Category Archives: Foods

How to improve your brain power!

As we get older it gets harder to remember things. Even the sharpest of minds can start to experience cognitive decline. However, there are many dietary modifications that you can adopt that have been shown to improve the brain function. 

  • Consumption of blueberries and strawberries has been shown to reduce brain ageing by up to 2.5 years.
  • The herb rosemary, when used in cooking, has been shown to improve memory and enhance the processing speed of the brain.  
  • Just one week on a plant-based diet can significantly drop blood levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a toxin associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Dehydration causes brain shrinkage and may not only play a role in cognitive impairment, but also in levels of energy, alertness, and happiness. So try and drink up to 2.5 litres of water per day!
  • Nitrate rich vegetables such as rocket, beetroot and rhubarb increase blood flow to the brain and can increase cognitive function by optimising oxygen delivery.
  • Reducing glycotoxin intake can prevent brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. Glycotixins are present in foods such as chicken, pork, beef and fish, but can also accumulate if you are a smoker. They act on the brain to suppress an enzyme involved with the removal of plaques and tangles in your DNA. Over time these can accumulate in the brain and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. 
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Improving your kidney health

The kidneys assist the body in maintaining good hydration and electrolyte levels. They also remove excess acids and waste products from the blood, which are then excreted in urine. Maintaining good kidney health is important to prevent water retention, high blood pressure and acidosis in the body.

Kidney health can be maintained and improved in a number of ways, including:

  • Eating foods that promote nitric oxide release in the arteries will improve the blood flow to the smallest arteries that pass through the kidneys. Foods such as beetroot, rocket, rhubarb, garlic, spicy foods, cooked tomatoes and roasted vegetables will all help the arteries to open up and increase blood flow.
  • The kidneys will function at their best if you reduce the amount of acid forming foods you consume. Foods such as meat, fish and eggs, as well as fats and processed foods, will increase the acid load on the kidneys. Alkaline forming foods on the other hand, such as fruit and vegetables, green leafy vegetables and dried fruits will dramatically reduce the acid load.

Alcohol intake in our society

Written by Patricia Patterson-Vanegas

Alcohol is the third largest risk factor for ill health in the European Union and Europe has the highest unit per person intake of alcohol in the world*. Medical research has established that binge drinking and long-term drinking negatively affect most organs including the cardio-vascular system, the brain, liver and pancreas. It is also known that excessive alcohol contributes to many serious health conditions and has been shown to burden the immune
5978335-teen-alcohol-addiction-drunk-teens-with-vodka-bottlesystem and promote cancer.
Unfortunately, in the western culture, physical reactions such as ‘throwing-up’, headache, general malaise and even temporary loss of consciousness have been normalised as humorous consequences of an excessive intake of alcohol, and not recognised as the body’s urgent attempt to counter intoxication. Alcohol intake can have a damaging effect on the health and wellbeing of individuals and families.

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Interestingly, research conducted by Age UK** suggests that middle class people over the age of 50 not only consume greater levels of alcohol but also fail to recognise the harm that increasing alcohol consumption can cause.

 

*   The need for an EU strategy to reduce healthcare costs related to alcohol use (2015), published online by the journal BJM – www.dryoutnow.com/blog
** Harmful Drinking Among Middle-Class, Over-50s: The Hidden Phenomenon, Age    UK (2015) published online by the journal BJM Open. www.dryoutnow.com/blog

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Hangovers/beyondHangovers.htm

Eating 5 or more small meals a day can help with weight loss and body composition

5+mealsaday

Changing dietary intake to comprise the eating of smaller meals at more frequent intervals is thought to be more beneficial for weight loss than eating larger meals less frequently. This is likely due to improved control of glucose levels, better appetite control, and increased calorie use by the body during digestion. Also eating protein at regular intervals during the day increases muscle mass after exercise training, as more protein is available for repair, regeneration and growth of muscle tissue. The number of calories you burn throughout the day while at rest is largely dependent on muscle mass and a fat burning diet can be enhanced though gains in muscle. Maintaining or increasing muscle mass is a key factor in health as we age and also with survival and recovery from many disease conditions. The best results were observed when daily calorie intake was split over 5 or more meals a day. Increased fat loss as well as gains in muscle mass were noted. A high protein diet in conjunction with higher feeding frequency, has also shown beneficial effects on body composition, greater appetite control has also been observed with higher feeding frequency, with many people consuming less calories when adopting this method.

 

  • Eat little and often (5+ small meals per day).
  • Eat slowly and focus on chewing food thoroughly.
  • Be careful not to exceed daily calorie intake (using a small side plate for meals can help you judge portion sizes). Also do not snack between meals.
  • Keep to a balanced diet with low glycaemic index, high protein and vegetable content.
  • Thick soups or healthy green smoothies fill you up more quickly with smaller portions.
  • Exercise (you will see better gains in muscle mass from eating protein regularly throughout the day).

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is often looked upon by natural wellness enthusiasts as a panacea for all good things. Taking a tablespoon or two of it every day is said to cure everything from gout to allergies and more. It’s said that it is important that the apple cider vinegar you take be organic and have the “mother” in it to be of most benefit to you. The mother is a stringy-looking ball of matter that either floats at the top or settles at the bottom of a bottle of the vinegar and is the source of its sour, fermented taste.

Many companies are now creating apple cider vinegar drinks that contain fruity flavors to mask the sometimes harsh flavor the vinegar has on its own. The age of apple cider vinegar as a health tonic is truly here, and while there is only anecdotal evidence that it actually cures many of the things it is said to, there is also plenty of evidence of definite health benefits in other areas.

Here are some of the best documented and strongest health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

  1. It Helps Ease Stomach Cramps and Diarrhea

This is a proven apple cider vinegar cure. The probiotics in the vinegar help ease diarrhea and the pectins from the apples in the vinegar ease stomach cramps. Mix a tablespoon or two in water or your favorite juice to get the best results.

  1. It Prevents Indigestion

Another proven health benefit is its ability to stop indigestion before it starts. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and sip it slowly a half hour before you eat something you know will cause you indigestion. You’ll be surprised that you feel fine after eating!

  1. It Helps Ease Nighttime Leg Cramps

This old folk remedy has a long history of proof to its effectiveness. Simply mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with honey to taste before going to bed and drink it slowly. Those nighttime cramps shouldn’t bother you anymore. Do this every night before bed for continuing results.

  1. It Drains Your Sinuses

Do you have a stuffy nose due to allergies or some other reason? Fix it with a teaspoon of straight apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. The harshness of drinking the vinegar without any flavoring will help drain your sinuses and clear your nose.

  1. It Helps Energize You

Apple cider vinegar is excellent for beating exhaustion. The amino acids it contains counteract the buildup of lactic acid you can get after exercising or other intense physical activity. It’s also full of electrolytes that help eliminate that tired feeling. Electrolytes are the same thing that are in sugary sports drinks. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in chilled water has the same energizing effect without the sugar and artificial colors and flavors.

Apple cider vinegar is also good for treating heartburn, easing the pain of arthritis, whitening teeth, and much, much more. There are entire books written on the miracle of apple cider vinegar. Even though many of its supposed benefits only have folklore to back them up, there is enough concrete evidence of its many benefits that many people take it every day as a general health tonic. Anyone looking to maximize their health could definitely benefit from a daily dose of this amazing amber liquid.

The wonders of Cayenne pepper

Do you suffer from recurring heartburn, chronic indigestion or ulcers?

Cayenne pepperMedical researchers are now finding that capsaicin – the pungent compound that gives ‘heat’ to cayenne, chili and jalapeno peppers – is harmless to the digestive tract. Hot peppers do not, in fact, cause or even aggravate ulcers. In fact, capsaicin may actually have therapeutic effects.

 

How does capsaicin help to heal the gut?

Not only can capsaicin-rich peppers dramatically reduce symptoms of heartburn and indigestion after a few weeks of use – they also have a strong protective effect on stomach tissues.

How do hot peppers work to reduce pain? When your body’s tissues are exposed to capsaicin, the initial response is to release substance P, a neurotransmitter that carries pain messages to the brain. This is the reason that eating hot peppers can make you feel as if your mouth – and your stomach – is on fire. The benefit comes with repeated exposure to capsaicin, through frequent and regular consumption of hot peppers. When capsaicin regularly contacts a specific site on the body, levels of substance P actually become depleted at the nerve terminals in that location. The result – significant reductions in pain.

Science raves about capsaicin for digestive disorders Numerous studies, both animal and clinical, support the ability of capsaicin to relieve uncomfortable digestive symptoms when used over time. Capsaicin’s preventive effects on gastric mucosa have also been well documented in both animal and human studies.

In addition to beneficial capsaicin, hot peppers also contain important micronutrients. Their bright orange-red color is a testament to their high levels of beneficial flavonoids, particularly carotene – an antioxidant pigment that gives color to carrots. Rich in antioxidant vitamins A and C, cayenne peppers also contain lutein and zeaxanthin — which may help prevent age-related macular degeneration – and are a good source of manganese, a mineral the body needs to manufacture the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Finally, hot peppers are fiber-rich and cholesterol-free.

You can promote digestive healing with spicy food Hot peppers, also known as cayenne peppers and chili peppers. These can be enjoyed as spicy delicacies either cooked or raw. They are recognized as generally safe; however, moderation is the best course – avoid eating quantities that are larger than normal dietary amounts.