Hectic. Frantic. Fast-paced. Loud. Energetic. Exciting. Anxious. These are a few words that we most regularly associate with our busy modern lives. With more technology, fewer hours (seemingly so) of sleep, increased pressure to eat the right foods and perform at our peak, finding the balance is increasingly more difficult.
We have more information and knowledge about health and wellbeing at our disposal than ever, but good health is about so much more than getting your eight hours and five-a-day. This is why Niamh O’Donoghue, with the help of qualified nutritional therapist Melanie Morris, created the IMAGE Wellness Alphabet so you can start feeling good form within and can get the most out of life. In part two below, we decipher F through J.
FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS The four fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K. To boost absorption of these vitamins, eat plenty of vegetables with some olive oil or raw organic butter. Coconut oil is also an excellent choice. Vitamin D is the one that’s absorbed directly from sunlight and can be found in wild salmon.
GLUCOSE A simple form of sugar, glucose comes – or can be derived easiest – from carbohydrate foods. It’s usually the main source of energy used by the body. It’s important to keep glucose levels moderate in our blood in order to regulate mood, energy and health. If blood glucose levels remain high over time, it can challenge the body’s production and absorption of insulin, which can result in myriad health problems, most notably type 2 diabetes. To regulate the release of glucose in the body, be mindful of a number of sugars and “simple” carbohydrates consumed, eat with protein and/or fibre rich foods to slow digestion, and eat little and often. Supplements containing cinnamon and chromium can also help to regulate blood sugar levels and control sweet cravings.
HORMONES Your body is made up of a network of glands and hormones, known as the endocrine system. This system regulates our body functions, including growth, reproduction, sleep, mood and metabolism, so it’s important to keep it ticking correctly. If it’s out of sync, you could experience extreme fatigue, weight loss or gain, sensitivity to cold temperatures, and/or depression. A blood test at your GP will establish accurate hormone levels and is worth getting done every two years. Adding kelp to your diet is a useful and natural way to regulate hormones.
INFLAMMATION Inflammation occurs when your body’s ever-vigilant immune cells decide to take on foreign bodies (or launch an attack on itself, as is the case with autoimmune diseases like arthritis and lupus). Help your body fight inflammation by reducing stress, eliminating sugar and processed foods, and getting enough sunshine. Fatty acids like omega 3 are proven to reduce the body’s level of inflammation, so eat a diet rich in oily fish as well as plant-based omega 3 sources like flax, walnuts and chia. Eating meat, refined sugars and drinking alcohol increase the inflammation in your body, so be mindful where possible.
JOINT PAIN Contrary to belief, joint pain can occur at any stage in life. Pain is usually caused by damage to ligaments, tendons, cartilage, or bone and can be extremely painful. To alleviate symptoms, treat your body to a relaxing Epsom salt bath – the magnesium will relax tight, tired muscles. A supplement like Revive Active Joint Complex, containing hyaluronic acid, marine collagen, MSM and glucosamine, can help.