Hidden Food Allergies: The underlying cause of chronic illness

Hello everyone,

Here is a question that we probably never think to ask ourselves… Is it possible that the foods that we eat (even supposedly healthy foods) are the cause of our chronic illnesses?

Migraine Headaches, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Asthma, Depression, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue, Panic Attacks, Eczema, Chronic Allergies, Arthritis, Sleep Disorders including sleep apnea and snoring all may have a common cause… hidden food sensitivities. Attention Deficit Disorder, Chronic Ear Infections and even Autism in our children have also been linked to foods that they may be sensitive to.

All of us are familiar with overt food allergies… this is the kind of allergy where the food is consumed and within minutes or hours a reaction occurs, which can range from hives all the way to anaphylactic shock. This is known as a Type 1 food allergy, which involves the IgE antibody, and is very easy to self-diagnose… you eat the food and you have a reaction.

The IgE antibodies attach themselves to “mast cells” which, when activated by the offending food, release histamine and other chemical mediators producing classic allergic reactions such as hives, wheezing, swelling, stomach cramps, diarrhea, or more rarely, anaphylaxis. These cells are located in the linings of the digestive tract, urinary tract, skin, and airways, and surround small blood vessels.

Less well known and much harder to self diagnose are the Type 3 food allergies. A different antibody causes these reactions… IgG. The mechanism by which IgG antibodies evoke their allergic reactions is through the formation of immune complexes of antibody attached to food particles. The complexes circulate throughout the body via the bloodstream, rather than being attached solely to mast cells; they may affect any tissue, organ or system of the body.

Whereas the Type 1 allergies only occur in 2-3% of the population and are obvious when they happen, the Type 3 allergies may occur in up to 95% of us, and may not show up for 2 to 3 days, or sometimes up to a week, later. This is why they are known as “delayed-onset” allergies or sensitivities.

There are two main difficulties encountered when figuring out what is really going on with the foods that we eat and which ones we are reacting to negatively. First, because there is not an immediate response, it is difficult to pinpoint which food caused the problem… was it the broccoli that you ate 3 days ago or the bread you’ve had every day for the past week or the sesame oil that was used to prepare the stir-fried chicken and vegetables from the carry-out the other night?

The second complicating factor is that the actual reaction that you have may be in a form that you do not normally associate with an allergy. You know those cluster headaches you’ve had since you were a teenager? Or that irritable bowel issue that seems to crop up at the weirdest times? Or that low-level depression that your doctor keeps telling you is just a Prozac deficiency? Or that skin condition that prescription creams don’t seem to work for anymore? The list goes on and on… and the reason goes back to a keen understanding of the complex nature of how the body works… it all happens because these IgG antibodies can attach themselves to any tissue or organ that you have… and then disrupt normal functioning!

A disturbing fact is that most of us are reacting to anywhere from 3 to 10 different foods in this manner, sometimes up to 20 foods. And they are often foods that we think of as being healthy for us… milk, wheat, vegetables, fruits, nuts. Foods implicated in type 3 allergies are frequently favorite foods commonly eaten in large amounts.

It is important to note that a food intolerance, for example lactose intolerance due to insufficient lactase enzyme to digest milk sugar, is not a food allergy; however, intolerant individuals often suffer from allergy to cow’s milk. Casein, a milk protein, is one of the most common allergens in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Soy protein is also high on the list of common offenders, making soy products a poor substitute for dairy, unless testing has deemed it a “safe” nonallergen.

Other common food allergens include gluten (from wheat and other grains), yeast, corn and eggs. Chemical food additives, preservatives, and food colorings can also contribute to the problems of food allergy.

You may ask why it is that we come up with these allergies in the first place. I believe the answer is found by closely examining our dietary habits today compared to those from the vast majority of our history. Throughout history, we have eaten foods that were grown locally, picked fresh, and did not contain additives, preservatives, colorings, flavorings, etc. Furthermore, we ate the foods that were available to us according to our climate and the particular time of year.

Today, we eat what is known as a “monotonous” diet, even though we may not really be aware of this fact. Monotonous means repeating the same foods over and over again; not necessarily boring. There are many foods that we eat that appear and taste different, even though the base ingredients are the same… thus is the magic of modern food technologies. Many of the prepared foods that we eat use the same ingredients as flavorings. Furthermore, our diets today contain a large percentage of grains, compared to ancient cave man diets, which had no cereal grains.

Of course, none of us eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables, and you can usually count on two hands the variety that we do eat. In other words, our repertoire of foods has become less and less varied as time goes on. The constant, repeated exposure to the same food is the reason the body creates a mechanism to make you change your habits… the creation of the IgG antibodies is your bodies attempt to make you pay attention and make a change in your diet.

Unfortunately, in today’s medical climate, we respond to the health problems we have by prescribing pills instead of making substantive changes in our lifestyles, including changing what we eat. In fact, we are so far removed from that process now that we don’t even realize what is occurring.

So how do we find out which foods may be the ones to avoid? Skin testing, by the scratch test, as well as certain IgE blood tests identify type-1 food allergies only, but not type 3. Delayed type food allergies require an ELISA blood test that detects IgG antibodies to the problem foods.

Once the hidden food allergies have been identified, then the hard work begins… these foods need to be avoided! When tested, food allergies get reported in two levels… foods to avoid and foods to rotate.

The foods to rotate are ones that have registered a minor allergy and should be eaten no more often than every 3 days. Foods to avoid need to be avoided for up to 6 months, then reintroduced one at a time to test for continued reactivity. Retesting is sometimes warranted. Occasionally, there are foods that need to be avoided for longer periods of time.

Sometimes avoiding these foods may produce cravings and withdrawal or increased suffering instead of relief. There are often times strong emotional ties to certain foods, and the breaking of these cycles can be a trying experience. Eventually the withdrawal symptoms will subside and then you start feeling better. If cravings occur, they will usually only last a few days!

At the same time, care should be taken not to eat a monotonous diet consisting of “safe” foods, or new allergies may develop to these foods over time.

There are a whole host of nutritional and herbal supplements that may be helpful in dealing with these hidden food allergies and your body’s response to these food. They include:

  • Digestive Enzymes – a plant based digestive enzyme will help your digestive tract be more efficient at breaking down foods into their smallest parts.
  • Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM) – this is a naturally occurring form of sulfur that helps to calm your body’s over-reaction to inhaled or ingested allergens.
  • Essential Fatty Acids – these “healthy” fats are anti-inflammatory in nature and help with overall gut and immune system function.
  • Quercetin  – this bioflavanoid works to stabilize mast cells, thus it is known as the natural anti-histamine.
  • Probiotics – these “good bacteria” play a vital role in the normal functioning of the gut and help with digestion and assimilation of food. They also play an important role in proper elimination and immune function.
  • Glutamine – this amino acid is basically “fuel” for the gut cells to help them reproduce and function properly.
  • A Multi Vitamin – including Vitamins A, B-6 & C and Minerals like Magnesium & Zinc, which all play important roles in proper gut function and repair.

All of these supplements help to eliminate the food allergy, improve gut health, remove toxins from the body, fight inflammation, and improve immune system function.

So, as it turns out, there are many foods that you may think are healthy that actually are at the root of many of your chronic health conditions. Chances are that the foods you are reacting too are ones that you eat on a regular basis (maybe even have cravings for) and you likely have no idea that they are cause for concern.

Care to try an experiment? Determine which food is the most common in your diet and then completely eliminate it for 3 weeks. I’m willing to bet you start to feel better… and that may come in the form of better energy, better sleep, better mood, or the beginnings of control with your blood sugar, blood pressure or even a little weight loss.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

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Hemp: The Ancient Super Plant

Hi everyone,

I’ve had quite a number of enquiries regarding hemp products of late, and with the recent proposal for low-THC hemp food products to be sold in Australia being approved by ministers in April, we can expect to see hemp food products filling up our shelves over the next six months. Industrial hemp, unlike marijuana, has extremely low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical component that causes psychoactive effects such as hallucinations. Cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes has been done by many civilisations for over 12,000 years, with such uses as rope, canvas, paper, and clothing. It has also been used in Chinese medicine for over 3,000 years.

Genetic Difference between hemp and Marijuana

A recent publication of a new study shows the genetic difference between hemp and marijuana. (1) After more than 12 years of research, the team found a single gene responsible for the genetic differences between hemp and marijuana as noted:

While hemp produces a non-euphoric cannabidiol (CBD) with approximately 0.3 to 1.5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration, marijuana is packed with between five to ten percent (or even higher) psychoactive THC concentration.”

The researcher believe they have ‘indisputable evidence’ that hemp and marijuana should be regarded as separate plants.

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Botanical Name: Cannabis Saliva

Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are rich in healthy fats, minerals and is classed as a complete protein (this means it contains all 9 essential amino acids). Hemp seeds are usually consumed after the hard outer shell is removed, leaving just the soft, creamy ‘heart’ behind. The seeds have a slight nutty flavour, making them incredibly versatile for use in cooking, baking, for adding to smoothies and salads.

Health benefits of Hemp Seeds

  1. Excellent source of Nutrition

Hemp seeds are composed of more than 30 precent healthy fats in balanced ratio of Omega 3 & 6, Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), antioxidants, amino acids (25% protein), fiber, iron, zinc, carotene, phospholipids, phytosterols, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and enzymes. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a necessary building block for some prostaglandins; Hormone-like chemical in the body that help smooth muscles, control inflammation, body temperature, aid in healthy growth of cells, nerves, muscles and organs throughout the body.

*GLA may be beneficial for PMS and menopausal Symptoms

GLA in hemp seeds produces prostaglandin E1, which reduces the effects of the hormone prolactin. Prolactin is thought to play a role in the physical and emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). GLA in hemp seeds may also help reduce the symptoms of menopause. (2)

Essential fatty acids in Hemp Seeds:

The oil contained in the hemp seed is 75-80% polyunsaturated fatty acids (considered ‘good’ fats) and only 9-11% of the lesser desired saturated fatty acids. Hemp seed oil is reputed to be the most unsaturated oil derived from the plant kingdom. EFAs are involved with producing life’s energy throughout the human body and without them, life is not possible. Fatty acids are utilised in the body to synthesis hormones, aid in tissue repair, provide energy ‘fuel’ and assist in neurotransmitter activity. 60% of the brain is actually fat!

  1. Heart health

Hemp seeds contain a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid – for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system. In these numerous health-healthy compounds, including the amino acid arginine. L-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide in the body. It has been shown to enhance blood flow and help the body maintain optimal blood pressure. Nitric oxide signals the smooth muscles cells in the blood vessels to relax, so that vessels dilate and the blood flows more freely.

This help the arteries stay free of plaque; and when the body has inadequate nitric oxide, the risk of coronary artery disease increases. The GLA found in hemp is an anti-inflammatory, and may assist in reducing risk factors associated with heart disease such as blood pressure, blood clots and an increase in recovery after a heart attack.

  1. Skin Health

Fatty acid deficiency can manifest in a variety of ways, but skin problems such as eczema, thick patches of skin, and cracked heels are common associations. Hemp seeds are a rich source of fatty acids in optimal omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Research suggests hempseed oil may improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis, and potentially provide relief from eczema. (3)

  1. Plant based-protein

If you are following a plant-based diet, hemp makes a healthy source of complete protein. With all essential amino acids and an amount of protein similar to beef (by weight), hemp seeds are an excellent option. Two-three tablespoons of hemp seeds provides about 11g of protein, complete with amino acids lysine, methionine, and cysteine. Two main proteins in hemp seeds, albumin and edestin, which is comparable to soy and egg whites. Hemp’s edestin content is among the highest of all plants. It is also easy to digest because of its lack of oligosaccharides and trypsin inhibitors, which can affect protein absorption.

  1. Digestion

Whole hemp seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which may support digestive health. Soluble fibre dissolves into a gel-like texture, helping to slow down digestion; this helps you feel full for longer and is one reason why fibre may help with weight management. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve, and helps to add bulk to the stools. This helps food move through the digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination.

Fibre plays an essential role in digestive, heart, and skin health and may improve blood sugar control, weight management, and reduce risk of colon cancer. However, de-hulled or shelled hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts) contain very little fibre, as the major of fibre content is in the shell.

Final thoughts

The use of hemp for food and medicine may be as old as the human race itself. Recent interest in the seed arises from the awareness of the nutritional need for omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, as well as the need for cheap sources of protein to feed a burgeoning population in Asia and the developing world. In addition to its nutritional value, hemp seed has demonstrated positive health benefits, including the lowering of cholesterol and high blood pressure.

With news of hemp seed products being approved for sale in Australia, companies will no doubt be developing hemp and hemp-like products in processing techniques have been the start of such seemingly remarkable foods as a hemp seed tofu and a low fat cheese substitute that even melts and stretches like real cheese. I don’t like overly promote processed foods, so if we were to start adding in hemp, it would be in the form of hemp seeds, pure and simple. I also don’t think that hemp should replace other animal/vegetarian protein sources-but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have a place in your diet. Just as soy products had become a marketing promotion for ‘healthier’ alternatives, Hemp soon will too; and with all processed food products moderation is key.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Hemp Scientific Research

  1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.13562/full
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21069097
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16019622

Renew Health and Vitality: Your guide to Detox

Hello everyone,

In today’s blog Nutrition Nourishment is discussing the detoxification process and natural ways to help assist your body’s detoxing organs do their jobs more efficiently. Detoxing is an individualised approach; it can be small changes to the diet and lifestyle such as giving up smoking and alcohol for a month, or more extreme in the ways of an elimination diet and lifestyle overhaul. It’s important to remember that if chose to do a detoxification program, it must be under guidance of a qualified health professional. This will ensure individual compliance, and help reduce the likeihood of unwanted side effects, while the body is being re-programmed.

Firstly, well take a look at why it is important to detox, and then some diet and lifestyle changes that help aid in the detoxification processes within the body. Below are safety precautions and a list of possible side effects if you do choose to do a full detoxification program, however, even by making some small changes to your diet, such as introducing more fruits and vegetables and increasing water, can help aid detoxification twofold!

Why Detox?

Detoxification is a natural metabolic process whereby the environmental and dietary toxins our body is exposed to are chemically changed into less harmful substances, and subsequently excreted from the body. Supporting detoxification is a cornerstone of Naturopathic Medicine, and aims to address dietary and lifestyle factors to reduce the burden placed on your detoxification system, while simultaneously supporting the capacity of your key detoxing organs. The four key therapeutic goals of the detox program are to reduce dietary toxins, improve detox capacity, neutralise free radicals and eliminate waste products. The ultimate goal in detoxification is to follow a protocol that is safe and effective, and enables optimal health.

Our bodies are designed to be able to process and remove toxins through elimination channels including our digestive system, liver and kidneys. Individual variation may alter how toxins are affecting the body’s health. This can be due to:

  • Toxin Burden: This represents the level of exposure to various toxins and may include dietary allergens such as gluten, food additives and preservatives. Occupational, environmental or lifestyle related toxins including cigarette smoking, or exposure to hazardous chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, cleaning agents, or some chemicals used within cosmetics can all add to your toxic burden. Toxins can also be created internally as part of normal, healthy metabolic processes or by bacteria in the digestive tract or recirculation of waste from the bowel.
  • Toxin resistance: This describes the ability to process and eliminate toxins effectively and refers to the impact they may be having on your health. In the modern world, it is less common for health issues to arise as a result of the additive effects of low-levels exposure to a broad range of dietary and environmental toxins.

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The Detox Diet

  • Plant-based. Encourages liberal amounts of fresh vegetables, fruits and spices, legumes, nuts and seeds and moderate amounts of whole grains. Organic where possible to reduce carcinogens, pesticide and herbicide exposure.
  • Low-saturated Fats: Diets that are high in sat fat have been found to encourage the circulation of components of harmful bacteria from the digestive system into the blood stream, which contributes to toxic burden.
  • Whole food: Eliminates refined, processed or packaged foods that tend to be high in various chemicals such as additives, preservatives,and artificial sweeteners/flavours These foods also tend to be high in kjs and low in essential nutrients. High intakes of refined carbohydrates can also negatively impact the balance of digestive flora.
  • Eliminate gluten and dairy: Two of the most common allergens that are inflammatory to the body, and increasing production of potentially harmful free radicals.
  • Hydration: All the body’s metabolic functions depend on water, including effective detoxification. Consuming 2-3 litres of water daily assists the kidneys to remove wastes through this important eliminatory channel. A good rule of thumb is that if your urine is not a light straw- almost clear in colour, you need to drink more.

Lifestyle considerations

  • Exercise: Regular exercise is a great way to assist with detoxification, promoting circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body and makes you feel good. This enhances elimination of waste products and the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to organs and muscles. The lymphatic system relies on movement of muscles during exercise to pump internal waste from the body.
  • Water: Aim for 2-3 litres/day. Add some interest to your water by adding a little lemon, ginger, mint or berries for a cool treat. Ensure you carry a bottle with you at all times and sip throughout the day.
  • Sleep and Rest: the body uses sleep as an opportunity to heal and rejuvenate. 7-9 hours of goof quality sleep each night will complement the detoxification system. Sleeping environment can have an impact on your sleep quality. Ensure your bedroom is dark, well ventilated and set at a comfortable temperature. Keep a regular bedtime, turn off the television and electronic devices 1 hours prior, to allow your body time to wind down and prepare for a restorative nights sleep.
  • Stress: It’s impossible to avoid stress in our lives, but we can change how we response to stress. Stress management may mean making a lot of changes, but these changes are positive contributors to detoxification, not to meant general health. Negative energy, emotions and reactions often influence our health more profoundly than we realise. Choosing to be positive and focused represents the opportunity to detoxify your life from negativity. Find positive affirmation or quotes that inspire you to fight off negative thoughts and make healthy food choices, especially when your at the fridge door.
  • Dry Skin Brushing: Your skin is a major organs of elimination and as dead skin cells accumulate, then reduce the skin’s ability to detoxify effectively. Before you shower, spend 5-10 minutes with a firm-bristled brush or loofah and scrub the skins of the arms, legs and back quite briskly; brushing in a upwards motion form the wrist to shoulder. Ankle to hip and down the back. Your skin may be slightly red and tingly when you are finished.

Safety:

Caution in pregnancy. Detoxification programs should never been attempted during pregnancy. If you fall pregnant while doing a detox program, you should stop immediately and contact your support practitioner. If you are planning to conceive, it is however, a good idea for both partners to detoxify before the pregnancy. Eggs and sperm take three to four months to develop, so you should aim to have completed a detox program at least four months prior to conception.

Many prescription medications can be affected by the detoxification process. It is not uncommon to alter dosages of medications during and after detoxification, and all medications should be taken in separate doses from detoxification supplements. If you are on a variety of medications, it’s important to let your practitioner know, so they can provide safe recommendations on how to proceed.

Side effects: Occasionally people may experience adverse symptoms during a detoxification program due to the breakdown of toxins, and increased elimination. Side effects may include nausea, changes to bowel function, headaches and fatigue. Generally these are short-term and will self-limiting. Contact support if there are sever or last more than a few days. Never begin a new exercise routine during a detox, always wait until finished due to these effects. Gentle exercise is recommended.

A detoxification program can help you feel fresher, and healthier after completion. To continue on your path to long-term health and vitality, it’s important to consider adapting some changes to our everyday diet and lifestyle. As noted above. Optimal health is about achieving balance in all areas of your life to stay healthy and active for as long as possible.

And as Always,

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Love your guts: Solutions for Optimal Digestive health and Function

Hello everyone,

Gut health has become hot topic in the media of late, but in traditional Naturopathic Philosophy it is a core essential for optimal health. Not surprising then, that management of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is a key step in managing almost all other body systems. The gut is a complex machine and dysfunctions can have profound influence over other body systems. As a result of this complexity, managing digestive disorders isn’t always a simple process, and there are many other contributing factors that can lead to GIT dysfunction.

Within the digestive system there are six main areas that we can influence based on the Naturopathic principles. These areas must be functioning optimally in order to maintain health and wellbeing. These are viewed below:

Diet

The food we consume provides the body with energy and nutrients requires for metabolic pathways, but also has a strong influence on digestive health. For example, a diet high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats may result in dysbiosis (imbalance) of the gut.

It’s important to make food choices that help to support and nourish the digestion including fruits, vegetables, fibre, good quality proteins, fatty fish, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Some individuals with food intolerances/sensitivities may benefit from elimination diets, and FODMAPS, however, these diet should be a short-term option.

Enzymes

Most food consumed contains nutrient complexes that are too large for the body’s cells to utilise. In a healthy system, digestive organs secrete acids and enzymes that break down nutrients to make them small enough for the cells to metabolise. When digestive secretions are reduced due to an imbalanced system, nutrient absorption is also compromised and may need prescribed digestive enzymes to function properly.

Bacteria

As more research continues into the world of the human micrbiome, our understanding of the importance of the balance of microflora in the GIT is increasing. Microbial imbalances can refer to pathological bacteria being present in the gut but also inadequate levels of beneficial bacteria, both of which can result in unfavourable ‘terrain’. this can have detrimental impact in the gut and on many other body systems, particularly immunity. This balance can be restored through the use of anti-microbials, good quality probiotics and diet/lifestyle corrections. The foundation of Naturopathic medicine.

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Barrier

There are three main lines of defence in preventing bacteria from penetrating the gut barrier. First line, immunoglobulin A (IgA);which binds bacteria and therefore, keep those bacteria in the digestive tract where they can do less damage.

Second Line of defence is mucous. This is a physical barrier between the gut lumen and the epithelium which prevent bacterial adherence to epithelial cells. Nutrients such as glutamine, zinc, vitamin A, fibre, turmeric and Aloe Vera increase levels of IgA and improve mucosal integrity.

The third line of defence against bacteria in the GIT is the epithelial cells. These cells have selective permeability designed to exclude detrimental particles and absorb beneficial items such as nutrients from food. In sub-optimal digestion, the tight junctions between these cells can open, causing leaky gut. This allows foreign particles to penetrate the gut barrier.

Immune

Did you know 70% of immunity is in your gut?

Immune balance is influenced by the gut microbiome, and in turn, gut microbiome is influenced by immune balance. Immune-driven inflammation in the gut can lead to barrier dysfunction, so it’s important to address immunity when considering gut health.

The immune system can be treated with individual specific immune protocol and the gut microbiome can be brought back into balance. Probiotics, zinc, vitamin C and glutamine all assist in maintaining the health of immune cells, and balance of the microbiome environment.

Enteric Nervous System

Have you heard the commonly held belief that the body’s second brain is the gut? This is referred to by the enteric nervous system (ENS) and its role in digestive health. The ENS regulates the behaviour of the GIT including motility and gastrointestinal secretions. managing stress an supporting the nervous system can have a massive impact on the gastrointestinal system. This can be particularly apparent in individuals with medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

And remember you are more microbiome than you are you. Feed them before they feed on you. Support your system with a balanced, whole food diet, learnt to manage stress, exercise, particularly outdoors and spend time tuning into your spiritual side. This is all part of loving your self and loving your guts!

Healthiest regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Healing Herb of the Week: Cinnamon

Hello everyone,

In Today’s blog, I’m continuing on with the Healing herbs fact sheets with information regarding a delicious and versatile spice, Cinnamon; which has long been used as both a food product, and for medicinal purposes since ancient Egyptian Times. It was used for purposes such as flavourings for beverages, and in combination with other spices for embalming. Ancient Chinese books mention its use as a medicinal agent dating back to 2,7000BC. Due to its high demand, discovering lands where it grew were noted as a primary motive for voyages in the 15th/16th Century. In Ayurvedic medicine within China, Korea and Russia, Cinnamon is considered warming to the internal organs and used for energy, circulation and vitality.

Did you know? Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants that protect the body from Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), or commonly referred to as free radicals within the body. Studies have found when comparing cinnamon’s antioxidant activity to 26 other spices, cinnamon was a clean winner, outranking even “superfoods” like garlic and oregano. I is so powerful that it has been used a natural food preservative for thousands of years. 

 

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Botanical Name: Cinnamonum Cassi and Ceylon Cinnamon.

Active Constituents: Essential Oil (High in cinnamaldehyde), Coumarin, Oxygenated diterperies, Proanthocyanidins.

The Cinnamaldehyde constituent (found in the EO component) is attributedwith producing most of the herbs biological effects.

Parts Used: Stem Bark

Main Actions: Anti-diabetic, Anti-inflammatory, Aromatic, Spasmolytic, Anti-microbial, Anti-bacterial, and carmitive.

Anti-Bacterial/Anti-Fungal: Helps fight bacteria and fungi including Helicobactor Pylori, Salmonella, E. Coli, Listeria and Candida, particularly within the respiratory tract, and digestive tract.

Anti-Inflammatory: Inflammtion is an incredibly important biological function in the body, however, in modern society our bodies are in a constant state of inflammation whereby the body is directing it against its own tissues, which has resulted the majority of chronic conditions including heart disease, arthritis, dysbiosis and cancers. Cinnamon can help the body fight infections and repair tissue damage caused by inflammation, which in turn may help reduce risk of inflammatory diseases.

Hypoglycaemic Activity: The water soluble polyphenolic compound called methylhydroxychalone polymer (MHCP) extracted, potentiates insulin activity by activating the key enzymes that stimulate insulin receptors while inhibiting the enzymes that deactivated them. Just a tsp (4g) daily can have significant benefits, particularly for those suffering from diabetes, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

Hyperlipidaemic: Cinnamon has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease, which is in fact the world’s most common cause of premature death. Scientifically proven to help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol within the blood stream, helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions. (1) More recently, big review studies have concluded that a cinnamon dose of 120mg/day can have these effects. (2) Animal studies have shown a reduction in blood pressure, which together drastically cut the risk of developing heart disease. (3)

Anti-emetic: Cinnamon can help to reduce nausea and may be as effect as anti-emertic drugs, without the side effects.

Carmitive: Calming effect on the stomach, ability to relax smooth muscle and reduce cramping. Helps to expel gas, which may be beneficial for flatulence and mild spasms in the digestive system.

Clinical Uses: In practice, varies medical practitioners can therapeutically use cinnamon for insulin diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, along with improving LDL/HDL ratio in cardiovascular conditions.

Neurodegenerative disease: Diseases that are characterised by progressive loss of the structure or function in brain cells. Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson disease are two of the worlds most common types of neurodegenerative diseases. Two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease. (4) In a study looking at mice with parkinson’s disease, cinnamon helped to protect neurons, normalise neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function. (5) Although exciting news, these effects need to be further studied in human trials.

Cancer: Cinnamon has been widely studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment therapies. Overall, the evidence is limited to test tube experiments and animal studies, however they do suggest that cinnamon extracts may protect cells against cancer. (6) A study in mice with colon cancer revealed cinnamon to be a potent activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon, protecting against further cancer growth. (7) These findings have been supported by test tube experiment, which showed that cinnamon activates protective antioxidant responses in human colon cells.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): A condition that is characterised by insulin resistance, where insulin looses its effectiveness on the cells and glucose remains in the blood at high levels causing problems/imbalances in the body. Cinnamon may be beneficial for people suffering PCOS with scientific research finding cinnamon results in significant reduction in fasting glucose, as well as insulin resistance testing, with fasting glucose levels dropping by 17%. Cinnamon also helps to increase blood flow and protect female reproductive hormones from oxidative damage/stressors.

Indications: Cold, flu, diabetes, colic, dyspepsia, nausea, anorexia, diarrhoea, digestive weakness.

Caution: Pregnancy, gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD), patients on anti-diabetic drugs. Needs to be taken away from mineral supplements, thiamine and alkaloids.

Dosage: 1.5-4g up to four times daily is considered safe.

My Final Thoughts:

Cinnamon is an incredible healing herb that, when used in as a food source, is unlikely to induce any unwanted side-effects. Cinnamon is considered one of the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet. It can make a great compliment to fresh juices, curries, herbal teas, stir-frys and stews. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.

Please be advised, if you are thinking of taking a cinnamon containing supplement, to first speak to a medical professional. As a whole food nutritionist, I would always advise adding these healing herbs to your daily diet to get the optimal benefit it can offer.

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Reference Studies:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14633804
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24019277
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19433898
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24946862
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3105590/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18260732