‘Drinking pomegranate juice can make you love your job!’

Take 60 workers and get them to drink 1/2 a litre of pomegranate juice every day for a fortnight. Then ask them if they enjoy work more?

The answer: Yes! Nearly everyone said life felt better. They were more active, enthusiastic and pleased with their work. The responses indicated they were less stressed too.

Drinking pomegranate juice can make you more active at work
Drinking pomegranate juice can make you more active at work

No wonder pomegranate used to be hailed as the forbidden fruit of lovers if this is what it does.

But loving your job?

Okay so, physically, the workers’ pulse rates had actually reduced…

But given that lower pulse rates are seen as a sign of health, this latest report will still add to the range of benefits which a drink of antioxidant pomegranate offers: help with weight loss, lower blood pressure, less risk of heart and kidney disease or Alzheimer’s too. And scientists are still looking into the benefits of pomegranate juice with cancer.

To choose from a range of pomegranate juices take a look at GoodnessDirect.

Why do you need Prebiotics? And other musings…

Why do you need Prebiotics?

They cultivate good bacteria in your gut and kill off the bad ones. A healthy balance of good bacteria means you’ll have a better immune system, absorb nutrients more efficiently (especially calcium), and improve your bowel health.

Why do we need Calcium?

We all know that calcium is good for the bones. It is also essential for your metabolism and muscles, it protects your heart and improves premenstrual moods. Too little calcium and your body can soon be in a mess, but if you overdose on it you won’t absorb nutrients properly.

Why do we need Cranberries?

Cranberries inhibit bacteria at work in your body and helps reduce inflammation. The knock on effect has been linked to heart health, kidney stones, urinary health, gum disease and cancer.

Why do you need Flaxseed?

For Omega 3 apart from anything else. It has been found to have an impact on the symptoms of arthritis, colitis, cancer, heart disease and even acne. Flaxseed helps your hormone levels and is a natural way to normalize the menstrual cycle, manage menopause, and lower the risk of osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease.

How can you get them?

Calciflax is a new food supplement from Lifestream which is 100% natural and has Calcium, Flaxseed, Prebiotics and Cranberries in it. It is ethically made and can easily be added to cereals or smoothies, yoghurts and salads.

If you’re interested, take a look

Lose the extra fat with pomegranate juice – new discovery

Drinking pomegranate juice for one month may reduce middle aged spread.

If you want to deflate that spare tyre and get rid of the extra flab a bottle of pomegranate juice every day could be the help you need.

An Edinburgh University research group found that volunteers who drank a daily dose of half a litre of pomegranate juice were less likely to develop fatty cells around their abdomen.

Pomegranate juice could help shift those pounds
Pomegranate juice could help shift those pounds

They also had much lower blood pressure, therefore reducing their risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease. 500ml of pomegranate may also lead to a reduced likelihood of developing type II diabetes – associated with abdominal fat.

More tests still need to be done as none of the research volunteers were particularly overweight. But many people, worried about their weight, will be trying out the tangy fruit drink for themselves.

If that is what you are doing it makes sense to buy a 100% pure pomegranate juice which won’t have lots of added sugar in it. Both Organic Village’s pomegranate juice and Biona Organic’s pomegranate juice are not made from concentrate so there’s no added water or sugar or anything in them, just 100% pomegranate goodness.

If you find the drink a little tart make a litre with 500ml pomegranate and 500ml of water, but you don’t want to buy it diluted. A 100% pure pomegranate drink is the way to go – and it’s also one of your five a day.

That muzzy headed Monday morning feeling could be dehydration

I met with a friend this weekend (a nurse) who was explaining to me that dehydration is very common, even that fuzzy wuzzzy feeling can sometimes be attributed to lack of hydration. It is true that sometimes when I notice the onset of a headache if I drink a glass of water or two the pain will subside. But I had never thought any further about this until now.

Apparently the signs for dehydration can include: a dry mouth, sleepiness or fatigue, thirst (but don’t be fooled you may not always feel thirsty), decreased wee output, headaches, dizziness and muzziness, confusion,  and a lack of sweat or tears. Insufficient water can mean you have slow reaction time, with poor concentration and judgement as well as impairing all the vital functions of the organs.

It is well publicised that we all need to drink plenty of water, (around 2 litres a day, although this is under debate) but did you know that although any liquid is better than no liquid, tea and coffee and fizzy drinks actually dehydrate you more?  It is best, it seems, for us to select water. Juices are good too but not in excess as too many visits to the loo can dehydrate you too.  Ooo that rhymed!

Test for dehydration: The capillary nail refill test

To test to see if you may be dehydrated is simple, (it could even become a party game?) just pinch your thumb hard at the base of your thumb nail so that the nail bed goes white.  5 seconds will do, then count the number of seconds it takes for the pink colour to return. 2 or 3 seconds is fine but any longer could indicate that you are dehydrated.  This test is called the capillary nail refill test.

The Skin Turgor test

The skin turgor test or the pinch test is a similar test where you are testing the turgor of your skin.  Turgor is the skin’s attempt at resisting change, so if you pinch some skin on the back of your hand, your lower arm or your belly.  Hold it for a few seconds and then let go forming a pinch shape.  The pinch should return to it’s normal shape within 2 or 3 seconds.  If this return to shape is slow, then this could indicate dehydration.  With the turgor test you have to allow a little longer (up to 5 seconds) for older people.

I guess the moral of the story is,  go drink some water, after all we are meant to be 65% water. That’s the first thing I did after my conversation with my friend and now I don’t have that Monday morning feeling even though it is Monday.

Quebra Pedra (Stone) Breaking News…

New research at the University of Modena in Italy has confirmed some of the positive benefits of the herb Phyllanthus niruri, known in Brazil as Quebra Pedra ‘the stone breaker’ – and also widely known under its Spanish name of Chanca Piedra.
Used by generations of South Americans to treat renal calculi – Kidney and Gall stones, this wonderful herb is free from side effects and interactions, and can be safely used alongside other therapies.

Kidney and Gall stones are estimated to effect around 5% of the UK population, with recurrences common among patients (50-80%). It is widely believed that a diet high in animal fats is part of the explanation for this, but dietary changes alone, although certainly helpful, are not the whole answer.

The conventional approach to removal of stones usually involves shattering the stone using ESWL (Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy) – but this often leaves residual fragments which often require the treatment to be repeated.

The new research, published in the medical journal ‘European Urology Supplements’ earlier this year, assessed the benefit of taking an extract of Quebra Pedra following ESWL treatment. After six months the stone free rate in those treated with just ESWL was 80% – but for the patients taking Quebra Pedra during their recovery, the stone free rate was 97%. Concerning lower caliceal stones the stone free rate of those using the herb was 94.1% versus 64.28% among those who just had ESWL.

The conclusion of the researchers was simple – the use of the Quebra Pedra extract results in an increased stone free rate and in a lower percentage of re-treatment. They concluded that its efficacy “together with the absolute lacking of side effects make this therapy suitable to improve overall outcomes of ureteral stones shock wave lithotripsy.”

Recent research has also confirmed the liver protective potential of the herb, and its antispasmodic activity has also been documented.3 In Brazil, where much of the research has taken place – the Quebra Pedra infusions are used for the removal and prevention of stones as an alternative to the use of ESWL – and it is also widely used for Urinary tract infections.

Rio Health

Got a Kidney Stone?

New research at the University of Modena in Italy has confirmed some of the positive benefits of the herb Phyllanthus niruri, known in Brazil as Quebra Pedra ‘the stone breaker’ – and also widely known under its Spanish name of Chanca Piedra.

Used by generations of South Americans to treat Kidney and Gall stones, this wonderful herb is free from side effects and interactions, and can be safely used alongside other therapies. The herb can also be used to help prevent recurrences which can affect up to 80% of cases. Of course, avoiding animal fats can help both prevent and treat kidney stones, but dietary changes alone are not the whole answer.

The conventional approach to removal of stones usually involves shattering the stone using ESWL (Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy) – but this often leaves residual fragments which often require the treatment to be repeated. The new research, published in the medical journal ‘European Urology Supplements’ in March 2005, assessed the benefit of taking an extract of Quebra Pedra following ESWL treatment. After six months the stone free rate in those treated with just ESWL was 80% – but for the patients taking Quebra Pedra during their recovery, the stone free rate was 97%.

A little herb improves the stone free rate

The conclusion is simple, use of this little herb extract results in an increased stone free rate and a lower percentage of re-treatment. What’s more, some alternative practitioners think that taking the Quebra alone may get rid of the stone and there are no side effects at all.Research on Quebra Pedra continues and it has now been confirmed that it has liver protective potential, anti-spasmodic properties and is helpful in urinary tract infections. Quebra Pedra is available as unbleached teabags and should be taken as 3 infusions a day for treatment and one infusion a day for prevention. It is best sweetened with a little honey.

Fluid Assets

Dr John Briffa’s healthy eating and drinking plan to keep your kidneys clean.

10 tips for healthy kidneys and how to avoid stones.

1. Drink water

Drinking water helps dilute the urine, reducing the risk of stones crystallising in it. Drink enough to ensure that urine remains pale yellow.

2. Drink coffee and tea

Drinking coffee and tea has also been associated with reduced kidney stone risk. It seems it’s not only water, but other fluids too, that confer some protection for those with a history of kidney stones.

3. Reduce oxalate in the diet

The vast majority of kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate. Reducing oxalate intake from the diet reduces the level of this substance in the urine, thereby reducing risk of stone formation. Oxalate-rich foods to avoid include spinach, rhubarb, chocolate, nuts and strawberries.

4. Increase calcium in the diet

Individuals with a history of kidney stones are often advised to cut down on calcium. However, calcium can bind to oxalate in the gut, and this appears to reduce the risk of stone formation. Calcium-rich foods include plain yoghurt, tinned fish, sesame seeds, figs and beans.

5. Keep the diet plant-based

Animal protein can increase calcium levels in the urine, which appears to be associated with an increase in kidney stone risk. For the best protection from kidney stones, the diet should be rich in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.

6. Eat plenty of fruit and veg

Fruit and vegetables are believed to be particularly beneficial: these are rich in potassium which has been linked with reduced kidney stone risk.

7. Cut back on salt

Salt increases calcium excretion in the urine, which can increase the risk of stone formation. In general, most of the salt we consume is not added during cooking or at the table, but comes from processed foods such as bread, cheese, savoury snacks, breakfast cereals and ready-meals.

8. Supplement with magnesium

Magnesium helps transform oxalate into other substances in the body, and is believed to help reduce the risk of stone formation. Take 300mg per day.

9. Supplement with vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 also participates in the metabolism of oxalate, and may also help to keep kidney stones at bay. This should be taken at a dose of 25-50mg per day, preferably as part of a general B-complex supplement.

10. Take quebra pedra

This South American herb is traditionally used to dissolve kidney stones. In practice, I have found it helpful for individuals who have stones lodged around their kidneys or in the bladder. Quebra pedra is available in tea form from Goodness Direct.

Dr John Briffa © The Observer Magazine, Sunday October 9, 2005