Digestive Health

Digestive Health

The digestive system is a group of organs responsible for the conversion of food into nutrients and energy needed by the body. In humans, the digestive system consists of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach and small & large intestines. The digestive tube made up by these organs is known as the alimentary canal.

Several glands – salivary glands, liver, gall bladder and pancreas – also play a part in digestion. These glands secrete digestive juices containing enzymes that break down the food chemically into smaller molecules that are more easily absorbed by the body. The digestive system also separates and disposes of waste products ingested with the food.

Ingestion
Food taken into the mouth is first broken down into smaller pieces by the teeth. The tongue then rolls these pieces into balls called boluses. Together, the sensations of sight, taste, and smell of the food cause the salivary glands, located in the mouth, to produce saliva. An enzymes in the saliva called amylase begins the breakdown of carbohydrates (starch) into simple sugars.

The bolus, which is now a battered, moistened, and partially digested ball of food, is swallowed, moving to the pharynx (throat) at the back of the mouth. In the pharynx, rings of muscles force the food into the esophagus, the first part of the upper digestive tube. The esophagus extends from the bottom part of the throat to the upper part of the stomach.

The esophagus does not take part in digestion. Its job is to move the bolus into the stomach. Food is moved through the esophagus (and other parts of the alimentary canal) by a wavelike muscular motion known as peristalsis (pronounced pear-i-STALL-sis). This motion consists of the alternate contraction and relaxation of the smooth muscles lining the tract.

Digestive System Parts And Their Function

Alimentary canal: Tube formed by the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, and intestines through which food passes.

Amylase: Digestive enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates to simple sugars.   Bile: Bitter, greenish liquid produced in the liver and stored in the gall bladder that dissolves fats.

Bolus: Battered, moistened, and partially digested ball of food that passes from the mouth to the stomach.

Carbohydrate: A compound consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen found in plants and used as a food by humans and other animals.

Chyme: Thick liquid of partially digested food passed from the stomach to the small intestine.

Enzyme: Any of numerous complex proteins that are produced by living cells and spark specific biochemical reactions.

Esophagitis: Commonly known as heartburn, an inflammation of the esophagus caused by gastric acids flowing back into the esophagus.

Gastric juice: Digestive juice produced by the stomach wall that contains hydrochloric acid and the enzyme pepsin.

Pepsin: Digestive enzyme that breaks down protein.

Peristalsis: Wavelike motion of the digestive system that moves food through the system.

Proteins: Large molecules that are essential to the structure and functioning of all living cells.

Ulcer: Inflamed sore or lesion on the skin or a mucous membrane of the body.
Villi: Fingerlike projections found in the small intestine that increase the absorption area of the intestine.

At the junction of the esophagus and stomach there is a powerful muscle – the esophageal sphincter – that acts as a valve to keep food and stomach acids from flowing back into the esophagus and mouth.

Digestion In The Stomach
Chemical digestion begins in the stomach. The stomach is a large, hollow, pouch-shaped muscular organ. Food in the stomach is broken down by the action of gastric juice, which contains hydrochloric acid and pepsin (an enzyme that digests protein). The stomach begins its production of gastric juice while food is still in the mouth. Nerves from the cheeks and tongue are stimulated and send messages to the brain. The brain in turn sends messages to nerves in the stomach wall, stimulating the secretion of gastric juice before the arrival of food. The second signal for gastric juice production occurs when food arrives in the stomach and touches the lining.

Gastric juice is secreted from the linings of the stomach walls, along with mucus that helps to protect the stomach lining from the action of the acid. Three layers of powerful stomach muscles churn food into a thick liquid called chyme (pronounced KIME). From time to time, chyme is passed through the pyloric sphincter, the opening between the stomach and the small intestine.

Digestion And Absorption In The Small Intestine

The small intestine is a long narrow tube running from the stomach to the large intestine. The small intestine is greatly coiled and twisted. Its full length is about 20 feet (6 meters).

The duodenum is about 10 inches (25 centimeters) long and connects with the lower portion of the stomach. When chyme reaches the duodenum, it is further broken down by intestinal juices and through the action of the pancreas and gall bladder. The pancreas is a large gland located below the stomach that secretes pancreatic juice into the duodenum through the pancreatic duct. There are three enzymes in pancreatic juice that break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The gall bladder, located next to the liver, stores bile produced by the liver. While bile does not contain enzymes, it contains bile salts that help to dissolve fats. The gall bladder empties bile into the duodenum when chyme enters that portion of the intestine.

The jejunum is about 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long. The digested carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and most of the vitamins, minerals, and iron are absorbed in this section. The inner lining of the small intestine is composed of up to five million tiny, fingerlike projections called villi. The villi increase the rate of absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream by greatly increasing the surface area of the small intestine.
The ileum, the last section of the small intestine, is the longest, measuring 11 feet (3.4 meters). Certain vitamins and other nutrients are absorbed here.

Absorption And Elimination In The Large Intestine

The large intestine is wider and heavier than the small intestine. However, it is much shorter – only about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long. It rises up on the right side of the body (the ascending colon), crosses over to the other side underneath the stomach (the transverse colon), descends on the left side, (the descending colon), then forms an s-shape (the sigmoid colon) before reaching the rectum and anus. The muscular rectum, about 6 inches (16 centimeters) long, expels faeces (stool) through the anus, which has a large muscular sphincter that controls the passage of waste matter.

The large intestine removes water from the waste products of digestion and returns some of it to the bloodstream. Faecal matter contains undigested food, bacteria, and cells from the walls of the digestive tract. Millions of bacteria in the large intestine help to produce certain B vitamins and vitamin K. These vitamins are absorbed into the bloodstream along with the water.

Disorders Of The Digestive System
Among the several disorders that affect the digestive system are esophagitis (heartburn) and ulcers. Esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus caused by gastric acids flowing back into the esophagus. Mild cases of this condition are usually treated with commercial antacids.

Stomach ulcers are sores that form in the lining of the stomach. They may vary in size from a small sore to a deep cavity. Ulcers that form in the lining of the stomach and the duodenum are called peptic ulcers because they need stomach acid and the enzyme pepsin to form. Duodenal ulcers are the most common type. They tend to be smaller than stomach ulcers and heal more quickly. Any ulcer that heals leaves a scar.

Until the early 1990s, the medical community generally believed that ulcers were caused by several factors, including stress and a poor diet. However, medical researchers soon came to believe that a certain bacterium that can live undetected in the mucous lining of the stomach was responsible. This bacterium irritated and weakened the lining, making it more susceptible to damage by stomach acids.

Building A Strong Immune System

Building a strong immune system goes hand in hand with building good health.

Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. It is the fuel that feeds all our systems that keep us safe and help us live long active lives.

Ask yourself are you giving your body the fuel it loves for top performance or the fuel that leads to breakdowns and deterioration?

It will also mean your amazing complex immune system can concentrate on protection not every day repairs from poor diet and lifestyles. So here are the things you should give your body on a daily basis.

Antioxidants

One of the most important things we need in our daily food intake are ANTIOXIDANTS.

We particularly need these for a strong immune system. While there is currently no official recommended daily allowance for antioxidants or antioxidant foods, generally speaking the more you consume each day from real whole-foods in your diet the better.

The following foods are excellent sources of antioxidants:

  • Blueberries
  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale
  • Onion, oregano, turmeric, cumin, basil, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper
  • Dark chocolate (70 per cent minimum cocoa solids)
  • Green and white tea.

If you are struggling to eat enough fruit and veg (I recommend 10 – 15 portions mostly veg but including fruits, berries, whole grains, nuts and seeds) every single day.

It is a great idea to take a supplement such as Juice Plus Capsules or Soft Chews.

I have done plenty of research in my years as a practicing nutritionist and this product is by far the best choice. what’s more it fulfils my passion for science and has independent published studies proving the bioavailability and absorption of the high-quality juice-dried powders in a vegan capsule with a high oxygen barrier.

This is the most effective solution to bridging the gap between what we need to eat each day and what we actually do eat for good health and especially our immune system.

Most fruits, vegetables and herbs contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, beta-carotene, flavonoids and lycopene and they are the most effective way to boost our antioxidants and our immune system.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in abundance in fruits and vegetables. It is a significant nutrient for boosting immunity and may help to reduce the severity and duration of a common cold. We cannot store Vitamin C so a daily intake is essential. Food sources high in Vitamin C include: broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, kiwi fruit and citrus fruit oranges.

Vitamin D

We also need vitamin D for our immune system as we cannot make it or store it we need a daily supply. One of the good sources is mushrooms and a great tip is if you leave them on the windowsill for 1 hour before you eat the they double in Vitamin D.

Be aware of some supplements as too much is not good for our immune system so get your vitamin D from sunlight where possible.

Just going outside for 1/2 an hour makes a big difference in even on cloudy days. Mushrooms – just by putting them on a windowsill before you cook them can double their Vitamin D content.

Eggs, fortified whole grains are also a good form of Vitamin D. If you supplement take Vitamin D3 with K2.

All the above can be found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, berries, nuts and seeds.  This is not covering essential fats they will feature in the next newsletter.

There is more than just this to good health but if you get stated with these things you will be getting your foundation right to build on.

Until end of December this year (2020) I will give any Health Hub Club members a free 30-minute chat on building their personal health foundation.

Just getting touch with me personally if you would like to book in, simply contact me using the contact form.

What is Homocytein

What is Homocysteine and why should some of us act to reduce our levels?
Since its discovery in 1932, homocysteine’s journey into mainstream medicine has been rocky. For the first 36 years after its discovery little was understood about it. Then in 1968 a Harvard researcher named Dr. Kilmer McCully noticed that children with genetically elevated homocysteine levels experienced heart disease similar to the heart disease found in middle-aged patients. He proposed that homocysteine might be an independent risk factor for heart disease. Like many medical pioneers, McCully’s proposal concerning homocysteine was met with scorn.  McCully’s homocysteine theory has since been proven beyond a doubt: people with elevated homocysteine levels are more likely to have strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, kidney disease, diseases of the eye, erectile dysfunction and especially heart disease (De Bree A et al 2002).

Conventional medicine, however, has still been slow to react to this news. Even today, the message on homocysteine from major mainstream medical groups is murky. Not so for the Life Extension Foundation, which has been alert to the dangers of elevated homocysteine levels since 1981. In that year, the Foundation published an article suggesting that people take aggressive action to lower their homocysteine levels (Life Extension Foundation 1981). It took conventional medicine another 15 years to catch up, when studies first appeared in major medical journals advocating the use of supplements, especially the B vitamins, to lower homocysteine levels.

Scientists have worked hard to understand why our homocysteine level increases throughout life, and how that impacts our health. Homocysteine level is affected by a number of influences, including lifestyle, dietary choices, and genetics. As we age, our ability to absorb nutrients decreases. As a result, less of the important B vitamins are available to help metabolize homocysteine. Homocysteine level is also increased by certain pharmaceuticals, an aging metabolism, smoking, drinking too much alcohol or coffee, lack of exercise, obesity, and stress.

There are various interpretations of how much homocysteine is dangerous. The Life Extension Foundation prefers an aggressive stance: based on numerous published studies, we advocate relatively low homocysteine levels to help lower risk of disease. By ages 40 to 42, mean homocysteine levels are about 11 micromoles per litre (μmol/L) in men and 9 μmol/L in women. Even homocysteine levels this low has been associated with disease. The Life Extension Foundation recommends homocysteine level between 7 μmol/L and 8 μmol/L.
For the vast majority of people, a high homocysteine level is related to the gradual breakdown of the body’s ability to metabolise homocysteine. However, some people have a high homocysteine level because of a rare genetic defect. This condition, called homocystinuria, is associated with developmental delays, osteoporosis, diseases of the eye, stroke, and severe heart disease that can occur at a young age
Now that you know some of the conditions associated with high homocysteine levels, we will discuss in detail its effects and how to lower this disease marker.

What You Have Learned So Far:
* An elevated homocysteine level is linked to heart attack and atherosclerosis.
* Other diseases and conditions—including vascular disease, diseases of the eye,  stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, erectile dysfunction, and poor outcome in pregnancy—have also been associated with having elevated homocysteine.
*  Homocysteine level rises as we age, along with the incidence of diseases associated with this elevation.
*  The Life Extension Foundation prefers an aggressive stance on homocysteine, striving for a level between 7 μmol/L and 8 μmol/L.

Homocysteine and Heart Disease: A Clear Connection

The evidence is clear that having an elevated homocysteine level is an independent risk factor for heart disease. One large study conducted among physicians who had no history of heart disease showed that having a highly elevated homocysteine level was associated with a more than three-fold increase in the risk of heart attack over a 5-year period (Stampfer MJ et al 1992).

Homocysteine has a number of direct effects on the arteries that help explain its association with heart disease. It causes thickening of the intima, or inner wall of the arteries. And it encourages blood platelets to accumulate, which may lead to the formation of blood clots (Harker LA et al 1976). In animal studies, homocysteine has been shown to affect the production of nitric oxide, a substance that causes arteries to relax and blood flow to increase (Stuhlinger MC et al 2001).

Having an elevated homocysteine level has been associated with:
*First and second heart attacks (Al-Obaidi MK et al 2000; Matetzky S et al 2003)
*Coronary artery disease (Nygard O et al 1997)
*Total cardiovascular mortality (Anderson JL et al 2000)

*Adverse outcomes after coronary balloon angioplasty (Schnyder G et al 2002)
*Heart failure (Vasan RS et al 2003)

In 1999, the American Heart Association recognised the role of homocysteine in atherosclerosis when it issued an advisory statement emphasising the importance of reducing homocysteine blood levels and of screening people who are at high risk (Malinow MR et al 1999). The New England Journal of Medicine (Oakley GP 1998) and the Journal of the American Medical Association (Tucker KL et al 1996) suggested that vitamin supplements could be used to lower homocysteine levels.

Testing Homocysteine Levels
Homocysteine levels are measured directly in the blood. An acceptable level of homocysteine depends partly on your age and gender. It is clear, however, that our homocysteine level rises as we age and that (above a certain level) homocysteine is dangerous.

Homocysteine is an intermediary amino acid; its role in the body is complex, but very important. Homocysteine is a necessary byproduct of a healthy metabolism. Homocysteine is produced as part of the methionine cycle, in which methionine is converted to S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is valuable because of its ability to donate methyl groups during chemical reactions throughout the body. Homocysteine is synthesized when SAMe donates its methyl group. In scientific terms, this means the SAMe has been methylated (lost a methyl group). Methylation is crucial to the health of our cells and tissues by regulating gene expression, protein function, and RNA metabolism.
The methionine cycle is responsible for the creation of all the homocysteine in the body. Most of the resulting homocysteine is bound to plasma and considered stored, or inactive. It may be released into the bloodstream as free homocysteine in response to adverse changes in the body’s biochemistry. Thus, high levels of homocysteine are linked to specific health problems. There is also evidence that homocysteine itself causes damage to the cells within blood vessels.

Homocysteine in the bloodstream is metabolised through two principal pathways. It may be remethylated back into methionine through a process that involves folic acid (folate) and vitamin B12. This is called the remethylation pathway and is responsible for consuming most of the body’s free homocysteine. The remethylation pathway creates more SAMe to support healthy methylation. (Some organs, namely the kidney and liver, are able to remethylate homocysteine directly back into SAMe, but only a fraction of homocysteine is processed in this way.)
Alternatively, some of the excess homocysteine may be used to create cysteine, which is then converted into glutathione. Glutathione is an important and powerful antioxidant. The conversion of homocysteine into glutathione may be accelerated when the body is under oxidative stress. This second process is called the transsulfuration pathway because it produces sulfate byproducts that are flushed from the body in urine. The transsulfuration pathway depends on vitamin B6 to work properly.

There are many reasons free homocysteine levels might rise in the blood. We may be suffering from oxidative damage because of a shortage of glutathione, or our methylation capacity may be decreased, which affects our cells’ ability to grow, differentiate, and function properly.

Homocysteine: Linked to Diseases of Ageing
Although homocysteine’s association with heart disease attracts the most attention, researchers are continually learning more about its effect on other diseases and conditions. So far, elevated homocysteine levels have been linked to the following disorders or diseases:

Stroke – Homocysteine’s effect on the arteries that supply the brain with blood (carotid arteries) is similar to its effect on the arteries in the heart. One study that analysed 1077 people found that overall risk of “silent stroke” or other risk factors for a stroke were strongly associated with elevated homocysteine levels (Vermeer SE et al 2003). Larger, more focused, studies are underway.

Vascular Disease – There is evidence that homocysteine combines with low- density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and contributes to the creation of plaque inside artery walls (McCully KS 1996). Some forms of homocysteine have been shown to damage the inner walls of blood vessels directly (Jakubowski H 2003). Homocysteine has also been implicated in the formation of blood clots, which can cause a heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease.

Liver Disease – Elevated homocysteine and low levels of SAMe are linked to liver toxicity and cirrhosis (Martinez-Chantar ML et al 2002; Ventura P et al 2005). Homocysteine likely contributes to liver damage, leading to the formation of fibrin, clots, and vascular complications (de la Vega MJ et al 2001).

Kidney Disease – The kidneys filter reabsorb, and metabolise amino acids, including homocysteine. In kidney failure, homocysteine levels rise due to improper kidney filtration (Friedman AN et al 2001). Folic acid, trimethylglycine (TMG; also known as betaine), and vitamins B6 and B12 reduce homocysteine in people with kidney failure. High doses of folic acid can normalise homocysteine levels. Once kidney failure occurs, folic acid is much less effective and high doses of vitamin B12 are required to help normalise homocysteine levels (Righetti M et al 2004).

Thyroid conditions – Elevated homocysteine levels may contribute to accelerated heart disease among people who have hypothyroidism (Morris MS et al 2001).

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia – High levels of homocysteine indicate impaired methylation in the brain. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease have been shown to have elevated homocysteine levels (Joosten E et al 1997; McCaddon A et al 1998).

Depression – Depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid in women (Ramos MI et al 2004). Low folic acid levels have been shown to decrease the effectiveness of the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac®) (Fava M et al 1997), and vitamin B6 may alleviate depression (Hvas AM et al 2004). Deficiencies in these vitamins are also closely associated with high homocysteine levels.

Erectile Dysfunction – Homocysteine has been shown to reduce the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to relax, increasing blood flow to organs and tissues. Folic acid and vitamin B12 may help lower homocysteine levels. In one case study, a man with erectile dysfunction, who also had a genetic defect that caused elevated homocysteine levels, did not initially respond to treatment with sildenafil (Viagra®). However, after treatment with 5000 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid and 1000 mcg of vitamin B12, his erectile dysfunction was successfully treated with sildenafil (Lombardo F et al 2004).

Diseases of the Eye—Homocysteine’s ability to damage blood vessels also has implications for the tiny blood vessels in the eye. Elevated homocysteine levels are associated with serious eye conditions, including glaucoma and macular degeneration. A study showed that homocysteine levels of 11.6 μmol/L were the average concentrations in patients who had central retinal vein occlusion; the average level was 9.5 μmol/L in control subjects (Vine AK 2000).

Why Homocysteine Levels Rise
Homocysteine levels are responsive to a wide range of influences. They rise naturally as we age. Genes also play a large role in the body’s metabolism of homocysteine. However, there are many lifestyle factors that can also cause homocysteine levels to rise. For instance, excessive coffee and alcohol consumption have been shown to increase homocysteine levels (De Bree A et al 2002).

Dietary choices affect homocysteine levels. Eating foods that contain large amounts of methionine, such as red meat and chicken, has been shown to increase blood levels of homocysteine. Similarly, low intake of foods rich in vitamin B, such as green leafy vegetables, may also increase homocysteine levels (Devlin TM 2002).

In addition, the following pharmaceuticals are associated with elevated homocysteine levels:
Fenofibrate – Used in the treatment of high cholesterol (Dierkes J et al 1999). Niacin – Used in the treatment of lipid management (e.g. Cholesterol & Lipoprotein).
Metformin – Used to treat diabetes (Carlsen SM et al 1997).
Antiepileptic drugs – Used to control seizures (Schwaninger MC et al 1999). Levodopa -Used to manage Parkinson’s disease (Muller T et al 1999).

Methotrexate – Used to treat cancer, psoriasis, arthritis, and lupus (Haagsma CJ et al 1999).

There is a much more distinct correlation between cardiovascular disease and homocysteine levels than Cholesterol yet in the UK it is very difficult to get it tested. If they know that it is lowered by these medications surely they should test for the levels at regular intervals but experience with clients has told me this is not the case. Why – it’s too expensive. Many other countries have now adopted homocysteine testing but even if you are prepared to pay, it’s not available through most GP surgeries.
Article Science info & Studies

Healthy Oils Your Body Will love

You have many options when it comes to selecting fats and oils for cooking.
But it’s not just a matter of choosing oils that are healthy, it’s whether they stay healthy after having been cooked with.

The Stability of Cooking Oils
When you’re cooking at a high heat, you want to use oils that are stable and don’t oxidise or go rancid easily. When oils undergo oxidation, they react with oxygen to form free radicals and harmful compounds that you definitely don’t want to be consuming. The most important factor in determining an oil’s resistance to oxidation and rancidification, both at high and low heat, is the relative degree of saturation of the fatty acids in it. Saturated fats have only single bonds in the fatty acid molecules, monounsaturated fats have one double bond and polyunsaturated fats have two or more. It is these double bonds that are chemically reactive and sensitive to heat. Saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are pretty resistant to heating, but oils that are high in polyunsaturated fats should be avoided for cooking.

The Winner: Coconut Oil
When it comes to high heat cooking, coconut oil is your best choice.
Over 90% of the fatty acids in it are saturated, which makes it very resistant to heat. This oil is semi-solid at room temperature and it can last for months and years without going rancid. Coconut oil also has powerful health benefits. It is particularly rich in a fatty acid called Lauric Acid, which can improve cholesterol and help kill bacteria and other pathogens.

The fats in coconut oil can also boost metabolism slightly and increase feelings of fullness compared to other fats. Make sure to choose virgin coconut oil. It’s organic, it tastes good and it has powerful health benefits.

Butter
Saturated fats used to be considered unhealthy, but new studies prove that they are not when used in moderation. Saturated fats are a safe source of energy for humans. Butter was demonised in the past due to its saturated fat content but there really is no reason to fear real butter. It’s the processed margarine that is the truly awful stuff, they are one molecule away from plastic. Real butter is good for you and actually fairly nutritious. It contains Vitamins A, E and K2. It is also rich in the fatty acids Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Butyrate, both of which have powerful health benefits. CLA may lower body fat percentage in humans and butyrate can fight inflammation, improve gut health and has been shown to make rats completely resistant to becoming obese. There is one rule for cooking with butter. Regular butter does contain tiny amounts of sugars and proteins and for this reason it tends to get burned during high heat cooking like frying. If you want to avoid that, you can make clarified butter or ghee. That way, you remove the lactose and proteins leaving you with pure butterfat. Make sure to choose butter from grass-fed cows. This butter contains more Vitamin K2, CLA and other nutrients compared to butter from grain-fed cows. (Kerrygold grass fed cows unsalted butter is in most supermarkets)

Olive Oil
Olive oil is well known for its heart healthy effects and is believed to be one of the reasons for the health benefits of the mediterranean diet. Some studies show that olive oil can improve biomarkers of health. It can lower the amount of oxidised LDL cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream.

Animal Fats – Lard, Tallow, Bacon Drippings
The fatty acid content of animals tends to vary depending on what the animals eat. If they eat a lot of grains, the fats will contain quite a bit of polyunsaturated fats.
If the animals are pasture raised or grass-fed, there will be more saturated and monounsaturated fats in them. Therefore, animal fats from animals that are naturally raised are excellent options for cooking.
You can buy ready-made lard or tallow from the store, or you can save the drippings from meat to use at a later time. Bacon drippings are especially tasty.

Palm Oil
Palm oil is derived from the fruit of oil palms. It consists mostly of saturated and monounsaturated fats, with small amounts of polyunsaturates. However, some concerns have been raised about the sustainability of harvesting palm oil, harvesting these trees means less environment available for Orangutans, which are an endangered species. so when you buy anything with palm oil it should be Red palm oil and from a sustainable source. Palm oil is a good choice for cooking but only when it is Red Palm Oil (the unrefined variety). It is also rich in Vitamins E, Coenzyme Q10 and other nutrients.

Avocado Oil
The composition of avocado oil is similar to olive oil. It is primarily monounsaturated with some saturated and polyunsaturated mixed in.
I suppose it can be used for the same purposes as olive oil. You can cook with it, but only at low temperatures. Just like olive oil it should be used cold. It may be best as an addition to salads or foods after they have been cooked.

Fish Oil
Fish oil is very rich in the animal form of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are DHA and EPA. A tablespoon of fish oil can satisfy your daily need for these very important fatty acids. The best fish oil used to be cod fish liver oil, because it is also rich in Vitamin D3, which a large part of the World is deficient in. However with the heavy metals now found in our oceans it is not a good choice anymore. The liver is a big detoxing organ which filters our toxins like heavy metals that can harm us and stores it until it’s safe to pass through our water system. Therefore we would not want to eat the fish’s liver. Fish oil should never be used for cooking due to its high concentration of polyunsaturated fats. It can however be used as a supplement – the best one being krill oil.  However there is now a great way to get the Omega 3 that we look for in fish from the Algae the fish eat to get their Omega 3.  Go to our Super Supplement section and read about Juice Plus Omega Blend.

Nut Oils and Peanut Oil
There are many nut oils available and some of them taste awesome. However, they are very rich in polyunsaturated fats, which make them a poor choice for cooking. They can be used as parts of recipes, but do not fry or use in high heat cooking. The same applies to peanut oil. Peanuts technically aren’t nuts (they’re legumes) but the composition of the oil is similar. There is one exception, however, and that is macadamia nut oil which is mostly monounsaturated (like olive oil). It is pricey, but it tastes awesome. If you want, you can use macadamia oil for low or medium-heat cooking.

Canola Oil
Canola oil is derived from rapeseeds but the uric acid (a toxic, bitter substance) has been removed from it. The fatty acid breakdown of canola oil is actually fairly good, with most of the fatty acids monounsaturated, and contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 in a 2:1 ratio, which is perfect. However, canola oil needs to go through very harsh processing methods before it is turned into the final product. I personally don’t think these oils are suitable for human consumption.

Seed and Vegetable Oils
Industrial seed and vegetable oils are highly processed, refined products that are way too rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. Not only should you not cook with them, you should probably avoid them altogether.  These oils have been wrongly considered “heart-healthy” by the media and many nutrition professionals in the past few decades. However, new data links these oils with many serious diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Avoid all of them:
• Soybean Oil
• Corn Oil
• Cottonseed Oil
• Canola Oil
• Rapeseed Oil
• Sunflower Oil
• Sesame Oil
• Grapeseed Oil
• Safflower Oil
• Rice Bran Oil

One study also looked at common vegetable oils on food shelves in the U.S. market and discovered that they contain between 0.56 to 4.2% trans fats, which are highly toxic.  It’s important to read labels. If you find any of these oils on packaged food that you are about to eat, then it’s best to purchase something else.

How to Take Care of Your Cooking Oils
To make sure that your fats and oils don’t go rancid, it is important to keep a few things in mind. Don’t buy large batches at a time. Buy smaller ones, that way you will most likely use them before they get the chance to damage. When it comes to unsaturated fats like olive, palm, avocado oil and some others, it is important to keep them in an environment where they are less likely to oxidise and go rancid. The main drivers behind oxidative damage of cooking oils are heat, oxygen and light. Therefore, keep them in a cool, dry, dark place and make sure to screw the lid on as soon as you’re done using them. Temperature gauge for cooking oils!
Omega Oils
Should not be used at all for cooking for more information on these essential oils go to :- www.thehealhthubclub.org Super supplements

Heart Disease

What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You About!

Heart disease remains one of the top two killers in the UK today.
Every year, more than 160,000 people die from cardiovascular disease – that’s more than 435 living, breathing human lives lost every single day! Stated differently, that’s 18 deaths every hour of every day, 365 days of the year! In the US, it’s even worse with 800,000 deaths each year.

Literally thousands of gold-standard medical studies performed at the world’s most cutting- edge research institutes have shown – beyond any shadow of doubt – that you can…
Prevent, Reverse Heart Problems – Without…

• Taking dangerous prescription drugs that may actually damage your heart and even trigger a life-changing or deadly heart attack or stroke!
• Resorting to risky surgical procedures that flat out FAIL in some cases… and may even kill you! In fact, the amazing advances now are making some dangerous drugs obsolete – by working better… faster… cheaper… and with ZERO side effects! These same breakthroughs are outperforming common and costly (not to mention dangerous!) surgical procedures, in some cases… as you’ll see further down this page.

Why Cholesterol Isn’t The Biggest Risk Factor For Cardiovascular Disease.

Most conventionally-trained doctors are closed-minded when it comes to natural remedies and treatments. They give you only two options: drugs or surgery. Also most doctors are slaves to big-money drug companies. If a drug company can’t patent a product, they can’t mark it up for the obscene profits they’ve come to expect.

You’ve probably heard it dozens of times: Having high cholesterol is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. You’ve probably heard that it increases your risk of heart attacks, strokes… and other cardiovascular related problems.

So what should you do? If your doctor diagnosed high cholesterol, he probably gave you a prescription for one of the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs on the market. Statins are one of the best ways for lowering cholesterol, but they come with a list of side effects as long as your right arm and studies show they deplete levels of the heart-protecting substance in your body, Coenzyme Q10. Or… you could turn to punishing diets… exercising every day… or take expensive supplements to help bring down your cholesterol levels.

These are all good options. But the problem is, lowering your cholesterol is virtually useless for preventing heart attacks! Despite the obsession among doctors and the media about cholesterol, there’s a TON of evidence that proves that cholesterol isn’t the deadly demon it’s made out to be. For instance, did you know that half of all heart attack patients admitted to hospital with a heart attack had no previous symptoms… and had cholesterol levels in the normal range. Well, according to a study published in the prestigious American Heart Journal, it’s true. The first symptom they actually experienced was a heart attack!

Moreover, studies also show that most people with high cholesterol almost NEVER have a heart attack. If they did, heart attack rates would be TRIPLE what they currently are! Further, did you know that your body actually needs cholesterol for a number of important bodily functions? It’s true. It helps keep the cells of your body strong… it helps transport vitamins throughout your body… and it’s one of the most important building blocks of crucial hormones in your body – most notably testosterone and oestrogen. And perhaps most striking of all, did you know that your liver makes as much as 2 grams of cholesterol a day? It’s true. That’s more than 5 times the amount you could eat in a single day!

FACT: Treating cholesterol is BIG business. Literally billions of pounds every year is made from the treatment of cholesterol. This includes prescription cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins and many more billions are pouring into the coffers of devious food manufacturers through scores of “cholesterol-lowering” foods and other products.

FACT: Doctors, greedy drug companies and food manufacturers are placing the blame for the global heart disease epidemic on cholesterol… and are completely IGNORING the three biggest risk factors for heart disease, heart attacks, strokes… and more!

Cholesterol on its own is not the problem – it is damaged cholesterol caused mostly through eating a bad diet of processed, fast and other inflammatory foods. This causes the cholesterol to change and become trapped in the endothelium. The endothelium is a cell layer lining the blood luminal surface of vessels. The LDL cholesterol is more susceptible to damage than HDL – so it lowers the risk if we have less LDL in our system. However If we eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and berries it will help protect our cardiovascular system and reduce our body’s inflammatory load.

If you want to know more download our booklet on “Cardiovascular Wellness”

5 Foods to Protect Against Cancer

Onions and Garlic

Both of these can be added to virtually any savoury dish to make it taste better and prevent cancer. Allicin and allyl sulphides are the active compounds in garlic and onion which take credit for its superstar status. These compounds bind with toxic chemicals so they can be excreted from the body, rather than taking a hold on your organs and causing havoc. The sulphur compounds act as bodyguards against oxidation and free radicals which can cause cancer.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed with lycopene which has been shown to help prevent prostate cancer, specifically by preventing the development of free radicals and DNA damage. Populations that eat lots of tomato dishes have a much lower risk of prostate cancer in men. Cooking tomatoes, particularly in olive oil, increases the lycopene content and allows higher absorption into our cells. This explains why the Mediterranean diet is so effective on the cancer prevention front.

Berries

All berries are packed with anti-cancer molecules such as ellagic acid (raspberries and strawberries are loaded with this) and anthocyanidins (blueberries). Both compounds block the activity of two proteins which are essential to cancer spreading and forming new blood vessels. Similarly, proanthocyanidins (cranberries) have high antioxidant activity which can halt tumour development. Snack on seasonal berries or throw into your morning porridge.

Mushrooms

Several epidemiological studies have found that regular mushroom consumption reduces the rate of mortality from cancer. Japanese mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake and enokitake are packed with lentinan which stimulates immune system activity, slowing tumour growth and the progress of cancer. They also help stimulate white blood cell count and activity. Saute mushrooms with garlic, onion and basil and serve on sourdough or wholegrain toast for a real anti-cancer boost.

Parsley

This ubiquitous herb is high in apigenin, a polyphenol that inhibits the growth of cancer cells by blocking angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) and by decreasing inflammatory processes. Parsley can be added raw or cooked to a range of cuisines including Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. Chop up and add to eggs, hummous, or use as a garnish on any dish.

 

Positive Thoughts

7 Things To Help Combat Stress

7 Things To Help Combat Stress

We often have no control of what life throws at us. What we do have control of is how we react to it. Easier said than done? maybe not. if we start to take care of our body and mind by making one some steps to change our physical and mental health we can live less stressful and happier lives.  Taking proper care of mind and body can help us handle stress long term and well as get us through a bad situation. Once  a problem arises think, can i make a difference to the situation? If yes do something about it. If the answer is no then try using these mind and body coping strategies.

1. Maintain Enough High Quality Nutrition

Healthy Fruit and Veg PlateOur mind and body are one system and each has a great impact on the other. Strangely enough in times of stress it is often more difficult to maintain a diet packed with the nutrients we need, which in turn can cause more stress. If we are busy and stop finding time to cook healthy meals both our body and brain will start craving sugar for energy. This in turn leads to binging on fast foods and sugar filled snacks, which also increases stress. If we stop thinking about being busy and start thinking about being productive it’s a much calmer connotation on getting the job done. If we stop feeding the body and work with no breaks we create a vicious cycle. Learn more on how to have a great foundation of high nutrition which will keep you safe through hectic  or highly stressed periods.  Many people have been surprised by how much stress they can handle when their body is well-nourished. There is a solution to this and many more health problems right in this forum and on The Health Hub Club

2. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep-Helps-To-De-StressSleep is very important for our body’s recovery and repair. It is also vital for emotional and physical well being and can negatively impact our ability to handle stress.  When we are stressed we run things over in our mind and then find it hard to switch off and get to sleep. too little time to sleep. then we also wake in the night and have poor-quality sleep.  Both of theses are detrimental to physical and mental health so we need to take action to improve the quality and increase the length of our sleep. Power napping is good but not later than 3pm as this can affect how quickly you can get off to sleep when we turn in for the night. Also if you don t give up caffeine then make sure you have no caffeine after mid day. Making sure we are hydrated through the day is very important to sleep but best not to drink too much just before bed. this will mean we have to wake up to use the empty our bladder in the night and if we want to look good next day it also causes bags under our eyes in the morning. Blue screen light is another big no no. Exposure to blue light (light from or phones computers and I pads) at night is a bd thing as it effectively tricks the brain into thinking it’s still daytime. It suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that is produced at night and prepares the body for sleep.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise-Helps-To-De-StressExercise can be great for you physically and mentally. It provides a stress release and keeps your body healthy. It also helps your body release endorphins, which increase your feelings of overall well-being. Any exercise done regularly is good particularly if you do with others. Walking is particularly effective. Research shows that regular walking modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety. So for positive mental health, walking’s an absolute must and walking ouTdoors outdoors exposes you to natural sunlight, which can help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder or winter blues, (SAD). A great program for ensuring you get out doors and move is “Walk The Weight Off Mind & Body” it covers how to measure for healthy fat loss, 12 point nutrition and weight management plan, mindfulness, and a Brilliant Interval walking session that takes just 22 minutes and has an audio file for your phone that takes you every step fo the ay. Ideal if you work from home , are in an office desk job or just hate going to gyms.

4. Maintain Social Support

After my family my friends are the most important part of my life. We can share our troubles, laugh together and cry together. Friends are a vital support to our mental wellbeing and can often help us put things into perspective. They can pick you up when you’re sad, provide insights when you’re confused, and help you have fun when you need to blow off steam. But don’t forget you must be a friend to have a friend.

5. Find a Hobby

A-Hobbie-Helps-To-De-StressWhen we are stressed and overwhelmed by a problem or situation our mind keeps going running the same facts which just makes us feel even more stressed. If we find something that fills our mind and gives us a sense of achievement or fulfilment our mind will feel refreshed. We don t have to be brilliant at it  It just needs to make us feel relaxed and take our thoughts away from the problems that are making us feel stressed.

6 Have a Pamper Day

We can give our body a spa treatment, or if we are short of cash we can have a spa day at home.  Gather any creams, lotions, face packs or clippers we have stashed away, and spend the day using them all up. Enjoy the feeling and then enjoy the end result. Finish off with some gentle yoga or pilates floor exercises then meditation. It works wonders for our internal state and makes us feel ready to take on the world.

7 Process Emotions

Keeping your emotions bottled up may lead to an emotional explosion later on. It’s generally healthier to listen to your feelings, process them, and try to understand them. Consider them ‘messengers’ that tell you when something is not right with your world. A great way to process emotions is to write them down. When we write about our feelings, and potential solutions to our problems, we can see a way through and reduce our stress. Using mindfulness exercises is a great way to help you stop running negative thoughts over and over again. “The Walk The Weight Off Mind & Body” program has an easy to follow and simple to use Mindfulness section.

Older Women Menopause

Menopause and HRT

Can You Relate To Any Of These Points?

So you’ve reached the point where you can’t ignore your hot flushes any longer. Other people are noticing them too and it’s embarrassing.

  1. You’re not sleeping because night sweats are waking you, or your mind just won’t switch off.
  2. You’re tearful, short tempered, and your memory’s taken a hike.
  3. You no longer feel in control and can’t cope anymore.
  4. You feel like you need a hug and you’re falling apart.
  5. Your libido got up and left.
  6. You’re tired but can’t get to sleep.
  7. You wake in the night and can’t go back to sleep.
  8. You have mood swings and are irritable.
  9. You crave the wrong foods and are getting bigger round your middle.
  10. You’ve lost your energy for life and living it.

Well you could go to your GP or family physician, right? You’ll have a brief chat, most likely be prescribed HRT and then sent on your way. That’s your choice. It was my choice too.

I was prescribed HRT for several years and guess what – it did work. However, eventually I chose to wean myself off it. Why don’t I take HRT any longer?  There are three very good reasons why HRT isn’t the answer:

  1. Menopause isn’t a disease, so why try to cure it with pills and patches?
  2. Too many doctors see us women of a certain age as a bag of old hormones and view menopause as a deficiency disease that needs to be corrected by topping up your oestrogen levels.
  3. Menopause isn’t an illness, it’s a natural event in a woman’s life. We don’t medicate young girls to get them through puberty. So, why medicate yourself to get through menopause?
  4. HRT is not a cure, it’s a stop gap. It’s a band aid but it’s not a cure for menopause. You can still experience symptoms like hot flushes whilst you’re taking it and once you stop. Well, your symptoms can reappear anyway. I know mine did.
  5. HRT increases cancer risk. I was told this was by just over 2%. However, new studies show it can be much, much higher than this. Why would you ever want to increase your risk of cancer? Even if it’s a small risk is it one you’re willing to take if there are alternatives?

Fortunately, HRT isn’t the only option.

Your lifestyle choices, your food choices, and your exercise choices can be just as effective as HRT and that’s how I choose to manage my menopause now. We all follow the Hot Flush Freedom Formula.  It’s an easy-to-follow solution that will put an end to your hot flushes, night sweats, moods swings, and brain fog.  Five smart steps to get you feeling like yourself again.

Are you looking for an alternative to HRT?

Do you want to know how the Hot Flush Freedom Formula can help you too?

WATCH OUT FOR OUR NEXT MENOPAUSE WEBINAR

Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

New research into the effects of exercise in the management of Parkinson’s Disease suggests that regular, high-intensity physical activity may help to keep disease progression in check.

In the United States alone, around one million people live with Parkinson’s disease and approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, according to data from the U.S. National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative motor system disorder characterised by uncontrolled tremors in various body parts, especially the arms and legs, as well as poor balance and co-ordination of movements.

There is now new research into the effects of exercise in the management of Parkinson’s Disease. The research suggests that regular high-intensity exercise three times a week may help delay the progression of this disease.

A phase II clinical trial, called the Study in Parkinson’s Disease of Exercise (SPARX), was recently conducted by researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL, and the University of Colorado in Denver.

Their findings suggest that high-intensity physical exercise is beneficial for people with early stage Parkinson’s Disease, as it may delay the progression of symptoms related to motor abilities.

If you need a very low cost, simple, and effective high-intensity walking program, try our “Walk The Weight Off Mind & Body program”.  This would be an excellent way to achieve a regular pattern of exercise and provide you with support and tons of nutrition and health advice.

A study by author Daniel Corcos says: “If you have Parkinson’s Disease and you want to delay the progression of your symptoms, you should exercise three times a week with your heart rate between 80% to 85% maximum. It is that simple.”  Like most things that affect our health, the trick is keeping it up long term and achieving a regular pattern

Study – Daniel Corcos, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. To read more about this study go to Pubmed where you should find the published  in JAMA NeurologyExercise and Parkinson’s Disease

Benefits of Walking

Benefits Of Walking

Sometimes, what you need from you doctor is a prescription for a good walking program. This activity which you’ve been doing since you were about year old is readily available and suitable for everyone and it is now being touted as “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug,” in the words of Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of course, you probably know that any physical activity, including walking, is a great benefit to your overall health. But walking in particular comes with a host of benefits. Here’s a list of five that may surprise you. They are taken from a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical:

  1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes actually contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.
  2. It helps tame a sweet tooth. A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of a variety of sugary snacks.
  3. It eases joint pain. Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.
  4. It boosts immune function. Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.

Walking also has a great impact on preventative healthcare, especially as we age.

How walking can improve your health

  1. Walking helps with weight loss

Taking regular exercise is especially important as we get older and our metabolism slows down, making us more likely to put on weight.

The only way to lose weight is to use up more energy that we take in, and a daily walk can help to burn off some of those calories.

The number of people who are overweight or obese is rising. The latest Health Survey for England (2014) showed the following groups as overweight or obese:

  • 78% of men aged 65 to 74
  • 80% of men aged 75 to 84
  • Over 70% of women aged 65 to 84.

 

  1. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.
  2. Brisk walking helps to keep the heart strong

According to the British Heart Foundation, over 1 in 7 men and nearly 1 in 10 women die from coronary heart disease (CHD) in the UK. However, people who are physically active are at lower risk of CHD.

Brisk walking can help to keep your heart strong by increasing your heart rate. It can also reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure in the long-term.

High blood pressure is also a key risk factor for stroke, which usually affects people over the age of 65. Some communities are also at higher risk from heart disease. For example, people of South Asian origin are at particular risk of CHD. Experts think this is because of diet and lifestyle.

  1. Physical exercise reduces your risk of developing cancer

According to Cancer Research UK, cancer causes more than 1 in 4 of all deaths in the UK. Physical activity can reduce your risk of developing some cancers, including breast, bowel, and womb cancer.

  1. Walking also reduces your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes

There are 3.9 million people living with diabetes in the UK in 2015. Most of these cases are Type 2 diabetes, which is more likely to affect adults and those who are overweight or obese.

People in some communities are more likely to have diabetes than others. For example, people of south Asian descent can be up to six  times more likely to have diabetes than the general population. African-Caribbean, Black African, and Chinese people are also more at risk.

However, you can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes with regular exercise and a healthy diet.

  1. Walking can help strengthen your bones

Walking can help to strengthen bones, helping to prevent the onset of osteoporosis, which makes bones brittle and more likely to break.

According to the National Osteoporosis Society, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will break a bone largely due to osteoporosis during their lifetime.

  1. Walking will improve your mood and mental wellbeing

Regular exercise will improve your mood and increase feelings of wellbeing – and it can even help to relieve depression  Being outside in the fresh air has been linked to better mental wellbeing and reduced stress.

Walking can also be a social activity when done in a group or with friends, so it can help to tackle feelings of isolation or loneliness.

  1. Being physically active can reduce your risk of developing dementia

It is now thought that being physically active and leading a healthy lifestyle could reduce the risk of developing dementia  Exercise is also beneficial for the wellbeing of people with dementia. It can lead to improved strength and flexibility, better sleep, and some studies suggest it may improve memory and slow mental decline.