I know the title of this article seems a bit partial to men but the honest truth is all the points made here apply just as much to women over 40 as it does to men over 40. I just wanted to use this article as a basis for focusing a bit on the men because we (or perhaps should I say I) often focus on our health concerns more from a women’s perspective (understandably) than from the men’s, so I guess this is just my way of giving the guys a bit of TLA (tender loving attention).
We live in an age where problems like diabetes, obesity and a plethora of other medical issues are at epidemic levels. Most of these problems are the result of poor dietary choices, a sedentary or inadequately active lifestyle and too much stress.
These can be all avoided or the risks at least minimized if one takes positive steps to address these problems before they worsen or even show up. However, in these current times it is so easy to make excuses for keeping unhealthy and unfit rather than rising up to the health challenges we all face as we grow older. The problem is that developing a healthy lifestyle and eating habits is a discipline that needs to be cultivated, nurtured and stuck with and that can be hard if you are disinclined to for one reason or the other.
Health and fitness is not about the presence or absence of a six pack. It is more fundamental and though the discipline of cultivating a healthy lifestyle might be difficult, taking this lifestyle journey in small manageable steps can be easy, each step at a time as you learn to gradually incorporate small healthy lifestyle adjustments to habits and routines on a daily or weekly basis
The repercussions on your health when you ignore your body’s health needs (particularly your internal body make-up) can cost you in the long run. For instance, most men with abdominal fat are exposing themselves to many possible health risks. The belly is one of the first places where men and women over forty particularly gain weight. For men, this easily translates into a paunch and for women you develop layers of fat around the belly and having a waistline rapidly becomes a myth!
You must be aware that there are two kinds of fat in the body. There is subcutaneous fat which is fat under the skin and there is visceral fat, which is fat that builds up in the spaces around your organs such as the intestines and stomach.
It is this visceral fat that causes your body to store toxins and also causes inflammation. The dangerous part here is that even with a body that doesn’t seem morbidly obese, you might have quite a lot of visceral fat stored in your organs.
This sets the stage for problems like diabetes, heart disease, inflammation and all the other problems that are just waiting for the right opportunity to strike.
Always bear in mind – prevention is better than cure. I know I sound like a boring old school teacher but I would not wish the affliction of a chronic disease or serious ill-health on anyone. I went through my bout of chronic ill-health many years ago and in my write-ups, I never forget to reference the horrors of what I went through for five years. So if I sound like a boring old fart (pardon the crudity), please bear with me. At least now you know why.
Anyway, back to my health lecture; high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol levels, unexplained aches and pains all over the body, lethargy, depression and many other problems are the result of a poor diet and an inactive lifestyle. You can keep many health problems at bay just by watching your diet, making the right food choices and getting daily exercise. As much as possible, avoid processed foods, consume alcohol sparingly and not as a habit. Please avoid smoking if you can at all help it and if you can’t then just get help and quit! Basically, I am encouraging you to please take an active interest in your general health and there are many ways you can start to do that. Don’t think you have to do all these things at once. It would be great if you did but you probably would not be human if you could.
Aging is a slow process and most men forget that with time, their bodies just can’t cope with the ravages of an unhealthy lifestyle. In your forties, you’re not old but you aren’t that young either. Certain unhealthy habits were fine when we were young but can have lethal health consequences for us if we continue in the same vein without making serious efforts to transform these bad health and lifestyle habits.
The sooner you do, the better. The foundation of all happiness is good health. Eat clean. Be active and live well. Look out for my next article in the series of tackling health issues and concerns for men over 40!
From my heart to yours, always,
In the average Western diet, many consume foods which are too acidic to effectively promote and maintain a healthy body. Some examples of these acidic sources we consume are refined sugars, dairy products, and meat, such as beef and pork. There are also different side effects that result from a high-acid diet, such as a diminished immune system and lethargy.
A sugar high can feel good every once in a while when eating ice cream, but remember that unless you attempt to alkalize your body, such habits can take their toll on your body, your health and your energy levels. I must admit that despite being a self-appointed champion of healthy eating, I do have my weaknesses! Oh yes! For instance I have a sweet tooth and I must admit that I kind of indulge my sweet tooth far more regularly than I should. However, I always try to counter the effects of my indulgence by doing a few things to ‘penalize’ my weakness. Thankfully, I don’t have a sweet tooth for everything sweet like cakes, doughnuts, ice creams, biscuits etc.
What I do have an irresistible sweet tooth for, is a certain brand of chocolates called Minstrels (a UK brand), some squidgy spongy type gelatin-based sweets called Haribos and my local grocery shop’s own brand sweet and salted popcorn! However much I have tried to ‘cure’ my habit I have so far been unsuccessful and I regularly do indulge myself sometimes with carefree abandon, only to hate myself shortly after. I realise its simply a mind thing but I guess my mind is not quite ready to give up on its sweet fantasies just yet.
If you are reading this and you have a definite idea how to cure me of my sweet tooth even semi-permanently, please let me know. Drop me a line and I would be glad to share your suggestions after I’ve tried it and seen the results. Now, there’s a challenge!
Alkalizing the body is not difficult, but in order to understand the benefits of doing so, one must first understand the definition of alkaline foods, how they work with the body, and which foods in particular will counteract the effects of their acidic counterparts.
What Is Alkaline?
Alkaline is defined as that which has a pH greater than 7. Because the body functions best at a pH level of about 7.4, it is important to consume foods which will bring those levels up to an appropriate level. To explain a bit about pH levels, pH levels refer to the degree of acidity or alkalinity of food or liquid. pH is short for Potential Hydrogen. A pH number measures on a scale of 0 to14, how acidic or alkaline a liquid is. Any number above 7 is considered alkaline while any below 7 is acidic. Water has a pH level of 7 meaning it is neutral. This also means it has the same amount of acids and alkalis, which balance each other out. This is especially crucial when consuming foods which are acidic and which will bring the pH levels lower than they should be. Pure, distilled water sits at almost exactly 7 on the pH scale. Foods with a higher number are alkaline, while anything lower than 7 is considered acidic.
Benefits Of An Alkaline Diet
As a general rule, foods can be classified as either acid-forming or alkaline forming.
The human body‘s pH is 7.35, or slightly alkaline. The body is always seeking a state of homeostasis (balance) and it works hard to maintain the healthy neutral alkaline zone.
Now, keep in mind that foods in of themselves cannot change this zone in the body, but, the body does have to work extra hard to compensate for the intake of acid-forming foods that are ingested in excess.
This happens because when your diet is highly acidic the body has to leech calcium from the bones, as calcium is an alkalizing mineral. Over time this can lead to bone mineral loss, which, can result in Osteoporosis. This is just one of many effects that an overly acidic diet can have on the body but this is not to sound alarmist as it is never too late to redress eating patterns and habits that can be potentially harmful to health in the long run
Additionally, as a stressor, acidity can lead to inflammation along with increased cortisol levels, and this can impact overall health in the long term.
Conversely, those foods that are alkaline forming are typically plant based and highly nutrient dense, and also loaded with antioxidants.
Including a variety of alkaline-forming foods in your diet allows the slowing of leech of calcium from the bones, and this results in improved bone health.
These foods also support healthy cell regeneration and fights the effects of free-radicals on the body.
Since it is the pH level of blood which concerns us, putting additional acidic foods into our diets actually works against the human system. When more strain is put on the body to fight sickness and disease, it is no wonder a highly acidic diet might make one feel tired and lethargic.
Benefits Of Alkaline Forming Foods For Athletes And Exercise
There is more goods news and that is the major benefits that alkalizing foods have on athletes and for the human body during exercise in general.
A diet high in acid-forming foods results in reduction of muscle efficiency so more energy expenditure is needed for each and every muscle contraction. Now, during a race or intense activity, this means a lot of extra work for the body.
Since alkaline-forming foods greatly reduce inflammation, the muscles work at more functional levels and they also require less force to move.
This allows endurance athletes, such as, those who run marathons and participate in triathlons to push harder for longer. For those who do strength training, and bodybuilders, alkalizing foods will allow you to lift heavier weights with less negative stress on the body.
How To Eat An Alkaline Diet
Increasing the alkaline intake does not have to be extraordinarily difficult, and one must not cut acidic foods entirely from his or her diet.
It is recommended that your diet consist of around 80% alkaline food sources while acidic foods make up the remaining 20%.
This contrasts with the average diet in the West, which often flips that ratio around. There are some changes in the diet which can be made quickly and easily in order to alter your pH level.
Swap Coffee For Green Tea
For example, you might switch from coffee to green tea in order to bring your blood’s pH level higher. Green tea is alkaline while coffee is acidic, so the substitution might make a drastic change especially if you consume coffee quite often. Green tea contains many antioxidants as well. In case you asked, antioxidants help to counteract free radicals in our body systems.
Antioxidants Vs Free Radicals
Antioxidants can be found in vegetables and fresh fruits and are therefore the good guys while free radicals are the bad ones. There are a wide variety of antioxidants that provide great health benefits and I will devote some time to talking about these in the subsequent months ahead. But for now suffice it to know that antioxidants prevent and can even inhibit the proliferation of free radicals (the bad guys) in our bodies and helps to neutralize the effects of free radicals in our blood streams.
Without wanting to sound too scientific, free radicals are occur from normal and essential metabolic processes found within the human body or from external sources such as exposure to various environmental and chemical pollutants, stress, smoking and many other factors. The dangerous thing about these free radicals that occur is that if left unaddressed they can cause a wide range of illnesses and chronic diseases and this is where the power of antioxidants helps to eradicate the effects of free radicals in our system.
Vegetables, vegetables and more vegetables! Always eat your vegetables. The best choice in alkalizing varieties are broccoli, celery, chard greens, collard greens, cucumber, cauliflower, and mushrooms, just to name a few. These foods are alkaline and will not only help reduce stress on the body in fighting acid, but are also highly nutrient dense and plain good for you!
Some of the best fruits are also alkalizing ones, including, melons, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, apples, bananas, berries, cantaloupe and grapes.
Remember, you do not have to eliminate dairy products, rice, and all protein from animal sources in order to maintain a healthy pH level. However, it might benefit you to substitute your refined sugars with healthy fruits and vegetables more often than not.
Doing that, along with drinking plenty of green tea, will increase pH levels and your chances of finding health-nirvana naturally and easily!
This merely skims the surface on the issue of alkalinity versus acidity and the importance of maintaining good body alkaline levels as opposed to acidic levels. Conventional medicine might disdain claims that disease cannot thrive in an alkaline body environment while it is the opposite with bodies that are highly acidic but it is a widely held belief in the holistic health arena. It is also believed that the aging process is accelerated by free radicals in the body, so there is an incentive to reduce free radical activity in our bodies through good diet, regular exercise and less stress to summarise simply.
I am on this journey with you as my habits are by no way perfect but I do maintain a lifestyle that is highly health conscious of these issues and I spend a lot of time doing research on the latest news and views on holistic and alternative health concerns.
I hope this helps a bit. Feel free to drop me a line to let me know how I can be of further assistance with regards to providing information on other relevant health topics.
Until next time, keep on being special!
From my heart to yours always,
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and taking care of our emotional wellbeing are all-important elements of living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining an optimal level of health. Medical experts and research has confirmed repeatedly that the lifestyle choices we make are crucial for healthy aging and preventing various diseases that can result in chronic health impairment or even premature death.
Prevention they say is better than cure and preventative health goes a step beyond just addressing health problems that arise but instead serves to alert us to potential health conditions that can lead to serious complications for us in the future. Early detection and monitoring for high-risk conditions is an essential element of good healthcare and this applies to both men and women.
But when it comes to healthcare, men tend to see doctors less and do not pay as much attention to their possible health concerns as women do. They can often go years between doctors’ visits and end up missing valuable opportunities for screening and detection of possible health issues.
Here are some health concerns worth keeping on top of so that you don’t end up with unnecessary complications:
- High blood pressure: Men are just as prone to high blood pressure as women. High blood pressure is largely hereditary but can be influenced by environmental factors such as caffeine intake, intake of salt, and obesity. Unless the blood pressure is extremely high, you will have no symptoms and the blood pressure may be left unchecked and unnoticed. Depending on age it is advisable to have your blood pressure checked at regular intervals. I would advise asking your physician to suggest a suitable time interval for checking blood pressure and then try sticking with that. Blood pressure readings of 140/90 or greater would warrant a visit to your doctor.
- Colon cancer: Colon cancer is the second largest cause of cancer death among men. Fortunately, it is largely preventable by being screened for colon cancer, beginning at age 50 (and sooner if it runs in the family). It involves having a colorectal specialist insert a camera at the end of a flexible tube into the colon to look for and remove cancer-causing polyps. This procedure is called a colonoscopy and it should be repeated every ten years as a screening measure, starting at 50 years of age. Keeping a high fiber diet that is low in fat may also reduce the risks of colon cancer. More on this in subsequent blogs.
- Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. There are basically two types of prostate cancer—slow growing and fast growing. Either way, it is worth getting screened for prostate cancer through the use of digital rectal examination every five years at the doctor’s office. Some doctors also draw blood for prostate specific antigen or PSA. This number can be high in enlarged prostate conditions or in prostate cancer. If it is elevated, doctors can try and determine if it is related to cancer or not.
- Smoking Cessation: Lung cancer caused by smoking is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the UK and America. The simplest way to reduce the risk of lung cancer is to never smoke or to stop smoking as soon as possible. There are many ways to quit smoking and many health services and support networks exist to help people who wish to stop smoking. Ask your doctor or make enquiries online for nearest support services
It is recommended that those with a history of heavy smoking, who smoke at present or have quit within the last 15 years and are between the ages of 55 and 80 years of age should undergo yearly lung screenings. Heavy smoking is defined as smoking at least one pack of cigarettes per day for one year. A 30 pack-year history can equate to 1 pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.
- Heart Disease: Men are at a greater risk of heart disease than women are. Things like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise, and family history contribute to a high risk of heart disease especially with men who have family histories. Measures should be taken to reduce the other risk factors. This means adopting a heart healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat. It means a commitment to regular exercise three to five days a week. Finally it means seeing a doctor to find out about risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
If these are elevated, your doctor may prescribe medications that can further reduce your risk of getting a heart attack. I personally detest the thought of having to take prescription medications unless absolutely necessary. I went through my health scare phase where I was on prescription medication for almost four years. My hatred of the experience was part of what spurred me onto seeking an alternative health path. But if you must be on medication to keep health issues at bay then by all means do seek whatever professional guidance is needed and do what is necessary to safeguard long-term health.
- The Family Connection: Besides all the conditions listed above, it is also a good idea to find out about any medical conditions that run in the family as genetics can play a big role in the development of certain diseases. Oftentimes, children, parents, and grandparents share similar health problems because inherited factors put family members at risk through genes. Disease often results from the combined effects of minor changes in multiple genes, and each gene then contributes in a small way to the symptoms of and development of disease. However, there is the new and exciting science of Epigenetics which I will write a few articles on in the subsequent weeks. Epigenetics simply surmises that you can overwrite or override your genetic predisposition by consciously adopting positive lifestyle habits and making healthy lifestyle choices and there seems to be the research to prove it! So watch this space.
Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer account for 7 of every 10 deaths in the United States, and are considered genetic diseases because they run in families. Gathering a detailed family history can give you important information as to your risk factors and that awareness can be used to monitor for and possibly prevent the onset of problems whenever possible.
The bottom line is that factors and conditions for ill-health lurk around almost every corner. It is quite easy when we read blogs, read the statistics, visit health websites and even seek information from off the internet to get really scared of developing some sort of serious health condition or other and we begin to live in fear. I refuse to be a harbinger of doom and my intention is never to induce fear but to encourage you to set health goals and then to take one positive step at a time towards achieving and maintaining these. Not easy I can assure you but very do-able and so infinitely rewarding! Your body will thank you for it.
So let us all strive to take more responsibility for maintaining good health in every way we can. We can no longer afford to depend on some aloof physician to safeguard our health because by the time we get to that point we could be facing potentially chronic or life-threatening health conditions. We can start off each day by incorporating some healthy action into our routine or taking something unhealthy out of it and as we continue to practice this, adopting healthy habits becomes a new lifestyle and you are all the better for it! You can do it. Go on! Be well always! I struggle like everyone else to keep at my goals of any sort but I’m hanging on and after my serious ill health experience years ago, anything to do with good health is now my burning passion. Yes passion does help!
Do feel to drop me a line. I‘d be delighted to hear from you! Until next time, remember you are special, so be well and keep well!
From my heart to yours always,
What Is The Immune System
One of the greatest health benefits we can enjoy is learning to develop and to maintain a strong immune system. The immune system is a collection of special cells, organs, and substances that defend the body against infection and illness. It monitors the body at the cellular level and attempts to rid it of anything unfamiliar and intrusive to the body.
You may already know this but any substance that enters the body which the immune system does not recognize is known as an antigen. When an antigen enters our bodies, the immune response is triggered and the attack to get rid of it begins. Our immune system has the ability to destroy anything containing a particular antigen including, germs, viruses, and cancer cells.
It is safe to say that without our immunity we wouldn’t be around too long because it is a tireless warrior protecting our health. There are bacteria and viruses everywhere and our immune systems continuously fight all types of bacteria, viruses and various parasites in order to protect the body from potential harmful effects that their presence in our bodies can cause.
We also use our immunity to fight and kill cancerous cells that can pop up in our systems and while of course it is not always successful as people still get cancer because there are other factors beyond just immunity that can affect the bodies response to cancer, it is a fact that those with a poor immune system are at greater risk of succumbing to cancer than individuals who take care of their immune system but cancer is not the only health threat we face on a daily basis.
It is therefore of great importance to invest time taking care of our immune system health. Thankfully, some of the ways in which we can do this are also beneficial in other ways to our overall health.
What are some ways we can maximize the effectiveness of our immune system to stay as healthy as possible? Here are just a few tips that I know are certainly helpful in building up the immune system:
- Get immunized. Every year, you are given the opportunity to get an influenza shot. This “shot in the arm” will literally boost your immunity against the likely influenza viruses floating around through the winter months. Older people should get the Pneumovax vaccine, which prevents pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
- Eat balanced meals. Now, eating healthy meals as daily habit for me poses a real challenge and I am by no means the role model here so I do eat health consciously even if my meals are not as balanced as I would love them to be on a daily basis. I have discovered ways of making up any shortfalls in diet by adopting a more holistic approach to overall health and reinforcing good health and eating habits over negative ones. More balanced eating simply means getting enough nutrition through the meals, fruits vegetables and nuts and seeds that we consume.
There are nutrients in these foods that act as antioxidants, scavenging your body for oxygen free radicals that can damage cellular systems. The problem though is that much of the fruits and vegetables gracing our grocery shelves are increasingly nutrient-deficient as a result of the commercial farming methods used. The continuous impoverisation of our farming soils through the proliferate use of pesticides and other questionable farming methods that have now become common place and acceptable is a whole new topic for a separate blog which I will address hopefully soon.
Organic produce is best but can be quite expensive and most regular income homes might find it beyond their pockets to stick to organic produce. When I suffered from serious ill health issues many years ago, I engaged the services of a natural herbalist who put me on an uncompromising organic food regime and for four years, I only purchased the highest grade of organic fruits and vegetables delivered weekly to me by a local organic store. As you can imagine it was pretty expensive but my health was seriously at stake then and I was determined to regain full health. Later, I will share some tips on how you can maintain good immunity even if you cannot afford to go organic.
- Stay away from tobacco smoke. If you are a smoker please try and commit to quitting. There is help available I you search for support groups in your area and online forums. I know people who smoke that have lived long and even outlived people with healthier lifestyles but that is not the norm. Documented research shows that smoking is extremely toxic to health and significantly increases the risk of lung and other cancers. Smoking is also extremely aging on the skin.
Tobacco smoke unarguably ruins immunity even if you aren’t the actual smoker. Kids have an increased risk of getting middle ear and lung infections when repeatedly exposed to second-hand smoke. Adults are more prone to getting bronchitis and pneumonia when exposed to tobacco smoke. The toxic ingredients in smoke lessen your ability to fight off all kinds of infections.
- Cut down on alcohol. UK government’s unit guidelines state that there are no safe levels of alcohol consumption. Unit guidelines are the same for men and women and both are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units per week. I am not a regular drinker and I have no idea what 14 units of alcohol actually looks like. Please feel free to contribute to this article by dropping me a line if you know what constitutes 14 units of alcohol and I’ll provide the update in the subsequent blog.
The risk of developing a variety of serious conditions including cancer, increases with any amount of alcohol consumed on a regular basis. Excessive alcohol intake also leads to an increased risk of getting infections from a poor immune system. Pulmonary infections are particularly likely to happen in heavy drinkers. Alcohol intake on a regular basis is also aging to the skin and heavy drinkers tend to look older than their age. Because alcohol is dehydrating to the body it is always advisable to consume plenty water throughout the day to rehydrate the body and to detoxify the body from the harsh effects of alcohol.
- Take probiotics. The benefits of taking probiotics on a daily basis cannot be overstated. I came to discover how necessary probiotics are for optimum digestive health and general immunity several years ago and I take these religiously both from food sources and also supplementally. Probiotics are one of the best things to reach mainstream medicine and it’s a topic to devote to a separate article of its own as there is a lot to explain about its immense benefits which many people overlook due to the lack of awareness.
Probiotics consist of living spores of healthy bacteria or living organisms themselves. They colonize the gut and displace the “bad bacteria” that can make you sick. With probiotics, you can have a healthier gut immune system and can avoid gastrointestinal upset from bacteria or fungi in the gut. Probiotics are found in some yogurts as well as in capsule form. I will devote time in a later blog to explain its benefits and the best food sources and supplements for probiotic health.
- Eat garlic. Garlic is one of the oldest and most cultivated culinary spices in the world. It is a perennial plant with numerous health benefits as well as being an antimicrobial and antiviral agent. Garlic belongs in the same food category as onions, spring onions and shallots and has a strong pungent smell when used or ingested. It boosts the immune system in a general way but because it is inactivated by heat it is best taken on its own or by adding to foods just before serving the food. Garlic may also be taken in supplement form. Many will be familiar with the home remedy of garlic, ginger, lemon and honey brewed as a drink and taken warm to relieve, colds and flu. Garlic is an excellent source of Vitamin B6, Manganese, Selenium, Vitamin C and a host of other important minerals.
- Build Up on Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin required by the body for the absorption of calcium. It is widely believed from some research that Vitamin D inhibits or prevents the formation of cancer in the body. The body produces Vitamin D from the absorption of the suns UV rays however many people in sun-challenged climates tend to be deficient in Vitamin D particularly in the winter months and this can negatively impact on immunity. You can get Vitamin D with exposure to the sun or you can take a Vitamin D supplement as it is a bit of a challenge to get sufficient levels of Vitamin D solely from food sources. Some food sources for Vitamin D are: salmon, eggs, fortified milk, Shitake and Maitake mushrooms etc. It is worth having your Vitamin D levels checked periodically until you find a dosage of Vitamin D that brings your level into the normal range. In the summertime, just ten to fifteen minutes of sunlight per day can be a big benefit to your immune system.
- Take Vitamin C. Vitamin C is indispensable in building the body’s immune defense and for ensuring proper functioning of body. The vast benefits offered by Vitamin C are too numerous to mention here and I will devote further articles to explain more about this amazing nutrient. Vitamin C reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also helps in reducing cholesterol, it helps the body fight off infection, improves circulation and is a powerful anti-aging nutrient.
- Eat Shitake and Maitake Mushrooms. Studies have shown that really concentrated extracts of these types of medicinal mushrooms have enhanced the immune system of women who have breast cancer. While eating the mushroom alone hasn’t been studied, it may have a beneficial effect on the immune system of otherwise healthy people.
- Immune Supporting Herbs. There are tons of immune-supportive herbs out there too numerous to mention. Some well-known ones are Echinacea, Ashwagandha, Eleuthero (otherwise known as Siberian Ginseng), Astragalus, Curcumin, Ginger, Ginkgo Giloba, Gotu Kola, Cat’s Claw, Ganoderma (bitter mushrooms) etc. These have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to prevent infection and to maintain a strong immune system. They can be found at most reputable health food stores around you. There is a lot more valuable information to be shared on an even wider range of immune boosting herbs and I intend to do so in later blog articles. I am eager to share my own experience of using many of these herbs on a regular basis.
There are many more factors that determine levels of immunity which are beyond the scope of this article. The ones listed here are just a few tips. I think that it is in all our interests to continue to strive towards improving our immunity levels as it makes such a hugely positive difference to our state of health and well-being. If you have other tips on immunity from your own personal experience and knowledge that you would like to share, please feel free to drop me a line and I would be very happy to share this in further updates to this topic and perhaps you could even send me a full article on this or other relevant health topic and I’ll post it on this forum with your name and details! Wishing you great health and immunity!
From my heart to yours, always
Learn The Benefits Of Taking A Daily Multivitamin
The ads and health professionals all say you should be taking a daily multivitamin. But where do you even start? What and who can you trust? How do you make informed choices from the millions of shiny and attractively packaged health supplements that beckon you from their shop shelves? Why should we take multivitamins? Are they really that important? Well personally I would say absolutely yes, but it does depend on the quality of the multivitamins you purchase and your specific nutrition supplementation needs. Do you even know?
Well, the truth is that getting your vitamins and minerals from food rather than supplements is the best method to ensure your body receives all the nutrients it needs. However, this is next to impossible these days as many modern lifestyle factors affect our ability to get adequate nutrition from the food we eat despite the fact that there is so much food all around us. Many of us just don’t eat right and even when we do eat right, the nutritional levels in the foods we buy may not be as dense or nutritionally concentrated as they ought to be or as they used to be. This is due to increased soil depletion caused by the types of modern farming and transport methods used in ensuring that our processed and natural foods arrive at or grocery stores in good time and in the best looking condition. But as we know, all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold and that also applies to foods we eat. So multivitamins provide an easy way to get the nutrients you may be missing from your diet.
But just grabbing a multivitamin off the shelf may not be the best advice. Several years ago when I suffered from serious and chronic ill-health problems, I had little awareness of the value of multivitamins beyond the fact they were supposed to be good for me in some way. I also assumed most multivitamins were created equal and that the difference in price was due more to the fact that some were packaged more prettily than others. Well, I was not that ignorant but near enough so regarding the whole issue of multivitamins.
Back then, I would have been satisfied with simply choosing a reasonably priced and attractive looking multivitamin brand off the shelf of my regular grocery store or local. Now, I am a lot more responsible in the way I select my nutritional supplements and also a lot more informed than I was back then. I am also a lot more passionate about health related matters. That’s because my health circumstances at the time prompted an interest in getting back my health using every means available to me. I had to take responsibility for regaining my health as I could not bear the thought of continuing to live on the cocktail of prescription drugs that I had been put on and which caused me so many worrying side effects. So, in my bid to take my health back into my own hands I did a lot of reading and research, subscribed to reputable health forums and directly sought the opinions of reputable and certified holistic health practitioners.
Over the course of time, my awareness of the important distinctions between various supplement brands improved. I became better able to distinguish between quality multivitamin / multi-mineral brands in terms of recognizing synthetic and more natural based brands and the criteria for determining which brands offered superior quality supplements that the body was better able to absorb compared with lesser grade supplements that were more difficult for the body to absorb. More on this in future articles but it is worth investing some time to understand a bit more about supplements and the best ones to take as well as what distinguishes a good supplement brand from its lesser competitor brand. If you do decide to go down the route of taking multivitamins on a regular basis, it is worth taking supplements that will genuinely benefit you health wise rather than wasting money on next to worthless supplements that provide your body little or no benefit.
Best Nutrients to Have in Your Multivitamin /Multimineral Supplement
Try and ensure that your preferred multivitamin/multimineral supplement at least contains the following:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D3 (absorbed best when taken with Vitamin K)
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
Other important minerals that should be included in a good multi supplement are:
Unless you are clearly deficient in the following minerals, it is not advisable to take a multi supplement which contains the following three combinations:
This is because these three mineral supplements combined, increase the levels of oxidative stress in the body and are best taken separately to resolve issues when there is a clear deficiency. It is not advisable to take large or continuous doses of iron or calcium as they can cause serious or adverse effects in the body. I take iron regularly but on an off/on basis because I tend to be slightly anaemic. So, I take an iron supplement for about six weeks and then stop for a period and then resume for another six weeks and so on.
Your multi vitamins and multi minerals form the basic ‘building blocks’ for good health and proper nutrition. Be sure to check the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for each vitamin and mineral required. Read the label and make sure you are getting what you need. Spend a little bit of your time to research the daily recommended amounts and use that as a basis for determining your choice of supplement. If in any doubt seek advice from a qualified health practitioner though I personally would not rely on my regular doctor for advice on multivitamin supplementation just because in my opinion they are not necessarily up to date on preventative health concepts or health care. But, don’t take my word for it. Do your own research and make up your own mind. I often tend to seek the opinions of practitioners who as well as being formally trained and qualified to practice medicine are also trained in alternative or complementary health concepts. When you have the right balance of vitamins and minerals in a multivitamin, you will help give your body the ability to function properly. Here are just a few areas where the correct nutrients can help fend off illness and promote good health:
When your body is deficient in vitamins and minerals, you can experience an array of health problems. Taking a good quality daily multivitamin can help reduce the risk of health issues due to these deficiencies.
For example, vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects the body’s cells from damage; both externally and internally caused damage. For instance, in patients with cataracts, this vitamin has shown the ability to help stop the progression of cataracts, and in some cases even reduce the formation of cataracts.
Daily stress is something everyone lives with. Life is filled with stressors, both bad and good. When you feel the adrenalin pumping, you know your body is using up your resources of vitamins and minerals just to handle the anxiety and stress. If you don’t have the proper nutrients your body needs to replenish and handle the drain on your body, you will suffer a deficiency. That’s when you get sick.
For example, our bodies quickly use up vitamin C during stressful situations. If not regularly replaced, this leads to a deficiency. And, in this instance, a deficiency can cause more than an illness. A deficiency of vitamin C can actually perpetuate the stress cycle as it causes irritability and anxiety, causing more stress, causing a drain of more vitamin C, and so on and so forth. Taking a supplement with vitamin C can help end this cycle.
Boosting Energy and Brain Power
Lack of proper nutrition can make you feel sluggish and tired. By taking a multivitamin every day, you know you’re providing your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs. Having that bit of nutrition ‘insurance’ helps your body stay healthy and awake, and doing what you ask it to do.
In much the same way, having the proper balance of vitamins and minerals provides your brain with the nutrition it needs to stay focused and alert. If achieving mental clarity is a priority in your life, then by all means add a multivitamin to your daily regimen.
Most of us want to eat right. After all, we need to keep our bodies fed with the proper amount of vitamins and minerals to operate at maximum capacity. Getting the nutrition we need from our food is ideal. But, the fact is, life keeps us busy. We don’t always take time to eat properly. Including a multivitamin in your day can help fill the gaps in nutrition. That one little step may just give you peace of mind as you strive to achieve a healthy lifestyle. More from me later.
From my heart to yours always,