Green Tea is even better with a dash of lemon

A little juice in your hot tea may increase the amount of tea-derived antioxidants that your body is able to absorb according some research recently released from Purdue University.

The study concluded that those lemon wedges that come alongside tea in restaurants and coffee shops do more than just garnish your cup. Researchers involved in the study found that lemon juice literally makes green tea better for you by helping the tea retain more of its antioxidants through the digestive process. lemon juice is the most effective and, to my taste buds, the most delicious, but orange, lime and grapefruit follow close behind.

Green or white teas are the best teas in terms of being rich in antioxidants. However normally, only about 20 percent of these antioxidants, called catechins, remain after tea has made its way through the intestines. But when they added lemon juice to the tea, the researchers found that 80 percent of the catechins remained after digestion.

And if you get bored with lemon-flavored tea, they also discovered that orange, lime, and grapefruit juices also have catechin-protecting abilities (although less than that found with lemon).

Source: “Citrus juice, vitamin C give staying power to green tea antioxidants,” Science Daily (

Stop giving antibiotics for coughs and colds, doctors told

‘Stop giving antibiotics for coughs and colds, doctors told’. That was this mornings front page headline in the Daily Telegraph. I was ecstatic at the news. Why? Because, as the report said, because over use of the drugs is fuelling the spread of bugs, and superbugs. Antibiotics de pleat our systems and hinder the absorption of nutrients and vitamins. This is well known and those on consistent medication are among those who should definitely take multi-vitamins and minerals.

So, we are left with the question of what do we do with our coughs and colds? There are several answers to this; We must build up our immune system on the one hand – a long term project, and we can also turn to nature’s remedies for the more imminent winter cold.

Bio-Xanthin helps beat colds, flu and winter infections

A less heard of natural boost to our immune system comes in the form of Astaxanthin sold as Bio-Xanthin. Never heard of it? Neither had I until recently. Bio-Xanthin is a highly potent and antioxidant-rich astaxanthin and is known to be an immune system booster and powerful antioxidant that studies show to be 10 times stronger than beta carotene and up to 500 times stronger than Vitamin E. Wow! That is good news this winter for those of you aiming to boost your immune system ready to fend off the inevitable attack from cold and flu viruses and other winter infections.

So what exactly is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a bright red carotenoid that it is extracted from the green haematococcus pluvialis alga. This alga contains the highest known concentration of natural Astaxanthin. It is cultivated in shallow ponds at the point where it turns from green to red, like autumn leaves. The alga works best apparently when mixed with oil. The powerful new Bio-Xanthin supplement is formulated with safflower oil to ensure its maximum potency and usability by the human body is achieved.

Studies show that carotenoids are able to prevent infection. Given that astaxanthin is one of the most potent carotenoids, it follows that it is more active in enhancing the immune response in animals and humans than beta-carotene (2). And this immune system enhancement occurs at dosages as low as 2mg per day.

Carotenoids stimulate the immune system. Furthermore, astaxanthin significantly increases the number of IgG and IgM antibody-secreting cells – the ‘good guys’ that spring into action to defend the body when an infection occurs. Interestingly, tests by Jyonouhi in 1996 showed Astaxanthin to be the only carotenoid to significantly increase the number of IgG cells, even beta carotene didn’t have the same positive effect.

Importantly, Astaxanthin can cross the blood/brain barrier and bond directly with body tissues. Thus its antioxidant benefits reach the brain and central nervous system directly and exert their effect deep into the body. Other antioxidants including beta carotene and lycopene do not have these bonding sites.

As it is relitively cheap, Astaxanthin is a viable way for us to boost our immune systems.

Energy saving light bulbs and mercury

Low-energy light bulbs, as the name would suggest, are great for energy saving but it has recently been noticed that they contain small amounts of mercury which has people worried.

Mercury is a toxic metal traditionally used in thermometers. Up to 5 milligrams can be found in energy saving bulbs compared to the 3 grams you would find in the thermometer.

“No amount of mercury is good for you, but the very small amount contained in a single modern CFL is unlikely to cause any harm, even if the lamp should be broken,’ says the UK Department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra).”

Mercury is present in every compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL), and always has been – strip lighting typically found in kitchens and garages are prime examples, but on the plus side, the amounts of the liquid metal they do contain are now a fraction of the 100 milligrams that could be found in first generation bulbs.

Louise Molloy from the environmental group Greenpeace said that “Rather than being worried about the mercury these light bulbs contain, the general public should be reassured that using them will actually reduce the amount of mercury overall in our atmosphere.”

“More mercury is emitted by fossil-fuel fired power plants when producing electricity for the incandescent lights, than for the energy-saving CFLs.”

What does need to be addressed however is the lack of information on energy-saving packaging about how to safely dispose of these trace elements of mercury. The lighting industry and the government say the risk of mercury pollution posed by low-energy bulbs is minimal, but:

“Official advice from the Department of the Environment states that if a low-energy bulb is smashed, the room needs to be vacated for at least 15 minutes.

A vacuum cleaner should not be used to clear up the debris, and care should be taken not to inhale the dust.

Instead, rubber gloves should be used, and the broken bulb put into a sealed plastic bag – which should be taken to the local council for disposal.”

When a bulb blows in the house, are we expected to walk to the local town hall and give it to the receptionist?

Kevin Verdun of the Lighting Association said:

“warnings on how to safely dispose of smashed bulbs “might” be put on packaging in future, if the government and the public demanded it.”


Recycled toilet paper: how green is it, really? writes about recycled toiler paper:

A friend of mine recently posed a delicate question about recycled loo paper, and how it manages to look so white. Doesn’t that imply we’re putting a whole load of bleach near our nether regions? I remember the first recycled loo paper back in the 90s, and I’m sure I didn’t imagine it when I say that you could actually see the letters from the newsprint they’d used to make it! But not so anymore…it’s whiter than white these days.

So how do they do it? The answer, as feared, is chemicals.

As mentioned in the article, GoodnessDirect sell recycled loo roll, unbleached and undyed – the only way to do without such chemicals and stay green(er).


Healthy living is worth it

Studying 20,000 people for 10 years has shown that healthy living can add up to 14 years to your life.

The study carried out by the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council in the English county of Norfolk between 1993 and 2006, suggested that people can increase their lifespan by making simple lifestyle changes regardless of how overweight or poor they were.

The research pointed to obvious changes such as exercising, cutting alcohol intake, eating fruit and vegetables and not smoking.

Source: BBC

New Year’s health resolutions

A barley breakfast is number 19 on the Mirror’s list of 31 health resolutions you can keep this year, with a recommendation to use Goodness Direct:

19 Try a barley breakfast

Any breakfast cuts fatigue but researcher Anne Nilsson, of Sweden’s University Of Lund, found barley doesn’t just fuel you for a few hours, it stabilises blood sugar all day. Try Pertwood’s Barley Flakes, £2.87, from

Astaxanthin antioxidant is unrivalled

The antioxidant activity of astaxanthin (asta-zan-thin) is the most potent and powerful nature can provide.

With an extraordinary capacity to interact with free radicals and singlet oxygen, Astaxanthin is also:

(1) far ahead of other antioxidants – including beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and synthetic astaxanthin
(2) 10 times stronger than beta carotene and up to 500 times stronger than vitamin E as an antioxidant.

What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a bright red carotenoid that it is extracted from the green haematococcus pluvialis alga. This alga contains the highest known concentration of natural Astaxanthin. It is cultivated in shallow ponds at the point where it turns from green to red, like autumn leaves.

Studies have shown that the bio-availability of Astaxanthin is significantly increased when mixed and heated in oils. The powerful new Bio-Xanthin supplement is formulated with safflower oil to ensure its maximum potency and usability by the human body is achieved.

In nature, Astaxanthin is found in pink/red-fleshed animals including salmon, trout, shrimps and lobster – all these consume Astaxanthin that, in turn, colours them.

It is thought cold-water fish deposit Astaxanthin from their diet in their flesh to protect lipid tissues from peroxidation – harmful form of oxidation. But pink coloured fish are not good sources of this nutritious food – Astaxanthin cultivated from haematococcus pluvialis in ponds is many times stronger and more easily assimilated by the human body.

Why do we need antioxidants?
Antioxidants are needed to reduce the level of potentially damaging free radicals in our body.

Free radicals (3) are highly reactive substances that, in excess, can damage cells and tissues. Free radicals present themselves as un-bonded (i.e ‘free’) atoms. Antioxidants track down or ‘scavenge’ free radicals in the body and are able to bond with them to ‘neutralise’ them and render them harmless. In so doing antioxidants help maintain cell and tissue integrity.

What makes Astaxanthin so special?
Astaxanthin doesn’t just scavenge free radicals, it also quenches the dangerous singlet oxygen. In scavenging, the free radicals are neutralised by antioxidants either by donating an atom to the free radical to make it paired or by incorporating the free radical into its own molecule. In quenching single oxygen, the antioxidant takes the energy from the charged oxygen molecule (the free radical) and de-charges it, making it harmless.

Vitamin E, for example, neutralises free radicals by donating a hydrogen atom to the volatile oxygen molecule. So, while it may be neutralised, this new molecule is still floating free. Astaxanthin, however, adds the free radical to its molecule and can actually take two per molecule – one either end. So not only does it ‘de-charge’ the singlet oxygen, it also incorporates it into its own structure thus making it more stable than those that are simply neutralised and left to float free.

Of key importance, the Astaxanthin molecule can cross the blood/brain barrier and bond directly with body tissues. Thus its antioxidant benefits reach the brain and central nervous system directly and exert their effect deep into the body. Other antioxidants including beta carotene and lycopene do not have these bonding sites.

What is Bio-Xanthin?
Bio-Xanthin is a potent Astaxanthin supplement presented in a one-a-day gel cap. It is cultivated in Hawaii in shallow ponds 20cm deep and 90 metres long and 35 metres wide. Paddlewheels keep the water moving and the Astaxanthin is collected as the haematococcus pluvialis microalgae turns from green to red. The strong sunlight and clear water of Hawaii result in a pure and potent product that is IS0 9001 certified, non-GM and environmentally friendly.

Astaxanthin has been shown in numerous trials and studies to be a supremely effective antioxidant. It has numerous health benefits for the human body. In nature, it is a super-food and by taking it in this form, drying and adding safflower oil, it’s bio-availability (it’s ability to be used by the body) is maximised.

Like it’s ‘sister’ alga spirulina, it is a food not a synthetic supplement. It is created by sun, fresh water and photosynthesis – not in a laboratory.

Thus it is not just the most effective anti-oxidant you can find, it is also in the most natural form that the body recognises and can use.

Bio-Xanthin is a new Astaxanthin supplement and is available in the UK from MicrOrganics UK Ltd.

You may have heard of this company in relation to its superior Hawaiian Spirulina tablets and powder.

Bio-Xanthin grows alongside spirulina on the farm. It is treated with the same respect and integrity and, thus can be trusted in the same way. If you are among the growing number of spirulina fans, you can take Bio-Xanthin alongside it as the two work in harmony in the body to give different health benefits.

Singlet oxygen is an ‘excited’ form of ground state (normal, harmless, triplet) oxygen that is typically formed during reactions induced by light, physiological stress and normal immune system functions. It is highly reactive, long-lived and destructive in that it breaks up healthy, stable cells in order to re-establish itself as triplet oxygen. Astaxanthin has a superb ability to absorb the excess energy from the ‘excited/charged’ singlet oxygen, release it as heat and return the oxygen back to ground state. This neutralisation is known as singlet oxygen quenching.

Miki, W. (1991) Biological functions and activities of animal carotenoids. Pure Appl. Chem., 63(1):141-146

Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable molecules that have unpaired or missing electrons. They are forced to rob electrons from other vital cellular molecules. In so doing they create more free radicals by destabilising the once-healthy cells. Even worse, free radicals tend to target the electron-rich unsaturated fatty acids, the principle component of cell membranes.

For details on trials and studies, contact:

Katherine Selby
PR Workshop
Tel: 020 8657 4422

Hoodia helps suppress your appetite naturally

Hoodia is a herbal remedy from an African cactus plant of the same name that is used by the San Bushmen to stave off hunger and thirst during long hunting expeditions.

Hoodia is particularly valued in the West for its appetite suppressant qualities to help in the fight against obesity. It is also good for people wanting to reduce their appetite and shed
pounds after the indulgent Christmas period. It is best used in conjunction with a calorie controlled diet and is NOT recommended to be used to help skip meals.

What is Hoodia?
There are 20 species of the Hoodia cactus but only the gordonii contains the active ingredient that helps with weight loss.

Some tablets have been found not to contain this active ingredient so people should choose carefully.

A Hoodia tincture with gordonii is the best way to take this active ingredient. Furthermore, tinctures are extracted directly from the plant and do not have any additives and as a liquid are easy to swallow and swiftly absorbed by the body.

How does Hoodia work?
Certain nerve cells in the hypothalamus – the part of the brain which controls thirst, hunger and appetite, have the ability to detect sugar and become activated when blood sugar levels rise after eating a meal. This gives the indication to the brain that the stomach is full.

Hoodia contains a molecule which is effective in activating these nerves cells so that the brain gets the message that the stomach is full when it isn’t.

People experience less interest in food and take longer to become hungry between meals.

Bambino Mio Nappy System

Bambino Mio provides a complete nappy system suitable for babies from newborn to potty training stage (around two and a half years) including 100% cotton nappies, waterproof nappy covers and biodegradable nappy liners.

Bambino Mio’s nappies and covers have been designed with comfort and simplicity in mind, which make them convenient and easy to use.

Bambino Mio’s two-piece system

The nappy cover has Velcro style fasteners to make them quick and simple to use, and allow adjustment to suit the shape of each baby. The edges of the covers have soft binding on the waist and leg cuffs. The waist and cuffs are elasticated to ensure a snug fit.

A 100% pure cotton nappy. Our nappies have a three panel construction with a thicker centre panel giving maximum absorbency with minimum bulk.

The nappy can be separated from the cover so that there is no need to change the cover with every nappy change, simply place a fresh nappy inside the cover and fasten back onto your baby.

For added convenience we recommend the use of our biodegradable Mio Liners. The nappy liners retain solids and are safe to flush down the toilet. They are designed with a one-way action that allows moisture to pass through but prevent it seeping back.

How many nappies will I need?

The number of nappies you need will depend on how often you are going to wash the nappies. Normally nappies are washed every 3rd day.

We recommend:

  • 24 nappies of one size (available in sizes 1 and 2)
  • 3-6 nappy covers of one size
  • Mio Liners Mio Fresh Nappy Cleanser

Please note that all parents’ and babies’ needs are different and you may need more or less nappies or covers depending on your circumstances. It is important that you have enough nappies and covers so that you do not run out, as washing small quantities of nappies is not cost effective.

User Guide

Please read this information before using and/or washing the Bambino Mio nappies. Before using the nappies pre-wash them in non-biological washing powder at 60° C at least once before use.

Nappy folding methods

Standard Fold

Lay the nappy with the two parallel stitched lines running horizontally. Fold the right vertical edge and left vertical edge over each other.

Nappy folding video – standard fold.

For extra absorbency at the front (or boy fold)

Lay the nappy with the two parallel stitched lines running horizontally. Fold the right vertical edge over the centre. Fold the top and bottom panels over the middle and tuck into each other. With this type of fold, the length of the nappy may be altered to fit the cover accordingly.

Nappy folding video – boy fold.

For loose stools

Follow steps for fold 2. Lay the nappy with the thicker pad at the front and fold back the outer panels to form a fan shape.

Nappy folding video – loose stool fold.

Assembling the nappy

Place the folded nappy with the nappy liner around the centre into the cover. Ensure that the nappy fits to the front and back of the cover and is not sticking out.

Nappy liners

Mio Liners help prevent heavy soiling of the nappies reducing the need for soaking or sluicing. Remove soiled liners from the nappy and flush. Liners can be used in a septic tank system.
Caution: Flushing liners may cause blockage in old or damaged drains. No responsibility can be accepted for individual drain systems.


Change the nappy frequently. Approximately 2-4 hourly (with the exception of night time nappies). A bigger, more absorbent nappy may be required for night-time. Alternatively use a small nappy as a booster pad.


Wash in accordance with the washing instructions on the garment label.

Soak method

Soak nappies in a solution (15ml of Mio Fresh for every 5 litres of water) of Mio Fresh anti-bacterial nappy cleanser for a minimum of 2 hours. Nappies can then be rinsed in cold water or washed in non-biological detergent.

No soak method

Add 15ml Mio Fresh to the wash with a non-biological detergent. Nappies can be washed in temperatures up to 90°C but 60°C is adequate. Tumble dry on low or line dry.
Note: Washing at lower temperatures and avoiding tumble drying all helps to save the environment.

Nappy covers

  • Close Velcro tabs.
  • Machine wash at 60 C in non-biological detergent.
  • Hand wash or rinse in cool water.
  • Tumble dry on low or line dry.
  • Dry away from direct heat.
  • Do not use chlorine bleach or borax.
  • Do not iron.
  • Do not use fabric softener.
  • Do not soak the nappy cover.

Soiled nappy covers

Occasionally there may be some soiling inside the nappy cover. In some cases, not using a liner can help. Due to the nature of the product, however we cannot guarantee that this can be completely prevented. If staining occurs – use only mild or natural stain removing agents so as not to irritate the baby’s skin and/ or cause premature deterioration of the fabric.

Nappy size

Please note: as babies’ shapes and sizes vary a lot these sizes can only be taken as approximate.

Troubleshooting Checklist

If the nappies are leaking check the following:

  • Have you pre-washed your nappies at 60° C? The nappies become more absorbent after the first few washes.
  • Check that you have the right size nappy and cover for your child.
  • Change frequently as nappies should be changed every 2-4 hours depending on the size of your child and the time of day.
  • Do not use fabric conditioner. This will reduce absorbency of the nappy.
  • Check that the nappy is completely tucked in the cover at the waist and leg holes. Do not use a double layer of the nappy liner. Remove the liner to improve the containment of loose stools particularly for breastfed babies. Use sunlight as a natural bleaching agent.

Mercury in dental amalgam banned

I have previously written about my pet hate of heavy metals that filter into our system one way or another causing… we don’t know what for definite, but maybe breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Oh how I wish dentists would give us a mercury free option. Well, today I came across a report from Oslo, Norway. It reported on a ban on dental mercury in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Wow!

The report stated that dental mercury use had been banned in Norway, Sweden and Denmark because composites are adequate replacements. The ban in Norway began on 01.01.08. What a great ‘New Year’s resolution! Sweden and Denmark will follow suit in April this year.

In a prepared statement, Norwegian Minister of the Environment Erik Solheim said “Mercury is among the most dangerous environmental toxins. The Swedish ban is for both environment and health reasons.