Christmas is a time of year to enjoy yourself, and everyone is allowed to indulge a little, but make sure you don't fall into the mindset of just binging for a whole week. A few treats are fine, but keep up your overall healthy eating and fitness regime and you'll be much happier and healthier come the new year !
There are lots of handy trips we can all do to make sure that we are sensible; yet have a good balance between a naughty snack and a healthy meal. Below are a list of tips which are helpful but by no means a complete list:
So you can see there is lots that can be done. What is important is to have fun, enjoy the parties, but make sensible food choices. The discipline and self-motivation to eat sensibly you show now, will serve you better come January when the majority of peoples resolutions are to hit the gym and lost those excess pounds, you can start the new year with other priorities and not have to worry about the weight loss and shopping for a larger pair of bottoms!
If you feel you could benefit from a consultation on eating habits require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
Summer is by far my favourite season. I like the warmth of the sun on my skin, the constant sunshine, the long days and hot summer nights. It's really what I live for, especially in the U.K! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all season as it's healthy for the body to experience all climates and environments in moderation, but having a prolonged winter takes it toll on my body after a few months.
With summer, I tend to find my body wants to eat less heavy, comforting meals and craves more salads, fruits and water of course. This is a perfectly natural reaction and should be what a healthy body craves. Foods are seasonal for a reason and there are foods that should be consumed more in the summer than other months.
It is important to be careful what foods you consume though, as in the summer, hidden sugars in drinks and foods can easily pile on the pounds and have a lasting effect on your health, and not in a good way! It’s kind of a myth that summer means more exercise and healthier food choices for everyone. One eye-opening study found that kids gain weight three times faster over summer than they do the rest of the school year, thanks to a steady diet of junk food and video games . And while there’s no comparable stat on grown-ups and weight gain, barbecues, state fairs, and waterside food vendors offer plenty of temptation.
Having said that, there are plenty of foods that are tasty, full on nutrients, easy to cook or eat raw and have many benefits for you whilst keeping the waistline slim. Here’s a list of some of them:
Hopefully the above list will give you some ideas about what foods to have during the summer season to keep the body healthy and the waist slim. Try and avoid fast food, takeaways, fruit juices, fruit flavored water, sweet alcohol and sugar filled snacks such as donuts and milk chocolate. They all contain hidden sugars and bad fats which won’t keep the waistline slim or your body healthy in the long term. The above list is by far not the only foods that should be consumed, but a rough guide to what should be eaten as a start before you explore.
I would also suggest to become more active in the summer. Take advantage of the longer days to go for walks and spend time outdoors as a family. If you have children, get them into the habit of exploring the world rather than being glued to the tv or a phone/tablet. By getting more sunshine outdoors, you’ll not only get the benefit of topping up the vitamin D, but get the benefit of being outdoors which is good for the lungs, eyes, blood and mental state. Being more active will contribute to you burning more calories and contributing to weight loss or maintaining a slim waistline.
If you feel you need help losing weight and getting beach body ready this summer or require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at email@example.com or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
We all forget things to do from time-to-time. For some of us, memory issues affect us more than others. Whilst it is perfectly natural to forget to do things, it can be frustrating if it is something that occurs on a regular basis. Yes, there is a growing concern about the usefulness of our memory, especially as we get older.
Let's discuss what causes memory loss, and from there we can move onto what can be done to help with this condition.
Firstly, like with most things, your lifestyle, diet, habits and career will all play a part in your overall health, including how healthy your memory is. Having a stressful job combined with a poor diet, lack of exercise and limited exposure to daylight will all contribute to long-term memory loss.
Many medical problems can cause memory loss or other dementia-like symptoms. Most of these conditions can be treated. Your doctor can screen you for conditions that cause reversible memory impairment.
Possible causes of reversible memory loss include :
Sleep apnea could also be a cause of memory loss. This common but treatable sleep disorder causes breathing to stop briefly and frequently throughout the night. It is linked to memory loss and dementia, according to Constantine Lyketsos, MD, director of the Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine and professor and chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Bayview. You might have sleep apnea if you wake up with a headache and have daytime fatigue, or if your partner complains of loud snoring.
When not treated, sleep apnea affects spatial navigational memory, found a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. This type of memory includes being able to remember directions or where you put things like your keys. The research suggests that deep sleep, also known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, plays an important role in memory.
One explanation is that for people with sleep apnea, oxygen delivery to the brain is interrupted several hundred times during the night, explains Dr. Lyketsos. “The brain is stressed, so people wake up,” he says. The injury sleep apnea causes can show up as a variety of memory loss symptoms, he adds .
Other causes of memory loss could be are not limited to the following:
As can be seen, there are a number of things that can cause memory loss. It could be a combination of some of the things mentioned above or one of those things that is severe enough to cause the memory loss on its own.
I’m not going to discuss Dementia or Alzheimer's in this article, as they are very complex topics that will be discussed in future articles and given the time and research they deserve.
So now we know what are the main causes of repairable memory loss, what can we do to reverse the process and have our memory as sharp as possible? Lets us list below:
As can be seen from the list above, by making sensible food and lifestyle changes, you can improve your memory. By making the time and effort to look after your body now, it’ll serve you wonders in the future. Like with most things, consumption or use in moderation is always a sensible approach to undertake.
If you feel you could benefit from guidance on foods to help improve your memory and concentration or require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
The brain is by far the most important organ in the body. It keeps everything ticking along and keeps all of the body’s systems functioning. Due to this it is essential to keep your brain as healthy as possible. Diet is certainly one way to do this. Our gut plays an important part in this, as it decides what is being absorbed and processed.
Our gut also helps keep our body’s immune responses and inflammation under control. Additionally, gut hormones that enter the brain or are produced in the brain influence cognitive ability, like understanding and processing new information, staying focused on the task at hand and recognizing when we’re full .
Therefore, having a good, varied and balanced diet is a great way to keep the brain healthy. So, what are these power foods that can help the brain maintain its optimum health? Well mostly they are foods that are high in fats and antioxidants. The brain is primarily full off fats and loves sugar. Hence why when we eat sugary foods, the dopamine receptors in our brain go wild and love that feeling and want more and more of it.
By feeding your brain the correct foods, it can have major beneficial long-term benefits to your brain and possibly help against brain degenerative diseases such as alzheimer's and dementia. In addition these foods can have a very beneficial effect on your gut bacteria and overall health. Let us list and discuss the reasons behind these foods now.
Of course there are many more foods that help with brain and cognitive functions such as avocados, red wine, spinach, grains and other beans. The list above should be a good guide to start with. With that said, like with most things, there is also the bad that is the opposite to the good. The below foods should be avoided as much as possible to help maintain a healthy brain.
Your diet definitely has a big impact on your brain health. Inflammatory diet patterns that are high in sugar, refined carbs, unhealthy fats and processed foods can contribute to impaired memory and learning, as well as increase your risk of diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Several other substances in food are dangerous for your brain too .
Alcohol can cause massive damage to the brain when consumed in large quantities, while mercury found in seafood can be neurotoxic and permanently damage developing brains. However, this doesn't mean you must avoid all these foods completely. In fact, some foods like alcohol and fish also have health benefits. One of the best things you can do for your brain is to follow a diet rich in healthy, fresh whole foods .
If you feel you could benefit from guidance on foods to help improve your memory and concentration or require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at email@example.com or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
It is very common to hear about foods that are good for your brain, your heart and your gut. But what about foods that protect the cells in your body? Those would be the ones packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants is thrown about like a buzzword to sound hip and smart when it comes to food, but i’d wager most people don’t know what they actually do for you. Well have no fear, in this article i’ll be going through and simplifying what antioxidants are, what they do and how they are beneficial for you.
Antioxidants occur naturally in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, wine, and chocolate. There are thousands of antioxidant compounds out there, you’ve probably heard of flavanols (found in chocolate), resveratrol (found in wine), and lycopene (found in tomatoes). Other popular antioxidants include vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, E, and catechins .
Antioxidants help prevent or stop cell damage caused by oxidants. (Get it? Antioxidants) “Oxidants are free radicals that you find in the environment, but they're also produced naturally in your body,” says Diane McKay, Ph.D., an assistant professor and researcher at Tufts University’s Antioxidants Research Laboratory .
Every single one of us has both antioxidants and free radicals present inside of our bodies at all times. Some antioxidants are made from the body itself, while we must get others from our diets by eating high antioxidant foods that double as anti-inflammatory foods. Our bodies also produce free radicals as byproducts of cellular reactions. For example, the liver produces and uses free radicals to detoxify the body, while white blood cells send free radicals to destroy bacteria, viruses and damaged cells .
When certain types of oxygen molecules are allowed to travel freely in the body, they cause what’s known as oxidative damage, which is the formation of free radicals. When antioxidant levels in the body are lower than that of free radicals due to poor nutrition, toxin exposure or other factors. Oxidation wreaks havoc in the body. The effect? Accelerated aging, damaged or mutated cells, broken-down tissue, the activation of harmful genes within DNA, and an overloaded immune system .
There are a wide range of antioxidants found in nature, and because they are so varied, different antioxidants provide benefits to different parts of the body. For example, beta-carotene (and other carotenoids) is very beneficial to eye health; lycopene is beneficial for helping maintain prostate health; flavonoids are especially beneficial for heart health; and proanthocyanidins are beneficial for urinary tract health .
When skin is exposed to high levels of ultraviolet light, photo-oxidative damage is induced by the formation of different types of reactive species of oxygen, including singlet oxygen, superoxide radicals, and peroxide radicals. These forms of reactive oxygen damage cellular lipids, proteins, and DNA, and they are considered to be the primary contributors to erythema (sunburn), premature aging of the skin, photodermatoses, and skin cancers .
Astaxanthin, followed by beta-carotene combined with vitamin E has been shown to be one of the most powerful antioxidant combinations for helping protect the skin from reactive species of oxygen .
Increasing one's antioxidant intake is essential for optimum health, especially in today's polluted world. Because the body just can't keep up with antioxidant production, a good amount of these vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and enzymes must come from one's daily diet. Boosting your antioxidant intake can help provide added protection for the body against :
From a nutritional perspective, there are many different foods that can provide different antioxidants to varying different degrees and dosage levels. As a good broad guidance, here are a list of my favourite ones and the uses they have :
That is a very basic list, the amount of foods that have antioxidant properties goes into the hundreds. Your diet should consist of various different colours of foods and also contain a good mix of protein, fats and carbohydrates.
If you feel you could benefit from guidance on adequate antioxidant intake or require nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
This will be my last blog of 2017. It’s been a extremely productive and busy year for me. I’ve set up multiple businesses, maintained a full-time job, have been blogging almost every week since the end of this summer, also getting into forex trading, cryptocurrency investing and sorting out my personal investments has been challenging but lots of fun. I’ve had little down time and apart from a few city breaks and have worked every weekend since February of this year. Would I swap the journey i’ve had this year for anything else? Nope! I genuinely feel i’m in a better place now then I was a year ago, and making progress on a personal, physical, emotional, financial and professional level have left me feeling very proud of what i’ve achieved in 10 months.
Looking back on the last 12 months, I have often wondered how I have been able to get through the year. Was it that I eat a healthy balanced diet? Exercise regularly? Or maybe that most nights I get 8 hours sleep? Or the fact that I have managed to create a lifestyle where I have little stress? Or lastly, could it be the minerals I take every day? A short answer is all of the above. The more specific answer is it's the minerals I take daily.
Minerals are absolutely essential for our body. In fact in some cases they are more beneficial than vitamins which seem to be getting all of the attention. Before I go into the details, let us discuss what minerals are and why they are so essential for the body.
Minerals are essential nutrients that the body needs. The millions of tiny cells in your body require essential nutrients to grow, develop and work together in perfect harmony. These essential nutrients, those that your body needs but cannot produce, include the inorganic substances found in foods known as minerals . Minerals are inorganic substances that are found in soil and rocks. They are essential nutrients that the body needs to survive and carry out daily functions and processes. You receive minerals by eating plants that absorb them from the earth and by eating meat from animals, which graze on plants. Minerals keep you healthy and have key roles in several body functions. You require these important nutrients from your daily diet .
Before going into specific details of why minerals are essential for the body, there is a caveat when it comes to minerals. That is that there are two types of them. They are called macrominerals and trace minerals. Macro means "large" in Greek (and your body needs larger amounts of macrominerals than trace minerals). The macro mineral group is made up of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfur. A trace of something means that there is only a little of it. So even though your body needs trace minerals, it needs just a tiny bit of each one. Trace minerals includes iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, and selenium .
Now that we know the types of minerals there are, below are the main uses they have for the human body :
Below shows the specific minerals and what functions and uses they have for the human body :
Boron: This mineral plays an essential part in improving and maintaining optimal bone health, brain function, anti-aging processes, and sexual health. It also aids in preventing cancer, treating Alzheimer’s disease, and reducing muscle pain.
Calcium: This vital mineral also boosts bone health (prevents osteoporosis), relieves arthritis, improves dental health, and relieves insomnia, menopause, premenstrual syndrome and cramps. Furthermore, it is important in preventing or treating obesity, colon cancer, acidity, heart and kidney ailments, and lowering high blood pressure.
Magnesium: Magnesium helps boost the immune system, treat high blood pressure, prevent heart attack and asthma, give relief from alcoholism, and improve bone health. It also relieves cramps, and aids in managing diabetes, menopause, and pregnancy. Magnesium is also very important in terms of lowering anxiety and stress, and has been closely linked to giving relief from insomnia, due to its enzymatic role in releasing hormones that calm the body and induce sleep.
Phosphorus: This mineral is integral in reducing muscle weakness, improving bone health, boosting brain function, preventing aging, reducing sexual weakness, aiding in dental care, and optimizing body metabolism.
Potassium: As a vasodilator, potassium reduces the tension in the blood vessels, and ensures the proper distribution of oxygen to vital organ systems, while protecting against cardiovascular diseases. It can correct low blood sugar, regulate blood pressure, increase water flow in the body, alleviate muscle disorders and cramps, boost brain function, manage arthritis and diabetes, and treat kidney disorders.
Silicon: This mineral plays an important role in optimal health of bones, skin, hair, nail, dental health. It also gives relief from sleep disorders, atherosclerosis and tuberculosis and promotes tissue development.
Sodium: This widely used mineral is a key to water balance, preventing sunstroke, improving brain function, relieving muscle cramps, and preventing premature aging.
Iron: Iron’s primary role in the body is with regard to the formation of hemoglobin, which guarantees circulation of the blood and oxygenation to various organ systems. Without iron, anemia sets in, this is manifested in muscle weakness, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, and cognitive malfunction. Apart from that, it is a key element for ensuring proper body metabolism, muscle activity, brain function, and the regulation of body temperature. Further, it also aids in boosting immunity and giving relief from insomnia and restless leg syndrome.
Zinc: It is an essential component of more than 10 important enzymatic functions of the body. Without zinc, the body will quickly lose overall function and results in a number of health concerns, including the inability to heal wounds, store insulin, fight off disease, develop proper growth patterns, as well as defend against a variety of skin infections. This mineral helps in treating eczema, acne, night blindness and prostate disorders, relieving cold, and managing weight. Zinc also ensures healthy pregnancy and reproduction.
Manganese: Manganese plays an important role in the management of body metabolism, osteoporosis, reducing fatigue, reproduction, sprains, inflammation, brain function, and epilepsy.
Copper: This common mineral improves brain function, soothes arthritis, helps in skin care, eliminates throat infections, corrects hemoglobin deficiency, prevents heart diseases, and boosts immunity. It is commonly associated with the uptake of iron and the facilitation of a properly functioning circulatory system.
Iodine: This often overlooked mineral can alleviate goiter, fibrocystic breast disease, skin conditions, and cancer, while improving hair health, protecting pregnancy, and improving body’s metabolism.
Iodide: This is a secondary form of iodine, but is very important in terms of bodily function. It is involved in the overall thyroid function, and its deficiency can cause goiter. Iodide is vital for producing thyroxine (T4), without which, the body can experience a fall in metabolic rate and an increase in cholesterol levels.
Chromium: This trace mineral is important for glucose uptake in the body, so is particularly relevant to those suffering from diabetes. It increases glucose uptake by the cells, which stimulates fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, and although both the things typically seem like negative components for health, they are actually essential in small levels for a functional, healthy life.
Selenium: Selenium might be a rare mineral, but its function is significant. It is one of the most powerful mineral antioxidants, and it actually prevents the formation of new free radicals by participating in various cellular reactions, which lower the peroxide concentration in the cellular body. Reducing free radical formation is only one of selenium’s functions. It is also essential for bone growth, along with calcium, copper, and zinc.
As can be seen, minerals are very essential to the human body. With a lack of minerals, the human body can very rapidly deteriorate and shut down. A lack of minerals can also lead to diseases occurring more frequently in the body. Mineral deficiency is a serious condition and long-term lack of minerals is now a common symptom in lots of people. Even the NHS in the UK has the following statement on their website “Vitamins and minerals are nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy. Most people should get all the nutrients they need by having a varied and balanced diet, although some few people may need to take extra supplements. ”
There are a number of factors that can also deplete minerals from the body. Some of these are listen here :
It should be noted that it is very easy to overdose on minerals too. You should take mineral intake very seriously and ensure you do not take more than the recommended stated dose unless instructed to do so by a medical professional. When mineral toxicity results from the excessive consumption of mineral supplements, toxicity can be prevented by minimizing the use of dietary supplements and keeping iron tablets in particular out of the reach of children. Zinc toxicity may be prevented by not storing food or beverages in zinc containers. In the case of iodine, toxicity can be prevented by avoiding overconsumption of seaweed or kelp. In the case of selenium toxicity resulting from high-selenium soils, toxicity can be prevented by relying on food and water acquired from a low-selenium region .
For most of us, getting minerals by having a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, meat and fresh spring or mountain water should be sufficient. Your diet should consist of a mixed range of foods, with different colour foods on your plate to ensure you’re getting different sources of mineral content.
So there you have it. By reading this you should be more clued up on minerals, what they are, how they help the body and how you can get adequate mineral intake by having a varied sensible diet. If you feel you could benefit from guidance on mineral balancing or require nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at email@example.com or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
I’d like to thank you for reading my blogs this year and for sharing my content. It means a lot to me that you take the time to read my blogs every week. I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy 2018. I wish for the best of health, wealth, love and happiness for you all. Have lots of fun and get rested for a good positive start to 2018.
There has been much of talk of protein, how essential it is and what uses does it carry for the body. In this week’s blog, i’ll try and explain as clearly as possible what protein is, why we need it, how much of it we need and diminish some common protein myths that are out there. So grab a cuppa, take 10 minutes from your day, sit back, relax and enjoy!
What is protein?
Think of protein as strings of sausages. Long strings – some many thousands. Each sausage represents one of 15 similar small molecules called amino acids. The order of amino acids in the chain is programmed by DNA. “Amino” means that they contain nitrogen, but they also contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. In order to do their jobs, proteins curl up into characteristic shapes, and many of them need to incorporate minerals or vitamins in order to function. Some proteins are solid, some are flexible in cell membranes, others are mobile in solutions .
Muscles, skin, bones, and other parts of the human body contain significant amounts of protein, including enzymes, hormones and antibodies. Proteins also work as neurotransmitters. Haemoglobin, a carrier of oxygen in the blood, is a protein. Protein is made up of amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are around 20 amino acids.
These 20 amino acids can be arranged in millions of different ways to create millions of different proteins, and each protein has a specific function in the body. The structures differ according to the sequence in which the amino acids combine .
Are there different types of protein?
Yes! They can be classified as two main types, the protein you eat and the protein your body makes. Let us discuss these further:
Protein that is eaten :
Maybe you never thought about it, but not all food proteins are the same. The sequence of amino acids that creates the white of an egg is much different from the arrangement of amino acids that creates the protein in a glass of milk.
When you eat foods that provide protein, it should make sense that different foods contain different proteins (and usually more than one), even though they’re all made up of amino acids.
For example, when you eat milk or yogurt, you’re eating proteins called casein and whey. When you eat meat, fish or poultry, you would be eating proteins called collagen and myosin, among others. Beans have proteins called legumins, and eggs contain a number of different proteins, including one called avidin and one called ovalbumin.
Each of these proteins is unique because each is made up of a unique sequence of amino acids. Once the proteins are digested and absorbed, their amino acids can then be used as building blocks for the proteins in your body.
Protein that your body makes :
As protein foods travel through the digestive tract, they’re ultimately broken back down into their individual amino acids which are absorbed into the bloodstream. Your body can then use these building blocks to manufacture some 50,000 different body proteins, each of which has a specific structure and function based upon its arrangement of amino acids.
As long as your body has all the necessary raw materials in the form of the amino acid building blocks, it can manufacture these important body proteins—from the enzymes that speed up chemical reactions in the body, to hormones that act as chemical messengers. Other proteins support your immune function, or transport nutrients in your body. And, of course, you have proteins that provide structure to your bones, skin, hair, nails and muscles, too.
Once the amino acids enter your bloodstream, there’s no way to tell whether they were derived from a bowl of lentils or a steak. They all end up as an amino acid “pool” in your body’s tissues and fluids—a pool that can be tapped into as needed. To ensure a steady supply, it’s important to consume adequate protein every day.
Why does the body need protein?
Like carbohydrates and fat, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that you need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. (Vitamins and minerals, which you only need in small quantities, are called “micronutrients.”) Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body does not store protein, so it has no reservoir to draw from when you’re running low. Protein bars and shakes are a great way to supplement your diet to ensure you’re getting the right amount of protein .
Studies show that eating a high-protein diet has a number of health benefits. Not only does it help you maintain and lose weight, but it also works to stabilise your blood sugar levels, improve your ability to learn and concentrate, reduce brain fog, boost your energy levels, support your muscles and bones and support the absorption of important nutrients. Many people make the mistake of trying diets that involve calorie counting and deprivation. On a high-protein diet, you will feel completely satiated after eating, and you won’t have to deal with the blood sugar highs and lows that lead to cravings and moodiness. You’ll be surprised to see how many foods you can eat on a high-protein diet. Even people on a vegetarian or vegan diet, who sometimes turn to processed foods for energy, have enough high-protein foods to choose from .
How much protein do I need?
Wondering exactly how much protein you should be consuming each day? The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), which is the minimum amount you need to be healthy, is 0.8 grams per kilogram (0.36 grams per pound) of body weight per day. If you’re very active, that means getting at least 35 to 40 minutes of moderate exercise four or five days a week, including resistance training two or more times a week. Consider eating 1.2 to 2 grams of dietary protein per kilogram (or about 0.5 to 0.9 grams per pound) of bodyweight each day .
Optimal protein works out to be about 15% to 25% of your daily calories, still below the level recommended by many popular high-protein diets. Over a day, that could look like 20-30 grams per meal and 12 to 15 grams per snack, for a total of 90 to 105 grams daily .
For those of us that are trying to lose weight, having a high protein/low carb diet may be beneficial. Protein, due to its amino acid chains, takes longer to break down in the stomach. This means we remain fuller for longer. So having a protein shake after a workout, as a snack or as a meal will help you feel fuller for longer as well as getting the amino acids your body needs for almost all of its metabolic functions.
The common protein myths :
Here’s a list of food sources and how much protein they contain :
There are many other foods which contain high protein contents, the above list should be a good start for you as a point of guidance. So there you have it! Eat protein with every meal, in moderation and work out how much you need for your body. You do not need meat to get protein into your body and you shouldn’t just rely on protein powders to get protein into your diet. For those of you that workout regularly, you need more protein than those that don’t. Lastly, as with everything I suggest, don’t go overboard and ensure you are sensible with the choices you make.
If you feel you could benefit from guidance on protein intake or require nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
With winter well and truly under way and it being early December, most of us are counting down until the festive season can begin. For most of us, this is a particularly busy and tiring time of year. There seems to be so much to do to ensure deadlines are delivered at work, Christmas parties are planned, presents are bought and the Christmas meal is just perfect. For most, this can be a particularly energy draining time of year.
Just ask anyone you know, they’ll bring up that they are tired. Partly, it's due to the short days and lack of daylight. The other factor is the diet and lifestyle that most are living. With a lack of nutrients in the food being consumed, alcohol consumption going up in December and sleep going down due to late night partying, this all leads to tiredness. But these aren’t the only reason for being tired. Let us explore other reasons that could contribute to tiredness.
So what can be done to get your energy levels up to an optimum level for you? Well firstly, if you have been feeling a lack of energy and it’s a sudden change, go see your GP or a medical professional. You’ll most likely need a blood test or another medical test to confirm that your basic tests results are normal for you. If they do, then you need to look into other options such as your diet or lifestyle. Let us explore this a little more :
The latest scientific research also shows that long term effects of having low energy, that is also one of the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has detrimental effects on the immune system. One study has shown that CFS that leads to a compromised immune system is a contributing factor to major diseases such as cancer .
Caffeine intake should be managed sensibly and you should be avoiding caffeine after 4pm. I would also suggest that you avoid lots of sugar, as you’ll get energy spikes that will throw your body out of balance. I’ll be writing a timely blog on sugar at some point in January 2018!
Other things you can do to improve your energy levels are to ensure you don’t work yourself up over small things, which tends to happen around the festive season. Nothing is ever perfect in life, and if things don’t go to plan it’s not the end of the world. Use the holiday season to recharge and reflect on the year, spend time with friends and family, have fun at parties if that’s your thing, avoid shopping and the stress that comes with it (unless you enjoy it) and be grateful for what you have. Always keep things in perspective, you’ll live a much happier life :-)
If you feel you could benefit from a consultation on boosting your energy levels or require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at email@example.com or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
I have often wondered about why we are here? And by here, I mean why humans have been given Earth as their place in this vast universe to live, breathe, survive and thrive! There is much debate about this and has been going on since the beginning of time. I’m certain we will find the answers one day, until then it’s everyone's theories and opinions that will continue to make headlines. Why do I bring this up? Well what I do believe is that humans were not put on Earth by accident. If you look at what is available on this planet, the resources, earth, fire, air, water, plants, sea life, etc, it is no surprise this planet was made for us.
Whilst researching into ancient civilisations, how they survived and thrived, there is one food that has been there since literally the beginning of time! Yes, i’m referring to Chlorella. Chlorella is a natural plant including more than 20 species, and each species is different in its production method. Well-known common species of Chlorella include C. vulgaris, C. ellipsoidea, C. saccharophila, C. pyrenoidosa, and C. regularis. These species are used for food .
Chlorella has existed since the birth of the Earth and has been reproducing itself for three billion years. However, since the plant is as tiny as 3 to 8 μm in size, it was not until the microscope was invented after the 19th century that Chlorella was first discovered. It was discovered by the Dutch microbiologist, Dr. Beijerinck, in 1890, and named Chlorella. During World War I, Chlorella was cultivated in large amounts in Germany to use as a protein source. In the 1920s, Japan succeeded in cultivating a pure culture of Chlorella, and after World War II, the United States, Germany, and Japan conducted cooperative studies. The medicinal effects of Chlorella were already confirmed after World War II, and the presence of a growth promoting factor that accelerates animal growth through the ingestion of Chlorella was revealed. NASA studied Chlorella as space food because it supplies nutrients even in small amounts .
So what makes Chlorella so good for us humans? This superfood is rich with phytonutrients, including amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorus, biotin, magnesium and the B-complex vitamins. Studies have shown that Chlorella benefits the entire body by supporting healthy hormonal function, promoting cardiovascular health, helping to negate the effects of chemotherapy and radiation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and aiding in the detoxification of our bodies .
Chlorella’s rich green colour comes from a high concentration of chlorophyll. We are all told to eat more leafy green vegetables for good health, but sometimes it can be difficult to get the 5-7 servings of vegetables a day recommended by nutritionists and doctors of functional medicine. While juicing is another option, it’s simply too time-consuming for most people. And frankly, most green leafy vegetables pale in comparison to the health benefits that Chlorella can provide.
By consuming organic, low-temperature-extracted chlorella supplements, you can receive all of the chlorella benefits in a simple powder or tablet form .
As you’re about to see, Chlorella is one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods in the world.
A 1-ounce (3 tbsp) serving of Chlorella contains:
In addition, Chlorella contains a good amount of vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and phosphorus.
When you look at its nutrient density score, it’s easy to see why chlorella is ranked one of the top 10 health foods in the world. In fact, it is way more nutrient dense per gram than other greens, including kale, spinach and broccoli !
Now that we know the main nutrient profile of Chlorella, let us see what it is beneficial for in detail:
So what makes Chlorella so so good? Chlorella is labeled as a superfood, because it can provide essential nutrients that you may not get from your diet alone, these include :
That is a very impressive and i’d wager you would struggle to find many foods that have that many nutrients in it! It’s no surprise that it has been used for many civilizations since the beginning of time.
Taking Chlorella is simple. It comes in powder form and in small tablets. When buying tablets, ensure they are not freeze dried. Ensure the Chlorella is ‘spray dried’. Spray drying cracks the cell wall allowing access to the nutrients. Without this process most the the nutrients would be inaccessible to us. Freeze drying destroys the beneficial enzymes.
Regarding dosing of Chlorella, 3 grams per day is a good maintenance dosage of Chlorella for a person to take. With this amount, you will not notice significant changes, however, your body will get many of the nutrients it must have to function properly such amino acids (protein), vital minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and enzymes .
However, a person taking 5-7 grams per day is quite common and at this level you will notice significant changes in digestion, energy and overall health. One teaspoon of powder is equal to 5,000 mg. If you are taking tablets or capsules you would have to divide the mg of that pill into 5,000 mg to find out your dose. For example if you had 500 mg tablets you would divide 5,000 by 500 and determine you would need ten tablets for 5,000 mg of chlorella .
Chlorella can be taken at any time of the day. It can be taken all at once but preferably it should be taken in small doses throughout the day. Morning is also a good time to take chlorella, but never just before or after drinking coffee or soft drinks since caffeine is extremely detrimental to the digestive process. Chlorella causes the bacteria in our stomachs, the Lactobacilli, to multiply at 4 times the rate of normal. This is why it is best to take with meals as chlorella helps provide very good digestion and more importantly, better assimilation of nutrients .
Chlorella provides a wide array of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, as well as being the highest-known source of chlorophyll. While these are all beneficial, the greatest value of chlorella lies in a fascinating ingredient called Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF). CGF is a nucleotide-peptide complex derived from a hot water extract of chlorella. It is made mostly of nucleic acid derivatives. Researchers have discovered that CGF is produced during the intense photosynthesis that enables chlorella to grow so fast. Each cell multiplies into four new cells about every 20 hours, and CGF promotes this rapid rate of reproduction. Experiments with microorganisms, animals and children have shown that CGF promotes faster than normal growth without adverse side effects, and in adults, it appears to enhance RNA/DNA functions responsible for production of proteins, enzymes and energy at the cellular level, stimulating tissue repair and protecting cells against some toxic substances .
Because of the fiber content in Chlorella's cell wall and other nutritional factors, when some people begin to take chlorella for the first time they may go through cleansing reactions, sometimes referred to as a "healing crisis". This cleansing reaction comes in the form of intestinal activity such as gas, cramping, constipation or diarrhea. This same type of cleansing reaction frequently occurs when people switch from a low-fiber, "junk-food" diet to a high fiber, natural food diet. For this reason, some individuals may wish to start out with less than the suggested amount and gradually increase up to the recommended dose in 1-2 weeks. Very sensitive individuals may want to start with as little as 1/16 of a teaspoon per day (300 mg).
If you have not been eating many fresh raw vegetables in your diet, it is probably a good idea to start out with one 1/16 of a teaspoon with each meal and increase by 1/16 of a teaspoon every 2-3 days .
As long as you are not showing an allergic reaction (such as hives) or throwing up, you can safely continue the chlorella. In a couple of weeks to months, the reaction should decrease. And as it decreases, you can increase the dose .
My personal experience of taking Chlorella is the following:
I hope this has been an informative blog on the benefits of Chlorella. As with most superfoods and supplements, please take advice from a Nutritionist or Functional Medicine Doctor on what the correct dose for you should be and if you should take the supplement in question to begin with. A number of things such as lifestyle, diet, water intake, medical conditions and current medication intake play a role in safe supplementation and the length of supplementation.
If you feel you could benefit from taking Chlorella or require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com
With the clocks going back an hour in the Western part of the world, the days are getting shorter and the nights longer. The weather is getting cooler and winter is just round the corner. With all of this the general mood for most of us changes. Feeling down, having a lack of drive, a lack of energy and a general low mood are common symptoms for most. It's a rather dramatic shift from the summer where the mood is one of general happiness, fun and energy is abundant. These are classic signs that you maybe suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter. The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They're typically most severe during December, January and February. SAD often improves and disappears in the spring and summer, although it may return each autumn and winter in a repetitive pattern .
Symptoms of SAD can include :
For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.
The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include :
It's clear that the change in light patterns plays an important role in SAD. With less daylight and for those who work in offices, hospitals, labs and generally where the light is artificial all day and no light when work is finished, the effects of SAD can be more present. Let us discuss the science behind this to understand why it can affect us.
Vitamin D is essential for humans for survival. It is made when sunlight hits the skin. I won’t go into the science behind this, just take my word for it (and read my Vitamin D blog). With a lack of sunlight, vitamin D synthesis is limited. Numerous studies have suggested the condition may be triggered by lack of sunlight. SAD is more common among people who live at high latitudes or areas with lots of cloud .
One hypothesis behind SAD is that reduced sunlight exposure interferes with the body's biological clock that regulates mood, sleep and hormones. Another theory is that lack of sunlight causes an imbalance of neurotransmitters - such as dopamine and serotonin - which regulate mood .
A research team led by Alan Stewart of the College of Education at the University of Georgia - published their findings in the journal Medical Hypotheses:
"We hypothesize that rather than functioning primarily as a proximal or direct sub-mechanism in the etiology of SAD, vitamin D likely functions in a more foundational and regulative role in potentiating the sub-mechanisms associated with the depressive and seasonality factors," say the researchers.
Firstly, the researchers note that vitamin D levels in the body fluctuate with the changing seasons in response to available sunlight. "For example," says Stewart, "studies show there is a lag of about 8 weeks between the peak in intensity of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the onset of SAD, and this correlates with the time it takes for UV radiation to be processed by the body into vitamin D."
Co-author Michael Kimlin, of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, says that vitamin D also plays a part in the synthesis of both dopamine and serotonin, noting that past research has associated low levels of these neurotransmitters with depression.
"Therefore," he adds, "it is logical that there may be a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and depressive symptoms. Studies have also found depressed patients commonly had lower levels of vitamin D."
The researchers also believe there is a link between skin pigmentation and vitamin D levels, which may affect an individual's risk for SAD. They explain that studies have shown that people with darker skin pigmentation are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency, and if such individuals relocate to high-latitude regions, they may have a higher chance of developing SAD .
So why are serotonin and dopamine so important for us?
Serotonin is one of the most important neurotransmitters (chemicals used by brain cells to communicate with each other). Serotonin exhibits a wide range of functions in both the brain and the body, especially of the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract .
The first known function of serotonin was controlling blood vessel constriction. But it is much better known as the “happy molecule” for the important role it plays in positive mood. Most brain cells are affected directly or indirectly by serotonin where it regulates mood, social behaviour, libido, sleep, memory, and learning. The advent of prescription antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft turned serotonin into a household word .
These drugs are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which are believed to work by increasing serotonin levels. While serotonin is almost always associated with brain function, mood, and mental well-being, surprisingly 95% of our serotonin is manufactured in the intestines, not the brain .
In fact, this “second brain” in our gut contains 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. Researchers are still unclear as to why there is so much serotonin activity in the intestines. It seems that serotonin facilitates communication between the gut and the brain, but serotonin used by the brain must be produced there since serotonin created in the gut is unable to pass through the brain’s protective filter. Because so much serotonin resides outside of the brain, some experts consider serotonin a hormone as well as a neurotransmitter .
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released by the brain that plays a number of roles in humans and other animals. Some of its notable functions are in :
Dopamine is the chemical that mediates pleasure in the brain. It is released during pleasurable situations and stimulates one to seek out the pleasurable activity or occupation. This means food, sex, and several drugs of abuse are also stimulants of dopamine release in the brain, particularly in areas such as the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex .
Deficient levels of dopamine activity in the brain can cause depression. this dopamine deficient depression (DDD) is characterised by a low energy, demotivated state, as opposed to the intensely painful character of serotonin deficient depression (SDD). A severely dopamine deficient depressed person may wish they were dead, but wouldn’t have the motivation or energy to do anything about it. The tortured, antsy serotonin deficient depressed person is a much higher risk of suicide. Suddenly increasing energy and motivation in a person with DDD by boosting dopamine can temporarily increase suicide risk. This is also a known and common side effect with antidepressant drugs .
Dopamine gives the brain energy, motivation, a switched on feeling and excitement about new ideas. A surge in dopamine can give a high and pleasurable feeling. The increased energy and talkativeness a coffee can cause is mainly due to the effect of increased dopamine levels. If you’ve ever felt sluggish first thing in the morning or afternoon for example and found a coffee gave you mental energy, sharpness and renewed enthusiasm that was a dopamine boost. (1-2 coffees a day gives you multiple health benefits by the way).
Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter involved in the feeling of pleasure, feeling high and euphoric. Dopamine is involved in the pursuit of pleasure. It is often said that anything you do that feels really good has just given your dopamine levels a boost.
To little dopamine can also cause: depression coupled with significant fatigue, real apathy, maybe slowed thinking, drowsiness, the inability to feel enthusiastic about anything, no motivation and excessive sleep. It can also be involved in ADD/ADHD .
Both dopamine and serotonin elevate one's psychological mood producing an antidepressant effect. Serotonin primarily influences feelings of happiness, optimism, contentedness, seeing the cup half-full so to speak. Dopamine on the other hand influences feelings of, excitement, pleasure, euphoria, which can be addictive, dopamine gives one the feeling of reward that creates motivation and drive .
In a single word serotonin gives us happiness, dopamine gives us pleasure.
It is very clear to see that a lack of vitamin D can do so much to our bodies physically, mentally and emotionally. A lack of vitamin D will affect our serotonin and dopamine levels. Due to this it is clear that we feel more low during the winter months.
Now that we know what can causes seasonal affective disorder, what can be done to tackle this disorder? Below is a few quick and easy wins that can be done :
Investing in a vitamin D lamp could also be wise. Whilst these is no scientific proof, or rather studies to prove this works, there’s no evidence to say that it doesn’t work! So it could be worth purchasing one and keeping it on when working in low light conditions. Note when you have this lamp on, try and keep your head and arms (at a minimum) naked to absorb the light.
During the winter months, take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D content in foods is limited, therefore taking a vitamin D supplement during the winter months is vital for your health and wellbeing. In addition to vitamin D helping your hormones, it is vital for your immune system, which is helpful during the winter months where colds and flus are abundant.
You have read above about serotonin and how it is the ‘second brain’. There is so much serotonin activity in our intestines, it is vital we feed our body the right foods that will help our intestines keep a healthy level of serotonin creation for the brain. Here are some foods that will help with that :
Lastly, if by changing your lifestyle and diet you still feel that you are suffering from SAD, it could be that you need professional help from a psychiatrist or other therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. You're shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel. Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past. It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis .
The important thing is to seek help and do something if you feel you have symptoms of SAD or a generally feeling low and underwhelmed all year round, regardless of the seasons.
If you feel you require support with a change of mood and lifestyle in the winter or require general guidance on nutritional support and how to live a balanced lifestyle please contact me at email@example.com or visit my website by going to www.urbanplatehealth.com