Tweaklet #53 – Psoriasis

Let’s talk skin and specifically Psoriasis. Psoriasis spans anything from dandruff and dry itchy skin to fungal breakouts and cracked and bleeding skin. Anyone who suffers from it knows just how irritating and painful this skin condition can be.

Psoriasis is caused by a pileup of skin cells that have replicated too rapidly. Normal healthy skin cells turnover about once a month, but when you have psoriasis the skin cells pile up way too fast.

It begins in the immune system where white blood cells, that fight inflammation, are mistakenly called into action and end up actually attacking the body.

This is called an auto-immune response and, as research is starting to determine, auto-immune issues often start, or are fuelled by an imbalance in the gut.  Conventional drug therapy only suppresses skin conditions, sometimes successfully for periods of time, but as it is not addressing the cause, this will only ever be temporary. Thankfully, you can help combat psoriasis by following a proper psoriasis diet treatment plan.

Some of the best foods to consume on a regular basis are…..

Foods high in probiotics such as organic raw cultured dairy, like kefir and fermented vegetables which introduce the healthy bacteria and yeast the gut needs.

High fibre foods, which includes eating the rainbow of fruits, vegetables, beans and seeds. These all keep the natural detoxification of your body on track.

Foods high in antioxidants like berries, nuts and kidney beans.

Foods high in zinc – grass-fed meat, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas.

Other things like wild-caught fish Herbs and spices, like curcumin and turmeric. And you can use aloe vera both internally and externally.

And make sure to drink plenty of water. Hydration and detoxification are key.

When you suffer from psoriasis it’s important to exclude, or certainly keep to a minimum, foods that increase acidity and inflammation – which includes processed foods,….. fried foods……….., simple sugars, alcohol, conventional dairy, conventional meats,  hydrogenated oils and caffeine. Keeping your diet gluten-free will also improve symptoms.

It’s never too late to take a new approach to psoriasis or any other skin condition. Making some tiny food tweaks really can help.

I’d like to thank Dr Michael Murray and Dr Josh Axe for providing such thoughtful and practical information on this and so many other subjects.

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Tweaklet #51 – Demystifying Food

These days it can feel like you need a science degree to understand what products you are shopping for, even what food you are buying! We live in an ever-expanding world, full of information and with that comes choices!

So let’s simplify some of the jargon that has crept into the food world, so that we can make better and more importantly EASIER choices when buying food!

Firstly, what are antioxidants? Our bodies generate their own antioxidants, as do plants and other animals. Antioxidants are molecules that defend the body against free radicals, so they are very important….which leads me to the next commonly asked question, what are FREE RADICALS?!

Free radicals are a little more complicated to describe. They are compounds which are natural by-products of chemical processes that take place in our bodies, such as metabolism.

Whilst natural, they can easily get out of balance, due to the food we eat, the medicine we take and even the air we breathe. It’s a delicate balance and just as things like fast food, alcohol and chemicals can increase free radicals, food such as good quality meat, vegetables and fruits can maintain a healthy balance.

So, let’s recap. Antioxidants keep free radicals in check which means antioxidants are essential for our survival.  Our diets are an the main source of antioxidants and we can find them easily in things like berries, green tea and dark chocolate.

We’ll demystify more food jargon as we go along so that we can make some healthy food tweaks to our diet.

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Tweaklet #43 – Blueberries

Which is your favourite berry?

All berries are a good low-sugar, low calorie option when it comes to a fruit snack. One perhaps gets rather overlooked and that’s the blueberry……..

This tiny dusky purple skinned beauty is, in fact, the most nutritious …..most anti-oxidant rich fruit in the world!

It does many good things from enhancing brain health to keeping your heart strong.

Blueberries are actually another heroic, cape wearing SUPER FOOD! Yep, here’s another superfood alert!

So the antioxidant properties of blueberries mean that they precent cell damage and they also protect against several types of chronic disease, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. That’s to do with having the highest levels of antioxidants but also the profile of them, which includes phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins.

Studies have shown that blueberry extract was able to inhibit the growth and spread of stomach, prostate, intestine and breast cancer cells and
Blueberries provide a whopping 3.6 grams of fibre per cupful, which gives you up to 14 percent of your daily fibre needs and this means it’s great for slow digestion and therefore blueberries are great for helping with weight loss and digestion.

One of the most impressive health benefits of blueberries is its ability to enhance brain health. There have been many studies suggesting that eating blueberries could improve memory and cognition.

So blueberries – delicious, nutritious, fibre rich and low in sugar – you are my first choice for a breakfast smoothie or an afternoon snack.

What a wonderful superfood you are!

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Tweaklet #42 – Lemons

Lemons are one of those things that people swear by. From cleaning pots and polishing furniture to using lemons as a bug spray, they are everyone’s favourite cure-all.

And in fact their use in our diets is very versatile and beneficial. Because they are full of vitamin C and antioxidants, lemons help boost our immune systems and fight inflammation. And we know, don’t we, that inflammation is at the root of so many health issues and diseases.
Fighting rogue cells in the body, like those that form cancer cells, are definitely part of a lemon’s life work.

Lemons also help prevent kidney stones, increase iron absorption and improve the health of your skin.

The interesting thing is that lemons, with their ultra-tart taste, are thought of as very acidic, yet inside our bodies they are highly alkaline, so that means they are great for restoring a healthy balance in our gut.

Perhaps their most impressive benefit is their effect on heart health. Again the high levels of vitamin C make them the most beneficial, out of any fruit or vegetable, in keeping our hearts healthy and strong.

I find the easiest way to include lemons in my diet is with a daily hot water drink with a slice of lemon and grated ginger. I have it before anything else most days. It’s like drinking a cup of absolute goodness and even if the rest of my day’s eating goes horribly wrong, at least I know I’ve given myself a real lemon boost.

So when life gives you lemons……..consider yourself lucky!

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Tweaklet #41 – Cholesterol: Natural Solutions

Cholesterol is a big subject and the cause of it isn’t just food related but today we’re just going to focus on some simple food tweaks that can help lower cholesterol.

Essentially the mix is including a range of healthy fats, quality vegetables
Firstly there’s olive oil which is loaded with heart-healthy saturated fats which has been shown to drop bad cholesterol levels.

Good old vegetables are next as they are nutrient dense and high in vitamins and minerals.

Nuts are great all-rounders in lowering all the bad cholesterol markers. And they are high in fibre and healthy fats. Seeds like flax seeds are also excellent for heart health.

Fatty fish like salmon are packed with beneficial omega 3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation and decrease cholesterol.

Then there’s spices like Turmeric and garlic that play their valuable part. Other vegetables like beans and legumes and sweet potatoes contain active cholesterol-lowering compounds. Avocados are excellent too, as are persimmons, that unusual fruit.

Green tea, which is rich in antioxidants can be used to good effect as can gluten-free whole grains. The usual things to avoid apply – caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, refined carbohydrates and trans fats. To help with cholesterol, like COQ10 and fish oil…….and essential oils that help lower and manage cholesterol levels.

Once diagnosed cholesterol is something many of us can manage successfully with some tweaks to our diet and it certainly can’t hurt to tweak things in that direction anyway.

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Tweaklet #36 – Chocolate

Nothing contentious today. No dangerous subjects. Nope, today we’re talking about chocolate! I do love a nice piece, or three…….. of chocolate. But like everything else, not all chocolate is created equal.

I am still a lover or milk chocolate and the odd bit of white chocolate but instead of doing us good those two choices really don’t.

Dark chocolate is a whole different thing, however. There are a number of pretty impressive benefits associated with eating dark chocolate.

First and foremost dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that neutralise free radicals and protect the body from damage. These antioxidants include vitamins and minerals and, significant studies have shown, that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate definitely has a positive effect on heart health.

Lots of research is being done but there are correlations to dark chocolate lowering blood pressure,…..improving blood flow to the heart and brain…..an improvement to heart circulation….. and improved blood clotting.

Now don’t take this as a license to eat a chocolate bar a day, although I have to admit to being tempted, the results are positive and well-founded.

So, if you’re a chocolate lover, look for a good quality brand that is nice and dark – 70% and above.

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