Apr
08
2010

Phytonutrients – Super Nutrition Through Plant Foods

Phytonutrients are powerful and vital nutrients found in plant foods, particularly fruit and vegetables. Research has demonstrated that  obtaining adequate amounts of these nutrients on a daily level is vital to achieving long-term health and longevity.

Nature’s foods are often colour-coded to represent the nutrients that are contained within them. For instance red fruits and vegetables such as tomato, red capsicum, cherries and raspberries contain powerful nutrients such as resveratrol , lycopene and quecertin. Resveratrol has been shown to activate a “longevity gene” that appears to have a significant effect on life span. It also appears to block cancer-promoting genes and protect against heart and blood vessel disease.

Green vegetables such as parsley, lettuce, arugula and lettuce contain other important phytonutrients such as indole-3-carbinol (which has powerful effects in preventing breast and prostate cancer), zeazanthin (which is important for maintaining eye health and preventing macular degeneration), thiocyanates and more. They also contain the important nutrient chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green colour of these foods, and are also loaded with minerals.

Orange foods such as carrots, oranges and squash contain an important class of nutrients call carotenoids. They include beta-carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A. Blue foods include anthocyanins and are found in blueberries and blue-green algae. Each of these colour groups also represents one of the chakra, or energy centre of the body.
Getting a good spread from the various colour groups throughout the day ensures that you have a good selection of phytonutrients to boost your system throughout the day. The standard recommendation of two serves of fruit and five serves of numberswiki.com

vegetables a day probably can be seen as an absolute minimum. One serve is approximately equal to a fist-sized serving.

Importantly, the majority of phytonutrients are degraded to some extent by cooking the food. With some foods, the loss can be up to 80%. Although there are rare exceptions, such as lycopene, which seems higher in tomato sauce than fresh tomatoes, in general one is wise to eat most vegetables in the raw state.  These foods are highest in water content, minerals, enzymes and electrical energy.

A great way to start the day is by getting a phytonutrient rich smoothie or shake, rather than the standard western practices of eating grains and sugars first thing up. This will set you up on the right foot towards  getting a good spread of phytonutrients for the day. Adding a vegetable juice through the day, particular one emphasizing green vegetables such as celery and cucumber is another huge boost.  As Victoria Boutenko states in “Green For Life”, green vegetables are an important missing factor in the current Western diet. They allow us to remineralize, alkalize and reach our highest potential.

In fact, the standard advice of having two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day is an absolute minimum. One serve is around a fist-sized portion. Adding vegetable juice or somoothies into our regime is a sure way of assuring we get well above this “minimum level”. Adding high nutrient “superfoods” such as berries, maca or spirulina take us even further towards reaching a level of super nutrition capable of turning around any chronic health complaint.

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Oct
29
2009

Tips for Healing Adrenal Exhaustion

Adrenal Exhaustion is a colloquial term for functional adrenal insufficiency, caused by prolonged internal or external stress. It has been described in the medical literature as hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction.

Although not considered a conventional diagnosis by the medical world, common symptoms include:

  1. Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
  2. Fatigue – often worse with exercise
  3. Fuzzy thinking and poor concentration
  4. Poor quality sleep and lack of refreshment from sleep
  5. Dizziness and craving for salt

Some tips that may help the adrenals rest and rebuild:

  • Seek life-work balance and learn to schedule “me time” as part of your daily more info

    routine

  • Eliminate refined carbohydrates and sugars so as to balance blood glucose
  • Determine your metabolic type and eat in accordance with it: click here for the test
  • Add a pinch of himalayan or celtic sea salt to all your water and aim for 2-3 litres per day
  • Try to sleep before 10pm, avoid stimulants late at night and remove electric devices from near your bed.
  • In severe cases, further testing and cortisol replacement may be necessary.

Healing adrenal exhaustion is an ongoing process, and it can be helpful to find a holistic practitioner to work with.

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Oct
29
2009

Top Foods for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

Recent research on cardiovascular disease has suggested that although “traditional” risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes indeed greatly increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, a number of other risk factors are also important in the process of plaque formation in the arteries. These include:

1) Inflammation – this means a low-grade response from the body causing redness, heat and swelling in the arteries, making plaques more susceptible to rupture.

2) Endothelial dysfunction – this includes high levels of homocysteine, a product of metabolism of the amino acid methionine. This can often be corrected by therapeutic doses of vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid.

3) Abnormal platelet aggregation – this can be related to high levels of fibrinogen in the blood and makes the blood more thick and able to form clots.

4) LDL oxidation – this relates to a subtype of cholesterol which when oxidized, or affected by free radical compounds, becomes more likely to be able to penetrate blood vessels and start the process of plaque formation.

The top three foods for preventing or reversing the above processes appear to be:

1) Pomegranate – a low-sugar extract of pomegranate can help increase the activity of “good” HDL cholesterol, lower LDL cholesterol, and prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

2) Chocolate – dark chocolate (or raw cacao beans)  appear to have a beneficial effect on endothelial dysfunction, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

3) Green Tea – while black tea theoflavins appear to have a stronger effect on lowering LDL cholesterol, green tea extracts appear to have a significantly beneficial effect on reducing platelet aggregation and decreasing inflammation of the heart arteries.

Other important lifestyle factors include regular exercise and flossing the teeth, as periodontal disease also has a significant effect on increasing risk for cardiovascular disease.

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Aug
24
2009

Tips For Having An Amazing Day

Keeping on top of distractions and on task can be quite a daunting task when phone calls, emails, social networking messages and countless other distractions await us at every step.

For the author, although not an expert, a few simple disciplines have been profoundly helpful in allowing him to keep focused.

1. Dr Stephen Covey coined the phrase “First Things First” in his groundbreaking book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. This habit means focusing on the truly “important” tasks rather than simply “urgent” but truly unimportant tasks. For instance writing a business plan is an example of a proactive and truly important task, while visiting a link about an unrelated topic is neither urgent nor important.

2. Mark Joyner has started a personal effectiveness system called “Simpleology”. You can create an account at his website www.simpleology.com for free and download some of the tools and even his foundation course “Simpleology 101” for free. This website has a simple daily praxis for identifying important tasks and to schedule them in, as well as looking at factors which may be helping or hindering our main sources of power: time, energy and money.

3. Keep focused on the present moment during the day. This helps us from drifting off into thoughts and patterns which may not serve us, and allow us to harness the great opportunities available at each moment of our lives.

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Aug
24
2009

Holistic Solutions for Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is the common name for a series of common symptoms occuring in women in the days prior to their menstrual period. These can include anxiety, irritability, abdominal bloating, breast tenderness and swelling, tiredness and depression.

Physiological studies have showed that in many cases the underlying abnormality may be an imbalance between the two major female hormones: estrogen and progesterone. This causes a chain of effects in the body. Some studies have also shown that deficiencies of magnesium and vitamin B6 can also contribute towards the cause.

Some tips for getting on top of PMS:

1. Create a good relationship with a health practitioner experienced at treating PMS.

2. Try adding a magnesium and B6 supplement to your diet. High magnesium foods include all green vegetables, buckwheat (a grain), nuts and seeds and raw chocolate (cacao).

3. Exercise regularly and incorporate some relaxation or meditation into your lifestyle.

4. Try to avoid exposure to plastics, pesticides/herbicides and pollution, all of which can imbalance your female hormones

5. Try to take some “Me Time” every day and sleep six to eight hours per night (depending on your constitution).

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Aug
24
2009

“Grounding” The Human Body

It is common knowledge that almost all houses are electrically “grounded” to the earth. Why? It is a safety mechanism by which any accumulated current can safely be discharged and therefore the risk of electrocution and other problems associated with electrical current accumulation be avoided.

Could it be possible that “grounding” our human body could also have a significant effect on our health?

Around 1993, a cable television business man from Montana by the name of Clinton Ober, dared to ask the question. He was soon after to come across information about a paper being compiled by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and US Department of Energy (DOE) on the hazardous effects of Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) on health. Some of the findings in their key studies were that ungrounded exposure to EMF causes:

• Changes in the rhythym of release of important hormones in the body (the “circadian rhythym”)

• Accelerated tumor growth

• Impaired release of the sleep hormone “melatonin” by the pineal gland

• Decreased immune system function

It seemed clear to Ober that humans did not evolve insulated from the earth. In fact native cultures probably had a much closer contact with the Earth in all senses of the word. This included having direct physical contact of our skin with the earth for the majority of the day.

Ober decided to test his theory that grounding the human body would relieve a lot of health problems. He created a study using dissipative carbon fiber mattress pads which could be placed under fitted sheets, which were connected via a ground wire to a ground rod driven into the earth near their bedroom window. The grounded mattress pads were designed to replicate the ground plane of the earth in the bed.

Despite being a non-controlled study of only 60 participants, his results were significant and decisive:

• 85% went to sleep quicker

• 93% reported sleeping better throughout the night

• 100% reported waking, being and feeling more rested

• 82% experienced a significant reduction in muscle stiffness

• 74% experienced the elimination of/or a reduction of chronic back and joint pain

• 78% reported improved general health

In addition, several subjects in the study also reported experiencing significant relief from asthmatic and respiratory conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, sleep apnea and hypertension.

This study was soon followed up by Dr Russell Whitten of Ojai, CA, who performed a similar grounding of 35 of his own patients and found similar results.

Overall the results indicated that the human body, with loss of ground contact, is now operating in a bio-electrically stressed state.

Many people report a more restful sleep after waking on the ground barefoot before sleeping. Now we have technology that can ground us while sleeping, and when awake and functioning in the world. It is technology that can antidote the harmful effects of other technology. For more details visit www.agroundedlife.com. To purchase a grounding bed pad in Australia, click here.

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Jul
14
2009

Coeliac Disease On the Rise

Coeliac Disease is a hereditary form of intolerance to a portion of gluten, the protein in many common grains including wheat, oats, barley and rye. A recent study published in the journal ‘Gastroenterology’ in July 2009 showed that the incidence of Coeliac Disease has increased dramatically over the last 50 years.

The study compared blood samples from 9133 adults from Warren Air Force Base, USA between 1948 and 1954 with age and gender-matched controls from two recent samples from Minnesota, USA. The results showed a 4.5 fold and 4 fold increase in prevalance of undiagnosed Coeliac Disease with the two recent samples, respectively, as compared to the air force samples.

The reasons for this huge increase in rates of Coeliac Disease are unclear. What is clear is that diseases of gluten intolerance are increasing in importance, and do not always present as a classic syndrome of diarrhoea, weight loss and abdominal pain.

Although considered somewhat controversial by the medical profession, the experience of many nutritional doctors around the world is that gluten intolerance may play a major role in a number of conditions, even in the absence of true Coeliac Disease. Examples of these conditions include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, schizophrenia, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

It is recommended to consult a health practitioner before excluding gluten from your diet, as it is more difficult to test for Coeliac Disease once gluten has been excluded from the diet. A simple blood test can be performed to screen for Coeliac Disease, and can be performed by any medical practitioner. It is also important to ensure that we have a balanced diet plan which will meet all essential nutrients before excluding all gluten products.

Examples of non-gluten based grains include rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth. All fruits and vegetables appear to be free of gluten. Wheatgrass also appears to be safe for those with gluten intolerance, although it may be wise to avoid it if you have a severe reaction to wheat products. Further information on the Coeliac Disease can be found at www.glutenfree.org.au..

Reference: Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93. Pub Med Abstract

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Jul
01
2009

Tips for Building Healthy Bone

Osteoporosis means weak, brittle bones, and is a risk factor for bone fractures. It can be easily prevented by some simple lifestyle measures.


FOODS AND LIFESTYLE FACTORS TO EMPHASIZE

•    Emphasize green vegetables – these high magnesium foods can be introduced in the form of fresh, raw salads, or in the form of vegetable juices or green smoothies.

•    Emphasize berries, citrus fruit, tomatoes and other high vitamin C containing foods

•    Add in sea vegetables such as dulse, kelp, wakame and nori for all minerals including boron

•    Try Horsetail and nettle tea – these common herbs grow wildly and are an excellent source of silicon

•    Weight-bearing exercise – walking, jogging, weights, 30min five times a week walking is a good starting point

•    Sunlight exposure – 10-15 minutes at ‘off-peak’ times is ideal for a light-skinned person – try 10am or 3pm – this will generally provide approximately 20,000iu of vitamin D3.

•    Ignore calcium supplements – numerous studies have shown that calcium has very little impact on osteoporosis and may actually negatively impact vitamin D status

•    Consider a salivary hormone test panel to check for hormonal imbalances that may impact hormone balance

•   Consider adding maca root to your diet – maca is a traditional South American herb that has been shown to increase all steroid hormones

FOODS TO AVOID

•    White sugar products (including commercial sweets / soft drinks / pastries) – XYLITOL is a excellent alternative for sugar. Sugar leaches minerals from bone.

•    Artificial additives (eg Monosodium Glutamate, Aspartame, Saccharin, Nutrasweet)

•    Dairy products (including milk / butter / cheese / yoghurt) – are not essential for adequate calcium intake and in fact most likely detrimental to bone health

•    Caffeine (coffee / black tea) – are highly acidic and leach bone minerals – green tea is an acceptable transition food

•    Red and white meats are also highly acid forming and leach minerals from bone – emphasize plant-based foods

Further reading: “Building Bone Vitality” by Lanou and Castleman. Purchase from Amazon.com

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Jun
14
2009

The Perennial Philosophy

in 1945 Aldous Huxley released a ground-breaking book named “The Perennial Philosophy”. The key tenet of the book is that there is a fundamental truth which underpins all cultures and also, all religious traditions that exist today. This basic truth is described as unrelated to culture, terminology, societal changes or dogma. Ken Wilbur in his work “Eye to Eye: The Quest for the New Paradigm” similarly describes a spectrum of being. On one side of the spectrum is the individual consciousness and on the other end is universal consciousness. A key tenet of the Perennial Philosophy is that within us we possess this purely conscious essence, which is in fact identical in nature, but simply of a smaller magnitude, to universal consciousness. Universal consciousness can be described as the ground of all being, spirit or God; the basic reality at the heart of the universe. And the purpose of human life to realize the first and reunite it with the latter, an experience described by mystics of all traditions.

Are the mystics and sages insane? Because they all tell variations on the same story, don’t they? The story of awakening one morning and discovering you are one with the All, in a timeless and eternal and infinite fashion. Yes, maybe they are crazy, these divine fools. Maybe they are mumbling idiots in the face of the Abyss. Maybe they need a nice, understanding therapist. Yes, I’m sure that would help. But then, I wonder. Maybe the evolutionary sequence really is from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit, each transcending and including, each with a greater depth and greater consciousness and wider embrace. And in the highest reaches of evolution, maybe, just maybe, an individual’s consciousness does indeed touch infinity—a total embrace of the entire Kosmos—a Kosmic consciousness that is Spirit awakened to its own true nature. It’s at least plausible. And tell me: is that story, sung by mystics and sages the world over, any crazier than the scientific materialism story, which is that the entire sequence is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing? Listen very carefully: just which of those two stories actually sounds totally insane?

– Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything, 42-3

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Jun
13
2009

Fasting and Detoxification

Fasting has been used ancient times as a profound way to activate the body’s healing mechanisms. Fasting has also a part of many ancient religious traditions as a way of enhancing spiritual awareness. Different modes of fasting include dry fasting, fasting on water only, and fasting on fruit or vegetable juice. Gabriel Cousens M.D., a world leader in holistic medicine, recommends 7-day fasting on green vegetable juices two to four times a year as the optimal way of activating the anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic genes. During these fasts, adjuvant procedures include daily water enemas, herbal kidney and liver support, liquid zeolite, proteolytic enzyme support, far infra-red saunas, rebounding and gentle exercise. Additionally the participants experience the “Zero Point” course for healing emotional blocks and raising understanding of one’s sacred design.

During a fast, the body’s energy is able to focus on healing itself rather than digesting and eliminating food. The “vital life force” is activated, the seven chakras are balanced and the mind cleared. Research in the early 1900s on incurable schizophrenics showed a 65% healing rate simply by placing the patients on a 28-day water fast. Potent bowel neurotoxins such as 6-hydroxy-skatole were cleared from the intestines of the patients and thus their minds were allowed to be cleared and the mental illness healed. This points to a significant healing benefit from regular fasting. Fasting was a regular part of Mahatma Gandhi’s weekly routine. At the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Centre in Arizona, USA, type 2 diabetics are regularly reversed using a 7-day green juice fast followed by an extremely low-glycaemic, highly mineralized, organic vegan raw food diet. The potential of this direction in holistic healing is staggering and the need for high quality research urgent.

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