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How to boost Energy Naturally

13/10/2017

We would all love to leap out of bed each morning, full of vitality. However, around 10% of us suffer from persistent tiredness. What we eat can play a large part in our natural energy levels. For many people, life is not conducive to high energy levels; poor sleep, hormonal disturbances, ‘stress of life’, lack of exercise, and poor diet takes its toll on our level of energy. Keeping energy levels stable relies on a number of factors including good sleep, adequate exercise and a healthy, balanced and wholesome diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with management of energy highs and lows.

Eating your way to better energy

Food can be a double-edged sword; the foods we eat and enjoy can give us energy but certain foods, especially eaten late at night, can make us sluggish and tired.

Sugar and Energy

Too much sugar will have a negative effect on vitality. Sugar is linked with the hormone serotonin. When serotonin levels are balanced we should feel mellow, relaxed, optimistic and focused. However, serotonin is also linked to the addictive side of behaviour and can cause us to crave alcohol, sugar and cigarettes. Sugar sensitive people tend to have low serotonin levels leading to a lack of control over impulsive behaviours, often causing poor food choices. The bulk of our diet relies on carbohydrates which can be anything from simple white sugar through to slow release cereals so it is important how and when we eat this food group. In the clinic we often use ChromaTab, a high quality chromium supplement to help control sugar cravings. In general, carbohydrates can be grouped into five major classes: alcohols, sugars, refined food (‘white’ food), wholefood (‘brown’ food) and alive food (fresh ‘green’ food). The wholefood and alive foods release their energy slower and are the ones to choose to help vitality. Increase the following foods in the diet: brown rice, beans, oatmeal, oatcakes, green peas, broccoli and cooked spinach. To help balance the carbohydrates, eating adequate protein is vital. Good protein sources are white meats, eggs, nuts and beans.

Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol is a depressant drug that slows the nervous system and disturbs normal sleep patterns. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system making insomnia more likely. Alcohol and caffeine are both addictive, and the danger is that to gain the same effect, over time as you become tolerant you will need to increase consumption. To balance your energy levels it is wise to reduce them to a minimum.

Exercise, Relaxation and Sleep

Adults, in general, require around eight hours, undisturbed sleep. Too much, however, can be equally bad for fatigue levels, and more than eleven hours of sleep has been linked to excessive daytime sleepiness. In the clinic we often advise 2x Elthea, which helps to enhance alpha or relaxation waves in the brain to help support poor sleep. It allows the development of a ‘good’ sleeping pattern without the drowsy effect of sedatives. When it comes to exercise, it can become a vicious cycle. When we feel too tired to exercise, we put it off for another day. This means that when we come to do things, we become tired more easily. Researcher Tim Puetz, at the University of Georgia revealed that inactive people who regularly feel the symptoms of fatigue can increase their energy by up to 20% and decrease their fatigue by 65% with regular exercise. Sometimes a little support from vitamin B such as Energy B can give a little helpful boost.

Managing Energy Highs and Lows

Learning to listen to your body is key; if you have overdone things and feel tired, don’t just battle on regardless – rest and do something less physical. If you have had a hectic few days, plan a few more restful days to keep your body in balance. Trauma and upsets can play havoc with energy levels, with huge swings from lots of energy to feeling low and flat. If this tends to be how you manage stress, learn to know when to expect the lows. Keep a to-do list handy, and rather than rushing from task to task, simply write it down. When feeling low and ‘can’t-be-bothered, look at your list and pick something out from it that requires less energy leaving the high energy tasks for days you feel a bit more energetic. Achieving and completing a task can give a sense of well-being and should help to act as a ‘pick-me-up’. If you do suffer from uncontrollable high and low energy levels due to stress, we find the supplement Zen-time can help to balance levels.

Supplementary Help

When the body is feeling fatigued it requires a good supply of vitamins and minerals such as Iron, the B group of vitamins, Vitamin D, Folic acid and biotin. These can be supplied by eating dark green leafy vegetables, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. However, when we try to cram as much as we can into our days, eating healthily often takes a back seat and it really is worth considering taking a good multi vitamin and mineral complex. Omega oils have become the hot products for health over the past few years but their place in boosting emotional health and easing fatigue are now well established. High quality marine lipids help to mend damaged brain cells and over time even reverse the changes caused by poor diet which in turn will improve mood, ease fatigue and boost energy. More information at: Stress Management Information



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Maria Webb

I have been working in the area of stress management since the early 1990's providing an individualised approach to ease the effects of life stresses on the emotional and
physical health of people of all ages and backgrounds. Stress affects people in many different ways and I have found that no one approach works with all people.
Over the years I have developed my methods, drawing on many aspects of psychology, counselling and classic stress management techniques in order to offer a balanced and person-centred way forward that can be adapted to suit most people. Where appropriate, I also like to include advice on diet and lifestyle to complete the holistic approach.



Archive

 

Wintertime Blues In Britain

11/10/2017

Around 5 million people suffer from ‘Winter-time blues’, but for another ½ million, it is more than just a case of feeling a little low.

Most of us feel down at times, especially when the days become short and the nights long, but for some, the Winter months can be a real misery. There is no hiding the fact that we have had some of the wettest and coldest summers for 20 years or so. The long, hot lazy summers we all dream about are, unfortunately, just in our dreams!

A chemical balanceing act

Interest the winter blues has flourished in recent years following the growing body of research surrounding Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD for short. This condition can affect anyone, including children, although some are more vulnerable than others. The trigger probably lies deep with in the brain and it’s ability to handle the changes in light intensity that occurs during the winter months. The lack of bright light is known to affect two substances in the brain; melatonin and serotonin.

Light suppresses melatonin, a chemical that induces the feeling of sleepiness where as serotonin thrives on bright light. Conversely, darkness lowers the levels, which is associated with the classic symptoms of depression. In many cases there is a direct relationship between melatonin and serotonin, where higher levels of melatonin are associated with decreased amounts of serotonin. SAD was only discovered relatively recently. In the 1970’s researcher Herb Kern noticed that he felt completely different within himself during the summer and winter months. He was bright, cheerful and productive in his work during the spring and summer, but as autumn approached he found that he became increasingly lethargic and unhappy. He grouped together with some scientists to try light as a therapy for his symptoms and by 1982 Norman Rosenthal and his team published a description of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Symptoms and support

Although there are many symptoms associated with SAD, depression is one of the main indications that you maybe suffering from SAD, especially if you are only affected between the months of September and April. As the underlying cause of SAD is a lack of light, it makes good sense to increase the amount of light you receive. Apart from leaving the country for warmer climes, this is easily achieved by using a light box, of which there are many available. In general, a 30 minute exposure is typically required in front of a light box that emits light at an intensity if 10,000 lux. In addition to using light as a treatment, there are many other methods that will help prevent and decrease the severity of your symptoms. Depression One of the most potent herbs for helping the symptoms of depression is the ‘Sunshine herb’ or St Johns Wort. Due to its effectiveness, this herb has received much media attention and some studies have shown that in its own right St Johns Wort (Hypericum) can improve depressive symptoms of SAD, even when light therapy is not used. It works by affecting the levels of serotonin and by raising them, the symptoms of depression are alleviated. St Johns wort is a safe herb but care must be taken if you are taking other prescribed drugs and it should not be taken along side SSRI type antidepressants. St Johns wort has also been noted to interfere with the oral contraceptive pill!

Sleeping Problems

Although the majority of people do not feel as vitalised on a dark Winter morning as they do during the bright summer months, SAD sufferers have great trouble rising from bed in the morning. Not only is oversleeping common, but drowsiness throughout most of the day results in the need to nap in the afternoon. It is wise to avoid napping and instead try to force yourself out of bed in the mornings, so that you can take a walk, especially on bright mornings. Exercise releases the body’s feel-good chemicals (endorphins) so you may start to feel better mentally, and physically it can only be beneficial. For those looking to help re-balance their sleep-wake balance the remedy known as Lactium may offer the answer. Lactium is the name given to a short string or proteins extracted from milk that have a unique ability to enhance relaxation once absorbed and they reach the brain. Because there is no issues relating to addiction or withdrawl Lactium is finding its way into many products formulated to help support calmness, relaxation and to promote restful sleep. Once such product, Zen-Time with Latium blends 150mg of Lactium with vitamin B6 and magnesium to help deliver optimal nutritional support to the stressed, anxious and sleep deprived individules. Another natural product that has great potential is Sweet Cherry Extract because Cherries naturally contain melatonin. Taking a regular capsule or two of say, CherryBomb, will help boost this natural sleep regulator over time.

Remember to avoid wearing sunglasses as it is the amount of light that reaches the eyes that helps the condition.

Overeating

Sugar cravings are a common symptom of SAD, so you must try to get into the habit of eating sustaining foods such as complex carbohydrates which include pasta, bread potatoes and rice. Although sugary foods like cakes, biscuits and sweets will initially make you feel more energetic, it will be short lived as a hormone insulin will soon be released to clear the sugars from the blood, leaving you feeling even more washed out than before. Taking a course of chromium can help your bodies sugar regulating systems become more sensitive. Just a small daily dose of 200 micrograms (mcg) is all that is needed when taken over a few months along side a low sugar diet. 

Recurrent Illness

Unfortunately, people affected by SAD tend to suffer from colds and flu as their immune systems ofeten appear to be weaker. There are many ways to boost your immune system, but one food group is gaining significant ground as a super food for the immune system; mushrooms, or more specifically, medicinal mushrooms such as Cordyceps, Maitake, Reishi, Yamaushitake and of course Shitake to name a few. At the heart of these mushroom species are immune active compoinds known as beta glucans. Taking a broad spectrum medicinal mushroom supplement sich as MycoDefense may well give your flagging system the lift it needs. MycoDefense contains mushroom extracts taken from the all of speficic growth phases (mycelium, primordium, strerotium and fruitbody) of 12 organic mushrooms. At the moment tye science does not agree on what phase of a mushrooms growth contains the best balance of immune active compounts so MycoDefense harvests the benefits from all the growth phases of the following species; Cordyceps, Mesima, Maitake, Reishi, Yamaushitake, Himematsutake, Shitake, Zhu Ling, Kawartake, Hiratake, Agarilcon, Chag

Certain vitamins such as vitamin A, B6, C and D3 are especially important, and try using zinc lozenges if you are affected by a cold.

The Winter Blues; In summary

• Seize time outside in the daylight whenever you can.

• Do some exercise. Any kind of physical activity will lift your mood.

• Get good nurition - its essential; oily fish or a supplement of fish oil is not your thing.

• Optimise your protein intake; the amino acids from protein foods are esential for tissue regeneration.

• Proteins are also vital for the production of key brain chemicals.

• Boost your vitamin D3 levels over the winter and consider adding medicinal mushrooms as food and/or as a supplement.

• Explore improving sleep with the suggestions above but avoid getting up too late as this confuses the bodies internal clock.

• Get some one-to-one stress management or insomnia counscelling - talking really helps!

• Don't bottle up your feelings; A good moan about the weather is part of being British.



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Marcus Webb

Marcus qualified in 1988 from the British College of Osteopathic medicine (formally the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy) where he served as a part-time lecturer for four years. He has a special professional interest in the nutritional management of osteoporosis and chronic pain disorders using medical acupuncture. He continues to lecture to special interest groups as well as writing and broadcasting for the public in magazines. Marcus is also a chartered Biologist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.

 

Cherries are top fruit for joint health

02/10/2017

As fruits go, cherries must be one of the most expensive but when they appear in the shops stocks don’t last long.

Despite the cost, cherries are always popular. With their single relatively large stone, cherries belong to the same group of fruits as apricots and plums and come in two main varieties; the edible cherry (Prunus avium) and the rather sour cooking cherry (Prunus cerasus). Cherries are expensive fruits to grow and are very prone to damage and bruising, even by a heavy fall of rain! However, there is a growing demand for them spurred along by their flavour and health benefits.
With research indicating that coloured fruits and berries carry special health benefits due to their high flavonoid content, cherries have become rather sought after. Other dark red-blue berries (blueberries, hawthorn berries, and others) also provide many of the same valuable, anti-inflammatory flavonoid compounds as well but cherries appear to offer something extra especially for those with aching joints. The flavonoids (specifically, anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins) found in cherries act as antioxidants in the body, scavenging for and destroying altered oxygen compounds called free radicals. Many degenerative diseases have been associated with the tissue damage caused by free radicals, including cataracts, Parkinson’s disease, and arteriosclerosis.

Cherries and Gout
Cherries come into their own in cases of gout. This is perhaps the best-known use for the fruit. The benefit looks to be twofold: The flavonoids help to reduce the high uric acid levels in the blood that are responsible for the development of gout itself and at the same time flavonoids block the inflammation-causing substances released in the joint when the uric acid crystals start to accumulate. The typical intake of cherries needed to drop uric acid levels to normal is in the region of 500grams of the fresh fruit per day. Those who have tried the cherry-treatment have also commented that their small joints felt less stiff. Ongoing work has suggested that consuming 20 cherries a day provides up to 25 mg of the active flavonoid compounds (anthocyanins) that can significantly lessen free-radical damage and ease inflammation. Consuming this amount of cherries daily reportedly offers pain relief similar to aspirin and other painkillers by inhibiting inflammation-causing compounds in the body.

Other Health Benefits of Cherries
The key flavonoid compounds responsible for cherries health effects express their natural anti-inflammatory action by preventing both the synthesis and release of inflammation promoting substances such as histamine. In this respect, the effect of flavonoids in the body is similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen), antihistamines. This has made flavonoids a favourite among naturopaths for the treatment of allergies, arthritis, and many other conditions in which chronic inflammation is present.

In addition to this, flavonoids also help to strengthen the collagen contained within connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons. This in turn reinforces the web of connective tissue and other key structural elements giving extra support to the skeletal system and taking the strain away from degenerated joints. Even varicose veins may benefit from the anthocyanidins in cherries because it helps strengthen the collagen fibres that form the vein wall. Extracts of cherries and blueberries are used frequently in Europe for treatment of varicose veins along with horse chestnut extract.

Supplement your diet
When cherries are hard to come by or their price makes them simply too expensive to take every day consider using a supplement containing cherry fruit extract. For some this may be the preferred form since per typical serving the supplement extract contains less than half a gram of sugar compared to 20 grams in the fresh juice. A good supplement should contain very pure concentrated extracts, in the region of a 10:1 concentration. This means that 10lb of cherries are used to make 1lb of cherry extract. Supplements of this type deliver dose of around 500mg of Cherry Fruit extract per capsule. I have found that 1000mg of cherry extract taken twice a day can have good results in cases of arthritis. For those just wanting to boost their antioxidant intake 1000mg per day is all that is needed.

Supplements containing Cherry fruit extract have no known adverse reaction and can be taken alongside conventional medications. Whether you take the fresh fruit or opt for the supplement you will be doing your body a favour by including cherries in your diet!



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Marcus Webb

Marcus Webb

Marcus qualified in 1988 from the British College of Osteopathic medicine (formally the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy) where he served as a part-time lecturer for four years. He has a special professional interest in the nutritional management of osteoporosis and chronic pain disorders using medical acupuncture. He continues to lecture to special interest groups as well as writing and broadcasting for the public in magazines. Marcus is also a chartered Biologist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.

 


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