• Hinton

Head to toe love from nature

Latest research research shows that many of us continue to struggle with living though the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Over half (54%) of Brits have felt anxious or worried.

  • Around a quarter (23%) of the UK have reported feeling lonely

  • Over one in five (22%) Brits have reported feeling hopeless and over half (54%) said they felt frustrated

  • A significant number of Brits [2] have confirmed that they have experienced changes to their sleep patterns thanks to COVID-19 with nearly two-thirds (63%) saying their sleep has been worse since March 2020.

As we live with COVID-19 loving our health and wellness is essential. Our bodies and how we look will not hide our health troubles which is good news because it means we can take action. The skin, the largest body organ is generally a reflection of what’s going on within. The same goes for our hair and nails. Similarly, the digestive tract, which is around 9 metres long, provides lots of opportunities for things to go wrong along the way. And this will also be reflected on the outside.

ALIVE! FACTS:

  • The heart beats a 100,000 times per day moving around 7,500 litres of blood daily

  • The liver is the most over-worked organ in the body plus it plays a major role in endocrine function[3] - vital for regulating our hormones and love life!

Just by looking after our liver, our skin, hair, joints plus good slumber and keeping a check on our hormones and moods, are all going to help keep us in better shape. But is there an easy way to keep a check on our health? Suzie Sawyer, clinical nutritionist for Alive! - the evidence backed range of supplements for all life stages and packed with a unique blend of 26 fruits and vegetables - has created a simple health and wellness MOT check. Designed to help people optimise their nutrition health and plug nutrient gaps this Alive! MOT check also details tips and advice born out of nature’s wonders to help keep our bodies healthy and happy.

#1. HEADS: TLC

Suffer from migraines or headaches? Both headaches and migraines are debilitating. Migraines differ from headaches as most sufferers have severe headaches felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head, while some have the head pain plus nausea or sickness and increased sensitivity to light or sound. Frustratingly, there can be several triggers for migraines, but often they’re caused by foods containing amines (chemicals related to the inorganic compound ammonia, that occur naturally, caused by bacteria that breaks down amino acids) such as cured meats, smoked fish, certain cheeses and yeast extracts. Very often migraines are linked to monthly hormonal changes in women and also a deficiency of the mineral magnesium[4].

Alive! fact: Latest research shows over 190,000 migraine attacks occur every day in the UK[5].

The good news is that the herb Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) found in MigraHerb Feverfew Migraine Relief, contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory compounds which may reduce blood vessel constriction - similar to the way prescribed medications are used to treat migraine[6]. There are now well over 70 studies evaluating the efficacy of Feverfew, with the most recent reporting a 40% reduction rate in migraine frequency each month[7]. Taking one capsule daily of MigraHerb Feverfew Migraine Relief can prevent migraine occurrences as well as lessening the number and severity of attacks.

Suzie’s tips: For those of you who suffer from headaches or migraine’s then make sure you supplement with magnesium and energising B vitamins. Alive! Ultra Wholefood Plus will help tick these boxes.

#2. LOVE YOUR SKIN, HAIR AND NAILS

One of nature’s true powerhouses, vitamin C, is key to having glowing skin. As an antioxidant it helps protect our largest organ from free radical damage. Plus, this super nutrient is needed for the production of collagen, the most abundant structural protein in the skin, helping to keep our bodies well-watered, smooth and youthful. Likewise, keratin, another type of structural protein is especially abundant in nails, maintaining their health and strength, and which also utilises vitamin C to form ketatinocytes.

Vitamin C is quickly excreted from the body and is lost during food storage, cooking and processing so it must be eaten every day. The secret to boosting vitamin C is adopting a diet rich in colour. Colourful fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamin C; don’t overthink it, just check out the colour on your plate at each mealtime; colour = nutrients, plain and simple.

Suzie’s Tips: Is your food plate guilty of being more beige than full of colour? Then I would recommend taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement from Alive! www.feelaliveuk.com. Each tablet or soft chew gummy contains a unique blend of 26 fruits and vegetables, PLUS additional vitamin C. All the Alive! multivitamins are suitable for vegetarians.

#3. BREATHE

Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, we are likely to catch between two and three colds every year and children as many as eight[8], particularly when they return to school. A recent review of UK National Diet and Nutrition Surveys (NDNS)[9] found that there was less prevalence of respiratory tract infections, including the common cold, when people were supplementing with vitamin D. It has been estimated that around one fifth of the UK population is deficient in vitamin D and this is especially problematic because we’re all spending more time indoors at the moment.

Plus, Pelargonium (Pelargonium sidoides) – part of the geranium plant family and a much research wonder from nature, latest data continues to show how effective it is in treating acute respiratory tract infections[10]. Of note is research relating to the specific extract EPs®7630 found in Kaloba Pelargonium Cough & Cold Relief which is available in oral drops, tablet and sugar-free syrup and can be taken from the age of 6 years as well as people suffering from asthma and other vulnerable groups.

Lastly, ‘garlic up’. Garlic has a wonderful antiviral and antibacterial qualities[11].

Suzie’s Tip: A great way of topping up your daily vitamin D intake is to chew Alive! Vitamin D3 Gummies which contain 50 μg of vitamin D3 per dose as well as Calcium and Phosphorus.

#4. HEART LOVE

The mineral magnesium is essential for good muscle function, encourages smooth blood circulation through the arteries and helps modulate blood pressure; it’s pretty essential for a healthy heart. The latest government data - National Diet and Nutrition Surveys (NDNS)[12] - magnesium is deficient in around 15% of the population across all age groups. The bad news is that this is down to poor dietary choices as well as taking certain medications that reduce stomach acid.[13]

Suzie’s Tips: Help keep your heart loved by increasing magnesium-rich green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans. Stuck for cooking ideas? Try this bean-based recipe which is also full of garlic, tomatoes and peppers. https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/veggie_stuffed_peppers_88266

#5. DIGESTIVE FITNESS

The digestive tract - THE GUT - dubbed the second brain has to be kept working well, because if we ignore it, the rest of our body will suffer badly. Our gut has an unequivocal connection to the brain and the amount of connective tissue going back and forth. If you’re struggling with low mood, then it’s worth looking to the digestive tract for a few answers.

The gut is filled with probiotics - microorganisms introduced into the body for their beneficial effect. Also known as the gut microbiome, this plays an essential role in how well the digestive system functions. It’s important to feed these guys with fermented foods including kefir, tempeh, natto, kombucha, miso and kimchi. In turn, this will help good liver function, especially in breaking down ‘old’ hormones, leading to better hormone balance.

Flavonoids are one of the most important compounds derived from plants. Silymarin is found in the herb Milk Thistle where it works as a powerful antioxidant, protecting the liver from damage[14] and helping regenerate liver cells. Flavonoid rich foods which are great for liver health include onions, tomatoes, black and green tea, walnuts, blackberries, rosemary and apples.

Suzie’s Tips: To ensure my gut is kept fit I make Nature’s Way Fortify Gummies my friendly bacteria must which contains 6 billion viable live cultures per adult daily dose, specifically Bacillus coagulans – one of nature’s toughest strains. Plus, I swear by Thisilyn Milk Thistle because it helps relieve the symptoms associated with occasional over-indulgence of drink and food such as indigestion and upset stomach. The Alive! Ultra Wholefood Plus range also contains a unique botanical digestive blend incorporating Betaine HCl, Bromelain and Papain.

#6. HORMONE ESSENTIALS FOR better sleep, sex and mood

When talking about hormones, we often just think about male and female sex hormones, forgetting insulin (needed for blood sugar balance), adrenal hormones (essential for the stress response) and melatonin (our key sleep hormone). In fact, you can’t separate one hormone from another because they are all interlinked and they all need to work in balance. For example, if you’re struggling with PMS, then this is often related to blood sugar issues, as well as imbalances with oestrogen and progesterone. Similarly, if you can’t sleep this may be a blood sugar issue as well as high cortisol levels.

However, nature has the answers with some amazing herbs. Stress levels thanks to lockdown are high. The apoptogenic herb, Rhodiola, can help reduce symptoms of stress, increase energy levels and help prevent burn-out[15].

Vitamin B6 is needed for hormone balancing across the full spectrum of hormones because of its essential role as a co-factor in many enzyme reactions within the body. Poultry, fish, soya produce, whole wheat, oats and bananas are your friends if you want to feel balanced, happy, energised and sleep peacefully.

However, if you’re struggling with female hormone havoc and varying PMS symptoms, then the herb Vitex Agnus Castus[16] can help normalise things within a couple of cycles. Vitex works on the pituitary gland which may also help regulate disordered menstrual cycles.

Suzie’s Tips: Vitano Rhodiola is a licensed herbal remedy to relieve stress and boost energy and even libido! Alive! B-Complex Gummies contains all the essential B vitamins for energy and immunity, including 4 mg of Vitamin B6. For women experiencing PMS symptoms including irritability, mood swings, breast tenderness and bloating try PremHerb PMS Relief containing 4mg of Agnus Castus fruit extract, equivalent to 28-52 mg of Agnus Castus herb.

#7. BONE AND MUSCLE HEALTH: OUR BODY MAP ESSENTIAL

Your skeletal frame containing bones, joints, muscles and cartilage, works incredibly hard every day, but we’re probably all guilty of taking it for granted. There are around 206 bones in the human body which all need nourishment, especially in early life but throughout life too, plus all the components of the skeletal frame.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, with one of the best sources being live natural yoghurt (also rich in probiotics). Sardines, canned salmon (down to the small bones), beans, lentils, and cheese are all rich in calcium. Why not show your frame some kindness with this amazing midweek recipe, loaded with calcium? https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sardine_and_kale_86512

Sarcopenia, a progressive and generalised skeletal muscle disorder involving the accelerated loss of muscle mass and function in the elderly, can result in falls, functional decline, frailty, and mortality. Calcium combined with Vitamin D[17] and Phosphorus has been shown to help strengthen bone density.

Suzie’s Tips: Alive! Calcium Gummies have been formulated to contain a s