Friday, 16 December 2016

Top 10 nutrients for staying healthy at Christmas Written by Sophie Tully BSc (Hons) MSc

Winter is often a particularly tough time for the body. First, we find ourselves fending off a barrage of bugs that attack from every angle, then comes Christmas - and the season of indulgence often leaves us feeling below par and deficient in more than just sunlight!

To help you stay healthy this Christmas, it really is important to make sure your diet is rich in healthy, natural foods and that you get outside in daylight as often as possible. In addition, there are a number of nutrients that can help you stay feeling your best throughout the festive season, all of which have extra cancer fighting properties.

Here are my top 10 nutrients for feeling your best at Christmas.

1        1)      Curcumin
    The ‘active’ ingredient in the delicious spice turmeric, curcumin is one of those amazing and               powerful nutrients that seem to help almost all systems and functions of the body. With
    potent anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidant properties, adding some turmeric to foods               containing fat or taking a good quality, solubility-enhanced supplement is an excellent way
    to help boost your immune system and support your body’s ability to detoxify. Curcumin has also       been heavily researched in cancer studies and has been shown to help reduce treatment
    resistance and side effects and boost cancer cell sensitivity to treatment. If you are undergoing             treatment, it is best to stop taking this for a day or so before and after to a
    void possible interactions.

   Our recommendation – check out Longvida Curcumin, a highly bioavailable and excellent                  curcumin product available soon from Igennus.

  (Basnet & Skalko-Basnet, 2011; Li & Zhang, 2014; Yallapu, Jaggi, & Chauhan, 2012)

2       2)    Vitamin D
   Good levels of Vitamin D are essential for optimal health and since we don’t get adequate sunlight      in the UK in winter, a supplement containing 400-1000IU is an important addition to any
   winter nutrition regime. Vitamin D’s role in immune health, mood balance and maintaining healthy    cells and bones make it an essential addition to my top 10 list. Significant research also links
   vitamin D to reduced inflammation and improved cancer outcomes. Many people with cancer have    very low levels of Vitamin D so make sure your GP tests your levels and that you supplement to  
   achieve 50-100ng/ml of blood.

  Our recommendation – we love BetterYou Vitamin D oral sprays, but many of the Igennus fish oils     also contain excellent doses of vitamin D.

  (Deeb, Trump, & Johnson, 2007; Feldman, Krishnan, Swami, Giovannucci, & Feldman, 2014;  
  Garland et al., 2006; Trump & Johnson, 2011)
3
  3)     
Omega-3
 Healthy fats are really important at this time of year as the immune system, inflammatory pathways  and our mental health and cell structure all rely on the right balance of fats to function properly. In    winter we tend to crave ‘comforting’ carbohydrate-rich foods and at Christmas we tend to                  overindulge in sweets, treats and omega-6 rich party foods. This can dramatically upset
 the delicate balance of long-chain fats in the body. Low levels of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA      are also very common in people with cancer, so if you are not eating oily fish regularly (at least 2-3    times per week), it is important that you take a good quality EPA-rich fish oil to top up your long-      chain omega-3 levels. Testing fatty acid levels via a simple blood spot, home kit is a great way to    ensure you are getting the right type and amount of healthy fats in your diet. Opti-O-3 kits available  from Igennus come with a free consultation to discuss your results!

 Our recommendation – Igennus Pharmepa Restore or Pharmepa Maintain. If you are vegetarian,  Echiomega, a natural plant source of SDA which supports EPA levels better than flax seed oil, is for  you.

 (Berquin, Edwards, & Chen, 2008; Gleissman, Johnsen, & Kogner, 2010; Jing, Wu, & Lim, 2013;  Laviano, Rianda, Molfino, & Rossi Fanelli, 2013; MacLean et al., 2006; Rose & Connolly, 1999)

4     4)      Pre and Probiotics
 The gut contains a delicate and highly diverse ecosystem that works within us to help regulate mood,  immune function and detoxification, as well as nutrient digestion and absorption. Much like vitamin  D and omega-3s, having unhealthy gut bacteria levels has been linked with everything from clinical  depression and Alzheimer’s to obesity and yes, cancer. A really good probiotic supplement, together  with lots of lovely fibre-rich foods can help ensure your digestive health is looked after, whilst also  helping to protect against the potential negative effects of an over-indulgent festive season, or cancer  treatment, on your digestive health.

 Our recommendations – we are big fans of the work they do over at Optibac Probiotics.  Supplementing may not be suitable for those with cancers affecting the blood.

 (de Moreno de LeBlanc, Matar, & Perdigón, 2007; Fotiadis, Stoidis, Spyropoulos, & Zografos, 2008;  Khan, Khurshid, Khan, & Alshamsan, 2013)

5     5)      Ubiquinol
 Low energy is a common complaint in the winter months and often a significant side effect of cancer  treatment. Increased alcohol consumption and poorer nutrition over the Christmas period can also  leave us feeling less fresh and full of beans than normal, and can even affect sleep quality.  Ubiquinol, the active form of coenzyme Q10, is a fantastic addition to a healthy supplement regime  if you do struggle with energy levels. Ubiquinol is also a potent antioxidant that helps support high  oxidative stress and has been shown to help fight many mechanisms involved in cancer progression.

 Our recommendations – VESIsorb Ubiquinol – available from Igennus.

 (Dhanasekaran & Ren, 2005; Reuter, Gupta, Chaturvedi, & Aggarwal, 2010; Yamamoto &  Yamashita, 1997)

6     6)      Plant antioxidants and polyphenols
A plant-based diet is consistently linked with health and happiness and research suggests we should ideally be consuming 10+ portions of fruit and vegetables daily. Whilst this may not be realistic for many of us, making sure we eat as many different veggies as possible and a portion or two of fruit each day is essential for maintaining a healthy mood, immune system, warding off illness and fighting disease. Choosing foods that are all colours of the rainbow and eating both raw and lightly cooked veg is the best way to nourish your body and stay healthy this winter. Try to get at least 5 cupped handfuls of fruit and veg every day. If you are fighting cancer then you may wish to try increasing your intake of lycopene (cooked tomato), resveratrol (red grapes), sulforaphane (broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous veg), pomegranate and green tea as well as eating lots of herbs and spices, as these are all reported to help fight cancer.

Our recommendations – try to eat a rainbow of organic (ideally home-grown), seasonal fruits and veg, getting as many different types as you can daily. Check out Pukka Herbs and Amazing Grass for powdered plant complexes that can be added to water if your appetite is low. Terra Nova and Wild Nutrition also do some lovely plant-derived nutrient complexes in capsules.

(Asensi, Ortega, Mena, Feddi, & Estrela, 2011; Link, Balaguer, & Goel, 2010; Ramos, 2008)

7    7)      B Vitamins
B-vitamins are essential for energy production and metabolism but also play an important role in combatting oxidative stress and helping protect against high emotional and physical stress. B-vitamins are naturally derived from green vegetables, beans and pulses and good quality animal proteins, but for some people topping up with a good quality, pre-methylated, highly bioavailable B-vitamin complex, is the easiest way to get the extra support needed during times of added stress.

Our recommendations – Igennus Super B-complex.

(Audhya, 2012; Mamede et al., 2011; Plazar & Jurdana, 2010)

8    8)      Beta glucans
If you do find yourself at the mercy of every bug and infection going around, then including lots of the immune-boosting beta glucans in your daily diet can help. These are found in high quantities in oats and certain mushrooms including reishi, shiitake and maitake. Beta glucans have been heavily researched as a cancer treatment with lots of very positive results. Beta-glucans are also great for helping to regulate blood sugars, something we could all use a little help with post-Christmas feast!

Our recommendations – eat oats and exotic mushrooms regularly throughout the week. Those needing a little extra support check out Hifas da Terra, an excellent medicinal mushroom company.

(Aleem, 2013; Chan, Chan, & Sze, 2009; Manzi & Pizzoferrato, 2000; Yoon, Koppula, & Lee, 2013)

9    9)      MCT oils
MCT stands for medium chain triglyceride, a type of fat that the body cannot store and so uses as an efficient fuel source. Including lots of MCTs in your daily diet, such as those from coconut, sustainable palm and organic dairy fats can help you ward off infection, boost immune function and even lose a little weight. For those following a low carbohydrate diet, MCTs are a great additional fuel source that help support brain function and energy levels whilst maintaining ketosis.

Our recommendation – as chance would have it we have lots of left over stock of MCT oil from a recent cancer clinical trial – it’s available from our shop now and at a great price!

(Dayrit, 2014; St-Onge, Bosarge, Goree, & Darnell, 2008)

1    10)   Protein
It’s all about mince pies and mulled wine at this time of year but for many, even those not fighting cancer, it is also a very stressful time, making it important that you are getting plenty of healthy protein-rich foods in your diet.  Consuming at least 2-3 x the size of your palm of outdoor reared, naturally fed, organic protein sources from both animals and plants daily, will help ensure you meet your protein needs. If you are unwell, fighting cancer or particularly stressed, you may need to increase this, as protein is important for healthy immune and stress responses as well as helping to reduce the negative effect of high sugar foods on your energy, wellbeing and sleep.

We recommend – finding a good grass fed meat box company such as Green Pasture Farms, Fields and Flower, Eversfield Organic (there are so many these days) or a good local farm shop or health food company where you can source naturally reared and fed animal and plant proteins. Slow cooking the cheaper cuts of meat is a great way to create a delicious wintery dish, whilst locking in all of the nutrients and keeping this cost-effective.

Sophie is a Master’s degree qualified clinical nutrition scientist with specialist qualifications in nutritional support for patients before, during and after cancer treatment and a background in cancer research biology. Sophie has helped a number of cancer patients manage their condition through natural co-therapies and lifestyle interventions.
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2 comments:

  1. Hi, where can i order the mct oils from please?

    ReplyDelete
  2. 3 Studies REVEAL How Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    This means that you literally burn fat by consuming Coconut Fats (in addition to coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from big medical journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world upside down!

    ReplyDelete