Do I need vitamin supplements?

Do we really need vitamin supplement?
Do we really need vitamin supplement?

Most people don’t need to take vitamin supplements and are able to get all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet.

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients, such as ironcalcium and vitamin C, that your body needs in small amounts to work properly.

Many people choose to take supplements, but taking too much or taking them for too long could be harmful. The Department of Health recommends certain supplements for some groups of people who are at risk of deficiency. These are described below.

Folic acid supplements in pregnancy

All women thinking of having a baby should have a folic acid supplement, as should any pregnant woman up to week 12 of her pregnancy. Folic acid can help to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

Read more about vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy.

Vitamin D supplements

The Department of Health recommends that everyone over the age of five (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement, particularly between October and March.

Some groups of the population are at greater risk of not getting enough vitamin D than others, including:

babies from birth to the age of one, (including breastfed babies and formula fed babies who have less than 500ml a day of infant formula)

all children aged between one and four

people who aren’t often outdoors – for example, those who are frail or housebound, in an institution such as a care home, or if they usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors

These people should take daily vitamin D supplements, to make sure they get enough.

Read more information about vitamin D.

Supplements containing vitamins A, C and D

All children aged six months to five years should take a supplement containing vitamins A, C and D. This is a precaution because growing children may not get enough of these vitamins – especially those not eating a varied diet, such as fussy eaters.

Your GP may also recommend supplements if you need them for a medical condition. For example, you may be prescribed iron supplements to treat iron deficiency anaemia.

Effervescent tablets: salt advice

Effervescent (fizzy) vitamin supplements or effervescent painkillers can contain up to a gram of salt per tablet. Consider changing to a non-effervescent tablet, particularly if you have been advised to watch or reduce your salt intake.

Kimchee – What are the health benefits of kimchee!

Kimchee - what are the benefits to our health
Kimchee – what are the benefits to our health

Never heard of kimchee?  Then let me be the one to introduce you this really amazing (and healthy) food.

But before I start I should explain that my love of kimchee is about 25 years old now.  It started in a sadly long defunct restaurant in South Wimbledon, London whose name escapes me for the moment. (It was great and real shame it closed.)

The evening we went (a Saturday I think) my eating life changed.  For the first time I tried Kimchee – the spicy fermented cabbage which is the hallmark of Korean food.    Talking to the gentleman who ran the place I was told that there are around 100,000 different types of fermented and picked vegetable dishes on the peninsula.  It was then a decided (by my wife and I) that our next holiday had to be to Korea. When we went we find it was (and still was on subsequent visits) a paradise for those who love hot and tasty food, wonderful people, great scenery and some of the finest sights in Asia.  (Ad for Korea over but do go… you won’t regret it).

Back now to the discussion of kimchee and why it is good for you.

As you may have picked up fermented foods (such as sauerkraut) are the fashion of the moment.  Kimchee comes into this category of tasty things.

The first point is that kimchi (an alternative spelling) is low in calories and high in fibre which makes it a great part of a weight loss program!

Secondly it is very high in vitamins.  In particular vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin C.  I’m told that the vitamin C content is upped by the fermentation process.

Kimchee is also a great source of antioxidants.  You can read up about the benefits of anti-oxidants at our previous blog.

But most importantly it is probiotic.  According to the NHS “Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts promoted as having various health benefits. They’re usually added to yoghurts or taken as food supplements, and are often described as ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria.”  Again we have a whole blogful of data here on probiotics.

So what is Kimchi useful for health-wise?

  1. Diabetes comes to mind. Koreans, it seems, have a lower incidence than say the
    Kimchi - why it is great for you
    Kimchi – why it is great for you

    US and this has been attributed to the kimchi in the diet.  And it does help reduce blood sugar levels.

  2. Yes I was a bit surprised by this as well!  But again the great bacteria produced by eating kimchee do their job!
  3. Lowers cholesterol. Now kimchi has a high level of garlic which may well help reduce Cholesterol.
  4. Boost the immune system.
  5. General digestive health including bowel problems. Here both the fibre and the bacteria come into play.
  6. Aids weight loss and helps fight obesity!
  7. Anti-aging properties. Collagen produced by the bacteria helps keep you skin in tip top condition!

So where can I get kimchee?  Well these days a lot of supermarket chain sell it otherwise specialist Asian stores are your beast!

Otherwise you might even want to consider making your own.  Here is the recipe I use.

PS  I should mention that kimchi smells quite strong.  So both my wife and I have had complaints when we have taken it into work.

PPS It is not just vegetables which are fermented.  I once tried fermented fish guts.  You should too.

 

 

What are superfoods?

What are superfoods?
What are superfoods?

The infographic was shared by Topweightedvest, a blog dedicated to the usage of weighted vests and other useful weighted clothing which you can use in your day to day life to grow your body muscles.

We all love to be healthy. But do you do something to keep yourself healthy?

Superfoods may be your way to go.

Unfortunately, there is no proper legal definition for superfood, but it is essentially a food packed with nutrients.

These may be anything from antioxidants to polyphenols to vitamins to minerals. Superfoods are very important for the healthy body. The more you eat them, the better it is.

These foods will help you prevent chronic diseases and also helps you to prolong your life.

I will speak about few of my favourites and the rest you can read from the infographic.

Eggs

Eggs are considered as a perfect food as it contains all the necessary nutrients that a body requires. Apart from this eggs are a great source of inexpensive protein.

It also has other important nutrients which benefit your eyes.

You can eat three eggs a day without any issues.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is considered as the healthiest food on the planet.

There are many other popular oils out there, but nothing beats the nutritional value that coconut oil provides.

Not only does it help increase the “good cholesterol” but decreases the bad ones. It also helps you to tackle diseases like arthritis.

Kale

Kale Chips are one my favourites.

It is one of the most nutritious plant food. It is packed with nutrients and vitamins.

Kale is a great source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps in proper functioning of body cells.

Steamed Kale helps in lowering your cholesterol. This way you can prevent heart problems.

Hope you learnt a lot from the infographic. Please comment your favourite superfood below. I would love to know them.

Pomegranate: superfood or fad?

Pomegranate: superfood or fad?
Pomegranate: superfood or fad?

Pomegranate and its distinctive ruby-red jewel-like seeds have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

The Middle Eastern fruit is claimed to be effective against heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and some cancers, including prostate cancer.

Pomegranate is a good source of fibre. It also contains vitamins A, C and E, iron and other antioxidants (notably tannins).

We’ve teamed up with the British Dietetic Association (BDA) to examine whether the health claims made about the fruit are supported by the evidence.

The evidence on pomegranates

Can pomegranate strengthen bones?

2013 study found evidence that pomegranate strengthened bones and helped prevent osteoporosis. The catch was the study involved mice, not humans.

While the biology of mice and humans are surprisingly similar, we can never be sure that these results will be applicable to us.

Does pomegranate juice slow prostate cancer progress?

One small study from 2006 found that drinking a daily 227ml (8oz) glass of pomegranate juice significantly slowed the progress of prostate cancer in men with recurring prostate cancer. This was a well-conducted study, but more are needed to support these findings.

more recent study from 2013 looked at whether giving men pomegranate extract tablets prior to surgery to remove cancerous tissue from the prostate would reduce the amount of tissue that needed to be removed. The results were not statistically significant, meaning they could have been down to chance.

Can pomegranate reduce carotid artery stenosis?

A good-quality study from 2004 on patients with carotid artery stenosis (narrowed arteries) found that a daily 50ml (1.7oz) glass of pomegranate juice over three years reduced the damage caused by cholesterol in the artery by almost half, and also cut cholesterol build-up. However, these effects are not clearly understood and the study did not say what the results mean for conditions such as stroke.

Is heart disease prevented by pomegranates?

A well-conducted trial from 2005 on 45 patients with coronary heart disease demonstrated that a daily 238ml (8.4oz) glass of pomegranate juice administered over three months resulted in improved blood flow to the heart and a lower risk of heart attack. The study did not say what the results mean for conditions such as heart attacks, and with such a small trial the positive results reported could be down to chance.

The dietitian’s verdict on pomegranates

Alison Hornby, a dietitian and BDA spokesperson, says the evidence around the health benefits of pomegranates are inconclusive.

She says: “Research suggests there may be a benefit, but we’ve not shown it yet. The studies that have found an improvement in existing health conditions were very small and more investigation into the role pomegranate plays in these improvements is needed.

“A 150ml glass of pomegranate juice counts as one of your 5 A Day. Make sure to avoid brands with added sugar. You could also add pomegranate seeds to cold dishes and salads. It’s a healthy and appetising way to increase the nutritional value of your meal.”

5 Active Ingredients In Skincare That Really Work

One thing about ingredients that benefit the skin is they can sometimes be like pop stars. Latest sensations are often grabbing the headlines for their much-vaunted potential, but only a few precious ones are worthy of the acclaim while others simply vanish into obscurity.

Your thirst for novelty will never disappear, but you need to keep in mind that just because a snail slime or snake venom is the popular flavor of the month, it cannot just replace the age-old ingredients that you have in your arsenal.

Various skin experts feel that people assume whatever is new, is going to be better than what was already used. However, that is not the case. Of course, the older ingredients might not have sexy-sounding names; but it has the proven track record of nontoxicity, efficacy, and non-irritation. Plus, new formulations become more sophisticated and more of their astounding properties are researched. But there are still people sticking to the good old remedies and get better skin.

 

Active Ingredients

 

1) Niacinamide

The below infographic shows how Niacinamide is one of the most important vitamins that helps in making the skin softer and radiant.
14 Potent Vitamins for Younger and Healthier Skin

The relationship between skin and vitamin B3 was recognized right from the early 1900s. Especially after people found that the dietary deficiency of vitamins leads to various skin diseases and even skin irritation. Fast-forward to the current century, after numerous extensive studies, it has come to the conclusion that niacinamide which is a form of vitamin B3 is one of the best and unique anti-ager.

 

Initially, most of the cosmetic companies used the niacinamide for preparing moisturizers. But with the popularity of various clinical studies and their results, this vitamin is found in almost all beauty products as it has built-in enzymes which help in fundamental cell metabolism.

 

2) Vitamin C – The Key To Collagen

Similar to the health benefits that food rich in vitamin C gives, this particular ingredient can make your skin resilient against the harsh environmental entities and even aging. Furthermore, in the infographic 14 Potent Vitamins for Younger and Healthier Skin – Fix Your Skin, it clearly states on how vitamin C helps in fighting off the effects of the existing damages on the skin due to aging or UV rays.

 

Using vitamin C in ascorbic acid form, you can reduce the damages caused by the sun as well as the inflammation of the skin. Furthermore, you can increase the amount of collagen that provides the underlying support structure for the skin.

 

Various studies have displayed that with the proper and adequate usage of vitamin C, you can drastically improve skin wrinkling, especially when used for 12 weeks. Furthermore, several types of research show that with the 5 percent usage of vitamin C cream for 6 months, you can reduce deep furrows and get significant improvement compared to untreated skin. Similar to the vitamin A, vitamin C products are quite unstable. So, it needs to be packed in such a way that it reduces the exposure to air and light.

 

3) Beta And Alpha Hydroxy Acids

AHAs(Alpha Hydroxy Acids) helps in exfoliating the rough and dull outer layer of the skin and keeps your face fresh looking. Sometimes you might be new to the AHAs like glycolic acid. So, it is better if you start with a low percentage like 5%. Another advantage of the AHA is that it is an excellent sunscreen that protects your skin from the harmful UV rays.

 

Just like the alpha hydroxy acid, the beta hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliates the skin. However, unlike the AHAs, the BHAs will penetrate deep into the pores of your skin. This makes them ideal for treating blemishes and blackheads.  Also, like the salicylic acid, the BHAs are gentler than AHAs and is the smart choice for treatment of sensitive skin.

 

(Alpha Hydroxy Acid)

 

4) Green Tea- Irreplaceable Antioxidant

A huge amount of polyphenols antioxidants is present in green tea leaves. The presence of EGCG which is one of the major polyphenols has shown that this plant is a real powerhouse which protects the skin from sun damage and suppresses the enzymes which breaks down the elastin and collagen. Plus, it helps in reducing inflammation, excessive sebum production, and bacterial growth present in the acne-prone skin.

 

(Green Tea For Skin)

 

Recently, various studies have shown that green tea has more far-reaching effects. Scientists found out that besides having the antioxidant portion of a molecule, it has something which works similar to a pro-oxidant. This tricks the skin cells into thinking that it is under oxidative stress. So, this switches the gene on and it regulates the antioxidant production of the cells, turning the cells into little factories, used for producing protective enzymes.

 

5) Hyaluronic Acid

It is common to think of exfoliation when you hear the word ‘acid’. However, concerning hyaluronic acid, it is different. It is a potential moisturizer having the unique property of holding more than thousand times of its own weight in water.

 

Now as the hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the body, it has become the popular choice for cosmetic injectables. Also, there are studies which show that it can be a great ingredient for keeping the skin hydrated and plumped. You can even use it as a treatment for counteracting the effects of the radiation therapy among patients.

 

Final Verdict

The skincare treatment that you follow is incomplete without the presence of the active ingredients. These ingredients are the major forces that help in making your skin radiant and glowing. Also, as each people have different skin types, some ingredients might not give the required results or can backfire.

 

In such cases, it is better to play safe and consult a skin specialist before you start using cosmetic products filled with active ingredients.