The dangers lurking in our cupboards

The dangers lurking in our cupboards

It seems we are a nation of complete hoarders when it comes to the contents of our cupboards, a new survey commissioned by Healthspan reveals. It seems Brits hoard everything from old vitamins to cough medicines as well as kitchen essentials with under fifth admitting they hadn’t cleaned out their medicine cabinets for at least five years.

The average kitchen cupboard is stocked up with 57 items, 13 of which are suspected of being out of date.

The study commissioned by vitamin company Healthspan to support the launch of their new foil sealed for freshness packaging line, found that items such as condiments, tinned food, dressings, dips, herbs, spices, and stock cubes, as well as medicines and vitamins are the most likely to be hoarded and to be out-of-date.  Nearly a fifth of people claim they don’t even bother checking the dates before they purchase, use or even eat a product.

Dr Sarah Brewer GP & nutritionist says:  “Always check use-by-dates. In most cases an out-of-date supplement won’t cause any harm, however, the levels of vitamins will be reduced and in the case of herbals, the level of active plant substances will have deteriorated and the doses will no longer supply the same benefits. Don’t panic, foil-sealed medicines and vitamins will generally keep fresher for longer than those supplied in a bottle or tub.”

Robert Hobson, Registered Nutritionist at Healthspan said: “Keeping food fresh is key especially if we are to retain the goodness and nutrient value as well as not becoming ill by eating out of date foods such as uncooked meats.  As well as foods, vitamins and supplements also need to be kept fresh, so purchase products that are in foil sealed packaging.”

Whether your adding freshness to you fitness regime or your approach to health maintenance, Healthspan has teamed up with a range of experts who have put together a range of tips to add freshness into our daily.

Robert Hobson, Head of Nutrition at Healthspan and a team of experts share their top ten tips to adding a little freshness to your life:

Spring is a fabulous time to add some freshness to the home, wardrobe, friendships, and even our sex lives. Healthspan has gathered some expert tips on how to give our lives a boost of freshness:

“Time to freshen up your approach to health maintenance.” says Robert Hobson Healthspan’s Head of Nutrition

Freshen up your approach to health maintenance by exploring the use of spices to help with common conditions.  Cinnamon can be a useful way to help control blood sugar and turmeric may be useful in the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis

Freshen up and spice up your weekly menu repertoire.   Try experimenting with interesting herbs and spices advise Robert Hobson, Healthspan Head of Nutrition.   Dried spices are particularly high in iron, which can help fight tiredness and fatigue.  You could add turmeric to scrambled egg, paprika to a chicken stew or give a bog standard cottage pie an Indian flavour with the addition of ground coriander, cumin and ginger.

Dr Sarah Brewer, GP, Nutritionist, says:

“It’s time to tackle that medicine cupboard and throw out anything that doesn’t have a use-by-date/ packaging date on or contain the Patient Information, which is key.    Choose medicines, vitamin and supplement products that are foil sealed, as they will generally keep fresher for longer.”

Add a little freshness to your marriage Lucy Beresford, a psychotherapist and Agony Aunt advises:

Routine can be numbing. So plan an activity to get you both out of the rut. The most obvious event is a ‘date night’ once a week, but this doesn’t have to cost money. It can be simply be about walking in the local park together, holding hands. But it has to be just the two of you.

At any age it’s important to keep our sex life fresh. Lucy’s tip is to:

Get physical. Say I love you and follow it with a kiss. Or offer to massage your partner’s feet or shoulders when you’re watching TV. Being tactile brings you closer together.

Sometimes our friendships may also need a little bit of freshness and nurturing. Lucy recommends:  Think of an anniversary (maybe of meeting, or of something you did with your friend(s) when younger) and make a plan to celebrate this. Maybe return to a special place or repeat an activity.

Give your home a touch of freshness, Niki Shafer, Interior Designerwww. says:

Spring and summer can be a blessing but it also highlights how ‘sluggish’ our interiors have become over the winter months. It’s easy to shift from one season to the next by simply changing the accessories – remove the heavy blankets and add a linen throw, take away the warm cushions and replace them with delicately coloured cushions.

Add a touch of freshness to your wardrobe – Jules Standish, The Colour Counsellor’s tip is:

An instant fresh update to your wardrobe is to incorporate coloured scarves and necklaces.  They really can do an immediate “face lift” and can be bought inexpensively, adding that high fashion statement to a tired wardrobe.  Otherwise invest in coloured shirts and tops to mix with darker shades, to be worn up against your face to make your complexion look healthy and youthful.

Time to freshen up your fitness routine. Jacquie Arnott a Personal Trainer at David Lloyd says:   Get a fitness buddy.  Someone to train with who motivate you and is as, if not more, committed that you so you don’t miss your gym sessions.  You could try a new discipline – if you always do a spin class try some boxing or combat classes.


Freshen up your fridge and check all those out-of-date old condiments, dressings that the survey highlighted we are hoarding. Robert Hobson registered Nutritionist at Healthspan says; “it’s time to get the fridge freshened up and I suggest cutting any type of citrus fruit in half, e.g. a lemon, orange and scoop out the actual fruit inside and fill the empty shell with salt. Place in a bowl in a corner of the fridge.  The salt absorbs and neutralises the smell and the shell should send out lovely clean smelling scents.”

Research carried out by OnePoll, March 2014 with 2,000 respondents across the UK including Northern Ireland