Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Mushrooms - Nature's powerhouse of vital antioxidants


 


Mushrooms have been used as a culinary wonder and folk medicine for thousands of years. As immunity warriors they are powerhouses of vital antioxidants. They also contain beta-glucans, a type of complex carbohydrate which benefits people with autoimmune conditions, any type of physical or emotional stress and those undergoing cancer treatment. 


Dried mushrooms are sold in powder form in health food stores. Add a spoonful to your cup of coffee, or dip or raita or dal, or even to your favourite dessert to reap a multitude of health benefits. 


Read about the different varieties of mushroom and their distinct health advantages below. 


Shiitake: a heart-warming friend 


Boasting all eight essential amino acids in outstanding proportions, this mushroom is particularly friendly with the heart, as it has been shown to lower LDL (i.e., the “bad”) cholesterol and contains compounds that stop the liver from absorbing and producing more cholesterol. Shiitake’s vast array of phytonutrients also aids in preventing plaque buildup, whilst maintaining healthy blood pressure and circulation. 


Enoki: Food for body, mind and soul 


Also known as “golden needles”, enoki's crisp texture and mild flavour makes this culinary delight one of the most delicious types of mushroom to add raw to salads, boiled in soups and stews or sauteed in stir fries. With very similar properties to other varieties of fungi, the main thing that sets these earthy little beauties apart is their versatility in the kitchen. 


Reishi: Nature’s Valium 


Also known as lingzhi, this mushroom has some calming properties, due to an abundant mood-boosting compound called triterpene, which elicits a positive effect on the nervous system, helping to alleviate anxiety, depression and insomnia, promote healing and sharpen focus. Additionally, reishi may assist with weight loss by altering the microbiome and exerting a prebiotic effect. It may even shrink tumours in breast cancer, thanks to the sugar lentinan, which helps fight off disease and infection. 


Chaga: The glowing young maiden 


This little Siberian wild mushroom, otherwise known as “the gift from heaven”, is best recognised for its immune-boosting properties. Its high melanin and betulinic acid content helps eliminate oxidative stress in the skin, preventing the onset of wrinkles, pigmentation and acne. This translates to a glowing complexion, as well as luxurious hair and sparkling eyes. 


Maitake: The hormonal stabiliser 


Otherwise known as hen-of-the-woods and literally translated to “dancing mushroom” in Japanese. Commonly used for type 2 diabetes and hypertension, maitake also has therapeutic effects in PCOS, bringing on ovulation in young women by improving insulin resistance and balancing the expression and ratio of sex hormones. 


Lion’s mane: The brain’s assistant 


Used to treat brain fog and gain mental clarity, lion’s mane is the feathery, pom-pom-like relative in the family of medicinal mushrooms. It fosters the production of the bioprotein nerve growth factor and myelin, both of which are crucial to neurological health, helping to improve cognition and concentration and alleviate anxiety and irritability. 


Turkey tail: King cancer fighter 


This striking little beast boasting vibrant colours is jam-packed with antioxidants, including the anti-inflammatory bioflavonoid, quercetin. Most impressively, it contains a compound called polysaccharide-K (PSK), approved in Japan as an anti-cancer prescription drug. It has also been shown to improve the survival rate of patients with leukaemia and may assist immune function when taken alongside chemotherapy. 


☆☆NOTE☆☆ 


Always  check with your dietitian before adding mushrooms to your diet, especially if you have thyroid issues or if you are using specific medications or are pregnant, as certain mushrooms can cause side-effects. 


Stay blessed with good health...always!!!

Monday, 20 December 2021

How to stay fit this Christmas

 

Is the festive season  the right time to lose weight? 🤔 Well it’s the time for relaxing (a bit!) & enjoying time with  family and friends.


However, this shouldn’t be the time for piling on the pounds, increasing your blood sugar, cholesterol, uric acid and other levels. 


Do you really want to start your New Year ten steps behind, feeling bloated and sluggish?  Or do you want to start the New Year having had a fabulous Christmas time with a positive mindset ready for 2022? 


Here are some of our GHA top tips to navigate this festive season and start the New Year ready to ace your health and fitness goals 


☆Firstly we need to be mindful of the potential “forget it” attitude that grips many of us from this time of the year until mid January. With so many party, lunch and dinner invites it’s so easy to fall into a rut of very little exercise and loads of over indulgence in terms of food and drink.

☆Eat healthily most of the time but don't forget to enjoy your Christmas dinner, the plum pudding & mulled wine😜 

☆Stay active and exercise daily. 

☆If you have a dinner party to attend ensure your other meals that day are healthy & nutritious.

☆Drink plenty of water. It is very essential to be well hydrated especially if you are going to drink alcohol.

 

Ditch the need for New Year resolutions & start eating healthy NOW!


Stay blessed with good health...always!!!

Thursday, 16 December 2021

COFFEE

You are probably not thinking about the health risks or health benefits when you reach out for that invigorating cup of coffee served by a friendly barista or office staff or brought to you in bed by a loved one or brewed by you at the start of your day. 

Those cups of coffee might keep you alert and get you through a busy day but copious amounts of coffee can impair your health in the long run. 

You feel super-charged after drinking coffee because of the release of  cortisol, adrenalin and dopamine. While these hormones are important, when they are released in excess they can promote anxiety & depression, increase weight, cause headaches, decrease sleep and impair concentration. 

Caffeine can cause depletion of important nutrients like vitamin B6 and decrease absorption of minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium and B vitamins. This further exacerbates your stress response. 

Too much caffeine can also cause anxiety in people with panic or anxiety disorders. 

A moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy diet. This moderate intake is linked to a lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and endometrial cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. It’s even possible that people who drink coffee can reduce their risk of early death. 

Here are some tips on how to drink smart : 

▪︎ Minimise coffee intake to one cup per day. However, if you have anxious tendencies, try to cut it out completely. 

▪︎Eat before you drink your coffee to prevent hyperacidity.

▪︎Opt for decaffeinated coffee if you experience the unpleasant side effects of caffeine

▪︎If you brew your own coffee then try brewing it with a paper filter. Unfiltered coffee is associated with higher rates of early death, and can contain compounds that raise levels of LDL cholesterol. 

▪︎Try not going overboard with added cream or sugar.

▪︎Be aware of the nutrients caffeine depletes & ensure you’re eating foods high in these nutrients throughout the day. 

▪︎Tune into how you feel when you drink coffee & why you’re in need of an Energizer.

▪︎Don’t consume coffee later than 2pm for it can affect your sleep pattern. If you feel zapped of energy in the afternoon, reach for a protein snack like a fistful of nuts and seeds (SaCha's TheraSpice Airfryer Spiced Nuts n Seeds is a good option😜)

▪︎Ensure you drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated 


Drink smart and stay blessed with good health...always!!!

Saturday, 11 December 2021

Are you hungry or just plain thirsty?


Do you reach out for a snack each time you hear your stomach growl, or experience a bit of wooziness or feel the onset of a pounding headache? In actuality, what can feel like a major hunger pang is nothing but thirst. A fine line separates the two, and being able to tell the difference can help you stay on track with your weight loss and fitness goals. 

What do you do when you feel hungry? Like most people do you go searching  for ready-to-eat or packaged foods or do you reach out for a glass of water? The next time you get a stomach pang, first think whether you are really hungry or just thirsty. 

Here are some common hunger symptoms : 

☆Your stomach feels totally empty 
☆It begins to gurgle or rumble
☆You feel dizzy, woozy, lightheaded and faint
☆You head starts to ache
☆You get snappy and irritable 
☆You find it difficult to concentrate
☆You might also experience nausea and hyperacidity 

Clinical studies have shown that 37% of people mistake hunger for thirst because thirst signals can be weak. If you are a kidney disease patient, on a fluid restrictive diet, this can be a bigger problem . Always follow these restrictions, but also make sure your body is getting enough fluid. 

Common thirst symptoms include : 

☆Your skin feels extremely dry
☆Your eyes feel dry and itchy
☆You feel tired and sluggish  
☆You lack energy, zest and drive
☆You experience headaches, dizziness and nausea 
☆Your heart rate increases and you get palpitations 

Since many symptoms overlap you can easily get confused between hunger and thirst. It is always best to assess these feelings when you have them and think about what you’ve eaten or how much water you have consumed during the day. 

These helpful reminders will help you to keep your food cravings in check: 

☆Do not wait until you’re parched to  drink water. Stay well hydrated throughout the day in order to curb food cravings. Try to reach your daily water allowance by 7pm. Any water you drink after 7pm will be a bonus
☆Listen to your best guide - your body. Don’t be tempted to reach for any snack at the first sign of “hunger.” To figure out if that feeling is hunger or thirst, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. If you are truly hungry, you might still feel a stomach pang, whereas if you were just thirsty, you’ll feel satisfied.
☆Choose kidney-friendly foods when truely hungry. Fiber-rich snacks, which are low in fat and high in antioxidants, are a great option to help chronic kidney patients stay within protein, phosphorus, sodium and potassium guidelines. Eg include apples, berries, cherries, cranberries, red and purple grapes, red bell peppers and carrots.
☆Remember that dehydration kills faster than starvation. The "Survival Rule of 3" is generally valid here - 3 weeks without food BUT 3 days without water 

Stay hydrated...stay blessed with good health...always!!!


 

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Mace (Javitri)



Mace (Javitri) is the dried, crimson-red or amber coloured, lacy outer aril or covering of the nutmeg (jaiphal) kernel. Nutmeg kernels and their enveloping mace arils are two separate spice products of same nutmeg fruit. Mace is an integral component of Indian garam masala and Moroccan rass-el-hanout.

Mace should have a special place in your kitchen spice box for the following reasons:

- Mace has a sweet, aromatic flavour and it enhances the color, taste and flavor of food.

- It contains some anti-oxidant compounds, essential oils, minerals, and vitamins. In fact mace has more Vitamin A, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin C, calcium, copper, manganese, magnesium and iron than nutmeg.

- Mace enhances digestion and prevents flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach spasms, stomach ulcers and stomach aches.

- It helps in relieving coughs, colds and asthma

- Inhaling the vapors of mace oil daily can help stimulate brain function.

- Mace oil has eugenol which helps in relieving toothaches, joint pains and muscle aches.

- It acts as an anti-depressant and is used in many traditional medicines to prevent mood swings and to treat nervous disorders.

- Mace powder mixed with honey and lemon juice helps relieve nausea. but do not have this if you are pregnant.

- Sprinkle a pinch of mace powder onto your toothbrush to get relief from bad breath.

- It is also used as an aphrodisiac.


Eat judiciously and stay blessed with good health...always!!!

Monday, 8 November 2021

How stress affects your hormones



Stress and anxiety have a great impact on your health. In fact, they are your body’s version of an inherent state of  "emergency".

This means that during this "emergency" state, your normal body functions like hormone and menstrual cycle regulation get disrupted, as your stress levels increase further and you get a full blown panic attack.

Our stress response is fairly primitive. That is why anxiety and fear feel so very physically intense. This is also why, when the body has any choices regarding what part of the nervous system to fuel, and which hormones to make, it will always consider stress most important. 

When women experience anxiety or high stress, it affects hormone production. 
Menstrual periods are  complex occurrences. One of the main reasons for low progesterone relative to estrogen and the resultant irregular menstrual cycles is STRESS. 

If your body makes too much estrogen and not enough progesterone  the condition is called estrogen dominance. It can manifest as:

☆Irregular periods or long cycles
☆PMS
☆Water retention
☆Acne 
☆Weight gain 
☆Heavy period flow
☆Breast tenderness
☆Uterine fibroids

There are many factors  to be considered when  balancing hormones. Reducing stress and anxiety are very, very important. 

If this resonates with you or you’re having an ah-ha moment reading this, let’s chat about how we can fix this together.

Stay blessed with good health...always!!!

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Alcohol during the festive season



Diwali is a time when it is very easy to overindulge in namkeens, mithais, heavy lunches, decadently delicious dinners and ALCOHOL !! 

Binge drinking during the festive season is associated with “holiday heart syndrome,” - a cardiac arrhythmia (improper beating of the heart) in people without any previous medical history of cardiac disease. 

Alcohol guidelines worldwide recommend that both men and women drink no more than 14 units a week, spread evenly over the entire week. Please do not ‘save up’ your pegs/shots for a particular day or a party. It will do more harm to the health of your kidneys, liver, heart, brain and stomach. 

Here are some of our GHA tips for managing your alcohol intake as you partake in the festivities: 

- Eat a simple homemade meal before you leave for the party or before you start drinking.
- Nibble on light snacks while drinking.
- Avoid salty snacks like cheese bites, tortilla chips, peri peri and other flavorful nuts, chicken nuggets, fish fingers etc as these can make you thirsty.
- Say No! Do not be pressured into drinking beyond a limit you\"ve set for yourself. Do not let others top up your glass. 
- Remember that a glass of wine served at a party or at home may be much larger than the standard 125ml measure - so do not confuse large measures with standard ones.
- Drink slowly, small sips at your own pace - not large gulps, rounds and shots.
- Drink a glass of water after every glass of alcoholic beverage and do not forget to void your bladder frequently. 
- Dilute your drinks with plenty of ice, water/soda if you wish to nurse your drinks for longer periods of time. 
- Add a couple of drops of bitters to a glass of chilled water/soda if you do not want to drink alcohol and do not want others to know!
- Do not mix alcohol with any other drugs, including prescription medication.
- Do not drink and drive.
- If you are pregnant  or planning to conceive ABSTAIN from alcohol. 

Have a safe Diwali and stay blessed with good health...always!!!