Nourishing Stuff

Should we all be eating foods enriched with Vitamin D? February 16 2017, 0 Comments

Vitamin D has made it into the news again today with the recommendation that bread and other 'staple' foods should be fortified with the vitamin to help prevent hundreds of thousands of cases of colds and flu each year... and Vitamin D has been shown to be more effective than the flu vaccine in preventing contraction of the flu.
 
Is this a good thing? Well, for starters I don't recommend anyone eat cheap sliced bread, wheat-based cereals or milk, which are the most likely foods to receive nutritional enrichment. But that's another story...!
While it is great to see understanding of the importance of maintaining adequate vitamin D levels entering the mainstream - as well as the efficacy of the potentially more harmful than beneficial flu vaccine called into question! - as with ALL vitamins and minerals, there is no one size fits all.
 
We all need differing amounts of - ideally naturally-derived - nutrients, depending on our lifestyle and our genetically acquired ability to absorb and metabolise them. As such, a blanket approach to administration of supplements - especially synthetic versions - is not the best way forward.
 
As with everything in life, too much of a good thing can become decidedly negative and we definitely know that to be true of Vitamin D.
 
For one thing, there is no mention of the form of Vitamin D that was trialled or which form they propose to put in food - will it be the D2 (inactive) or D3 (active) form? The first needs converting and some people are unfortunately not particularly good at doing this.
 
And let's not forget that the immune system requires far more nutrients than just Vitamin D3 to function optimally. Vitamin C, Vitamin A, zinc, magnesium, sufficient friendly (probiotic) bacteria... these and more are all essential raw materials to prime our highly complex and impressive immune systems for fighting infection. Plus, Vitamin D3 works with Vitamin A and Vitamin K2 to make sure calcium is deposited in the bones and teeth rather than the soft tissues, such as the arteries and kidneys - where it can cause serious harm. They work together in synergy and it is not a good idea to elevate levels of one without either of the others.
 
If you think you might benefit from supplementing with additional Vitamin D3 please, please, please get your (blood) serum levels TESTED first. If your GP won't do it then you can order an at-home finger prick test kit from vitamindtest.org.uk for £28 and get your results delivered to you in a week. Either way, it is always best to work with a trained professional when trying to correct any deficiencies. There is so much conflicting information out there and so many supplements on offer that it is hard to know how to isolate the facts from fictions. And, being so biochemically unique, we can't always anticipate how we may respond to any medical intervention - natural or otherwise. If in doubt, please seek help.
Elspeth x

Who needs a naturopathic nutrition & lifestyle consultation? December 02 2013, 0 Comments

The short answer is anyone and everyone!

But you might be thinking why do I need one? I'm not ill and I know how to eat already, thanks very much! Well, perhaps you do and, if so, good for you. But, even if they are not clinically unwell the vast majority of people I know and/or see as clients all have some aspect of their health/wellbeing/life that could use a little support.

It might be frequent headaches or bloating and belching after meals, period pain or general irritation with life. You might feel like it's getting harder and harder to get out of bed or that bedtime can't come soon enough... and it's only 4pm. Or, that the stresses in your life that seemed small last year now seem to be getting a bit bigger and scarier. You might wish you had more energy to do exercise, want to sleep better, be fitter, happier, more productive (yes I did just steal some Radiohead lyrics there, well spotted!). Or maybe you feel great and want to make sure you continue to feel great for many more years to come. Whatever you want for yourself but are not too sure how to get it, naturopathy can help you with.

A Naturopathic nutrition consultation is an opportunity to examine all aspects of your health and wellness, past and present, and try and discover which aspects of your diet, lifestyle and/or environment might be contributing to any ill health or unhappiness and find ways of improving them for you.

Clinical nutrition and naturopathy is personalised, natural medicine. You are unique and your body's needs for food, nutrients, sleep, exercise etc are unique and the consultation process is a chance to put together a personal plan that addresses your health needs specifically.

As a naturopathic nutrition practitioner, I assess and treat the whole person rather than isolated symptoms, to learn how and why that person's health is compromised - taking into consideration their diet, lifestyle, environment and emotional wellbeing - to determine which systems are out of balance and what they need in order to regain abundant health and happiness. Recommendations may include food and supplement suggestions, sleep or exercise routines or functional testing for further investigation.

The first session typically lasts 90 minutes, with subsequent appointments lasting 45-60 minutes.

Nutritional therapy consultations are available in Central London or via Skype.

If you would like more information about having a naturopathic nutrition consultation with a qualified nutritionist then drop me a line here and I'll get back to you asap so we can have a chat about it.


Eat the Rainbow - research shows your life depends on it November 29 2013, 0 Comments

 

And why is it so important to "Eat the Rainbow"?

Even if you wouldn't dream of eating artificially coloured sweets, could you get away with just eating broccoli or cabbage with every meal instead of all the coloured veg and fruit? Well, eating broccoli and cabbage every day is certainly better for you than not eating any vegetables at all. The chlorophyll (green pigment) in broccoli and other green veg is one of nature's most potent detoxifiers and broccoli and cabbage belong to the Brassica family (along with kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower) and contain powerful detoxifying sulphur compounds which help recycle and regulate hormones such as oestrogen among other things. So you definitely want to get plenty of broccoli and cabbage in your diet every week.

However, recent research in the Journal of Nutrition has indicated that each different plant food has a different 'positive health message' to tell our genes and we want ALL of that positive information in order to keep switching on the positive genetic expressions that promote good health and keep all the negative disease-promoting genes switched off. So for optimum health it really is key to eat a wide range of different coloured plant foods - mostly vegetables, herbs and spices with 1-2 pieces of fruit - to maintain that steady dialogue of health promotion and disease prevention.

Researchers Thompson HJ et al. concluded in 'Dietary Botanical Diversity Affects the Reduction of Oxidative Biomarkers in Women due to High Vegetable and Fruit Intake' that:

"Botanical diversity plays a role in determining the bioactivity of high-VF (ed: vegetable and fruit) diets and that smaller amounts of many phytochemicals may have greater beneficial effects than larger amounts of fewer phytochemicals."

What will each colour do for you?

Red phytonutrients eg. Lycopene, Astaxanthin and Capsanthin in tomatoes and redcurrants - support a healthy heart and circulation, urinary tract health and optimal memory function.

Yellow/Orange phytonutrients eg. Beta-carotene and Bioflavonoids in carrots, pumpkin and citrus - support eye health and strong immunity.

White phytonutrients eg. Allicin and Favonol in onions and garlic - support a health heart and cholesterol levels.

Green phytonutrients eg. Chlorophyll, Zeaxanthin, Folate and Lutein in kale and spinach - support strong bones and teeth, healthy eyesight and detoxification.

Blue/Purple phytonutrients eg. Anthocyanin, Quercetin and other Phenols in blueberries and red cabbage - support healthy ageing, urinary tract health, immunity and optimal memory function.

Variety really is the spice of life so to live a long and happy one, be sure to make your meals colourful.  

If you're not sure how to get more colour into your diet, book a nutritional therapy consultation with me and we can work it out together.