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Mental Health Week: B Vitamins.

An important group of vitamins, especially when it comes to emotional stress.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is beneficial during anxiety and panic because it facilitates Neurotransmitter Synthesis, promotes healthy nerve function, and converts carbohydrates in foods into energy. Foods like Asparagus, Soy milk, Barley, Oats, Wheat, Sunflower Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Rice, Avocados, Mussels. Or a supplement. Lifestream’s ‘Natural B Complex Powder’ made from sustainable sourced sprouted quinoa.

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Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is beneficial for anxiety and panic because it converts other B vitamins to useful forms so that they can do their work. In addition, since it aids in the production of infection-fighting immune cells, riboflavin helps bolster the immune system. Include Avocados, Clams, Yogurt and Mushrooms.

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Vitamin B6 helps the body to manufacture brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), such as serotonin, essential for the body to cope with anxiety and panic. Vitamin B6 may also help boost the immune system during times of anxiety. Include sweet potatoes, Avocados, Bananas, Mangoes, Sunflower Seeds, Chickpeas, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Potatoes, Bok Choy, Rice, and Barley.

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Vitamin B7 (Biotin) assists the body in metabolizing protein, fats, and carbohydrates from food. It is important during times of anxiety and panic because it plays a special role in helping the body to use glucose and promotes overall equilibrium along with the other B vitamins. Include Cauliflower, Organic Peanuts, Eggs, and Organic Cheese.

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Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) helps the body to cope with anxiety and panic because it works in concert with other B vitamins. B12 supports the nervous system and assists the body in converting food into energy. Miso, sourdough, tempeh, eggs, algae, shitake mushrooms, Yogurt, Oysters, Sustainable Trout, Crab, Clams. Below Lifestream’s ‘V-Omega 3′, made from algae.

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Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) is an important member of the B Vitamin family and is required along with the others when the body is dealing with anxiety and panic. Research suggests that folic acid may help relieve depression, which is often associated with anxiety and panic. Asparagus, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Bok Choy, Peas, Beans, Chick-peas, Organic Soybeans, Lentils, Oranges, Turkey, Cabbage, Savoy, Spinach, Broccoli, Avocados.

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Vitamin B3 (Niacin) as a member of the B vitamin family, is required along with the other B vitamins when the body is coping with anxiety and panic. Niacin helps the body to release energy from carbohydrates, control blood sugar, and maintain proper nervous system function. Rice, Pomegranates, Whole Wheat.

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Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid). The body relies on B5 to support the response to anxiety and panic. Pantothenic acid helps produce stress hormones during times of psychological difficulty (emotional upset, depression, anxiety), as well as during other types of strain, such as chronic fatigue and quitting smoking. Avocados, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Mushrooms, Sunflower Seeds, Yogurt.

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Mental health Week’: Reducing Inflammation using Diet and Exercise.

I’d like to again stress that I am not suggesting anyone quit their meds, especially without supervision. This week I am posting on how to deal with mild anxiety and depression using food as medicine, and lifestyle changes. My hope is that more of us will be better equipped to know how best to care for ourselves and not let that Black Dog in when he or she comes a knockin’. Image – A food market in France.

France

Many recent studies are showing a strong relationship between depression and inflammation, or even that depression is an inflammatory disorder. Depression is a state of immune activation, so there is a low-grade increase in the inflammation that occurs not only in depression but in most major psychiatric disorders. Image – The Chinese martial art, Qi Gong.

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People who have the best quality diet have the lowest risk of development of depression and anxiety. We also know that diet affects immunity. Similarly we know that people who are the most physically active seem to have the lowest risks of developing depression/anxiety. Again this ties to immunity. We know that exercise reduces levels of inflammation in people’s bodies. And let’s not forget getting enough quality sleep, regularly. 8 hours a night and an hours daytime nap. I hear you laugh at this – but it’s ideal. Any less than the 8 hours a day is likely to be adding to your toxic load, leading to oxidative stress (not good) and inflammation. Sleep! A lot! Image – orphaned orangutans in a safe place to sleep.

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Mental Health Week: Foods To Avoid.

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White flour and products • Chemicals in your food, animal products (raw meat is more alkaline than cooked) and packaged food. Go organic! • Too much alcohol • Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners • Sugar and other refined and highly processed foods. All junk food. Excessive sugar consumption increases blood lactate levels, which is acid forming. This also includes refined grins. • Too much caffeine, especially instant coffee – organic (and fair trade) is much less acidic • Processed and refined salt. In order to have a better chance at being free from mood disorders – keep your body, mind and spirit as healthy as you can, as much as you can.

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Mental Health Week: Cashews

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’2 handfuls of cashews is the therapeutic equivalent of a prescription dose of Prozac’. (‘Food Matters’) Cashews contain the amino acid L-tryptophan which is broken down into calming niacin (B3). Tryptophan is also made into serotonin, one of your body’s most important neurotransmitters. Serotonin gives a feeling of well-being and ‘ahhhhh happy’. Prozac and similar antidepressants usually either mimic serotonin or artificially keep the body’s own serotonin levels high.

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You can do the same thing using food as medicine. Eat your cashews mindfully – as you’ll see in the images below, a lot of work goes into getting just one cashew into your mouth. Ideally buy them organic, eat them raw, or for increased nutrients and easier digestion – soak them (activate) for about 5 hours then drain. #mentalhealthweek #cashews

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Immune Boosting Week: To finish off from last week.

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Spelt: whole-grain with a great capacity to strengthen immunity.

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Turmeric: is a great anti inflammatroy agent so will help stimulate immune function.

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Zinc: pepitas, oysters, wheat germ, organic miso paste, alfalfa, sardines, legumes, mushrooms, pecans, organic soybeans, sustainable seafood, sunflower seeds. #immuneboostingweek

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Immune Boosting Week: Vitamin C.

Gubinge is the Nyul Nyul language name for the Kimberley version of the Kakadu Plum. It is wild-harvested from the Dampier Peninsula just north of Broome and is the highest natural source of vitamin C on the planet. Look for it in health food stores.

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Camu Camu is traditionally made into a juice by people of the rainforest to support the immune system, ward off viral infections, and help maintain optimal health, especially under conditions of stress and anxiety, which tend to deplete the immune system. Camu Camu has been used by ancient cultures to help promote healthy gums, eyes, and skin and also support the functions of the brain (nervous system) and heart (circulatory system). It has a Vitamin C percentage of over 12%. As Camu Camu is a whole food in its natural form, your body can absorb the nutrients contained within it much more effectively as compared to a synthetic supplement. Look for it in health food stores.

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Other places to get Vitamin C – rockmelon, goji berries, kiwifruit, acerola cherries, (pictured below) black currants, guava, oranges, red capsicum, strawberries and broccoli.

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Or in a natural supplement – http://au.planethealth.com.au/Our-Products/Lifestream/Natural-Vitamin-C-(1).aspx?view=category

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Immune Boosting Week: Kombucha.

Kombucha – the fermented beverage the ancient Chinese called the ‘Immortal Health Elixir’. It’s been around for more than 2,000 years preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, improving digestion, fighting candida overgrowth, improving mental clarity, and stabilising mood. It has also been reported to reduce and even eliminate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety and other degenerative diseases. It’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. It’s made from tea that’s been fermented by a colony of bacteria and yeast also called scoby, ‘mother’ or ‘mushroom’. Kombucha started gaining popularity in the 1990′s.

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Research into kombucha done by Russia and Germany after the second world war looking at why certain populations were seemingly immune to cancer and other degenerative diseases has now been made available in English to Westerners. Regardless of the lack of current scientific evidence, the fact remains that this beverage has 2,000 plus years of tradition behind it, and a loyal following due to it’s health benefits, which include -

1. Detoxification
2. Kombucha contains glucosamines, a strong preventive and treatment for all forms of arthritis
3. Improves digestion and gut health
4. Immune boosting

Kombucha is also super-high in anti-oxidants. Look for kombucha in your local health food store, or make your own at home. Sooooo satisfying and cheap to make yourself. Get on board.

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Immune Boosting Week: Pre and Probiotics.

There are many reasons we get sick. Stress is a big one, poor quality food is another. Not getting enough sleep and rest is up there as a major contributor also. Overprescribing of medication can also affect out immune system as can a broken heart or a shock.

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Hippocrates said something similar to ‘all disease starts in the gut’. Well I don’t know if it’s 100% of disease as there are other factors that play a part, but If 80% of our immune system is located in our digestive system, then having a healthy gut just got a whole lot more important. It seems having a strong immune system is our number one defense. An optimal balance of intestinal bacteria is about 85 percent “good bacteria” and 15 percent “bad, and an imbalance is the nutritional cause of most health issues.

Of course a poor diet will affect the bacteria, and sometimes a probiotic supplement will be necessary to get the balance back. This doesn’t necessarily need do be a long term thing, but at certain times like when you’re taking antibiotics, travel to a foreign countries, eating too much sugar or refined grains, or in times of great stress – they are indeed very useful. They’re also useful as the helpful bacteria produce a substance that kills harmful microbes that will help to prevent allergies, among other symptoms.

Lifestreams Bowel Biotics +.
Ingredients: Psyllium husks 69%, Inulin Prebiotics 30%, probiotic cultures 1% (Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum).

http://au.planethealth.com.au/Our-Products/Lifestream/Bowel-Biotics–(1)/Lifestream-Bowel-Biotics–100-Caps.aspx

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Brassica Week: Hashimoto’s or low thyroid function

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Is it ok to eat this family of veggies? Yes! This is not what’s causing the problem. In our Western world, the main cause of hypothyroidism is not goiterogens like Brussel sprouts but rather an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland, known as Hashimoto’s.
If it is Hashimoto’s, it is an immune based mechanism – not a goiterogenic mechanism. So skipping these wonderful Brassica veggies can cause us to miss out on some great cancer fighting, estrogen detoxing, liver supporting, high fiber powerfoods. Go ahead and include them, and perhaps think about avoiding things like refined grains and other processed foods. Even if it’s not Hashimotos causing your thyroid to be under functioning – it’s still ok to include the brassica family of veggie into your diet.

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Brassica Week (last week): Turnips.

Turnips are starchy vegetables belonging to the Brassicaceae family which also includes cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and kohlrabi. We usually refer to the bulbous roots as turnips, their sprouts and leaves are also edible and highly nutritious, and are used in European, Asian and Eastern American cuisines. Their bulbous roots are often diced or chopped and pickled whereas its greens are used in stews and soups, and sauteed. Baby turnips are quite delicious, tender and sweet and so can be added to salads and eaten raw. As a turnip matures, its flavor becomes more pronounced and its texture firm and woody.

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The leafy green vegetables that come from the tops of turnip bulbs are known as turnip greens. These can be added to salads or sautéed and served as a side dish. Though the root is most widely used, its top fresh greens are much more nutritious, being several times richer in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

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Mashed Turnips with Garlic and Truffle Oil. (Above)

Turnips possess great anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of large amount of vitamin K. These help in preventing heart attacks, heart strokes and other heart ailments. Turnip greens aid in digestion by absorbing more amount of bile which uses up the cholesterol present in the body. This results in the reduction of cholesterol. Turnips are also excellent sources of folate, which further helps to boost up the cardiovascular system.

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Turnip and Leek Soup.

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Roasted Turnips.

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Baby Turnips.

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Sauteed Turnips Tops/Greens in Coconut oil with Ginger and Garlic.

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