Category Archives: Nutrition & Nutrients

6 Natural Remedies For Depression

natural remedies for depression

Along with the outpouring of sorrow that occurred this week with the news of the death of Robin Williams there has also been much discussion about depression – the nature of the illness, reminders to offer our support to those suffering with it, of ways to deal with it.

Clinical depression is a serious illness that needs treatment from a professional western or alternative health practitioner. However many of the symptoms of mild depression can be helped significantly by a variety of natural treatments that you can do for yourself or which a Natural Health practitioner can take you through.

There are many symptoms associated with mild or subthreshold depression including ongoing fatigue, poor sleep, appetite irregularities such as lack of appetite or comfort eating, a lack of interest in relationships events or celebrations, low self-esteem, anxiety, an inability to find motivation, or a feeling of being cut-off from life.

 

1. MINDSET

There have been studies done that confirm that a persons perception of life becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. While depression is not all in the mind your frame of mind is really important for recovery. I am not suggesting you can just ‘snap out of it’. But, while acknowledging that there is something wrong, losing the depression label is a first stepto recovery.

When you buy into defining yourself with a label placed on you by someone else, whether it is a doctor, family or a friend, you relinquish your personal power and undermine your ability to get well. If you allow your thoughts to focus on the label, you accept for yourself the role of someone who is mentally unwell. It may seem simplistic but changing your mindset and making the decision to overcome your illness is the first step that allows you to move forward.

One way to do this is to carefully examine how you are affected by the people you mix with. Tuning into how you feel after spending time with a particular person allows you to sort out any that may be contributing to your low feelings. If you regularly feel disheartened after time spent with anyone it is better for your frame of mind and wellbeing to minimize time with that person.

What your feelings tell you about your relationships with others can come as a real surprise. But acting in congruence with your feelings can turn around your mindset, lift your mood and support you in getting well.

It is also worth asking yourself if your low feelings are linked to your life. Are you expected to sell out your integrity in your work? Are there problems in a relationship that you may need to end? Do you have creative outlets? Feel spiritually disconnected? Is your body restricting you?

Being honest with yourself may help you find the source of your depression. Sometimes having a counselor, psychologist or life coach to help you work through these and define a pathway to change makes things easier to achieve.

 

Learn how to choose the best Homeopathic remedies for acute illnesses

 

 2. HOMEOPATHY

Many natural therapies have a good record with alleviating the symptoms of depression. Acupuncture, herbal therapy and EFT are just a few.

Homeopathy also offers many options for depression. The Homeopathic remedy used depends on the particular symptoms you experience, as everyone’s experience of depression varies slightly, in both the expression and the emotions and thoughts and experiences behind it.

Homeopathy taken in accordance with homeopathic prescribing principles is particularly good at changing your mindset. It allows you to lift your head out of the depressive thoughts and start to move forward.

There are many Homeopathic remedies for depression. One of the first to consider for depression with obvious anxiety is Arsenicum album. These people are often quite particular about describing every little detail of their symptoms. They are often very worried that an illness has been missed and have often undertaken lots of investigative tests.

Another commonly used remedy, Ignatia, is a good remedy when depression follows bereavement or shock. These people are very emotional with lots of sudden mood swings and sudden tears or they may frequently sigh deeply. They don’t want sympathy and often take well meant help as criticism.

A person needing Natrum muriaticum responds differently to grief as does one needing Ignatia. This person builds a barrier and won’t release any emotion through crying. They hate sympathy from others although they are empathetic themselves and will readily care for others. They can be very sensitive and easily move into a lower mood from stimuli such as music.

As you can see Homeopathic prescribing is quite particular and individually selected. Two people may react to a similar experience in very different ways and so require very different remedies. There is also the potential to make symptoms worse if the wrong remedy or potency of remedy is taken. Consulting a Homeopath who can match the correct remedy to your particular symptoms can result in significant improvement.

 

3. FOOD

Food most definitely affects our mood. What we eat and when we eat can have a huge effect. Staying away from caffeine, sugar, fatty foods and alcohol is a great place to begin as these foods actually make depression worse. Don’t keep them in your pantry and you will be less tempted by them. You will feel a lot better if you simply don’t eat them.

Replacing the poor junk foods with nutritious foods moves you towards recovery faster. The top foods to fight depression are:

  • Omega-3 is often lacking in depressed people so eating oily fish and other foods high in omega-3 can make a significant difference. One study showed taking just 1 gm of fish oil a day made a 50% difference in symptoms of depression. Take between 1-3 gm a day. Other omega-3 rich foods include walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds.
  • Brown rice is rich in B vitamins as well as trace minerals. Brown rice is great for reducing mood swings due to sugar-highs and lows. Don’t use ‘quick-cook’ varieties as they don’t have the same benefits.
  • Leafy greens are a great source of folic acid, one of the B vitamins helpful for symptoms of depression, as well as magnesium.
  • Bananas are high in tryptophan which is used in the body to make serotonin, the happy hormone. Other foods to enhance serotonin are healthy fats like coconut oil, protein rich foods especially free range turkey and wild caught fish high in omega-3.
  • Don’t skip meals and help keep your blood sugars stable.

depression2

4. SUPPLEMENTS

  • Many people actually suffer from a disorder known as Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) which is the result of insufficient exposure to sunlight and as a result, they have low Vitamin D levels. This disorder becomes worse as winter progresses and can persist through Spring until levels of Vitamin D build up in their body again. Taking Vitamin D as a supplement through the winter months can dramatically help SAD sufferers. Consult an Alternative Health Practitioner who will work out how much Vitamin D you actually need, it varies from one person to the next.
  • The B Vitamins are linked to a whole range of emotional disorders and if your levels are low taking a supplement can be a great way to keep your spirits up. Take 50 mg of a Vitamin B complex each day rather than individual B Vitamins as each one works better when the others are all present.
  • Magnesium deficiency can be another factor behind depression and mood disorders and there are many who have a deficiency of this crucial mineral.
  • SAMe can be very effective for treating depression. Take 200 gm on an empty stomach.
  • The herb St John’s Wort has long been used for depression. Check with your doctor before using as it can interfere with some pharmaceuticals. Don’t take this if you are taking anti-depressants

 

5. LIFESTYLE

Getting enough exercise is essential to beat depression, no matter how little you feel like it. Pushing yourself to get out for a walk will help improve your spirits. Even exercising along with a DVD in your living room is good.

The effect of meditation on depression has been well-documented and it is known to greatly improve the symptoms. There are many different ways to meditate from simple breathing techniques LINK that you can do in just a few minutes, through guided visualizations, walking meditations, mindfulness LINK and binaural beats. It is all a matter of working out which is the right one for you.

 

6. HORMONES

It may be there is a physical cause for your depression. If your hormones are out of balance your mood will be hugely affected. Finding out your levels of thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones are wrong can offer some clues. Armed with the results, visit your natural health practitioner who can then work toward rebalancing your hormones naturally without resorting to pharmaceutical medicines.

Moving yourself out of mild depression requires a combination of strategies. Making lifestyle changes, dietary changes, examining your relationships and your behaviours all play a part. Seeking out professional help to put these strategies together to achieve the balance you need to move forward can set you on the path to recovery faster.

active-84646_640

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.psychologytoday.com/blog/owning-pink/201103/11-natural-treatments-depression-md-s-tips-skipping-the-prozac
http://www.britishhomeopathic.org/bha-charity/how-we-can-help/conditions-a-z/beating-the-blues/
http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health+advice/treating+depression,7821

 

Fibre: Are You Really Getting Enough?

cabbage-1390046692DDy

Everyone knows they need to eat a diet rich in dietary fibre for good gastrointestinal health. Most people also know good sources of dietary fibre are fruit and vegetables and wholemeal grains, and that eating enough fibre ‘keeps you regular’.

A diet high in fibre offers many health benefits:

  • Lowers your cholesterol,
  • Keeps you full for longer
  • Reduces your risk of heart disease, constipation, haemorrhoids, diverticulitis, colon cancer, obesity.
  • Reduces your risk of high blood sugar and diabetes
  • Offers immune support
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Helps with liver detoxification.

 

Most people have no idea of how much fibre they actually need.

Very few people eat anywhere near the amount of fibre they need each day. The recommended daily intake is 20-30g fibre per day. But research has shown that actually consuming 75-100g might be more helpful. However, you are highly unlikely to be eating anywhere near 75g as most people don’t even manage the 30g recommended.

 

Benefits Of Fibre-Rich Diet

 

  • Fibre has a laxative effect, so helps reduce the incidence or severity of constipation.
  • It binds with cholesterol so the cholesterol cannot be absorbed.
  • It feeds gut flora (the good ones) to nourish the colon cells.
  • Fibre stops blood sugar spikes because fibre rich foods are Low GI.
  • Fibre helps with weight control.

 

Fibre Rich Foods

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fibre and should make up the greater part of your diet. Avocados, vegetables from the cabbage family including broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, root vegetables and green peas are all good vegetable choices, high in fibre . Fruits with edible seeds, apples, pears (not too ripe) and raspberries are good fruit choices.

Pulses/ Legumes

legumes

The simple way to increase the amount of fibre in your diet is to replace some meat and processed carbohydrates, such as white rice, with nutritious, high fibre alternatives. The foods that work the best are  pulses/ legumes and quinoa. These foods are high in protein and act as suitable meat substitutes.

Most people are familiar with using dried pulses in their cooking, but often they forget they’re a simple meat substitute. Pulses and legumes provide you with a nutritious, high-fibre vegetarian meal as they’re all nutrition packed, as well as high in fibre. Legumes have more fibre than any other food, and blackbeans are the highest. In addition, unlike meat, beans are low in fat and cholesterol-free.

Legumes Are Low GI

Although legumes are a starchy food the starch is not digested easily, therefore avoiding the sugar spike you get from many other carbs. Because they are high-fibre it means they stop you getting hungry – a great addition for weight control.

They are a wonderful alternative to processed carbohydrates and can be used very simply to replace meat in a dish

Legumes Are Great Meat Substitutes

A few years ago I replaced the beef in burgers made for my family with mashed chickpeas and added a few finely chopped vegetables. The result was delicious and my boys loved them. They made the perfect vegetarian burger with bread, lettuce, tomato etc.

But with the chickpea patties they got more vegetables as I added as much as the basic legume mix could hold without falling apart, and chick peas are low GI carbs, and full of protein, perfect for growing boys. Kidney beans would also work really well here.

Legumes make wonderful contributions to most stews and casseroles, pies and many salads. In a meat-based dish you can cut the meat by half and substitute with beans. You get dietary fibre, less cholesterol and less fat than with meat.

Here are some great pulses:

  • Peas- green or yellow, split, chickpeas, black-eyed,
  • Beans – brown, white, black, lima, kidney, mung, butterbeans, baked beans, pinto, navy, soy
  • Lentils – peeled, unpeeled, red, brown, yellow, green

 

Quinoa

Quinoa is a fairly new addition to western diets. Did you know that it contains nearly twice as much fibre as any other grain (although it is actually a seed not a grain)? It is incredibly nutritious.  100g of quinoq provides a whopping 7g of fibre – 2.5 times the accepted RDA, and enough to meet the new recommended levels!

Quinoa is so versatile that you can substitute it in a dish for rice, add it to soups, casseroles, or even use it to make a sweet breakfast porridge. You can even sprout it!

It is a gluten-free staple so makes a perfect substitute for gluten-grains such as burghul in dishes like tabbouli.

Quinoa provides all the required amino acids for the human body in excellent proportions, (including lysine). It is high in iron and calcium, a good source of magnesium, manganese and copper and phosphorous. It is a good source of B vitamins, vitamin E and omega3 and omega6.100g of quinoa contains 46% of the daily requirement of folate. And, it provides similar energy to other major cereals.

Quinoa Preparation

Quinoa must be prepared properly. Wash it in cold water repeatedly until all the foam disappears before you cook it. Cook quinoa the same way as you cook other staples like buckwheat, rice, etc. Roughly, one cup of dry grains cooks up to three cups and becomes fluffy and chewy with a pleasant taste.

Here are some suggestions to use quinoa in your cooking:

  • Quinoa flour can be mixed with other flours to enrich the overall quality of the meal.
  • Use quinoa to make porridge, soup, polenta
  • Use quinoa in a pilaf, pudding, or simply serve alongside a casserole or stir-fry
  • Use it as the base for a salad

 

fibre foods

How Much Is 30g Of Fibre?

 

The amount of fibre in 1 cup of:

  •  Apples, raw with skin – 3 gm                          (10 apples = 30 gm fibre)
  • Quinoa, uncooked – 12 gm                               (2.5 cups of quinoa = 30 gms fibre)
  • avocado, fresh, cubed – 10 gm                       (3 cups of avocado = 30 gm fibre)
  • Rolled oats, oatmeal – 8 gm                             (3.75 cups of oats = 30 gm fibre)
  • Wholemeal/wholewheat bread (in 1 slice) – 2 gm       (15 slices  = 30 gm fibre)
  • Kidney beans, canned – 14 gm                        (2 big cups kidney beans = 30 gm fibre)
  • Chickpeas (garbanzos), canned – 11 gm      (2.75 cups chickpeas = 30 gm fibre)
  • Coconut, raw, shredded – 7 gm                      (4.25 cups coconut  = 30 gm fibre)
  • Broccoli, raw, chopped – 2 gm                        (15 cups of broccoli = 30 gm fibre)

You are most likely to already be eating a number of foods in your day that contain fibre. So you don’t actually need to eat 10 apples, 15 cups of broccoli or 15 slices of wholemeal bread to get your recommended 30 gms of fibre. But these figures do give you some idea of just how easy it is to get insufficient amounts and why you need to be conscious of including fibre rich foods every day.

Make the change and try out more dishes based on legumes and quinoa to your diet.

Do something your body will thank you for.

 

fibre rich foods
Quinua (Quinoa) plants near Cachora, Apurímac, Peru. Altitude: 3800m (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Updated 2nd February 2018

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://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5705/2

 

 

20 Awesome Superfoods You Need Everyday (Part 2)

Following on from 20 Awesome Superfoods You Need Everyday (Part 1) here are some more foods to complete your list. Some of these are not quite so ‘traditional everyday’ as those included in Part 1 although some are, but as all of them are readily available now there is no reason why they should not be foods that feature regularly (or at least sometimes) on your table.

 

superfood collage

 

11. GARLIC

The Aliium family contains a number of excellent foods to support your health. They all stimulate glutathione to protect the liver, but the one that really stands out is garlic. It supports the circulatory system by reducing blood triglycerides and total cholesterol, while raising good HDL levels, lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of blood clots. It is well known for its ability to fight infection – virus and bacteria, and boost resistance to colds and infections especially when they are stress related. But garlic also fights tumours, and can help protect against certain cancers, particularly stomach cancer. It helps fight neurological disease like Alzheimer’s and can reduce toxins to improve detoxification. But, you must eat garlic raw to get the benefit as cooking destroys the beneficial constituent, allicin. Chew some parsley afterwards if garlic breath is a problem.

 

12. SWEET POTATOES

So much healthier than white potatoes, if you do eat carbs substitute sweet potatoes wherever you can. They are packed with vitamin C and rich in vitamin A and potassium for heart health. A great source of fibre to help regulate your digestive system, with three grams of fibre in every hundred gram serving, they also help stabilize blood sugars and are reasonably low in kilojoules.

 

13. COCONUT OIL

Coconut oil is now available everywhere and it is worth making the switch from other oils. Although it is a saturated fat, it is a medium-chain fatty acid type, which means you digest it differently than other animal saturated fats so it is not stored in the body’s cells. These types of fats are actually helpful for weight loss as they can help you feel full and boost your metabolism more than other fats. Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties and can help protect against viruses and bacteria. It aids digestion, reduces cholesterol and importantly boosts thyroid function and helps control blood sugar.
Coconut oil is one of the best cooking oils you can use because it has a relatively high smoke point, and and so is better suited to high temperature cooking than many other oils, including polyunsaturated and olive oils. Read The Good Oil for more about the benefits of different oils.

 

coconut oil Phu Thinh Co

14.TURMERIC

A lsit of Superfoods that did not contain this marvelous herb would be sadly lacking. Antioxidant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory it has been an important medicinal herb for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. Research suggests that the curcumin in turmeric protects against cancer and Alzheimer’s as well as improving circulation. Turmeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and has great use in reducing the pain of diseases such as arthritis. Read Glorious Health From Golden Turmeric to find out more about the power of this mighty herb.

 

15. CHILLI

Hot chillis get their heat from the the active component, capsaicin. They also contain antioxidant carotenes and flavonoids and about twice the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits. Red bell peppers while containing lower levels of capsaicin than chilli, are a wonderful rich source of vitamin C with twice as much as an orange, to help clear out free radicals as well as keep your skin and blood vessels healthy.

 

16. POMEGRANATES

As this is pomegranate season a Superfood list would not be complete without this glorious fruit. With up to three times the antioxidants of red wine and green tea the juice and seeds reduce the risk of heart disease. Their ORAC score lists pomegranates as the richest source of free-radical scavenging antioxidants and this makes them a powerful tool to prevent those diseases with a strong inflammatory basis like arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Find out how to use pomegranates on Hail The Pomegranate

pomegranate-open-196800_640

 

17. DARK CHOCOLATE

When you select carefully, chocolate is good for you! Dark chocolate, at least 70% cacao, is loaded with flavonoids antioxidants to reduce the risk of heart disease and help prevent signs of aging. But, only real cacao contains the antioxidants. As well as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow and improving general heart health to prevent strokes and heart disease, cacao can also help fight diabetes. Containing many compounds to boost endorphins and serotonin, the feel-good hormones, chocolate really can lift your spirits.

Even better is to look for chocolate made from Raw Cacao which is truly the Superfood of the gods. Avoid high-sugar varieties of chocolate as sugar decreases the health benefit of even dark chocolate.

Go ahead and enjoy some raw organic chocolate
Go ahead and enjoy some raw organic chocolate

 

And here are some Superfoods that are NOT everyday but ones you really need to try.

18. KALE

Kale is probably one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat, with an amazing level of nutrients in relation to its kilojoule value. Related to broccoli this dark green leafy vegetable is high in nutrients including vitamin B, A, folate, iron and beta-carotene. A great source of protein and packed with fibre, kale is low kilojoule and very high in vitamin C, containing twice the RDA. It contains ten times the RDA of vitamin K and three times the RDA of vitamin A. Try making it into kale chips if you are more likely to eat kale that way. Beneficial to stomach, liver and the immune system.

 

19. CHIA SEEDS

One Superfood that is appearing on menus more and more frequently is the chia seed. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, B, E and D, many minerals and fibre, they are also extremely high in calcium and omega-3. Chia seeds are a wonderful food for weight loss as they suppress appetite and level out blood sugars. It is a Superfood in every sense of the word.
However, chia has been a low-cost staple food of the Peruvians for centuries and the current high demand for chia by the west has taken a significant toll on the local food supply resulting in it now being unaffordable for the indigenous population. There is an urgent need to produce this food in a more sustainable way that protects the Peruvians from  nutritional deficiencies and allows everyone to receive its benefits.

 

20. SPROUTED SEEDS

The most live, pure, nutritious food imaginable. Most people are familiar with alfalfa but there are many more available and they are really easy to grow yourself for extra fresh sprouts. Sprouts are powerhouses of goodness containing the highest density of concentrated nutrients needed to give the plant an early growth spurt. As the seed sprouts the nutrients can increase up to 2000% and they are passed on to you. Read Snacking On Superb Sprouts to discover their benefits.

Sprouting in jars
Sprouting in jars

 

I’d like to finish by mentioning Green Superfoods.  Certainly not traditional or everyday in any way, but Green Superfoods contain the highest concentration of easily digested nutrients and they are starting to become better known if not yet mainstream. Foods such as spirulina or chlorella act as a power packed alternative to a multivitamin to redress many dietary indiscretions. They contain a wide range of concentrated nutrients, and are taken as a dietary supplement in powder or tablet form. I love them! You can read more at Spirulina, The Supergreen Solution

If you’d like to break out with a few different Superfoods try spirulina, kefir, quinoa, black rice, kelp and the other seaweeds, dandelion, flax seeds, goji berries or some of these treasures from South America.

What are your favourite Superfoods? Which ones do you choose to have some of every day?

autumn cornucopia bought

 

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://foodmatters.tv/superfoods
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/10/top-ten-best-superfoods.aspx
http://man.bodyandsoul.com.au/health+nutrition/nutrition+advice/7+superfoods+for+supermen,24531

Top 11 Superfoods That Can Save Your Life

 

20 Awesome Superfoods You Need Everyday (Part 1)

awesome superfoods

There are many new and exotic Superfoods arriving in our shops every day. Foods with excellent health track records in their country of origin are finding their way into all manner of products. New recipes calling for these exotics appear every single day. But this week a client who is very diet conscious, always seeking out the foods that give her the most benefits for each mouthful, brought up the subject of ‘Everyday Superfoods’ – good traditional foods that are easy to find wherever you happen to be eating.

This particular client wanted to know just what some of the best plain and simple Superfoods are. Although she regularly eats a wide array of exotic Superfoods, including acai berry, spirulina, maca, edamame, and others, she wanted to know about Superfoods that she can access every day, whether she is at home, work or eating out with friends.

Superfoods is a recently coined term used to describe a group of foods that are light in kilojoules and very dense in nutrients, particularly antioxidants and other essential nutrients that we are unable to make for ourselves. Another requirement of Superfoods is that they are foods found in nature. They are thought to have many extra health benefits and are considered highly beneficial because they provide a solid dose of nutrients for each mouthful.

Superfoods fall into different food categories. Many are vegetables, particularly the green leafy types, or fruits. Many nuts are considered Superfoods because they are rich in antioxidants to clean up free radicals that cause inflammation in your body.

Free radicals are a normal part of metabolism and your body has mechanisms in place to deal with those ones. But free radicals are also produced in your body in response to environmental factors like pollution, tobacco smoke, charred food, trans fats, electrical appliances, mobile phones and can quickly cause much damage that can lead to serious chronic disease.

 

10 BASIC EVERYDAY SUPERFOODS

These are such common foods, now nobody has any excuse not to include as many foods from this list as they can every single day.

 

1 BLUEBERRIESEnjoy some superfoods to honour your beautiful temple!

The deep blue colour of blueberries is the give away that they are rich with antioxidants, ranking highly on ORAC, which measures the antioxidant value of foods. An anti aging superstar, they are one of the best sources of flavonoids around to help preserve memory function  and slow down loss of motor coordination. High levels of the cancer fighting antioxidant, ellegic acid and studies have shown them to have greater cancer fighting capabilities than other fruits. Many recent studies have shown they slow the growth of certain tumours. Anti-inflammatory

 

2 SPINACH

Long before we became aware of the benefits of antioxidants Popeye was onto their awesomeness. Spinach is loaded up with antioxidants and truly a simple Superfood. It contains vitamin C, betacarotene, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin to protect your eyes, with lots of vitamin K for cardiovascular and bone health, as well as iron for strong hair and nails.

3. BROCCOLI

Well known as a nutrient packed vegetable with cancer fighting properties, broccoli is loaded with vitamin C, folic acid and carotenoids (vitamin A) to protect from free radical damage, improve immune function and reproductive health. Broccoli contains high levels of vitamin K to build strong bones and help blood clotting. It also contains significant amounts of fibre, vitamin B2 and potassium.

4. AVOCADO

Delicious avocados are an excellent source of healthy raw monosaturated fat.  They contain nearly twenty nutrients including fibre (10 to 17 grams in each fruit), high levels of potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, folic acid and lutein for healthy eyes and skin. They protect from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, eye and brain disease. They help stabilize blood sugars, are great for heart disorders and assist with tissue regeneration.  In addition avocados help you properly absorb other fat-soluble nutrients.

5. ALMONDS

Raw almonds are loaded with good (monosaturated) fats and fibre to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Rich in phytochemicals to promote heart and vascular health and a great source of minerals including magnesium, potassium, calcium and vitamins E and B6, they make a great afternoon snack. Munch on them in place of other less healthy options.

6. LENTILS & BEANS

All beans and legumes are beneficial. They are low in fat with lots of iron and B vitamins (including folate). A great complex carbohydrate, they are filling but low kilojoule. They contain magnesium and potassium for heart and circulatory health.  They are an excellent source of protein, and with a low GI they help control rises in blood sugar. Combined with complex grains like oats or barley they provide all the essential amino acids needed for a complete protein.  Perhaps the most nutritious legume is lentils. Also, they are inexpensive! Add them to your diet every week.

apple heart bought7. APPLES

The humble apple is often overlooked in the plethora of new Superfoods around. Apples are loaded with quercetin and catechin, both powerful antioxidants, to protect cells from free radical damage. Apple peel is where most of the nutrients lie so don’t peel them. They are also a great source of fibre. You may like to consider eating organic apples as they are one of the foods that regularly appear on the Environmental Working Committee’s DIRTY DOZEN list of the foods that are most highly sprayed with pesticides.

8. SARDINES & SALMON

Wild caught salmon is packed with omega-3 essential fatty acids to lower cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. It also contains vitamin D and selenium for healthy hair, skin, and nails. Farmed salmon on the other hand, (the only salmon available in Australia) is low in omega-3 and contains contaminants, so to get the benefit of eating salmon you need to make sure it is wild caught. Unfortunately as all salmon in Australia is farmed, the only wild caught one I have ever found is one brand of tinned salmon from Alaska. Wild caught salmon comes from Scotland, Alaska and Canada.
With just as much omega-3 as salmon, sardines are a much better choice in many ways. They are always wild caught so do not contain all the contaminants that you find in farmed salmon. Also being so small you can eat them up bones and all, and they are extra good as then you also get a hefty dose of calcium.

9. EGGS

Eggs are a powerhouse of valuable nutrients, especially if they are organic. They contain the highest quality nutritional protein of all foods containing about 6 grams, and loaded with nine amino acids, eleven vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin A and folate, naturally occurring vitamin B12 for healthy red blood cells, choline for memory and brain development and lutein and zeanthine for protection against eye disease.
Eating eggs for breakfast gives you a great start to the day and studies show that it may lead to you eating fewer kilojoules through the day because they rank highly on the satiety list.
But forget about eating the whites only, it’s the yolk that holds all the nutrients.
By the way, the link between eating eggs and blood cholesterol is an old myth and studies  have shown there is no connection.

10. OATS

Whole grain oats are one of the best sources of both soluble and insoluble fibre to metabolise fats  and promote healthy digestive system. They are low glycaemic to help control blood sugar levels. As well as helping improve your skin, they are brilliant for those suffering from stress and tiredness.  No wonder we’re always been told to eat porridge for breakfast, oats are rich in niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin E and antioxidants.  Packed with protein, they are a great way to kick-start your day.

 

Check back here for Part 2 next week when I’ll give you 10 more basic Superfoods, incuding some that are newer and not quite so common, to eat everyday.

 

What are your favourite Superfoods? Which do you choose to make certain you have some every day?

veg and nuts

 

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://foodmatters.tv/superfoods
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/10/top-ten-best-superfoods.aspx
http://man.bodyandsoul.com.au/health+nutrition/nutrition+advice/7+superfoods+for+supermen,24531

Top 11 Superfoods That Can Save Your Life

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. 

Lactose Intolerance: Natural Remedy Treatments

There’s an epidemic of food sensitivities surrounding us. Allergies to foods, food intolerances, or even just increased sensitivity are becoming more and more common right across the population. Food allergies arn’t so common, but food intolerances seem to be increasing at an alarming rate.

there's an epidemic of lactose intolerance

FOOD INTOLERANCE CAN BE DIFFICULT TO DIAGNOSE

Unfortunately for many people, food intolerances are often misdiagnosed or even missed altogether.

Symptoms are often very diverse and can take anywhere up to days after eating to appear. This means often they’re not directly linked to the troublesome food. The delay makes it very difficult to pinpoint exactly what is the causing the problem.

In addition, the person may often be intolerant to more than one food. If it happens to be an ingredient that’s commonly found in many different foods, such as gluten or lactose, it may be near impossible to detect. Simply eliminating one food from the diet doesn’t stop the symptoms as the other problem foods still cause problems. When this happens it’s easy to assume the eliminated food is not the cause, when in fact it may be a PART of the cause.

Common allergy tests don’t detect food intolerances and the sufferer is often given a clean bill of health after testing, but continues to endure the debilitating symptoms.

Gluten sensitivity is also becoming very common and you can read about it here.

LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

Lactose intolerance is a condition where the person is unable to digest the sugar in milk (lactose) properly. It’s fairly common with estimates that about 65% of the world’s adult population have the condition to some extent. It’s not a dangerous condition but can be very unpleasant, even ruining the quality of life for the person.

Some people have the condition mildly only experiencing symptoms if they overload on dairy foods. Others have it severely with strong symptoms occurring with even the tiniest amount of dairy foods.

Symptoms include diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, stomach bloating, flatulence, and appear anywhere from thirty minutes to a few hours, or rarely, even days after consuming the food.

The severity of symptoms depends on three things:

  • The amount of lactose consumed
  • The levels of the lactase enzyme present
  • The speed of gastric emptying – the faster the gut transit the worse the symptoms.

WHY LACTOSE INTOLERANCE OCCURS

People with lactose intolerance don’t produce enough lactase, an enzyme required for lactose metabolism.

Not everyone with lactase deficiency has lactose intolerance. The deficiency develops over a long period. Although it starts around two years of age most people don’t develop symptoms until adolescence or adulthood. It may also develop as the result of damage to the intestine through illness such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, severe diarrhea or chemotherapy.

It’s long been thought that lactose intolerance was entirely due to this enzyme lack in the gut. It’s now thought that low levels of good intestinal bacteria may also be the cause. In many instances low bacteria levels are the result of other problems or illnesses.

It is now thought that low levels of good intestinal bacteria may be the cause of lactose intolerance.
It is now thought that low levels of good intestinal bacteria may be the cause of lactose intolerance.

EAT RIGHT FOR LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

There are studies that show many of those with low lactase levels actually do absorb lactose in small amounts. These people don’t necessarily need to eliminate lactose entirely or to take extra foods or supplements to balance the gut to improve their symptoms. Rather they just need to cut back on the amount of dairy foods they consume.

For others the only way to get rid of symptoms for good is to adopt a dairy-free eating plan.

Dairy foods include all forms of cow’s milk, cheese, cream, ice-cream, butter, yoghurt, curds, and many foods made from these. It may include the milk products of goats, sheep and camels. It doesn’t include eggs. Here’s a comprehensive list of all dairy foods.

If the gut symptoms are due to an illness such as IBS eliminating dairy foods won’t give significant symptom relief.

Evidence shows that eating yoghurt, probiotics and kefir replaces certain gut bacteria which improves symptoms. This is certainly worthwhile but it doesn’t address the underlying cause of the problem.

LACTOSE FREE FOODS

There are many lactose-free foods now available. While soy milk previously was the standard replacment for milk there are now many others. Now coconut milk often replaces milk in a product. Rice milk, almond milk, oat milk and soy milk are others that are all lactose free.

There are many lactose-free oils to replace butter. Ghee is butter with the lactose skimmed out of it and may be an excellent substitute.

Some fruit sorbets have no added milk.

Read the labels on processed foods and you’ll find many lactose-free alternatives.

Words that indicate the presence of lactose include:  Milk, lactose, whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, non-fat milk powder, milk solids

Lactose is also used in many prescription medicines, including birth control pills, over the counter medications and health supplements.

Some people can tolerate low-lactose foods made from goats or sheep milk. These foods have less lactose than those from cow’s milk.

Often our bodies know what’s not tolerated and let us know. When I stopped eating dairy I very quickly remembered I hated milk and cheese as a child, and had only started eating them as an adult in response to peer pressure.

However, the opposite can just as easily occur. Many people who have strong cravings for creamy dairy foods or milk actually have an intolerance or allergy. If you experience either strong cravings or aversions it’s worth considering your tolerance of that food.

coconut oil Phu Thinh Co

NATURAL WAYS TO REDUCE LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

There are a number of foods and supplements that help reduce unpleasant digestive symptoms caused by eating dairy foods.

Probiotics

Probiotic bacteria useful for lactose intolerance include Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria and Streptococci. Bifidobacterium longum is very efficient at metabolizing lactose, although all three are capable of producing lactase to improve lactose digestion.

While probiotics are live strains of good bacteria, prebiotics are the nourishment these bacteria needs to stimulate growth. Taking prebiotics as well as probiotic supplements help to significantly build levels of good bacteria. Some foods containg inulin, the most common form of prebiotic, are asparagus, garlic, leek, onion, and artichoke.

Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV can be a very effective way to reduce, even eradicate, lactose intolerance. It helps to balance the body. Try one tablespoon in ½ to one full glass of water every morning. Adding ¼ teaspoon of bicarb soda (baking soda) to the ACV before adding the water seems to help. It takes several weeks to improve symptoms and you must be diligent and not skip a day.

Coconut Oil

Taking 1-2 teaspoons of virgin coconut oil daily may help reduce intolerance. Alternatively, use coconut milk as a milk replacement in many recipes.

Yoghurt

Even though yoghurt is a dairy product, a few spoonfuls of good quality, full fat yoghurt, (such as Jalna – I am NOT an affiliate) with each meal introduces beneficial bacteria to your gut. Many people with lactose intolerance can digest yoghurt because it contains live bacteria in it to help break down the lactose and improve digestion.

Fermented Products

Sauerkraut and kimchi are foods made from fermented cabbage that contain good bacteria which helps re-populate the gut and regulate the digestive system. Drink the juice of the sauerkraut as well as eating it. Kimchi is quite spicy. It takes a few weeks for the bacteria to build up to sufficient levels to reduce symptoms.

Lactase Enzyme Supplements

Lactase is an enzyme produced in the small intestine that breaks down lactose in the body. When a person doesn’t produce sufficient lactase they experience the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Lactase supplements are a small pill taken with foods containing lactose. They’re useful as a temporary measure or when you’re eating large quantities of dairy foods, but may not be so good for the long term. Adding the enzymes to milk a few hours before drinking it helps break down the lactose. They’re available from health food stores

Some people become immune to lactase pills over time. Sometimes you may not even be aware you’re eating dairy foods. I once watched a famous chef on TV divulge that the secret ingredient in his amazing clear chicken stock was cow’s milk.

One other problem with lactase supplements is that when the lactase arrives in the gut from another external source the body no longer needs to keep producing any lactase at all. You may very quickly go from producing some (if insufficient amounts) lactase to producing absolutely none.

Hard, aged cheeses have less lactose than soft cheeses.
Hard, aged cheeses have less lactose than soft cheeses.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

If you’re only slightly lactose intolerant  all you may need do is cut down the amount of dairy you eat. You may tolerate some dairy foods better than others and if you choose carefully you may feel better in ways you hadn’t really noticed were wrong before.

If your intolerance is a little more severe you could find adding fermented foods, apple cider vinegar or probiotics gives you huge improvements.

  • High fat milk is digested more easily than low-fat milk.
  • Hard, aged cheeses have less lactose than soft cheeses.
  • Butter is low in lactose.
  • Milk products containing live bacterial cultures are already partially digested and may be tolerated.
  • Eating good quality yogurt containing live culture 10-15 minutes before eating dairy products may help your symptoms.

To eliminate symptoms eating dairy-free is often the best choice. These days it’s not difficult as there are many alternatives, including soy and coconut. If you’re able to tolerate a little lactose, and most people can, add very small amounts of one of the more easily tolerated dairy foods to remind your gut to keep producing any lactase it can.

For many simply cutting back the amount of dairy products is enough to eliminate the symptoms. Drinking less milk every day, eating yoghurt instead of drinking milk, replacing cows cheese with goat’s cheese are just a few things you could do.

What have you found to be the best way to deal with your lactose intolerance?

dairy-cows-175309_640

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.naturalnews.com/036379_food_intolerance_allergies_epidemic.html

http://www.bio-kult.com/research-technical/134/lactase-activity-of-probiotic-bacteria

http://earthclinic.com/CURES/lactose-intolerance.html

http://chriskresser.com/how-to-cure-lactose-intolerance

http://natureheals.hubpages.com/hub/ways-to-cure-lactose-intolerance

http://jillgrimesmd.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/lactose-intolerance-chocolate-milkthe.html

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/lactoseintolerance

http://healing.answers.com/remedies/natural-remedy-treatments-for-lactose-intolerance

 

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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