ifestyle factors such as your diet, sleep pattern and exercise routine all play a significant role in your digestive health. Cath Day, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa, says there is a growing body of evidence that indicates that our diet doesn’t just fuel our bodies, it has a significant impact on our energy levels, gut health and mood.
While problems with digestion can occur at any age, older adults are more susceptible to digestive symptoms such as constipation, heartburn and reflux. Taking proactive measures, however, can help keep digestive problems at bay.

For many young adults, social obligations and over-extended schedules take precedent over healthy eating habits. While it’s easy to fall prey to fad diets or the lure of fast food, it’s important to cultivate a healthy relationship with food early in life. The food you eat has a direct impact on your digestive health so take the time to experiment with different ingredients and recipes to find what works for you. Aim to eat meals that comprise of healthy proteins, carbs and fats, as well as fruits and vegetables that are different colours, as this will aid digestion. Avoid skipping meals and limit alcohol consumption to one drink a day.

There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that our diet doesn’t just fuel our bodies, it has a significant impact on our energy levels, gut health and mood.

– Cath Day, spokesperson for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa

Top tip
If you question whether you are meeting your nutritional needs through food alone, consider taking a daily multivitamin.

At this age, your digestive tract starts to slow down which may affect your bowel movements. Limit the amount of processed, high-sugar and high-fat foods you consume to maintain a healthy gut. Eat plenty of foods that are high in fibre such as whole grains, oats, peas, bananas and berries. Take heed when taking prescription medications, such as painkillers, anti-inflammatories and high blood
pressure medication, because they can lead to constipation. Remember to stay hydrated with plenty of water or herbal tea, and exercise regularly as this helps with bowel movements.

Top tip
Foods that are rich in collagen, such as bone broth and salmon, are great for gut health.

Top tips for gut health

  • Hydrate. Being well hydrated is important for your digestion. Aim for at least eight glasses of water or sugar-free herbal tea daily.
  • Eat regularly through the day. Try to eat every 2-3 hours by including healthy snacks between main meals, as this will reduce the temptation to eat oversized meals, which cause bloating.
  • Don’t eat on the go. Take the time to savour and chew your food. Eating quickly could result in indigestion.
  • Get moving. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to chronic constipation, particularly in older adults so be sure to exercise regularly.
  • Balance is key.
    Aim to eat a balanced diet, complete with lean protein, plenty of fruit and vegetables, legumes and healthy plant-based oils.

During this decade, your body begins to change, as your metabolism starts to slow down and you lose bone density and muscle mass. It’s important to eat enough protein to promote the growth and repair of skeletal muscle, as well as calcium-rich foods to avoid the loss of bone density. You may experience an increase in stomach symptoms such as constipation and heartburn, which can be reduced by eating more plant-based foods that are easy to digest such as lentils, legumes, nuts and grains.

Top tip

You can help maintain healthy bacteria in your gut by regularly consuming probiotics, which are the live bacteria in our digestive tract. Natural probiotics are found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kombucha, miso and pickles.

As you age, your stomach loses elasticity, which often means it cannot accommodate as much food. Therefore it’s best to eat small, regular meals to avoid digestive discomfort. Eating foods with prebiotics, such as oats, garlic, onions and leeks can boost the levels of bacteria in your stomach. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common disease in older adults, resulting in heartburn and reflux. To reduce your risk of GERD ensure that you maintain a healthy weight and a balanced diet.

Top tip
Your dental health can affect your digestive tract. Keep your teeth healthy through regular brushing, flossing and dental check-ups.


ounded in 2006, the Dis-Chem Foundation has a team of compassionate social workers and caregivers, who work closely with registered NGOs to help thousands of South Africans in need. Through our six campaigns, we have helped impoverished families, abused and abandoned children and people in need of healthcare services.

Million Comforts

Started five years ago, this initiative aims to keep girls in schools while they have their period.
We have partnered with the Caring for Girls programme and encourage our customers and suppliers to donate sanitary products to girls in less fortunate communities.
In 2019, 10 008 588 sanitary pads have been collected. This means over 250 000 girls will not miss school for a year!

Dis-Chem Food Garden

The Food Garden team employs 18 community members on a full-time basis and over the years we have up-skilled them to become self-sustainable farmers. Through this initiative, we assist various organisations such as African Children’s Feeding Scheme, Feed SA, Victory Outreach, Ladies of Hope and various NGOs in Gauteng.


The Dis-Chem Foundation responded to the dire water crisis in the Western Cape by initiating the #CauseWeCare water campaign. We donated over 100 000 litres of clean bottled water, to a number of vulnerable beneficiary organisations in Cape Town.

Random Acts of Kindness

We have been in partnership with Primedia for seven years with a monthly on-air segment called “Random Act of Kindness” on 947, 702, Cape Talk, KFM, and East Coast Radio. This platform allows our chosen beneficiary to create awareness on the difficult issues and challenges they experience.

Wellness Buses

We run a mobile health clinic programme in the Western Cape, which aims to make basic healthcare accessible to all school children, especially those who do not have easy access.

Community Clinics

Our community clinics are constantly roaming around South Africa to bring health services to those in need.

Do you want to lend a helping hand?

Every time you swipe your Dis-Chem benefit card, not only do you earn benefit points, but a percentage of the transaction value is donated to the Dis-Chem Foundation. If you’re not a Dis-Chem member yet, simply complete an application form in store and hand it to the Customer Service desk.
A percentage of all sales through Benefit member card spend goes towards the
Dis-Chem Foundation to fund worthy NPOs. Some of these organisations include Impact Africa, who look after abandoned babies and facilitate early childhood development, Friends Day Care Centre in Cape Town who cater to the needs of severely disabled children while their parents are at work, and Innovation for the Blind, also in Cape Town, who assist blind people to lead more independent lives. As a Benefit member, you support your community every time you shop and swipe your card.

If you would like to donate to any of our campaigns,

visit www.dischem.co.za


he musculoskeletal system is a key part of body function. Your bones are responsible for supporting your body, while your joints are integral for movement and mobility. According to the World Health Organisation, conditions related to bone and joint health can affect people of any age, with back pain often cited as being the second most common reason for people taking time off from work.
Without strong bones and joints simple day-to-day functioning would be nearly impossible. Furthermore, neglecting your bone and joint health can lead to a host of common diseases such as different types of arthritis, gout in joints and osteoporosis in bones.

Down to the bone

When it comes to bone and joint health, the lifestyle you lead can either keep your body functioning optimally or lead to complications over

Follow these tips to lower your risk of developing
bone and joint-related diseases:

Stop smoking

Cigarette smoking increases your risk of contracting osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and lower back pain. Quitting can lower your chance of contracting these diseases later in life.

Adopt a healthy diet

Eating a varied diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy can ensure that you get all the nutrients you need to maintain your bones and joints.


This helps to build and maintain strong bones and it also plays a role in regulating the acidity balance in your body. Good sources of calcium include dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese; leafy, green vegetables like kale, broccoli and spinach; and nuts and nut-derived products like almond milk.


While cardio is good for burning calories, weight-bearing and resistance exercises are the best for your bones. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, running, playing sports and dancing, require you to work against gravity. Resistance exercises – such as lifting weights – can strengthen bones.


Always maintain an upright posture when you sit, walk and stand. Poor posture can cause complications in your back and neck, resulting in mobility problems as you age.

Vitamin D

This vitamin assists the bones in absorbing calcium. The best source is regular exposure to the sun and foods such as tuna, mackerel and salmon, some dairy products and egg yolks.

Supplement your shortfalls

If you suspect that you are not reaching your daily vitamin intake required for healthy bones and joints, consider consulting a healthcare professional for advice on how you can supplement your diet.


Queenfitnass on social media is fit, fierce and fabulous! As a celebrated personal and group exercise trainer, she strives to empower and encourage South Africans to get moving.
“With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, many people are suffering from stress, anxiety and obesity but if you have a suitable fitness regime, you can prevent yourself from developing a wide range of conditions. Staying active also teaches important principles such as discipline, consistency, hard work and patience – which you use in all aspects of your life,” she says.
The fitness queen hails from Alexandra in Joburg and says she tries to shake up her routine as much as possible. Her workout regime is very dynamic as she exercises several times a week and does anything from strength training to functional exercises, cardiovascular and yoga – depending on how she feels.
“My biggest advice is to start as soon as possible and align yourself with your fitness goals,” she says. “Try different things to see what works for you and never compare yourself to other people. Aim to work out, at minimum, three times a week for between 30 minutes to an hour and keep in mind that cardio and strength are equally important.”
[Quote] Try different things to see what works for you and never compare yourself to other people. Personal and group exercise trainer – Mapule Ndhlovu

Lisa Raleigh, 37

Lifestyle and wellness expert Lisa Raleigh believes in a holistic approach to health. Once a competitive ballet dancer and gymnast, she went through a phase of worrying about her weight and being a restrictive eater.
“I soon learned that this is not sustainable or enjoyable and that the body thrives best with a balanced approach,” she says. “Now, I enjoy and encourage an active lifestyle. I prefer restorative-type exercises that strengthen the mind and body, rather than break it down.”
Her approach to fitness involves a three-phase approach, which focuses on strength, cardio and flexibility training every week. This helps to minimise the risk of injury and develop an all-round balanced fitness programme for sustainable results, long-term.
“I want to encourage people to exercise and move their body daily – even on rest days – go for a gentle walk, do yoga or Pilates or walk the dog,” she advises. “Then try to take a balanced approach to your training, rather than focusing too much on one thing, which can contribute to injuries. For instance, include 3-4 cardiovascular sessions a week and 2-3 weight- training sessions a week into your fitness regime. Also, don’t forget flexibility and core strength training. A strong core helps to stabilise the body for more intense workouts, builds a strong pelvic floor and helps to reduce the risk of back pain, hip and knee problems.”

Joel Stransky, 52

Springbok legend Joel Stransky is all about crushing his goals both on and off a sporting pitch. Not only was he integral in the Springbok’s 1995 Rugby World Cup win, he has smashed some of the country’s biggest sporting challenges, including the Cape Epic, Iron Man, Two Oceans, Freedom Swim and Comrades.
“Fitness and health have always been a huge part of my life and I guess it’s just part of my DNA. I enjoy being able to conquer new challenges, push my own boundaries and completing events that I may not have believed possible,” he says.
Fitness is important for all age groups, but for the middle-aged even more so, he says. “The human body is not designed to live forever so it’s crucial that you look after and maintain it well. Age is just a number and we are all capable of much more than we believe, but it is important to use reason and common sense and not dive into anything headfirst. Build your fitness and skill level over time and seek professional advice on your diet and training. And most importantly, make sure you have fun!”


he diet industry is big business with tons of products and fad-diets claiming to help you lose weight quickly. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, experts agree that what and how much you eat is critical. As a rule of thumb, weight loss is generally 75% diet and 25% exercise.

The debate on your plate

Overhauling your diet is a good starting point in the journey to a lighter and healthier you, says Vanessa Clarke, registered dietitian and Association for Dietetics in South Africa spokesperson. “Choosing energy-dense or highly processed foods can result in weight gain, while added sugars can wreak havoc with blood glucose levels, which can lead to fat storage especially in the abdominal area.”
Many people believe the simple solution to losing weight is simply to count and stay below the prescribed daily calorie count. While you need to understand how many calories or kilojoules you should consume a day, it’s important to remember that not all calories are the same and their composition is very different. This means you might be eating more of something just because it is low in calories but it may have less nutritional value.
Clarke says different foods contain different nutrients and so, by including wholegrains, lean proteins, plenty of fruit and vegetables and healthy fluids, you can ensure most nutritional requirements are met. “Also remember to eat enough fibre, which helps with gut functioning, feeling full and preventing sugar cravings, so it’s important to include too.”
There are a number of “free-from” diets that have gained traction in recent years, but what are the pros and cons of each?
• Gluten-free:
This diet can be limiting and is usually adopted by people with signs and symptoms of celiac disease and other medical conditions associated with gluten, which is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye.
• Lactose-free:
Suitable for people with dairy allergies or sensitivities, this diet excludes dairy, but can be substituted with nut-based products, such as almond or soya milk.
• Vegan:
This diet excludes all animal products and consists of plant-based ingredients. Alternate protein sources may includes quinoa, tofu, lentils, beans and nut butters.
• Sugar-free:
Most processed foods tends to be high in added sugar, so this diet tends generally consists of whole foods with no refined ingredients or added sugars.

Choosing energy-dense or highly processed foods can result in weight gain, while added sugars can wreak havoc with blood glucose levels, which can lead to fat storage, especially in the abdominal area – Vanessa Clarke, registered dietitian and Association for Dietetics in South Africa spokesperson

Size does count

Another common culprit in weight gain is portion size. Clarke says its important to think about body composition, age, physical activity and gender when considering how much food you need at mealtimes. To help with this you should practice intuitive eating by listening and understanding your body to guide you on how much food you actually need.
Start by using smaller plates and ensure that protein makes up a quarter of your plate, complex carbs another quarter and half for vegetables. It is also important that your research and understand portion sizes.
• Protein:
A portion of meat, fish or beans should be palm-sized for women and two palm-sized portions for men.
• Carbohydrates:
A portion of foods such as whole grains and starchy vegetables should be one cupped-hand portion for women and two for men.
• Vegetables or salad:
This should be fist-sized portion for females and two fist-sized portions for males.
• High-fat foods:
Keep ingredients such such as butter, cheese or oil to no more than a tablespoon or a thumb-sized portion.


he word “superfood” has been on the lips of foodies and health advocates, but what does it mean? Lila Bruk, a spokesperson for Association for Dietetics in South Africa, says superfoods have beneficial health properties over and above what most foods contain. They are a popular way to boost the nutritional value and quality of your diet as they often include essential vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Some popular choices include:
• Berries
• Quinoa
• Kale
• Spinach
• Goji berries
• Flaxseed
• Chia seeds
• Pumpkin seeds
• Red grapes
• Plums
Blend your way to better health
The World Health Organisation prescribes eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day for optimal health, but the demands of today’s fast-paced world can make it difficult to fulfil this requirement. Smoothies are an easy way to ensure you are getting the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables in a simple, convenient way. Adding a superfood to your smoothie will elevate it and lead to host of health benefits, including improved gut health, cancer prevention and improved energy, cellular repair, heart health and circulation.

Kale Pineapple smoothie:

• 2 cups kale, rinsed, stems removed and coarsely chopped
• 1½ cups fresh pineapple, cubed
• 1 tablespoon chia seeds
• 1 ripe banana, peeled and cut into small chunks
• 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
• 1½ cups of ice
• Honey (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until fully mixed and smooth.Taste for sweetness and add honey if desired. Serve immediately.
(Recipe courtesy of foolproofliving.com)

Peachy Mango smoothie:

• 1 cup peaches, chopped
• 1 cup mangoes, chopped
• 1 banana
• 1 cup orange juice
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/4 teaspoon ginger

Put ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Add ice depending on temperature preference. Add more spinach and kale to increase nutritional benefits.
(Recipe courtesy of modernhoney.com)

Plum Quinoa Smoothie:

1 large ripe plum, pitted and cut into chunks
• 1/2 large frozen banana
• 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 4 or 5 large ice cubes
Add ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Add ice, depending on temperature preference.
(Recipe courtesy of legionathletics.com)


tudies show that most people who follow a traditional western diet exceed daily recommendations for sodium, saturated fats and calories, but fall short of nutrients such as fibre, potassium, vitamin D and calcium. Multivitamins have gained traction as a way to address such nutritional gaps.

Focus on your diet

Medical professionals agree that supplements are never a substitute for a balanced, healthy diet. Before you turn to a multivitamin supplement, it’s crucial that you aim to eat meals that contain all the food groups to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
If you are eating a healthy diet and still not getting all the nutrients you need, due to a specific diet such as vegetarianism or veganism, then a multivitamin might help to supplement it.
But how will you know which multivitamin to take? You can start by assessing your diet. Which food groups or vitamins are you lacking? Consulting a doctor or nutritional expert could help guide you on making the right choice for a supplement that can meet your shortfalls. Blindly choosing a multivitamin can be of little benefit if you are not sure why you are taking it.

How to choose a supplement

While medical opinions on the benefits of supplements and multivitamins may differ, some research suggests that when taken in the right dose and for the right reasons, multivitamins can help lower your risk of developing cancer and decrease your chances of developing cataracts. Furthermore, folic acid and B-complex vitamins may reduce the risk of stroke.

Although it’s always best to seek guidance from a healthcare professional there are specific cases where taking a supplement is beneficial:

• Pregnant women:
If you are pregnant or looking to get pregnant then an additional supplement can help you get the extra folic acid, iron or calcium you need.
• Infants:
Iron or vitamin D supplements can help babies in their first year of growth.
• Little sun exposure:
If you are housebound, live in a care home and rarely go outside, you might not be getting get enough vitamin D.
• Illnesses and medical conditions:
People with food allergies (such as nuts or dairy), deficiencies (such as an iron deficiency) or high cholesterol can all benefit from taking supplements.
• Specific diets:
People who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet need to pay attention to getting enough protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega–3 fatty acids.
It is suggested that you pick a supplement that provides the recommended daily allowance (RDA) along with the food you eat, which you can usually check on the label.
Dis-Chem also stocks a variety of supplements tailored to a specific gender, age and health.

Each person has a unique genetic make-up that determines how your body responds to the world. Tiny variations affect how your muscles form and grow, how your body responds to the major food groups and whether you are likely to lack certain vitamins and minerals.
Medical DNA tests reveal valuable insights about your wellbeing. After providing a DNA sample, usually in the form of a saliva sample, it is sent to a lab for analysis and experts in sports science, nutrition and health interpret the results for you.
The data can predict your risk of developing certain diseases, as well as which diet or exercises would be most effective for your particular genetic code. Your report is followed by a one-to-one consultation where an expert shares advice on how to optimise your health.
To book a medical DNA Test, consult your Dis-Chem nursing practitioner, use the Dis-Chem app, or call 086-111-7427.

Download the new Dis-Chem Pharmacy App
Siza: Dis-Chem’s new digital assistant Siza will help you register and order your new scripts with her smart chat function. You can collect it within two hours of ordering.
Repeat scripts: For chronic medication, add repeat prescriptions to make it even easier to order and collect your medication without having to queue every time.
Set medical reminders: You can set reminders for yourself or your family members to ensure that you never miss a dose of your medication.
Create shopping lists: Keep all your Dis-Chem to-buys listed to make shopping even easier.
Articles: Access a host of articles covering a range of topics, from self-care, to baby health.
Virtual Dis-Chem Benefits Card: With your virtual card you can earn points every time you purchase in-store, view points (and their rand value) and give back to the community by donating your Dis-Chem points to the Dis-Chem Foundation.
The Dis-Chem app is free and available for anyone to use.


t’s no secret that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Countless studies show that skipping breakfast can have a negative effect on your long-term health and can lead to unnecessary weight gain.
Think of your body as a vehicle, which requires an adequate amount of fuel to function optimally. If you eat dinner in the evening and choose to skip breakfast, you will be depriving your body of fuel for over 12 hours, which could negatively affect your energy levels and mood.
Eating an early morning meal has a host of benefits. Studies have shown that consuming breakfast first thing in the morning greatly decreases hunger and cravings throughout the day. It helps to energise your body, kickstart your metabolism and build muscle. It also improves your memory and lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes.
What you eat, however, is just as important as when you eat. There are tons of breakfast foods on the market but many cereals and fruit juices are high in sugar. It’s also best to avoid fried foods and pre-packaged baked goods.

Choose Wisely

Generally, a good mix of carbohydrates, fibre and protein will get you started and keep you satisfied until your next meal. Dis-Chem stores have some convenient options for a power breakfast:

Lifestyle food Rolled Oats:

Rolled oats are an excellent source of energy. They are naturally high in fibre and a quality source of protein. You can eat it as a meal, sprinkle over yoghurt or add to a smoothie.

Lifestyle food nut Butters:

Rich in fibre, protein and heart-healthy fats, Lifestyle Foods selection of nut butters are available in peanut, almond and macadamia and are great on a slice of brown or multi-grain bread.

Lifestyle food Breakfast bars:

For something quick and easy, there are a variety of healthy breakfast bars available in our stores catering to your specific needs. The healthiest options are those with all natural ingredients and no added sugar. Try the Lifestyle Breakfast Oat Bar with coffee, coconut, cocoa nibs and a yoghurt covering.

Edited by: Farrah Francis Journalist: Nazley Jordan Photographs: iStock Photography, Supplied  Layout: Shaun Holland