Show your liver some TLC

 

The liver is your largest organ and gland in the body. It lies beneath your ribs and everything you breathe and swallow meets the liver
Its functions include
-acts as a filter which cleans up all our toxins
-stores our vitamins and iron
-detoxifies the blood and produce bile
All these functions allow your internal system to run smoothly
liver photo

Signs of poor bile flow can include, constipation which can be aggravated by fibre supplements, flatulence, dry skin and hair, indigestion an hour or two after food, or a feeling of indigestion after meals high in fat content, or even small and hard stools.

After a period of indulgence or a few drinks here and there, it all takes its toll on your liver
Follow these simple tips to naturally and effectively cleanse your liver.

Superfoods
Your liver loves superfoods because they work as stimulants for the liver. Several vegetables are rich in the magic protein, glutathione, which works by detoxifying the liver. So double check your shopping list, and start off by adding carrots. Not only are they versatile, eaten raw or cooked, suiting any dinner dish really, but they are also heavy in glutathione. Beetroots are just as amazing as carrots ! Tomatoes also have abundant amounts of glutathione, they detoxify and stimulate the liver simultaneously ! that’s fantastic! so have them on a toast for breakfast, as a soup, toss them in a salad or make a tomato salsa as a side dish for dinner. What about kale !! this green leafy vegetable that I discovered in the UK, is so in season ! have them as a side to your eggs, they can form the bulk of your green juices or smoothies, make a pesto ( see my kale and walnut pesto recipe) or in a soup. At college, they recommended once, to massage the kale with good olive oil and have them in a salad ! That’s if you have time to do such a thing. Kale (from the brassica family) contains sulphurous compounds such as sulphoraphane and Indole 3 carbinol, involved in the detoxification pathways of the liver! Another member of the brassica family, includes brussels sprouts, still in season ! and no they should not just be around for Christmas !B.Sprouts are both high in anti-oxidants and their sulphur content force the liver to release enzymes. If they are not your thing, then pick avocadoes. You’ll notice that all nutritionists/nutritional therapists are raving about avocadoes, they are just so good ! tasty, nutrient dense and they aid the production of glutathione.Spinach is my all time favourite healing antidote, which also triggers toxin cleaning enzymes.

brussel_sprouts

How about FRUITS !
I cannot live a day without fruits, yes they can be high in sugar but in the right quantities and balanced with the right categories of food, they are just fine. As liver healing remedies, grapefruit lovers will be happy to know that these are packed with the magic protein, glutathione, high in anti-oxidants and vitamin C which boosts the production of detoxifying enzymes. Citrus fruits in general have wonderful healing habits because they stimulate the liver as well as synthesizing toxic materials into substances which are absorbed by water. Just like the saying goes ‘Eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away’, well being high in pectin, they cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract so the liver can then handle the toxic load more effectively

Herbal teas.
These can be your alternative to your cuppa of tea or coffee.They are invigorating and warm, and can be a tool to help your liver cleanse. Dandelion tea for instance helps your liver break down fats which produce amino acids, and research shows it helps to transport toxins away from the liver to be excreted by the body and assists liver function. Green tea is glorious and is packed of anti-oxidants called catechins which assist liver function. Milk thistle, as most of you know, is a great liver cleanser.

Your liver DISLIKES
Alcohol


Alcohol
is usually the main culprit for a pounding head, which is down to dehydration.Your liver has to work overtime to get rid of alcoholic toxins and dehydration means the body can’t flush these toxins out.Some natural healers can give you a happy head once again. Warm water and lemon is a wake up call for the liver, it triggers nerve and hormone activation directly to the liver.Upon waking up daily, it is also a wonderful tool to kick your liver’s activity. A lot of us forget, that water is our body’s greatest fuel, and drinking sufficient fluid boosts the flow of nutrients to and from the liver. Spices like Turmeric, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties which benefit and protect the liver. Other ways to get the grips with you weekend hangover, crab apple, zinc and garlic !

garlic

EXCESS
When your body cannot process excess fatty food, salt, iron, and vitamin A, it stores it naturally in the liver. This can cause abnormal liver function and inflammation which can lead to a condition called Cirrhosis.(Cirrhosis is a term used to describe scarring of the liver after long term and continuous damage and scar tissue replaces healthy tissue

Perhaps it is time to use some of those tips if you don’t already to cleanse your liver naturally. Head down to a farmer’s market and stock up on superfoods. Regenerate and cleanse ! it is your liver and your life.

Hormonal imbalances

Although both men and women have the same hormones just in different ratios, women seem to be the bearers of more complex issues. Yes it can be complex, as maintaining the right hormonal balance requires other body systems  such as, the nervous, endocrine and digestive systems to also work in synergy! Why the connection between the nervous and endocrine systems? Well to give you a broad idea, the hypothalamus located  in the brain controls the pituitary gland which is the master of  endocrine hormones .It acts control on  glands in the body such as the adrenal, thyroid, ovaries, testes,  Its action on the thyroid gland for instance, is for the production of  thyroid hormones and balance the body’s metabolism  Adrenal glands (sit on top of the kidneys), are responsible namely from the production of cortisol, DHEA from cholesterol ( DHEA is the hormone that controls testosterone and 3 types of oestrogen), and aldosterone ( involved in blood pressure and fluid concentration balance).I may have lost you there, but with future blogs you will slowly develop a better understanding of the connection between body systems and overall it is all about balance

Hormone imbalances can occur so easily especially since they are incredibly sensitive to the environment (stress, exposure to many compounds that modern lifestyles put us through and nutrition)
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, where the correlation between hormonal imbalances and the symptoms have gone unnoticed or may be worse around menstrual cycles for women. These can include bloating, feeling sluggish, insomnia, finding it hard to focus, constipation, skin issues, mood changes including depression, loss of hair, weight gain, muscle loss or weakness, poor libido and infertility.

Key advice

There are pathways in the body that ensure adequate conversion, transport, modulation or excretion of hormones but several factors can upset our balance as mentioned before. Always aim to balance the body as a whole, functionally, to see positive changes in hormonal levels.
Ensuring the liver detoxification pathways are working correctly
-Support your liver with superfoods (wheatgrass, green tea, organic nuts and seeds, acai berries…), dark green leafy vegetables(kale/spinach/chinese greens), lean protein, and foods high in anti-oxidants (think of eating a rainbow of colours-berries/avocadoes/beetroots/carrots).The liver is the organ that is responsible for breaking down hormones that we produce along with its actions with several other compounds (alcohol, medications, pesticides etc).Often symptoms seen in Premenstrual Syndromes (PMS), is an imbalance between progesterone and oestrogen.
Adequate insoluble and soluble fibre can improve the excretion of excess oestrogen. As once hormones have detoxified, it is important to get rid of hormone by-products. This is particularly important if on the contraceptive pill. Examples of insoluble fibre (helps to form the bulk of stools and speed the digestive process) : wholewheat and wholegrain products, nuts and seeds (except golden linseeds), fruits such as apples and pears and vegetables such as carrots.. Soluble fibre(attracts water and turns to a gel like texture) : oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits (strawberries, bananas) and several vegetables.
• Healthy gut bacteria can make sure that the unwanted hormones are not re-absorbed back into the blood stream to create further havoc with your hormones. Disturbances in gut bacteria can arise from medical conditions, medications, stress, poor diet (high refined flours, sugars, caffeine, dairy, processed foods ) etc. If choosing to go down the route of probiotics, consult a nutritional therapist to make the right choice, as they are specific strains in combination or alone, which can be right for you .Specific food also known as , prebiotics (sauerkraut, kefir )  can feed your gut with good bacteria. The right balance of omega 3 and 6 is also key to keep inflammation at bay and promote a healthy gut.
Limiting hormone disruptors in our day to day life. For instance: phthalate plasticisers from plastic food packaging have been shown to disrupt hormones. A hormone disruptor is basically ‘an external agent which interferes with the production, release, transport, metabolism, binding, action or elimination of natural hormones in the body responsible for the right balance and regulation of developmental processes.’
Supporting your blood sugar levels is key. Excessive amounts of insulin are produced when blood sugar levels are high and this can raise your stress hormones, which are closely linked to your sex hormones. Too low blood sugar levels are not ideal either. Combining the right food categories and eating at regular times, mindfully, can help tremendously.
Finding the time to relax and do the things that you like. (Be it watching back to back episodes of the modern family, sleep, cook, meditate, sex, eat dark chocolate). Stress can affect the body as a whole, and your hormones are certainly not omitted. You must remember that also in times of stress, your body is deficient of vital nutrients nourishing it with the right food or supplements can be key !

  • Exercise wisely: Yes we release feel good hormones called ‘endorphins’ upon exercising, but if you have been told you have adrenal or thyroid imbalances, choose lower impact classes such as pilates, yoga or swimming instead of a body attack class ,and slowly but surely  work your way up the exercise ladder as you wish, under supervision.

Supplements can help a particular protocol at specific stages, get in touch to find out more!
Hormone imbalances differ from person to person as we are individuals with different medical backgrounds, family history, genetic makeups with different diets and lifestyles.

Find out how tailored support can be provided for hormone imbalances as well as the management of conditions such as fertility, PCOS, PMS, menopause and endometriosis

Contact isabelle@nutriaffairs.com

Alternatives to Cow’s milk

Dear Nutri Affairs followers,

It’s Tuesday night and it is nearly the end of January 2015. I am feeling rather happy to end the January blues and start afresh in February, although content with what has been achieved this month. Do you have new goals or aspirations for the year and did not get round to starting them?Go ahead, whether it is to be more organised, spend less time on your phone but with the ones surrounding you, become fitter and work out at least twice a week, sleep more or try out new categories of food !

Alternatives to cow’s milk

We have such a wide range of options of dairy-free milks, especially in the UK. Here is a quick summary of what some of these may bring you, and you may find that overall you feel better or digest them better. They are also ideal for those intolerant to dairy or lactose(sugars found in dairy).

I used to be a huge fan of cow’s milk, from copious amounts in tea to yoghurts, day in and out. Since learning about other types milks and their nutrient content, I have welcomed those with open arms.

Hemp milk:

produced from ‘superfood’ Hemp seeds and is perfectly legal! Dairy free/soya free/lactose free

High in omega 3’s (provides you with 50% of your daily allowance); high in essential amino acids so therefore high in protein, good for hormone imbalances, inflammatory conditions, cholesterol free, low in saturated fat and calories. Keep your heart healthy with hemp milk !

It has a creamy and nutty taste, suitable for vegans, vegetarians and children.

Coconut milk:

Wonderful for the skin, creamy and delicious in taste, High in omega 3’s, provides the same amount of calcium  as 250ml of semi-skimmed milk. It contains, calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc and iron.Anti-microbial, hence a powerful flu-fighter !Anti-inflammatory compared to cow’s milk and low in calories. Add in smoothies, bakes, oats, soups etc. More information about the benefits of coconuts in my article ‘facts I love about coconuts’

Rice milk

Made from rice grains, it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.If chosen, just be aware it is high in carbohydrates, calories and sugars (not suitable for diabetics).However it is low in protein and in calcium. It is cholesterol free and has no saturated fat .It can be a good alternative to dairy (just like coconut, oat, hemp) especially if you have soy/nut allergies or lactose/casein intolerances It is good for the heart, with its content of niacin, magnesium and  vitamin B6. Opt for the most plain version if you do like it. Texture wise, rice milk can be quite gritty.

Oat milk

Nutritious as they are made from oats. High in complex carbohydrates with soluble and insoluble fibres so kind to the digestive system.High in folic acid, essential for us to produce red blood cells and repair. High in vitamins (B1, B6, E) and minerals (magnesium amongst others) and phytochemicals, compounds naturally present in plants, and provides them with their distinctive flavours, colours,odours and textures. Low in saturated fat, gluten free, lactose free. Oats contain beta-glucans which lower cholesterol and help to promote steady blood glucose levels.

Almond milk:

Besides coconut milk, this is another favourite of mine. Made from ground almonds, low  in calories and protein. It contains potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. It has similar calcium levels to dairy milk,providing us with 30 % of our recommended daily allowance.Almonds are a high source of vitamin A and E, powerful antioxidants thus protecting our body’s cells and tissues from damage.  High in vitamin D, providing you with 25 % of your recommended daily allowance,.Wonderful for  healthy eye sight and skin, it has immune enhancing properties and is also anti-ageing!

Soy milk

Made from soy beans, adequate for vegans and vegetarians, but some may found soy to be an allergen that does not agree with their body

Care should be taken as ‘soy’ contains phytoestrogens (which are a form of plant based hormones). If consuming in small amounts, opt for the wholebean organic ,soy milk and not the highly processed versions as then you would have no benefit of consuming soy milk. High in protein, calcium, low in calories and sugar. Most available option when out and about in the UK.

If you have always believed  Cow’s milk as being your main source of Calcium, then I’d like to point out that  green vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts,chicory, kale, spinach etc)  have a 40 to 65 % absorption capacity of calcium compared to cow’s milk which ranges at about 30 %.Other sources of calcium include, small fish (especially with their bones),nuts and seeds, dried fruits, pulses and wholegrains. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, and you can do so through nutrition or supplements especially during the winter months. Seek advice from a qualified professional when it comes to supplements !

Latest research show that today’s cow’s milk is not the best choice with regards to it’s quality, and effects on certain health conditions. This is another blog to be written on its own !

If choosing alternatives, always try to opt for the unsweetened, plain  and/or an organic version .If the labels contain words that you cannot pronounce, put it back on the shelf ! Some of the thickeners that may be added  to these dairy free milks include tapioca or carrageenan. Stay away from those when you can.

Have a lovely day

xxx isabelle

 

Facts about coconut oil that I love!

I thought it worth to mention the wonderful benefits of coconut oil. Over the last few weeks, especially with the cold weather and harsh stripping nature of water in London,  I saw patients struggling with dry skin or a worsening of dermatological conditions, just like I did prior to attending my course at the CNM college in  London.
Like a lot of us, I have eczema, which is chronic and preventative care is better than curing it constantly with steroidal creams. Although I have changed a few other things (products, diet, lifestyle) , my skin is in a much better place and I would always recommend coconut oil.
Facts I love about coconut oil which I use for cooking, baking, adding to smoothies and topical applications
  • It has Anti-inflammatory properties, therefore topically it is a wonderful natural remedy for dermatitis/eczema/psoriasis. Soothes dry, irritated, cracked skin. Taken orally, it  is great when  used along other dietary and lifestyle measures for inflammatory conditions (arthritis, ulcerative colitis )
  • Anti-microbial, perfect when there are signs of a bacterial infection.
  • It mostly contains lauric acid also present in breastmilk and is 100% lactose free. Coconut oil is classified as ‘good fats’. It is made of  medium chain fatty acid (unlike most foods in  common diets, have long chain fatty acids). Itlowers Cholesterol by increasing HDL  (high density lipoprotein) in the blood
  • Anti-fungal– it can  also help prevent dandruff by topical application on the scalp.
  • Anti-oxidant- Helps our bodies fight off free radical damage ( from UV light, pollution, stress, air- pollution.) Due to this property, it is Anti-ageing, so  ladies apply it to the max !
  • Use it for cooking as it is heat resistant (unlike oils like sunflower, soya, peanut, vegetable which are converted to harmful free radicals).If a recipe states other types of fat, you may swap it for coconut oil.
  • Lovely Natural Moisturiser as an alternative to our daily skin care products which often contain chemicals.
  • Weight management– fantastic as part of a weight management programme or simply when  following a healthy routine, it contributes to a reduction in appetite and helps to boost your metabolism. Coconut oil is directly absorbed by the liver and almost immediately metabolised and converted to energy. Because of their medium chain fatty acids, coconut oil (unlike other fats which have long chain fatty acids) are not packaged into molecules called lipoproteins and do not circulate in the blood stream to stay! As a reference, it is also lower in calories than any other oil
  • Enhances the Thyroid function, and therefore the production of hormones involved with mood, energy, metabolism, body temperature, heart rate and other body functions.
  • Nutritional Scientific research has also found benefits of coconut oil in degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s
  • Other uses: Cradle cap, Canker sores, Acne, Hair conditioning treatment, Make up remover,
Brands I like include TIANA-organic extra virgin coconut oil; Nutivaorganic extra virgin coconut oil.

JUICING : trendy, healthy, green ?

I say all of the above

It has become trendier to consume juices in the last few years and juicers and their related products are selling fast. But why ?

Cold pressed juices would be the best choice !Crushing the juices out of the vegetables to then squeeze out the juice with the highest nutritional value. High in digestive enzymes, bacteria, thickness, and they are about 3 to 5 times higher in nutrients than juices you’d buy from a carton of orange juice.

Why go green ?
  • Allows you to have a high intake of nutrients in one go, especially if you are finding it hard to compensate elsewhere.
  • By favouring more greens than fruits in your juice, you opt for a lower sugar content. (always check the label if purchasing juices.)

-Great for the digestive tract !

  • Reduce the level of acidity in the stomach which may be caused several factors including high or continuous intakes of coffee, processed food, spicy/greasy food, alcohol, irregular eating habits, stress, refined sugars .
  • Just remember to try and have the pulp of you juice if your juicer separates them. This is packed with dietary fibre, and is responsible for lowering your blood sugar levels and blood pressure, regulating your bowels, making you feel fuller for longer.
  • Oxygenates the body, due to the natural content of ‘chlorophyll’ in the greens. Chlorophyll works by neutralising the pollution (environmentally,or through our diet/lifestyle) and allows the removal of toxins. Since it improves the amount of red blood cell count (haemoglobin) , our blood flow improves and the result is higher energy levels !
  • Green juice is healing as it cleanses our inner cell walls and improves the health of our intestines and lungs amongst others.

Do we need to survive on juicing to do a cleanse ?

No, I don’t think so. The body naturally detoxifies itself through the GI tract , Liver and Kidneys

top tips :

Use fresh vegetables, organic if you can. Use more greens than fruits. Use a juice maker that does not heat and pulverise in a way as to destroy the nutrients. Brands I like : Nutri Bullet, Vitamix, Phillips juice maker

Make sure to keep the good stuff ! aka the pulp. You may convert this into a smoothie with almond milk for example and have a protein intake.

Today I made a kale/ ginger/granny smith apples/ carrot juice

 

Get your MOJO back !

Dear Nutri Affairs followers,

Christmas and the festivities of the new year are now over and you may want to provide your body with the tools it needs to flourish again !

images

Here are my TOP TIPS for energising you and get your MOJO back !

  • SLEEP and get the BALANCE right. Fuel your body at the right times, eat 3 balanced meals to keep your blood sugar levels stable and therefore energy constant !if you feel the urge include a form of protein i.e a fruit and a handful of nuts.
  • Why Essential Fatty Acids ?- EFA’s support your cells membranes in maintaining their flexibility and fluidity, they allow messages to move between cells to the mitochondria; our powerhouse of energy cells . Found in Flaxseeds, Chia Seeds, Oily Fish, Coconut oil..
  • PROTEIN : it does not only ‘make you fuller for longer’, it regenerates your cells. protein is broken down to amino acids, to then form new proteins, replacing cellular components that have been worn out. In addition- Amino acids are involved in making hormones, which allows your cells to communicate and the body to function as it should !

avocado run
Choose good quality protein, (wild caught) fish,legumes, nuts, organic eggs, grass fed meat if you can. Spirulina is also a powerful vegetarian protein source.

  • Replenish your body with you ANTIOXIDANTS, these good guys will fight off free radicals from causing cell damage. Free radicals build up with toxins found in foods, medication, pollution and even radiation. If these accumulate, free radical damage causes our little cells to function poorly therefore you can easily feel drained and lethargic

So make sure that you blast your diet with foods high in vitamin A, C and E. Want to speed up the process of toxin elimination? Add chlorella to your diet. It is so wonderful at binding to toxin molecules like spiders and pushing them out of the body

  • GO GREEN , My nutritional heroes : kale/spirulina/spinach/ parsley/basil. They are rich in chlorophyll, which resembles a haemoglobin cell, and transports oxygen around the body ! Greens are mighty and full of B vitamins , Magnesium and Alpha lipoic acid , all crucial for energy production
  • Try MACA ! Used back in the days by warriors for their endurance and energising properties It also helps to balance our hormones which can easily go haywire. Made into a superfood powder that I love, you can add a scoop to your porridge, bakes, smoothies giving you a boost in energy.
  • Top up with B5 : stimulate your adrenal glands and supports your stamina and ability to deal with stress. anxiety and feeling low. Avocadoes that we all love are high in B5 ! so have it on toast to start your day or as a snack ! Sprinkle with pumpkin or sunflower seeds and some cayenne pepper. Sounds delicious !
  • DITCH the caffeine fuelled drinks and processed sugars which only give you a rise in cortisol and sharp drop in energy once their effects wear off. They also affect good quality sleep !Again if Maca is within reach have some if you can. if not green tea, powerful in antioxidants
  • DO something that makes you LAUGH…the best natural energy booster found on earth ! 🙂