Minerals – a simple guide

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Minerals are necessary for regulating your heart rate and blood sugar levels, they help with red blood cell production, protect teeth and bones, enable muscle and nerve function, assist with growth, healing and infection control, help us metabolise foods and keep our hormone system functioning well. As you can see, it’s really important to get adequate minerals for just about every aspect of your health.

Read on for some common minerals, what they do and where to get them …..

Iron – necessary for red blood cell production. Lack of iron can lead to anaemia so get some from lentils, soy bean products, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, egg yolk, yeast and dried fruit. A great herbal iron tonic is a product called Floradix. It’s safe for children, pregnant and breast feeding mothers.
A recent study published by the Journal of Australian Medicine has shown that a healthy vegetarian diet is perfectly adequate in terms of iron and protein intake.
Calcium – needed for healthy teeth and bones, for muscle contraction and relaxation (including your heart !) – calcium is found in dairy products, sesame seeds, tahini, soy beans and fortified products, broccoli, figs, and dark green vegetables.
Zinc – used for growth, healing and metabolising proteins, zinc is one of the more common deficiencies. White flecks on nails and skin problems is a sign that you may be deficient. Zinc is found in oatmeal, wheatgerm, cheese and milk products, mangoes, spinach and asparagus.
If you have signs of zinc deficiency it may be difficult to gain enough from your diet to get back to healthy levels and a supplement is a good idea.
Magnesium – this mineral is another common deficiency and can be related to many conditions such as migraine, anxiety, depression, muscle pain and weakness, poor carbohydrate metabolism. Sources of magnesium include fresh fruit and veg, nuts, seeds, yeast, pulses and beans. Again, like zinc, it can be hard to get a therapeutic level of magnesium from diet alone so supplements can help.
Iodine – needed for healthy thyroid function this mineral is found in iodised salt and seaweed products. When it is estimated that 1:10 people have suboptimal thyroid function it is worth talking to someone about how to support thyroid gland health. Herbal medicines can be of great assistance in dealing with thyroid symptoms such as depression, anxiety, weight gain, heart palpitations, hair and skin problems.

Call today for an appointment 02 45677104   0414 298645    info@naturocath.com.au

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Vitamins – where to find them and why you need them

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We all know that we need vitamins for good health. Here is a quick guide to help you get what you need.
Vitamin deficiencies are one of the most common and easily treatable things I see. A change of diet or supplement can help you feel so much better.

Keep an eye out for upcoming posts on minerals.

B group vitamins – necessary for healthy nervous system function. Deficiencies can lead to anaemia, mood disorders, mental fog, fatigue, muscle weakness, cracks at corner of mouth, dry skin and hair.

B12 – dairy, eggs, alfalfa, seaweed, fortified soy or cows milk. This is particularly important for vegans and vegetarians.
B1 – wheatgerm, soybeans, peas, beans and brazil nuts.
B2 – milk, mushrooms, almonds, leafy greens, almonds
B3 – mushrooms, sesame, sunflower seeds
B6 -bananas, soy products

Folic acid – deficiencies can lead to birth defects, miscarriage, anaemia and general weakness. Lack of folate also adversely affects B group vitamins. Sources inlcude – leafy greens, oranges, walnuts, almonds and avocado.

Vitamin C – necessary for immune function and protection against infection, healing and to enable absorption of iron.  Get your vitmain C from citrus, leafy greens, tomato, capsicum, strawberry, papaya.

Vitamins A,D,E and K are all found in dairy products, some oils and seeds, nuts. These vitamins are necessary for calcium absorption, healthy vision, hair, skin and nails, infection control, antioxidant action.

If you feel like you may be lacking all the vitamins you need call me today 02 45677104 or email info@naturocath.com.au

Herb of the Week – KAVA

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Kava, piper methysticum, is used safely and effectively in naturopathy for the treatment of anxiety and it bears no relation to the hallucinogenic and drugging drink of the islands that many people may have heard of.

One in five people will have an experience of anxiety in their lifetime and for many this can be a very stressful, frightening and debilitating time.

Many studies have shown that kava can be as effective a treatment for anxiety as benzodiazepines and has the added benefit of not having any issues of addiction, brain fog or dulling of emotions. Another benefit is that this herb can be used on an ‘as needed’ basis rather than being on sedating medications which can leave you feeling flat, fatigued and emotionally dulled. It also has the benefit of not having the same weight gain and libido crushing issues often associated with antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs.

Kava, quite simply, is a relaxant, antianxiety, muscle relaxant herb and can be used for anxiety, panic attack, insomnia, emotional stress, muscle tension and cramp.

If anxiety is a problem for you call me today to find out how I can safely and effectively help you through the use of herb, nutritional supplements and counselling we can get you back on track.

You eat well and exercise and still don’t feel great. Here’s the answer…..

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Food is simply not what it used to be. Our soils are poor, we don’t eat seasonally, our food is grown using fertilisers, herbicids and pesticides. The nutrients that exist in home grown, organically produced food are vastly different to those found in our supermarkets and green grocers.  Our food is grown in unnatural ways – monocultures and other intensive farming practices which deplete the soil and produces sub standard food.

Unless we are growing our own food, organically in healthy soils with non genetically modified seeds and raising our our animals in healthy ways there is no way we can be getting what we need and avoiding the things we don’t

I love to grow food so this is a pleasure for me. I know that not everyone is into gardening so we need to be aware of the sources of our food, the quality and the things we may need to supplement in order to look after our health and that of our families.

Most people I see in my practice benefit from supplements of vitamins or minerals. I take a good quality multivitamin daily as a kind of insurance policy against the things I may be lacking and the havoc that these deficiencies can reek on my health.

For other people a more tailored approach is necessary, especially if you have specific health problems or have circumstances such as stress, high levels of exercise, dietary lack or over indulgences.

Our bodies need vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes in order to perform well for us. We need them for energy production, brain function, immune protection, disease control, mental health and hormone production.

Some common signs of nutritional deficiencies include headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, brain fog, depression, anxiety, weight loss or gain, poor wound healing, skin conditions such as acne and eczema, restless legs or muscle cramps, recurrent infections and dry skin.

I know many people don’t like to take supplements. Why not call today so I can tailor a plan specific to your needs. Take what you need and nothing that you don’t.

Herb of the Week – Hawthorn

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Hawthorn is the mother of all cardiac and circulatory herbs. It is a potent cardiac tonic and acts to reduce blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, increases blood flow and provides protection against free radical amamge.

The antioxidant powers of this herb are effective in destroying free radicals which damage cell membranes and can adversely affect DNA. This is particularly important as we get older as the presence of free radicals increase with age. Free radicals are associated with premature aging, cancer and heart disease so the less we have the better.

Apart from the free radical protection, hawthorn also helps to dilate blood vessels, increase arterial blood flow and protect against blood vessel damage.

Hawthorn acts to normalise heart function and is a great tool in the treatment of heart weakness, high blood pressure, palpitations, angina and to protect against artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

I often use this herb where there is a family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack to provide protection and reduce strain on the cardio and circulatory systems.

Herb of the Week – Gingko biloba

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Gingko biloba is a well known herb and there has been much talk about it in the press as a treatment for Alzheimers Disease.

It is used also in the treatment of other types of dementia, for poor circulation, dizziness, asthma, to improve concentration and memory and for recovery support after stroke.

Gingko has many actions including  as an antioxidant, circulatory stimulant, cognition enhancer and is neuroprotective. It is also showing great results in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure.

Gratitude Day 15 – I am happy to have a warm fire on this cold, cold night and for the sound of all three of my beautiful children laughing together in the next room. The fire is warming me and they are warming my heart.

Herb of the Week – FEVERFEW

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Feverfew (tanacetum parthenium)

This herb is used primarily in the treatment of headache and migraine.  It helps with pain during an attack and also can be used as a preventative treatment. It is also a valuable tool in the treatment of psoriasis, arthritis, anaemia, tinnitus and vertigo.

It works by having anti-inflammatory, vasodilating and muscle relaxant properties which are common problems associated with severe headache.

The lowdown on magnesium

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Magnesium, and other minerals like iron and zinc, are essential for healthy body functioning.

Magnesium is required for more than 300 biochemical reaction in the body, maintains normal muscle and nerve function, helps with energy and heart function. It also plays an important role in regulating blood sugar levels, digestion of food, healthy calcium levels, blood pressure regulation, muscle relaxation and stress .

Some signs that you may be magnesium deficient include feelings of tiredness and lethargy, muscle cramping, muscle tension, headaches, stress or anxiety, insomnia, PMS and high blood pressure.

Some studies show that up to 76% of men and 86% of women are magnesium deficient. Good sources of magnesium include green vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes and chocolate but it is difficult to get an adequate amount to therapeutically help. Other factors which may be impacting on your magnesium levels are tea, alcohol, coffee and exercise which deplete our magnesium supplies.

Stress is one of the most common causes of low magnesium. When you are stressed, depressed or anxious your body requires more magnesium than usual to help you and your muscles relax. It becomes a vicious cycle where your stress lowers your levels and the low levels increase you stress.

What do you do now ????

To break this cycle, or to simply supplement for dietary insufficiency, there are many magnesium products available. It’s important to choose the right one for your particular circumstance.

Some types of magnesium can cause stomach upsets so it’s is worth checking it out first. Magnesium diglycinate is the best form to take as it is easily absorbed and will not cause stomach upset.

Cal today to see if magnesium supplements could help you.

The Top 10 Herbs for Women.

Some of you who have subscribed to my email newsletter may have already read this article. For those of you who are new to NaturoCath I hope you find this information helpful and please contact me if I can help you.

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These herbs are essential to any naturopaths toolkit when dealing with health issues specific to women.

They are safe, effective and best of all, don’t come with the nasty side effects often associated with synthetic hormone treatments

1. BUPLEURUM – This herb is commonly used to treat PMT. It has a calming and pain relieving effect and is also a fantastic herb for liver support. Its hormone normalising function helps to deal with headache, stress, anxiety, fluid retention, mood swings and breast pain.

2. ANGELICA – Angelica is sometimes known as dong quia and is commonly used to help support red blood cell function and to regulate prostaglandin activity which is the cause of most period pains. It is also used effectively in the treatment of endometriosis and infertility.

3. BLACK COHOSH – used to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes by reducing pituitary actions which causes these symptoms. Black cohosh is also known to work effectively by binding to serotonin receptors to calm hormone activity and stabilise brain chemistry.

4. CURCUMA – also known as turmeric, this herb is a powerful anti-inflammatory and cancer preventative.

5. LIQUORICE – this herb is a powerful tool in the treatment of conditions such as PCOS where there is excess testosterone. Symptoms of PCOS include weight gain, erratic or missed periods, facial hair, acne and infertility. This herb is normally combined with PEONY to stimulate ovulation.

6.WITHANIA – withatleast10%ofwomenover35showing signs of thyroid dysfunction this herb acts to support the thyroid gland. Low thyroid function can lead to a myriad of symptoms such as weight gain, loss of periods, depression, dry skin and hair, fatigue, memory problems. Withania is a strong antioxidant and protects the thyroid gland against autoimmune disorders

7.VITEX – alsoknownasCHASTETREEthisherbisfantastic for normalising menstrual cycles, infertility and painful periods.

8.COLEUS – used primarily for weight loss due to its positive effect on stimulating fat burning enzymes such as lipase. It also assists weight loss by stimulating thyroid function, ramping up a sluggish digestive/metabolic system and improves insulin sensitivity.

9.SHATAVARI – does you libido need a boost? This ayurvedic herb has long been used as a female tonic and contains chemical compounds known as saponins which stimulate hormone function in women leading to healthier sexual function.

10. SCHISANDRA – antiaging properties due to high antioxidant levels. Look great for longer !

Herb of the Week – Elderberry and Elderflower

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Botanical name sambucus nigra, this herb is most commonly used in treating cold and flu, sinus pain, acute viral infections and other respiratory problems such as hay fever, sinusitis, bronchitis, laryngitis, asthma, ear infections and headache associated with sinus conditions.

Elder helps these conditions by helping to reduce inflammation, fighting viral and bacterial attack and by acting as an expectorant to reduce and remove phlegm and sinus pain and pressure.  It is also a powerful agent against fever and can reduce the length and severity of colds and flu.

Gratitude Day 11 – I’m grateful today for sunshine and  a thriving vegetable patch  – currently eating potatoes, celery, spinach, daikon, beans, herbs, sorrell, jerusalem artichokes……yum