For good health and a healthy recovery from your current condition and then to maintain your health, a good healthy variety of foods is essential. We have found that patients who have a healthy dietary regime and have a balanced approach to alcohol respond better to osteopathic treatment as there is greater tissue vitality. Just as you would not put poor quality oil or petrol designed only for a lawn mower in your car, so for good health and vitality your body also needs good quality fuel.

Generally speaking a healthy well balanced diet gives greater vitality, energy and wellness. So if you are feeling low or run down, fatigued and tired, you should consider your nutritional support in addition to looking to see if aspects of your home and work life need re-balancing. However, there are medical conditions which also result in significant fatigue and tiredness so an osteopathic or medical check up may also be advised if this is a long term issue and does not improve with nutrition/ lifestyle changes.

Whilst we are not here to tell what you should and should not eat, some common sense rules do prevail. For more specific advice do consult a nutritionist - your GP may be able to refer you to one locally, though there is plenty of good information available freely on the internet and in books.

Drink plenty of water every day - up to 2 litres of water per day. If you drink a lot of ordinary tea (fruit or herb tea is ok) or coffee you will need to drink even more water as these can dehydrate your tissues. Alcohol also dehydrates your body so drinking plenty of plain / mineral water is essential every day.

If your body does not get good hydration then your tissues find it more difficult to infuse nutrition into the cells and eliminate toxic waste. We find as osteopaths that such situations causes tight and irritable tissues, making them more easily inflamed in the body, increasing aches and pains in the spine and joints. Such tissues take longer to heal and respond to treatment more poorly.

Make sure you are getting a good selection of fresh produce in your diet - are you getting your "5 a day" of fruit and veg? Remember these are the minimum numbers required, not maximum!

Avoid leaving your food too long in the fridge if not frozen, before eating. Vitamins and minerals do lose some of their benefit if kept too long.

Avoid excessive fatty foods and foods that are highly processed or highly sugary. Every now and again is fine - we can all give ourselves a 'treat' from time to time. Remember it is not what you eat just occasionally but what you eat regularly that matters!

Having a glass of wine or a beer is fine - but just ask yourself the question: How often and how much? This is not a moralistic point of view, purely from a health perspective. If this question prompts a pause and consideration, consider rebalancing this aspect. See consumption guidelines below.

A good healthy way to increase your intake of fruit and veg is 'juicing'. Juicers extract the natural juices and separate the pulp which is then discarded. there are two different types of juicer. Slow juicers and fast juicers.

Slow juicers rotate at about 80 x per minute and effectively 'munch and crunch' the fruit and vegetables. This slow speed method maintains the highest amount of vitamins and minerals and separates a higher volume of juice. They are more expensive (as they require a much more powerful motor). Slow juicers do not create a high friction when separating the juice from the pulp. Consequently they maintain the highest amount of enzymes, vitamins and minerals in the juice which you drink. They are not commonly found on 'the High Street' and best purchased via the web - do research for the best price.

Fast speed juicers are much cheaper and are commonly found in kitchen high street stores, and may come as an attachment with a food processor or liquidiser. These machines rotate at 20,000 - 30,000 x per minute (a totally different rate to 80 rpm). Although they do produce juice, the high speed pulveriser causes a very high friction in the fruit and vegetables and can destroy the vital enzymes in the juice (which we want to be drinking for gaining good health).

If you can, do save up and get a slow juicer - the taste seems better and is much healthier - which is the main reason for getting one! There are plenty of good juicing recipe books on websites and in cheap book form. Some recipes can be used alongside a weight loss programme, to detoxify the system, or others for general health. The juice tastes delicious - even to kids!

With respect to alcohol consumption there are guidelines which we have listed below taken directly from the ' website (click the link to go to their website):

21 units per week for men and no more than 4 units per day.

For women 14 units per week and no more than 3 units per week.

Both men and women should have at least 2 alcohol free days per week.

Pregnant women. Advice from the Department of Health states that ... "pregnant women or women trying to conceive should not drink alcohol at all. If they do choose to drink, to minimise the risk to the baby, they should not drink more than 1-2 units of alcohol once or twice a week and should not get drunk".