Categories
Lifestyle

Nutrition and Dental Health

Nutrition and dental health isn’t the most exciting subject. Brushing teeth, flossing, taking care of your gums – yup, not a page turner. But it’s something close to my heart as I’ve had problems with my teeth in the past, not due to lack of brushing I might add. I’ve finally started to take seriously after seeing the dentist and hygienist who both got kind of cross about it! But I get their point, poor dental health is a big problem and I’ve since found out that despite it being fairly well known that cardiovascular disease and diabetes can contribute to gum disease and oral decay, were you also aware that this relationship may be cyclical. Poor dental health can actually contribute to disease states? It turns out that oral health, diabetes and heart disease are all very much intertwined – so nutrition and dental health might not be quite so tedious after all.

Research

Researchers evaluated over 600 senior citizens who had no prior incidence of cardiovascular disease and found a definitive link between periodontal bacteria and thickening of the arteries. (1) This wasn’t a new discovery actually. A few years before this a Clinical Microbiology Reviews article explained possible mechanisms for this connection between oral health and heart disease. (2) These mechanisms come down to infection (from bacteria which release toxins into the blood stream from the mouth), and an inflammatory response from the body. It’s well know that heart disease, diabetes and atherosclerosis are all connected to inflammation. So really these mechanisms mean that not only do the diseases lead to poor dental health, but poor dental health may lead to more widespread disease, potentially contributing to diabetes and heart disease. And the minute you start talking bacteria, toxins and inflammation, then this becomes much more exciting to naturopaths!

So sorting out your teeth is pretty crucial really. How to do this? Well being a nutritionist the first thing I’ll focus on is making sure you are getting enough nutrition in your diet. On a quick side note, we’re going to leave the usual debate about fluoride as I’d rather do a whole blog on this subject at some point. In a nutshell though it’s important people realise fluoride is known to be a neurotoxin and hormone disrupter – so really is best avoided. I like the mineralizing toothpastes, such as Georganics. But there are many good ones out there now.

Key Nutrients for Dental Health

Despite the arguments around fluoride, there are a number of minerals and vitamins that we can all agree on are important for teeth – which means that nutrition plays a large role, not just in terms of how the wrong foods negatively affect your teeth and gums, but also how eating the right foods can help.

The list of nutrients needed for proper dental health is fairly lengthy, and includes Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A, B2, B3, B12 and Vitamin C which would all be covered in a healthy diet based on whole foods and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. If it helps to zone in on some key nutrients then you could try the following three:

Calcium
Vegetables – collard greens, spinach, kale, watercress, onion, garlic, celery, broccoli
Fruit – oranges, dried figs, apricots & prunes
Nuts & Seeds – almonds, sesame, Brazil, pecan, sunflower, chestnuts
Grains – rye, quinoa, barley, rice
Dairy – yoghurt, cheese, whole milk
Other – tofu (made with calcium sulphate)

Magnesium
Vegetables – beet greens, spinach, peas, broccoli, celery, tomatoes, cauliflower, sweet corn, onion
Fruits – dried figs, apricots & prunes, banana, pineapple, orange, blackberry
Nuts & Seeds – almonds, cashews, Brazil, pecan, sunflower
Other – buckwheat, millet, rye, barley, tofu, molasses

Vitamin C
Vegetables – red peppers, kale, broccoli, red chilli, greens, Brussels sprouts, watercress, cauliflower, spinach, asparagus, okra, peas, cabbage, tomatoes,
Fruit – guava, persimmons, papaya, mangoes, cantaloupes, all citrus fruits, all berries, kiwi
Legumes – lima, black-eyed, soy

Damage to Teeth

Nutrition and dental health isn’t just about getting the nutrients needed for strong teeth, but also the foods we need to be wary of due to their negative effects on our enamel and gums. I think it’s safe to say we all know by now just how damaging sugar is for our teeth – whether this is sweets, cakes, fizzy drinks (the WORST!!!) or even eating a lot of white carbs such as bread and pasta etc. So obviously we need to cut back on sugar if we want to support dental health. It’s not just due to the role sugar plays in plaque formation, but also due to the more widespread issues of inflammation and cardiovascular health, as discussed at the start of the blog.

This brings up the subject of the sugar in fruit. Despite all the fruit fear around, fruit is incredibly healthy. It’s a high vibrational food source, full of light and healing properties. Fruit also contains an abundance of the nutrients needed for strong teeth. But whilst I don’t worry about the effects of the sugar content on things like cardiovascular disease and inflammation, I do worry about the sugar content in terms of plaque formation. Ultimately, fruit does contain sugar which bacteria in the mouth can act upon. I’ve heard people argue otherwise, and even Anthony Williams (who you probably realise by now, I very much follow) says that whole fruits aren’t a problem. But given my history of fillings and extractions, I verge on the overly cautious side and after eating any fruit I always have something savory or I carry ginger slices around with me to have afterwards. Given how healthy root ginger is, even if it’s not needed, it’s still going to be doing me the world of good anyway, so why take the risk?

So to sum up, a healthy diet, one that is low in sugars but contains a few portions of fruit a day, is a good move towards dental health. Of course many factors contribute to poor oral health, including smoking, stress, some medications, broken or defective fillings, poor fitting bridges, cracked teeth, underlying immune deficiencies – this list goes on. But a healthy diet is still a basic thing to focus on and build from.

Brushing and Flossing

Now in terms of brushing, flossing etc, what’s the deal there? I’ve heard many different things, but given that within 3 months I turned my dental/gum health around by about 80%, I feel that these recommendations would be good advice for anyone (most of which come directly from my dentist and hygienist).

Buy a decent electric toothbrush – I use Oral B 4000 – which is pretty high powered (get as high a power as you can afford).

Brush your teeth before breakfast (you want to do it first thing in the morning, to scrub away any of the bacterial build-up over night). You need to brush for 2 minutes – most electric toothbrushes have timers on.

Brush in the evening too but here comes the boring part. Before brushing, you need to floss. Firstly with interdental brushes (e.g. the TePe brushes – just find ones that fit through the gaps), and then with regular floss. Only then do you brush with the electric toothbrush.

I have heard concerns about flossing spreading infections and creating inflammation. I feel open to changing my views on this, but for now I know it’s helped me keep my teeth in a better state, but I am cautious when I floss not to overdo it.

Added things you can do (which I do) include using a water flosser – this isn’t something the hygienist raved about (not because it was bad, but because she didn’t think it did much). However, this is where I took on a bit of info from Anthony Williams, who said they were a great thing to use as a way of massaging the gums, which increases blood flow and therefore improves gum health (all makes perfect sense).

I also use essential oils in a home made mouthwash. There are a huge number of of DIY recipes you can use, but I literally just have a small glass of water and add a drop of orange, clove and peppermint. Swish it around for a few minutes and then spit it out. You can use coconut oil too, along with the essential oils – as a form of quick mouth rinse, or for oil pulling. Oil pulling involves swigging coconut oil around in your mouth for about 10 minutes, to help pull out the bacteria build up. It feels great after and makes perfect sense, I just can’t be bothered at this stage to swig it round for 10 minutes, but if you can then this is an excellent thing to do too! Essential oils have many uses and I recommend them to many clients if they feel so inclined – have a look here for more information.

So don’t wait till you’re in the dentist’s chair, start work on improving your dental health now. Honestly, you won’t regret it. If it seems like too much hassle, then simply picture yourself cleaning your dentures every night!!!!

Olivia 🙂

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812915/
2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88948/

Categories
Hormones and Health In the News

Hormone Disrupters

Xenoestrogens – how harmful are they?

The subject of hormone disrupters and exposure to toxins in our environment is a big and often controversial subject. Whilst I’ve tended not to get too wound up by it, as I think you can end up creating quite fearful patterns if you worry too much about every toxin you are exposed to, I do think it’s worth educating yourself on the basics. Toxin exposure builds up over time and at some point the liver says “enough is enough”!

I’ll go through some of the main sources of hormone disrupters and ways you can reduce your exposure, but firstly here’s a snippet of science. There are numerous toxins in our environment, but this would take many blogs to go through all of them, so I’m going to focus on those known as xenoestrogens. Oestrogens are a group of natural hormones found in both men and women, but produced in larger quantities in women. However, xenoestrogens, a group of chemicals present in the environment and everyday products, mimic the effects of oestrogen and combined with the oestrogen naturally present in the body, this may create an excess, which may have detrimental consequences in humans.

There has been a lot of research into this, but it’s not without controversy. Renowned scientist Dr Ana Soto, studied the effects of xenoestrogens on rodents. Other research into hormone disrupters comes from the 50’s, which indicates that a synthetic oestrogen given to pregnant women to reduce miscarriage rates was correlated with an increased incidence of vaginal cancer in their female children. Overall, there is research to support a correlation (which does not necessarily mean one thing causes the other) between oestrogenic chemicals and health problems including increased rates of breast cancer, endometriosis, early onset of puberty and menopause, infertility and miscarriages.

Xenoestrogens may also act as hormone disrupters in men. They are believed to contribute to decreased sperm count and prostate and testicular cancers. Other health problems such as thyroid disorders, diabetes and behavioural problems may also be linked to increased xenoestrogen exposure levels. Most controversy is around the widely used eostrogenic chemical, bisphenol A (also known as BPA). Some recent reports state that there are no health risks associated with BPA at the level we are exposed to, but others disagree, stating that their cumulative effect can be powerful even if their actual oestrogenic effect is much lower than our own human hormones.

As usual the research into xenoestrogens and hormone disrupters in general is hazy at best. But to be honest, I’ve never felt the need to wait for the science to catch up with what I know intuitively to be true. Pumping our bodies full of chemicals that are not natural is going to have some kind of negative effect at some point. Everything holds a frequency and if health comes from alignment of our energy fields then adding in components that hold a very different frequency will ultimately have an impact. If we are healthy, we can withstand a certain level of chemical and toxin exposure. But for someone who is already in poor health, or has hormone related issues, it’s going to show up sooner rather than later.

But before you panic about needing to remove every last endocrine disrupter from your fridge or cupboards, understand that taking steps to avoid some of the most obvious ones will have a positive impact. At the same time, if you are limited in what you can remove, then you can use other methods to support your body in detoxing them from your system.

Environmental sources of xenoestrogens

• Food sources – non-organic fruit and vegetables can contain pesticides and insecticides.
• Cosmetics and lotions – contain parabens and phthalates.
• Plastics – contain BPA and phthalates.
• Bleached products – including paper, coffee filters, tampons. All contain organochlorines.
• Other household products – electrical oils, lubricants, adhesives and paints contain PCBs.
• Non-stick saucepans – contain PFOAs that leach out during cooking.
• Non-filtered water – contains oestrogens from the oral contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy.
• Oral contraceptive pill – contains the synthetic oestrogen ethinylestradiol.
• Industrial chemicals and by products.

Simple ways to clean up your act

Eat organic produce as much as possible to avoid exposure to pesticides and insecticides. Peel non-organic fruit and vegetables or wash in a little water and vinegar.

Buy organic meat and dairy products to avoid exposure to hormones and pesticides. Aim for wild fish rather than farm raised fish, which can absorb PCBs and other toxins.

Use organic cosmetics, hair care products, soaps and toothpastes. Look for products labelled paraben and phthalate free (if in doubt look at the ingredients list).

Minimise exposure to nail polish and nail polish remover.
Check labels of condoms and spermicides for nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs).

Don’t buy or store food in plastic containers or wrapped in soft plastic. It’s especially dangerous to microwave food in a container made of plastic, since heat causes BPA and other plasticizers to leach into food. If using cling film, wrap food in greaseproof paper first.
Limit the amount of canned foods you use since most metal cans have a BPA lining.

Eliminate plastic from your kitchen as much as possible, use glass containers or stainless steel for storing food. Don’t drink out of plastic water bottles. Especially in summer when they heat up in your bag. Use stainless steel drinking containers instead.
Buy non-toxic saucepans, such as ceramic or stainless steel.

Reduce the amount of processed and packaged foods, not only due to the plastic containers, but also some food preservatives and food colourings have xenoestrogenic activity.

Invest in a good water filter that removes chlorine and some of the oestrogens. It is best to investigate filters before buying as there are many different types, with a wide range in price, and some are better than others at removing toxins.

Use natural pesticides on your garden and avoid commercial flea killers for your pets.

Use organic cleaning supplies or dilute vinegar and lemon juice to clean your home. Don’t spray commercial air fresheners inside your home. Some supermarkets now stock more chemically friendly products such as the Ecover and Method range. Even better, start using Essential Oils for this.

Use unbleached chlorine free paper towels, toilet paper, tampons and coffee filters.

Last thoughts

Ok, so that might all seem a little overwhelming, but just take one or two at a time. Really though, the most important thing you can do to help combat all of these is to load your body up with phytonutrients to deal with toxins – basically fruit and veg are one of the best ways to do this, but other foods also contain nutrients that help deal with toxic overload. It sounds simple (and probably a little boring) but the bottom line is that this is something in our control, unlike the pollutants found in the air and water. So start getting excited about fruit and veg again!

Lastly, use other methods alongside this to support your body in detoxing the chemicals. Energy Medicine is a wonderful way to do this.

Have a good week 🙂

Sources and further information: www.organicexcellence.com, www.canceractive.com

Categories
Wheat, Dairy and Gluten

Wheat-Free Diets

Why choose a wheat-free diet?

I was thinking this morning about the key changes I often find I ask clients to make to their diet. Ideally I try and focus on what to include, not a list of what to exclude, but given that I often see people with significant health problems, particularly gastrointestinal ones, the subject of wheat-free diets does come up a lot. But it’s not a straightforward question of whether wheat is good for you or not.

To start with, here is a little background. Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Ethiopian Highlands, but now grown worldwide on a massive scale. It is the basis for many breads and traditional breakfast cereals, as well as pasta, cakes, biscuits and pastries. It is also found in some less obvious foods products, such as processed and packaged foods, soups and sweets, which can contain wheat flour as a filler. So, as you can tell from the list of foods, most people grow up on a diet high in wheat – toast with Marmite anyone?

Growing incidence of wheat-intolerance

More and more people are finding that they suffer discomfort after eating wheat. The most extreme example is seen in Celiac disease, which requires more than a wheat-free diet as the condition involves a serious reaction to the gluten protein found in wheat. But beyond this there is a much larger group of people who have reactions to wheat, ranging from mild bloating to significant gastrointestinal symptoms. I carry out Food Intolerance Testing with clients, as a rapid way to measure the antibody response to wheat, gluten and over 130 other common foods. The increased incidence of this issue broadly coincides with the industrialisation of baking, leaving many to draw the conclusion that the problem is not necessarily in the wheat itself, but in how it is processed. In part though it may be due to the sheer volume of wheat-based products that most people consume on a daily basis.

Before modern yeasts were used in bread making, most bread was fermented with lactic acid bacteria and would have taken many hours to rise. Nowadays processed bread and wheat products rely on excessive use of baker’s yeast, reduced fermentation time and a significant dose of artificial additives and enzymes, all of which lead to suspect digestibility.  The emphasis has been on the texture and quick production time, rather than the nutrient quality. Overall, you are left with a loaf containing different chemical substances to those produced by a more traditional methods.

Other concerns that may indicate need for a wheat-free diet

Other concerns include the high glycaemic load of refined wheat. Wheat contains a starch, amylopectin A, which is quickly broken down and converted to sugars. This leads to high blood sugar levels and a release of insulin, which is particularly unhelpful for those at risk of diabetes. Wheat contains proteins other than gluten that are thought to cause gastrointestinal reactions in some people. There are even theories that wheat has addictive qualities (I personally believe this to be true – it has a very instant effect on me when I eat processed wheat products). It contains gluten-derived substances that can cross into the brain and bind to opiate receptors, which is theorised can lead to mild euphoria and a feeling of “needing more” – something I’ve definitely experienced! Overall, wheat is not always well digested and can lead to low level inflammation in the gut, which is an underlying characteristic of many common conditions.

Due to a growing awareness of the problems wheat-free diets have become a bit of a trend and luckily this means alternatives are more readily available. Removing or reducing wheat, even if only for a few months before reintroducing it in more measured quantities, can do wonders for bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort, energy levels, mood and even mental function. Some people may need to look further at gluten-free diets, but wheat-free diets are often a good starting point.

Alternative Grains

Using a variety of grains is really important anyway, whether you remove wheat or not. As is the quality of grain-based products. I’ve listed some for you to try. In the past, many of the alternatives products, such as wheat-free bread or pasta, were pretty dire. But they are so much better now and some are even more delicious than wheat-based products. So just give a few of them a try!

Alternative Grains
There are many alternative grains to wheat, including rice, rye, barley, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa. Spelt and kamut can also be used.

Alternative Bread and Flour
Rye– Rye bread is readily available in shops these days, and is a fantastic alternative to wheat. It has a rich flavour and good “bread like” consistency.
Spelt– Although an ancient form of wheat, it hasn’t been so tainted by intensive breeding and contains a high amount of natural yeasts and bacteria, so many who struggle with digesting modern wheat find spelt much easier. Along with rye, it is one of the most common alternatives you find to wheat bread, but you can also buy it as a wholegrain flour to use in your own cooking. It looks and performs much like ordinary wheat flour, although does tend to have a slightly denser flavour.

Kamut– Considered to be an ancient relative of durum wheat, and is actually the trade name for a cereal derived from 36 grains, mailed by an American airman in Egypt to his father in Montana in the 1950s. Its production is always organic and is controlled by the Quinn family. Like spelt, it can often be tolerated by people with sensitivities to modern wheat.
Other flours – Chickpea, millet, potato, tapioca, buckwheat, almond, cassava, quinoa and buckwheat.

Alternative Pastas and Noodles
Look in the gluten-free section of large supermarkets, or go to your local whole food shop, where you’ll find a number of wheat free pasta and noodle alternatives. Pasta alternatives use corn, brown rice, quinoa and spelt. Try rice or buckwheat noodles – and if you can find the King Soba range, they have some amazing alternatives, including sweet potato noodles. You may need to look in a whole food shop for these.

Alternative Breakfast Cereals
Supermarkets and whole food shops stock breakfast cereals which do not contain wheat. If something is listed as gluten-free, it will not contain any wheat.

Alternative Cakes and Biscuits
Gluten-free varieties will all be wheat-free, but many of these are crammed with sugar so keep them as treats only. Or try other snacks such as fruit and nuts or hummus and crudités. Bounce ball and Pulsin bars, found in some supermarkets and whole food shops, are a great wheat-free treat.

Eating Out
Although you won’t necessarily see foods advertised for wheat-free diets specifically, you will plenty of gluten-free options, including gluten-free pizza and pasta in some well known chains such as Pizza Express.

Sources and Resources: www.shipton-mill.com/flour-direct-shop/wheat-free-flourwww.mayoclinic.com/health/gluten-free-diet

Categories
Foods and Vibration Mind Body Connection

Solfeggio Frequencies & Health

I discovered the Solfeggio frequencies a number of years ago when I needed some help with motivating myself with meditation! At the same time I was reading up on the chakra system and how this links to our physical health.

History

The Solfeggio scale originated centuries ago, coming from sound frequencies in Gregorian chants. They have since been modernized by Dr Joseph Puleo, a naturopathic physician and leading American herbalists, who began researching them in the 1970’s. Basically he translated the sounds into ascending electro-magnetic frequencies using various complex mathematical equations (something to do with Pythagoras apparently). These then became the Solfeggio scale. They are used to put together pieces of music which resonates at different Hertz.

Healing effects

Why is this so important in terms of healing? Well sound is vibrational, so will affect the energetic field. Humans are also vibration and energy, so the power of the Solfeggio frequencies comes from how they affect us on a vibrational, energetic level.

The exact frequencies are thought to correspond to certain emotional blockages and negative thought patterns, many of which may be subconscious. They are also used to balance chakras (energy centres in the body), so I’ve also put down which chakra they correspond to.

396 Hz – helps with turning grief into joy and letting go of fear and guilt liberating guilt & fear – Base Chakra

417 Hz – for cleansing traumatic experiences from the past and facilitating change – Sacral Chakra

528 Hz – for transformation and miracles (DNA repair) – Solar Plexus Chakra

639 Hz – to support with reconnecting and finding balance, harmonising relationships – Heart Chakra

741 Hz – for increasing self-expression – Throat Chakra

852 Hz – to support spiritual awakening and intuition – Third Eye Chakra

Additional research conducted by Dr. Leonard Horowitz claims to have revealed three more Solfeggio frequencies:

963 Hz – this tone awakens any system to its original, perfect state and reconnects you with spirit – The Crown Chakra

174 Hz – the lowest of the tones is believed to be a natural anaesthetic

285 Hz – helps return tissue into its original form

You can find plenty of meditations on YouTube that use the Solfeggio Frequencies, some of which use all of them. Power Thoughts Meditation Club is a good YouTube channel. They are often very long, so don’t feel you need to sit there for an hour! Just do 10 minutes and see how it feels. It’s best to listen with headphones and make sure you are in a comfortable position.

I’m aware that many people will only be interested in them in terms of making it easier to meditate, as they are often pleasant to listen to. But for those of you who are interested in the more spiritual aspects then they really are fascinating as after a while you can actually feel how the different frequencies affect your chakras. You may feel tingling, heat, rushes of energy, feelings of expansion and many others – each unique to that individual. Don’t worry if you don’t feel any physical sensations, it doesn’t mean it’s not having an effect. I don’t know how many people actually feel their chakras, it’s not something that comes up in daily conversation! But it can help give you a focus to your meditation when you know you want to work on a specific area. Or if you simply want to switch off to some beautiful sounds for 10 minutes, then that is just as meaningful!

For those of you really interested in meditation, then I’d also recommend Dr Joe Dispenza – I use his meditations within my own practice and often advocate their use with clients. I talk about it a little more here. They aren’t for everyone, but his directed and powerful information can be pretty life-changing.

Happy Relaxing