Thursday, 4 October 2018

Breast Cancer Prevention


In New Zealand, 600 women die of breast cancer every year.  On a daily basis, 9 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.  Whilst you may have heard of lots of news in the media regarding breast cancer being related to your genes, there are lots of things you can do to work on breast cancer prevention and for that matter cancer prevention.  Don’t be disempowered!


Here are some contributing factors that increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer and what you can do to mitigate those factors: 
  1.  Age – Due to increased estrogen levels relative to progesterone and increased cumulative estrogen, a woman’s breast cancer risk increases with age.  Hence decreasing estrogen levels by clearing the pathways for estrogen metabolism and using skincare and bodycare products that do not unnecessary chemicals will decrease the xenoestrogen burden.  The other supply of xenoestrogen is plastics!
  2. Fat cells make estrogen – especially postmenopausally.  If you are overweight, losing weight will decrease your breast cancer risk and if you have had breast cancer, decreases the risk of recurrence!
  3. Lack of physical activity – exercise improves insulin sensitivity, and decreases body fats.  Get physically active 5 days a week for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Consumption of processed carbohydrates – spikes on blood sugar levels from carbohydrates feeds cancer cells.  Limit refined sugar and carbohydrates and eat a rainbow of vegetables with some protein. Phytonutrients from plants have cancer fighting properties.  Cut that alcohol out - it converts to sugar!
  5. Stress- this is a driver of many diseases, not just breast cancer.  Stress weakens your immune and digestive system.  Given the importance of the gut microbiota in maintaining a healthy immune system, you need to manage stress through learning to say ‘no’, allocating some ‘me time’, doing enough relaxation or activities that you enjoy, allocating time to eat – it is so important to be able to digest and absorb your food rather than eat on the run and have compromised absorption and making sure you have enough fibre, colours and macro and micronutrients in your meal.

Get out and get some sunshine and vitamin D - if your vitamin D is low, you are at higher risk of breast cancer.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Why Detox?


We live in an increasingly chemical laden world with many new chemicals infiltrating our soil, air, water and food supply.  A toxin is a substance that can interfere with cellular function and have a negative impact on our short and long term state of health.  We have all been made to be able to detoxify a certain level of toxins.  How much we can detoxify depends on our capacity to detoxify and toxin exposure.  The higher the exposure and the lower the capacity to detoxify, the higher the toxic burden on the body and the more negative health outcomes we get.  Excess toxic load can show up as resistant weight gain, skin breakouts, digestive problems, fatigue, headaches, other aches and pains in the body, brain fog, poor cognitive function and mood swings.


Doing a detoxification means supporting the elimination systems to detoxify as well as reducing or minimising ongoing exposure to those toxins including:
  • Consume fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, at least 5 cups a day;
  • Avoid packaged and processed food;
  • Eliminate foods containing gluten, dairy, added sugar, artificial colours, flavours, additives, flavour enhancers and hydrogenated fats
  • Recreational drugs like caffeine, tobacco and alcohol

When doing a detoxification, include herbs and nutrition that support the detoxification process, as well as keeping well hydrated through enough pure filtered water, getting 30mls of fluids per kg of body weight.  This can be in the form of herbal teas, water and soups.


Including calming daily practice such as yoga is an useful addition to a detox regime.

The other area a lot of chemicals are hiding is in your bathroom - body and face care products as well as household cleaners.  When you are detoxing, make sure you are also reviewing what you are putting on your body topically and inhaling in the cleaning agents you use - detergents, bathroom and toilet cleaners and air fresheners.  Full article on this in the next blog post.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Garlic Butter Prawn

Ingredients:

12 large prawns shelled and deveined
3 pips garlic chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 chilli (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

Method:
Put 1/2 tablespoon butter into a pan and fry prepared prawns until it turns pink (prawns turn pink when they are cooked).  Remove the prawns from the pan.  Put remainder 1/2 tablespoon butter into the pan and fry the chopped garlic and chilli (if using) until fragrant.  Add salt.  Once garlic turns golden, add prawns back into the pan and stir to mix.  Switch off fire.  Serve on a plate with coriander as garnishing.

Serves 2.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

7 ways to use turmeric easily in your daily life


I use turmeric from fresh grated/ blended root and also turmeric powder.  This super antioxidant, anti-inflammatory herb boasts of an impressive list of health properties from decreasing pain to soothing the gut and supporting the liver.  It enhances dishes, sweet and savoury and is a great way to enjoy food that is healthy and tastes good.

      1.  Make a Sunrise Shape Up Smoothie with it – this super antioxidant smoothie is not just great to help keep your weight in check, it also helps to keep you young. 

      2. Add a crushed thumb piece of turmeric to bone broth to fortify it.  
      
      3.  Stirfry cabbage with 2 pips of chopped garlic, sprinkle of black pepper and ½ tsp of turmeric powder.  
      
      4.  Make a marinate or curry base with fresh turmeric.  I often prepare this in advance and keep single serves frozen in the freezer.
2 stalks lemon grass (just the white part), roughly chopped
1 clove garlic peeled
1 thumb piece ginger
2 thumb pieces turmeric
3-4 kaffir lime leaves
1 handful chillies (optional if you want it hot, and can tolerate the nightshades)
Blend all the ingredients in a strong blender until crushed and well mixed.  This can be frozen and used in curries or marinates for chicken, fish or meat.    

5. Season toasted vegetables with olive oil and ½ teaspoon turmeric powder.  This works well with vegetables that taste quite bland like cauliflower, kumara and potatoes.  

6. Make a golden milk with turmeric.    

7.  Blend some turmeric in your salad dressing to give it some colour and make it more interesting.

Sunrise Shape Up Smoothie


1.      This super antioxidant smoothie is not just great to help keep your weight in check, it also helps to keep you young.  It is packed with beta carotene, Vitamin C and curcuminoids which is anti-inflammatory.

Ingredients:
1 scoop Shape Up
½ orange peeled
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ carrot
1 glass of coconut water

Method:
Blend all ingredients in a strong blender together until smooth.  Enjoy in a tall glass or drink on the go.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

IBS Symptoms and what you can do to overcome them


How your gut feels can make or break your day.  IBS affects about 15% of the population, more commonly occurring in women than in men.  The symptoms of IBS include bloating, flatulence, excessively frequent bowel movement with soft, watery stools, or absence of bowel movement causing it very hard to defaecate.  IBS is different from IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease the likes of Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis).  IBS patients do not have increased risk of bowel cancer but IBD patients do.  However, IBS patients can still feel a lot of abdominal discomfort, suffer from fatigue, headaches, nausea and dehydration.  


The triggers for IBS include food, stress and hormones.  Common foods that trigger IBS include dairy, coffee, chocolate, wheat, fried and fatty foods and fibre.  Some forms of IBS do well with more fibre and other form of IBS do better with less fibre!  Stress and nerves can make IBS worse and IBS can make mood worse.  That’s because the gut is the second brain.  Serotonin, the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good, control your appetite and sleep well is made predominantly in the gut.  Patients with IBS often can feel low in the mood due to low serotonin production.  Addressing your IBS will lift your mood and improve your sleep.

Women tend to suffer from IBS more than men as the menstrual cycle changes the hormones at different times of the month.  The days of ovulation or immediately following ovulation and a day or two prior to the period is when IBS symptoms can exacerbate. 

Is it possible to have IBS and be symptom free?  Yes, absolutely.  What needs to happen is to identify your trigger, help your gut heal and you don’t need to suffer from IBS anymore.  Identifying the trigger can be tricky. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. If you have problems, seek the help of a naturopath or naturopathic nutritionist who would address the underlying cause of your symptoms rather than mask the symptoms.  

If your IBS is more constipation than diarrhea, the focus is to help the bowels relax and reduce straining. If you do not empty your bowels adequately daily, you are not helping your body detoxify effectively and this can cause problems in the longer term.  Make sure you are well hydrated, 30mls per kg of body weight of fluid intake per day, and you are consuming adequate fibre from nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables that do not irritate you gut.  If you are constipated, you may get the common symptoms of headaches, nausea, bloating or abdominal pain.  So understanding why you have IBS and what drives your IBS can help you sort out the root cause of your problem!

Monday, 30 April 2018

Do you suffer from premenstrual syndrome and what can do you do about it?


Many women treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other menstrual irregularities as a normal part of their life.  In reality, menstruation should not cause any significant interruption to your everyday life.  If you experienced symptoms of PMS, painful, heavy or irregular periods, it means that your reproductive system is not functioning as well as it should be.



Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is the most common female hormonal imbalance, affecting more than 75% of women at some stage of their lives.  PMS normally occurs in the second half of a woman’s menstrual cycle, between ovulation and the onset of menstruation.  Psychological symptoms of PMS include mood swings, anxiety, irritability, nervous tension, depression, forgetfulness, poor concentration, fatigue or even insomnia.  Physical symptoms can include weight gain from fluid retention, abdominal bloating, headaches, libido issues, constipation and/or diarrhoea.

PMS normally occurs as a result of imbalances in female reproductive hormones, particularly, low levels of progesterone throughout the cycle with elevated oestrogen levels during the second half of the cycle.  It can also be related to “bad” oestrogens and not enough “good” oestrogens.  High levels of another hormone, prolactin may also be involved.

How do you balance your hormones?
You can use a range of herbs and nutrients to correct hormonal imbalances.  Vitex agnus castus has been shown to assist in the management of PMS symptoms by reducing high amounts of prolactin and normalising progesterone levels.  Vitex can also help with irregular periods.  Vitex can work synergistically with other herbs to manage painful, heavy or irregular periods and PMS symptoms such as headaches, sore breasts, fluid retention and abdominal bloating.

If you suffer from mood swings in the second half (luteal phase) of your menstrual cycle, bupleurum and peony can be useful.

Other natural ingredients which may help to maintain a healthy oestrogen balance include:
·                Flaxseed balances good and bad oestrogen;
·                Turmeric which offers potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity;
·                Folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12, which assist the processing of oestrogen in the body.

Apart from herbs, some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can greatly improve your menstrual cycle:
·                consume a diet rich in fibre which includes fruit and vegetables;
·                increase the intake of good fats such as those from nuts, seeds and fish;
·                drink lots of water (1-2 litres a day);
·                keep yourself active with regular exercise;
·                stop smoking;
·                reduce excess fat;
·                limit salt and saturated fat intake; and
·                reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption.

PMS and other menstrual irregularities are not a normal part of life.  These symptoms are common but common does not equal normal.  You don’t have to put up with the discomfort or pain.  Don’t let your monthly menstrual cycle hinder your ability to do your favourite activities and enjoy life!  Herbs and nutrients, with the appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes can let you take charge of your menstrual cycle again.