So whats the deal with calcium?

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Saying that calcium is the most important mineral for bone health is like saying bricks are the most important item when building a wall.  We all know that bricks are nothing without a strong mortar to hold them together.  In fact we also know that excess bricks just lying around your house creates an ugly mess. The same goes for calcium – sure it’s important but there is so much more to healthy bones than calcium alone and too much calcium can also be detrimental to your health.

Too much calcium can potentially do more harm than good

New studies show that you can overdose on calcium when you get too much of the mineral through supplements. The body breaks down and absorbs calcium from supplements and naturally derived calcium through foods differently. And when you take too much calcium through supplements, calcium plaque can build up in the arteries, increasing your risk for clogged arteries that lead to heart attacks. Excess calcium can also cause muscle pain, mood disorders, abdominal pain and kidney stones.

Why dairy may not be the best source

Calcium and dairy - they’re so intertwined in our minds. If we're avoiding dairy for health reasons, one of the most common concerns is "but what about my calcium"??

Yes, we need calcium for healthy bones. But years of clever marketing has made us think that dairy is our only real source of calcium, when this is just not the case. There are many ways to get your 1,000 milligrams a day.

There are many reasons for avoiding dairy:

  • It’s full of hormones (including estrogen, progesterone and growth hormones), which are made to fatten up baby cows

  • Many people are intolerant to the proteins in cow’s milk. In fact, it’s one of the most common intolerances that comes up in our IgG Food Intolerance test. This intolerance can show up as conditions like eczema, asthma, and may even contribute to behavioural problems in kids

  • Lactose in cow’s milk is often a contributing factor to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can involve bloating, wind and diarrhoea

  • When milk is homogenized the fat is blended up into tiny particles, which are then absorbed straight into the bloodstream, causing damage to arterial walls 

Scientific studies show that milk increases fracture risk

Many scientific studies contradict the conventional wisdom that milk and dairy consumption help reduce osteoporotic fractures. Surprisingly, studies demonstrating that milk and dairy products actually fail to protect bones from fractures outnumber studies that prove otherwise. Even drinking milk from a young age does not protect against future fracture risk but actually increases it

Today's milk is processed food

Until the end of the 19th century in Europe and the beginning of the 20th century, milk was consumed unpasteurised or raw. Later on, homogenisation became the industry standard. These processes further alter milks chemistry and increases its detrimental acidifying effects.

Nowadays, milking cows are given antibiotics which passes into the milk we consume.

5 sources of dairy free calcium

There are plenty of good sources of calcium that don't come from a cow.

1. Dark leafy greens - they may not be the most appealing veggies to kids, but dark leafy greens are FULL of calcium. So next time you’re cooking, maybe chop a few up and hide them in your meals. For example: Broccoli has 86 mg in 2 cups raw Kale has 101 mg in 1 cup raw, Spinach has 244 mg in 1 cup cooked

2. Tahini is an excellent source of calcium with over 60 mg in just one tablespoon! While it might not be a favourite on its own, tahini is so versatile and can be used in salad dressings, nut bars, dips and more.

3. Oranges are known for their Vitamin C content, but they also contain a healthy dose of calcium. So if you’re struggling to get your kids to eat their greens, some orange slices will do the trick at 40 mg of calcium for a small orange.

4. Almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts, containing about 30 mg of calcium in a handful of nuts (10), as well as healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E.

5. Firm tofu - Osteoporosis Australia lists firm tofu as the food with the highest calcium content per serve, 832 milligrams per cup. Make sure you buy fermented and organic.

Bonus! If you are a fish-eater, canned fish is an easy and inexpensive way to get your calcium intake. These fish have small bones, which become soft during the canning process, so they are easy to eat! Think canned salmon (279 mg calcium per serve) and sardines (486 mg calcium per serve).

What else affects calcium levels

Westerners are much more at risk of bone-health problems due to numerous lifestyle factors:

  • Lack of exercise
  • High intake of sodium
  • High consumption of colas and coffee
  • High intake of sugar

Reducing intake calcium depleters will reduce the demand for calcium

Plenty of foods deplete calcium levels (soft drinks, coffee, alcohol, salty foods), increasing the demand for it. Therefore, if we can avoid these things that lower our calcium levels, we won't need as much from our diet to have adequate levels for our health.

The RDI of calcium is 1,000mg/day for adults 19-51 and 1,300mg/day for adults > 51 years.

Bone health isn't all about calcium

Like we mentioned earlier, bone health isn't all about calcium. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in helping absorb calcium into the bones. Low levels of vitamin D increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Another vital nutrient for bone health is vitamin K, which helps keen calcium in your bones, and out of your arteries. 

 

What is Naturopathy?

What is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy utilises scientifically-proven natural medicines to get to the bottom of your health complaints and develop a treatment plan designed to treat the causes, not just the symptoms. To do this, Naturopaths draw on a wide range of treatment methods, including: herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, dietary and lifestyle advice or other therapies.

IODINE AND THYROID HEALTH

The thyroid, a small, ductless, butterfly shaped gland found in our throat, plays a HUGE role in normal and effective growth and development through hormone [thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3)] production and the rate of metabolism. 

Unfortunately, due to many factors, particularly excess stress, pregnancy and nutrient-deficient food choices, an excess (hyperthyroidism) or a deficiency (hypothyroidism) of these hormones is very prevalent in Australia with over 500,000 people suffering from thyroid disorders. 

We all know someone on "thyroid tablets" but more often than not, we can often tick off many times of the symptoms (see below) associated with thyroid problems ourselves; while many cases can go undiagnosed.

HYPOTHYROIDISM:

  • Goitre
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation 
  • Heavy menstruation
  • Poor cold tolerance 
  • Hair loss
  • Increased risk of miscarriage 
  • Slow pulse
  • Puffy face
  • Depression

HYPERTHYROIDISM:

  • Goitre
  • Hypertension
  • Tachycardia, arrhythmia and or palpitations
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Bulging sensitive eyes with constant stare
  • Confusion 
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty sleeping

Under the supervision of a health practitioner, many lifestyle and dietary guidelines can be adapted, and with the addition of specific nutrients, herbs and stress management - thyroid disorders can be managed successfully.

Iodine

Iodine is an essential nutrient required in the synthesis and regulation of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is becoming a common cause of thyroid health problems in Australia. It may be becoming increasingly prevalent due to low levels in the soil and the move away from iodised table salt. Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism and goiter formation. Iodine doesn't just play a role in thyroid health, iodine deficiency is also a leading cause of preventable mental retardation. 

Food sources of iodine include; sardines, oysters, seaweed, sea vegetables, sea salt, eggs and wild caught fish.

Selenium

Selenium is crucial in aiding the body to recycle iodine. If your level of selenium is low, your thyroid will have to work harder to make it’s hormones, and your body will also have a more difficult job changing those hormones into a form your cells can use. This happens because selenium is a chief component of the molecules which are necessary for your body to be able to create and use thyroid hormones.

 A selenium deficiency coupled with an iodine deficiency is likely to lead to thyroid imbalance.

Food sources of selenium; brazil nuts, oysters, wild caught fish, sunflower seeds, mushrooms and  whole-grains.

 

 

 

Intermittent Fasting

When you hear the term ‘fasting’ you may think of fad diets and feeling very ‘hangry’. But recently fasting has gained a lot of merit as research suggests that intermittent fasting may help improve weight loss, reduce inflammation, improve brain health and reduce the risk factors for heart disease and cancer.

He who eats until he is sick must fast until he is well.
— English Proverb

What is intermittent fasting?


Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but rather a dietary pattern of eating. It involves only eating during a certain window of time each day, and choosing not to eat for the remainder of the day – allowing the digestive tract to rest. There are many different ways to intermittent fast, but the most popular are:

  • Regularly eat during a specific time period.  For example, only eating from noon-8 PM, essentially skipping breakfast.  Some people only eat in a 6-hour window, or even a 4-hour window.  
  • Skip two meals one day, taking a full 24-hours off from eating.  For example, eating on a normal schedule (finishing dinner at 8PM) and then not eating again until 8PM the following day.
  • Restricting calories to 25% of energy needs 2 days a week. For example, usual energy needs might be 2200 calories. 5 days a week you consume 2200 calories and 2 days you eat only 25% of that, so 550 calories. This is also known as the 5:2 diet.

 


    What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?


    •  Weight loss. Intermittent fasting will make you eat fewer meals. So unless you’re eating significantly more in those meals, you will be in a calorie deficit, which means weight loss! Fasting also improves metabolic rate by up to 14%, helping you burn more calories. Intermittent fasting can cause more fat loss and less muscle loss compared to continuous calorie restriction.

     

    •  Reduce insulin resistance – type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can reduce blood sugar levels by 3-6% and fasting insulin reduced 20-31%. As blood sugar and insulin are main features of type 2 diabetes, fasting may reduce the risk factors.

     

    •  Reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Studies show that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. This should have benefits against aging and development of numerous diseases. 

     

    •     Reduce markers for heart disease. Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers.

     

    • Repairs the cells. When we fast, the cells in our body initiate a ‘waste removal’ process which involves breaking down and metabolising old and dysfunctional proteins which build up over time. This process may provide protection against several diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s.

     

    •  Prevent cancer. Animal studies suggest fasting to have many beneficial effects on metabolism that may lead to reduced risk of cancer. Fasting has also shown to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.  

     

    • Brain Health. Intermittent fasting may have important benefits for brain health. It may increase growth of new neurons and protect the brain from damage.

     

    •  Extend lifespan. One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan. Animal studies have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in a similar way as continuous calorie restriction. Although this is far from being proven in humans, intermittent fasting has become very popular among the anti-aging crowd.

    BONE BROTH - The Nutritional Powerhouse

    One common food now being recognised for its astounding health benefits is bone broth and I’m sure many of you are wondering why…

    Homemade bone broth is easy to make, it’s essentially bones slowly cooked to create a stock. (Just like grandma used to make!) And there’s good reason bone broth has been around for so many years and is a staple in the traditional diets of every culture and the basis of all fine cuisine. Because bone broths are nutrient-dense, easy to digest, rich in flavour and boost healing.

     

    So here are just a few reasons why you should implement bone broth into your diet:

    ·         It boosts the immune system and promotes muscle growth.

    ·         Improves gut health by helping with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) and supporting healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract.

    ·         Bone broth can help prevent us craving the “bad fats” as a lack of good protein, particularly animal fats, can be the reason why we crave those unhealthy trans-fats that are found in junk food.

    ·         Protects joints as it is a great source of natural collagen.

    ·         Nutrition researchers Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel of the Weston A. Price Foundation explain ‘bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. They contain chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain’.

    Making your own homemade bone broth is the most beneficial way to get all the amazing benefits that bone broth has to offer. There are also some store bought brands of broth without artificial flavours that may be more accessible for you (stock merchant is a great company). We often mistake stock for bone broth, so be careful not to get confused between the two as stock is more of a flavour enhancer rather than a nutrient-rich broth.

    Try the recipe below and you can either drink it on its own as a broth or use it in place of processed pre-made stocks as the basis for a delicious homemade soup.

    INGREDIENTS

    ·         1.8 kilograms of beef bones, preferably a mix of marrow bones and bones with a little meat on them, such as oxtail, short ribs, or knuckle bones (cut in half by a butcher)

    ·         2 medium unpeeled carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

    ·         1 medium leek, end trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces

    ·         1 medium onion, quartered

    ·         1 garlic head, halved crosswise

    ·         2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces

    ·         2 bay leaves

    ·         2 tablespoons black peppercorns

    ·         1 tablespoon cider vinegar

    DIRECTIONS

    1.        Preheat oven to 200°c. Place beef bones, carrots, leek, onion, and garlic on a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Toss the contents of the pan and continue to roast until deeply browned, about 20 minutes more.

    2.       Fill a large stockpot with 12 cups of water (preferably filtered). Add celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and vinegar. Scrape the roasted bones and vegetables into the pot along with any juices. Add more water if necessary to cover bones and vegetables.

    3.       Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly ajar, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally, for at least 8 but up to 24 hours on the stovetop.

    4.       Remove the pot from the heat and let cool slightly. Strain broth using a fine-mesh sieve and discard bones and vegetables. Let continue to cool until barely warm, then refrigerate in smaller containers overnight. Remove solidified fat from the top of the chilled broth.

    (Broth can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer.)

    Why Detox?

    Have you ever considered doing a detox and then realised you aren’t sure how to go about it and what benefits may arise? Well, when you detox correctly, in a healthy and safe environment with the right guidance - you will feel a range of positive side effects!

    When most people hear the word detox they think of deprivation, constant hunger, kale juices and tasteless food but this is definitely not the case if a detox is undertaken the right way including a wide-range of nutritious foods without compromising your health in any way!

    Detoxing can help you with the following…

    1.       Removal of toxins in the body - long-term exposure to environmental toxins including dietary allergens, preservatives, pesticides, additives and heavy metals, just to name a few can affects a range of bodily functions including our metabolism, behaviour, immune system, and can lead to disease. 

    2.       Boost in energy levels – By removing refined sugars, caffeine, soft drinks, trans and saturated fats and replacing them with fresh fruits and vegetables, you will get a natural energy boost, one that comes without a crash. It’s also vital to stay well hydrated while on a detox program, and that can also be a source of increased energy.

    3.       Stronger Immune system – Detoxing allows the body to help your organs function the way they should be, absorbing nutrients more efficiently leading to a strengthened immune system that can fight off infections.

    4.       Weight loss – It is easy to see why a detox will significantly assist with weight loss as your nourishing your body with natural wholesome foods. Toxins affect the body's natural ability to burn fat, so by ridding your body of these you are setting yourself up to drop the kilos and increase your metabolism.

    5.       Mental and Emotional Clarity – A common side effect of a detox is to lose that sense of fogginess in the mind and clarity in thinking. Many of the sugar-filled and fat-filled foods that surround us every day will cause us to feel lethargic and can factor heavily in the quality of our thinking.

    6.       Improved Skin - Your skin is your largest organ, so it only makes sense that it would show positive results from a detox program, improvements in acne, strengthening of the hair and nails, and a natural, healthy glow is another very common side effect.

    7.       Slow premature aging - Detoxing rids the body of free radicals and heavy metals partially responsible for aging. By reducing the amount of toxin damage, you will begin to see not only short term benefits, but also long term benefits and an increase in longevity.

    8.       Restoring balance to the body's systems – When we overload our digestive, nervous and hormonal systems with toxins and unhealthy foods, they don't work as well as they should, leading to unnecessary illness. Detoxing brings balance back to our systems and helps our systems function properly again.

     

    If you suffer from any of the symptoms outlined below you may want to consider undertaking a detox program to revitalise your body and experience life the way your body is designed to!

    ·         Wake up feeling tired?

    ·         Always hungry and experience constant cravings?

    ·         Tummy discomfort, bloating and IBS symptoms?

    ·         Feeling foggy and unclear in the mind?

    ·         Struggling to lose weight?

    To find out more information and to set up a safe and effective detox program suited to your needs, book an appointment with Nu-Leaf today or call us on 1300 669 834 to find out more.

    Stress can affect your health in more ways than you know…

    Stress... we have all felt it before, whether it’s before undertaking a job interview, saying an important speech or when you’re stuck in traffic and running late! Stress within your comfort zone can help you perform under pressure, motivate you to do your best, even keep you safe when danger arises. But when one experiences a major stressor in life or experiences stress too often, it can greatly damage your health, mood, relationships, and quality of life.

     

    Stress is the body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus. This response is known as the “fight or flight” stress response and is your body’s way of protecting you from danger. However, beyond your comfort zone, stress stops being helpful and can start causing serious consequences for your health and in many ways that may surprise you!

    Stress may effect:

    Digestive Health – When stress activates the "flight or fight" response, digestion significantly slows down because your central nervous system shuts down blood flow, affects the contractions of your digestive muscles, and decreases necessary secretions, which wreaks havoc on your digestion. Stress can also cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal system, and make you more susceptible to infection.

    Energy Levels– prolonged stress can interfere with sleeping and cause insomnia, which can in turn lead to difficulty concentrating, irritability and a lack of motivation.

    Cardiovascular Health - The American Psychological Association explains. “The consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate, and elevated levels of stress hormones and of blood pressure, can take a toll on the body.” Ultimately, it can lead to hypertension, heart palpitations, heart attack, or stroke.

    Hormonal Balances – chronic stress can fundamentally alter the body's hormone balance, due to the overproduction or underproduction of cortisol and adrenalin. This can lead to decreased fertility, skin breakouts, conditions such as adrenal fatigue and decreased immune function.

    Weight Gain - Excess cortisol production has been linked to sugar and fat cravings, so feel free to blame cortisol for all those sneaky muffins you grab on coffee runs when under the pump at work.

    And of course all of these detrimental health outcomes have disadvantageous effects on Mood and Mental Health including a higher chance of experiencing anxiety and depression.

     

    What can you do to manage stress?

    Identify what's causing your stress: monitor your state of mind and stress levels throughout the day, write down the cause, your thoughts and your mood. Once you know what's bothering you, develop a plan for addressing it. Setting reasonable expectations can go a long way, as we often lose track of this when we are stressed.

    1. Eat a healthy diet: Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, reduce your caffeine and sugar intake, add plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and cut back on alcohol and nicotine.

    2. Exercise: Exercising regularly (for 30 minutes or more on most days) can lift your mood and help relieve stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration. It can also serve as a distraction to your worries, allowing you to find some quiet time and break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress and anxiety. Working up a sweat will help burn off excess energy and leave you well rested at night.

    3. Get plenty of Sleep: Feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. Keep your cool in stressful situations by getting a good night’s sleep.

    4. Take time out for yourself: whether it be having a soak in a warm bath, taking a moment in the day to meditate, practice yoga, read a good book or get a massage.

    5. Just Breathe: No matter how terrible things feel, you’ve always got your breath. Try this 4 7 8 technique:

    • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
    • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
    • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
    • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

    6. Consider seeking help from a professional: If you feel like more serious issues are at play, consider talking to a professional. This can be in the form of a psychologist or a holistic health professional here at Nu-Leaf. We undertake non-invasive saliva tests which monitor the levels of the stress hormones Cortisol and DHEA-S, and determine your adrenal function in patients presenting with symptoms..