Although we are all looking after ourselves in general by using the gym regularly this is only a small area on the road to a healthy lifestyle, how often do we sit back and consider other specific parts of our body such as Heart, Kidneys, Liver, Stomach, Spleen, Brain and all the other internal organs that keep our body ticking along.
Obviously the basics always apply such as not smoking, eating healthily and drinking in moderation, but there is always that little bit further that we can go to help the organs work better and become stronger, hopefully lasting longer. As most people know, the way we eat and what we eat have a major effect on our health, a bad diet intake that contains high fat, and food full of sugar and salt can have the effect of raising blood pressure increasing weight gain and also increasing cholesterol levels, when choosing your diet consider what your intake will do not only for your outward look i.e. skin, hair, teeth as well as putting on unwanted weight but more importantly what is it doing to your internal organs. All the things mentioned above, fat, sugar, salt have effects on the Heart, always try to get your diet as balanced as possible, try to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit remembering the recommended 5 a day rule, when choosing meat look for lean cuts with the least fat, fish is an excellent source of healthy Omega oils, dairy produce as well as meat and fish is a good source of protein, when shopping, if you are buying spreads or other oily foods try to find the ones with unsaturated fats, there are also carbohydrates which come in the form of pasta, bread, potatoes and rice, because they need to be digested first they release their energy slowly over a period of time, these are the types of food that don’t give sugar spikes/surges in your blood the same as sugary foods and sweets do, always remember, Go Low, Low Sugar, Low Salt, Low Fat and always remember to try to steer clear of Saturated fats full of bad cholesterol wherever possible. Cholesterol comes in two forms, HDL AND LDL, try to raise your levels of HDL Cholesterol, this type of cholesterol is the good stuff that moves the fat away from the arteries and transport it back to the liver where it can be processed, LDL on the other hand is definitely the one to steer clear of, LDL Cholesterol contributes to Heart disease by clogging arteries and LDL also prevents The blood from clotting and can lead to heart attacks and/or strokes
The Food Standards Agency makes certain recommendations when it comes to food intake; one of them is the amount of daily sugar intake. 15g of sugar per 100g =high 5g of sugar per 100g = low Due to sugar requiring very little digestion to be absorbed into your body this is when you get sugar spikes/surges in your blood which means the sugar levels rise and then fall quickly leading to a psychological need for more food and more sugar, avoid the sugar and go for carbohydrate food. Low fat according to the FSA is 3g of fat per 100g and the FSA class fat free as 0.15g per 100g, always remember that although our bodies do need a certain amount of the fat intake the amount and type is very important for keeping control of our cholesterol levels. A good starting point is to look at the way we cook our food, with meats it is usually recommended to steam and grill over frying or roasting, if you have no alternative but to fry or roast then try to use spray oil or good quality Olive oil. When preparing meals for work try to remember these rules and you won’t go far wrong and always try to get your 5 a day fruit and vegetables.
The Kidneys perform an extremely import function by cleansing the blood of toxins and waste and removing in the urine. Diabetes is a main contributing factor to kidney damage as it causes the loss of protein that is stored in the kidneys, regular urine tests at the doctors are a simple way of catching diabetes early and reversing or stopping any damage, catching it early is the main thing as if it is left untreated the kidneys will struggle to work correctly and eventually fail and this could lead to a kidney transplant or dialysis. As with most parts of the body simple common sense and diet can prevent these problems occurring such as not smoking, Checking your blood pressure at regular intervals Checking your blood sugar levels at regular intervals Keep to a low fat diet The Liver is the largest organ in your body, you only have one and the amount of work it does is amazing, it cleans the blood, it controls cholesterol, it attacks and kills any poisons, it breaks down alcohol, it fights infections and it helps to process food after digestion.
The Liver probably takes more abuse than any other organ in the body which makes it even more important that you look after it. Liver disease is a massive killer in this country and it is increasing, look after yours by watching your alcohol intake, drink in moderation to give the Liver time to do its job. Alcohol is the number one cause of liver failure, followed by liver disease linked to fat build up and hepatitis. Remember, you only have one, look after it.
The Brain is an amazing thing and we can all do our bit to look after ours, in general the brain is in constant need of certain nutrients to help it function correctly, try to eat foods that contain essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6, vitamin B is particularly good but most vitamins and minerals are put to good use and as always try to avoid saturated fats. Try to keep well hydrated, the human brain is made up of 78% water and a lack of it can drastically reduce performance, drink at least 6 glasses ( 2 ½ pints ) of water a day, this can also help to reduce tiredness, depression and headaches.
Stress can have a particular effect on the brain, it isn’t always easy to avoid but try to stay calm under pressure, relax, stress can have an effect on memory as can be seen during car accidents while under stress such as this it’s harder to remember exactly what happened so staying calm is a must, learning ability can also be affected when under stress. One of the most important things, and one that a lot of us don’t do is get enough sleep, lack of sleep can have a very negative effect on the brain slowing down its functional capacity, it is usually recommended that you should try to get at least 7 hours good solid sleep a night to ensure better brain activity. As most people know, a well-balanced diet is a must, regular meals and good eating habits can make a big difference to a person’s wellbeing. Try to eat small meals regularly rather than going all day without food and then eating a large meal, snacking between meals with things like sweets, chocolates and biscuits are a definite no no as this can bring on the sugar spikes and cravings that I mentioned earlier. Also try to avoid large meals late at night as these can be harder to digest especially in older people and can also lead to sleep problems with a full stomach. Always try to drink plenty of liquids, preferably water.
I’ll just finish this section by saying that exercise for a healthy heart and body is a must, in general any aerobic exercise is recommended to keep the heart healthy such as walking, jogging, cycling, rowing, skipping and any other similar activities, in general it is recommended that to gain maximum benefits the aerobic session should last 20-30 minutes at least 3 or 4 times a week usually every other day, if you are just starting out on an aerobic exercise programme then these are targets that you should work up to and not jump straight in at the deep end, risking injury or overwork.
Train Hard, Train Safe. Gaz