Annual Physical Exams can be such a bittersweet experience. It’s that time of the year again at our office, and all over the place we could hear either sighs of relief or sighs of frustration at the results- from cholesterol or blood sugar digits, x-ray findings or whatever else. For some, after the poking and the probing, the huffing and puffing, everything is normal after all and all one needs to do is maintain a balanced lifestyle to keep things as such. For others, it is an unpleasant realization that yes, they are no longer 18 years old and all that junk food, the late nights, hard drinks, and stressful routines were bound to take their toll at some point. So it’s all the more important for us to be more conscious of the choices we make when it comes to our health, and the stuff we put into our bodies. After all, not only do we want to feel good, we want to look good too! Here’s the lowdown on the latest health buzzwords:
1. Wheatgrass- A powerful supplement with a naturally high concentration of nutrients and is a naturally balanced source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, anti-oxidants, dietary fiber, chlorophyll and carotenoids, its no wonder why nearly everyone is on the wheatgrass bandwagon. An ounce of the fresh juice is equal to chowing down 1 kilo of leafy green veggies! That means, over the years, it can help prevent things like cancer, high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes and other debilitating diseases, and it can also rid your body of toxins and boost your immune system. And of course, since you’re taking in loads of vitamins and minerals, all this goodness is going to manifest itself in your skin and hair, as well as your energy level. There are many forms of wheatgrass available- there are tablets and there’s a powdered version, but since the enzymes become inactive after processing, the only way to really benefit from this wonder food is by taking it fresh. My friend Vanessa Deen-Araneta (who clearly is the best model for the wonders of wheatgrass!) is running Amazing Grass, wherein they grow the grass and deliver it right to your door, ready for juicing. Contact 0917-8240309 or firstname.lastname@example.org for orders, or check out the Amazing Grass Facebook page for more details.
2. Spirulina- This is an algae that has a wide range of health benefits. It contains protein, vitamins, minerals, Omega 6 fatty acids, chlorophyll and other phyto nutrients, thereby boosting the immune system, improving digestion, reducing fatigue, building endurance, detoxifying the blood, curbing the appetite, supporting the liver, kidneys and heart, and a host of other things. The NASA (yes, the space dudes) conducted a study on spirulina to see if it was suitable as food for astronauts in space, and it found that a kilo of spirulina has the same nutrients as about 1,000 kgs of assorted vegetables. It has beta carotene, iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin E. So if you’re feeding your body such a high concentration of nutrients, good things are bound to happen. Get your spirulina fix in powdered or tablet form from several sources—health stores, or you can order it via Facebook from the Spirulina Philippines page.
3. Acai Berry- called the ‘ultimate super fruit’, the acai (pronounced a-sigh) is a dark purple berry indigenous to the Amazon rainforest and valued for its rich nutrients. It has a high oxygen-radical absorbance capacity value, (double that of blueberries, cranberries, etc), and since it’s such a good anti-oxidant, it can prevent diseases caused by oxidative stress such as heart disease and cancer. It defends the body against life’s stressors and helps in the protection of your cells, and the best news yet is it can also slow down the signs of aging. Acai berry can be taken in juice form and in tablet form, and some topic beauty products even use it as a main ingredient because it’s such a powerhouse anti-oxidant. You can buy Acai berry tablets from Healthy Options or the Uno Acai Berry juice.
4. Omega 3- The omega 3 is a fatty acid loaded with DHA for better brain development, a healthier heart, less depression and headaches, freedom from joint pain, prevention of diabetes and cancer too. It can stimulate blood circulation, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol readings, and prevent blood clotting in the heart. This is why people like Eskimos who eat large quantities of fish and fat from seafood hardly ever exhibit cardiovascular disease. So where do we get Omega 3? Basically this comes down to fish (like salmon) or taking fish oil supplements. You can also take flax seed oil, soybeans, olive oil, walnut and pumpkin seeds for Omega 3, although the best source is still fish.
5. Resveratrol- Here’s another buzzword that’s all over the health news these days. Resveratrol is found in grapes (ergo red wine), the Japanese knotweed plant, or peanuts. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that has cancer-fighting properties and is even dubbed the ‘fountain of youth’. It is an anti-inflammatory, increases energy levels, and lowers blood sugar. Some people simply drink a glass or two each day to enjoy the health benefits of resveratrol, that’s why we often hear that red wine taken in moderation is good for the heart. Some opt to just take the resveratrol supplements/tablets. In case you were wondering why it also seems to be associated to diet pills, research has also shown that resveratrol is attributable to weight loss (hence the birth of Slenda), although this has yet to really be proven.
6. Green Tea- I’m sure you’ve also heard of the benefits of green tea. It contains catechins, which are powerful antioxidants found in the tea, and burns fat faster. It slows down the production of harmful enzymes that encourage cancer growth, and also has the ability to stimulate alpha brain waves, allowing you to relax while improving concentration. Green tea is also said to inhibit hardening of arteries which leads to heart attacks and strokes, regulate blood sugar, treat inflammations including that of rheumatoid arthritis, protects the liver and boosts the immune system. And all it takes is a cup or two a day! Thank God for the free green tea in our office pantry—I’m making this my new 3 o’clock habit. Whew, now I feel like a doctor—ok, more like a naturopath. But it’s great to know that all these health supplements are within our reach, and it’s never too late to start living well.