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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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? 

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.
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.


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).


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.


  • 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)


  • 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)



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


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.

Honey – A Treat or a Treatment

Honey – A Treat or a Treatment

Honey – A Treat or a Treatment?

Written by Dr Alexis Weidland (Osteopath)
So honey tastes great, but it’s just sugar right?
Well, yes… and no.
Honey is high in calories, containing a whopping 17grams of sugar, zero fats and minimal (0.1g) protein in just 21 grams of honey (1 Tablespoon) (1,2) .
Honey is made up almost entirely of carbohydrates, specifically sugars, it is a combination of fructose, glucose and maltose (3) . But while table sugar or sucrose (a combination of glucose and fructose) has a Glycaemic Index (GI) of 68, honey’s GI is 50 – still high, but a little lower (4) .
From the above information, you could be forgiven for thinking that honey is not all that great. Based on that, it is only a slightly better sweetener alternative to regular sugar.

Looking a little deeper

  • While both honey and table sugar have a high GI, (unlike refined sugar), who’s Glycaemic Load GL is 28. Honey’s GL is around 16, depending on the source it is claimed even lower (2) .
  • GL is a conversion of GI into a serving size, appropriate measure, although it is still an incomplete view of food and its effect on blood glucose levels, it may be more accurate than GI.
  • According to Glycaemic Load, a measure less than 10 is low, between 10-20 is moderate and over 20 is high (5) . So while sugar remains a high GL food, honey drops to a moderate GL food, possibly making it better for diabetics (though not perfect).
  • While sugar contains calories (from carbohydrates) and is void of nutritional value or health benefits.
  • Honey contains:
    • plant-based antioxidants (6,7)
    • amino acids (22 of them)
    • trace vitamins (including B vitamins [B1,2,3,5 & 6], A, C, D, E & K)
    • trace minerals (about 27, including iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium)
    • 5000 enzymes (1,8)
    • has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits (7) .
    • Scientists believe that it is the antioxidants found in honey that are responsible for its
      many potential health benefits (6) .

Did I say of health benefits?

Yes, you read correctly!
Honey appears to have been used since ancient times in medicine, and it is still used today, maybe you’ve heard of Manuka Honey? (3) .
So, while honey as a sweetener choice, may only be marginally better that refined sugar, as a medicinal aid, used in moderation within a healthy, varied, high plant filled diet, scientific research suggests it could be the perfect choice!.

8 surprising evidence based benefits of honey:

  1. Well, honey can be beneficial for the healing of wounds, especially in diabetic patients (7) .
  2. It is cardio protective and shows some promise in supporting those with diabetes due to its ability to reduce oxidation of LDLs
  3. Improves blood lipid profile – reducing cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDLs
  4. Improves the widening and relaxing of arteries (supporting reduction in blood pressure and increase circulation even to the heart) (9,10,11) .
  5. Appears to reduce general inflammation (10,11) .
  6. Supports the immune system (15) and has shown great promise as being more effective than cough medicines in children (12,13)
  7. As well as in reducing medications for allergy suffers (14) .
  8. Because the compounds in honey positively impact the immune system, healing ability and inflammatory response of the human body internally as well as on the skin and this is further supported by the antimicrobial benefits of honey. This combination makes it perfect for treating skin conditions from acne and dandruff to psoriasis and eczema as well as skin lesions, burns and wounds.

Honey Benefits:


Honey assists in wound healing which is especially useful in diabetic wounds, due to complications and difficulties as a result of slowed healing rates in people with advanced diabetes. In fact, because honey has to ability to fight microorganisms, support healing itself via trace nutrients and antioxidants and reduce inflammation as well as keep the would moist, it is a perfect remedy all on its own (7) . It has the added benefit of still being effective against antibiotic resistant microbes as well as being cheap and accessible (7) . This is especially useful in diabetic wounds due to slow healing complications (7) .


Honey contains a variety of antioxidants including vitamin C, flavonoids and others and research shows honey has potential pharmaceutical benefit in: fighting free radicals (one factor involved in heart disease); reducing the oxidation of LDLs in the blood (a major factor in plaque and clot formation); promoting vasodilation of the blood vessels (the opposite of which, vasoconstriction, is a major cause of high blood pressure and restricted circulation to the heart) (9) (Honey contains a variety of antioxidants including vitamin C, flavonoids and others and research shows honey has potential pharmaceutical benefit in reducing cardiovascular disease due to its antithrombotic (reduce clots), anti-ishaemic (increase circulation and oxygen), and vaso-relaxant actions (allows blood vessels to relax and widen). These actions assist in a reduction of clots and arterial blockages including from arterial constriction itself; reduce LDL oxidation thus further reducing plaques and potential clots; and reducing blood pressure via reducing artery resistance and plaque growths) – this is too technical yes? (9)


Studies show that C-reactive protein, a marker for general body inflammation as well as homocysteine, a necessary amino acid but in high levels is a potent free radical) both reduce with honey supplementation (10, 11) .


Studies show the potential of honey supplementation to improve the blood lipid profile, beneficial for many things, most notably cardiovascular disease and diabetes (10, 11) .


In multiple studies, honey performed as well as cough medicine or better, especially in children (12, 13) .


At least 1 study shows that pre-seasonal use of honey (made with the pollen of the plants that one is allergic to) can reduce use of allergy medications and days symptomatic days (14) .


Honey contains polyphenols, a group of plant antioxidants that assist the body in flighting diseases. A study showed that taking honey daily, raise blood levels of polyphenols, showing that honey is a bioavailable form of such antioxidants as at least the polyphenol group of antioxidants (15) .


  6. Gheldof N1, Wang XH, Engeseth NJ. 2002, ‘Identification and quantification of antioxidant components of honeys from various floral sources’, J Agric Food Chem. Oct 9;50(21):5870. Available from:
  7. Fahmida Alam, Asiful Islam, 1 Siew Hua Gan, 1 and Md. Ibrahim Khalil 2 , *, 2014 ‘Honey: A Potential Therapeutic Agent for Managing Diabetic Wounds’,  Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014: 169130. [Published online 2014 Oct 15]. Available from:
  9. M I Khaliland S A Sulaiman .2010, ‘The Potential Role of Honey and its Polyphenols in Preventing Heart Diseases: A Review’, Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 7(4): 315–321. Published online 2010 Jul 3. Available from:
  10. Al-Waili NS1. 2004, ‘Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose’, J Med Food. Spring;7(1):100-7. Available from:
  11. Majid MYounis MANaveed AKShah MUAzeem ZTirmizi SH. 2013, ‘Effects of natural honey on blood glucose and lipid profile in young healthy Pakistani males’, J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. Jul-Dec;25(3-4):44-7. Available from:
  12. Paul IM1Beiler JMcMonagle AShaffer MLDuda LBerlin CM Jr. 2007, ‘Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents’, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Dec;161(12):1140-6. Available from:
  13. Shadkam MN1Mozaffari-Khosravi HMozayan MR. 2010, ‘A comparison of the effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and diphenhydramine on nightly cough and sleep quality in children and their parents’, J Altern Complement Med.Jul;16(7):787-93. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0311. Available from:
  14. Saarinen K1Jantunen JHaahtela T. 2011, ‘Birch pollen honey for birch pollen allergy–a randomized controlled pilot study’, Int Arch Allergy Immunol.2011;155(2):160-6. doi: 10.1159/000319821. Epub 2010 Dec 23. Available from: