Polyphenols, previously known as tannins are a large class of chemical compounds found in a variety of plants. The polyphenol component adds astringency and bite to certain plant foods. Think about when your black tea has become too strong or that red white that made the back of your throat squeeze a little. This effect is a defence plants have against attack by insects and hungry animals as well as gives plants their brilliant bright colours.
Most of our well known antioxidants in superfoods have these polyphenols to thank for their actions, neutralising free radicals, reducing inflammation and combating cell damage, providing us with longevity and vitality for many years to come. Studies have shown that a diet high in polyphenols has been found to reduce mortality rates by 30% in older adults (Source).
Used in the treatment of:
Irritable Bowl Syndrome
Type 2 Diabetes
Recommended Daily Intake
Unlike other components of food such as calcium, protein, and vitamin D, there is no specific Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of polyphenols at this stage. Experts instead recommend 5 serves of vegetables and 3 fruits per day, however this doesn’t highlight the need for them to be rich in polyphenols. Other experts suggest you “eat one of each colour per day” something green, something purple, something red etc.
This home made toothpaste recipe for a inexpensive and natural alternative to health damaging commercial toothpastes. When we are looking at the toxins that you are putting in your body, its easy to focus on diet. But what other toxins are you putting in your body via your mouth? The bacteria present in the oral cavity is much like the gut bacteria, a balance of beneficial bacteria keeping harmful bacteria at bay. Most commercially made toothpastes are full of harmful chemicals that damage the harmony of the mouth bacteria and can change function in the digestive system.
Ingredients Commonly Found in Commercially Made Toothpastes
Artificial sweeteners – Since we have accepted that sugar can lead to tooth decay, manufacturers pumped loads of these lab borne sweeteners into toothpaste
Colours – that’s right, toothpaste doesn’t have to be pure white nor does it need to contain red, blue or green artificial colouring
Flavours – common mint and peppermint can be wonderful breath fresheners, but the artificial flavouring of them isn’t the same as the real thing. The worst flavours are found in children’s toothpaste, think bubblegum or fairy floss
Fluoride – Despite claims that it prevents cavities, other studies have suggested otherwise
Propylene glycol – Also used to make anti freeze
Sodium lauryl sulfate – A foaming agent common in shampoos and soaps, this compound has been under much scrutiny for it’s possible pro-cancer history. Regardless of this, foaming soap does not belong in the happy balance of good digestive bacteria in the mouth
Titanium dioxide – this white powder is what gives toothpaste its pure white colour, however it too is being linked to cancer
Triclosan – an anti microbial chemical wiping out the healthy bacteria in your mouth
Start your morning off with this toxic free toothpaste recipe
120g baking soda (organic is best) 1 tsp sea salt 1 Tbsp coconut oil (optional) 2 -5 drops of peppermint essential oil Hydrogen peroxide 3% filtered water
In a small mason jar or glass container, mix baking soda, sea salt, coconut oil, and peppermint oil.
In a dark bottle, mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide 3% with 1 part filtered water and store separately to the powder
To use, dip your toothbrush in the hydrogen peroxide and water mixture, then dip your toothbrush in baking soda mixture. Brush teeth as normal
Detoxing has become a popular term in health circles with fad cleanses coming into style, quick fixes, false claims and a zillion different detox products. Do we need to do a detox? Detox from what? What’s the difference between detox and a clinical detox? Let’s break this topic open and get to the bottom of it
Detoxification, Detox, and a Clinical Detox?
Detoxification is a natural metabolic process that occurs in the body every day, breaking down environmental and dietary toxins and by products, and subsequently excreted from the body. This detoxifying process occurs in several parts of the body; the liver, the digestive tract, skin and lymphatic tissue, but it’s important to note that every cell creates by products and pushes them out for these organs to collect and remove.
A fad ‘Detox’ sometimes referred to as a cleanse, is usually designed by those without medical or formal nutritional training, sold to the general population and often involves buying very expensive products. This approach doesn’t take into account your personal circumstances nor does it address your specific nutritional needs, and as they are sold to the general public, they have to have small doses, safe for anyone. This often leads to lots of money spent on things you may not even need, at doses that won’t do anything and no results.
A Clinical Detox is done under the care and guidance of a health professional, tailored to what toxins and by products you’ve been exposed to and targets the body’s existing detox pathways in the liver, digestive system, skin and lymphatic tissues to eliminate them. Perhaps your liver is breaking metabolites down but the digestive system isn’t eliminating them, and your skin is attempting to do that job for them. Or due to long term exposure, your liver can no longer process as quickly as things are coming in, and it has started storing exotoxins in the lymphatic system. By enhancing those naturally occurring detox pathways, we are able to reduce the load on the detoxing organs.
A clinical detox, if performed well, does not have to be a painful experience, eating just grapefruit and lettuce A clinical detox is a period of rest from exposure to diet and environmental toxins whilst simultaneously supporting the capacity of your key detox organs
How Do We Detox?
Through diet and environment, we are exposed to more harmful irritants than ever before, and although our body was designed to expel by products that are harmful to itself, the incoming toxins can be too much for the body to process. What types of toxins do we process on a daily basis?
Medications (over the counter as well as prescription)
Environmental exposures (Eg: mould, construction materials, new paint)
Byproducts of cellular and metabolic activity
Contaminants in the soil food is grown in (Eg: car exhausts near farming areas)
Insecticides and pesticides in the environment and on our food
Processed food (eg: molecular changes to food when it is being processed)
All of these are broke down in the liver via 2 pathways known as Phase 1 & 2, taking them from active fat-soluble particles, to inactive water soluble molecules ready for the intestines and kidney to release. These 2 phases require quite the list of nutrients to perform this vital detoxing job and without enough of these nutrients, the liver will store the toxins elsewhere in the body, usually in adipose tissue (tissue made up of fat cells)
Who Needs a Detox?
A ‘detox’ was previously a term used when describing the process of people withdrawing from drug substances, giving up cigarettes, or something that was only needed by those with terrible diets. Now the picture of someone who needs a detox looks very different. Now anyone with a large load of toxins coming in and/or impaired detox pathways could require a Clinical Detox.
Genetics and background also influence your body’s ability to detox. People with the same diet and environmental exposure have been known to process the toxins differently.
Generally most people are advised to undergo an intentional detox 1-2 times per year for about 4-6 weeks.
Symptoms and signs of Excessive Toxin Burden
Sensitive to perfumes and toiletries
Auto immune diagnosis
Prone to thrush
Unexplained weight gain (stores toxins in adipose tissue)
Deviating from good health
The 3 Steps of a Clinical Detox
Tame those incoming toxins. You don’t need a fancy juicer for this, just remove any dietary irritants and include high vegetable intake for fibre and good quality protein for optimal enzyme production.
Repair and Restore detox pathways. This is where supplements usually come into the plan, High nutrients to fuel your body’s functions, anti inflammatory herbs and possibly a powder to optimise that nutrient intake quicker.
Eliminate it out. Gentle stretching and strengthening to promote movement as well as active exercise to encourage sweat and circulation
Detoxification processes are a science, not a hobby. A clinical detox must be tailored to you and your requirements, not an off-the-shelf product sold to everyone
How Will You Feel After a Clinical Detox?
With the elimination of toxins in the body, all bodily functions improve. You can expect to have:
More mental energy – concentrate and focus for longer, feel more present
Enhanced energy production leads to more physical energy – enjoy greater agility and less physical fatigue
Clearer skin – as the skin will no longer need to be eliminating the body of its internal problems
Sleeping better – less toxic burden means the body can focus on producing feel good hormones and rest more soundly
Empower your health with a tailored clinical detox with your Naturopath Carly
With the Winter Cold Season upon us, supporting our immune systems is more vital than ever. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant which helps body form and maintain connective tissue, including bones, blood vessels, and skin. Our white blood cells require Vitamin C to do their job correctly to prevent and treat the common coughs and colds we experience. As it is a water-soluble vitamn, meaning the body is unable to store it, Vitamin C is required on a daily basis.
Many different types of vegetables and fruits contain a lot of Vitamin C, but be careful – it is an unstable vitamin that is sensitive to heat and light. Therefore the more processed it is, the less likely it’ll be active. Reconstituted orange juice is made by drying out oranges, transporting them, then re-hydrating them with water, leaving you with orange juice that no longer has any vitamin in it.
How much Vitamin C do we need?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C varies, depending on your age. It’s worth noting that this is assuming you aren’t currently sick or have any increased need for vitamin C
14 to 18 years
19 years and up
18 years and under: 80 mg/day 19 years and over: 85 mg/day
18 years and under: 115 mg/day 19 years and over: 120 mg/day
14 to 18 years
19 years and up
However, if you are already sick, or have a need to prevent getting sick (such as your partner, colleagues or children are sick and you don’t want to have what they have) your recommended dose is much higher – known as a Therapeutic dose is 500-1000mg
The world of food allergies can be overwhelming. Not just because there are SO MANY suspects but also because their are different types of allergic reactions. It may be a lactose intolerance or it could be the histamine in the cheese. It could be a gluten auto immune reaction known as Coeliacs Disease, or it could be the yeast or intolerance/malabsorption of the gluten protein. Some inflammation lead allergic reactions like the IgG work like a bucket, where if you eat only small amounts of certain foods you won’t get a reaction, but lots of them and you’ll get a reaction. This particular reaction is hard to pin point because consumption doesn’t always equal a reaction, it depends on your recent intake of the reactive food. Some foods can be troublesome, like the FODMAP aren’t causing an allergic reaction, but are just not absorbed well, leading to symptoms.
So what are the most commonly reactive foods?
Gluten refers to a cluster of proteins found ingrains such as wheat, rye and barley and is the most common food food allergy. Fuelling autoimmune conditions such as hypothyroidism, coeliacs disease and multiple sclerosis, gluten is often the first thing to look at when it comes to food allergies. But a coeliacs blood test may not be the only thing needed to rule it out as a problem. Many people fail to absorb the gluten proteins, leaving them to ferment at the intestinal wall, causing bloating and low grade inflammation, reducing absorption of other important nutrients
Another blood test that can rule out an allergy is the lactose intolerance. Although this is important, some people are allergic to more than just the lactose in dairy. Other components found in dairy can be troublesome for many, and the different forms it comes in can also alter your response, example you may be fine with plain yoghurt but cheese will have you feeling very ill. Cow milk alternatives such as A2 milk or goat milk may be tolerated by some but not by others.
Whilst free range, organic eggs are a great source of fats and vitamin D, some people are very reactive to eggs. Some can be reactive to just the egg yolk or just the egg white, but most foods don’t specify what part of the egg has been used. It can also be a difficult allergen to pinpoint as troublesome as it is used in many foods such as baked goods, sauces like Chicken Tonight, condiments and confectionery. Reactions to eggs can range from the potentially
fatal anaphylaxis to just the queasy tummy
4. Tree nuts
Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, pine nuts and walnuts are all classified as tree nuts and can cause asthma, skin rashes, itchy throat and swollen eyes but tree nuts have also been found to trigger potentially fatal anaphylaxis. For this reason, many schools are becoming strict “Nut Free Zones” to prevent such disasters in the lunch time play ground
5. Legumes (including peanuts)
A nut allergy often includes an allergy to legumes such as peanuts, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and other dried beans as they have ve
ry similar structures and are quite closely related. Symptoms can range from swelling in the face, throat and/or mouth, difficulty breathing, asthma, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting but can also lead to less obvious reactions such as bloating, gas and changes in bowel movements. Legumes are often the culprit for those experiencing FODMAP allergy symptoms
6. Plants from the Solanaceae/Nightshade family
Vegetables ARE good for you, but some can cause allergic reactions in particular people, and the nightshade family of vegetables are notorious for causing problems. Linked to fuelling arthritis, fibromyalgia and IBS, the Nightshade family includes tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, goji berries capsicums and chillis. The theory is that these particular vegetables created toxic elements in them to avoid them being eaten by animals in the wild
Lemon, limes, oranges and grapefruit are also an unsuspecting foe, causing anything from an itchy mouth to anaphylaxis. Citrus allergies tend to occur in those with nut and pollen allergies.
Chocolate allergies can be tricky to pick up, as most chocolates will also contain dairy, emulsifiers made from soy and potentially come into contact with nuts. A true cacao (and its processed form known as cocoa) allergy can look like hives, trouble breathing, wheezing cough, nausea or vomiting and stomach cramps
9. Shellfish and fish
A shellfish allergy is a more well known allergy, as the symptoms of it can be fatal so it has been wildly discussed. But it isn’t just an anaphylaxis reaction that it can trigger, some people experience IgG reactions to shellfish which includes shrimp, prawns lobsters and crab and it can be hidden as an additive to things such as miso and Asian sauces
Meat from any animal can cause an allergic reaction but this is usually due to contamination such as gastro responses, or infected animals with tick viruses. Other people can be reactive to meat due to what the animal was fed (such as processed corn or soy feed mixes) or the chemicals used in modern animal farming. Wherever possible, choose organic, grass fed, locally sourced and free ranged to avoid such reactions.
Same as beef – often pork allergies are more to do with the process that the meat undertakes, and the health of the animal more than just the actual meat itself.
Some people find that although they can tolerate wheat and gluten, it is in fact the yeast in breads that cause problems for them. Most Australians have been raised eating large amounts of Vegemite, a yeast based spread that we put on bread that also contains yeast.
Corn is a less common allergy compared to dairy, nuts, eggs and shellfish but it certainly makes the list. Can can be a difficult enemy to identify as symptoms can be vary in people from stuffy noses, reoccurring sinusitis, asthma and hives as well as bloating, indigestion and changes in bowel movements.
From baked goods, vegetarian mock meats, chocolate and breakfast cereals, soy allergies are on the rise. Sadly, many soy allergies develop from processed soy infant formulas and continue throughout the lifespan. Symptoms can be gut based such as abdominal cramping/pain, diarrhoea, nausea as well as tingling in the mouth, hives, eczema, sinusitis and asthma. Many young children are put onto soy products as an alternative to dairy, however soy can be just as much of an issue for them
Of all of the food allergies, the one that doesn’t ever get mentioned is alcohol. In some people, as little as 1ml of alcohol can cause a dramatic response – from flushing of the face, rashes, difficulty breathing and stomach cramps. Most alcohols contain other foods on this list with most wines made with eggs and fish, beers with wheat, yeasts, barley and hops and spirit drinks made with nightshade foods. Keep an eye out for what’s in your glass, not just your plate. It is also possible to lack the enzymes and vitamins required to process alcohol from the blood, through the liver and excreted from the body.
Known to stimulate the central nervous system, coffee is a popular drink in today’s modern world. Caffeine intolerance suffers can experience an exacerbated effect of caffeine such as a rapid heartbeat, increased anxiety, insomnia, jitteriness headaches and an upset stomach whilst caffeine allergy suffers tend to experience hives, itchy mouths and eyes and swelling of the mouth and throat area. Don’t justt think coffee – caffeine is in teas, soft drinks, energy drinks and even some multi vitamin formulas
Often misdiagnosed, a salicylates reaction can look like many of the other allergic reactions. Salicylate is a naturally occurring organic acid that can be found in certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, herbs, beverages and is a main ingredient of asprin. For a more comprehensive list try this resource
18. Food additives
Food additive allergies can also be hard to pinpoint, as they are hard to identify in ingredient lists due to being listed as numbers or complex chemical names. The most common is MSG, but other additives such as food colourings, emulsifiers, artificial sweeteners and preservatives can all cause havoc on an inflamed immune system
Gut bacteria also referred to as gut flora or gut microbiota refers to the trillions of microbes that call your digestive tract home. In healthy individuals, beneficial strains far out number any troublesome neighbours, leading to longevity, protection against chronic diseases and a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately in today’s world of overuse in antibiotics, refined carbohydrate diets and a kitchen far far away from the farm in which food are grown, our inner bacteria is at risk of being overtaken by some less than ideal inhabitants. These harmful bacteria have been linked to so many different conditions including obesity, stomach ulcers, particular cancers, diabetes, eczema, impaired immune systems, ADHD, anxiety and depression.
Since we discovered the wonderful inner world of gut bacteria, we have been studying them intensely to see what bacteria is found in healthy people and which tend to be seen in people with a range of illnesses and diseases. This data has gone on to create a list of beneficial and harmful bacteria. This can be tested easily with a stool sample sent to the laboratory.
So how can we tell what bacteria we are housing?
An overgrowth of harmful bacteria leads to a range of changes and symptoms, but let’s go through some of the most obvious ones.
1. Digestive Changes
When harmful bacteria take over, one of the most obvious signs is a change in your normal digestive symptoms:
Constipation or diarrhoea
Perhaps you are running to the toilet more often, or going days before you need to. Reflux, heartburn and burping can begin due to the bacteria activity as well as gas from the other end. One of the most common is bloating, and that can be above the belly button in the small intestines or lower in the large intestines as the bacteria’s presence leads to rotting of dietary fibres and lots of stinky gas can be produced
2. Mental Health and Energy
That constant activity in your intestines leads to overly activated nerves that live along the intestinal wall. Add to this new research showing that the microbes in our gut contribute to our serotonin levels , and abnormal bacteria levels in those with mental health conditions and you are starting to see how these little critters can have such an impact on your mental health and energy levels. Gut bacteria over-growths have been linked to:
If you are experiencing these conditions, an investigation into your bacteria levels is wise
3. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Whilst digestive symptoms, mental health conditions and energy levels are hard to document, most vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. But what often happens is that the person presents with a lack of a particular vitamin or mineral, regardless of what they are eating. We often think that the food we eat, is now inside of us, but if it comes into contact with a battle ground of bacteria at the intestinal wall, it may not be absorbed. Alternatively, the bacteria that exists in the intestines can also eat the broke down vitamins and minerals before it gets a chance to cross over the intestinal wall into the blood stream. Common gut bacteria related deficiencies include:
If you’ve been told you are low on the above vitamin and minerals, maybe it is time to look at what’s happening in the gut
4. Antibiotic and Certain Medications
Many advances in medicine have saved millions of lives, and antibiotics is one of these. However, they are not designed to be used as a prevention of infections, nor are they suitable for viral infections such as a common cold. In fact the over use of antibiotics has been the suggested reason as to the rise in auto-immune diseases. As a general rule, keep antibiotics for use inside of hospitals
Whilst antibiotics are effective against nasty infections, they also wipe out the colonies of beneficial bacteria that live happily in our gut. Even just one round of antibiotics can leave you exposed to have other harmful bacteria take over, that’s why you should see your health practitioner or naturopath if you are taking antibiotics, so together we can replenish the happy populations.
5. Chronic Stress
Just as bacteria in the digestive system can negatively affect the nervous system, it can also go the other way, with stress causing changes in the gut that promotes harmful bacteria. There are many pathways that link your gut with your brain and vice versa, so they are in constant communication. But when the workload of the brain is high, communication because lost, leading to constipation and other gut issues. Stress reactions raise cortisol and adrenaline, both of which are pro-inflammation and encourage digestive issues.
6. Skin Issues
Our liver is our number #1 go to when it comes to detoxifying our bodies, working to breakdown by products from normal cellular function and eliminating these via the large intestines. What most don’t know, if this pathway is compromised by a bacterial overgrowth, the skin takes over the detox job, pushing toxins out via the skin. Skin conditions that are linked to gut bacteria include acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema. Your skin acts like a window, showing the effects of the external world as well as irritants on the other side of the glass – your gut. If your struggling with your skin, perhaps it’s time to look inside
7. Autoimmune Diseases
Your cells have little markers on their wall, letting our immune cells (white blood cells) know that we are part of the team. In auto-immune conditions, their is a communication meltdown, and white blood cells start attacking our own cells, thinking they are invading cells. Conditions that have this occurring are known as auto immune and include:
Some types of arthritis
Hair loss – alopecia
Diabetes – type 1
Changes in bacteria has been linked to abnormal digestion, perhaps because 70% of your immune system lives along the wall of the intestines, regulating what is coming in and out of the intestines and blood stream. Harmful bacteria over-growths in the intestines changes the function of the immune system and can lead to auto immune conditions and treatment should include gut bacteria
Think you may have a problem with your gut bacteria?
How much Calcium you need in your diet can vary throughout your life and can also depend on your gender. Take a look at this quick guide on how much you need, as well as recipes for including more calcium rich foods in your diet
When we think about how much calcium we are meant to have per day, we tend to revert to information that was handed to us in a certain tv ad in the 90’s. Dairy milk, cheese, yoghurt, several times a day. Problem is that doesn’t take into account that many people are lactose intolerant, maybe they are vegan or just aren’t suited to dairy in their diet
The good news is – there is a plethora of plant based foods that are abundant in calcium. So before you start reaching for the dairy for your calcium needs – have a read over other options
When we think about pregnancy and what vitamins are important, we tend to think about folate, iron and vitamin D. And although these are essential, one mineral that often isn’t mentioned to pregnant mums is Zinc
Googling Zinc will put you in the direction of the immune system but as it is necessary for many non-immune related functions including protein synthesis, cellular division and nucleic acid metabolism, making it essential in pregnancy where cells are constantly dividing and multiplying.
Low levels of zinc can negatively impact infant development and lead to poor birth outcomes by impacting the levels of many hormones required for the onset of labour. The two the main causes of premature birth are systemic and intra-uterine infections, both of which are negatively affected by low Zinc status. Zinc is also a vital component for immune regulation, and with the re-organsation of many cells in different places during pregnancy, ensuring that the immune system has the co-factors it requires to regulate where and when cells are changed is important for the health of the mum as well as the bub. Large population studies have showed a higher risk of low birth weight as a result of low zinc levels in the mother during pregnancy
So how much Zinc?
Guidelines currently suggest that pregnant woman require 9.6 mg zinc per day however worldwide, 80% of pregnant women do not consume enough zinc on a daily basis. Perhaps one of the reasons behind this is that pregnant women need to avoid cold/deli meats and soft cheeses, avoiding ham and turkey on sandwiches as well as pre-prepared meats such as sausages and roast chicken from the supermarket. So what are pregnancy friendly sources of Zinc for you and your little one?
One of the treatments to SIBO & Parasites is high doses of garlic! This anti parasitic relish recipe adds some ginger to increase the anti-bacterial and anti-parasite action, some linseed to be sharp and pointy to help push everything through and some carrot and beetroot to help the taste (and colour!)
I suggest you make a batch and have 1 teaspoon during or after each meal (Read: not on an empty stomach) to help clean out your intestines. After a minimum of 3 days you can start to reduce the dose down
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger (this is ALOT of ginger, so be prepared and reduce amount if you don’t think you can handle the heat)
2 Tablespoon finely grated garlic (only organic! It should be fresh enough to be juicy when grated. I used about 4 big cloves)
2 tablespoons grated beetroot
2 tablespoons grated carrot
The ginger and garlic needs to be finely grated whilst the beetroot and carrot can be grated a little more coarse
Mix all the ingredients together until all 5 ingredients are combined well. Store in a jar or airtight container in the fridge