Health and

Check out our diet and fitness tips to help keep you feeling your best and limit any discomfort experienced as a result of PMS or menopause.

Living in the north of the UK may lead to low vitamin levels according to a new study from the University of Aberdeen.

Researchers looked at sunlight exposure and Vitamin D levels in women aged under 65 in Aberdeen and Surrey. The women wore ultraviolet B light-sensitive badges to measure sunlight, and Vitamin D levels were measured at three-monthly intervals over a 15-month period.

Results published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology showed that total ultraviolet exposure was lower in Aberdeen, where the number of women with Vitamin D deficiency was higher. One in four post-menopausal Caucasian women in Scotland was found to be Vitamin D deficient in the winter compared to none in the south.

Adequate Vitamin D levels are vital for good health as it helps the body absorb calcium for stronger bones, and too little can lead to osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children.

Soy long flabby tum

Soy supplementation could reduce the abdominal fat in obese postmenopausal women, says a new study from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology the University of Alabama School of Medicine at Birmingham.

In the double-blinded controlled trial, postmenopausal women were randomized to soy supplementation or to a placebo without isoflavones. At baseline and at three months, glucose disposal, insulin secretion, body composition and body fat distribution were measured.

The findings, published in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, showed that soy supplementation reduced total and subcutaneous abdominal fat (beneath or under all the layers of the skin) in obese postmenopausal women. Caucasians primarily lost subcutaneous and total abdominal fat, and African Americans primarily lost total body fat.

Soy proteins known as isoflavones are found in foods such as soya beans, a popular food staple in Eastern diets. In the UK, many women increase their soya isoflavone intake through the use of supplements.