Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

A Healthier Approach to Barbeques

a healthier approach to barbeques

In this article, I am going to highlight some of the challenges with grilling and barbequing food. How there may be some health implications with the foods you choose to cook and how you cook them. Equally I want to offer some solutions to help mitigate the potentially negative effects of this type of cooking.

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Batch cooking ideas

batch cooking ideas

Thankfully the initial madness that surrounded coronavirus food shopping habits and the access to food seems to have now finally calmed down. I have had a number of requests for meal ideas that can be batch cooked at home and have prepared a selection of our recipes for you to try!

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Vitamins & Minerals: Why they matter

vitamins minerals why they matter image

Vitamins & minerals are collectively known as micronutrients. They are exceptionally important for maintaining and optimising health. Even though they are required in relatively small quantities, many functions within the body are dependent on sufficient amounts of these micronutrients – and even a single micronutrient deficiency can cause significant imbalances, symptoms and ill health.

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Water: Why it’s important and how much should you consume?

water why its important and-how much should you consume image

There is a striking resemblance between the amount of water on this earth and the amount of water in the human body. With around 60-65% of the human body being water and 75-85% of the brain being made up of water. In this article we are going to look at some of the functions of water, signs and symptoms of dehydration and then try and set some guidelines on how much water might be right for you.

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What fats are best to cook with

what is best fat to cook with image

In this review we are going to look at why we need to be aware of the fats we use when cooking, especially when cooking at high temperatures. We then look at what goes into choosing a fat that is appropriate for your needs, and finally provide a list of fats that might be best to cook with.

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Understanding Hunger: Physical and psychological cues

understanding hunger physical psychological cues

Have you ever had a sudden urge to eat something or following a meal had a significant desire to eat more, especially something sweet? Why is it that this seems to happen at the same time of day each day or in certain environments? In this article we look at hunger and try to determine what hunger actually is, what contributes to true hunger and the sensations we experience, what is more of an emotional hunger, perhaps not hunger at all, but something that drives us to want and desire foods even when we can’t or shouldn’t be hungry.

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A Functional Medicine approach to Endometriosis

what is endometriosis what can be done image

In this article one of our trusted professionals a fellow Nutrition & Functional Medicine Practitioner Katie takes a look at the traditional symptoms associated with endometriosis, how it can develop, risk factors and the conventional approach to treatment. Following on from that she then looks at nutrition and lifestyle considerations, potential use of supplementation and finish with a summary of your key considerations.

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Should I be on a gluten free diet?

In todays article I want to discuss a few considerations with regards to going gluten free. I want to discuss my stance on the subject and also present some literature that was presented to me by Dr Tom O’Bryan recently along with some of my own literature that I have pulled up writing this article.

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The Forgotten Basics of Nutrition

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As a nutritionist it can be easy to get carried away with the more complex side of our job, the laboratory testing and supplement prescription. All too often nutritionists and other health practitioners forget or even disregard the basics that add the foundation to the more complex recommendations.

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Is detoxing for dorks?

is detoxing for dorks image

So it’s that time of year again, almost everyone I know is going to start his or her January detox. In the process they are going to post untold amounts of pictures of their nasty tasting green juices and plates of food that resemble eating dinner with Rodger Rabbit, or even better they are going to squirt water up there backside claiming to be cleansing their digestive system.

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Can natural medicine play a role in cancer treatment?

can natural medicine play a role in cancer treatment image

In recent months I have been asked my opinion on the role that nutrition and natural medicine can have on cancer treatment. As nutritionists we often find ourselves in a position of trying to help prevent disease, but on occasions disease can occur. This then begs the question, what roles can nutrition and natural medicine play in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, and can they be used alongside more conventional treatments to enhance the recovery or final outcome?

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Foods that increase blood flow – Salicylate rich foods

foods that increase blood flow image

Salicylates are chemicals that are naturally found in plants. They act like natural pesticides to help protect the plant against insects and disease. In some individuals, salicylate sensitivity is possible, and the symptoms are pretty obscure such as headaches, IBS, irritability etc, making it hard to diagnose.

Another major role of salicylates is their potential role in improving blood flow. The best known medication for thinning the blood, aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid and was originally extracted from willow bark. Adverse reactions to aspirin may be an indicator of salicylate sensitivity. Knowing that salicylates have the potential to improve blood flow we can then use this to our advantage in certain health conditions and also the recovery and repair of certain injuries.

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Microwave cooking: How does it affect your food and your health?

microwave cooking how does it effect your health image

For such a common method of cooking there has been a surprisingly sparse amount of research completed on the positives or negatives of microwave cooking on our food and our health. Most of the articles / blogs online are either hugely in favour or hugely against the use of microwaves.

I personally prefer more traditional cooking methods, however in this article I am going to provide you with some of the research available on microwave cooking and you can make your own mind up as to whether this form of cooking is required in your household.

Potential negative effects of microwave cooking

1. Risk of microwaves leaking from the device

The amount of microwaves that can leak from an oven throughout its lifetime is limited to 5 milliwatts (mW) per square centimetre at approximately 2 inches from the oven surface.

Dr Magda Havas, who has completed a variety of research on microwaves and their effect on human health noted that changes in heart rate and heart rate variability are associated with exposure to microwaves. (1)

Solution – If you choose to use a microwave stand well clear during the cooking process. Levels are one hundredth lower at 20inchs than they are at 2inches.

2. Leaking of toxic substances from packaging

This is as much an issue with food packaging as it is to do with microwave cooking. The trouble is many of our food products these days come packaged in plastic wrappings, often containing BPA and other harmful substances.

Many packaged products that are heated in the microwave cause mega leaking of these substances into our food. These substances are potential endocrine (hormone) disruptors and linked with increased cancer risk.

Frederick Vom Saal a researcher from the University of Missouri states “There is no such thing as safe microwavable plastic” (3).

Solution – Avoid any foods that come sold in plastic packaging or require cooking in plastic packaging. If you choose to use a microwave for heating foods or cooking foods, always avoid the use of plastic containers, even if they state they are microwave safe.

3. Negative effects on human breast milk caused by microwaves

Research in the Journal of Paediatrics states that “microwave cooking appears to be contraindicated at high temperatures and questions regarding its safety exist even at low temperatures”. (2)

The research demonstrated that microwave cooking had negative effects on some of the natural anti-infective factors found in human milk such as IgA.

IgA is an immunoglobulin that plays a crucial role in mucosal immunity. Low levels of IgA are strongly associated with immune insufficiency and may lead onto an increase in the risk of infection or potentially contribute to asthma and allergies.

How does microwave cooking impact our food?

This is probably one of the most controversial questions relating to microwave cooking, and there is no clear answer on the subject.

Dr Hans Hertel’s Study

Swiss food scientist Dr Hans Hertel was the first to carry out a small study on the effects of microwave cooking on the blood and physiology of human’s. Unfortunately, a number of flaws in the methodology of his study were noted which leaves a big question mark over his findings. His findings included, negative effects on cholesterol, white blood cells (immune health), red blood cells and signs of lowered haemoglobin levels which may contribute to anaemia. The swiss appliance industry was not overly impressed with Hans Hertel’s research and a gagging order was put upon him in 1992 which was later reversed in 1998.

Since Hans Hertel’s study there has been mixed research concluding both positive and negative impacts on food.

  • Journal of Science and Food and Agriculture found broccoli cooked in the microwave with a little water lost 97% of its beneficial antioxidants, compared to steamed broccoli which lost 11%.
  • Another study found a drop in vitamin C levels in microwaved cooked asparagus.
  • Another found microwave cooking had a negative impact of vitamin B12 levels.

This might seem like a valid enough reason to stop using microwaves, but there is also much research that shows little or no change in microwave cooking, in fact some studies have shown higher levels of certain nutrients to be contained in microwaved cooked foods compared to traditionally cooked foods (boiling, steaming).

Solution – When it comes to nutrient levels the jury is still out and this area is debatable whether microwave cooking influences the nutrient status.

Uneven cooking temperatures

One of the biggest challenges with microwave cooking is that of an uneven cooking temperature, which can cause some areas to be overheated and other areas still under temperature.

This effect may cause increased risk of microorganism growth such as salmonella, listeria and campylobacter, potentially leading to food poisoning.

Final Tips

Use traditional methods of cooking where possible.

Foods can be heated up in the oven or choose meals that can be eaten cold at work the next day. Eating food cold the next day and avoiding repetitive heating will hold onto nutrients better than any form of reheating.

If you do use a microwave:

  • Stand clear and avoid having a microwave in a busy part of your household or office.
  • Avoid all plastics in microwave cooking.
  • Ensure food is evenly cooked and to the correct temperature. Cover food to help with this.
  • Do not heat up breast milk or baby formula in the microwave.

Contact Steve Grant Health

To learn more out how Steve Grant Health can assist you on your journey, please fill out the enquiry form below.

Please note that depending on your specific circumstances and goals, Steve may recommend that you work with one of the specialist practitioners within his network of trusted professionals.

If you have been referred by a clinician, please complete the form and ensure that you state who has referred you or have your practitioner email Steve direct to make a referral that way.

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Some interesting Sources

  • http://www.magdahavas.com/pick-of-the-week-24-microwave-radiation-affects-the-heart/
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1557249
  • http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/34532034.html
  • http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/106558884/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0 Kidmose U and Kaack K. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica B 1999:49(2):110-117
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11238815?dopt=Abstract
  • http://www.litalee.com/documents/Microwaves%20And%20Microwave%20Ovens.pdf

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Organic vs Non Organic Food

organic vs non organic food image

There is an increasing awareness with regards to organic foods vs non-organic foods, with many people choosing to buy organic for a variety of reasons, with the most popular reasons given are that of reducing toxin exposure, being better for the environment and increasing nutrient intake. In this article we review some of the considerations that surround the organic vs non-organic debate.

There are a number of conflicting studies regarding organic and non-organic produce and the data extracted from these studies have been criticised in relation to selective data extraction, funding influences and more. One prime example of this was a review study looking at 109 research papers on the organic vs non-organic subject that was later found that only 27 of the 109 papers were valid for comparison.

With powerful multinational corporations involved within our food industry, it is unlikely that we will ever have a clear answer on the debate of organic vs non organic, but what we can do is look at organic food vs non-organic food with a little common sense.

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The health of our soil

The health of our soil will determine the health of the crop produced. Some soil and thus plant life are exposed to soil full of microbial life that contains millions of bacteria that help breakdown anything that falls on the land. These bacteria can then process it and make the nutritional content available to the plant.

Something that is well accepted is that the food we eat can influence our health, thus why would it be any different for the plants or animals we consume. If we only exposed our food to the most minimal amount of nutrients possible, why should we expect that food to provide us with the sustenance that we require to support our health.

You are what you eat, eats!

Nutrient Loss through conventional medicine

Articles have shown substantial losses in important minerals like magnesium, zinc, selenium and potassium. Magnesium, zinc and selenium are also very common insufficiencies that I see in clinical practice. Whether these insufficiencies or deficiencies are being caused by a lack of these nutrients in our food or whether the demands of modern day living increases the need for the nutrients are hard to say. It is probably a little from column A, and a little from column B.

Beyond the debate of primary nutrients such as the vitamins and minerals they have time and time again been shown to contain higher levels of secondary metabolites. These are substances like antioxidants and phytonutrients

Essentially phytonutrients act as self defence mechanisms for the plant, helping protect them against bugs, UV rays and other forms of potential damage. In small amounts these substances have been shown to be beneficial to human health and linked to preventing numerous diseases such as various cancers, diseases associated to cognitive decline, diabetes, heart disease and more.

Conventional farming prevents the natural die off of weak crops, allowing weak crops with low phytonutrient levels and poor self-defence capabilities to survive due to the chemical pesticides and fertilisers doing the defence work for the plants.

Organic food has been shown to contain higher level of antioxidant phytonutrients and polyphenols which has been linked with improved anticancer potential with organic foods.

reduce toxin exposure image

Reducing toxin exposure

For me this is one of the most crucial areas of the organic vs non-organic produce debate.

Naturally our body has the ability to detoxify substances that we are exposed to. Some are able to do this better than others, whether related to certain genotypes, pre-existing imbalances, or insufficiencies and general state of health.

To a degree our body is able to process some low-level exposure to chemicals with little or no side effect. One thing that has not been studied however, is the effect of exposure to numerous low-level compounds and the effect this might have on our physiology. Unfortunately, the sheer number of toxins that we are exposed to now make this type of research impossible to determine cause and effect.

We are now being exposed to thousands of chemicals daily, none of which have been tested in combination to see how our body reacts. The reality is they only need to show safe levels for the single chemical, however, what’s to say you are not being exposed to ten, one-hundred or even a thousand chemicals at clinically safe levels every day you step out your door with no idea on the accumulative effect.

There is mounting evidence now that foetal health and development can be influenced by chemicals we are exposed to causing reductions in IQ for those exposed to the highest levels of organophosphates, with some mounting research now extending the link in children with ADHD and chemical exposure.

One study by Houlihan et al, 2005 demonstrated in 10 different new-borns 287 chemicals were found in the umbilical cords, all of which were linked to cancer, developmental problems and/or nervous system damage.

Unfortunately, we live in a toxic world now, and there is no way you can escape all forms of chemicals, all we can do is try and reduce our exposure where possible and try and protect those most vulnerable.

One study from Holland noted how organic dairy foods where able to reduce eczema risk in the first two years of life compared to non-organic dairy.

healthy vegetables image

Practical tips for cleaner eating

Ultimately eating a healthy single ingredient wholefood-based diet in accordance to your caloric requirements and the correct macro levels (protein, fats and carbs) is the first step. If you are then looking to optimise your nutrition further and budget allows, I believe choosing organic food should become part of your food choices moving forward.

If you eat animal products, I’d recommend this as a good place to start. When choosing organic foods, you may also find the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) dirty dozen and clean fifteen list useful (see below). How relevant this is the UK or EU crops I am yet to find any data on this.

Clean 15

  • Onions
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Mangoes
  • Aubergine
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Mushrooms

Dirty Dozen

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Grapes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Lettuce
  • Kale

References

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4025038/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5658984/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931688/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12781160
  • http://www.altmedrev.com/archive/publications/15/1/4.pdf
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17761012
  • https://www.ewg.org/research/body-burden-pollution-newborns

Contact Steve Grant Health

To learn more out how Steve Grant Health can assist you on your journey, please fill out the enquiry form below.

Please note that depending on your specific circumstances and goals, Steve may recommend that you work with one of the specialist practitioners within his network of trusted professionals.

If you have been referred by a clinician, please complete the form and ensure that you state who has referred you or have your practitioner email Steve direct to make a referral that way.

Click the button below to open the client enquiry form:

Send Client Enquiry

From the following categories what areas do you feel you need the most support with?

Foundational Five

Systems & Symptoms

Optimising Performance

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How many vegetables should I eat per day?

how many vegetables should i eat per day image

There is not a week that goes by without a contradictory article telling us exactly how many vegetables we must eat to stay healthy. But is there an amount that’s right for everyone? Should we be aiming for a certain amount and what are the benefits of a high intake of vegetables and potential side effects of lots of vegetables?

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Gut Bugs and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Most Common Digestive Infections

gut bugs and ibs image

As I was explaining in my article titled ‘What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?’, one of the major causes of IBS is the presence of something in the digestive system that should not be there, such as unwanted invaders or overgrowths in our system like certain bacteria, parasites and yeast or fungi. I personally experienced the effects of having these unwanted invaders in my gut, and felt the effects throughout my body (read my story).

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The Zinc – Testosterone Connection

zinc testosterone connection image

Athlete populations seem to be more prone to zinc deficiency, so those that train on a regular basis would fit into that same population. Red blood cell zinc is a much more effective measurement than serum zinc levels and test should be carried out before any high dose supplementation as high dose zinc can cause copper insufficiency, stomach upset and even stress liver and kidney function.

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3 Evening Routine Habits to Help Improve Sleep Health

evening routine habits to improve sleep health image

Sleep is one of the most important areas of health that is often forgotten about. Poor sleep can lead to lower libido, increased risk of many chronic diseases, impairs attention and alertness, increases the risk of depression, can mess up your immune system, ages your skin, increases your risk of fat gain and can draw a fat loss programme to a holt.

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You seem confused! Can we trust the media’s nutrition advice?

can we trust medias nutrition advice image

There is a reason why I don’t rely on the mainstream media to educate myself on nutrition and lifestyle practices. Day in day out we are being told contradictory information regarding what we should or should not be putting in our mouths, and it is of no surprise to me that the general public is completely confused over how to eat for optimal health.

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Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally: A Case Study

reverse type 2 diabetes naturally image

Type 2 Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic disease around, especially in developed countries. Truth be told it is a disease of lifestyle. Some people are more prone to the development of the disease, but if the right lifestyle patterns are followed it can often be prevented and in some cases we can even reverse type 2 Diabetes naturally.

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Lifestyle Medicine and Chronic Disease

lifestyle medicine and chronic disease image

Working as a nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner, I am able to work with my clients on a number of different levels. I work on every single aspect of their lifestyle to elicit the most optimal change in their health, we look at sleep, stress, digestive health, immune, energy levels, blood sugar regulation, exercise to name a few. Most my clients are for fat loss, however my view is fat loss should be a side effect of improved health, this is why few of my clients will lose lean tissue when reducing their body fat levels and their health and energy levels improve.

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It’s not just about calories!

its not just about calories image

I am going to touch on a very controversial subject. For years the notion of calories in calories has been the fundamental principle many health experts, doctors, dieticians etc have stuck to as an explanation as to why we as a nation are getting fatter and how you should get leaner. Whilst the laws of thermodynamics that lead us to the calories in calories out concept certainly have a place, is it true that the only reason we either get fat, get lean or stay the same is our approach to calorie intake?

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Cruciferous vegetables, Cancer and Estrogen metabolism

cruciferous vegetables cancer and oestrogen metabolism image

Consumption of cruciferous vegetables – a family of vegetables that includes spinach, watercress, radish, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale – has long been associated with good health. A highly significant study from the University of Ulster was published that adds to the growing body of evidence linking the consumption of these vegetables to a reduced risk of developing cancer. (1)

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