Category: Health

How to Live a Long and Healthy Life – Ebook

How would you like to live a long and healthy life? Want to know the secrets to living to over 100 years old and to not being sick? Want to know the diet and lifestyle tips to being happy and healthy!

Download a copy of my FREE E-Book and get 20 diet and lifestyle tips to help you live a happy and healthy lifestyle, which are used by the many 100 year olds by following secrets of these centenarians around the world and modern day science and research into the secrets of optimal wellbeing!

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D or the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D1-3. It’s function can affect as many as 2,000 genes in the body. It is extremely important we have enough Vitamin D as it helps our immune system. This vitamin is usually deficient in most adults. It is not about being in the range, but being in the optimal range of Vitamin D; which should be around 120-150nmol/L.

Benefits of Vitamin D:

  1. Regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous.

Not enough Vitamin D will increase risk of bone fractures, soft and fragile bones and osteoporosis.

  1. Helps boost immune system function and fights disease.

It reduces risk of MS, can decrease your chances of a heart disease, reduce colds and flus.

  1. It is great at regulating mood and reducing depression symptoms. Those with sub-optimal levels of Vitamin D have significantly increased levels of anxiety, stress and depression.

How do you get enough Vitamin D

Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it is directly exposed to sunlight. A little can go a long way. All you need is 10-15 minutes a day of midday, pre-sunscreen sun exposure, especially if you have fair skin.

Besides getting vitamin D through sunlight, you can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.

Beware of Deficiency

Many lifestyle and environmental factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors include:

  • pollution
  • use of sunscreen
  • spending more time indoors
  • living in big cities where buildings block sunlight
  • having darker skin

These factors contribute to vitamin D deficiency in an increasing number of people. That’s why it’s important to get some of your vitamin D from sources besides sunlight.

The symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency in adults include:

  • general tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well
  • severe bone or muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or cause the person to walk with a waddling gait
  • stress fractures, especially in the legs, pelvis, and hips
  • weak immune system and frequent colds/flu

You can find out if you have adequate amounts through a simple blood test. If you don’t have optimal levels (under 80ng/mL) you should take daily Vitamin D supplements and get enough sunlight. If you have a deficiency, your doctor may order X-rays to check the strength of your bones.

Very few food sources contain natural Vitamin D, some has been fortified these include:

  • salmon
  • sardines
  • egg yolk
  • shrimp
  • milk (fortified)
  • cereal (fortified)
  • yogurt (fortified)
  • orange juice (fortified)

It can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, so taking vitamin D supplements can help.

10 Health Tips to get you through Winter

Winter is upon us and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it’s believed we should live harmoniously with our environment and adapt to this change. Winter is inactive, slow, cold and damp. It is the season of slowing down. Winter relates to the kidneys, and feelings of fear and depression. We need to deeply nourish ourselves, eat well, keep warm and be well rested so we are renewed for the vitality and coming of Spring.
People are more susceptible to colds and flu during the winter season. You are 80% more likely to get a cold in winter as the cold weather challenges the immune system. So follow these tips to help prevent getting sick this winter.

1. Don’t underestimate the power of a scarf
Keeping warm this winter is key to preventing a flu. Make sure you do not expose your body to wind especially your belly, back or neck. Always wear a scarf when outdoors. A scarf protects our neck area from wind and cold getting into our body system.

2. Reduce the use of a heater and hot showers
The use of heaters, electric blankets and very hot showers can dehydrate already very dry skin. Instead use extra blankets and wear layers of clothing. Excessive heat can aggravate skin conditions and asthma. If you do use heat and electric blankets turn them off before you sleep.

For dry skin, try using organic coconut oil which is natural and hydrating.

3. Rest up
We generally sleep around 6.5-7 hours a night. However, in winter, we naturally want to sleep more because of the longer nights. Therefore use this time to catch up on more sleep, it is perfectly natural to sleep 8.5-9 hours. Poor sleep, especially in winter, can affect our energy, mood, concentration, stress levels and weight gain. Aim to get into bed early and enjoy deep sleep.

4. Cut down on dairy
Milk and dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and cream can cause phlegm to build up in your system. Therefore if you have any phlegm or tickle in your throat, cut out the dairy.

5. Eat nourishing and comforting foods
When it’s cold and dark outside, you can be tempted to eat unhealthy foods such as deep fried foods, burgers etc. It is very important to maintain a healthy diet with nourishing foods, fruits and vegetables each day. Warming foods help warm the body, expel cold and increase circulation. Eat more winter vegetables and soups such as carrots, parsnips, pumpkin and turnips. Use cooking methods such as roasting, mash or soups for a comforting winter meal. Have more ginseng, ginger, cinnamon and gou qi berries.

6. Keep exercising
Just because it is cold outside, it is not an excuse to stay indoors and lounge around. Instead get out go for walks, runs, indoor sports or try embracing winter sports such as ice-skating. Regular exercise helps control the winter weight and boost your immune system.

7. Get enough vitamin D
Make sure you also get adequate amounts of Vitamin D. Reduced Vitamin D levels results in anxiety and depression which are more prevalent during winter months due to lack of sun exposure. Women often experience mood changes more than men and it results in depression, lack of energy, irritability, and weight gain. Take a Vitamin D supplement if you are not getting adequate sunlight and open your curtains at home during the day to allow sun in.

8. Have a warm breakfast
Winter is the perfect season for porridge. Having a warm bowl on a cold morning isn’t just a delicious way to start your day, it can also help boost your intake of fibre. It also contains many vitamins and minerals.

9. Drink warm lemon water and increase vitamin C
Make it a priority to drink a glass of warm lemon water before breakfast. This helps to eliminate toxins, clear your system and increase digestive function better.

Vitamin C is great to help prevent colds and flus and increase our immune system. It reduces acidity in the body, and is an anti-bacterial. Make sure you get enough vitamin C in your diet, if not, take a supplement.
Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day and drink at least 1.5L of water, preferably warm water.

10. Meditate More
Winter is the perfect time to explore deep issues and to meditate. Meditation helps us to slow down, relax and take time off our crazy thoughts. Meditation practices help us to calm the mind and heart. When we truly relax, our bodies naturally come up with “stuff” that has been under the surface for a long time. Doing this during winter will allow us to be cleansed and renewed for spring. Health is a state of complete physical and mental well-being. Do not ignore your emotional health. Always take the time to stop, relax and breathe. Be in the present moment.

Try acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine this winter to help with your cold symptoms. Acupuncture helps to relieve cold stuck energy, and help move the blood circulation in the cold weather. Remember to stay warm, hydrated and nourished. Get to bed early and rise after the sun has risen to help preserve warmth your health and vitality this winter season.

Excessive Sugar intake can Kill You

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that you should limit less than 10% of your daily calorie intake from sugar. This means that for an average adult it equates to 25g or less or around 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men. A can of coke consists of 39g of sugar! However we far exceed this amount recommended amount.

In the USA the average adult intakes around 27 teaspoons a day, that is almost 5 times the recommended daily intake recommended by WHO. So in the past when we thought FAT was bad, studies now show that sugar does more damage than fat!

So what happens to our bodies when we consume excess sugar? Too much can actually KILL US!

Here are the reasons why we should cut down on sugar now:

1. Insulin Resistance – Excess sugar can make you Insulin Resistance, which could eventually lead to metabolic syndrome or diabetes. Studies show excess sugar consumption is associated with insulin resistance, especially when it is consumed in large amounts. When glucose builds up in the blood, we can experience high blood pressure, tiredness, hunger and brain fog.

2. Diabetes – Type 2 Diabetes is becoming more prevalent. In Australia 280 people develop diabetes daily; over 100,000 Australians developed diabetes in the past year and it is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia according to Diabetes Australia. When we drink sugary beverages such as COKE we have an 83% increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes!

3. Zero Nutrition – Added sugar is the WORST ingredient in the modern-day diet. It has such harmful effects on our body and metabolism and causes many types of chronic illness in our bodies. Added sugars like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients. This is why it’s called ‘empty calories’. They contain no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals. Only PURE ENERGY. When we eat sugar it contributes to nutrient deficiencies in our bodies. So even though sugar contains a lot of calories it has no beneficial essential nutrients.

When people eat up to 10-20% of calories as sugar (or more), this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.

4. Liver Overload – Eating too much added sugar will lead to liver overload which is high in fructose. When we have a small piece of fruit this is fine as it is stored in the liver, but if it’s overloaded it turns the fructose into fat and can lead to fatty liver and other serious health issues. You can’t overdose on fructose in fruit.

5. Inflammation – Sugar causes a lot of inflammation in our cells. Certain cells feed off sugar and in turn, grow and proliferate. Sugar is also a cause of ageing in the body.

6. Sugar is Highly Addictive – Sugar is as addictive as heroin and 8 times more addictive than cocaine! It is one of the most addictive and deadly narcotics out there yet it is readily available and legal. This is because it causes large amounts of dopamine to be released in the brain. This is why people become strongly addicted to sugar. In obese people, they need to consume even more sugar to get the same effect. Sugar is the MOST dangerous drug of the modern times which is still easily accessible everywhere!

7. Damages Organs – The damage from sugar in the body is a slow process, but very destructive, however since we take in such large quantities it can do widespread damage to our organs and body function. This can cause problems with our kidney function and can even lead to kidney failure.

8. Obesity – The hormones in our brain from excess sugar leads to fat gain as we lose control over the consumption. When we consume too much sugar we usually become overweight or obese. One daily serving of a sugary beverage leads to an increase of a 60% risk of obesity! If you want to lose weight, CUT DOWN on Sugar! Remove that soft drink from your diet.

9. Heart Disease – It’s no longer fat that is the number 1 cause of Heart Disease. Sugar is the culprit. This is because sugar affects our metabolism. Large amounts of fructose increases our triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol), raises blood glucose levels and insulin levels. Excess consumption of added sugars are the cause for diseases that kill millions of people each year.

10. Increases depression – when you have sugar and carbs your mood improves as it triggers your body to release the hormone serotonin. However, having excess sugar seems to reverse this effect. When you have a sugar-heavy diet you are more likely to have massive changes in your behaviour, your blood sugar levels go up very high but they also fall very low rather quickly. This yo-yo effects your metabolism and mood.

11. Reduces immunity – Your immune system defends your body against potential infections. When we eat too much sugar it can damage and compromise the function of your immune system to fight bacteria, virus and other parasites. When you consume sugar at every meal your immune system is essentially functioning at only 50%.

12. Increases yeast infectionsyeast grows by feeding off sugar. With every can of soft drink your body is the perfect breeding ground for yeast infections, both in the urinary tract and in your mouth (oral thrush). This is caused by the overgrowth of candida. When your immune system is working properly, bacteria does not get out of control, however if your blood sugar levels are too high, all the extra sugars in your saliva and urine provide the perfect environment for breeding bacteria.

13. Alzheimer and Dementiaexcess sugar can cause a decrease in cognitive brain function and lead to memory impairment.

We all know excess sugar is unhealthy for us and may lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and auto-immune disease. Sugar or high fructose corn syrup is found in almost any packaged food, soft drinks, fruit juice, baked goods and condiments.

sugar-infographic

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Avoid Sugar:

  1. Start reading the labels on food and drinks before you buy! Know what sugar content is in your food. Avoid high fructose corn syrup or glucose/fructose.
  2. Avoid everyday items like bread, salad dressings, canned tuna, canned vegetables, biscuits, sauces, yoghurt, sugary drinks such as coke, ice teas, energy drinks etc.
  3. Avoid processed packaged foods and start making your own. These are usually high in sugar, preservatives and salt.
  4. Avoid and cut down foods made from processed carbs or processed sugars.
  5. Bake your own cookies, chocolate, sweets and make your own dressings so you control exactly how much you put in.
  6. Have foods which don’t contain artificial colours and/or flavours.
  7. Switch from soft drinks to water or green tea. It will make you feel better and you will lose weight too.
  8. Avoid ‘sugar-free’ and ‘diet’ products. They usually contain aspartame which is highly dangerous for your health as it is a neuro-toxin if you consume too much.
  9. Drink warm lemon water every morning to change the acidity from too much sugar in your diet to a more alkaline environment.
  10. Switch the sugar to honey or stevia

Too much sugar is like POISON to our body and is slowly killing your body. So CUT out that extra sugar intake and start getting your body back to good health.

If you require help cutting down on your sugar intake or feel you are addicted to sugar, speak to us about how we may be able to help you.

Tip for a healthy body through Autumn

Autumn is upon us! In Chinese Medicine this seasonal change brings about changes to one’s health and we need to be careful so as not to get sick at this change of season. Chinese Medicine describes the nature’s seasonal changes with a big emphasis on energy. We need to make our own changes within our body and lifestyle as each season shifts so we can be as healthy as possible and not fall ill. As autumn sees a big increase in colds, coughs and allergies.

Each season the health challenge for us is to harmonise our energy and body with the greater energy of nature. Seasonal changes represents a move between yin and yang. Autumn is the yin energy replacing the big yang energy of summer. This energy is moving inward and downwards in autumn towards the earth, as opposed to out and up in summer. Therefore with the new season upon us we need to balance our health with the right diet and lifestyle. As summer is slowing down and autumn approaching our bodies are also going through a change in energy internally.

Autumn is related to the metal element. This means dryness, coolness and winds are more extreme. With autumn comes organs connected to the Lungs and Large Intestine, as the Lungs need oxygen from the air and the large intestines removes waste. Lung and skin issues are more prevalent at this time with dry skin, dry cough and constipation.
Metal relates to the emotion of grief and letting go. This is the time to let go of emotional baggage you have been carrying and remember to breathe (from the belly). Just like the trees of nature do not hold onto their leaves for next year. Be receptive to the new, eliminate what you no longer need!! Just like our large intestine function is to also enable us to let go of our waste products.

Foods to eat in autumn include cooked organic root vegetables such as beetroots, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, squash, yams, celeriac etc. Things that grow under the ground. Avoid raw and cold foods such as ice-cream, cold drinks, cold vegetables, juices, salads etc and op for foods that are warm soups, stews, bakes, braising and warm drinks. Foods that are warm and nourishing will be better for the health and the lungs.

Eat more foods that can moisten our lungs and digestion including pears and apples. You can also add onions, fresh ginger to the diet to assist with colds or allergies.

With exercise try to avoid heavy aerobics as it can drain your vital energy and weaken your immune system. Instead do more gently forms of exercise such as walking, tai chi and yoga.

Remember to go to bed early during autumn and rise early. In Chinese theory, one’s sleep habits should also adjust with the seasons. As the days get shorter in autumn, sleep earlier to avoid the cold nights and wake up to the early morning sun. As the weather cools more, remember to avoid the cold by wearing a scarf or light jacket when outside in the wind.

NOW is the time to come in for your acupuncture seasonal tune up.

Eating a balanced diet

What should we eat daily for a balanced diet?

What should we eat? What is too much and what is too little? What time should we eat? What should we eat for an everyday diet so that we can be healthy and live to be 100?

Should we go back to the old food pyramid or should we all be eating organic and gluten free foods now?

With so much contradicting evidence out there we are confused as to what diets and fads to follow. As practitioners in Chinese Medicine, we talk to our patient’s daily about good eating habits and healthy lifestyle. We find too many people out there eat excessive sweets and spicy and not enough bitter and sour flavours.

The typical Chinese diet usually consists or a variety of foods, meat, fish, vegetables and carbs. We should be eating a little from each food group and not only having excessive meats or carbs. We should also be having different flavours in our diets such as salty, sweet, spicy, bitter and sour, which is able to balance each organ and energy in our bodies.

My top tips to healthy eating are:
* Glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning
* Have a good breakfast to kick-start your metabolism
* Cut down on alcohol (1 wine night max), coffee (max 2) and too much caffeinated teas
* Have 1-2 portions of red meat a week
* At least 3 servings of fruit and vegetables daily
* Cover all 5 flavours of food in your diet
* Don’t eat too much complex carbs after dark
* Have at least 2-3 litres of warm water daily
* Have a few servings of fish a week
* Switch processed foods for raw organic foods where possible.
* Reduce dairy intake
* Reduce gluten intake
* Eliminate processed sugar