The process of ageing and its associated diseases is accelerated with oxidative damage. External factors such as sunlight, smoking and poor diet can trigger the production of highly reactive free radicals, which are the primary cause of this damage.
The body needs a supply of antioxidants to defend itself from them, thus limiting oxidative stress. It is their job to 'mop up' free radicals that can harm our cells. Researchers believe that destroying free radicals may help with many long term chronic diseases and the reduce the effects of ageing.
Tips to protect the body and increase your antioxidants.
Eat foods naturally high in vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene. Include foods such as berries, broccoli, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, prunes and raisins.
Aim for at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Use herbs in cooking such as oregano, dill, thyme, rosemary, peppermint and turmeric.
The New Year is a good time to give your liver a rest after the festive season. It is the biggest organ in your body and works very hard to try and keep us healthy. Its main functions include:
Breaking down and eliminating toxins including alcohol.
Balancing blood sugar by storing and releasing glycogen. If the liver fails to do this, fatigue, sugar cravings and weight gain may result.
Producing bile, which helps digestion by breaking down fat and removing excess cholesterol. Without it digestive disorders can result, including bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea and the malabsorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Breaking down and eliminating excess hormones.
Storing nutrient such as iron, copper, vitamins A, B12, D, E and K.
Tips to rejuvenate your liver:
Drink alcohol in moderation and avoid ‘saving up’ allowances to drink in one day.
Replace caffeine with plenty of water or herbal teas.
Exercise will help to oxygenate your blood and your l...
Try to aim to be a healthy weight, as being overweight or underweight isn’t helpful for optimum fertility. It is best to lose weight gradually and not to skip meals. Balancing your blood sugar levels is a great way to help avoid cravings and maintain a healthy weight. Include quality proteins with meals and snacks. Avoiding the peaks and troughs in your blood sugar also avoids putting any unnecessary stress on the body.
Include some healthy fats in your diet – don’t go fat free. Your body needs essential fats. Include oily fish twice a week, some nuts, seeds and olive oil. Coconut oil is great for cooking with as it is stable under high temperatures. Use all fats in moderation along with a balanced diet.
Drink plenty of water and some herbal teas and avoid too many fruit juices or artificially sweetened cordials. Caffeine and alcohol is best avoided or at least limited, or it can create additional stresses to the body and can also negatively affect yo...
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring fat produced by the body and is essential for good health if kept at the correct level. Having too high a level can increase the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Cholesterol is carried through the blood in molecules called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. It consists mainly of fat which can become deposited in the arteries. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered the “good” cholesterol since its primary role is to transport LDL back to the liver where it can be processed for elimination.
Although a large percentage of the cholesterol in your blood stream is made by your own body, one way to try and control high cholesterol levels naturally is through diet and lifestyle changes.
Tips for lowering cholesterol levels
Reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats. These are found in fatty meats, dairy products, processed foods, biscuits and cakes.
The best vitamin D source is from sensible exposure to sunlight, which is why it is often called ‘the sunshine vitamin’ although this is difficult at certain times of the year and for certain high risk groups. During the winter we use our body’s stores and what is available from our diet.
However, dietary vitamin D makes a relatively small contribution to overall vitamin D status as it is not present in high quantities in many foods. So even a good balanced diet can mean it is difficult to get all the vitamin D you need.
It is found in small amounts in:
Oily fish (e.g salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and fresh tuna) – no more than 2 portions a week in pregnancy
Eggs (ensure fully cooked)
Fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and some spreads and yogurts
Supplementation of vitamin D is recommended to all pregnant ladies at 400 units (10mcg) per day. Higher levels of supplementation are recommended if a deficiency is identified and a GP can recommend the appropriate l...