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Advice: MOT your body.

How healthy are you? Fair to middling? Superwoman fit? Here, one reader puts herself in our health experts' hands and finds out exactly what kind of shape she's in - and how she can improve it

Name Ann Pealling Age 30 Weight 9st 9lb Height 5ft 6in Job NSPCC worker

Medical history No serious illnesses or operations Lifestyle notes Ann is training for the London marathon, running 40 miles a week. She is a mother of two and has an emotionally draining job. She eats cereal and a banana for breakfast, a sandwich and four pieces of fruit for lunch, and chicken, pasta or a jacket potato in the evening. A non-smoker, she drinks a couple of glasses of red wine at the weekend and snacks on chocolate occasionally. While training, she drinks up to three litres of water a day. Ann complains of poor circulation. She has been feeling tired and stressed and often feels bloated after eating.

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

As Ann is training for the London marathon, she needs to pay particular attention to the energy content of her diet. She should choose plenty of energising carbohydrates, such as brown rice and sweet potatoes, and avoid fast-acting stimulants, such as tea, coffee, cola, sugar and chocolate, which cause fatigue in the long term. The Goldshield Centre recommends reflexology as an excellent way for Ann to unwind and relax her hard-working feet. She should take 30mg CoQ10 daily to help energy production. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant and a legal performance-enhancing supplement for athletes. It is available from health food shops.

ANN'S REACTION

`I was so pleased with my fitness results and they have really given me a boost towards my marathon goals. I am taking the supplements, drinking ginger tea and cranberry juice, and I am sure I will feel less bloated soon. I am planning to take up yoga and do a spot of reflexology if I can find the time. As for my numb feet, I have changed my trainers and I can't tell you how much better they are!'

vitamins & minerals

Ann was tested using the BEST system which identifies vitamin and mineral imbalances by measuring energy levels through acupressure points on the hands. In Ann's case, the tests revealed only a slight deficiency in B vitamins, which are crucial for energy production. She can increase levels by eating more fish, wholegrain cereals and green leafy vegetables.

circulation

Ann often wakes up with a tingling feeling down one side of her body and her feet become numb after running. These are signs of poor circulation, which can be caused by a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, restricting blood flow. She should avoid foods high in saturated fats, such as dairy products and red meat. Drinking ginger tea, taking gingko biloba supplements and a 1,000mg garlic capsule daily will thin Ann's blood to help it reach her extremities more easily. She should change her running shoes as they may be cutting off the circulation in her feet.

digestion

The BEST system revealed low levels of digestive enzymes in Ann's stomach, which may explain why she feels bloated after meals. These enzymes are needed to break down foods and aid the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. Poor enzyme function is often a result of eating too quickly, so Ann should chew her food well before swallowing. Fruits such as papaya and pineapple aid digestion, as they contain enzymes which mimic the gastric enzyme pepsin, breaking down protein and some starches.

fitness & flexibility

It's no surprise that Ann scored so brilliantly in most of the gym tests, with her lungs pushing out carbon dioxide to 85% of their capacity. However, she's below average in the flexibility test. The Goldshield Health Centre recommends yoga as an ideal way to limber up and help avoid injury when training.

Have you got a nagging health, diet

or self-image problem, and nothing seems to work? Write to us, marking the envelope `Health makeover', or e-mail us on m@mirror.co.uk and let us know what's up and how you think we could help.

THE EXPERTS

Ann's health and lifestyle MOT was carried out by experts at London's Goldshield Health Centre (call 020-7255 2030 for an appointment). Her fitness levels were assessed by personal training company Up & Running (020-7380 0443). at Holmes Place Gym, Regent Place (020-7388 5511).
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Gibbons, Nathalie
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 29, 2000
Words:730
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