With so much going on throughout the summer months, it’s no wonder that many of us start to feel our age. We all want to turn back time and restore good health, energy and that feeling of joie de vivre. Here are some of my very simple ways we can flip our age and feel younger and healthier than ever.
Sleep yourself younger
Sleep is a time for our body to repair, restore and reset. Sleep is also vital for our brain health. Long-term sleep deprivation can cause irreparable damage to brain cells, not to mention low mood, so it is important to ensure you get at least eight hours of sleep to ensure you experience a full sleep cycle. The hormone cortisol can also build up through stress and anxiety and late nights. Lack of sleep increases Ghrelin, a hormone that tells us to eat more, switches off Leptin (a hormone that tells us when we are full) and causes in insulin and blood sugar imbalance. Try to avoid using electronic devices at bedtime. The hormone melatonin facilitates sleepiness but a natural or artificial light source from a smartphone or tablet can halt its production and potentially keeps us awake.
Meditation – Finding time to meditate may seem impossible but you only need 15-20 minutes per day to help reduce stress and aid relaxation. Meditation not only helps calm and reduce anxiety, it can also help improve our health, including our cardiovascular health, including lowering pulse, blood pressure and even enhancing our mood. Research shows that those who meditate have longer telomeres than those who don’t (short telomeres are believed to be an indication of accelerated ageing).
Increase the Oily Fish
Fish oils play a key role in our overall health as well as behaviour, joints and cognitive function. Fish oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory, it can also calm the activation of adrenal hormones such as cortisol when under mental stress. Oily fish helps lower triglycerides and protects you against heart disease, it can also help you live longer. Omega 3 has an anti-clotting affect, helping to keep your blood flowing. Studies have shown that those with a higher blood level of omega 3 are a third less likely to die of heart disease. British Heart Foundation recommends those with heart disease eat 2-3 portions of omega 3 rich foods per week. Fish oils have also been shown to help regenerate brain cells that have been damaged by high sugar diets. High levels of EPA and DHA, found in fish oils, can reduce brain shrinkage and support hippocampal function, the area of the brain associated with memory. DHA is also known to work in tandem with vitamin D to support the immune cells in breaking down amyloid plaques and inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s. It has also been shown to improve memory, cognitive function and reduce brain atrophy. Fish oils and Krill oils are both excellent sources of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) I also offer a high strength vegan omega supplement.
Top up your Vitamin D
Whether it’s going for a short walk in your lunch break or a run in your local park before or after work, getting outside and moving can help to boost your mood, lower your blood pressure and reduce stress. Getting outside will also help to top up your Vitamin D from sunlight exposure. The fear of skin cancers has made us cover up and avoid sunlight. The decline in our sun exposure has led to more health problems from lack of Vitamin D. Known as the sunshine vitamin, it has been seen to help with mental health problems, heart health, bone and joint health, multiple sclerosis and even cancer. It has been shown to increase movement in joints and decrease pain, especially in those suffering from arthritis. It plays a vital role in cholesterol, boosts our immune system, helps lower blood pressure and can even help with asthma. Although you can get some levels of Vitamin D in our food, it not to be relied upon. Research shows we are quite deficient of Vitamin D in the UK, even in the summer months. Experts are now recommending taking a vitamin D at least in the autumn and winter months, if not all year round for optimum health benefits. The best form is Vitamin D3 and is a simple one a day capsule. I offer a great range of Vitamin D3, one D3 at 2500iu, and a higher strength D3 with Vitamin K. Both formulations are suitable for vegans. I also offer liquid D3 for those who do not like taking capsules.
Grab a cuppa
Green tea is well known for its antioxidant affects, which help repair and restore as well as fighting free radical damage. It has also been shown to help promote weight loss, but did you also know it helps improve the health of our heart, especially the endothelial cells. It also helps reduce cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation and can even improve memory.
Look after your bowel
We are really only as healthy as our gut allows. Poor gut health, packed with poor bowel flora has a dramatic effect on our health and our immune system. It not only increases our risk of tumours (especially colorectal), but impacts how well we absorb and utilise our nutrients. Good, healthy, bowel flora plays a vital role in the removal of cholesterol. It also helps balance blood sugars, helps us absorb and utilise antioxidants, impacts our skin health (especially acne), helps to control IBS, prevents candida, and, due to its immune boosting role, can even help prevent allergies. New research is also emerging to show how a healthy gut can even help with obesity, depression and auto-immune diseases.
Many people believe they can get adequate probiotics from yoghurts or yoghurt drinks, but sadly these do not reach the lower intestine. You really need to take a daily supplement to ensure good bowel health, particularly if you have (or plan to) travel overseas, have had antibiotics or long-term medication use or suffer for a comprised immune system. I offer a wide range of probiotic formulas suitable for everyone from babies right through. Contact me for more information.
Magnesium Mineral Support
This really is a hero nutrient and almost every fundamental process in our body needs a good supply. It may shock you to know that approximately 80% of the population of deficient of magnesium. Magnesium is required for the production and stability of the ATP molecule, which provides energy for basic bodily processes. These range from processing and transporting nutrients, to making enzymes, and activating cellular pumps so that important substances can move in and out of each cell. Women in particular can suffer a range of hormonal problems from PMT symptoms right through to menopause due to low magnesium. Our heart is totally dependent on magnesium. Magnesium deficiency has been shown to increase platelet aggregation, which contributes to the kind of clotting seen in heart attacks, pulmonary embolismand strokes, which is why those with lower levels are more likely to have heart conditions. Magnesiumis known as an anti-stress mineral as it helps relax muscles, has a nourishing effect on our nervous system and helps improve flexibility and tone of blood vessels. Those who suffer from anxiety, depression and migraines are usually shown to be deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is also beneficial to conditions such as chronic back pain,leg crampsand IBS. Low magnesium has also been linked to Fibromyalgia and osteoporosis.
The most magnesium-rich foods are kelp, wheat bran, almonds, brewer’s yeast, buckwheat, brazil nuts, cashews and molasses, and find lower levels in green leafy vegetables, peanuts, millet, rye, tofu, walnuts, pecan nuts, coconut, brown rice, figs, dried fruit, avocado and hard cheese. I use a variety of magnesium supplements in my clinic from powders right through to capsules so will have something to suit everyone. You may also find some benefit from taking an Epsom salt bath to help ease muscles and absorb magnesium through the skin, also useful to ease insomnia.
Replace depleted Collagen
I am a huge fan of adding collagen to your daily routine. As we age, collagen depletes. This does not only make us more susceptible to wrinkles, but also affects our tendons, ligaments and muscles so a must have for joint pain as well as part of your beauty regime (helping to improve hair, skin and nail condition). Collagen is a protein and it also effects our bone mass. Studies have shown when combined with calcium and magnesium, it can actually help increase bone density for women. It is also really useful for those who have thyroid issues, helping to convert T4 into T3. Collagen also contains Glycine which helps improve thyroid function and balances cortisol which can help with stress. Some recent research shows collagen aiding weight loss and help to balance blood sugars and therefore can help eliminate cravings. It is also great to protect our gut and has been shown to help repair leaky gut syndrome (especially when taken along with L’Glutamine). I advise taking a hydrolysed collagen protein from grass fed cows or I also offer a blend of collagen peptides including types I, II, III, IV V & X.
Remember all supplements are not equal. I only use and recommend practitioner quality supplementation which gives the best results, providing good quality nutrients that are easily utilised and absorbed. For more information or if you want to know more about what supplements to purchase, please visit my website www.sarahflower.co.ukor send me a message.