Dr. Simone Laubscher PhD, formulator of The Super Elixir™ and Founder of Rejuv Nutrition, shares her insights on men's health.
Over the last 5 years, I have seen a spike in health conditions in men driven greatly by inflammation, stress and adrenal fatigue. When assessing health, I look holistically, reviewing all 7 wellness pillars - sleep, movement, body balance, nutrition, supplementation, mindfulness and environment.
In a perfect world, we would all eat organic low-processed, high fiber and high nutrient dense foods providing us with optimum vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and nutrients we need to thrive. This however isn’t always possible or realistic and as a consequence, leading to nutrient deficiencies and health problems.
Research reveals that men, even in developed nations, are low in the essential vitamins and minerals.
Add to this increased stress levels, then you have the perfect combination for poor health. Magnesium, iron, omega 3, amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin K seem to be the main deficiencies on the rise in most men. With stress at an all-time high, many of my male patients are experiencing increased belly fat due to increased cortisol and stress hormones, insomnia, increased pain and inflammation, anxiety, depression, IBS symptoms, reduced sex drive, poor cognition as well as food and alcohol cravings.
If we get our inflammation under control this will start a positive reaction throughout your entire body.
Control will help reduce the symptoms listed above and bring you into a state of active healing and overall mind and body balance. When we get injured, inflammation is a natural part of our healing mechanism to repair damaged tissue and protect ourselves against pathogens. In such cases, inflammation is helpful; however in all other cases it tends to be harmful.
There are two types of inflammation.
Acute inflammation is your body’s natural defence against damaged cells, viruses and other harmful invaders, helping the body to heal.
Chronic inflammation is systemic and what we see a lot of in our Rejuv Wellness Clinics. This is low-grade inflammation that lasts for weeks, months or even years. It is now linked to almost every major health condition and disease due to the production of free radicals that can cause damage to healthy cells, if your antioxidant levels are not adequate. If this ratio is out of balance you can increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, Alzheimer's, arthritis, joint and body pain, kidney issues, premature ageing, lung issues, asthma, reduced eyesight, depression, anxiety, reduced immune system, obesity and diabetes.
Inflammation is caused by an array of small things adding up.
This sum creates a systemic inflammatory response throughout your entire body. A diet high in inflammatory foods, leaky gut, poor blood sugar regulation, low hydration, poor sleep, high stress, shallow breathing, limited exercise, environmental toxic load, poor body balance in relation to your muscular and skeletal systems and a lack of prayer and mindfulness practices, will all effect your inflammation levels.
To reduce inflammation and your overall health, check in with your nutrition.
A diet to reduce inflammation and promote healing includes organic; non-GMO vegetables, fruits, essential fats from plants and clean, organic and wild protein. Replacing inflammatory foods with these healing foods can reduce inflammation, stabilise blood sugar, reduce toxic load, provide necessary nutrients, and support healthy blood pH levels. So, swap out dairy milk for unsweetened plant milk, swap white rice for brown or cauliflower rice, swap nonorganic animals for wild line caught fish, swap nasty oils for coconut or olive, swap sugar for monk fruit, coconut sugar or stevia, and eat more organic fruits and veggies.
Eating the following foods is the ideal solution to improve mineral and nutrient deficiencies most commonly seen in men; however, simply taking 2 teaspoons of The Super Elixir™ each day will help support all of your essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients and prevent any nutritional deficiencies.
Vitamin D3: To get the best vitamin D, I love healthy exposure to sunshine in nature. 20 minutes, three times a week on major muscle groups like your legs is all you need. You can also try fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines three times a week.
Vitamin K2: Best food sources include fermented foods such as Sauerkraut, natto, tempeh, kimchi, okra, kale, parsley or spinach.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: These help to reduce inflammation and provide a great foundation for healthy bones and hormones that regulate bone tissue formation. I like coconut oil, nuts, flaxseeds (not the oil), pumpkin and chia seeds, hemp / hemp oil and wild fatty small fish.
Magnesium: This amazing mineral is vital for over 300 enzymes in the body and is key for all vitamin D regulating pathways. Best food sources include green leafy veggies, seeds, nuts (not peanuts), avocado and bananas. Fresh veggie juice is a great way to boost magnesium or fats with 2 teaspoons of The Super Elixir™ each day.
B Vitamins: To increase your B vitamins include a variety of these foods each week in your diet; almonds, sunflower seeds, dark leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, avocado, brown rice, millet, wild fish, lentils, citrus fruits and bananas.
Iron: Any fruits and vegetables that are dark green or dark red nourish your blood and will boost your iron levels. Foods such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, beetroot, mushrooms, palm hearts and berries (mulberries, elderberries, raspberries and blackberries are the highest in iron). If you do enjoy eating meat and your inflammation is low, choose organic free range or wild meat especially as a man for you can’t afford to load up on the female hormones found in conventionally raised farm animals for this will reduce your testosterone, increase body fat, increase ‘man boobs’ and reduce your sex drive.
Amino acids: come from protein and are the boiling blocks influencing every system of the body. Amino acids help in the growth of muscle, connective tissue, skin, healing and repair and even in digestion. Research reveals that men are low in amino acids and I have found that this is sometimes due to an absorption issue, rather than a diet too low in protein. Eating heavy meat protein, especially if not organic, is hard to digest and can lead to high inflammation and disease. Wild small fish is the best source of animal protein. You can also get a lot of protein from lentils, almonds, quinoa, spirulina, peas, tempeh and chickpeas. Chewing your food 20 times per mouthful will also greatly help absorption and reduce your desire to overeat. If you tend to have IBS symptoms, then this confirms your gut needs prebiotic fiber foods such as milled flaxseeds and psyllium husk. If supplementation is easier, take The Super Booster Gut Health with Inulin Prebiotic for 1 month first thing each day. If you find it difficult to get good clean organic protein for lunch during the week, take plant-based Nourishing Protein powders to supplement your diet. Consume with your lunch, as a snack or as a post workout protein shake to ensure you’re getting all of your daily essential amino acids. Amino acids only come from food so unless you ingest them each day it is a bio-available form you will be prone to deficiency and premature ageing.
Vitamin C: is a water-soluble vitamin so you need to be eating fruits and veggies each day to keep your levels up. The veggies highest in vitamin C include; broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, other leafy greens, sweet potato and winter squash. The fruits highest in vitamin C include; black currents, lemons, lines, berries and kiwi.
Blitz The Super Elixir™ and fresh greens for an a shot of nutrition
Extra tips to keep your body in check from within.
As men age there tends to be an increase in belly fat, so it is vital to balance blood sugar levels, boost your metabolism, reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and be proactive to boost your testosterone. Eating the above diet and dealing with your inflammation will have a great affect to keep your body fat in check but here are a few extra tips.
Blood sugar imbalances and cravings; eat protein with each meal, chew well and choose foods that will easily digest. Also make sure you are getting enough fiber to keep you full and regular. I suggest consuming three teaspoons of milled flaxseeds or psyllium husks eat day - 1.5 teaspoons before breakfast and 1.5 teaspoons before dinner in a glass of water.
Slow metabolism; add thermogenic foods to your diet such as chili, garlic, ginger, curry and spices to boost your resting metabolic rate.
Boost testosterone; Testosterone will not only keep your body fat down and your lean muscle up it will also keep you motivated and passionate in life and in the bedroom. The best foods to boost testosterone naturally are garlic, organic free-range eggs, almonds, oysters, gluten free porridge oats, lemons, manuka honey and spinach. The type of exercise you do also greatly impacts testosterone levels so choose HITT, interval training and strength training. Yoga and meditation will also reduce your stress levels which has a wonderful balancing effect on your hormones too.
Testing; if you feel your testosterone levels are out you can also have this tested at most labs. Most male hormone profiles can be done accurately with a simple saliva test to evaluate testosterone, DHEA, cortisol and oestrogen levels. You usually collect 4 samples over a 24-hour period which gives a clear picture of the role played by the adrenal and sex hormones.
Stress; and your thoughts greatly affect your inflammation. Repetitive thinking of stressful thoughts leaves your body living with an over production of stress hormones and in the fight or flight mode which leaves little energy left for the body to heal. Moments of stress are normal with the sympathetic nervous system becoming engaged allowing for a rapid involuntary response to dangerous or stressful situations. A surge of stress hormones boosts the body's alertness and heart rate, sending extra blood to the muscles in case you need to act quickly to escape danger. When the danger never really presents itself and it is only triggers by the thoughts of stressful situations the body cannot make this distinction, and this is why stress is linked now to all diseases. Cortisol also goes up, increasing the storage of body fat, which for many adds to the existing level of stress. Practicing mindfulness daily and choosing prayer and meditation techniques that resonate with you are key to helping you stay in balance. There is a great book by Dr Bruce Lipton called Biology of Belief which will reveal to you the power of your thoughts and how they help shift you into optimum health and a state of healing and longevity.
Sleep; if you don’t get adequate sleep your body cannot heal so inflammation and poor health will follow. Getting your stress under control as per above is key and creating wind down sleep rituals like with WelleCo’s Sleep Welle Calming Tea will help you get into restorative sleep having a huge knock on effect on your physical and mental health.
Environmental toxins; your toxic load greatly affects your inflammation levels for non-organic chemical hygiene products clog the liver and kidneys leading to inflammation and disease. If it’s too expensive to change your whole life, start with the big players first like deodorant, body wash and shampoo. Then move onto household products and clothes detergent.
Good health is all about balance -- these are some inflammatory foods to enjoy once in a while.
Here is a list of the most inflammatory foods to avoid most of the time. These foods tend to increase inflammation (and belly fat) and create extra acidity in the tissues, thus increasing pain, leading to mood disorders and the risk of disease. We're not asking you to be perfect and the body doesn’t demand perfection, but it does demand consistency. Good health is all about balance.
- Processed meats
- Red meat (rule of thumb: any animals with 4 legs or more)
- Refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, white potatoes)
- Deadly nightshade veggies such as aubergine, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes
- Farm-raised fish
- Traditionally raised animals such as chicken & turkey.
- Trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils)
- Mono-sodium Glutamate (MSG) and other food additives and preservatives
- Highly processed vegetable and seed oils, such as canola, corn, sunflower, peanut and safflower
- Artificial Sweeteners