Staying Well This Winter
Now that the chilly weather is setting in we are headed for the cold and flu season!
Here are 5 things you can do to help prevent illness and keep you and your family well!
1. Eat well for key nutrients to support your immune system.
As amazing as it sounds over 70% of your immune system cells are found in the lining of your gut. This is why it is so important to ensure your gut has plenty of friendly, good bugs to enable optimal immune functioning. Taking a probiotic daily will maintain a good population of beneficial microorganisms. Any good quality broad spectrum probiotic will help.
Click here for an interesting article exploring probiotics and vitamin C for the prevention of respiratory infections in children. http://www.facebook.com/bendigonhc
3. Think about how you live!
4. Use Immune stimulating and infection fighting natural medicines.
The WHO estimates that up to 80% of the world's population relies on natural medicines. Two-thirds of Australians use complementary medicines. Yet the powers that be would have us believe it is ineffective, unproven, dangerous and putting people's lives at risk. Have a good look at this graph for the real story. Try finding the complementary medicines dot! See the following link for more information.
This is a really interesting read especially considering that in 2015 the Australian Government published a paper stating that homoeopathy is ineffective for any health condition and that people who choose homoeopathy may be putting their lives at risk! (This is a great lead in to the next blog "individual Vs Societal Risk of Death" - now that's a fascinating reality check). Amazing how people can see the same thing from such different perspectives.
Good health and vitality is only possible with a healthy, well functioning liver!
The liver is the largest organ in the body and is responsible for a host of metabolic functions and detoxification. It is like a huge filter, ridding the body of waste products, toxic substances, drugs and excess fat. If your liver is below par, toxins build up in the blood stream, the immune system becomes overloaded and a diverse range of symptoms take hold!
Early signs of an unhappy liver include a coated tongue, bad breath, “foggy brain”, dark circles under the eyes and feeling bloated.
Symptoms of poor liver function include:
You can Cleanse and Rejuvenate your liver! Try the following:
Dietary Guidelines to improve your liver function:
1. Avoid eating the wrong type of fats and sugar that place a heavy burden on the liver. The liver is the fat metabolising organ and if it is under pressure it will be unable to perform its metabolic and detoxifying processes efficiently and your entire metabolism will slow down.
Reduce Saturated fats: These are solid at room temperature and include butter, lard, animal fats (the white streaks in meat) and some vegetable fats such as palm oil and coconut oil. Many commercial products such as crackers, biscuits, and cakes are high in saturated fat as well as take away foods.
Avoid Trans fatty acids These are particularly ugly as they build up in the liver causing fatty liver and elevate cholesterol levels. Sources of trans fatty acids include margarine, deep fried foods, potato chips, fast foods, chocolate bars, snack bars, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and baked foods such as biscuits, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, buns etc
Increase your consumption of Essential Fatty Acids. Include nuts, home made salad dressings (using olive oil & vinegar), fish and seafood, eggs (especially omega 3 enriched), avocado and dark green leafy vegetables.
Avoid eating large amounts of sugar. Apart from playing havoc with your blood sugar levels, excess sugar is converted into fat such as cholesterol and triglycerides which can build up inside blood vessels and organs (such as the liver) and cause fatty degeneration.
Avoid artificial sweeteners as these are toxic to the liver. Alternatives to be used sparingly include honey and stevia.
2. Avoid constipation and eat plenty of fibre every day. Eat plenty of raw vegetables, and fruit. Aim to have a green salad every day.
3. Choose good quality breads. Try heavy, grainy breads made from wheat, rye, barley, oats and sourdough breads. Avoid white bread and products made from white bread flour including white rolls, pastries, biscuits, cakes.
4. Eat protein from a variety of sources, not just animal products such as lean meat, chicken, fish, low fat dairy products and eggs. Also include legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils), grains (wheat, rice, barley, oats, rye) nuts and seeds (sunflower, sesame, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds).
5. Drink at least 8 glasses of filtered water everyday. Water helps to cleanse the liver and keeps cells well hydrated. Drink small amounts often throughout the day and avoid drinking large amounts with meals.
Dr. Sandra Cabot (2004) Syndrome X.
Prof. Jenni Brand-Miller et al. 2003. The New Glucose Revolution
Why a detoxification program can have far reaching effects in solving health problems and getting you back on track…
I have recently decided to offer a new detoxification program through the clinic mainly because the more I read about detoxification the more I understand how it can help people with very diverse health issues.
It is an amazingly complex process so here is a hugely summarised and simplified explanation!
First of all you might ask why bother with a detoxification program?
One of the more obvious answers is because we live in an increasingly toxic world. There is no end to toxic chemicals floating around in modern society – industrial pollutants, cleaning products, hygiene products, petrochemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, food additives, plastics and other synthetic compounds and the list goes on and on…
The human body has inbuilt mechanisms to deal with toxins but these natural processes can be overburdened leading to specific symptoms of exposure and a vast array of non-specific symptoms that may overlap with other clinical issues. These include:
The process of detoxification
Most detoxification programs aim to reduce the toxic load by restricting the diet and removing foods that are most commonly associated with intolerances and irritation to the digestive system; increasing fluids and fibre to promote cleansing and use specific herbs and supplements to support the organs involved in detoxification and elimination.
The liver has always been considered the primary organ of detoxification with a number of key functions including:
Improving Intestinal barrier health and function is also a key aspect of detoxification as the gut wall is literally a barrier to a huge range of endogenous toxins. So called “leaky gut” is a state of increased intestinal permeability which allows entry of undesirable compounds into the body, thereby adding to toxic overload.
The gut is also a major site of the excretion of toxins so poor gut health can lead to the reabsorption of toxic metabolites otherwise destined for elimination.
And lastly inflammation of gut cells and the degradation of beneficial gut flora severely compromise detoxification and excretion. Therefore many of the supplements used in detoxification programs focus on the elimination of parasites from the bowel, the cleansing and healing of the gut wall and the restoration of beneficial bowel flora.
Other organs involved in the elimination of waste from the body are the skin, lungs, kidneys and lymphatic system which is why detox programs usually involve skin brushing and Epsom salt baths (promote the opening of pores and increase blood flow through to the surface of the skin to aid the elimination of toxins through the skin), simple unprocessed food and increased fluids to support kidney function and exercise (increases lung function and stimulates the lymphatic system which is responsible for the removal of excess fluid and toxins from within the tissues).
So to end with where we started – why detoxify? Because it’s like having a spring clean and a chance to start again; to restore your systems of detoxification and elimination which in turn can lead to improved energy, better immune function, clarity of thought, better digestion; can be a great start to cleaning up your diet, maybe even identify food sensitivities and lose some weight and of course it always makes you feel better when you are doing something really proactive for your health!
Vitamin D has been the topic of extensive research in recent years which has increased our awareness of the benefits of this essential nutrient. Vitamin D is credited with maximising calcium uptake and improved bone health as well as playing an important role in immune function and reducing the risk of a range of chronic illnesses. It has also raised awareness of the surprising incidence of deficiency in a sunny country like ours.
Sources of Vitamin D include sunshine, diet and supplementation.
Dietary sources of Vitamin D are limited which makes it very difficult to get enough Vitamin D from food sources alone.
The question of how much sunshine is needed to make adequate vitamin D is a tricky topic due to the increased risk of developing skin cancers with increasing sun exposure. See this information put out by the Anticancer Council for up to date recommendations.