Category Archives: Natural Remedies

Antioxidants vs Free Radicals

We all know that oxygen is essential for all life…

But did you know that, as well as being an absolute necessity for our survival, its use in the body can also result in the production of certain unwanted by-products? They are known as oxidants. Some of these oxidants will act as free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage DNA and cell structure. They cause harm because they are constantly trying to stabilise themselves by attempting to ‘steal’ electrons from nearby molecules. This, in turn, damages those molecules and makes them unstable too, causing them to also seek out other electrons in order to become stable again. And so, a vicious circle is created.

Free radicals are produced as a result of both internal (endogenous) and external (exogenous) factors. Endogenous free radicals are produced as a result of normal biological processes, like aerobic respiration, metabolism and inflammation. In contrast, exogenous free radicals are produced as a result of environmental factors, like:

  • pollution,
  • sunlight,
  • stress,
  • UV rays,
  • poor diet,
  • alcohol intake,
  • smoking,
  • strenuous exercise
  • and X-rays.

Unfortunately, in our modern age, filled with ever-present pollutants and toxins, both in the environment and in the foods we eat, the levels of free radicals within our bodies are higher than they have ever been before. It is impossible to avoid damage from free radicals, and our body’s own defences against it are not foolproof.

When the levels of free radicals within our bodies exceed the protective capabilities of those defences, it results in a phenomenon known as “oxidative stress” which means that the defence system is no longer able to readily detoxify or to repair the occurring damage.

As the time goes on, cell parts which have become damaged by process of oxidation accumulate, contributing to the toxic load of the body as well as speeding up the processes of ageing and causing a further stress on the immune system.

Our bodies are really amazing in terms of being capable to run many complex processes which keep us healthy and in a harmonious balance. One of the main keys to staying healthy revolves around providing our bodies with as much nutritional support as we can, in order to fuel our natural defences. Our primary line of defence against free radicals are antioxidants – substances that help counteract the damaging effects of oxidation in tissue.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, polyphenols and other phyto-chemicals), as well as enzymes (proteins in the body that assist in chemical reactions). While it is not entirely clear how antioxidants work, their most important characteristic in terms of supporting the body against free radicals is that they are stable with or without the extra electron, so they can help to stop the chain reaction (or the vicious circle) referred to above. These beneficial compounds are present in many natural, whole foods (such as fruit and vegetables).

In many cases, it is possible to identify antioxidant-rich sources through their distinctively bright colours. For instance:

  • the deep red of cherries;
  • the deep purple of beetroot;
  • the bright orange of carrots;
  • the yellow of turmeric;
  • and the blue-purple of blueberries, blackberries and grapes.

Vitamin C and vitamin E are two of the most potent antioxidants found in nature, present in high levels in foods such as parsley, rosehips, elderberries, blackcurrants, citrus fruits, broccoli, nuts and whole grains (like oatmeal, rye, barley). Foods that have exceptionally high levels of antioxidants are often referred to as “superfoods” or “superfruits”, for that reason. The most common examples of those are: green tea, acai berries and wheatgrass.

How to support the level of antioxidants within your body?

Our bodies produce metabolic enzymes that are extremely effective antioxidants but their capability of sufficient production drops dramatically in our twenties. Likewise, if we are adding to the free radical production though our lifestyles, it is a good idea to support the antioxidant levels through external (dietary) sources.

Antioxidant foods
Eating a balanced diet, rich in a variety of seasonal (preferably organic) fruits, vegetables, green leafy plants and whole grains, is one of the best ways to support your body’s antioxidant levels.

However, if you feel that you need additional support due to your life and health circumstances, a more concentrated intake, or a more convenient and reliable source, food-based antioxidant supplements can be the perfect solution.

You can find plenty of antioxidant options to suit your lifestyle and healthcare needs in our eBay shop.

Antibiotics vs Gut

Good health begins with balance in the body.

Friendly Bowel Bacteria
Did you know that there are twenty times more bacteria than living cells inside our bodies?

Having the right kinds of bacteria (often “friendly bacteria”), in appropriate quantities, is essential for virtually everything from healthy digestion and nutrient absorption, to immunity and defence against infections. It’s no wonder that more and more people say that health starts within your gut- it really does!

What can disrupt gut flora?

The delicate balance of healthy gut flora can be disrupted by a range of circumstances, which may include:

  • excess alcohol consumption,
  • diet high in sugar,
  • poor digestion,
  • stress,
  • exposure to toxins and environmental pollutants.
  • antibiotics

For the purposes of this article, we will look in more detail at one of the most common causes of the imbalance of bacterial flora within the gut – the long-term or frequent use of antibiotics.

How do antibiotics affect the digestive tract?

In present times, antibiotics have been arguably prescribed and used far more than they should have been and, a result, antibiotic resistance is, unfortunately, now a fairly common problem.

Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a type of drug resistance where a pathogenic microorganism is able to survive exposure to an antibiotic.

If that wasn’t enough, one of the most notable effects of antibiotics is their negative impact on the digestive system and the fine balance of gut flora since antibiotics destroy both good and bad bacteria within our bodies, with no differentiation between them.

Antibiotics work by either killing bacteria or by preventing bacteria from growing – which great news in terms of ‘bad’, pathogenic bacteria, but really bad news in terms of our ‘good’ bacteria, which help to keep us healthy!

It is somewhat ironic, when you consider that people start taking antibiotics in the first place because they are ill, often not realising that the medicine is destroying one of their bodies primary lines of natural defence.

The most important part of our Immune System resides in the gut, where Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (special antibody-producing cells) works hard to prevent unwanted micro-organisms (such as bacteria or viruses) from entering our body.

I’m not completely dissing antibiotics, they do have a very significant role to play and can certainly be highly effective in resolving bacterial infections but there should be a time and a place for them, when there is no other, less drastic and more natural alternative at hand. It is so important to use antibiotics sensibly and to support your levels of beneficial bacteria both during and after antibiotic treatment, in order to ensure that they won’t cause any longer term damage. This can be done through a specialised detox treatment which can deal with any residual after-effects whilst helping your body to regain the optimal balance.

If your levels of good bacteria fall, you provide opportunistic ‘nasties’ (like bacteria, parasites and yeasts) with an excellent environment in which to thrive and spread. An overgrowth of harmful gut flora (called dysbiosis) increases gut toxicity and can result in a number of unpleasant symptoms and conditions, which may include:

  • bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pains after eating
  • wind
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • and Candida overgrowth

This is one of the main reasons why antibiotic programmes often result in thrush (an infection caused by overgrowth of Candida which is an opportunistic yeast).

Digestive Problems after antibiotic treatment
Research has shown that the damage done to the digestive tract by antibiotics can last for far longer than was previously thought.

Stanford University researchers in America analysed the levels of friendly bacteria in 3 healthy adult women both before and after each of two cycles on the antibiotic Cipro. Following the first cycle, they found that the drug had altered the population of the subjects’ friendly gut bacteria significantly, perhaps even permanently. Following the second cycle, six months later, they discovered that the effect was exponentially greater. As such, antibiotics should never be used as a regular “quick fix” for minor problems and, wherever possible, long courses should be avoided. Where a course of antibiotics is really unavoidable, you may consider a detox therapy or support your levels of friendly bacteria through diet and probiotic supplements, at the very least.

Cultures around the World have observed the health-supporting effects of fermented foods (often referred to as “probiotic foods”) which are often include as a regular part of their diet. These foods include kefir, sauerkraut, miso, tofu and tempeh, to name just a few.

Introducing these foods in your diet on a daily basis is a really good way to promote healthy intestinal flora. However, it is worth noting that most of these foods do not contain strains of bacteria that can actually colonise the digestive tract. Instead, they do good work for a week or two and then pass through. Supplementing with strains of good bacteria that are capable of colonising the digestive tract (such as L. acidophilus, L. salivarius, B. infantis, B. bifidum, B. brevis and B. longum) is arguably a far more effective and powerful means of supporting healthy levels of gut flora for the long term.

Acai Berries – what puts the “super” in this superfood?

Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) berries have become incredibly popular in the form of dietary supplements over the past few years, both in capsule and powder form.

Why are they considered as Superfruits?

This is in no small part due to the significant media attention they have received, since being more widely recognised in the Western world as a “superfruit”. In other words, a fruit with an exceptionally high nutrient-to-calorie ratio compared to other fruits of a similar kind. For example, in terms of antioxidant, essential fatty acid, vitamin or mineral content.

Although having only just recently entered the wider public consciousness in the West, South Americans native to the Amazon have been enjoying the nutritional benefits of these tasty berries for many years. In fact, they are considered to be an essential food source for three traditional Caboclo populations in the Brazilian Amazon, because they make up a major component of their diet – up to 42% of their total food intake by weight! A fact which reflects their incredibly high nutrient content.

Found only in swampy areas of the Amazon rainforest (Central and South America), acai berries are pretty exotic – which explains why they haven’t ever popped up on the shelves of our supermarkets! They are small and round (approximately 25mm in size) and grow on large palm trees called açaí palms, which can reach over 80 feet in height. The berries grow in bunches (similar to bananas) and an average açaí palm tree can yield between 3 to 8 bunches of berries.

Once ripe, acai berries bear a strong resemblance to grapes and blueberries, except that they are not quite as pulpy. They contain a large, inedible seed, which constitutes as much as 90% of the entire fruit! Although hard to find in their natural whole food form, everyone can now access the nutritional benefits of these berries on a daily basis through the convenience of health supplements, which will often incorporate both acai berry powder and concentrated extract.

But why might you want to incorporate acai berry nutrients into your daily diet?

  • Immune system support: A big clue to their high nutrient content is given away by the deep blue / purple colour of acai berries. Like most other brightly coloured natural foods, they contain healthy pigments, which support immunity, health and vitality. For example, flavonoids and potent antioxidants (such as anthocyanins). They are also a rich source of Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids (good fats).
  • Heart health support: As well as containing high levels of anthocyanins, research has also shown that acai berries are rich in phytosterols which may provide cardio-protective support for our cells.
  • Energy support: Acai berries contain high levels of plant protein. Combined with their high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients, they can offer ideal support for high energy levels, stamina and general vitality.
  • Weight management support: When trying to shape up, you are obviously looking to decrease your intake of high-calorie unhealthy foods, in favour of nutrient-packed foods that are naturally low in calories. Not only will this encourage a healthy weight, it will also help to ensure that your general health remains strong during any periods of slimming and reduced food choice. In this way, acai berries can provide ideal weight management support.

So now you know why acai berries have been causing a stir in the natural health world! And these are just some of their nutritional benefits. Plus, if you favour an organic lifestyle or are trying to detox, it is worth bearing in mind that acai berries are wild harvested, as opposed to farmed. This means that they aren’t exposed to harmful pesticides and fertilisers.

Acai berries offer great all-round healthy living support – why not try them for yourself?

You can find Acai berries in our Acai Immuno Complex, available on our website and Amazon Store.

acai berries, acai berry capsules, superfood, superfruit, superfood supplement, antioxidants, Omega oils, vitamins, minerals, immunity support, weight loss, energy boost, heart health
A High-potency formulation of Brazilian freeze-dried Acai Berry powder and extract, combined with a range of other beneficial ingredients including vitamins, minerals and herbs to provide support for immunity, energy level, bones, hair, skin, nails and more.

Top Tips for Indigestion

We all have experienced indigestion at one time or another. Even if you are not prone to it on a regular basis, you may have noticed an uneasiness in your stomach after overindulging yourself on one occasion or another, like after family gathering, Christmas, Birthday parties and so on…

There are many reasons for indigestion, from occasional overindulgence as mentioned above, through stress, fatigue and overall poor diet or even parasites and fungal infections.

How do I know if I have indigestion?

Indigestion is usually diagnosed based on symptoms which most often include:

  • Bloating
  • Belching (burping)
  • Acid Reflux
  • Heartburn and heaviness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue and feeling of dullness

Note: If you suffer from a severe, chronic indigestion, it could be a sign of a stomach ulcer or inflammation which could have a negative impact on your whole digestive tract.

Best options to remedy indigestion

Widely-advertised antacids suppress the production of stomach acid. The main issue here is that they tend to create what is commonly known as an ‘acid-rebound’ effect where your body produces even MORE acid than it did before (talk about a vicious circle!). In addition, they often contain aluminium salts which may add onto the heavy metal toxicity of your body which comes with a whole new array of problems.

So the question is: will it be the proverbial last straw which broke the camel’s back? How much more can your body take?

What are your other options?

Homeopathy can be very effective in dealing with both chronic and occasional cases of indigestion. The key lies in matching the correct remedy to your experience, i.e.

  • If your indigestion is linked to overindulgence in alcohol, stimulants or rich & spicy foods (as in a post-Saturday Night Out syndrome with an added hangover) then you could seriously consider taking Nux Vomica- a remedy most commonly used when the food lies on your stomach like a stone, you have an acid or bitter reflux and feel overall chilly.
  • If you simply suffer every time you eat something too fat, you could look at getting a dose or two of Pulsatilla or Carbo Veg. The difference here is that Pulsatilla can still taste the food they ate for ages afterwards whilst Carb Veg will have a lot of burps and feel tired and sleepy.
  • If you are not a fan of antacids yet your indigestion in of a long standing, you could take Nat Phos, a biochemic tissue salt which is widely-known for its acid-calming properties with NO acid-rebound effect!
Top 10 Herbs for Indigestion
Top 10 Herbs for Indigestion based on Traditional Usage

There are also plenty of herbal options, depending on the type of indigestion you are experiencing, e.g.

  • Anise- traditionally used in order to relieve indigestion with a lot of mucousy reflux and to improve appetite
  • Artichoke- considered as a liver supporting herb, usually taken for abdominal pain, heartburn and bloating
  • Cayenne- most commonly used by people with sluggish digestion and metabolism
  • Chamomile- ideal for cases of ‘nervous’ stomachs with a lot of cramps and gas
  • Gentian- commonly used to stimulate stomach and gallbladder secretions in cases where there is too little stomach acid
  • Geranium- traditionally used to decrease acidity, relieve pain and help in healing ulcers
  • Liquorice, Slippery Elm & Marshmallow- most useful when dealing with inflamed stomach lining due to their promotion of a protective mucous
  • Peppermint- most commonly used to neutralize excess acidity and spasms

If you are looking herbal and food supplements which were specially selected in order to provide support for digestion, why not visit our online store?

Visit our online store
You can find a wide range or herbals in our online store

If you would like to address the way your body is reacting to certain foods or bring balance back to your digestion rather than taking temporary measures, you could try bioresonance or homeopathic treatment.

Elberberry Syrup

Elderberry is a deciduous shrub which is native to most of Europe. It’s well known and valued within the field of Natural Health for its broad medicinal qualities . Elderberry can be used to prepare syrups, juices and tinctures, the most common ingredients being flowers or the characteristic black berries. Elderberry is traditionally used to boost immunity and aid in colds, or even just as a healthy and tasty addition to tea, especially during the colder months of Autum and Winter.

Elderberry’s flowers and berries contain a high amount of flavonoids which have a strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and duretic qualities. The berries contain vast amounts of Vitamins B and C which are crucial for optimal metabolism and immunity.

It is important to note that Elderberry stems, leaves and roots contain cyanide-inducing glycosides which can cause nausea, vomiting and can lead to a toxic build up.

This is why a proper preparation of Elderberry is of a crucial importance.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is traditionally used to aid in dealing with symptoms of colds and flu. it can also serve as a tasty addition to flavour teas and desserts. The Syrup is a rich source of Vitamin B and C so it’s especially useful during Autum/Winter season.

Recipe

To prepare an Elderberry Syrup, you will need:

  • 1kg of Elderberry berries
  • approx 1kg of sugar (or other sweetener, honey works just as well!)
  • water

Elderberries don’t have any particular taste to them so feel free to spice the recipe up by adding some orange, lemon, ginger or turmeric!

Wash the berries throughly (but watch out, they STAIN!) before placing in the pan and covering with sugar and topping up with enough water to ensure a slight coverage.

Cook on medium heat until the berries release all juices (you could speed it up by mashing them a little).

Simmer for another 10-15 minutes until you reach desired thickness.

Leave to cool before straining and transferring into clean jars or bottles. Elderberry Syrup can be pausterised for longer self-life or just kept in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Enjoy as 2 tablespoons per day on its own on in a nice cup of tea.

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