Knowledge is half the battle won, which is why Durbell is committed to offering you the best in health and wellness news. By reading what you need to know here, we aim to help you overcome the changes and challenges that occur every day. New health trends and facts hit the airwaves all the time, because life continues to evolve in interesting ways. We hope to help you tackle these changes and challenges to the best of your ability, by giving you the real truth, hard facts, good advice and whatever assistance you may need.

18 Best Supplements for Men

The right supplements can help your heart, sharpen your immune system, and even improve your sex life. The wrong ones, however, can be ineffective or even harmful.

ACETYL L-CARNITINE

Problem: Brain drain

This amino acid converts fats to energy and boosts antioxidant activity in the body. In supplement form, it may protect gray matter from stress caused by alcohol and aging. In a 2006 study, people who received 1,000 milligrams (mg) of acetyl L-carnitine a day saw relief from mild chronic depression.

KOREAN RED PANAX GINSENG

Problem: Erectile dysfunction

Sixty percent of men with erectile dysfunction who took this supplement noticed improvement, according to a 2002 Korean study. The herb may also protect your heart—in a recent Canadian study, a daily dose reduced arterial stiffness.

CoQ-10

Problem: High blood pressure

CoQ-10 can lower your blood pressure while boosting your levels of ecSOD, an enzyme thought to protect blood vessels from damage. CoQ-10 may also improve sperm quality, Italian researchers say. Japanese researchers found it can increase fat burning during exercise.

VITAMIN D

Problem: Bone weakness

Vitamin D is a hormone that helps your bones absorb calcium. That’s a critical benefit, but there’s also a steady stream of other compelling reasons to take it. For instance, Vitamin D has been linked to reduced levels of depression, reduced risk of colorectal cancer, and less chance of a heart attack.

FISH OIL

Problem: Heart disease

Loaded with the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, fish oil can reduce triglycerides, boost HDL cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. But your heart isn’t the only beneficiary: the healthy fats may also reduce inflammation and improve cognitive performance, and may lower your risk of colon and prostate cancers.

MAGNESIUM

Problem: Migraines

A drop in magnesium can be a major headache. “Blood vessels in your brain constrict, and receptors in the feel-good chemical serotonin malfunction,” says Alexander Mauskop, M.D., director of the New York Headache Center. Result: a migraine. The mineral also might help regulate blood pressure and could ward off stroke and diabetes.

PSYLLIUM HUSK

Problem: Diabetes

This fibre is more than a colon clearer. In a recent Finnish study, the addition of psyllium to meals reduced participants’ blood sugar and insulin response. Paired with protein, it was also shown to suppress ghrelin, a hormone that makes you hungry. Psyllium is one of five soluble fibres approved by the FDA for lowering LDL cholesterol.

PROBIOTICS

Problem: Upset stomach

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that crowd out the disease-causing bad bacteria in your gut. Some can reduce diarrhea caused by certain infections, antibiotics, chemotherapy, and irritable bowel syndrome. The encapsulated good guys may also boost your immune function.

QUERCETIN

Problem: Low endurance

Want to extend your cardio session? People who didn’t exercise regularly but took 500 mg of this antioxidant twice a day for a week were able to bicycle 13 percent longer than the placebo group, a University of South Carolina study found. It may help reduce the oxidation of LDL particles and reduce blood-vessel constriction.

PYCNOGENOL

Problem: Poor memory

This supplement’s antioxidants fight free-radical stress in your brain and stop the degradation of nitric oxide, which preserves neural connections. In a recent Australian study, it improved memory in elderly people. Pycnogenol also supports better blood flow, which helps fight joint pain and reduce muscle cramps.

GLUCOSAMINE

Problem: Joint pain

Glucosamine, a building block of cartilage, can relieve pain and inflammation in joints, says Nicholas DiNubile, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon. In fact, a recent study found glucosamine is more effective than acetaminophen (a.k.a. Tylenol) at relieving symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, often caused in younger men by joint injury.

VITAMIN C

Problem: Injury

Sixty percent of adult men don’t get enough vitamin C in their diets, according to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study. Vitamin C helps protect your cells from the tissue-damaging free radicals produced by exercise. It also helps heal wounds, and it’s key to production of the collagen found in ligaments and tendons.

EGCG

Problem: Extra body fat

Men who took green-tea extract burned 17 percent more fat after moderate exercise than those taking placebos, according to one study. EGCG, the most active antioxidant in green tea, is thought to prolong exercise-induced boosts in metabolism. It has also been shown to help prevent cancer and can improve heart health.

LYCOPENE

Problem: Prostate-cancer risk

Found in tomatoes, this potent antioxidant may reduce your risk of prostate cancer, according to a recent University of Illinois study review. The researchers say it may work by altering hormone metabolism and by causing cancer cells to self-destruct.

RED YEAST RICE

Problem: Cholesterol

It contains lovastatin—a prescription statin—as well as other compounds that may help manage cholesterol. In a recent Annals of Internal Medicine study, patients who took red yeast rice during a 12-week diet and exercise program cut their LDL by 27 percent, compared with 6 percent for those who only dieted and exercised.

RESVERATROL

Problem: Cancer risk

You can’t stop the clock, but you can slow it down. This chemical, found in the skin of grapes, seems to interact directly with genes that regulate aging. Resveratrol has been shown to promote DNA repair in animals, enhance blood flow to people’s brains, and halt the growth of prostate-cancer and colon-cancer cells.

SAME

Problem: Depression

Talk about head-to-toe relief: A synthetic form of a dietary amino acid, SAMe has been found to treat depression as effectively as prescription antidepressants, according to Canadian researchers. It has also been shown to reduce joint pain and inflammation, and it may aid cartilage repair.

SAW PALMETTO

Problem: Enlarged prostate

As you age, your risk rises for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition that makes you trickle at the toilet. Saw palmetto may help restore the flow. In a recent Korean study, men taking 320 mg of saw palmetto daily saw their BPH symptoms decrease by 50 percent after 1 year.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SMOKING AND WHY IT’S BAD FOR YOU!

Smoking is responsible for several diseases such as cancer, long-term (chronic) respiratory diseases, heart disease, as well as premature death. It’s the largest cause of preventable death in the world. Recent studies have found that smokers can also undermine the health of non-smokers in some environments.

Smoking causes cancer!

Lung cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths in the world. Male smokers are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who have never smoked, and female smokers 13 times more likely.

In addition to lung cancer, smokers also have a significantly higher risk of developing:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancers of the pharynx and larynx (throat cancer)
  • Mouth cancer
  • Esophagus cancer
  • Cancer of the pancreas
  • Stomach cancer
  • Some types of leukemia
  • Cancer of the nose and sinuses
  • Cervical cancer
  • Bowel cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • And in some cases, also breast cancer

Smoking also raises the risk of cancer recurrences (the cancer coming back).

Why does smoking raise cancer risk?

Scientists say there are over 4 000 compounds in cigarette smoke. A sizeable number of them are toxic, are bad for us and damage our cells. Some of them cause cancer – they are carcinogenic.

Tobacco smoke consists mainly of:

  • Nicotine – this is not carcinogenic. However, it’s highly addictive. Smokers find it very hard to quit because they are hooked on the nicotine. Nicotine is an extremely fast-acting drug. It reaches the brain within 15 seconds of being inhaled. If cigarettes and other tobacco products had no nicotine, the number of people who smoke every day would drop drastically. Without nicotine, the tobacco industry would collapse.
    • Nicotine is used as a highly controlled insecticide. Exposure to sufficient amounts can lead to vomiting, seizures, depression of the CNS (central nervous system), and growth retardation. It can also undermine a fetus’s proper development.
  • Carbon Monoxide – this is a poisonous gas. It has no smell or taste. The body finds it hard to differentiate carbon monoxide from oxygen and absorbs it into the bloodstream. Faulty boilers emit dangerous carbon monoxide, as do car exhausts.
    • If there is enough carbon monoxide around you and you inhale it, you can go into a coma and die. Carbon monoxide decreases muscle and heart function, it causes fatigue, weakness and dizziness. It’s especially toxic for babies still in the womb, infants and individuals with heart or lung disease.
  • Tar – consists of several cancer-causing chemicals. When a smoker inhales cigarette smoke, 70% of the tar remains in the lungs. Try the handkerchief test. Fill the mouth with smoke, don’t inhale, and blow the smoke through the handkerchief. There will be a sticky, brown stain on the cloth. Do this again, but this time inhale and the blow the smoke through the cloth, there will only be a very faint light brown stain.

Smoking and heart/cardiovascular disease:

  • Smoking causes an accumulation of fatty substances in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, the main contributor to smoking-related deaths. Smoking is also a significant contributory factor in coronary heart disease risk. People with coronary heart disease are much more likely to have a heart attack.
  • Tobacco smoke raises the risk of coronary heart disease by itself. When combined with other risk factors such as hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, physical inactivity, or diabetes, the risk of serious, chronic illness and death is huge.
  • Smoking also worsens heart disease risk factors. It raises blood pressure, makes it harder to do exercise and makes the blood clot more easily than it should. People who have undergone bypass surgery and smoke have a higher risk of recurrent coronary heart disease.
  • A female smoker who is also on the contraceptive pill has a considerably higher risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke compared to women using oral contraceptives who don’t smoke.
  • If you smoke your levels of HDL, also known as good cholesterol will drop.
  • If you have a history of heart disease and smoke, your risk of having such a disease yourself is extremely high.
  • A much higher percentage of regular smokers have strokes compared to other non-smokers of the same age. The cerebrovascular system is damaged when we inhale smoke regularly.
  • Those who smoke run a higher risk of developing aortic aneurysm and arterial disease.

Twelve ways to keep your brain young

Every brain changes with age and mental function changes along with it. Mental decline is common and it’s one of the most feared consequences of aging. Cognitive impairment is not inevitable.

Here are twelve ways you can help reduce your risk of age-related memory loss.

1. Get mental stimulation

Through research with mice and humans, doctors suspect that brain activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells, developing neurological ‘plasticity’ and building up a functional reserve that provides a hedge against future cell loss.

Any mentally stimulating activity should help to build up your brain. Read, take courses, and try ‘mental gymnastics’ such as word puzzles or math problems. Experiment with things that require manual dexterity as well as mental effort, such as drawing, painting, and other crafts.

2. Get physical exercise

Research shows that using your muscles may also help your mind. Animals who exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the region of the brain that is responsible for thought. Exercise also spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells (synapses). This results in brains that are more efficient, plastic and adaptive, which translates into better performance in aging animals. Exercise also lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, fights diabetes and reduces mental stress, all of which can help your brain as well as your heart.

3. Improve your diet

Good nutrition can help your mind as well as your body. Here are some specifics:

  • Keep your calories in check. In both animals and humans, a reduced caloric intake has been linked to a lower risk of mental decline in old age.
  • Eat the right foods. That means reducing your consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol from animal sources and of trans-fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Remember your Bs. Three B vitamins – folic acid, B6, and B12 – can help lower your homocysteine levels, high levels of which have been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Fortified cereal, other grains, and leafy green vegetables are good sources of B vitamins.

4. Improve your blood pressure

High blood pressure in midlife increases the risk of cognitive decline in old age. Use lifestyle modification to keep your pressure as low as possible. Stay lean, exercise regularly, limit your alcohol to two drinks a day, reduce stress and eat right.

5. Improve your blood sugar

Diabetes is an important risk factor for dementia. You can fight diabetes by eating right, exercising regularly and staying lean. If your blood sugar stays high, you’ll need medication to achieve good control.

6. Improve your cholesterol

High levels of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol increase the risk of dementia, as do low levels of HDL (‘good’) cholesterol. Diet, exercise, weight control and avoiding tobacco will go a long way towards improving your cholesterol levels. If you need more help, ask your doctor or pharmacist about medication.

7. Consider low-dose aspirin

Observational studies suggest that long-term use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce the risk of dementia by 10 to 55%. It is hopeful information, but preliminary. Experts are not ready to recommend aspirin specifically for dementia.

8. Avoid tobacco

Avoid tobacco in all its forms.

9. Don’t abuse alcohol

Excessive drinking is a major risk factor for dementia. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to two drinks a day. If you use alcohol responsibly, you may actually reduce your risk of dementia. At least five studies have linked low-dose alcohol with a reduced risk of dementia in older adults.

10. Care for your emotions

People who are anxious, depressed, sleep-deprived or exhausted tend to score poorly on cognitive function tests. Poor scores don’t necessarily predict an increased risk of cognitive decline in old age, but good mental health and restful sleep are certainly important goals.

11. Protect your head

You may be surprised to learn that moderate to severe head injuries early in life increase the risk of cognitive impairment in old age. Concussions increase risk by a factor of 10.

12. Build social networks

Strong social ties have been associated with lower blood pressure and longer life expectancies.

THE SEVEN SECRETS TO KIDNEY HEALTH

You can do a number of things to keep your kidneys functioning properly and as healthy as possible at every stage of your life.

  1. Hydrate, but don’t overdo it.  It’s always a good idea to drink enough water, but drinking more than the typical four to six glasses a day probably won’t help your kidneys do their job any better.
  2. Eat healthy foods. Your kidneys can tolerate a wide range of dietary habits. Most kidney problems arise from other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Because of this, follow healthy, moderate eating habits to control weight and blood pressure. Preventing diabetes and high blood pressure will help keep kidneys in good condition.
  3. Exercise regularly. If you’re healthy, getting your exercise is a good idea. Just like healthy eating habits, regular physical activity can stave off weight gain and high blood pressure. Be mindful of how much exercise you do, especially if you’re not conditioned. Overexerting yourself when you’re not fit and healthy can put a strain on your kidneys, especially if you exercise so much that you cause excessive breakdown of muscle tissue.
  4. Use caution with supplements and herbal remedies. Excessive amounts of certain vitamin supplements and some herbal extracts may be harmful to your kidneys. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any vitamins and herbs you plan to take.
  5. Quit smoking. Smoking can damage blood vessels, which decreases the flow of blood to the kidneys. When the kidneys don’t have adequate blood flow, they can’t function at optimal levels. Smoking also increases the risk of high blood pressure as well as the risk of kidney cancer.
  6. Don’t overdo it when taking over-the-counter medications. “Common non-prescription pills like ibuprofen and naproxen (NSAID’s) can cause kidney damage if taken too often over a prolonged period. If you have healthy kidneys and use these medicines for occasional pain, they probably don’t pose a risk. If you’re at risk, get regular kidney function screening.

EASY EATING AND LIFESTYLE HABITS

 

We have a new and exciting opportunity for you. It’s a chance to get healthier, at your own pace, when it fits into your schedule, and at a level of participation that fits your lifestyle.

The 12 habits for a healthier lifestyle are:

  1. Physical activity
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Portion size
  4. Preventive healthcare screening
  5. Adequate sleep
  6. Try something new
  7. Strength and flexibility
  8. Laugh
  9. Family and friends
  10. Address addictive behaviors
  11. Quiet your mind
  12. Gratitude

We’ll take a look at each of these healthy habits in the next twelve months:

Habit 1: Physical activity

Exercise and physical activity are not only good for you, they’re also a fun way to spend time — a chance to unwind, to be outdoors, to get social or to simply do something that makes you happy. Find a physical activity you enjoy and do it every day.

Better yet, find two or more types of activity to do to prevent boredom and overuse injuries. Pace yourself according to your age and fitness level. Start with a warm up and end with cool down. Increase time and intensity gradually. Consider exercising with a committed friend or involve your family.

A good general goal is to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. If you want to lose weight or increase your fitness level, you may need more exercise or at a higher intensity. Bottom line, all movement counts, not just exercise.

Opportunities to explore:

  • Be active throughout your day. Take the stairs rather than the elevator, change a meeting into a walking meeting, or consider a portable stepping or pedaling device that fits at your workstation. Include a 10 to 15 minute walk in your lunch hour.
  • Take a break from sitting. Try standing, stretching or walking for minimum of 5 to 10 minutes every hour while at work or sitting at home.
  • Activate your passion for food. Take up gardening, start walking to and from the grocery store, or explore a local farmers market. These are fun ways be more active and explore new foods.
  • Move more, snack less. Instead of snacking when you’re bored, go for a walk, dance or try an exercise video.
  • Pick up an activity monitor. A pedometer is a simple tool to track your daily steps. There are also other types of activity monitors, such as Fitbit, among others. Any of them can be a great tool to check your baseline activity level and encourage you to move more.
  • Make leisure time active time. Instead of watching television, go bowling or play an active video game.
  • Check out what’s happening in your community. Are there community fitness classes at local parks, schools or gyms?

 

What is Insomnia and what can you do if you suffer from it

Insomnia is a term that describes a disturbance of the normal sleep pattern. Each person needs a different amount of sleep to function well during the day. The average amount of sleep required by most people is 6 to 8 hours per night.

Most of us establish a pattern that is normal for us in our early adult life. It is normal to sleep less with old age e.g. many people in their 70’s sleep less than six hours per night. Feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep and not feeling sleepy during the day is a good indicator that you are getting the right amount of sleep. A person with Insomnia will have persistent difficulty falling or staying asleep, leading to impairment of daytime functioning.

Difficulties with sleep can appear in a variety of ways:

  • Difficulty getting to sleep (sleep onset insomnia) is most common in young people.
  • Waking in the night is most common in older people. Waking early in the morning is the least common type of sleep disturbance.
  • Not feeling refreshed after sleep which can lead to fatigue, irritability and poor concentration.
  • Waking when you have been disturbed from sleep by pain or noise.

Insomnia can last for days, months or even years and can be split into three categories:

  • Transient insomnia lasts for 2 to 3 days.
  • Short-term insomnia lasts for more than a few days, but less than three weeks.
  • Chronic insomnia can be defined as insomnia most nights for three weeks or longer.

Insomnia can also be classified as primary or secondary Insomnia. In addition, Insomnia that results from a specific sleep disorder such as sleep apnoea, circadian disturbances, or sleep movement disorders including restless legs syndrome or periodic limb-movement disorder, are categorised separately. Primary Insomnia is a condition in which sleep disturbances last for at least one month, and have no physical or medical cause. Secondary Insomnia is a condition caused by a physical condition or clinical depression.

Effects of Insomnia:

Clinical studies indicate that restriction of sleep results in a variety of effects including high blood pressure, adverse effects on the nervous system, impairment of blood sugar control and increased inflammation in the body. These studies suggest that sleep should not be considered a luxury, but an important component of a healthy lifestyle.

Causes:

Insomnia can occur for no apparent reason. However, there are a number of possible causes.

  • Worry about sleep can cause you to feel anxious or irritated which results in a cycle of sleeplessness.
  • Temporary problems such as stress, a work or family problem, jet-lag, a change of routine or sleeping away from home can cause Insomnia which usually improves in time.
  • Anxiety or depression are common causes of Insomnia.
  • Sleep apnoea causes the large airways to narrow or collapse during sleep. This not only causes snoring, but also reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to the lungs. This causes you to wake up to breathe properly. You may wake up many times each night which may result in daytime tiredness.
  • Medical problems causing pain, breathlessness, leg cramps, indigestion, cough, itch, hot flushes etc. can cause Insomnia. Dementia and mental health problems are also causes of Insomnia.
  • Stimulants can interfere with sleep. These include alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.
  • Street drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, cannabis and amphetamines can affect sleep.
  • Prescribed drugs such as diuretics, some antidepressants, steroids, beta-blockers, some slimming tablets, painkillers containing caffeine, and some cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine can interfere with sleep. If you suddenly stop taking regular sleeping tablets or other sedative drugs, ‘rebound’ insomnia can occur.

Treatment options:

As with all medical conditions, it is advisable to consult your GP for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Your Doctor will ascertain the underlying cause of your Insomnia, which will determine the treatment. For example, if depression is the cause then this condition will be treated. Non-drug treatments for Insomnia are usually recommended initially. These involve counselling, lifestyle advice and education about healthy sleep practices. If your Insomnia is unresponsive to this treatment then your GP may prescribe sleeping medication.

Diet hints:

Follow a healthy diet and avoid stimulants such as caffeine found in tea, coffee and some cola drinks. Alcohol can also disturb normal sleep patterns. Avoid a heavy/large meal just before bed time. A light snack may be helpful.

Vitamins/minerals/herbs:

  • Calcium may have a calming effect as it can relax the nervous system.
  • Magnesium may help the muscles to relax as it can relax the nervous system.
  • Valerian, passionflower and Chamomile can all be useful in the treatment of insomnia as these herbs help to relax the nervous system.

Aromatherapy:

These listed essential oils are suggested for the temporary relief of Insomnia. The most specific oils are shown in capitals – Aniseed, Benzoin, BLUE CHAMOMILE, CHAMOMILE, LAVENDER, MARJORAM, NEROLI, Orange and Petit grain. These oils may be added to massage oil, put in a bath or burned in a vaporiser.

Pharmacist’s advice:

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

  1. Avoid or limit caffeine which is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep.
  2. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking as these are also stimulants.
  3. Regular exercise promotes healthy sleep patterns. Avoid exercising 4 hours before bed.
  4. Your Pharmacist may suggest some herbal tablets to help you rest. Examples of herbs with mild sedative properties include valerian and chamomile. Ask your Pharmacist for suggestions.
  5. If feelings of sadness or anxiety are causing you to lose sleep, ask your Pharmacist for advice. Talking to someone may help. Do not hesitate to ask your Doctor to refer you to a counsellor if your worries are affecting your sleep.
  6. Create a relaxing environment to sleep in e.g. make sure you have a comfortable bed and pillow. Evaporating some lavender essential oil may promote relaxation and sleep.

Why it’s always a good idea to follow a Detox Diet

A dietary detox is a great way to take control of cravings and shed some kilos while establishing good eating habits. Foods containing saturated and trans fats, sugar and alcoholic beverages are excluded and replaced with a wide variety of fresh, healthy foods and beverages, eaten in moderation. A detox should be ideally undertaken for between 2 and 7 days.

Please note: a detox programme should never extend beyond one week without medical/healthcare professional supervision. Extreme restrictive dietary behaviour (e.g. a fluid-only diet or limiting the diet to only eating fruit and vegetables) can be dangerous to your health over a prolonged period. These regimes do not only skimp on calories, but also many of the nutrients necessary for good health. As a result, mineral and vitamin deficiencies can occur.
An extreme detoxification diet is not advisable generally and particularly if you are:

  • Pregnant and/or breast feeding
  • Already on a diet supervised by a qualified health professional
  • Underweight
  • Suffering from psychological complaints or an eating disorder.

The DETOX DIET Includes:

  • At least 2 litres of water per day
  • All fresh fruit
  • All fresh vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions and garlic are particularly good)
  • Rice – brown, basmati, rice cakes, rice crackers and rice milk
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Oats
  • Beans
  • Fresh fish
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Teas – herbal, green and non-caffeinated only
  • Spices, herbs, vinegar, garlic, ginger and a little honey or stevia for flavouring.

Exclude

  • Milk, cheese, eggs and butter
  • Alcohol, coffee and soft drinks
  • Confectionary
  • Products containing wheat (e.g. bread)
  • Sauces and pickles
  • Battered and bread-crumbed food
  • Saturated fats
  • Processed and highly refined foods

Sample one-day diet

  • Breakfast
    • A mug of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • Bowl of fresh berry fruit salad with natural yoghurt and a sprinkling of oats and seeds
  • Snack
    • Glass of fresh fruit juice (diluted with 50 per cent water) or try a berry mint smoothie (see recipe below)
    • Small portion of unsalted nuts
    • Banana
  • Lunch
    • Bowl of homemade vegetable soup (see recipe below)
    • Rice cakes with almond butter (see recipe below)
    • Glass of water
  • Afternoon tea
    • Homemade tzatziki dip (natural yoghurt, garlic, cucumber and lemon juice) and raw vegetable sticks (E.g. carrots and celery)
    • Rice crackers
    • Cup of herbal tea or try a Can’t Believe it’s Kale Juice (see recipe below)
  • Dinner
    • Grilled salmon steak with lemon juice and coriander
    • Steamed vegetables or salad with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
    • Piece of fresh fruit
    • Glass of water (try soda water over ice with fresh lime juice)
    • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. For something different, try a tall glass of soda water over ice with freshly squeezed lemon and/or lime juice.

RECIPES

  • Lentil vegetable soup
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic
    • small onion
    • carrots
    • 2 sticks of celery
    • ½ cup brown lentils
    • 250 g tomatoes
    • Chopped parsley
    • Bay leaf
    • Water

Heat oil in a pan and add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Stir in lentils, water, bay leaf, chopped tomatoes. Bring to boil and simmer for approximately 1.5 hours. Discard bay leaf, add chopped parsley and serve.

  • Almond Butter
    • 1 cup almonds
    • 1 pinch salt

Place almonds and pinch of salt in a food processor and turn on low. Almonds will turn from solid, to a course meal and into small, lumpy balls. Keep processing until the oils break down and almonds transform into a smooth, creamy butter.

  • Berry Mint Smoothie
    • 1 cup coconut water
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1 cup frozen pineapple
    • 1 cup frozen blueberries
    • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
    • 1/2 lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender. Add 4 drops of stevia liquid for a sweeter taste.

  • Can’t believe it’s Kale Juice
    • 9 leaves kale
    • 1/2 of a small fennel bulb, cut into 2 pieces
    • 1 whole lemon, peeled
    • 12 sprigs fresh mint
    • stick of celery
    • small apples

Juice all ingredients and serve over ice

For further information see the Detox Recipes topic.

Pharmacist’s advice

To further support your body during the detox process, it may be advisable to take a good antioxidant supplement throughout your detox. When your diet changes, so can your bowel motions. Avoid using laxatives and instead ask your Pharmacist for advice about a suitable fibre supplement.

Diabetes – symptoms, causes and treatments

Diabetes is a chronic (long term) condition in which the levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood are too high. This may be because the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or there is a problem with how the body’s cells are responding to it. The two main types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes: the pancreas does not produce any insulin.

Type 2 diabetes: the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells do not react to insulin

For our bodies to work properly, we need to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. A hormone called insulin is essential for the conversion of glucose into energy. In a person with diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body’s cells do not respond adequately to the hormone. This means when a person eats foods containing glucose e.g. breads, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, legumes, milk, yoghurt and sweets, the glucose cannot be converted into energy and stays in the blood. This is why blood glucose levels are higher in people with diabetes.

What are the signs and symptoms?

In most cases people do not have symptoms when they develop type 2 diabetes. Regular checkups are needed to diagnose type 2 diabetes early.

When the levels of glucose in the blood are particularly high (this is common in type 1 diabetes), symptoms develop.

These include:

  • Significant weight loss
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Excessive thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased risk of infections, such as thrush
  • Frequent urination

Occasionally, diabetes can come on suddenly. This is more likely with type 1 diabetes and can lead to a condition called ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical attention if the following symptoms occur:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive passing of urine
  • Altered consciousness Coma.

Treatment options

As with all medical conditions, consult your Doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. There is no cure for diabetes. Treatment aims to manage the condition by controlling blood glucose levels, as well as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and body weight to help prevent health problems developing later in life. The treatment depends on the type of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes treatment includes:

  • Insulin injections
  • A balanced, healthy diet
  • Monitoring blood glucose
  • Physical activity
  • Regular check-ups

Type 2 diabetes treatment includes:

  • Healthy eating
  • Physical activity
  • Medications and possibly insulin at a later stage
  • Weight management
  • Monitoring blood glucose
  • Smoking cessation
  • Having regular check-ups

If untreated, high blood glucose levels can result in serious complications. These include:

  • Kidney damage (nephropathy)
  • Eye damage (retinopathy)
  • Nerve damage to the feet and other parts of the body (neuropathy)
  • Heart disease (for example, angina or heart attacks), strokes and circulation problems in the legs
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Foot ulcers or infections resulting from circulation problems and nerve damage

NOTE: Diabetes is a key risk factor for chronic kidney disease. Please ask your GP for a Kidney Health Check.

Diet hints
All people with diabetes are advised to follow a healthy eating plan. A person with type 1 diabetes may require between meal snacks to balance insulin injections or tablets with carbohydrate intake. Your GP can refer you to a Dietician who can help you plan your food, insulin and activity to best manage your blood glucose levels.

If you have Type 2 diabetes, it is also advisable to ask your GP for a referral to a Dietician as one diet does not fit everyone with diabetes.

  • Reduce saturated fats
  • Eat moderate amounts of carbohydrates
  • Eat low-fat protein
  • Use sugar only sparingly

The glycaemic index or GI is a way of describing how a carbohydrate containing food affects blood glucose levels. The type of carbohydrate you eat is very important as some can cause higher blood glucose after eating. The best combination is to eat moderate amounts of carbohydrate and include high fibre foods that also have a low GI. See the Low Glycaemic Index Diet topic for more information.

Vitamins/minerals/herbs

Always consult your Doctor before taking any supplement or herbs. Nutritional supplements may only be of benefit if dietary intake is inadequate.

  • Chromium supplementation may help to balance insulin levels.
  • Cinnamon may lower blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance. Some studies have shown that at least half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day is required to have this effect. Cinnamon may also help to reduce elevated triglyceride and HDL (unhealthy) cholesterol levels.
  • Essential fatty acids, such as omega 3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil, help to reduce elevated triglycerides and reduce the severity of diabetic neuropathy.
  • B Complex vitamins are involved in promoting healthy blood sugar metabolism.
  • CoQ10 has a protective effect on blood vessels. Individuals with diabetes and pre diabetes are at risk of blood vessel injury.
  • Vitamin C, vitamin E and the minerals zinc and magnesium may help to reduce urinary protein output (a marker of glomerular renal function) in patients with diabetic nephropathy.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. Alpha lipoic acid may also be helpful in cases of diabetic neuropathy in type 1 and 2 diabetes.
  • Garlic may stabilise blood sugar and help reduce risk of heart disease and other circulatory disorders by improving blood flow, lowering elevated blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels.
  • Psyllium has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels.
  • Bilberry may help to prevent diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.
  • Gymnema sylvestre is a herb that helps to control blood sugar and may play a role in alleviating Type 2 Diabetes-related symptoms

Pharmacist’s advice

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

  1. If you have any queries regarding your medication for diabetes, ask your Pharmacist.
  2. Blood glucose testing monitors are available to monitor your blood glucose. Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
  3. Urinalysis testing strips can help detect excess glucose and ketones in the urine. These should be used in conjunction with a blood glucose monitor.
  4. Sugar-free medications such as cough syrups are available. Remember to ask your Pharmacist for brands suitable for diabetics.
  5. Smoking increases the risk factors for other diseases such as heart disease and vascular disease. Ask your Pharmacist for help quitting smoking. Nicotine patches, nicotine chewing gum, nicotine inhalers and the QUIT programme are all available from your Pharmacy.
  6. Foot care products such as wound dressings, corn pads, nail clippers and orthopaedic shoes can be recommended by your Pharmacist. A Podiatrist should always be consulted for any problems with the feet.
  7. Exercise is vital, especially for Type 2 diabetes. It reduces body fat, improves blood glucose control, lowers fat levels in the blood, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.

WHAT IS ARTHRITIS AND HOW TO PREVENT OR MANAGE IT

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, surrounding tendons, ligaments and cartilage. It can affect virtually every joint of the body from the feet, to the knees, back, shoulders, and fingers. The term Arthritis describes a variety of arthritic conditions, with the three most common forms being Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gout.

Symptoms will vary depending on the type of Arthritis, and include slight pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints, through to extreme disability and joint deformity.

The three types of arthritis include:

  • Osteoarthritis
    Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and is the most common form of Arthritis. This joint degeneration results in pain, deformity and a reduced range of motion. There is generally no inflammation.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory type of Arthritis in which joints are equally red, swollen and tender on both sides of the body. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease and typically affects the hands, feet, wrists, ankles and knees. This type of Arthritis may cause destruction and disfiguration of the affected joints.
  • Gout
    Gout is an arthritic condition of the body connected with an excess of uric acid in the blood. It causes the joints to become red, swollen and painful. The most common area on the body for Gout to occur is the joint of the big toe. Gout is not a single disease but is a syndrome resulting from high levels of uric acid in the blood.

Diet hints:

  • Your diet generally should be rich in fish oil e.g., salmon, tuna, mackerel and mullet. Fish oils may help to regulate the inflammatory process.
  • It is recommended to include vitamin C rich foods in your diet e.g., apples, pears, berries, pawpaw and green vegetables. Vitamin C plays a role in the formation and maintenance of connective tissue and collagen, which provides stability and strength to joints.
  • Foods rich in silicon may be beneficial for people with Arthritis. These include wholegrain cereals, nuts and apple.
  • Weight control is important. This will help minimise the load on inflamed joints.
  • Certain food groups such as the “nightshade” vegetables (potato, tomato, eggplant, chilli and capsicum) and salicylate-rich foods may aggravate Arthritis.
  • Avoid acid forming foods such as red meat and sugar.
  • People with Gout should avoid foods high in purines. These include liver, kidney, heart, brains, pate, sardines, herrings, anchovies, mackerel, yeast and yeast products, beer, asparagus and yeast products.

Vitamins/minerals/herbs:

Nutritional supplements are only to be used if the dietary vitamin intake is inadequate:

  • Glucosamine and Mucopolysaccharides can be taken to aid connective tissue support. Devil’s claw, feverfew, celery and white willow bark have been traditionally used to relieve pain and inflammation associated with Arthritis.
  • Bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme derived from pineapple, may provide symptomatic relief.
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids may help to prevent cartilage degeneration.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be anti-inflammatory.
  • Zinc is believed to support the immune system and help reduce inflammation.

Pharmacist’s advice

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

  1. Your Pharmacist can assist with some anti-inflammatory pain relief tablets. It is important to ask your Pharmacist to recommend the most suitable pain reliever for the type of Arthritis.
  2. Remember to exercise according to the advice of your Doctor or Physiotherapist. A range of special exercises, such as daily stretching, might be suggested to help improve circulation and flexibility.
  3. Avoid activities which place a heavy amount of stress on the joints.
  4. Some relief for Arthritis may be obtained from applying heat if the joints are stiff or a cold pack if the joints are warm and swollen. Massage, relaxation, exercise, liniments and joint wraps may also help to relieve the symptoms of the disease. Some creams may give relief. Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
  5. Some nutritional supplements may be considered if the diet is inadequate. See individual topics.6) Your Pharmacist may suggest a suitable pain relief medication. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs may also be suggested. Take these only after advice from your Pharmacist as there are possible side effects.

GLAUCOMA – WHAT IT IS, THE CAUSES, RISKS AND HOW TO TREAT IT

Glaucoma (the sneak thief of sight) refers to certain eye diseases that affect the optic nerve and cause vision loss, usually following an increase in pressure of the fluid within the eyeball. This pressure is called intraocular pressure. This is usually accompanied by a loss of vision which may vary from a slight loss of vision to complete blindness.

Glaucoma usually occurs in people over 40 years of age. The elderly and people with family histories of the disease are at greatest risk. There are no symptoms in the early stages and by the time the patient notices vision changes, visual loss due to glaucoma can only be halted, not reversed.

The eye is filled with a liquid called aqueous humour, secreted by membranes lining the eye. Normal pressure within the eye is maintained by allowing some of this fluid to drain away via an outflow pathway. When the outflow pathway is blocked for some reason, aqueous humour continues to build up causing an increase in pressure within the eyeball. Increased pressure can eventually damage the delicate optic nerve at the back of the eye, causing scarring. This nerve is the link between your eyes and brain. Blood supply may also be reduced to the optic nerve fibers.

Categories of Glaucoma include:

Primary Glaucoma

  • Open-angle Glaucoma.
  • Closed angle Glaucoma.
  • Congenital (infantile) Glaucoma.

Primary Glaucoma accounts for most diagnosed Glaucoma cases. This condition may result in peripheral (side) vision loss or coloured halos around lights. There is gradual vision loss over a period of years affecting both eyes. Pain may be felt in the eye from increased pressure within the eyeball. Other symptoms include mild headaches and vague visual problems. A frequent need to change prescriptions for glasses may also be a warning sign. This condition can often have no obvious symptoms and may only be detected on medical examination.

Secondary Glaucoma: this type of Glaucoma arises because of a pre-existing disease of the eye such as a tumour, an enlarged cataract or inflammation within the eye.

Absolute Glaucoma: this type of Glaucoma is likely to appear as the end stage of all Glaucoma.

Treat ment opt ions:

Your GP will diagnose and treat this condition and can provide you with the latest advice. It is diagnosed through a simple and painless test and is usually treated with eye drops, although lasers and surgery can also be used. Most cases can be controlled well with these treatments, thereby preventing further loss of vision. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to preserving sight in people with glaucoma

Diet hints:

  • Vitamin C helps maintain the strength of collagen in the body. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (citrus fruits, cabbage, pineapple, potato, parsley and broccoli) in the diet each day.
  • Bioflavonoids assist with the normal metabolism of collagen in the body. Bioflavonoids are also found in fruits and vegetables, particularly the pith of citrus fruits.
  • Vitamin B1 deficiency may be associated with Glaucoma. Include whole grains, wheat germ, nuts, liver and pork in the diet.
  • Eliminate any possible food allergens.
  • Avoid caffeine as it may affect fluid pressure in the eye.
  • Vitamin C combines well the bioflavonoid rutin to reduce pain and intraocular pressure.
  • Chromium is particularly important for people with diabetes as it can assist with their blood sugar balance and prevention of glaucoma.
  • Magnesium can lower eye pressure by relaxing the blood vessels supplying the eye.
  • Bilberry may help prevent future blood vessel damage in the eye. Bilberry may help maintain night vision.
  • Ginkgo has been shown to be beneficial for glaucoma as it can improve blood flow and contains flavonoids which support eye structure and function.

It is essential that the pressure in the eyes is tested regularly, particularly in individuals with a family history of Glaucoma. Everyone over 40 years of age should have an eye test at least every 2 years.

Pharmacist’s advice:

  1. Follow the Diet Hints.
  2. If you have any queries regarding your prescriptive medication, ask your Pharmacist. It is very important to use the medication on a regular basis.
  3. Hints on Using Eye Drops: Use drops regularly. Keeping the drops cool (in the refrigerator) helps to feel the drops go into the eye. Keep an extra bottle of eye drops available so that you never run out. Always use the drops even when the eyesight is blurred and the eyes are uncomfortable.