Wellness & Healthy Lifestyle

As we live a world full of rapidly changing lifestyles, enhancing our wellness should be of utmost importance. This is achieved through physical factors such as a healthy diet, proper nutrition and exercise; stimulating our emotional and mental life by having strong relationships, support systems, continuous learning and being active in the community. Maintaining health throughout the lifespan encourages long life, which in turn only benefits the young people around us. When we focus on wellness we start to make choices about our own health, and positively touch the people around us.

Preventative Health Maintenance One way to help your wellness is by regular visits with your health care practitioner which should be done to evaluate you risks for disease, and a good practitioner can give excellent advice on easy things to do to improve your health. Health screens at these regular visits are important, as they can on cover serious illnesses before a life-debilitating condition starts. The aims of health screening are threefold: To identify pre-existing health problems, to assess your risk factors for disease, to provide recommendations on your lifestyle and health that will encourage a longer and healthier life. You should expect: a physical examination and appropriate tests, a consultation, advice about behavioural and lifestyle change, a written report and supporting information about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Health screenings can start with baby and child check-up to examine the child’s growth and development, review for school readiness, test for vision and hearing and counselling for injury prevention, dental health, diet and exercise. As we grow older into the adult years these visit can change and become more specific to gender, occupation and age. For females, screening should include tests for reproductive health such as a Pap test and pelvic exam, instructions for a self breast exam and a thyroid function test. When males reach the 30’s or 40’s they should have regular exams for reproductive health as well, with examinations of the prostate and testes to evaluate for any abnormal growths. Tests for heart function can be appropriate for both men and women and include not only the routine blood pressure but a resting EKG and exercise treadmill EKG (cardiac stress test). Males and females not in a monogamous relationship who are sexually active should regularly be tested for Chlamydia and sexually transmitted illness depending on risk factors.

Regular examinations should include blood testing which includes a complete blood count, lipid profile panel, comprehensive metabolic panel, chemical and microscopic urinalysis, and thyroid functioning test. These tests should be performed on average about every 5 years. Older individuals are considered to be more at risk for specific health conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer and neurological disorders. For women, breast screening is aimed at detecting the early stage of breast cancer and women aged 50 or over should imaging studies such as a mammogram done every 1-2 years. Women with a family history may have them earlier; it should be discussed with your health care provider. Since osteoporosis can develop “silently” with no obvious symptoms, the only reliable way to determine whether osteoporosis is present is to have a bone density scan, also known as a bone mineral density (BMD) test, or a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan. Many practitioners recommend having these tests routinely starting after menopause.

Screening tests for cancer are becoming more and more prevalent, some are easy blood tests like tumour-screening markers such as NMP, CEA, CA125 or PSA (that screen for bladder cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer, respectively), regular examination of moles for skin cancer, or examination for faecal occult blood for colon cancer. Screening for colon cancer can go a step further with sigmoidoscopic or colonoscopic examinations.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle and Diet

A nutritious diet can be the deciding factor for whether we get a certain disease or not, regardless of our genetic composition. Have you ever heard the expression: “You are what you eat”? Have you ever thought about what determines the composition and health of your body? Although genetics certainly play a role, the foods you eat provide the materials that make up who you are. Food, water and air are the main components that we take into our bodies, and because each of these has an important place in our physiological processes they should be of the highest quality we can find.

We should look at diet as a lifelong nutrition plan, rather than a temporary diet. Forget about complicated food combinations or magic foods and focus on fresh, wholesome, largely unprocessed foods, foods close to the way nature made them, the way your body was designed to eat. The foods we pick can give us variety in life as well as a variety of nutritional elements. Choosing mainly a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables and legumes contributes to an overall health benefit. Plant foods are important as they provide dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Many have also been found to be rich in phytochemicals which may well provide protection against some chronic diseases such as cancer. Eat a variety of fresh foods each day, and choose minimally processed foods in preference for whole foods. Whole grains and legumes are good sources of protein, and fibre, as well as containing a range of specific nutrients and biologically active compounds which provide protection against disease. When eating meat eat ample lean protein such as fresh fish, chicken (no skin) and eggs. Reduce your intake of red meat, or meat that has an abundance of fatty tissue. Reduce the unhealthy saturated animal fats and hydrogenated fats found in margarines, biscuits and many commercially baked or fried foods. When reducing meat remember that protein can also be obtained from beans, grains, soy, and nuts. Increase your intake of Omega 3 fats found in cold water fish such as salmon, herring and cod.

It is important to eat regular sized meals and not skip meals, especially breakfast. Research has shown that people who routinely skip breakfast suffer more from weight-gain, fatigue and blood sugar disorders such as hypoglycaemia. When eating one must chew food properly as digestion begins in the mouth. Poor chewing of foods can further lead to several digestive problems, including indigestion, bloating and constipation. Focus on your eating, it is best not to eat and read, or whilst watching television. When cooking, use healthy cooking methods, for example, steaming vegetables is better than boiling them, and use olive oil if you must fry foods. Try not to eat charred foods, and cured or smoked foods should be eaten only occasionally. Limit salt or salty foods, and use herbs and spices to flavour foods, you maybe surprised at how good the food taste. Other condiments such as high fat, high processed sauces like mayonnaise should be avoided as well. Alcohol may be consumed sparingly, as increased alcohol intake has been linked with many chronic diseases such as fatty liver, heart disease and increased incidence of various cancers.

Nutritional Factors Shown to be Beneficial

To maintain health sometimes more than diet is needed. Supplementation of vitamins, mineral, antioxidants, and herbs can enhance the body on its path to wellness.

Children’s Health

Children need extra care and attention as their bodies, mind and consciousness are growing. Some children may have specific health problems such as ear infections, digestive disturbances or learning problems. Here are some recommendations that may help.

Multiple Vitamin/Mineral formula

A good multivitamin/mineral formula is essential, and can help support normal growth and development of the mind and bodies of young children.

Dose: as recommended on bottle

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the easiest vitamins to use, supports the immune system, functions as an antioxidant, and is very safe for children.

Dose: 1-3 grams a day

ProBiotic supplementation

Supplementation of the friendly bacteria that normally live in the colon can help replenish the area, especially if it has been affected by a history of antibiotic use. Lactobacillis acidophilus, Lactobacillus GG, Bifidobacterium bifidus and Saccharomyces boulardii are examples of good bacteria that can be used therapeutically. Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora by producing organic compounds – such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid. Dose: One to two billion colony forming units (CFUs) per day of acidophilus is considered to be the minimum amount for the healthy maintenance of intestinal microflora.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids from Cod Liver Oil

Essential fatty acids, particularly the omega-3s, are deficient in other neurodevelopmental disorders, including ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia. Cod liver oil has been used safely in children for the prevention of disease since the 1700’s.

Dose: ½ teaspoon a day

Zinc

Deficiency of zinc can lead to decreased immunity and skin problems such as acne.

Dose: 15 mg a day

Adult Health

Adults may need supplementation to help deal with problems associated with stress, and to help prevent chronic diseases in the future.

Multiple Vitamin/Mineral formula

For individuals whose lifestyles do not promote healthy habits a multivitamin/mineral formula is essential. By including a range of micronutrients, especially Vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, zinc and the antioxidant vitamin E can support the physiological processes of the body.

Dose: as recommended on bottle

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the easiest antioxidants to use, is immune supportive, helps with detoxification of chemicals and drugs, and is easy to use.

Dose: 1-5 grams a day

Vitamin B complex

B vitamins function as cofactors in energy producing reactions, detoxification reactions and also in the formation of some neurotransmitters.

Dose: 50 mg of B complex a day

Magnesium

Magnesium has been shown to help with muscle relaxation, heart health, the stress response. Magnesium works with vitamin B6 in several enzymatic pathways in the body, so it can be beneficial to take them together.

Dose: 300 mg 1-3 times a day.

Calcium

Calcium is needed by the body to help build bone structure, and the prevention of heart disease and cancer.

Dose: 1200 mg calcium a day.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is a nutrient used by the body in the production of energy. It is also an antioxidant, and has been used in the treatment of neurological disorders, heart disease, and cancer.

Dose: 10- 30 mg a day

Athletic Support

For those who support their health with exercise, frequent athletic training, bodybuilding or outdoor activities, nutritional needs may be greater and even slightly different than the average adult. For those who do competitive sports, a greater “edge” when dealing with energy and performance is optimal. This can be achieved without the use of ergogenic aids such as stimulants or steroid based medications. Many nutritional factors are needed for the natural production of hormones, so medications are not necessary, especially when side effects are taken into account.

Multivitamin- Mineral supplement

Not only will optimal levels of vitamin and mineral avoid deficiencies, they will provide cofactors for enzymatic processes to make hormones and other compounds necessary for energy production.

Dose: as recommended on bottle

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine is a component of muscle tissue and has been shown to reduce muscle cramping after exercise, build muscle mass and reduce fatigue.

Dose: 3 g a day

Whey Protein powder

Protein from whey has a balanced essential amino acid profile and peptides with a high protein efficiency ratio. It is best used as a protein based drink after workouts.

Dose: 40 grams in juice, or as directed on bottle

L-Glutamine

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. Stress, injury and even strenuous exercise can decrease the amount of glutamine in the body, and skeletal muscle will be most affected.

Dose: 2 g a day

L-Arginine

L-arginine is an amino acid that may stimulate the production of growth hormone, and it is also in the production of creatinine

Dose: 2 g a day

Bromelain

Bromelain refers to a group of enzymatic compounds from the stem of pineapple plants.

Bromelain assists in the acute healing response during trauma, helping to heal bruising, and tissue swelling. While effective for inflammation and injury, it is even more effective if administered prior to an event, i.e. athletic competition.

Dose: 750-1000 mg a day between meals

Women’s and Menopause health

Women may need special supplementation to help deal with issues relating to pregnancy and childbirth, PMS, menopause and osteoporosis.

Multiple Vitamin/Mineral formula

For individuals whose lifestyles do not promote healthy habits a multivitamin/mineral formula is essential. By including a range of micronutrients, especially Vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, zinc and the antioxidant vitamin E can support the physiological processes of the body.

Dose: as recommended on bottle

Omega-3 Fish Oils

Women should add fish oils which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids to help with PMS, during pregnancy encourage healthy nervous system development of the foetus, help with hot flashes, menopausal syndrome and osteoporosis. Consumption of fish oils have been shown to reduce the risk of endometrial and breast cancer. Woman who experience breast tenderness may respond better to Borage oil, which has high amounts of GLA.

Dose of fish oil: 2-6 grams a day

Calcium

Calcium not only helps with symptoms of PMS, but a higher calcium diet before menopause is thought to reduce the demineralization in bone brought on by osteoporosis.

Dose: 1200 mg calcium a day.

Magnesium

Blood levels of Magnesium have been lower in females with PMS. Magnesium works with Vitamin B6 in several enzymatic pathways in the body, so it can be beneficial to take them together.

Dose: 300 mg 1-3 times a day.

Vitamin E

This is another supplement with demonstrated effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of menopause. A fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E also helps to lower cardiovascular disease risk.

Dose of vitamin E 400-800 IU day

B Vitamins Homocysteine reducing agents

Higher blood levels of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid and betaine (trimethylglycine) are associated with low levels of homocysteine, an independent risk factor for heart disease and osteoporosis. Deficiencies any of these vitamins can high levels of homocysteine. These nutrients are best taken together, as even though they act differently they all interact with homocysteine or one of its metabolites.

Dose: Folic acid 2.5 mg / day

Dose: Vitamin B6 25 mg / day

Dose: Vitamin B12 250 mcg / day

Dose: Betaine 3-6 g/ day

Men’s Health

Men may need extra supplementation as they are prone to heart disease and other conditions associated with a high stress lifestyle.

Multiple Vitamin/Mineral formula

For individuals under significant stress or for those whose lifestyles do not promote healthy habits a multivitamin/mineral formula is essential. By including a range of micronutrients, especially Vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and zinc the negative reactions to stress may be reduced.

Dose: ranges

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the easiest antioxidants to use, is immune supportive, helps with detoxification of chemicals and drugs, and is easy to use.

Dose: 1-5 grams a day

Vitamin B complex

B vitamins function as cofactors in energy producing reactions, detoxification reactions and also in the formation of some neurotransmitters.

Dose: 50 mg of B complex a day

Magnesium

Magnesium has been shown to help with muscle relaxation, heart health, the stress response. Magnesium works with vitamin B6 in several enzymatic pathways in the body, so it can be beneficial to take them together.

Dose: 300 mg 1-3 times a day.

Calcium

Calcium is needed by the body to help build bone structure, and the prevention of heart disease and cancer.

Dose: 1200 mg calcium a day.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is a nutrient used by the body in the production of energy. It is used in the treatment of heart disease, infertility, cancer, and can be depleted by some pharmaceutical medications, especially ones that are used for high cholesterol.

Dose: 10- 30 mg a day

B Vitamins Homocysteine reducing agents

Higher blood levels of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid and betaine (trimethylglycine) are associated with low levels of homocysteine, an independent risk factor for heart disease, a well known condition that effects many men. These nutrients are best taken together to reduce homocysteine, as even though they act differently they all interact with homocysteine or one of its metabolites. Deficiencies any of these vitamins can high levels of homocysteine.

Dose: Folic acid 2.5 mg / day

Dose: Vitamin B6 25 mg / day

Dose: Vitamin B12 250 mcg / day

Dose: Betaine 3-6 g/ day

Elderly

People over 65, may need specific nutrients in addition to the ones listed for adults. As we age the function of the stomach declines, and the digestive system must be supported to receive the nutrition from food. Other conditions may need attention, such as cognitive decline or arthritis support.

Betaine HCl

Hydrochloric acid secreted by the stomach also helps the digestion of protein, and preliminary research suggests that some people with allergies may not produce adequate amounts of stomach acid.

Dose: The amount of betaine HCl used varies with the size of the meal and with the amount of protein ingested. Typical amounts recommended by doctors range from 600 to 2,400 mg per meal.

Trifala

An ayurvedic herbal formula that has been used for centuries to increase the action of the digestive process. It has mild diuretic and laxative properties while supporting the nervous system.

Dose: 500-1500 mg a day

Bacopa

Bacopa strengthens memory and general cognition by enhancing brain nerve conduction and communication.

Dose: 200-400 mg day

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

DHA is a long chain fatty acid derived from fish, and is incorporated into nerve cell membranes. These fatty acids are needed for development in the prenatal brain. DHA in particular is important for nerve tissues.

Dose: 1-3 grams a day.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo is one of the most extensively studied nutritional supplements for neurodegenerative conditions, directly improves brain metabolism, increases brain blood flow, and provides antioxidant action. It also has an effect in enhancing neurotransmission, the process that brain cells communicate with each other.

Dose: 120-240 mg of standardized extract a day

Glucosamine Sulfate

It is useful for osteoarthritis of the knees, large joints and spine. It has been shown to increase water retention and bulging in partially degenerative lumbar disc, but not in fully degenerative discs. Glucosamine Sulfate stimulates the production of the connective tissues necessary for healthy joint structures. Glucosamine plays a role in the healthy formation of numerous bodily structures and substances, including articular surfaces, ligaments, tendons, synovial fluid, skin, bone, nails, and mucus secretions. Most Glucosamine is derived from shellfish, so it should not be used for those with shellfish allergies.

Dose: 500 mg three to four times a day, minimum 6 weeks for at least 3 months

Boswellia Serrata

Also known as Frankincense, boswellia is derived from a tree. It stops the production of an inflammatory chemical pathway and inhibits the production of an inflammation and pain producing compound, Leukotriene B4.

Dose: 300 mg three times a day

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