Category Archives: Immune System

Stay Well Through Autumn With Natural Remedies

As the gentle energy of Autumn settles around us, wrapping us in her hazy sunny days and crisp evenings it is time to prepare for the turning inward that naturally occurs as we approach winter.  Autumn is a time of benevolence, when the activity of summer has slowed, when pastimes become gentler and more leisurely, when we turn our attention within to our own thoughts and dreams.

stay well for winter

As the energies of Autumn contract and gather inwards, they cause us to also slow down in readiness for the stillness of the coming winter. The contemplative nature of the season allows time for inner reflection and awareness, providing a space to find clarity before setting plans and goals to initiate in the Spring.

In readiness for increased awareness and understanding, Autumn is a time to embrace peace and avoid engaging in personal dramas. This is the time to practice distancing yourself, to step back from conflict, judgement and other triggers in your life. This is the time to take a deep breath and count to ten before responding to potential conflicts.

 

Autumn Health

April is a time of transition for our whole body. As the evening air takes on a bite after the gentle warmth of the afternoon sun our bodies become more susceptible to health problems. Illnesses that have gone underground over the summer will re-appear and new flu and other infections appear.

If you don’t use this time to build your health and charge up your immune system, by June you may find yourself more susceptible to winter illness and less capable of throwing off any illness you develop.

 

Change Your Habits

By adjusting your lifestyle to best use the seasonal energies you can strengthen your whole system.

There are a number of ways to make changes all of which contribute to building your health.
Most people naturally change their foods as the weather cools as Summer salads make way for heavier meat and root vegetable stews and soups. But also adapting life practices including exercise, meditation and sleep so they are healthier offers enormous support through the colder months.

 

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

One of the most important lifestyle changes to make for Autumnsleeping under the moon watermarked bought and Winter health is to recognize that your body needs much more sleep as it turns inward. Having about seven hours sleep every night is one of the best ways to protect yourself against winter illness. Your body doesn’t recover by sleeping in on the weekend after a sleep-deprived week and this does not support your health.

If you can’t get to sleep or stay asleep, speak to your natural health practitioner now, before Winter, for advice and treatment to change this pattern.

Push yourself to rest and take it easy. Develop great bedtime routines to maintain wellness and keep away ‘office illness’. These Seven Surefire Ways To Get a Good Night’s Sleep will get you started.

As Autumn settles in it is time to treat yourself with compassion. Be conscious this is the season to be gentle, and wrap yourself with TLC. If you are someone who is constantly there for everyone else, now is the time to turn that caring inwards and say ‘no’ to others.

It is only by first caring for your own needs that you can adequately care for those around you.

 

Autumn Exercise

Exercise is a great way to boost immune health.

Exercise increases oxygen levels in the blood. Oxygen levels in major cities are repeatedly measured at levels significantly below normal. When you consider that most people also breathe poorly, taking in less oxygen, and that many chronic diseases including cancer are associated with low oxygen levels, the importance of boosting oxygen intake becomes obvious.

Exercise makes you feel more alert, boosts your levels of endorphins to make you feel positive, as well as improving oxygen levels in every cell of your body. But during Autumn it is vital to tone down your exercise program to prevent your energy becoming depleted, as that adversely affects your immune system.

Yoga, t’ai chi or Qi Gong are very balancing and present the perfect exercise option for autumn. Deep breathing exercises and yoga stretching both serve your immune system as well as your respiratory organs through the winter. Brisk walking and bike riding are other great ways to exercise in Autumn.
Avoid heavy aerobic exercise outdoors in the cooler autumn months, as it may reduce vital energy and weaken your system.

autumn-colors

Susceptible Organs During Autumn

The lung and the colon are both organs of elimination and relate to your ability to “let go” on all levels. According to the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine if your immunity is weak these are the organs that will be affected during Autumn, with respiratory problems including coughs, breathing difficulties and sinus problems, or gut issues like constipation and/or diarrhoea.

These are the organs that are affected when you hold on to grief and sadness. If you are holding unresolved grief or sadenss they eventually affect the health and function of your lungs or large intestine, sending you the message that it is “time to let go”.

 

 

Continue reading to discover which foods to eat in Autumn, what supplements you need and what to do if you still get sick…

 

stay Well For Winter 4

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 treatments suggested on this site.

Adrenal Fatigue, Cortisol, and That Overwhelmed Feeling.

While everyone knows about adrenaline and the ‘fight or flight’ response, not so many know much about the hormone cortisol, the other stress hormone, and how it contributes to Adrenal Fatigue. Both adrenaline and cortisol are produced in the adrenal glands but each performs a very different role.

stressed2

Adrenalin is the hormone released when the body is in danger, It promotes quick reaction, throwing you into the best response to get you out of the dangerous situation. It is meant to be released, used quickly and then switched off.

Cortisol also plays a part in the stress response. It is essential for maintaining homeostasis in your body and actually regulates many of the changes in your body that are related to stress. It is released in high levels during periods of stress alongside adrenaline. As with adrenaline it is vital that the cortisol response then shuts off so levels can return to normal.

It is only when stress is ongoing and cortisol continues to be released into the body for prolonged periods that it becomes problematic. Under constant stress cortisol release never gets turned off and this has a negative effect on many body functions.

 

EVERYONE’S STRESSED

Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle which is relentlessly stressful produces the perfect platform for the Stress Scenario.

Stress itself can be very addictive. It’s not uncommon for people to even be proud of the fact that they can juggle a high-power job, family and relationship on caffeine, nicotine and very little sleep. Often we actually applaud people who are able to do it all, and pull off the seemingly impossible.

But stress burns you out, it comes at a cost. And that cost is chronic illness. – diabetes, cancer, a whole gamut of autoimmune diseases, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or a host of others

When someone lives their life in a constant state of prolonged stress where stress hormones are continually released into the bloodstream, never getting switched off, further symptoms continue to develop until eventually the Adrenal glands themselves are affected.

Your adrenal glands simply can’t keep up with the amount of stress. They become overworked and can no longer match hormone production with demand. The production of cortisol plummets and that’s when Adrenal Fatigue kicks in. The Adrenal glands are no longer able to produce sufficient cortisol to release that extra boost of cortisol when an emergency situation arises.

stressed6 overwhelm18876841_s

 

WHAT IS ADRENAL FATIGUE?

Adrenal Fatigue is the umbrella term for the group of symptoms caused by this deficiency.

The primary symptom of Adrenal Fatigue is fatigue that is not improved by sleep. Those who suffer with this syndrome wake feeling exhausted, drag their feet with tiredness all day, only to find they get a second wind and wake up right at the time they should be going to sleep at night.

You can read more about Adrenal Fatigue at “Are You Suffering From 21st Century Syndrome?”

 

YOU DON”T NEED TO BE ANXIOUS TO BE STRESSED

It’s really important to understand that stress does not just refer to a state of anxiety. Living with a feeling of overwhelm, insufficient or poor quality sleep, eating a poor diet, worrying (about anything), unhappiness, or living with pain, are all situations that create a state of stress within the cells of your body, without you ever feeling anxious at all.

Stressful experiences like the death of a loved one or a divorce, undergoing surgery, financial hardship or job stress, bullying, even negative thinking can create adrenal fatigue just as easily as poor diet, lack of exercise or pollution and environmental toxins.

Many, many people spend their entire life in this state, and so live with raised levels of cortisol in their body all the time.

 

THE EFFECTS OF CORTISOL IMBALANCE

The effects of a cortisol imbalance fall into two groups.

The first group of symptoms occurs when circulating cortisol levels are too high and happens during prolonged stress. The second group of symptoms occurs later, once the Adrenal glands are no longer able to produce enough cortisol and circulating levels have dropped significantly, as happens with Adrenal Fatigue.

The negative effects of higher levels of circulating cortisol:

Suppressed or weakened immune system
Raised blood pressure
Increased blood sugar levels
Impaired cognitive performance
Disrupted sleep
Hardening of the arteries
Increased fat storage, especially around the abdomen which is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels,
Lower growth hormone and testerone production
Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugars) and other blood sugar imbalances
Lowered thyroid function
Decreased bone density and osteoporosis
Muscle loss
Inhibited protein synthesis
Loss of collagen in the skin and inhibition of the formation of more
Depression

Long periods of raised cortisol levels can also damage the brain and memory, reducing the ability to learn.

The negative effects of lower levels of circulating cortisol:

Low energy
Brain fog, fuzzy-headedness
Mild depression
Blood sugar imbalances, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars)
Fatigue, especially in the morning
Disrupted sleep
Low blood pressure
Lowered immune function
Inflammation
Cravings for salty or sweet foods
Difficulty recovering from illness or stress
A feeling of being run down or unable to cope
Feeling awake and alert in the evening in spite of being tired all day
Body aches
Moodiness
Decreased libido
Increased allergies
Hair loss

Overworked Life Plan
Overworked Life Plan

 

SUPPLEMENTS FOR ADRENAL FATIGUE

Natural Health modalities can help speed up your journey back from Adrenal Fatigue, which can otherwise be slow. But if you are also deficient in simple vitamins and minerals you lack the basic building blocks your body requires to build your health. Consulting a Natural Health practitioner will provide you with the advice and treatment you need, and replacing some of the deficiencies will also help.

These are just some of the vitamins and minerals that Adrenal Fatigue sufferers tend to lack, although not every person will need all these. Your Natural Health Practitioner can guide you best.

B Vitamins

B5 contributes to cellular respiration and the breakdown of nutrients. Start with 100mg a day.
B6 helps create adrenal hormones. Take 50 mg a day to begin.
B12 helps with energy production, cell repair and red blood cell maintenance. Start with 100mcg a day.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant directly involved with the production of cortisol, and in addition offers many other benefits to your immune system and more. Start with 100mg of buffered Vitamin C a day and increase this gradually.

Probiotics

When Adrenal Fatigue affects the digestion, which it frequently does, probiotics play an important role as they contribute towards a better uptake of nutrients to assist the body on its healing journey.

Magnesium

As most of the population is thought to be deficient in magnesium supplementing is a great benefit. As well as causing depression and sleep problems deficiency can also lead to muscle cramps and stiffness. Start with 400mg a day.

There are a number of other supplements that I often like to include in the treatment of Adrenal Fatigue such as CoQ10, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Spirulina (although it is not strictly a supplement) and the herb Tulsi (Holy Basil).

 

NATURAL THERAPY

 

In my clinic Homeopathic remedies and Herbal Essences help with recovery from Adrenal Fatigue. Both these forms of Natural Medicine are effective on their own without the use of additional supplements. Best sustained results occur when Homeopathic medicines are individually prescribed according to Homeopathic prescribing guidelines, by a qualified practitioner.

 

LIFESTYLE CHANGE

Lifestyle changes that help reduce the impact of Adrenal Fatigue are helpful.  After strenuous exercise you often get an initial burst of energy but then crash with adrenal fatigue.  Walking, yoga, meditation, tai chai, and qi gong are all gentle forms of exercise that won’t result in you crashing.

Controlled breathing exercises and techniques are excellent and can be done through the day wherever you happen to be.

Modifying your sleep preparation rituals can help reduce insomnia and the impact caused by adrenal fatigue, to improve your sleep.

 

EATING FOR ADRENAL FATIGUE

 

Help support your recovery by reducing sugars, caffeine, and alcohol at the very least.

If you must drink coffee or cola do it in the morning and then steer clear of it through the day as it interferes with sleep and adrenal recovery.

Watch for hidden sugars and replace sugar with stevia where you can

Alcohol contains sugar and creates a boost and crash scenario, interfering with the sleep cycle and causing insomnia later in the night.

Hydrogenated oils lead to adrenal inflammation, Use good fats like coconut oil instead.

Processed foods or microwave foods contain many difficult to digest preservatives and fillers.

 

Have you experienced Adrenal Fatigue? Leave a reply below.

For more information and advice about how best to treat your symptoms contact your Natural Medicine Practitioner.

 

stressed3

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.psychologicalharassment.com/stress-and-stress-management.htm
http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/cortisol-adrenal-function

 

MSM The Miracle Mineral

For some time now there has been a lot of buzz with good cause, surrounding the nutrient MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane). MSM is known to be especially useful for treating chronic pain, especially arthritis, and other inflammatory disorders in a natural way. But in fact it is very useful for treating many more health issues.

When you see the list of all the health problems it can help, MSM may look like an awesome cure-all. It is no wonder MSM is known as ‘the forgotten nutrient’.

MSM

WHAT IS MSM?

Sulfur is very important in the human body and an important part of human nutrition. It is needed for a number of different processes within the body. Low sulfur levels in the body lead to many degenerative diseases.

MSM is a natural form of organic sulfur compound and is found in all living organisms. It forms a natural part of the earth’s food chain and is the main source of bio-available sulfur that the human body is able to actually utilise.

MSM is needed by your body for healthy connective tissues, good joint function, proper enzyme activity, hormone balance and a well-functioning immune system. It provides one of the tools your body needs to heal itself and maintain its vitality.

MSM is really no more than a simple food supplement that is present naturally in diets that are not loaded up with processed foods.

However the MSM that occurs in our food is destroyed during processing. Given that most food in the food industry is processed in some way – by heating, irradiation or freezing – most of the food consumed in the western world no longer contains MSM. As a result most people are deficient in this essential compound, and this deficiency is likely to become even greater as you age.

 

MSM DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

 

MSM deficiencies show up in many ways including pain, fatigue, depression, sensitivity to stress (both physical and psychological), and many degenerative diseases.

Chronic Pain: MSM supplements are often successfully used to help treat chronic pain and a range of inflammatory disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, bursitis, tenosynovitis, tendinitis and eye inflammation.

Aging: As they age most people become less flexible. Their tissues become less elastic, joints stiffen up, lungs and blood vessels lose elasticity, and their skin develops wrinkles. MSM levels in the body also decrease with age. When MSM is replenished these symptoms of aging are reduced.

Cell Health: MSM aids detoxification within the body by increasing the permeability of cell walls. As you age old cell walls harden and new cells are stiff and inflexible, affecting the movement into the cell of nutrients, and out of toxic waste products that lead to degenerative disease. MSM helps the body replace old stiff cells with new, healthy, elastic cells which allows a more efficient passage of nutrients into the cell and elimination of toxins and waste products out of the cell.

Heavy Metal Exposure: Most of us are unknowingly exposed to a wide range of heavy metals, through the air, our food, even in tattoo ink. MSM can be really useful for anyone who has had exposure to heavy metals because it plays such a powerful role in eliminating them from the body, by inactivating them and hastening their removal.

Antioxidant: MSM is a wonderful antioxidant to help scavenge free radicals within your body. It also assists your body to make its own antioxidant, glutathione for detoxification. Free radicals are now considered to be behind all degenerative disease. They also play a part in the aging process speeding up all the signs of aging. You can read all about why free radicals are harmful in “Free Radicals Are Bad, Right…But Why?

 

Hands by Alex

 

MSM For Muscles And Joints

MSM is best known for its wonderful benefit for connective tissue, particularly in skin, hair, bone and joint care. Some of the benefits you might expect from taking MSM are:

  • Improved joint flexibility
  • Reduced pain and swelling in joints
  • Reduced stiffness
  • Improved circulation
  • Improved cell vitality
  • Break up unhealthy calcium deposits
  • Improved collagen formation
  • Generated keratin production
  • Enhanced strength and thickness of nails and hair happening quickly
  • Creation of new cells and repair of damaged tissues

MSM For Chronic Pain

MSM has been found to be a wonderful pain killer, very effective for relieving chronic pain. It acts as an anti-inflammatory as well as having an analgesic effect to naturally block pain.

Here are just some of the painful problems MSM has relieved:
Burns and scars
Injury from accidents
Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Fibromyalgia
Migraines and headaches
Bursitis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
RSI
Sclerosis

MSM for Skin Problems

MSM is a genuine miracle beauty mineral that can radically improve skin, hair and nail health. It improves the production of collagen needed to keep skin supple, as well as keratin, both critical for producing healthy hair and nails. Hair and nails can become stronger, and hair thicker after just a few weeks of regular use.

Acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, dandruff, some fungal infections, and scars can all benefit from taking MSM. Aloe Vera is frequently used to heal damaged skin but in fact it is the MSM that is contained in the aloe leaves that really works the wonders, repairing the scrapes, burns or other damage. Instead of using aloe vera MSM can be applied topically as well as taken internally.

 

MSM spoonful

 

WHEN YOU NEED MSM 

 

  • Neurological diseases
  • Alleviate allergies – food, contact, and inhalation. MSM inhibits histamine just as well as antihistamines, without the side effects.
  • Fights the inflammation associated with auto-immune disease. Experiments for arthritis and Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Disease (ALD), showed great improvement. In Lupus it had benefit before and after the disease.
  • Can protect against the onset of cancer
  • Has a strong action against, even killing, parasites including Giardia, Trichomonas, as well as various intestinal worms
  • Improves cellular glucose uptake in diabetes, as well as assisting pancreas repair
  • Eases sore and stiff muscles and cramps, it inhibits muscle spasms and relaxes muscles, and is excellent for exercise recovery
  • Constipation
  • Relieves stomach acidity
  • Improves oxygen uptake by the lungs. In emphysema it is often the deficiency in MSM combining with the smoke aggravation that leads to the disease
  • Stress
  • Prevents candida and yeast surviving anywhere in the body outside the intestines
  • Improves circulation by dilating blood vessels

 

ILLNESSES MSM MAY HELP

 

Arthritis – Osteoarthritis & RA                               Allergies
Gastrointestinal problems                                        PMS
Acne                                                                             Lung dysfunction (asthma, emphysema)
Muscle pain                                                                 Parasites
Heartburn                                                                   Lupus
Snoring                                                                        Breast and colon cancer
Parasites                                                                     Diabetes
Stress                                                                           Mental disorders
Eye health                                                                   Constipation
Acidity (maintaining pH in the body)                      Cramps
Headaches                                                                   Hay fever
Carpal tunnel syndrome

 

MSM FOR PAIN RELIEF

 

In pain relief MSM acts as an anti-inflammatory as well as having an analgesic effect to naturally block pain. It also improves the action of the hormone cortisol, which your body releases in response to inflammation.

MSM is an excellent energy booster. Because it increases the permeability of cells, allowing nutrients to pass more easily in and toxins out, your cells use less energy. Because it is easier for your body to absorb nutrients far less energy needs to be spent on digestion. So there is more energy left over.

 

MSM: FOODS OR SUPPLEMENT?

 

 

MSM occurs naturally in protein rich foods such as meat bones, poultry, eggs, fish and legumes. Good vegetable sources include raw leafy green vegetables, garlic, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, kale and wheat germ. It is also found in beer and coffee.

Raw milk has the highest naturally occurring amount of MSM, however, it is destroyed in the pasteurization process. MSM is also lost when food is cooked as it vapourises in the steam, or when it is stored for any lengthy time.

Unless your diet is excellent and you eat lots of MSM rich foods every day, you are better off getting your adequate amounts of MSM from a supplement.

MSM comes as a powder or capsule and is considered very safe and non-allergenic.

You can take a supplement knowing you can’t overdose with MSM. It has been shown to be extremely safe in toxicity studies. Even with a diet rich in MSM the amount you would ingest from your food would still be only a small fraction of the recommended therapeutic dose. So even if you are getting MSM through your diet you can safely take a supplement. Your body will take what it needs and eliminate the excess.

Dosage varies depending on your complaint. For most adults an effective therapeutic dose would be between 1.5 grams up to 10 grams a day, taken in three doses with a glass of water, 30 minutes before eating.

If you get nausea or headaches, diarrhea, a mild rash or swelling of the ankles (all detox symptoms) you may need to decrease the dose you are taking before slowly working your way back up. But be aware that your body is ridding itself of toxins and so you need to continue the MSM in order to finish the process.

While it is always better to get your mineral needs from the food you eat, sulphur and MSM may just be an exception. It is unlikely, even if you are eating a perfect diet, that in our society you are getting enough MSM to satisfy what your body needs.

MSM2

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.puremsm.com/details.htm
http://www.livestrong.com/article/442084-what-is-the-supplement-msm-good-for/
http://www.nutriteam.com/msm
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/03/03/msm-benefits.aspx

5 MSM Benefits You Should Know About

Is The Air In Your Home Polluted?

is the air in your home polluted? benefits of house plants

When we change our habits towards wellness one area of our life we often overlook is our home. We concentrate on exercise, improving out diet, balancing supplements, adopting practices like yoga or mindfulness. But often we don’t even consider the air inside our home may be highly polluted.

Causes Of Toxic Air

Building Biology  is a holistic discipline which examines and identifies irritants and hazards in residential and public structures. These include building materials, the products we use, air quality, water, biological contaminants (mould) and pest control, as well as electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) radiation (EMR) and geopathic stress.

It developed in response to a growing awareness of the impact toxic components in our immediate environment are having on our health. According to Building Biologist Nicole Biljsma  it “provides a holistic examination of the built environment and provides realistic solutions to create buildings that support mind, body and soul.”

When problems are found with the air quality within buildings the first line of attack is to eliminate the source of pollution. This may be caused by the actual building materials, furnishings, products used within the space, pest control, or cleaning methods.

Once the source of the pollution has been addressed air purifiers and filters are generally the next step taken towards achieving clean air.

 

Natural Remedies For Pollution In Your Home

Before you buy an expensive electric air purifier for your home consider that bringing household plants is one very simple way to improve air quality in your home.

Plants are said to be the lungs and kidneys of the building. Research at NASA’s Space Center has shown that the presence of certain indoor plants actually improves indoor air quality.

The plants are able to grab and filter common pollutants found indoors and so purify the air.

NASA has made a list of the most beneficial plants in order of their effectiveness.

 

 

Why Our Homes Are Polluted

Many of the products including carpet, fabric, wall coverings, furniture, and paints we use to furnish our homes, schools and workplaces contain highly toxic chemicals which are released into the air, creating indoor air pollution.

In 2009 the US Environmental Protection Agency stated that “The air within our homes can be seriously more polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities”.

Many newer homes are now designed to ‘seal’ in the air in order to better regulate the internal environment and reduce the use of carbon fuels for heating and cooling.

Living in these sealed homes can result in a disorder know as Sick Building Syndrome.

 

Sick Building Syndrome

 

Sick Building Syndrome is a recognised disorder which results from the build up of toxins in our environment. One in particular is formaldehyde.

It’s becoming more widespread with the increase of energy efficient buildings. These sealed buildings allow little exchange of fresh outdoor air for the stale polluted indoor air. This lads to the indoor air becoming ten times more polluted than the air outside. In developed societies we spend up to 90% of our time indoors. Therefore we are now spending most of our life in extremely toxic surroundings. Indoor air quality is quickly becoming a particularly concerning problem.

Simply introducing plants into the environment can greatly reduce these problems.

Research from the Environmental Research Laboratory of John C. Stennis Space Center has shown that rooms filled with the right plants have 50-60% fewer airborne moulds and bacteria than those without plants.

It is widely known that plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. But it appears the plants can also suck toxic chemicals out of the air by absorbing the pollutants into their leaves. They then transport them to the roots where they are transformed into food.

NASA findings show that plants are able to remove up to 87% of air toxins over 24 hours.

benefits of houseplants. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) can remove indoor pollution from the home

 

 

Amazing Benefits Of House Plants

Indoor plants can bring a host of physical and mental health benefits.

Houseplants purify the air in a number of ways.

The air in environments with ducted heating dries out quickly, causing respiratory congestion and dry skin. Plants are ideal additions in these places. They balance humidity levels by maintaining the moisture levels in the air at an optimum level. This level is low enough to reduce illness and at the same time, high enough to prevent mould formation

The Norwegian University of Agriculture found indoor plants fight certain illnesses. Symptoms of the following health problems were all reduced.

  • Fatigue by 20%
  • Headache by 45%
  • Sore/dry throat by30%
  • Coughs by 40%
  • Dry facial skin by 25%

Other research has shown house plants have a psychological benefit, increasing self-esteem, improving mood, reducing stress, anxiety and depression and increasing feelings of calm, relaxation and optimism.

With their ability to impact stress levels and reduce blood pressure levels, the important role of indoor plants in a society with a rising incidence of Adrenal Fatigue  seems apparent.

Being surrounded by indoor plants can also make you think better, as they improve memory, concentration and attention, as well as boost creativity. Perhaps bringing one into you study or office will improve your productivity as well as reduce the EMR from your computer.

 

 

Best Air-Purifying House Plants

These are the top ten air-purifying plants as classified by NASA, along with their NASA rating (out of 10):

  1. The Areca Palm   8.5
  2. The Lady Palm   8.5
  3. The Bamboo Palm   8.4
  4. The Rubber Plant   8.0
  5. The Dracaena   7.8
  6. English Ivy   7.8
  7. The Dwarf Date Palm   7.8
  8. The Ficus Alii   7.7
  9. The Boston Fern   7.5
  10. The Peace Lilly   7.5

Read more about each and see what they look like here.

It’s said that Common English Ivy (Hedera helix) ranked sixth in the NASA list is “a fix for allergies” and Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) is the “most efficient filtering plant”.

A little research can help determine which of the recommended plants are better for your personal needs. Some may address your health problems better than others.

There are many other beneficial plants not included on this list.  Gerbera reduces levels of the chemical solvent benzene. Chrysanthemum, the extremely hardy Spider plant and Aloe, are others you could also find helpful.

For best results you need about 15 plants for a 15 square home or 140m² office to keep the air clean.

Make the motto of your home and workspace  ‘MORE GREEN – LESS STRESS’

benefits of house plants
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

Bijlsma, N, Healthy Home Healthy Family, Joshua Books, 2010
http://www.healthline.com/health/importance-plants-home

 

Hail The Pomegranate!

“Pomegranate is a fruit of paradise. There is one seed from Paradise in every pomegranate growing on the earth.”

hail the pomegranate

Autumn has firmly established itself in Melbourne. But along with the welcome rain and cool weather comes an abundance of Autumnal produce. Mushrooms, mandarins, apples and pears in all their autumnal glory and alongside them, the luscious pomegranate.  This week I was delighted to see the first beautiful, generous pomegranates in my greengrocers shop.

Originally hailing from Persia where it has been used medicinally for thousands of years, growth of the pomegranate spread through the Middle East, Asia, the Mediteranean and today is now widely grown across the globe including here in Australia.

Throughout history the pomegranate has been regarded as a symbol of most of the fundamental beliefs and desires of humanity, with almost every part of the fruit having significance. According to Greek mythology the pomagranate even played a role in the change of season, which was said to occur because Persephone ate a pomegranate seed, dooming her to return to the underworld (or winter) for one third of the year. In Ancient Egypt the pomegranate was regarded as a symbol of prosperity and ambition, in China and many other places, of fertility.

It is very easy to understand the magic of the pomegranate given the glossy, glowing skin and the rich generous colour of the distinctive ruby red seeds when the fruit is broken open.

Fruits and vegetables that are brightly coloured tend to be high in antioxidants. These help your body by clearing up excess oxidants, or free radicals, which if left to run wild in your body cause inflammation and lead to disease. The ORAC  score of pomegranates highlights them as one of the ‘richest sources of free-radical scavenging antioxidants’. This makes them a powerful tool to prevent those diseases with a strong inflammatory basis like arthritis, heart disease and cancer.

Pomegranates are rich sources of antioxidant phytonutrients, including flavonoids and polyphenols, which protect against free radicals. They also contain a wide range of other nutrients including most of the B Vitamins (including folate), zinc, magnesium, and iron, amongst others. But they are particularly high in Vitamin C, potassium, and pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5).

Pomegranate seeds are used effectively against heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and some cancers, including prostate cancer.

Studies have shown that pomegranate juice may protect against some cancers as well as modify heart disease risk factors. This study showed drinking pomegranate juice for two weeks lowers reduced systolic blood pressure.  And this 2006 study  found that drinking a 225ml glass of pomegranate juice every day significantly slowed the progress of prostate cancer in men with recurring prostate cancer.

Ayervedic medicine employs the healing power of the bark and rind of the pomegranate fruit to treat a wide range of disorders including diarrhoea, dysentery and intestinal parasites; the seeds are used as a heart or throat tonic; the astringent qualities of the fruit are considered useful for stopping nosebleeds or bleeding gums.

 

HOW TO USE POMEGRANATE

With pomegranates now in the shops it is time to reap their benefits. Using them fresh has some health benefits over using the stored juice.

pomegranate juiceJuice

The benefits of pomegranates are so high that you don’t need much to do you good. Even a 30-50ml shot of juice is sufficient to have significant benefits. Rather than using the juice as a beverage it might be wiser to consider it as a herbal treatment and take a smaller amount. Just 50ml a day will sustain healthy heart benefits.

 

Like to read more about pomegranate juice, seeds and oil?  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/031068_pomegranate_superfood.html
http://www.nutritionguideexpert.com/pomegranate-seed-oil-benefits/#
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/superfoods/Pages/is-pomegranate-a-superfood.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/08/02/pomegranate-ranked-healthiest-fruit-juice.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomegranate

 

Iodine: Have You Overlooked This Essential Micronutrient?

oyster

One essential trace element that not many people ever think about is iodine. It is essential to many of the functions of your body. But many Australians are deficient in iodine. And not just Australians, as in fact it is thought that up to 40% of the world population is getting insufficient iodine.

Iodine can be found throughout the organs of your body. Highest concentrations occur in the thyroid gland and it is also found in the ovaries, skin, saliva, breasts and gastric glands although it can be detected in every organ and tissue.

In the thyroid gland, iodine along with the minerals zinc and selenium is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, particularly thyroxin. These thyroid hormones directly control the body’s metabolic processes, which in turn have significant influence on many of the body’s organs and processes including heart rate and blood pressure.

When iodine levels are too low the thyroid is unable to produce sufficient levels of hormones and you start to experience a range of symptoms such as lethargy, sleepiness, depression, intolerance to cold, dry skin, slow digestion, goiter, weight gain and slower mental faculties.

Goiter
Goiter

 

Health Benefits

Iodine has so many health benefits and iodine deficiency has been linked to goiter, hypothyroidism, obesity, cognitive impairment, heart disease, psychiatric disorders and cancer. It also causes impaired mental and physical development.

Iodine helps prevent the storage of excess calories as fat, assists in the removal of toxins and aids in the utilization of other minerals. It strengthens the immune system and maintains healthy tissues throughout the body.

Addressing iodine deficiencies has been found to very effective in the treatment of goiter, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, hypertension, obesity and diabetes.

sushi-275054_640

 

Food Sources Of Iodine

As it became apparent that more and more people were suffering from an iodine deficiency, an attempt to address the growing problem was made by fortifying a certain range of foods with iodine, including basics like bread and milk. Since 2009 iodine has been added to bread, and prepackaged bread required to list iodised salt as an ingredient.

Although iodine it is a fairly rare mineral it is present in a number of foods. The best sources are marine plants such as spirulina, seaweed like kelp, nori, dulse or kombu and shellfish. Make sure that any produce from the sea is harvested from uncominated waters.

While iodine is found in abundance in the sea it is not as prevalent in soil, and due to the toll that modern farming practices have taken means that most soils contain extremely low levels of iodine, along with many other minerals vital to good health. This transfers to low levels of iodine in crop foods. Unfortunately, the amount of iodine found in foods is completely dependent on the amount there is in the soil

Baked potatoes are a great source of iodine. Some other vegetarian sources are eggs, milk, garlic, lima beans, swiss chard, sesame seeds, soybeans, turnip greens and spinach.

Prior to the 1970’s milk was one of the foods that contributed most iodine to the diet but since the 1990’s the amount present in milk has dropped to about half due to changes in dairy processing practices.

Iodised salt was one food that provided many with daily iodine. But with firstly the awareness of the relationship between high salt intake and hypertension, and now a growing awareness of the problems with all highly processed foods including salt, consumption of this source of iodine has dropped off significantly.

If you are trying to avoid conventional salt you could replace it with Himalayan Salt in moderation, which is a viable alternative. Half a gram contains 250 micrograms, 150% of what the body requires each day.

To combat iodine deficiency dried seaweed is the food to head for. Just seven grams supplies 4,500 micrograms of iodine – 3000% of your daily requirement. Rather than having this much at one meal eat smaller quantities more frequently to maintain a regular supply.

Food                                               Iodine content (µg* per 100g)

Oysters                                                                        160
Cod                                                                                99
Sushi (containing seaweed)                                   92
Tinned salmon                                                            60
Bread (made with iodised salt)                            46
Steamed snapper                                                     40
Prawn                                                                             35
Baked turkey breast                                               34
Navy beans (1/2 cup)                                               32
Plain yoghurt                                                             31
Baked potato (1/2 medium)                                 30
Boiled eggs (2)                                                          24
Cheddar cheese                                                      23
Eggs                                                                              22
Ice cream                                                                    21
Chocolate milk                                                         20
Tuna, canned                                                              18
Canned corn                                                               17
Flavoured Yoghurt                                                   16
Regular milk                                                                13
Tinned tuna                                                                 10
Strawberries                                                               10
Bread (without iodised salt)                                  3
Beef, pork, lamb                                                         <1.5
Tap water (varies depending on site)                0.5-20.0
Apples, oranges, grapes, bananas                      <0.5
* micrograms
Source: http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/iodine-facts

Don’t forget that you may eat substantially less than 100grams of some of these foods so you need to consider just how much iodine there actually is in the food you are eating.

Seaweed Salad
Seaweed Salad

 

How Inadequate Iodine Intake Affects You

Perhaps the most obvious, but least dangerous manifestation of iodine deficiency is goiter, a swelling of the thyroid gland which manifests as a swelling in the neck and around the larynx. Treating goiter with iodine during the first five years usually ensures that the thyroid does not suffer permanent damage.

It is well known that micronutrient deficiencies are known to affect the development of intelligence and iodine deficiency can certainly be included as one. Inadequate iodine has a significant effect on cognitive function, affecting memory.

Although iodine is recognized as a major requirement for thyroid health, it also plays other important functions including boosting the immune system, by increasing antioxidant activity.

Iodine is widely used to treat fibrocystic breast disease. It has been shown in studies to shrink caner cells when injected directly into the cells. It is essential in the prevention of thyroid cancer. It assists with flushing out chemical toxins including fluoride, lead and mercury.

Deficiency in children not only causes lower IQ but also creates issues with learning and concentration. It can be an ongoing issue when intake is too low.

 

Iodine is Required for Reproductive Health

Iodine offers lots of assistance to the reproductive organs. Sufficient levels are crucial to ensure fertility initially, as well as during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage or stillbirth, and to prevent neorologic and cognitive conditions in the baby. Severe deficiency during the pregnancy can lead to the following problems:

  • Miscarriage during the first trimester, or stillbirth
  • Gestational hytertension
  • Birth deformities
  • Neurological defects in the baby causing irreversible brain damage – cretinism, intellectual difficulties, hearing    loss and speech difficulties, short stature, deaf mutism, dwarfism

Iodine passes into the breast milk in large quantities and nursing mothers need to maintain their intake of iodine in order to prevent iodine deficiency themselves.

 

What Can Cause Iodine Deficiency?

There are a number of factors that can lead to iodine deficiency including:

Low amounts of iodine in the diet

  • Selenium deficiency
  • Pregnancy
  • Radiation exposure
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Oral contraceptives

 

Some Deficiency Clues

Here are some symptoms that could provide the clue that you are not getting enough iodine. If you suffer from these symptoms consult your health care practitioner:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dry skin, reduced sweating
  • Hair loss
  • Reduced alertness, poor perception, lowered IQ
  • Fibromyalgia, pain, fibrosis
  • Scar tissue, nodules
  • Frustration
  • Depression
  • Abnormal weight gain
  • Reduced fertility
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue

 

 

A word of caution if you live in an area where fluoride is added to the water supply. There have been studies which question the validity of fluoridation of drinking water because there is a link between excess fluoride ingestion and thyroid disease. The incidence increased where water was fluoridated as the fluoride inhibits the action of the iodine. It may be something worth thinking about if this applies to you.

Iodine supplementation is one place where you can get too much of a good thing. There are potential risks to taking too much iodine. Doses over 2,000mg a day are dangerous especially if you have kidney ailments. Too much can easily lead to subclinical hypothyroidism – ironic when you consider that hypothyroidism is often linked to iodine deficiency. Sourcing iodine from foods may be preferable to taking supplements.

Iodine is certainly one supplement where you need to make sure you achieve a healthy balance. 

 

Kelp is a rich source of iodine
Kelp is a rich source of iodine

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 following any of the treatments suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

Source articles

http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/iodine.htm
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/29/iodine-deficiency-risk.aspx
http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/minerals/health-benefits-of-iodine.html
https://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2011/oct2011_The-Silent-Epidemic-of-Iodine-Deficiency_01.htm
http://bembu.com/iodine-rich-foods

 

 

Glorious Health From Golden Turmeric

Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, is a very powerful antioxidant
Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, is a very powerful antioxidant

 

Turmeric has enjoyed a revered status in India and China for thousands of years for its amazing healing benefits. In the Pacific the spice was also known and used by the Polynesians who carried it to Hawaii where it is still known as Olena. Recognized in the west as the yellow coloured ingredient in many curries, turmeric has long been used extensively in Asia to treat a wide range of medical conditions due to its strong anti-inflammatory effects.

The main beneficial component of turmeric, or Curcuma longa, is curcumin. Curcumin is a very powerful antioxidant, far more powerful than grape seed or pine bark extract. It can help reduce DNA and cell damage caused by dangerous free radicals in our body.

There are many who believe that there is a strong link between inflammation and chronic illness. Curcumin is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. These make it very effective for fighting heart disease, the pain of osteoarthritis and many other health problems associated with inflammation.

The effect of curcumin is particularly evident inside the colon where the result of its action is a quick turnover of cells. Damaged or mutated cells are destroyed quickly before they have the opportunity to spread through the body.

 

HOW TURMERIC BENEFITS

Turmeric is one of the most researched natural remedies and there are numerous studies that validate its benefits. These studies have shown that turmeric may be useful to:

Prevent and Destroy Cancer Cells

Turmeric can help prevent breast, prostate, skin and colon cancer. Studies show that it can start a process of self-destruction in the “mother cells” of the tumour, destroying them before they have the chance to spread through the body.

Nine different studies all showed turmeric reduced the size of brain tumours. It also limits the growth of blood vessels in tumours, and can be used to ease the side effects, and boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

 Support Healthy Bones, Joints & Skeletal System

Turmeric supports healthy joint function and is a wonderfully effective remedy for arthritis, reducing the inflammation that leads to pain without side-effects. Studies show that turmeric is a natural pain-killer.

Maintain A Healthy Digestive system

Curcumin helps improve and balance your digestive system. It increases the flow of bile needed to break down dietary fat, which can relieve many gut and digestion problems.

Prevent Diabetes and Hyperglyceamia

The antioxidant agents in turmeric help reduce insulin resistance and may help prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. If blood sugar levels are already within the normal range turmeric helps maintain them.

Promote Heart Health

Turmeric supports healthy blood and your circulatory system. It reduces the risk of blood clots, and prevents buildup of plaque in the arteries, helping to reduce the risk of stroke and other blood clotting problems. It helps reduce bad cholesterol and improve good cholesterol to maintain levels within the healthy range.

Slow Alzheimers And Support Memory Function

Studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric can slow the progress of Alzheimers, as well as the progression of acquired brain injury.

Reduce the Symptoms of Asthma

Turmeric helps reduce the inflammation associated with asthma as well as reduce the symptoms. A teaspoon of turmeric added to warm milk before bed is a remedy for asthma you can try at home.

Depression

In Traditional Chinese Medicine turmeric is a long-standing treatment for depression.

Promote & Support the Immune System and Boost Immunity

Turmeric is an adaptogen that helps to support your body under stress and support the immune system.

Protect Against Liver Disease

Turmeric is a strong liver detoxifier, helping to remove toxins from the body and supporting and encouraging healthy blood and liver functions.

Help Promote Healthy Skin  

While neutralising free radicals that cause skin aging, turmeric also nourishes and cleanses your skin and helps maintain its elasticity.

The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin can help heal cuts, wounds and other skin infections. Simply mix turmeric with water to form a paste and apply to the skin. It helps with restructuring the skin so may prevent scarring. When applied topically it has been shown to help the symptoms of psoriasis. It is a natural antiseptic and can also be used to treat burns.

Promote Weight loss

Turmeric helps to metabolize fats and provides a boost for the metabolism.

By reducing the activity of the cells that contribute to many diseases including insulin resistance, turmeric helps reduce the incidence of obesity-related disease ans help contribute to weight loss.

Slow Multiple Sclerosis

       Turmeric slows the progression of Multiple Sclerosis

  Recently it was reported that curcumin has antimalarial properties.

 

Continue Reading about research into turmeric benefits, turmeric for arthritis and the best way to take turmeric.

 

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. 

Stevia – The Key To Kicking Your Sugar Habit

sugar Kicking the sugar habit is easier said than done. For some people even making the decision to get rid of sugar from their diet is beyond thinking.

One of the biggest health pushes of 2013 was to encourage both us and food manufacturers to dramatically cut back the amount of that ‘giant nasty’ sugar that we consume. Suddenly it seemed that the finger was pointed squarely at sugar as the primary culprit behind one after another health problem.

We all know that too much sugar is bad for us. But most of us don’t really know why,  or how much too much actually is. But it seems that many of us have now picked up on the message that it could be that ANY sugar is bad for us.

But actually removing sugar and sweet foods from what you eat is another matter altogether. Only last week someone was talking to me about their New Year resolutions and breaking their bad habits. “I really need to lose weight” she said “but I don’t think I’m quite ready to say good bye to sugar”. And therein lies the problem that the majority of Australians, and probably most other Westerners face. They love their sweet food and they know just how hard it is to say goodbye to it completely.

Add to this reluctance the fact that sugar is addictive, and the resolve to abstain dissolves.

It is not just about deciding to give up sugar. It is also about breaking the physical effects of sugar. As with any other addiction, sugar metabolism sets up a chemical reaction in the brain as well as the body. Within the brain, glucose from metabolized sugars causes a higher release of dopamine and opioids.

Dopamine is often called the ‘feel-good neurotransmitter’. But while it may make you feel good, the release of too much has many health consequences. Many addictive drugs including nicotine, cocaine and methamphetamine also cause increased levels of dopamine to be released in the same way that sugar does. The opioids released by sugar metabolism also make sugar hard to beat by playing a part in the withdrawal symptoms.

I Love Sugar

HOW SUGAR AFFECTS THE BODY

One health problem where sugar plays a part is ADHD /ADD. Although sugar is not thought to cause ADHD, it does raise levels of dopamine. Increased levels of dopamine have been shown to lead to high activity level and impulsive behaviour in the person. So it seems that when parents notice behavioural changes in their child after eating sugar, they may be seeing the dopamine effect.

During 2013 it was suggested that sugar should be included amongst the big three causes of high cholesterol. The other two being trans fats and stress. It was thought that saturated fat was the main cause of high cholesterol levels but the question is now whether it may be sugar instead. At present this remains a controversial topic.

SUGAR AND ILL HEALTH

Here are some of the many illnesses that sugar is known to either cause or where it  plays a significant role or aggravates the symptoms of illnesses:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Mineral depletion which interferes with the absorption of magnesium & calcium
  • Food allergies
  • Slows down your immune system
  • Increases your risk for cancer – as hypothesized by Dr Walberg
  • Heart disease
  • Behaviour problems – ADHD, ADD
  • Insulin resistance
  • Hypoglycaemia
  • Increased triglycerides
  • Reduces (HDL) high-density lipoproteins
  • Poor nutrition
  • Suppresses your immune system
  • Causes inflammation within the body
  • Causes a decline in tissue elasticity and function
  • Raises dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline levels and release
  • Lead to an acidic digestive tract
  • Arthritis
  • Learning disorders in children
  • Candida overgrowth

 For more from this impressive list of 143 Ways That Sugar Ruins Your Health check out this list from Nancy Appleton.

MORE SUGAR PROBLEMS

Over time you become desensitized to sugar. The more you eat, the more effective your body becomes in absorbing it, and the more sugar you absorb the more damage it does. As well as becoming more sensitized to sugar you also become more sensitized to its toxic effects. But fortunately this sensitization to sugar can be decreased so you become less reactive to it, by taking a sugar holiday, even just two weeks off sugar can be effective.

 Sugar is an expert at masquerading and is excellent at hiding in the foods you are eating. It goes by many names but an easy way to identify many sugars is to read the ingredient panel and take note of any ingredients that end in “ose”. Dextrose, lactose, sucrose, glucose, maltose – these are all just different forms of sugar, which when they are metabolized in your body all end up as the same thing, and all have the same effect on your body.

Remember that natural sweeteners, although better for you than white cane sugar because they are not so processed, all essentially become the same thing in your body, blood sugar or glucose. If you want to cut back the amount of blood sugar you cannot just replace one for the other.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

The alternative is NOT to turn to artificial sweeteners. Diet soft drinks, artificially sweetened yoghurts, lo-cal, lo-joule or diet anything are most definitely a poor alternative choice when  they contain artificial chemical sweeteners.

The chemicals such as aspartame that are used to sweeten “diet” or low-sugar foods are linked to all manner of health problems.

But there is one sweetening agent now readily available that is a good alternative to sugar, or to any other sweetener, and it is very safe.

That product is STEVIA.

Stevia rebaudiana
Stevia rebaudiana

Stevia rebaudiuna is a herb that comes from Paraguay in South America, where it has been used for centuries as a sweetener and a health tonic by the Guarani Indians.

The leaves of Stevia are intensely sweet. This naturally sweet extract is in fact up to an amazing 300 times sweeter than cane sugar, so you only need to use a tiny amount of stevia.

The thing that makes the use of stevia so attractive and exciting is that it does not cause an increase in blood sugar levels, in spite of being so sweet. Stevia allows you to enjoy some sweet foods in your diet without the health or weight issues that are caused by cane sugar.

By the way, stevia can used in cooking.

Occasionally some people find stevia has a metallic aftertaste but this seems to be related to the way the plant is processed. The plant leaves have no aftertaste. If you find this a problem it may be worth trying another brand of Stevia, or search out a liquid form.

Be very careful when you buy your Stevia. I was reading the ingredient of a product claiming to be stevia on the shelves at the supermarket and discovered that although the box was covered in the word “Stevia” in fact it was a mixture of stevia and aspartame!

Be careful to buy only pure Stevia. If you are concerned shop for it at a Health Food Shop. It is just as important to read the ingredient panel on foods that are sweetened with Stevia as it is any other to make sure there are not other artificial chemical sweeteners added as well.

Crushed stevia leaves
Crushed stevia leaves

SOME OF THE REPUTED HEALTH BENEFITS OF STEVIA

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Provides sweetness without elevating blood glucose level
  • Research shows taking 1000mg a day of stevioside reduced blood sugarlevels after meals by up to 18 percent in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Studies conducted at Mahidol University in Thailand showed stevia to have the following actions: Lowers blood pressure; anti-inflammatory; anti-tumour; anti-diarrhoeal; diuretic; immunomodulating

Currently further research is being conducted into the effects of stevia on diabetes.

So why not make the decision today to reduce your sugar and other sweetener intake and give stevia a go.

Have you tried stevia? Have you totally removed sugar and sweet food from your diet? Tell us about your experience in the Leave a Reply section below.

If you are local (Mitcham, Melbourne, Australia) you can pick up Stevia at Indigo Centre for Health & Wellbeing.

Small stevia plantation
Small stevia plantation

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 following any of the treatments suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

Source articles

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/16/stevia-the-holy-grail-of-sweeteners.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/20/sugar-dangers.aspx

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/106/4/523.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/healthscience/2012/october/cholesterol-myth-what-really-causes-heart-disease/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopamine

http://nancyappleton.com/141-reasons-sugar-ruins-your-health/

http://www.healthylife-healthyplanet.com/health-problems-caused-by-sugar.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2356674/Stevia-First-natural-sugar-substitute-help-fight-obesity-diabetes.html

http://owndoc.com/pdf/Stevia%20new%20rural%20industry.pdf

 

Living With The Seasons – Summer

Consciously living in harmony with the world around us supports our body, our emotions and our spirit. Within that consciousness we need to be in harmony with the greater cycles of life. When we tune into the passage of time by living with the seasons our energy synchronises with universal and earth energies to bring balance.

Living with the seasons

I’ve been luxuriating in the relaxing space between work finishing before Christmas and now, the New Year, doing very little and simply enjoying the summer. This two week period included the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and the day when the sun shines the longest and the night is shortest.

I make it a practice to live in sync with the seasons, emotionally as well as in the basics like what I eat or wear. But slowing down over the Summer Solstice flies in the face of this practice. The energy of Summer Solstice is intense, joyous and one for celebration and partying. Taking it slow isn’t what’s called for but this year the seasonal energy called for rest.

The ancient teachings behind Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are perhaps where we see the theories of living with the seasons at its strongest in our modern world. This ancient discipline examines the effects that emotions and foods have on the different organs of our body. It provides guidelines about which organs of the body are most significant in each season and the steps needed to support the appropriate organ and create harmony within.

The steps of TCM are based on many aspects of diet including the quantities of food eaten, time of day, even your state of mind while you eat.

But living with the seasons requires more, it requires an wholistic approach.

Getting sufficient exercise, sleep, and clean water; reducing stress, anxieties and toxin exposure are equally essential to living a balanced life, in tune with the rhythms of the earth and the seasons.

Living With Winter

The natural way for your body as a whole to respond to the seasons is to ‘close down’ over the winter and to ‘open out’ over the summer. During the cold, dark winter months you need and want more sleep, your activities slow and quieten, your body requires external warmth from fire and warm, nourishing foods. Even emotions can close down and it’s not uncommon for depression to surface during the depths of winter, partly due to the lack of sunlight and associated decreased Vitamin D intake.

Living With Summer

During the warmer summer months, when the days are longer, the body requires and benefits from, less nourishment. It doesn’t need extra kilojoules to keep itself warm, you feel more energetic and your natural instinct is to get out, socialize, and be much more active.

Rise early and face the sunrise to benefit from the rays.
During summer rise early and face the sunrise to benefit from the rays.

Take a moment to think about how much easier it is to go out to a party on a warm, balmy summer night than it is on a cold, dark, rainy winter one, when all you want to do is curl up with a book or movie, or simply sleep. Think of how much easier it is to diet and exercise during the warmer months when your requirement is for lighter foods.

As more and more of us grow our own veggies and shop at Farmers Markets we are becoming increasingly aware of which foods are in season at any time, and beginning to direct our food choices towards only those foods that are in season. Obviously we don’t need watermelon in the winter when it doesn’t grow. Instead, we look for stews made from warming meats and root vegetables in season at that time.

Seasonal Wellness Books

Summer holidays are the time when many catch up on their reading. There are a few books I love that you might like to take a look at,  which are useful guides towards living in tune with the seasons.

One is a cookbook appropriately named Eating For The Seasons by Janella Purcell, an Australian Naturopath, Nutritionist and Cook. It’s a great book with tips and recipes carefully selected to benefit and support to your body in each of the four seasons.

Another book I love is Ancient Healing For The Modern Woman by Xiaolan Zhao. This book looks at the ‘seasons’ of a woman’s life, rather than the seasons of the year, and offers wonderful ways to naturally remedy problems like PMS, symptoms of pregnancy, menopause, and breast health. It contains lots of great, simple tips taken from the authors personal experience of Traditional Chinese Medicine used by her family in China. She is a doctor of both TCM and Western Medicine in Canada,  and her advice is very soundly grounded in both modalities.

If you’d like something a little more hefty you may prefer Healing With Whole Foods by teacher and nutrition researcher Paul Pitchford, a very comprehensive guide to Chinese Medicine. This book also contains lots of information about nutrition and diet, as well as a cookbook. There are sections on the Ayurvedic principles of food-combining, treating disease with foods, plus much more. As I say, detailed and comprehensive.

Living In Tune With The Summer Season

Early and Mid Summer

living with the seasonsAccording to Chinese Medicine, summer is the season of Yang (masculine energy), and during early and mid-summer the heart and small intestine come to the fore. The emotions associated with the heart are joy and playfulness. Mental acuity is also associated with the heart in TCM, so memory, thought processes, emotional well-being and consciousness, as well as sleep also belong to this time.

When the heart is balanced the mind is calm.

Early and mid-summer is a time for celebrating and partying, as well as balancing that with enough rest and sleep.

When the fire element is out of harmony, so too is your experience of joy. You feel either depressed with too little fire, or joyous chaos with too much.

When your fire is unbalanced you experience associated symptoms that include agitation, nervousness, high blood pressure, heartburn, irregular heartbeat and insomnia.

Imbalance of the heart, governed by fire, can lead to confusion, crazy or no laughter, a very red or very pale face, stuttering, verbal diarrhoea, memory loss, mental illness or an aversion to external heat.

Late Summer

In the late summer (the fifth season in TCM) it becomes the time of the spleen and stomach. Overworked spleen and stomach is associated with worry and obsessive thoughts. Spleen is associated with damp and problems may kick in if the weather is humid.

The summer season is ruled by fire. Life and energy is at a peak.

 

Align With Summer Energy

The aim during Summer is to let your energy flow ‘out’, to get rid of the heat stored in the body over winter.

  • Eat spicy foods to induce sweat, it helps rid the body of heat
  • Rise early to benefit from the rays of the sun.
  • Go to bed later. Rest at midday if you need more sleep.
  • Drink plenty of clean water (water is the opposing element of fire), take cool baths, seek shade. Watermelon juice, an old remedy for dehydration, cools the body and cleanses the system.
  • Add pungent and strong flavours to your diet
  • Avoid drinks full of sugars and chemicals which don’t actually relieve thirst, but do bring toxins into the body which then have to be cleared out.
  • Refrain from anger, keep calm.
  • Green-vegetablesEat more cooling, hydrating yin foods to balance the fire heat of summer – raw foods, salads, seafood, legumes, sprouts (especially mung-bean), zucchini, cucumbers, kelp, and fruits like watermelons, apples, limes and lemons.  Cooling foods tend towards the green foods – lettuce, cucumbers, watercress. Very few vegetables are warming. Fish and seafoods are cooling but most meats are warming. Be careful not to eat too much raw or cold food though as it may ‘cool’ your digestion too much – you want to achieve balance in all things!
  • Bitter yin foods are associated with the heart and small intestine. They reduce the heat and drain dampness. Foods such as celery, dandelion, endive, watercress, quinoa and rye. But be careful not to overdo bitter foods, unless you have lots of fire in you. Asparagus and lettuce are both bitter and sweet.
  • Later in the summer add the sweet yang flavours of complex carbohydrates, legumes, nuts, oats, rice, peas, peaches, avocado, kiwifruit, cucumber and raw honey. These build and strengthen the spleen and thus the whole body. The spleen is the most important organ of the immune system. They also slow and relax an overactive heart and mind. But don’t have too much!
  • Eat foods that promote energy and activity. Use hot spices such as fresh (not dried) ginger. Black pepper, cayenne and horseradish will induce a sweat. Cardamon is a useful spice as it clears the digestive system of blockage caused by heat.
  • Eat in moderation. Keep your food light and simple. Indigestion, sluggishness and even diarrhoea can easily occur in the summer. It’s healthier for you, and it gives you more time to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Avoid heavy or salty foods – meat, excess grains, dairy, oil and eggs as they will make you feel sluggish during summer.
  • Avoid cold foods in early summer – iced drinks and ice-cream (they hold in the sweat and heat)
  • Focus on changes in your life related to joy, growth and spiritual awareness. With the predominant nature of Summer being Yang, related to excitement, assertiveness and exuberance, it is the perfect time to take action to make positive change.

 

The Key To Living With The Seasons

If you remember that the human body is simply a microcosm of the universe, the macrocosm, it becomes easier to understand that the same imbalances that occur in the environment are mirrored in the human being. By keeping this relationship with nature in mind we can become more conscious of keeping the rhythms  of life in harmony, of living with the seasons.

living with the seasons summer

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:

Purcell, J, Eating For The Seasons, Allen & Unwin, 2011

http://www.chinesemedicineliving.com/blog/nutrition/seasons/summer

https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Summertime!+Chinese+Medicine+and+the+Summer+Season

http://www.pacificcollege.edu/acupuncture-massage-news/articles/454-traditional-chinese-medicine-summer-tips.html

http://straightbamboo.com/articles/how-to-stay-healthy-in-summer/

 

Maca – The Superfood Rebalancer!

Maca roots
Maca roots

Recently the herb Maca has come up frequently during consultations, so this week I would like to look at this new supplement that is rapidly gaining popularity.  Not really a supplement, it is actually a ‘superfood’ with many amazing benefits. Superfoods are those that have very high levels of antioxidants, such as blueberries, spirulina or pomegranates.

Lepidium peruvianum, or Maca, is a tuber vegetable cultivated for thousands of years in the harsh conditions high up at 4,000m in the Peruvian Andes. One of the superfoods of the Incas, it has been used as a medicinal food for over 2,000 years to increase energy, promote endurance and stamina as well as improve fertility and sexual performance in both men and women.

Maca is part of the brassica family and related to broccoli, cabbage and turnip. The harvested root has high antioxidant levels and is loaded with protein. It has more bioavailable calcium than milk, magnesium, potassium, iron, plus other minerals and trace elements, vitamins and all the amino acids. It is rich in the B vitamins and a vegetarian source of vitamin B12.

In addition to the traditional uses maca is great for offsetting the effects of stress, anxiety and fatigue. It stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, the master glands of the body. As these are the glands that regulate all the other glands, maca can help to bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands.

Anxious

The glands in the body produce hormones that regulate many body processes including your mood, sexual development, growth, and tissue function. As well they play a role in many diseases ranging from depression to cancer

Maca is an adaptogen, responding to the individual needs of your body. It regulates as and where needed, where hormones are out of balance. This means if you are producing too much of a hormone it will regulate so production decreases, but if you are producing too much it regulates to increase production. Herbal adaptogens, are a rare class of herbs, valuable in natural health prescribing. Other adaptogens are licorice, Holy Basil, ashwagandha, ginseng, rhodiola, eleuthero and schisandra.

Unlike wild yam, maca does not introduce hormones into your body, nor are the active ingredients phyto-eostrogens. Instead it is thought that it is alkaloids in the maca that act on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. This means that the effects of maca on the body are diverse, and not just restricted to the sex hormones.

Today the main uses of Maca are for balancing hormones, increasing energy and reducing stress. It offers significant benefits for women suffering hormonal imbalances. Studies have concentrated on the positive effects it has on the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. However it is also very useful and beneficial for other hormonal problems like PCOS or PMS.

USES FOR MACA

MacaBENEFITS OF MACA

Maca produces benefits without the side-effects of many medications and even some herbal remedies.

  • Maca helps to balance our hormones.
  • Studies have shown that it increases sexual function and treats impotence
  • Stimulates fertility in men and women, enhances sperm production.
  • It can be very useful to regulate the menstrual cycle and ease PMS symptoms.  It relieves the unpleasant effects of menopause.
  • Maca has shown anticancer activity in the laboratory.
  • It reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and decreases the levels of triglycerides.
  • It seems to reduce blood sugar levels and improve glucose tolerance.
  • Maca could provide a non-caffeine alternative for those who need an energy boost from coffee in the morning.
  • Is an antidepressant
  • Enhances learning and memory abilities
  • Supports the immune system
  • Increases energy, stamina and endurance, reducing chronic fatigue.
  • Remineralizes the body, making up for the lack of minerals in modern diets.
  • Clears acne and blemishes

MacaHOW TO SELECT AND USE MACA

Maca comes in a number of different colours, the most commonly found is yellow. Scientists have found that each colour has a different effect on the body. Black and red maca improve bone health and black affects memory and learning the best. Darker maca roots contain significant levels of iodine.

The dried root of maca comes in a powder form, tablets or capsules. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavour and can be added to many foods such as soup, herbal tea, or desserts. You can sprinkle it on bananas or popcorn. You can mix it with honey and eat the paste off the spoon, add it to smoothies, juice or to warm almond milk with some raw cacao for hot chocolate. Added to baking maca gives a maltiness to the flavour. But don’t add to much as the flavour can be overwhelming.

Start with ½ -1 teaspoon a day and build up to between 1 and 5 teaspoons a day, over a few days. Some people may experience adverse responses when they start taking maca. These are a sign of the body detoxing and only last a few days. Cut back the amount you are taking and build up slowly.

Improvement can occur within days, even the on same day, although for most people it takes about four days or even weeks to notice changes.

You can find maca at most health food shops or online. Make certain to buy a quality, organic product. Because it is a root vegetable the growing conditions make a huge difference to the level of nutrients. Cheaply priced good will deliver an inferior product (unless it is cheap on special). Only buy reputable, organic brands of maca root. Don’t buy other parts of the plant.

The brand I recommend to my clients, although I do not sell or have any financial interest in it at all, is Loving Earth Maca Powder. It is raw Australian Certified Organic and the company has awesome 30% off discounts on their website for all their maca products through December.

Maca is generally recognized as safe. However, because of the way it works care may be needed. For example, maca balances out your hormones so they are at the required levels. If you are also taking other supplements, such as Dong Quai, Black cohosh, Vitex or phytoestrogens for womens hormones for example, to achieve similar results, these could interfere with the maca and result in an aggravation of your symptoms.

If you take too much too soon maca can actually exacerbate your hormonal symptoms and make them worse. If you are suffering the effects of stress it could exacerbate that also, causing a racing heart and insomnia. I have seen problems that are the result of taking maca. Simply exercise care, stop taking maca if you notice adverse effects or speak to your health practitioner.

If you suffer from any diagnosed illness, particularly those such as hormone related cancers, speak to your health practitioner before starting to take maca.

 Maca uses 2

Do you use maca? How quickly did it work for you? How effective have you found it?

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/027797_maca_root_hormone_balance.html

http://www.naturalfertilityandwellness.com/macas-fertility-benefits/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/159150-benefit-of-maca/

http://www.iquitsugar.com/a-bluffers-guide-to-maca

http://realrawfood.com/maca-history-info

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