- Nutritious Diet
- Stress Management
A Nutritious Diet
Have you ever heard the expression 'You are what you eat?' Have you ever thought about what determines the composition and health of your body? Although genetics certainly play a role, the foods you eat provide the materials that make up who you are. And, whether you are in a state of poor health or simply desire better health, improving the quality of foods you regularly consume is a must. The scope of human nutrition in the 21st century now extends far beyond the classical study of how substances in food are converted into energy and body tissues. Human nutrition has come to involve the effects on humans of nutrients found in food; these include most chronic degenerative diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers, and have become major targets of research. The scope of nutrition extends to the effects of food on human function; e.g., cognitive function, athletic performance, resistance to infection, foetal health and even anti-ageing. Therefore, every effort should be made to attain and maintain an adequate, balanced daily intake of all those nutrients that are necessary to support optimal health and vitality.
What diet is best for me?
Start thinking about the foods you eat as a lifelong nutrition plan, rather than a temporary diet. Forget about complicated food combinations or magic foods and focus on fresh, wholesome, largely unprocessed foods, foods close to the way nature made them, foods that your body was designed to eat.
The following recommendations will aid you in maintaining a nutritious diet:
1. Focus on plant foods
Choose mainly a plant-based diet rich in fruits, Vegetables and legumes.
Plant foods are important as they provide dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Many have also been found to be rich in phytochemicals, which may well provide protection against some chronic diseases such as cancer.
2. Eat a variety of foods
Eat a variety of fresh foods each day, and choose minimally processed foods in preference. Limit refined sugar consumption. Grains and legumes are good sources of protein and starch, as well as containing a range of specific nutrients and biologically active compounds which provide protection against disease.
3. Don't skip meals
Eat breakfast. Research has shown that people who routinely skip breakfast suffer more from weight-gain, fatigue and blood sugar disorders such as hypoglycaemia.
4. Chew your foods properly
Digestion begins in the mouth. Poor chewing of foods can further lead to several digestive problems, including indigestion, bloating and constipation. Focus on your eating. It is best not to eat and read, or whilst watching television.
5. Eat small amounts of meat
Eat ample lean protein such as fresh fish, chicken (no skin) and eggs. Reduce your intake of red meat. Protein can also be obtained from beans and grains, soy and nuts
6. Reduce alcohol
Consume alcohol sparingly. Increased alcohol intake has been linked with many chronic diseases such as fatty liver, heart disease and increased incidence of various cancers.
7. Use healthy cooking methods
Steaming vegetables is better than boiling them. Use olive oil if you must fry foods. Try not to eat charred foods, and cured or smoked foods should be eaten only occasionally.
8. Slow down on the salt
Limit salt or salty foods, and use herbs and spices to flavour foods.
9. Watch the fats
Reduce the unhealthy saturated animal fats and hydrogenated fats found in margarines, biscuits and many commercial baked or fried foods. Increase your intake of flaxseed oil and Omega 3 fats found in cold-water fish such as salmon, herring and cod.
10. Take a high-quality multi-vitamin & mineral supplement daily
In 2001, the American Medical Association was advising all adults to take at least one multi-vitamin and mineral preparation daily, a reversal of their long-standing anti-vitamin policy. According to Dr R. Fletcher of
Harvard University, scientists' understanding of the benefits of vitamins and minerals has advanced rapidly, and people may not be getting adequate intake of all the essential nutrients through their daily diet.
Remember to drink pure water regularly
Water has amazing health properties.To name just a few, drinking water can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, moisturise dry skin, promote good digestion, soothe pain and inflammation, and protect against ulcers. Yet few of us drink the recommended eight to twelve glasses of water daily. Make it a point to drink a glass of pure filtered water every morning upon arising, a glass before meals, and to refill your glass often throughout the day.
Exercise Your Way to Good Health
The closest thing to a 'magic bullet' for maintaining optimal health and vitality is a well-balanced combination of exercise and a nutritious diet. Regular exercise improves digestion and elimination, increases endurance, stimulates your immune function, boosts energy levels and promotes lean body mass whilst burning fat. Exercise also reduces stress and anxiety, which are contributing factors to many illnesses. If you choose a fairly vigorous activity, begin each session slowly. Allow a 5-minute period of stretching and slow movement to give your body a chance to "warm up." At the end of your workout, take another 5 minutes to "cool down" with a slower exercise pace.
What is the best form of exercise for me?
A beginning exercise program should be light and gradually increase in intensity as endurance and fitness levels increase. Various forms of exercise include aerobic exercises, cycling, skiing, dancing, jogging, martial arts, racquet sports, stretching, swimming, walking, weights and yoga. There are endless activities that can improve the functioning of your body- it is a matter of personal choice. The important thing to remember is to exercise regularly, whilst maintaining a nutritionally balanced diet.
Walking is safe and effective
Walking is one of your best overall exercises. It is very low impact, helping your entire system function at its best. Your metabolism is increased during walking and weight loss is promoted. Your blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol all tend to fall. Walking helps to control many chronic degenerative diseases such as diabetes, and is best incorporated into a daily routine for those with many different health complaints. Exercising from as little as 20-30 minutes a day, you will gain significant benefits over time.
In addition to the physical benefits, several studies have shown that regular exercise elevates the production of the brain hormone serotonin which stabilises mood, increases feelings of well-being and reduces depression. Exercise is one of the most important aspects of daily living that science has found to increase the quality of your life as well as to protect your body against premature ageing.
The Keys to Success in Exercise:
1. Get checked out first. If you are over 35 and/or have been sedentary for some time, consult with your health-care practitioner before embarking on any new exercise program.
2. Go slowly. Build up your activity level gradually. For example, if you are inactive now and want to begin walking regularly, you might begin slowly with a 10-15-minute walk, three times a week. As you become more fit, you can increase the sessions to every day, and if you wish, you can make each session longer.
3. Pay attention to warning signals. While regular physical activity can strengthen your heart, some types of activity may worsen existing heart problems. Warning signals include sudden dizziness, cold sweat, paleness, fainting, or pain or pressure in your upper body just after exercising.
4. Listen to your body. A certain amount of stiffness is normal at first. But if you hurt a joint or pull a muscle or tendon, stop the activity for several days to avoid more serious injury. Most minor muscle and joint problems can be relieved by rest and over-the-counter pain-killers.
5. Exercise at your heart's target zone. To get the most health benefits from your exercise, you must train at an intensity that elevates the heart rate at a certain amount beyond its resting level, called the target heart rate zone. Below this level, you will not condition your cardiovascular system, and above this level exercise is unnecessary and can even be dangerous.
6. Drink plenty of water. When you exercise you perspire and lose valuable water and mineral stores from the body, it is important to drink ample water, even beyond your normal 8 glasses per day when you exercise, particularly with vigorous exercise in warm weather.
7. Keep at it. Unless you have to stop your regular physical activity for a health reason, stay with it. Set small, short-term goals for yourself. If you find yourself becoming bored, try doing the activity with a friend or family member. or switch to another activity. The health rewards of regular physical activity are well worth your effort and commitment.
Stress is any physical or emotional strain on the body or mind. Today's society is high-energy and high tech and stress is ever present. Love life, finances, working, raising a family, violence, traveling as well as computers are all areas of known daily stress that can have negative effects on the body.
Symptoms of stress include high-blood pressure, neck and back-aches, dizziness, fatigue, diarrhoea, tearfulness, insomnia, lack of concentration, libido problems, irritability, appetite problems, an aggravation of chronic conditions like eczema, herpes and psoriasis. Frequent illness due to an immune system that is overworked is common. Often you just feel tired, lack the zest and energy that you once had, find it hard to cope and are sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer 'business' of life.
But isn't a little stress good for you?
A certain amount of stress is useful as a motivating factor, but when it occurs in excess or is of the wrong kind, the effects can be detrimental. Without some sense of drive and a good dose of adrenaline, things just wouldn't get done and you probably wouldn't enjoy life so much. But when you don't get a chance to unwind from stress, when the battering of adrenaline and other stress hormones continues without a break, the body goes into overdrive and ill health may result.
How does stress affect your health?
Whenever you encounter a stressor, which can literally be anything or anyone, you find physically or mentally threatening and upsetting - your system is flooded with hormones and chemicals that prepare you mentally and physically to do battle or run for your life. (the fight or flight syndrome) Though these chemicals may save your life if you're threatened by a collision with a distracted driver, they can damage your health and shorten your life if they are secreted inappropriately, for example, in a person who has 'road-rage'. Animal studies have demonstrated that prolonged stress and exposure to high levels of stress hormones (glucocorticoids, including cortisol) damage the brain and accelerate brain ageing. By managing stress, you protect your brain, enhance your cognitive functioning, as well as improve the overall quality of your health and life.
Dealing with stress with nutrients and herbs
Stress becomes important and even causes chronic ill health when it outweighs your capacity to cope. So to protect when you are under stress, your body will use up important stores of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and selenium and many other nutrients. In addition, your body may require specific nutrients or herbs that increase your resistance to stress, and help to keep your body in balance. Your qualified health-care practitioner can advise you on what specific supplementation may best meet your individual requirements.
Women under stress are especially prone to anxiety disorders and depression. If you don't have a confiding relationship, or if you have a difficult marital situation, then stress is even more likely to get you down. Other factors are also important, especially low self-esteem and the feeling of being out of control in your life. But how can something that doesn't even physically impinge on your body do you harm? The answer lies in the chemical changes in the body, triggered by stress. For example, changes in the levels of steroid hormones and the hormone serotonin can affect brain areas controlling mood, emotion, memory and motivation.
The following recommendations will help you deal with stress:
1. Sleep and rest are essential if you want to face the stress of daily life, eight hours of sleep are necessary.
2. A nutritious diet, free from cigarettes, alcohol, 'junk foods' and stimulants such as caffeine.
3. Regular exercise. Never underestimate the value of regular exercise in allowing you to be able to cope with stress. Going for regular walks is a simple way of de-stressing your mind and body, as well as increasing fitness-related problems as they arise. Make exercise a regular part of your life.
4. Recognise the sources of stress in your life and find ways to cope better with them. Take a good look at your life. Identify the relationships or activities that cause you the most stress, and see if you can make the necessary changes to minimise your stress. Organise your day and set priorities, try to spend some time with your partner and children each day. Holidays are important, and are a good way to re-charge your batteries.
5. De-stressing therapies, try yoga or a Tai Chi class. Regular meditation is an effective way to de-stress. Above all, learn how to relax and practice it often and your health will certainly improve. Having a massage, going for walks and doing something you enjoy are other ways of relaxation.
Detoxification can be the single most effective action you can take to improve the long-term health of your body. It is a process of clearing toxins from the body or neutralising or transforming them, and clearing excess mucus and congestion.
You can dramatically transform your health by working with your body's natural maintenance processes. However, in order for your body to start healing and repairing itself, it first must be cleansed of toxins, impurities, pollutants and other unwanted waste materials.
Why are we toxic?
In the last 100 years, tens of thousands new chemicals have been introduced into our environment, as well as many millions of tons of heavy metals. We all have some level of toxicity. Toxicity can be classified as voluntary (workplace exposure, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, hobbies) and involuntary (air, water exposure, pesticide exposure, food exposure).
Examples of the extent of the problem:
Pesticides in NZ in foods:
The twelve most pesticide-contaminated foods in New Zealand are: bread and wheat, wine, pears, broccoli, cabbage, onion, nectarine, celery, tomato, cucumber, apples, sultana. The New Zealand child consumes 15 times more organophosphate pesticides and 5 times more fungicides than their American counterpart. (Alison White NZ Total Diet Survey 1997/98,US Total Diet Survey 1986-91)
Toxic Chemicals found in the blood of all New Zealanders tested:
Toxic chemicals such as dioxins and pesticides, including dieldrin, were found in the blood of everyone tested in a Ministry for Environment study released in 2001. The results show older people carry levels many times higher than younger groups. The 3376-person sample was the first in the world believed to be representative of a whole country's population. Levels of cancer-causing dioxins were higher in the north of the North Island, including Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, than the rest of New Zealand (NZMOH Wellington 2001).
Heavy metal sources:
Arsenic - cereals, bread, insecticides, CCA treated pine, vineyards/wine, fish, volcanoes. Mercury - fish/seafood, amalgam dental fillings, vaccines, fungicides, broken thermometers, water supply. Cadmium - soil near highways (rubber tyres), root crops, cigarette smoke, car exhaust fumes, batteries. Lead - paint, pesticide, water supply, fertilizers, industrial pollution, lead glazed pottery, soldering. Aluminium - antacids, under-arm deodorants, baking soda, aluminium foil, pots and pans.
The following recommendations will help you with detoxification:
1. Dietary changes to reduce intake of toxins and improve elimination. Drinking extra glasses of water and move from a more to a less Western diet, increasing fibre by including more fruits and vegetables. Drink green tea, a dietary source of catechin. Eat carrots, artichokes, and consume foods in the Brassica family (cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts), Allium family (garlic, onions, chives), which help detoxify the liver.
2. Three-week detox. It makes sense to go on an easy-to follow 3-week detoxification in spring each year.
3. Avoidance of chemicals. In your occupation or lifestyle, changes may be required. What is takes to get better, it takes to stay better.
4. Hair Analysis. Ask your practitioner about Hair Analysis, a brochure is. available. Hair Analysis an accurate, low cost and non-invasive way to ascertain your body's level of toxic heavy-metal load, as well as the mineral balance in your body.
5. Incorporate additional therapies. For optimal results, try to engage yourself in the detox therapy, particularly dietary and sauna therapy. This can make all the difference in the world. Light exercise three times per week is highly recommended to speed toxin removal. For optimal results, incorporate infra-red sauna therapy, lymphatic drainage massage and/or colonic cleansing with your detoxification programme.
6. Always seek professional advice to get the most out of your detoxification. Work with your qualified health-care practitioner, as it is not recommended to attempt detoxification without professional help.
Because you Care About the Quality of your Life
The most commonly asked nutrition question is 'Do I really need to use a Supplement, can't I get all I need from my diet?' The truth is that our modern diet is leaving our bodies low in vital nutrients, making us more susceptible to all types of chronic diseases. High-quality nutritional supplementation is essential to correct nutrient deficiencies and to overcome the effect of poor dietary choices as well as a stressed lifestyle. Nutritional supplementation can improve your health as well as the quality of your life. The health risk of supplements is absolutely minimal when compared to the risks of taking prescription drugs.
1. To correct nutrient deficiencies and/or make up for poor dietary choices. Many people think that nutritional deficiencies are only found in third world countries where children are starving. The reality is that over 90% of New Zealanders are deficient in some vitamin or mineral, and more than 33% of the population is obese, including one third of our children. We have become an overfed and yet undernourished society. The nutrient deficiencies created by our 'modern'Â diet cause the body to be more prone to viruses, disease, infections, obesity, allergies, headaches, stress, strokes, fatigue, ulcers, bowel problems, tumours, cancer, kidney failure, heartburn, a weak immune system, arthritis, blood pressure problems, heart attacks, and growth and circulation problems.
2. To replenish vitamins, minerals, enzymes, flora, and antioxidants lacking in your foods. Today's food supply no longer supplies your body with enough of the key nutrients required for optimum health. Depleted soils, modern growing techniques, preservatives, as well as the cooking and refining processes, all result in lower mineral content in the foods you consume. The nutrient content of food is reduced even further during processing, transport and storage. The refining process removes 70 to 75% of the minerals from our grains. Cooking food reduces its nutritional value by destroying 20 to 50% of vitamins, all of the enzymes, some amino acids, and 'leaches' the minerals. By supplementing with high quality digestive enzymes, whole food vitamins and chelated minerals, you can start to replace what is missing in your food.
3. To provide your body with the nutrition necessary to combat our environmental stresses. With our polluted environment and high-stress lifestyles, there are many valid reasons for taking nutritional supplements. These chemicals enter your body and begin to attack your tissues and cells, which can lead to disease and premature ageing. In addition to the effects of these carcinogenic chemicals, smog, pollution and depletion of the ozone layer create free radicals, which constantly bombard us and attack our cells. Even common items such as cell phones, televisions and computers create free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that 'attack' healthy cells, weakening the cell membranes and leading to disease and degeneration. Over 85 diseases, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, cataracts and emphysema, have been linked to free radical damage. Our bodies do not make enough antioxidants to combat the damaging effects of today's world, so it is essential to supply the body with the extra support it needs.
4. To meet the high nutritional needs of today's lifestyle. External stress and the demands of life can seem unending. Stress depletes crucial nutrients and creates a higher demand for specific vitamins and minerals. The increased nutritional needs of today's lifestyle can only be met through proper supplementation.
5. To decrease your risk of chronic disease and reduce health care costs.
The top killers in New Zealand are the non-contagious chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The war on these diseases has cost billions of dollars and years of research, and yet the death rates continue to spiral, instead of decrease. Prescription drugs are, of course, often necessary to battle disease once it attacks, but proper nutrition, including supplementation, is necessary to help prevent chronic degenerative disease from developing in the first place.
1. Vitamin and mineral supplements:
- Clinicians Vitamin and Mineral Boost powder (Compared to 100 multivitamins in Australasia in late 2006 it performed as the best produced in the Australaisa)
- Life Force Multi
2. Omega Oils:
- Nordic Natural Fish oils, for the purity and high standard processing. Since using and recommending this range the results are fantastic.
- Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Capsules or liquid, contains Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Yes the liquid tastes nice and the capsules do not repeat on you or taste fishy. (The only range I have come across this)
3. Acidophilus Supplementation. (Yoghurt does not contain anywhere near the level of benefical bacteria that the capsules contain).
The above supplements are where I start when looking at improving peoples health, along with the diet and looking at hormones and ruling out food intolerances. After that any further supplements are tailored to their health needs. For example prostate health, menopause, pmt. etc.