Thursday, July 20, 2017

Know your ABCs- Vitamin A

This helps my patients who have gut-inflammation the intestines, the lungs and the skin. Those with inflammatory bowel disease, acne and chronic asthma, and lung issues all improve if I spruce up their vitamin A levels for a short time. Good dietary sources include liver, but as you can consume too much of pure vitamin A, it’s better to get it from green, orange or yellow vegetables as these convert the betacarotene they contain to vitamin A. It’s particularly important not to supplement or consume too much pure vitamin A if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, and no one should exceed more than 1.5 mg daily via food, supplements or a combination of the two.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Your BMI

It’s not a perfect measure of you are an athlete or naturally carry a high muscle mass, but for the general population, Body Mass Index (BMI) does give a good basic idea of whether your weight is healthy or not, especially in conjunction with waits measurement. To find your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. Now check your result against the below:

18.4 or under: you are underweight
18.5 - 24.9: you are a healthy weight
25 - 29.9: you are overweight
30 or over - you are obese

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Cortisol - the stress hormone

Released when you are under stress, cortisol is another of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Its normal jobs include vital functions, such as shuttling sugar into the muscles during stress and shutting off the inflammatory response that occurs at this time. Released as and when we need it, cortisol is an extremely helpful hormone to the body- and actually fights aging because it switches off inflammation. The problem is that our stressful lifestyles mean our bodies are now often in a state of near cortisol production.
Cortisol is the Goldilocks of hormones- your levels have to be just right. Too low and you develop adrenal fatigue (which triggers aging), too high and you’ll also age faster as cortisol loves to damage skin, attacking it up to 10 times faster than any other tissue in the body.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Try my Sweet Potato Cakes Recipe

400g (14oz) sweet potato, peeled
1 egg
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Grate the sweet potato
2. Whisk the egg, then add the sweet potato, turmeric and salt, and a grinding of pepper
3. Split the mixture into 4 and form patties using your hands
4. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the patties for 2-3 minutes until they start to brown. Flip and fry for another 1-2 minutes.

Image: Jessica O'Dwyer

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Analysing your food diary

After keeping a food diary for a while you’ll hopefully start to see patterns form. For example, you always get a headache around 3pm on a Wednesday following a work meeting on Tuesday lunchtime where sandwiches are served. If that’s the only day you eat bread, then perhaps something in bread is a trigger food for you. Similarly, you get a runny nose on a Sunday morning- and Friday night is always white wine night. Things can be a little harder when it’s foods you eat every day that are causing your problems as your symptoms are more or less constant. In that case it’s when the problems don’t appear that might give you a clue to their cause; what didn’t you eat in the preceding days? If you are getting stuck identifying any clear patterns, then seeking professional advice might help you spot things you can’t see. Or, you might want to try IgG testing to find your answer.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

How to keep a good food diary

Trying to spot a food intolerance isn’t always easy. While some, such as lactose intolerance, make themselves known quite quickly (sufferers usually need to rush to the bathroom soon after eating dairy), most intolerances hide very well and you’ll need to tease out the signs that show you what’s behind them. Keeping a good food diary is therefore very important.

Remember to:

Fill it as you go so you don’t forget anything;
Write down everything you consume, including chewing gums, vitamins, bites of your partner’s food etc.
For processed food, write down the brand name & ingredients (or photograph the label and keep it on your phone). It might be a single preservative that causes problems, which you’ll only spot if you know exactly what is in each food.
Don’t forget drinks - you can be intolerant to them too.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Don’t tell your body it’s getting old

Sighing as you sit down, grunting as you stand up as if it’s a big effort, or blaming the fact that you can’t find your car keys on your age, rather than the fact that you were talking on the phone when you came home and threw them somewhere different, tells your body you are expecting it to underperform with age. Your brain likes to please you in life - if it thinks you’re expecting your body to slow down, the brain will make that happen. Again, our proof comes from Yale: in a trial published in the journal ‘Psychology and Aging’, seniors reading words such as “forgetful” responded worse on memory tests than those given more positive words to read, such as “wise”. Tell your body it’s aging well, and it will.