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Archive for the ‘Nutritional Therapy Advise’ Category

The beginning of a New year is a time when many people consider making some changes – especially  to their health. Perhaps a detox or to get fitDrinks alcohol 2. The majority of adults drink alcohol, some much more than others and there comes a time when assessing your alcohol intake and reducing or removing it from your daily life could be one of the smartest decisions you make for health and well-being, and even happiness.

There is no escaping the fact that if you drink regularly you need to give it a rest and think about doing some healing, no matter what age you are, alcohol will eventually get to your health.

Is the government’s alcohol safe limit really safe? Not really – but it is lower than what many people still perceive to be safe.

It’s not that the government is recommending high amounts of alcohol, far from it. The guidelines are quite moderate in comparison to what many people think is safe. In my practice I have met intelligent men and women who do not think anything of drinking a whole bottle of wine in one night, nearly every night and may consider their one night of ‘detox’ a Sunday night. I have met young men who had no idea that drinking a whole bottle of whisky in one night could actually have killed them.

Government guidelines state that women should not consume over 2-3 units per night and men 3-4 units per night. Don’t get too excited – That’s just one large glass of wine or 1.5 pints of beer, and guess what – even that is too much if you really want to be healthier, have more energy, better digestion and lose weight. One unit of alcohol is a very small glass of wine or even quarter of a pint of beer, this I would feel happy saying is safe in most individuals (not all).

Alcohol contains high amounts of calories and not only are these empty calories (they have no nutrients) but alcohol makes huge demands on our nutrient reserves like B Vitamins, Vitamin C and many minerals, as these are needed to detoxify, neutralise and straighten things out after a binge. One of the first signs of cutting back drinking is less puffiness, especially in the face.

Alcohol has a detrimental effect on gut flora (good bacteria) which can cause gut dysbiosis (imbalance of good and bad microbiota) also it can lead to damaged gut lining and poor digestion. This in turn can cause many different health problems and can be a huge contributing factor in serious degenerative diseases later in life.

Alcohol has to be detoxified in the liver – and it is vital that the liver can cope with this process. It causes fatty acids to be produced in the liver – which eventually leads to fatty liver disease which is life threatening. Alcohol also damages the liver cell (hepatocytes) Alcohol affects every tissue it touches, from entering the mouth, the oesophagus and the whole digestive tract. It travels around in the blood stream and has access to every tissue in the body.

Some people have better equipped livers than others, hence why certain individuals seem to be able to get away without having a severe hang over, but that doesn’t mean it is not causing health problems.

It causes premature aging – of every cell in the body! If you drink regularly and would like to have healthier younger looking skin – simple: Stop drinking alcohol (or reduce down to minimal amounts)

Remember – when you are younger you don’t feel the effects of alcohol as much as when you get older – but it is still doing as much damage and may be setting you up for poor health in the future.

Dangerous by products of alcohol metabolism

Acetaldehyde and acetate, produced from the oxidative metabolism of alcohol, contribute to cell and tissue damage in various ways and can lead to liver enlargement and other problems.

It binds with DNA to form carcinogenic DNA, and to neurotransmitters in the brain to create alcohol dependency, and  cause a oxygen deficit in cells which can lead to tissue damage and disease.

The other pathway of alcohol metabolism leads to the formation of toxic fat molecules and esters – these interfere with cell signaling which encourage degenerative diseases like cancer.

These toxic elements  (Free radicals) play a big part in cancer development (i.e. carcinogenesis), atherosclerosis, diabetes, inflammation, aging, and other harmful processes.

Alcohol also changes brain chemistry – which can last long beyond the actual act of drinking, days even weeks. It can affect individuals differently gets worse over years of consuming alcohol. In you’re 20’s you don’t notice it so much, but mental clarity can diminish when you get into your 30’s, 40’s and 50’s worsened by alcohol consumption. There are other aspects of diet, stress and general lifestyle that can affect mental clarity, but alcohol consumption is one of the main threats as the toxins cross the blood/brain barrier and literally go straight to the brain! It can make people irritable, aggressive and depressed as well as tired and suffer memory loss, mental fogginess.

So taking all of the above into account it is common sense that long-term and even short-term consumption of alcohol causes tissue aging, organ damage and disease – long beyond the actual ‘morning after’ hangover or even the tiredness the next day. If you drink even 1 large glass every night, or 2-3 glasses every few days all the above still applies to you. 1-3 glasses per week or less is the safest way to drink.

Beer Wine or Shorts? Which is better?

Beer does contain some B Vitamins because of the yeast used to produce it – but conversely many people have a yeast sensitivity due mainly to dysbiosis in the gut (in particular yeast infections) so it can cause more problems, and the process of metabolizing the alcohol itself will use up any extra B vitamins and more.

Wine also contains Yeast in smaller amounts – Champagne and spirits generally don’t, but are highly acidic and don’t contain any nutrients.

Red wine is really the only alcoholic drink that has been found to have some beneficial effects on the body – because it contains anthocyanins found in the skins of red and black grapes. This has been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as these are powerful antioxidants, but even then if more than one glass is drunk it becomes a health risk not a health promoter. Also it is better to drink organic red wine as there are far less toxins. Many wines contain toxic sulphates and over harmful chemicals, which can cause headaches just from one glass of wine.

To get the same beneficial effect of the antioxidants you can eat organic red grapes (or other black-skinned fruit and vegetables) or take a ‘Resveratrol’ supplement – it’s much safer, but maybe less fun.

How to Protect yourself from the effects of alcohol consumption.

Most people, including me, like to have a drink at social occasions – and the reality is you still will. But now you are armed with knowledge I hope it helps you to reduce your intake – not just for the January ‘Detox’, but for life.

There are things that you can do to protect your body and brain function.

This advice is for moderate drinking and although it does help all kinds of drinking it will not protect you from outright alcohol bingeing.

First of all NEVER drink on an empty stomach, always eat well before and include vegetables for the antioxidant content.

Glutamine is one of the main amino acids that support brain and liver protection – you can take it as a supplement before going out drinking. There are many brands, the brand I like is ‘Perm-a-vite’ by Allergy research as it has Glutamine as well as other nutrients that support and heal gut lining which is vital when drinking alcohol as it can cause gut lining damage.

Take a mineral supplement to help neutralise the acidity caused by alcohol consumption

Alcohol should never be taken with any medication.

If you are drinking you should take extra buffered Vitamin C, a B Vitamin complex and Essential fatty acids – but either after or a while before not during.

A high potency antioxidant complex should be taken too.

Herbs that protect:

Milk thistle aids liver cell repair, Shisandra aids alcohol detoxification (taken before and after) Rosemary supports liver function –  they have been scientifically proven to assist the liver . You can visit a nutritional therapist or a herbalist to get the best combination for your personal needs.

Note: Shisandra should not be taken with vital medications as they can speed up the detoxification through the liver and reduce the efficacy – consult your doctor or a herbalist before use.

Alcohol metabolism also causes the destruction of major antioxidants , and increases hugely the need for dietary or supplemental antioxidants.

Antioxidant foods:Prunes smaller

Organic prunes – have on porridge, put in deserts or just eat with a handful of almonds as a snack

Berries – especially organic blueberries

Black skinned grapes

Orange and lemon peel

Goji berries

Raw choc -cocoa nibsRaw dark chocolate (in moderation)

Vegetable juices

Green leafy vegetables

Fresh nuts and seeds

Glass of water

Drink water regularly when drinking alcohol and drink at least two glasses before going to bed to aid detoxification and stop dehydration. Green tea is even better as this speeds up detoxification process in the liver.

It’s not all bad news, re-assessing your drinking habits, consuming in moderation and taking steps to protect yourself is a really good way to feel less guilty and physically better whilst still having a
social drink with friends.

For more information:

Ref: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2842521/
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh294/245-255.htm

Please note that this information is not a substitute for medical supervision, if you have any health concerns seek advice from your doctor.

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Aspects of health that immune function affects:  EVERYTHING!

If you have lowered immunity (meaning you pick up infections easily) or an immune system that is sensitive, over-reactive and generally not working properly, then this really can affect your day-to-day health and well-being and hugely affect the future of your health. In this day and age with the Western diet, medications and pollution being omnipresent everybody is affected. There is no reason for you to expect to get colds and flu every year – you can do something about it.

There are so many aspects of health that involves immune function –
far too many to mention here but the main areas are:

Immune protection against infection and disease
inside and outside

Inflammation

Removing toxins, pathogens and heavy metals from all tissues

Response to foods – food sensitivities

Putting out the fires of metabolism – energy production and removing waste

Removing rogue tissue and damaged cells

And much much more.

Intelligent immunity

Our immune system has an intelligence all of it’s own. The very first immune response is SIgA – Secretary IgA (IgA is an antibody response) High SIgA can accompany fatigue –it can indicate either / or both infection and food sensitivities.

In the gut where 80% of immune function is there are tissues that decide intelligently what the immune function will or won’t respond to. There are also trillions of bacteria and microbes in the intestines especially the colon. Your immune function depends on these being in the correct balance.

Immune Tissue

Your whole system depends on a healthy continuous production of different types of white blood cells to not only fight infection and pathogens, but to clean up toxins and general waste products. The lymph vessels and glands are vital to neutralise and remove all this out of the body via the elimination pathways.

Keeping your circulation strong by exercising regularly, helps move the lymph fluid that clears waste away taking it to the liver to be neutralised and dumped into bile which in turn is excreted through the bowel movements. Waste is also lost through sweating, breathing out, tears, hair, saliva and urine. People who are particularly toxic can show it through the quality of their skin, breath, hair and foul-smelling bowel movements and strong urine. Toxic overload is a real threat to the immune system. Detoxifying takes a lot more than just a few days or weeks of a ‘Detox’, in fact most ‘Detoxes’ are misleading and in some cases can be dangerous.

An acid bath

But lets go back a little way – the stomach produces a very strong acid that not only breaks down food, but also kills parasites, microbes and bacteria.

Many people nowadays, as they get older they produce lower amounts
of stomach acid.

Zinc is needed for both production of stomach acid and immune function – and is a co-factor in many reactions in the body – if there is not enough acid, you can’t absorb zinc and if not enough zinc you cannot make hydrochloric acid (HCL). A vicious circle forms. Supplements are the most effective way to get back into balance – zinc and digestive enzymes or even HCL is supplement form is the most effective support, as well as major dietary changes.

Stomach acid also helps to break down proteins into particles that the rest of the digestion can handle – even proteins from grains and pulses that can cause sensitivities, which really is just an immune response.

So what do you think happens when people are given antacids? Many people take antacids if they get indigestion, not realising that it could be low stomach acid causing it. Getting properly diagnosed is vital – and this can be difficult if your doctor just makes assumptions without proper investigation, generally an esophageal manometry or an endoscopy is performed to properly diagnose.

All our food has a certain amount of bacteria on and in, some even have parasitic eggs, raw fish for example and ‘Rare’ cooked meet – it’s normal, and a normal healthy digestion and immune function will keep all of this in check. Problems occur if there is not enough acid to kill off microbes or the immune system is not robust.

The population within

Healthy bacteria like we get from fermented foods like Natural live Yogurt (sugar-free NOT fat-free), Tempeh, Sauerkraut, kephir or other fermented foods (not alcohol) are very helpful in supporting the correct balance in the gut (small interesting and especially the colon. If you want to know more please go to my website and look at ‘Digestion’. http://www.foodspa.org.uk

It is vital to have good gut flora in healthy / abundant amounts to keep everything in check.

An over growth of Candida (yeast) can have such severe effects that are very debilitating – including exhaustion and an immune function that doesn’t work at it’s best.

Candida feeds on sugar – from refined carbohydrates (all sugars and white flour products and sweet fruits/fruit juices/dried fruit etc) so does bacteria.

Candida in particular can have such a damaging effect to well-being as it secretes toxins that can affect the brain and immune function. Some people with Candida overgrowth can feel happy one minute, consume sugar and feel depressed and debilitated within a short period of time.

The main cause of bacterial and yeast imbalance?

Taking antibiotics once or over a life time can cause Candida (yeast) overgrowth, especially coupled with the high sugar Western diet, it why the symptoms of thrush can happen after antibiotics – this is literally a Candida overgrowth.

It can also cause undesirable bacterial overgrowth – this all upsets the fragile balance and leaves the door open for opportunistic bacteria and infections in the gut, and on the skin and tissues where microbes have access.

This is why you need to take BIG doses of probiotics to even get a small amount into the gut and it needs to be taken with foods to help it get to where it should be. Some experts are now implanting healthy faecal matter into people who have such severe dysbiosis that it is literally life threatening. Sugar has to be cut out or eliminated to support healthy bacteria and starve the undesirable microbes, yeasts and bacteria. Vegetable fibre needs to be consumed to feed the good bacteria and I say it again – wide use of probiotics are needed.

Lowered immunity – can also be caused by chronic stress, poor digestion or nutrient deficiencies due to poor diet.

Nutrient deficiencies can have a huge effect on immune function as well as energy production (among many other things) but we are concentrating on immune function.

Antioxidants support immune function by neutralising toxins looking to destroy cells and help immune function get rid of them.

All vitamins and minerals play a part in immune
function, but the following
are particularly important:

Vitamin C – Increases production of interferon which coats the cell membrane preventing viruses from getting through. This is vital not only for preventing colds and flu but the very nature of stopping the virus actually can halt the triggers that cause immune dysfunction – i.e.: Serious viral infections like Glandular Fever can have a long-term detrimental effect on health.

Vitamin C is also one of the most potent antioxidants.

Vitamin A – Best in the form of Beta-carotene – Carotenoids are found on many vegetables like carrots, squash, courgettes, green leafy vegetables and orange fruits. Boosts natural killer cells, antioxidant and can help fight tumours through boosting ‘Tumour necrosis factor’

Vitamin D – Mainly from sunshine, or in very small amounts in some foods. Best supplemented in the winter months (600iu to 2,300iu per day). Is vital to healthy immune function and speeds up the healing process amongst many other things. Getting into the sun is vital for immunity.

Vitamin E – Stimulates production of white blood cells and protects against oxidative damage (when toxins destroy atoms in cells that make up body tissues) Found in high quality oils, nuts and seeds, organic green leafy vegetables.

Essential fatty acids (Fish oils and flax oil)–stimulate white blood cell production and help regulate immune function, so protects tissues against over reactive immune response.  I.e.: inflammation.

Zinc – Increases production of white blood cells, and supports production of killer cells. Best from rich dietary sources unless a Nutritional Therapist advises supplements. Seafood, nuts, Pumpkin seeds and green leafy veg, wheat germ and egg yolk.

Selenium – Stimulates natural killer cells as well as playing a vital role in major antioxidant activity. Founds in nuts and seeds, fish and seafood.

Bio-Flavonoids – A very important immune support for many conditions – these phytonutrients take up the receptor sites on cells and stop toxins and viruses. These have also been shown to stimulate immune function in a way that helps protect cardiovascular health.

All fruits and vegetables have some bioflavonoids but some are particularly high in them: Blueberries, elderfower, lemon and orange rind, green tea, green leafy veg, organic strawberries only, organic red bell peppers, orange fruits, garlic and onions,

Phytonutrients – from fruits and Vegetables and herbs have many protective properties as they can have stimulating effects on immune function.

Protein – Correct protein intake is VITAL – protein deficiency can lead to immune dysfunction, as every aspect of immune function needs sufficient protein. Too much can impair immunity as the metabolic by-product puts strain on immune function. It is vital to be able to digest protein properly.

Other Foods that support immunity:

shiitake and Maitake mushrooms

Herbs: Sage, Thyme, Oregano

Chili or cayenne pepper

Organic chicken broth

Fresh natural live yogurt

Substances that have a detrimental affect on immune function:

Antibiotics and other medications
Alcohol
Heavy metals in foods (i.e.: Mercury in Tuna)
Contraceptive pill / HRT
Food additives
Damaged fats
Sugar
Refined carbs
Processed foods – including meats, dairy, carbohydrates and coffee
Pesticides
Foods grown in poor soil
Foods that can cause problems: Wheat, dairy, soya and sometimes eggs

Other elements that affect, reduce or inflame immune response:

Pollution
Stress – chronic or acute from an upsetting event
Worry
Depression
Anxiety
Extreme physical training
Very busy social or work life, where opportunities for physical rest are reduced and poor dietary habits are followed.
Smoking
Recreational drugs
Lack of sleep
Lack of exercise

All of the above can cause reduced immune function. Although we cannot always avoid the daily stressors of life there are actions that you can take to support the body through nutrition and rest. Some stress therapy can be very helpful too – like massage, Yoga Nidra, meditation, Yoga, acupuncture, and reflexology – and SLEEP!

Everyone is individual and what lowers your resistance may not affect the next person. Your childhood and the illnesses and medications (like antibiotics) you have taken in the past can still affect you even years later. It is a very rare doctor that will advise taking probiotics and cutting out sugar after taking medications, or encourage you to take buffered Vitamin C,  due to their lack of knowledge in this area.

The above is a guide to help you to think about the changes you could make to support your own immune function.
After all you rely on it much more than you even realise.

What on the list can you address to protect your immune function now and in the future?

If there is nothing else that you do – TAKE A HIGH DOSE BUFFERED VITAMIN C more than once a day. ‘Buffered’ means it is less irritating to the gut wall and you can take higher doses. Increase your mineral intake by adding more organic leafy vegetables to your diet.

Please be aware:  The information and advice provided in this
website is not a substitute for medical advice.  
If you are concerned about your health or have any
symptoms you should see your GP/health-care provider.

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Whilst driving today, I found myself listening to the news and to the major talk shows. The subject that dominated was Aspirin and how the latest research is more or less calling it a wonder drug and implying that it protects from heart disease, stroke, certain cancers amongst other things.
I was amazed that in not one single report did the news team talk about the natural foods and supplements that do exactly the same as a low dose of aspirin without the side effects.

The plus for Aspirin is that it does help thin the blood due to the reduction of the sticky platelets , and can help the blood to not clot where you really don’t want it to, as in coronary artery disease. The research apparently shows that it also can help stop certain cancers from spreading around the body.

I am not disputing this, I am no expert in pharmaceuticals, however I do know that one of the side effects from taking Aspirin, which is a NSAID (Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) is to reduce the protective lining of the gut by interfering with the pathways that produce the protective lining in the gut wall.  This is where the long-term damage to health is caused. The problems of leaky gut and sensitive gut lining are so far-reaching they can lead to digestive problems in the future, which in turn can have a huge effect on general health.

If you are healthy and you want to protect your health, it is much simpler and safer and far more nourishing to take fish oil, or flax oil, Vitamin E, ginger and garlic and herbs like cinnamon and turmeric. These all act on the blood keeping it naturally thinned and they support many other aspects of health. Cutting toxic foods out of the diet can also help to keep blood healthy – all as a preventative.

So before anyone reaches for that pack of pharmaceutical drugs because you are worried about the future of your health, give some thought to the natural and far healthier way to keep the blood healthy.

Please note the above does not replace medical advise given by your doctor, if you are worried about your health you should contact your health care provider. Be aware that if you take all the natural therapies AND blood thinning medications you can thin the blood too much and this can be dangerous, it is best to consult a nutritional therapist or doctor if you have any concerns.

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Recently I came across an article in the Times Newspaper called:
‘Sun pills could save your skin’

Apparently research is being done by scientists at Newcastle University, sponsored by a pharmaceutical giant, into the antioxidants that help protect skin
against sun damage.
Their research will lead to a published ‘league table’ of antioxidants to help researchers who want to develop pills for people to take to protect themselves, which they claim will be: ‘a better way of getting these things into the skin’.
Whilst this seems like a very worthy cause and a positive message for healthier skin, it can be misleading to the public.

You will already be consuming Antioxidants

The antioxidants in question are not some amazing new finds that have just been discovered. The protective abilities of the foods these antioxidants are found in have been known for 100s even 1000’s of years. The antioxidants themselves have been widely available as food supplements in a variety of excellent products for many years. But now the pharmaceutical companies have done their research and want to create pills that will do the job of a better diet.

What this article fails to mention is that not only is it far far better to get all those antioxidants from a diet that is packed with richly antioxidant containing foods, that also contain all the necessary elements to digest and support the antioxidant activity. It also fails to mention the foods that should be removed from the diet* as these increase the sun’s ability to cause damage to our skin, and is a far more protective an action than just taking a pharmaceutical or nutraceutical pill. *See below

There is a lot of research that suggests that sun creams are not the answer to long term health of the skin. Sun creams can in fact be a trigger for skin cancer – not just because of the chemical content but the fact that it allows you to stay longer in the sun, thus destroying the Vitamin D3 hormone that would have been activated on non-sun screen protected skin. Covering up with hats and light clothing is the safest way to stay in the sun, and then using organic less chemical containing sunscreens for when swimming or in the sea.

Science and the medical professional are beginning to realize that we need to look at using sunscreens in conjunction with internal sun protection. This could obviously be a money spinner for the people who make the so called sun pills.

To understand why you can protect your skin internally you need to know what an antioxidant does and how they protect your cells and tissues. You also need to know what oxidation is and what increases oxidative stress in the body.

Oxidation

Is formed when a free radical molecule interacts with another molecule stealing its electron and causing damage. This damage is oxidation – seen clearly in rusted metal. This same damage happens within our tissues, damaging DNA causing aging and even mutations that lead to cancer.

On the simplified diagram the blue molecule has an electron missing so is drawn to the nearest available one in a healthy molecules that make up healthy cells in our tissues. Once it has ‘stolen’ the electron the healthy molecule is damaged.

Natural Oxidation actually needs to happen in our bodies for various reasons:

Energy Production and metabolism of fats and proteins

As a weapon used by immune system to kill invading pathogens

Used for signaling between cells

Oxygen – It is necessary to breath in the very thing that causes the most damage as we need it to create energy or we would not be alive.

It does not stop it being damaging and dangerous just because it happens naturally.

Our metabolism i.e: burning energy is like a fire burning, if it is not kept under control immediately it will cause a lot of damage.

Oxidation also happens due to toxic free radicals in foods, substances we consume, pesticides on foods, radiation, toxins we breath in, toxins in water, preservatives and toxins we put on our skin.

Our bodies are designed to cope with the former if we eat a diet rich in antioxidants, and if all our naturally produced mega antioxidants like ‘Superoxide dismutase’ and ‘Glutathione’ and their pathways work correctly. These need components like Vitamin C, Selenium, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene, Lycopene, methionine, sulphur and various enzymes which also need other components from nutrients.

* The overload of poor dietary fats, sugars, additives, grains and stimulants like coffee and alcohol, processed, cured and smoked foods even burnt and browned foods all create an enormous load on the body of free radicals that cause oxidation. Even good fats (Like fish oil, flax oil, olive oil) need to be protected by antioxidants so they don’t oxidize. Believe it or not all of these foods can worsen sun damage.

Antioxidant

Definition:

‘Antioxidant: Any substance that reduces oxidative damage (damage due to oxygen) such as that caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that attack molecules by capturing electrons and thus modifying chemical structures.’

The Natural Detoxification Process

Imagine your body is an engine that is constantly burning fuel, we have to get rid of the by products in milliseconds, our detoxification pathways have to be on top of this process every second of every day that we are alive.
Now imagine that complex engine being clogged up with substances from all directions. That engine over the years of poor dietary habits is going to lose vitality and out put. We will age long before we need to. Many of the chronic conditions and degenerative conditions are caused by the body’s inability to put out the oxidative fires: Arthritis, diseases of the nervous system, heart and vascular disease, autoimmune diseases, liver and kidney problems, site deterioration, loss of brain function (dementia) Cancer and many other conditions.

The following foods and antioxidants are the ones specifically named in the article.

By including an abundance of these foods in your diet you will be increasing your antioxidant count and your body’s ability to put out the fires.

Carrots

Contains beta-carotene which can help protect skin from aging in the sun. But it needs to be taken regularly over a long period before going into the sun. So, plenty of fresh juices with carrots, sweet potato salads, pumpkin and butternut squash soups. You can also take a supplement.
Beta-carotene also converts to Vitamin A (retinol) which protects the retina of the eye, is vital in immunity and wound healing. Vitamin A protects collagen in the skin and helps reduce skin inflammation like psoriasis, eczema and acne.
Increased consumption can cause a need for higher Vitamin E intake (also not pointed out in the press article mentioned above)

Tomatoes (Ripe and red)

Contain Lycopene – an extremely efficient neutralizer of oxidants, and protects against toxic chemical induced DNA damage (pesticides, fumes, chemicals in foods and perfumes) It is also antibacterial and anti fungal. Protects against heart disease as it reduces inflammation in the blood. Lycopene is about 3 times stronger an antioxidant that beta-carotene even. Consuming an organic rich tomato paste every day can help protect against sunburn and aging, but it needs to be eaten on a regular basis over a period of time. Tomatoes are a member of the deadly nightshade family and can cause problems in auto-immune disease like Rheumatoid arthritis if eaten in excessive amounts.

Pomegranates

Contain Punicalagins, phytonutrients that are highly protective as they transform into smaller elements that get deep into human cells and protect against damage.

Green tea

Contains Catechins a simple form of flavonoid that is an extremely potent antioxidant that is found in other foods such as apples. Green tea contains the highest amount of any other foods pound for pound. 3-5 cups a day are highly recommended. It also contains many other valuable nutrients.

Black and red grapes, aubergine, cherries and other purple skinned fruits and vegetables

Contain – Resveratrol is believed by some scientists to be a powerful anti oxidant. It is the substance that some plants produce to protect themselves from pathogens.

Other major antioxidants that should be consumed on a daily basis:
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10

Most fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants even foods like dark chocolate. These include:

Blueberries, Organic strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Apricots, Mangos, Apples, Cherries, Grapes, Red cabbage, Kale, Plum, Pineapple, Prunes, Black currents, Walnuts, Broad beans, Red Beans, Beetroot, Red peppers, Chilies, Coriander, Parsley, Turmeric, Oats, Oregano, Cinnamon, Spinach, Alfalfa, Artichoke

Your diet should consist of a variety of antioxidant containing foods every day.

Exercise

Exercise is a very healthy activity, and necessary for optimal health. However excessive exercise without increased nutrition support from foods containing antioxidants and supplements to boost overall antioxidant presence will cause cell damage and aging. This is why some people who do a lot of exercise can look older than people of the same age who don’t.

People with increased need for antioxidants:

  • Smokers
  • People who drink even small amounts of alcohol regularly
  • People that consume a lot of junk and fried food
  • Athletes or people training for a marathon
  • Sick people
  • People living in highly polluted areas like cities
  • People that work in places where they may be exposed to toxins

RECIPE IDEA
Crispy Antioxidant Rich Salad

Try this salad with any meal it will hugely increase your antioxidant intake

Ingredients:
(Amounts depends on size of salad required)

Red Cabbage
Blueberries
Curly kale
Shredded carrot
Freshly shelled walnuts
Finely sliced vine ripened cherry tomatoes
Handful of pumpkin seeds

Dressing

Extra virgin olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Elder syrup, Acai Syrup (optional – can buy different antioxidant drinks in health foods stores)
Splash of Tamari sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

Blend or shake altogether

For more information and contact details,  please see website http://www.foodspa.org.uk

More recipes will be available in booklet form soon.

Follow me on Twitter:  @foodspa

Please be aware: The information and advice provided in this blog article is not a substitute for medical advice If you are concerned about your health or have any symptoms you should see your GP/ healthcare provider.

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Flu and immunity

There has recently been another push by the medical profession to get people to have the flu jab.

In healthy individuals building up your immunity by taking positive actions maybe all you need to protect yourself from suffering badly from flu.

Being exposed to virus’s is very important as it makes us more ‘robust’, and it is how over our lifetime we build up a resistance to many diseases and sickness.

I was watching a morning news program last week that had sent out specialists to investigate which viruses and bacteria were on various everyday items that we all come into contact with. One of them was a cash point where they found enormous amounts of germs, another area was our computers that can act as incubators. The professionals then went on to say we should be disinfecting our hands after contact, and regularly cleaning the said areas.

Whilst it is true good hygiene is very important, we should also consider that the chemicals in these cleaners can cause health problems and the fact that we need to be exposed to these every virus and bacteria in order to have a healthy immune system.

The real trouble is the fact that many people have poor diets, are stressed, consume too much alcohol and do not consume enough of the right nutrients to protect them from flu and other diseases.

Taking extra doses of Vitamin C, checking for zinc and Vitamin D deficiency are all vital for an healthy immune function.

Many people do not realise that protein deficiency will also lower their immune resistance – it makes sense if you think that all antibodies are made from protein.

Lastly – you cannot have a ‘robust’ immune system without enough sleep and rest.

There is growing evidence that we rely on germs, or ‘old friends’ as some scientist call them, to develop a strong immune system over our lives.

Good hygiene is vital but the key is to not over do it, and use natural products to clean.

If you would like more information or advise on how to support your immunity please contact me at sam@foodspa.org.uk.

Please note:  This is not meant to replace medical advise from your healthcare practitioner if you are concerned about your health you should contact your GP

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