Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Month: January 2013

Treating Crohn’s disease naturally

vitamin D

CROHN’S is a disease of the gut and too complex to discuss in great detail here. However, it is generally accepted that food intolerance may be a factor. 

Research by Dr. John Hunter at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, found that Crohn’s patients are often intolerant to foods such as wheat, yeast and dairy. Patients were able to get rid of their symptoms by excluding the problem foods.

Hunter also believes eliminating fat from the diet may also play a major role in controlling the disease.

Vitamin D could also be important, as up to 56 percent of Crohn’s sufferers have been found to have low levels of this vital nutrient. You can have your vitamin D level checked with a simple home finger prick test. You will then be sent your results along with a recommendation to correct a vitamin D deficiency if you need it.

Several herbs have been shown to help Crohn’s symptoms, which can include diarrhea. Slippery elm and psyllium husks absorb excess fluid and have softer fibres than normal bran. Meadowsweet and comfrey have specific anti-inflammatory properties.

Herbalists also use lady’s slipper, valerian root, skullcap and chamomile as general calming agents.

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High fructose corn syrup linked to diabetes

High-fructose corn syrup for sale

High-fructose corn syrup for sale (Photo credit: Steven Vance)

AN international study shows countries using high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in their foods and drinks have a 20 percent higher prevalence of diabetes, independent of obesity. HFCS is used in processed foods to make them look better and taste sweeter.

Data from 42 countries, compiled by the University of Southern California and University of Oxford, found countries with a higher use of HFCS had an average diabetes prevalence of eight percent. This compared with six and a half percent in countries with a lower use of HFCS. The US had the largest consumption of HFCS per person, at 25kg a year. In the 1990s, HFCS made up 40 percent of US sweeteners and was the sweetener most often used in sodas. In the UK, HFCS is labeled as glucose-fructose syrup.

This study is just one more reason to avoid processed foods, particularly HFCS, as our metabolisms have not evolved to process the high amount of fructose in HFCS, which is a type of sugar.

Sugar has no nutritional value, is just empty calories, and has been linked to cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It goes straight into your blood stream where it stimulates the release of insulin, which can lead to diabetes. Sugar can also overwork your liver causing estrogen levels to fluctuate.

Type II diabetes is one of the most common causes of death today, but it’s easy to reduce your risk with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Simply eat a healthy breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack and a light supper. Once you start eating six healthy meals and snacks per day and cut back on refined sugar, you’ll find your ‘sweet tooth’ and cravings naturally recede.

Source: University of Southern CaliforniaGoran, M., Ulijaszek, S. and Ventura, E. (2012). High fructose corn syrup and diabetes prevalence: A global perspective. Global Public Health. Published online Nov. 27, 2012.

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Fizzy soft drinks linked to prostate cancer

English: idealized curves of human blood gluco...

English: idealized curves of human blood glucose and insulin concentrations during the course of a day containing three meals; in addition, effect of sugar-rich meal is highlighted; (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RESEARCH suggests that just one fizzy soft drink per day could increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer by 40%.

A 15-year study at Lund University in Sweden and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tracked the health of 8,000 men aged between 45-73 and found that men who drink at least 300ml of a sugary soft drink per day were at greater risk of prostate cancer. Those who ate large amounts of cakes, biscuits and sugary breakfast cereals were linked with a less serious form of the disease.

Prostate cancer is the most common men’s cancer with about 36,000 cases diagnosed in the UK each year (most aged 70 or over). Fizzy drinks are also linked to teenage aggression, as well as stroke, liver damage and premature aging.

The sugar in fizzy drinks and other sweet things is believed to release insulin, which may feed tumours. Excess sugar promotes extreme swings in your blood sugar levels that often feel like an energy ‘boost’ followed by a ‘crash’. To even out your blood sugar levels, it’s best to eat little and often, and to eat high fibre, unrefined, ‘slow release’ foods such as whole grains and vegetables.

It’s far healthier to snack on carrot and celery sticks (which taste surprisingly sweet), a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts and seeds, and to drink pure water, fruit and vegetable juices and herbal teas. And don’t switch to diet fizzy drinks to avoid the added sugar, as the artificial sweeteners are just as unhealthy as the sugar.

That way, you won’t crave unhealthy stimulants to give you an energy boost.

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Soft drinks, aspartame, and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease Am J Clin Nutr 2012 96: 6 1249-1251; First published online November 7, 2012.

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Protect yourself against Alzheimer’s

SCIENTISTS can detect signs of Alzheimer’s decades before any symptoms show according to the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute.

Avoid Alzheimer's Disease 2

Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease 2 (Photo credit: AlzheimerHelp)

A team at the institute in Arizona studied brain scans of 20 people. The subjects were all members of a Columbian family who have a genetic mutation that means they tend to get Alzheimer’s in their 40s (the usual onset is age 75+).

The researchers found that differences could be detected more than 20 years before symptoms would appear, so identifying high-risk patients and allowing for earlier treatment.

Signs of dementia only appear when sufficient brain cells have died, maybe up to 20%. At that point it may be too late for treatment.

Early diagnosis and treatment should help prevent damage to memory and thinking – if drugs can be found.

Source: The Lancet

To keep your brain healthy, it’s important to eat omega-3 oils two or three times a week.

They’re found in oily fish (such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and anchovies), nuts and seeds, and of course omega-3 supplements. Note that baked or steamed fish is better than fried.

You can also increase cognitive performance through regular exercise, as it improves blood flow to the brain and so helps retain mental agility and avoid memory loss. Simply going for a brisk walk every day will help protect you as you age.

Antioxidants including vitamin C found in fruits and vegetables are thought to help relax arteries and improve blood flow.

So there you go – three practical ways to help preserve your memory.

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High blood pressure link to vitamin D

DCF 1.0VITAMIN D deficiency may be associated with high blood pressure, according to research published on The study followed 112 people with high blood pressure who had their vitamin D levels checked.

Ninety-two of them were deficient at the start of the study. Giving the participants vitamin D supplements over 20 weeks showed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (the top number for blood pressure) (reduced by 6.8 mmHg) and also diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) was reduced by 1.7mmHg.

How can you reduce high blood pressure?

  • Get your vitamin D level checked by a simple home finger prick test.
  • Supplement with vitamin D if you are deficient and then re-test to make sure the level is back to normal
  • Eat more oily fish and eggs as they contain vitamin D
  • Get out in the sunshine whenever possible (without wearing sunscreen)
  • Reduce your salt intake and use herbs such as ginger and garlic to flavour your food instead.
  • Follow a healthy eating programme (contact me for details), because being overweight – especially when carrying the weight around the middle of your body – increases your risk of high blood pressure.


Tamex H, Thadhani RI, 2012, Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens, 21, 5, 492-9 and Larsen T, 2012, presented at the European Society of Hypertension, London

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Type III diabetes link with dementia

SONY DSCTYPE II diabetes is generally diagnosed during middle age and is often a result of bad diet combined with little or no exercise. The resulting insulin insensitivity puts sufferer’s health at risk.

Latest research confirms those same bad habits, if continued throughout middle age and beyond, may result in what is called Type III diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

The concept of Alzheimer’s as a type of diabetes was originally suggested by German neuroscientists in the 1990s. More recently, in 2005, two published US studies from Brown Medical School revealed that the brain produces insulin, and insulin levels tend to drop dramatically in Alzheimer’s patients. Brown researcher Dr. Suzanne de la Monte said: “Many of the unexplained features of Alzheimer’s, such as cell death and tangles in the brain, appear to be linked to abnormalities in insulin signaling.”

More Evidence

Current research would appear to back this up. The North-western University investigated the Alzheimer’s-as-type-III-diabetes theory. In most Alzheimer’s patients, memory is corrupted by a build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain. So when the researchers treated rat nerve cells with insulin, they were encouraged to find that the effects of amyloid protein plaques were blocked.

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What to eat after exercise

WHAT we eat directly after exercise can have a significant impact on the health benefits we reap from it, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Eating sugar loaded carbohydrates right after exercising can negatively affect both insulin sensitivity and human growth hormone (HGH) production.

The study found eating a low-carbAlmondsohydrate meal after aerobic exercise enhances insulin sensitivity, which is important, as impaired insulin sensitivity, or insulin resistance, is one of the underlying causes of Type 2 diabetes and a significant risk factor for other chronic diseases.

Consuming fructose, including fruit juices, within two hours of exercising depletes natural HGH production. According to HGH Magazine, a high sugar snack, or a sports drink (which often contains high sugar levels) after working out, will counteract the benefits of exercise induced HGH. You can work out for hours, eat a high sugar bar or have a high sugar energy drink and this will shut down the synergistic benefits of HGH. If you miss reaching HGH release during working out, you will still get the calorie burning benefit from the workout. However, you’ll miss the HGH ‘synergy bonus’ of enhanced fat burning for two hours after working out.

This is extremely important to remember if you want to cut body fat and shed a few pounds.

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