Posts Tagged ‘health’

A Healthy Alternative

I belong to several health related forums online. Recently I have been made more and more aware of the plight of many young people with young families who are suffering from ill health. Many of these families are suffering together and their whole lives are affected by their incapacity. As a health professional my instinct is to want to help them, but something tells me that in most cases this is virtually an impossible task.

The most important lesson I have learned from this is in regard to my own health situation. The fact that I have recently been diagnosed with various health issues has required me to adhere to a special, restricted diet. Although this has posed no real challenge for me, it has alerted me to the fact that I am somewhat obsessed with what I eat. My attention is focused solely on my lack of full health and my determination to do something about it. At no time do I think about myself as whole and well. I do of course want to be whole and well but that is something in the future.

I have come to the sudden realization that this in  itself is an unhealthy approach to life  and I need to find a healthy alternative.  As a result of various coincidences in the last week I have found myself listening to the videos of Abraham Hicks.

Esther and Jerry Hicks are an amazing couple who, though a series of events over 20 years ago found themselves instruments in the process of leading people to wholeness through the collective voice of Abraham and the Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction basically teaches that we attract what we think about. So if we are constantly thinking about our ill health then that is what we will get.  We somehow have to change the way we think, we need a healthy alternative to our normal way of viewing our health. A way of taking the emphasis away from ill health and focusing on our well-being.

The following video will help to explain what I mean

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5 Reasons Why Fruit and Vegetables Are So Important For Our Health

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Eat 5 a day!! or even eat 10 a day. Both of these slogans are used regularly to encourage people to eat a healthy diet, so that they may live long and healthy lives.

Encouraging people to eat more fruit and vegetables is seen a top priority by those who are promoting a healthier diet. Many serious illnesses are caused by nutritional deficiency due to a diet made up of poor quality food and far to many people are eating processed foods and fast foods that have little or no nutritional value.

Research indicates that nine or ten servings of fruits and vegetables a day is optimal, whereas dietary guidelines tend to recommend a minimum of five servings a day. However it would appear that most populations are consistently not reaching even half this goal. Attempts to increase the intake of fruit and vegetables is proving to be a major public health challenge.

So why are vegetables so beneficial to our health?

  1. The fibre content in fruit and vegetables, ultimately aids the digestive process.
  2. Vitamins – Vitamin C and  the B complex vitamins are found in all fruit and vegetables whereas vitamin A is found in read yellow and orange fruit and vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes.
  3. Minerals – The minerals copper, iron, zinc, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and potassium are found in certain fruit and vegetables
  4. Phytonutrients- More recently research has been focusing on a different set of nutrients called phytonutrients. These bioactive substances are found in all plants – not just fruit and vegetables but also in flowers, herbs spices, seeds, nuts, oils, cereals, pulses, chocolate as well as beverages such as tea and coffee. Many but not all of these nutrients are highly coloured. There are 20 top phytonutrients each with their own special name and properties
  5. It is well documented that people who eat a diet rich in plant foods have a reduced incidence of heart disease and cancer
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Foods that Help the Inflammatory Response

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Many modern diseases and conditions have what we would term an inflammatory response. Arthritis is a particularly painful inflammatory response as is chronic back pain.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Fats and Oils – Omega 3 essential fatty acids are very powerful anti-inflammatory agents. They are converted into hormone like substances called prostaglandins. They are found in cold water oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or herring, flaxseed (sometimes called linseed) and their oil. Omega 6 fats are also responsible for reducing inflammation and pain and they can be found in pumpkin, sunflower, safflower and sesame seed oils.

Fruit and Vegetables – Green and brightly coloured vegetables and fruits can help the inflammatory process. The pigment in brightly coloured fruit, vegetables and in particular berries, contain many phytochemicals and anti-oxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. For example quercetin which can be found in the skins of red apples and re onions is a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory.

Spices – The spice tumeric is thought to have anti inflammatory properties and is often recommended for those with arthritis. It can be added to food in the natural way or taken as a supplement

Pro-inflammatory Foods

If you are suffering from an inflammatory disease, it would also be wise to avoid pro-inflammatory foods that might increase your pain and inflammation.

Foods to avoid include any junk food and fast food, especially trans-fats and saturated fats. Too much saturated fat means too much arachidonic acid which although essential in the right amounts can be responsible for making your inflammation worse if you consume too much.

Diets high in sugar have also been associated with inflammation and so should be avoided. Another possible cause for concern is foods that come from the deadly nightshade family. Foods such as potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant have been known to aggravate the pain of inflammation.

Adjusting your diet in this way is the first line of defence for any anti-inflammatory regime. Such dietary changes ideally, need to be initiated early on in the disease if they are to have any noticeable effect.

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Are Superfruits Helpful to our Health?

With so much misinformation and exaggeration  found in the media, especially regarding health and health related products and foods, it is important to research carefully any claims made by the promoters of these products and foods.

The term “superfruits” is basically commercial terminology for a range of the more rare fruits deemed to have a particularly high nutritional value, especially their antioxidant value. Their perceived health benefits would seem to be the main reason for their popularity. But how reliable is the information that we may read in the media??

Some of the more popular “superfruits” include: acai, blueberry, cranberry, gogi, red grape, guarana, mango, mangosteen, noni and pomegranate. Fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are not included here even though they have many of the qualities of superfruits, mainly due to the fact that they are commonly known and have not attracted that novelty value of the other fruits.

The main characteristic of superfruits is the presence of antioxidant phytochemicals. These phytochemicals are thought to have potent antioxidant qualities that are thought to be particularly helpful in many serious degenerative diseases, as well as conditions such as mental fatigue and inflammation.

Antioxidants have a very important part to play in our overall health. Free radical damage can occur at cellular level due to a variety of reasons , including pollution, toxins and the stresses of daily life. These free radicals become unstable and attack healthy molecules. The antioxidants found in superfruits act as free radical scavengers, that is they mop up the free radicals and render them harmless.

If you don’t want to  have these superfruits as a daily part of your diet, instead you can choose to take them as a nutritional supplement. It is quite common to find the supplements contain a combination of superfruits to enable them to offer the best antioxidant activity. when taken in the form of a supplement  they are in a more concentrated form to ensure that the highest possible dose is made available. However it is my own personal opinion that the food itself is the preferred option as you will be hgetting the added benefits of the fiber contained within the fruit itself

To enable the consumer to have an understanding of the potency of the product they are purchasing and to inform them of the relative value for money, a measurement is given on all superfruit supplements. The potency of the the superfruit supplement is measured in ORACs – Oxygen Radical Absorbence Capacity. As an example, mangosteen juice has an ORAC value of 15 – 17 thousand whereas cranberry juice has a value of 8 – 10 thousand.

Although it is generally agreed that all fruits are good for our health superfruits do seem to contain more complex substances that help to maintain good health and keep certain diseases and illnesses at bay. Inclusion of the fruits themselves or a concentrated supplement will undoubtedly improve your overall health and wellness and ensure that your body is dealing effectively with any free radical damage they may be occurring on a daily basis

Detoxing Naturally Requires Careful Preparation

What does it actually mean when we say we want to detox naturally? Does it mean to allow our bodies to detox without any interference? In an ideal world where we regularly eat a healthy diet and lead the type of healthy lifestyle that our ancestors did, detoxing as nature intended may be a more feasible proposition. Our bodies do in fact have their own natural detox mechanisms. The gut is designed to prevent bacteria and many toxins from entering the body. The liver acts as an extraordinary chemical factory to make a water soluble compound that can be excreted by the kidneys. This enables the body to detox naturally. The body also dumps toxins while we sleep to be excreted again as nature intended. We can re-hydrated our bodies with simple tap water and be refreshed with a good nights sleep.

Unfortunately in our present day and age the health of the gut cannot be taken for granted as a protector. More and more we are seeing health problems caused by increased permeability of the gut wall, which means it is not as capable of preventing toxins from entering the body. The detox process is largely reliant on the efficiency of the liver, but unfortunately with the stresses and strains of modern day living and lifestyle habits the liver is not longer able to function optimally, leaving the detox process largely unfinished.

Many people go on a detox diet as a way of making up for the way they have treated their bodies over the previous months (and maybe years) but what many people fail to do is to ensure that the liver is able to cope with the increasing load that is put upon it during a detox program. Consequently we can experience headaches and minor skin eruptions as the body struggles to get rid of the toxins.

Every good detox program should without a doubt begin with a liver boosting regime. This can be done with gentle herbs, coffee enemas or castor oil packs, all of which help to stimulate the liver to be more productive and therefore eliminate the unnecessary side effects.

If you want to embark on a tried and tested regime then you may prefer some thing like the Master Cleanse System

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