Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Sunday, 13 May 2012
NATURAL WAYS TO HELP TACKLE HIGH BLOOD CHOLESTEROL
Much has been written and debated about the effects of high blood cholesterol on our health especially in relation to heart disease and hardening of the arteries and perhaps there is even more debate about the statin medications widely used to control it. It is little wonder there is much confusion as, for example, Eskimos eat one of the highest cholesterol rich diets in the world and yet statistically they have one of the lowest incidents of cardio vascular disease. This has now been attributed to their levels (and ratios) of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and HDL (“good” cholesterol) and not the use of statins!
Let’s have a little look at the bad v good guys. Your cholesterol is carried in your blood by lipoproteins (fat/protein complexes). One of these, LDL, carries 55% of your total cholesterol, if you have too much cholesterol it is likely to be deposited by LDL on the artery walls. HDL carries 13% and takes cholesterol out of the arteries and transports it back to the liver (for processing and disposal, out of harm’s way). VLDL carries 25%. Very high fat diets increase your triglyceride levels so VLDL transports this to the wobbly bits – yep the fat layer around organs and under skin. Once this is accomplished they neatly convert to the bad guys LDL, hence one of the reasons you are advised to reduce your saturated fats intake. It is generally recommended that your total cholesterol level should be checked every 5 years and be less than 5.6 mmol/litre. The ideal ratio of 1 part HDL to 3 parts total cholesterol.
Cholesterol is, however, a vital nutrient, among other things it makes bile acids, maintains cell membranes and makes hormones. Our daily requirement for cholesterol is 1100mg per day. We generally consume 300-500mg/day from our diet (eggs, meat, dairy etc) the shortfall is made up internally by your own small intestine or liver. So my suggestions for you here are primarily to address the balance of cholesterol as well as total cholesterol level. Obviously if you over consume fats ,especially saturated ones you will exceed the daily requirement but there are many other factors which increase the levels – namely stress, lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure, predisposing hereditary factors and especially diet.
Looking at these factors in more detail we can see their relevance. Stress produces hormones which stimulate the “fight or flight” response (sympathetic nervous system). This directs resources to increase blood flow, hormones and lymph to your limbs, eyes, heart, muscles etc and away from the abdomen (and digestion). Conversely, during a relaxed state, your parasympathetic nervous system sees to the internal “house keeping” producing digestive enzymes, bile from the gall bladder and a generous blood supply for digestion. It also stimulates removal of waste products. However these 2 opposing systems can’t work simultaneously. A permanently stressed state of being will not allow for the correct processing, therefore, of high blood cholesterol levels.
Stress, smoking and high blood pressure all produce free radical damage or internal “rusting”. These stressors increase your LDL levels by oxidizing fats as well as contributing to many other diseases and maladies.
Diet has been shown to be one of the key factors in high blood cholesterol and there are ways you can help yourself by both adding and subtracting various foods!
FAT - Don’t ….We have already established that fat in a necessary part of your diet but not all fats are equal! A major influence is not only the type of fat but the quality of it. Rancid (oxidized) fats and hydrogenated fats (also known as trans fats) are most dangerous. Make sure you scrape off any discoloured butter and use fresh virgin olive oil. Freshness is key! Avoid hydrogenated fats commonly found in high temperature fried foods, fast foods, chips, shop bought cakes, biscuits, some margarines and “plastic” cheeses. Read the labels. These fats are highly processed and toxic, your body doesn’t know how to process them properly so they are continually circulated or dumped by our friend LDL back in your arteries. As mentioned previously don’t over eat saturated fats (cheese, red meat, cream etc) as this stimulates your body’s own production of even more cholesterol.
FAT – do….Some fats are essential, meaning we have to eat them as they are not produced by you. Essential fatty acids can be found in sardines, salmon, mackerel, freshly ground linseed, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, evening primrose oil. Also eat avocado, fresh olives, raw nuts (walnuts and almonds) remember though QUALITY not quantity!
FOODS TO EAT:Garlic, onions, walnuts, soya milk, tofu, oat bran, live yoghurt, avocado, artichoke, high fibre foods (whole grains, vegetables and fruit, especially red berries and grapefruit, green tea and plenty of water and ….. enjoy…..chocolate (yes!) some studies show it can boost our friend HDL!
Vit B3 ( niacin)
Omega 3s (fish oils)
Vit E (speak to GP if also taking anticoagulant)
Magnesium (if high blood pressure too)
Psyllium or oat bran (soak husks with linseeds to take as drink, especially good if constipated also)
Antioxidant (grape seed extract, pine bark, co enzyme Q10)
Herbs: Dandelion, alfalfa, artichoke, fenugreek
Tissue salts: Nat Sulph 6x and Silicea 6x
For relaxation: massage, aromatherapy and reflexology (all available at Rolls Mill!)
Foods commercially produced to lower LDL contain plant sterols from soya beans or pine bark. This reduces re absorption of cholesterol from bile that has been released into the gut. They lower total cholesterol and LDL but have no significant effect on HDL or triglycerides.
The above is for your information only to provide natural ways for you to help yourself. You are advised to work with your GP especially if no improvements are noted within 2-3 months by implementing the above. Do not stop taking medications without consulting your doctor first.
Saturday, 21 April 2012
- Here is some great advice from the McTimoney Chiropractic Association about looking after yourself in the garden. It tends to be a busy time for us chiropractors not only sprucing up and planting out our own gardens but helping those who have pulled up an awkward root, moved heavy pots, done too much one sided digging and so on. I just love to hang from my apple tree and "walk" up the trunk immediately after a garden workout. Read on to see how you can prevent the need to see us! Happy and fruitful gardening from Tracy, chiropractor at Rolls Mill."It’s National Gardening Week this week and the McTimoney Chiropractic Association offers the following advice to all would-be and experienced gardeners.
We all want to be out in our gardens now the days are longer and the sun is attempting to shine. However keen you are feeling to get digging and raking, you should take a little care to ensure that you don’t give yourself a back injury on your first day.
• Take it steadily! Think of your garden as a gym and give yourself breaks every 15-20 minutes; also try to swap activities regularly so you don’t strain your back or joints. Make sure you warm up with gentler tasks first rather than getting stuck into heavy digging straight away.
• You will find that if you take up a daily stretching programme you will notice a marked improvement in your movements. Stretching increases flexibility and strength, so digging, raking or weeding becomes easier as you increase your core strength. The MCA has a useful free leaflet which shows and describes a wide range of back exercises.
• Use tools that are right for you! It sounds silly, but if you are using a spade which is too short, you will constantly be bending over it and are very likely to get stiff and become inflexible. The same applies to your lawnmower – find one that does not encourage you to swing it from side to side as this causes stress on your back and surrounding muscles. Test drive a few different types of each item before you buy to find the best fit for you.
• Balance yourself by carrying two watering cans or two pots of roughly the same weight. Don’t heave large bags of compost, instead use your lifting barrow or wheelbarrow to move them. Pick items up with bent knees and a straight back.
• When weeding, try and use a proper weeding pad. Some have raised side handles which you can use to help yourself up by using your legs/knees. Try not to over-reach into your flower beds and invest in a long-handled, lightweight hoe if you have wide flower beds. If you are kneeling, take regular breaks, get up carefully and have a stretch.
• Try and design your garden with your back in mind. Raised beds and selected low maintenance plants are now popular with busy gardeners.
• If you do have a potting shed or greenhouse, make sure that work benches are the correct height to avoid stooping.
If you do inadvertently strain your back a few trips to your local McTimoney chiropractor should be able to help. The McTimoney technique is very precise and gentle and can used by gardeners of all abilities and ages. The McTimoney Chiropractic Association website has a ‘search a chiropractor’ facility to show you where to find your nearest chiropractor or do call our office on 01491 829211 if you would like a back care leaflet."
Saturday, 13 August 2011
The Miracle Drink?
OK it’s done! I have dusted off my juicer and I’m feeling rather smug that I can gather the 3 ingredients for this “miracle drink” from my garden just now too! Do you know - that makes me feel good all by itself! However the juiced combination of beetroot, carrot and apple is simply delicious as well as nutritious. Give it a try yourself, keep the skins on, chop one of each item and whizz through the juicer.
Circulating around the internet the following claims can be read for this juice combination. I’m not sure if this drink alone can do all of this, but in combination with a healthy diet it must go some way to helping.
· Prevents development of cancer cells.
· Strengthens lung, liver, kidney and pancreas.
· Cures ulcers.
· Prevents heart attack.
· Prevents high blood pressure.
· Strengthens the immune system.
· Strengthens eyesight.
· Eases muscle aches.
· Detoxifies, eases bowel movement, eases constipation.
· Rejuvenates the skin.
· Prevents bad breath and throat infection.
· Reduces menstrual pain.
· Prevents hay fever.
· Helps in losing weight.
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Well what do you know, an Easter break, kids on holiday and fabulous weather - better than the Mediterranean - I'm all for that! So hopefully the Easter Chocs made it to the fridge OK before melting in the heat and you managed to put your feet up and enjoy the sun too.
Chocolate has been damned rather as a "health food" due mainly to the amount of calories from the high sugar and fat content (however chocolate also contains antibacterial agents that fight tooth decay!). It may also trigger headaches, especially migraines in some individuals but it's not all bad - here are some facts for you to chomp on:
Flavonoids - pigments found in (usually dark coloured) plants that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants reduce oxidative damage to your body by neutralising destructive free radicals. Free radical damaged cells can result in clogging of the arteries, arthritis, cancer and a myriad of illnesses and aging. The flavonoids also help to keep blood vessels elastic. Antioxidants are an important part of our diet, found in leafy vegetables and fruit and in certain vitamins and minerals eg Vits A,C & E, zinc and selenium.
Serotonin - a neurotransmitter that acts as an anti-depressant.
Theobromine & Phenylethylamine - stimulants and mood elevators (though theobromine is dangerous to dogs)
Minerals & Vitamins especially Potassium, Magnesium, B1,B2, D & E
Stearic Acid - a neutral fat that doesn't raise "bad" cholesterol
Stimulates the secretion of endorphins - like a "runners high" without the work!
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Thanks to one of my patients, I was alerted to the idea of making some wild garlic pesto this year. Now is the time to pick the fresh tender green leaves for this delicious paste. Great as a “garlic bread”, on baked potatoes, pasta……ummm. So far I’ve remembered not to indulge in large quantities the night before treating my patients the next day…..or have I?! That said, the flavour is more subtle and less peppery than common garlic. Apart from the deliciousness of this pesto it has a multitude of health benefits. Here’s why:
Scientific studies in Germany have proven that Wild Garlic contains more magnesium, manganese, iron and sulphur compounds than common garlic.
Magnesium is involved in energy production, nerve function, muscle relaxation (prevents cramping!) and bone and teeth formation. I am often recommending my chiropractic patients to supplement with this mineral for those reasons. Magnesium, in conjunction with calcium and potassium magnesium regulates heart rhythm and clots blood. It also aids in the production and use of insulin. Similarly Manganese, a trace mineral, helps keep bones, nerves and your thyroid gland healthy and helps regulate blood sugars levels. Iron provides vitality, keeping your immune system functioning at its best and helps keep you alert. Sulphur is known to regulate cholesterol and prevent clogging of red blood cells. This is extremely important for the prevention of diseases such as arteriosclerosis and its consequences, like heart attacks, strokes and other circulatory disorders.
Medicinal uses of wild garlic
Anthelmintic (Expels parasites from the gut), Antiasthmatic, Anticholesterolemic (Prevents the buildup of cholesterol), Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Cholagogue (Increases the flow of bile and its discharge from the body), Depurative (Eliminates toxins and purifies the system, especially the blood), Diaphoretic (Induces perspiration), Diuretic, Expectorant, Febrifuge (Reduces fevers), Hypotensive (Reduces blood pressure), Stimulant, Stomachic (Aids and improves the action of the stomach) , Tonic, Vasodilator(Widens the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure)
So there you have it - a delicious bundle of goodness readily available at this time of year! In my recipe I used pumpkin seeds which are loaded with Zinc (helps immune system and benefits production of various hormones)
150g wild garlic leaves (washed if necessary)
50g pumpkin seeds
200ml Olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp sugar
Whizz up first 3 ingredients then add salt and sugar. Most recipes call for the addition of 50g finely grated parmesan but I didn’t have any available at the time and pesto is still delicious without it! Makes about 2 jars. Sterilize jars and make sure oil sits over top of pesto for storage. Seems to keep for ages in fridge but will probably freeze well too.