There are several components to achieving optimal health. Exercise. Proper sleep. Avoiding unhealthy habits, like smoking or too much alcohol. And, of course, diet.
What you put into your body directly affects how much you’ll get out of it. So, in addition to helping you establish a healthy mindset with life advice, on this article we offer experts tips to understanding dietary facts about what’s good and what’s bad, choosing Nutrient-Rich Foods, introducing lifestyle changes to improve your Health and demystify vitamins and minerals that your body really needs.
A good diet, regular exercise, sound sleep, and minimal stress levels are a solid foundation for wellness. Supplements can help keep you healthy, but don’t expect them to do all the work or make up for bad habits. When added to a healthy diet and lifestyle, supplements can enhance your overall glow and well-being and help with a range of health issues, from Poor digestion to energy production. Obtaining adequate levels of key nutrients each day is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
There are plenty of opinions out there on supplements. Navigating all of the options can get confusing. We try to keep it simple. As a baseline take supplements for nutrients that are difficult to get from food alone and naturally lacking in most people. Nutritionists recommends fish oil, a probiotic, and vitamin D3.
The omega-3s in the fish oil and the probiotic boost gut health, which can help to heal and prevent skin issues, increase skin elasticity, promote hair growth, and possibly even reduce the appearance of lines. Vitamin D3 is excellent for preventing cognitive decline and heart disease. For stress, B vitamins are a good addition as they aren’t stored in your body and they help with energy, mood, and brain function. For improved sleep, try magnesium, which balances the nervous system and helps you relax, and melatonin, which is a hormone linked to sleep.
Talk to your doctor or nutritionist and educate yourself before starting daily supplements. You will also need to seek professional input when you are pregnant or taking other medications. Adapt and adjust your supplement intake based on your specific health situation.
Your immune system is ready to defend you from invaders at a moment’s notice and help you recover when you’ve been sick, but how much attention do you really pay to your hard-working immune system?
We tend to think of our immune system as a single entity, but it’s actually an entire system made up of organs including the liver, and blood cells and chemicals. Each day it works overtime to keep the germs and microorganisms that cause infection out of the body and to destroy the ones that do get in. If you have been getting more colds than usual and having trouble shaking off the symptoms? This could mean that your immune system is rundown.
When it comes to strong immunity, your liver is your best friend. It works hard around the clock creating immune system factors that mount a rapid response against infection. In fact, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have such enormous respect for the liver that they believe keeping this organ happy is the key to good health.
A diet that is low in sugar and based on healthy fats like olive oil and avocado, eggs, a little meat and fish, and whole foods like fruits and vegetables ( preferably organic) is best for your general health and will support your liver too. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to increase the amount of antioxidants and fiber in your daily diet will also help repair existing damage to the liver. Avoid heavy drinking, processed foods, chemicals, sugary drinks and snacks, and refined grains are best avoided if you want to keep your liver functioning well. If you think your liver needs some extra support, visiting a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinic may treat the liver with diet, herbs, and acupuncture to help improve its function.
Filling your plate with a wide variety of nutrient-rich whole foods ensures you’re getting a balanced mix of vitamins and minerals, which will go a long way to keeping your immune system running strong. But with all the environmental toxins our bodies have to deal with every day, processed and fast foods and our busy lifestyles, we can support our immune system by incorporating specific foods into our daily diet.
Even with the best intentions, it can be difficult to stick to a healthy diet 100 percent of the time and it’s easy to fall back on too many takeaways. Supplements can be an important part of your immune-boosting toolkit. Make sure you have a blood test before the cold and flu season starts to check for any deficiencies and take the appropriate supplement to boost your levels. Certain nutrients in particular, such as zinc and vitamin D, are essential for a well-functioning immune system.
Late nights, colds and flus, and too much stress can leave us feeling rundown and in need of a helping hand. If you’re struggling to recover from an illness, it might be time for a visit to your GP or naturopath to check your levels.
As we get older, everyone experiences some degree of age-related memory loss such as when we can’t find our car keys. That’s normal and nothing to worry about. However, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is more serious because it is a prelude to Alzheimer’s disease, the most severe form of dementia.
Officially, there’s no known cause for MCI and Alzheimer’s disease. But head injuries, poor nutrition, vitamin B12 deficiency, elevated blood sugar, and inheriting the APOE4 gene can increase the risk of memory and other cognitive problems.
Some drugs can slow the progression of MCI and Alzheimer’s disease, but they cannot reverse these diseases. A study at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that a broad lifestyle modification program successfully reversed MCI. The program included eating more fruits and vegetables; avoiding simple carbohydrates, gluten, and processed foods; taking fish oils, vitamin D, coenzyme Q10, and methylcobalamin B12; adopting stress-reduction techniques; getting adequate sleep; and engaging in regular exercise. Another 2015 study found that adopting a Mediterranean-style diet is good for your brain as well as your heart, with either ample amounts of extra-virgin olive oil or nuts led to improvements in attention, short-term memory, and mental flexibility.
If you are significantly overweight, have a family history of diabetes. Monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight to make sure they’re within a healthy range, especially if you’ve received a wake-up call from your doctor. Memory loss may occur years before an individual is diagnosed with diabetes.
Several supplements have been shown to help memory and cognitive function.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
|New brain cells are continually generated (even in adults) through a process called neurogenesis. Most new cells are born in the hippocampus, a structure involved in learning and memory. Studies show exercise, learning, and stress-relieving activities enhance neurogenesis and promote new-cell survival.|
Are you one of the many who believe stress is a necessary part of everyday life? A certain amount of stress provides stimulation, but prolonged stress can cause mental and physical damage. One in five people experiences stress-response symptoms daily, ranging from headaches to life-threatening heart and circulatory troubles. Research shows the surge in adrenaline resulting from severe emotional stress can cause the blood to clot more readily, increasing the risk of heart attacks.
To make matters more complicated, stress can also lead to sleep disturbances as well as hamper your sex drive.
For instance, by decreasing your stress levels, improving your sleep, exercising the right amount and choosing appropriate food and supplements, you may see improvements in your libido. The following supplements may be just what the doctor ordered!
Exercise boosts serotonin production, increases oxygen flow to the brain and diminishes the body’s response to stress. Good nutrition and sunlight amplify these benefits. Walk, run or cycle outside if possible. Even on cloudy days, the light is much more intense outdoors. A treadmill or stationary bike in front of a lightbox is a good alternative if it’s too cold or icy to go out.
Many doctors and nutritionists believe there is a direct connection between gut health and overall health. An unhealthy gut has been linked to everything from compromised immunity, brain fog, bloating, and skin issues (which makes sense, as the skin is the largest organ in the body). Pesticides, herbicides, poor nutrition, prescription drugs, industrial farming, and antibiotics all destroy the healthy bacteria in the body that is essential for good health. Thankfully, getting your gut back on track is easier than you think. It starts with a combination of probiotics and prebiotics.
You really are what you eat. You can eat good, healthy things, but if your digestive system is in an acidic state or an inflamed state, your body isn’t able to absorb all the nutrients in the food. It creates inflammation, fungus, an overgrowth of bad bacteria, and a leaky gut.
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that are thought to stimulate the immune system within the colon, possibly by destroying harmful bacteria and promoting the growth of more of the good guys. Most people just don’t have the healthy bacteria that our bodies need, so taking a probiotic is essential.
If you take a supplement twice a day, probiotics work immediately to improve the function of the digestive track. A probiotic supplement in capsule or liquid form is your best source. While some doctors recommend yogurt and kombucha, we believe they make the body more acidic and don’t provide enough of the healthy bacteria needed.
Keep in mind that the number of CFUs (colony forming units) on the label of a probiotic is going to be significantly reduced when it is ingested. Try to get a brand that has 19 or 20 billion CFUs in it. The most important strains to look for are Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1, Lactobacillus plantarum (what our pre-agricultural ancestors’ diet consisted of), Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus brevis.
Probiotics work best when combined with prebiotics. specialized plant fibers found in foods like leafy green alkaline vegetables (kale, spinach, watercress, and dandelion greens), wheat, oats, onions, bananas, honey, garlic and leeks, which can help enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria. Some probiotic supplements include prebiotics.
Healthy digestion and steady metabolism are crucial to feeling and looking great, but many people inadvertently cause their metabolisms to slow down with fad diets, starving, and binging. Starving yourself skinny, will have the opposite effect on the long-term.
To regulate your metabolism, experts recommend eating three meals a day to balance your body’s natural hunger signals. Think of food as nourishment, not as something to avoid. To help gently shed fat and reduce inflammation without skipping meals, they suggest not eating after 7 p.m.
Once a week along with regularly incorporating ginger, garlic, and turmeric into your diet. Sleeping between 6 and 8 hours will also make a difference. Sleep is the biggest shortcut to anti-aging, anti-inflammation, and better digestion.
If you want a beauty boost for creating gorgeous skin and strong bones, hair, nails, and teeth, start with a healthy diet. People are often surprised to learn that what they eat can affect their skin.
When toxins and acids enter your bloodstream where they don’t belong, your body will do anything to get them out, and one of the ways it does is through the skin. This can lead to acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, sagging and wrinkled skin, blemishes, moles, and blisters. If you have any skin issue, the answer could be as simple as eating or avoiding certain foods, or it might need a prescription-strength solution. Here, nutritionist and dermatologist share their advice on the most common skin issues.
Major acne triggers are dairy and sugary foods that cause blood sugar to spike. For clients with acne issues, I recommend ingesting maca, cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar daily. Maca is a hormone balancer, and cinnamon and apple cider vinegar have blood sugar benefits.
Mix one large spoonful of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink before breakfast or dinner. To work cinnamon or maca into your diet, try adding a dash of Ceylon cinnamon and one small spoonful of organic maca powder into a smoothie.
DERMATOLOGIST’S ADVICE: If you have a flare-up of acne, it’s important to switch your moisturizer and cleansers to oil-free and non-comedogenic versions. Then add in products that will target the bacteria that cause acne. Start with over-the-counter versions that contain salicylic acid and apply to affected areas. If those don’t clear up your skin, your dermatologist can give you a prescription based on exactly what kind of acne you have. Depending on your skin, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, isotretinoin, or sulfur-based products are common solutions.
Vegetarian sources of protein such as beans and lentils, along with oolong tea, have been proven to help eczema sufferers. A dairy-free diet is helpful for both eczema and rosacea. Probiotics found in yogurt and supplements can also help both skin issues. With supplements, look for one with multiple types of probiotics (such as bifido, acidophilus, and rhamnosus) at a dose of 20 billion CFUs or more. Fermented veggies such as kimchi and fermented carrots are another powerful source of probiotics.
DERMATOLOGIST’S ADVICE: For eczema, avoid body washes, soaps, and lotions with fragrance, as they can aggravate it. Use rich moisturizers that have ceramides for intense hydration and soothing. For serious cases, add prescription topical steroids, and the situation should resolve in 10 to 14 days.
With rosacea, flare-ups generally occur after triggers like spicy foods, red wine, too much sun, or cold temperatures. Rosacea is a lifelong condition that can be managed by using a gentle cleanser, applying sunscreen, and avoiding known triggers.
Oftentimes dark circles or puffiness are caused by allergies. There are natural antihistamines such as quercetin, a flavonoid, that can help with these symptoms. Good sources of quercetin include dark berries such as blackberries and blueberries and green tea, and you can also buy quercetin supplements. For best results, ingest berries, green tea, or the supplements one or two times a day.
DERMATOLOGIST’S ADVICE: Dark circles are caused by many different factors, including allergies, congestion, genetics, and aging. Depending on the source, a cosmetic dermatologist can help with the right treatment, which could include lasers, antihistamines, fillers, and creams with green tea and vitamin K.
Some foods can actually boost collagen and therefore minimize wrinkles. Consider bone broth and gelatine for a dietary collagen boost. In terms of non-animal products, vitamin C is also an anti-aging winner, both taken as a supplement and applied to the skin as a serum.
DERMATOLOGIST’S ADVICE: The sun is the biggest wrinkle culprit, so use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) daily and wear hats in strong sun. Avoid tanning and sunbathing. Products that contain retinoids and fruit acids help promote skin renewal and soften lines; apply these topical antioxidants daily to help heal and correct environmental aging.
Dry skin can be a sign that more vitamin A is needed. Sweet potatoes and leafy greens such as spinach and kale are great dietary sources of vitamin A. Zinc helps enhance the effects of vitamin A. Shellfish, carrots, and pumpkin seeds are also excellent sources of the nutrient.
DERMATOLOGIST’S ADVICE: To combat dry skin, you have to hydrate inside and out. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. With topical products, make sure everything you use, from cleanser, soap, serums, and lotions are all formulated to be extra hydrating. Look for formulas with glycerin.
Oils are also extremely moisturizing. The best ones for dry skin are sesame oil, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, and almond oil; you can apply them directly to the skin daily.
When you are tired, it shows dark circles under the eyes, dull skin, breakouts, and a loss of focus and energy. But what is enough sleep, exactly?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours a night for people ages 18 to 64, and about an hour less for people ages 65 and up. Other experts say it’s not about the number of hours, it’s about how much REM cycle sleep you are getting. If you go through four to five REM cycles, you will wake up feeling refreshed and renewed. The aim is to move through the non-REM stage (including a period of deep sleep, when your body restores tissue and muscle and strengthens bones and the immune system) into the rapid-eye-movement phase (when your brain is more active and perhaps dreaming).
You should have the most energy in the morning if you had a good night sleep, since Cortisol levels should be at their highest. If you can’t get out of bed in the morning and have a lot of energy at 1 a.m. that means your cortisol levels are off and your sleep is not restoring your body the way it should. You will need to consult with your doctor to check your cortisol and adrenal levels. Your doctor should be able to prescribe specific supplements and nutrients such as melatonin, magnesium, inositol, and rubidium to help get you on track. Rubidium helps put the brakes on that overdrive in the adrenal function, and inositol is good to take before bed to calm the brain and Nerves.
Breaking your tech and TV addiction, especially before bed, is essential if you want better sleep quality. With phones constantly pinging and causing immediate stress, it’s hard to ever feel relaxed. These devices have low-frequency electromagnetic radiation that can affect neurotransmitters and can contribute to overstimulation and anxiety. We recommend unplugging two hours before bedtime.
Diet and exercise affect sleep as well. Regular exercise is key, even if it is just walking. Walking three miles four times a week can make a difference. Lay off the caffeine after 2 p.m. For alcohol, wait at least an hour after your last drink before you sleep. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but all the sugar in the alcohol will cause a rapid rise and then decline in your blood sugar, which will cause you to wake up.
To fall asleep more easily, develop a nighttime’s ritual. If possible, set a regular sleep schedule, both for when you go to bed and when you wake up. Avoid taking daytime naps, as it will interfere with your sleep at night. Use your bedroom only for sleep—no tech or TV. Practice deep breathing or listen to a guided relaxation app or CD. When you’re getting your sleep balance right, you will feel more alert and energetic and look fresher and brighter.
A lifetime golfer visits her doctor complaining of difficulty climbing stairs and walking because of soreness in her right knee. The doctor says, “Well, you’re 60; this is part of growing old.” The astute patient replies, “My left knee is just as old and it doesn’t hurt.”
Studies have shown that after the age of 35, bone loss increases as a natural part of the aging process, but did you know it’s possible to boost your bone strength?
Without healthy, strong bones to support the structure of your body, it becomes difficult, and in some cases impossible, to lead an active life. Promoting good bone health can help increase the quality of life and overall well-being for years to come. Still, nearly one in three adults, experience some type of joint discomfort, making it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to dance, walk upstairs or even hug loved ones.
Not smoking, limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake and spending some time in the sun can all help protect your bones. By maintaining healthy bones as you age, the risk of osteopenia (low bone density) and osteoporosis (a condition where bones become weakened and fracture more easily than normal bone)is greatly reduced. The sooner you start protecting your bones, the more likely you are to have healthy, strong bones for life.
The combination of eating a diet rich in calcium, ensuring you are getting enough sunlight to make vitamin D, and exercising throughout life are three key factors that can help build and maintain strong, healthy bones. Ninety-nine percent of your body’s calcium is found in your bones, which makes the essential mineral a major building block for healthy bones. By the time you’re 17 years of age, 90 percent of bone growth is complete, which makes childhood the most important time for bone building.
Dairy foods are a rich source of easily absorbed calcium. Try to include at least two to three serves of dairy a day, which will generally provide you with a calcium intake of about 1000mg. A serving size is equivalent to a glass of milk (250ml), a tub of yogurt (200g), or a slice of cheese (40g). If you can’t eat dairy or prefer not to, try these other calcium-rich options:
» Eat more broccoli, bok choy, silverbeet, spinach, cucumber, celery, and chickpeas
» Snack on almonds, dried figs, and dried apricots
» Eat more canned salmon or sardines, which contain bones rich in calcium
» Eat more oranges
» Add tahini to your diet
» Try soy-based products, such as tofu and tempeh
» Look for milk alternatives that have added calcium
» Have baked beans for breakfast.
If you are finding it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, your doctor may recommend a calcium supplement. Some studies have suggested an increased risk of a heart attack in women who take calcium supplements. If you have bought any supplements from a pharmacy, read the label on the bottle to find out how to take them. Too much calcium may cause stomach upsets such as bloating or constipation.
Vitamin D is a hormone that controls calcium levels in the blood, making it essential for healthy bones as well as for muscles and general health. A deficiency can increase the risk of osteoporosis, falls and fractures. It is unlikely that you can get the vitamin D your body needs through diet alone, but there are certain foods that contain small quantities of vitamin D such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, oysters, eggs, mushrooms, milk, yogurt.
Exercise builds stronger, denser bones. It also increases the size, strength, and capacity of your muscles, which is important for supporting your joints and preventing falls. So, doing some type of exercise on most days for at least 30 minutes is vital. Any positive gains in bone strength are lost when you stop exercising, so working out needs to become part of everyday life.
Focusing your diet on foods that are rich in calcium, such as milk, cheese and broccoli, and vitamin D will go a long way to protecting your bones, but there are other bone-friendly nutrients you should add to your daily diet for optimal bone health including Magnesium (Rich sources include pumpkin and sunflower seeds, bran, tofu, potatoes, spinach, and baked beans), Protein (Good sources include beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey breast, tuna and soybeans), Phosphorus (Found in milk and grains like rice and oat bran). Be careful when it comes to special high-protein diets, which can be harmful to bones as too much protein can cause the body to lose calcium. Consult a qualified nutritionist or dietitian to find out how to get the right nutrients in your daily diet.