Author Archives: Soza Health

How to improve your brain power!

As we get older it gets harder to remember things. Even the sharpest of minds can start to experience cognitive decline. However, there are many dietary modifications that you can adopt that have been shown to improve the brain function. 

  • Consumption of blueberries and strawberries has been shown to reduce brain ageing by up to 2.5 years.
  • The herb rosemary, when used in cooking, has been shown to improve memory and enhance the processing speed of the brain.  
  • Just one week on a plant-based diet can significantly drop blood levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a toxin associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Dehydration causes brain shrinkage and may not only play a role in cognitive impairment, but also in levels of energy, alertness, and happiness. So try and drink up to 2.5 litres of water per day!
  • Nitrate rich vegetables such as rocket, beetroot and rhubarb increase blood flow to the brain and can increase cognitive function by optimising oxygen delivery.
  • Reducing glycotoxin intake can prevent brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. Glycotixins are present in foods such as chicken, pork, beef and fish, but can also accumulate if you are a smoker. They act on the brain to suppress an enzyme involved with the removal of plaques and tangles in your DNA. Over time these can accumulate in the brain and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. 
Advertisements

Improving your kidney health

The kidneys assist the body in maintaining good hydration and electrolyte levels. They also remove excess acids and waste products from the blood, which are then excreted in urine. Maintaining good kidney health is important to prevent water retention, high blood pressure and acidosis in the body.

Kidney health can be maintained and improved in a number of ways, including:

  • Eating foods that promote nitric oxide release in the arteries will improve the blood flow to the smallest arteries that pass through the kidneys. Foods such as beetroot, rocket, rhubarb, garlic, spicy foods, cooked tomatoes and roasted vegetables will all help the arteries to open up and increase blood flow.
  • The kidneys will function at their best if you reduce the amount of acid forming foods you consume. Foods such as meat, fish and eggs, as well as fats and processed foods, will increase the acid load on the kidneys. Alkaline forming foods on the other hand, such as fruit and vegetables, green leafy vegetables and dried fruits will dramatically reduce the acid load.

Improving your stress response

stress

  • Stress is often associated with an increased activation of the “fight or flight” processes in the body. These processes should switch on to enable us to conquer stress in the short term, but then switch off again once a stress has passed, helping us to return to a restful relaxed state again.
  • Modern life is rife with constant stressors and this can lead to consistent activation of the “fight or flight” stress response. Many people find it difficult to “switch off” and this can often cause sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression and poor digestion.
  • Magnesium can help to switch off the stress response after it is needed.

  • Magnesium is best absorbed through the skin. Taking a bath with magnesium (3-4 cups of Epsom salts in a warm bath for 20 minutes) can help the body deal better with stress. Magnesium skin sprays are available for the same purpose.

How to improve your lung power!

breathe

  • Your lung muscles increase the volume inside your chest as you breathe, so that air is forced into your lungs and oxygen moves from the air into your blood.

 

  • The more powerful your lung muscles are, the more efficient your respiratory system is at extracting oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.

 

  • Oxygen is a vital constituent in the reactions your body uses to make energy. An adequate supply is needed for the optimal function of all body systems and enables peak brain and physical functionality.

 

  • The power of your lung muscles has been shown to be a good predictor of longevity.

 

  • Exercise, particularly endurance training and interval training, can significantly improve your lung power.

 

  • Breath training devices and breathing exercise techniques are also useful, and can often lead to improved exercise performance in all sports.

Coffee is bad for you, right?

coffee

Actually no. Coffee is fantastic!  2-5 cups per day can help you in many ways:

  1. Coffee is high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help boost the immune system, improve the arterial function and help the stress response.
  2. Coffee boosts exercise performance. In endurance events, you can go for longer at a higher intensity before getting tired if you drink coffee prior to competing ion an event.
  3. Drinking coffee before lifting weights, will enable you to lift more and experience less muscle soreness after.
  4. Coffee is also great for the liver. You can cut your risk for liver disease in half by drinking two to five cups of unsweetened coffee per day.

Please note that is important to stop drinking coffee by 2pm to ensure that it does not disrupt the body’s natural rhythm and sleep patterns.

How to recover more quickly after strenuous exercise

strenuous-exercise

Performing strenuous exercise (tennis, squash, lifting weights, spinning etc) causes small tears and micro damage to your muscles. Over the subsequent hours and days your body works to repair this damage. The repair process results in your muscles becoming stronger.

This repair process can be accompanied by muscle soreness. Here are three dietary suggestions for you to try that will assist in your recovery and reduce any soreness in the muscles:

 

  1. Protein and amino acids are required to give the body the building blocks it needs to start the repair process. Within 15 minutes of finishing any strenuous exercise, try and enjoy a protein shake or a protein bar.
  2. Muscle soreness (inflammation) can be reduced by adding good quality anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. These include:
  • turmeric
  • fenugreek
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • omega 3 oils

 

  • Reducing the risk of tissue damage during strenuous exercise can be achieved by increasing your intake of the following:
  • watermelon
  • berries
  • watercress
  • dark chocolate
  • tomatoes

Benefits of eating Fibre

fiber

  • How much fibre do you eat every day? Most people are not eating enough.
  • Average fibre consumption is around 15g per day, but the ideal diet contains over 100g per day and anything below 32g is considered deficient.
  • So why is fibre important? Fibre is a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the helpful bacteria in your gut. These bacteria ensure that you are digesting your food properly and extracting the nutrients efficiently. They can also reduce inflammation and cancer risk, and positively regulate your mood.
  • Fibre is also important to maintain a healthy level of cholesterol. Excess cholesterol passes from the blood into the digestive tract where it can bind to soluble fibre. It is then removed in your stool. In the absence of fibre in the digestive tract, the cholesterol passes back into the blood stream, where it can contribute to weight gain and attach to the inside of the arteries, increasing cardiac risk in the long term.
  • The best sources of dietary fibre are whole plant foods, in particular, oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, quinoa, beans, avocado, coconut, artichoke, figs, almonds, walnuts, asparagus, okra, squash, peas, pears, berries and mangoes.
  • You should aim to eat over 35-40g of fibre each day.