Interesting Facts on Sleep

I came across some interesting facts on sleep recently, which I’d like to share on my blog. My opinions are next to them in blue.  SYNERGY NUTRITION

  • 25 YEARS is the amount of time you spend asleep over your lifetime. Wow, that’s a lot of time. During sleep time, numerous restorative processes happen that are crucial to keep us alive and function well when we are awake. 
  • Genes associated with restoration & metabolic rate are activated during sleep. This involves hormones too so getting good quality shut eye does boost the immune system, keeping the weight in balance, so in essence slimmer. Also anti-ageing! So you look younger with more sleep. 
  • 7.9 million people have used alcohol to help them get to sleep at night. While 6.8 million self- medicate with OTC drugs. That’s a staggering amount! Try natural remedies first, they work as getting to the route reason why you can’t sleep is more effective than artificially sedating the body and mind.
  • 30-40% of all health issues treated by GP’s are sleep related. I reckon there would be less if more people chose complimentary therapies first. 
  • 11 days is the record for the longest period without sleep. Even one day without sleep can have consequences on health. The longer the period the more it can negatively impact the body and mental health. 
  • What keeps you awake: 67% said body discomfort, 36% said noise, 34% said their partner, 34% said room temperature. Stress and worrying also is a huge factor. But looks like the people surveyed found the above to be the top reasons. 
  • You are 5X more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you sleep 5 hours or less each night. Some truth to this, although there are other lifestyle factors to take into account of course. There are many hormones that interplay such as the hunger hormones ghrelin, leptin, cortisol, and also insulin which is influenced by all of them. Someone sleep deprived is more likely to be hungrier and eat more during the waking period. Constant snacking for example can lead to more insulin being released throughout the day which over time leads to insulin not functioning and responding to raised blood sugars. This leads to the insulin resistance which is type 2 diabetes. The pancreas is the organ which releases insulin, the poor organ also becomes exhausted as its being overworked. 

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Say goodbye to Hay fever

Don’t let the hay fever stop you enjoying nature and hugging that favourite tree of yours.

As temperatures are rising this week, many of you cannot enjoy the glorious weather and sitting by nature because of your hay fever symptoms.  Named Spring fever!! Typical symptoms are sneezing, red, itchy or puffy eyes, sometimes surrounded by dark circles, swollen nasal passages, a runny nose with a clear discharge, an irritated throat and fatigue. Some of you may also experience itching deep in the ears.

Why?? I hear you ask. I’m going to answer below and also give you some great remedies that should help these symptoms and even prevent them occurring next spring/summer.

Well hay fever is a seasonal allergy condition triggered by SYNERGY NUTRITION various species of trees, grasses, weeds and other plants whose particles are carried by the wind rather than by insects during late spring and early summer. The pollen particles enter the system and the body does what it can to deal with the allergens and ejects them out of our nose, ears and eyes. The body produces IgE antibodies, which attach themselves to immune cells in the body called mast cells that release histamine and other chemicals to triggering mucus production and inflammation. This reaction is accompanied by the localised symptoms you experience and they begin within two hours of exposure to the allergen, or the reaction can be delayed by as much as eight hours and this still causes misery to many. Symptoms that continue all year are called perennial allergic rhinitis and commonly relate to indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets and indoor moulds.

SYNERGY NUTRITIONGrass pollen is the most common allergen, which affects sufferers at the specific times of the year when grass pollen is released (May-July). However, some people become allergic to tree or weed and shrub pollens, and will therefore be affected at different times of the year (February-June for trees; September and October for weeds). The most common trees being birch, alder, hazel and horse chestnut.


Pollen-food allergy syndrome

 Also known as oral allergy syndrome is when hay fever sufferers react to certain fruits, vegetables and nuts. Sufferers of birch tree pollen may find they also react to many foods including celery, raw tomato, raw carrots, apple and pears, peaches, hazelnuts, which leads to a tingling sensation in the mouth and an itchy throat. This is because these foods contain proteins of similar structure. When the food is cooked or canned, the reaction doesn’t appear to occur as cooking, processing and digestion inactivates the allergens.

Remedies to keep the fever at bay

Medications such as antihistamines and decongestants and steroids may provide short-term symptomatic relief however in some they can cause side effects and are not recommended for long-term use. Managing the symptoms of hay fever with nutrition and supplements positively strengthens the immune system naturally. Thereby providing a greater defence to fight of the pollens and reducing the risk of picking up colds and infections.

1) There are plenty of antioxidants in FRUIT and VEGETABLES. Antioxidants are nutrients in our which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body, caused by free radicals from the environment. The best foods to consume are blueberries, blackberries, red, orange and yellow fruit and vegetables, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, green peppers. These all contain vitamin C & flavonoids which prevent the release of the inflammatory chemical histamine from immune cells and promote openness in the airways, boosting the immune system.

2) QUERCETIN: is a powerful antioxidant, and functions as a natural antihistamine, so stabilises the mast cells involved in the release of histamine. It is best taken in a supplement form where complexes are often combined with vitamin C and BROMELAIN which is a protein- digesting enzyme found in pineapples and papaya. In high doses it can reduce sinus pain and enhances the absorption of quercetin.

The supplements below are my top picks for the relief from sneezing, congestion and itching.

  • Higher Nature’s Quercetin with Bromelain tablets away from food. Take with vitamin C capsules to aid absorption of quercitin. OR
  • BioCare’s Quercitin Plus with Quercetin, Bromelain, Netttle & vitamin C
  • Vogel’s Pollinosan Luffa Hayfever Tablets and Luffa nasal spray– a homeopathic medicine made from seven tropical plants.

3) GREEN TEA contains catechins and is richer in antioxidants. ELDERFLOWER AND NETTLE tea and can also be tried. They are anti-allergenic; in the respiratory system they help clear congestion and relieve allergy symptoms. Redbush or Rooibos tea is also a great anti-oxidant tea.

4) Omega 3- Essential Fats. Research suggests that may they omega 3 may reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body which makes it very effective in combating the symptoms of hay fever and treating the causes. Foods that abundant in beneficial omega 3 are: mackerel, salmon, haddock and trout,  flaxseeds, chia seeds and nuts.

3) GARLIC is extremely anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral, boosts the immune system.

5) Some swear by local HONEY. There is no strong evidence that taking honey decrease allergies. Ingesting local honey throughout the year may help by creating immunity to the allergens. I’m a big advocate of manuka honey which is naturally anti-microbial and great for sore throats.

6) Herbal remedies are also available and homeopathic formulas. I am not qualified in this to advise however speaking to a specialist in these field may help, especially if your symptoms are severe allowing you to add on an additional remedy or two to the nutritional remedies above.

Additional strategies:

  • Wipe down your dog or cat with a damp towel after they have been outdoors. They may have picked up pollen from the air.
  • Before you go to bed, take a shower to remove any pollen that is stuck to your body or hair.
  • Try to stay inside during peak pollen times (7-9am and 3-7pm) and keep windows and doors closed. Try to keep your bedroom window shut to avoid exposure overnight.
  • Steaming produces excellent results to break up congestion. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and carefully inhale the steam. Avoid eucalyptus if you are taking homeopathic remedies as it voids their action.
  • Calendula also known as pot marigold diluted in water makes an excellent eye wash to soothe itchy eyes. Use non-alcoholic calendula. Add a dropper full of colloidal silver to enhance the anti-microbial action and reduce inflammation.

April Seminars with Black Hair Beauty

Hello Everyone,

I will be giving a seminar about how to gain healthier hair and skin at Eltham, South East London on Thursday 7th April. The event is run by Sandra Dodds, her website and the link to the event is below. We will cover lots, including going through common hair and skin conditions women suffer from. There will be a dedicated time for a Q&A with myself where you can also ask me pretty much anything. So if you want luscious locks and glowing skin get yourself booked on. It’s a great price of £20.00, so bring a friend and lets have a fun, informative evening. The link is below:

http://www.blackhairblackbeauty.co.uk/seminars/

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Juice your way to vibrant health

SYNERGY NUTRITION: Juice your way to vibrant healthSpring is just around the corner and as the weather gets milder what a perfect time to support the cleansing systems of your body and get super hydrated. I personally have been feeling more thirsty and craving raw juices. My favourite mix is celery, carrot and beetroot. I stir in some spirulina powder to boost the nutrients further. Yippee! The juices  I rate highly, consist of a higher proportion of vegetables and are freshly squeezed, NOT ready prepared ones. So a juice of just apple, pineapple and orange is not top on my list as these will send your blood sugar levels soaring and then crashing. Not great if you are sensitive to fluctuating blood sugar levels or have type 2 diabetes!

The juice needs to have vegetables!! Any veg: celery/peppers/cucumber/carrots/kale/broccoli. The lower the sugar content the better so you can start to choose what you want in your juice. As you start juicing and tasting, the better your taste buds become so you crave less of the sweeter juices. Carrots and/or beetroots are great to add in not just for their nutrients but also for sweetness. You can experiment with different vegetables and spices and herbs to give it an extra zing such as ginger and lemon juice. I am not saying one has to go on a juice fast. A freshly prepared juice drunk now and again especially on an empty stomach may boost your health too. If you do not own a juicer or cannot be bothered to juice do not worry there are many juice bars in and around London that will whizz one up for you instantly.

Some of the benefits of juicing:SYNERGY NUTRITION

  • Nutrients are quickly digested and absorbed
  • Contain vitamins, minerals, live enzymes and is hydrating for body’s cells and skin
  • Weight loss benefits
  • More energy, yes definitely, especially if beetroot is added.
  • Healthy glowing skin
  • Sparkly eyes and better vision

Common fitness questions

I’ve collected answers to frequently asked fitness questions from industry experts and what I would advise too. SYNERGY NUTRITION

I have knee pain- so I can exercise? 

Many people use knee pain as an excuse not to exercise, but there’s a difference between pain and discomfort. If there’s shooting pain, then a physio should look at it. If it just feels a bit stiff then swimming,the rowing machine and cycling are activities you can try and be doable. Ideally the muscles around the knee need to be strengthened, so lunges and squats can help.

What are the best exercises for the tummy? 

For firm abdominal muscles, body fat needs to be reduced. Which is 80% to do with nutrition, the rest is aerobic exercise. After that, you need to work on the muscles at the side of the abdomen, the obliques and the transversus abdominis. The plank is a great exercise. Start by holding your stomach and bottom muscles tight for 10 seconds until you can hold it for at least 1 minute. Yoga, Pilates, swiss ball classes tend to focus on the core.

What’s the fastest way to tone flabby arms? 

Interval training actually! One minute sprints followed by one minute of fast walking. Circuits class, swimming front crawl and racket sports are great arm toners. Other resistance training exercises can be performed too and a PT can show you how. Weighted dumbbells are great too and triceps – the muscles at the back of the arm are the easiest to tone up.

Is there a particular good time of day to exercise?

The way it stands at the moment, exercise has an accumulative effect and my opinion is it doesn’t matter which time of day one exercises as for me whats more important is the quality of the workout, strength and condition of your body and diet. I would avoid exercise close to bedtime as exercise has a stimulating effect. Personally I feel afternoon and early evening are the best times as the muscles are warmed up than if you wake up and go for a run even after a short warm up. The muscles have to be fully ‘warm’ and ready for you to avoid injuries. If you don’t feel strong enough or not well then avoid exercise as the performance of your workout is likely to be poorer.

Can I exercise on any empty stomach?

I personally wouldn’t recommend it, because you run the risk of tiring sooner and potentially burn less fat overall as fat metabolism is dependent on carbohydrate stores. The other downside is muscle mass may be compromised as its used as an energy fuel in place and this is what you want to avoid losing as having more muscle mass is what keeps you looking trim and toned and revs up your BMR further.  On the other hand, gentle stretches are fine to perform.

Is it okay to do all your exercise at the weekend? 

You’re better off spacing out your exercise sessions to get the maximum benefit of ‘afterburner’ where your body is still benefiting from exercise up to two days after the session. Even exercising on alternate days is better than exercising just once a week. If you want to get more fitter then you have to increase the intensity, for e.g increasing the weights and number of reps you do as your body gets stronger. Otherwise the exercises will be easy and you don’t gain the maximum benefits from the time you’ve spent on the workout.

What are the best exercises? SYNERGY NUTRITION

Mixing it up is the key, as this utilises all the different muscles. Doing too much of the same exercise can lead to too much bulk in one area of the body. I would recommend 1) skipping as no 1- because you are performing aerobic (fat loss) and anaerobic (muscle building) at the same time. Its low impact, cost effective and will get you fit in no time. 10 minutes a day to begin with if you do nothing at all.

My next favourites are the following which you can mix up. If you do any of these 3 times a week that’s great. 2) swimming- toning, low impact, no sweating, relaxing and energising. 3) cycling- aerobic & toning 4)rowing machine- perfect all body workout 5) any exercise gym class like boxercise, body pump, aerobic dance class, etc. 6) Racket sports, tennis, squash & badminton. The exercise has to be enjoyable for you. Some may feel like they are tough, but if you feel amazing afterwards, then continue with it as you get stronger and fitter.

Do consult a personal trainer or GP if starting out with a new fitness regime for more tailored advice, as the above may not be suitable for everyone. 

7 Ways to Spruce Up Your Sprouts

Roast them

Try roasting sprouts if you don’t like them streamed. Half an hour in the oven completely transforms them, giving them a nutty, slightly burnished flavour and a firm texture, without sogginess. You just throw the whole, trimmed sprouts onto a roasting tray, drizzle with oil and a pinch of salt and roast until sizzling and tender.

Shred them

Don’t fancy the look of a pile of sprouts all green and steaming in a bowl on the Christmas table? Then slice them up thinly and fry them instead. The best bit about this is that they stay lovely and glossy and the aromatics you add to the pan with them cover more of the surface area of the sprouts – so you get more flavour with every bite.

imageAdd some Indian spice

Stir in a spoonful of mild curry paste while you’re pan-frying your shredded sprouts and you’ll give them a spicy flavour boost. They’ll go beautifully alongside your roast turkey for an unusual twist. Once they’re tender, turn off the heat and squeeze in some lemon juice and a pinch of salt to lift the flavours.

Mix them up with other veg

You don’t have to have Brussels sprouts on their own. Combine them with other veggies, like broccoli florets or shredded cabbage. Butternut squash and sweet potato work well too, and give some contrasting colour. It sounds simple but it might be easier to have them as part of the Christmas feast with a little help from their veggie friends.

Get cheesy- for the ones that do eat dairy 🙂

You know how a creamy, cheese sauce turns other veggies into a bubbling dish of heaven? Broccoli, cauliflower and leeks all benefit from a bake in a cheesy sauce, and so do sprouts. Just as the vegetables begin to soften, swirl in a little double cream, chopped garlic and grated cheese. Allow it to come to a bubble and then pour into an ovenproof dish and scatter more grated cheese on top. Bake for about 10 minutes in a hot oven until bubbling and golden on top. Try it with Cheddar, Parmesan or a tangy blue cheese.

Sweeten them up

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Brussels sprouts pair up beautifully with their classic Christmas counterpart – cranberries. A handful of dried cranberries thrown in towards the end of cooking to heat through lift the leafy, earthy flavours from the sprouts and give a burst of sweetness. You can also drizzle a little maple syrup over sprouts towards the end of roasting and then put them back in the oven for the last few minutes for a glossy, sweet glaze. Don’t go overboard though, you don’t want to make them taste like dessert, you just want to give them a festive burst of sweetness.

Chuck in some nuts

Chestnuts, pine nuts, walnuts and pecans are all good. They give a sweet crunch that contrasts with the tender green sprouts. Just throw a couple of handfuls in to fry or roast along with the sprouts. The sprout and nut combo works really well with a third ingredient – try it with some cheese or dried cranberries – or splash in a drop of white wine or marsala for a luxurious, festive flavour.

Self discovery to reveal the lighter happier new you

Why wait till the new year and 2016? Whilst things are going bang in the background on Guy Fawkes day, I have digressed slightly from my nutrition articles and had the urge to share this recording with you on getting yourself on the path that makes your feel happy. Almost everyone is being shaken at the moment like James Bond’s martini and it may feel like you’ve lost your way and our off track, but do not fret or regret as you are exactly where you should be or discovering where you should be, enjoy  🙂

 

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EMBRACE THE CHILL FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Years ago when studying for my Nutritional Biochemistry degree, I learnt about the two types of fat – white and brown that are bodies are composed of. Learning that brown fat is the ‘healthier’ of the two and generates heat by burning calories. The white fat is what stores energy and any excess is stored around the middle, hips and thighs. Not all fat is visible, for instance we cannot see internal fat with the naked eye, only with specialist equipment. Brown fat is derived from muscle tissue and is found primarily in hibernating animals and newborns. Infants have the highest quantity of brown fat which decreases as we get older. And it appears that having more brown fat keeps one lean and slim, as shown in countless rodent studies. Although white fat is a thermal insulator and cushions our internal organs, it is a major endocrine organ, which means its active and produces one form of oestrogen, leptin- a hormone that helps regulate appetite and hunger. It also has receptors for insulin, growth hormone, adrenaline, and cortisol. So, it’s a myth that fat cells just sit there and do nothing all day long and this is the type of fat we do not want a lot of.

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A brown fat cell -on fire 😉

One way to activate brown fat production and  burn calories is by exposing yourself to the cold regularly, such as exercising outdoors in the wintertime or in being in a cold room. However many of you are in heated indoor spaces which makes it difficult to get cool. So if you can lower the temperature in your living and working spaces it will be beneficial. The obsession with staying warm potentially has switched off natural weight controlled responses. Tempting as it is to hibernate under the duvet all day when its cold outside, do your body and mind a favour by getting at least 10 mins of fresh air.  In addition to getting some cold blasts a day, any kind of exercising especially swimming in cold swimming pool :-), a healthy diet, along with getting enough high-quality sleep will enable your body to produce more metabolically active brown fat. So in a nutshell the message is not to be freezing cold that your fingers turn blue but comfortably cool. Our bodies have in built mechanisms that keep us warm. So lets use them first instead of relying on artificial heating 24/7.

Recap on Mercury

When I say mercury, you may be thinking its present in amalgam fillings and fish as the SYNERGY NUTRITIONmedia often mentions. And yes it is, dental silver fillings contain mercury which release vapours into the mouth and air. Mercury in the air eventually settles into water or onto land where it can be washed into water. Once deposited, certain microorganisms can change it into methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish. Methylmercury builds up more in some types of fish and shellfish than others. The levels of methylmercury in fish and shellfish depend on what they eat, how long they live and how high they are in the food chain, which is why pregnant women are advised not to consume swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tuna for example.

Mercury is also found in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is frequently added to
SYNERGY NUTRITIONsweeten foods and drinks. It looks like we can’t escape Mercury and I haven’t yet been able to find statistics on how much is present in the air and in our drinking water. Even though its regulated, potentially what we may be exposed too may be higher than what we estimate. Especially as its constantly being released in the environment and burning fossil fuels like coal and oil evidently adds to this. Mercury is also present in some vaccines. Another controversial topic and makes me wonder why mercury was placed in injections in the first place?!!                                                                                                    Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system of people of all ages. And you may have heard of it being a neurotoxin and cancer which is linked to its mutagenic effects.  Moreover it has been demonstrated that high levels of methylmercury in the bloodstream of unborn babies and young children may harm the developing nervous system, making the child less able to think and learn.

The good news is the liver’s innate detoxification processes can eliminate mercury, however its about balance as we do not want the body to have more than toxins than it can cope with. Foods that are good at chelating mercury and help it eliminate out of the body are:- Spirulina powder, Cilantro/coriander, Hemp protein, Strawberries, Rasberries, unroasted cocoa Powder, Wheat grass, Barley grass, Chlorella, acai berries and wheat flour. Many people think chlorella is a great chelating agent, but I would rate Spirulina powder as being more efficient in healing and balancing the body.

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I have found some useful information on what to do if you break a mercury thermometer or experience and a spill. Its a pdf from the Colorado department of health website. Click below:  What to do if you Spill Mercury

5 reasons not to give babies soya infant formula

There are many reasons not to give babies soya based infant formulas. I have highlighted a  5 of them below.

  1. Soya formula is processed more than cow’s milk formula. The more refined & processed a substance, the lower the nutrients it contains.
  2. Isoflavones- which have plant based components that have weak osteogenic effects, we do not know the long term safety of these in adults, let alone for babies and infants.
  3. GM ingredients and other toxic chemicals that the babies immature and developing organs and digestive system cannot process effectively.
  4. Glucose- soya formulas can be high in glucose and other sugars that can damage an infants’ teeth than the lactose in breast milk.
  5. Artificial Sweeteners- some brand contain artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, Nutrasweet, Candarel, Sucralose and Splenda, which makes them even sweeter and programmes a ‘sweet tooth’ for them. Aahh not ideal!

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