Food to improve your vitality

What should you be eating right now to live a long and happy life? The average human lifespan is currently 71 years. In this blog we look at foods packed with vitality that are eaten by those who live the longest, and happiest lives according to the World Happiness Report.

Sticky rice and fermented cabbage

The group of people who live longest on the planet are the South Koreans who eat ‘kimchi’ (a fermented cabbage, garlic and pepper dish) with almost every meal. The life expectancy for South Koreans is soon to be over 90 years! Fermented foods have been shown to decrease the risk of cancer and lower cholesterol as has their daily practice of meditation and mindfulness. Fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut may be easier to include in your diet as a South African.

Tofu, sweet potato and a little bit of fish

A small group of southern Japanese islands known as Okinawa or ‘the land of immortals’ is home to more than 400 centenarians. The elderly community that lives here are socially and physically active which may also explain their high quality of life.

Olive oil, vegetables and wine

In Spain this healthy Mediterranean diet combined with the way it is eaten means that residents live well into their 80s. What appears to be so powerful is their cultural practice of stopping work at 2pm to walk home and eat a big meal slowly, together, followed by a delicious nap known as a ‘siesta’.

Noodles, rice and seafood

Those living in Singapore base their diet around these three food pillars. Although heavy in carbohydrates, the locals easily use up these calories as they exercise in parks and gyms across the city.

As you can see, how the food is eaten is as important as what the food is. Shoveling these foods in as fast you can in your lunch break is not going to help you live longer. However, finding a way to feed your body the nutrients, social interaction, physical activity and rest that it needs will ultimately help you live a longer, healthier life. 

What diet appeals to you most and which cultural practice would you love to take on board?

Collagen – is this new superfood for you?

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body. It is the glue that holds together skin cells and muscle fibres and keeps joints moving.

The beauty industry was the first to use collagen as a key ingredient in anti-wrinkle creams and serums. Then the medical fraternity started prescribing it in capsule form to aid achy joints. Now, sports stars and influencers are adding collagen powder to their daily smoothies.

In this blog we look at why collagen is getting so much attention and whether you could benefit.

It is important to note that the human body is actually really good at making its own collagen. So for those 25 years old and under taking collagen will most likely yield no improvement in your overall appearance or health. You are at your prime collagen level anyway. However, for those older than 25 and for those with certain chronic diseases, taking collagen may assist you to have better health in three key areas:

Collagen for Skin

Collagen is the glue that holds skin together and gives it its bounce. Young skin is rich in this protein which is why it does not flake and is not prone to wrinkles. When collagen levels are low, skin will appear thinner, redder and dryer as moisture leaves through the teeny gaps between skin cells.

Most biologists would recommend ingesting collagen rather than only applying it only to the top layer of your skin. Skin is a natural barrier and topical collagen may not penetrate deeply enough for you to see a difference.

Collagen for Muscle

For those who dabble in sports performance or those older athletes who do not want to have long recovery periods between events, taking collagen supplements can assist with muscle repair. As collagen plumps up the skin it can also plump up muscles making them look and work better. This increase in muscle mass has a knock on effect on fat loss.

A smoothie is a great way to ensure your collagen is broken down and absorbed along with the other natural food ingredients. Adding protein to your smoother will also keep you fuller for longer and maintain your blood glucose levels.

Collagen for Gut Health

The cells that line the digestive tract are also held together by collagen. When the gut becomes permeated or ‘leaky’ it becomes ineffective at absorbing nutrients and prone to inflammation and irritation.

Including collagen in your diet is simple. Eat animal protein. Collagen is found abundantly in bone broth, gelatin, eggs, chicken and meat.

Another great benefit of collagen? Less joint pain. It seems that a dose of collagen and a good night sleep on a Sealy could be the perfect recipe for waking up pain-free. Besides who doesn’t want to bounce out of bed each day?

Do you dabble with collagen to improve your skin, muscle and gut health? We would love to hear more about your experience

Good sleep is vital for great health. Follow our tips for a better night’s sleep.

How to start eating for energy

Rest is recovery and food is fuel so if you are looking to have more energy there is no greater combination than good sleep and good nutrition.

Whilst there are many conflicting ideologies when it comes to nutrition and weight-loss there is actually much consensus amongst sleep scientists when it comes to eating for sustained energy.

Here are some logical points to consider when planning what you put in your mouth:

Energy input must equal energy output…

If you are not eating enough, you will not have the energy you need to perform all day long.

Meals should be small and include protein…

Protein helps to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

If you want to have fewer energy dips then you will need to add foods such as biltong, full-fat cheese, nuts and hummus to your lunch box.

Avoid large meals heavy in carbohydrates…

Especially if you don’t want to feel sleepy after lunch.

Large meals require blood to divert away from your brain towards your digestive organs. If you want to feel alert, you will need blood flow in your brain.

Keeping your brain and body hydrated…

Will help you to keep going.

Caffeine can help pick you up but it can also lead to dehydration. Your brain consists of 73% water so its ability to do its job is impaired when it gets dry. Drinking water throughout the day is the best way to stay energetic and bright throughout your day.

Start eating for energy

The great news is eating this way will in turn help you sleep well. And sleeping well will help you find it easier to make good food selections during your day.

Here’s to fuelling your best life with good sleep and great food.