Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Tag: magnesium

These Three Nutrients May Help You Sleep

Recent research has shown that missing a few hours’ sleep each night can have a dramatic effect on your immune system and overall health.

We all know that when we’re tired we can more easily come down with a cold or flu and this is because our immune system is not working at its optimum. Too little sleep can also result in weight gain. Chronic sleep deprivation, can make you feel hungrier than normal and trigger weight gain by affecting the way your body processes and stores carbohydrate. Here are three nutrients that may help with insomnia:

1. Magnesium: This mineral is known as ‘nature’s tranquilliser’ and has a calming relaxing effect on the body in general. It is particularly helpful if your sleep is being disturbed by cramps as it is a muscle relaxant.

2. Theanine: This amino acid comes from green tea and not only helps maintain a calm alertness during the day but also a deeper sleep at night.

3. Tryptophan: Your body needs this amino acid in order to make serotonin, the relaxing and calming brain neurotransmitter. Tryptophan occurs naturally in fish, whole grains, chickpeas, almonds, eggs, bananas, dates and organic dairy.

Diet and Nutrition Essential for Mental Health

Rapidly growing evidence shows vital relationships between both diet quality and potential nutritional deficiencies and mental health.

Published in The Lancet Psychiatry, leading academics state that as with a range of medical conditions, psychiatry and public health should now recognise and embrace diet and nutrition as key determinants of mental health.

Lead author, Dr Jerome Sarris from the University of Melbourne and a member of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR), said psychiatry is at a critical stage, with the current medically-focused model having achieved only modest benefits in addressing the global burden of poor mental health.

Diet and Nutrition Essential for Mental Health

“While the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology,” Dr Sarris said.

“In the last few years, significant links have been established between nutritional quality and mental health. Scientifically rigorous studies have made important contributions to our understanding of the role of nutrition in mental health,” he said.

Findings of the review revealed that in addition to dietary improvement, evidence now supports the contention that nutrient-based prescription has the potential to assist in the management of mental disorders at the individual and population level.

Studies show that many of these nutrients have a clear link to brain health, including omega-3s, B vitamins (particularly folate and B12), choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), vitamin D, and amino acids.

Preventing kidney stones

preventing kidney stones

Nuts, seeds and whole grains are high in magnesium

While tendencies towards kidney stones are genetic – if one parent is a stone-former there is increased risk – other factors involved in preventing kidney stones include diet and nutrient deficiencies. Kidney stones are an accumulation of mineral salts that can lodge anywhere along the urinary tract.

There are three types of stones: calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate and uric acid. In eighty percent of cases, kidney stones are calcium oxide. The most common symptom is severe back pain that radiates from the back across the abdomen and into the genital area or inner thighs. This pain is also associated with nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating, blood in the urine, pain on urination and sometimes chills and fever.

Dietary factors

Eating refined carbohydrates, including sugar, seems to be a major factor in the formation of stones. Sugar consumption stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, which in turn stimulates increased calcium excretion through the urine. When unbalanced by adequate calcium, consuming foods high in phosphorus such as meat and soft drinks also leads to increased calcium loss via the urine.

Avoiding foods high in oxalic acid is often recommended for preventing kidney stones, however, this link is unproven. Studies show that only 16 percent of stone-formers were found to have excess urinary oxalates.

Nutritional deficiencies

Magnesium helps dissolve oxalates in the urine and allows them to be excreted before stones are formed. Vitamin B6 is essential for the normal metabolism of oxalic acid. Deficiencies of either vitamin B6 or magnesium increase kidney stone risk. Anyone who survives on a processed food diet will almost certainly be deficient in both of these. Getting the correct balance of these essential nutrients is key to preventing kidney stones.

Both vitamin A deficiency and vitamin C deficiency may also promote stone formation. Smokers are nearly always vitamin C deficient as each cigarette destroys as much vitamin C as there is one orange. Taking supplements in their most available form is vital in keeping kidney stones under control. The quality of your vitamin supplement is also a factor in preventing kidney stones. If you are in any doubt, let me know and I can give you some personal supplements recommendations.

Cadmium toxicity

Last, but not least, cadmium. Cadmium is a trace mineral that can damage the kidneys. Exposure is associated with increased risk of kidney stones. Smokers have abnormally high levels of cadmium in their blood and therefore run a higher risk of forming stones. Cadmium can be found in drinking water, fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides and refined grains. Metalworkers, including coppersmiths are generally chronically exposed to cadmium.

If you find you are getting recurrent symptoms and would like some nutritional and supplement advice for preventing kidney stones, let me know.

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