Smorgasbord health 2017 – A -Z of Common Conditions – Chicken Pox and Shingles – A Double Act.


 

I am picking up the A – Z of Common Complaints and Top to Toe Health posts again after the summer.  You may have read some of the posts in the last three years, but I am updating again with any new treatment protocols.

Chicken pox

As children begin school for the first time or return after the long summer break, there is likely to be an outbreak of one of the common childhood infections including chicken pox.

 

Image – MediaIndia.net

Chicken pox is one of the most common childhood illnesses with an estimated 9 out of 10 children contracting the virus. In itself it is usually mild and whilst uncomfortable because of the itching and general feeling of being unwell, it passes within two weeks.

There has been a great deal of research into childhood illnesses such as chickenpox, measles, German measles and mumps and their effect on the immune system. It is generally believed that provided the diseases do not cause complications that it will boost the immune system into adulthood.

There is a proviso with this assumption. It may not be the case if a child is treated with antibiotics previously for bacterial infections which may have already weakened the immune system. Some parents deliberately put their children in the path of others with chicken pox, but it can be a double-edged sword as there is a link between the disease and the onset of auto immune conditions such as asthma and the possibility of shingles in later life.

The symptoms of Chicken pox.

This is a very contagious disease and it is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and can be transmitted by touch or by breathing in the virus particles from a persons breath or sneezing. Symptoms to be aware of in a child is persistent itching in the stomach area, unusual tiredness and a slight fever. Check the stomach for a rash and also see if it has spread to the back or face. It can spread to cover the body with between 250 and 500 blisters. It often forms blisters in the mouth too which can make drinking and eating very uncomfortable.

Catching it an early stage is important to prevent your child returning to school and infecting any more classmates. Consult with your doctor, who will hopefully come to your house to confirm the diagnosis, as they probably will not want you taking your child to the surgery! You should inform your child’s school so that they can check to see if there are any other potential cases. I would hope that if they had already been notified of a case of chicken pox, that they would have notified all other parents anyway.

Chicken pox can be very dangerous for babies in the family and you should make sure that they do not have any contact with their brother or sister. You also need to take some basic but important hygiene precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Personally I suggest disposable gloves, keep all towels separate and move other children to another room if they share.

The elderly generation is also at risk and should avoid all contact with any members of the family who have been infected. The incubation period from infection to the first spot is 1- 2 days and then they are contagious until scabs have formed on the blisters which is usually between 5 – 7 days.

The chicken pox vaccine

Over the years since babies and toddlers have been vaccinated there have been opposing arguments laid out by both the medical profession and parents. And I suggest that if you are a parent that you do take a look at both sides of the issue. There are a number of government sites that lay out the medical position and then there are alternative therapist and parent sites with their views.. I suggest you search for Chicken pox Vaccination pros and cons.

The old school approach, and certainly when I was a child, was to let a child catch the infection and that it would strengthen the growing immune system.

I had a small pox vaccination very young and yellow fever as we lived in the tropics where the diseases were still endemic. I got measles at three and do remember being in a dark room (measles and sunlight can cause eye damage) and I had chicken pox when I was 11 years old. But, I was one of those who went on to develop shingles in adulthood so on reflection I think I might have preferred to have the vaccination.

Anyway – what is the course of action if your child does have chickenpox.

Apart from taking the hygiene measures to protect yourself and the rest of the family it is recommended that your child has bed rest, is kept hydrated (water not fizzy drinks), pureed (warm not hot) foods that are soft and easy to eat if there are blisters in the mouth.

Paracetamol appropriate for the age of the child and check with your pharmacy. Also calamine lotion for the spots and blisters and if they are particularly itchy talk to the pharmacist for some chlorpheniramine anti-histamine medicine which can help alleviate some of the itching.

Do not give a child or adult with chicken pox ibuprofen as it can make them very ill.

Keep your finger nails and your childs trimmed short to prevent breaking open the skin and it is a good idea to pop some cotton gloves on your child at night or some socks that are tied at the wrist.

If you are going to bathe the child, then use lukewarm water and dab a damp soft cloth over the body and then pat dry with another. Wash cloth after use in hot temperatures.

Dress the child in loose cotton clothing rather than their normal pajamas.

Keep an eye on the progress of the infection and take your child’s temperature twice a day and if it continues to rise despite paracetamol or goes over 39 C.. it is less for babies under 3 months old at 38 C.

Now for the bonus that you can find chickenpox has gifted you.

Certainly there is a higher risk of contracting shingles later in life if you have contracted chickenpox as a child, especially in those over 70 years old whose immune system has naturally declined in function and as a result of lifestyle, diet and prescribed medication.

What is shingles?

Also known as herpes zoster, shingles is an infection of a nerve and the skin that surrounds it and is caused by the same varicella-zoster virus which causes chickenpox.

It results in a painful rash which develops into blisters containing particles of the virus and they are extremely itchy. This itch element is guaranteed to get the host scratching, breaking the blister and dispersing the virus. The person unlucky enough to come into contact that virus will not catch shingles but can develop chicken pox if they have not already had the disease previously.

The other interesting factor associated with shingles is that it usually only affects one area on one side of the body and rarely crosses over your centre line through the body.

For example I had chicken pox when I was 11 years old and had 10 days off school. Apart from the fact that I managed to read War and Peace during that time, I also retained the virus which lay dormant in my body. When I was 24 years old, I developed shingles around one eye but not the other. It was one of the most painful things I have experienced and it was also potentially dangerous as it could have potentially affected the sight of that eye.

At that time I was under a great deal of stress and my immune system was naturally under-performing. Apart from stress and being over 70 years old you are also at risk if you have been on long-term medication or have an underlying chronic infection.

An episode of shingles will usually last between two to three weeks although some people will continue to experience nerve pain in the form of postherpetic neuralgia long-term.

Thankfully it is rare for more than one attack of shingles in your lifetime.

You do need to visit your GP if you begin to suffer from pain in a specific area of the body that develops into a rash. This is particularly important if you are pregnant or already have a diagnosed auto immune disease or weakened immune system.

I mentioned earlier that you will not catch shingles from someone, but could get chickenpox instead, so it is important to visit your GP if this is the case. There is a vaccine available, and as those over 70 are in the high risk category, in the UK a vaccination programme is in place for anyone over that age. Only one dose is usually necessary but a booster is administered at 78 or 79 years old. Most countries also offer this to that age group.

Apart from a preventative vaccination that reduces your risk of developing shingles, there is no cure. It is recommended to keep the area that is affected covered with a non-stick dressing to prevent others from being infected with chickenpox. Painkillers can be taken and if it is a severe outbreak antiviral medication can stop the virus spreading.

There are some commonsense actions you can take that might reduce the length of the infection and pain of shingles.

Wear lightweight cotton gloves at night which is when you will be more prone to automatically scratch the blisters. Also wear when you are watching television or any other activity where you might be tempted to scratch.

You can place a cool compress over the affected area and then use calamine lotion to ease the itching. I have used colloidal silver and tea tree cream on rashes that have helped but ask expert advice in your Health store or pharmacy.

If you go online you will find various sites that will recommend other alternative remedies and I have no doubt that some will indeed shorten the infection or ease the symptoms but my advice is not to buy online, but to speak with a qualified advisor in person. It is important to remember that you might be left with long term nerve pain and that anything you use should be considered carefully. To be honest this goes for prescribed medication too.

Dietary

If you are suffering from an outbreak of shingles then your immune system needs boosting. If you have a diet high in processed foods and sugars you will not be providing your body with the nutrients it needs to sustain this vital health system.

Do not drink alcohol and follow a very simple diet of fresh vegetables, wholegrains fruit, and  of lean protein with plenty of fluids.

Nutrients that can help you limit the extent of the shingles outbreak.

Viruses thrive in a body that is nutrient deficient. There is a particular link to an imbalance of amino acids in a person whose immune system is not functioning efficiently.

This is particularly relevant to the herpes family of viruses that prefer a system high in the amino acid L-Arginine in relation to L-Lysine. Arginine enables the virus to replicate in the nucleus of your cells, which spreads the virus through your body. Lysine however has an antiviral action that blocks the arginine and therefore helps limit the extent of the outbreak.

At the onset of an attack of shingles switch to a high lysine diet including foods such as poultry, fish, beef, chickpeas and up your dairy intake and eggs.You want to build your immune system to include plenty of green vegetables that are particularly high in Lysine such as green beans, Brussel Sprouts, asparagus, avocados, apricots, pineapple, pears and apples.

Drop the high arginine foods such as tomatoes, grapes and the darker berries. The same applies to most nuts, oats, chocolate (sorry) and caffeine (sorry again).

Other ways to boost your immune system

If you have shingles on an exposed area of your skin you do not want to expose to direct sunlight; despite the fact that it will help dry out the blisters. However, Vitamin D is vital to a strong immune system, and if you can get 45 minutes a day in the morning or late afternoon with sunlight onto your bare forearms you will receive a boost of the vitamin.

 

 

Your fresh fruit and vegetables will be providing you with Vitamin C, and your eggs with Vitamin E. However, there is one supplement that I do take especially now I am into my 60s, and that is Vitamin B12. This can be difficult to obtain from food and I take sublingually, under the tongue daily for a few weeks at a time and I find that this helps prevent me from developing infections.

I hope this has been helpful and would be grateful if you could spread the message in any way that you can.

If you have any questions that might be useful for other readers please use the comments section but you can always email via sally(dot)cronin (at) moyhill.com if you wish to have a private word. Thanks Sally

Medicine Woman’s Larder – Meleagris Gallopavo (you can eat if you can catch it) Turkey


medicine-womans-larder

Many people associate turkey just with Christmas, or Thanksgiving in the USA or Canada, but in fact as far as a protein in meat form goes, turkey is actually packed full of nutrients and is an excellent all-round food.

The wild turkey Meleagris gallopavo (something to do with difficulty in catching it I think) is native to North America. The bird was brought into Europe, in the early part of the 16th century, by the Spaniards. The English name “Turkey” arose because of a confusion with Guinea Fowl – which were imported through Turkey, from Africa. Both birds were originally known as “Turks”. Eventually, in the 18th century, it was given its Latin name but the original name stuck.

The Native American Indian used the turkey as a staple of their diet. They introduced it to starving pilgrims, along with their native plants and seeds including corn and squash. The pilgrims were so grateful they celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621 where their American Indian friends were guests of honour.

Why is turkey so good for you?

Turkey is first and foremost a lean source of protein – 4 oz. gives you 65% of your daily protein requirement and has about half the amount of saturated fat that red meat does.

We are made of protein and we need it to repair ourselves – a bit like the bionic man – we take animal and vegetable protein, add some amino acids and rearrange the nitrogen from the mix to repair or make parts of our body. Don’t forget we are meat – and still a savoury delicacy in certain parts of the world.

Turkey is very high in methionine, which is an essential amino acid that ensures that any protein that we eat is completely used. This means that we get the maximum benefit from the turkey and is particularly important if we find it difficult to digest food as we get older.

Turkey is very high in the amino acid tryptophan, so it stimulates the B3 vitamin, Niacin, into producing serotonin the neurotransmitter. This has a calming effect, and helps depression (particularly useful after a family festive lunch!) And also helps us sleep well and feel good (afternoon siesta). Niacin is involved in cell health. DNA requires Niacin to be healthy and a deficiency of this B-vitamin – and the other B’s like 6 and 12 – has been linked to DNA damage that can lead to Cancer.

Turkey is very high in Selenium, which is a trace mineral and is fundamental to our general health. It is involved in thyroid hormone metabolism – antioxidant defence systems and our entire immune system health – many studies into this mineral are revealing its positive effect on cancers. As an antioxidant, it encourages DNA to repair cells and damaged cells to self-destruct.

Turkey is richer in calcium than any other meat and has over twice the calcium of chicken or beef. It also contains B6, which is extremely important for blood cell health.

It is also high in phosphorus, which is a fundamental need for bone and teeth formation and the production of red blood cells. Phosphorus is also part of the chemical energy store in each cell and in DNA – so is vital for cell health. One of the things to watch for with phosphorus, however, is that it you eat a great many processed foods you will find that they are far too high in the mineral and can cause an imbalance with other minerals.

So, Turkey is low fat – half the fat of chicken – low in cholesterol, sodium and calories. Finally it is also called a short fibre meat which means that it is very easily digestible for any age group.

How to select the best Turkey

I am a carnivore at heart (apologies vegetarians) and even though I do not eat a lot of red meat, I do eat fish and poultry. However, I was put off for a couple of years from eating Turkey at Christmas or any other time of year following the advert for cigars in 1989. For those who missed it – a flock of turkeys are surveying the darkening skies and flakes of snow begin to fall. They look at each other resignedly and head off into the turkey house where they light up a Hamlet Cigar. It was heart wrenching and I think it was salmon for lunch that year.  Just so that you can all feel the emotion here it is….sorry…..

There is usually some debate around the table on Christmas day as to who is getting the white meat and who the dark. Usually you end up with a bit of both but it is the white meat that is the most prized.

I am reliably informed that in the United States, turkeys are often bred by artificial insemination because they have now grown too large to get close enough to mate, which seems very sad considering they are also destined for the table. You would have thought they might have been granted a little fun along the way. A turkey can grow up to 70 lbs. but the average for a male (tom) is 20 lbs. and for a female (hen) around 12 lbs.

Buying your Turkey

Although I eat poultry I always buy from guaranteed organic and free range sources.  I am also keen that any food that we eat is farmed humanely as possible.  The fact is we as humans have been carnivores from the outset but there is still a long way to go in many parts of the world as to the level of respect we afford the animals we consume.

As the turkey has become more popular all year round, smaller breeds have been developed that weigh around 5 to 8 lbs. and fresh and frozen turkeys are now available at any time.

If the turkey is fresh the meat should be smooth, creamy and soft. If the turkey is whole make sure there are no bruises or cuts in the skin as this can lead to bacterial infection.

If the turkey is frozen it is more difficult to judge the condition of the bird but make sure that the wrapping is still intact.

We eat turkey all year round and here is a recipe for my turkey fajitas that we serve guests as well as indulging in regularly ourselves.

I had never eaten fajitas before I went to live in Texas nearly 30 years ago. We have loved them ever since and we often have maize tortillas with some baby leaves, avocado and lean protein for supper especially after a day of house renovation! It is a versatile dish and you can eat tortillas at breakfast with some scrambled egg – use as a wrap to take to work or out on picnics with some spicy chicken and salad and I am going to give you one of my regular recipes using turkey fillet – a great lean protein with plenty of nutritional value. It is relatively inexpensive and yet offers a healthy source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins.

I use turkey or salmon, another great protein ,regularly in the recipe and if you make your own guacamole and salsa with avocados, tomatoes and onions you will be providing you and your family a terrific nutritional bonus.

TURKEY FAJITAS for 6 people.

I usually allow three tortillas per person and I use the soft maize tortillas as I find them softer than the wheat. Also if anyone has an intolerance to wheat it can be a useful alternative.

There is nothing worse than a mean fajita. So I use plenty of lean turkey and onions and peppers.

SEASONING. I use this low salt recipe to sprinkle over the vegetables and meat during cooking.

Pimiento 5 teaspoons
Chili Powder 6 teaspoons
Garlic Powder 2 teaspoons
Ground Cumin 4 teaspoons
Salt ¼ teaspoon
Black pepper ¼ teaspoon.

INGREDIENTS

2 whole turkey breasts, sliced into long strips.
2 large Red Peppers sliced lengthways into strips
2 large Green or yellow peppers sliced lengthways into strips
4 large Onions sliced into thick rings
18 soft corn or wheat tortillas.
Olive Oil

In a large oven proof dish arrange all the vegetables in layers sprinkling a little of the seasoning onto each lager drizzle a little olive oil over the dish and put into a hot oven around 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove and add the strips of turkey so that they do not overlap and put the remaining seasoning over the entire dish. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and put back in the oven until the turkey is cooked thoroughly which is about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve in the oven dish at the table.

Warm your tortillas and a tip here is to put 6 each in a foil packet and pop in the oven for the last 5 minutes cooking time. Turn the oven off and leave two of the packets in there until you need them. You can also buy microwave containers to heat them in but they can make them sweat – also you can only really heat four or five at a time and they go cold waiting for the others. I find the oven method in foil the best for large quantities.

On the table you will need dishes of guacamole, salsa and Fromage Blanc. By all means use sour cream or Crème Fraiche is you are not worried about the calories. You can also serve grated cheese with the other dressings. I have some recipes for both guacamole and salsa that are in the link below.

For anyone who has not eaten fajitas before, a teaspoon of each sauce is spread over a warm tortilla and then the peppers; onions and turkey mix is placed in the middle. The bottom end of the tortilla is folded towards the middle and the two sides are brought over to form a wrap. The whole thing is eaten with your hands.

I usually have a large bowl of the spinach salad on the table as well as it helps if the food is spicier for some people than normal.

You can substitute lean beef; chicken fresh peeled prawns in the recipe and adjust the cooking times slightly. If you are vegetarian then add your favourite vegetables and roasted these make a delicious alternative.
Hope you have found interesting and you feedback is always welcome .. thanks Sally

 

Turning Back The Clock Serialisation – Chapter Three – The Hormone Factor


This week’s chapter is very relevant as during the week I have been looking at Vitamin B3 and cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for the production of hormones as well as our brain health and other important functions. Whilst having too much of one kind of cholesterol is not healthy for our arteries or heart a balance of all kinds is essential B3 and cholesterol

As we age our reproductive hormones naturally decrease but they do not disappear and they still need the ingredients necessary to produce them. This requires that we maintain a diet that provides those nutrients. I know that this chapter is quite lengthy but please feel free to save to read later.

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CHAPTER THREE – THE HORMONE FACTOR

Isn’t it inevitable that all hormone levels are going to drop as we get older, and will we all be affected?

Most of us, when we talk about hormones, are usually referring to the reproductive ones such as testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen.

We all know that as we get older our reproductive hormones decrease and both men and women go through a menopause. Women are more affected by this, obviously, but men too experience a decrease in testosterone levels and the changes that this brings about.

However, our sex hormones are just three of the many hormones that are produced in our bodies and even though our reproductive abilities may decrease as we get older, the hormones involved are still active within our body. If they, and our other hormones, are looked after they will contribute to a healthy, energetic and youthful appearance. Sex does not stop when we get middle aged it just gets more creative and interesting.

I am not going to cover every form of hormone but it is important to remember that all hormones produced by the body are for a specific reason. They ensure that the complex processes within our bodies are working efficiently. When these processes are not working at an optimum level there is a breakdown in function over time, and damage and aging will take place.

What are hormones exactly?

Hormones are some of the most powerful chemicals to be found in the body. They are bio-chemicals produced in special glands and then carried in the bloodstream to other glands, or cells, where they give instructions that activate certain processes.

They are secreted by a number of different glands such as the Pituitary, Adrenal, Thyroid, Pancreas, Ovaries, Testes and Pineal. Each gland may produce one or more different hormone to affect a process in the body. For example; the Pancreas secretes Insulin, Glucagon and Stomostatin. Insulin and glucagon are secreted according to the level of blood sugar and Stomostatin is the referee to ensure that not too much of either is secreted and that blood sugar levels remain balanced as a result.

Hormones are manufactured from components of food, which means that the type of diet you follow has a major impact on keeping hormone levels in balance! Hormones are either protein-like as in insulin, or fat-like as in steroid hormones.

Since our primary focus is on maintaining our health; through eating an optimum diet, we need to concentrate on providing the body with the most perfect environment for hormone balance and therefore lack of stress; which leads to damage and disease.

The hormone functions I am going to cover are Metabolism, Blood Sugar Levels and Stress Response because these, combined with low levels of the sex hormones Testosterone, Progesterone and Oestrogen, are some of the leading causes of aging.

Whatever the level of hormones produced by particular glands, if they are not communicating when they get to their destinations (such as the Thyroid Gland, Kidneys or Ovaries, they will not be effective – and the on-going functions they are supposed to stimulate will be disrupted.

How do we create the perfect environment?

Well, a good start is to be following a diet which is primarily sourced from all natural ingredients, is low in refined sugars and contains healthy fats. Being near a healthy weight will also help. There are certain foods that are very nutrient dense which are very important in creating the right atmosphere for hormones to work efficiently in balance.

One of the most important food sources is Essential Fatty Acids which are Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids (polyunsaturated fatty acids). The body must have these essential fatty acids, yet cannot make them itself.

One of the main functions of essential fatty acids is the production of prostaglandins which are hormone-like substances that regulate many body functions. Basically, they control every cell of the body on a second-by-second basis by acting as interpreters between the hormones and the cells they are being delivered to. As far as aging is concerned they are required for energy production, increasing oxidation and metabolic rates. Energy levels go up with high stamina with decreased recovery time from fatigue.

Prostaglandins are particularly important in the way that they balance all hormones including the reproductive ones. You also need to note that the brain does not function without essential fatty acids.

Monounsaturated fats are also important, as both these types of fats protect brain cells and the membranes and ensure effective passing of nutrients within the brain.

This last point is particularly important, because when we talk about hormones we tend to ignore the power behind the throne, which is the Hypothalamus. The other name of the Hypothalamus is actually the word Homeostasis, which means balance, which is very appropriate. It is located in the middle of the base of the brain and is connected to the Pituitary lobes, which form the most important gland in the body.

The Hypothalamus regulates body temperature, blood sugar, water balance, fat metabolism, appetite, body weight, sensory inputs – such as taste and smell and sight, sleep, sexual behaviour, emotions, hormone productions, menstrual cycle regulation and the automatic nervous system that controls functions such as breathing and the heart muscle.

So, when we talk about hormones we need to talk about brain health as a priority.

Apart from essential fatty acids – what else does the brain need to function?

I am sure that it is no surprise that I am going to say FLUIDS are essential for adequate brain function. Dehydration causes to cells to dry up and die but also prevents the nutrients and oxygen reaching the brain, uphill through the carotid artery.

Headaches, nervousness, dizziness and nausea are all symptoms that the brain is dehydrated. That’s what you get when you drink too much coffee and alcohol and get a hangover. They are mild diuretics that can drain the body including organs such as the brain, of fluid. Additionally, every organ in the body, including the brain, has a pH balance that needs to be maintained. Without fluid the brain can become too acidic and damage occurs as I explained in the previous chapter on acidity and alkalinity.

B vitamins are critical for the brain.

B1 (Thiamine) essential for the nervous system.

B2 (Riboflavin) works with Vitamin C to help the Adrenal glands and therefore energy levels.

B3, (Niacin) assists Tryptophan in making Serotonin and the formation of the steroid hormones and for warding off senility.

B5 (Pantothenic acid) is required for making neurotransmitter chemicals and for steroid hormones Testosterone and Oestrogen, B6 (Pyridoxine) Serotonin manufacture, sleep patterns,

B12 (Cyanocolbalamin) essential for proper functioning of the nervous system.

Vitamin C a powerful antioxidant that protects the brain from free-radical damage but also works with other vitamins and minerals in a number of vital processes.

Vitamin E which helps increase circulation of oxygen and glucose rich blood to the brain. As an antioxidant it also protects brain cells from damage and destruction. It also protects the essential fatty acids and the Prostaglandins from oxidising (more next week)

Tryptophan that works with B3 and B6 particularly to manufacture Serotonin and Melatonin in the brain.

Calcium which calms the brain and assists in sleeping (hot milk at night). Magnesium to help Calcium work and to help calm panic attacks.

Phenylalanine an antidepressant nutrient that also stimulates memory.

Zinc, which has a calming effect on the brain function and with vitamin C, protects the membranes.

What part do amino acids play in hormone production?

Amino acids are the building blocks that make up proteins, which of course is what we are made of. Vitamins and minerals can’t perform their specific functions effectively if the necessary amino acids are not present. Amino acids are either classified as essential or non-essential. The non-essential ones can be manufactured in our bodies but the essential amino acids have to be obtained from food.

All hormones require amino acids for their production. For example L-Arginine encourages growth hormones and constitutes 80% of semen, which is why a deficiency causes sterility and is also essential for prostate health. L-Tryptophan helps in the production of Serotonin and Melatonin and helps to control emotional behaviour. L-Glutamine is helpful for Thyroid gland function. Taurine is used for hyperactivity and poor brain function.

What about the health of the other hormone producing glands?

Most of the above applies throughout the body. A diet rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C and E and essential fatty acids and amino acids will promote health everywhere. Having created a near perfect working environment for the bosses (the Hypothalamus and the Pituitary), we can turn our attention to the health of the Thyroid (metabolism, energy and growth) Adrenal Gland (sex drive, stress response and metabolism) and Pancreas (Blood sugar levels). If these organs are producing the hormones they are supposed to in the right quantities many of the problems we associate with old age would be much more manageable. Including energy and the ability to process our nutrients efficiently keeping us away from degenerative disease such as arthritis.

How can we take care of the thyroid?

The Thyroid needs Iodine and Selenium to produce an enzyme, which converts the amino acid Tyrosine into Thyroxine. If Thyroxine is at a less than optimum level there will be weight gain, fatigue, intestinal problems and thickening skin. This gland also produces a hormone that is responsible for calcium balance between blood and bones. If this is not working then too much calcium is leached from the bones leaving, them vulnerable to osteoporosis.

What function does the adrenal gland have?

The Adrenal gland is actually in two parts the cortex (male characteristics, sex drive, stress response, metabolism and the excretion of Sodium and Potassium from the kidneys). The Medulla, which produces the Adrenaline for metabolism and the fight or flight stress response.

If your stress levels remain high for long periods of time there will be an effect on the rest of your body. The body slows down digestion, maintenance and repair so that it is ready to run at any moment. It definitely speeds up the aging process because, like anything that is not maintained and is under stress, it slowly deteriorates. It will have a very big impact on all the rest of the hormones in the body including your sex drive – which is why stress plays a very important role in problems such as impotence.

A note here that if you have food intolerances you will be in a constant state of stress as the body deals with the invader. It will put a great deal of strain on the entire body, contributing to aging, which is why following a rotational eating plan (healthy eating programme) will help.

All the B vitamins, as well as Vitamin C, are necessary for the Adrenal glands as these are the nutrients that the body uses up most when in a stress reaction. Therefore they need to be replaced.

The Pancreas – Insulin production and blood sugar levels. What nutrients are needed for that to function healthily?

Like any of the hormonal glands, all of the nutrients that we have already mentioned are going to help the pancreas function better. In addition, it is important to follow some guidelines about eating certain foods that are going to stress the gland and put excess sugar into the bloodstream in addition to that made by the body.

So it is important to avoid too much refined carbohydrates and sugar (follow the healthy eating programme)

You should not eat too much saturated fat. Do not drink too many stimulants such as coffee and alcohol; be at a reasonable weight.

How about the food sources for the essential nutrients that are required to balance the hormones?

Essential Fatty acids

olives

Omega 3. Flaxseed oil, walnuts, pumpkinseeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, dark green vegetables such as spinach, salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, tuna.

Omega 6. Flaxseed oil, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, olive oil, evening primrose oil, chicken.

Omega 9. Olive oil, olives, avocado, almonds, sesame oil, pecans, pistachio, cashews.

Heat and oxygen destroy essential fatty acids so keep oils in dark glass containers.

vegetables

Antioxidants are found in all fresh fruit and vegetables and if you are eating 50% to 60% you will be doing great.

salmon

B vitamins. Apricots, avocado, brown rice, carrots, chicken, eggs, whole grains, lambs kidney and liver, melon, nuts, oats, oily fish, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, all salad vegetables and yoghurt.

Amino acids are found in proteins either animal or vegetable. Main sources are Soya beans, peas, beans, whole grains like brown rice, dairy products, poultry, lean meats and eggs.

At the moment I am working through the B vitamins in my weekly posts in more detail and you can find these here.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/vitamins-and-minerals-of-the-week/

©SallyGeorginaCronin Turning Back the Clock 2013

I hope you are finding the serialisation of my book interesting and helpful and I would be delighted to have your feedback and also grateful if you could share.