Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts

How to easily do 10,000 steps a day

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

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I would like to help a few people at least do their 10,000 steps a day. I know it has been a very hot topic and scientists been debating on the actual benefits of walking 10k a day or rather just investing your energy in a short brisk walk in the park. 

Their argument is that it is extremely hard to hit that 10k mark.
Not only that but Michael Mosley stated in an article for the BBC called " Forget walking 10,000 steps a day" 

Read the article HERE 

Well, I have to say that I could not disagree more! It is true that you will get the benefits of brisk walking in the park for 10 min. But the benefits of walking longer and reaching 10,000 or at least aiming for this number are greater.

In another BBC article, yet was stated that as per research conducted on a few thousand woman, the longer you walk helps with longevity. And when I say the longer you walk I mean more than 5,000 steps- at least 7,500, but ideally really 10,000.

Read the article HERE 

This number doesn't not only helps your longevity but is essentially vital cardio that your heart needs.

So let's talk about the other benefits.
Below I have listed some of them for your reference.

The Benefits of walking 10,000 steps a day

boost your energy
aid relaxation and clear your mind
provide a sense of achievement and satisfaction
improve confidence and mood
help manage weight
promote healthier blood cholesterol and blood pressure
built stronger bones and muscles
reduce your risk of heart attack

All these sound good and worth enough for you to give it the effort?
I know the number by itself is scary enough and trust me I was intimidated too.
How I overcame my fear and just cracked at it for the sake of my health and mental wellbeing?

My main reason, I am not going to lie to you, was because I wanted to lose a few kilograms I gained over the lockdown. With less activity on a daily basis and eating out of boredom, I needed a goal, and my sister helped by giving me some of her workout secrets.

They were not so many secrets but a few helpful youtube tutorials, an app that tracks my calories and exercise so I stay motivated.  

Let's start with the app.

It is called LOSE IT! 
And I love it. I do not obsess about my calories but simply use it as a piece of general information.
I am not starving myself and have set up an achievable easy target to hit.

I suggest you consult your doctor and ask for a dietitian first if you have any underlying issues!

Again,  with any weight loss app out there, please do not obsess and use it as a piece of general information. Consider that any app on the market would not go into detail about your body type and would not be as precise as a personal dietitian.

Moving forward to the actual walking.

I started with getting myself a stepper ( eBay, Amazon, Argos- perfect places to get one).
It is a very good idea if you do not like walking or running in the rain.
So I use the stepper and do a 30 min aerobic stepper routine with the help of Youtube of course. 
I started with a beginner tutorial and I suggest you do too. I have never tried a stepper before and even if you are quite fit and exercise daily I would still recommend you go for a beginner to get the basic movements and tempo of the workout step routine.

Some days I would do 2 x 30 min stepper routines witch is 10,000 steps.
Other days I mix it with 30 min stepper routine + 30 min normal marching at-home tutorial for 30 min which is again 10,000 steps
And today for example I went for a walk in the nearest park for an hour ( time flew by though) which was 5,000 steps + 30 mins of the stepper routine and bam 10,000 steps

So with this in mind, you should not feel intimidated or scared. It is achievable and easily too. You only need to believe and have the persistence to stick with it.

We all brush our teeth every day and do other routine things, so I see no reason why you cannot incorporate this healthy routine should you want to of course. Nobody is forcing you.

I generally feel great after each workout, physically and mentally.

I hope you found this helpful and let me know in the comments below if you wish me to share some of my other workouts routines.


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How to keep your body and mind healthy during lockdown

Monday, 25 January 2021

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While there is not a magical recipe or an elixir we can drink to achieve inner peace and get rid of all our worries and anxiety, there certainly is a way we can improve our state of mind and relax our senses.
You know what people say: 'The Little Things Matter'
And it is true!
You don't need to start with huge overwhelming efforts and pretend it is okay, then fail and blame yourself by making it even worse. 
The best thing to do is to start small but try your best to be consistent.

And if you have no idea what the heck this means and where should you start from..
Well, read below and I hope you get inspired and less scared in your abilities to do and create some good habits or just enjoy a bit better days.

1. Start your day on the healthy side.

A good promising day should start with some good fuel in your body. And what better energy than some vitamins and nutrients.
Even if it is an 8am or 9am r a 10am start ( listen to your body if you are not currently working)
you are going for, wait for a little for your body to wake up before having some breakfast.  
This way your metabolism will have the chance to flush out any remaining toxins from the night before, while you have your morning hot water with lemon, tea, or coffee ( preferably not the last one)

Breakfast wise, keep it light but nutritious, ideally something that will keep you full until lunch time.

Toast with some fruit or veg or a bowl of cereal are the easiest simple choice and you can play around with the options here a lot. Whether you go for the avocado and a fruit combo or the classic egg on toast, you just simply can not go wrong.

2. Finding a hobby you enjoy

We are all so different as characters and so are our interests. With that in mind, my suggestions below are merely scraping the top of a vast deep sea of possibilities you can dwell in, to keep your mind occupied and relaxed.
For example, I like blogging in my spare time and really enjoy writing about topics that interest me or I have had experience in, and think I can help people benefit from my articles. 
So, I like to write down ideas for blogs I can later explore, research, and expand into a beautiful creation here. The scented candles is always a plus as we humans react, even subconsciously, to scents. They tend to relax us and make us feel cozy.

Some people enjoy writing things in their diary and planning possible business adventures, or just sketching ideas and dreams for the future.
Or simply plan a bit the day ahead: like what groceries you would like to get, or maybe you want to cook something specific and you need ingredients.
Or perhaps you have bought an online course and you are broadening your horizons and knowledge.

I add a cup of tea to go with that activity as well. I recently gave up the habit of drinking coffee and switched to tea which I found was the best thing I could have done.
After the week of massive headache withdrawal symptoms and being moody at almost everything, I have discovered I do not need coffee! At all! My body found ( I do not know from where) the energy to wake up and get me through the day and that energy was better balanced and even throughout the day. 
Now, I know it is a trivial thing to say and you have read this everywhere, BUT I am confirming it is true.
Do not get me wrong, I love coffee and will still treat myself one or two cups a month, but the will power to stop cold turkey is amazing and definitely something to celebrate as an achievement.

So, this can be something you can do as well. Get rid of one unhealthy habit. 
And trust me when I say this: do it cold turkey style. Nothing else helps as for me it is just teasing and slow torture. 

Another piece of advice to help you with the transition: 
Whatever you choose to get rid of, find a replacement for it, preferably on the healthy side of the spectrum.
And when you do get creative. What I mean is this: I knew how much I love coffee and I had to make myself excited about tea, so I got a fancy tea mug and went to the shops on the search for special decaf teas.
To my surprise, these babies come in all different colours and cute packaging and as I am such a sucker for a good design, it wasn't long before I got a few kinds of goodies.

( Let me know in the comments if you would like me to write a post about a few tea brands and types really good for you)

Also, the walk to the shops provided e with some much-needed exercise and fresh air.
This brings me to the next little help:

3. Go for walks outside

Even the short walkies will be good for you. Why? Because they will get you out of the state of mind you are and refresh it with some new ideas or simply relax you a bit. You can go to the nearest shop or just put on your favorite sneakers and walk around the blocks of your neighborhood.

Or go get those ingredients for the recipe you were looking to cook for lunch or dinner. Remember? The one you wrote in the morning in your journal. This is an easy trick to make your day flow as naturally as possible and all the things you do touch/connect to each other somehow.

Another thing you can do is go for a walk, with a mission in mind. Maybe you want to get some flowers or fallen branches of trees you can re-plant. Or you perhaps would like to go to that park nearby you always wanted and explore a bit your area and discover new cute streets.

4. Cook something new

Introducing a new flavor and tastes to your diet is very beneficial for your brain and body.
Our Brain easily gets bored if we only eat one type of food for a prolonged period of time and this is one of the main reasons people reach out for unhealthy snacks or lose appetite.
Introducing a new taste is a way of intriguing ourself=ves and in particular, our taste buds and brain, which in return will make the satisfaction of the cooking process even bigger.
I mean who hasn't felt that pride after finishing a recipe and eating the tasty result of our own efforts?!
And the good thing here is that they are so many cooking books to provide you with some really healthy and tasty meals for the whole family.

Also, Nothing like the thought that you have just learned a new recipe and provided your body with much-needed nutrients and protein.

This of course includes sweets. What a better way to treat yourself but with home-baked muffins or a cake.

Another added benefit is: You will spend more time in the heart of your home- The kitchen.
Socialize with your family and discuss more delicious things you can all cook together.
You can even start a little ritual, like every Saturday one of you bakes something. Or perhaps a cooking competition as a game with a prize.

5. Keep it light

I am talking about food here and why is it so important not to overeat.
What happens to our body when we overeat? We get sleepy because all of our blood is taken to our tummies to help digest that massive meal we have just hoovered. In return, we might simply go to one of those dead naps from which you wake up and you have no idea what day, year, or century you are in currently. 
So how do we prevent this? I mean even if we have our good-sized healthy meals, we might still feel a bit more hungry in between meals. 
Well, the answer is the power snack- pack full of goodness! 
Fruit, toast with a little protein or protein homemade balls.

Or a selection platter of a few good bits you like. You can always turn it into a healthier version of a cheese platter and call it a snack platter. 

And when I say keep it light, I mean to keep it light. It is a snack and not a full meal replacement.
Especially if you are not moving around much ( which you should ) it is not a good idea to stuff yourself without providing an outer for all that energy. 
This is another reason why our sleep suffers and certain health conditions worsens- overating and lack of exercise.

6. Make it cozy

Creating a cozy little corner where you can unwind can be really fulfilling and look very different for each of us.
Some of us like to create a burrito like a cacoon where they can snuggle and read a book or drink their tea,  others prefer the comfort of a sofa or a lounge chair, gazing through their favorite window at that burning sunset, while simply not thinking about anything in particular. Or maybe you enjoy going through some Interior design magazines, reading a motivational book while having a bath, writing that blog you have been planning, and lighting that favorite scented candle. 

Creating a little before bed ritual or an afternoon ritual helps massively your mind relaxation process and reduces anxiety and stress.

Another idea to relax is a good light book and a warm light. Go easy on your eyes before bed and get mentally ready that sleep is coming. Our brain is extremely sensitive and most people do not even realize how bright screen light can affect the quality of our sleep, not to mention our dreams. If possible avoid watching violent action movies before bed and pick something relaxing like a book or a podcast. Or a simple conversation with your partner.

Nothing like a good hot bath to relax your muscles and prep you for bedtime.

If you have a pet you can use them to unwind and vent a little about the things on your mind. I mean they will probably keep your secrets forever, which makes them the perfect listener. Or just simply play with them, snuggle them as they are one of the best destress methods out there.

You can end the day by writing some ideas and reflections you had throughout the day or simply prepping your to-do list for the week, month, or next day. Or just sketching something funny instead.

Lastly, try not to make it a late one and go to bed before 23;30 ideally. saying that I know it is not always possible and some late nights are bound to happen here and there but as long as you aim for the early night most of the time you will be able to get at least 8 hours of good sleep.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and please let me know your thoughts in the comments. How are you doing during the lockdown and how are you tackling your emotions?
Remember, it is absolutely normal and perfectly human for us all to have days where we are not okay , or are being moody and can not contain our emotions. Let them out and do not buckle them inside.
Your emotions no matter what they might be are important and you should own them.

Stay safe, well and enjoy the journey!

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Why Cold Showers are super healthy

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

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You might have heard that cold showers are healthy but still can't take the plunge in to testing that out?
Well, hopefully the information bellow will be a solid reason for you to finally try and see what the 'fuss' is all about.

So , lets start with some of the many benefits:

- promotes fat loss 

Yes, simply pouring ice cold water to the body can help cut weight. Cool showers activate brown fat, which generates heat around the body, according to Menprovement. The increased activity of the “good fat” burns calories to keep the body warm. Research showed that cold temperatures can boost brown fat by 15 times higher than the normal amount.
- improves immunity
A study in England showed that regular cold showers trigger an increase in the metabolic speed rate and the amount of white blood cells in the body, which then help fight diseases.
- gives better circulation
An improved circulation means better overall cardiovascular health. Among the benefits of taking cold showers is a good blood flow. It allows the blood to rush down to organs to stay warm.
- drains lymphatic system
Cold showers help boost the activity of the lymphatic system, which works to carry out waste from cells. This then reduces the risk of infections.
- promotes emotional resilience
study by NCBY ( The National Center for Biotechnology) shows that cold showers can help develop a nervous system that is resilient to stress. The effort alone serves as a small form of oxidative stress, which the body would adapt overtime and teach the brain to prepare for stress. 
- lowers stress and depression
As the brain learns how to deal with stressful situations, cold showers could also help cut the levels of uric acid and boost glutathione in the blood, which help reduce stress. Cold showers have been found to relieve symptoms of depression by stimulating “the blue spot” on the brain that releases noradrenaline, a chemical which plays a role in alleviating depression.
- increases testosterone levels
For men, even a small amount of heat can affect the DNA, RNA and protein synthesis in the testes. One study found that 15 minutes of increased heat in rat testes led to a significant decrease in testosterone. Which then suggested that cold temperatures could reverse the effect
- improves fertility
Cold showers have been found to boost sperm count and increase fertility. Researchers said that it could also reverse the effects of hot baths that have been considered to be an effective male contraceptive.In a previous experiment, men who took a half hour of hot bath every other day for three weeks became infertile for six months.
- faster muscle recovery
2009 study showed that an ice bath after intense training improves circulation and helps remove some lactic acid, which could speed up the body’s recovery.
- enhances skin and hair
The benefits of taking a cold shower not only give better health, but also make people look better. Ice cold water can help reduce the risk of losing too many natural oils on the skin and hair, according to dermatologist Jessica Krant.  It also helps make the hair appear shiny and strengthens their grip to the scalp. 
- better sleep at night
A 10-minute ice bath could help people get incredible sleep at night, according to a book titled “The Four Hour Body.” The book states that taking a cold shower gives elephant tranquilizer-like effect that will put you straight to bed.
And before I summarise,  let's have a look at 'The Four Hour Body' by Timothy Ferris, shall we?

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Roasted sweet potatoes and veggies

Monday, 29 April 2019

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1 Sweet Potatoes or Butternut Squash ( Peeled )
2 Tbsp olive oil
700g Unsalted butter
230g pack sprouting brocoli (purple), thick stems
halved lenght-ways
10g flat leaf parsley leaves ( roughly chopped)
1 halved lemon
30g roasted salted almonds ( or any other nut),
roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 200˚C Cut the sweet potatoes or squash into 1cm-thick slices or cubes, put in a roasting tin and toss with the olive oil; season by your liking. I would Usually put whatever my nose likes on the moment. Cut ¹⁄ ³ of the butter into cubes and scatter over. Cover tightly with foil and roast for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and roast for another 10-15 minutes until golden.

When the sweet potatoes/squash are almost done, cook the broccoli in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes, until just tender. Drain thoroughly; set to one side. Melt the remaining butter in a pan over a low heat. Stir in the parsley and season. Transfer to a bowl and add the lemon halves to the panflesh-side down. Turn up the heat and fry briefly until slightly charred.

Arrange the vegetables on a plate, scattered with the almonds and the
butter drizzled over. Serve with the charred lemon halves alongside for squeezing.

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Watermelon Smoothie

Saturday, 7 July 2018

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I love watermelon in summer time. It is the one thing I can not get over and 
it is also a left over habit from my country. I would get one big watermelon,
slice it into pieces and serve it to friends with a sharing platter with feta
cheese. Yes, it is weird, but trust me the combo of sour and slightly sweet
really goes. And it refreshes instantly.
Smoothies though are good too.
Hope you enjoy this one and comment bellow.

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Peanut Butter - Avocado Shake

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If you love avocado and peanut butter, you are going to love this .

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Night rituals

Sunday, 1 July 2018

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Here are some of the help I use to drift off after a long day. Sometimes is very hard to switch off your mind and put away any phones, lap tops and tablets, especially if you have a busy lifestyle.
I find really helpful creating a little pre-bed prep ritual.

I love this magnesium oil as it is infused with lavender and it relaxes your senses as well as your muscles, especially after a workout.

You can sprits it on your skin straight after shower or a magnesium salts bath, which does wonders if your muscles are really sore.

Lavender scent.... spray it on your pillow or light up an essential oil burner. Or get a sleep mask with lavender seeds inside ...

The Silk also feels really soft on your skin and has proven anti-aging benefits. 

Light up a candle.. make some tea or whichever drink you like to drink as long as it is not sweet or fizzy. I like to mix lavender and chamomile, but you can get special 'night time sleep' teas that already have some pretty good ingredients blended together.

When I say light up a candle, you can even take it to the next level by purchasing a special one that has a burning twist ... it basically sounds like a cracking wood when it burns.. how cool is that, especially if it relaxes you.

The smell and rhythm of the falling raindrops. I find it super relaxing and smoothing. Open the window and let that put you in a sleep mood.

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Why exercise is so important for our Mental Health and Wellbeing

Friday, 22 June 2018

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What's the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today? Exercise! 
- says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. 
Get inspired to go to the gym as Suzuki discusses the science of how working out boosts your mood and memory -- and protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

Not many people understand what an immediate positive effect exercising has on our brains and most importantly on our mood and ability to focus.
Not only that but in the long run, it can actually protect us from depression, memory loss, and various diseases.

And as Wendy Suzuki's s personal experience in the gym I know a lot of people feel the same way including me. 
From my first class at the gym, I felt how my mood improved, and with each visit I was feeling better and better, this is whats essentially keeps you going back as well. It is like a happy drug that makes your entire being happier.

And that is not all, You also notice that you are gradually getting stronger and more focused in your daily activities. Your body changes that are for sure but not many people realize that along with that your brain changes as well.

One of the things I noticed only after a month regularly going to the gym was that I was able not only to focus but to maintain my attention for longer then I was able to before and my long term memory improved significantly. 
It sure feels good. Just like Suzuki states in her research: " Exercise has such positive effects on our brains: better mood, better energy, better memory, better attention"

"Exercise is the most transformative thing you can do for your health that has an immediate positive effect on your brain. Just from a single workout, you will immediately increase levels of neurotransmitters, like dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline. Which is the reason for your better mood after your workout and your ability to shift attention and focus quicker that will last for at least two hours. " says Suzuki.

And by changing the exercise regime by increasing the cardiorespiratory function, we get the long-lasting effects, made possible by the fact that physical activity changes the brain's anatomy, physiology, and function.

What Wendy also says is that the longer and regularly you exercise the bigger and stronger your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex gets. These are basically producing new brain cells that expand and are accountable for your good mood, better focus, and attention for longer. And the biggest benefit of these two areas being stronger is that they are most susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases and normal cognitive decline in aging.
Regular exercise is not going to cure any possible diseases but it is most certainly going to protect your brain and body from them by decreasing significantly your chances of having one. " It will take a longer time for any of this disease to actually have an effect," says Suzuki.

Suzuki also suggests what most people already know: Hit the gym at least 3,4 times a weak for a minimum amount of 30 minutes per session. Mix it up with some aerobic or cardio that will get your heart rate up too.

You can watch her TED talk via the link  Here

It is great that more people are realizing the importance of physical activity. And that it is not only how good your body looks but how good you feel and how healthy you are because of it. 

Do not delay it and if you are finding hard to go just think of the million ways you get to play with your outfit. Whatever floats your boat, as long as you are there working those muscles.


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Why caring after bees is so important for the planet and us

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

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I don't like many creatures from the insect family but bees are my top favorite. 
These beautiful and fascinating little insects are vital to a healthy environment and economy.
And here is why and how you can help in saving more bees and taking a step in making the world a better place for us and the new generations to come.

We may take them and other pollinators like butterflies and overflies for granted, but they are vital for stable, healthy food supplies.
They are key to the varied, colorful, and nutritious diets we all need and have come to expect.
Bees are perfectly adapted to pollinate, helping plants grow, breed, and produce food. They do so by transferring pollen between flowering plants and so keep the cycle of life turning.

The vas majority of plants we need for food rely on pollination, especially by bees: from almonds, vanilla, and apples to squashes. Bees also pollinate 80% of the wildflowers in Europe, so our countryside would not be so beautiful and interesting without them.

Unfortunately for us and the planet that needs these little savers so badly, bees are in serious trouble and not many people have paid the right attention to the problem.
Thankfully there is a growing public and political concern at bee decline across the world.
The decline is caused by a combination of stresses:
from loss of their habitat and food sources to exposure to pesticides and the effects of climate change.

More than ever before, we need to recognize the importance of bees to nature and to our lives. And we need to turn that into action to ensure they don't just survive but thrive.
There are so many ways we can support the bees:
from planting more flowers to going to the next level and engaging in beekeeping or by donating to various charities.
I have always admired highly beekeepers, it is a wonderful way to help the bees, contribute to the good of the planet and world and treat family and community to the wonderfully healthy honey.

Bee Info: 

Not all bees are the same. There are over 20 000 known species of bee globally. Around 270 of them have been recorded in the UK. And only 1 of these is the famous Honeybee.
Most Honeybees are kept by beekeepers in colonies of managed hives and the rest are wild, including 25 bumblebees species and more than 220 types of solitary bee.

Thanks to bees we can enjoy a range of foods from apples and pears to coffee and vanilla. And if you are wearing cotton, that's many because the cotton plant your threads came from was pollinated. Guess who?

More than 90% of the leading global crop types are visited by bees. 
(IPBES Pollinators, Pollination, and Food Production The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)

So what is Pollination? 
It is a process or a journey shall I better say.
Bees gather pollen to stock their nests as food for their young. They have a special feature to collect it too. Like Branched hairs called 'scope" or combs of bristles called 'pollen baskets' on their legs. As bees visit plants seeking food, pollen catches on their bodies and passes between plants, fertilizing them, which basically is the Pollination itself.

 Many bees have different characteristics that make them suited to pollinate certain plants.
The early bumblebee's small size and agility allow it to enter plants with drooping flowers such as comfrey. Garden bumblebees are better at pollinating the deep flowers of Honeysuckle( I love that flower so much)  and foxgloves than most other species because their long tongue can reach deep inside them.

Many farmers rely on a diversity of bees to pollinate their produce.
Commercial apple growers benefit from the free pollination services of the Red mason bee. This species can be 120 times more efficient at pollinating apple blossoms than honeybees.

There is evidence that natural pollination by the right type of bee improves the quality of the crop, from its nutritional value to its shelf life. Bumblebees and solitary bees feed on different parts of the strawberry flower and in combination they produce bigger, juicier, and more evenly- shaped strawberries.

In a world, without bees, we would probably survive. But our existence would be more precarious and our diets would be dull, poorer, and less nutritious. And not just for want of honey. 

Loss of pollinators could lead to lower availability of crops and wild plants that provide essential micro-nutrients for human diets, impacting health and nutritional security and risking increased numbers of people suffering from A, Iron, and Folate deficiency.

Governments and food producers talk a lot about food security, yet without bees, our food supply would be insecure. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation ( FAO) identified encouraging pollinators, particularly bees, as one of the best sustainable ways to boost food security and support sustainable farming.

All this natural crop pollination fills pockets as well as our bellies. The global market value linked to pollinators is between $235 billion and $557 billion each year.
In the UK alone, the services of bees and other pollinators are worth £691 million a year, in terms of the value of the crops they pollinate. It would cost the UK at least £1.8 billion a year to employ people to do the work of these pollinators, and bees do it for free.
Yet I feel governments do not value enough these hard workers that bring them so much profit.

Bees are a fantastic symbol of nature. The fact that they are in trouble is a sign that our natural environment is not in the good shape it should be.

Pollinators allow plants to fruit, set seed, and breed. This, in turn, provides food and habitat for a range of other creatures. The health of our natural ecosystems is fundamentally linked to the health of our bees.

Maintaining our native flora also depends on healthy pollinator populations. This includes wildflowers such as poppies, cornflowers, and bluebells, as well as trees and shrubs. The close relationship between pollinators and the plants they pollinate is evident in the parallel declines seen across the UK and Europe. 76% of plants preferred by bumblebees have declined in recent decades, with 71% seeing contractions in their geographical range.

Don't forget Bluebell and Honeysuckle

One of the very important things we should be teaching the coming generations of youngsters is looking after our environment with love and honest care, as we do rely on its benefits.

*Material sourced from "Friends of the Earth" 

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