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Dr Nute’s Top Tips For A Healthy Lifestyle


Dr Victoria Nute is one of our GPs at Compass House. She has a specialist interest in lifestyle medicine and each month will be sharing tips on simple ways to improve your health  


10th May 2022 – Nutrition and Health 

Link to presentation:



April Nutrition

It’s a simple one this month; ‘Consider what you are eating’

Ask yourself why you are eating it, how it is benefitting your health and happiness, and can you make any changes.

Disease prevention and reversal are possible in 80% of cases.  So along with SLEEP that we touched on last month, now start to consider what else is within your control to ‘CHOOSE’ a healthier happier lifespan.  This month’s focus is on Nutrition. 

I’m always shocked and disheartened when I speak to my lovely patients that after their colonoscopy that has shown polyps or even bowel cancer, they are NOT advised to change their diet and NEVER again eat ‘processed meat’, (ham, salami, sausage, bacon, chicken nuggets, etc.).   The World Health Organisation classes processed meat as a Class 1 carcinogen – cancer causing with a direct link to 24% of all bowel cancer we see in the UK.  STOP buying it, STOP eating it, and please never ever feed it to your children now you know these facts.

I’m equally disheartened by the lack of knowledge my patients who have had angiograms which have shown narrowed atherosclerotic coronary arteries ripe for a heart attack, and no one has advised them on dietary changes they can choose to make that not only prevent progression of disease is the ONLY change (medication can’t do this) to reverse disease.   RED MEAT and processed meat have been shown in multiple studies and meta-analysis to be associated with at least a 20% increased risk of Coronary heart disease.

As you get to know me, you will understand I am passionate about patients and population health being empowered to make informed choices based on evidence available.    I want you all to live your best, healthiest, happiest lives, and given that I trawl the research weekly and study nutrition science and maintain my accreditation as a British Society of Lifestyle Accredited Doctor, I hope that this month you can start to consider your food choices and add more plants to your plates.

Food is to enjoy, it is to be delicious and to share with friends, but let’s, as a community in Brixham, start to make some shifts towards food that is beneficial for you as an individual, and is beneficial for the planet and the climate crisis. What we choose today on our plates affects our long-term health, immunity, and wellbeing, and has either a positive or negative effect on the planet.

Ideas to try:

  • One day a week, switch your meat main for a veggie main. (You’ll be reducing your risk of heart disease, as well as colon cancer and hormone driven cancers including ovarian, prostate and breast cancer)
  • Add in more colour to every plate this month by adding in one more plant. They are the only food that contains FIBRE, the building block of your gut microbiome. They also contain phytochemicals and antioxidants all that reduce your risk of cancer.
  • Try something new this month, a new recipe. Switch your bolognaise, chilli, or lasagne for a veggie recipe.  We at home love the BOSH chilli recipe, (and it’s got mushrooms in, the kids love it. I make a batch and use it for 2 meals in the week).
  • Switch your ‘ultra-processed snacks’ (anything in a wrapper), for fruit, raw veg, nuts and seeds for a week and review your energy levels . If you managed it try again the next week!  Flax seeds are a great way of getting your omega 3 for your joints, sprinkle ground flax on your whole porridge oats with oat milk for breakfast.
  • Add herbs and spices to your foods for the ‘superfood qualities’. Try turmeric and ginger for their anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Reduce your DAIRY intake and try a plant milk alternative with no added sugar. We love oat milk on breakfast cereals and in tea, and soy milk in coffee.  BE sure to note the ingredients have added in calcium.   Check out the calcium calculator and look at the plant options to increase your calcium intake.  High dairy intake has impact of hormone cancers and also inflammatory autoimmune gut conditions.  
  • Avoid fizzy drinks and reduce your alcohol intake. Continue to drink your 2-2.5L of water each day


Here is a list of Instagram accounts that I recommend you follow to get recipes and inspiration to continue your journey:

If you’re not on Instagram, then check out these websites (please click to follow link)


March Sleep – how it helps you live a more positive, healthy and happy life

Over the next few months I am going to share with you the Essential Pillars of Health as proven through evidence. 

I want to share evidence around sleep. As without adequate sleep our bodies ability to fight infection, maintain a healthy weight, keep energy levels adequate, and protect our bodies against Cancer and disease decreases considerably. 

If you have ever considered  ‘How can I improve my performance’ whether that be at work, during sport, in relationships, or improve your mood, the single most powerful performance enhancer known to human kind is sleep.  

Sleep can be considered the ‘Foundation to Health’.  Sleep is the single most important aspect you can improve to enhance your health and well being, and you have the power to reconfigure your personal sleep routine. 

Here is some evidence on why sleep is so important and to allow you to reflect on whether you choose to address your Sleep Routine. 

  • If we are sleep deprived, (less than five hours sleep), then our immune function is impaired and this can lead to more serious or prolonged infections including bacterial and viral, and an increased likelihood of cancer.
  • Sleep aids our metabolism which helps us to balance insulin and glucose, and regulate our weight. A lack of sleep increases our appetite and, on average, increases  our daily calorie intake by 370 calories.  When people try to loose weight via dieting if they don’t get sufficient sleep, 70% of the weight they will loose will come from mean muscle mass NOT fat as body becomes protective of fat.  Lack of sleep increases your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and makes it harder to reverse it.
  • Good quality sleep reduces our cortisol levels lowering our anxiety which helps us to stay calm and manage stress better. Sleep can help us to process difficult emotions and experiences, reducing our likelihood of anxiety, depression, PTSD and prolonged grief reactions, and help us remain positive and a stable mood. Sleep is fundamental to the prevention of mental illness and part of the treatment of putting mental health into remission.  
  • There is a clear correlation between lack of sleep and cognitive decline, meaning working memory deteriorates with sleep deprivation increasing incidence of dementia. 
  • Sleep deprivation leads to high blood pressure and 200 times the risk of Ischaemic heart disease, (heart attacks, angina).

So what can you do to achieve a healthy sleep pattern and how much sleep do you need

All studies show the optimum amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours a night.   To get 7 hours sleep you do need to however be in bed for about 8 hours, remember you need to give yourself the right opportunity to sleep . 

Amazingly just 15 minutes extra a day of sleep can have an impact on your health and well being.  Evidence shows for every 15 minutes in reduction in sleep there is a 13% increase risk of premature death. Make a small change today and start a journey of empowerment by taking control of your health and considering prioritising your sleep routine.

Our best chance is by following tried and tested sleep methods;

  • maintain the same sleep and wake time each day – this is essential circadian rhythm
  • having a dark, cool and quiet room to sleep in, 
  • omitting bright or blue light 1-2 hours before bed, 
  • cutting caffeine after 2pm, 
  • avoiding alcohol.

There are HUGE data sets on what optimizes sleep.  What has been proven to work is:

Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule – Where possible, wake up at the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time every night.

  • Get out into natural light as soon as is practical in the morning, preferably around the same time every day – Natural light, which can still be effective on a cloudy or grey day, helps reset our internal body clock.
  • Engage in daytime exercise – Exercise promotes the quantity and quality of your sleep, making it deeper and more refreshing. Avoid exercise 2 hours before bedtime.  
  • Avoid stimulants that contain caffeine 8 hours before bedtime
  • Don’t go to bed full, hungry or thirsty – Eating at regular times helps strengthen our internal body clock. 
  • Reduce electronic use before bedtime and avoid electronic use in the bedroom – Using electronics just before bed and in the bedroom can keep us awake for longer as the blue light from these devices has the capacity to prevent the hormones that make us sleepy from being produced. 

Don’t use alcohol to sleep – Although alcohol is a sedative, it can have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep. 

  • Avoid nicotine before bed – Nicotine is a short-acting stimulant that can keep you awake and so should be avoided in the later part of the evening
  • Ensure the bedroom is cool, dark and quiet before bed – Heat, light and noise can impact on our ability to get off to sleep and increase the chances that we wake in the night. 
  • Ensure that bedroom clocks are not visible – Having the clock face out of sight will help reduce any sleep anxiety.

If you have suffered from insomnia it may seem like an impossible task to improve sleep. However, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and sleep restriction has an excellent success rate so is worth a try. 

Check out to find out more about how to resolve insomnia. 

There are specific tips for shift workers, children, and people suffering with menopause. 

Don’t accept a chronically low well being, consider this as a invitation to make a change to one aspect of your health. Start a sleep diary, start to prioritise your sleep, and have a look at

February Benefits of drinking water

To maintain life – water is essential – start making it part of your daily routine. Small changes to your routine have BIG long term health benefits.

There is no exact amount of water an average human should consume, it depends on multiple factors and is different for individuals. We know the majority of us drink too little water.

My challenge to you this month is to become aware of how, when and what you drink. Track it, record it and monitor your wee; starting your journey to take control of your health.

Before each meal have a glass of water – a simple health hack. Continue to enjoy your tea and coffee alongside just add in a few glasses of water throughout the day too. No more than 4 caffeinated drinks in 24hours. Let me know how you get on.

This small health change will improve your concentration, your energy levels throughout the day, help with weight management, BP control , reduce achy joints, improve sleep, and reverse and prevent constipation.

Our bodies are amazing and they maintain ‘body water homeostasis’ by signalling to you ‘THIRST’.

Therefore RULE 1: if you are thirsty DO NOT ignore get a glass of water. (note older people are not as sensitive to the ‘thirst’ signal so may not be aware they are dehydrated and may need gentle encouragement)

The body is incredible; if you drink too much the kidneys make you ‘wee’ more, if you drink too little urine output is reduced. Aim to be urinating approximately 6-10 times per 24hours – if it less than this you are NOT drinking enough. Record it and see how it changes on work days compared to weekends. Can you bring a Water bottle to work – try adding a slice of lemon, or dash of sugar fee squash , or even a slice of cucumber.

Rule 2: observe your ‘wee’ is it dark , or clear – aim for pale urine to assess your own hydration. Clearer urine leads to improved concentration, more energy and better physical and mental performance at home and at work. Clear urine means toxins have not been left to build up, your kidneys are being well supported and your body functions work more efficiently .

Finally, AVOID fizzy drinks, flavoured waters and squashes with added sugar as these all mess with your pancreas, metabolism and risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Consider tracking your water intake with a free water tracker app such as ‘Daily Water Tracker Reminder’ available for ios and android.

I can’t wait to hear your progress and journeys.



Challenge yourself to stand up for 2 minutes every hour

Not only does this improve your concentration and productivity, but it increases your heart rate, lowers your peripheral vascular resistance and in turn reduces your blood pressure. It also increases your metabolism, reduces your blood sugar levels and increases your energy levels at the end of the day so you are kinder and happier when you get home.

It has also been shown to lengthen your ‘telomeres’ the protective part at the end of your chromosomes so slows down the process of ageing.

If you work a 10 hour day 5 days a week and you stand for 2 minutes every hour its the same effect as running a marathon in terms of improving bone density and cardiovascular health and fitness.

Ways to achieve it – consider a timer on your phone or a buzz on your watch . Take a call standing or complete a task while stood up.

Challenge yourself to give it a go!





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