Lifestyle Tips

Beat the Brain Fog

Beat the Brain Fog

By Healthy Life Foundation in Lifestyle Tips on 10 September 2020

Brain fog can show up in many different ways. Mostly it feels like your head is caught in a dense fog, where you feel hazy and struggle to think clearly. You may feel like you are struggling to concentrate on work tasks, conversations or even making simple decisions. This may result in feeling like you need more coffee to focus, more snacks to stay awake or even more alcohol at night for a temporary relief of that heavy feeling. In severe cases, it can even affect your vision, cause headaches and nausea.    

Brain health is not only critical to mental capacity, but it is also essential for our emotional wellbeing. Sometimes, relieving brain fog is a matter of correcting a nutritional deficiency, switching medications, or improving the quality of your sleep.

Here are some of the most common causes for Brain Fog: 

Hormonal Imbalance – A common cause of brain fog is when your body is producing too much or too little of a specific hormone. Thyroid hormone imbalances are frequently linked to brain fog. Low thyroid hormone can lead to decreased cognitive function and a blood sugar imbalance that contributes to low levels of glucose that lead to brain fog.

Lack of Sleep – Poor sleep quality can also interfere with how well your brain functions. Aim for 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night. 

Stress or Depression – Chronic stress can increase blood pressure, weaken the immune system, and trigger depression. It can also cause mental fatigue. When your brain is exhausted, it becomes harder to think, reason, and focus. Try to manage stress by knowing your limitations and avoiding excessive alcohol and caffeine

Vitamin Deficiencies – Vitamin B12 contributes to the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of your central nervous system. This is why a deficiency in B12 is sure to impair your energy levels and contribute to an overall feeling of fatigue. A vitamin D deficiency can also be behind brain fog as decreased vitamin D levels are associated with impaired cognitive function.

Food sensitivities – Gluten intolerance can lead to cognitive dysfunction via inflammatory pathways. Advanced blood work that looks at your nutrient levels as well as an elimination diet or food allergy or sensitivity testing can determine if any of these could be contributing to your brain fog. A high sugar consumption can also lead to brain fog. 

Dehydration – Water is essential for supplying the brain with nutrients and removing toxins. The brain is approximately 75% water. The exchange of toxins and nutrients are more efficient when the brain is hydrated. This ensures mental alertness and improved concentration. 

Some other ways in which you might be able to relieve brain fog is:  

Exercising

  • Strengthening your brain power (try volunteering or solving brain puzzles)
  • Finding activities that you enjoy. 
  • Increase your intake of protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats
  • Drink plenty of water
The Top 6 Foods You Should Eat As You Age.

The Top 6 Foods You Should Eat As You Age.

By Healthy Life Foundation in Lifestyle Tips on 28 August 2020

Our bodies change with age and not just in how they look, but also in how they work. We have to feed our body good nutrition for it to run like it’s supposed to run. The older we get, the body becomes less efficient in absorbing and using certain nutrients. Therefore, we often need a higher intake of certain nutrients to combat the aging process and to stay as healthy as possible. Studies have shown that following a healthy lifestyle staying physically active and having a nutrition-packed diet can help slow the aging process, and may even reduce the risk of age related diseases. 

Here are some great anti-aging foods help ensure optimum health: 

Blueberries– Packed with various antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E that keep your cells healthy. Compounds in blueberries mitigate inflammation and oxidative damage, which are associated with age-related deficits in memory and motor function.

Fibre Rich Foods  –Such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits & legumes. As we age our gastrointestinal functioning slows down so it’s important to ensure a good fibre intake. Fibre helps keep your system moving along and can also prevent other indigestion related problems.  

Nuts. Full of omega-3s, unsaturated fats (the good kind), fiber, and protein. Nuts are heart-healthy nutrition in the palm of your hand.

Yogurt & Dairy– Bone loss gets worse as you get older and calcium helps keep it at bay. Yogurt isrich in calcium, which helps stave off osteoporosis &contains “good bacteria” that help maintain gut health.There are also non-dairy sources of calcium such as tofu, broccoli, almonds, and kale.

Broccoli& Leafy Greens – These areanti-inflammatory and anti-aging powerhouses as they are packed with vitamins and antioxidants.

Fatty fish. Heart-healthy all-stars like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that eating two portions of oily fish per week in old age could extend life by more than two years and reduce the risk of a heart attack by 35%.

Importation Vitamins & Minerals to consider in Older Age:

Vitamin B– After the age of 50 your stomach produces less gastric acid making it harder to absorb vitamin B-12 which is needed for healthy nervous system and key metabolic processes.The recommended daily intake is 2.4 mcg from either fortified foods or a supplement.

Water– As we age, we are more prone to dehydration. This is because your sense of thirst starts to decline. So it is vital that you drink enough water. The daily recommended amount is at least eight- 8 ounce cups of water per day. 

Vitamin D– The risk of a Vitamin D deficiency increases with age. This is because as people age they lose some of their ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. A Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to many age related dieseases. It’s recommended that over-65s take a supplement of vitamin D of 10 micrograms per day. 

*Always speak to your GP before taking supplements. 

Lower Your Cholesterol

Lower Your Cholesterol

By Healthy Life Foundation in Lifestyle Tips on 15 August 2020

There are 2 main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. A diet high in saturated fat may raise your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which will raise your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

So what are Saturated Fats? 

Saturated Fats that are tightly packed with no double bonds between the fatty acids are called saturated fats. There are some exceptions, but most are solid at room temperature such as butter.

Sources of saturated fat include:

  • fatty pieces of meat such as beef and lamb
  • some pork and chicken products
  • dairy products including cream, whole milk, butter, shortening, and cheese
  • coconut and palm oils

What are Unsaturated Fats? 

Unsaturated fats contain one or more double or triple bonds between the molecules. As oils, these fats are liquids at room temperature. They are also found in solid foods.  Eating foods that contain unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can actually help reduce cholesterol levels. 

Try to replace foods containing saturated fats with small amounts of foods high in unsaturated fats. High cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart disease.

Thankfully, you can lower this risk by incorporating certain foods into your diet.

Here are 10 Cholesterol-Lowering Foods to add to your diet:

  1. Avocado
  2. Nuts – Walnuts & Almonds in paticular
  3. Fruits & Berries
  4. Vegetables including dark leafy greens 
  5. Whole Grains – Such as oats and barley
  6. Olive Oil
  7. Fatty Fish such as salmon
  8. Artichokes  
  9. Flax Seed
  10. Garlic
Why Am I So Tired?

Why Am I So Tired?

By Healthy Life Foundation in Lifestyle Tips on 2 August 2020

We all go through periods of feeling overly tired for reasons as obvious as, too many late nights, a restless night’s sleep or stress. However, if tiredness goes on too long it can really start to affect your performance at work, your overall mood and your ability to enjoy life.  Unexplained tiredness can often be caused by underlying health conditions, so it is always important to speak to your GP if you’re experiencing fatigue for a long period of time. 

Here are some of the reasons why you might be feeling tired more than normal:

Physical Causes of Fatigue

1.) Anemia: One of the side effects of an iron deficiency is tiredness. A simple blood test will show if you are Anemic. 

2.) Underactive Thyroid 

3.) Sleep Apnea / or Restless Sleep – Your body does many things while you sleep, including store memory and release hormones that regulate your metabolism and energy levels.  If you are not getting enough quality sleep it can cause you to feel extremely tired the next day. 

4.) Pregnancy – The hormonal changes while you are pregnant are often responsible for pregnancy fatigue. Your body is also producing more blood to carry nutrients to your growing baby and your blood sugar levels and blood pressure are also lower. 

5.) Vitamin Deficiencies – You may be deficient is certain vitamins and minerals that contribute to energy levels. A simple blood test check can test for these deficiencies.

Lifestyle causes of fatigue 

1.) Being under or over weight. 

2.) Not having a healthy diet – Food Sensitivities or not eating the right types of food can have major effects on our energy levels. 

3.) Alcohol – Alcohol consumption can interfere with the quality of your sleep. Try to stick to the guidelines of no more than 14 units a week. 

4.) Exercise – Too much or too little can really effect how tired you feel. 

Psychological causes of Fatigue

1.) Stress – Excessive, prolonged stress can cause physical and emotional exhaustion.

2.) Depression – Sadness or feeling low can really effect your body and energy levels causing you to lack energy even after you wake up. 

3.) Anxiety – As well as feeling worried and irritable, people with anxiety can also experience fatigue from it. 

Protect Your Brain

Protect Your Brain

By Healthy Life Foundation in Lifestyle Tips on 22 July 2020

Five Habits to Protect Your Brain and Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 40 million people globally. Science suggests that thedisease develops gradually over time. However, the disease is not an inevitable part of aging. Research offers hope for building a better brain as you age and preventing dementia. By adopting certain lifestyle changes, you can help protect your brain and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimers.

Here are five key habits to protect your brain:

  1. BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE– Exercise helps activate brain plasticity (the brain’s ability to change its own structure as a result of experiences) and positive growth of connections in the brain while decreasing inflammation. Each week, you should aim for either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, fast swimming or riding a bike up a hill. 
  • MOVE IT OR LOOSE IT– Learn new skills and keep your mind active.Research shows that engaging in mentally stimulating activities is an important element in strengthening cognitive reserve, which is the brain’s resilience and capacity to function even when there is damage to brain cells. Stimulating the brain on a regular basis boosts cognitive pathways between neurons and builds resiliency in brain function. Try to find something that you like doing that challenges your brain such as learning a new language, games and crossword puzzles. 
  •  DEVELOP GOOD SLEEP HABITS – Getting regular, adequate sleep is necessary for good brain health. Without adequate sleep, humans experience cognitive deficits of many kinds, including attention issues and declines in the ability to learn and process information.  Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night.  
  • EAT A BALANCED HEALTHY, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET–  The food you eat can enhance brain function, prevent disease, and improve memory. Although each person is unique and has specific nutritional needs, eating a variety of healthy foods in their whole-food forms provides your body with essential nutrients that protect and nourish your brain. 
  • STOP SMOKING –  Smoking does a lot of harm to the circulation of blood around the body including the blood vessels in the brain. Smoking contributes to a higher risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Studiesshow that people who smoke are at a higher risk of developing all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
The Importance of Zinc

The Importance of Zinc

By Tiffany in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 29 June 2020

We often hear a lot about Vitamin C but Zinc is also an essential trace element that is crucial for the proper growth and maintenance of our bodies. Zinc also contributes to the development of cells that are in charge of defending your body against toxins or threatening foreign substances. By not getting enough Zinc, you may be come more susceptible to disease and illness as it is vital for a healthy immune system.

Unfortunately, our body doesn’t naturally produce zinc, so we must obtain it through food or supplements.

Here are some of the processes in our body that Zinc is required for:

  • Gene expression
  • Enzymatic reactions
  • Immune function
  • Protein synthesis
  • DNA synthesis
  • Wound healing
  • Growth and development
  • May reduce the risk of age related diseases
  • Vital for Skin Health
  • Decreases Inflammation

Zinc is naturally found in a wide variety of both plant and animal foods. Here are just 10 examples of foods that you can incorporate into your diet to ensure you are getting Zinc.

Here are 10 Foods high in Zinc

  1. Pumpkin Seeds
  2. Oats
  3. Oysters
  4. Lean Beef
  5. Crab
  6. Chickpeas
  7. Black Beans 
  8. Greek Yogurt
  9. Cashews
Mens Health Week

Mens Health Week

By Healthy Life Foundation in Lifestyle Tips on 17 June 2020

On the 15th-21st of June the world celebrates Men’s Health Week. This is a time to bring awareness to health issues that affect men disproportionately and to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems. Men’s health week focuses on getting men to become aware of problems they may have or could develop, and gain the courage to do something about it. . 

Many of the major health risks that men face can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle: regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, stress reduction, and alcohol consumption in the moderate range (no more than two drinks a day) if at all. Regular checkups and screening tests can spot disease early, when it is easiest to treat.

As simple guide, these are 7 numbers that all men need to know: 

  • 37 – a waist size of 37 inches or above puts you at increased of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. 
  • 150 – men should aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. 
  • 5 – we should aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables  a day. 
  • 14 – maximum 14 units of alcohol a week. 
  • 10 – cigarette smokers die 10 years younger on average than non-smokers. 
  • 120/80 – normal blood pressure. 
  • 75 – 75% of suicides (3 out of 4) are by men.  

Screening Tests that are important:

To find out more, speak to your GP.

  1. Cholesterol Levels -The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that all adults over the age of 35 have their cholesterol checked every 5 years
  • High Blood Pressure – If your blood pressure is high, you may require medication to control it
  • Prostate Cancer – Talk with your doctor about your risks for prostate cancer and whether a digital rectal exam should be part of your physical.
  •  Testicular Cancer  – Checking for testicular cancer is sometimes called testicular self-examination. Doing this regularly means you soon get to know what feels normal for you
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening – According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in men &women. If you’ve celebrated your 50th birthday and haven’t been screened for colorectal cancer, it’s time.
  • Skin Cancer Checks -Melanoma is currently the country’s fifth most common cancer among men.
  • Diabetes Testing – Blood pressure higher than 135/80 mm Hg may be a symptom of diabete
Eat Right, Feel Amazing

Eat Right, Feel Amazing

By Healthy Life Foundation in Lifestyle Tips on 11 June 2020

The top 7 Foods that  Health Experts tell us to avoid.  

1.) Margarine  – Most margarine’s rely primarily on highly processed vegetable oils (particularly soybean and palm oil) which mean they lack any nutritional value. Also, the inflammatory fats found in margarine impact brain function through inflammation.Choose grass-fed organic butter or olive oil for a healthier alternative.

2.) Cured Meats – Such as salami, chorizo, pepperoni, bacon and prosciutto to name a few. Cured meat refers to meat that has been treated in some way to preserve or flavour the meat. Processes include salting, curing, fermenting, and smoking.Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) internationals’ agent for cancer research stated that cured and processed meats were strongly linked to colon cancer which leadthem to classify processed thesemeats as a carcinogen.

3.) Artificial Sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame K, and neotame are what is contained in things like diet soda and sugar free foods. Some studies show that when metabolized in the body, these artificial sweeteners can cause many health related issues. 

4.) Microwave Popcornis full of artificial chemicals inside the microwave bag, which is what gives it its flavouring. These chemicals are harmful to your health so instead, try making your own popcorn within a brown paper bag, olive oil and a dash of salt. 

5.) Processed Deli Meats – Most deli meats are filled with a wide variety of additives from nitrates to carrageen, which can raise inflammation in the body. These have also been linked to an increased risk of healthy issues including Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Swap deli meats for organic, antibiotic and nitrate free meats. 

6.) Non- Organic Strawberries & Apples –These 2 fruits top the dirty dozen list as they contain high levels of pesticide residue (around 13 different types of pesticides) which then are ingested into your body when you eat them. Opt for organic strawberries and apples if you can.

7.) Chemically Processed Foodssuch as frozen / ready meals, instant noodles & soups, packaged cakes, pastries, crisps, crackers and candy which often contain refined carbohydrates excess sugar,  salt and artificial substances with little nutritional value. They tend to have added chemical flavouring agents, colours, and sweeteners, which are bad for your health. 

Eat Well, Feel Amazing! Tips to Eating Healthier- 

Try to read the ingredients on the foods that you purchase and perhaps avoid things that contain 5 or more ingredients that include unfamiliar or unpronounceable items.

National Multiple Sclerosis Day

National Multiple Sclerosis Day

By Healthy Life Foundation in Lifestyle Tips on 1 June 2020

World MS Day is observed globally on the 30th of May every year. The aim of this day is to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis and bring together those who are living with the condition to share their stories. 
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance.

Every day, people living with MS do whatever it takes to move their lives forward despite the challenges. By sharing their stories, we help people better understand life with MS and become inspired to do whatever it takes to change the world for people living with MS.

The theme for 2020-2022 World MS Day campaign is connections. The MS Connections campaign is all about building community connection, self-connection and connections to quality care. The campaign tagline is ‘I Connect, We Connect’ and the campaign hashtag is #MSConnections.

You can show your support by: 
Joining an event · Walk MS · Bike MS · Challenge Walk MS · Muckfest MS · DIY Fundraising .

Taking action · Become an MS activist · Connect online · Stay informed ·

Donate 
For more information and learn more about how you can help, please visit:

Feeling Stressed?

Feeling Stressed?

By Healthy Life Foundation in Health Tips, Lifestyle Tips on 12 May 2020

Millions of people around the world are experiencing high levels of stress during these very challenging times.  For some of us, it can be debilitating and often damaging to our health.  Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems. Stress is a normal part of human existence and nobody is immune to it. Therefore, it is important that we take care of our mental health and arm ourselves with the  knowledge of how to recognise the onset of stress and also learn skills on how to cope with it when it arises.

Since April is officially National Stress Awareness Month, we thought we would share some helpful tips on how to reduce stress during these very difficult times.

 

  • Meditate— Since your immune system responds to both negative & positive thoughts, meditation creates a positive mental environment for the immune system to flourish. It also creates a deep state of rest that triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters that enhance feelings of wellbeing.

 

  • Breathe — Doing some slow, belly breathing can calm the mind, which in turn strengthens the immune system. When we slow down the breath, we calm the stress response that can weaken the immune system. Try counting to 4 or 5 with each inhalation and exhalation to slow down your breathing.

 

  • Sleep— Sleep has been known to boost T-cells which help us fight disease, especially viral diseases. Get at least 7-8 hours of natural, restful sleep.

 

  • Eat well– Eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables are vital for our immune system as the vitamins, antioxidants and micronutrients that they contain keep our cells healthy, like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, zinc and other trace elements needed to support our immune system.

 

  • Get regular exercise — Exercise can contribute to overall good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.