Monday, 29 February 2016

Not Sexy and not a 'Superfood'?!

Fibre - The Ultimate Functional Food.



Can you have too much of a good thing? When it comes to fibre, probably not, just be sure to take your mineral supplements and some medications 2hrs away from certain fibres.

Anti-Cancer Action

Recent research out of Harvard Medical School suggests that high fibre intake during adolescence may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Fibre's oestrogen modifying effect is what's thought to exert its anti-cancer effect. After all, oestrogen instructs  cells to grow and this is an example of where you can have too much of a good thing.

Essentially, fibre is a carbohydrate we can't digest. Passing through the body undigested, fibre regulates blood sugars, cholesterol, sex hormone production and gut microbes. We need a minimum of 20-30 g per day though the average Aussie consumes around 15g a day. Traditional diets contain a heap more fibre, roughly 100g per day, excuse the pun!

What are the different types of fibre?

  • Soluble fibre- dissolves in water, regulates cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Oats, nuts, beans, lentils, psyllium, flaxseed, apples with skin & blueberries are good sources.

  • Insoluble fibre- as its name suggests, doesn’t dissolve in water and helps to promote ‘movement’ through the bowel; preventing constipation and maintaining regularity. Good sources are whole wheat, brown rice, flaxseed, rice bran, legumes, carrots, cucumbers & psyllium.

It is ideal to consume a mix of insoluble and soluble fibres. My favourite fibres are psyllium husks and/or seeds and flaxseeds. These fibres improve the pH in the colon, make our gut flora happy, bind with toxins, cholesterol, excess oestrogens and other sex hormones; they help to prevent diverticular disease, are protective against bowel cancer and encourage regular bowel movements. 

A tablespoon daily provides approximately 10g of fibre, potentially doubling the average intake of fibre in one fell swoop. Remember to always follow your fibre with an extra glass of water.

Fibre isn’t particularly sexy, nor is it marketed as a ‘superfood’ though it is possibly one of the most important steps you can take towards improving your health.

Fibre Fix

  • Linseed meal
  • Almond meal
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Rice bran

Combine seeds and bran (after being ground) together in equal quantity by weight.
Keep refrigerated. 

Serving suggestions: Take 1-3 tbsp daily with porridge /grated apple / stewed plums and plain yogurt.
Check out a simialr recipe here...

Thursday, 11 February 2016

So simple yet so powerful!


More and more I find I am 'prescribing' deep down belly breathing, and likewise, finding myself doing more of the same, after all, life's busy and a deep breath can help slow the pace of  life momentarily.

More importantly, I am repeatedly witnessing the benefits this simple behavioural change can bring about.

Belly breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) is easy to implement across all age groups, is very cost effective and kids particularly enjoy and benefit from it too.

The many and varied benefits of (deep) breath...

  • Deep breathing relaxes the nervous system by stimulatiing the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is the one in charge of restful & digestive activities.
  • Breathing is also a detoxification process. A deep breath encourages elimination of  CO2 plus other waste gases from the blood. As well, deep breathing improves our acid-alkaline balance.
  • Pain management- deep breath increases endorphin release, our body's own pain killing hormones. As any woman that has experienced childbirth, or anyone's that's experienced pain might know, breathing through the pain can make a huge difference to our experience of pain. The body tends to instinctively hold it's breath in pain so significant will is required.
  • Improved energy production - increased oxygenation = increased energy.
  • Better digestion - breathing assists better digestion in two ways. Firstly, diaphragmatic breathing increases blood flow to our abdominal organs, including the gut. Plus, calming our nervous system via deep breathing switches on our parasympathetic nervous system, which we know regulates digestive function.

Breathing Apps- Available for smart phones etc. 

  • Breathing Well Exercises
  • Universal BreathingTimer
  • Pranayama Universal or trial before you buy - Pranayama Free

Given the pace of life, deep breathe is probably the most effective, inexpensive, portable form of stress relief that we have.

Let me know how you go......