MEN'S HEALTH - BENEFICIAL FOODS

Men's health magazines may jest that vegetables and fruits are for girls but anyone who has done any research will know that men who want to be fit and healthy include them in their diet.

Here are some of the most beneficial and why :

Oats, oat bran, flaxseeds, apples and pears contain the soluble fibre pectin that helps control blood sugar levels improving energy, concentration, memory, irritability and anxiety. Also beneficial for digestive health soluble fibre is protective against IBS and IBD and by helping remove excess cholesterol from the colon they protect the cardiovascular system.

Roquette, beetroot and spinach increase nitric oxide levels in the blood which speeds up the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles improving sports performance. 
Nitric oxide is beneficial for cardiovascular health because it lowers blood pressure

Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene shown to protect the prostate.

Seeds ( flax, chia, sunflower and pumpkin) provide protein and anti- inflammatory omega 3 oils used in the body in synovial fluid to lubricate joints, retain moisture in the skin, thin the blood and improve mood and memory. They also boost serotonin improving anxiety and depression.

Pomegranates contain three types of antioxidant polyphenols in significant amounts. This antioxidant activity is known to inhibit cell proliferation and invasion, and promote apoptosis (cell death) in various cancer cells. Pomegranates may help reduce joint pain and decrease inflammation in arthritis sufferers

Cherries and Berries contain anthocyanin flavonoids that help with muscle damage and pain as they reduce the levels of inflammatory markers, like C-reactive protein, in the bloodstream. Cherries are especially protective against gout.

Broccoli, cabbage, collards, and kale ( cruciferous vegetables) contain precursors of
sulforaphane that prevents certain enzymes from activating cancer-causing agents in the body and increases the body's production of other enzymes that clean carcinogens out of the system before they can damage cells.

ANXIETY & PANIC ATTACKS

ANXIETY affects all age groups and is becoming increasingly prevalent amongst children. Nutrition is incredibly powerful in helping alleviate anxiety because it addresses underlying biochemical causes and also affects how the body responds to things we find stressful.

Higher than normal levels of lactic acid in the blood can result in anxiety and trigger panic attacks (factors that cause this are included below) but you can help lower lactic acid levels within minutes by breathing this way:
BREATH deeply through the nose into the diaphragm for 6 seconds and exhale slowly through the mouth 6-10 times. This prevents the build up of lactic acid from shallow breathing that makes us feel anxious and can also prevents panic attacks.

Keep blood glucose levels stable with adequate protein and fibre at each meal and don’t skip meals. This is especially important for children - a breakfast of white toast and jam, a croissant or a sugary cereal for example, will result in a surge of energy followed by a drop with symptoms including anxiety, lack of concentration, poor memory, irritability, tearfulness and fatigue.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a healthy digestive tract. More SEROTONIN is produced in the digestive tract than in the brain (70%)and the right gut bacteria are needed to make GABA another calming neurotransmitter. Digestive disorders can contribute to anxiety so should be addressed. A good probiotic (especially one with Lactibacillus Rhamnosus ) should be taken especially after any antibiotics. Fibre and fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut help feed beneficial bacteria.

Magnesium (especially magnesium taurate) makes us feel calm because it is needed to make neurotransmitters, control blood glucose levels and relax muscles. It also helps us sleep better. Magnesium deficiency is common because it is found mainly in seeds, nuts and green leafy vegetables and the soils these plants are grown in often have low levels of magnesium so a supplement would be beneficial.

Be careful about relying on stimulants (coffee, caffeine sports drinks) and sugary snacks (also artificial sugars) for energy because the resulting blood glucose drop a couple of hours later can trigger anxiety. It would be better to take a good quality B vitamin at lunchtime that helps the body produce energy and supports the adrenal glands and our response to stress.

Omega 3 oils have an anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body including the brain and can improve anxiety. Include a tablespoon of ground seeds (flaxseed/ pumpkin/sunflower) in your diet each day, have oily fish ( mackerel/wild salmon/sardines) or take 1000- 2000mg (adults) of a good quality supplement. Children’s supplements are available in a fruit flavoured powder form that can be added to foods. Vitamin D is also very important and with lack of sunlight, deficiency (that contributes to depression too) is common.

Other contributing factors include insufficient sleep, food intolerances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, heavy metals, hormone imbalances and Candida. so I find diagnostic testing is very beneficial when helping prevent anxiety.

We cannot always control demanding aspects of our day to day lives but we can definitely influence how they affect us and those we care about. Combining a nutritional programme with psychotherapy and other Optima Health therapies can be very effective in alleviating anxiety.

Breast Cancer - the most protective foods for prevention and recovery.

A healthy diet has been shown to be one of the most important factors in the prevention of and the recovery from breast cancer. It is very effective in supporting the body’s immune system that destroys cancer cells and also many plant foods actually contain nutrients that have been shown to slow the replication of cancer cells, and inhibit the spread of cancer.

 

For this reason a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices and legumes is recommended. Organic food is preferable when available and pure mineral water in glass bottles reduces exposure to xnoestrogens from plastic containers. Avoiding or limiting exposure to harmful chemicals from skincare and household cleaning products as well as pesticides, hormones and other toxins in some foods will mean the body’s detoxification ability will be strengthened. Liver detoxification can be supported with specific foods and supplements.

 

Factors that may increase risk are:

 

·      Intensively farmed or processed meats

·      Saturated fats

·      Dairy products

·      Refined and artificial sugar

·      Excess calorie intake

·      Excess alcohol

·      Fried or burnt food

·      Processed foods

 

Factors that may lower risk include:

 

·      Whole grains – oats, oat bran, millet, barley, rye and buckwheat

·      Seeds (especially flaxseeds),pumpkin, soaked chia and sunflower

·      Non GM soy (please see exceptions below) and other legumes

·      Oily fish (omega 3) wild salmon or trout, sardines, mackerel

·      All vegetables,  nuts and legumes

·      All fruits except for dried if containing sulphates

·      Soluble fibre – especially pectin in oats, apples and pears

·      Antioxidants (found in all plants foods)

·      Anti-inflammatory nutrients like omega 3 oils

·      Mineral or filtered water

·      Probiotics – >70% of immune system is in the GI tract

·      Regular exercise especially walking and rebounding

·      Adequate sleep due to detoxification and also melatonin

·      Stress management and relaxation – alternative therapies can be supportive

 

Cooking methods are important, as meats cooked at high temperatures produce carcinogens called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that appear to initiate and promote cancer growth as well as cancer spread with oestrogen-like effects. HCAs also found in cigarette smoke. The body’s detoxification systems can get eliminate these toxins with the right nutrients and but it would be better to limit or avoid them.

 

Certain foods and lifestyle factors have been shown to be especially protective and these include:

 

·      Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil (omega 6 and lignans). Flaxseeds contain precursors to lignans that are activated by beneficial gut bacteria. Lignans can dampen the effects of oestrogen in the body and have been shown to be protective. Flaxseeds have been shown to slow breast cancer progression by blocking inflammatory IL1.

·      Non-GMO soy products (tofu, tempeh and miso) * not with hormone therapy and caution with oestrogen –receptor- positive breast cancer *

·      Brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts) contain glucosinolate (indole-3-carbinol) an exceptional hormone cancer growth inhibitor

·      Fibre to feed healthy gut bacteria and control enzyme glucuronidase (that unbinds oestrogen the liver is trying to eliminate which is reabsorbed into body). Taking probiotics is recommended for the same reason.

·      Melatonin is protective and so adequate sleep is important (cherries contain it).

·      Green tea provides protective polyphenols so do white and Macha teas

·      Alcohol has been shown to be a risk factor with the exception of red wine possibly due to the antioxidant resveratrol that may suppress a cancer-promoting enzyme. Strawberries, pomegranates and white mushrooms have same protective effect.

·      Regular exercise – walking at a moderate pace for an hour a day is sufficient to lower circulating oestrogen. Rebounding on trampoline supports lymphatic detox.

·      LDL cholesterol may play a role in development and progression of breast cancer. Cancer cells appear to use cholesterol to fuel growth so controlling LDL cholesterol is important as it controlling blood glucose levels another fuel for cancer.

·      Apples (including peel) contain protective a chemical and good soluble fibre

·      Cruciferous vegetables boost the activity of detoxifying enzymes in the liver.

This is very significant because when eaten with cooked meat for example they help reduce effects of damaging HCAs as well as enhancing liver function. Broccoli, collard greens, cabbage, Brussel sprouts and kale are some of them.

·      Broccoli sprouts are exceptionally beneficial and other cruciferous vegetables have been shown to suppress the ability of cancer stem cells to form tumours

·      Garlic, onions and leeks contain very protective sulphur compounds involved in detoxification of oestrogen and also support the immune system

·      Nuts, cocoa, rye bread, Nori seaweed, beans and legumes are beneficial.

·      Strawberries and cranberries appear to block cancer cell growth and all berries may block breast cell DNA damage. Strawberries protect the digestive tract lining.

·      Vitamin D supports the immune system and is protective against cancer

·      Pineapple and papayas contain bromelain shown to inhibit spread of cancer

·      Herbs including sage, parsley, rosemary and thyme have anti-cancer effects

·      Turmeric (5g) taken with omega oil or fat for absorption is especially beneficial

·      Astaxanthin in green leafy vegetables, wild salmon and ethically produced eggs is a  very beneficial antioxidant.

·      All mushrooms have potent anti-cancer effects including button mushrooms.

·      Omega 3 oils are anti-inflammatory and important for detox via cell membranes.