Category Archives: Disease & Syndromes

The Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

I grew up a tea drinker because my mother was a great tea drinker. It almost seemed I was destined to follow and she couldn’t wait for me to be old enough to discover her love of tea. Most of my memories of her involve her holding a cuppa in one hand. She’d start her day with a mug of tea and end it the same way. She’d even take a mug of tea when she went outside to garden or hang the washing out. But she always drank black tea and never got to know the amazing health benefits of green tea.

Back then tea was always black tea varieties. Green tea was served at the local Chinese restaurant, but I never knew anyone who actually drank it. But the health benefits of green tea are now well known and widely touted.

health benefits green tea

The healing effects of green tea have been recognized by the Chinese for over 5,000 years. In the west we have been slow to recognize these, but widespread research has verified the amazing role that green tea plays in protecting the body against a host of diseases. You too can benefit simply by drinking green tea each day.

Tea is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which are considered the most effective and protective of all the antioxidants. Green tea is particulary rich in one of these called catechins, with between fifteen and thirty percent catechin content. EGCG is the main active component of the polyphenol activity and is highest in green tea.

The Difference Between Green And Black Tea

Green tea differs from black tea in that it is unfermented. It is made by steaming the leaves very quickly just before picking, rolling and drying. This prevents the breakdown, or oxidation, of the catechins.

Black tea undergoes more processing and the leaves are subjected to heat and light where they wither before they are fermented. This results in the EGCG being converted into less effective compounds. Black tea has less far less beneficial properties than green.

I started drinking three cups of green tea on my homeopath’s advice and initially I hated the taste. But I decided to experiment with how I made the tea and learnt some interesting things.

  • Strong green tea is very astringent.
  • Green tea gets bitter as it cools down.
  • Experts advise to not use boiling water in the preparation of green tea as it destroys the flavonoids which give the healing potential.
  • Green tea marries well with other herbal and floral flavours.

Once I realized that unlike black teas, the strength and temperature of the green tea brew was far more crucial to drinking pleasure, I quickly came to enjoy it. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I had to careful not to drink too much and this leads to digestive problems. Now I stick to three or four cups a day.

Green tea is often combined with other ingredients. Jasmine is one of the more common ones. Recently I found a wonderful mix of green tea and berries. Not only is it delicious, it is also loaded with antioxidants.

The Benefits

teapot cartoonWhich brings me to the benefits of drinking green tea, and the good news just keep getting better. It’s difficult for any black tea or coffee lover to see why they should make the change, whether it be a total change to green tea or just to include it alongside their coffee or black tea, but green tea has many reasons why it’s a vastly better choice.

Green tea’s high in antioxidants (EGCG) to protect the cells from damage and inflammation caused by free radicals which leads to many chronic diseases.

Scientific research into the effects of green tea

Continue reading…

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

Source articles

http://www.naturalnews.com/034227_green_tea_caffeine.html

http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/Why_Is_Green_Tea_Good_For_You

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Tea_leaves_and_health

http://www.findwholeness.com/blog/diet-and-nutrition/drinking-tea-causes-anemia-low-calcium/

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/13-reasons-to-drink-green-tea.html

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/07/24/green-tea-protects-against-heart-disease.aspx

Related articles

 

 

Natural Ways To Deal With This Galling Problem

Dandelion, a classic bitter herb stimulates bile production as well as bile action.
Dandelion, a classic bitter herb stimulates bile production as well as bile action.

Gallstones are a common condition and gallbladder removal is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in Australia, where about 18,000 are performed using keyhole surgery each year.

The gallbladder is a small pear shaped pouch-like organ in the upper abdomen just under the liver, that works alongside the liver to digest foods and eliminate toxins. It is responsible for breaking down fats, mostly cholesterol, so that they can be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine.

Bile is made in your liver from recycled red blood cells, cholesterol and bile salts (minerals). The bile then passes from your liver into the bile duct and gallbladder which acts as a storage house. Here the bile is concentrated ready to be released when it is required. After a fatty meal more bile is needed to digest the extra fat and can be released quickly from the gallbladder into the intestine to help with digestion.

When your gallbladder is not functioning well it can affect your energy level, your weight, exacerbate thyroid conditions, cause bloating, gas and stomach pain and other miscellaneous pains. But many people nowadays have poorly functioning digestive systems and often regard many of these symptoms as being normal.

Many people have gallstones and are not even aware of them as they have no obvious symptoms. But for some the presence of gallstones can cause excruciating pain and other symptoms.

Bile is usually liquid, but when the different components are out of balance the bile hardens and over time forms gallstones. They can be the result of insufficient amounts of bile or an excess of cholesterol (fat) in the bile. At first the fat clumps to form a sludge. With time this sludge thickens to become first ‘sand’, then ‘gravel’ until eventually the ‘gravel’ becomes one or more gallstones, which can be as big as a golf ball. They form in the liver and most of them are carried through into the common bile duct on their way to the small intestine.

English: Opened gall bladder containing numero...
Opened gall bladder containing numerous gallstones resembling pebbles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Problems arise as the gallstones pass from the liver through the common bileduct. When a stone begins to make its way down this tube the result can be what is known as biliary colic. Pain suddenly starts under the ribs on the right side, sometimes radiating up into the back, getting steadily worse for a few hours until the stone passes out of the bile duct and into the intestines. It can be accompanied by sweating, vomiting and great restlessness. The attack passes, but will recur again later.

The next stage of gallbladder disease, cholecystitis, is similar to biliary colic but involves inflammation and fever and vomiting. The pain is often stronger and lasts longer and  jaundice occurs if the stone becomes stuck along the way. If the stone gets impacted in the neck of the gallbladder it impedes the flow of bile and the gallbladder eventually becomes infected. This is when a major attack occurs, often requiring surgery.

After the gallbladder is removed the bile drips steadily into your intestines. Because there is no longer anywhere to store it, there are no reserves for the body to draw on if it has to digest a greater amount of fat so it becomes vital not to eat large amounts of fat that will overwhelm the system.

There are a number of factors that make you more susceptible to gallstones.

  • They are twice as common in women than men.
  • It seems that oestrogen plays a role and having more children puts you more at risk.
  • So does pregnancy, obesity, liver disease, diabetes, high fat diets, the contraceptive pill, a sedentary lifestyle, family history of gallstones and some forms of anaemia.
  • Their incidence also increases with age particularly for those over sixty years old.

Some Natural Ways To Prevent Gallstones

The gallbladder works with the liver to digest food and eliminate toxins. When either of them is clogged up from poor nutrition or a buildup of toxins the cholesterol in the bile crystallizes to form gallstones. Gallstones are far more difficult to break down than to prevent, so it is worth taking steps to keep your liver and gallbladder happy.

Gallstones won’t form if you are digesting fats properly. However, removing fats totally from your diet, while it might seem like an easy option, is not the answer. Your body needs fats in order to function efficiently and therefore it is a matter of choosing better forms of fat and digesting those fats well. In fact eating fats helps to prevent the bile in the gallbladder from stagnating as it promotes the flow of bile.

HEALTHY FATS

The best approach lies with choosing healthy fats. Olive oil, coconut oil and saturated fats from grass-fed animals for instance, actually help assimilate nutrients from foods that help to maintain a clean liver and gallbladder. Select foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish or chia seeds, to reduce the toxic burden. One way to help break down the fat in your meal is to have lemon juice before you eat. Add it to warm water as a tea and drink thirty minutes before eating. It will cut through the fat making it easier to digest.

Avoid unhealthy fats and oils such as canola oil, soybean oil or other vegetable-based hydrogenated processed oils as they cause inflammation and chronic inflammation leads to chronic disease. In addition chronic inflammation causes high cholesterol. Don’t include foods high in unhealthy fats like burgers, fried foods, ice-cream, or cheese.

Raw, unfiltered apple juice is a useful way to support the gallbladder.
Raw, unfiltered apple juice is a useful way to support the gallbladder.

FOODS

Liver and gallbladder health is strongly affected by what you eat. Foods are perhaps the simplest way to make changes to your health. Here are a few that will support your gallbladder or even dissolve gallstones.

1.  Apples are a great friend for the gallbladder and eating apples is a particularly useful way to support the gallbladder. They contain pectin to soften and disintegrate existing gallstones and prevent new ones forming. Raw, unfiltered apple juice is very rich in pectin. Juicing reduces inflammation and enzymatically helps to detoxify your liver and gallbladder. Good selections to add to apples are lemons, celery, tomato and beets. Another wonderful apple juice variation is to add Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with malic acid to it, which makes a great gallbladder flush. The richest source of malic acid is apples.

2.  There are a number of foods that are perfect for offering support to the liver, and therefore the gallbladder. Green vegetables including artichokes, rhubarb, beets and cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli etc) stimulate bile  production.  Other helpful foods include green leafy vegetables, fresh ginger, and foods rich in pectin. Add them to your meals wherever you can.

3.  Diets high in refined carbohydrates are a problem because they reduce the solubility of the bile, making it more likely to ‘sludge’

4.  Eat lots of soluble fibre (apples, celery, dark green leafy vegetables) which goes a long way to help prevent gallstones forming and can even reverse them once they have formed.

5.  Having sufficient bile is also essential and some foods that promote bile production and flow are artichokes, beets, dandelion root, and turmeric.

6.  Turmeric is certainly a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food. Adding it to your meals helps maintain a healthy gallbladder by improving the solubility of your bile, so that it is able to break down the minerals and cholesterol in it more efficiently. You can take also take curcumin (the active component of turmeric) as a supplement – 300mg of curcumin three times a day.

Support For Your Liver And Gallbladder

Because the liver and gallbladder work alongside each other, taking care of your liver also benefits your gallbladder. Reducing your toxic load greatly reduces the strain on your liver and how hard it has to work. You can do this by reducing your intake of caffeine, alcohol and unnecessary medications. In addition try to reduce any toxins you are exposed to, but don’t actually ingest. Hair care products, skin and body care products, toxic fumes, even the pesticide residue on  non-organic foods are some factors that put stress and strain on your liver. Don’t forget that you body may regard and respond to many seemingly harmless foods as toxins. Foods such as gluten and dairy foods are perfect examples.

There are a number of botanicals that you can treat your liver to. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) protects liver cells. Dandelion root, a classic bitter herb can be taken as a tea or latte, and stimulates bile production as well as bile action. Rosemary is another herb that stimulates bile production. Both young milk thistle leaves and dandelion leaves (picked from your garden) can be steamed like spinach or added to salads.

There are many wonderful Homeopathic remedies such as Chelidonium, Dioscorea, Nux vomica and Lycopodium amongst many others, used to successfully relieve the symptoms of gallbladder attack as well as to redress a dysfunctioning liver and gallbladder and prevent more gallstones developing.

If you find you get mild pain after eating fatty foods you could take the digestive enzyme lipase to help digest the fat. But, if you provide extra enzymes as a supplement over a long period, and your body is no longer required to manufacture them at all, it may cease making them altogether. It is far better to improve the health of your body so that it is able to more easily make the enzymes it requires itself. In the long run it is the healthier outcome.

 Supplementing with lecithin is one easy way to dissolve gallstones. Make sure it comes from sunflower or non-GMO soy. The digestion of lecithin requires large amounts of bile, and in the process hardened gallstones are also dissolved. Taking even one gram of lecithin three times a day has been shown to increase the concentration of lecithin in the bile. Taking more (up to ten grams) produces even greater increases.

Lastly, increasing exercise and stretching can help prevent gallbladder disease.

Raw turmeric - a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
Raw turmeric – a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site. 

Source articles:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/535096-foods-that-increase-bile-flow/

http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/how-to-prevent-gallstones-with-everyday-foods

http://www.naturalnews.com/038571_gallstones_prevention_foods.html#xzz2HHGadpLN

http://www.betternutrition.com/gallbladder-function-nutrition/columns/askthenaturopath/1016

http://www.detoxyourgallbladder.com/gallbladder-function/

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health+advice/what+does+a+gall+bladder+dor,18591

ht

Could It Be Your Thyroid Causing Your Poor Health?

For many people an underactive thyroid slows them down and leads to a host of other unpleasant symptoms.  Most of those people are never diagnosed with the disorder. Many are never treated. Many fail to make the changes in their diet and lifestyle that can really help ease their symptoms. Most go on living their life in a debilitated state.lust for life

The Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the middle of the front of your throat. It’s purpose is to release hormones that help in the regulation of many body functions – metabolism, heart rate, maintaining your core temperature, healthy skin, your weight, fertility and more. It slows you down or revs you up to make you more energetic. It also activates your immune system. It plays a part in most of the body’s physiological processes, so when it is out of balance, so are you. In fact every cell in your body has receptors for thyroid hormones.

Sometimes the thyroid does not work as it should and, depending on whether it is pumping out too many hormones or too few, it becomes under- or over-active, what is known as either Hyperthyroidism (too many thyroid hormones in the blood) or Hypothyroidism (too few).

Thyroid conditions can be quite common and it is estimated that about thyroid20-25% of the female population may suffer from hypothyroidism. An estimated 30% more of people over the age of 35 may suffer from “subclinical” hypothyroidism, where they either have no obvious symptoms, or their test results are within the ‘normal’ range but they have mild symptoms of low thyroid function.

Many people live with the symptoms of low thyroid function often for years, where their thyroid gland works sluggishly without them even realizing it. With too few thyroid hormones in the blood the body processes start slowing down, and so do they.

However, there are some telltale signs to look out for. Here are some of them, although there are many more:

  • Fluid retention or swelling in the legs, feet, arms or face
  • Cold hands or feet, poor circulation and intolerance of cold
  • Dry skin, acne and eczema
  • Lethargy, fatigue, poor stamina and sleeepiness
  • Forgetfulness, slow cognitive function, brain fog
  • Depression
  • Constipation, indigestion
  • Weight gain, or difficulty losing weight
  • Poor brittle, slow-growing nails and hair, hair loss
  • Heavy periods, irregular cycle, PMS
  • Infertility, low libido
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle and joint aches and pains
  • Food cravings, food intolerances, hypoglycaemia
  • High cholesterol/ triglycerides, palpitations, high or very low blood pressure

Illnesses where symptoms seem vague or scattered could actually be providing warning signs that you have a problem with your thyroid. Diseases and syndromes such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, menopausal symptoms, muscle and joint pains, IBS, PMS, heart disease or depression, which all have a wide variance in the symptoms they present with, may be improved when underlying thyroid issues are redressed. Sometimes an underactive thyroid can be due to an autoimmune disease, Hasimoto’s disease.

However, low thyroid function may actually not be the root of the problem. There is a strong relationship between your adrenal and thyroid glands and it is very common for adrenal fatigue to go hand-in-hand with hypothyroidism. In many cases the adrenal glands become weakened, leading to a malfunctioning thyroid gland. If treatment is only directed towards the thyroid gland and the adrenal issues are not addressed then the person’s health will simply not improve. It’s important to reduce stress in your life as both the adrenals and the thyroid are very sensitive to stress. Practicing meditation, yoga, qi gong, or relaxation techniques will go a long way to reducing the stress response and support the action of these glands.

Two hormones, T4 and T3 are produced by the thyroid. T3 is the active form of thyroid and is the one that does the vast majority of work in the body. When levels are low enough the traditional approach is to use synthetic hormone, but they only contain T4 and the problem with this is that most people have difficulty converting T4 into T3.

Thyroid hormone levels can be tested with a blood test. If symptoms are vague and do not point directly to a disorder, testing will probably be done alongside other blood tests.

The normal range for tests is 0.5 to 5.5 IU/ml.

The problem for many people is that they suffer symptoms of low thyroid function when their measured levels of the hormone are between 2.0 IU/ml and 5.5IU/ml – levels that are considered to show ‘normal’ thyroid function. They are told their levels are normal and left with no explanation or treatment for their symptoms. When it comes to thyroid hormones setting the boundaries of ‘normal’ for thyroid levels is very misleading as there really isn’t any ‘normal’ level…the levels change depending on factors such as age or health.

All the different hormones of the body work together in a delicate dance and when one is not working all the others are affected also.
All the different hormones of the body work together in a delicate dance and when one is not working all the others are affected also.

All the different hormones of the body work together in a delicate dance and when one is not working all the others are affected also. Many reproductive hormone-related symptoms may be experienced when thyroid hormones are low. PMS, infertility, fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, heavy bleeding, menopause symptoms, fibrocystic breasts or even post-natal depression may all result.

Low thyroid function can easily be confused with the symptoms of menopause. While symptoms such as hot flushes, period irregularities, weight gain, night sweats and insomnia are often experienced during peri-menopause or menopause, night sweats and insomnia in particular, may also be key symptoms of low thyroid function. Using hormone replacement to deal with these symptoms simply makes the problem worse, as the oestrogen in the medications interferes with the thyroid hormones further, impairing the thyroid function even more. This in turn slows down metabolism and leads to weight gain. It is a vicious circle.

As usual it is easy to point the finger at poor diet and lifestyle as contributing factors to thyroid dysfunction and sugar, processed foods, stress, lack of exercise or toxic environments all play their part.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Low thyroid function can be addressed in a number of more natural ways.

I treat many people (mainly women) for low thyroid function with huge success using carefully selected Homeopathic remedies, reversing their debilitating symptoms and allowing them to live a normal life. But with this being a complicated chronic issue it is not one that can be self-treated and requires prescribing by a fully-trained professional Homeopath.

But luckily there are a number of things that you can do as a first-line defense for hypothyroidism, and using natural methods avoids the side effects of medications.

DIET

A well balanced diet that is made up of unprocessed, unrefined whole foods, with organic or biodynamic vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy, is the best way to combat hypothyroidism, if you also include the following guidelines.

It’s so important that you stay away from sugar and caffeine which simply cause thyroid burn-out. If going ‘cold-turkey’ is too hard then cut back more gradually. Cut out refined and processed carbohydrates as well as they behave just like sugar when they are metabolized in your body.

Make sure to eat protein as it transports thyroid hormone into your cells. Include nuts, nut butters, legumes, quinoa, and less frequently and in smaller quantities eggs, meats, fish and dairy.

Good fats help to create hormone balance (including thyroid hormones) – avocados (one of my favourite good fat sources), coconuts and coconut milk and oil, olives and olive oil, raw nuts and nut butters, organic butter and yoghurt, organic egg yolks, flax seeds. Avoid trans fats.

Make sure you are getting enough Vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin A, Vitamin D, the Vitamin B’s, iodine, selenium, zinc, copper, iron and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Organic produce will be higher in vitamins and minerals as long as it isn’t old and wilting.

Thyroid hormone production is just another of the many functions of Vitamin D which is produced in the body from sunlight. This is yet another reason to have levels of this crucial vitamin tested and maintained, and you may actually need to supplement this.

Cut out gluten especially if you have Hashimoto’s as the gluten mimics thyroid tissue and aggravates the autoimmune response

Watch out for foods that interfere with thyroid function especially those containing goitrogens and don’t eat them unless they are cooked – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, turnips, spinach, strawberries, peanuts, millet

Get tested for food sensitivities, especially if you find there is a food or food group that you crave, as eating these foods sets up an autoimmune response in the body.

The thyroid gland requires iodine to make thyroid hormones so iodine deficiency may be a contributing factor to hypothyroidism. Many people are deficient in iodine so include more sources of iodine in your diet like seaweed (kelp, dulce, nori), shellfish, saltwater fish, eggs, yoghurt, mozzarella cheese

SUPPLEMENTS

Supplement with probiotics as good thyroid function depends on healthy gut flora

Add vitamins and minerals particularly if you are not getting adequate amounts in your diet.

Other supplements that help thyroid activity and the manufacture of thyroid hormones are Tyrosine, Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), magnesium citrate and Potassium iodide. Look for these in a combined thyroid supplement.

HERBS

Ashwaganda is a herb that can help to improve the level of T4 hormone and guggal Commiphora wightii to convert the T4 into the active T3. Guggal has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and is now difficult to source due to its scarcity after overuse – you may want to reconsider using this herb for this reason.

Exercise lowers insulin levels and increases thyroid function
Exercise lowers insulin levels and increases thyroid function

EXERCISE

Exercise lowers insulin levels and increases thyroid function. Work out or walk for 40 minutes three times a week, and make sure you get out of breath.

Disclaimer 2

Source articles:

http://www.thyroid.org/what-is-hypothyroidism/

http://www.drnorthrup.com/womenshealth/healthcenter/topic_details.php?topic_id=59

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/Many-Symptoms-Suggest-Sluggish-Thyroid.aspx

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3139/13-Ways-to-Treat-Hypothyroidism-Naturally.html

http://vistamaglive.com/the-low-thyroid-epidemic-in-canada

http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/lisa-lynn/3-ways-boost-thyroid-function

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/hypothyroidism-000093.htm

http://www.elliotthealthcare.com/low_thyroid.htm

http://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/articles/truth-protein-carbs-fats-thyroid-health

 

Are You Well Enough To Weather Winter?

A question that is worth asking yourself right now is “am I well enough to weather winter?” If you build your health before winter arrives you are more likely to get through it without falling victim to lots of colds or worse, the flu.

If you build up your health before winter arrives you are far more likely to get through without falling victim to lots of colds or worse, the flu.   Photo credit: Flickr Winter Fog by Larisa Koshkina
If you build your health before winter arrives you are more likely to get through without falling victim to lots of colds or worse, the flu.
Photo credit: Flickr Winter Fog by Larisa Koshkina

During these last weeks of Autumn a really nasty flu/cough/virus arrived alongside the change in weather, and people have been struck down with it all around, including me. It seems to be tagged as ‘flu’ but mine was more of a really nasty cough & cold. Most of the viruses that look and feel like flu are in fact not, with probably less than 20% actually being flu. But this does not stop the others from being downright unpleasant and highly contagious.

Preparing your health for winter really needs to begin as soon as the weather begins to change from summer into autumn, with a careful plan to bolster your immune system. But if you have not prepared yourself and have already had a taste of the illnesses that lie ahead this winter then there are still various tactics you can use to help you get through with minimum damage.

While aspirin or other medications may make you feel better because you can forget your symptoms for a bit they only suppress the symptoms and don’t actually make you better any faster. For that you need to look at other options, as well as making a few changes right now.

When my family catch the flu or any other cough or cold we all reach straight for the best selected Homeopathic remedy, because they are so effective against viral infection (unlike Antibiotics which we would avoid anyway). This is what I took this week to get rid of the bout I have just had fast. Homeopathic remedies are great as they reduce the unpleasant symptoms such as aches and pains or headache dramatically as they clear up the infection. But to get the fast, complete resolution the choice of remedy needs to be made individually – the remedy that did it for me may not be the same as the one you need. So if you would like to use this wonderful treatment head off to a Homeopath or else look for a short course to learn how to home-prescribe for acute illnesses yourself.

While there are many great Homeopathic medicines that are awesome for the flu, it is much better not to catch the flu in the first place.

The very first indication you are coming down with a cold or flu is the time you need to take action. Photo credit: Flickr Sick Again by Miss Rogue
The very first indication you are coming down with a cold or flu is the time you need to take action.
Photo credit: Flickr Sick Again by Miss Rogue

PREVENT THE FLU

Here are some steps you can take to help prevent getting the flu. It is really important to make sure you follow these steps if you have come into contact with someone who has flu. But when flu is doing the rounds you can bet that you have been in contact with sufferers, at work, the train, the shopping centre, at school, or anywhere you have been.

Rest    Get plenty of rest. Your immune system recharges itself while you are asleep. When you are overtired your system is not strong enough to fight off infection. Try for eight solid hours a night.

Water  Drink enough water as it improves the function of every system in your body

Nutrition Increase fresh fruit and vegetable in your diet, preferably organic if you can. Fresh organic produce in a rainbow of colours is packed full of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are crucial for maintaining your immune health. Add spices such as turmeric, oregano, cinnamon and cloves have high ORAC scores   http://www.oracvalues.com which equates to high levels of antioxidants. Adding a high quality daily multivitamin will fill in any gaps in the full range you may have.

Exercise  Get regular exercise. Exercising for 30 to 60 minutes a day improves your immunity although it is not known exactly why. But it does need to be regular and consistent exercise, running occasionally won’t do a lot. However don’t overdo it as too much exercise makes you more susceptible to infection.

Hygeine Wash your hands often, especially before eating. You need to use warm water and soap and to really lather up. This is one of the best ways to avoid contracting the virus. Also, try not to touch your mouth, nose or eyes to prevent the virus entering your system.

Sugars Cut back on sugar and grains in your diet as they are both very weakening to your immune system.

The time you need to take steps if you want to fight the flu off is at the very first indication you are coming down with it because this is when the strategies work their best. Don’t just do a few things, you need to fight the virus off on all fronts by adopting every strategy you can – nutrition, sleep, exercise, supplements, calm.

Take some time off to rest up and recuperate. It is much better to rest for one day rather than getting sick for much longer, simply because you pushed on when your body was telling you to slow down

There are a number of supplements you can take to help to prevent flu which improve your immunity and help your mucous membranes stay healthy.

Vitamin D Most importantly get on to Vitamin D. It produces antimicrobial peptides in your body to kill viruses as well as bacteria. Huge numbers of the population are deficient in this crucial vitamin and because the source is sunlight their levels drop even further during the winter when sunlight is scarce or weak. 2000 IU a day has been found to keep flu away.

Vitamin C Adding a Vitamin C supplement during the flu season will provide your immune system with lots of extra power when it comes to warding off viral illness, as it acts as an antioxidant in your body. You can find it in many foods including lemons, limes, oranges, red pepper and broccoli.

Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) Vitamin A also acts as an antioxidant. It is of huge benefit to dramatically increase the amount you take each day if you do fall ill. Food sources are orange and yellow foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin as well as broccoli and dark green vegetables.

Zinc Strong immunity is dependant on good zinc levels but many people are deficient in this trace element, as the body has no way to store it. It increases production of infection fighting white blood cells and helps your immune system release more antibodies. If your levels of zinc are low you will be much more susceptible to infection. Your natural health practitioner can test your levels for you.

Vitamin E Another antioxidant, it improves immune function. If you have Hypertension make sure to take a water soluble version. Good food sources are olive oil, almonds, avocado and spinach.

Vitamin B6  Vitamin B6 deficiency leads to a weakened immune system. Vegetarians need to be particularly careful as most sources of B6 are animal foods.

Selenium It has been found that viruses tend to mutate easily into more damaging forms that lead to flu-related lung damage in people who are deficient in Selenium.

Olive Leaf Extract is a very effective immune system builder

Probiotics Studies show that long term use of lactic acid bacteria can protect against flu infection.

HERBAL HELP

There are many herbs that support and boost your immune system and help you stave off the flu, while also helping the mucous membranes, such as Astragulus membranaceus, Hydrastis Canadensis, Sambucus nigra, Shitake mushroom and Garlic. Echinacea is useful for the first twenty-four hours of the illness.

Garlic is one food that really gives you a huge boost. If you take your garlic as a food you need to know these first. The health benefits of garlic are destroyed by cooking, much better if it is raw. You need to be able to smell garlic for it to work – odour free tablets are useless. The inside of the clove needs to be exposed to the air to be effective, so cut or crush the clove before you eat it. You should take two cloves a day. If you cut it up very small and swallow the bits with water or  tea they will be easier to eat. Often when I need some garlic I squeeze the cloves right on the top of my pasta or casserole after I have served it and just eat it with the first mouthful. That way it is raw so still effective but the taste is masked by the taste of the food. Chew on parsley after taking garlic to avoid ‘garlic breath’

Reishi, Shitake and Maitake mushrooms have been used medicinally by the Chinese for over 6,000 years as they are excellent for increasing white blood cell activity to better fight off infection. There are many great mushroom supplements in tablet form available as well as the liquid herbs.

IF YOU STILL CATCH THE FLU

If in spite of taking preventative measures you are unfortunate and do catch the flu, here are some suggestions to help ease the flu symptoms a bit.

  • Hot water bottles or heated wheat bags are great for sore, chilly patients
  • Hot baths with Epsom salts: Put 1-2 cups of salts into a warm bath and soak . This helps draw out inflammation and ease muscle pain
  • Gentle massage can help increase circulation
  • Vitamin C in a powdered form in juice or water is easier to swallow than tablets and will ease inflamed mucous membranes as it passes over them.
  • Chicken soup can be good as it helps replace electrolytes plus has other healing properties
  • If you feel nausea ginger or chamomile tea may help
  • Here are some nice herbal recipes for the symptoms of viral colds and flu, including a Cold & Flu Tea and a Sore Throat Gargle

And don’t forget, when you start feeling better it is important to remember that you are more vulnerable than normal and so you should take things a bit easier for a while, cutting back your schedule and keeping down your stress levels.

What’s your best tip for combating the flu?

Take some time off to rest up and recuperate Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar
Take some time off to rest up and recuperate
Photo credit: Kate Ter Haar

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site. 

Source articles:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/03/how-to-prevent-the-flu-easy-as-1-2-3.aspx

http://www.livestrong.com/article/365772-vitamins-for-the-flu/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/546106-selenium-for-the-flu/

http://www.naturalnews.com/019194_flu_the_health.html

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/13/zinc-for-colds-and-flu.aspx

Are You Suffering From 21st Century Syndrome?

With Adrenal Fatigue you can feel tired even after a good sleep and not really feel awake until 10am
With Adrenal Fatigue you can feel tired even after a good sleep and not really feel awake until 10am

Adrenal Fatigue? “What’s that” I hear you ask.

Adrenal fatigue, sometimes called the ‘21st Century Stress Syndrome’ occurs when your adrenal glands cannot meet the hormone demands of your life and is a problem that is becoming more frequently recognized.

If you are living a high-stress lifestyle, eating lots of chemical laden foods, need to drink lots of coffee or cola to keep you going, and getting way too little sleep than the chances are that you are suffering from adrenal fatigue.

Unfortunately for us, our lifestyle has changed but our bodies haven’t – they still operate as if they are living in the stone age. We can no longer live a simple, relaxed lifestyle and instead we all live a life under constant stress. (Anyone who is able to live a relaxed life these days is not going to be reading this on a computer!) Sometimes, we become so used to the full-on lifestyle that we stop even realizing that it is actually pretty stressful. Sometimes we don’t even realize that so many different components from worry, anxiety or grief, to the air we breathe, the toxic homes we live in, the foods we eat, or the exercise routine we do, are all mounting up stress on our body each and every minute of each and every day.

Our adrenal glands are responsible for the production of a host of hormones including adrenalin (epinephrine), DHEA, progesterone and testosterone, and cortisol. Adrenals play an important role in the stress response as they release adrenaline and cortisol which initiate the ‘fight or flight’ response and help us deal with acute stress.

Cortisol is the hormone particularly important for keeping our bodies balanced and it plays a big part in regulating the immune system, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It is also very important in helping us deal with stress. When the levels of cortisol rise too high the immune system becomes weak and susceptible to cancer and infection; if the levels are too low it becomes overactive and then autoimmune disease develops.

When an acute stress is ongoing the adrenals become overworked and unable to match the demand for continued hormone production. When they just can’t take any more they fail and you get what was called a ‘nervous breakdown’ in the past but we now call Adrenal Fatigue.

Our problem is that in an ever-stressed fast-paced life our bodies are pumping out cortisol all the time. When we maintain that lifestyle, with long work hours, sleep deprivation, poor diet, smoking, high intake of caffeine, low relaxation, lots of allergies, we overload our adrenal glands until they can’t take any more. Then the next stress simply becomes the straw to break the camel’s back and we fall apart.

SOME OF THE PROBLEMS EXPREIENCED WITH ADRENAL FATIGUE:

  • Generally tired but wired: You feel really tired until about mid-morning, then again in the middle of the afternoon when you feel like a snooze. Tired again in the evening until about 11pm when you get a ‘second wind’ and then are wide awake until late
  • You perspire a lot even with little activity
  • Dark circles under your eyes
  • Low blood sugar
  • General lack of energy and muscle weakness
  • Cravings for foods high in salt, sweets and carbs, fats
  • Difficulty handling alcohol; difficulty with potassium rich or high carb foods unless combined with fats and protein
  • Low blood pressure, lightheadedness on standing up, dizziness or heart palpitations
  • Low libido
  • Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
  • Chronic infections
  • Increased allergies
  • Mild depression, lots of sighing
  • Startle easily
  • Less ability to handle stress
  • Low back pain, knee pain and weakness
  • Dry unhealthy skin

SOME ILLNESSES CAUSED BY ADRENAL STRESS ARE:

  • Blood sugar balance and diabetes – cortisol causes elevated blood sugar levels and leads to insulin resistance
  • Weight gain and obesity – cortisol mobilizes triglycerides into fat cells and changes appetite with a craving for high kilojoule foods
  • Immune system suppression – a higher susceptibility to all diseases
  • Gastrointestinal problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), colitis, ulcers, indigestion
  • Cardiovascular disease from blood vessel damage
  • Fertility problems – erectile dysfunction and disrupted ovulation and menstrual cycles

Even though adrenal fatigue is very common in these days of stressful living many doctors don’t pick it up easily. It is one of those things that is often just not diagnosed because doctors are only taught to recognize excess, not inadequate levels of cortisol in their training.

Eating a nice clean diet of largely organic whole foods, with an emphasis on lots of vegetables is just one way you can start to turn around adrenal stress
Eating a nice clean diet of largely organic whole foods, with an emphasis on lots of vegetables is just one way you can start to turn around adrenal stress

HOW YOU CAN START TO NURTURE YOUR ADRENALS

If you really want to turn around Adrenal Fatigue then you really do have to reduce the stressors in your life, and first up you need to recognize and acknowledge what the stressors actually are. This might mean changing your job or aspects of it, organizing some child care, changing your diet, your activity, your sleep behaviour, recreation, or the people you mix with. It is also vital to address the associated emotional or psychological issues. Sometimes changing your outlook can make a big difference.

But even introducing certain stress reducing measures would help. You could try these:

  • Minimize stress – this almost goes without saying
  • Laugh more – even join a laughing club if you need to
  • Eat a nice clean diet of largely organic whole foods, with an emphasis on lots of vegetables. Include nuts, seeds legumes and whole grains. Eat regular meals. Chew your food well.
  • Avoid junk foods and sugar
  • Get rid of coffee and cola. If you need some caffeine drink green tea. If you can’t remove coffee totally have one quality coffee on the weekend. Peppermint, dandelion or rooibosteas are all good choices. Tulsi Tea (Holy Basil) is awesome for adrenal fatigue because it helps bring cortisol levels back to normal.
  • Do something fun every day
  • Get negative people out of your life
  • Get some exercise – Yoga, Qi Gong or T’ai Chi are all great de-stressors
  • Meditation and relaxation exercises
  • Get good sleep – seven to eight hours a night, get to bed before midnight as that’s when your body heals itself the most, take a rest (lying down) during work breaks

Take supplements

  • 3,000-5,000 mg Vitamin C each day, Vitamin B complex high in B6 and pantothenic acid, Vitamin E
  • Calcium and magnesium
  • Licorice root extract

Homeopathy, Flower Essences and EFT are all very effective at relieving stress and healing some of the emotional issues. Homeopathy can also redress the hormone imbalances in your body.

With adrenal fatigue having such a huge impact on many of our body functions as well as our quality of life it is worth finding out if you have adrenal fatigue so you can begin to redress it. Contact your Natural Therapy practitioner for more information.

But don’t expect a quick fix as it can take anywhere from 6 months to up to two years to reverse adrenal fatigue.

It can take anywhere from 6 months to up to two years to get back your zing after adrenal fatigue
It can take anywhere from 6 months to up to two years to get back your zing after adrenal fatigue

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site. 

 

Source articles:

http://www.naturalnews.com/019339_adrenal_fatigue_chronic_stress.html#ixzz2Q3g07WMc

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p38.shtml

http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/what-is-adrenal-fatigue

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/fact+sheets/hormones/adrenal+fatigue,11579?gclid=COHVrPHLv7YCFcpbpQodOgsA_w

http://www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au/2011/08/do-you-have-adrenal-fatigue/