Nutrition Posts

ByBelinda Verne

Magnesium Deficiency…the silent epidemic

Most of us think of magnesium as the supplement we need for twitchy or stiff muscles. If only it were that simple, but magnesium is needed for approx. 300 biochemical reactions in the body! It’s the mineral we can’t live without.

You might be thinking ‘Nah, I don’t get cramps, my magnesium level are good’. Hold that thought.…if you drink coffee, alcohol, water containing fluoride, enjoy things a little bit too salty, and have a sweet tooth by adding refined carbs and sugars to your diet, then you might want to rethink how much of that magnesium is still left circulating.

What affects Magnesium?

Coffee: It is a diuretic, acidic, and caffeinated which results in minerals such as magnesium to be lost in urine and faeces.

Alcohol: one of the major causes of magnesium loss from several tissues, as kidneys are stimulated to excrete minerals.

Sugar: it takes 28 molecules of magnesium to metabolise or break down one single glucose molecule! Do you even add sugar to your coffee or a croissant with that?

Pharmaceutical Drugs: these can cause the body to lose magnesium via the urine and include diuretics for hypertension; birth control pills; insulin; digitalis; tetracycline and some other antibiotics; corticosteroids and bronchodialators for asthma. With loss of magnesium, symptoms “treated” by these drugs over time become worse.

Iron supplement: Magnesium has problems absorbing with iron supplements. If you take calcium supplements you need more magnesium. Calcium will not be properly absorbed or metabolised if adequate magnesium is missing.

Mental and Physical Stress: with continuous flow of adrenaline, magnesium is used up rapidly as adrenaline affects heart rate, blood pressure, vascular constriction and muscle contractions—which need a steady supply of magnesium for smooth function.

Depression: related to stress and magnesium deficiency as well. Serotonin, the “feel good” hormone, requires magnesium in its delicate balance of release and reception by cells in the brain. Only when adequate levels are present can we enjoy mental and emotional equilibrium.

Fluoridated Water: If your drinking water is fluoridated, you have the problem of fluoride binding with magnesium creating a nearly insoluble mineral compound that ends up depositing in bones, making them brittle and increasing risk of fractures. Water can be rich in magnesium if it is sourced from a mineral-rich glacial runoff. Many bottled waters are quite low in magnesium too or have very high concentrations of calcium.

Menopausal women: drenching sweats can deplete magnesium along with panic attacks, body aches, depression and unsettled nerves. Many have been consumed modern soy products in a misguided attempt to moderate their symptoms, but they will in fact lose more magnesium because it will bind to the many phytates found in soy concoctions.

What about diet?

If you think diet will solve the issue, you might want to think again. Roasting nuts and seeds and extracting their oil depletes magnesium. When cooking vegetables the magnesium is usually washed away in the water. Vegetables this day have low levels of nutrients, reason being that modern agricultural methods favour using NPK (Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) fertilisers, and phosphorous and potassium both inhibit whatever small amount of magnesium is in the soil. Added to this there are continuously new plant hybrids that have been bred on mineral depleted soils and these are eaten not only by animals, but us as well. Organic crops may not always be better nutritionally so it pays to ask your farmer how they replenish the minerals on their fields.

So what can I do..? 

Minimise taking or doing things that affect magnesium and if taking a supplement try different forms to see what your body absorbs best. I personally find Magnesium Chloride most effective and it’s easily broken down and absorbed. Remember also to divide your dosage and stagger it throughout the day so you don’t overload your body. If you have lose stools after taking the supplement it means your body is not absorbing the magnesium properly. You may need to consult with a practitioner to look at other forms of magnesium or homeopathic (Magnesia phosphorica 6X) for better absorption.

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ByBelinda Verne

What’s all the fuss about Gluten?…

I have wondered about this new epidemic of gluten intolerance, and thought what has changed? My parents and grandparents were raised in the “Soviet Era”, and lived off bread and potatoes, yet I know there is only a certain amount of gluten I can tolerate before I just feel sluggish and horrible. I have there genetics so what’s the go?

Firstly lets note that Gluten is a mixture of tiny proteins that you can find in wheat, rye, spelt, gamut and faro. There are two groups of gluten: prolamines and glutelins. It is the prolamine GLIADIN that causes painful inflammation in the gut and creates an immune response causing intestinal damage that people with Celiac Disease (CD) experience. With CD the gluten damages the intestines. People with Gluten Intolerance/Sensitivity (GI) have problems digesting the gluten (or a certain amount) WITHOUT intestinal damage, though it is possible for mucous to build up in response decreasing your ability to absorb nutrients. It is like your body is getting starved without knowing it!

Now there is evidence that hybrid versions of these grains we eat today contain significantly more gluten than traditional varieties of the same grain. Reasons for creating hybrid varieties are to make the crop durable and obviously yield more produce. Unfortunately the more yield you get out of the crop the less micro-nutrients it has such as Zinc, Selenium and Iron.

Next to look at is how the bread is baked. There is a great demand for food therefore supply needs to be quick, and bacteria and yeasts are not left long enough to ferment the bread. A 2007 study (Applied and Environmental Microbiology) showed when wheat bread is throughly fermented, it reduces gluten levels from roughly 75,000 ppm to 12, which qualifies it as gluten-free!

The fact that gluten is a binder and texture stabiliser in foods means that you now find it everywhere in packaged and processed foods. It truly is hard for people to monitor their intake! Gluten is hidden in so many things like ketchup and salad dressing to name a few!

So what to do….? Do you eat it or not? You can have the gene for these intolerances but they may or may not ever be expressed. You are the only person in your body, therefore you are the perfect one to know how it makes you feel. No matter if you have had all the medical tests and you come back clear….if it doesn’t make you feel good— don’t have it. If you are not sure then try eliminating it for 2 weeks and see how you feel! Don’t forget to assess your mood and focus levels too, not just digestion. For those with auto-immune issues you may need to eliminate it for up to 6 months to see the difference.

Also I would not recommend any of the gluten-free varieties out there either. Have a read of the ingredients, and if you can’t or there are numbers I’d put it down. Stick to whole foods.

Talk to your practitioner if you have anymore queries on what foods your body does and doesn’t tolerate. I can understand it being so confusing this day and age.

ByBelinda Verne

Chocolate You Won’t Die From…

After trying this quick and easy recipe, it healed me of my ‘Lindt’ addiction. Thus for all you chocolate addicts, or those looking for a healthy sweet treat…this is too good not to share!

What you need is 3 TABLESPOONS of:

Coconut oil

Benefits:

– Helps in easy digestion (deals with bacteria, fungi and parasites)

– Strengthens immune system

– Prevents Candida

– Nourishes hair

– Effective in healing damages tissue and infections

– Improves bone health

Cacao powder

Benefits:

– Magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and potassium rich

– Contains vitamins E, B2, B1, B5, B3 and B9

– contains oleic acid which is a heart-healthy essential monounsaturated fat

– High levels of antioxidants

Honey

Benefits:

– Stabilising effect on blood sugar levels

– Enzyme rich and antibacterial (raw honey)

Method

In order above, melt (do not boil) these ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat. Poor out on grease proof paper lined tin or small container and pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes or until hard.

For some fancy chocolate, add into the mix some roasted almonds, roasted coconut flakes and goji berries or cranberries. Let yourself go wild!

ENJOY!