March 27, 2019 Comments Off on Should chocolate be classed as a medicine?
It’s not just the Easter bunny telling us to eat chocolate – Scientists are too.
When you think of the Easter bunny what image does your mind conjure up? Thanks to a large chocolate brand you may think of a white bunny riding through gardens on a bicycle delivering delicious chocolate wrapped in shiny paper.
And why is our fluffy hero so keen to hand over all the chocolate? Is he keeping all the good stuff for himself, you know all that green tucker that oozes vitamins – the food that we know to be good for us?
According to science the busy bunnies should be keeping some of the chocolate for themselves too.
Are You In A Good Mood?
If you’ve been eating chocolate, then you’re likely to answer ‘yes’. You’d be right too as chocolate is a joy stimulant. The Journal of Psychopharmacology revealed that someone who drinks a polyphenol-rich chocolate drink daily (this being the same as 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate) will feel relaxed and contented. More so than someone who hasn’t been offered a comforting mug of the chocolatey drink.
It is a known fact that antidepressant’s enhance serotonin or keep this compound in our brains. As cocoa boosts brain serotonin it’s no surprise that chocolate can lift our mood. So, here’s another question for you to ponder over – ‘do you crave something sweet or are you simply wanting something to lift your spirits?
So, we’ve been able to prove that chocolate can improve our mood, but what about our health?
We age as a result of our bodies losing their ability to renew and repair themselves. Chocolate has the unique super-power of activating stem cells allowing our cells to regenerate and heal.
A clinical study in California gave patients with known heart disease two daily 8oz cups of hot chocolate, made with 70 per cent dark chocolate, for 30 days. The number of stem cells in their blood was measured before and after the trial. It was found that consumption of the hot dark chocolate doubled the stem cells in their circulation. No known medicine has the same effect .
The secret to dark chocolate is that it contains high amounts of cocoa solid and less of the unhealthy ingredients present in other types of chocolate.
Let’s share the bunny’s diet
We have five health defence systems which help our bodies ward off illnesses. These are:
Stems cells to repair and regenerate our organs
Healthy gut bacteria for healthy digestion and weight regulation
DNA which holds the blueprint of our development, growth, reproduction and function
Defence against environmental toxins
Immune system to fight disease and infection
Some foods benefit all five of these defence systems: blueberries, carrots, aubergines, coffee and dark chocolate. And the great news is, all of these foods are scrumptious.
Thinking of your future health
We’ve learnt that eating chocolate can reduce feelings of stress. When stress is present for a period of time it can actually speed up the ageing process in our bodies as it ages the cells that make up our immune system, decreasing their ability to divide or replenish. I don’t recommend that you solely rely on dark chocolate to reduce feelings of stress but a cup of hot dark chocolate every day will certainly pick you up. Having a positive attitude, socialising with others and plenty of outdoor exercise is the ultimate tonic.
We’ve also learnt that eating dark chocolate is extremely beneficial to our health and our ability to renew and repair. But, like everything in life, moderation is key and should be mixed with a balanced diet.
February 18, 2019 Comments Off on Beauty, skin & ageing
When to start a beauty regime for great skin What about yesterday? Skin is amazing, it has the most important job of acting as a barrier between our bodies and the environment. So, why is it we neglect our skin before it’s too late? Probably because we don’t have a connection to our future selves – the person who will look back at us in the mirror in years to come is a stranger to us. Let’s see what we should be doing and when. We’re exposed to the sun’s harmful rays from the moment that cosy, warm feeling hits our skin for the first time. We know that from birth we need to use protection against UVA and UVB rays but the lure of a bronzed instagrammable body often overtakes the need for healthy skin. As teenage skin can be a little chaotic, this is the time we should start to exfoliate to help reduce the onset of spots and minimise pores. It’s also a crucial time to start the daily routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising. Conveniently, social media filters can eliminate blemishes so maybe an outbreak will go unnoticed to their ‘followers’. In our 20s we should step up the beauty regime and focus on more than just our faces. Lifestyle can have a great impact on the skin, although we feel indestructible in our 20’s, smoking, drinking and diet can affect the skin by accelerating the ageing process, creating a lacklustre palor and deepened wrinkles.
December 18, 2018 Comments Off on How to boost employee engagement in your Corporate Wellbeing Scheme
The Independent surveyed 2000 office workers from the UK during the summer of 2018 and discovered that on average an office worker will spend almost 1,700 hours a year in front of their screen and spend around six and a half hours sitting at their desk Monday to Friday. This inactivity is no good for health and certainly no good for morale or productivity.
To kickstart a healthy workforce many corporate agendas now include health and wellbeing packages to encourage active lifestyles; these wellness initiatives can include:
Discounts for local gyms
Walking groups – just 30 minutes spent walking around a business park during a lunch break can make a big difference
Group yoga sessions for mindfulness in the workplace
Collaborations with other corporate wellbeing providers to bring an array of interesting schemes
Healthy lunchtime options to make the workforce more resilient to illness and injury
So, with all this support available at an employee’s fingertips why are so many not taking their employer up on these initiatives? It’s probably got something to do with the ‘I’ll start on Monday’ attitude. But what if employees could see their future selves?
Reverse engineering definition [verb]. To examine the construction or composition of an object in order to recreate or improve it.
Reverse engineering can hold the key to boost the numbers of individuals actively taking part in their organisation’s activities. The Change My Face age progression software when used alongside a wellness strategy will allow employees to see what their future holds for them if they don’t take action now to improve their health. And if they don’t like what they see, they are likely to take positive steps to reverse the effects.
December 13, 2018 Comments Off on The Cost of an Unhealthy Workforce
The cost of an unhealthy workforce
It’s no surprise that the most common New Year’s resolutions are those connected to our health and wellbeing. But these pledges are often short-lived, with old habits returning around the 14th February when irresistible heart-shaped chocolates become the staple diet. So why are we so bad at sticking to our best intentions?
More and more companies are creating bespoke corporate wellness packages as part of their agenda to encourage workforces to get fit, both physically and mentally. Unhealthy lifestyles inevitably lead to sick days; around 140 million working days are lost every year costing the UK tax payer over £60 billion, not to mention the significant cost to the business – a cost that could be unnecessary.
Facing the future. Using the Change My Face app as part of a corporate wellbeing strategy will provide an emotional attachment that can drive positive change. Allowing employees to download a photo of themselves to see an illustration of what they will look in years to come if they continue to lead inactive lives will get them logging on to your company’s wellness page and looking the other way when that box of Valentine chocolates makes its way around the office.
Team Spirit. As you’ll no doubt be aware, fit and healthy employees feel good about themselves, they get on better with their colleagues, make smarter decisions, work at a faster pace resulting in a valuable contribution to the workplace. Investing in the wellbeing of your workforce has so many benefits:
Lowers absenteeism levels
Reduces stress in the workplace
Provides a positive image for your company
Fitter and healthier workforce
Improves staff retention
Can you afford not to offer such a worthwhile initiative and make it the best it can be?
November 20, 2018 Comments Off on Behavioural Science helps Mexicans Save More for Retirement
An extraordinary 41% of Mexico’s elderly currently live in poverty. Working with Ideas 42, who have had the honor of systematically applying their behavioural science across a major government financial system, which is the first of its kind in Mexico, we have incorporated our ageing software for those using the app to be able to visualise their future selves.
Saving for retirement is a challenge for most people. It feels far in the future, and it’s natural to focus on more immediate financial needs. That’s not to say we don’t recognize the importance of setting up a retirement account and starting to save early, but even with that knowledge it’s easy to be deterred by unpleasant or complicated tasks, difficult decisions, or the multi-step process for getting started.
Result! We were proud to discover that using the aging photo filter increased the number of account holders who made a one-time contribution in August by 13%, and raised the average amount contributed in that month by 1,327 MXN (from an average amount of 3,063 MXN).30 Taking into account the greater number of contributors and size of the contributions made, in aggregate our intervention increased the total amount saved among account holders in the treatment group by 54% (1,675,974 MXN) compared to the control (1,087,422 MXN). Including the aging filter along with savings messages induced not only more contributions, but also much larger ones.
November 9, 2018 Comments Off on Prevention rather than Cure
Three cheers for the NHS. The plan is to place more resources into prevention rather than waiting for the population to succumb to the big diseases (heart, diabetes, cancer etc). This is a great leap forward – I was starting to worry when attending a Science Festival talk last year, one particular panel was discussing new health innovations and how to detect disease earlier, and as if reading my mind, a gentleman in the audience asked how the NHS could help advise people to live healthier lifestyles. The barrage he received back from a GP who is very high up in the NHS, was extraordinary. She was adamant the responsibility did not lie with the NHS to do this, and that if someone could be so stupid as to live unhealthily that it was their problem. Well, as the NHS have finally concluded it has very become their own financial problem.
As the BBC reported, people in England are being told to cut back on alcohol, sugar, salt and fat in a bid to boost the nation’s healthy life expectancy by five years. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is setting out his long-term vision for the NHS on Monday – and the focus is on preventing illness. He says that 10 times more money is spent on treating disease than prevention – which “doesn’t stack up”. The plan also recommends that bosses should do more to keep staff healthy.
Mr Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there needed to be a shift in culture and in the way resources are balanced. “For too long the NHS has seen itself as essentially the National Hospital Service, with primary care and GPs round the side,” he said. “I want to see it as the health service of the nation, helping people to stay healthier.”
The plan also includes ambitions to: halve childhood obesity by 2030, reduce loneliness by making “social prescribing”, when doctors or nurses prescribe community activities – more widespread diagnosing 75% of cancers at stages one and two by 2028 use technology to predict patients’ illnesses and target advice at sections of the population.
September 25, 2018 Comments Off on The Future of Beauty
Today’s choices of skin creams and cosmetics could not be more abundant or confusing. In the past there has been a hit or miss approach to buying new products that sees many of us spending hard earned cash on ingredients that aren’t necessarily the best for our own skin. However, the future of beauty lies in the consumer becoming more in control of what they buy and how they buy it. Personalised cosmetics, apps and technology being used by new brands will allow us to have more knowledge and make better choices when shopping for beauty and skin care creams.
Many new smaller cosmetic companies are being discovered on Instagram and the visualisation of branding and products is helping us to see what would work for us.
Instagram has become a thriving environment for cult beauty brands, with 44% of cosmetics and skincare purchases influenced by beauty brands on social media (source: Facebook IQ). Beauty Futures
In the age of the Selfie, if your images are not altogether perfect you can improve them with countless apps that smooth out wrinkles, and imperfections.
Alternatively, newer brands are challenging this notion of a common ‘look’ that we’re all aiming for and are calling the diversity card. We are of course all different in our own way, after all. Low-cost brand Sleek MakeUP is challenging beauty standards with its initiative, My Face, My Rules. The campaign aims to defend everyone’s right to wear as little or as much make-up as they want. (BF)
As outlined in the Beauty Futures 2018 report the Future Lab reveals its research into 2019’s beauty trends:
Digital tools are altering consumers’ perception of beauty.
Snapchat and Instagram filters may seem innocuous, but are creating a skewed sense of self, where it is more important to be beautiful online than in real life. Plan your product and marketing strategies carefully to address both aspects of your customers’ personalities.
Non-invasive aesthetic procedures are becoming routine.
Beauty treatments are no longer confined to the dressing table or the spa. Consider how you can become best placed to integrate into this hybrid space.
Beauty consumers are looking for expert influencers.
While dermatologist brands are still popular, emerging science-backed brands need to have a unique point of view to differentiate themselves, and female doctors are becoming a popular voice of expertise.
September 15, 2017 Comments Off on Age Progression moves back to the future
Having recently met Professor Hassan Ugail at Bradford University we see it is now possible to age progress and regress long term missing persons with a good degree of accuracy. In the past determining how a missing person may look for use in publicity has placed the responsibility on a forensic artist’s personal opinion of how they may look, albeit using reference photos of parents and siblings. By placing the emphasis on algorithms and giving that responsibility to a machine to calculate how a person’s face will age will create a uniform result each time. This does not take away what the forensic artist can do, because the skill and training that a forensic artist has is valid, and there’s a human element that gives a degree of believability, creating a ‘lifelike’ portrait of how the person could look, with updated hairstyles and clothing, and as to date the machine cannot yet do this, but surely this is only a matter of time.
September 14, 2017 Comments Off on Can we predict time of death?
There is a discrepency between the human lifespan which say could average 120 years and the human life expectancy which does average 80 years. So, where did the missing 40 years go? Factors such as obesity, smoking, drinking and stress have an effect on our lifespan shortening it – the growing effect of obesity in children and adults means that the ‘big’ diseases will kick in sooner, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Research and data taken from hundreds and thousands of people and analysed shows that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but not drinking at all is worse than drinking a glass of wine or beer a few evenings a week. Being uncomfortable is good for us, so being a bit stressed (but not too much), getting cold and hungry kickstarts the body’s system into repair mode. The ever popular 5:2 fasting diet really does work and has recently shown to start reversing symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. Get fit in your 50’s…it’s the best time for your body and means that if you haven’t exercised massively in your earlier years, you won’t experience so much injury. Lastly, eat cheese, because so far the research has shown that it has not detrimental effect on shortening our lives, good news for cheese lovers around the world.
March 22, 2017 Comments Off on Facing the Future
We are excited to have contributed towards a new installation by the YBA Artist Gillian Wearing who imagines herself as a 70-year-old in series of images unveiled as part of exhibition at National Portait Gallery
Not everyone will want to know what they might look like when they are 70, but the artist Gillian Wearing is more than happy to contemplate it, dozens of times.
The National Portrait Gallery on Wednesday unveiled a huge wall of images called Rock ’n’ Roll 70 Wallpaper showing a digitally aged Wearing in about 30 different situations and clothes.
They include Wearing as a 70-year-old biker girl in a white vest with breast enhancements and tattoos, and a more down-to-earth Wearing in a dowdy yellow sweater posing happily with her real-life partner, Michael Landy, who is also digitally aged.
There is also a triptych comprising an image of Wearing as she is today, one of her digitally aged, and a blank space to be filled in with a photograph when the artist really is 70.
Sarah Howgate, the gallery’s contemporary curator, said Wearing worked closely with forensic scientists for the project. “It is exploring issues which affect us all … ageing, memento mori, the transience of life,” she said.
The work is part of a new show opening on Thursday that presents works by Wearing alongside pieces by the early 20th-century French surrealist artist Claude Cahun.
Both are from vastly different backgrounds but there are many parallels between them, hence the reason for the show.