Corey Baird’s Experience at Holistic Medical Centre

Corey Baird’s Experience at Holistic Medical Centre

Corey Baird, a  level 3 personal trainer from Les Mills  dropped by Holistic Medical centre to have a full health check up. Here is Corey’s experience and what he has to say!

Recently I booked an appointment at the Holistic Medical centre to have a full health check up.

The crazy thing is I’m not sick but I am interested in optimising my health .

I’ve chosen the Holistic Medical Centre as they fit in with my beliefs around holistic health. They treat the person not the symptom.

My first appointment was with a Doctor and a Naturopath which is how the clinic operates. That way they can deliver the best of natural and conventional medicine.

They asked me a truckload of questions about my health and gathered info on my history. Then they created a comprehensive list of tests to find out how well my body was functioning. I was sent away to get a full list of blood tests, including Vitamin D and Red blood cell magnesium. They cut off a strand of my hair to do food allergy and intolerance testing. I also had to get a skin prick test for other allergies including dogs and cats….Ahhhhh hoping I have no allergies to my puppy.

Excited to find out the results and optimise my health!Getting a health check up from the Holistic medical centre is also something I’ve started encouraging my clients to do. This way if there are any underlying health concerns that may slow their progress in the gym they can get on top of them fast.

Getting a health check up from the Holistic medical centre is also something I’ve started encouraging my clients to do. This way if there are any underlying health concerns that may slow their progress in the gym they can get on top of them fast. I will keep you updated on my progress!

Why You Should Go To The Doctor When You’re NOT Sick

hollistic

From : http://www.thestyleinsider.co.nz/go-doctor-youre-not-sick/

I went to the doctor when I wasn’t sick and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Confused? Let me explain. If you’re anything like me, you probably only go to the doctor when you’re literally falling apart. Am I right? I generally have to be on my last legs before I’ll drag myself off to the docs and by this point it’s really an ambulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-cliff type scenario. But recently I was introduced to a medical clinic that takes a far more holistic approach to healthcare. In fact, you’re actually encouraged to visit when you’re not “sick” as opposed to waiting until it’s too late. So I went along to Auckland’s Holistic Medical Centre for a consultation to find out more.

During my consultation I mentioned I was regularly stressed and that my anxiety levels seemed to be increasing. After a long chat (more than the  average 15 min quick consult) the GP suggested a series of blood tests to see exactly what’s going on in my body that may be causing me to feel more stressed and anxious than normal. The results of those tests were startling.

It turns out I’m enormously deficient in a number of super important vitamins and minerals. And many of the symptoms of these deficiencies cause anxiety and stress. Go figure! The results show that my body is in what’s called adrenal overdrive which basically means I’m pushing myself too hard. And here’s the kicker. Because I wasn’t suffering from what I thought was a significant illness I wouldn’t have even visited my doctor unless I’d been encouraged to visit the Holistic Medical Centre. But the reality is that we all need a regular warrant of fitness on our health. We take our cars in for regular checks to ensure they don’t break down but it’s kind of crazy when you think that we don’t do the same for ourselves. Most of us only go to the doctor when we’ve broken down. It’s not how we treat our cars so why do we treat our bodies like this? My appointments have been a HUGE eye-opener in terms of my own health and they’ve made me realise that we all need to go to the doctor when we’re not sick or broken down – we all need to stop leaving it until it’s too late and we’re suffering. A little preventive care means we don’t actually get to that point. It also means our bodies are running as efficiently as they possible can which is what’s needed to ward off diseases. Things like heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer can all be positively impacted and often avoided if our bodies are running at optimal levels. It’s really that simple.

LEONIE’S PRESCRIPTION FOR HEALTH

My test results showed I am low in:

Vitamin D – which causes fatigue, weight gain, poor concentration, headache

B12  – which causes weakness, tiredness, lightheadedness

Folate – causes persistent fatigue, weakness, lethargy, pale skin, irritability, shortness of breath

Zinc – which is a great antioxidant and is one of the bodies first lines of defence

Magnesium – the symptoms of low magnesium cause anxiety, fatigue, poor memory, weakness, dizziness

The results also showed my Homocysteine levels (which is an amino acid in your blood) are sky high. This isn’t good news because high levels are linked to heart disease. It’s associated with low levels of B vitals and folate and symptoms include tiredness, weight-gain, headaches, sleep problems, depression and the list goes on.

 

I was prescribed:

Medical quality vitamins and minerals – much harder hitting than you can buy over the counters.

Herbal support to calm and destress my system.

It was also suggested that I incorporate some gentle calming yoga into my life – more Hatha and less Ashtanga.

I was also encouraged to start meditating to help calm my mind and to drink a little apple cider vinegar in water in the morning to help stimulate digestion which basically means that your body can digest the goodness from the foods you eat.

 

By : Leonie Barlow

Chia Pudding Recipe

Chia Pudding Recipe

Ingredients
• ¼ cup of chia seeds
• ¾ cup of unsweetened almond milk
• A pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
• 1 piece of fresh seasonal fruit

Method

• Stir together ¼ cup chia seeds with ¾ cup almond milk and leave covered in the fridge overnight.
• Sprinkle over the cinnamon before serving.
• Add 1 piece of fresh seasonal fruit to serve.

Back to Basics with Food Choices

Back to Basics with Food Choices

We are fortunate to live in a country where healthy food choices are in abundance. At the same time, diet fads change daily and marketing spin has far too great a punch. It’s therefore not surprising that so many of us feel completely confused and overwhelmed by what we should, or shouldn’t, be eating. This is particularly the case as we head into the summer months, when many of us begin to focus on weight loss.

As a naturopath and holistic nutritionist, one of the most common questions I am asked is: what should I eat? When I’m asked this question, I go back to basics.

Become a food detective

Generally speaking, if it is a wholefood that has been grown and prepared as nature intended, without excessive heating, processing or additives, then it will serve your body well. The challenge is when food is being portrayed as whole and natural but has actually been transformed into something quite different. For this reason, I really encourage you to become a food detective and read all food labels carefully:

  • If it has more than 5-6 ingredients on the label, includes numbers, flavourings, or buzz words like “lite”, “fat free” , then it’s probably not all that good for you.
  • Similarly, be wary of terms such as “natural”, “sugar-free” and “gluten free”. Just because it sounds healthy, it may still contain high quantities of sugar or sugar alternatives.
  • Heavily heated oils (deep fried) and hydrogenated fats (widely used in sweets, frozen meals, fried foods and many dairy products) will have had a change in structure, which means they are no longer in their natural form.

Manage your portion sizes

Another question I’m often asked is which protein, fats and carbohydrates should I eat, and how much. The answer will depend on the individual and their circumstances, how well they tolerate different food groups, and how active they are. For the average person, however, the following generally applies at each meal. By following these simple guidelines, most people are amazed by how good they look and feel once they start getting this balance right:

  • Protein the size of your palm– with red meat no more than twice weekly, 2-3 servings of fish per week, and plenty of plant-based proteins too.
  • A tablespoon of healthy fat such as olive oil, coconut or avocado.
  • A cup of good quality carbohydrate such as kumara, pumpkin or brown rice.
  • 2-3 servings of extra vegetables.
  • And stop eating once you feel feel 80% full…it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to actually register that you are full.

Therapeutic or restrictive diets such as FODMAPS, high fat, or low carbohydrate diets are best practised under the guidance of a qualified health practitioner, and be followed for a limited period to achieve the best results. Our bodies are not designed to go for long periods without certain macronutrients, and over time this can cause health problems in itself.

Anticipate and manage the dreaded cravings

One of the biggest hindrances to following a healthy diet can be food cravings. We can have the best intentions, but somehow that bag of chips, packet of biscuits, or bar of chocolate manages to sneak its way in.

Food cravings can be incredibly debilitating when it comes to the food choices we make, so it is really essential to address the cause of these if you want to overcome them. One of the most common reasons for cravings can be that you are not getting enough good quality protein and fat in your meals, particularly at breakfast.

There are lots of ways to help beat the cravings, including:

1) Breakfast like royalty! Start your day with a good hearty breakfast, rich in healthy proteins and fats, and this will set you up for the rest of your day. Eggs with steamed greens, chia pudding, porridge or muesli with plenty of nuts and seeds mixed in.

2) Include protein or healthy fats in each meal and include these macronutrients in your snacks too. If you get the balance right, you should find you don’t need the afternoon coffee and muffin after all.

3) Don’t graze through the day. Have a quality breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then if you need to, a small good quality snack in between, such as some mixed nuts and seeds, or veggie sticks with hummus.

4) Use cinnamon and ginger to sweeten and flavour your food. These spices are not only delicious, but they also help to regulate your blood sugar and combat your sweet tooth!

5) There can often be an emotional element to people’s food cravings or eating habits. This may stem from ongoing stress, or it may well be more deep rooted than this. If this resonates with you, then I encourage you to consider seeing a qualified practitioner .

 

Andrea Frires is a qualified naturopath, nutritionist and medical herbalist from The Holistic Medical Centre, 48 Ponsonby Road. To make an appointment for a consultation with Andrea, Nicola or any of the holistic GP’s call T: 09 370 0650 or visit www.holisticmedicalcentre.co.nz for more information.

Spring Cleanse

Spring Cleanse

The health of your liver can determine your weight, mood, energy levels, and quality of sleep. Are you looking after this critical organ?

For many of us, spring is a chance to revive our health and wellbeing goals. The long winter months can lead to food and lifestyle choices that don’t always contribute to our good health (or our beach body). We may enter spring with the best intentions for our bodies and minds but can be unsure of what to do.

When it comes to bearing the brunt of winter indulgence, the liver probably carries the heaviest load in our body. It detoxifiesdaily toxins such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar, trans fats, refined foods, unnatural skin care products, medications and pain killers,regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels, assists with hormone balance and supports our metabolism.

Fortunately the liver has an incredible capacity to multitask, however if it’s working too hard in one area, it gets out of balance in another.

An overburdened liver can reveal itself in a number of different ways including:

  • Sleep and performance. Feeling tired, waking up during the night; foggy thinking and poor memory Irritability, short temper, low mood, feeling sluggish
  • Weight, appetite and physical appearance. Weight gain, especially around midriff; poor appetite in the morning; sugar cravings or cravings for refined carbohydrate foods (pastries, cakes, pasta, bread); cellulite
  • Poor ability to digest fatty meals, nausea, bloating, burping, excessive flatulence
  • Premenstrual symptoms, or other hormonal imbalances.

The best way to get your weight, moods, sleep, skin and energy back on track is to give your liver a little love! A spring cleanse is a wonderful way to reduce your liver’s workload and strengthen its working capacity.

Four Week Cleanse Package

The Holistic Medical Centre’s four week cleanse package includes

  • One-hour  initial naturopath consultation for a full personal health assessment
  • a detox guide and recipes
  • Two, half-hour follow-up naturopath consultations to guide you through your cleanse
  • Three body composition tests, which will assess your body health and composition before, during & after the cleanse.

Top Foods For Your Cleanse

  • Go Green. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, watercress and brussel sprouts. These contain compounds that assist the production of the liver’s detoxifying enzymes, improving the livers capacity to deal with toxins.
  • Spring into sulphur.. Cruciferous vegetables, eggs, onions, raw garlic, leaks and spring onion are all excellent sources of sulphur compounds.
  • Bitter is better… help to promote natural detoxification by the liver and reduce cravings for sweet foods. They also stimulate bile flow and the production of digestive enzymes which supports healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. Excellent bitter foods for a spring cleanse include rocket, endives, mustard leaf, dandelion greens, kale, turmeric and grapefruit.
  • Antioxidants assist liver function and protect it from the potentially damaging after-effects of detoxification. Fresh fruits and vegetables, and herbs and spices, provide an abundance of natural antioxidants. Some of the highest-rated antioxidant foods include goji berries, blueberries, raw dark chocolate, rosemary, thyme, turmeric . Catechins found in green tea are also potent antioxidants.
  • Get toned. Liver-toning herbs such as dandelion root and milk thistle act as digestive bitters and also help to strengthen and tone the liver. Clinical studies have proven the ability of milk thistle to repair liver damage.

There are many benefits of a cleanse but cleansing isn’t about depriving yourself. It’s an opportunity to indulge your body with wonderful nutrients, rid your body of unwanted toxins and give yourself the gift of renewed energy levels and a healthier body and mind.

 

Vitamin Boost Smoothie with Microgreens

Vitamin Boost Smoothie with Microgreens

Giving you over 100% of your daily vitamin A and C intake, 2 grams of dietary fibre and over half of your necessary calcium, this smoothie is perfect for those with a demanding lifestyle.

Ingredients

· ½ cup of Parsley Italian Plain Leaf
· ½ cup of Rocket Salad Blend
· ½ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
· ½ cup coconut water
· ½ an apple
· 1⁄3 cup of plain yogurt

 

Vitamin Boost Juice

Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular Health

When it comes to cardiovascular health, prevention is much better than cure. Catching the disease in its early stage can help halt its progression and may even help reverse any damage done.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in New Zealand, accounting for 30% of deaths each year. This is a gloomy statistic, particularly when this high number could be reduced by simple diet and lifestyle adjustments. The challenge is heart disease has few obvious symptoms, and many people are unaware they have a problem until it has moved to a serious stage. There are a number of genetic and congenital causes of heart disease that require specialist diagnosis, however, most people can have their health risk assessed by a qualified physician.

Carrying excess fat, particularly visceral fat, is a serious red flag for cardiovascular disease. Visceral fat is stored underneath the skin in the abdominal cavity where it wraps around the internal organs. As it builds up it pushes out of the abdomen, creating a firm, protruding belly. Although people may joke about pot-bellies, visceral fat is dangerous as it is capable of producing hormones and chemicals that increase inflammation in the body and raise the risk of heart disease. While it is most pronounced in obese people, visceral fat is not always obvious and can be in thin people too. While levels can be estimated using weight and waist measurements, a more accurate measure can be obtained using a body composition monitor.

High blood pressure causes extra pressure to be placed on your blood vessel walls as blood flows around your body. This increases the likelihood of the delicate lining of the blood vessel walls becoming damaged and inflamed, which in turn raises the risk of heart disease and stroke. Hypertension has been coined the silent killer as it often has no warning signs or symptoms. So if it’s been a while since you had yours checked, it might be an idea to book in a wellness check with your doctor or naturopath soon.

Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance found in all cells of your body. It is necessary for healthy cell membranes, hormone production, vitamin D synthesis, and digestive function. However, too much cholesterol can increase your cardiovascular risk. Cholesterol imbalances can be improved through diet and lifestyle changes, as well as professionally prescribed supplements and herbs that address what’s behind a person’s high cholesterol levels.

Weight gain, poor cholesterol balance and blood pressure can all be exacerbated by elevated blood sugar levels. This may be the underlying driver of heart disease for many people. Symptoms of high blood sugars are often masked until they become severe, so it is important to have these checked regularly. When caught early, elevated blood sugars can usually be remedied by diet alone.

Inflammation is often overlooked when it comes to assessing an individual’s cardiovascular health, yet if prolonged this can dramatically raise the risk of cardiovascular problems. Addressing inflammation may include investigating and supporting adrenal and thyroid function, hormone balance, allergies and autoimmune conditions as well as checking specific inflammatory markers in the blood such as homocysteine and high sensitivity C-reactive protein.

Nutritional deficiencies such as B12, folate, iron, vitamin D and zinc are also important to check. Imbalanced levels of these can vastly increase your risk of cardiovascular problems and yet are usually simple to address.

The good news is that your cardiovascular health can be greatly improved – and preserved – through following a healthy diet and lifestyle. If caught early it is much easier to manage cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, cholesterol imbalances and inflammation naturally, and thus avoid the need for medication.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, as Hippocrates’ ancient saying goes. Following a Mediterranean-style diet has been consistently proven to be one of the most effective steps you can take to prevent heart disease. There is no calorie counting, but rather simple guidelines around the best foods to eat, including an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, regular servings of oily fish, cold pressed oils such as olive and avocado, fresh nuts and seeds, and wholegrains rather than refined carbohydrates.

However, for those with existing cardiovascular disease, or a higher risk of heart disease, there are a number of nutrients that may be beneficial to take in a supplement form alongside enjoying a heart-healthy diet including the powerful antioxidant co-enzyme Q10. This assists with maintaining healthy cholesterol levels as well as blood vessel health and supports optimal heart function and energy production. Magnesium, taurine and omega 3 essential fatty acids will also help reduce risk factors for heart disease.

For nutrients that may be beneficial in reducing heart disease risk factors, visit our website…

Follow a heart- healthy Mediterranean-style diet by including:

  • An abundance of fruits and vegetables rich in heart healthy antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • Lean and plant-based proteins such as fish, poultry, beans, nuts and seeds.
  • High quality oils and fats such as cold pressed olive oil and avocado.
  • Whole grains including brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and oats.
  • Fibre, in the form of fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
  • Heart protective herbs and spices such as turmeric, garlic, ginger and cinnamon.
  • Daily exercise of 30 minutes or more.
  • Stress management, and good social support.

 

Andrea Frires is a qualified naturopath, nutritionist and medical herbalist from The Holistic Medical Centre, 48 Ponsonby Road. To make an appointment for a consultation with Andrea or any of the holistic GP’s call T: 09 370 0650.

Mood

Mood

Many people notice that their mood and energy levels begin to dip as the days get colder and shorter. Our bodies naturally prepare to hunker down through the winter months as we are innately programmed to conserve our energy to survive this more challenging time of year. I’m sure most people would agree that jumping out of bed is hardly the most inspiring thing to do on a cold, dark winter’s morning!

Although a small shift in mood is common, some people may notice that their mood seems lower than normal, and they can be particularly affected by the change in season. While there can be a wide variety of emotional and environmental issues that can affect an individual’s mood there are some key contributing factors that may be worth considering.

Hormonal imbalances can cause mood disturbances including anxiety, anger and depression. In particular, high levels of oestrogen can be linked to physical discomfort such as weight gain, fluid retention and headaches which can also adversely impact our mood. Premenstrual, peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women can be particularly affected by hormone fluctuations, but everyone, including men, can experience hormonal imbalances. Nutrients that support digestion and detoxification pathways can help our bodies to breakdown excess hormones and restore balance. Zinc and B vitamins are key nutrients for this. Phytoestrogenic foods such as flaxseeds, legumes and properly prepared non-GMO soy, can also help to reduce the impact of excess body oestrogens by blocking the docking sites of this hormone in body cells.

Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can cause dramatic mood and energy swings. If you find yourself constantly turning to sweet foods or caffeinated drinks for energy then this is a sign that you are experiencing some degree of blood sugar imbalance. The best way to avoid this is to limit your consumption of caffeine and sugary or refined carbohydrate foods, breads, muffins, biscuits and lollies, and try to have a maximum of one coffee daily.

The thyroid gland plays a major role in our energy production as well as being intricately involved with the regulation of our mood, hormones, weight, body temperature, and cholesterol levels. Signs of a sluggish thyroid include depressed mood, poor concentration, weight gain, dry skin and cold hands and feet. Often low thyroid function is not considered a problem until medication is required. However, many people with suboptimal thyroid function can find great relief from their symptoms by taking nutrients that specifically support their thyroid health. Iodine is one of these key nutrients as it is the main ingredient of thyroid hormones. Zinc and selenium are also intricately involved in thyroid hormone production and activation. Seafood such as mussels, oysters, and edible seaweeds are rich sources of these minerals. However, if you aren’t regularly eating seafood, it may pay to take a good quality supplement to boost your levels. Deficiencies are very common in New Zealand due to low levels in our soils. It is best to check with a qualified health care provided to ensure safe dosing. The amount of iodine required varies among individuals, so getting this right is important as excessive iodine intake can cause dangerous hyperthyroid symptoms

Serotonin is an important hormone for balancing our mood. It helps us to feel happy and content. Up to 80% of this is thought to be made in our bowels. A happy digestive system is a happy mind! If you experience excessive bloating, gas, heartburn or abdominal discomfort, this is an indicator your bowels aren’t as cheery as they could be. Fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut contain probiotic bacteria that improve digestive health. For those with severe digestive discomfort, the beneficial yeast Saccharomyces boulardii can help soothe digestive inflammation and help probiotic bacteria to recolonise.

Good nutrition plays a key role in maintaining our mood. Any deficiencies in our vital nutrients can have a knock-on effect on the way that we feel. Magnesium is often depleted in depression and anxiety and it plays an important role in the cellular uptake of serotonin. Zinc is important for serotonin production too and like magnesium it is commonly depleted with stress and depression. Low levels of folate, iron, omega 3 essential fatty acids, and vitamin D have also been linked to low mood and depression and are common deficiencies in New Zealand. Some people lack the enzyme that is required to convert folate into its active form L-5-methy tetrahydrofolate and may require an activated form of this vitamin to assist optimal health and mood.

Protein supplies us with essential amino acids to synthesize our mood-boosting hormones serotonin and dopamine. Tryptophan is an important amino acid for the production of serotonin. Some fabulous dietary sources include free-range chicken, eggs, sardines, cod, halibut, and wild salmon. Tyrosine helps synthesize dopamine in the brain. Ripe bananas, eggs, almonds and meats are good sources of this essential amino acid.

Mood boosting foods

  • Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and silverbeet are excellent sources of the mood boosting nutrients folate and magnesium. Include a good serving of these daily.
  • Seafood supplies a rich supply of omega 3 oils for healthy mood as well as zinc and iodine for thyroid health. Choose oily fish such as sardines, anchovies or wild caught salmon for their superior omega 3 supply. Mussels and oysters provide high levels of zinc, while sea veggies such as New Zealand karengo are rich in iodine.
  • Fermented foods supply beneficial probiotic bacteria to support bowel health and the production of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin,
  • Cinnamon is a spice that is traditionally used to help support blood sugar regulation. Use this liberally in cooking, mixed into natural muesli, or add to soups and smoothies to help with maintain your blood sugar levels and rebalance your mood.

 

Skin Health

Skin Health

Our skin has many roles. It acts as an armour protecting our internal organs from the outside world, helps to regulate our body temperature, is the body’s largest sensory organ and is responsible for helping to convert sunlight energy into vitamin D.

Most people will agree that the condition of our skin can impact the way we look and feel. Good quality skin care and sunscreen may protect and support skin health on the outside, but the condition of your skin can be greatly assisted by improving your internal health too.

Premature aging, rosacea, eczema, acne, fungal infections and rashes are all signals that there may be internal deficiencies and imbalances that need correcting. Often people with chronic conditions such as eczema, rosacea and acne become reliant on topical corticosteroids or other prescribed creams and medications. While these can be useful in the short term, it can be benefical to understand and address the underlying factors contributing to these skin conditions.

Dietary and lifestyle modification is an excellent start to improving your internal health and ultimately your skin health – this includes enjoying plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet alongside wholegrains and good quality proteins such as fish, chicken, tofu, eggs and small portions of lean red meat.

The following nutrients are especially important for promoting skin health and healing:

  • Zinc is important for skin repair and immune health. Zinc can also help to balance blood sugar and hormone levels that can negatively impact skin health. There are many great food sources of zinc such as oysters, shellfish, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, yogurt and non GMO tofu. Despite this, zinc deficiencies amongst Kiwis are common because New Zealand soils are low in in this vital mineral so supplementation may be necessary. Eczema and acne are two skin conditions that can respond well to zinc supplementation. Excess doses can cause gastric upset and nausea so it is important to talk to your health provider to find the correct dose for you.
  • Omega 3 Fish oils can have strong anti-inflammatory effects in the body and can assist with some skin conditions. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids include oily fish such as sardines, salmon and anchovies, as well as chia, flaxseeds and walnuts.
  • Vitamin C is a key nutrient involved in collagen synthesis. Collagen gives your skin its strength and structure, and assists in maintaining the elasticity of your skin. Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants found in fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Probiotic bacteria are important for the health of your bowels and your immune system. Having a healthy balance of probiotic bacteria in your gut may have a positive impact on inflammatory skin conditions including acne and eczema. Fermented foods such as yogurt, miso and sauerkraut contain a good supply of probiotic bacteria, but it can be hard to include enough in your diet. If this is the case for you, then a good quality probiotic supplement may be a good addition to your diet.

Limiting refined sugar and carbohydrates, MSG and the 200 numbered preservatives found in some preserved meats, sauces, spreads, soft drinks, confectionary and wine, can positively impact some skin conditions. You can limit or avoid these preservatives by reading your labels and choosing preservative free brands. Some people also find that reducing their intake of dairy can have a positive impact on their skin health, particularly those suffering from eczema and rashes.

Alongside staying well hydrated and making positive dietary changes, using good quality skin care and sunscreen can significantly assist skin health. We recommend and stock a range of Synergie skin care and Coola sunscreen products as both of these brands are free of parabens and other potentially harmful preservatives. Additionally neither brand use animal testing.

Chronic skin conditions are more difficult to manage and may require the support of a holistic health practitioner who will be able to help you to identify the cause and develop treatment strategies specifically tailored to your condition. Common investigations might include looking into food allergies and intolerances, hormonal imbalances, digestive disturbances, stress and sleep disturbances, infections and low immunity.

For specific skin concerns and other holistic medical advice, please contact the Holistic Medical Centre to make an appointment on 376 0650.

 

 

Winter Wellness Tips

Winter Wellness Tips

As we move into the cooler months many people find that they are more prone to catching coughs and colds and other airborne viruses. This means more days off work or school, more doctors’ visits and so more potential for a miserable time over winter.

The good news is that there are many things you can do to help increase your immunity and ward off the winter ills and chills naturally. When it comes to immune boosting nutrients, vitamin D, zinc and vitamin C are your magnificent three.

Vitamin D has excellent immune enhancing properties, as well as helping to improve mood and reduce the risk of respiratory infections in children. Most of your vitamin D is produced in the body from exposure to sunlight, so deficiencies are becoming more widespread due to heavy sunblock use. This valuable nutrient also takes quite a dip through the winter months as your sunlight exposure drops naturally.

Ideal vitamin D levels are around 100nm/L. If you think your levels may be low it may be an idea to have your blood levels tested. It is best to talk to a qualified health practitioner before supplementing with vitamin D as this is one of those vitamins where either too little or too much can be dangerous.

Zinc is an immensely important immune boosting mineral. Adequate levels of this nutrient can help to prevent or decrease the duration of sore throats and respiratory infections that are so common in winter. Zinc also has the additional benefit of assisting with mood, healthy skin and wound healing, as well as improving fertility and hormone balance in men and women.

There are many great food sources of zinc such as oysters, shellfish, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, yogurt and non GMO tofu. Despite this, zinc deficiencies amongst Kiwis are common because New Zealand soils are low in in this vital mineral. To top up your levels, zinc is a great mineral to supplement with for three months during winter. Excess doses can cause gastric upset and nausea so it is important to talk to your health provider to find the correct dose for you.

Most people know how important vitamin C is for helping to boost immunity and fight infection, but you may not be aware that it has numerous other health promoting roles in the body. These include healthy skin and gums, wound healing, iron absorption, and cardio vascular health. Humans are one of the few mammals who can’t produce their own vitamin C (the others being guinea pigs some primates and bats) and so it is essential to include this vital nutrient in your diet.

As vitamin C is a water soluble nutrient, it cannot be stored for a long time in the body, so small regular daily doses are important. Some of your best winter food sources of vitamin C are parsley, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, leafy greens, red capsicum and fresh sprouts.

It is useful to take a loading dose of vitamin C at the first sign of infection. A buffered vitamin C in a drink bottle (ideally glass) sipped throughout the day over a handful of days is a good way to top up your vitamin C levels without upsetting your digestion. For others who have poor absorption orally or where higher doses are indicated, IV vitamin C is another option you can discuss with our doctors.

There are many different supplemental forms of the various nutrients discussed above and not all are well absorbed or tolerated. Practitioner-only brands are stringently tested for quality and efficacy and guarantee to contain the correct dose and form of the nutrient best utilized by the body. It is always best to have any supplements prescribed by a qualified health provider within the context of a consultation to ensure you are using quality products prescribed to meet your needs.

Children can be particularly at risk of respiratory infections, viruses and flus during the winter time as their immune systems are still developing, and they are often picky when it comes to eating healthy immune boosting- foods. Looking into dietary strategies and food intolerances, as well as supplementing with immune boosting nutrients, can be an effective way to support your child’s health through winter.

It is also important to remember that alongside the excellent immune boosting nutrients discussed above, the main defense against illness is to have a holistic, healthy, lifestyle.

Top Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle:

  • Eat a diet rich in plants and wholefoods, and low in processed foods and sugars
  • Include plenty of immune boosting herbs and spices in your diet such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, rosemary, and thyme
  • Get adequate, good quality sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage stress
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid foods that you may be allergic or intolerant too
  • Have regular medical screening for your age appropriate group.

To make an appointment for a consultation with any of our holistic GP’s or Naturopaths call 09 376 0650