The IMAGE A To Z Wellness Alphabet: Part One

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 from within and can get the most out of life. In part one below, we decipher A through E and learn our probiotics from our antioxidants.

ANTIOXIDANTS? have various beneficial roles in the body. They keep cells strong and healthy, protecting them from environmental damage; they can help slow ageing; and antioxidants play an essential part in the detoxification process in the liver, helping it convert harmful substances to easier to process metabolites. The key antioxidant vitamins are A, C and E.

BACTERIA: PROBIOTICS Human bodies contain trillions of microorganisms (bacteria), which live in our gut. A significant number of these bacteria, called probiotics, have a positive effect on our health; assisting with food digestion, keeping inflammation and disease at bay, and even contributing towards our overall feelings of good mood. Probiotics also line and protect the gut from negative invaders such as yeasts, fungi, and viruses. Modern science is putting more and more emphasis on the importance of good gut health and how we must continually boost our natural levels of probiotics by ensuring they are regulars in our diet. One of the best naturally occurring sources is live-cultured yogurt, as well as the fermented tea kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles.

WOMEN NEED?CALCIUM, not just for bone health, but also to protect the heart, muscles, and nerves. To increase your calcium levels, try increasing your dairy intake, eat more fish containing bones - like anchovies or sardines - and leafy greens. It's important to note that in order for our bodies to absorb calcium efficiently, we must be sure of good vitamin D levels.

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DETOXIFICATION While there is an abundance of 'detoxifying? treatments in salons, spas, and pharmacies, in actuality, it's impossible to totally rid your body of all toxins, because we're exposed to, and make, toxins all the time. Detoxification is the liver's job, and it does so by converting fat-soluble molecules into easier to metabolise water-soluble?ones through a series of processes involving proteins, antioxidants, and enzymes. Give your liver some help with the process by eating plenty of beetroots, turmeric and sea vegetables (the nori around sushi is excellent) and drink plenty of water to flush out toxins.

ENERGY?It's the problem that we all complain about, but one that we don't always fix. Tiredness and lack of energy could be signs you are low on?iron, and you may need supplements to give your body a boost ?A symphony of B vitamins - 1, 2, 3, 5and 12 - is essential in helping our bodies generate energy, as are iron, selenium, copper, magnesium and CoQ10.

Click here to see part two of our A-Z of Wellness alphabet?

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