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Are you getting enough iodine?

Australia is one of the most iodine deficient nations in the developed world. A combination of intensive farming which strips the natural iodine from the soil and a low intake of iodine containing foods has caused widespread deficiency.

Iodine is an important mineral that your body cannot do without. It is essential for the production of your thyroid hormones – T3 and T4. When iodine is depleted, your body cannot make enough thyroid hormones and as a result your thyroid can become underactive (hypothyroidism). The thyroid gland regulates nearly every body process, so when it is underactive it leads to multiple problems. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, depression, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, hair loss and foggy headedness. Because the thyroid regulates body temperature, you can also feel the cold more when your thyroid function is low.

Outside of the thyroid, iodine is important for brain development and has been linked with intelligence levels. In particular, children of mothers who are iodine deficient during pregnancy and children who are deficient in their early years have been found to have a lower IQ than those with adequate iodine levels. Iodine is therefore essential to be included in the diet or supplemented in pregnant women and young children.

Iodine also has a role in breast health. Studies have found that lower intakes of iodine have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Other organs that have a high need for iodine are your skin, sweat glands (an inability to sweat can be due to iodine deficiency), thymus, pancreas and stomach.

Which foods contain iodine?

Iodine is normally present in trace amounts in many foods, however as touched on above the depletion of Australian soil of iodine means that we are not getting much from the everyday foods that we eat.

The richest sources of iodine come from the sea – seaweeds, fish, squid and shellfish. All of these sources contain good amounts of iodine, however seaweed is the standout source as it contains high levels of iodine with a host of other beneficial minerals. It is important to only source seaweed that is certified organic though, as seaweed draws in toxins from the environment and if it is collected from polluted waters then you may be getting a hefty dose of pollutants as well.

Seaweed is a rich source of iodine, but ensure you buy organic to avoid toxins.

To get adequate iodine through your diet, it is recommended you eat 3 serves of iodine rich foods a week – seaweed, fish, squid or shellfish. Smaller oily fish such as sardines are a better choice, as they will contain lower levels of contaminants like mercury. You can also get small amounts of naturally occurring iodine from Himalayan salt, which is a much better choice than iodised salt which can cause other health issues.

When should you supplement iodine?

There are times when it may be necessary to supplement iodine. If you’re allergic to seafood and don’t eat any seaweed, it is likely you’ll need to top up your iodine with a supplement. Pregnant women should see a naturopath or nutritionist to see if they require extra iodine. If you have a hypothyroid condition, iodine may be of use but check in with a naturopath before taking it, as it can be harmful if you take too much iodine in isolation when you have certain thyroid conditions, such as Hashimoto’s.

If you’re concerned about iodine deficiency, make an appointment with one of our naturopaths or nutritionists who can assess your diet and order you a urinary iodine test if needed.

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

Why am I so tired?

We all get tired from time to time, but for many people low energy is a daily occurrence. Low energy is anything less than feeling that you have enough energy to do all of the things you want to do. If your energy levels are good you won’t have slumps of energy or periods throughout the day where your energy wanes.

So why do we get tired? The answer is not complicated, but can be multifaceted. Let’s explore the most common reasons for fatigue.

Not getting enough sleep

This one is a bit of a no brainer – if you don’t sleep enough your energy will be low. Many people stay up too late and wake up too early, getting far less than their 8 hours a night on a regular basis. Not many people can function on less than 7 hours a night, with most of us needing 8 to fully replenish and restore our bodies.

Then there is the problem with not being able to get to sleep or stay asleep, which eats into your sleep hours. This is linked with the next cause of fatigue.

Adrenal depletion

Your adrenals are little crescent shaped glands that sit on top of your kidneys. It is their job to release cortisol, a hormone that helps your body deal with stress and keep you energized during the day. When you have high levels of stress, or even low levels of unrelenting stress, your adrenal glands become depleted which leads to tiredness. The 3pm slump is a classic sign of adrenal depletion.

The other effect of your adrenals working overtime is they can start producing cortisol when they are not meant to – at night when you’re meant to be asleep. High cortisol may stop you from being able to fall asleep and can also wake you up during the night. This can turn into a vicious cycle where your adrenals are keeping you awake so you can’t sleep, which further depletes your adrenals and so forth. If a holiday to the Bahamas isn’t an option, a trip to a naturopath or acupuncturist will help to break this cycle and get you sleeping properly again.

Fatigue and sleep deprivation can become a chronic cycle that needs to be corrected to break out of it.

Nutrient deficiencies

To make energy within your cells, you require many nutrients, but the B group vitamins, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10 are the most important. A deficiency in B vitamins can show up as fatigue, mood issues and sleep problems. A deficiency in magnesium can cause symptoms like muscle cramps, nervousness, irritability and anxiety. Magnesium is used up more rapidly with stress so is commonly deficient if your stress is high. Coenzyme Q10 is needed in the citric acid cycle (how your cells produce energy) but also helps to keep your blood oxygenated which helps boost energy reserves. Those that are taking statin drugs (cholesterol lowering drugs) will be deficient in CoQ10 as these drugs greatly reduce the production of this important nutrient in the body.

Iron deficiency can also lead to fatigue as it stops your red blood cells from being able to carry oxygen around the body. Signs of iron deficiency are fatigue, feeling dizzy or light headed, losing your breath easily when walking up hills of stairs and bruising easily. To get assessed for nutrient deficiencies, see a naturopath or nutritionist.

Other causes of fatigue

Nine times out of ten correcting the above causes will alleviate fatigue, but sometimes there can be other issues that play a role. Some people suffer from post-viral or post-bacterial fatigue, where the initial infection has cleared up but the body has not recovered. Hormonal imbalance can play a role – low testosterone can cause fatigue in both men and women. Allergies are another cause of fatigue, often accompanied by a feeling of tiredness around the eyes, or heaviness behind the eyes.

Fatigue is something that we treat every single day at the clinic. It is important to get on top of fatigue, as the more energized you are the more likely you are able to look after yourself. When we’re tired we tend to buy more takeaway food and eat more convenience foods, which in turn can make you feel even more exhausted.

You don’t have to be tired anymore, call us on 07 3367 0337 and make an appointment with an acupuncturist or naturopath and start feeling better.

Do you have hypothyroidism?

Are you tired or moody? Do you have difficulty losing weight, constipation or dry skin? Is your memory failing you? These are all common symptoms of hypothyroidism, or an under active thyroid gland. Up to 15% of the people have an under active thyroid gland, with many people going undiagnosed.

However it’s not always black and white, different people will present with different symptoms.

If you have hypothyroidism you may have some of the following symptoms:

  • Chronic fatigue or low energy
  • Depression or feeling melancholy and/or anxiety
  • Constipation or harder stools
  • Puffy face and eyelids
  • Memory loss, confusion, brain fog
  • Weight gain that is difficult to lose
  • Dry coarse skin
  • Intolerance to temperatures, hot or cold
  • Menstrual issues
  • Infertility/ recurrent miscarriage
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tinnitus
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loos of libido
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced sweating

So what exactly is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly shaped gland that sits just over your wind pipe in the middle of the throat. The thyroid gland has the job of regulating every tissue and organ in the body. Your thyroid controls your metabolism, moods, digestion, hormone balance, energy levels and much, much more.

How do I know if I have a thyroid problem?

As well as evaluating your symptom picture, there are several tests that may be useful to determine if your thyroid is under functioning.

TSH

TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, is secreted by the body to stimulate the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones. The higher the TSH, the more the body is trying to encourage the thyroid to work harder. A high TSH indicates a lowered thyroid function.

TSH is a poor indicator of thyroid function, as it doesn’t really take into account the whole picture. Unfortunately this is the gold standard that doctors use to check thyroid function, and if you are ‘in range’ then you are dismissed as being normal.

T4 and T3

T4 and T3 are your actual thyroid hormones. T4, the inactive form, coverts into T3, which is the hormone used to regulate tissues in the body. You need to have adequate levels of both T4 and T3 in order for your thyroid to function optimally. By testing T4 and T3, we can assess if there is a problem with hormone production or the conversion of T4 to T3. There are different nutrients involved at each stage, so we are able to gain insight into nutrient deficiencies and know what to prescribe based on these results.

Reverse T3

Reverse T3 occurs when T3 ‘flips’ into a reverse form. Reverse T3 attaches to receptors and prevents T3 from binding to them. Checking for reverse T3 is important as your T3 could be normal, however if you have high reverse T3 then you will still have an underactive thyroid. Reverse T3 is not recognized by most doctors as being important, however we find it an essential part of the picture when evaluating someone with hypothyroidism.

Thyroid autoantibodies

Thyroid autoantibodies can show if there is are immune factors that could be causing an autoimmune thyroiditis called Hashimoto’s disease. In Hashimoto’s, your immune system attacks the thyroid gland, leading to dysfunction. Autoimmune thyroid problems require different treatment to standard hypothyroidism, so it is important that this is ruled out.

Cholesterol

Unknown to many, often the cause of high cholesterol levels is hypothyroidism. In fact, high cholesterol was previously used by doctors as an indicator of hypothyroidism. This was before the introduction of statin drugs, which it seems are the only thing that are looked at when a cholesterol issue arises. The problem with this is that you could end up on cholesterol lowering drugs, while the underlying cause is not rectified.

Nutritional testing

There are many nutrients involved in thyroid function. A deficiency in any of these nutrients can cause hypothyroidism to occur.

  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Iodine
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Tyrosine (an amino acid)

Urinary Iodine

Iodine is needed to make your thyroid hormones – T4 and T3. Iodine deficiency is a major cause of hypothyroism. Iodine is best tested through the urine, this test can be ordered through the clinic.

Hair mineral analysis

A hair mineral analysis can assess mineral levels in the body, as well as how your body is functioning. There are also many heavy metals that can inhibit thyroid function, so it is worthwhile ruling out this.

What treatment options are available?

Thankfully, there are many herbs and nutrients that have been clinically proven to improve thyroid function. If you have a suspected thyroid problem, seeing one of our naturopaths is a good first step. First we’ll make sure you have all of the right testing done, and then we’ll develop a treatment plan based on your individual symptom picture. Our naturopaths have helped hundreds of patients to overcome hypothyroidism so that they can get their mojo back.

Acupuncture is also a good option for those with thyroid problems, from a TCM perspective. Treatment can include a combination of acupuncture, herbs and nutrition in those with severe or chronic thyroid problems.

To make an appointment or to discuss treatment options with out team, call us on 07 3367 0337 and we’ll be happy to help.

thyroid gland