What are you studying now, Dawn?

As I keep being asked this question, I thought I might say a little about what I am studying.

Officially, I’m studying for my third degree. This time around it’s in “Nutritional Therapy”, which to most of us means “Nutrition”. I will (if I can keep going) get a diploma in 3 years and a degree in 4 years from now. However, despite it’s name, our course is thoroughly founded on the principles of Functional Medicine (FM), which is what I want to explain.

The Institute of Functional Medicine was founded in America where a growing group of doctors are practising a “new” paradigm of medicine. It began way back in 1949 by a double nobel prize winning physician called Linus Pauling. The new paradigm is the belief that it isn’t our genes themselves that cause our health or otherwise, but how those genes are “expressed”. “Gene expression” means how our genes interact with our environment to cause or suppress disease. Dr Pauling firmly believed that one day, we would be able to manipulate or modify the expression of our genes to prevent disease.

Today, functional medicine is a system of medicine which seeks to prevent chronic diseases, those diseases we are so familiar with like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. FM seeks to find the cause of our symptoms because it is believed that  symptoms are the body’s attempt at correcting itself… they should not necessarily be suppressed without understanding what purpose they serve. FM practitioners don’t necessarily group all the symptoms together, give it a name or diagnosis and then prescribe drugs to suppress the symptoms.  Rather, they search for the causes of the symptoms, i.e. which body systems are suffering and how your genes are being affected by your environment. What are you doing to your body that is causing it not to work properly?  Once those processes have been identified, the treatment is to provide the body with what it needs to correct itself and remove any factors that are stopping the body from recovering. Each person is a new case and different to the last, even though the conventional medical diagnosis may be the same. The reason for this is that each person has his or her own unique biochemical makeup which must be treated individually.

FM is about giving the patient treatment choices to help themselves to achieve better health. FM practitioners believe that the body’s systems are a web of connections and to uncover the real causes, one must understand these complicated connections that span across gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immunological and neurological systems. FM practitioners are therefore not specialists in cardiology, urology, neurology, focusing on just one body part or system as in conventional medicine.

FM works particularly well for preventing and treating chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, rather than treating sudden illness or trauma where conventional medicine excels. Disease is not seen as a separate entity which exists alone. Instead, health and disease are seen as points on a continuum between optimal wellness and ill-health. I particularly like this because it has always perplexed and frustrated me that conventional medicine says that you either have arteriosclerosis or you don’t…but surely, the build up of plaques on the inside of your artery walls is a gradual process, occurring slowly and often imperceptibly over decades, eventually reaching a point which requires treatment…either drugs or life saving surgery to open the blockage. Surely, it is better to catch small problems early rather then wait for them to be big problems later on?

I believe that prevention is better then cure and I very much hope that my efforts, in due course, will afford me the privilege of helping people help themselves, sooner rather than later!

Cholesterol…the villian or not?

Hello!

After a long summer and subsequent return to some serious studying, I have squeezed in a quick post…as it was so near to my heart, if you excuse the pun!

This post is a little more serious than my last and I urge you to find 30 minutes to watch the video.

It came to me as an email from http://www.FunctionalMedicineUniversity, which was the 6 months Functional Medicine Certificate I passed back in June. I acknowledge their excellent advice and rights to share this with you. The video itself is made by American News Channel ABC1, entitled “The Heart of The Matter”. The web page has further videos and references to all the studies.

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/heartofthematter/

So what are your views on butter, margarine, sunflower oil, Benecol, cholesterol, the government’s food pyramid, the Mediterranean diet, scientific researchers, the food companies, statins, sugar & carbohydrates and anti-oxidants now?

As the video says, if we are motivated to reduce our risk of heart disease and that of our families and friends, we need to be looking at other suspected culprits, namely (1) Stress (2) Sugar  (3) Inflammation in the body (4) Oxidation in the body. I’m sure I will be learning a lot more about these in months to come, which I will of course share with you.

Is ageing a slippery slope?

You know what? I have been musing this subject for many years on and off. Unconsciously at first, whilst I worked on my patients bodies, now much more consciously. Here is the thought…. Here we are, bustling through life, busy, healthy, fit and well. No real health challenges to mention. Sure, a few annoying symptoms that the GP has got rid of along the way or have gone on their own… then years pass, decades pass, we have children, we get absorbed in being parents and our careers, and time flies by, then BANG! We get sick or we see our friends and family get sick. We go to the doctor and he/she tells us that we have diabetes, or heart failure or osteoporosis, arteriosclerosis, MS, depression, kidney stones, a calcified aorta, degenerative discs in our spines, endometriosis, diverticulitis, cancer, whatever.

But wait! How did that happen? How come, I was fit and well, and now all of a sudden I am told that I have some major problem? Why didn’t somebody tell me about it before I got this bad?

Aah! Now that’s the point! The very crux of the matter! It doesn’t suddenly happen. It’s happening molecule by molecule, cell by cell, organ by organ, right now, day by day, in all our bodies!

I believe we don’t listen to our bodies when they give us, what seems like, inconsequential warning signs, little by little, over the decades. We don’t want to make a fuss and we’re too busy! We don’t stop and think. There isn’t time. The pieces of the jigsaw are never quite put together for us. We can’t see the whole picture of how our body systems and mind are completely intertwined, one affecting another continuously. (But we know it’s fundamentally true). We do not make the short-term connection between what we are doing to our bodies today and the effects those actions will have 20 and 30 years down the road.

copy-blog2.jpg

For example, we hear our rumbling stomach, pardon our burping or indigestion after a meal, excuse our wind an hour or so later, loosen our waistbands as our abdomen distends and wonder why? There’s no way we’d go to the doctor about that! Not until we get pain of course. Then we might be given painkillers or antacids or Fibrogel for “irritable bowel syndrome”. But what’s that? Well, it’s an irritable bowel of course! But why is it irritable? Well it’s like this, if somebody does something to irritate you, you get irritable. And your bowel is no different. Yes, but what’s going on inside? What happens if we don’t act? Diverticulitis? Ulcers? Ulcerative colitis? Worse?

The same insidious but progressive symptoms happen in other systems of our body. Take the spine for example. When we are young our spines get knocked about a bit! We commonly get strained facet joints and pulled muscles. Our spines adapt pretty well to this and sort of “cope”, often for a long time. Our posture adapts and compensates. We feel a few niggles, aches and pains but they go away or the physical therapist can sort it out in a few treatments. For a while. But for some poor folks, they start getting low back stiffness that doesn’t go away. Then more shrill pain comes from their joints. May be the therapist says they should come for regular treatments. But what has been going on in our spines during this time. Well, I can tell you, the discs have lost water and no longer act as shock absorbers, the facet joints have squashed up together and are rubbing and the muscles which support and move the spine, have wasted. Not good. See how the few small symptoms can progress to the degenerative spine.

One last example (but I could give you many) the cardiovascular system. Research has now shown that it is chronic inflammation in the body which causes arteriosclerosis (narrowing of our arteries). Through life, our arteries get injured due to stress, high blood pressure and irritating molecules (which we eat and drink) like trans fats, additives, alcohol, oxidants. Our body patches up those cracks with a “cholesterol scab”. This will sluff-off in time just like a scab on out skin would. However, this just repeats itself over and over if we keep irritating our artery walls with poor dietary choices and lack of exercise. Inflammation set in. The plaque building mechanism doesn’t get switched off and in time the plaques build in size and number until they eventually block the flow of blood inside the artery. Then the doctor tells us to stop drinking, when all along we’ve been told that a few glasses a night are good for you! Now we have arteriosclerosis and are at risk from stroke and heart attacks.

So what I’m saying is, if we pay closer attention along the way, (and I don’t mean neurotically) we can absolutely prevent a vast majority of “degenerative diseases” with regular screening tests and faster corrective action. Our bodies are programmed to repair, regenerate and renew our cells to ensure that we survive. Whether that “survival” feels like dragging our bodies through our 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s with a string of physical complaints or whether we glide through it, busily getting on with life, contributing to our families and communities with our hard-earned experience… it’s all down to us and our belief systems.

To follow this introduction, my next post will be all about the digestive system. It is fundamental to the optimum function of our whole body and mind. Every cell of our body is made up and functions according to what we put into our mouths every day. I will look at how it is supposed to function and what happens when it goes wrong. Why it goes wrong. I will explore the other organ system diseases we can get because our digestive system is damaged. It’s fascinating!

Invest in yourself

Join me in my discovery! Let’s learn together. Tell me what you think.

Sun Creams…what to believe?

Hello,

Well, what is a girl supposed to do? What should a mother be doing for her children?

Doesn’t it just frustrate you to read one article advocating sun creams and another researcher quoting quite the opposite and a third saying that those of us who live in northern latitudes have a chronic deficiency in Vitamin D because of lack of sun exposure.

Who are we supposed to believe?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5-15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure a few times a week is all that’s required to maintain healthy vitamin D levels.

I guess my common sense approach (in an ideal world) would be to build up your (and your children’s) exposure gradually throughout the season to fulfil your Vitamin D requirements. If you have to stay out longer than that, then try to come in before you go red. If you have to stay out yet longer, then put on non-toxic  sun creams and after that cover up or go inside!

The EWG Guide to Sunscreens 2013 is full of research and product information.

Access the guide here:

http://www.ewg.org/2013sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/

Here are some top-rated sun care products for adults and kids:

  • Green Screen D Organic Sunscreen, Original, SPF 35
  • Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Sunscreen with Hydresia, SPF 40
  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen, Green Tea, SPF 30+
  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sport Stick Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Releve’ Organic Skincare by Emerald Essentials Sun-Lite Sunscreen, SPF 20
  • Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30
  • Seventh Generation Wee Generation Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Moisturising Sunscreen SPF30. Neal’s Yard Remedies.
  • SPF40 Antioxidant Infused Sunscreen Day Cream, Supergloop!
  • Sun Screen SPF40, Herbline Essentials.

What you don’t want to be buying and putting on your children are chemicals like:

  • Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate or “retinol”): Linked to increased cancer cell growth.
  • Oxybenzone: Hormone disrupter—experts caution against using it on children.
  • Powder or spray mineral-based sunscreens (usually on ingredient label as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide): These ingredients are typically safe in lotion form, but can cause internal damage if inhaled.

If only we were as concerned with how our “insides” look as much as our “outsides”!

make-up_76

Have you ever considered how long we all spend “grooming” our hair, shaving our faces or bodies, washing & showering, applying creams, make-up & hair products? How long? Half an hour both morning and night, may be more? How much time do we spend buying clothes and dressing ourselves carefully? What’s the total time per day? Our society places massive emphasis on looking good. It’s part of human nature that we want to feel good about ourselves, feel confident in how we look. There is nothing wrong with that. I’m not criticising it!

However, my next question is this. How much time do we spend thinking of how to make our insides look and feel good? How much time per day do we think about what we put in our mouths and the effect it has on our bodies?

I think the reason why the amounts of times are so mis-matched is very simple. We see the outsides all the time but we never get to see the insides (unless we are gastro-enterologists). If we could see our insides, I bet we would give it a lot more thought and consideration.

So I want to share my learnings. It’s time people were privy to seeing what our insides look like. We want to know that our face creams are making us look younger. Don’t we similarly want to see that the foods we are consuming are contributing to our longevity, not auto-immune diseases, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, diabetes and the like.

For me, seeing is believing. Knowing isn’t knowing until you have experiences something.

Over the next few weeks, I would like explain how our foods cause this damage to our bodies, how they cause irritation to the delicate lining of our stomachs and intestines which in turn progresses to inflammation. Unresolved inflammation eventually causes the chronic (and preventable) diseases, now so prevalent in our western societies.

 

My “Red Juice”

This is my “energy giving juice,” as it comes from a selection of root vegetables and an apple. There are about 350 calories in it. Drink a small glass of it whenever you need a boost or crave something sweet.

My sweet treat!

My sweet treat!

I call it my red juice, for obvious reasons, but without the beetroot, it would be orange in colour. What I’m trying to do is consume as many of the colours of the rainbow each and every day, combining the vegetables as I like. This is a nice and easy guarantee of getting the range of nutrients we all need.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is your best bet for preventing every chronic disease. The evidence in support of this recommendation is so strong it has been endorsed by U.S. and U.K government health agencies and by virtually every major medical organisation, including the American Cancer Society. So don’t just take my word for it!

Here is a link to a TED lecture presented by an American physician who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She deteoriated to the point of living in a wheelchair, but later recovered her health by eating, as recommended, as rainbow of coloured whole foods and a paleo diet. Just click on it when you have 20 minutes.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The substances which protect us against our diseases found in these fruits and vegetables, are phytochemicals. They include pigments such as carotenes, chlorophyll and flavonoids, also dietary fibre, enzymes and vitamin-like compounds. If you can consume these foods raw, you will preserve the enzymes (so helpful for easy digestion and maximum absorption), that’s why people have taken to juicing.

Carotenes act as anti-oxidants and enhance our immune systems. Flanonoids act as anti-oxidants, have anti-tumor effects and also enhance our immune systems. Limonoids enhance detoxification and block carcinogens. Chlorophyll may stimulate haemoglobin and red blood cell production.

Here are a few examples of foods in each colour category:

Red – Beetroot, tomatoes, red pepper, strawberries, raspberries, red currents, cherries, red grapefruit, watermelon.

Yellow – Yellow pepper, lemons, banana, pears, melons, apples, yellow grapefruit.

Orange – Papaya, mango, orange pepper, carrots, Sharon Fruit, pumpkin, squash, oranges, apricots, sweet potato, yams,

Green – All green veggies & leaves, kiwi, avocado, limes…the list is endless.

Blue/Black – Blackberries, blue berries, purple cabbage, plums, aubergines, red cabbage.

Anyway, back to the method. Wash thoroughly and juice 2 carrots, 1 beetroot, half a sweet potato, a lemon or a lime, a chunk of ginger (size to your liking) and an apple if you want extra sweetness. That’s it. Drink in small amounts as you need to.

I did look to do a mineral analysis on this juice, but the mineral content didn’t look that impressive. The vitamin values, however, were more significant. For example, this juice will provide you with well over the Vitamin A you need for a day. Also, least 50 % of Vit. C, 70% of B6, 50% of folate, 50% of B5, 25% of manganese we need each day.

Beetroots are an excellent source of folic acid, fibre, manganese and potassium. They significantly help the liver in it’s detoxification functions. The pigment betacyanin gives it it’s vibrant colour and is a powerful anti-cancer fighting agent. Beetroot fibre (not found in the juice of course) has a good effect on bowel function and cholesterol levels. It raises the levels of anti-oxidants enzymes, specifically, gluthathione peroxidase and glutathione S-transferase, as well as increasing the number of white blood cells responsible for detecting and eliminating abnormal cells. In a study of patients with stomach cancer, beet juice was found to be a potent inhibitor of the formation of nitrosamines (cancer-causing compounds ingested as nitrates when we eat smoked or cured meats (look on the labels of processed meats, they all have nitrates and nitrites added as preservatives). Beetroot also inhibit cell mutations caused by theses nitrates.

Carrots provide the highest source of pro-vitamin A carotenes. Two carrots provide roughly four times the RDA of Vitamin A. They also provide excellent levels of Vitamin K, biotin, Vitamin C, B6, B1 and potassium. They are high in anti-oxidants. They contain beta-carotene which we all know helps our night vision and similarly provide protection against macular degeneration and the development of senile cataracts.

Sweet potato’s contain a unique storage protein with very high anti-oxidant properties. Generally, the darker the flesh, the more caroteines they contain. The help to stabilise blood sugars and improve the body’s response to insulin and and are hence called “anti-diabetic”. They are high in Vitamin C, Vit A, B6 manganese, copper. biotin, B5, B2 and fibre.

“Nasties” lurking on the shelves of our supermarkets!

I  subscribe to this group of health experts. This is a particularly practical article which is relevant to all of us and our children. I hope you learn something useful from it. The link below is to the article on their web site. You can join here if you want to.

http://www.hungryforchange.tv/article/the-7-nastiest-things-lurking-in-your-supermarket

Worth mulling over?

I don’t think I need to say much here! Suffice to say, let’s all stop and have a think.

Dalai Lama

When, in our busy day, can we take a moment to stop and put our health first. Would it be learning to eat slowly and thankfully, promoting good hormone release as we eat. Would it be to buy more organic food or food we have grown carefully ourselves? Would it be to stop putting sugar, caffeine and alcohol into our bodies?

Perhaps the money spent on utilising simple preventative health measures like eating a natural diet and avoiding stimulants will save us money, that we, (or the NHS) will inevitably have to spend later on in life, on over the counter medicines, prescription drugs, and the expenses of a compromised lifestyle due to ill-health.

What do you think?

 

More “Green” Juices

Hi Folks,

Here are 7 more green juice recipes you can try. They are from a great American group of health experts called “Food Matters”. Enjoy!!!!!! Here’s a link to their web site: http://www.foodmatters.tv/

Rosa New Dawn

Rosa “New Dawn” from our garden in Neston!

1. Perfect Green Juice 
Serves 1

• 1-2 celery stems • 1/2 cucumber
 • 1 large kale leaf

• 1/8 fennel bulb • 1 green apple • 1/2 lemon, peeled (optional)

 2. Crisp and Clean Green Juice Serves 1

• 1 large wedge green cabbage • 1 green apple
 • 1 large bunch romaine lettuce leaves

• 1” ginger root. Other optional greens: spinach, kale, chard and dandelion.

3. Boost Juice Serves 1

• 1/4 medium pineapple • 1 small handful alfalfa sprouts
 • 1 small handful parsley

• 2 large kale leaves • 1 large broccoli stem

• 1 oz shot of wheatgrass juice or 1 teaspoon of wheatgrass powder (optional)

4. The Nutrient Express Juice Serves 1

• 1/2 punnet berries
 • 1 small handful parsley • 2-3 large kale leaves

• 1 large carrot
 • 1 large celery stem
 • 1 green apple (optional)

Berries to try: blackberries, blueberries, strawberries.
Other optional greens: romaine, spinach, chard and dandelion.

5. Make Juice Not War Green Drink Serves 1

  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 large kale leaf
  • 1 large handful of sprouts (sprouts to try – 
sweet pea, alfalfa, broccoli, sunflower1 celery stem
  • 1 large broccoli stem
  • 1/2 pear or green apple (optional) 
Other optional greens: romaine, parsley, spinach and dandelion.

 6. Extreme Green Juice
 Serves 1

• 5 florets of broccoli
 • 1-2 celery stems • 1 small bunch parsley • 1 green apple

7. The Classic Green Juice Serves 1

• 1 medium zucchini • 2-3 large kale leaves • 1 green apple
 • 1 small handful cilantro (coriander) • 1 lemon, peeled
 • 1” ginger root (optional)

What Are You Drinking?!!!

You're really gonna drink that?!!

You’re really gonna drink that?!!

“What is that green drink”, my patients ask me with a look of horror and disbelief, half concealed by polite respect, all over their faces.

“Good question, everybody always asks,”I reply, smiling.

So here’s the answer to all those good folks who have asked me that very question when they see this “green” drink on my desk at work. And to whom I’ve never really had the time to explain it fully.

Here’s the method and list of ingredients:

Juice (using a juice extractor) of 1 peeled cucumber, 4 sticks celery, 1 un-waxed lemon, 1 inch fresh ginger root, 2 apples.  I juice these so as to extract as much “natural living water” from them as possible.

Once juiced, I put this into in a blender along with 1 or ½ a big avocado, a handful of spinach leaves, a handful of parsley leaves and a peeled pear. I blend these last ingredients because that adds thickness to the drink but more importantly it preserves the fibre, which I have lost by juicing the first set of ingredients.

Blend all together and drink fresh that day, (ok, so I make mine the night before). If you can get organic ingredients, so much the better. I have read that the foods one consumes the most of, should be the ones you buy organically. That makes sense logically.  If you’re going to eat a lot of something then it should be as high a quality as you can afford. I peel the cucumber only because the skin contains most of the pesticide residues. This quantity makes a little less than a litre.

Obviously, I wash all the ingredients thoroughly, as I will be consuming them raw. Tips: Make sure the avocado is properly ripe so that it blends smoothly. Remove the parsley and spinach stalks as they make the juice too “bitty”. Use them in your stir-fry’s instead.

I would use kale if I could get it, (it’s obviously not in demand in the UAE) or watercress, mint, coriander, pak choi or any really dark green leaved vegetable or herb that your palate enjoys. Similarly, you can alter any of the ingredients and quantities depending on your nutritional needs and tastes. My husband drinks his on the way to work in the morning, says it has a kick like a mule and swears it beats a “Red Bull” to get his brain going any day!

Anyway back to the plot….

Why? Is the next burning question in most “normal” peoples heads. That’s a good one and certainly takes a little longer to explain! So here’s why. To be quite honest, I didn’t really know how good it was for me, until I did this little analysis.

Below is a table of major nutrients (in grams) and minerals (in milligrams) per 100g of the food.

Ingredient Ca Fe Mg K Zn Carbs Fats Protein Fibre
Cucumber 14 0.26 11 144 0.2 2.76 0.13 0.69 0.8
Celery 40 0.4 11 287 0.13 3.65 0.14 0.75 1.7
Lemon 26 0.6 8 138 0.06 9.32 0.3 1.1 2.8
Ginger 116 11.52 184 1343 4.72 70.97 5.95 9.12 12.5
Apple 7 0.18 5 115 0.04 15.25 0.36 0.19 2.7
Avocado 11 1.02 39 599 0.42 7.39 15.32 1.98 5
Spinach 99 2.71 79 558 0.53 3.5 0.35 2.86 2.7
Parsley 130 6.2 50 554 1.07 6.33 0.79 2.97 3.3
Pear 11 0.25 6 125 0.12 15.11 0.4 0.39 2.4

[Ca=Calcium, Fe=Iron, Mg=Magnesium, K=Potassium, Zn=Zinc.]

So, that’s all well and good but how many of the nutrients would I actually be drinking and what would that supply me with in terms of my nutritional requirements for that day, assuming that my gut is working well and I am absorbing the nutrients properly.

This thought takes me off on a tangent. How many of us know that we are consuming enough nutrients for our requirements. Very few, I suspect.  It takes a lot of work to calculate it all. Sure, we have rough guidelines, which help, and user-friendly marketing slogans like “eat a rainbow of coloured vegetables each day”. But for those of us who are sick, perhaps we should be working out our requirements to get ourselves better, rather than reluctantly taking the medications that our doctors prescribe. I can’t tell you the number of times patients have told me that they don’t really want to take their doctors prescription but they don’t know what else to do.  “Put the right fuel or building blocks into you body”, I say, “and your body will do the rest for you”.

My weightings came out like this and here’s the maths:

Ingredient      Ca      Fe     Mg        K    Zn      Carbs     Fats     Protein       Fibre
260gCucumber

36

1

29

374

1

7

0

2

2

370g Celery

148

1

41

1062

0

14

1

3

6

100g Lemon

26

1

8

138

0

9

0

1

3

60g Ginger

70

7

110

806

3

43

4

5

8

360g Apple

281

1

18

414

0

55

1

1

10

150g Avocado

17

2

59

899

1

11

23

3

8

60g Spinach

59

2

47

335

0

2

0

2

2

30g Parsley

39

2

15

166

0

2

0

1

1

160g Pear

18

0

10

200

0

24

1

1

4

Total

693

16

336

4394

5

167

30

18

42

RDA’s

800

14

300

350

15

30

% RDA’s

87

112

112

1255

37

141

Sure, I may be losing some nutritional value due to juicing the food and throwing away  (or composting) the pulp, but it’s a rough calculation. Not bad for breakfast instead of cereal, which is so depleted of nutrients in the processing that they have to add them back in at the end!

Now I can see that a lot (of those sampled) of my RDA’s are being met with this one drink, let alone the whole improved biochemistry one would get along with it. But more about that in a functional medicine blog late in the year.

We could also look, just for a taster, at what else I will be getting with each ingredient.

Cucumber is an excellent source of silica, which is a trace mineral important for our connective tissue. Cucumber also contains two compounds, Ascorbic acid and Caffeic acid which helps prevent water retention.

Celery is an excellent source of Vit. C and a good source of potassium, folic acid, Vit. B1 and B6. Celery contains phytochemicals like coumarins which have been shown to prevent cancer and enhance the activity of certain white blood cells. Coumarin compounds also tone the vascular system, lower blood pressure and may help migraines. Celery is rich in potassium and sodium and hence is great drunk after a workout to replace these essential electrolytes lost in sweat. Studies show it helps rheumatic pains, may help detoxify and lower cholesterol.

Lemon. We all know lemons are excellent sources of Vit. C, but additionally they are high in Vit. B6, potassium, folic acid, flavonoids and the important phytochemical limonene which is currently being trialed to dissolve gallstones and is showing great promise in anti cancer properties. Limonene is most abundant in the white flesh under then skin, hence why I juice the whole lemon.

Ginger is good for calming the digestive system, alleviating gas and as an intestinal antispasmodic, hence preventing diarrhea & constipation. It is an antioxidant and helps with motion sickness. It contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which helps ease the pain of arthritic joints if taken regularly. Gingerols also inhibit the inflammatory messengers of the immune system, thereby reducing inflammation.

Apple. In an analysis of more than 85 studies, apple consumption was shown to be consistently associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, asthma and type-2 diabetes, perhaps due to its high amounts of flavonoids like quercetin. We all know apples are high in pectin which is a soluble fibre helping to push waste through the intestines. Apples are also high in Vit. C and a good source of potassium. The skin is high in phytochemicals like ellagic acid and flavonoids like quercetin. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds found in plants which have beneficial effects, like antioxidants, but phytochemicals are not essential nutrients in themselves.

Avocado. The good monounsaturated fats in avocado’s include oleic acid and linoleic acid helping to balance cholesterol levels. They are rich in potassium Vit. E, B Vitamins and fibre. One avocado has the same potassium content as 2-3 bananas.

Spinach is very nutrient dense. It is an excellent source of Vit. K (which stops your blood clotting), carotenes, Vit. C, folic acid, manganese, magnesium, iron, Vit. B1, B2, B6 and Vit. E. It contains twice as much iron as most other greens. It is very alkalizing, helping to regulate body pH. It is one of the richest sources of lutein, making it important for healthy eye-sight and preventing macular degeneration and cataracts. It is a strong protector against cancer. Researchers have found that spinach contains 13 different flavonoid compounds that function as antioxidants and anticancer agents.

Parsley is high in chlorophyll and carotenes. It is high in Vit. C, folic acid and iron. It is also a good source of magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc.

Pears are high in fibre. Actually, they have more pectin in them than apples. They are high in Vit. C and copper which is good at helping to prevent heart arrhythmia, Vit. B2, Vit. E and potassium.

Way back in biology lessons, I was taught the Krebs cycle. It’s actually a 3-part cycle, each part of the cog driving the next, whereby carbohydrates, fats and proteins are broken down to their constituent elements in the mitochondria in each and every cell of our body. From these chemical processes, we derive ALL our energy to make every cell in our body function and survive.  More recently, I learnt that for this amazing process to happen, we need certain chemicals, enzymes and vitamins to aid the processes of cellular breakdown.

They are, Carnitine, B1, B2, B3, B5, Lipoate, Cysteine, Iron, Sulphur, Magnesium, Manganese, Co-enzyme Q10, Lipoic acid, Vit C, Copper, Selenium and Glutathione. Working out which foods contain the most amounts of these chemicals, as I said earlier, will be my next job.

Dawn Rowland

UK Registered Osteopath, (currently studying functional medicine)

BSc (Hons), BSc (OST).

Abu Dhabi, UAE.

056 2121 676.

dawnrowland@homecall.co.uk