Why it’s important to love your bacteria

For many years we have been taught to avoid bacteria, as ‘germs’ are the source of infection and therefore illness. While this is true to a point, the reality is far more complex than previously understood.

The human body – as we may well know- is a very complex organism. Even more complex though, are the bugs that inhabit the body. There are actually 10 times as many bacterial cells on and in a human than there are human cells!! And what is even more fascinating is that the bacterial world is like any other ecosystem, where numbers of one bacteria support the levels of another, and too many of one type, may crowd out others. If one group starts to get out of hand, it can force out another group and disrupt the balance of the colony. It is important to keep all of the members of the colony happy. Even though some bacteria do not confer a directly positive health effect, they help another type of bacteria to do their job, and so are necessary for overall health.

We are starting to learn more about how what we do in our lives affects our bacterial colonies. The foods that we eat (or don’t eat), the medications that we take, our exercise and sleep patterns can all have an effect on the types and numbers of bacteria that live in the different parts of our bodies.

fruit"

A diet high in fruits and vegetables will help keep your bacteria happy!

 

You have probably heard news of how antibiotics can reduce beneficial bacterial numbers and allow the overgrowth of less beneficial bacteria (such as in antibiotic associated thrush – a candida albicans overgrowth). Other medications can also affect the gut flora. For example, the oral contraceptive pill can alter the delicate microbial balance, leaving you – the host – with a colony that looks less than ideal.

In addition, the composition and quality of your diet will have a great impact on your gut flora. Bacteria require lots of fibre to feed on to survive – that means that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is going to help to keep your bacteria happy (what a surprise!) Remember – when you feed your body, you are feeding your flora too!

The direction of influence is not a one-way street though. The flora in our bodies can impact our health and change the way we live our lives, just in the same way that what we do can influence bacterial health. Gut flora has numerous affects on the health of its host, including the breakdown of food for absorption, the production of certain vitamins such as vitamins K and B12 and stimulating our immune system.

Furthermore, your gut flora can affect how much sex steroid hormone (such as oestrogen or testosterone) is floating around in your body and can even influence your appetite and food choices! Some studies have found that when a patient receives the flora (bacteria) from an overweight or obese person (such as in faecal transplants – yes, it’s true!), the recipient also becomes obese within a short period of time. Other studies show that bacteria have a way of ‘talking’ to our nervous systems and telling us which foods to choose and helping us to identify when we are full. Ensuring that our gut flora is in a healthy balance is essential to good health.

If you are not sure if your current diet supports healthy gut flora, or whether your flora are working with, or against you, an appointment with one of our naturopaths will help get your gut back on track and keep your bugs happy and healthy.

Gemma Martin – Naturopath
Bachelor of Naturopathy

Which juicer is best?

Fresh juices introduce a very high yield of nutrients and phytochemicals and they come with their own enzymes for fast assimilation. They also assist those with an impaired digestion where nutrient absorption from whole foods is impaired. Fresh juices can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream so are a fast way to deliver nutrient dense energy. Fresh juice is far superior to store bought juice, which is why having a juicer is beneficial.

Fresh juices contain enzymes that are beneficial for digestion. Juices that are not made fresh, which are bottled or canned will not oxidise.  This is because the juice has been heated to deactivate all the enzymes by a process called pasteurisation. Juicing allows you to enjoy a wide variety of vegetables that you may not enjoy eating whole and also a good way to consume the recommended daily serving of vegetables.

There is not one perfect juicer for everyone because fruits and vegetables have vastly different properties.  The juicing method that is effective for one may not work while juicing the other.   Fruits, have soft cell walls, and therefore require a gentle extraction method. Apples, pears, watermelon, rock melon and pineapple are some of the fruits that can be juiced with the peels intact.  Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, mandarines, lemons) have a bitter outer rind, and juicing them whole would be too bitter to drink and also contains indigestible chemicals. You can grate away the outer rind (coloured part) while leaving the pith (white part).

Vegetables have fibrous or tougher cell walls that requiring more mechanical juicing action than fruit.  Due to their low acid content, it is recommended that vegetable juices be consumed within 15 minutes of their preparation. It has been demonstrated that enzyme activity in juice 30 minutes old is one-half that of freshly made juice. When apple or carrot juice turns brown, it has oxidised.  Ideally juices are made from raw organic fruits and vegetables.

General factors to consider when looking for a juicer

Purpose: What will you be using the juicer for? Mostly fruit, mostly vegetables, grasses and leafy greens, or everything?

RMP rating: A low RMP is considered preferable. Juicers with higher RPM ratings create heat and impact shock, destroying enzyme and nutrient content in the juice.

Powerful motor: A low-powered motor will vibrate, make noise, sometimes overheat, and eventually burn out.

Quiet operation: Some juicers can be very loud depending on the RPM and motor quality.

A range of juicing abilities: It is important to select a juicer that will process the widest range of health-promoting herbs, plants, vegetables and fruits, or is specific for your individual requirements.

Parts: What materials are the components made from? Can they be cleaned in a dishwasher?

Health benefits: Enzyme and nutritional content, shelf life, yield.

Easy to operate: Not all juicers are the same when it comes to ease of operation and cleaning. High RPM juicers need more frequent juicing and cleaning sessions are required because their juice rapidly loses nutritional value and has to be consumed immediately.

Additional benefits to consider: What else can it do? Does it have useful accessories and attachments included? Can it make other things like pasta, nut butters, desserts, baby food etc.? Does it come with a warranty?

Type 1: Twin Gear

These juicers have two gears that press the juice out of the produce. The screws (also known as augers) turn at 90-110 rpm. The produce is pushed into the two gears, which first shreds, and then squeezes the produce. These are best for juicing vegetables since these machines rely on the fibrous cell wall to push the pulp through the machine and they will also juice wheatgrass. These machines require some pressure to feed the produce into the machine. Some brands are also able to homogenise. This is important if you wish to make things like raw apple sauce, fruit sorbets, nut butters, or baby food.

 

Twin Gear Juicer

Twin Gear Juicer

 

Pros

  • Well-suited to juicing leafy greens, grasses, sprouts and herbs
  • Higher juice yield
  • Juice lasts longer with enzyme integrity keeping for up to 72 hours
  • Lower speeds means less heat is generated, preserving more nutrients and enzymes
  • Minimal juice separation and foaming
  • Some models offer other food processing functions, such as being able to make nut milk, nut butter, sorbet, pasta and ice cream
  • Pressing action is quiet.
  • Cold pressed juicers extract 35% more juice out of produce

Cons

  • Higher initial cost
  • Longer food preparation, as smaller food pieces are required for their narrow chutes
  • Slightly higher pulp in juice

Type 2: Masticating (single gear)

It operates at lower speed via a masticating or cold press method which doesn’t disrupt cellular structure. This slowness preserves enzymes and nutrients and reduces oxidation. Juice yield is higher than with centrifugal and makes drier expelled pulp.

In contrast to the rough extraction and high speeds of centrifugal juicers, cold press juicers operate at lower speeds and gently compress fruit and vegetables to squeeze out their juice. While more costly, their slower and more thorough extraction rates produce a higher-quality juice, and higher yield. Cold pressed juicers operate at lower speeds (usually around 70-80 rpm), keeping heat generation to a minimum. This produces a better tasting juice with minimal foam and separation and also means that the beneficial enzymes and nutrients are retained.

 

Masticating Juicer

Masticating Juicer

 

Pros

  • Well-suited to juicing leafy greens, grasses, sprouts and herbs
  • Higher juice yield
  • Juice lasts longer with enzyme integrity keeping for up to 72 hours
  • Lower speeds means less heat is generated, preserving more nutrients and enzymes
  • Minimal juice separation and foaming
  • Some models offer other food processing functions, such as being able to make nut milk, nut butter, sorbet, pasta and ice cream
  • Pressing action is quiet.
  • Cold pressed juicers extract 35% more juice

Cons

  • Higher initial cost
  • Longer food preparation, as smaller food pieces are required for their narrow chutes
  • Slightly higher pulp in juice

Type 3: Centrifugal

Centrifugal juicers are commonly available and are the cheapest type to purchase. These machines initially extract juice by pulverising fruit and vegetables against a round cutting blade that spins very quickly against a metal strainer. The centrifugal force generated by the spinning motion of the cutting surface separates the juice from the pulp. It uses a grater or shredder disc and a strainer basket with straight sides to hold the pulp in the machine.  The shredder disk is at the bottom of the basket, which revolves at a high speed (3600 rpm). Produce is put into the top of the machine, and it pressed through a chute, hits the spinning shredder disc, while the produce is being shred, juice is released.  The basket spins at a high speed and force pushes the juice through the strainer basket and then out of the front of the machine while the pulp stays inside. This style of juicer can make 500ml before the juicer must be stopped, and the pulp must be removed before further juicing can take place.  This is not a continuous juicing appliance. This juicer is good for juicing most fruits and vegetables.

 

Centrifugal Juicer

Centrifugal Juicer

 

Pros

  • Fast juicing time
  • Cheaper to purchase
  • Easy to use
  • Reduces food preparation time as many accept larger fruit and vegetable pieces

Cons

  • Not well-suited to juicing leafy greens, grasses, sprouts and herbs
  • Yields less juice (produces a wet pulp)
  • Reduced juice quality due to fast spinning blades producing heat that destroy beneficial enzymes
  • Higher juice separation and foaming
  • Noisy because of the grinding and cutting action

Additional Information

In between juicing you can run some water through the juicer to rinse it. It is recommended that you rinse and clean your juicer as soon as you’ve finished using it. When you get into a routine of cleaning your juicer it’s quite easy to keep clean and ready to use.

Alkaline forming fruits and vegetables should form the largest part of your juicing produce. Alkaline fruits are: lemon, lime, avocado, tomato, grapefruit, and rhubarb. Watermelon is neutral. All other fruits are acid forming.

Alkaline vegetables are: asparagus, artichokes, cabbage, lettuce, onion, cauliflower, radish, swede, peas, zucchini, red cabbage, leeks, watercress, spinach, turnip, chives, carrot, green beans, beetroot, garlic, celery, grasses (wheat, straw, barley, kamut etc.), cucumber, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, sprouts (soy, alfalfa, mung bean, wheat, little radish, chickpea, broccoli etc.).

After regularly consuming freshly pressed vegetable juices, which are highly alkalising, you will experience improved energy levels, digestion and mental clarity, clearer skin, and an overall sense of wellbeing.

Blending and Juicing

The difference between juicing and blending is a juicer extracts juice without the pulp, where a blender blends everything into a purée. Pulp is the fibrous content of the produce which slows down digestion time and is beneficial for the colon microbiota as this feeds the good bacteria which in turn benefits your immune system. Slower digestion time reduces the glycemic index or GI and this is going to be beneficial for diabetic or pre-diabetic conditions.

The fibre or pulp content reduces nutrient absorption however, and requires enzymes to digest it which in turn consumes more energy. Blended foods will also include chemical pesticides unless organic food is sourced. For foods not able to be organically sourced it is best to peel them (particularly waxed fruit or veggies). For root vegetables (e.g. carrots, beetroot) trim the above ground ends and they can be cleansed by blanching prior to juicing (blanching= dropped into boiling water for a minute or so). Blenders use high speed spinning that causes oxidation and can destroy enzymes. They are not the best for high iron content foods that oxidize quickly. Lemon can be added to reduce this but you will need to consider taste.

Juicing produces very high nutrient availability and this promotes healing but may also give healing crisis during juicing detoxes. Detoxification also known as ‘healing crisis’ may be a side effect of juicing for people new to juicing. While for some people this sign of impending good health is wonderful, others may not have the time needed to allow for this process. The process is where old symptoms or patterns of the past may arise transiently or you may experience new symptoms. As healing happens from the inside out, from the top down and from major to minor organs/systems or in reverse order of symptom pattern, you can observe the transition.

To limit or reduce the experience of a healing crisis (for the time challenged) smaller measures are taken over a longer time. You may consider combining your juices into a blender to get benefits of both.

Other important things to remember are to include plenty of water when juicing. Water helps to cleanse and remove wastes from our system. Lemon will loosen and bring out mucus and is good for liver cleansing. Lemon is not acidic to the body, it is alkaline.

Fasting

You may want to consider a juice fast. Fasting causes the liver to convert glycogen stores to glucose and energy. Body fat can be used to ATP but it cannot generate or reform glucose which is needed to supply the brain and central nervous system. Proteins are broken down and used to produce this glucose. In order to prevent protein catabolism, juicing can supply the glucose needed instead. With juice fasting there is less ketosis (byproducts of fat metabolism) which can prevent toxic build up during the fast.

When NOT to fast: pregnant, nursing, underweight, fatigue, low immunity, low blood pressure, colder weather, nutritionally deficient.

Raw foods are very yin and so an excess of this is not recommended for people with excess yin conditions. Ensure in this case to include plenty of cooked warming foods in the diet to balance out the raw food intake. You may use your blender to make purée soups for example.

Certain types of fruits and vegetables can also assist with particular health conditions or be used for target specific organ cleansing.

Fruit juices:

Apple – liver, intestines

Black cherry- colon, menstrual problems, gout

Citrus – cardiovascular disease, obesity, haemorrhoids, varicose veins

Grape – colon, anaemia

Lemon – liver, gall bladder, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, colds

Paw paw – stomach, indigestion, haemorrhoids, colitis

Pear – gall bladder

Pineapple- allergies, arthritis, inflammation, oedema, haemorrhoids

Watermelon – kidneys, oedema

Vegetable juices:

Beetroot – blood, liver, menstrual problems, arthritis

Beetroot greens – gall bladder, liver, osteoporosis

Cabbage – colitis, ulcers

Carrot s- eyes, arthritis, osteoporosis

Celery – kidneys, diabetes, osteoporosis

Comfrey – intestines, hypertension, osteoporosis

Cucumber – oedema, diabetes

Garlic – allergies, colds, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, high fats/high cholesterol, diabetes

Jerusalem artichokes – diabetes

Leafy greens – cardiovascular disease, skin, eczema, digestive problems, obesity, breath

Parsley – kidneys, oedema, arthritis

Potatoes – intestines, ulcer

Radish – liver, high cholesterol, obesity

Spinach – anaemia, eczema

Watercress – anaemia, liver intestines, breath

For weight loss include:

More of: grapefruit, lemon, cucumber, greens, parsley, spinach

Less of: apples, grapes, oranges, carrots

 

Makensi Caldwell – Certified Bodytalk & Holographics Practitioner, Bachelor of Nutritional Medicine

Cleansing Summer Salad for Post-Holiday Overindulgence

This is a modified version of a recipe that my sister and I created.

If you’ve let yourself go a little too loosely over the Christmas feasting period, and are keen to break free of that sluggish bog before the New Year has taken over, this is the recipe for you.

The Chinese medicine pathology is labelled as food accumulation in the middle burner, and more than likely, if the break was accompanied with excessive alcohol consumption, damp-heat in the stomach and large intestine.

Based on what we know about the enteric nervous system and the chemistry of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), eating to excess will generally leave you with a feeling of slackness. It can also cause symptoms such as reflux, indigestion or heart burn, nausea, bloating and sensitivity to certain foods. Excessive food consumption can also give you a generalised feeling of inflammation such as aches and pains, loose stools, pain or burning on passing, phlegm or cold and flu symptoms. All of these drawbacks are exacerbated by drinking large amounts of alcohol and can even feel similar to a week-long hangover.

 

Eating to excess will generally leave you with a feeling of slackness.

 

This recipe helps to re-establish the gut health and move the accumulated gunk through to the other end. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) terms, we are looking to alleviate this accumulation, clear the heat (inflammation), and moisten and nourish the Middle Burner (GIT).

Ingredients (roughly 6 servings)

2 cucumbers

1 large bunch of coriander

1 or 2 fresh chilies

1 small handful of sesame or sunflower seeds

2 cups sprouted lentils or sprouted mung beans

Dressing

1 nub of fresh ginger

As much garlic as you like

Juice of 1 or 2 limes depending on taste

2 tbsp. sesame oil

2 tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari

1 teaspoon of raw sugar or coconut sugar

(This recipe is great with boiled quinoa as a protein addition if you are so inclined)

How to sprout lentils and other beans 

  1. Buy whole green lentils or mung beans, rinse them and let them soak in a large jar or container for 12 hours or maybe a little longer for mung beans. (Make sure you leave a little excess room in the jar because they expand to about double the original volume).
  2. Drain the water and cover with a tea towel or breathable membrane to keep the air flowing and the bugs out.
  3. Repeat the rinse and drain about 3 times per day to keep them moist and your lentils should be well and truly sprouted by day three. They are edible at any stage after the soak but I prefer to leave them to get a nice long sprout.

Cleansing Summer Salad

Cut cucumbers into small cubes, then finely chop coriander and chilies. Add to a large salad bowl together with the sesame seeds and sprouted lentils.

Salad Dressing

Finely chop or blend the ginger and garlic and place into a small bowl or jar. Add the juice of a lime, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar to the ginger and garlic, and stir or shake.

Note:

The longer that you let this dressing sit before adding it to the salad, the garlic and ginger will lose its spice so depending on how you like it, you could let it soak for a day or just eat it fresh. Adding the chilies to the dressing rather than to the salad will have a similar effect, so if you like it mild let it soak!

Hugh Hayward – Chinese Medicine Doctor (CMD), Bachelor of Health Science, Diploma An Mo Tui Na Massage

Cleanse into the New Year

As we say goodbye to another year and another festive period of overindulgence, it is now time to look at how we can cleanse our bodies and help our cells to function as effectively as they can. Most people have some goal that they aim to achieve in the year to come, with health and wellness high up on the agenda. January is traditionally detox month at Brisbane Natural Health as we try to help people get back on track and give them a great start to the New Year.

Cleansing is something that we all need. We should be cleansing our bodies on a day-to-day basis, as well as having periods where we intensify the process to rid our bodies of unwanted toxins, excess weight and anything else that can make us sluggish. As well as cleansing your physical body, it is important to consider cleansing yourself of any unwanted emotions that no longer serve you. Perhaps you’ve had a hard year, with lots of challenges. Or you’ve been feeling frustrated and negative about your situation. Part of cleansing involves identifying and detoxifying these emotions so that you can get back on track.

It’s important to consider toxic emotions, as well as environmental toxins.

You body detoxifies in every single cell, every single minute of the day. To assist the process, it helps to avoid processed foods, sugar, trans fats, factory farmed meat, excessive coffee and alcohol. On the other side, eating loads of fresh vegetables, green leafy veggies, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds and gluten free whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, will help your body to detoxify. You also want to think about any environmental toxins that can place an extra strain on your body. Avoiding phthalates (cosmetics and plastic), BPA (plastic and canned food), artificial food additives, preservatives and non-organic produce can help aid your body’s ability to detoxify.

To address the emotional side of cleansing, you can do simple things like journaling, daily gratitude rituals, meditation or other relaxation tools. To go a little deeper, you could consider a session with a hypnotherapist or energetic healer to release any harmful emotions from the subconscious so that you can embrace the New Year with added vigour.

There are many ways to cleanse your body and mind; try several to find out what works best for you. A good indication of success is that you should end a detoxification program with renewed energy, glowing skin and a happy more positive frame of mind.

Our team can help you with detoxification in several ways. Our naturopaths can design you a tailor made program based on your individual needs. You can book a session with our hypnotherapist or energetic healer to work on the emotional side of cleansing. We also offer a range of natural beauty services and products so you can look your best without the use of harsh chemicals while detoxifying.

Call our team on 07 3367 0337 – we’d love to help.

 

 

 

7 Tips To Love Your Liver

Your liver cops a beating. It has the huge job of processing nearly every toxin, metabolite, hormone and chemical mediator in your body. The liver is a bit like the checkout in the supermarket – every item needs to be scanned through it before it leaves your body.

We live in a world where we are constantly exposed to toxins in the form of pesticides, alcohol, processed foods, excess coffee, toxins in cleaning products and skin care and even the air we breathe. As these toxins accumulate in the body, your liver is working overtime to excrete them, and if they are coming faster than your liver can handle them, they will stay in your body.

Most people’s livers need a little loving to help them function at their peak. Here are my top 7 tips for loving your liver.

#1 – Have some lemon

Lemons and other sour foods help to stimulate the release of bile from the liver, helping them to detoxify. Try having lemon juice in water on rising, lemon juice on your salads and a slice of lemon in your water bottle.

#2 – Limit the caffeine

Excess coffee consumption puts a strain on the liver and uses up its detoxifying capacity that would otherwise be spent elsewhere. Keep coffee to 1-2 cups a day (that’s standard shots) and have at least one coffee-free day per week to give your body a rest.

#3 – Avoid binge drinking

Binge drinking really pushes your liver to its limits, so try not to get super intoxicated

#4 – Stay hydrated

Keeping your water intake up will help you liver do its job properly. If you are drinking alcohol, alternate with a glass of water in between each drink.

#5 – Beet it

Beetroot has been found to have a protective effect on the liver in several studies. Juice it, grate it up and put in salads or roast it.

#6 – Eat your greens

Green leafy veggies such as kale, spinach, silverbeet and rocket help your liver to detoxify more effectively.

#7 – Eat bitter foods

Bitter foods such as watercress, rocket and chard help to stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder, which helps to release toxins.

Your really does help to look after you – so make sure you use these tips to give it some lovin’!

love your liver

Want to look a little deeper? Our naturopaths are experts in liver detoxification and can develop a program to get your liver back to functioning at it’s best. Call us on 07 3367 0337 to make an appointment. 

 

 

 

 

How to Activate Nuts

Nuts are a fantastic food for your health, being high in protein and health giving essential fats, and rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. The problem is that nuts are notoriously difficult to digest, meaning you may not be getting all of these juicy nutrients into your body.

You can bypass this problem by activating your nuts, a process in which you soak them to make them more digestible and better for your health. This is especially useful for those with digestive problems or those with nutrient deficiencies, both of which often go hand in hand.

How to do it

Activating nuts is very easy. All you need to do is…

  1. Soak them overnight in pure, filtered water.
  2. Discard the water and give them a good rinse. This help to remove any naturally occurring ‘enzyme inhibitors’ – compounds that can impair the digestion of the nuts in question.
  3. Now you need to decide how you want to use them. You can eat them right here and now, in their juicy hydrated form. This is the best option if you’re making them to put into smoothies or power balls or the like.

If you want to eat them like you would normal dried nuts, you can actually dry them out again. You’ll need to do this at a low temperature (under 40 degrees Celsius) using a dehydrator for best results. You can also try putting them on a tray in your oven on the lowest setting, with the door slightly ajar. If you’re storing them for a while then make sure you dehydrate them until they are nice and crisp, to prevent spoiling.

Another thing you can do is put the rinsed nuts in a paper bag in the fridge. This will dry them out slightly and last a week or so until they go bad. You can also freeze your hydrated nuts to use in smoothies so you have them on hand.

A note on salted nuts

If you have a hankering for salted nuts, you can achieve this by adding some Himalayan or Celtic sea salt to the soaking water. The nuts will take up the salt and if you dehydrate them you’ll be left with crunchy, salty goodness. Enjoy!

 

10 Reasons to Eat Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds, the tiny black and white seeds originating rom Mexico and Guatemala, have been touted as a superfood with good reason. They are a great addition to any diet and can help with a wide range of issues. Here are our top 10 reasons to eat chia seeds.

1. High in omega 3

Chia seeds are an excellent source of vegetarian omega 3, with one 15g serve containing over 3g of this essential fatty acid. Omega 3 is essential for heart health, brain function, reducing inflammation in the body and more.

2. Helps keep you bowel healthy.

A daily dose of chia seeds will help to provide fibre that can prevent constipation and colon cancer. Each 15g serving of chia contains 5g of fibre in a blend of soluble and insoluble forms. This helps to improve digestive health, preventing constipation and potentially colon cancer down the line.

3. Helps to heal your digestion

The soluble fibre and mucilage (i.e. – slime) in chia seeds helps to heal your gut and provides fuel for the trillions of good bacteria living in your gut. By presoaking your chia seeds overnight you’ll release the mucilage and help it to sooth and heal your intestinal lining.

4. Improves gut immunity

By providing fibre to feed the microorganisms in your gut chia seeds can improve your immunity. 80% of your immune system is in your gut and it is all dependent on your ‘good guys’ (ie probiotics) to keep your immunity up and running.

5. Good source of protein

Chia seeds contains 8 essential and 9 non-essential (your body can make them) amino acids. It also has 20% protein and can add to your daily intake. Protein is essential for muscle building, mood balance, sleep, hormones and so much more!

6. Antioxidant boost

Chia seeds have an ORAC antioxidant value of 10,250 which is pretty darn high. This means that it has powerful antioxidant nutrients that can help to fight free radicals in the body. Less free radicals means less chance of disease.

7. Great for diabetics

The fibre in chia seeds helps to slow the absorption of sugars in the intestine, leading to a slower and more regulated release of sugar into the blood. This is great for balancing blood sugar and diabetics, who require a steady level of blood sugar to prevent becoming hyper- or hypo-glycemic.

8. Great for detoxification

The insoluble and soluble fibre in chia seeds make them an excellent adjuvant to any detoxification program. Eating 1 tbsp, presoaked in water each day helps to bind toxins in the gut and carry them though the bowel for excretion.

9. Improve heart health

Chia seeds have been found in a study to decrease blood pressure and C-Reactive protein, a sign of inflammation. They may also reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. This may be due tot eh presence of omega 3 which has longstanding evidence for its benefit in cardiovascular disease.

10. Good source on minerals

Chia seeds are an excellent source of calcium and magnesium and also contain iron, potassium and manganese. Eating chia seeds in their raw, uncooked form will help to maximize absorption of these minerals.

Now you know how amazing chia seeds are for your health, you need to know how you eat them. Chia seeds can easily be sprinkled onto muesli, salads and yoghurt, or added to smoothies. The best way to eat chia is presoaked, just in some water overnight then used in smoothies, cereals with fruit or yoghurt. You can also make a chia pudding, which is delicious and allows you to get a good amount of chia in so you can take advantage of all the health benefits.

 

Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal Massage

Hugh Hayward – Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

All of us can relate to the sensation of a gut feeling, the tightness in the abdomen or nausea that we experience while on a first date, walking up to that life changing job interview or casually hanging from a cliff.

Situations like this are perfectly manageable when sparked on the odd occasion however, the reality is that we commonly deal with these sensations on a perpetual basis just enduring life itself, the pressure of the work place, peak-hour traffic, our relationships and our responsibilities.

While most of us don’t experience full fledged panic attacks or vomiting episodes brought on by stress, a general feeling of unease is societally acceptable. In fact if you are not a little stressed out, people will usually think you are not working hard enough or perhaps that you are high on drugs!

The clinical significance of this in Chinese medicine lies in the gut-brain mechanism. The enteric nervous system consists of neuron sheaths fixed throughout walls of our gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Measuring out to roughly nine meters from esophagus to anus, the enteric gut-brain contains a network of over 100 million neurons – more than in the peripheral nervous system or spinal cord. In addition, our GIT contains almost every hormone and neurotransmitter that innovates the brain such as, Serotonin, GABA, Nor epinephrine and Dopamine and dozens more naturally occurring endogenous opioids and feel-good chemical mediators. For instance, serotonin is actually found in abundance in the GIT. Over 95% of your bodies ‘natural ecstasy hormone’ is produced in the GIT and derived from the amino acid – tryptophan, found in foods that we consume. This particular neurotransmitter is responsible for regulating our memory, mood, cognition, sleep and appetite, among other crucial functions in the body.

So with this in mind, it is no wonder that when we are upset, we feel it in our stomach. In essence, you are what you eat. That gut feeling is not in your head, it is the result of a barrage of biological reactions occurring in response to acute or long term anxiety or stress. This intimate connection works both ways and while your environment can trigger gut sensations, your emotions can be a product of the environment in your GIT.

The Chinese have known this for a millennia. The ancient taoist practice of Chi Nei Tsang is a form of Chinese abdominal massage that deals with detoxification of the gut in purging toxic matter and energy built up in the lymphatic system, pancreas, liver and intestines. Pent up emotional stress is often stored in the abdomen, just as we store memories in our cognitive brain, the gut-brain stores sensations that are reactive to traumatic incidences and lifestyles.

Flash-backs or recurring incidences of Post Traumatic Stress disorder, shock, addiction or abusive relationships, as well as many mood imbalances which are not usually deemed to be of clinical significance, manifest as a predisposition to specific sensational reactions that begin in the gut and are then perceived by our cognitive minds. Akin to muscle memory, like the automated motion of catching a ball, the mind can also induce these reactions, as if we hold the posture of anxiety or aggression or addictive behavior before it even manifests.

Just as a physiotherapist rehabilitates injured limbs, using Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage, breathing exercises, acupuncture and dietary advice, we are able to rehabilitate the mind. This is very important for anyone with any mood disturbance such as anxiety, depression, nervousness, fearfulness or agitation as well as those with digestive complaints that can often be exacerbated by emotional triggers.

To make an appointment with Hugh to help with digestive and mood problems, call Brisbane Natural Health on 07 3367 0337 or click here.

 

Leaky Gut

How healing your digestive tract promotes total wellness

leaky gut

Did you know that your digestion is the absolute foundation of our health? Because of the way our bodies are connected, inflammation in the gut can eventually lead to inflammation in the bones, heart, brain, or beyond, making osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, or other diseases you may have a genetic predisposition for more likely as you age. Problems like ‘leaky gut’ have been associated with allergies, autoimmunity and toxicity in your body.

What is leaky gut?

Along the lining of healthy intestines, cells are sealed together by what are known as tight junctions. These junctions are the gatekeepers that allow or prevent particles from the gut’s interior to move into the body’s circulatory system. When your intestinal lining is compromised, particles can “leak” inappropriately through these cells and their junctions, and pass into the bloodstream or lymphatic system. In a normal funcitoning gut we want to have nutrients, trace elements and certain hormones absorbed through the intestinal wall. In leaky gut, particles that normally should be excreted end up in the blood stream, leading to inflammation and other issues. These particles may be incompletely digested chunks of food, or microbes, or wastes, toxins, and even antigens and pathogens. 

The leaking of these particles alerts your body that something is wrong, and your immune system tries to come to the rescue by igniting inflammation. As inflammation increases, the layer of beneficial bacterial colonies lining the intestines decreases, which only makes the problem worse.

There are two major concerns with leaky gut; one is the inability to digest and absorb food and nutrients properly. The other is a compromised immune system, which is the source of most of the symptoms you feel with leaky gut. Your gut plays a crucial role in immune function because it contains special areas called gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) that protect you from allergy-causing food antigens and disease-carrying microbes. With leaky gut, these and other harmful substances can gain access to your blood stream and travel far and wide throughout the body.

What causes leaky gut?

Leaky gut is most commonly caused by food intolerances (which cause inflammation and damage to the intestinal wall), prolonged periods of stress stress and nutrient deficiencies which allow the gut wall to weaken. Certain medications and a high intake of alcohol or soft drink can also contribute.

How do I know if I have leaky gut?

As the digestive system is complex you may not know you have leaky gut without seeing a naturopath to assess you. Some of the signs fo leaky gut can be symtoms like bloating and digestive discomfort and an increase in immune related problems. Patients with leaky gut are more prone to an ‘upset’ stomach and irregularities to their bowel movements.

Is there a test for leaky gut?

Yes, there is a test for leaky gut that your naturopath can order, although often signs can be present that would give a good indication if you have leaky gut without testing.

If required or requested, we can order you an intestinal permeability test, also known as the lactulose–mannitol challenge. This test measures how quickly the sugars lactulose and mannitol cross the lining of the gut, thus indicating the presence of a leaky gut.

How do you treat leaky gut syndrome?

Our naturopaths help patients with leaky gut every day. Treatment invovles using specific herbs to help to heal the lining as well as nutrients which ‘feed’ the intestinal wall to allow them to function well without leaking. Every patient is unique and you will be assessed for your whole health to determine the best treatment for you. Eating a diet which is low in reactive foods such as wheat, dairy and sugar can greatly help many patients.

Want to find out more? Make an appointment with a Brisbane Natural Health naturopath by calling 07 3367 0337 or click here.

What Is The Perfect Poo??

Posted by Katherine Maslen – Naturopath

Whether you understand the concept or not, I’m sure that this headline has grabbed you. There’s a perfect poo? What could be perfect about a bowel movement? Well a lot actually! If you’ve seen a naturopath you would have had a lovely discussion about all things poo and why it’s an important marker of your health. For those less educated on the topic – let me enlighten you! The colour, shape, smell, frequency, lack of frequency, ease of passage and even if it floats or sinks gives us clues about your digestive function, food intolerances and more.

So what makes a perfect poo? Without much variation – this is how your bowels should be moving if they are healthy…

Frequency – You should be passing 1-3 bowel movements each day – 2 to 3 is optimum.

Shape – Your bowel movements should be formed, firm but not hard and shaped like a log.

Colour – Colour can change depending on what is eaten (is that blood or beetroot?) however generally most of your bowel movements should be a dark brown colour. This is due to the presence of bile which breaks down the fats in your food.

Smell – Believe it or not – your poo should not be noticeably smelly – so if you’re reaching for the air freshener you best make an appointment with a naturopath.

Passing – You should be able to pass your bowel movements quickly and easily – without pain, discomfort or straining. If you need to read a book while you’re on there it’s taking too long!

Floating or Sinking? – The perfect poo will most likely land on the water then slowly sink to the bottom. A diet high in fat or fibre however can cause it to float, but sometimes a floating bowel movement means that you’re not digesting your fats properly (due to liver insufficiency). A heavy poo (splashing anyone?) can mean that it’s too dense (caused by maldigestion or an imbalanced diet).

Other things – You shouldn’t notice any undigested food, blood or mucous in your bowel movements either.

So there you have it. How do you measure up? If you’re feeling ‘not so perfect’ you may want to make an appointment with a naturopath – who can quickly sort things out.

Anyone brave enough to comment? Which poo are you?