1. How stable is vitamin C?
2. How does dosage affect the absorption of vitamin C?
3. List five functions of vitamin C.
4. How does vitamin C affect iron absorption?
Heartburn, a form of indigestion or reflux, is a feeling of burning pain or discomfort in the chest usually after eating. It typically worsens when you are lying down or bending over. Heartburn that is mild and occasional can be usually managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, which in more serious cases, other treatment may be necessary.
What causes heartburn?
Normally, a ring of muscle at the end of the oesophagus (the tube connecting your mouth to your stomach) relaxes to let food in, and tightens to prevent stomach acid from escaping. However, if the muscle relaxes when it shouldn’t, or is weak, stomach acid is able to rise up into the oesophagus where it causes pain and irritation.
Common triggers for heartburn
Some people experience heartburn regardless of what they eat. Others find they only get it after eating certain foods or large meals. Common triggers for heartburn can include:
Fat or spicy foods
Coffee and carbonated beverages
Other common triggers that can increase heartburn are:
Being overweight or obese
Taking certain medications
Symptoms of Heartburn
A Burning pain or discomfort in the chest aren’t the only symptoms you may experience with heartburn. Others can include:
The sensation of pressure or pain just behind your breastbone
Felling like food is ‘sticking’ in your chest or stuck in your throat
Burping and/or bloating
A sour or acid taste in the back of your throat
Some more uncommon symptoms that may occur due to heartburn and require the consultation of a healthcare professional are:
Symptoms are interfering with your lifestyle or daily activities
The Heartburn symptoms become worse and continue with the use of heartburn medications
Heartburn is occurring more than once a week
Cold sweats, shortness of breath, feeling light-headedness or dizzy
Symptoms of heartburn occur in a similar area of a heart attack. If you’re unsure whether your suffering from heartburn or are having a heart attack, seek medical attention right away.
There are many over-the-counter treatments for heartburn including antacids chews and syrups that neutralise the stomach acid, however your doctor may prescribe you with medication or in rare instances surgery.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of larger meals
Avoid any foods you know trigger heartburn
limit or cut back on alcohol
Limit fatty or spicy foods
Avoid coffee and carbonated beverages
If you are overweight, try losing excess weight to reduce the pressure around your stomach
Avoiding lying down soon after a meal
Avoid tight fitting clothing
Elevate your head when in bed
No alternative medicine therapies have been proven to treat Heartburn, although some people still find complementary and alternative therapies may provide some relief when combined with a doctor’s care. Some ideas may include herbal remedies such as licorice, chamomile, marshmallow and slippery elm. Relaxation therapies to calm stress and anxiety including acupuncture and meditation.
While heartburn and indigestion can be distressing, it can be treated effectively whether it’s cutting back on foods, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking or medications, it’s important to speak to your doctor to confirm the best treatment available for you.
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment
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!!
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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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!
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.
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:
I’d love to hear any of your go-to snack ideas too!
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.
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.
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.
Smoothies are another easy snack option. Just blend up some easy-to-find, pantry-staple ingredients and pour into a glass – or jar!
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.
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
2C milk of choice (Soy, Almond, Coconut)
Blend all ingredients together to form a smooth consistency. Enjoy!
Don’t forget to check out all the recipes available for free on the website for some more delicious inspiration!
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment
Osteoporosis is the result of demineralisation of bone tissue, resulting in the bones becoming fragile and an increase in fracture risk. Osteopenia is the beginning stage of this process. Risk factors include genetics, lifestyle issues (diet, smoking, alcohol, physical activity), hormonal status and certain prescription medicines. Bone remodelling is the process of bone resorption (breakdown) and bone formation. Understanding how this biochemical process works is the key to preventing and reversing osteopenia and osteoporosis.
This disease serves as a classic example of two key concepts – 1) the body doing exactly what it is supposed to do based on the stimuli we give it from the outside world, and 2) Western Medicine asking the wrong question when trying to determine how to treat it. The gold standard test to diagnose and mark progress in treatment of osteopenia and osteoporosis is the DEXA scan, which measures bone density. Other tests that some practitioners will use measure the results of bone breakdown in urine; this test may be more helpful in determining any benefit from treatment quicker than waiting a year or two for results to be evident from a DEXA scan.
The idea that osteopenia and osteoporosis are the sole result of a lack of calcium is likely terribly misguided. There are a host of minerals and nutrients that are required for the body to make bone properly; including magnesium, vitamin D, boron, strontium, vitamin K, and others. Calcium may be the one that you are least likely to be deficient in. But there are two other vital considerations that need to be addressed to properly and permanently treat or reverse bone loss. The first is weight-bearing exercise. It is through stressing the bones by lifting things that tells the body to make those bones stronger and more flexible. This is how you encourage bone building.
The second is how acidic the body is as a result of diet and other lifestyle factors. If the body is too acidic, the only choice is for the body to “borrow” minerals from the bones (a store of minerals) to buffer the excess acid. These three concerns are the reason why we have such a prevalence of loss of bone mass in this country – lack of bone building nutrients, lack of weight-bearing exercise and over-acidifying diets and lifestyles!
The diet is one of the keys to preventing and treating decreased bone density… and it isn’t just about getting the minerals from the diet; it is also about how acidifying a person’s diet is, and making adjustments if necessary. Even though I feel that we should strive to get as many minerals and nutrients that we can from our diet, I think that most people with bone density concerns will need to supplement with a proper bone mineral formula. Of course, eating as many fresh fruits and vegetables is always a good idea, especially for someone with osteopenia or osteoporosis. Green leafy vegetables, in particular, offer minerals and vitamin K.
The reason for this is two-fold. You will get vitamins and minerals from those foods – but more importantly, you will be helping to alkalinise your system with those fruits and vegetables. And this is the part that is often missed or not respected enough when it comes to preventing and treating bone density problems. When the body is too acidic, it must steal minerals from the bones to buffer things.
These are the foods that will acidify your body…
Foods that alkalinise your body are…
It is interesting to note that the “nature” of a particular food does not necessarily translate into the effect that it will have on your acid/base balance. An example of this is pineapple, which is very acidic, but one of the more alkalising foods for your body. The general rule of thumb is that all fruits and vegetables are alkalinising.
This does not mean that you have to be a vegetarian to fight bone density loss – but it does mean that you have to properly balance the acidifying foods with enough alkalinising foods to create the environment where you are not stealing minerals from your bones.
Lifestyle considerations, other than diet, are key to prevention and treatment of bone loss.
Weight-bearing exercise is vital! It is through the process of “stressing” the bones by lifting things that instructs the body to make those bones stronger and more flexible. And studies have shown that weight lifting that targets specific areas do help those areas more. With osteopenia and osteoporosis, we are mostly concerned about the hips and the spine. So, doing weight lifting that targets those areas will net the most useful gains. If you are new to the practice of lifting weights, I recommend that you work with a certified trainer to help make sure that you use good technique so you don’t risk injury.
I know this seems obvious these days, and this really shouldn’t have to be mentioned… smoking is probably the single most harmful habit that you can have that negatively affects every single aspect of the body and it’s function – and it is also true with osteoporosis. Please, if you smoke, put all of your efforts and resources into quitting… then you can work on other things.
Alcohol is also a factor in two ways. It is very acidifying to the system; thus causing the need to steal minerals from the bones. It is also a factor in leading to falls, which can lead to fractures in someone with lower bone density.
Stress can also be a factor. When under stress the body uses progesterone to make cortisol, the hormone of stress. This can then lead to hormonal imbalances that can affect bone density. Progesterone is the hormone that encourages bone building. Low progesterone levels can cause a shift in the balance of bone remodelling towards the breakdown of bone.
There are certain prescription and over-the-counter medicines that can affect bone density. The whole class of drugs that decrease stomach acid (antacids, H-2 inhibitors, Proton-pump inhibitors) make it harder to absorb minerals like calcium. Also, steroids like prednisone are known to contribute to decreased bone density. People on these medicines need to be extra vigilant with the diets, exercise regimens and bone mineral supplements.
Calcium: Essential role in bone mineralisation.
Glucosamine: Inhibits inflammatory cytokines.
Vitamin C: Required both structurally and functionally in the management of oestoarthritis. Essential role in the synthesis of collagen, acts as an antioxidant, protecting against effects of oxidative damage.
EFAs: Essential fatty acids. Reduce excessive prostagladins in the body, which are involved in inflammatory processes in the body.
Chondroitin: inhibits inflammatory cytokines and increases bone mineralisation and repair.
Vitamin D: May help prevent against cartilage loss, maintains bone formation.
Zinc: Helps maintain connective tissues and offers antioxidant protection in synovial fluid to prevent joint damages.
Vitamin E: Antioxidant, protects against oxidative damage.
*Disclaimer: This article should be used as a reference guide ONLY. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you experience any symptoms of pain. Never self-diagnose as it can be dangerous, causing unwanted side effects and possibly cause chronic conditions.
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.
Hemp Scientific Research
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!
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:
The Detox Diet
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,
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.
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.
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.
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment
Hypoglycaemia is a condition characterized by low blood sugar, usually happening 3 to 5 hours after a meal. Typical symptoms may include; headache, mood changes, irritability, nervousness, excessive sweating, mental confusion, and blurred vision.
There can be a few different causes, but far and away the most common cause is from the over-stressing of the normal control mechanisms of glucose storage and release in the body. This happens for 2 main reasons – consistently eating foods that raise blood sugar too quickly alternating with periods of not eating and the biochemical result of chronic stress.
It is also important to note that hypoglycemia, although seemingly the opposite of diabetes, is a precursor to diabetes, and as such, needs to be seen as a serious potential health risk, as opposed to just an inconvenience.
There are numerous diagnostic tests that may be used to identify hypoglycaemia, however, the easiest and maybe most accurate way is through a simple questionnaire or a comprehensive consultation with a accredited practitioner. It must be understood that every one of these “symptoms” can occur for other reasons, so other causes should be ruled out before assuming that hypoglycemia is the issue. And yet, when most of these symptoms are present, there is a strong likelihood that blood sugar control is a root cause.
Because blood sugar is the only source of energy that the brain can use (as opposed to the rest of the body being able to break down muscle for an energy source if needed), low blood sugar can result in all manner of brain dysfunction issues, including confusion, aggression, anxiety, depression, etc. Additionally, chronic headaches, attention issues and even PMS symptoms may all be linked to hypoglycemia. Blood sugar regulation problems should be evaluated and considered much more than it does in medicine today.
Diet and other lifestyle factors are usually the cause of hypoglycemia. This fact gives us the means to make this problem go away without medical intervention.
The glycemic index (GI) of a food is a measure of the property of how quickly it causes blood sugar to rise. The higher the GI is, the worse it is for blood sugar control. There is another index used to better measure the effect of a serving of a food – glycemic load (GL). This takes into account the “density” of particular foods and how a serving would affect blood sugar. Keeping the foods under a GL of 15 would be tremendously helpful for helping to control hypoglycemia. For instance, even though the GI of watermelon is 72 (pretty high) the GL of watermelon is only 4. So a serving of watermelon is actually fine. Of course, eating an entire watermelon would be a problem.
The fiber content of food is also very important in controlling rapid rises in blood sugar for 3 reasons. First, it slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, thereby preventing rapid rises in blood sugar. Second, it increases cell sensitivity to insulin, thereby preventing the excessive secretion of insulin. And third, fiber improves the uptake of glucose by the liver and other tissues, thereby preventing a sustained elevation of blood sugar. This is why most processed and refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cereal, most grains) are bad for hypoglycemia; processing = removed or poor fiber.
The best diet strategy for the hypoglycemic is to replace processed and refined carbohydrates in the diet with more fresh fruits, vegetables and quality proteins. Furthermore, the person suffering with hypoglycemia should never, ever go more than 3 hours without eating something. In between meals, a handful of nuts, a low GI protein bar, or a piece of whole fruit will all work well to keep to eating something every 2-3 hours.
B Vitamins: I alway recommend taking an activated vitamin B complex, as they all work synergistically together for many important biological pathways in the body. They aid in energy production and metabolism, cognitive function, mood, and cellular communications.
L-Carnitine: An amino acid that mobilises fatty acids into the mitochondria for ATP production. (Energy production of the cell).
Iodine: An essential component for thyroid hormones and production of T3 and T4 hormones within the blood stream
CoEnzyme Q10: Found in virtually every cell in the body and plays a vital role in energy-dependant processes.
*Disclaimer: This article should be used as a reference guide ONLY. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you experience any symptoms of the hypoglycaemia Never self-diagnose as it can be dangerous, causing unwanted side effects and possibly cause chronic conditions.
Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment