Time for a Spring "Tune Up"
Tuesday, September 8th 2009
Make sure your operating at 100% by giving your body a spring tune up. Here are some important factors to consider. Before that if you would like to view our most popular Detox supplement click here.
Complete a detox. The thought of completing a detox conjures up thoughts of drinking vegetable juices and herb teas, mixing up foul tasting "cleansing tonics" and living on the toilet for excessive lengths of time. A detox doesn't need to be as dramatic as this and can be as simple as taking a detox supplement in a capsule and drinking more water. Symptoms which indicate the need for a detox can include waking up in the morning not feeling refreshed from your sleep, generally feeling more foggy and heavy (some people liken it to a hangover feeling or like they have cotton wool in their brain), frontal headaches, skin problems, irritability or digestive disturbances. All of these symptoms can relate to poor liver function and can show that your eliminative organs (bowels, kidneys etc) are not keeping up with their job, in the role of detoxification and elimination.
There are many great detox packs available. Consider completing a detox at least once a year - Just like getting your car tuned up and serviced, our eliminative organs also need some specific attention to function at optimum performance. Starting the day by having a lemon squeezed in water is a simple but effective way to help to support your liver function. Foods such as broccoli, watercress, asparagus, red cabbage, garlic, beetroot, carrot and the spices turmeric and ginger are all good choices for helping with detoxification in the body.
Eat to support your blood sugar levels. Think of your self as a fire place. You need to keep yourself "stoked up" regularly, so you can keep going. This helps to provide consistent energy and hence, better clarity and stamina. To do this, eat within an hour after waking and then each 2 hours throughout the day. Each main meal should contain about 1 "palm full" of protein and 1-2 palms full of carbohydrate (perhaps less carbs if you are over weight). Ideally include salad with main meals. Snacks could be a palm full of protein, such as some nuts and a carb such as a piece of fruit. To be able to make these changes, it is vital that you are able to identify the difference between protein & carbohydrates and it's really very easy! Think 1st, What is protein? Protein is anything that comes from an animal - so meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. It's also nuts and seeds and soy products. A fat is a fat, like fat on meat, butter, margarine & oil. Also avocado (which is beneficial). Basically - Everything else is a carbohydrate. A carb is anything to do with sugar - so if there is any sweetness in your mouth, whether it be healthy or not (so fruit or a muesli bar) it's a carb.
So what is wrong with a diet which does not contain an adequate amount of protein with the carbohydrate? Too higher carbohydrate intake produces too much insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas when we eat sugar or foods that release sugar upon digestion, like carbohydrates. Insulin enables our cells to absorb glucose from the blood. The cells process the glucose to make the energy they need to function. If you eat too many carbohydrates or sugar, in proportion to your protein intake, your pancreas will pump out too much insulin. This can have many harmful effects:
The pancreas may overtime become fatigued and no longer able to produce insulin, leading to diabetes. The high level of insulin causes Insulin resistance. This means there's so much insulin in the blood that cell receptors may become exhausted or may not be produced in as great a number. The cell then becomes unreceptive or resistant to the effects of insulin.
When cells become resistant to insulin, they lose energy and messages are sent out which make the pancreas produce more insulin. Insulin causes the body to store carbohydrates as fat and stops fat being used as a source of energy production. So body fat levels go up and energy goes down. Remember that Balance is the key. Any changes you make you will only benefit from.
Get a health check up. Once a year you should consider having the following tests taken at your doctors Check your cholesterol levels, your blood pressure and blood sugar, your liver function, PSA (for your prostate gland) your ferritin (to ensure your iron level is not getting too high) and your C reactive protein (a marker for cardiovascular problems). Remember that prevention is better than cure. By having these tests taken each year (and any others your GP suggests) you can keep an eye on the results of these tests and ensure they are only progressing positively.
Increase your muscle mass. The more muscle you have the better your health will be generally. This is because muscle is a very important functional tissue. In fact, your muscle mass is considered to be the #1 biological marker of aging. The ability to control your blood sugar levels is dependant on your muscle mass, because 80% of circulating glucose is typically stored in the muscle as glycogen. With a low muscle mass, blood glucose clearance is delayed, resulting in blood sugar problems. Your muscle mass is a key determinant of your metabolic rate - a higher metabolic rate will typically result in more kilojoules consumed per day and a greater control over body fat mass. To achieve long term weight control, muscle mass must be adequate.
The way to increase your muscle mass is to start a resistance exercise program or to lift weights. But remember, if you start something like this and you do not eat adequate protein to keep up with the extra output, you will loose your muscle mass, rather than build it. Latest information tells us that to build muscle you need to consume protein within 8 minutes after finishing your training. This protein repairs the tissue, which makes your muscle larger. Protein powder is a convenient way to consume this, as it can be taken to the gym in a shaker and then you can add liquid as soon as you have finished your work out. Around 15 grams of actual protein is a good serving size per main meal. This is what is contained in 2 large eggs, 50 grams of chicken, a small tin of tuna or salmon, 80 grams of mussels & 60 grams of beef or lamb.
Stay well hydrated. I believe that one of the most important things we need to do to have better health is to drink more water. As simplistic as this sounds; I have seen the most life altering health problems relieved by at least 50%, just by the person drinking more water. Pain is reduced, energy and clarity is increased and mobility is greatly improved. Most people are so dehydrated, they are literally seizing up.
The kidneys can't function properly without enough water. When they don't work to capacity, some of their load is dumped onto the liver. One of the liver's primary functions is to neutralise and eliminate toxins from the body. But if the liver has to do some of the kidneys work, it can't operate at full throttle. As a result of this, the toxicity levels in the body can increase and I believe this is one of the main causes for developing a "disease" condition.
With obesity on the rise we all need to increase our water intake, as water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolise stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits.
If you are interested in maintaining or regaining your youthful looks and prevent your skin from drying out and becoming wrinkled, simply drink more water.
Dr F Batmanghelidj MD is the author of 4 books written about his findings from 18 years of research, on the topic of Water. In his book "You're not sick you're thirsty" he talks about how he has treated more than 3000 cases of a peptic ulcer with water alone. He refers to this and many other ailments as resembling a thirst "disease". He believes that many symptoms develop in the body when it is dehydrated, just as it does when we have a deficiency of anything else - say with a lack of iron and anaemia develops. The main problems that he believes develop in the body with dehydration are arthritis & joint pain, high blood pressure, heartburn, asthma & high cholesterol.
So how much water is enough? On the average, most New Zealand adults require 2 litres of water a day, however many things will alter this amount. Many foods and beverages we consume are dehydrating - for example tea, coffee, alcohol & salt. Whenever we consume any of these, we need another cup of water to compensate for the dehydrating effect it has on the body. As well as this, exercise and stress also give us a need for more water. Technique is important though and I believe it is better to sip on the water consistently throughout the day, rather than consuming large amounts all at once.
Here are links to the Cleansing Detox Packs we stock:
Tiao He Cleanse Pack
Clean Start Apple Cinnamon
Thisilyn Cleanse with Herbal Digestive Sweep
Thisilyn Cleanse with Mineral Digestive Sweep
Total Body Detox
Quick Cleanse 15 Day Detox
Ultimate Herbal Detox Kit
Here are links to some of the Cleansing Products we stock:
Look at these books:
You can find additional information here
If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.
Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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