Offering a unique reference point on alternative medicine and complementary therapies.

Posts Tagged "antioxidants"

Top Tips For Keeping Healthy This Year: Part 2

3. Diet (continued). Foods that can give you energy and help your circulation include fruit and vegetables, whole grains and goods oils such as olive oil, flax seed, fish oils and coconut oil. Incorporating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and lentils in your diet will also help you to lose some extra weight and benefit your immune system. Red meat and fats from fried and junk food also produce free radicals in our body. These free radicals have been linked with causing a number of diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Cutting down on fizzy drinks is also a must in your new health plan. These drinks are full of sugar and regular intake can be harmful to general health. The sugar free versions of these drinks are actually more harmful, as the artificial sweeteners have been linked with a host of illnesses such as osteoporosis and digestive problems. Water has many health benefits. You should aim for 8 glasses a day (1-1.5 litres). It is important to remember that water is also present in fruit juices, salads and certain fruits. Fluid intake is a must for a healthy body. A good way to start you day is to have hot water with lemon and ginger. This healthy drink has the benefit of boosting immunity and stimulating your liver to kick start the detox process. 4. Health Supplements. You can easily include some health supplements as part of your daily routine to improve your immunity and general health.  The number one supplement that I would recommend is a good quality probiotic. This will provide you with essential good bacteria, which is required for a healthy digestive system. Probiotics also help to support and boost the immune system. You can take the probiotics throughout the winter months to aide digestion as well as help fight the winter bugs. Essential fatty acids from either fish oils or flax seed oil is another food supplement that will help your general health. These essential oils are required for a healthy cardiovascular system, brain function and they are excellent at reducing inflammation in the body. These fatty acids also help to maintain healthy joints. Antioxidants are required to “mop up” the free radicals that...

Read More
Astaxanthin Supplements

Astaxanthin Supplements

Choosing a good one from the range of astaxanthin supplements on the market should be fairly straightforward as there are few synthetic versions of the antioxidant on the market for human use. However, animal feeds, particularly salmon farm feeds, often contain the synthetic version of the nutrient so it is not necessarily beneficial to eat such animal products as a strategy for boosting astaxanthin consumption. A good quality astaxanthin supplement would be derived from marine microalgae, rather than grown synthetically on fungus, and would have been manufactured using a hexanefree process providing a minimum of 4mg per tablet. Astaxanthin supplements should betaken with a little fat for better absorption, as is with betacarotene supplements, and should not be taken alongside medications or supplements that block fat absorption. Astaxanthin is a strong anti-inflammatory which blocks COX2 enzymes but which does not have the side-effects associated with prescriptions pain medications, such as indigestion and heartburn.  It can help with painful arthritis, menstrual cramps, and even as a supplement to help when headaches strike.   Astaxanthin is also able to help retinal cells fight off free radical damage and, therefore, combat macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and simple eye strain and vision decline.   Supplements for the skin should almost certainly contain astaxanthin as this antioxidant acts like a sunscreen from the inside out, protecting cells from ultravioletA radiation. Anyone prone to sunburn or who has freckles, skin spots from ageing or who spends a lot of time in the sun may wish to include this supplement in their daily regime.   In the future it may be that functional foods can provide all the astaxanthin we need as research has found that tomatoes produce vast amounts of astaxanthin, doing away with the need for supplements to get the health benefits of this powerful antioxidant.  ...

Read More

What is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that is thought to be more than 6000 times more powerful than vitamin C, but what is it and where can you get it from? As a carotenoid, astaxanthin is a fat-soluble pigment found in marine algae and in animals such as salmon and flamingos where it is responsible for the pink colour of their feathers and scales. Just like fish and fowl we can also benefit from astaxanthin from natural sources and the market for microalgae and synthetic astaxanthin supplements has really bloomed in recent years. This nutrient plays a role in defending your cells against free radical damage. This kind of cellular attack is a key contributor to the ageing process and can instigate changes leading to wrinkles, dementia an heart disease. Astaxanthin is a great candidate for slowing down these processes as it’s fat-soluble nature means it can get to places that other, water-soluble antioxidants cannot reach. Antioxidants like astaxanthin are also able to counteract the free-radicals produced when we exercise, making it possibly helpful for athletes wanting to recover faster, increase endurance, and improve strength and stamina. These benefits have however been both supported and disputed in studies but there are plenty of other reasons to take the supplement while further studies are carried out. Astaxanthin is amongst excellent company with betacarotene and lutein as other examples of some of the more than 700 naturally occurring carotenoids that give fruits and vegetables their amazing array of colours. Purple aubergines, orange peppers, green kale and even the blue colour of blueberries are all caused by the combinations of these protective pigments with chlorophyll and other phytochemicals. However, unlike betacarotene, astaxanthin is only found in a limited range of foodstuffs, namely the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis and in the animals that eat this algae, such as krill and salmon. In order to ingest enough astaxanthin to be of benefit a person would have to eat huge amounts of high quality salmon or flamingo meat, which would prove both costly and potentially harmful in regards to heavy metal toxicity and the negative effects of such consumption of animal products. Instead, obtaining a dose of astaxanthin from a high-quality supplement can help quench free radical damage...

Read More
Foods to Improve Fertility

Foods to Improve Fertility

Infertility is an increasing problem for many couples. The causes of infertlity range from genetic complications, hormone imbalances, life-style and diet. A healthy diet for both the male and female partner is very important especially if you are having trouble conceiving. Adding certain foods and removing others from your diet can actually improve fertility and raise your chances of getting pregnant. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can have a detrimental effect on your chances of conceiving, so should be avoided. The more alcohol that both partners consume – the lower the chance of getting pregnant. The odd drink is fine, but binge drinking is not recommended if you want to get pregnant. Excessive alcohol can lower zinc levels, which can lower sperm counts in men. Alcohol can prevent implantation in women. Sugary snacks such as chocolates, biscuits and cakes can affect hormone balances in the body. These foods should not totally be cut out of your diet, but keep to a minimum. Foods high in saturated fat, ready meals and junk foods deplete the body of essential nutrients that are needed for conception. These foods are also generally high in sugar and salt. Caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and many carbonated drinks, can reduce your chances of conceiving. It is worth noting that the odd caffeinated drink or bar of chocolate is fine, but when these foods are eaten in excess, fertility can be affected. In males, excess caffeine intake can cause impotence by reducing blood flow. This lack of blood flow also affects the motility of a fertilised egg in females. The following foods, aside from improving your general health, can help you to conceive: A diet that is high in antioxidants will improve the reproductive function of both partners. Antioxidants are present in coloured vegetables, such as peppers and green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. Strawberries, blackberries, pomegranates and raspberries are examples of fruits that are high in antioxidants.  Antioxidants are natural substances that help to protect the body from the harmful effects of free radical damage. Free radicals can be formed by factors such as exposure to radiation (including over exposure to the sun’s rays), cigarette smoke, air pollution, exercise, processed foods, household cleaners and stress. Zinc is...

Read More

Anti-Ageing Supplements: Selenium

Selenium is a vital mineral that has many health benefits. It is one of the main antioxidants available to us. Remember that antioxidants are very important as they “mop-up” free radicals that are known to cause a host of illnesses and diseases. As we are continually exposed to these free radicals, for example from pollution, certain foods and stress, taking antioxidants such as Selenium is fundamental for optimum health. It is this antioxidant activity that prevents premature ageing and age related diseases. Many studies have found that this mineral can help to prevent against prostate, lung and colorectal cancers. Two studies conducted in America, over a period of 10 years, found that by supplementing with 200mcg Selenium daily reduced the incidence of prostate, lung and colorectal cancer by approximately 50%. Selenium deficiency has also been linked with heart disease. Supplementing with this mineral has been shown to reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol and improve circulation. Selenium works very well when taken with Vitamin E in helping to maintain a healthy heart and liver. Many companies combine Selenium, Vitamin E and Zinc as a supplement for an enlarged prostate. Historically our soil used to contain high amounts of Selenium, but with the advent of modern farming techniques and the use of fertilisers, the levels have reduced drastically. This may be one reason why certain cancers and heart disease are increasing every year. Selenium is found in the following foods: Brazil Nuts (the best source of Selenium) Broccoli Brown rice Brewer’s Yeast Onions Whole grains Sea Food If you are going to start taking a selenium supplement, a dose of 200 micrograms a day is considered safe for most...

Read More

The Health Benefits of Okra

Okra is a good source of a variety of nutrients consisting of a high content of vitamin B6 and C, fibre, calcium, and folic acid.  Because of this, it is effective in the avoidance of neural tube defects in developing foetuses.  Okra is very low in calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.  This is good for people who want to lose weight. The fiber helps to preserve the digestive system, allowing food to pass through the intestines effortlessly. Read on to discover more on the health benefits of okra. The rich fibre and mucilaginous (gummy like substance it creates) in Okra seeds helps smooth peristalsis of digested food particles and relieves constipation. When serum cholesterol is decreased, the risk of heart disease is decreased and insoluble fiber helps to decrease the risk of certain cancers, such as colon cancer. The pods contain healthy amounts of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidents such as beta carotenes, xanthin (related to urich acid, found in blood, urine and muscle tissue) and lutein (slows down macular degeneration). It is one of the green vegetables with the highest levels of these anti-oxidants. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. Fresh pods are good sources of folates, especially consumption during the pre-conception period helps decrease the incidence of neural tube defects in the offspring. The seeds also contain oil and protein that are very high in amino acids. Due to the high content of folic acid in okra, it is recommended that women who are pregnant should include okra as part of their diet. It is a vital ingredient for the fetus to grow healthy, especially through the fourth to the twelfth week of pregnancy. To increase the volume and bounce in your hair using okra, simply boil the okra, let it cool down and add a few drops of lemon to it, wash your hair with shampoo and condition as normal. Before the last rinse, put the okra in your hair like a shampoo and then rinse...

Read More

The benefits of blueberries to lower blood pressure

A new study conducted by the University of East Anglia and Harvard University has discovered that eating blueberries can protect against high blood pressure. The study found that the active compounds called anthocyanins, are responsible for the blood pressure lowering benefits of blueberries. Anthocyanins are a group of compounds that are generally found in high amounts in raspberries, blackcurrants, grapes, and many other coloured fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins also have antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are known to protect the heart from cardiovascular disease by reducing the inflammation in the arteries. Anthocynanins belong to a group of compounds called flavinoids. Flavinoids are found in blueberries, blackcurrants, red wine, dark chocolate and tea. This study was conducted on 134,000 women and 47,000 men over a period of 14 years. None of the participants had hypertension at the start of the study. During the study 35,000 people developed hypertension.  Researchers looked at the individual sources of flavinoids and discovered that the participants who consumed the highest amounts of anthocynanins, found mainly in blueberries and strawberries, were 8% less likely to be diagnosed with hypertension than those who consumed lower amounts. Further results showed that blueberries had a stronger blood pressure lowering effect than strawberries. Compared with those people who ate no blueberries, those who ate at least one portion of blueberries a week had a 10% lower risk of developing hypertension. We hope you found our article on hoe the benefits of blueberries to lower blood pressure useful. Please let us know by rating it...

Read More

Tulsi (Holy Basil)

Tulsi is an Indian herb that is also known as Holy Basil. It is a powerful antioxidant and has adaptogenic properties. This herbal tea is also has the potential to strengthen the immune system and help to improve digestive health. Due to its action as an antioxidant, Tulsi has the ability to neutralise dangerous free radicals that can contribute to several degenerative illnesses such as arthritis and heart disease. The adaptogenic affects of Tulsi help the body to deal with physical, emotional and environmental factors that can lead to lowered immune function. This herbal tea supports the body at times of stress and can reduce the risk of respiratory infections such as colds and flu. We hope you found this information on tulsi (holy basil) useful. Please let us know by rating it...

Read More

Nutritional Supplements for a Healthy Brain

Most people ignore their brain function when thinking of anti-ageing supplements. This is a major oversight as the brain controls everything from memory to the function of the nervous system. The brain requires regular nourishment in order to function optimally. There is a direct link between the health of the gastro-intestinal system and the health of the brain. Research has shown that the chemical neurotransmitter serotonin, which is found in the brain, is also present in the gastro-intestinal system. Serotonin in the gut is responsible for triggering digestion. The nerve cells in the gastro-intestinal system feed back to the brain. Therefore a good diet is very important in maintaining good brain health as well as preventing illnesses that affect the brain. Recent studies have also discovered that restricting calorie intake can actually lead to living longer. Restricting calorie intake does not mean cutting out healthy foods, but eating in moderation and cutting out foods with high amounts of sugar, salt and saturated fats. These studies also highlight the possibility of improved brain function and a lower incidence of age related illnesses with a lower calorie diet. A balanced diet that consists of fibre, protein, complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, and nutrients is essential maintaining the health of both the gastro-intestinal system and brain function. There are certain natural health supplements that can help with brain health, nerve function as well as provide nourishment to the brain cells. The supplementation with essential fatty acids has been linked with improving conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The nutrient DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is known to be beneficial for the general health of the brain. DHA helps to promote brain and nerve function and is predominately found in Flax Seed Oil and Fish Oil supplements.  Studies have shown that supplementation with DHA can improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients and improve memory loss that is related to ageing. Antioxidants are also very important in the health of the brain as they help to neutralise free radicals. Free radicals can be formed by factors such as exposure to radiation (including over exposure to the sun’s rays), cigarette smoke, air pollution, exercise, processed foods, household cleaners and stress. The body also produces free radicals through...

Read More

What are Antioxidants?

Have you been wondering what are antioxidants? Antioxidants are naturally produced by the body, but due to the level of free radical damage that we are exposed to, it is advisable to supplement the diet with antioxidants. Antioxidants can be obtained from the diet in foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, although the levels are not high enough to combat the amount of free radicals that we are exposed to. There are various different types of antioxidants that are available to take as a supplement. Research has found that taking combination of these supplements has a synergistic effect in reducing free radical damage. Co-enzyme Q10. This is a vital nutrient in the body that has many functions, and there are many studies that support the use of Co-enzyme Q10 in heart disease. Co-enzyme Q10 also has antioxidant activity. If you are taking a statin for cholesterol, you should supplement with this nutrient, as statins lower levels of coenzyme-Q10 in the body. Acai. This is one of the most well known antioxidants on the market today. Acai berries are mostly found in Brazil and Peru. Because of the hype that is surround this product many companies are manufacturing acai capsules and juice. Please check the quality of the company before making a purchase. Selenium is a mineral that is found in almonds and brazil nuts. Apart from being a good antioxidant, this mineral has many health benefits such as supporting the immune system and reproductive system. Studies have shown that supplementing with a dose of 200mcg of Selenium once a day can have a beneficial action on the heath of the prostate gland in men. Alpha-Lipoic Acid is sometimes referred to as the “universal” antioxidant because it is both water and fat soluble. This means that it can neutralise free radicals that are in fatty and watery parts of the cells. Alpha-Lipoic Acid can increase the effect of other antioxidants if taken together. Other valuable antioxidants are Vitamin E, which  is a fat soluble and has beneficial action on the cardiac system, and Vitamin C which is water soluble and also is an immune...

Read More