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Alternative Health Supplies :: Navigating Good Health

Navigating Good Health

Navigating the channel to good health

Captain Cook’s crew didn’t know why the limes they had to eat saved them from scurvy. We now know it was the Vitamin C that saved them. And the learning continues...

We’ve only just begun to understand how antioxidants can stave off cancer, or how important protein is to the maintenance of healthy weight.

With obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes in epidemic proportions in the Western World, something is wrong and the race is on to fix it. We are starting to realise that it must be in large part caused by our modern diets.

High quality supplements can help restore the balance thrown off by our modern diets.

Are you getting everything you need from your diet?

Altering the structure of the food

Modern processing of otherwise healthy foods can reduce their bio-effectiveness.

Eating an apple takes time and energy. Your body has to work hard to break down this hard and chewy fruit into usable energy and nutrients. Drinking a glass of apple juice is easy and your body doesn’t have to work very hard to extract the energy from the juice.

The human body digests food in a complex manner. The act of chewing food prepares the body for digestion. The physical bulk of the food will alter absorption rates.  Heavily processed foods have in many instances done the work the body would normally do, by breaking down the physical structure of the food and making it more rapidly absorbable by the body.

This can be to our benefit.  Cooking vegetables and meats release many more of their calories to us, and it is thought that this advantage over other species may have aided in our rise to the top of the food chain.

But it can also be a negative because it allows us to consume more calories more easily than ever before.

Compounding the problem, is that the body has trouble recognising that it has been fed sufficiently, and we may not even have the feeling of fullness (satiety) that we ought to have.

Rice crackers illustrate this problem (at least most commercial brands).  Whole grain rice is highly nutritious. It supports billions globally. But rice crackers bear little resemblance to their namesake ingredient. They’ve been stripped of their nutrients and processed so heavily that the body absorbs them nearly as fast as sugar.

Adding ingredients to the product

Many store bought products contain additives which operate to stabilise the food and extend its shelf life.  The most notorious of these are trans-fats, which are unsaturated fats that have been made to behave like a saturated fat through chemically squeezing additional hydrogen into the compound, making them more stable.  (that’s why they’re also referred to as ‘hydrogenated vegetable fats’)  These types of fats wreak havoc on our bodies.

Refined sugar (sucrose) is also added to a surprisingly wide range of commercial products that you might not expect, like pasta sauce, condiments, yoghurt and peanut butter.  The sugar in this product causes a release of insulin which encourages the body to store additional calories as fat.

Navigating your way to health with supplements

Eating as many natural whole foods in as broad variety as possible can minimise exposure to some of the problems described above.  Preparing and cooking your own food can also help.

But let’s be realistic.  We can’t all eat like nutritionists every day.  It is simply too time consuming, complex and can be very expensive.

That’s where supplements can come in.  But not just any old supplement.  All the criticisms of over processed foods could be applied to some of the poor quality supplements out there.

That’s why we carefully select the products we offer to you.  It is important that you can trust what goes into your supplements, not just the ingredients but where those ingredients are from.  There are benefits locked away in those ingredients which don’t find their way onto any nutritional panel, but will find their way into your system.

Some supplements, like certain herbs, need to be picked at the right time, dried at the right temperature, mixed in the right ratios and then stored in just the right way in order to maintain their effectiveness.

What supplements are right for you?

Supplements must be just that – supplemental to your natural diet. Here are some examples when a supplement may be right for you:

  1. Due to a specific health condition - People suffering from a specific health condition may have need for more nutrients than normal. Some bone conditions may be assisted by higher Vitamin D and calcium intake for instance, and quality supplements will prove to be the only effective way to get enough.
  2. Due to dietary intolerance -People with digestive ailments or allergies may not be able to consume the foods they need to get all their required nutrients – or the nutrients they consume will not be absorbed as easily. We are starting to realise that many more people suffer from intolerances to common products like gluten or lactose and these can restrict the variety of foods able to be consumed. Broad spectrum supplements like multivitamins can assist here.
  3. Lifestyle Factors  - We all overindulge sometimes, through excessive alcohol or fast food. For those whose lifestyle doesn’t allow them the opportunity to eat fresh, carefully prepared food as often as they’d like, supplements can help swing the pendulum back in your favour.
  4. Specific Training requirements - People undertaking heavy physical training will require greater nutrients than others. Protein is now understood to be critical not only to muscle repair and growth, but also to maintenance of healthy weight. It is difficult to get enough good quality protein in one’s diet without consuming too many calories or bad fats from animal products. For vegetarian athletes, the task is even greater.
  5. Good quality protein supplements are a mainstay for serious athletes, and weekend sports warriors can benefit too!

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