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Q. I have a busy life and I often feel like I’m only running on 50% battery life. I don’t want to drink more coffee to keep myself awake, so what are some healthy ways for me to boost my energy?
Do you rely on caffeine for your daily energy kick?
There are many healthy alternatives that will boost your energy levels, vitality and overall nutritional status while helping you to curb the caffeine cravings.
Why not try:
- CACAO or raw cocoa has been regaled for centuries for its ability to increase vitality, stamina and energy. This superfood contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals and polyphenols including magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, manganese, b-vitamins, amino acids and flavanoids. Phenylalanine in particular helps to improve our energy levels by forming adrenal hormones, noradrenaline, adrenaline and dopamine, and the phenylethylamine is the substance in cacao that is also released when we are ‘in love’ which explains why eating chocolate makes us feel so good.
- Herbal teas such as green tea, licorice tea, ginseng, yerba mate are all good for increasing energy levels when you are feeling a bit sluggish.
- Hydration is often the primary cause of fatigue. Are you drinking enough clean, filtered water each day? 1.5-2L is best.
- Spirulina is a microalgae that is jam packed with vitamins, minerals, good fats, and other constituents that help cleanse the blood and keep you alkaline. It is also a good source of iron, which can often be the cause of fatigue.
- B-vitamins are required to help convert carbohydrates, fats and protein into energy within your body. Taking them daily can really help boost your energy.
- CoQ10 increases oxygen supplies to your cells and improves your circulation as well as acting as an antioxidant. All these functions, plus many more, help improve your energy.
- Herbs to specifically address the cause of your fatigue may be formulated for you by our in-store naturopaths. We will ask you about your sleep, stress levels, diet etc and formulate an individualised herbal tonic for your specific needs. We may use herbs such as rhodiola, siberian ginseng, Korean ginseng, rehmannia etc
Q. A few times a year when there’s a change of season, I find myself getting sick. I don’t want to use antibiotics every year as I know how much they disrupt my digestive system and then make my immune system weaker. What are some good ways to make my immune system stronger so I can avoid getting sick so often?
How to boost your Immunity:
- Firstly, we suggest that you are consuming plenty of fresh fruit (2serves=2pieces) and vegetables (3 cups) daily. Fresh fruit and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals such as vit C, beta carotenoids, zinc, magnesium, B vits, folate, quercetain which are all required for healthy immune processes in the body. Fresh organic juices from our juice bar can help contribute to your daily intake!
- Protein contains the vital building blocks for immune cell (immunoglobulin) production. A common symptoms in someone with inadequate protein consumption is recurring colds and flu, so ensure you include complete protein sources with each meal. Examples of an adequate serve of protein for the average person is a palm size of animal protein (meat, eggs, fish) or a cup of legumes combined with grains/seeds for a complete protein.
- Stay hydrated as the body requires a minimum of 1.5 – 2litres of water a day to properly flush out toxins that may accumulate and stress the immune system.
- Keep your body warm through colder months when viruses are more prominent. Be sure to wear slippers or socks around the house, and keep your chest warm with appropriate undergarments, and the added protection of scarves and beanies are valuable against the cold.
- Exercise-helps assist blood circulation thereby providing the body tissues with all the nutrients it needs, warming the extremities.
- Vitamin C and zinc are great nutrients to take before the change of season. We carry a large range in our store, and to know which one is best for you, just speak to one of our naturopaths.
- Our naturopaths have come together with their combined experiences, and formulated a range of immune tonics using our most effective herbal formulations. These include the “I’m not going to get sick” tonic, the “Sinus Saver”, “Virus Vanisher” and the “Chesty Cheer” tonics. These are proving very popular and highly effective for prevention and treatment of colds and flu, plus sinus and respiratory infections.
Q. I recently read that to keep your body in balance, people need to move their bowels 2ce a day. Is this true? I only go every second day but I always thought this was normal. I get pains in my stomach sometimes and I have skin problems and hormone problems and I read that regular bowel motions could help rectify these. Is this true?
Constipation is a common complaint experienced by many, and can be managed through natural approaches such as diet, lifestyle and where appropriate, supplementation.
A bowl motion with a formed stool, once to twice a day is ideal. This daily movement of waste is proven to help prevents bowel cancer, prevent bloating (from excess fermentation of undigested food in the gut), regulate hormone levels, improve your immune system and the condition of your skin, and promote healthy absorption of nutrients into your blood stream.
Top foods to stay regular:
- Chia seeds: 2 tablespoons a day is best. Ttry some on your cereal, in a smoothie or sprinkled on your salad and veggies. Chia is not only a great source of essential fatty acids especially omega 3, iron and vitamin C but has a high fibre content to help you stay regular, and forms a gel like substance in your bowels that has soothing properties for the gut lining.
- Psyllium husks: 1 tbsp a day in water or juice for loose bowel motions, or 1 tsp a day for constipation. Psyllium husks are an age old remedy for the regulation of bowel movements due to being a great source of natural fibre. Just make sure you drink plenty of water when every you consume fibre supplements!
- Fresh fruit (2-3 serves) and veg (3-4 cups) are essential for good bowel health as they are also a great source of fibre and are packed full of vitamins and minerals required for optimal digestive function.
- Wholegrains such as brown rice, quinoa, rye, oats and buckwheat rather than refined “white” carbohydrates will boost fibre content in your diet and provide your body with additional B-Vitamins, magnesium, zinc and other trace minerals.
Supplements for good bowel health:
- Digestive enzymes break down food in the upper digestive system, preparing food for break down in the lower digestive system. This preparation enables proper absorption of nutrients and aids efficiency of stool formation in the lower bowel. Our naturopaths can guide you towards the most appropriate enzyme formula for your specific needs.
- Probiotics (good bacteria) help establish an ideal environment to properly break down food in the lower bowel, and maintains the balance of beneficial bowel flora leading to regularity of bowel motions.
- Bitter herbs such as gentian and ginger stimulate the secretion of stomach acid also known as betaine hydrochloride, which is particularly good for breaking down high protein foods which in large amounts can lead to constipation. If success is not achieved through taking bitter herbs, betaine hydrochloride can be prescribed by a naturopath or nutritionist.
- If constipation is persistent the use of laxative herbs such as butternut, cascara (senna) may be appropriate for short term relief. These herbs can be taken as a tea (laxative tea by hilde hemmes), tablet, capsule (lower bowel stimulant by Natures Sunshine) or liquid extract prescribed by one of our in-store naturopaths.
- A dash of apple cider vinegar in water before meals helps prepare your stomach with all the acids and enzymes it needs to break food down effectively and prevent slow digestion and constipation.
Lifestyle tips for good bowel health:
- Stay hydrated. Ensure your daily water intake reaches at least 1.5 – 2litres a day minimum, and cut back on dehydrating substances such as tea, coffee and sugary drinks.
- Daily exercise (20-30 mins), especially first thing in the morning can stimulate lower bowel activity.
- Manage stress through relaxation techniques, breathing properly, body work, flower essences and daily time to simply do things you enjoy. Our in-store naturopaths are available for advice on remedies for stress relief.
- Allow for sufficient time before work so the bowels can relax in order to pass a motion.
Q. I have just gone back to work after having my first baby 18 months ago. My husband and I are really struggling with our stress levels, as we both work full time now as well as juggling being parents. Can you suggest some ways we can manage our stress levels better?
- Remember to breathe! When feeling stressed, inhale deeply and slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth whilst counting to ten seconds. You will be amazed at the benefits of breathing properly, particularly when feeling stressed.
- Nourish yourself. Take time in your day to do something you enjoy such as having an Epsom salt bath with your favourite essential oils, receiving a massage or a foot or neck rub. Make time to sit with a cup of tea in the sun or in a quiet part of your house, slap on a face mask with cucumber slices on your eyes and listen to your favourite music for fifteen minutes.
- Exercise. It boosts the “feel good” endorphins and reduces the stress hormones like cortisol, therefore helping you to feel relaxed. Try yoga, pilates, walking, swimming or even just stretching for at least fifteen minutes per day.
- Flower essences. These remedies work on a vibrational level to help balance emotional causes of stress. Talk to one of our in-store naturopaths to create a blend specific to your needs.
- Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, neroli, rose, ylang ylang, petitgrain, mandarin and orange are all stress relieving oils that can be used in an oil burner at home or in the office, or added to a base oil for massage or to a bath.
- Herbal formulas can be prescribed to calm your nervous system and balance your adrenal glands to help ease stress physiologically.
- Nutrients such as magnesium and B vitamins are important in times of stress, as your body uses them up quickly to help the body cope during these times. In addition, a deficiency in Magnesium and B vitamins worsens the symptoms of stress, such as poor sleep, muscle tension and headaches.
Q. This is a question I’m sure many people ask, but what are your most effective tips on how to slow down the aging process and keep my body looking and feeling healthy into my older years?
Aging is inevitable, but graceful aging is organic!
Aging. It’s something we do every second of every day. But how can we keep our cells healthy and vital so that we can age gracefully? Here are some tips:
- Go Organic! Reduce the amount of toxins you consume so that your cells remain clean and functioning optimally.
- Organic fruits and vegetables have more antioxidants than conventional varieties. Antioxidants are natures secret to anti-aging! They clean up your cells and provide them with more electrons for energy and youthfulness.
- Be aware that there is almost always a price for convenience. Our society loves to make our lives more convenient, but research shows that a little stress from doing things the old fashioned way can reverse the process of cellular aging! Eg. Ditch your electric blanket and let your body warm up itself, take the stairs instead of the lift and make your food from scratch instead of buying prepacked meals.
- Sleep long and laugh hard! Don’t sweat the small stuff. Constant worry and a busy mind = aging.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation = aging. Foods include omega 3 good fats, blueberries, ginger, turmeric, shitake mushrooms, pawpaw and pineapple, sweet potato and green vegetables.
- Consume SUPERFOODS each day like spirulina, acai powder, raw cacao and maqui berry.
- Drink 1.5-2 litres of filtered water every day. Space out your consumption throughout the day and avoid drinking lots of water before you eat as it reduces your ability to digest food.
Q. I work as a painter and have recently become aware of how many toxins my body is carrying after getting my hair tested for toxicity levels. My wife is a hairdresser and she has high toxicity levels too. We don’t want to quit our jobs, but we do want to protect our bodies against damage on a daily basis. Can you give us some tips?
Prevent aging with antioxidants!
If you, or someone you know is working in an industry that uses toxins, you will no doubt be aware of the certain health risks that come with the job. Long term exposure to fuels, reagents, solvents, detergents, chemicals, coal dust, silica dust, diesel, asbestos, welding fumes, poisonous plants, and metal dust, can have serious negative health impacts. Unlike acute injury, symptoms of toxicity can sometimes take years to surface, and can also present differently in different people. Toxicity might first present as fatigue, headaches, sinus infections or mood changes. If ignored, it could present as disease in the lungs, skin or digestive tract. Worse still, toxicity may lead to degenerative chronic diseases like cancer.
On a cellular level, these toxic substances promote free radicals which cause cellular stress, severe oxidative damage and cell death, resulting in a state of sub-health and disease.
But here’s the good news; you can counter a good deal of this oxidation by taking antioxidants.
Antioxidants are nature’s weapon against free radicals. If it’s inevitable that you will be in contact with toxic substances, which for most of the population this is the case, at least you can protect yourself with a daily dose of antioxidants. Not only do they counteract the harmful effects of free radicals, but they are anti-aging, prevent macular degeneration, inflammation, cholesterol buildup, and amongst many other things, can even help prevent a hangover!
Here’s our top 5 ways to combat free radical damage:
- Take a potent antioxidant supplement daily like ACAI. This Amazonian berry powder makes a delicious smoothie add in or addition to your breakfast cereal.
- Make your plate colourful! Different coloured fruits and veg contain different antioxidants, so mix it up! Fresh juices are also a good way to keep up your fruit and veg intake. If you have access, organic is best.
- Stay hydrated with filtered water. 1.5-2L a day minimum, and more for those who sweat a lot.
- Add organic herbs and spices to your cooking. Turmeric, cloves and rosemary are all super charged with antioxidants.
- Deep breathing from your diaphragm actually reduces oxidative damage, research shows. Dedicate a few minutes as you wake up each morning to breathing deeply. Fill your lungs with air, right to the bottom lobes, and watch your belly rise and fall for up to 10 breaths.
Q. Both of my parents have arthritis and I have now learned how debilitating it can be. At 45 years young, I have recently started feeling aches and pains when I get up in the morning. Can you suggest something that I can do now to prevent me from ending up as crippled as my parents?
Hard work, long hours and heavy lifting means that joint pain as you age is inevitable, right? Not necessarily. ..Take some steps now and prevent osteoarthritis in the future.
There are a few types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis refers to wear and tear in your joints. It involves the deterioration of joint cartilage, the rubbery tissue at the ends of bones that allows for smooth movement and shock-absorption. When cartilage erodes, the result is generally pain, loss of motion, and in many cases disability and a severe disturbance to your daily life.
It’s becoming more common knowledge now that osteoarthritis will flare up if your body is acidic. You can test your saliva on some pH papers (available in store), and it should read ~7. Anything under 7 means you are probably acidic. Acidity = inflammation. What makes your body acidic? A poor diet, lots of stress, toxin exposure, a heavy consumption of sugars, white breads, red meat and alcohol, plus dehydration and being overweight are common causes.
Try some of these ideas for keeping your joints healthy:
- Squeeze ½ a lemon in warm water and drink every morning before breakfast. This is an age old remedy for alkalizing your body, improving your digestion, liver function and immune system.
- Increase anti-inflammatory foods like oily fish 2ce a week, blueberries and pineapple 3 times a week, and flaxseed oil daily. Swap white breads for wholemeal, and snack on nuts and seeds instead of chips and chocolate.
- The spices turmeric and ginger are powerful remedies for joint pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory. They are available in tablet form and also work as a preventative remedy.
- Keep your muscles strong and flexible. Combine weight bearing exercises with stretching. Simple leg, back and arm warm up stretches for 10mins before you work can be enough.
- Take glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. They are a natural component of cartilage and will keep your joints lubricated and able to absorb shock.
- Stay hydrated! Water makes up 70% of the cartilage in joints and plays a major role in the lubrication and shock absorbing properties of healthy joints. 1.5-2L of filtered water daily is best.
- Daily exposure to sunshine before 10am or after 3pm on unprotected skin (but make sure you don’t get burnt!
Q. I’ve seen a lot of brands of raw chocolate in your shop recently. Can you tell me about the benefits and also, if it’s as nutritious as I’ve heard, can I eat it for breakfast?
For years I’ve been shaking my head at the misleading marketing from companies that make chocolate spreads and chocolate breakfast cereals who tell the public it’s a healthy way to start the day… until the introduction of RAW CHOCOLATE to the market!
Now I must stress, chocolate and raw chocolate are not really the same thing. The chocolate you might be familiar with has very little nutritional value (due to its high temperature processing), and is generally loaded with sugar. But the good news is, raw chocolate (never heated over 45 degrees C) maintains its naturally high levels of beta-carotene, amino acids, beneficial fats, calcium, zinc, iron, chromium, copper, sulphur, potassium, and one of the best food sources of muscle relaxing, stress relieving minerals; magnesium.
In addition to this, raw chocolate has other naturally occurring phytochemicals like theobromine (considered an aphrodisiac), phenylethylamine (released when we fall in love), and anandamide (the ‘bliss’ chemical). Raw chocolate has up to 360% MORE antioxidants than regular chocolate, and has 20 times more than green tea!
Raw chocolate is definitely not a new thing. The Mexican Mayan kings where known to drink up to 30 pure chocolate drinks a day to maintain their vigour, and valued the bean so highly that it was used as currency!
Raw chocolate lowers blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk, improves memory and concentration, is a tonic for muscles, nerves and kidneys, prevents and treats enlarged prostates and can even prevent sunburn.
Being classed as a ‘super food,’ many raw foodists and chocolate lovers alike, incorporate raw chocolate into every day – even for breakfast! Mix some raw cacao powder into milkshakes, smoothies or hot drinks. Mix raw cacao beans with nuts and seeds as a snack, or spinkle cacao ‘nibs’ (the bean broken into little chunks) over your muesli. There are also an increasing variety of healthy raw chocolate bars, icecreams and desserts available in health food shops. And most of these preparations are sugar free, using low GI agave syrup or coconut sugars instead. YUM! Start your day with a natural high!