Healthy Teeth and Gums: Optimising with Food!

Healthy Teeth and Gums: Optimising with Food!

We all want healthy teeth and gums, right? Did you know that the health of our teeth, gums and mouth in general, is a window for the health of our bodies? If we have bleeding gums or chronic mild infection, this can directly increase the inflammation present in the rest of our body and may even be an indicator of ill-health somewhere else in our body. By eating fruits and vegetables, we can positively impact not only our general health, but also create the healthy teeth and gums that we want.

We know that fruits and vegetables are good for us, but
how do they help our mouth and teeth?

B VITAMINS

Many fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. For example, folic acid and other B vitamins, found especially in leafy greens supports healthy cell growth in general, supporting a healthy mouth.

FIBRE

Fresh, crisp fruits and raw vegetables help freshen breath and clean plaque from teeth. Eating fibrous, fresh, raw foods such as apples, oranges, carrots or celery, as well as other hard and fibrous vegetables for example, help to clean teeth (although not a substitute for flossing and brushing). The large amount of chewing required, stimulates saliva production, washing away the acids present (citric and malic acids predominantly) as well as other food particles that may be present in the mouth. The chewing also stimulates the gums and reduces cavity causing bacterial build up.

VITAMIN C

Foods rich in vitamin C such as apples, pears, oranges, pineapples, strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes, protect tissues, including gums from cellular damage as well as against bacterial infection. Vitamin C also provides an immune boost, improves blood vessel and gum health and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

BETA-CAROTENE

Foods rich in beta carotene or any carotenoids, such as carrot, root vegetables (and celery) support vitamin A production, an essential nutrient for strong, healthy teeth.

COFACTORS FOR CALCIUM

Dark leafy green and cruciferous vegetables such as kale, cabbage, chard, asparagus and broccoli, contain a great variety of micronutrients. These include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as the B vitamins already mentioned. Many of these nutrients especially magnesium and phosphorus are important for the body to absorb and store calcium in the bones and teeth. As well as supporting the body’s ability to balance pH, which is essential for strong bones and teeth.

ANTHOCYANINS

Cranberries have been shown to reduce plaque formation and tooth decay by disrupting an enzyme involved in this process. Anthocyanins, phytonutrients (plant nutrients) present in foods containing reds, purples and blues are also healthful. This includes foods such as all berries, pomegranates, cherries, eggplant, plums, prunes, raisins, red grapes, red apples, red onion, red cabbage, red kidney beans and beetroot. These compounds are powerful antioxidants that seem to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. Further, they may specifically prevent the attachment and colonisation of pathogens.

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

These are just a few ways in which fruits and vegetables can help keep your mouth and teeth healthy.
Hopefully, it is clear that a large variety of different fruits and vegetables, especially encompassing the rainbow of colours, can support general health as well as tooth and mount health in a multitude of ways. Thus making eating as wide as possible a variety a useful, cost effective, efficient, simple and healthful strategy for most of us.

The easiest way to make use of the power of healthful fruits and vegetables is just to make sure to incorporate as many as you can into your daily life. Any improvements here will not only improve the quality of your general health, but also greatly impact your mouth. Allowing you strong and healthy teeth and gums, well into old-age.

Another, is to strip your diet back to a simple, clean eating protocol for just a short period of time. During this time, make sure that the majority of what you eat is fresh fruits and vegetables. This allows your digestive system a chance to not work so hard, as you’ve reduced your meat and processed food intake. This in itself, plus the addition of a larger volume of nutrients and fibre from this plant based eating, can allow your body to take a moment and remove more toxins from the system.

A short and simple detoxification process is a great way to periodically help your body to purge and to repair. Are you ready to begin a simple, food-based detoxification process? Click through and Pre-REGISTER your interest to Join Us for a 10 Day Detox Challenge, set to start early in 2020!

What! There’s no steam?

What! There’s no steam?

So How Do Infra-Red Saunas Work?
Why are they so effective?
Unlike a traditional sauna, infrared saunas don’t heat the air around you. Instead, they warm your body directly.
Why is this difference important?

Heating your body directly, means that Infra-Red saunas can be both more gentle as well as more effective for your body. The direct heat means the sauna is effective at a lower temperature (usually between 40˚- 60˚C / 105˚-140˚F rather than the traditional 65˚- 80˚C / 150˚-180˚F), which feels more comfortable for longer periods of time.

This lower temperature means that Infra-red heat may positively impact the health of your cells and organ systems in a way traditional heated saunas can’t.

According to Dr Marc Cohen, the lower temperature is significant, because it makes saunaing pleasant. This means two things, one that because it’s enjoyable, you are more likely to actually do it, and two, this means you can comfortably sauna longer, which means you are likely to experience more of benefits.

Staying longer in the sauna, may increase your core body temperature by 2-3 degrees. Which physical therapist, Vivian Eisenstadt, MAPT, CPT, MASP, suggests could be enough to take your health results to the next level, as compared to conventional saunas.

Dr. Michael A. Schmidt agrees, explaining that the lower temperatures of the Infra-red sauna, can stimulate the release of toxins, stored in fat, by inducing a fat sweat, as opposed to a water sweat, which is what the higher temperatures induce.

These are just some of the health benefits of Infra-Red saunas. Some others may include improving your general health and wellbeing, from relaxation, to relieving your tight muscles and stiff joints, improving your circulation, boosting your immune system, and even assisting in weight loss. You can find more about all these in our blog: 5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

So how does an Infra-red sauna actually work?

Let me explain.

Infra-Red saunas predominantly use either carbon or ceramic panels, which produce invisible, infrared radiant heat. Rather than heating air or steam to heat up your body, this is a gentle heat, that is easily and directly absorbed by your body. Primarily by conduction and convection, via the surface of your skin, to a depth of up to 3.8 cm (1.5 inches) into the skin.

One explanation for the efficiency of Infra-Red saunas, is given by Ben Greenfield, who suggests that as much as 93% of the Infra-Red waves that reach your skin, are absorbed because of their similarity in length and behaviour, to the waves we emit from our own body, naturally.

Not only does this make Infra-Red saunas very effective in their heating process, Ben also believes that this could be why most people complete their Infra-Red sauna session feeling rejuvenated and revitalised, compared to the more traditional feeling of being drained and de-energised.

One article we found, describing this, was by Jessica Wang, who reported “Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as well. I found the ‘dry heat’ created by the infrared light to be much more tolerable and less overwhelming than the steam-filled variety which can often leave me light-headed”.

So if you’re looking for more energy and rejuvenation, check out an Infra-Red sauna in a gym or health provider, near you.
Have you experienced both an Infra-Red and a more traditional style sauna?
How would you compare your experiences?
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Hemp Seeds… Good or Bad?

Hemp Seeds… Good or Bad?

Hemp Seeds… Good or Bad?
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a plant, very similar to marijuana and is often confused as the same. While the leaf of the marijuana plant contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is activated when the leaves are heated, leading to pychoactive effects, hemp only contains tiny amounts of THC.
Used nutritionally, hemp seeds are used either whole or crushed to release the oils. Heating is avoided to keep the fragile oils, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients bioactive.
A Good Source of Healthy Fats
Hemp is a good source of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids. It is one of the largest sources of ALA, a precursor to EPA and DHA (the bioactive forms of omega 3 fatty acids found in wild, deep sea fish). While ALA does not convert at high levels, being a rich source of plant based healthy fats, it is very beneficial, especially for those who choose to live a vegan lifestyle.
Hemp also contains GLA, a specific omega-6 fatty acid as well as many phytosterols. Phytosterols have been shown to have the potential to actually help to remove fat build up in arteries.
A Great Source of Vegan Protein
Containing all of the 10 essential amino acids required for making and repairing proteins, hemp is a great plant source of “whole protein”. Further, while many plant sources of protein contain phytates which can be called “anti-nutrients” as they are difficult to digest, reduce mineral absorption and can create gut irritation in some people, hemp does not contain phytates.
A Real Powerhouse!
So, Hemp seeds are a good source of macronutrients (carbohydrates including fibre, fats and proteins).
Well, they are also a good source of micronutrients, containing many vitamins and minerals including: calcium; iron; magnesium; phosphate; potassium; zinc; some B vitamins (including folate); vitamin C; vitamin A; and vitamin E.
This makes hemp seeds a powerhouse of nutrition. It may be especially important as a good source of magnesium as many people these days are tend to be deficient and it is a mineral that is important in many biological functions. While magnesium deficiency can be linked to issues such as insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease and bone health. Supplementation shows promise in alleviating symptoms of PMS such as bloating, insomnia, water retention, weight gain and breast tenderness, along other things
So, Do I Try It?
Hemp seeds then, contain many healthful compounds, are a good source of proteins, carbohydrates ad healthy fats, do not contain a significant amount of THC and so far, at least, have not shown evidence of any potential negative side effects. It may then, be worth having a try, to see how it affects you, take it cautiously at first and write in a journal any changes you feel. If after a week of taking up to 2 Tablespoons a day has helped your feeling of wellbeing and hasn’t shown you any concerns (remember to read back over your journal to find any possible correlations), then maybe you can continue to use them in your health regime. If you find you don’t like the results, then maybe they are not right for you, remember, each person has a different biochemical make up, so the aim is to find things that work to support you and your unique body.
5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

Are infra-red saunas any good for you?

From the moment Alexis and I first experienced the sauna, with a remedial massage following it, we were both hooked! We found that the therapist could get in more deeply, because our muscles were already warm & relaxed, and therefore we got better results from the full treatment. Our personal experience, was our original reason for having an Infra-Red Sauna in our own clinic.
Do they actually do anything healthful themselves?
Infra-Red saunas can aid in healing specific ailments as well as improving your overall health and wellbeing. From helping you relax, to warming, softening and relieving your tight muscles and stiff joints, to improving circulation, boosting your immune system, and even assisting in weight loss.
Relaxation and mood boosting:
By triggering your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, your “Fight / flight response”, in a less stressful way, the heat from the sauna can help relieve physical and emotional tension in your muscles, warming and relaxing your whole body.
Infra-Red sauna can help lower your cortisol levels, a hormone connected with stress and stress-related health problems. As well as aid in increasing your endorphin (happiness hormone) and opiod levels (your body’s natural pain reliever). So your muscular pain and tension is reduced, you feel less stressed, more relaxed, happy and contented.
They may even improve your brain function and performance. Increasing neurotransmitters, in particular, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and norepinephrine, can enable your brain to function better, to grow new brain cells, and to more effectively protect these brand new neutrons (brain cells) from damage. Thus helping improve your cognitive performance.

Improved Circulation:
The heat created in an Info-Red sauna can increase your blood flow, bringing your blood vessels closer to the surface of your skin and enabling them to expand, to cope with the increased flow. This can assist the cells in your body to release waste and receive nutrition more easily. Further, according to Dr Chrisiane Northrup, MD., if done regularly, over time, this expansion process can help your blood vessels become more elastic. Which can improve your circulation and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dr Cohen agrees and further suggests that this improvement in circulation, can lead to better healing ability; especially your skin and superficial muscles, as well as relieving your muscle tension, improving muscular condition, losing weight, detoxification, clearer skin and greater immune health and generally feeling great.
Relief from sore muscles:
Muscle soreness, especially in the period 24 – 72 hours after exercise, is caused by tiny tears in the muscle fibres. Your recovery, is the process your body goes through, in healing these tears. As described above, the increased blood flow, helps rapidly clear the waste, in this instance, the debris and inflammation from the torn muscle cells, and deliver nutrients to foster healing.

Weight loss:
According to Dr. Masakazu Imamura, MD study, published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology in 2001, you can burn up to 400-600 calories in one 30 minute sauna session. That’s quite impressive, when you realise that investing that same 30 minutes in jogging or swimming, typically burns around 300 calories.

When it comes to weight loss, saunas can be very effective, as part of a health focused program. For best results that last, and are healthy and holistic, not just fast, we agree with Dr. Mukai, MD statement, that as part of a program “where you’re working on both diet and exercise, the sauna can be a beneficial component [of] a holistic plan.”

Detoxification:
Studies suggest that all of us have chemical toxins and heavy metals residing in our bodies’ fatty tissues, particularly in our liver and blood plasma. These toxins can contribute to various diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, autism and arthritis. Dr Christiane Northrup, MD, explains that whilst usually our sweat comprises of 95-97%water and the rest is salt, when using an Infra-Red sauna to induce it, as much as 15-20% of our sweat, is “made up of cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, heavy metals, sulphuric acid, and ammonia, as well as sodium and uric acid”. This, would, indicate she suggests, that using an Infra-Red sauna, to sweat, may enable your body to excrete these toxins. Dr Cohen agrees, and reminds us, that if you actively want to clear the toxic chemicals out of your body, it’s important to mop up the sweat from your skin with a towel, or else the toxins will just be reabsorbed into the skin.
Clearer skin:
This detoxification together with the improved circulation, mentioned earlier, can assist directly, to clear out waste and toxins as well as rapidly bringing in nutrients, leaving you with cleaner, clearer and revitalised skin.

Immune system:
When it comes to the Immune System, both Dr Christiane Northrup and Dr Gini Mansberg agree that the perception of the role of heat, in the body’s fight against infection, has changed. It’s not just about creating fever, as part of the immune system’s battle against the infection. They believe, that heat does more than that. It actually “stimulates and “activates the immune system”, possibly stimulating increased production of white blood cells and antibodies. Further, they suggest that heat from Infra-Red saunas, may do this as well.

So if you’re looking to significantly improve your overall health and wellbeing, boost your immune system or enhance your weight loss program, in a relaxing, enjoyable way, you might like to consider one, or even a series of visits to a local gym, spa or health and wellness provider, for your own relaxing, healthful Infra-Red sauna experience.

Have you used an infra-red sauna? What benefits have you noticed? Tell us in a comment below!

Menopause – I don’t know who I am anymore… is this the way it is now?

Menopause – I don’t know who I am anymore… is this the way it is now?

I don’t know who I am anymore… is this the way it is now?

Perimenopause, Menopause and Post-menopause

10 tips to a comfortable menopause journey

So, we know that menopause is a process that happens to all women at some point. Many of us assume that the common symptoms of perimenopause including hot flushes, irritability and discomfort are a “normal” and inescapable part of the process. You may be surprised to know that this is not the case! As with puberty, while our bodies change, it is not a life sentence. It can just be a transition. It is true that many women suffer horribly. It is also true, that with a diet and lifestyle that supports our hormones to balance, including cortisol and DHEA as well as the more widely known oestrogen and progesterone, we can transition through this period of life, comfortably! Life after menopause can be lively, exciting and something to look forward to. A stage of life blessed with increased wisdom and being comfortable in your own skin. Travelling through your Golden years with ease and grace.

Symptoms

These tend to vary from person to person and some women hardly notice any. An incomplete list includes:

  • Hot flushes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Worse PMS
  • Lower Sex drive
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Discomfort during sex (due to dryness)
  • Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing
  • Urinary urgency
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Trouble Sleeping

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Perimenopause is the transitional stage between regular monthly periods and reaching menopause (defined as the point in time when a woman has had 12 months since her last period). The stage after this is classified as post-menopause.

Pre-menopause is the stage of life between puberty and menopause. A stage where hormones tend not to fluctuate much, a woman tends not to suffer any symptoms associated with menopause and she is in her reproductive years.

Perimenopause begins when the oestrogen produced in the ovaries starts to reduce. Often resulting in several years of irregular periods due to the more sporadic release of oestrogen and progesterone (as well as cortisol and DHEA). Sometimes the hormonal fluctuations as so large or out of balance that we may experience symptoms such as depression, moodiness and irritability, weight gain, discomfort, reduced memory and concentration, muscle aches, as sense of being uncomfortable in our own skin, hot flushes, hair loss, breast tenderness, reduced libido and sexual pleasure and vaginal dryness, to name a few. This stage may begin sometime between the ages of 35 and 50 years and can last from as little as a few months, to as long as 15 years with the average, being around 4 years. In the final stage, oestrogen levels may decline sharply. Symptoms may be most pronounced at this time, expanding to include things like urinary urgency and frequency or even incontinence; depression and anxiety as well as night sweats, fatigue and skin dryness.

Menopause occurs when there is no longer enough oestrogen produced by the ovaries to trigger the uterine lining to build, the release of an egg or the shedding of the uterine lining. This is the point where fertility ceases. Contrary to what some of us thought, during the perimenopausal stage, conception is still possible.

Treatments:

Medications:

Doctors can prescribe

  • Oestrogen creams for vaginal dryness, pain and discomfort
  •  Progesterone creams for breast tenderness
  •  The pill or other hormone replacement therapies to try to minimise symptoms
  •  Creams or tablets to reduce bladder irritability

Look into the options and side effects for yourself before you decide

10 Natural Tips for a Comfortable Menopause Journey
  • Exercise
  • Stop smoking
  • Get more rest/sleep
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Be in a healthy weight range
  • Ensure you don’t have a vitamin or mineral deficiency (magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, omega 3, evening primrose oil [internal or topical])
  • Reduce foods that have the potential to alter hormone balance in the body => Processed, hydrogenated and trans-fats; Highly refined carbohydrates (especially sugars); Caffeine; Alcohol
  • Pelvic floor exercises to support the pelvic area and the bladder (as incontinence is a symptom of hormonal imbalance associated with perimenopause)
  • Using natural oils (jojoba, coconut, olive) as lubricants down there as a lubricant during sex, or during the day to allow more comfort
  • Add an anti-inflammatory, alkalising, plant rich diet

Always consult your doctor if you have strong pain, very heavy bleeding or bleeding for more than 7 days longer than your usual period

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I Sleep, but I’m always TIRED… Maybe its my Thyroid

I Sleep, but I’m always TIRED… Maybe its my Thyroid

I Sleep, but I’m always TIRED… Maybe its my Thyroid

Depending on which source you look at, Thyroid conditions affect women somewhere between 4 and 10 times more than men. The Thyroid Foundation of Canada states that about 5% of the world population is affected and the Australian Thyroid Foundation adds that 1 million Australians currently have an undiagnosed Thyroid issue (that’s 1 in 25 people!). As rates of thyroid conditions (especially hypothyroidism) tend to increase as we age and we have an aging population, we may expect to see numbers increase further. The Thyroid Foundation of Canada goes on to state that Thyroid disorders are very treatable. Given that a large percentage of the affected population is unaware of their situation, this would lead to a substantial number of people, unnecessarily feeling fatigue, irritability, discomfort and with an inability to be fully productive.

What is the Thyroid?

The Thyroid gland is an important part of the endocrine system. Its job is to control many bodily functions via secreting hormones – T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). They regulate the body’s temperature, metabolism and heart rate and in doing so affect many areas. The Pituitary (and Hypothalamus) glands monitor and control the amount of T3 & T4 that the Thyroid releases. Thyroid conditions create either a state of Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism, that is, too much or too little thyroid hormone production, respectively.

Causes:

Thyroid disorders may be caused by iodine deficiency; autoimmune diseases (namely Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Graves’ Disease); viral and bacterial induced inflammation (thyroiditis); congenital; malignant (cancerous) and benign tumours/nodules on the thyroid gland, disfunction of the pituitary or Hypothalamus glands; or as a result of some treatments (surgical removal of the thyroid gland [or part there of] & toxic changes from radioactive iodine therapy).

Symptoms

Symptom combinations tend to vary as there are many factors involved, further, as symptoms tend to start slowly and gradually progress, it may take a while for sufferers to realise that they are not just tired or stresses etc.

Hypothyroidism

  • weak slow heart beat
  • muscular weakness and constant fatigue
  • sensitivity to cold
  • thick puffy skin and/or dry skin
  • pale and cold (maybe clammy) skin
  • poor appetite
  • brittle hair
  • voice may be croaky and hoarse
  • slowed mental processes and poor memory
  • weight gain/difficulty losing weight
  • constipation
  • goitre (increased size of the thyroid)

Hyperthyroidism

  • rapid, forceful heartbeat
  • tremor/shaking/palpitations
  • muscular weakness (due to muscle loss)
  • weight loss (due to muscle and fat loss) in spite of increased appetite
  • restlessness/irritability, nervousness/anxiety and sleeplessness
  • profuse sweating
  • heat intolerance
  • hot, moist skin
  • diarrhea
  • eye changes (generally bulging)
  • goitre (increased size of the thyroid)

Treatment:

Hypothyroidism

Generally is treated by medicating with T4 thyroid hormones (and sometime T3 also). This is a life-long treatment and requires frequent blood test monitoring.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition creating a low level of Thyroid hormones and is the most common cause of Hypothyroidism. As with all autoimmune diseases, the immune system is over-active and is associated with inflammation. A diet and lifestyle that reduces inflammation and supports the immune system to balance, may be of benefit in combination with medication and monitoring. It is also worth noting that generally only T4 hormone medication is given, but some people respond better with a combination of T3 & T4 hormone medications. Further, some people find that animal derived Thyroid hormones are more effective for them than the synthetic medications. So be aware that there are a few options out there and if your symptoms are not responding as expected, some experimentation with the support and guidance of your GP is possible.

Lifestyle changes that may assist in the management of hypothyroidism include:

  • Reducing gluten intake
  • Checking MTHFR gene function and your body’s ability to absorb and use Folic acid/folate/folinic acid effectively – and supporting maximal function
  • Reducing stress
    • meditation
    • exercise
  • Supporting Adrenal overload and the body’s stress response
    • taking adaptagenic herbs (such as Siberian Ginseng, Rhodiola and Ashwaganda)
    • B vitamin supplements
  • Supporting Kidney and Liver functions and the body’s detoxification processes
    • Milk Thistle
    • Dandelion
  • Eating an anti-inflammatory diet
    • Avoid gluten, dairy, red meat, processed sugar, packaged foods
    • Adding turmeric, omega 3, green leafy vegetables
  • Supporting optimal Thyroid function
    • Vit B3 & 6
    • Selenium
    • Vit C
    • Vit D
    • Magnesium
    • Iodine
    • Salt balance (electrolytes) – using water, sea salt and honey

Hyperthyroidism

Graves’ Disease (a genetic autoimmune disease) is the most common cause of Hyperthyroidism. Nodules on the Thyroid (cancerous or benign) and Thyroiditis caused by viral or bacterial infection can also be causes.

Treatment is based around reducing the levels of thyroid hormone in the body. This can be done via

  • Thyroid blocking drugs
  • Destroying thyroid cells with radioactive iodine
  • Surgically removing the thyroid gland (partial or complete)

While medical treatment is required, a healthy lifestyle may generally support optimal response to treatment, your general health and your resilience.  

It is also important to note that the treatment of Hyperthyroidism may result in a subsequent hypothyroid state, meaning that Thyroid hormone medication may be required.