The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Four. Exercises for Stress Management.

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the Mindfulness Series. In this fourth and final chapter we cover details on beneficial exercises and practices that may help decrease levels of stress and increase happiness and well-being. We have detailed a few relaxation and meditation exercises that be may used in stressful situations.  At the end of this chapter there is a list of websites you may want to visit.

Here are some guidelines for using relaxation exercises:

1. Try to practice whichever exercise you prefer at least once or twice a day. Expect your ability to relax to improve as you continue practicing, and expect to practice two or three weeks before you become genuinely proficient. Once you learn how to do one of the exercises, you may no longer require the recorded instructions, and you can tailor the exercise to your own liking.

2. Avoid practicing within an hour before or after a meal (either hunger or feeling full may distract you). Also avoid practicing immediately after engaging in vigorous exercise.

Experience-Online

3. Sit quietly and in a comfortable position, with your legs uncrossed and your arms resting at your sides. Or, if required lie down on your back, with your arms beside you. This is especially important when you are first learning the exercise.

4. Adopt a calm, accepting attitude towards your practice. Don’t worry about how well you’re doing or about possible interruptions. Instead, know that with repetition your ability to relax will grow.

5. When you are ready, close your eyes, begin listening to the recording, and follow the directions. As you complete the exercise, you can expect your mind to wander a bit—when this happens you can simply re-direct your focus back to the recording.

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6. Once you’ve finished, stretch, look around and remain still for another minute or two.

7. As you become skilled with your chosen exercise, try applying it to specific situations that might otherwise be anxiety provoking, such as tests, oral presentations, difficult social situations, job interviews, insomnia, and so forth.

Exercise Tips:

1. Initially, until you become familiar with the exercise, it may be best to have someone read the exercise to you while you close your eyes and sit in a comfortable chair. Alternatively, if you would like to do it alone, you can record the exercise and play it back to yourself.

2. When you tense your muscles, you should hold that tension (as comfortably as you can) for around 5 to 10 seconds. Then, stay in the relaxed state for at least 10 seconds.

3. A very important piece of this exercise is bringing awareness to the feelings of tension and relaxation. Therefore, throughout the exercise, make sure you are paying attention to these feelings and noticing how different your muscles feel when you move from tension to relaxation.

Practice mindfulness in 15 minutes (1)

4. Practice regularly. The more you practice, the more it will become a habit, and the quicker you will be able to bring about relaxation when you are tense.

5. Make sure you do at least two cycles of tension-relaxation for each muscle group.

Progressive body relaxation exercise using tension/relaxation

Relaxation exercises can be a very effective way of reducing your stress and anxiety. One relaxation exercise called progressive muscle relaxation focuses on a person alternating between tensing and relaxing different muscle groups throughout the body. In this way, relaxation is viewed like a pendulum. More complete relaxation of your muscles can be obtained by first going to the other extreme (that is, by tensing your muscles). In addition, by tensing your muscles (a common symptom of anxiety) and immediately relaxing them, the symptom of muscle tension may become a signal to relax over time.

Mindfulness-is-the-practice-of-paying-attention-to-thoughts-physical-sensations-and-the-environment-without-constantly-feeling-the-need-to-judge-what_s-happening-or-to-make-it-other-th

Difficulty: Easy;

Time Required: At least 30 minutes

1. Sit in a comfortable chair and bring your attention to your left hand. Clench your left hand to make a fist. Pay attention to these feelings of tension. Then, let go of your fist, letting your hand rest against your side or the arm of the chair. Be aware of how different your hand feels in a state of relaxation as compared to tension. Then, make a fist with your left hand again, then relax it, continuing to pay attention to how your hand feels in states of tension and relaxation. Repeat this procedure with your right hand.

2. After you have finished tensing and relaxing your hands, bend both hands back at the wrists in order to tense the muscles in the back of your hand and in your forearms. As before, pay attention to what this muscle tension feels like. After you have tensed these muscles, relax them, also paying attention to what this state of relaxation feels like. Repeat.

3. Make a tight fist with both hands, and pull your hands toward your shoulders. This will bring tension to your biceps. Be aware of this tension and then relax, allowing your arms to drop loosely to your sides. Pay attention to how your arms now feel. Repeat.

4. Shrug your shoulders as high as you can. Pay attention to the tension as you do this. Hold it, then relax your shoulders. Let your shoulders drop. Notice how different this state of relaxation feels compared to when your shoulders were tense. Repeat.

5. Now, bring attention to your face. Wrinkle your forehead. Tense those muscles and hold this state. Notice the feelings of tension. Then, relax those muscles completely, being aware of these feelings of relaxation. Repeat.

6. Close your eyes as tightly as you can. You should feel tension all around your eyes. After holding this state, relax. Recognize differences in how relaxation feels as compared to tension. Repeat. Clench your jaw, biting your teeth together. Hold this tension and then relax. Repeat. To finish relaxing the muscles of your face, press your lips together as tightly as you can. You should feel tension all around your mouth. Examine how this tension feels. Now relax your lips, and in doing so, let go of that tension. Be aware of how this feels. Repeat.

7. Move your awareness down from your face to your neck. Put your head back and press the back of your head against the back of the chair you are sitting in. Feel the tension in your neck and then bring your head back to relax it. Repeat. Now bring your head forward. Push your chin against the top of your chest. Feel the tension in the back of your neck. Hold it, then relax. Notice how different tension and relaxation feel. Repeat.

8. Direct your attention to your upper back. Arch your back, sticking out your chest and stomach. Notice the tension in your back. Recognize what that tension feels like. Then, let go of that tension, bringing about deep relaxation. Allow those muscles to become loose. Be aware of what that relaxation feels like. Repeat. Take a deep breath. Breath in as much as you can. Fill your chest with air until you can feel tension throughout your chest. Hold it and then release. Repeat. Notice your muscles in your chest getting more and more relaxed.

9. Then, tense your stomach muscles. Notice how that tension feels and then relax those muscles, again paying attention to that state of relaxation and how different it feels from tension. Repeat.

10. Now move your awareness to your legs. Lift your legs up and stretch them out. Feel how tense the muscles in your thighs are. Then, let your legs drop, relaxing your thigh muscles. Pay attention to the different sensations of relaxation and tension. Repeat. Tense both of your calf muscles. You can do this by pointing your toes upward. You should feel the pull of your calf muscles as they tense. Notice that feeling. Then, let them relax. Let your feet fall, bringing about relaxation in your calf muscles. Notice that feeling, too. Repeat.

11. You are now done tensing and relaxing all muscles in your body. Scan the different muscles groups covered, and bring attention to any lingering muscle tension. If you find any, bring relaxation to those muscle groups, continuing to notice how different your body feels in a state of relaxation.

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One step at a time

Walking meditation when experiencing strong feelings. Often when we walk we do this to get somewhere, it is a means to an end. In a walking meditation the aim is not to reach a goal, but to draw awareness to the walking itself; it is an end in itself. This means walking slowly and with awareness of every step you take. It is a great way to calm down or simply take your mind of things that are bothering you. This walking meditation is adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh (1991), who is a Vietnamese monk working in France. He called the book in which this is explained Peace is Every Step. Making peace through walking can be used when you have strong feelings that are bothering you; whether it is anger or sadness. Walking with awareness, especially in nature will help you to come to terms with those feelings. Recite to yourself whilst walking: Breathing in, I know that anger is here Breathing out, I salute the anger Breathing in, I know that anger is unpleasant Breathing out, I know this feeling too will pass Breathing in, I draw strength from nature Breathing out, I focus on the walking

Note that anger is there, it doesn’t say you are angry, in other words, you don’t interpret your anger, identify with it or otherwise let it dominate you: anger is there, that is all. From this perspective there is a distance between you and the anger and it becomes just another emotion that is sometimes there, and sometimes will not be there.

Nutrition Nourishment hopes you’ve enjoyed the Mindfulness Series and found useful information on managing stress levels and self-care techniques. It’s important to take time out of your day, even 15 mins to recharge and nourish your soul. Whether it’s going for a short walk, making a cup of herbal tea and sitting outside, meeting with a friend or taking a long bath. Self-care will reduce the likelihood of burnout and lead to a happier and more productive life.

If you haven’t already don’t forget to check out the Other Chapters in this series. Links Below.

Chapter One: Burn-out. More than a Stress Response.

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-mindfulness-series-burn-out-more-than-a-stress-response/

Chapter Two: Self Care and Building Resilience against Stress

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/the-mindfulness-series-chapter-two-self-care-and-building-resilience-against-stress/

The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Three. How Meditation and Mindfulness Beat Stress

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/11/02/the-mindfulness-series-chapter-three-meditation-and-mindfulness-to-beat-stress/

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

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Bisphenol A: The Link between Our Health and Plastics

Hello everyone.

In today’s blog we are discussing Bisphenol A, known commonly as BPA, its uses and how if affects the body. In the past there has been efforts to ban the use of BPA in food goods, although this notion has been dropped numerous of times.

BPA is an industrial chemical that may find its way into people’s food.

Some experts claim that it is toxic, and that people should make an effort to avoid it.

But is BPA really that bad, and should you avoid it at all costs? This is a detailed review of BPA and its health effects.

What is BPA?

BPA (bisphenol-A) is a chemical that is added to many commercial products, including food containers and hygiene products.

It was first discovered in the 1890s, but chemists in the 1950s realized that it could be mixed with other compounds to produce strong and resilient polycarbonate plastics.

These days, BPA-containing plastics are commonly used in food containers, baby bottles and other things.

BPA is also used to make epoxy resins, which are put on the inner lining of canned food containers to keep the metal from corroding and breaking.

BPA is a synthetic compound found in many plastics, as well as in the lining of canned food containers.

Which Products Contain the Most BPA?

Common products that may contain BPA include:

  • Items packaged in plastic containers
  • Canned foods
  • Toiletries
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Thermal printer receipts
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Household electronics
  • Eyeglass lenses
  • Sports equipment
  • Dental filling sealants

It’s worth noting that many manufacturers have now switched to BPA-free products, in which BPA has been replaced by bisphenol-S (BPS) or bisphenol-F (BPF).

However, recent research reports that even small concentrations of BPS and BPF may disrupt the function of your cells in a way similar to BPA. Thus, BPA-free bottles may not be the solution (1).

BPA and its alternatives — BPS and BPF — may be found in many commonly used products, which are often labeled with recycling codes 3, 7 or the letters “PC.”

How Does BPA Enter the Body?

The main source of BPA exposure is through your diet (2).

That’s because when BPA containers are made, not all the BPA gets sealed into the product. This allows part of it to break free and mix with the container’s contents once food or fluids are added (34).

For instance, a recent study found that BPA levels in urine decreased by 66% following 3 days of avoiding packaged foods (5).

Another study had participants eat one serving of either fresh or canned soup daily for 5 days. Urine levels of BPA were 1,221% higher in those who consumed the canned soup (6).

Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that BPA levels in breastfed babies were up to 8 times lower than those measured in babies fed liquid formula from BPA-containing bottles (7).

The diet is by far the biggest source of BPA for humans, particularly packaged foods and canned foods. Babies fed formula from BPA-containing bottles also have high levels in their bodies.

Is BPA Bad For You?

Many experts claim that BPA is harmful, but others disagree.

This section explains what BPA does in the body, and why its health effects remain controversial.

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BPA’s Biological Mechanisms

BPA is said to mimic the structure and function of the hormone estrogen (2).

Due to its estrogen-like shape, BPA can bind to estrogen receptors and influence bodily processes, such as growth, cell repair, fetal development, energy levels and reproduction.

In addition, BPA may also have the ability to interact with other hormone receptors, such as thyroid hormone receptors, thus altering their function (8).

Your body is sensitive to changes in hormone levels, which is the reason why BPA’s ability to mimic estrogen is believed to affect your health.

The BPA Controversy

Given the information above, many people wonder whether BPA should be banned.

Its use has already been restricted in the EU, Canada, China and Malaysia, particularly in products for babies and young children.

Some US states have followed suit, but no federal regulations have been instituted.

In 2014, the FDA released its latest report, which confirmed the original 1980s daily exposure limit of 50 mcg/kg (about 23 mcg/lb) daily and concluded that BPA is probably safe at the levels currently allowed (9).

However, research in rodents shows negative effects of BPA at much lower levels, as little as 10 mcg/kg daily. Also, research in monkeys shows that levels equivalent to those currently measured in humans have negative effects on reproduction (1011).

A review from 2006 may help explain the discrepancies. It revealed that all the industry-funded studies found no effects of BPA exposure, while 92% of the studies not funded by industry found significant negative effects (12).

BPA has a similar structure as the hormone oestrogen. It may bind to oestrogen receptors and affect the function of your body.

BPA May Cause Infertility in Men and Women

BPA may affect several aspects of fertility.

One study observed that women with frequent miscarriages had about 3 times as much BPA in their blood as women with successful pregnancies (13).

What’s more, studies of women undergoing fertility treatments showed those with higher levels of BPA to have proportionally lower egg production and be up to 2 times less likely to become pregnant (1415).

Among couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), men with the highest BPA levels were 30–46% more likely to produce lower-quality embryos (16).

A separate study found that men with higher BPA levels were 3-4 times more likely to have a low sperm concentration and low sperm count (17).

Additionally, men working in BPA manufacturing companies in China reported 4.5 times more erectile difficulty and less overall sex-life satisfaction than other men (18).

However, although the effects above are notable, several recent reviews agree that more studies are needed to strengthen the body of evidence (8192021).

Several studies have shown that BPA can negatively affect many aspects of both male and female fertility.

Negative Effects of BPA on Babies

Most studies — but not all — have observed that children born to mothers exposed to BPA at work weigh up to 0.5 lbs (or 0.2 kg) less at birth than children of unexposed mothers (222324).

Children born to BPA-exposed parents also tended to have a shorter anogenital distance, which further points to BPA’s hormonal effects during development (25).

In addition, children born to mothers with higher BPA levels were more hyperactive, anxious and depressed. They also showed 1.5 times more emotional reactivity and 1.1 times more aggressiveness (262728).

Finally, BPA exposure during early life is also thought to influence prostate and breast tissue development in ways that increase the risk of cancer.

However, while there are ample animal studies to support this, human studies are less conclusive (293031323334).

BPA exposure during early life may influence birth weight, hormonal development, behaviour and cancer risk in later life.

BPA Exposure Has Been Linked to Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes

Human studies have examined the link between BPA levels and blood pressure.

They reported a 27–135% greater risk of high blood pressure in people with high BPA levels (3536).

Moreover, a survey of 1,455 Americans linked higher BPA levels to an 18-63% greater risk of heart disease, and a 21-60% greater risk of diabetes (37).

In a later study, higher BPA levels were linked to a 68-130% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes (38).

Finally, participants with the highest BPA levels were 37% more likely to have insulin resistance, a key driver of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (39).

However, some studies found no links between BPA and these diseases (404142).

Higher BPA levels seem to be linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

BPA May Cause Other Health Problems

BPA exposure may also be linked to the following health issues:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): BPA levels were observed to be 46% higher in women with PCOS, compared to their healthy counterparts (47).
  • Premature delivery: Women with higher BPA levels during pregnancy were 91% more likely to deliver before 37 weeks (52).
  • Asthma: Higher prenatal exposure to BPA, especially at week 16, was linked to a 130% higher risk of wheezing in infants under 6 months. Early childhood exposure to BPA was also linked to wheezing in later childhood (5354).
  • Liver function: Higher BPA levels were linked to a 29% higher risk of abnormal liver enzyme levels (37).
  • Immune function: BPA levels may be linked to worse immune function (55).
  • Thyroid function: Higher BPA levels were linked to abnormal levels of thyroid hormones, indicating impaired thyroid function (565758).
  • Brain function: African green monkeys exposed to BPA levels judged safe by the EPAshowed loss of connections between brain cells (59).

BPA exposure has also been linked to several other health problems. More research is needed to confirm these findings.

How to Minimize Your Exposure to BPA

Chances are that you want to try to avoid BPA, given the negative effects in so many studies.

Although avoiding it completely may be impossible, there are some ways to get rid of most of it.

Here are a few effective ways to minimize your exposure to BPA:

  • Avoid packaged foods: Eat mostly fresh, whole foods. Stay away from canned foods or foods packaged in plastic containers labeled with recycling numbers 3, 7 or the letters “PC.”
  • Drink from glass bottles: Buy liquids that come in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles or cans, and use glass baby bottles instead of plastic ones.
  • Stay away from BPA products: As much as possible, limit your contact with receipts.
  • Be selective with toys: Make sure that plastic toys you buy for your child are made from BPA-free material, especially for toys your little ones are likely to chew or suck on.
  • Don’t microwave plastic: Microwave and store food in glass rather than plastic.
  • Buy powdered infant formula: Some recommend powders over liquids from BPA containers, as liquid is likely to absorb more BPA from the container.

There are several simple ways to significantly reduce your exposure to BPA from the diet and environment.

Should You Worry about BPA?

In light of the evidence, taking steps to limit your BPA exposure is probably a good idea.

In particular, pregnant women may benefit from making an effort to avoid BPA as much as possible, especially during the early stages of pregnancy.

As for others, occasionally drinking from a “PC” plastic bottle or eating from a can is probably not a reason to panic.

That being said, swapping plastic containers for BPA-free ones requires very little effort for a potentially big impact.

Plus, when it comes to your diet, the fresh whole foods linked to optimal health rarely come packaged in containers with BPA.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Quick Reviews: Q & A with Vitamin C

Hello Everyone,
In today’s blog Nutrition Nourishment are reviewing Vitamin C with a quick Q & A for all your health related facts. Want to know what role Vitamin C plays in the body? How much do you need to have in your daily diet? What can Vitamin C do for you??Then continue to read on…

1. How stable is vitamin C?

The stability of ascorbic acid decreases with a rise in temperature and PH. This destruction by oxidation is a serious problem in that a considerable quantity of vitamin C contents is lost during processing, storage and preparation.
Vitamin C content can be affected by season, transport, shelf life, storage time, cooking practices and chlorination of water. Cutting, bruising, heating and exposure to copper, iron or mildly alkaline conditions can destroy ascorbate. It can also be leached into water during cooking.

2. How does dosage affect the absorption of vitamin C?

Transport of vitamin C is a saturable and dose dependent process that occurs by active transport. At the intestine and cells AA is oxidized to DHAA, which is more quickly transported across the cell membrane. Once inside the tissue or intestinal epithelium, the vitamin is reduced back to AA. The degree of intestinal absorption decreases as intake of AA increases. Intakes of 1 to 1.5 grams results in 50% absorption, but at intakes over 12 grams, only 16% of the vitamin is absorbed. In contrast, an intake of less than 20 mg, has a 98% absorption rate. Absorption of vitamin C is greater when several individual doses of vitamin C, in quantities less than one gram, are taken throughout the day rather than one megadose.
A single large dose saturates the enzyme kinetics for vitamin C, leading to excess AA in the intestinal lumen, which causes numerous gastrointestinal problems.

3. List five functions of vitamin C.

Collagen formation
Structure of bone and teeth
Immune System Function
Production of hormones
Mineral absorption and utilisation

4. How does vitamin C affect iron absorption?

The absorption of heme iron is not significantly impacted by other foods, while non-heme iron is strongly influenced by foods that may enhance or inhibit its absorption.
The key role of ascorbic acid for the absorption of dietary non-heme iron is generally accepted. The reasons for its action are twofold: (1) the prevention of the formation of insoluble and un-absorbable iron compounds and (2) the reduction of ferric to ferrous iron, which seems to be a requirement for the uptake of iron into the mucosal cells.

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5. What are the signs / symptoms of scurvy?

Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, symptoms include fatigue, pain in extremities, haemorrhages, a decrease in integrity of the blood vessels, oedema, ulcerations, muscle weakness due to defects in collagen metabolism and death. In infantile scurvy, the changes are mainly at the sites of active bone growth and include pseudo paralysis of the limbs. In severe scurvy, haemorrhages may be more severe and include epistaxis, bleeding into joints, periotoneal cavity, pericardial sack and adrenals.
6. Why do smokers have a higher recommended intake of vitamin C?
Smoking causes vitamin C to be used up much more quickly by the body, so smokers need to add an extra 35 milligrams per day to the RDI because of the great stress on their lungs form oxidative damage and toxic by-products of cigarette smoke. Adding an extra piece of fruit to the daily diet would more than cover this extra requirement for vitamin C.

7. How does the RDI for vitamin C compare to the amount required for disease prevention?

Vitamin C is a powerful functional food ingredient with numerous health applications. Proper intake over a lifetime helps to maintain our current health and prevent future ailments. At least 10 mg daily will prevent clinical deficiency and scurvy; but current research suggests 90-500 mg daily for optimal benefits. Much higher doses (many beyond the 2 g UL) are used in the clinical setting, with the greatest blood plasma levels achieved through IV injection. Proper doses for treatment are extremely variable, and depend upon the disease being treated. The risks of high- dose vitamin C supplementation are almost negligible when compared to some current treatments. That being said, extremely high-doses should be administered with caution and treated as a pharmaceutical agent. In regards to disease management, continued clinical and epidemiological research will help to further understand and confirm the positive health effects from vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of numerous conditions. In terms of the general public, studies on the long-term effects of over-the-counter oral supplementation should be focused on, due to increasing awareness of vitamin C benefits. Future studies should also focus on how to safely and effectively implement vitamin C into diets of populations at-risk for deficiency

8. What role does vitamin C play in the prevention of cardiovascular disease?

Disease Treatment
Cardiovascular disease
Vasodilation
The ability of blood vessels to relax or dilate (vasodilation) is compromised in individuals with atherosclerosis. Damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack and damage to the brain caused by a stroke are related, in part, to the inability of blood vessels to dilate enough to allow blood flow to the affected areas. The pain of angina pectoris is also related to insufficient dilation of the coronary arteries. Impaired vasodilation has been identified as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Many randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have shown that treatment with vitamin C consistently results in improved vasodilation in individuals with coronary heart disease, as well as those with angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Improved vasodilation has been demonstrated at an oral dose of 500 mg of vitamin C daily.
Hypertension:
A recent meta-analysis of 29 short-term trials (each trial included 10 to 120 participants) indicated that vitamin C supplementation at a median dose of 500 mg/day for a median duration of eight weeks reduced blood pressure in both healthy, normotensive and hypertensive adults. In normotensive individuals, the pooled changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were -3.84 mm Hg and -1.48 mm Hg, respectively; in hypertensive participants, corresponding reductions were -4.85 mm Hg and -1.67 mm Hg. The significance of the blood pressure-lowering effect of vitamin C on CVD risk has not yet been determined. It is important for individuals with significantly elevated blood pressure not to rely on vitamin C supplementation alone to treat their hypertension, but to seek or continue therapy with anti-hypertensive medication and through diet and lifestyle changes in consultation with their health care provider. For information on dietary and lifestyle strategies to control blood pressure.

9. What is the relationship between vitamin C intake and the common cold?

The work of Linus Pauling stimulated public interest in the use of large doses (greater than 1 gram/day) of vitamin C to prevent the common cold. In the past 40 years, numerous placebbo-controlled trials have examined the effect of vitamin C supplementation on the prevention and treatment of colds. A recent meta-analysis of 53 placebo-controlled trials evaluated the effect of vitamin C supplementation on the incidence, duration, or severity of the common cold when taken as a continuous daily supplement (43 trials) or as therapy upon onset of cold symptoms (10 trials). Regarding the incidence of colds, a distinction was observed between two groups of participants: regular supplementation with vitamin C (0.25 to 2 grams/day) did not reduce the incidence of colds in the general population (23 trials); however, in participants undergoing heavy physical stress (e.g., marathon runners, skiers, or soldiers in subarctic conditions), vitamin C supplementation halved the incidence of colds (5 trials; RR: 0.48, 95% CI: 0.35-0.64). A benefit of regular vitamin C supplementation was also seen in the duration of colds, with a greater benefit in children than in adults: the pooled effect of vitamin C supplementation was a 14% reduction in cold duration in children and an 8% reduction in adults. Finally, no significant effect of vitamin C supplementation (1-8 grams/day) was observed in therapeutic trials in which vitamin C was administered after cold symptoms occurred.
As Always,
Healthiest Regards,
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.
Further Reading.. 

The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Two. Self Care and Building Resilience against Stress

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the Second Chapter of the Mindfulness Series. In this chapter we will discuss self-care and how to build resilience against stress.

Self-care Relaxed people can still be super-achievers, and, in fact, relaxation and creativity go hand in hand (Carlson, 2007). There are many ways to prevent burn-out and to restore a lifestyle balance that produces ease rather than stress. Self-care involves paying attention to the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of your life. The following lists include many suggestions which are adapted from a website dedicated to stress release and relaxation that is worth visiting as it has some excellent resources (http://www.nvoad.org/articles/ESCCchapterB.pdf).

Not all of these suggestions need to be applied, but one area of self-care may come more naturally to you than others. That way it will be more pleasurable to do which increases the likelihood of you doing it. Becoming less stressed involves being kind to yourself, so it is important to choose activities that do not add to a list of demands you cannot fulfill (and thus bring additional stress). Looking after yourself can be fun if you choose pleasurable and easy suggestions which may involve the body (a long, hot bath), the mind (listening to lovely music) or giving yourself the time to sing or paint. Most of these self-care activities involve some sense of personal growth, expansion and validation of your personal needs. Like any development, it needs practice. Sometimes it helps to document the journey of self-care, as a way to count blessings, to review deep beliefs and to affirm one’s own strengths and needs. It means a conscious engaging with some of the ideas mentioned above.

Some of the ‘side effects’ of the activities mentioned above will be that you are more able to:

• Set realistic goals

• Be assertive and maintain your boundaries

• Change negative thought processes into positive ones

• Avoid ‘toxic’ situations

• Engage in positive conflict resolution

• Maintain a sense of humour and good health

• Practice forgiving, also of self

• Develop positive relationships

• Improve your communication skills

Petrea King suggests that looking after yourself must be your highest priority. Do you think that it is selfish to put yourself first? It certainly sounds like that and especially women are taught to look after everyone else before taking a rest themselves. As a result, women (and men too) often from suffer stress related illnesses or feel depressed and unhappy. How productive can you be if you are not at peace, not relaxed and happy? Looking after yourself means that you can give from an overflowing well of energy, love and care. It also means giving everyone else permission to care for themselves well.

Physical Self-Care

• Eat regularly (eg breakfast, lunch, dinner)

• Eat healthy, fresh food with plenty of fruit and vegetables

• Find a pleasurable exercise routine

• Get regular medical care for prevention and health

• Take time off when sick

• Have a massages, acupuncture or beauty treatment

• Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports, sing, or do some other physical activity that is fun

• Take time to be sensual and sexual–with yourself, with a partner

• Get enough sleep

• Wear clothes you like

• Take vacations, day trips or mini-vacations

• Make time away from telephones

Psychological Self-Care

• Notice your inner experiences — listen to your thoughts, judgments, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings without judgment

• Let go of perfectionism: do something silly or be simply imperfect

• Talk with friends and have a buddy support system

• Practice receiving from others

• Write in a journal: Be curious about life

• Do relaxation exercises, get a relaxation CD that you like

• Have your own personal psychotherapy or counselling

• Read literature that is unrelated to work and uplifting

• Do something at which you are not expert or in charge

• Decrease stress in your life by removing the clutter

• Make to do lists and prioritise them giving yourself plenty of time

• Let others know different aspects of you

• Say NO to extra responsibilities 8

Emotional Self-Care

• Be kind to yourself, engage in self-nurturing, self-mothering

• Spend time with others whose company you enjoy

• Stay in contact with important people in your life

• Give yourself affirmations, praise and love

• Find ways to increase your sense of self-esteem

• Acknowledging strength, positive points

• Boundaries: learn to feel OK about saying NO and putting yourself first

• Change thought processes that are not self-affirming

• Avoid negative people or negative communication

• Re-read favourite books, review favorite movies

• Identify comforting activities, objects, people, relationships and places

• Allow yourself to cry

• Find things to make you laugh

• Express your outrage in social action, letters, donations, marches, protests

• Contribute to causes in which you believe

• Play with children, animals or grown-ups Spiritual Self-Care

• Make time for self-reflection

• Practice acceptance and kindness for self and others

• Spend time with and in nature

• Find a spiritual connection or community

• Be open to inspiration from teachers and people you admire

• Read inspirational literature (talks, music, etc.)

• Cherish your optimism and hope

• Be aware of nonmaterial aspects of life

• Practice forgiveness for self and others

• Identify what is meaningful to you and notice its place in your life

• Meditate, sing or pray

• Be open to Not Knowing and experiences of awe (http://www.nvoad.org/articles/ESCCchapterB.pdf)

A side effect of learning to look after yourself is that you learn new skills that can be used in your personal as well as in your family and professional life. For example the ability to turn adversity into an opportunity becomes a change for personal development. It also means that you are developing life skills that contribute to greater happiness and well-being of all people around you. Paradoxically, looking after yourself means becoming more able to be of service for others!

Nutrition Nourishment Hopes you’re enjoying the Mindfulness Series and taking what information is important and beneficial for you at this time in your life. It’s  never too late to begin to understand yourself better and to find happiness for your soul

If you haven’t already don’t forget to check out Chapter One in this series. Links Below.

Chapter One: Burn-out. More than a Stress Response.

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-mindfulness-series-burn-out-more-than-a-stress-response/

Healthiest regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Homemade Sauerkraut: Heal your Gut with Fermented Vegetables

 Hello everyone,

Homemade sauerkraut, in all its funky humility, is a favourite food in our home. It’s great on its own or added to your favourite salad. So why is everyone talking about saurekraut?

Health Benefits of Sauerkraut

The fermentation of cabbage into sauerkraut preserves it, providing a ready food for the cold days of winter when fresh food was scarce.  So while early peoples preserved cabbage with salt in an effort to keep hunger away during the dark months, their method of preservation fulfilled another need: that of optimal nourishment.

Nutrition Nourishment often talks about the gut and the environment that lives there known as the gut microbiome. This is due to the fact that the good bacteria living in someone’s healthy gut environment have been scientifically proved to be crucial for lowering the risk of just about every form of acute or chronic illness there is. A 2006 report published in The Journal of Applied Microbiology states that probiotic benefits from cultured foods include lowering the risk of:

This is due to probiotics’ direct and indirect influences on various organs and systems, especially the rate at which your body produces inflammation and controls hormone production. The “good bacteria” and other organisms living within your gut might as well be considered an organ in their own right, because they’re critically important to the health of your brain, hormones, heart, lungs, liver and digestive organs. The latest science tells us that probiotic-rich foods can help:

  • Improve immune function, since they create a barrier against potential invaders including “bad bacteria” like pathogens, viruses, fungi and parasites
  • Aid in digestion and the absorption of various nutrients
  • Detoxify the body, since probiotics help prevent infections and combat toxins living within your digestive tract
  • Support brain function and cognitive health, even helping to prevent dementia, treat Alzheimer’s disease and stave off memory loss
  • Handle stress through the “gut-brain” connection, your microflora’s effects on your endocrine (hormonal) system
  • Control inflammation that is at the root of most diseases

Why You Should Make Sauerkraut at Home

  • Homemade sauerkraut is inexpensive to make, especially when you buy cabbage in season and in bulk.  Comparatively the price for raw sauerkraut at the grocery store can often exceed $8 for a glass jar.
  • You can adjust the flavour of the sauerkraut you make at home to suit your preferences, whether that’s more sour or less, or whether you include additions like garlic, dill, caraway or hot peppers.

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Homemade Saurekraut Recipe

Traditional, homemade sauerkraut relies only on cabbage and salt, and those ingredients come together through time and the work of beneficial bacteria to create a pleasant, sour, fermented vegetable that can be used as a condiment or sidedish. Homemade sauerkraut pairs beautifully with broiled sausages, and hearty lentil stews. 

 

You’ll Need: 

1kg Cabbage (any type you like)

2 Table spoons of salt

1L wide mouthed Glass jar and lid

 

What to do!

Shred or chop cabbage to your liking; thick or thin.

Add salt, and cover. Leave to sit for approx. 1 hr

Use clean hands to massage cabbage in the bowl until you have enough liquid to cover the cabbage.

Pack tightly into glass jar, and leave on the bench to ferment for approx. 1 week. This will depend on the temperature. During winter ferments can take up to one month. When it is hot they can be as little as 3 days.

Place in the fridge and enjoy!

Variations: 

Why not try adding other grated vegetables such as carrot, beetroot and turnip for more nutrients. You can also get creative with spices for added flavour. Try garlic, dill, chilli and caraway seeds.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Pathogenic Drug Resistance: A CAM Review into “Superbugs” in Australia

Hello everyone,

AUSTRALIA now has the highest rate of one deadly superbug in the world as our overuse of medicines is fuelling the rise of infections resistant to even the last line of antibiotics. A damning new report shows antibiotic use in Australia is higher than in England, Canada, Norway, Denmark and Sweden with half our population using the medicines every year. Its left us with the highest rate of one deadly superbug — vancomycin resistant enterococcus faecium (VRE) — in the world.  This bacteria can live innocuously in the human intestine, but when it becomes pathogenic it cases diseases such as neonatal meningitis or endocarditis a disease that can destroy heart valves.

The Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia (AURA) report 2016 to be released Thursday shows half the GP scripts written for antibiotics are for colds and flu even though these illnesses are viruses that don’t respond to antibiotics. And as the cold and flu season hits us in full swing this season, experts have been urging Australians not to ask their doctor for an antibiotic because they could be helping deadly superbugs spread.

The report shows a strong seasonal variance, with some antibiotics being prescribed more in winter.

Antibiotic resistance has developed because of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, and now, bacterial infections that were once easily cured with antibiotics are becoming harder to treat,” said Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Senior Medical Advisor Professor John Turnidge.

The results of the first comprehensive study on Australia’s antibiotic use includes data from 182 doctors’ practices.And it shows on any given day in an Australian hospital in 2014, nearly four in ten patients were being administered an antibiotic.One in four of these medicines were prescribed in ways that were not compliant with guidelines, and another one in four were considered inappropriate.

The Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia (AURA) report 2016 found where GPs gave a reason for prescribing an antibiotic 50 per cent of patients had a cold or upper respiratory tract infection.A new NPS MedicineWise survey of 1000 Australians, also released today, has revealed that four in ten people who went to the doctor last time they or their child had a cold or flu expected a prescription for antibiotics.

One in five people said the main reasons they asked a doctor for antibiotics when they had a cold or flu were they hate being sick, 17 per cent said they believed that antibiotics help you get over cold or flu more quickly and 22 per cent said they couldn’t take time off work or family duties.

It’s timely for us to again address common misconceptions that unfortunately seem to persist about appropriate use of antibiotics during cold and flu season,” said NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynne Weekes.

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As experts try to turn around Australia’s addiction to antibiotics the report will be used as a benchmark to measure improvements or declines in antibiotic stewardship in the future.

Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as Golden Staph because of its colour on a laboratory plate, is normally harmless. Carried on our skin it can, sometimes, cause minor infections in wounds or create boils.

Golden Staph, though, is becoming resistant to the most powerful of antibiotics and returning as a big problem in most large Australian hospitals, attacking intravenous lines, catheters and wounds after operations. It spreads quickly through patient contact, respiratory droplets and food. These resistant bacteria range from 20 to 40 percent of all Golden Staph infections in major eastern Australian hospitals. About 5 percent of those multi resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can only be treated with vancomycin. Now, even that last line of defence is looking shaky. In 1997, a Golden Staph bacterium partially resistant to vancomycin was discovered in Japan. Dubbed to be of intermediate resistance it is now known as vancomycin intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA).

VRE is another bacterium which hits the headlines from time to time. VRE or Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci was first identified in Australia in 1994. It didn’t, though, cause much of a stir until 1996 when several cases were diagnosed in hospital patients across the country. In that year, institutions in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Newcastle all reported isolating VRE.

Enterococcus is a bacterium in our gastrointestinal and genital tracts. It can be highly aggressive, especially in post-operative hospital patients, causing urinary tract infections, septicaemia (blood poisoning) and endocarditis (heart infection) as well as infecting wounds. Microbiologist and antibiotic resistance expert, Dr John Turnidge, from the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital, says Enterococcus is a ‘peculiar beast’ because it starts off as naturally resistant to many antibiotics. “For severe hospital infections, there are only two classes of antibiotics to choose for treatment so resistance in one class, no matter how low, is a huge concern”. 

Less than 1% of Enterococci resist vancomycin but some also resist the other antibiotic available in that class in Australia. This combination makes serious Enterococcus infections potentially unstoppable.

“Antibiotic resistant genes from VRE.have been transferred to Staphylococcus Aureus in the laboratory. If such resistance occurs in nature, or the Japanese strain [VISA] behaves like the multi resistant S. aureus, then a spread throughout the world may occur over the next ten years putting treatment of S.aureus back where it was before antibiotics were first discovered.”

JETACAR, 1999.

Then there’s the bacteria that causes those nasty common problems like middle ear infection, sinusitis, bronchitis and life threatening pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae spreads through respiratory droplets and can also cause meningitis and septicaemia. It’s been evolving resistance around the world and Australia’s catching up. At least half of Australia’s strains are resistant to one antibiotic and a third are resistant to 3 or 4 antibiotics. Given the large numbers of people who suffer infections caused by Streptococcus it is, in one sense, much more important than VRE or Golden Staph.

There is also some concern in Australia about Haemophilus influenzae. Also passed on through respiratory droplets, it causes bacterial meningitis, middle ear infection, sinusitis and bronchitis – not influenza as its name might suggest. There is now a successful vaccine for bacterial meningitis but about 25 percent of Haemophilus influenzae resist the most commonly used antibiotic. Very little multi-resistance has been identified at this stage.

Then there are the sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhoea has become more and more resistant to antibiotics since the Vietnam War. It now resists penicillin, tetracyclines and the newest groups of antibiotics.

Probably the most common bacterium is Escherichia coli commonly known as E-coli. It can cause gastroenteritis, haemorrhagic colitis or urinary and genital tract infections. Its resistance is very high and getting worse. 50 percent of Australian strains resist the most commonly used cure, Amoxycillin.

On the international front, Campylobacter, which causes gastroenteritis and is passed on through animals, is showing resistance to a class of antibiotics called quinolones. Like Salmonella, which is also showing resistance, it comes from food and water. Antiobiotic-resistant Campylobacter is a big issue in Europe and the US especially in relation to the use of similar antibiotics in food producing animals.

Also of concern is the growing rise in multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis. Initially, these strains were seen only in HIV-infected patients but it has spread into the general community. It’s now at the stage where Australia’s state health departments have had to issue instructions to practitioners on treatment for multi-drug resistant TB.

“Overall, there are almost no bacteria where there is not resistance to more antibiotics then there were 10 or 15 years ago,” says Associate Professor Peter Collignon, Director of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the Canberra Hospital, Australian Capital Territory.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-02-28/superbugs-what-are-they-and-how-are-they-treated/8310556

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/07/19/more-1000-super-superbug-cases-last-year

http://time.com/4767683/bacteria-antibiotic-resistance-superbugs/

http://theconversation.com/how-common-are-superbugs-in-australia-and-what-do-we-do-when-the-antibiotics-dont-work-80318

Take care,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Health and Wellness Review: The New News on Probiotics.

Hello everyone,

You may have noticed alot of information and talk about probiotics and the microbiome on Nutrition Nourishment. That’s due to the advanced in medical research and studies providing us with valuable insight into the role of the gut microbiome environment in good health. Unfortunately we don’t know the best strains (and numbers) for health, but we do know they key to good health appears to be hosting a variety of different species of strains for a wide range eco-system. Some key players have been researched and found to possess powerful health fighting resources for our bodies and help manage chronic conditions, however, the research is still quite young. Heres the NEW news on probiotics!!

Probiotics – The Wonder Bugs!

The gut microbiota, which describes the microorganisms living and growing inside your digestive tract, is a hot topic right now! Exciting new research indicates, these microbes have a profound impact on the many aspects of your health and well-being. Taking probiotics (specific strains of beneficial bacteria) can positively influence these microorganisms and lead to improvements, not only in your digestive and immune health but the health of your whole body.

Is Your Gut Out of Balance?

An imbalance in the gut microbiota is linked to numerous health conditions, both within the gut and throughout the body. You may have experienced symptoms such as bloating, wind, abdominal pain and discomfort; signs of poor immunity (e.g. frequent colds and flus); or been plagued by allergies or skin conditions such as eczema. These may arise due to disturbances to the intricate balance of intestinal bacteria.

Many common lifestyle factors including alcohol consumption, medications (e.g. antibiotics), processed foods and stress can disrupt this delicate balance and lead to an increase in undesirable bacteria or deficiencies in beneficial bacteria. This imbalance has been associated with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), asthma and autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis). In these cases, probiotics can help to restore the correct balance of bacteria and ultimately reinstate health. It is more important than ever to support your gastrointestinal microbiota!

How Do Probiotics Work?

Specific probiotic strains help to rebuild the disrupted microbiota and act like policemen within the gut, restoring peace amongst the ‘citizens’ of the microbiota. Probiotics have a regulating effect on both disease-promoting and beneficial bacteria; undesirable bacteria are kept at minimal levels, meanwhile promoting growth of beneficial bacteria. This exciting new news is in contrast to earlier thoughts that probiotics repopulated the gut by directly replacing any bad bugs living there. Instead, probiotics help to restore the numbers and types of beneficial bacteria unique to you; rebuilding a healthy and diverse community of beneficial microbiota, and enabling them to function at their best, so you too can feel your best!

The Correct Strains at the Right Dose

There can be significant variation between probiotic strains. Different strains not only have different actions in your body, but also deliver different health benefits. Additionally, different doses of the same strain can have varying effects in the body. Your Practitioner can tailor your treatment by selecting specific probiotic strains at the right dose to address your individual health concerns. These may include:

  • Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (BB-12®) – This super strain assists in rebuilding the gut microbiota, and helps to rebalance bacteria after a course of antibiotics.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®) – Commonly referred to as LGG®, this probiotic strain helps to regulate immune function, and in doing so may be useful for the treatment of autoimmune conditions, allergies, and eczema.

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Probiotic Protection

Appropriate probiotic storage is of utmost importance to ensure the bacteria remain live, strong and healthy – essentially in a healthy state to restore your healthy state. In nearly all instances, probiotics must be stored at stable temperatures within the fridge to keep them live and active. The only exception is when they are protected by PROTECTAIR™ technology as this has been shown to minimise moisture levels (moisture ‘activates’ probiotics, which you don’t want to happen until they are in your body!). This technology has been developed to allow certain probiotic strains to remain out of the fridge for a set period of time, while still remaining stable and effective, so you get results.

Practitioner Recommended Probiotics Are Best

It is essential to source your probiotics based on the recommendation of a qualified Natural Health Practitioner. This ensures that the formula contains the correct strains at the right dosage and combination to address your specific health needs. A Practitioner prescribed probiotic will provide high strength, therapeutic doses of bacteria that will be beneficial for managing your health. Restore peace and balance amongst the ‘citizens’ of your marvellous microbiota!

As Always,

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Smart Snacking: Bring Some Balance into Your Diet.

Hello everyone,

The most common complaints I have in clinic are people struggling with energy levels, especially in the afternoon. It all comes down to balancing macronutrients during meals, and smart snacking. Finding some quick, easy and affordable snack options to keep energy levels high, blood sugar balanced and hunger at bay is easy with a little inspiration. Protein-rich, nutrient-filled snacks like the ones below can be a great way of bumping up your nutrition intake for the day – and are a delicious excuse to take a break from study and have a little down time. Some other great examples are:

  • Raw almonds/nuts/seeds
  • Dates filled with nut butter
  • Brown rice cakes with almond butter and cinnamon
  • Veggie sticks (carrot, celery) with hummus
  • Green apple smeared with peanut butter

I’d love to hear any of your go-to snack ideas too!

Simple Snacks

Greek Yoghurt, Cinnamon and Nuts

Simple as that. Just add a sprinkle of cinnamon to a few spoonfuls of Greek Yoghurt, top with any nuts or seeds you have (I love buckinis and walnuts!) and enjoy! Add some berries for an extra Vit-C and antioxidant hit! We also have a couple of homemade granola options in the  “breakfast” recipes section on our website.

Here’s a simple example: 

Mix together: 2 C Organic Steel-Cut Oats, 3/4 C Coconut Flakes, 1/2 C Chopped Almonds, 1/2 C Chopped Walnuts, 1 tsp Cinnamon Spice, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg/allspice, ½ tsp cardamon, 2 Tsp Chia Seeds, 4 Tsp organic virgin pressed coconut oil, Melted, 1/2 C Maple Syrup/Rice-Malt Syrup, 1 tsp vanilla. Optional: Dried cranberries/apricots. Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into an even layer to ensure an even roasting. Bake for 30 minutes or until granola is a nice golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure an even bake.

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Healthy Sweet Potato Wedges

First things first, preheat your oven to 180°! You want it nice and hot so the wedges go extra crispy. Just cut your sweet potato into chunks, arrange on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper or some cumin if you feel like spicing things up! Place in the oven and 30-35 minutes later you’ll have some perfectly cooked sweet potato wedges.

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Bliss balls

Bliss balls are the best grab-and-go snack – make a batch for yourself today and you’ll be set for the week! These Almond butter and Protein Bliss balls are perfect for regulating your blood sugar levels and providing a healthy boost of good fats! Yum!

Here’s a simple example:

Add to food processor: 2 scoops vanilla protein (any pea/rice, organic variety), 1 tbsp almond butter, 2 tsp maple syrup, 2-3 dates (pitted), 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp coconut flour, pinch of sea salt, 1/4 cup of water. Process until ingredients start to bind together. Roll into balls and top with extra almond butter and cinnamon.

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Smoothies

Smoothies are another easy snack option. Just blend up some easy-to-find, pantry-staple ingredients and pour into a glass – or jar!

Everyone’s Favourite: 

SUPER CHOC BANANA BERRY SMOOTHIE – SERVES 1

This sweet, chocolatey, berry goodness will make you feel as though your having a cheat day, however your body will thank you for the high intake of nutrients, and antioxidant-rich superfoods. This will aid your body to fight free-radical, remove toxins, detox, and rebuild. 

Ingredients:

1 Frozen Banana

Handful Mixed Berries

2-4 Pitted Medjool Dates

1-2 tsp Cacao Powder

1 tsp Chia seeds

1 tsp Maca Powder

1 tsp Beetroot powder

1 Tsp of Goji Berries

½ Avocado

2C milk of choice (Soy, Almond, Coconut)

Handful Ice

 

Method:

Blend all ingredients together to form a smooth consistency. Enjoy!

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Don’t forget to check out all the recipes available for free on the website for some more delicious inspiration!

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

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

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