Smorgasbord Health Column – Foods to boost your blood health #Anaemia #Fatigue


Following on from the previous posts on our blood and anaemia, here are some blood boosting foods and suggestions for menus to put them together for maximum effect.

As we get older, our bodies find it more difficult to metabolise the food that we eat in an efficient manner. Illness and stress can also cause deficiencies to occur. As I have covered in the last few blogs, one of the most common health problems we are likely to encounter is anaemia in varying degrees from mild to dangerous levels. The aim is to consume a diet rich in the specific nutrients needed to maintain healthy blood but it is difficult to visualise when someone simply tells you to eat B6, B12, Folate etc. So I have put together those nutrients with the foods that contain them so that you can just pop to the supermarket and fill your trolley.

I would suggest that anyone who like me is 60+ should include these foods on a regular basis in your daily diet.

This specific eating plan includes the foods that will provide you with the necessary nutrients for healthy blood but do remember that if you are exhibiting any symptoms that indicate you are anaemic you should go to your doctor and seek medical advice. You will find those in one of the previous posts which are linked to below.

As always I do stress that it is better to ‘cook from scratch’ but there are certain staples that you can include in your pantry. Many people prefer an easy start to the day with a bowl of cereal and perhaps a piece of toast. Cereals today are very different from our childhood when all you got was the grain. Today I am afraid you are likely to get a lot more sugar which somewhat negates the benefit of the wholegrain. If I have cereal I have porridge oats but for the sake of variety do check the labels and buy wholegrain varieties with as little sugar or even worse, artificial sweeteners as possible.

Picture3In recent months there has been a lot of speculation about whole grains in our diet in relation to what is referred to as our ‘gut brain’. I covered the topic in an earlier series on digestion but my opinion remains the same. Provided you are not celiac or have chronic intestinal problems, whole grains are essential in our diets to provide B vitamins, other nutrients and fibre. We certainly need less as we get older because our activity levels drop but carbohydrates from grains are needed to provide the fuel that we require for our energy levels. Drop those too low and your fatigue will be intensified. You can still eat carbohydrates from potatoes and other root vegetables and add in one or two portions of grains per day depending on your exercise levels.

Here are some suggestions for the main meals of the day plus snacks.

Breakfast choose one selection per day and rotate so that you are getting variety and different nutrients.

  • Most cereals have B12, B6, Folic Acid and Iron – check the labels to establish that. Some will be added as fortification but if it is a wheat cereal it will have natural nutrients.
  • Have cereal or porridge and a glass of orange juice to help the digestion of iron with Vitamin C. Have some soaked prunes on your porridge or chopped dry prunes or apricots on your cereal, as these are high in iron.
  • If you are not trying to lose weight then have a piece of wholemeal toast with butter and marmalade as well. Better to have small amount of good quality chunky marmalade than a watery processed diet version.
  • Sprinkle a dessertspoon of wheatgerm on the top of your cereal or your porridge as this has B6, iron and manganese together (B12, B6, Folic Acid, Iron, Manganese and Vitamin C)
  • Half a grapefruit with two pieces of wholemeal toast and marmalade. (Vitamin C –Manganese)
  • For a cooked breakfast you could have poached egg on two pieces of wholemeal toast with an orange juice. (Manganese, Vitamin C, B12 and B6)

(A tip here is to avoid wheat bran, as this can actually prevent absorption of iron. As unfortunately can too much tea, so do try and restrict your intake to no more than three cups a day of good quality leaf tea rather than the processed bags. Coffee has some health benefits too and a cup or two of fresh ground coffee with some hot milk is fine. If you have high blood pressure however you might have ground decaffeinated instead.

Picture2Snack

  • Have a mid-morning snack as part of your healthy eating plan. You could have a handful of the mixed seeds and nuts (B6, Manganese)
  • 2 mandarin oranges (Vitamin C again, to help the iron you have already ingested to be absorbed)
  • A banana (B6)
  • Slice of wholemeal toast with mashed banana (Manganese and B6)

Lunch

Assuming this is your main meal of the day – choose from the following meats:

  • · Lamb
  • · Chicken
  • · Turkey
  • · Salmon
  • · Beef
  • · Lamb’s liver
    (try to have liver at least once a week) (folate, B6, B12 and iron)
  • · Potatoes
  • · Wholemeal rice or pasta (manganese – folate)

Lots of vegetables including every day a serving of a dark green leafy vegetable like spinach (Folate-Iron) Cauliflower (raw) (Vit K), Broccoli (calcium)

Use olive oil or good quality sunflower oil for cooking or as a dressing (Essential fatty acids and Vitamin E)

orangesSnack

  • Nuts and seeds. For men pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of Zinc and helpful to keep the prostate healthy.
  • Slice of wholemeal toast with butter and a thin slice of mature cheddar.
  • Home-made wholemeal scone with butter and sugar free jam.
  • Fruit such as oranges.
  • Yoghurt live with no sugar but chop up some fruit such as berries into it.

If you are not going to hit the dance floor every evening, having a heavy meal at night can cause digestive problems and provides energy that you are not going to use up.. This will result in storage of the excess around your middle. If it is your main meal of the day keep your grain and other carbohydrates to your lunch and eat protein with lots of freshly prepared salads and vegetables. A smaller amount of carbohydrate up to 2 hours before going to sleep is fine. As you will see from the lists one piece of toast, one piece of Pitta bread, two tablespoons of whole grain pasta.

Dinner

beansAssuming this is a lighter meal.

  • · Scrambled Eggs on toast (B6, B12, Folate, Manganese)
  • · Omelette and Green leafy mixed salad (B6, B12, Folate)
  • · Wholemeal Pitta bread with chicken or tuna and salad filling (B6, B12, Iron)
  • · Eggs Florentine – baked egg on spinach with some hollandaise sauce
  • · Homemade wholemeal pasta in tomato sauce on toast.
  • · Small tin of sugar free baked beans on wholemeal toast.
  • · Seafood cocktail on with clams – cockles – prawns. Serve on half an avocado Slice of bread and butter.

Snack

bananas

  • One of the snacks from above that you have not already had.
  • Cup of Cocoa (iron)
  • Cup of Ginger Tea and a wholemeal digestive biscuit (Manganese)
  • A banana (B6)

As you can see from the above eating plan, there are many foods that will help keep your blood healthy. Get creative in your own kitchen, using fresh unprocessed ingredients and you can’t go wrong.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2018

My nutritional background

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can find all my books here with links to Amazon: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

Thank you for reading the post and you will find all the other articles in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Blood – Oxygen distribution, waste disposal and Anaemia


health column final

I have covered in earlier posts the absolute necessity of oxygen to our survival. It is unlikely that you will survive longer than six minutes without breathing in oxygen, but it is also vitally important for the survival of every cell within the body. If an area of the cardiovascular system is damaged and oxygen is unable to reach the tissues directly affected then that tissue will die and the infection generated will compromise the health of the rest of the body. The most vulnerable parts of the body are the hands and feet where irreparable damage to the tiny network of capillaries could lead to amputation.

The oxygen carriers.

The red blood cells are responsible for the transportation of both oxygen and carbon dioxide within the haemoglobin in the blood.

red blood cellsAs important as breathing in and utilising oxygen is concerned, getting rid of the carbon dioxide waste, which is produced during this process, is equally important. Some carbon dioxide produced in the tissues is processed and converted to a harmless substance that can be eliminated easily but some has to be transported via the blood stream back to the lungs to be got rid of.

Other transportation duties

Substances in the bloodstream like cholesterol and other fats are transported around the body, from originating organs like the liver, to elimination points where they are removed from the blood and either absorbed into cells or processing points such as the kidneys. This process is used to transport glucose and sugars, hormones and waste products like urea that becomes urine.

We are an extremely efficient waste producer and it is when this waste is not eliminated safely, and regularly, from the body that we become ill and diseased.

There are a number of blood disorders that cause concern and one of the most common is Anaemia so I am going to focus on that today – with the foods and therefore the nutrients we require to support healthy blood over the next couple of blogs.

Anaemia

There are actually several types of Anaemia but whilst there are a number of reasons as you will see for the blood disorder, I will focus on just two. Iron deficiency Anaemia and Pernicious Anaemia sometimes also known as Megaloblastic Anaemia. This anaemia is a Vitamin Deficiency anaemia and whilst requires medical supplementation of Vitamin B12 can still be supported by a healthy diet.

Iron deficiency Anaemia is one of the most common types and is usually associated with women. Mostly in pregnancy, but it can also affect women who have suffered heavy periods throughout their reproductive lives. As the name implies, it is caused by the lack of iron.

This might be because you have not taken in sufficient iron through your diet but it is also a vicious circle. The more blood you lose the more red blood cells you lose. These red blood cells release the iron when they die, and it is absorbed back into the system. If you sustain a lot of blood loss each month you will have increasingly less red blood cells which will lead to an iron deficiency over time.

Pregnant women lose their store of iron to the foetus, which is why many are put on an iron supplement although they can take in sufficient with an appropriate diet.

There are also other causes of blood loss, such as surgery or internal bleeding, but there are some diseases such as chronic bowel problems that induce a slow loss of blood over a long period of time and this can lead to Anaemia. If this is the case then you need to ensure that you visit your GP and ask for a blood test and do not take no for an answer. Chronic tiredness which is a symptom of Anaemia always needs to be investigated.

Earlier in my blogs I wrote about Candida Albicans, a parasite that robs nutrients from your food for its own use. This means iron too. As a result, part of the chronic fatigue associated with Candida can be linked to mild forms of anaemia. Posts on Candida can be found in the Health Directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Of the two anaemias this one is wholly preventable and treatable with changes in diet and in some cases, supplementation.

The key to the diet is not just taking in iron in extra quantities and in fact it is not a good idea to suddenly rush off and grab yourself a bottle of iron tablets and start taking a handful as this can lead to chronic constipation. It is far better to start with adjusting your diet to include foods that are a good source of the mineral. If you need additional supplementation then you should follow the advice of a professional practitioner.

What is pernicious anaemia?

Pernicious Anaemia is actually a vitamin deficiency rather than an iron deficiency. As well as iron, your body needs B6, B12 and folic acid, or folate, to produce enough healthy red blood cells. If your diet is lacking in these, then you will have fewer red blood cells, and therefore less iron, and be anaemic.

Who is the most likely to suffer from this type of anaemia?

Both men and women suffer from this type of anaemia. In rare cases it can be genetic or congenital when someone is born with the inability to absorb Vitamin B12 from their diet. In this case although a healthy diet will support the sufferer they have to be treated with injections of B12 or large doses orally for the rest of their lives.

Nutrition and blood diseases.

Diet plays an enormous part in the prevention and treatment of blood diseases. Today’s diet of processed foods, additives, chemicals and fad weight-loss plans are all contributing to the inability of our body to process the necessary and vital nutrients efficiently. I have worked with many people who decide that they are going to become vegetarian and have done so without finding appropriate substitutes for animal products that previously provided nutrients such as iron and the B vitamins. If you wish to become vegetarian then make sure that you are getting sufficient wholegrains, fermented soy products like miso or Tempeh and plenty of fresh fruit and green vegetables. There is plenty of advice online on how to change your diet safely so please take advantage of that.

In some anaemic patients it is the result of a disease or condition that prevents absorption of nutrients in general – such as Candida – Crohns disease or if someone is celiac. Anything that affects the small intestine will cause mal-absorption of nutrients and result in possible anaemia

Also, long-term medication, use of the pill, HRT and chemotherapy can have an effect on the way we absorb iron, B6, B12 and Folate. As I mentioned earlier, any blood-loss means that the iron that is normally recycled when cells die off naturally is not available. It is important that anyone who has been through an intensive a treatment for a disease such as cancer receives nutritional support afterwards to ensure that their diet is absolutely optimum for regaining healthy red blood cells.

What symptoms would someone experience if they were anaemic?

People will vary with the symptoms depending on the severity of the problem.

  •  Generally people will begin to feel very tired. As we have said the body is being deprived of one of its main energy sources – oxygen.
  •  Some may experience rapid heartbeats – perhaps find themselves getting breathless when they have not really over exerted themselves.
  • There might be some chest pain associated with the symptoms – headaches or dizziness.
  • Hands and feet can become numb and very cold.
  • Nausea, causing loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Bleeding gums and a yellowish tinge to the skin and around the eyes.

What should you do if you feel that you might be anaemic?

If anyone is suffering from any of the symptoms above and is worried they should go and see their doctor and ask them to do a blood test. It would certainly either put their mind at rest or establish that there is a problem which can be easily treated – if necessary with a short term course of iron supplements or, if the problem is more serious, with injections. For dietary based anaemia or where it is only a temporary problem with absorption of B12 – diet and supplementation might be appropriate.

If the problem is a long term issue, as with pernicious anaemia, then the treatment usually consists of injections – daily to begin with, for a week or so, until the condition as stabilised and then as required, which might be monthly or three-monthly. If B12 is given orally it requires much higher dosages to ensure absorption but there is currently experimentation with sublingual supplementation.

Both these types of anaemia can be supported with a healthy diet and next time a look at the nutrients that are needed to support the health of the red blood cells and the foods you need to obtain them.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2018

My nutritional background

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can find all my books here with links to Amazon: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

Thank you for reading the post and your feedback is always welcome. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – The cardiovascular system and the components of Blood #Anaemia


Blood is an incredibly complex fluid that uses the network of blood vessels to take the essential supplies such as oxygen and nutrients around the body that we need every day.

Blood is one of the constituents of our bodies that we tend to take for granted. Unless we suffer a catastrophic accident, resulting in major injuries most of us just need a plaster from time to time to patch ourselves up. However, blood is alive with an amazing group of components, completing several vital roles every second of every day, to ensure that we survive.

If our blood is not healthy we can suffer from anaemia, inefficient immune systems, slow healing and frequent infections. Long term blood disorders lead to much more serious illnesses such as cancer and organ failure.

Without a microscope we are unable to see the enormity of the life that is contained in just one small drop of blood. Once you understand some of the properties and duties of your blood and appreciate how vital it is to maintain its integrity, it will be easy to make sure that you include foods in your diet that promote its health and therefore your own.

The Cardiovascular System

Our cardiovascular system’s function is to pump blood around the body. If this process stops for more than a few seconds we will lose consciousness. Every part of our body requires oxygen and nutrients on demand, including additional supplies when we are under pressure. Our cardiovascular system deals with this process without any thought or involvement from us and in addition it will remove any waste products from our systems at the same time. A healthy cardiovascular system is essential and the quality of our blood is vital to our survival.

The circulatory system is made up of arteries, veins and capillaries. The arteries carry the oxygenated blood from the lungs into smaller arterioles, which connect to the veins via capillaries. Unlike the muscle-walled arteries, veins have thin, flexible walls that can expand to hold large volumes of blood. De-oxygenated blood returning to the heart in the veins is at a lower pressure than in the arteries and movement is assisted by a succession of one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards.

The links between the arteries and the veins are the capillaries, which are tiny blood vessels with permeable walls, which allow the exchange of nutrients, oxygen and waste between blood and tissue cells.

Blood is a liquid tissue and your body contains around 8 to 12 pints depending on your age and if you are male or female. Without blood you would die. It performs a number of crucial functions within the body, including the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide, food molecules (glucose, fats and amino acids), ions, waste (such as urea), hormones and heat around the body. One of its major functions is the defence of the body against infections and other ingested toxins.

The components of Blood

Within blood is plasma, which is the pale yellow liquid that can easily be replaced by your body when it needs to. It is mainly water and proteins which assist your body in controlling bleeding and fighting infection. It is essential for the circulation of our red and white blood cells and platelets and also ensures that our natural, chemical communication system is operational. This communication system reaches every part of the body via the capillaries and is fuelled by minerals, vitamins, hormones and antibodies.

What are the different blood cell types?

White blood cells are called leukocytes and there are five types carrying out specific roles within the blood. Neutrophils, Eosinophils, Lymphocytes, Monocytes and Basophils.

Neutrophils are the most abundant of the white blood cells and are the first line of defence. They squeeze through the capillaries to infected areas in the body and consume and destroy invading bacteria and viruses. Even when we are healthy this process is essential as we are constantly ingesting, absorbing or inhaling harmful substances in our everyday environment. If our blood is healthy and well-populated with neutrophils we can prevent these invasions leading to illness and disease.

Picture1Eosinophils are not very abundant in the blood but they are on stand-by and can increase their numbers dramatically if the body comes under attack from certain types of parasites. The cell will rush to the infected area such as the intestines and release a toxic substance over the parasite to destroy it.

Picture2Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, are the most numerous type of blood cell. They are shaped specifically to ensure that they absorb as much oxygen from the lungs as possible. In just one minute 120 million of your red blood cells will die but in the same time frame exactly the same amount will be replaced from the bone marrow. The process actually starts in the kidneys, which release a hormone called erythropoietin, which travels to the bone marrow where it stimulates the production of erythrocytes. This is another reason why it is so vital to maintain the function of your kidneys with a natural, cook from scratch approach to your diet.

Other Cells in the blood.

  • B-Lymphocytes (B Cells)are responsible for making our antibodies in response to an infection.
  • T-Lymphocytes (T-Cells)are a family of cells including Inflammatory T-cells that rally Neutrophils and macrophages to the site of an infection quickly where they will consume bacteria.
  • Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes that kill virus infected and possibly cancerous tumour cells.
  • Helper T-Cells that enhance the production of antibodies.
  • Monocytes leave the blood and become macrophages, which are large cells that ingest and destroy any invading antigens that enter the body and also any dead and dying cells from the body.
  • Basophils also increase production during an infection and will leave the blood stream via the capillaries and collect at the site of an infection where they will discharge granules that will stimulate the release of histamine, serotonin, prostaglandins and leukotrines. This increases the flow of blood to the infected site and results in an inflammatory reaction. An example of this might be a wasp sting or an allergic reaction to ingesting pollen resulting in a hay-fever attack.

What else is in the blood that is so vital for our health?

We have already established that without blood we die and we need a system in place that ensures that any break in the circulatory system is plugged and repaired as quickly as possible.

Picture3Platelets are fragments of cells and must be kept at sufficient density in the blood to ensure that when blood vessels are cut or damaged the loss of blood can be stopped before shock and possible death occurs. This is accomplished by a process called coagulation or clotting.

A clot is formed when platelets form a plug, which is enmeshed in a network of insoluble fibrin molecules. This forms over any break in the circulatory system preventing any further loss of blood.

Next time a closer look at oxygenated blood and Anaemia.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2018

My nutritional background

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can find all my books here with links to Amazon: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

Thank you for dropping in and would love to receive your feedback and questions. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – Nutrients we need – Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine – Blood Health and Depression.


health column final

B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that exists in three major chemical forms: Pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine.

Being water soluble it is necessary to replace this vitamin every day from your diet and B6 plays such a crucial role in so many functions of the body that a deficiency can have a huge impact on your health.

What is B6 necessary for?

It is required for over 100 enzymes that metabolise the protein that you eat. Along with the mineral Iron, it is essential for healthy blood. The nervous and immune systems also require vitamin B6 to function efficiently. It is also necessary for our overall feeling of wellbeing as it converts the amino acid tryptophan, which is essential for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin in the brain.

Without B6 you would not be able to manufacture haemoglobin to carry oxygen around the body. Once the haemoglobin is produced the vitamin also helps increase the amount of oxygen it can carry. A deficiency therefore is one of the leading causes of anaemia and I shall be covering the components that make up our blood and the most common forms of anaemia during the next few days.

Without a healthy immune system we are at the mercy of any bacteria or virus that takes a fancy to us. A complicated biochemical interaction is required to ensure we can fight off infections; the food that we eat plays a vital role in producing the white blood cells that form the defence system. B6 ensures that the food that eat is metabolised efficiently thus producing enough of these cells.

Additionally B6 helps keep your lymph system healthy by maintaining the thymus, spleen and lymph nodes. The lymph system runs parallel to your circulatory system and is the battleground for the white blood cells and the viruses.

Blood sugar levels can fluctuate depending on the types of food that we eat particularly carbohydrates. If you are not eating sufficient calories your body uses B6 to convert stored carbohydrate or other nutrients to glucose to maintain normal blood sugar levels. This is one of the reasons that people on crash diets can suffer dizziness and fatigue. Without sufficient intake of food they are not replenishing their B6 on a regular basis. Because they are taking in too little calories for their body to function and they do not have B6 to convert any stored energy, they become weakened.

The balance of chemicals in our brain affects our feeling of well-being. Neurotransmitters like serotonin, melatonin and dopamine are required for normal cell communication. In research lower levels of serotonin have been found in people suffering from varying degrees of depression and also migraine headaches. The research is not conclusive but at B6 is needed for the manufacture of these neurotransmitters it makes sense to ensure that there are adequate amounts being taken in through diet.

What are the signs of B6 deficiency?

With a balanced diet, which includes wholegrains and fruit and vegetables, it is unusual to find a B6 deficiency in a healthy adult.

  • The elderly are more at risk due to reduced intakes of food resulting from lack of appetite and a general wearing down of internal systems and functions such as food metabolism.
  • People who are perpetual dieters and in particular those who follow restricted food type diets are at risk as well, although unfortunately it is usually only when the deficiency has become critical that the symptoms might appear.
  • One of the early signs will be changes to the skin with inflammations such as dermatitis.
  • Another affected area is the mouth and Glossitis is a condition where the tongue becomes swollen and sore.
  • Because of the role of B6 in our chemical balance within the brain, depression is not unusual.
  • A lack of B6 may have an impact on PMS symptoms and also regularity of periods.
  • In severe cases a person might suffer convulsions and as you will see from the post later in the week on anaemia, the quality of our lifeblood is compromised.
  • Alcoholics tend to eat poorly which will restrict both their intake of B6 and its availability but alcohol also causes the destruction and loss of any B6 that is consumed.
  • If you have an asthmatic child and they are on the prescribed medication theophylline they may require supplementation with B6 as the drug destroys B6 in a similar way to alcohol. You must talk to your doctor first however before taking or giving anyone B6 if they are already taking a prescription drug.
  • Taking too much vitamin B6 in supplementation form can lead to some nerve damage particularly in the arms and legs. This might result in tingling sensations or numbness. Usually the symptoms disappear when the supplementation is stopped. Do talk to your doctor before stopping the supplement if you are taking it on his advice.

What are the areas where increasing intake of B6 in food or supplements might be helpful?

  • Certainly I have found that adjusting a woman’s diet and including B6 rich foods has helped with PMS and menopausal symptoms. Scientists are still debating the effects of B6 in supplement form on these two conditions and there is some evidence that suggests taking B6 in supplement form is less bio-available and therefore could lead to toxicity. I use a spray form of multi-vitamin that contains B-complex including B6 which is absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
  • There is some evidence a deficiency of some of the B vitamins including B6, Folic Acid and B12, may result in increased levels of homocysteine, which is an amino acid in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine are linked to heart attacks and strokes due to its ability to damage arteries or encourage platelets to clump together as a clot.

Best food sources of Vitamin B6

As always I prefer to include nutrients within our normal diet and as you will have seen from the previous posts on the other B vitamins, there are many foods that you can include daily that will ensure that you have sufficient B6 for normal function.

These foods include wholegrain carbohydrates like brown rice, porridge oats, walnuts and sunflower seeds, bananas, avocados, salmon and tuna, dried fruit such as prunes and raisins, eggs, wheatgerm, poultry and meats such as lamb.

©sallygeorginacronin Just Food For Health 1999- 2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – Foods to boost your blood health.


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Following on from the previous posts on our blood and anaemia, here are some blood boosting foods and suggestions for menus to put them together for maximum effect.

As we get older, our bodies find it more difficult to metabolise the food that we eat in an efficient manner. Illness and stress can also cause deficiencies to occur. As I have covered in the last few blogs, one of the most common health problems we are likely to encounter is anaemia in varying degrees from mild to dangerous levels. The aim is to consume a diet rich in the specific nutrients needed to maintain healthy blood but it is difficult to visualise when someone simply tells you to eat B6, B12, Folate etc. So I have put together those nutrients with the foods that contain them so that you can just pop to the supermarket and fill your trolley.

I would suggest that anyone who like me is 60+ should include these foods on a regular basis in your daily diet.

This specific eating plan includes the foods that will provide you with the necessary nutrients for healthy blood but do remember that if you are exhibiting any symptoms that indicate you are anaemic you should go to your doctor and seek medical advice. You will find those in one of the previous posts which are linked to below.

As always I do stress that it is better to ‘cook from scratch’ but there are certain staples that you can include in your pantry. Many people prefer an easy start to the day with a bowl of cereal and perhaps a piece of toast. Cereals today are very different from our childhood when all you got was the grain. Today I am afraid you are likely to get a lot more sugar which somewhat negates the benefit of the wholegrain. If I have cereal I have porridge oats but for the sake of variety do check the labels and buy wholegrain varieties with as little sugar or even worse, artificial sweeterners as possible.

Picture3In recent months there has been a lot of speculation about wholegrains in our diet in relation to what is referred to as our ‘gut brain’. I covered the topic in an earlier series on digestion but my opinion remains the same. Provided you are not celiac or have chronic intestinal problems, wholegrains are essential in our diets to provide B vitamins, other nutrients and fibre. We certainly need less as we get older because our activity levels drop but carbohydrates from grains are needed to provide the fuel that we require for our energy levels. Drop those too low and your fatigue will be intensified. You can still eat carbohydrates from potatoes and other root vegetables and add in one or two portions of grains per day depending on your exercise levels.

Here are some suggestions for the main meals of the day plus snacks.

Breakfast choose one selection per day and rotate so that you are getting variety and different nutrients.

  • Most cereals have B12, B6, Folic Acid and Iron – check the labels to establish that. Some will be added as fortification but if it is a wheat cereal it will have natural nutrients.
  • Have cereal or porridge and a glass of orange juice to help the digestion of iron with Vitamin C. Have some soaked prunes on your porridge or chopped dry prunes on your cereal, as these are high in iron.
  • If you are not trying to lose weight then have a piece of wholemeal toast with butter and marmalade as well. Better to have small amount of good quality chunky marmalade than a watery processed diet version.
  • Sprinkle a dessertspoon of wheatgerm on the top of your cereal or your porridge as this has B6, iron and manganese together (B12, B6, Folic Acid, Iron, Manganese and Vitamin C)
  • Half a grapefruit with two pieces of wholemeal toast and marmalade. (Vitamin C –Manganese)
  • For a cooked breakfast you could have poached egg on two pieces of wholemeal toast with an orange juice. (Manganese, Vitamin C, B12 and B6)

(A tip here is to avoid wheat bran, as this can actually prevent absorption of iron. As unfortunately can too much tea, so do try and restrict your intake to no more than three cups a day of good quality leaf tea rather than the processed bags. Coffee has some health benefits too and a cup or two of fresh ground coffee with some hot milk is fine. If you have high blood pressure however you might have ground decaffeinated instead.

Picture2

Snack

  • Have a mid-morning snack as part of your healthy eating plan. You could have a handful of the mixed seeds and nuts (B6, Manganese)
  • 2 mandarin oranges (Vitamin C again, to help the iron you have already ingested to be absorbed)
  • A banana (B6)
  • Slice of wholemeal toast with mashed banana (Manganese and B6)

Lunch

Assuming this is your main meal of the day – choose from the following meats:

  • · Lamb
  • · Chicken
  • · Turkey
  • · Salmon
  • · Beef
  • · Lamb’s liver
    (try to have liver at least once a week) (folate, B6, B12 and iron)
  • · Potatoes
  • · Wholemeal rice or pasta (manganese – folate)

Lots of vegetables including every day a serving of a dark green leafy vegetable like spinach (Folate-Iron) Cauliflower (raw) (Vit K), Broccoli (calcium)

Use olive oil or good quality sunflower oil for cooking or as a dressing (Essential fatty acids and Vitamin E)

oranges

Snack

  • Nuts and seeds. For men pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of Zinc and helpful to keep the prostate healthy.
  • Slice of wholemeal toast with butter and a thin slice of mature cheddar.
  • Home-made wholemeal scone with butter and sugar free jam.
  • Fruit such as oranges.
  • Yoghurt live with no sugar but chop up some fruit such as berries into it.

If you are not going to hit the dance floor every evening, having a heavy meal at night can cause digestive problems and provides energy that you are not going to use up.. This will result in storage of the excess around your middle. If it is your main meal of the day keep your grain and other carbohydrates to your lunch and eat protein with lots of freshly prepared salads and vegetables. A smaller amount of carbohydrate up to 2 hours before going to sleep is fine. As you will see from the lists one piece of toast, one piece of Pitta bread, two tablespoons of whole grain pasta.

Dinner

beans

Assuming this is a lighter meal.

  • · Scrambled Eggs on toast (B6, B12, Folate, Manganese)
  • · Omelette and Green leafy mixed salad (B6, B12, Folate)
  • · Wholemeal Pitta bread with chicken or tuna and salad filling (B6, B12, Iron)
  • · Eggs Florentine – baked egg on spinach with some hollandaise sauce
  • · Homemade wholemeal pasta in tomato sauce on toast.
  • · Small tin of sugar free baked beans on wholemeal toast.
  • · Seafood cocktail on with clams – cockles – prawns. Serve on half an avocado Slice of bread and butter.

Snack

bananas

  • One of the snacks from above that you have not already had.
  • Cup of Cocoa (iron)
  • Cup of Ginger Tea and a wholemeal digestive biscuit (Manganese)
  • A banana (B6)

As you can see from the above eating plan, there are many foods that will help keep your blood healthy. Get creative in your own kitchen, using fresh unprocessed ingredients and you can’t go wrong.

Roast Dinner by Poolegrammar.com

©sallycronin Just Food For Health 1998 – 2017

You will find the other Top to Toe post in this directory

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

Thank you for dropping by… Sally

 

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – The Blood – Oxygen distribution, waste disposal andAnaemia


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I have covered in earlier posts the absolute necessity of oxygen to our survival. It is unlikely that you will survive longer than six minutes without breathing in oxygen, but it is also vitally important for the survival of every cell within the body. If an area of the cardiovascular system is damaged and oxygen is unable to reach the tissues directly affected then that tissue will die and the infection generated will compromise the health of the rest of the body. The most vulnerable parts of the body are the hands and feet where irreparable damage to the tiny network of capillaries could lead to amputation.

The oxygen carriers.

The red blood cells are responsible for the transportation of both oxygen and carbon dioxide within the haemoglobin in the blood.

red blood cells

As important as breathing in and utilising oxygen is concerned, getting rid of the carbon dioxide waste, which is produced during this process, is equally important. Some carbon dioxide produced in the tissues is processed and converted to a harmless substance that can be eliminated easily but some has to be transported via the blood stream back to the lungs to be got rid of.

Other transportation duties

Substances in the bloodstream like cholesterol and other fats are transported around the body, from originating organs like the liver, to elimination points where they are removed from the blood and either absorbed into cells or processing points such as the kidneys. This process is used to transport glucose and sugars, hormones and waste products like urea that becomes urine.

We are an extremely efficient waste producer and it is when this waste is not eliminated safely, and regularly, from the body that we become ill and diseased.

There are a number of blood disorders that cause concern and one of the most common is Anaemia so I am going to focus on that today – with the foods and therefore the nutrients we require to support healthy blood over the next couple of blogs.

Anaemia

There are actually several types of Anaemia but whilst there are a number of reasons as you will see for the blood disorder, I will focus on just two. Iron deficiency Anaemia and Pernicious Anaemia sometimes also known as Megaloblastic Anaemia. This anaemia is a Vitamin Deficiency anaemia and whilst requires medical supplementation of Vitamin B12 can still be supported by a healthy diet.

Iron deficiency Anaemia is one of the most common types and is usually associated with women. Mostly in pregnancy, but it can also affect women who have suffered heavy periods throughout their reproductive lives. As the name implies, it is caused by the lack of iron.

This might be because you have not taken in sufficient iron through your diet but it is also a vicious circle. The more blood you lose the more red blood cells you lose. These red blood cells release the iron when they die, and it is absorbed back into the system. If you sustain a lot of blood loss each month you will have increasingly less red blood cells which will lead to an iron deficiency over time.

Pregnant women lose their store of iron to the foetus, which is why many are put on an iron supplement although they can take in sufficient with an appropriate diet.

There are also other causes of blood loss, such as surgery or internal bleeding, but there are some diseases such as chronic bowel problems that induce a slow loss of blood over a long period of time and this can lead to Anaemia. If this is the case then you need to ensure that you visit your GP and ask for a blood test and do not take no for an answer. Chronic tiredness which is a symptom of Anaemia always needs to be investigated.

Earlier in my blogs I wrote about Candida Albicans, a parasite that robs nutrients from your food for its own use. This means iron too. As a result, part of the chronic fatigue associated with Candida can be linked to mild forms of anaemia. Posts on Candida can be found in the Health Directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-directory/

Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Of the two anaemias this one is wholly preventable and treatable with changes in diet and in some cases, supplementation.

The key to the diet is not just taking in iron in extra quantities and in fact it is not a good idea to suddenly rush off and grab yourself a bottle of iron tablets and start taking a handful as this can lead to chronic constipation. It is far better to start with adjusting your diet to include foods that are a good source of the mineral. If you need additional supplementation then you should follow the advice of a professional practitioner.

What is pernicious anaemia?

Pernicious Anaemia is actually a vitamin deficiency rather than an iron deficiency. As well as iron, your body needs B6, B12 and folic acid, or folate, to produce enough healthy red blood cells. If your diet is lacking in these, then you will have fewer red blood cells, and therefore less iron, and be anaemic.

Who is the most likely to suffer from this type of anaemia?

Both men and women suffer from this type of anaemia. In rare cases it can be genetic or congenital when someone is born with the inability to absorb Vitamin B12 from their diet. In this case although a healthy diet will support the sufferer they have to be treated with injections of B12 or large doses orally for the rest of their lives.

Nutrition and blood diseases.

Diet plays an enormous part in the prevention and treatment of blood diseases. Today’s diet of processed foods, additives, chemicals and fad weight-loss plans are all contributing to the inability of our body to process the necessary and vital nutrients efficiently. I have worked with many people who decide that they are going to become vegetarian and have done so without finding appropriate substitutes for animal products that previously provided nutrients such as iron and the B vitamins. If you wish to become vegetarian then make sure that you are getting sufficient wholegrains, fermented soy products like miso or Tempeh and plenty of fresh fruit and green vegetables. There is plenty of advice online on how to change your diet safely so please take advantage of that.

In some anaemic patients it is the result of a disease or condition that prevents absorption of nutrients in general – such as Candida – Crohns disease or if someone is celiac. Anything that affects the small intestine will cause mal-absorption of nutrients and result in possible anaemia

Also, long-term medication, use of the pill, HRT and chemotherapy can have an effect on the way we absorb iron, B6, B12 and Folate. As I mentioned earlier, any blood-loss means that the iron that is normally recycled when cells die off naturally is not available. It is important that anyone who has been through an intensive a treatment for a disease such as cancer receives nutritional support afterwards to ensure that their diet is absolutely optimum for regaining healthy red blood cells.

What symptoms would someone experience if they were anaemic?

People will vary with the symptoms depending on the severity of the problem.

  •  Generally people will begin to feel very tired. As we have said the body is being deprived of one of its main energy sources – oxygen.
  •  Some may experience rapid heartbeats – perhaps find themselves getting breathless when they have not really over exerted themselves.
  • There might be some chest pain associated with the symptoms – headaches or dizziness.
  • Hands and feet can become numb and very cold.
  • Nausea, causing loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Bleeding gums and a yellowish tinge to the skin and around the eyes.

What should you do if you feel that you might be anaemic?

If anyone is suffering from any of the symptoms above and is worried they should go and see their doctor and ask them to do a blood test. It would certainly either put their mind at rest or establish that there is a problem which can be easily treated – if necessary with a short term course of iron supplements or, if the problem is more serious, with injections. For dietary based anaemia or where it is only a temporary problem with absorption of B12 – diet and supplementation might be appropriate.

If the problem is a long term issue, as with pernicious anaemia, then the treatment usually consists of injections – daily to begin with, for a week or so, until the condition as stabilised and then as required, which might be monthly or three-monthly. If B12 is given orally it requires much higher dosages to ensure absorption but there is currently experimentation with sublingual supplementation.

Both these types of anaemia can be supported with a healthy diet and next time a look at the nutrients that are needed to support the health of the red blood cells and the foods you need to obtain them.

You can find all the Top to Toe posts in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

Thank you for dropping by ..Sally

 

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – Cardiovascular system and the components of Blood


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Blood is an incredibly complex fluid that uses the network of blood vessels to take the essential supplies such as oxygen and nutrients around the body that we need every day.

Blood is one of the constituents of our bodies that we tend to take for granted. Unless we suffer a catastrophic accident, resulting in major injuries most of us just need a plaster from time to time to patch ourselves up. However, blood is alive with an amazing group of components, completing several vital roles every second of every day, to ensure that we survive.

If our blood is not healthy we can suffer from anaemia, inefficient immune systems, slow healing and frequent infections. Long term blood disorders lead to much more serious illnesses such as cancer and organ failure.

Without a microscope we are unable to see the enormity of the life that is contained in just one small drop of blood. Once you understand some of the properties and duties of your blood and appreciate how vital it is to maintain its integrity, it will be easy to make sure that you include foods in your diet that promote its health and therefore your own.

The Cardiovascular System

Our cardiovascular system’s function is to pump blood around the body. If this process stops for more than a few seconds we will lose consciousness. Every part of our body requires oxygen and nutrients on demand, including additional supplies when we are under pressure. Our cardiovascular system deals with this process without any thought or involvement from us and in addition it will remove any waste products from our systems at the same time. A healthy cardiovascular system is essential and the quality of our blood is vital to our survival.

The circulatory system is made up of arteries, veins and capillaries. The arteries carry the oxygenated blood from the lungs into smaller arterioles, which connect to the veins via capillaries. Unlike the muscle-walled arteries, veins have thin, flexible walls that can expand to hold large volumes of blood. De-oxygenated blood returning to the heart in the veins is at a lower pressure than in the arteries and movement is assisted by a succession of one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards.

The links between the arteries and the veins are the capillaries, which are tiny blood vessels with permeable walls, which allow the exchange of nutrients, oxygen and waste between blood and tissue cells.

Blood is a liquid tissue and your body contains around 8 to 12 pints depending on your age and if you are male or female. Without blood you would die. It performs a number of crucial functions within the body, including the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide, food molecules (glucose, fats and amino acids), ions, waste (such as urea), hormones and heat around the body. One of its major functions is the defence of the body against infections and other ingested toxins.

The components of Blood

Within blood is plasma, which is the pale yellow liquid that can easily be replaced by your body when it needs to. It is mainly water and proteins which assist your body in controlling bleeding and fighting infection. It is essential for the circulation of our red and white blood cells and platelets and also ensures that our natural, chemical communication system is operational. This communication system reaches every part of the body via the capillaries and is fuelled by minerals, vitamins, hormones and antibodies.

What are the different blood cell types?

White blood cells are called leukocytes and there are five types carrying out specific roles within the blood. Neutrophils, Eosinophils, Lymphocytes, Monocytes and Basophils.

Neutrophils are the most abundant of the white blood cells and are the first line of defence. They squeeze through the capillaries to infected areas in the body and consume and destroy invading bacteria and viruses. Even when we are healthy this process is essential as we are constantly ingesting, absorbing or inhaling harmful substances in our everyday environment. If our blood is healthy and well-populated with neutrophils we can prevent these invasions leading to illness and disease.

Picture1

Eosinophils are not very abundant in the blood but they are on stand-by and can increase their numbers dramatically if the body comes under attack from certain types of parasites. The cell will rush to the infected area such as the intestines and release a toxic substance over the parasite to destroy it.

Picture2

Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, are the most numerous type of blood cell. They are shaped specifically to ensure that they absorb as much oxygen from the lungs as possible. In just one minute 120 million of your red blood cells will die but in the same time frame exactly the same amount will be replaced from the bone marrow. The process actually starts in the kidneys, which release a hormone called erythropoietin, which travels to the bone marrow where it stimulates the production of erythrocytes. This is another reason why it is so vital to maintain the function of your kidneys with a natural, cook from scratch approach to your diet.

Other Cells in the blood.

  • B-Lymphocytes (B Cells)are responsible for making our antibodies in response to an infection.
  • T-Lymphocytes (T-Cells)are a family of cells including Inflammatory T-cells that rally Neutrophils and macrophages to the site of an infection quickly where they will consume bacteria.
  • Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes that kill virus infected and possibly cancerous tumour cells.
  • Helper T-Cells that enhance the production of antibodies.
  • Monocytes leave the blood and become macrophages, which are large cells that ingest and destroy any invading antigens that enter the body and also any dead and dying cells from the body.
  • Basophils also increase production during an infection and will leave the blood stream via the capillaries and collect at the site of an infection where they will discharge granules that will stimulate the release of histamine, serotonin, prostaglandins and leukotrines. This increases the flow of blood to the infected site and results in an inflammatory reaction. An example of this might be a wasp sting or an allergic reaction to ingesting pollen resulting in a hay-fever attack.

What else is in the blood that is so vital for our health?
We have already established that without blood we die and we need a system in place that ensures that any break in the circulatory system is plugged and repaired as quickly as possible.

Picture3

Platelets are fragments of cells and must be kept at sufficient density in the blood to ensure that when blood vessels are cut or damaged the loss of blood can be stopped before shock and possible death occurs. This is accomplished by a process called coagulation or clotting.

A clot is formed when platelets form a plug, which is enmeshed in a network of insoluble fibrin molecules. This forms over any break in the circulatory system preventing any further loss of blood.

Next time a closer look at oxygenated blood and Anaemia.

©sallycronin Just Food For Health 1998 – 2017

You will find all the Top to Toe posts in this directory

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

Thank you for dropping by. Sally