Red Seal's Health Blog
Men and food – blame it on testosterone!
He walks in to the house and the greeting is brief (or just a grunt if you are lucky) as he heads towards the fridge to survey the contents and to see what is good to eat. He always seems to be hungry. Son, brother, husband or lover – men and food, what is it all about? Women generally dictate the diet and nutrition level of her family as it is more likely she plans and shops for it. Typically, most women know more about nutrition than men.
When it comes to optimal nutrition, do men have special needs that are different to women? Absolutely! Just like women, men have special needs too and they need to pay attention to specific nutrients to help maintain great health. There are many common conditions that effect both men and women such as diabetes; cardiac disease and obesity, however, some conditions men are more prone to.
Blame it on Testosterone
Differences between men and women are subtle, but due to their size and lean body mass their calorie intake needs are higher than women’s, especially if they are active. Testosterone is responsible – the male hormone! This hormone results in increased muscle mass and bulk, driving the need for more calories and protein intake than women to maintain their bodies.
Iron in or out?
Compared to women, adult men don’t need as much iron. Often men consume more red meat (than women) so it is important for them not to over load on Iron. A small percentage of men are at risk for a hereditary condition that causes excess iron to build up in the vital organs called hemochromatosis, but this condition can also be acquired after having too much iron in the diet or from blood transfusions. Excess iron can damage organs, which can lead to increased inflammatory conditions as well as cancer, irregular heartbeat and cirrhosis of the liver. Symptoms of iron overload can be diabetes, darkening of the skin, abnormal heart rhythm or joint pain. Men who are prone to this condition usually begin to exhibit symptoms of hemochromatosis between the ages of 30 and 50 years of age.
However, every man is an individual, so if a man is vegetarian or vegan, if he does lots of exercise or is iron deficient, then an iron supplement could be recommended. Having a quick blood test can determine iron levels.
Let’s talk about Sex.
Lifestyle factors such as stress, obesity, and poor nutrition can impact on fertility and sexual function. In recent years it has been reported that one in five men had abnormal sperm quality and in New Zealand men, sperm count has halved over the last two decades. Key nutrients have proven helpful for maintaining testosterone levels, essential for sperm production and the subject that many men squirm at thinking about; Prostate health.
Z is for Zinc!
The last letter in the alphabet, but the first mineral for men’s health; Z is for Zinc! The prostate gland contains high concentrations of this mineral. Researchers have discovered that the trace mineral zinc plays a vital role in maintaining prostate health and prevention against prostate cancer; in fact those with prostate cancer tend to have low zinc levels. Prostate cells accumulate more zinc than cells in any other human tissue. Zinc enables the male body to produce testosterone, because of this; low levels of zinc have been linked to erectile dysfunction and low libido.
It is not surprising then that oysters contain some of the highest levels of zinc in a food, hence its renowned reputation for being an Aphrodisiac! But lamb, beef, spinach, ginger, oats, nuts and pumpkin seeds are also great sources. 10 – 15 mg daily is needed to maintain healthy zinc levels.
Sexy Fruit and Veg?
Keep the fruit bowl full as fruit and veggies have an impact on male sexiness. These are great daily sources of Vitamin C which are key for healthy sexual function. Vitamin C is probably better known for its role in immunity, but it is also helpful for keeping skin and gums healthy, to help with stress reduction, cognitive function and even linked to improved fertility. Vitamin C helps increase sperm’s ability to flow freely (vital sperm that gets the job done!) and can help to maintain healthy blood vessels.
So the next time he walks into the house and goes straight to the fridge know that he does need more filling than a woman, but suggest some of the foods that will help keep him healthy. The best sources of nutrients will always be food, but sometimes extra support is needed, especially in times of stress, busy lifestyles or poor habits.
Remember that it is important to ensure that men choose supplements that are appropriate for their needs. This may mean a low or no iron supplement or Multi Vitamin, increasing Vitamin C or ensuring they have adequate Zinc for their optimal health and sexiness.
Always read the label and use as directed. Supplementary to a balanced diet. Red Seal, Auckland.
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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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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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Let’s give thanks
Appreciating what we have, rather than despairing over what we don’t, is one of the keys to a happy and healthy life. We take a look at a few things for which to be grateful.
HEALTH IN A TEA CUP
Here’s to a pick-me-up that’s truly good for you. Sitting down for a cup of tea can be a tiny oasis of calm in the middle of a stressful day. And when you fill your mug with Red Seal Green Tea or Red Bush Tea you get an extra shot of antioxidants – just three cups a day are enough to yield a therapeutic dose. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which can damage the body and lead to illness, hence a diet full of antioxidants is one of the best ways to improve your health. Bonus: if you drink both teas (Green and Red Bush), that’s even better as you are getting a mix of different antioxidants. Let’s be grateful for such an easy and delicious health boost.
AN EASY RESET BUTTON
We’re fortunate to live in a country where good food is plentiful – but sometimes we’re guilty of overdoing it. For those times when your digestion needs some TLC, we’re lucky there’s Red Seal Activated Charcoal to the rescue. It’s made from medicinal-grade carbonised coconut shell which acts as a sponge to absorb substances (such as toxins and bacteria) in the large and small intestines before passing harmlessly through the body. This simple treatment can be your go-to first-aid treatment for upset stomachs and it’s also a lifesaver for irregular bowels and even food poisoning.
THE POWER TO CHANGE
While big health issues may have the power to overwhelm us, the good news is that we have the ability to fight back. Winter is not far away and with the change of seasons often comes unwellness. But it’s possible to strengthen your own immunity. As well as eating an optimal diet and staying in shape, there are some simple products that can help your body resist illness. Olive Leaf, Vitamin C and Zinc, B6 & Magnesium are Red Seal’s special trio of resistance builders. It’s so easy to start the family on these at the first sign of a sniffle – or, better yet, before it even happens!
A NAME YOU CAN TRUST
At Red Seal we’re thankful for our history and legacy. The company was founded in 1923 by English naturopath William Anderton, who operated from a small shop in Symonds Street, Auckland. Today we are still family owned and operated. We love being a New Zealand company and making products such as toothpaste, which was formulated right here by one
WRITE DOWN YOUR THANKS
One simple way to be happier is to start a gratitude journal. Every day take a note of the big and small things you appreciated. Soon it will become second nature to look on the bright side and get a well-being boost.
By Julie Fergusson, Red Seal Naturopath
Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.
Credit: Life & Leisure
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