Red Seal's Health Blog
Top tips for a strong immunity – naturally!
As we approach the autumn and winter months, temperatures drop, nights get longer and winter ills and chills become rife.
Fundamentally we know that there are things that can help keep our immune system strong: A healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, plenty of Vitamin C, relaxation, hydration, exercise, a warm dry environment, lowered stress levels and a good mental attitude. But there are a few others that we can add to the list:
The Sunshine vitamin
Many people are shunning the sun due to fear of melanoma and as a result the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’, Vitamin D, has increasingly become a deficient in many people. The sun helps protect our immune system by stimulating the production of Vitamin D. Generally 5-15 minutes per day of sun exposure on bare skin will give us enough Vitamin D, but many people lose out on the benefits because of limited sun exposure, sunscreen, old age, or deeply pigmented skin.
Good levels of Vitamin D appear to support respiratory health and the body’s natural immune defences, as well as supporting cardiovascular and brain health, and easing joint stiffness.
- Vitamin D absorption needs fats in your diet. So those people on fat reducing diets or taking medication that change their cholesterol levels may being impairing their Vitamin D levels.
- Help your Vitamin D levels by including nuts, avocados, walnuts, flaxseeds, egg yolk, trout, tuna, herring, and salmon into a meal, and consider taking Vitamin D supplement. Cod liver oil also helps with absorption.
- If you think you are Vitamin D deficient a blood test can help determine your levels.
Our Internal Guardsmen
The body system that controls about 70 per cent of our immune system often goes overlooked – it is our intestinal tract. The gut contains hundreds of different types of bacteria; some of them do helpful things like break down carbohydrates in the intestine and produce infection-fighting antibodies and vitamins, while other destructive bacteria secrete toxins and promote disease.
In healthy guts the good bacteria outnumber the bad. When this is in balance, we are not even aware of the role that they do. However, when the bad outnumber the good we can have many health issues. There are two important things we need to help keep our intestinal tract robust: Prebiotics and Probiotics.
Prebiotics are like a fertilizer for the good bacteria to thrive upon. They are indigestible fibres that help to create a good environment in the gut and cleanse the body by helping keep our bowel motions regular. Found naturally in a number of foods; asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, beans, chickpeas, lentils and supplementary fibres such as psyllium, pectin, guar gum and slippery elm.
Probiotics: These bacteria are not just restricted to the intestinal tract but also populate the vagina, bladder, bowel, mouth and lungs. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most common probiotic bacteria and there are a number of strains in each of these families.
Our western modern diet has unfortunately managed to process out any naturally occurring beneficial bacteria in many foods, while at the same time feeding harmful bacteria with a feast of processed starches and sugars. In contrast most traditional cultures have some form of fermented food that keep our bacteria balanced. We need regular intake of these fermented foods to ensure the balance. These include yoghurts, Kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha tea and tempeh.
- A recent course of antibiotics (or other medication), overseas travel, signs of digestive imbalance, change of season are all good reasons to add fermented foods into your diet or take a multi-strain probiotic supplement.
The On/Off Switch
Proper sleep is fundamental to a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is like an on/off switch that helps us to reboot, rebuild and rebalance on a daily basis. When we fail to get enough good sleep our body is not able to function well and we have lowered overall immunity.
If you are not sleeping well or getting inadequate sleep then you have to ask why. Is your sleeping environment suitable? Are you drinking too much caffeine? Are you stressed?
Many people refuse to listen to their body, stop, rest and give time to recuperate while sick. Sleep loss not only plays a role in whether we come down with lurgies, it also influences how we fight illnesses once we come down with them. When we are not well, sleep is one of the best healing things we can do.
- Make sure the room where you sleep is completely dark
- Get to bed in plenty of time.
- Have a bath before bed time
- Listen to relaxing music or mediation to help you sleep
- A magnesium supplement can help you relax and prepare for sleep
- Herbs such as Passionflower, Valerian, Chamomile and Skullcap can help the body relax and prepare for sleep so make a good night tea before bed.
- Tart Cherry can also help support production of our natural sleep hormones.
- There are numerous medications that have side effects that include insomnia. So it is a good idea to check the side effects of your medication if you are having problems sleeping.
Power of Vitamin C
Let’s not forget the winter essential! Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for immunity. It helps to strengthen the body’s defences against the dreaded winter sniffles and also helps with healing.
In the body, the antioxidant process is similar to stopping an apple from browning. Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown, dip it in orange or lemon juice, which contains vitamin C, and is stays white!
- Antioxidant rich foods are essential. Fruits & vegetables, whole grains and nuts
- Keep a tub of chewable vitamin C’s in your cupboard and on your desk at work. This will ensure you’re getting your daily dose wherever you are.
Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet. Red Seal, Auckland.
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A summer boost
Has the warmer weather caught you feeling sluggish rather than spirited? Life a bit stagnant or too stressful? Turbo-charge your health and vitality with an essential little mineral.
Zinc deficiency is very common and can cause a number of health issues. But there are plenty of warning signs. Here are the five main ones.
5 zinc-deficiency symptoms
- Compromised immune system. Zinc is vital to a healthy body. If you frequently get sick, suffer from chronic allergies or generally have trouble with your immune system, you are potentially zinc-deficient.
- Leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition in which proteins can leak through the gut and cause systemic inflammation. Leaky gut is also related to food allergies, thyroid problems and adrenal fatigue. Zinc has been shown to support healthy gut permeability.
- The third indicator that you might be zinc deficient is if you suffer from loose bowels. Bowel disease or even gas and bloating are also signs that you are lacking in the essential mineral.
- Thinning hair or hair loss. Lack of zinc is associated with hypothyroidism, a cause of thinning hair and alopecia. Zinc is necessary to support hair growth as well as your body’s growth, repair and healing processes.
- Irritated skin issues. If you have any sort of skin issue or if your fingernails are thin and peeling with white spots, it can be another sign of zinc deficiency.
4 causes of zinc deficiency
It’s also important to understand what causes a zinc deficiency.
- High levels of emotional stress are hazardous to your zinc levels. If you are emotionally stressed out, over time your body has to utilise zinc to heal and repair the body, brain, skin and organs.
- No one doubts the benefits of exercise but if you work out a lot – especially if you do a lot of high-intensity training such as (HIIT) workouts or CrossFit workouts (or maybe even have worked out too much in the past), a zinc deficiency can be the result.
- If you are pregnant and eating for two or breast-feeding, you can suffer from mineral deficiencies, including zinc. To ensure their fertility and long-term prostate health, men require zinc too.
- Last but not least, those with digestive problems or eating disorders, those who are dieting and the elderly tend to have malabsorption problems, meaning they don’t absorb zinc well and tend to have deficiency symptoms.
Red Seal Zinc B6 & Magnesium tablets contain 9mg of zinc sulphate combined with magnesium and vitamin B6. These nutrients together are responsible for more than 500 enzyme complex processes essential for well-being.
Red Seal Zinc Complex is an easy one-a-day vege cap combining three forms of zinc – citrate, amino acid chelate and gluconate 15 mg with additional selenium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese to support healthy metabolism, nerves, energy production, cartilage and much more.
How to overcome zinc-deficiency symptoms
If you’re going to get more zinc in your diet, a few things need to happen. The most important is to consume more of the foods that are high in zinc. Pumpkin seeds and oysters are very high in zinc; another great form is grass-fed beef. Sprouted nuts and seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, almonds and peas are also good sources. Last but not least, you also need probiotics. Remember that it’s not just what you eat but what you digest. So getting more probiotic-rich foods in your diet and adding supplements can improve your overall absorption.
*Always read the label and only take supplements and herbs as directed and if you are taking any medication please check with your health adviser. Endeavour Consumer Health Ltd, Auckland
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Immunity support to help fight off the nasties
It is good to know that you now get a great quality extra strength supplement support at your local supermarket at reasonable prices.
The Red Seal High Strength range is just a little different from the average supplements in the supermarket, with:
- Easy to swallow capsules
- Most in veggie caps and suitable for vegans
- All high quality
- Higher doses; for when you need it the most
- A reassurance that they are New Zealand made
- Most are One-a-day doses
Immune Defence -High Strength Immune Defence
The most complex system in the body is the immune system. It is constantly working to protect us from invaders day and night. With our busy lives, we are constantly surrounded by pathogens that test us. The immune system is only something we become aware of when there are chills and ills in the body, feeling tired, a scratchy throat and blocked nose, or a feeling of a full scale war in our body. Traditionally herbs such as Echinacea, Garlic, Pau d’Arco, Elderberry and Andrographis have been used to help support the immune system for the upper respiratory tract. Immune Defence also combines Vitamin C, bioflavonoids and Zinc to enhance the herbal synergistic actions and further support the immune defences and recovery from those winter threats.
Multiple Good Guys -High Strength Probiotic 50 billion
Not all bacteria are bad! Some bacteria are there to help protect us, and they live inside us. They boost our immune system, protect against disease and aid in the digestion of food. When antibiotics, stress, or infection create imbalance by killing off the healthy bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract, then it is more likely that harmful bacteria may overwhelm our system. This can lead to poor overall health and a variety of developing health issues. What are these good guys? Probiotics!
High Strength Probiotic 50 billion capsules are a high dose multi strain of eleven probiotics especially selected to be able to move through the high pH of the stomach and continue to the digestive tract, and other areas such as the vagina and urinary tract. Thus helping to repopulate and colonize healthy bacteria in the right areas. Many people notice that when the digestive system is working better, their sense of wellbeing and mood also improves.
Being shelf stable,High Strength Probiotic 50 billion is ideal if you are home or travelling as there is no need to refrigerate them. Ensure you are back to health by including a multi strain Probiotic daily.
Be Complex –High Strength Vitamin B
If you are feeling run down and fatigued B complex may be what you need. B vitamins have a number of different functions in the body. B’s are responsible for many aspects that contribute to our well-being; including energy conversion, cognitive function, mood, healthy hair, skin and nails, detoxification, cholesterol balance, digestion, hormonal, nervous and reproductive systems.
Being deficient in some B vitamins such as B12, or Folic acid can lead to some critical health conditions that can make you feel tired and worn out. Different types of vitamin B all come from various types of foods. Most are water-soluble and it is critical that we replenish our daily intake. B vitamins work as a family and are synergistic so best taken together as a group. Large doses of any one single B may have no therapeutic value, or worse, cause a deficiency in another B vitamin. It is recommended that B vitamins are taken in a “complex” form, or if a single B vitamin is taken for a boost, that it is accompanied by a B complex or multi vitamin supplement.
Certain health conditions can result in a poor absorption of B vitamins, a poor diet with a high intake of processed foods, sugar and alcohol will mean the body will have a greater need for B Vitamins. Taking oral contraceptives, antibiotics, and sleeping pills also increases the body’s demands of B vitamins. Certain population groups, such as older adults and pregnant women, need larger amounts of some types of vitamin B.
Supplementary to a balanced diet. Always read the label. Take only as directed.
Endeavour Consumer Health, Auckland.
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5 Natural Ways to Stay Young
We can’t argue with our chronological age, but we can keep our minds and bodies as youthful as possible by taking care of our health. Here are five simple ways we can support our bodies – no anti-aging creams or surgery required!
1. Enhance sleep
Our bodies need sleep for rest and repair but the pace of modern life is often sleep depriving. Rather than relying on pharmaceutical aids, try a relaxing cup of herbal tea (such as sweet dreams) an hour before you go to bed. If you cut out TV, computers and other electronic devices at this time, your body will be much more relaxed and ready for sleep.
2. Look after your gut
The well-being of the gut is central to many health issues. Try lemon juice in warm water in the morning to kick start your digestive processes, eat foods with “good bacteria” such as yoghurt and fermented foods like kombucha or add a probiotic supplement to your regime. When your digestive process is running smoothly, you’ll feel less sluggish and more vital.
3. Add antioxidants
Oxidative damage is caused by free radicals, single-oxygen molecules that can negatively affect the tissues and other vital substances in your body. Antioxidants counteract the effects of free radicals and a great way to get them is to drink green or Rooibos tea – just three cups a day makes a therapeutic dose. You can also get your fill of antioxidants by eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.
4. Support your skin
Dry skin looks older and less radiant. For more hydrated skin, drink lots of water. Herbal and fruit teas are caffeine free and are a great way to increase your water intake. Vitamins and minerals can also support skin health – vitamin E, selenium, zinc, B6 and magnesium are all beneficial. As well as eating a diet rich in these elements, supplements are a simple way to up your intake.
5. Keep active
Keeping your body moving is incredibly beneficial to your overall health and how youthful you feel. A simple walk in the fresh air helps clear the mind, bolster the immune system, flood the body with beneficial natural chemicals, increase energy, lower stress levels and enhance self-esteem. Keeping flexible is also a key to youthfulness, as any yoga teacher will tell you.
Two great ways to fight ageing – and achieve smoother skin
“Ageing skin looks wrinkled, dry or scarred,” explains Red Seal naturopath Julie Fergusson. “One of the best ways to combat this is to ensure your diet is high in antioxidants such as vitamin C, by eating more fresh vegetables, citrus fruits and berries. You might also consider a vitamin C supplement,” she says. “Omega 3s are great for calming and moisturizing the skin too. Krill oil offers a higher concentration of Omega 3 than other fish oils and it also contains astaxanthin, a carotenoid that improves skin elasticity.”
Stay young! Stay alive!
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