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If you’re looking to make some positive nutritional changes in 2016, these are some of my favourite must-have items that I hope will inspire you. Try some or all of these to add a nutritional punch to drinks, snacks or meals. Enjoy experimenting!

  1. Matcha green tea

This dazzling emerald-green powder contains around fifteen times the amount of antioxidant levels than normal green tea. Quality really does count here. I love Clearspring Japanese Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder. Just whisk a teaspoon of this potent powder to hot water and enjoy. You can also sprinkle it into smoothies.

 It should increase your energy levels; it’s also known to fire up your metabolism due to a specific set of compounds called catechins which can help fat burning and also have a calming effect.

Matcha Green tea also has a positive effect on cholesterol levels and provides impressive quantities of Potassium, Vitamins A and C, iron, protein and calcium. Japanese Zen Buddhist monks drink Matcha to relax and meditate with a level of alertness, thanks to the amino acid L-Theanine contained in the leaves used to make Matcha. L-Theanine promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain which induces relaxation without causing drowsiness.

  1. Apple cider vinegar with ‘Mother’

The cloudier (organic) version of apple cider vinegar is due to the ‘mother’ – a blend of proteins, enzymes and beneficial bacteria. Rich in acetic acid, it helps to lower blood sugar levels and aids better digestion by increasing digestive enzymes, which break down food more effectively.

Try a couple of teaspoons in a little water and sip just before you eat your main meal. It’s also great for sore throats and you can try inhaling with a few drops in hot water to help soothe sinus infections.

  1. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has been used for centuries by ancient civilisations due to its health properties. It’s the most stable oil

Grab yours when you are in the clinic!

Grab yours when you are in the clinic!

to cook with because coconut oil can be heated to high temperatures without breaking down – and therefore doesn’t release harmful carcinogens that many other oils produce when heated.

High in health boosting fatty acids, coconut oil is incredibly versatile – you can cook with it, add it to sweet healthful treats, or dollop a spoonful into a smoothie. It’s also wonderfully healing and nourishing on dry skin or dry hair; it’s effective on many types of odd skin rashes that might flare up.

Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is converted to monolaurin which has antibacterial properties, making it ideal for oil pulling (an Ayurvedic remedy to naturally improve oral hygiene by swishing and ‘pulling’ oil around the teeth and gums). Coconut oil contains high amounts of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are immediately converted to energy and boost metabolism.

  1. Eggs

Eggs are not just protein-packed but also contain a wealth of vitamins, minerals and essential fats. They’re a great source of B12 (helping to produce healthy red-blood cells to carry oxygen around the body and regulate energy metabolism) and are one of the few natural dietary sources of vitamin D, which helps support immunity and bone health. Eggs are also a mood-boosting food as they contain choline, which plays an important role in the function of dopamine and serotonin (our ‘happy hormones’). Poached eggs with a handful of wilted spinach is a quick and delicious way to start the day.

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh.  It has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both Chinese and Indian medicine. It provides potent anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.  Studies show that this powerful spice may help may protect against cancer cell growth and the management of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, eczema and inflammatory bowel disease. It is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in manganese, zinc, B group vitamins and iron.

You can add a teaspoon into a hot mug of lemon, ginger and honey to ward off colds; or it can be used in soups, smoothies, dips and of course, curries.

  1. Chia seeds

These nutrient-packed super seeds are versatile and easy to use but the best way to use them is to soak them in some water first. Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they readily absorb water; this helps them to ‘swell’ and creates a jelly-like consistency. Consuming chia seeds in their dry, unsoaked state, can cause bloating and stomach ache in some people. So, soak your chia seeds first and then add them to your morning porridge/granola or add them to a green juice or into soups.

Why are they so great? They have high levels of omega 3 fats (vital for the immune system, skin, brain, heart and can help to reduce inflammation in the body); they provide a good source of fibre (essential for digestion, efficient toxin elimination and for lowering cholesterol) and they also contain high amounts of protein as well as an impressive amount of calcium.

  1. Almond nut butter

Look for nut butters with no added oils, sugar or stabilisers. Nut butters are packed with protein that keeps your body sustained for hours.  They are also rich in antioxidants and minerals that include Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, niacin and folate.

You could have a go at making your own delicious pimped-up nut butter. All you need is a high speed blender, 1 cup (250 g) organic almond butter, 1 tablespoon of good quality honey or maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. Whoosh it all up in the blender and try not to eat it off the spoon in one go!

  1. Manuka honey

Honey is still a sweetener and should therefore be consumed in moderation. However, good quality Manuka honey UMF 15+ has antiviral and antibacterial qualities that are invaluable during the cold season.  You can add it as natural sweetener to home-made banana bread, add it to hot drinks and spread a little on some rye or buckwheat bread.

  1. Lemons

Antiviral, rich in Vitamin C and surprisingly alkalising – I always have lemons in my kitchen and love them. Vitamin C is needed for tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, immune system support, iron absorption and stomach acid activation. In addition, lemon stimulates the release of bile and digestive enzymes to help cleanse the body.

Add the juice of half a lemon to warm water in the mornings; add it to a fresh morning green juice for some extra zing or take a little raw if you are fighting a cold. Lemons also bring out the flavour in food, so they’re great for people trying to reduce salt intake – simply use a little less salt and a little more juice.

Ensure you opt for unwaxed lemons; although these cost more, the ‘waxed’ lemons contain nasty chemicals, akin to ‘shellac’ – yes, the coated nail polish used to achieve glossy painted fingernails!

  1. Ginger

Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory warming and full of flavour, ginger can be chopped, grated, sliced and juiced into almost anything for a spicy immunity boost. It gives pep to a morning green juice and is delicious sliced into a speedy stir-fry or slowly cooked with other aromatic spices in curries. This gut friendly spice stimulates digestion, gut motility and bowel function, and can help to relieve bloating, cramping and nausea.

Ok, so I actually have a longer list than a top 10 nutritional favourites but I couldn’t end without a couple of other mentions!

  1. Avocados

One of my all-time favourite foods because they provide a great source of B5, which is important for managing stress and many other biological functions in the body. They’re also a good source of antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin E and vitamin C, which help protect from toxins in the environment.

Due to its beneficial fat content, avocado enables your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients (including alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein found in brightly coloured vegetables).

And they contain N-acetyl cysteine, an important nutrient for raising your energy levels. Smashed on buckwheat toast with a pinch of Himalayan salt and a squeeze of lime, these delicious nutrient powerhouses will provide a guaranteed morning or mid afternoon energy boost.

  1. Buckwheat

Buckwheat is actually not a grain but a seed (related to rhubarb) that is completely wheat-free. It has a wonderful nutty flavour and is gluten-free, low GI and high in amino acids, soluble fibre (promotes healthy bowel movements) and essential minerals iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc and copper. It is also bursting with B-vitamins.

Buckwheat is also rich in anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant polyphenols like rutin, which can help to reduce blood pressure. It also contains the amino acid tryptophan which helps to make serotonin – one of the feel good hormone mentioned earlier, responsible for feelings of wellbeing.

It’s a complex carbohydrate meaning that it releases its energy slowly so it’s a good choice for maintaining blood sugar levels. As well as being nutritionally beneficial, it’s very versatile and can be used in porridge, salads and risottos. It’s also an ideal flour for baking delicious treats with. It’s becoming a popular choice if you’re seeking a gluten and wheat-free alternative to starchy grains.

 

Article: Daniela Barbaglia – registered nutritional therapist Dip NT Mbant CNHC

References:

  1. BAULCH P. (2006) Hypothyroidism. In: BAULCH, P. (2006) Prescription for healing. 4th Avery Press.
  2. Nutra- Donnelly, Stephen: Green tea http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Green-tea-may-influence-brain-function-boost-working-memory-Study
  3. HOLFORD P (2004) The New Optimum Nutrition Bible. 2nd Piatkus Books.
  4. LIEBERMAN, S (2003) The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book. 3rd Avery Press.
  5. NORMAN A, LITWACK G (1997). Hormones. 2nd Academic press
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At the first symptoms of a cold

Many of you are coming in complaining of an irritating cold and cough. It is that time of year…Common-Cold

Here are some very simple cold recommendations, that HAVE worked for me.

Very recently, I awoke with all the symptoms of a cold coming on, sore throat, voice breaking, nasty sinus congestion. It was really important that I could use my voice that evening so I needed to give my body a helping hand if I could. The 2 main things I did:

  • I didn’t eat solid food – It takes effort for your body to breakdown food and I didn’t want my body (immune system) distracted from eliminating the foreign invader. Vegetable juice or warm broth would be fine.
  • I drank copious amounts of lemon & ginger tea (here’s ‘how to’)
  • Salt water gargle(i)

I was amazed as by the evening I had none of the symptoms I was suffering from in the morning. Give it a go – it worked really well for me.

Cough syrup recipe

Cough syrups are full of sugar (which lower your immune system) plus, they don’t appear to do the job. Here is a recipe for a natural cough syrup; a combination of products that reduce inflammation, and respiratory infections. I haven’t suffered from a cough for many years so can’t verify the effectiveness of the cough syrup recipe but I can state that if I was suffering – this is definitely something that I would try.

pineappleBromelainIngredients:

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple (core included as has highest content of Bromelain(ii)
  • fresh ginger(iii) – large chunk, at least 3 inches
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp raw honey (manuka would be great!)

Just chuck all the ingredients into a blender and blend.

Take 1/4 cup 2-3 times per day.

Keep in the fridge.

Adjust cayenne pepper to taste, if needed.

Let me know how you get on with this.

For more in depth advice on how to Stay Healthy and Happy through the Winter.

Note: If coughing persists, please visit your GP.

Written by Anne French

(i) Salt water gargle, does it work? http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/does-gargling-wlth-salt-water-ease-a-sore-throat

(ii) Short-term Treatment of Painful osteoarthritis of the Knee With Oral Enyzmes. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/406154

(iii) Ginger uses. http://reference.medscape.com/drug/african-ginger-black-ginger-344468#2

This has been one of my staple daily inclusions since October last year. Apart from it being a really good anti-inflammatory and immune boosting tea it also tastes delicious!

I do recommend it to patients quite a lot so forgive me if you have heard this all before but I thought I would mention it here as many people ask me how to make it. It’s simple.

Ingredients:lemon-ginger-tea

  • fresh lemon chunk (to taste)
  • fresh ginger (to taste) thinly sliced
  • raw honey (optional)

Squeeze the lemon into a mug. Add the thinly sliced ginger (increased surface area contact with water) or a chunk if you can’t be bothered to slice. Then fill the mug with boiling water. Voila lemon and ginger tea!

You can add honey if you wish. I often add some turmeric (many good properties) to it.

This tea is also nice chilled in the summer.

I usually have a mug of this tea on the go and just top up the ingredients as needed during the day. I always top it up with boiling water before I go to bed so that I can drink it first thing in the morning.

Written by Anne French

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