Category Archives: Nutrition

Nutritional Fitness

You can’t have good health through exercising alone, regular exercise and a healthy diet must go together, like a horse and cart, if we are to perform efficiently. To a large extent we are what we eat, and if we aim to have a long and healthy life we must watch what we eat. Since I was a small child I have been interested in all forms of movement and sport. An energetic youngster, a bit if a tomboy if truth be told, I soon learnt to be aware of my body and it’s physical limitations, as I ran and jumped, always trying to better my brother and many boy cousins. But in my teens, as a young athlete running for my County, I soon realised my performance depended not only on natural ability, training, or even long legs! It depended on being able to cope with nervous tension, illness, or aches and pains inflicted through incorrect training. But even more importantly, it depended on what I ate and drank; and that made the difference to my coming first or last.

Many people do age well and have strong bodies, because they have regularly looked after their health over many years. Rather like the insurance policy I mentioned in my introduction, the earlier you start and the more you invest the better the pay off in later life. It pays to look after your health, and it’s never too late to start. It’s worth remembering that even when you reach the ripe old age of 50, you may well have another third of your life in front of you, so it’s essential to do everything possible to maintain your health, and in so doing, help to preserve your independence.

A healthy lifestyle consisting of a well balanced diet plus regular moderate exercise, has always been my way of life, and more recently as the years have gone by, I have found specialist health products, particularly supplements to be of benefit to me. Later in this section we’ll look at the part vitamins and minerals play in keeping us healthy in more detail, but first things first. In today’s stressful world a healthy diet is all important, yet despite so much information being easily available to us in magazines, books, on TV and radio, surprisingly few people heed the advice given, and continue to eat junk food. Today the general public is well informed about nutrition and most people know what food is healthy to eat, and what is not. So why is it that these same people are so surprised when they succumb to preventable illnesses from eating the wrong foods!

Our diet can all too often cause, or be linked to, certain preventable diseases or conditions, such as tooth decay, skin disease, constipation and obesity. Other diets can have an even more devastating effect, and be the cause of major disease or death from heart disease, stroke, or illnesses such as breast, bowel or colon cancer. Britain has the worst record in the world for heart disease and more people die from heart attacks than from any other disease. What does that say for our national diet? Far too many of us, estimated at over 90%, already have arteries damaged by our diet, which could one day lead to a heart attack. We can help our families and ourselves to better health, and it’s so simple. Much other diet related simply cutting down on foods that are known to cause problems could prevent diseases. We can easily prevent our teeth from tooth decay by not eating so much sugary food or sweetened drinks, and by regularly brushing our teeth with fluoride toothpaste. The Department of Health and the Health Development Agency (formerly the Health Education Authority) say that small changes to one’s lifestyle, especially with regard to diet, can reduce the chance of illness and disease.

We need to regularly eat sensible amounts of good wholesome food for our health’s sake, a balanced diet with a wide variety of tasty, nuitritous fresh foods. We should aim to be not too fat, but equally not too thin, and to maintain a regular weight without extremes of yo-yo dieting.

Being slim is no indicator of general health. It is just as unhealthy and undesirable to be underweight and anorexic, as it is to be extremely overweight. Food and drink contain calories, which are a measure of energy. Ideally we need to eat enough food, in order to provide sufficient calories to go about our normal daily tasks, with some left over for the body to use for growth and repairs. When we eat and drink more calories than our body’s need for day to day functioning, and for repair and growth, we disturb the balance and tip the scales. The excess calories simply get stored up around our body in the form of unsightly fat deposits (most women are familiar with these!) and we gain weight.

At the other end of the scale, when we don’t eat enough food, and we don’t have sufficient calories, the body has to feed off it’s own reserves and then we lose weight. However, when this is done to extremes the resulting weight loss can be unhealthy and very dangerous indeed.

How much energy we individually need depends on the life that we lead. It’s true to say our parents and grandparents needed more energy from their food in order for them to be able to cope with the physical demands of life in those days, as we concluded when we compared traditional grey granny with her modern counterpart in our introduction. Traditional gran positively encouraged her family to eat as much as possible in order for them to literally, keep up their strength, which they needed in order to work and survive.

Half a century ago there was good reason for encouraging people to eat more meat, eggs, butter, cheese and milk – they all contained fat. During activity the body produces the required energy by burning up calories which are contained in fat and this process also keeps the body warm. This was vital during winter – there was no central heating or warm motor car to take the kids to school in for trad gran and her family. What they ate as their daily diet fuelled them up sufficiently to undertake physical tasks that were the norm in those days both at work, and in the house and garden. But even with the hard physical life there were some people with less energetic lifestyles who didn’t burn off enough calories so consequently they became fat. The advice given then was to cut down on bread and potatoes in order to lose weight, which is contrary to advice given today, as we, will discover.

It’s imperative that as we age we eat the correct amount of food for our individual daily requirements in order to maintain the calorie balance. It’s not sensible to carry excessive weight with the accompanying health hazards of obesity, joint problems and heart disease. Some women find in their middle years and later on in life, that their appetites decrease although their weight stays the same. This is quite understandable and normal for they are probably less active than previously and they simply need less food and energy in order to perform. They are the fortunate ones, because after the menopause women who continue to eat a large amount, but who are less active, will find the calorie excesses stored on their tummies.

Prior to menopause this excess fat would have been stored on their hips, thighs and breasts with just a small amount on their tummy. Men traditionally store excess calories on their stomach and this body shape is associated with an increase in the risk of heart disease. Postmenopausal women should be aware that their fat tummy and new shape has the same association. Should they decide to diet they must take care not to lose out on vital nourishment, and be even more concerned with the quality of their food, as well as the quantity that they eat.

It’s important to establish eating habits that make certain that the calories (the energy) comes from a variety of sources. For a diet to be beneficial it should contain foods from all three food groups – carbohydrates, fats and proteins – and in sensible proportions. Dieting, or just not consuming as much food as previously, is always a risky business. By cutting down on calories, one runs the risks of cutting down on essential nourishment, and minerals and vitamins A beneficial diet should contain the following;
53% of carbohydrate
35% of fat
12% of protein

As I mentioned earlier alcohol also provides energy. But the consumption of alcohol must be limited so that it provides no more than 4% of the total amount of energy in the diet. Generally speaking beers contain many more calories than wines, so check out your drinks as well as your food. Wine in moderation can be good for you, however a good night out can soon disturb your balance – in more ways than one! Try to drink 8 glasses of water a day it prevents dehydration and helps get rid of toxins. Much better for your health than too many cups of tea and coffee containing caffeine, or cans of sweet fizzy drinks which are full of sugar.

So just what foods should we be eating? Let’s cut through the mumbo jumbo and look at the basic rules for a well-balanced nutritious diet.
• Eat less fat, especially saturated fat
• Eat less sugar
• Eat less salt
• Eat more starchy carbohydrate foods containing fibre
• Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables It should be simple – the main reason for eating and drinking (apart from enjoying the taste) is to give our bodies energy in order to function. For a woman over 50 the recommended daily allowance is about 1,800 calories. Women who lead an energetic life will need more calories while those who are sedentary may need less. The principle source of this energy in our food comes from four main food groups, and each of these sources contains differing amounts of energy. For example;

• 1g of fat can provide 9 calories.
• 1g of carbohydrate can provide 4 calories
• 1g of protein also provides 4 calories
• 1g of alcohol can provide 7 calories

Let’s take a closer look at the four food groups.

First carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are divided into two categories and are an important source of energy;

simple carbohydrates, which include sugars, starches and dextrin.
complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre.

Simple carbohydrates such a sugar and starch are contained in cakes, sweets and cookies. When we eat them they give us an instant lift and energy, but all too soon leave us feeling hungry again, down, dissatisfied and lacking in energy. We are tempted to snack again on foods like biscuits and chocolates rich in sugar. Sugar is a quick fix and isn’t really necessary if we’re eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet. It kids the body it’s getting the energy it needs, it deceives us and leaves us wanting for more. In reality it bumps up the calorie intake and can leave us wobbling down the primrose path to obesity! We need to watch our sweet tooth (beware tooth decay), and learn to read labels when we are food shopping. Beware of foods containing anything ending in ‘ose, such as sucrose, fructose or lactose – sugar by another name. These simple carbohydrate foods can often contain high levels of fat too. Biscuits, cakes, chocolates, deserts and many instant foods are packed full of calories but rarely contain any vitamins, with the exception of some jams. It’s easy to see how the weight goes on, but you can cut down your sugar intake by using artificial sweeteners in tea and coffee, and by buying low calorie soft drinks and fruit juices.

Complex carbohydrates are infinitely more useful to the body than refined simple carbohydrates like white sugar. Complex carbohydrates found in cereals and potatoes for example, contain dietary fibre to make us feel full and other essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Complex carbohydrate foods should be our principle source of energy. Their bulk is satisfying at the time of eating, and continues to maintain our energy level over a long period of time after we have eaten. Foods containing complex carbohydrates, such as porridge, bread and potatoes are the foods that grey gran and her family needed a lot of years ago to give them the energy their lifestyle demanded. Today we need it to form approximately 53% of a healthy diet.

Fibre is good for our digestive system and can be found in foods such as cereals, fruit and vegetables. Although not nutritional, plenty of fibre is essential in the diet, it is the part of food, which passes through, but is not digested by the body. Fibre absorbs water, and in doing so adds bulk to the intestinal contents assisting digestible material to pass through the intestine with it. Fibre acts like a sponge, and this is another good reason why you need to drink plenty of water. Dietary fibre can help prevent digestive disorders and more serious conditions such as some cancers – it may also help lower blood cholesterol. Sufferers from piles or diverticulitis may find that eating more fibre can ease a lot of their pain and irritation. If constipation is a problem it can be alleviated, in many cases completely by eating more fibre rich foods. Slimmers too can benefit from eating dietary fibre – it can leave them feeling full, but has the benefit of containing few calories.

If you haven’t previously eaten much fibre, take things easily at first. Too much too soon, may leave you feeling uncomfortable and a victim of wind! Most breakfast cereals are good fibre providers, but avoid those that have been coated in sugar and honey. For lunch eat more potatoes and their skins. Potatoes are a valuable source of energy and they contain plenty of goodness in their skins too. Simply boiled they are very nutritious and not fattening. Adding fat to them causes the problem. Consider a simple medium sized potato – nutritious and low in calories – but note how the calorie content of that same potato increases dramatically with different methods of cooking.

• Boiled it contains 115 cals
• Mashed “ 170 cals
• Roasted “ 225 cals
• As Chips “ 350 cals
• As Crisps “ 725 cals

Instead of potatoes, choose rice with your meal for a change, brown rice white, brown rice rather than white is full of fibre, and a lot tastier. Peas, beans, and lentils are a good source of fibre and have the advantage of being easy to prepare. Of course, you could choose to simply open a can of baked beans – the reduced sugar versions are cheap, easy and full of fibre.

When you are next on the social scene or are in need of a quick snack, remember that disastrous fat content of crisps if “naughty but nice” tempts you nibbles and crisps. Let me also issue a peanut warning – each peanut contains approximately 7 calories! If you must snack it’s healthier by far to eat a delicious and nutritious banana. A medium sized banana fruit contains just 80 cals and is rich in vitamin C and energy giving B1, B2 and B6 and the essential mineral potassium. The fibre in bananas is broken down gently by the body smoothing out the rate of sugar absorption and providing a sustained source of energy over a period of time. I chop one banana (I prefer the small size from the Caribbean) into my meusli every breakfast time to give me my early morning energy boost. All fruits and vegetables contain roughage, natural fibre and vitamins (which we will look at in more detail later on). Don’t peel away the fibre and goodness in the skin of an apple, pear or potato. A variety of fresh vegetables and fruits are essential for healthy well-balanced diet, try to eat at least 5 portions every day.

Nutritionists still find it an upward struggle in this enlightened age to encourage the public to eat more healthy food such as less fat, less sugar more complex carbohydrates, potatoes, bread, pasta and wholegrain rice. Past misconceptions was that eating lot bread and potatoes made people fat. The trouble was not with the foods themselves but as we have seen how they were cooked (roasted etc) and also what was they were accompanied by. A generation ago people filled up on a lot of bread but piled on the calories by lashing the bread with huge amounts of butter and cream. They compounded the mistake by adding chocolate spreads, condensed milk, pastes and jams, or worse still – peanut butter and chips – to make popular peanut and chip butties! I distinctly remember as a child being encouraged to eat up my toast which was literally dripping with “dripping” (fat and meat juices left in the pan from around the Sunday roast joint). It was loaded with saturated fat.

It’s easy to condemn the average diet of our grandparent’s generation, but we must remember that their nutritional needs and traditions of cooking were very different from ours today in this fast food era. Let’s not forget that people hadn’t the availability of a huge choice of food or fresh fruits and vegetables all year around that we take foregranted today. That generation ate what was seasonal and mostly grown in this country or a few foods such as meats, fish, vegetables and fruits, which were tinned or preserved. Traditional British foods such as fat roasted potatoes and fat fried chips pushed the country’s calorie intake and cholesterol levels up sky high. Today with the addition of junk and convenience foods the UK levels are still much too high. Despite all the information and health warnings, we still appear to be addicted to fat, as the high consumption of cakes, biscuits, chocolate and junk food in the UK readily proves.

Proteins are our second food groups and are needed by our bodies to build and repair the body’s tissues throughout life. Proteins are found in a variety of interesting sources – meat, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, pulses and rice. Protein is the basic constituent of the body’s tissues, and is also needed to manufacture digestive and other enzymes. Proteins are made up of complex amino acid structures, and when we eat a varied, well balanced diet, both the animal and plant sources of protein – such as fruits, vegetables and rice, are able to provide the correct amounts of amino acids, which are essential for good health.

If we eat more protein than our bodies need, our bodies are not able to store the excess protein, or the amino acid constituents and the protein that is surplus to requirements, simply gets converted into glucose in the liver. If we are active and energetic our bodies use it up, but if not it gets stored as body fat.

Fats are our third food group and we all need to be well aware of the fat facts, if we want to continue living a healthy life for as long as possible. As we saw previously, fat is the most concentrated source of energy in our diets and contains essential fatty acids. Fats also act as a carrier for many essential fat-soluble vitamins, which are important for our good health. However, a great deal of recent research has been done into the fat content of our diets, and doctors and nutritionists are extremely concerned, because the findings suggest that the UK diet still contains far too much fat. Many of the UK population are obese and the numbers are growing. People who suffer from pain or arthritis in their ankles or knees, and people who are short of breath or have high blood pressure, should check their weight. Getting down to a normal weight may help to improve all these problems and help control the high blood pressure. A low fat diet is a healthy one – a no fat diet is not. The fats in our diet can be divided into two types and we need to recognise them in order to eat more healthily.

VISIBLE FATS, these are the obvious fats you see in butter, lard, margarine and cooking oils.
HIDDEN FATS are not so obvious to see as they are hidden in many “convenience” foods, and in foods such as sausages, pork pies, sauces, cakes and desserts.

We need to know our fats if we are intent on helping ourselves in good health. In particular it’s essential for us to be able to distinguish between

• Saturated fats
• Unsaturated fats

Saturated fats are usually of animal source. They are found in red meats such as beef, lamb and pork, and in dairy products such as full cream milk, cheese, and in suet, lard and dripping. As an easy guide, saturated fats are solid at room temperature (with the exception of palm oil and coconut oil.) The calorie content of these saturated fats is sky high. They contain cholesterol and heart disease has been linked very strongly to the high level of blood cholesterol, the waxy substance that lines the walls of the arteries. Coronary heart disease is linked to a diet rich in saturated fats. Too much saturated fat clogs the arteries and increases the risk of heart disease or failure. Excess in the diet causes obesity. Heart disease progresses slowly and its never too late to improve your diet. Try to keep your levels of saturated fat low and limit the amount of cheese you eat, trim the fat off meat, and eat skinless poultry. You can slow down, or even stop the progress of heart disease by a combination of healthy eating, regular exercise and by not smoking.

Unsaturated fats are found in oily fish like pilchards, herrings, mackerel, sardines and tuna which are great fish to eat and so good for you! Unsaturated fats include mono-unsaturated fats such the superior olive oil, a basic ingredient of the generally healthy Mediterranean diet and also include the polyunsaturated fats such as vegetable oils – including sunflower, corn and rapeseed, and nuts and vegetables. Unsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature.

Neither mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats contain cholesterol nor the risk of heart disease is reduced. In fact polyunsaturated fats are thought to positively discourage cholesterol and to keep the levels down. But saturated fats as with all fats contain calories, and too much of any fat will pile on the pounds. When polyunsaturated fat is heated it can form free radicals, which are harmful to our health. The safest oil to cook with is olive oil – keep the vegetable oils for salad dressings.

It is advisable for most of us to cut down on the total quantity of fats we consume and particularly the amount of saturated fat we eat. . Saturated fat should only make up approximately one third of fat eaten. The other two thirds should be a combination of polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats. Look out for foods labelled “reduced fat” but read the contents carefully they can often include added sugar. Milk is an important source of nourishment, but if you prefer buy semi skimmed milk rather than full cream. Semi skimmed milk is higher in calcium and contains far less saturated fat, but has just as many beneficial nutrients and vitamins. Cheese is nutritious and an excellent source of calcium, but it has a very high fat and calorie content.

NUTRITION ACTION PLAN
• Eat a well balanced diet
• Eat more fibre -rich starchy foods, such as whole grain breakfast cereals, wholemeal bread, pasta, brown rice, pulses, fresh fruit and vegetables
• Cook vegetables lightly or stir-fry. If they are crunchy they retain more goodness and take longer to eat
• Snack on fresh and dried fruits or unsalted nuts instead of biscuits and chocolate
• Use less sugar
• Choose sugar-free breakfast cereals
• Cut down on saturated fats
• Cut fat off red meats
• Drink skimmed or seem-skimmed milks instead of full fat
• Cut down on butter, cream, fatty cheeses like Cheddar, Stilton and also full-fat yoghurts
• Choose low-fat cheeses like Edam, Brie and Cottage cheese
• Substitute lean meat like poultry or fish instead of red meat
• Avoid meat products like sausages, luncheon meats or salamis
• Cut down on butter, cream, fatty cheeses like Cheddar, Stilton and also full-fat yoghurts
• Choose low-fat cheeses like Edam, Brie and Cottage cheese
• Eat more oily fish but avoid frying
• Throw out the chip pan and grill instead
• If you must fry only use a spot of oil in a non- stick pan
• Avoid salty foods such as bacon, cheese, pickles, olives, crisps, salted peanuts, savoury nibbles, and savoury spreads
• Don’t add salt
• Drink plenty of water
• Consider taking vitamin and mineral supplements
• Drink herb or fruit teas, which are calorie free
• Drink a glass of sparkling water before meals to take the edge off your appetite and cleanse your system
• Dilute fruit juice half-and-half with water
• Buy low calorie drinks when possible
• Use more herbs and spices for flavouring
• Whisk an egg white with a carton of low fat yoghurt or fromage frais for a creamy topping
• Instead of salad cream or oil based dressings use yoghurt with lemon juice or herbs

Coffee

I love my coffee! Moderate coffee consumption of four to five cups per day is safe and may even confer some health benefits. It takes approx 20 mins for caffeine to get into one’s system and most of us find we are more mentally alert after 1-2 cups. In the UK we drink an average of 3 cups of coffee a day and 4 -5 cups is considered OK but in moderation! 7 cups is heavy use although in Scandinavia they are known to drink 11 cups a day!

What we know as “Instant coffee” is soluble coffee while “Fresh coffee” is either toasted or ground. In the profushion of coffee shops around the UK can be found 1,000’s of variations. In Scandanavia the coffee is boiled in the saucepan. Coffee’s main active ingredient is caffeine which is a mild central nervous system stimulant, prompting the release of adrenaline which causes that energised feeling. Caffeine in coffee is well known in raising your alertness levels (Dorea et al 2005, Smith 2005) which works on the central nervous system stimulant temporarily increasing both physical and mental performance (Dodd et al 1993, Nehlig and Debry 1994, Graham 2009)’

Coffee is accepted as an important source of fluid in the diet and in particular for the 50+ population for whom coffee is a particularly important source of hydration and fluid in the diet. (British Nutrition Foundation and Food Standards Agency). And if you add milk to your coffee this boosts your calcium intake which helps prevent the fragile bone disease osteoporosis. A popular myth is that coffee is a diuretic but research shows that caffeine, at levels consumed throughout the day in a couple of cups of coffee, is no more a diuretic than water (Armstrong 2002, 2005 and 2007). Of course if you drink a lot of it like any other liquid, you will need to pass water! However if you do suffer from insomnia it is advisable to stop your coffee intake by late afternoon.

For pregnant women, guidelines issued by the Food Standards Agency recommended a safe upper limit of 200mg (equivalent to two to three cups of coffee) of caffeine per day from all sources.

Coffee is one of the most heavily researched products in the world today and the overwhelming weight of scientific information suggests that moderate coffee (consumption of four to five cups per day) is safe and may even confer some health benefits (Nawrot et al 2003, Ruxton 2008 and Dorea et al 2005). The weight of evidence thus far suggests that coffee drinking may help protect against the development of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease, however it is acknowledged that further research is required on the biological mechanisms underlying the potentially protective effect before it can be stated categorically that coffee drinking protects against these debilitating illnesses (Hernan et al 2002, Ascherio et al 2001, Ross et al 2000, Ascherio et al 2003, Maia 2002, Lindsay et al, 2002 and Eskelinen 2009.

A mug of instant coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine
• Mug filter 140 mg
• Mug tea 75 mg
• Can Cola 40 mg
• Energy drink 80 mg
• Bar chocolate! 50 mg

Healthy Heart

The number of factors influence the incidence of heart disease. Ones you cannot change include your family history; your are at increased risk if there is heart disease in your family. Factors that can be reduced or eliminated include high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and being overweight and physically inactive.

Common Risk Factors

Cholesterol
The lower your cholesterol level the more you reduce your risk of heart disease. If you already have heat disease or are at a high risk of developing it, you may already be taking something natural from or prescription medication from your doctor to modify you cholesterol levels. The benefits of these are significant and their effect is enhanced by a healthy diet

High Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, this adds to the workload of your heart, causing it to enlarge. As you age, your arteries harden and become less elastic, and high blood pressure speeds up this process.

Diabetes type 1 and 2
People with diabetes are at risk of heart disease, stoke and peripheral vascular disease. If you have diabetes, you should follow a healthy lifestyle and use appropriate therapy.
Diana Moran’s Healthy Heart Recipe

Walnut and Banana Sunrise Smoothie
1 orange segmented
1 banana, peeled
150ml of soya/rice or skimmed
150g (5 oz) soya yogurt or natural yogurt
25g (1 oz) walnuts
3 teaspoons of natural honey

(For extra protein in this smoothie, or if you don’t have soya, you can add some natural vanilla whey protein – a natural product.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into two glasses.

Smoothies are great way to increase your intake of soya protein. Make the recipe with soya milk and soya yogurt to give you 10 g of soya protein.

Heart health helpers
One of the most remarkable dietary discoveries in recent years has bee the role fish can play in preventing heat disease. People, who eat fish and shellfish regularly, such as the Japanese and Greenland Inuit, have fewer heart attacks than non-fish-eaters. Oily fish is the richest source of the polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are acids play an important part in blood clotting mechanisms, making the blood less sticky and reducing the risk of thrombosis. They also reduce irregular and potentially fatal arrhythmias.

The Mediterranean-style diet is high is fruit and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
There are about 600 antioxidants and these include the ACE vitamins, (beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body, vitamin C and vitamin E), minerals (selenium and zinc) and various other compounds that give fruit and vegetables their fabulous colours (flavonoids and phenols). Red wine and green tea is also known to be good sources of antioxidants.

Eat healthy – Avoid eating too much saturated fat and instead eat plenty of fish, poultry, fruit and vegetables, and maintain a healthy bodyweight.

Be more active – Half an hour every day is enough to make a difference and it is easy to build into your daily routine. Start off gently and gradually build up.

Be smoke-free – From the moment you stop smoking, your risk of a heart attach starts to fall and is halved within one year of giving up.

Reduce you alcohol intake – Binge drinking increases your risk of having a heart attack

Minimise stress– Find alternative ways you can relax and unwind, your local health food store will have relaxation CD’s, essential oil sprays and flower remedies that you can use to help with relaxation when needed.

Strong bones

Osteoporosis, a debilitating condition caused by the loss of bone mineral, makes the bone susceptible to fracture, especially at the hip, wrist and spine. It is most common in menopausal women as the decline in oestrogen levels leads to an increase in the normal rat of mineral loss from bone.

You can help prevent osteoporosis eating a varied diet rich in vitamins and minerals, by consuming less caffeine and alcohol and by exercising.

Are you at risk?
Height and weight…….
Statistics show that tall women are more likely to develop osteoporosis. If you’re tall, pay extra attention to the things you can do to minimise your risk of developing osteoporosis.
If you are too thin, you could run and increased risk of developing osteoporosis. An overactive thyroid gland could be causing your lack of bodyweight. In addition, you don’t have sufficient adipose (fat) you will be less likely to produce oestrogen from this source.

Carrying a slight amount excess weight can actually push calcium into your bones. It is not helpful to be considerably overweight, however, as excess weight will put great pressure on your bones. If you do decide to lose weight, be careful. Research suggests that after the menopause it is better to stay the weigh you are that to go on a sudden weight-loss programme and lose more than 10 per cent of your body weight, which can double you risk of getting osteoporosis

Exercise
Lack of exercise is a significant risk factor in the development of osteoporosis. If you sit and do nothing, calcium tends to leave your bones; if you run, calcium tends to enter your bones. The critical factor is that exercise should be more weight-bearing, such as walking, running or push-ups. The more you use your bones to make demands on them, the stronger they become. It is a great way to energise you body and becoming fitter and stronger all over.

Diet – what your bones need
Calcium
This mineral is a major component of the structure of bones. You lose some calcium everyday, mainly in your urine, and it is vital that this is replaced. A daily dose of 1,000 mg is recommended, with an increase to 1,500 mg close to and thereafter the menopause. Make sure you diet supplies a large amount of calcium. You can also help this by making some positive changes and consider taking a calcium supplement, if necessary.
Phosphorus

Calcium’s ‘partner’ in bones is phosphorus. The ideal would provide them in equal amounts, but the Western diet unusually contains an excess of phosphorus. A high phosphorus intake can remove calcium from bones and can also lead to reduced vitamin D activity and hence the absorption of calcium from the digestive system.
Meat, grains and protein-rich foods in general are rich in phosphorus, so reduce your intake of these foods to the minimum that will provide adequate protein. Most fruits and vegetables have a good balance of calcium and phosphorus. Avoid carbonated drinks.

Magnesium
About 70 per cent of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones, where it replaces some of the calcium and has an important influence on bone structure. People with osteoporosis often have a deficiency of magnesium. Many medications prescribed for osteoporosis contains calcium and vitamin D but little or no magnesium, even though some people may need it more urgently that calcium.

Other essential minerals
In addition to those listed above, make sure that you are supplying your body with adequate levels of manganese, zinc, copper, silica and boron.

Vitamin A
Also known as retinol, vitamin A stimulates the production of progesterone, thought to be more useful than oestrogen in the prevention of osteoporosis. It is found in eggs and meat, especially liver. Carotenes, the precursors of vitamin A, are available from orange, red or green plant foods, such as carrots, beetroot, and leafy green vegetables.

Vitamins B6 and B12 and Folic Acid
These B vitamins help minimise levels of homocysteine. The effect can be enhanced by taking a supplements by taking a supplement with as much as 5 mg folic acid (ask PAUL C if this is still ok to rec). This is a safe dose, but it should be always taken in combination with vitamin B12.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for healthy collagen and increases the production of progesterone. It is usually found in combination with other bioflavonoid in foods such as oranges, strawberries, tomatoes and green vegetables. If choosing a supplement, look for one that contains vitamin C in calcium form (calcium ascorbate) in combination with bioflavonoids.

Vitamin D
By promoting calcium absorption from the intestinal tract vitamin D helps to maintain normal levels of blood calcium. An adequate intake of vitamin D will, for most people, make a big difference to calcium levels.

Vitamin K
The vitamin encourages calcium deposition in the bones. Many post-menopausal women stop calcium in urine whey they take vitamin K. Leafy vegetables are the richest sources. Because it is fat soluble, vitamin K should be eaten or taken with some form of fat. Another form, vitamin K2, is produced by bacteria and other microrganisms in the digestive tract. For most healthy people, this is a major source of vitamin K. Vitamin K is not stored in the body, and so is less likely to be toxic in high doses. A recommended does in 10 mg a day, but up to 50 mg has been used without any adverse effects.

Other risk factors to consider
– excess alcohol
– excess caffeine
– carbonated drinks
– smoking
– excess salt
– Prescription medication, such as sleeping pills and steroids. They are particularly harmful and can have an adverse effect on the bones. If you are taking these, speak to your doctor or a qualified practitioner about supplements you can take for bone support or natural alternatives to help reduce the medication. Look into natural alternatives to sleeping pills or steroids.

Hints for health
Eat a varied diet throughout your life as osteoporosis can start before the menopause. For strong bones, make sure your diet is especially rich in vitamins D and K, calcium and magnesium.

Recipe for strong bones
Fruit and nut crumble.
Serves 6
Preparation time 15 minutes plus soaking time
Cooking time 35-40 minutes
This can be enjoyed for an energising and wholesome breakfast, after dinner for a healthy desert or delicious midday snack.

Dried fruit such as apricots and prunes add to the iron content of the diet. Absorption of iron is by vitamin C, but inhibited by a number of factors including drinking tea. This delicious recipe contains natural foods that provide essential minerals for bone support.

6 oz dried apricots
4 oz dried pitted prunes
4 oz dried figs
2 0z dried apples
1 pint of apple juice
3 ½ oz of wholewheat /rye/spelt flour
2 oz margarine
2 oz brown unrefined sugar sifted (you can find this at local health food store)
2 oz hazelnuts chopped
To serve and garnish
Low fat yogurt – natural or soya
Rosemary springs

1. Place the dried fruits in a bowl with the apple juice and leave overnight to soak. Transfer to a saucepan and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until softened. Turn into an ovenproof dish.
2. Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Stir in the sugar, reserving a little to serve, and the hazelnuts, then sprinkle the crumble over the fruit (sugar does not need to be added to this recipe if you are trying to avoid)
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 200oC (400oF), Gas mark 6 for 25-30 minutes.
5. Serve with a low fat yogurt, if you liked, sprinkled with the reserved sugar and garnish with rosemary.

High energy

You may feel like you can’t summon up the energy to get up and go, you feel tired and lethargic all the time, or you don’t feel like you can face the world. If so, this revitalising plan is for you. In as few as three days, you can reinvigorate your body, improve your energy levels and bring back that enthusiasm that seemed lost.

The energy process

Energy is created in the body from food. When we eat, our bodies break down ingested food into glucose, which is the main sugar that we use for fuel. It can do this from any food: cakes, rare steaks, spinach. Healthy or unhealthy, the body can use food as energy. However, its favourite sources are carbohydrate foods like fruit, vegetables, bread pastas and rice, because these foods can be broken down, it is combined with oxygen. This ‘burns’ the sugar and turns it into a unit of energy called adenosine triphosphate, which the cells then use store and use when they need it.
In a healthy, fatigue-free body, this process works without any problems and, as a result, we spend each day fully functioning and raring to go. Sometimes this energy process breaks down, however, and this is when we start to feel tired.

What goes wrong?

Many things can interfere with the energy process, but these are the four main problems:
1. You don’t have enough nutrients to trigger energy conversion.
2. You don’t have enough blood-sugar to produce energy quickly and cleanly.
3. You don’t have enough oxygen in the system.
4. You don’t have enough mitochondria – the constituents of cells that turn glucose into fuel

The solution – high energy plan

By following the energising plan you will boost your body and feel reinvigorated. Although it is given here as a daily plan, you should follow the plan for at least three days. Doing this will double up your energy levels in a long weekend, however one week is the optimum time to follow the programme

7:20 am
If you do not enjoy waking up early, try using a daylight alarm. This will at least wake your body up more gently. The level of light is slowly raised in the room, waking you up slowly and calmly.

07:30 am
Take Supplements one multivitamin supplement (Earthsource Wholefood multiple formula), one probiotic supplement (Advanced acidophilus) and one capsule of fish oil (Fish Oil Concentrate) (or if your vegetarian one evening primrose oil) with a large glass of water. This is the first of eight glasses of water you will drink over the entire day – aim roughly for one glass an hour. The supplements will not only provide nutrients but will also aid your digestion, maximising what you can absorb from food. Leave half an hour between these and eating.

07:40 am
Gentle stretching can be done outside or at least facing a window, which adds to your energy banks because sunlight stops production of the sleep- inducing hormone melatonin

07:50 am
Body-Brush Using a natural-bristled brush with medium-hard bristles, brush each are of your body with long, firm (but not hard) strokes. Always start with the soles of your feet, because stimulating these actually starts the lymph flowing. Brush smoothly 4-5 times, always in the direction of the heart, moving around the whole body part. Do this around your calves, then your thighs and hips. Now do your arms, chest, torso and back. Finally, brush your stomach. Once you’ve finished, shower or at least rinse yourself well. As well as obviously cleaning the skin, the repeated motion of brushing or scrubbing the body causes the speed of the circulation to increase (helping flush toxins out of the system faster), and this is also believed to promote lymph flow.

08:00 am
Get your breakfast B vitamins B Vitamins are vital to the energy levels of your body, and breakfast foods are an excellent source. For best results, choose a bowl of organic wholegrain cereal with oat/rice/soya/dairy milk. Alternatively rye toast or spelt with sugar free fruit jam or honey. Enjoy fruit of your choice with these. If you’re used to having a coffee in the morning skipping it will make you more tired. Try a natural dandelion coffee or another type of natural substitute found in your health food store

10:00 am
‘De-Junk’ your day. Energy is not just sapped physically form our bodies, it is also sapped mentally by stress, worry and feelings of being overwhelmed. Whether you work in an office or are busy at home, clearing out physical and mental clutter should be your first job. Tidy your desk, sort out any bills, or any other necessary paperwork that you really don’t want to do. When this is finished it will feel like a weight has been lifted fro you and your energy will start to soar.

11:20 am
Time for a healthy snack Not only does eating little and often keep the blood-sugar levels in the body stable, but it also boosts energy in other ways. Digesting foods uses energy, and meals that are too large can fatigue the body. Healthy snacks, such as fruit, take the edge off your appetite and stop you overeating at meals.

13:00 pm
Eat a good lunch This meal should boost your oxygen and fluid levels in the body, giving you energy to face the afternoon when energy levels dip. Good oxygen-boosting foods are watercress, spinach, dark cabbage, lettuce and sprouts. Also fill up on fluid-heavy foods like celery, cucumber, fennel, apples, pears, watermelon, grapefruit and grapes. Finally include some asparagus, since this (along with alfalfa) helps neutralise the natural toxin ammonia produced within our body, a common cause of fatigue.
Take one Earthsource wholefood (Solgar) multivitamin and mineral formula to enhance your energy levels and cleansing for the rest of the day.

15:00 pm
Head outside By now, the air in your office, or even at home, is likely to be low in oxygen, boosting your feelings of fatigue. Go for a quick walk, or stretching in fresh air.

18:00 pm
Be active – walk or do some exercise. Toxins have the ability to sap our energy by acting negatively on the mitochondria within the body. If you build up muscle through exercise, you also increase the number of mitochondria. Take 30 mins every other day on this plan to do some kind of aerobic or strength training, and ideally do it between 4 pm and pm.

20:00 pm
Eat your evening meal Overnight the body regenerates and naturally detoxes, so the focus on your evening meal should be to provide an ample supply of detoxifying foods to boost this process. You should combine these with carbohydrates; while these are primarily energy givers, in doses of more than 75g (3 oz) at one time they can calm the body and promote sleep.

21:00
Blend yourself a bedtime bath Bathing stimulates the natural cooling process the body uses to trigger sleep hormones. Add some of the essential oil marjoram, which has a sedative effect, but also fortifying to the body, helping create strength for the next day. Add 3 drops of marjoram and 3 drops of calming mandarin to your bath, lie back and relax.

22:30
Go to bed Getting a good night’s sleep is essential as it is how the body repairs and recharges.

Suggested lunch menu
A glass of “high energy juice”!
Put each of the following through the juicer, then mix together and shake well. Drink immediately…..
6 slices of pineapple
1 banana
6 fresh strawberries
1 handful of wheatgrass

PLUS…..choose a 50g (2oz) portion of one (or a mix) of the following:
Salmon, anchovies, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines, sunflower seeds, walnuts,or cashews. These protein foods create a slowly burned form of energy and provide high levels of essential fatty acids.

ADD…. protein to one of the following energising vegetable bases, using as much of each vegetables as you like.
• Fluid fuel:
Cucumber, lettuce, celery, chopped apple and a few slices of pear.
• Quick cleanse:
Asparagus, cherry tomatoes and yellow peppers on a bed of alfalfa.
• Steamed and simple:
Steamed cabbage, carrot, mushrooms, asparagus and mangetout.
• Sunshine salad:
Watercress, carrot, beetroot and pink grapefruit.

Suggested evening meal menu
• A cup of fresh vegetable soup
• A 75g (3 oz) serving of one of the following to your chosen vegetable base: brown rice, jacket potato, new potatoes, spelt/brown rice or wholegrain pasta. Sweet potato, quinoa, rye or pumpernickel bread.

PLUS…..one of these four vegetable bases, each using as much of each vegetable as you like.
• Detox salad:
watercress, celery, cucumber, cherry tomato, and artichoke hearts.
• Cleansing coleslaw:
white cabbage, onion, grated carrot, sliced beetroot.
• Roast energy:
grilled or oven-baked slices of red or yellow pepper, aubergine, onion and mushrooms.
• Steamed and simple:
steamed carrot, mangetout, cauliflower, spinach and asparagus.

Eat to beat aging

 

  • Ensure your diet is rich is nutrients, but lean in fat and calories for overall health and to reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer
  • Enhance your immune system with foods rich in antioxidants.
  • Keep your digestive system healthy.
  • Strengthen bones with diet and exercise
  • Protect eyesight with antioxidants
  • Homocysteine

As we get older, our bodies produce more of an amino acid called homocysteine, which comes from eating animal protein.  Raised homocysteine levels are though to clog arteries and increase blood clotting, and may be more harmful than cholesterol, resulting in heart disease, leg ulcers and deep vein thrombosis.  Increased intake of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 can reduce homocyestine levels.

  • Vital vitamins and minerals for healthy ageing

Beta-carotene

A powerful antioxidant, protects arteries, converts to vitamin A in the body, boosts immunity, promotes strong teeth and bones, and keeps skin healthy and essential for good vision.

Vitamin C

A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C also boosts immunity and fights infection; it is involved in collagen production and protects against skin damage; it helps prevent the development of age-related cataracts, and is thought to reduce the risk of stroke.  Vitamin C also helps your body to absorb iron and folic acid effectively and in turn food into energy.  A daily intake of the vitamin is vital.

 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has a key function as an anticoagulant and is therefore crucial for a healthy heart and blood supply.  It also helps keep skin looking young and reduces the risk of dementia.  Although fat soluble, it is stored in the body for only a short period of time and regular intake in essential.  Absorption is reduced by high intakes of iron.

Selenium

A key antioxidant, selenium is more powerful if taken with vitamin E, and visa versa; it helps to protect the body from a wide range of diseases including cancer.  Selenium stimulates the immune system; it is required for healthy muscles (including heart muscles), good eyesight and healthy skin.  It also reduces the inflammation of arthritis.

Zinc

Zinc plays a crucial role in the protection and repair of DNA, and helps regulate hormone levels.  A powerful antioxidant and immune system booster, it is also good for brain function and a healthy nervous system.  It can help deal with arthritis.

DMGGseatedFolic acid

A member of the B-complex family, folic acid works with other B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12.  Folic acid is important is helping ward of anaemia, and reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of the amino acid homocystein.

 

High energy

You may feel like you can’t summon up the energy to get up and go, you feel tired and lethargic all the time, or you don’t feel like you can face the world.  If so, this revitalising plan is for you. In as few as three days, you can reinvigorate your body, improve your energy levels and bring back that enthusiasm that seemed lost.

  • The energy process

Energy is created in the body from food.  When we eat, our bodies break down ingested food into glucose, which is the main sugar that we use for fuel.  It can do this from any food: cakes, rare steaks, spinach.  Healthy or unhealthy, the body can use food as energy.  However, its favourite sources are carbohydrate foods like fruit, vegetables, bread pastas and rice, because these foods can be broken down, it is combined with oxygen.  This ‘burns’ the sugar and turns it into a unit of energy called adenosine triphosphate, which the cells then use store and use when they need it.

In a healthy, fatigue-free body, this process works without any problems and, as a result, we spend each day fully functioning and raring to go.  Sometimes this energy process breaks down, however, and this is when we start to feel tired.

  • What goes wrong?

Many things can interfere with the energy process, but these are the four main problems:

  1. You don’t have enough nutrients to trigger energy conversion.
  2. You don’t have enough blood-sugar to produce energy quickly and cleanly.
  3. You don’t have enough oxygen in the system.
  4. You don’t have enough mitochondria – the constituents of cells that turn glucose into fuel
  • The solution – high energy plan

By following the energising plan you will boost your body and feel reinvigorated.  Although it is given here as a daily plan, you should follow the plan for at least three days.  Doing this will double up your energy levels in a long weekend, however one week is the optimum time to follow the programme

7:20 am

If you do not enjoy waking up early, try using a daylight alarm.  This will at least wake your body up more gently.   The level of light is slowly raised in the room, waking you up slowly and calmly.

07:30 am

Take Supplements one multivitamin supplement (Earthsource Wholefood multiple formula), one probiotic supplement (Advanced acidophilus) and one capsule of fish oil (Fish Oil Concentrate)  (or if your vegetarian one evening primrose oil) with a large glass of water.  This is the first of eight glasses of water you will drink over the entire day – aim roughly for one glass an hour.  The supplements will not only provide nutrients but will also aid your digestion, maximising what you can absorb from food.  Leave half an hour between these and eating.

07:40 am

Gentle stretching can be done outside or at least facing a window, which adds to your energy banks because sunlight stops production of the sleep- inducing hormone melatonin

07:50 am

Body-Brush  Using a natural-bristled brush with medium-hard bristles, brush each are of your body with long, firm (but not hard) strokes.  Always start with the soles of your feet, because stimulating these actually starts the lymph flowing.  Brush smoothly 4-5 times, always in the direction of the heart, moving around the whole body part.  Do this around your calves, then your thighs and hips.  Now do your arms, chest, torso and back.  Finally, brush your stomach.  Once you’ve finished, shower or at least rinse yourself well.  As well as obviously cleaning the skin, the repeated motion of brushing or scrubbing the body causes the speed of the circulation to increase (helping flush toxins out of the system faster), and this is also believed to promote lymph flow.

08:00 am

Get your breakfast B vitamins  B Vitamins are vital to the energy levels of your body, and breakfast foods are an excellent source.   For best results, choose a bowl of organic wholegrain cereal with oat/rice/soya/dairy milk.  Alternatively rye toast or spelt with sugar free fruit jam or honey.  Enjoy fruit of your choice with these.  If you’re used to having a coffee in the morning skipping it will make you more tired.  Try a natural dandelion coffee or another type of natural substitute found in your health food store

10:00 am 

‘De-Junk’ your day.  Energy is not just sapped physically form our bodies, it is also sapped mentally by stress, worry and feelings of being overwhelmed.  Whether you work in an office or are busy at home, clearing out physical and mental clutter should be your first job.  Tidy your desk, sort out any bills, or any other necessary paperwork that you really don’t want to do.  When this is finished it will feel like a weight has been lifted fro you and your energy will start to soar.

11:20 am

Time for a healthy snack  Not only does eating little and often keep the blood-sugar levels in the body stable, but it also boosts energy in other ways.  Digesting foods uses energy, and meals that are too large can fatigue the body.  Healthy snacks, such as fruit, take the edge off your appetite and stop you overeating at meals.

13:00 pm

Eat a good lunch  This meal should boost your oxygen and fluid levels in the body, giving you energy to face the afternoon when energy levels dip.  Good oxygen-boosting foods are watercress, spinach, dark cabbage, lettuce and sprouts.  Also fill up on fluid-heavy foods like celery, cucumber, fennel, apples, pears, watermelon, grapefruit and grapes. Finally include some asparagus, since this (along with alfalfa) helps neutralise the natural toxin ammonia produced within our body, a common cause of fatigue.

Take one Earthsource wholefood (Solgar) multivitamin and mineral formula to enhance your energy levels and cleansing for the rest of the day.

15:00 

Head outside  By now, the air in your office, or even at home, is likely to be low in oxygen, boosting your feelings of fatigue.  Go for a quick walk, or stretching in fresh air.

18:00 

Be active – walk or do some exercise.  Toxins have the ability to sap our energy by acting negatively on the mitochondria within the body.  If you build up muscle through exercise, you also increase the number of mitochondria.  Take 30 mins every other day on this plan to do some kind of aerobic or strength training, and ideally do it between 4 pm and 7 pm.

20:00 

Eat your evening meal Overnight the body regenerates and naturally detoxes, so the focus on your evening meal should be to provide an ample supply of detoxifying foods to boost this process. You should combine these with carbohydrates; while these are primarily energy givers, in doses of more than 75g (3 oz) at one time they can calm the body and promote sleep.

21:00 

Blend yourself a bedtime bath  Bathing stimulates the natural cooling process the body uses to trigger sleep hormones.  Add some of the essential oil marjoram, which has a sedative effect, but also fortifying to the body, helping create strength for the next day.  Add 3 drops of marjoram and 3 drops of calming mandarin to your bath, lie back and relax.

22:30

Go to bed Getting a good night’s sleep is essential as it is how the body repairs and recharges.

  • Suggested lunch menu

A glass of “high energy juice”!

Put each of the following through the juicer, then mix together and shake well.  Drink immediately…..

6 slices of pineapple

1 banana

6 fresh strawberries

1 handful of wheatgrass

PLUS…..choose a 50g (2oz) portion of one (or a mix) of the following:

Salmon, anchovies, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines, sunflower seeds, walnuts,or cashews.  These protein foods create a slowly burned form of energy and provide high levels of essential fatty acids.

ADD…. protein to one of the following energising vegetable bases, using as much of each vegetables as you like.

  • Fluid fuel:

Cucumber, lettuce, celery, chopped apple and a few slices of pear.

  • Quick cleanse:

Asparagus, cherry tomatoes and yellow peppers on a bed of alfalfa.

  • Steamed and simple:

Steamed cabbage, carrot, mushrooms, asparagus and mangetout.

  • Sunshine salad:

Watercress, carrot, beetroot and pink grapefruit.

Suggested evening meal menu

  • A cup of fresh vegetable soup
  • A 75g (3 oz) serving of one of the following to your chosen vegetable base: brown rice, jacket potato, new potatoes, spelt/brown rice or wholegrain pasta. Sweet potato, quinoa, rye or pumpernickel bread.

PLUS…..one of these four vegetable bases, each using as much of each vegetable as you like.

  • Detox salad:

watercress, celery, cucumber, cherry tomato, and artichoke hearts.

  • Cleansing coleslaw:

white cabbage, onion, grated carrot, sliced beetroot.

  • Roast energy:

grilled or oven-baked slices of red or yellow pepper, aubergine, onion and mushrooms.

  • Steamed and simple:

steamed carrot, mangetout, cauliflower, spinach and asparagus.