This month it’s mostly about food and vitamins, hopefully convincing you that food is truly your medicine. It nourishes us with the nutrients we require for health and can protect us from degenerative diseases. On the other hand “anti-foods” rob us of years off our lives. By eating the right food you can not only add years to your life but also life to your years. I want to LIVE till I die, don’t you?
Many people eat simply because they know they need to eat to live, forgetting just why our Creator placed such a variety of different foods at our disposal. Take just the colours of foods into consideration. Did you know that each colour has a particular purpose, for example and just roughly: Golds and yellows – anti-inflammatories Purples – longevity and anti-ageing Greens – neutralising or pH balancing Reds – blood essentials Blues – stem cell and bone marrow essentials
As you can see, we need to include as many of these in every meal we consume, so let your plate be a kaleidoscope of colour and I’m not suggesting it should look like this plate alongside ...haha.
Health in a glass
As an example of a nutritious meal let me give you an update of what our morning smoothie is comprised of these days, as this is probably our most nutrient-dense meal of the day, providing us with much of what we need to run on optimum until lunch time and longer. Nowadays instead of yoghurt I use mostly kefir as the base of our smoothie. (See all you need to know about kefir below). I also now have access to the most delicious sheep’s milk yoghurt made in the Eastern Cape, so some days I use this instead. A new addition to our morning smoothie is a few kale leaves which I am growing for the first time. It grows incredibly easily so do try it. You may not like it as a cooked veg or salad green however in a smoothie it disappears and I think actually enhances the flavour. Worth giving it a try as it is a lot more nutritious than spinach.
Strawberries are once again abundant in our garden so these form the fruit base of our smoothie at the moment but of course the good ol’ apple is non-negotiable (keeps the doctor away) and then simply whatever else I may have in the way of fruit gets chucked in. For added protein, which is essential in your breakfast meal for good blood sugar response (any breakfast should be high in protein) it’s cashews, almonds, pecans, sunflower, and recently, hemp seeds and maca powder. I’ll tell you more about wonderful maca and hemp seeds in a future newsletter but for now, just a warning regarding maca: If you have not used it before please introduce it slooooowly, starting with just a teaspoon a day. Maca is a great detoxifier and initially you may experience some detox symptoms making you feel worse before you start experiencing its amazing health benefits.
To ensure we’re not missing out on anything, I add a scoop of Green Vibrance powder and some Vitamin D drops. Lovely fresh dates or stevia to sweeten, some water to thin it down and then it’s off to the verandah to sip while enjoying the view and our neighbour's graceful buck grazing on the lands next to us. What better way to start a beautiful day? But now I need to tell you all about kefir.
Kefir – the new superfood!
If you grew up on a farm, you will be familiar with “amasi” or sour milk and its health benefits, especially its probiotic (beneficial bacteria) content. But now there is a new kid on the block called kefir (pronounced kuh-feer) and its benefits far outweigh any other probiotic foods such as amasi or yoghurt.
The word “kefir” is derived from the Turkish word “keif”, which literally translates to the “good feeling” one has after drinking it. (No it is not alcoholic…hehe). Kefir originated thousands of years ago amongst the tribes of the Caucasus Mountains of the former USSR and for centuries traditional cultures have attributed healing powers to this beverage but it is only recently that much scientific research has determined its true benefits.
What is Kefir? Kefir is the fermented milk beverage that results from the fermentation activity of bacteria and yeast that make up the “grains” used to culture the milk (not actual grains, but a grain-like matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars that feed the microbes in the milk). If you have made amasi you will know how to make kefir. It can be made from the milk of any ruminant animal - cow, goat, or sheep. Simply add milk to the grains (raw is ideal however pasteurised also fine), strain after 1-3 days, and repeat the process. Kefir, the beverage, is slightly sour and becomes more so the longer you leave it. Once you have kefir grains you have them for life and when they multiply you can share with friends.
So what are the health benefits? Besides containing highly beneficial bacteria and yeasts, kefir is a rich source of many different vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that promote healing and repair, as well as general health maintenance.
By providing the gut with many types of beneficial microbiota, kefir helps in preventing diarrhea or reducing its duration. This includes conditions like infant’s diarrhea, colitis, IBS, Crohn’s disease and gastroenteritis. Kefir consumption can also alleviate chronic constipation and re-establish intestinal microflora after a course of antibiotics. It has also shown efficacy against Helicobacter pylori associated with peptic ulcers, gastritis, and gastric cancer. I had a call today from someone that I gave a few grains to just a week ago - her heartburn is history!
Kefir is a great source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K2, hence highly beneficial to bone health.
Kefir consumption has been found to be effective in reducing the symptoms of food allergies, because it has the ability to reduce intestinal permeation of food antigens, whilst suppressing IgE and IgG1 responses. Even those with lactose intolerance may find they can drink kefir as the lactic acid bacteria improve lactose digestion as well as increase immune function.
Research has also demonstrated that kefir may have an anti-tumour effect, inhibiting tumour growth, and suggesting that it may play a role in cancer prevention.
Studies have also concluded that kefir could play a role in the prevention of certain heart diseases due to its anti-inflammatory properties. A lowering of the systolic and the diastolic blood pressures as well as of heart rate has been recorded in hypertensive patients. A significant lowering effect on levels of LDL cholesterol has also been recorded.
Kefir is a good source of most B vitamins including biotin and it also contains the amino acid tryptophan, making it is a great beverage to drink just before bedtime to induce a restful sleep.
As you can see, kefir can greatly contribute to your overall health and well-being and I highly recommend including this nutritious superfood in your diet. Because kefir has become so popular of late it should not be too difficult to find someone who is able to share a few starter grains with you. Then culture your own kefir and drink it by the glass, use it in the place of yoghurt in your smoothies or to make sourdough bread or as a substitute for buttermilk in baking.
See also Heidi du Preez’s article on kefir in the November issue of SA Journal of Natural Medicine.
Omega-3 fatty acid could help protect the brain from effects of alcohol
Results out from a recent study suggest a protective effect for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid found in fish oil, against the development of dementia in alcoholics.
In a previous analysis of 143 studies, the researchers found an association between moderate social drinking and a lower risk of dementia and cognitive impairment. However, consuming larger amounts of alcohol results in inflammation, leading to increased oxidative stress and brain cell death, which is responsible for the greater risk of dementia experienced by alcoholics.
In this current study researchers concluded that fish oil has the potential of helping preserve brain integrity in abusers. This is all very well and it's good to know another benefit of consuming fish oil, however a better way to protect brain function in alcohol abusers would obviously be for them to reduce their alcohol consumption, aiming towards moderate social drinking and definitely avoiding binge drinking, which is the most damaging kind of alcohol abuse.
November Special on Omega-3 Fish Oil capsules
While on the subject of fish oil I'm thrilled to tell you about the special offer that I am running on the Life Support Omega-3 capsules this month.
Normal price is R380 for 150 capsules however until 30 November:
one bottle is R330
two bottles just R600!!
Only 3 weeks left so don't be caught napping! You can read more about Life Support Omega-3 here. As with all the omega-3 fish oil supplements that I import from Canada, this fish oil has been awarded the 5 star rating by International Fish Oil Standards and the consumer report for this batch 1108307 can be found on the website here.
Foods that can relieve pain
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to ditch pain relievers? Well it’s not impossible. It is well documented that many foods can prevent or alleviate pain. Reports abound such as:
Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil contains an antioxidant called aleocanthal, which has the ability to inhibit the Cox enzyme that incites pain and inflammation—much in the way ibuprofen does. Take a few spoonfuls a day.
Cherries can help reduce pain more effectively than aspirin does. Anthocyanins in cherries, that give them their rich colour, inhibit Cox1 and 2 enzymes in a way that anti-inflammatory drugs do. Cherries also reduce uric acid levels so are a great remedy for gout. Try 20 tart cherries a day or eat a whole punnet. Can do no harm, just a pity they aren’t in season all year round.
There are more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and celery seeds, including one called apigenin.
Ginger reduces pain-causing prostaglandin levels in the body.
Turmeric is more effective than steroid meds for acute inflammation. The active ingredient here is curcumin and I’ve seen how the supplement form of this, as in Natural Vibrance Maximised Curcuminoids, has alleviated pain in some of my clients.
The omega-3s found in fish convert to hormone-like substances that support healthy inflammation levels and decrease pain. Fish oil is a great anti-inflammatory agent for arthritic pain as it acts directly on the immune system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines, the compounds that damage joints. But we all knew this long ago, didn't we?
But it doesn’t stop here. Other delicious foods such as flaxseeds, walnuts, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, avocados, anchovies, sardines, high omega-3 eggs, most fruits especially berries and most nuts and seeds, can also offer pain relief. However to experience this pain relief you need to avoid foods that are pro-inflammatory such as all processed and junk foods, refined cooking oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola and refined flours and sugar.
Vitamin D before surgery
There are already many good reasons why we need to keep our vitamin D levels optimum at all times but here is another one. Hopefully this will not happen to any of us soon but fact is, we just don’t know when we may have to be unexpectedly hospitalised for surgery. As we all know, there are these nasty antibiotic-resistant bugs lurking in some of our hospitals of late and we need to ensure we do all we can to resist picking up an infection, such as the MRSA infection.
Recently the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported the finding of researchers in Boston of a protective effect for higher preadmission vitamin D levels against hospital-acquired infections (HAI) or nosocomial infections. A study of 2,135 men and women whose serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured prior to admission to two Boston hospitals between 1993 and 2010, concluded that having a pre-hospital vitamin D level of less than 10 ng/mL doubled the risk of hospital-acquired infection in comparison with having a level of 30 ng/mL or more. The authors attribute the current study’s findings to a decrease in innate immunity associated with reduced vitamin D levels and concluded that better vitamin D status may play an important protective role against HIA.
So if you’re planning to go for surgery in the future, or even if you’re not, you need to bump up your Vitamin D levels now. Have you had your D levels tested yet? Depending on your present levels you may need doses as high as 10000-20000IU per day to start. BUT we are talking NATURAL vitamin D3 (see under Xymogen and Natural Vibrance on the product list) and not the prescription drug Calciferol (ergocalciferol) which is the synthetic form, D2. Your doctor may want to prescribe this for you so that your medical aid pays for it, but please avoid this chemical form of vitamin D!
Oh and getting back to hospitals. Should you need to go “under the knife” (horrible phrase that!) please go in armed with a bottle of ASAP Silver Solution and take high doses, before and after, as good insurance against acquiring any infection- viral, bacterial or fungal. With this and high vitamin D levels you’ll be just fine.
B vitamin supplementation could lower stroke risk
The results of a meta-analysis, which included 54 913 subjects, conducted by researchers in China indicate that supplementing with B vitamins significantly reduces the risk of experiencing a stroke. This comes as no surprise. Considering high homocysteine levels are an indication of higher stroke risk and the remedy for lowering homocysteine is simply supplementing B vitamins in particular B2, B6, B12 and folate or folic acid. In my practice I have many times seen homocysteine levels above 40 micromol/litre drop to the safe range below 10 micromol/l in a matter of 3-6 months of using supplements such as Willow Homocysteine Factor 1 which you will find on the product list.
If you have high blood pressure or a family history of stroke or cardiovascular events, or even if you don’t, please check your homocysteine levels. To me this is way more important than knowing your cholesterol score. In fact…..wait for it…. in reality, cholesterol levels appear to have little or no relationship to stroke risk and in fact previous evidence has found that lower levels of cholesterol, including lower levels of socalled ‘unhealthy’ LDL-cholesterol, are associated with an increased risk of haemorrhagic stroke!
Please keep the emails coming. I love hearing from you.
Nutritional Therapist (BSc (Hons) HDE, Dip Clin Nutr) The Orchards Nutrition Centre - Somerset East Tel: 042 243 0339 Cell: 084 531 0786 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. It is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or in any way replace qualified medical supervision. For any medical conditions, consult with your healthcare provider before using any products. Abundant health to you all.