3 out of 5 clients ask “which food supplements can help to maintain general well being?”
Running a nutrition clinic does not always mean that each client, who books an appointment, has a major health concern. Several clients will book in for a session to discuss long term maintenance of their health and well being.
My starting point with all clients who come in for maintenance, is to discuss 3 key areas:
- Lifestyle (for example,working patterns,sleeping patterns socialising habits & psychological welfare).
DIET: A healthy well balanced diet is vital to ensure that your body receives all the necessary nutrients to keep it working well . Think about all the colours of the rainbow and eat foods which have beautiful vibrant skins full of essential nutrients. Food which looks dull and beige will not be as nutritionally healthy. Avoid fad diets, they are short lived and not beneficial for maintaining long term well being.
EXERCISE: Take time to exercise each day to help the physical strength of the body. So much research has shown that regular exercise prevents long term chronic illness.
LIFESTYLE: Ask yourself
- a. Am I getting enough sleep so that I can cope with the next day? How many hours of sleep do I get on an average day?
- b. Do I meet people in my life who make me feel good about myself?
- c. What are my worries? And, how do I manage my worries so that they do not take over my life and overwhelm me, leading to psycho-somatic illnesses?
- d. Do I relax at some point in the day to give my mind and my body the time to switch off?
Develop Some GOOD Habits (ref: Biocare: The Supplements Guide for Life):
- Drink plenty of water. If you have access to filtered water then that is even better. Our body is mainly made up of water. Water provides the “mix” to allow for all the chemical reactions to take place, enabling the body to function efficiently. Dehydration can lead to headaches, dry skin, dry eyes, constipation, higher levels of toxins in the body and many more frequently occurring issues.
- Eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day, that has been the long publicised advice through the medical health professional. I would advise clients to eat as much as seven portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day.
- Always have a well balanced meal which includes the essential fats, including nuts, seeds and fish.
- Calories counting is a really difficult and tedious task. I have tried this and eventually I found it incredibly difficult to keep recording the number of calories especially during the work day. An easier method simply downsize the plate . Instead of using a large standard dinner plate stacked high with food, it is better to eat your meal from a smaller plate (I use the medium size of a side plate). Psychologically the plate still has food, only it is a smaller amount. This method prevents overeating . In some cultures it is considered rude to leave food on a plate, and this can lead to psychological issues as well as physical issues of obesity. Eat from a smaller plate then no food is wasted.
- Avoid all processed food. Food technology has come along way, and whilst it has had some positive impacts on our lives, it has also led to the rise in obesity and long term chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease.
- Limit the amount of caffeine consumption in the day. try to ensure that there is plenty of water in your daily diet.
- Maintain a good work life balance. Obviously do work, but it is important to incorporate the more enjoyable activities in your life. Interactions with people and socialising is valuable for a healthy life.
- Get active in whatever way you can: go to the gym; walk the dog (if you have one); walk to work if possible; use stairs in an office building rather than the lift.
Quick check summary:
- Water ! Water !Water!
- 5 fresh fruits and vegetables per day, raw state.
- Essential fats, quality protein and good complex carbohydrates each day
- Use a smaller size plate, no calorie counting involved
- Avoid processed foods and refined foods
- Limit the caffeine
- Good work life balance
- Get active
Using Food Supplements as a part of a healthy well balanced lifestyle plan
The use of food supplements as a part of your daily plan is ensure that any deficiencies of vitamins and minerals can be bridged. Along with a well balanced meal, several of my clients will opt for 3 food supplements in their maintenance plan:
- Fatty Acids
- Multivitamins and minerals
Biocare recommends a fourth daily supplement which is an anti-oxidant, I have left this one out. However, anti-oxidants protect the body from the free radical damage .
Fatty Acids: Fats receive a lot of bad press. Every time we hear the word FATS, our brains automatically think about obesity, heart problems and deaths. Going back to the basics, FATS are essentially a form of stored fuel for the human body to use when needed. The immediate source of energy is carbohydrates. However if there is a need for extra energy then the body calls upon the stored fats. Other uses for fatty acids in the body also include: hormone production; brain development & nerve development.
As refresher (due to some requests from some clients), the following lists the different classes of fats:
- LIPIDS: This is the overall name given to fats and fat related compounds.
- TRIGLYCERIDES: Fats are made form carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules. When a fat is referred to as a triglyceride, it is when the compound is made up of “glycerols” attached to “fatty acids”. Triglyceride is 3 fatty acid molecules attached to one glycerol molecule, hence the word “tri” meaning 3.
- FATTY ACIDS: The building blocks of fats. Fatty acids can be long chained, short chained or medium chained. What type of chain the fatty acid is, is determined by the number of carbons atoms in the chain. This all sounds complex, but you will come across the different names when reading health articles or nutrition articles.
- SATURATED FATTY ACID: The fatty acid becomes saturated when it becomes filled with hydrogen. As a result a saturated fatty acid tends to be heavy and dense as a fat. For example, meat fats are saturated as they are solid and heavy at room temperature.
A great analogy which explains saturated fatty acids is as follows (reference: Williams, Basic Nutrition & Diet Therapy):
Think of a washing up sponge which is the fatty acid ( in this example). It has plenty of holes making it feel very light .Once the sponge has soaked up all the water, filling the spaces, it becomes heavy. Imagine that the fatty acid becomes filled with hydrogen instead of the water, hence it becomes solid , heavy and dense.
Most of the saturated fats tend to come from animals, for example, eggs, dairy products and meats.
5. UNSATURATED FATTY ACID: This type of fatty acid is not completely filled, so it still has some spaces. As a result, it is light and less dense. Most unsaturated fatty acids come form plant origins. A Monounsaturated fatty acid has one hole which has not been filled, for example, olive oil, almonds and avocados. A polyunsaturated fatty acid is where two or more holes have not been filled, for example, corn oil; soybean oil.
6. ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: An essential fatty acid is one which the body needs in order to function properly. A nutrient also becomes essential when the body cannot manufacture that nutrient and it needs to come from an outside source. The human body can manufacture its own saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol. The human body cannot manufacture polyunsaturated fatty acids, so that has to come from a food source.
There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: LINOLEIC ACID & LINOLENIC ACID. it is these fatty acids which help with cholesterol metabolism; ensuring blood clotting, cardiovascular function and tissue strength.
7. LIPOPROTEINS: A lipoprotein as the name suggests is a combination of protein and a fat. Fat is an insoluble molecule which would make it difficult for it to travel in the blood stream. When a fatty acid molecule is wrapped in a protein molecule then it can travel in the blood stream. It is common to have heard the terms LDL and HDL. We cover the LDLs and HDLs in another article related to cholesterol. Please see the website www.wellbeingrange.co.uk
My recommendation for a client who has a healthy well balanced diet and is looking to add something extra to the fatty acid intake: Biocare Mega EPA. Alternatively,you can supplement with the relevant products from Lamberts; NHP: Cytoplan Solgar which are all available on the wellbeing range .
Multivitamins & Minerals: A really good all round multivitamin and mineral will ensure that you receive the right levels of recommended daily allowance . The RDA changes from time to time, but most well known well established therapeutic brands will be consistent with the guidelines. Picking the right and most suitable multi-vitamin and mineral is dependent upon your eating habits. For example, you may be looking for the following: vegan ; vegetarian; halal or kosher or even pregnancy friendly. Always check the website of the recommended brand so that you are happy that the product is right for you.
Why do we even need vitamins and minerals?
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients as they are responsible for the hundreds and thousands of reactions which take place in the body. They are the building blocks for many of the components in the body and without them, a human would not survive. As food has become more and more deprived of the essential nutrients, we have to look to food supplements to make up for the shortages. Even a well balanced diet on a regular basis could lead to some deficiency.
It is impossible to list the uses of vitamins and minerals in the body, but the emphasis is that they are important, in fact they are vital.
Probiotics: Probiotics are generally friendly bacteria and yeasts which some research has shown to be healthful for the body, in particular the digestive system. Some evidence has shown that probiotics are helpful for:
- treating diarrhea
- prevent yeast and vaginal infections
- prevent urinary infections
- treat IBS
- prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flus
My recommendation is for selecting probiotics is:
(Symprove’s unique water based formulation contains live and active bacteria. As it survives stomach acid, it can deliver live bacteria straight to the gut where it can thrive and multiply.)
If you prefer to take capsules or tablets then you could try: http://www.wellbeingrange.co.uk/categories/acidophilus-capsules/bio-acidophilus-120-capsules.html
My recommendations for you to takeaway :
Supplement your everyday diet:
- Essential Fatty acid
- Multivitamin & Mineral
Always seek advice from your healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle. Always follow the instructions on the packaging of any food supplements. Do not exceed the dosages which are recommended by the manufacturer. Use this article for information only, it must not be used for any diagnosis or a treatment plan. G Nandhra BSc (Hons) Psych Sc; Dip. Nutritional Therapist (CNM). Copyright March 2016.