Kidney failure, alcohol consumption and absorption issues (Magnesium is absorbed in the small intestine and colon) also effect magnesium levels. Thus, individuals with intestinal or colon damage such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease, gastroenteritis, idiopathic steatorrhoea, ulcerative colitis, resection of the small intestine, ileostomy patients or patients with ulcerative colitis may have magnesium deficiency.
There are more and more programs that are prescribing nature-based therapy rather than medication. These programs have shown that they improve well being and could lead to lower NHS costs.
One such program is River Remedies: Improving well -being through nature, this is a scheme run in the South Gloucestershire and Bristol areas on the River Frome. The individuals in the original scheme their well being scores went from ‘poor’ to being in line with national averages.
Engaging in nature is beneficial for all. Several studies have revealed that exposure to nature has positive associations with well-being. However Natural England’s last survey of engagement with the natural environment, only 42% of the population had visited the outdoors in the last seven days, and around 50% of these visits were to urban parks.
A report in The Lancet- Planetary Health, found a significant reduction in major depressive disorder in those living in closer proximity to green spaces.
A common factor attributed to the benefits in time in nature is those individuals partake in a greater level of physical activity. However ‘green exercise’ amplifies the benefits of physical activity indoors, being outdoors will also help top up your ‘vitamin D’ levels.
Vegetarian and vegan meals, tend to have higher fibre levels, with both the vegetables and the protein source being good sources of fibre, and the focus of the meal.
Today Susan made a version similar to Riverford’s Cauliflower Mujaddara, packed full of vegetables, protein and healthy oils. The four main ingredients in this dish were onions, cauliflower, kale and lentils.
The dish contained a large portion of onions, with a generous 1.5 onions per portion. Raw onions are nutritionally better due to the sulphur compounds which can be destroyed by heat, however you can still get many of the benefits from cooked as well. Cooked onions tend to taste milder and are often gentler on stomachs.
Onions have been used in folk medicine for the relief of coughs, colds and catarrh, especially asthma (Susan’s great aunt swore by her remedy of Oh Be Joyful which was honey, lemon, onion and whisky! to cure most colds). One medium onion can provide 20% of RDA of Vitamin C, 4% calcium and 4% of Iron and 12% of your daily fibre requirements. Most onions are safe to eat, however green onions (spring onions) contain a high dose of vitamin K, therefore those on Warfarin need to take care.
Kale, over the years has been classed as a super food, just one cup will provide you with 3g of protein, 2.5g of fibre, vitamins A.C and K, folate, Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, Lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that give kale its deep dark green colouring and may protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. It also includes minerals such as potassium, calcium and zinc.
Kale being a dark green leafy vegetable, is better cooked than raw due to its indigestible fibre. Kale is a goitrogenic vegetable and when eaten raw, this vegetable can inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. If it’s eaten in excess, these chemicals can inhibit the incorporation of iodine into thyroid hormone. Also since its a good source of vitamin K those on blood thinner medication need to take this into account.
The body relies on iodine (and tyrosine) to make thyroid hormones, so continually eating these raw greens can cause a thyroid hormone imbalance. Raw kale also contains oxalic acid, which binds with minerals such as calcium and magnesium in the body causing them to crystalize. These crystals can damage tissues, cause inflammation in the body and kidney stones. So, a daily dose of raw kale and other goitrogenic vegetables may not be such a great idea.
Cauliflower is currently a popular food with cauliflower rice, being a common ingredient for those on diets, it can be boiled, steamed or roasted.
A cup of boiled cauliflower is just 30 calories, provides 4% of daily protein, 92% of vitamin C, 22% of vitamin K, 14% folate, 12% of fibre, 6% potassium and 8% manganese.
Brown, green, yellow, red or black — lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein. 1/2 a cup of lentils provides 12g of protein and 32% of your daily fibre requirements. Women need 2,320mg of Potassium per day (possible more if on a diuretic), a 1/2 cup portion provides, 12% of your requirement and 15% of your iron requirement. For vegetarians and vegans, getting enough iron may be particularly challenging. Regularly including lentils in your diet can help boost your iron intake.
If you are not used to eating lentils it is advisable to slowly increase the amount in your diet to give your digestion system time to adjust to the increased fibre in your diet.
The whole meal provided a very nutritious balanced meal, at 600 calories per portion, it provided 55% of daily fibre requirement, 280% of vitamin C, 34% of protein, 17% of calcium and 30% of iron.
Try one or two vegetarian or vegan meals per week, to see if you can increase your vegetable and fibre intake.
The type of food we eat affects our health and our quality of life. Poorly nourished people get sick more often and recover from injury and illness more slowly. Poor nutrition is a major health problem for many older people.
For people with dementia, maintaining good nutrition presents extra challenges. A person with dementia may:
- Experience a loss of appetite
- Develop an insatiable appetite or a craving for sweets
- Forget to eat and drink
- Forget how to chew or swallow
- Experience a dry mouth, or mouth discomfort
- Be unable to recognise the food and drink they are given
Daily nutritional balance
The nutritional requirements of someone with dementia will be similar to other people of their age. However some people with dementia experience increased physical activity such as pacing, which means they will need larger amounts of food to prevent them from losing weight.
Common nutritional problems
Forgetting to eat
What to try
- An alarm clock, or a phone call, may be a useful reminder at mealtimes
- Snacks that are easy to eat and don’t need to be refrigerated can be left out where they can be easily seen
Can’t or won’t prepare meals for themselves
It can be particularly difficult for people with dementia who are living alone when they can’t or won’t prepare meals for themselves.
What to try
- Meals should be shared social occasions whenever possible
- Delivered meals such as meals-on-wheels. However these may not provide all of a person’s daily nutritional needs or may not be what the person is used to eating
- Home support to assist with meal preparation, serving and to discretely prompt with eating
- Pre-prepared meals from the supermarket
- Family and friends helping to prepare meals and or eating together
- Preparing large quantities of food, then freezing into meal size amounts
- Home delivered ready-to-eat food from restaurants or fast food outlets
- Eating out. However check first that the person with dementia will be comfortable with the venue and food
- Stocking up on healthy snacks such as yoghurt, cheese or dried fruit that do not need preparation or cooking
One for the teenagers in your lives.
As your body is still growing, it’s vital that you eat enough good quality food and the right kinds to meet your energy and nutrition needs.
Being a teenager can be fun, but it can also be difficult as your body shape changes. These physical changes can be hard to deal with if they aren’t what you are expecting. There can be pressure from friends to be or look a certain way, and this might affect the foods you eat. It’s not a good time to crash diet, as you won’t get enough nutrients, and you may not reach your full potential. Following a sensible, well-balanced diet is a much better option, both for now and in the long term.
What should I eat
Eating three regular meals a day with some snacks will help you meet your nutrition needs. Skipping meals means you will miss out on vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates, which can leave you lacking energy or finding it hard to concentrate.
- Breads, grains and cereals are carbohydrates that provide energy for your brain and muscles. They’re also an excellent source of fibre and B vitamins. Without enough carbohydrates you may feel tired and run down. Try to include some carbohydrates at each mealtime.
- Fruit and vegetables have lots of vitamins and minerals which help boost your immune system and keep you from getting sick. They’re also very important for healthy skin and eyes. It’s recommended you eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day.
- Meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts and legumes (e.g. beans and lentils) are good sources of iron and protein. Iron is needed to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around your body. During your teenage years, you’ll start to menstruate, or get your period, and this leads to loss of iron. If you don’t get enough iron, you can develop anaemia, a condition that can make you feel tired and light-headed and short of breath. Protein is needed for growth and to keep your muscles healthy. Not eating enough protein when you are still growing, or going through puberty, can lead to delayed or stunted height and weight. Not enough protein is common when you go on strict diets. Include meat, chicken, fish or eggs in your diet at least twice a day. Fish is important for your brain, eyes and skin. Try to eat fish 2 to 3 times a week.
If you are vegetarian or vegan and do not eat meat, there are other ways to meet your iron needs, for example, with foods like baked beans, pulses, lentils, nuts and seeds.
- Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt help to build bones and teeth and keep your heart, muscles and nerves working properly. You’ll need three and a half serves of dairy food a day to meet your needs.
- Eating too much fat and oil can result in you putting on weight. Try to use oils in small amounts for cooking or salad dressings. Other high-fat foods like chocolate, chips, cakes and fried foods can increase your weight without giving your body many nutrients.
- Fluids are also an important part of your diet. Drink water to keep hydrated, so you won’t feel so tired or thirsty. It can also help to prevent constipation.
Bio-availability refers to the bodies ability to absorb and use a particular substance or nutrient.
Vitamins and minerals are manufactured from either ‘organic’ or ‘inorganic’ materials. Minerals in the form of sulphates, oxides, carbonates or artificial chelates are inorganic, meaning they rarely occur naturally in the plant or animal kingdoms. Minerals in the form of gluconates, phosphates, citrates, lactates are called ‘organic’ minerals because they do occur in the plant and animal kingdoms. Organic mineral forms are believed to be absorbed easier by the body.
One example can be seen in the supplement calcium, in 1987 Maryland University carried out a study to investigate the different forms of calcium and absorption since it already had been determined that the solubility of many calcium salts, depends on pH, the type of salt used, the condition of the patient and the time of administration.
Previously it was assumed that all calcium supplements were equal, as long as the amount of calcium in each supplement was the same, however it was found that calcium must be in the form of ions to be absorbed. As with many salts the solubility depends upon the pH of the solution its dissolving in. To be of use in the body first the tablet must disintegrate, It was found that some tablets had coatings on “enteric-coated” that were insoluble in acid, these coatings are of use to other supplements where the disintegration is needed further down the digestion track, or packed too tightly together ‘bed pan bullets’ (The standard laboratory test for disintegration (part of the test known as the United States Pharmacopeia [USP] “Disintegration and Dissolution of Dietary Supplements” method <2040>), is an important test of product quality, although passing this test alone does not assure bioavailability). The research also found that calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate dissolved well at a pH of 1.01(very acidic) but their solubility reduced as pH increased, the average stomach acid pH of a human is 1.5-3.5, therefore for bioavailability calcium citrate and calcium lactate are better forms.
Susan has a practitioner account with Natural Dispensary where she can offer her clients a 10% discount off their price list. If you want to discuss any of your supplements, please contact Susan.
Short presentation on how hormones can effect your health