Nutrition Health News is our mini-journal about developments in the field of nutrition and health.
It will let you know whenever new pages appear on the nutrition-health-link.com website, and will keep you up to date with the constant flow of new information about why good nutrition is the key to good health.
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Well-known nutrition expert Patrick Holford has recently presented a list of nutrients that are particularly needed by women. This is especially true at certain times in their menstrual cycle and in the peri- and post-menopausal phases (The Witness, 14/8/2017).
B VITAMINS, especially B6, folic acid and B12, provide energy and stabilise moods. Vitamin B6 is important for balancing hormones. It can alleviate depression associated with PMS and reduce anxiety in older women.
Taking the contraceptive pill depletes levels of B6 because of the additional supply of oestrogen, and supplementing B6 can help clear oestrogens from the liver, restore the balance and prevent oestrogen overload.
VITAMIN C is an absolute necessity. It helps strengthen the immune system, acts as an antioxidant, helps generate energy, and assists with the production of collagen and bone formation.
As women get older their need for Vitamin C increases to counter oestrogen deficiency resulting from menopause. A deficiency of oestrogen can reduce the elasticity of the arteries, causing an increase in blood pressure and a risk of cardiovascular problems.
Skin elasticity is also affected, and wrinkles are the result.
MAGNESIUM helps with the conversion of Vitamin B6 into a form that the body can use.
Several symptoms of hormonal disruption – poor appetite, nausea, lethargy, mood swings and muscle cramps – are associated with low magnesium levels. A low magnesium level, especially pre-menstrually, may also contribute to headaches and migraines, while having enough magnesium reduces water retention and improves mood.
Magnesium also has other benefits – relaxing muscles, lowering blood pressure, preventing insomnia, and generally calming emotions and improving mood.
ZINC is important in female hormone production. It is needed pre-menstrually and post-menopause. It helps promote fertility and healthy reproduction, and it also has an anti-depressant effect. Zinc levels tend to be low in PMS sufferers, especially before a period.
Many of the enzymes in the body that work to balance hormones are dependent on zinc, but most women don't get enough of it, and zinc is often depleted by stress, smoking and alcohol.
ESSENTIAL FATS – notably Omega-3 and Omega-6 – are important in many ways, keeping the brain, nerves, hormones and skin healthy. They help to reduce anxiety, especially during PMS and menopause, and to maintain mood and motivation.
Omega-3 is particularly important to balance hormones, relieve PMS problems and menopausal problems. The ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is very important, and while most people have enough Omega-6, very few get enough Omega-3, the best source being oily fish.
THESE NUTRIENTS can all be found in the foodstuffs in our ordinary diet, but hardly ever in sufficient quantities. This is especially true for women in certain phases of their lives. At these times, supplementation is not only advisable, but essential.
You can find more information by clicking on the links on the left of this page, to Women's Health and to the relevant vitamins and minerals.
We recommend the natural, quality-tested supplements produced by NeoLife. To order these products directly, control/click here http://positiveoptions.gnld.net/.
The word 'probiotics' is becoming more widely known, although many people aren't quite sure what they are and what they do.
More than 100 years ago Nobel laureate Ėlie Metchnikoff observed that Bulgarian peasants who consumed yoghurt seemed to live longer than others. He suggested that colonizing the gut with beneficial microbes would improve people's health. He was on the right track, and those 'beneficial microbes' are what we call probiotics.
They are live micro-organisms that provide health benefits when consumed. Essentially they are good bacteria that populate our gut, and, since 80% of our immune system is located in the gut, they play a crucial role in keeping us healthy.
Probiotics can help with...
- A strong immune system. A healthy, well-functioning immune system provides three distinct health benefits: prevention, recovery, and healing - and this helps protect us against all kinds of infections and ailments, especially colds and flu.
- Strengthening the intestinal lining to prevent the entry of dangerous pathogens and toxins into the bloodstream.- Allergies, especially eczema
- Diarrhea, especially when it's related to antibiotics
- Blood pressure and cholesterol
- Vitamin absorption
- Bowel problems
- Some cancers, especially colon
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Weight loss
- and more, although full clinical testing has yet to be done.
Unfortunately, as with many other problems in our stressed and polluted world, it's not easy to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in the gut. And it's ironic that along with poor nutrition, some of things we do with good intentions actually make things worse.
One is the widespread use of antibiotics as medication, often for relatively minor ailments. Another is the current fad for anti-bacterial cleaning products of all kinds – soaps, dishwashing liquids, and so on. These wipe out the good micro-organisms as well as the bad, and without enough of the good ones our health suffers.
So our need for probiotics has grown, and remember that we have to consume them to get them into our bodies. They are found in live cultured yoghurt from grass-fed goats or cows, as well as in unpasteurized cheeses and buttermilk. There are other sources - whole grains, bananas. sauerkraut, dark chocolate, kombucha tea, miso soup, and kimchi – but (like live yoghurt and unpasteurised dairy products) many of these are not all that common on our menus.
While we strongly suggest that you should include these foods in your diet, your best source is nutritional supplements -- provided they are from an ethical and reliable source. We recommend NeoLife's Acidophilus Plus. This is an Intestine-targeted probiotic capsule with 5 billion live micro-organisms for gut health, regulating intestinal activity, promoting colon function and supporting immunity with a healthy balance of intestinal flora.
For more information about probiotics, click on the Probiotics link button on the left of this page. To order NeoLife's Acidophilus Plus directly, go to http://positiveoptions.gnld.net/.
The foundations of good health are nutrition and exercise. One of the best forms of exercise is simply walking.
1. A longer and more healthy life
It's been found that people who exercise by walking are healthier and live longer. In one study, 42,000 middle aged adults were set the goal of walking for 2½ hours each week – the target recommended by the American Heart Association.
Of course, some participants didn't reach the target, but some went beyond it, and it was found that they were 33% less likely to die early than those who fell short. Those who met the goal but stopped there were 11% less likely to die early.
The researchers identified the health problems that can be avoided by plenty of walking. They're the 'usual suspects': high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
There are other benefits.
2. Handling stress: One study found that a lunchtime walk, especially in pleasant surroundings, reduces stress levels and leads to more peaceful sleep.
3. Concentration: Our brains get tired when we spend long hours on mental tasks. Researchers in Scotland found that walking helps to calm our mental state and refresh our brains, enabling us to focus, pay attention, and concentrate more effectively when we return to work.
As before, walking in pleasant park-like surroundings yields greater benefits than in busy city streets, and the benefits are long-lasting.
4. Helping with depression: Exercise in general has a positive effect on mental health, and it has been found that a brisk walk can lift one's mood and relieve depression, even when it is a clinical problem.
5. Creativity: Walking is a form of exercise that allows your mind to wander and come up with new ideas while you are active. It has also been found that taking a walk helps people deal with creative thinking tasks.
ALTOGETHER, walking has several real benefits. There are certain factors that make a significant difference.
How much? As noted earlier, the American Heart Association recommends at least 2½ hours a week.
This could be made up of several shorter walks, and if you are just beginning to get exercise this way, as little as 5 to 10 minutes is a starting point. Once you are walking fit, at least a 20 minute walk is recommended, with one of your weekly walks being 30 or 40 minutes. Some health experts recommend 30 minutes every day for full benefits.
How fast? The brisker the better. Obviously a slow saunter doesn't help much, but you can match your pace to your fitness level. A brisk 30 minute walk daily is the ideal.
Where? Anywhere safe, but a pleasant parklike environment is best, and it's a good idea to explore new places rather than repeat the same route every day.
Of course, other forms of exercise also contribute to better long-term health, but walking is very effective, you can do it any time you like, and it's free!
Magnesium plays a huge role in regulating many vital processes in your body. Boosting your intake has significant benefits.
1. Easing Migraines
Migraines are nasty and disabling. Severe attacks can last for days. A 2012 study of 133 migraine patients found that supplementing with magnesium for just 12 weeks significantly reduced the frequency and severity of their migraines. Also, another study done with children showed that supplementing with magnesium shortened the duration of the migraine.
2. Lower risk of death from heart disease and other causes
A 2011 study found that people with low magnesium levels were more than twice as likely to die of heart disease, and more than seven times as likely to die from all health failure causes.
3. Managing Diabetes
Magnesium deficiency is common among type 2 diabetics, especially those with nerve damage or coronary disease. A Harvard study has found that diabetics taking 320 mg of magnesium for up to 16 weeks significantly improved their fasting blood sugar levels as well as their HDL (good) cholesterol.
4. Relieving Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread pain and tenderness, often accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. A 1995 study showed that magnesium supplementation provides relief.
5. Reduced Risk of Colon Cancer
Studies show a link between low magnesium levels and colorectal cancer. Similarly, higher magnesium intakes are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, especially colon cancer. Increasing your magnesium intake by 100 mg can reduce the risk by up to 13%.
6. Bone strength
There's a link between magnesium levels and bone density. Magnesium supports calcium in building strong bones. Also, by helping to draw calcium into the bones it reduces the risk of problems associated with excess calcium in the body – arthritis, kidney stones, and heart attack - as well as osteoporosis
7. Reducing Signs of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which individual health problems — high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — occur together, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It has been shown that an increased magnesium intake leads to significant improvements.
ALL IN ALL, magnesium supports good health and a strong immune system, and helps with many chronic and life-threatening health problems. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include digestive problems, low energy, migraine headaches and irregular menstrual flow. The use of oral contraceptives, laxatives and diuretics can make deficiencies worse.
The recommended daily allowance is 420 mg for men or 320 mg for women, and food is the obvious source. Foods rich in magnesium include dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, beans, whole grains, lentils, some nuts, avocados and sesame seeds. Most people don't get enough from their regular diet, however, and supplementation is necessary.
NeoLife's chelated Cal-Mag provides 50mg of magnesium in each tablet, balanced with calcium and vitamin D3. Chelation maximises bio-availability, so your body absorbs the full value of the nutrients.
These articles usually focus on the nutrients that keep us healthy. Here let's glance at some of the things we eat and drink which damage our systems and increase the risk of disease, especially cancer.
1) Trans fats, or hydrogenated oils, are produced by using hydrogen to convert liquid vegetable oils to solid fats – such as margarine. Because these fats have certain advantages (like easy mixing and extended shelf life for baked products) they are widely used in the commercial food industry.
However, trans fats are associated with heart disease and cancer. Consuming large amounts can increase the chance of dying from cancer by up to 25%. Always check for trans fats among the ingredients of foods that you buy, and preferably cook with olive or coconut oil yourself.
2) Farmed fish. Studies show that fish from fish farms have up to 15 times more chemicals and carcinogenic properties than wild fish. This is because they are fed on commercially-produced fish meal, and tests done on more than 30 such products have shown that they all contained carcinogens.
3) Microwave popcorn is a quick snack with a double health problem. The packaging bags contain something called perfluorooctanoic acid, a compound related to liver, pancreatic and testicular cancer. Then too, microwaves transform food molecules, deforming them with unwanted effects.
4) Soft drinks often contain a caramel colourant provided by another dangerous chemical, 4-methylimidazole. High consumption increases your risk of cancer to dangerous levels. Meanwhile, a standard ingredient of the 'diet' varieties is aspartame, which affects your metabolic system and can lead to cancer.
5) Sugar! If processed sugar were discovered today, it would probably be banned or packaged with a health warning. It's addictive, it contributes to obesity and its related health problems, and it actually feeds breast cancer cells and promotes the growth of tumours.
Alarmingly, it is present in just about every item of food and drink on supermarket shelves. Check the lists of ingredients – you'll be surprised at how often it appears, and our total intake adds up very quickly!
6) White flour. Not only does the refining process remove much nutritional value, but when you eat products made with white flour your body produces extra insulin to deal with it. High insulin levels can contribute to the formation of tumours. Research has detected a link to breast cancer. Rather choose whole wheat flour.
7) Soy. Like margarine as a replacement for butter, soy has been regarded as a replacement for meat, but it can be dangerous – especially when it's genetically modified. Soy contains estrogen-like substances that create hormonal imbalances. For most women, soy products increase the risk of breast cancer.
8) Processed meat. Many international studies have found that the additives that make processed meat more tasty and extend its shelf life are linked to cancer. As little as 50 grams a day – equivalent to one hot dog – increase your risk of colon cancer by 20%.
ALTOGETHER: cut out the baddies and keep well!