduce your stress levels

Stress is widely thought to trigger IBS, partly because of the neural connections between the brain and the gut, and any external stressors make the mind more aware of painful colon spasms. IBS may be an auto-immune disorder, and the immune system is heavily affected by stress. Try to make time in your day for relaxation sessions and, if you have a stressful life, consider taking up yoga or meditation, or practise breathing exercises.

6. Keep a food diary

IBS patients have different triggers, so keep a daily diary of all the foods and drinks that make your symptoms flare up. If you experience bloating, you may want to try eliminating gas-producing foods such as resistant starch (found in cold potatoes and bread), beans, cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, and carbonated drinks. Fructose, found in sweet vegetables and fruit, can also trigger diarrhoea, gas and bloating in IBS sufferers, and it is worth remembering that one in 10 IBS sufferers are lactose intolerant, so minimising dairy products can provide relief. Caffeine can make diarrhoea worse, so limit coffee and tea to three cups a day.

7. Try peppermint oil

Studies have shown that peppermint oil may be effective in reducing the severity of abdominal cramps and spasms, bloating and the intensity of bowel movement urgency and pain when passing stools, particularly in patients with IBS-D. Try purchasing enteric-coated peppermint oil, specially coated tablets that slowly release the oil in the small intestine.


Camel milk is a healthy investment

In the light morning breeze, camels stick their heads out of acacia trees. Close by are calves separated from their mothers in an enclosure made of acacia branches.

Camel milk is a healthy investment

Halima Haji sips camel milk from her herd in the background in her leased land in Nanyuki, Laikipia County. Camel milk is said to be high in insulin which makes it suitable for diabetics, people suffering from arthritis and lactose intolerant children, among others. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

The Seeds of Gold team is in Karionga village, a few kilometres from Nanyuki town, Laikipia County, to meet Halima Haji.

The 78-year-old woman rears camels for milk.

Her herd contains 62 dromedary camels which produce a maximum of between six to eight litres of milk each daily and four litres during the dry season.

“That one is from Turkana, the other is Pakistan and a majority of them are Somali,” Halima tells us as she takes us around the farm.

In a good month she can earn a Sh1.2 million selling the milk at Sh80 per litre locally. The milk price can go up to sh100 to Sh150 in supermarkets.

As we let the amount sink, Halima is already telling us how spot the different breeds based on height, shape and skin colour.

“The Turkana one is shorter and has a dark brownish colour while the Somali one is white and tall with the males having a broader face. I do not keep much of Pakistan camels because they are nomadic and easily get lost,” said Halima.

Halima started out with only six camels which she bought in Isiolo County at Sh15,000. Currently, one camel sells at between Sh150,000 and Sh200,000.

“I was interested in rearing the camels after learning of the health benefits of their milk,” she said.

Every morning before 8am when she visits the farm she has leased to graze the camels, she drinks three glasses of the raw milk.

Camel milk is said to be high in insulin which makes it suitable for diabetics, people suffering from arthritis and lactose intolerant children, among others.

Her daughters who have accompanied their mother to the grazing fields say camels are her true love.

“You have really made her day by coming here, she is very happy now,” said ZamZam Haji, Halima’s youngest daughter.


The animals’ productivity largely depends on the seasons such that during the dry season the milk production per animal goes down compared to days rains are heavy and consistent.

Currently, the vegetation that germinated following the rains experienced in the last quarter of last year is diminishing and this is the worst season for the herders.


She hoping the dry spell will be assuaged semi-zero grazing system.

“The camels will definitely go out in the field to graze but I am planning that come back and graze somewhere together,” she said.

Halima is currently stocking up feeds for the animals to counteract the imminent drought as the weatherman predicts rains will begin in April.

The animals are going to be fed with bran and seed cake which will ensure they continue being productive despite the drought.

“We want the government to come up with a directive that will see companies manufacture feeds for camels just like there is for cattle and poultry,” said Halima.

Camels are replacing cows and goats in the pastoralist communities as choice livestock as the country continues to grapple with the vagaries of climate change.

According to Halima, camels can do with less food and water compared to livestock.

In her herd she has one male dromedary camel that helps in reproduction.

She said land shortage is the main hindrance to camel farming.

For instance she has leased a 300-acre piece of land to graze her camels at Sh20,000 per month.

They also rely on neighbours who partitions part of their land to allow the camels to graze at a fee of Sh500 per month.

Halima has previously had a herd of over 200 camels but lost a number to drought that took a toll on both humans and animals countrywide last year and to diseases.


She has employed three men who take care of the animals and milk them.

“I only allow them to milk the camels once per day in the morning, the rest of the day the calves are left to feed,” she said.

John Oguk, an expert in camel farming, said the common diseases that affect camels are foot and mouth, lumpy skin disease and mastitis.

Dr Oguk says a camel’s hump consists of stored fat which the animal metabolises when food and water are scarce.

“When the camels use their stored fat in the hump, it will diminish but will refill once they eat or drink again,” said Dr Oguk.

Halima said she collaborates with the veterinary doctors in the county to ensure her animals are all well vaccinated and free of diseases.

Besides liaising with the county vets, she also ensures her camels are bathed with pesticides that ensure they are free of ticks and other harmful flies.

She sells her milk to WhiteGold milk processing company that pasteurises and packages the milk in Nanyuki.

The company that was opened last year buys milk from pastoralist communities as far as Isiolo, Marsabit and Wajir counties. It is seeking a to reach Mandera County this year.

Camels are not only used for milk. They also leather and meat products.

“We have used the camels for transport for long but I think it is time we used them to turn in a profit,” she said.

Halima is looking to bring women together to rear camel for milk.

SOURCE: Daily Nation, Kenya

Best ways to lose all the weight you put on over Christmas

There are many diets you can follow if you want to live more healthily, but it’s hard to know which has the best long-term effects? Luckily, a team of experts has done the research and we have compiled for you.

Best ways to lose all the weight you put on over Christmas

Small steps are all you need to start yourself on a journey toward a slimmer body. Learn 10 small changes you can do to lose weight naturally.

1. Go to bed one hour earlier.

Regular inadequate sleep plays havoc with more than the bags under your eyes; it also interferes with hormones that regulate hunger and, as a result, sleep-deprived people tend to overeat. Boost your zzz’s by hitting the sack about one hour earlier each night. Learn 9 Tips to Get Better Sleep, and then eat 6 Evening Foods for a Better Night’s Sleep.

2. Cut your weekly takeout meals in half.

Rely on the convenience of fast-prep or slow cooker recipes to take the place of takeout lunches and dinners to reduce calories, fat, and other unhealthy ingredients. Homemade meals will be easier on your budget too! Try these yummy 25 Entrée Recipes with Under 15 Minutes Prep Time or Slow Cooker Weight Loss Recipes.

3. Add one new clean eating recipe to your menu every week.

Build healthy new habits that support your goal to lose weight naturally by trying at least one new recipe each week. At SkinnyMs., we share tons of delicious dishes that will satisfy your appetite and give your body the nutrients it needs. Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cheddar Soup or Slow Cooker Texas Chili are tasty options to try.

4. Hydrate the munchies away.

Upping water intake is one of the simplest ways to help the body lose weight naturally. Trade soda, café drinks, or processed energy drinks for plain H2O. Drink one full glass before each meal or snack. The extra water suppresses the appetite and keeps you from oversnacking or overeating. Support natural weight loss with 3 Delicious Cleanse & Detox Waters.

5. Get your snack on.

Going long stretches between meals can make you more likely to give in to unhealthy food cravings. Avoid those urges by keeping your blood sugar steady with two healthy snacks each day. Try some of these 17 Clean Eating Snacks Under 150 Calories.

Why couples should never go running together

Fingers frozen solid, I stagger light-headed through the front door, ecstatic that I have managed to avoid a coughing fit on my latest training attempt. My skin is still emitting its post-run Martian-red glow when my husband eagerly chirps: “What was your time, what was your time?” Bursting with good intentions, he has taken a supportive interest in my running regime since I pledged to run 1,000km in a year. 

Why couples should never go running together

Oh yeah, they LOOK all happy and pleased to be running together. But inside there is seething. Photo: AskMen

Until the beginning of 2017 I had been a light runner, plodding about four miles a week at a leisurely pace. But inspired by friends on Facebook, I committed to the 12-month challenge and took part in my first half marathon in May, followed by a triathlon in September. My fitter, stronger other half, who runs two miles every weekday before 6am and lugs huge pieces of wood around at his cabinet-making workshop, has been eagerly tracking my training. So much so that earlier in the year we decided it would be a great idea to go for a run together one afternoon, while our boys were being entertained by grandparents.

The simple but golden rule, which we had somehow erased from our memories, was that we should never go running together. Ever. Through the haze of children, work and washing, we had forgotten about our two previous attempts, which had ended in disaster. Despite being together for 17 years, we are one of those annoying couples who never argue – but this was the exception.

And so history repeated itself. Halfway around our silent four-mile route, I blurted out: “You can talk to me, you know!” Taken aback, Mark explained that on our previous running attempt I had specifically asked him to stop talking as I was too out of breath to respond and had found it demoralising that he could run and speak and I could not. “Well, I am better at running now,” I retorted. “Can’t you tell?” So, Mark started chatting about how his legs were hurting because he wasn’t used to running at my (slow) pace and perhaps I should try to mix some sprinting and jogging to increase my lung capacity. To make things worse, at the final stretch, Mark hollered: “Come on, sprint – you can do it!” which I took as the highest form of condescension, and slowed to a shuffling trot in protest.

By the time we reached home I was fuming, accusing him of treating me like his training guinea pig, and of a complete inability to understand my level of fitness. “You just don’t get it,” I screamed. He laughed, bemused at why I was so angry at his “encouragement”. Subsequently, we agreed never to run together, although that doesn’t stop Mark from giving me tips – even though he has never run long distance before.

It all raises the question: why does running turn into a battleground for otherwise placid couples?

According to Prof Joan Duda, an expert in sport and exercise motivation at the University of Birmingham, an exercise buddy can promote sustained involvement in physical activity. But this relies on three factors: competence, autonomy and belonging. “When running, you want to set the stage so you are more likely to feel competent, and feel a sense of autonomy – like you have a voice, choice and input. And you need to have a sense of belonging with the person with whom you are exercising. It is best to feel you are being supported in a nonjudgmental way.

“When you have all of those conditions in place, running together should be a more positive experience and one that adds rather than distracts from your wellbeing. But if you don’t have these factors when running with your partner, things can go pear shaped.” As a competitive tennis player, Duda is all too aware of the tension between competing couples: “I have seen couples on the verge of divorce over playing tennis together. But it doesn’t need to be this way.”

The predicament, clearly, is not exclusive to running, or indeed tennis (the only sport I can take part in with my husband, as we are both equally hopeless at it). Even Davina McCall workouts are not safe – my brother-in-law gets infuriated when my sister advises him on how to lunge without injury. And the same outcomes seem inevitable on the ski slope. Science writer Emma Wilkinson says: “On my first day skiing with [my partner] Mark as my teacher, I ended up in a heap at the bottom of a run, streaming with tears and refusing to move.”

My friend Angie Simms says: “Never get snowboarding lessons from your partner. On top of a mountain, upside down in a pile of snow, crying and cursing is the only way that day will end.” The couple are blissfully happy running a photography business together on a remote island – but sport and snow are a no go.

Nor is it solely men “slowing down” for their partners – it can be the reverse. My colleague Richard Wilson, 44, told me he was delighted when his wife offered to help him train for the Great North Run, but within seconds he was asking her to slow down. “She kept powering off and we were having little bickering rows. I was being stroppy saying, ‘You’re not even doing the race this year.’ I was playing catchup all the time. She would run to the top of a hill before me and make jokes as I huffed and puffed up. But I had no breath to respond to her jibes.”

But the best story I have heard is of my husband’s friend – a personal trainer with a £50,000 purpose-built gym in his home. To his amazement, his wife announced the other day that she wanted to get fit again and was thinking of joining a gym. Exercise and marriage, clearly, don’t always mix well.

And yet as I reflect on the recent completion of my 2017 resolution, I feel that maybe, just maybe, I should have another go at running amicably with my partner. Perhaps that can be the 2018 challenge.

SOURCE: TheGuardian

On Quora: Why red cabbage is the healthiest food on earth

By Ecky Thimble


Based upon its effects on restoring the health of my son who became severely ill from an incompetent doctor administrating unnecessary antibiotics – this is the single healthiest food on Earth:

Red cabbage. Why?

It benefits every stage of the gasto-intestinal system as follows:

Eliminates gastritis 

Red eliminates gastritis the stomach and also reduces athritis (due to anti-inflammatory compounds – even a microscopic dose of red cabbage juice stops gastritis)

Eliminates dysbiosis of the small intestine (potent source of healthy lactobacteria, even more so in fermented form such as sauerkraut or kimchi)

Stimulates pancreatic enzyme production to assist digestion

Repairs damaged intestinal walls (due to high glutamine content)

Eliminates constipation of the large intestine (due to high fibre content)

Boosts the immune system (potent source of vitamine C)

Reduces osteoporosis, in conjunction with a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D (potent source of Vitamin K)

Reduces degenerative diseases like Alzheimers (potent source of anti-oxidants)

High source of vitamin A (for healthy eyes)

High dose of iron (to reduce anemia)

All other less effective – and let’s face it, less pretty – foods are essentially fighting for second place to the mighty red cabbage.

Incidentally, second place – based upon the same health recovery process is:

Red apple.

But that’s a story for another time.

Responses originally published on Quora. With credit to above mentioned contributors.

SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Quora

Cycling to work: New study suggests health benefits are enormous

Research has consistently shown that people who are less physically active are both more likely to develop health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and to die younger. Yet there is increasing evidence that physical activity levels are on the decline.

Cycling to work: New study suggests health benefits are enormous

Cycling is one of the many Africa’s cultures that is very healthy to living

The problem is that when there are many demands on our time, many people find prioritising exercise difficult. One answer is to multi-task by cycling or walking to work. We’ve just completed the largest ever study into how this affects your health.

Published in the British Medical Journal today, the results for cycling in particular have important implications. They suggest that councils and governments need to make it a top priority to encourage as many commuters to get on their bikes as possible.

The findings

Cycling or walking to work, sometimes referred to as active commuting, is not very common in the UK. Only three per cent of commuters cycle to work and 11% walk, one of the lowest rates in Europe. At the other end of the scale, 43% of the Dutch and 30% of Danes cycle daily.

Cycling to work: New study suggests health benefits are enormous

Cycling to work: New study suggests health benefits are enormous

To get a better understanding of what the UK could be missing, we looked at 263,450 people with an average age of 53 who were either in paid employment or self-employed, and didn’t always work at home. Participants were asked whether they usually travelled to work by car, public transport, walking, cycling or a combination.

We then grouped our commuters into five categories: non-active (car/public transport); walking only; cycling (including some who also walked); mixed-mode walking (walking plus non-active); and mixed-mode cycling (cycling plus non-active, including some who also walked).

We followed people for around five years, counting the incidences of heart disease, cancers and death. Importantly, we adjusted for other health influences including sex, age, deprivation, ethnicity, smoking, body mass index, other types of physical activity, time spent sitting down and diet. Any potential differences in risk associated with road accidents is also accounted for in our analysis, while we excluded participants who had heart disease or cancer already.

Death by bus? Genemecom

We found that cycling to work was associated with a 41% lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transport. Cycle commuters had a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer. They also had 46% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer at all.

Walking to work was not associated with a lower risk of dying from all causes. Walkers did, however, have a 27% lower risk of heart disease and a 36% lower risk of dying from it.

The mixed-mode cyclists enjoyed a 24% lower risk of death from all causes, a 32% lower risk of developing cancer and a 36% lower risk of dying from cancer. They did not have a significantly lower risk of heart disease, however, while mixed-mode walkers did not have a significantly lower risk of any of the health outcomes we analysed.

For both cyclists and walkers, there was a trend for a greater lowering of risk in those who commuted longer distances. In addition, those who cycled part of the way to work still saw benefits – this is important as many people live too far from work to cycle the entire distance.

As for walkers, the fact that their health benefits were more modest may be related to distance, since they commute fewer miles on average in the UK – six per week compared to 30 for cyclists. They may therefore need to walk longer distances to elicit meaningful benefits. Equally, however, it may be that the lower benefits from walking are related to the fact that it’s a less intense activity.

What now?

Our work builds on the evidence from previous studies in a number of important ways. Our quarter of a million participants was larger than all previous studies combined, which enabled us to show the associations between cycling/walking to work and health outcomes more clearly than before.

Riding to work 1

In particular, the findings resolve previous uncertainties about the association with cancer, and also with heart attacks and related fatalities. We also had enough participants to separately evaluate cycling, walking and mixed-mode commuting for the first time, which helped us confirm that cycling to work is more beneficial than walking.

In addition, much of the previous research was undertaken in places like China and the Nordic countries where cycling to work is common and the supporting infrastructure is good. We now know that the same benefits apply in a country where active commuting is not part of the established culture.

It is important to stress that while we did our best to eliminate other potential factors which might influence the findings, it is never possible to do this completely. This means we cannot conclusively say active commuting is the cause of the health outcomes that we measured. Nevertheless, the findings suggest policymakers can make a big difference to public health by encouraging cycling to work in particular. And we should not forget other benefits such as reducing congestion and motor emissions.

Some countries are well ahead of the UK in encouraging cyclists. In Copenhagen and Amsterdam, for instance, people cycle because it is the easiest way to get around town.

Riding to work 8

It was not always this way – both cities pursued clear strategies to improve cycle infrastructure first. Ways to achieve this include increasing provision for cycle lanes, city bike hire schemes, subsidised bike purchase schemes, secure cycle parking and more facilities for bicycles on public transport.

For the UK and other countries that have lagged behind, the new findings suggest there is a clear opportunity. If decision makers are bold enough to rise to the challenge, the long-term benefits are potentially transformative.

SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Be a Green Commuter/The Conversation

Study confirms that drinking removes shyness about sex

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