Monday, 27 June 2016

First Aid foods to speed recovery.

It's that time of year again; the change of season often brings with it colds, coughs, flus and tummy bugs.

With so much sickness around right now, it's a good time to think about the foods we can use to speed our recovery.

Your food choices really can influence how quickly you recover from colds and other bugs.

Below are my top 8 'food as medicine' suggestions for the season.

  • Chicken Soup- provides much needed electrolytes, hydration and has a decongestant effect when consumed hot. Cysteine- an amino acid derived from the bones helps to break up mucous.
  • Garlic- Also breaks up mucus, plus has very strong antibacterial & antimicrobial effects.
  • Hot tea-Even good old black tea is hydrating and decongestant, more medicinal teas include Holy Basil (Tulsi), Chamomile, Yarrow, Peppermint & Licorice. Teas can be used to modulate fever, rehydrate, soothe dry coughs, stem diarrhoea and boost the immune response.
  • Ginger- Ginger is great for acute infections of the respiratory and digestive systems. Can help to reduce fever, ease nausea & vomiting, as well as being anti-inflammatory.
  • Chilli- Not for the faint hearted, chilli has a fever modulating effect and is actually useful for the pain associated with laryngitis and pharyngitis.
  • Bananas- as part of the BRAT diet (banana, rice, apple and toast) helpful with diarrhoea as banana is both binding and can slow bowel contractions.
  • Pumpkin/ Sweet potato- Orange vegetables are great sources of Vitamin A, essential for immune cell function, especially Natural Killer cells, don't they sound good (natural killer cells are immune cells that kill viruses and bacteria)? Vitamin A also improves our mucosal surface immunity-making our gut and airways less vulnerable to germs.
  • Mushrooms- The immune boosting actions of Shitake & Maitake mushrooms have been known for thousands of years. Recent research suggests consumption of regular mushroms may benefit our immune systems too. Consuming mushrooms, especially in a chicken broth with ginger, garlic and chilli is an ideal way to boost your defenses against infection.

A quick and easy flu fighter tea recipe can be found here:

Flu Fighter Tea

I love this combo for it's soothing warmth.

This is a great tea for most upper respiratory tract infections. It is antimicrobial, decongestant,  fever modulating, hydrating and breaks down mucous.

I like it especially when I'm all stuffed up and can't taste much- the taste and aroma of all these spices cuts through even the 'thickest' headcold.

Method & Ingredients:

Bring 1L water to the boil and add...
  • 1 Tbs raw honey
  • 2 Tsp grated ginger
  • 1 lemon sliced, unwaxed ideally.
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced.
  • 1/4 Tsp fresh chilli, chpped.

High simmer for 5 minutes. Cool slightly before drinking warm.

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Butterfly Effect

What every woman (and some men) need to know about thyroid disease.

Of all the conditions I have treated over the years, thyroid issues are some of the most common.

Of the thyroid diseases, hypothyroidism and Hashimotos's are the most common in my clinic.

It is something I am especially passionate about because the right intervention at the right time can hugely change disease progression.

A nutritional assessment is essential as oftentimes, thyroid disease starts out as nutritional deficiencies.

The thyroid  is a butterfly shaped gland located in your throat. It produces thyroid hormone, which affects virtually every cell in your body, regulating your metabolism; affecting digestion, fertility, bone density, energy, skin and cardiovascular health.

The 4 Key Nutrients to feed your thyroid!

  • Selenium is essential for a  healthy thyroid; Australian soils are deficient in selenium hence Selenium deficiency is commonplace. If relying on brazil nuts for selenium Aussie & Kiwi brazils won't do the job. If testing blood levels, red blood cell selenium is the most accurate.
  • Zinc is essential for thyroid hormone production and conversely, thyroid hormones are required for zinc absorption. Zinc deficiency contributes significantly to the hairloss seen in hypothyroidism.
  • Iodine- the most abundant mineral in the thyroid gland and makes up the bulk of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency can lead to an enlarged thyroid, hypothyroidism and mental retardation if a woman is deficient in preganacy.
  • Tyrosine- an amino acid found in proteins, including soybeans, cheese & seaweed.  

 Planning a baby? Read on for must have information.
An Australian study found alarmingly high rates of iodine deficiency in Australians, including upto 58% of women in their reproductive years. As iodine deficiency is the leading cause of  preventable mental retardation the researchers recommended all women should be screened for iodine deficiency prior to or at conception.

Typically, if selenium, zinc or iodine are lacking a hypothyroid state can develop.

The way I see it, there are 2 options at this point-take prescription thyroxine for life or replace the lacking nutrients and restore thyroid function. Admittedly, this can be harder to do after many years of thyroid disease and high antibody levels, though not impossible.

Other common disruptors of thyroid function include viral infections,especially EBV virus, chronic stress, mercury toxicity, chlorine, bromide and xenoestrogens.

Your thyroid is one of the important glands in your body and I assure you, if you look after it, it'll pay you back in kind.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

10 tips to manage anxiety.

Does it surprise you that 25% of the population have diagnosed anxiety?

Given that more of us are increasingly busy, constantly 'plugged in', consuming highly refined fats and sugars, using stimulants such as caffeine; alcohol for stress relief, not moving enough and sleeping poorly, it is little wonder anxiety is so common.

Some suggest that anxiety is a normal response to our 21st century lifestyle. When lab rats are exposed to repeated, unpredictable loud noises they become anxious. When the noise is loud and constant they become depressed!

Furthermore, when people are anxious they are more likely to dissassociate and therefore may not even be aware of their anxiety, so in all likelihood anxiety propbably affects more than 25% of us.

Read on for my top 10 tips to help manage anxiety.

  • Cut back on the caffeine- most people will experience a benefit after 7-10 days.
  • Exercise- intense exercise is an  effective way to ward off a panic attack.
  • Overhaul your diet- reduce sugars, flour based products, red meat, fried foods & alcohol.
  • Eat more plant foods, especially 'above ground' vegetables.
  • Get enough sleep, 7-8hrs ideally. You may need to adopt 'sleep hygiene practices'.
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy- CBT-effective at breaking old patterns and beleifs.
  • Manage stress.Cortisol affects brain chemistry triggering anxiety. BREATHE
  • Prioritise your nutrition, particularly magnesium, B6, zinc, iron and Omega 3's.
  • Take a good quality 'activated' Multivitamin each day.
  • Harness the healing power of plants. Lavender is the ultimate anxiety relieving herb.
  • Unplug & disconnect for some time each day. 

Some of these techniques will work sooner than others, with the right formula expect to feel less anxious within two weeks and more improvements in mood over the following 6-10 weeks.

If you want to get the best nutritional and herbal prescription for anxiety and discover how to develop a mental health promoting lifestyle get in touch.