Live Long and Healthily

An exclusive article by Dr Marilyn Glenville written especially for Peak of Health

Living a long life may not always be a good thing - many people spend their final years in pain or virtually immobile.

Instead of treating symptoms as they appear, a proactive approach to your health involves taking the right supplements, eating healthily and exercising to prevent major problems.

Eating and drinking healthily:

  • Drinking eight glasses of mineral or filtered water a day flushes out toxins and lubricates the organs of the body
  • Try to have three regular meals a day with plenty of organic fruit and vegetables
  • Cut down on sugar, salt, and refined foods (such as white bread)
  • Drink less tea and coffee and try herbal teas instead
  • Try to stick to government guidelines on drinking alcohol - for a woman this is 14 units (glasses of wine) a week
  • Take a good multivitamin/mineral that is appropriate for your age

The value of antioxidants

Fruits and vegetables supply us with certain nutrients which are classed as antioxidants, that protect us against the effects of atoms called free radicals. During normal biochemical reactions oxygen can become unstable, resulting in the 'oxidation' of other molecules, which in turn generates free radicals. Free radicals are also triggered by pollution, smoking, fried or barbecued food and UV rays from the sun.

It is these free radicals that have been linked to premature ageing, cancer, coronary heart disease as well as to the brown patches on the skin of some elderly people. They speed up the ageing process by destroying healthy cells and they can also attack the DNA in the nucleus of a cell, causing cell mutation and cancer.

Fortunately, nature provides us with protection against free radicals in the form of antioxidants. Antioxidants are extremely important because they can disarm free radicals. Our bodies produce some antioxidants naturally, but in the polluted society in which we live we need more antioxidants than our bodies can manufacture, so the best solution is to eat them and also take them in supplement form.

In order to get a good supply of antioxidants you need to eat a wide variety of both fruits and vegetables preferably organic. Try to avoid peeling them as the skin can contain valuable nutrients. Even with vegetables like carrots, where they are organic, just scrub them.

Antioxidants are found in many foods that are easy to eat on a regular basis. Foods containing the vitamins C, E and beta-carotene (the plant form of vitamin A) all have antioxidant properties, as do the minerals selenium and zinc. Omega 3 oils in oily fish and linseeds can also mop up free radicals. Some important plant chemicals (phytochemicals) are also powerful antioxidants such as lycopene found in tomatoes, bioflavonoids (found in citrus fruits) and proanthocyanidins (found in berries, grapes and green tea).

Sources of antioxidants include

Vitamin A: Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables e.g. carrots and pumpkins, oily fish

Vitamin C: Fruits, green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, berries, potatoes and sweet potatoes

Vitamin E: Nuts, avocados, seeds, vegetable oils and oily fish

Selenium: Brazil nuts, tuna, cabbage

Zinc: Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fish, almonds

Exercise mind and body:

  • Remaining active (both mentally and physically) is one of the best ways to stay healthy as we get older.
  • Walking for twenty minutes a day five times a week helps to prevent heart disease, diabetes,
    cancer, depression and obesity
  • Keep mentally active by reading, doing crosswords, socialising, or taking up a hobby
  • Take the herbal remedy Ginkgo biloba regularly as it ensures a healthy blood flow to the brain
  • Avoid toxic chemicals
  • Many cosmetics and household cleansers contain harmful toxins - choose those with natural ingredients.
  • Having a positive approach to life helps people to be happier and healthier as they get older.

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