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After ten years at the shop face Iíve learnt a lot by listening and taking stock of what our customers say and while my list of tips arenít revolutionary or exhaustive they do sum up the common beliefs our healthy and happier customers seem to have in common. And here they are!

String theory, whatís that all about? In this so called rational world even big, tough men cry, isnít that a relief! So letís put some emotion into what we want out of life and get on with it. With the mental and emotional bit out of the way, letís look at the rest, in no particular order.

In a world where Ďsuperí foods means any food is super, try to eat food where the colours green and blue are part of your diet: lots of fruit and vegetables. Try not to eat the same things every day as this leads to stagnation in tastes and can actually cause digestive problems. Watch out for wheat, dairy and sugar, and keep your water intake up. Bowels need hydration to keep movements regular. Many of our older customers still walk a lot when they can. Walking is a brilliant way to keep everything going down below, and our health levels high.

To stop everything getting squashed as Iíve mentioned earlier try to take moderate exercise, nothing excessive, remembering that the heart is a muscle as well. Standing straight, shoulders back, tummy in and chin back is the advice from the old guard, and I think itís still true today to avoid some muscular problems.

Daily exercise and diet should help with pleasant sleep at night but often sleep disorders begin during the day and continue into the night because the mind is still racing. If that is the case pop into a good health food store and try to speak with a knowledgeable member of staff. (Or you can always call us at Elixir.) There are lots of interesting herbal and non-herbal products which may help. For instance, some people find the herb Valerian to be helpful for stress and anxiety, and sleep problems. Valerian doesnít work for everyone but there are many other products which may be suitable, especially if stress is a factor. Using Magnesium and or a carbohydrate snack before bedtime might also be beneficial.

Listen to your body. Many of our customers say this. Aches and pains are often minor blibs which come and go especially as we age but more chronic problems might need professional help. So, once again, donít ignore your bodyís voice. If youíre in pain or have suspicions that everything isnít working the way it used to or should, get professional help.

Stress? This is the modern day scourge affecting nearly all of us in modern times. A nice holiday could always go down well but many of our customers settle for a good tonic like Bio Strath Elixir or use a supplement to help the immune system such as Echinacea, Beta Glucans, Astragalus and or a good quality Multivitamin and Mineral formula.

Remember all that ĎFat Freeí food popular in the shops? Well actually fats are probably the most concentrated source of energy available to the body and shouldnít be ignored or avoided. Good fats, especially Omega 3 in fish, flax and hemp oils particularly are vital from the womb onwards, for brain and heart health, as an anti-inflammatory, and many believe theyíre helpful for depression. Fats, the right ones are essential, make them part of your diet.

Be kind to your guts and relax, chew nicely. Sometimes itís helpful to take Acidophilus, a probiotic, to replenish the good bacteria especially if youíve been on antibiotics. Sometimes, Enzyme Digest can work wonders if you have problems breaking down protein, carbohydrates or fats and if you find youíre suffering with wind, bloating or acid reflux. Aloe Vera, Flaxseeds, Psyllium Husks, Slippery Elm powder Ė theyíre all beneficial for bowels. Our older customers would recommend all of the above. Nice!

For whatever reason, heredity, diet or injury, for many of us getting on in years may involve that dreaded disease, arthritis. A lot of our customers tell us that osteo (wear and tear) arthritis has been helped by using Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM (which is a kind of sulphur found in the body) but advice is needed to get the right strength of the different ingredients. Devilsí Claw is another useful product as is Celadrin. With rheumatoid arthritis there are many natural supplements our customers also say are helpful in treating pain and inflammation and once again itís worth calling us at Elixir or finding a good source of information locally. Itís always good to look closely at your diet for foods which cause acid to build up in your body. To that extent, cherries, nettles, celery, cider vinegar are all helpful detoxifying at helping to clear out uric acid crystal from between the muscles and around the joints. But, if in doubt, always read around the subject and seek advice from your health practitioner, always careful if you are already taking medication to watch for contraindications.

Hopefully, with some of the tips above you too can live to a ripe old age, as far as possible free from the emotional and physical troubles that reduce quality of life!

Jean MacLeod is a Member of Staff at Elixir

To view any of the products mentioned in this article, click here:

- Valerian
- Acidophilus
- Enzyme Digest
- Bio Strath Elixir
- Echinacea
- Beta Glucans

To speak to a customer advisor, telephone Elixir on 01208 814500 for further information.

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