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

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.


What is naturopathic nutritional medicine? October 08 2013, 0 Comments

Good question! Well first of all, it has nothing to do with calories; or points; or counting of any kind. It is not about demonising certain foods (except for ALL highly processed, lab-made toxic 'franken-foods', of course). Instead, it is about helping people understand their unique needs when it comes to what they should be putting in their bodies.

All real food is good food. And what do I mean when I say real food? I mean all foods found in nature and minimally processed (by which I mean cooked!) in a kitchen and not a factory. 

Today we are bombarded with food on every corner, but unfortunately a lot of what is sold as food is not actually food at all. Instead it is a toxic brew of pseudo food ingredients packaged together cheaply and quickly, which not only has negligible nutritional value but also harms you in the process.

So, what are we to do?

Quite simply, boycott the packaged stuff and make delicious, whole-food meals for ourselves with delicious real-food ingredients.

These ingredients are: meat, fish, fruit, veg, eggs, nuts and seeds and to a lesser extent, beans, pulses and grains. Raw dairy is also highly nutritious for some as well.

And that's the other thing. These real whole foods are only beneficial to us if we can digest and absorb them well. So this is where nutritional therapy comes in. A nutritional therapist will examine what you are eating and how you are feeling and try and work out which foods and in what ratios will serve you best and leave you feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, rather than bloated, lethargic and overweight.

If you think nutritional therapy might be just what you need, why not book a consultation with me now.