More good reasons to take your vitamins

My step dad has developed Parkinsons in my research I discover that a shortage of vitamin D has been linked to Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.

A study by the Emory Uni School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, found those with these diseases were more likely to have insufficient vitamin D than healthy people of the same age. The part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s Disease has a high number of vitamin D receptors, which could explain the connection.

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, has also been the centre of recent attention for immune system health, and relief from widespread pain.

Vitamin D is found naturally in oily fish and eggs.  Oily fish is great for general health too, but vegans will struggle here.  Vitamin D isn’t available as a pilll you can ‘pop’ either, so the moral of the story has to be to get outside as much as you can especially in these cooler months.

Taking vitamin supplements

Recent research has also highlighted how taking vitamin supplements could help protect against macular degeneration. People with higher levels of antioxidant vitamins are less likely to suffer eye damage. Taking vitamins C, Vitamin E, carotenoids and zinc all help eyes stay healthy. Published in ‘Archives of Opthalmalogy’, a team at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concluded that middle-aged people could cut their risk of macular degeneration by protecting their eyes from harsh sunlight and taking vitamin supplements.

That is a specific need, but generally our bodies may well need that top up for winter wellness, so if for any reason you don’t get round to eating nutritiously, do consider taking a good all round multivit.

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Good fats, bad fats and trans fats

Our bodies need some fat, but which fat is a good fat? Our body’s cells need some fats to function, but the type of fat we consume makes all the difference. Trans fats are the baddies, now renowned for their contribution to poor heart health and high cholesterol.

In brief, trans fat is the common name for a type of unsaturated fat with trans-isomer fatty acids. Trans fats may be mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated. In general they are created by the hydrogenation of plant oils. We hydrogenate oils to make margarine and other soft spreads, or to get a creamy texture in processed food, or to increase a food’s shelf life. However trans fats are best avoided if you want to look after your arteries.

Don’t be daunted, avoiding trans fats is as simple as focusing on simple food.

For example, choose whole foods. The closer a food is to its natural form, or what it looks like when it comes out of the ground or off the tree or vine, the less likely it is to contain harmful fats. Avoid foods that contain the words “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list. Trans fat intake should not exceed 1 percent of total calories each day. For a 2,000 calorie diet, this means eating no more than 2.2 grams of trans fats per day.

Generally speaking, healthier fats – specifically the mono- and poly-unsaturated types – are often liquid at room temperature. By comparison, the less healthy trans and saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature. To get more good fats in your diet, cook with oils, such as olive oil, and choose foods such as nuts, avocados, and fatty fish over well-done red meats. For spreadables, select non-hydrogenated margarines or fully saturated fats like butter.

It is thought that people at risk from obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer should consume no more than 30% total calories from fat. For a 2,000 calorie diet, this means eating no more than 67 grams of total fat per day. Though this may vary from person to person, it is a good basic guide.

For more technical info on trans fats see the full transfats article.

In general, the same principles that support heart health support the health of your gut as well. If you stick to unprocessed items such as vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and beans (legumes) you probably won’t have to give trans fats a second thought.

Recipe – Lemon Halibut with Wild Rice

Its a big up Seafresh week here. I’m putting Seafresh on adwords and running a free fruit box with fresh fish orders over £30, all in all my thinking is somewhat fishy as I contemplate the weeks activities… and then I come across this lovely recipe sent to me by e-mail from Weight Watchers – they do have some common sense for all of us sometimes. The recipe look lovely: simple colourful and quick – add a mixed green salad and you’ve got a healthy tasty meal.

Lemon Halibut with Wild Rice

POINTS value 5
Servings 4
Preparation Time 5 min
Cooking Time 7 min

Ingredients
450 g halibut, 2.5 cm thick
1 lemon(s), zest and juice of 1
1 tablespoon wine, medium white (optional)
1 shallots, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, black
2 teaspoon parsley, fresh, chopped
600 g cooked brown or white rice, wild, cooked

Instructions
Preheat the grill.
Place the halibut in a small, shallow baking dish. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon and pour the wine over the fish. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, the shallot and salt and pepper.
Grill until just cooked through, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with the rice.

More Weight Watchers recipes.

The sun, friend and foe

I went walking in Derbyshire yesterday. Mam Torr, do you know it?

Its quite a decent walk for a day off, something like 1600ft overlooking Hope and Edale valleys, really lovely and the fact that there used to be an old iron age fort on the top makes “shivering mountain” it all the more fascinating.

It was really sunny, so I covered myself with sun protection wherever I thought necessary. the cool breeze constantly blowing as we climbed the ridge and I certainly didn’t feel as though I was catching the sun. Ooooh but by last night I had red streaks where I hadn’t put the sun protection on well enough., and my calves! I never catch the sun on my calves!

I hadn’t really got anything at home to sooth my soreness, but I do have an Aloe Vera plant. Yep you’ve guessed it. I broke a whole leaf off and smeared the goo over my sore legs and arms. The aloe leaf is said to contain over 75 nutrients and 200 active compounds, including 20 minerals, 18 amino acids, and 12 vitamins – so watch this space. By this morning the sore red bits have really calmed down, and for such soothing power I don’t even mind looking a little like a green alien as I apply a little more greenish goo.

No wonder this stuff is used as a base for so many fantastic products.

Stomach acid

Going home from work in the car the other night Rachel our product adviser was having a touch of an “acid attack”. With it being Rachel, who knows her Onions, the rest of us took particular interest in what she did to relieve her acid symptoms. Rachel’s remedy is to open up an acidophilus capsule or two and ingest the contents there and then. If this is a regular occurrence she recommends taking them as directed on the pack regularly in any case.

I attended a seminar years ago in which Sky Linenger of FSC was speaking. One of his pet subjects at the time was “Ban the Anti-Acid” which he pronounced in his fascinating American accent. He then went on to explain how reflux was caused by the need for more acid in the stomach, not less, and that taking anti-acids, in the long run, compound the problem. He went on to introduce me to the notion of taking more HCL to strengthen what was going on in the gut. I found it fascinating and have been hiding my Dads “Settlers” ever since.

Here is the official statement from Amanda Ross of Nutrition & Healing (www.wrightnewsletter.com)
Many expensive, high-tech patent medications have been designed to eliminate heartburn pain by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. There are also many low-tech, over-the-counter remedies. The theory that underlies all of these treatments is that acid reflux is caused by too much acid in our stomachs. The problem is, that theory is almost always wrong. Heartburn almost never signals too much acid, and it may often be associated with producing too little. That means, for many people with acid reflux, the best treatment may not be less acid, but more. This may sound like throwing gasoline on smoldering embers, but many knowledgeable physicians have successfully treated tens of thousands of people with natural, inexpensive acid supplements (along with various other natural remedies) for the better part of a century. The first step to eliminating the pain of heartburn is to have your stomach function tested. If the test results indicate low levels of stomach acid, you might want to consider working with a natural medicine physician on supplementing with either betaine hydrochloride-pepsin or glutamic-acid hydrochloride-pepsin before meals. I usually recommend taking one caps (5, 7 1/2, or 10 grains) before each meal. After two or three days, if there are no problems, use two capsules in the early part of the meal, then three capsules several days later. The dose is gradually increased in this steplike fashion until it equals 40 to 70 grains per meal. Please keep in mind that treatment with hydrochloric acid can be dangerous and should be used only when testing indicates a need. If this is the case, the process should be carefully monitored by a physician. Though problems occur rarely, they can be severe.

Hydrochloric acid should never be used at the same time as aspirin, Butazolidin, Inodicin, Motrin, or any other anti-inflammatory medications.

What is stomach acid?

Stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid, is secreted by cells lining the stomach to help break down food as part of the digestive process and to ward off infection. Mucus coats the cells of the stomach lining to protect them from being damaged by acid and enzymes. Any disruption in the layer of mucus can result in damage that leads to a stomach ulcer.

Homeopathic remedies that work for 70% of patients

Daily Mail 22.11.05: Researchers claim homeopathic remedies do improve patients’ health.

They found 70% of those given the medications to treat symptoms for conditions, such as asthma & eczema, felt better.

The reseachers said it demonstrates their value & that homeopathy should be more widely available on the NHS.

The research is published in “Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine” & looked at over 6,500 people treated at Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, who had a range of conditions including arthritis. The study author was Dr. David Spence of this hospital.

Digestive Health

Digestive problems are on the up. Constipation, IBS, food intolerances… the list goes on and on. Rather than struggle, why not take a look at natural approaches to gut health?

One Step Ahead…

If you’ve been visiting health stores for more than 10 years, you’ll know that these shops have been stocking specialist digestive health products for decades. Just think back to the 1980s -where else could you buy specialist dietary products such as wheat-free products or nondairy foods? Nowadays these foods are more widely available, but it’s still worth taking a look at what your health store offers – you’re bound to find something different from the mainstream – especially when it takes months, if not years – for a proper diagnosis to be made about what digestive problem you might have…

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