Festive Top Tip #1
Chopped onions steeped for a few hours in honey make a soothing cough syrup. Take one spoonful every few hours to calm sore throats and dry coughs.
WHY? Onions can strengthen the immune system. They work as natural antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and expectorants (they loosen mucous so you can cough it up). Raw honey is great for soothing itchy and irritated throats. It is also anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Elderberry & Cinnamon Syrup
Take a tsp daily to boost your immunity.
1 cup elderberries
1 Cinnamon stick, 3 Cloves
3 cups water
1 cup local honey
Chew on them when you feel the need to warm up and/or aid digestion.
Equal quantities of ginger root and demerara sugar
3 Sun-free ways to get some Sunshine!
According to a survey by natural health products company Better You, 9 out of 10 Britons could be deficient in Vitamin D. 77% of adults spend most of their day indoors and they miss out on the sunshine the body needs to make vitamin D.
In Chinese Medicine it is understood that by making the appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes advised according to the seasons, it is possible to prevent illness.
AUTUMN AND MOOD
Autumn is a difficult time of year for many, but awareness of the nature of the season can help us cope with the changes.
To support immune function include foods rich in Vitamin C.
In addition to citrus fruits, vitamin C rich vegetables include peppers and plenty of green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, parsley, and brussels sprouts.
At this time of the year, rosehips are in abundance around England.
Rosehips are the fruit of the rose plant, their colour ranges from red to orange.
Rosehips are great at this time of year to give the immune system a good boost. Rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, rosehips are excellent for cold and flu prevention when made into a syrup. Adding raw local honey increases its antibacterial activities.
How diet can affect your mood in the darker months...
There has been much research on the link between low amount of dietary omega-3 fatty acids and mood disorders, particularly in relation to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Our bodies cannot make these essential omega-3 fatty acids and in order to maintain a healthy nervous system it is necessary for us to consume them in our diets.
Foods: Oily fatty fish are the best sources as they contain EPA and DHA omega-3s which are more easily absorbed by our bodies.
Best sources: Mackerel, Herring, Salmon, Sardines, Anchovies
Vegetarian options include flaxseed, hemp chia and walnut oils and seeds, however these contain ALA, a different kind of omega-3 which has to be metabolized into EPA and DHA by the liver. The rate at which this happens can vary a lot depending on the individual metabolism and other dietary fats consumed.
It is also possible to take a supplement to ensure you are including a good amount of these fatty acids in your diet, it would be advised to do this through recommendation of a qualified Nutritional Therapist.
UPCOMING EVENTS... Be Body Wise - Weight Management
EAT WARMING FOODS AND PUNGENT SPICES
As we saw in the previous blog, the element associated with autumn is metal, the organs lung and large intestine, and the emotion grief.
The taste associated with autumn is ‘pungent’. This taste creates expansion - activating the circulation of qi and dispersing accumulation of moisture.
Pungent foods include ginger, spring onions, and garlic - all foods that can help us fight off the cold and flu viruses that are so common at this time of year.
Try these: Spring onion soup or ginger tea can be great to ward off colds.
In Chinese Medicine every season is associated with an element.
With autumn that is metal. The related organs are the lung and large Intestine, and the related emotion is grief.
Breathing exercises can help strengthen the function of these organs and thus help us attune ourselves with autumn and deal with grief.
A great breathing exercise to try is the 4-7-8 technique.
Recharge your batteries!
You can utilise the summer sunlight to boost your energy - as long as you eat your greens!
There seems to be no end to the list of benefits of dark green, leafy veg - and just in case you need another reason, here it is: a recent study showed that animal cells are capable of producing energy in the presence of chlorophyll, similar to the processes generated by plants.
Fire Element, the Heart and Small Intestine
In Chinese Medicine, Summer is associated with the Fire phase and the Heart. The main functions of the Heart are considered to be housing the spirit, and pumping oxygen rich blood around the body. Just as in the summer the sun spreads warmth and light over the Earth, the Heart pumps warm nourishing blood throughout the body.
When the Heart blood is deficient, the spirit does not have a good resting place and there can be symptoms of restlessness, anxiety and insomnia. A disorder of the Heart organ can also affect communication and speech resulting in stutters, manic talking or disjointed thinking.
TOP TIP #8 Vitamin C – embrace summer fruits!
Did you know that signs of vitamin C deficiency can be fatigue, muscle weakness, bleeding gums and leg rashes?
This vital vitamin serves many important functions in the body including to repair and regenerate tissues, protecting against heart disease, supporting immune function, aiding the absorption of iron and producing collagen, which is essential for improving skin elasticity giving the skin a healthy glow for the summer, while also reducing the appearance of cellulite!
TOP TIP #7 Green leaves
In Chinese Medicine, the taste that resonates with summertime and the fire element is ‘bitter’. Bitter foods can clear heat from the body.
Examples include many of the salad leaves that are around at this time of year - lettuce, rocket, mustard leaf, and other bitter green vegetables.
TOP TIP #5 Rose Water
Another handy herbal item to carry with you during hot summer days is rose water.
When sourcing your rose water make sure to get a good product which does not have any additives or preservatives. True aromatic waters are produced through a distillation process, similar to the one that produces essential oils. They are very rich in their action as they contain most of the oil components, as well as some of the lighter water soluble compounds that you would usually find in a water extraction.
TOP TIP #4 Lavender
While most of us love staying outdoors during the summer months, we could do without the frequent annoyance of insect bites.
Fortunately, Lavender essential oil is considered a great bug repellent that can be applied on exposed skin when outside.
Advice from our herbalists, nutritional therapists, and Chinese medical practitioners.
Chinese Medicine doesn’t discuss the concept of detoxing as such, rather the focus is on creating balance within our bodies through living in harmony with the seasons and the changes in
Living in Rhythm with Spring
Spring is a time to grow and to start putting plans into action. There is often a sense of tension, felt in the energetic potential of the young buds, and the uncertainty as to when the warm weather will be here to stay.
In Chinese Medicine Springtime is associated with the Wood element which relates to the Liver organ. The Liver is thought to smooth the flow of qi around the channels of the body, removing physical, emotional or energetic blockages.
It is important therefore to support the Liver energy during this time to assist in 'detoxing' the channels. The following Qi Gong exercise can be used to activate and energise the Liver qi.
TOP TIP #8 Fish n Fibre
Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), nuts, seeds and olive oil are all good sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs) that help reduce inflammation and regulate liver and gallbladder function.
Also, having enough sources of dietary fibre such as brown rice, oats, rye, quinoa along with beans, pulses, lentils may help to prevent constipation and help excretion of toxins.
TOP TIP #7
Drink 1.5 – 2 litres of filtered water per day this can help relieve constipation and prevent water retention.
Herbal teas can be included in this quota – Dandelion and nettle teas are diuretics that can assist in liver and kidney function in detoxification.
Also, supplement with super green foods such as Spirulina or Chlorella as they contain a rich source of chlorophyll that can help bind to heavy metals such as nickel, mercury and aluminium, thus aid liver detoxification.
Top Tip #6 Fruit & Veg
Eat a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts. They are
a rich source of B vitamins, iron and magnesium, and also contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates, and indole- 3 carbinol, which can all aid liver
Top Tip #5 Sucking lemons
Lemons are rich in vitamin C along with phytonutrients such as beta carotene, lutein and zexanthin - all excellent to aid
detox after a period of indulgence.Hence, starting off the day with a glass of lukewarm water and slice of lemon can aid cleansing of the digestive tract and set you right up for the
Tomorrow we'll be looking at which vegetables are especially beneficial to eat during a detox...
Spring has arrived! And with it comes all of our news about detoxing that we promised you back in January.
Right about now, you may be feeling a tad overwhelmed by the plethora of dietary advice exclaiming the virtues of detoxing, dieting and cleansing.
As everyone knows, we humans are not that far removed from our friends in the animal kingdom. Nature dictates that January and February, when we are in the depths of winter, are really a time when we should be hibernating and’ storing our nuts’. Keeping warm inside and out!
Top Tip #10!!
Now, after getting a good nights sleep, do you find it hard to wake up for work feeling refreshed and perky during the dark winter months?
Does a strong cup of coffee set you right? Try a naturopathic alternative to coffee that involves no coffee - a cold arm bath. Submerge your arms (referred to as a local reflex area) into a large
basin or sink of cold water (temperature 16 degrees celsius please) for 15-30 seconds only! Yes we know its cold...very cold, however, we promise you'll leave for work bright eyed and bushy
It is vital to engage with our environment and external conditions in order to understand the changes that are occurring within ourselves.
Autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering and storing for the Winter months ahead. The sun gets lower in the sky, the days get colder, and leaves fall off the trees.
In Chinese medicine terms, the movement of qi (often described as life-force energy) in the Autumn is downward and contracting. Qi is moving and gathering in to the depths in preparation to be protected and nourished throughout the cold Winter months.