Archive for March 2013

Lemons

The recipe is really simple — a cup of warm (not hot) water and the juice from half a lemon and you too can enjoy a multitude of health benefits:Lemons

1. Boosts your immune system
Lemons are high in Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C is great for fighting colds and potassium stimulates brain and nerve function and helps control blood pressure.
2. Balances pH
Lemons are an incredibly alkaline food, believe it or not. Yes, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). As you wellness warriors know, an alkaline body is really the key to good health.
3. Helps with weight loss
Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. It also has been shown that people who maintain a more alkaline diet lose weight faster.
4. Aids digestion
The warm water serves to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis—the waves of muscle contractions within the intestinal walls that keep things moving. Lemons and limes are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract.
5. Acts as a gentle, natural diuretic
Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Toxins are, therefore, released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy.
6. Clears skin
The vitamin C helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemon water purges toxins from the blood which helps keep skin clear as well.
7. Hydrates the lymph system
This cup of goodness helps start the day on a hydrated note, which helps prevent dehydration. When your body is dehydrated, it can’t perform all of it’s proper functions, which leads to toxic buildup, stress, constipation, and the list goes on. Your adrenals happen to be two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys, and along with your thyroid, create energy. They also secrete important hormones, including aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone secreted by your adrenals that regulates water levels and the concentration of minerals, like sodium, in your body, helping you stay hydrated.Your adrenals are also responsible for regulating your stress response. So, the bottom line is that you really don’t want to mess with a deep state of dehydration!

Don’t be surprised if you begin to view mornings in a new light.

(source: beforeitsnews.com)

Resistance to antibiotics

Little side step from nutrition but well worth a read… Sir Alexander Fleming mentioned already in his Noble Prize speech in 1945 that it is possible that human ignorance and overdosing with penicillin can lead to penicillin resistance. We are now there! Check BBC’s Antibiotics Apocalypse for more information

It is as important as ever, maybe even more so, for us as individuals to take action through our diet and lifestyle choices to maintain and boost our health and immune system.

Sugar Cravings

We have all done it, we have succumbed to the calling of sweet stuff when we are tired, stressed or just generally fed-up.  Cravings, this uncontrollable desire to have something sweet immediately, are seen as an innocent need for a quick ‘pick me up’, but is there something more going on in the background?Chocolate bar

Regular consumption of sugar has been shown to create patterns for bingeing, craving and withdrawal, behaviours that are connected to the same neurochemical changes in the brain that are also activated by addictive drugs1. Increased sugar intake has also been linked to obesity, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and chronic disease2, 3.

Our brains require a constant supply of energy in the form of glucose, such as sugar. If the energy supply to our brain is disrupted, our inherent survival mechanism creates a sugar craving, and then rewards us with a dose of dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter4.

We can balance these fluctuating energy supplies by eating enough protein and fats with carbohydrates to slow down the feed of sugar from healthy carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables, dairy) to our bloodstream. Stress can also contribute to the imbalance of blood sugar levels. Both stress and high-sugar foods create blood sugar ‘highs’ that signal a start of insulin production. Normal insulin function delivers sugar into our cells for energy, but in excess it prioritises fat storage over fat burning.

You can take steps to break the vicious cycle of sugar cravings by making the right food choices and by reducing your stress levels.

Control sugar cravings by reducing
- cakes, biscuits, ice cream, sweets, chocolate, sodas, alcohol, refined sugar
- stimulants, including caffeine, nicotine
- wheat and dairy as they may stimulate cravings in some people
- stress
… and increasing
- protein intake at each meal  – eggs, nuts, cheese, tofu, beans, fish, free-range meat
- good fats within meals and snacks – nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocado, coconut milk, Greek yoghurt, olive oil in salads
- meditation, yoga, or walking/deep breathing in fresh air to relieve stress

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  1. Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG (2008). Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent excessive sugar intake.  Neurosci Biobehav Rev; 32:20-39.
  2. Thornley S, Tayler R, Sikaris K (2012). Sugar restriction: the evidence for a drug-free intervention to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Intern Med J; 42 Suppl 5:46-58
  3. Carrera-Bastos P, Fontes Villalba M, O’Keefe JH, Lindeberg S, Cordain L (2011). The western diet and lifestyle and disease of civilization. Res Rep Clin Cardiol; 2:215-235.
  4. Rada P, Avena NM, Hoebel BG (2005). Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell. Neuroscience; 134;737-744.

Alarming insight to modern ‘healthcare’

U.S. manages disease, not health – below feature by CNN gives us insight to how a modern super power has lost sight of the basics when caring for its ever increasing population. While our UK system is not as reliant on people having to have private insurance to have access to quality healthcare, our mainstream medical care is similarly relying on drugs to suppress symptoms rather than using nutrition, exercise, and stress management to promote long-term health and therefore help the nation to live longer disease free. No doubt this type of preventative approach would significantly help the management of the healthcare costs both on the national and individual level.

Article: U.S. manages disease, not health by CNN