Boost Your Health, Grow Your Food

Boost your health – start with sprouts

One of the easiest ways of boosting your health and ensuring that you get the best quality & freshest fruits & vegetables on tap, is to grow your own. Even if you start small with an indoor ‘sprouts’ garden for alfalfa, mung beans, pea sprouts etc. These are easy to set up and you can pick them fresh in just 3-5 days for use in salads.

Add a herb patch!

After you’ve set up your indoor garden try an outdoor one, beginning with a bunch of different herbs. When planted from seedlings you can pick them after a week or so, once they have achieved some lush growth and they will continue to thrive and thicken. 

Organic fruit and vegetables

Then perhaps a vegetable patch is next. Starting with seedlings always makes it quicker, but make sure the soil is prepared ahead of time with some good mushroom mulch or similar fertile base, mixed in with the soil. Water heavily on hot days for maximum yield. Plant a fruit tree or two and now you’re talking!

Not only do organic fruits and vegetables taste far better, they last in the fridge longer because they have ripened naturally, they are more nutrient-dense than non-organic (you get a better bang for your buck) and the activity will keep you fitter and in touch with nature. Pick a vase of herbs and spread their wonderful aroma through your house today! Enjoy!

Reduce High Blood Pressure Naturally

We have all experienced a rapid heart rate as a response to a stressor at some time. Whether it is being late for work or school, not meeting a deadline or almost getting hit by a car when crossing the road, the stress will generally result in shallow, fast breathing that activates a release of cortisol, adrenalin and other stress hormones. 

On the other hand, controlled, deep-breathing activates the relaxation response and calms the nervous system. This not only slows our heart rate, pulse and blood pressure, but also our digestive system, while at the same time promotes a state of calm.

Try my simple Yoga-breathing Exercise and feel the difference:

  • Lie flat on floor or bed, arms down by your sides, palms facing up, feet falling out (called Dead Man’s Pose)
  • Close your eyes
  • Focus on your breath – take 2-3 slow deep breaths, through the nose, breathe out through the nose (quietly)
  • This time, breathe in for 1 second and out for two seconds. Repeat.
  • Continue this breathing pattern. Place one hand on your stomach. As you breathe in, make the stomach rise. As you breathe out, make the stomach fall.
  • Now, as you are in a more relaxed state, change the breathing pattern. Breathe in for 2 counts and out for 4 counts. Keep your hand on your stomach, to check that your stomach is rising and falling as you breathe.
  • Return hand to your side and continue this pattern. Focus on the count as you breathe.
  • 10 to 20 minutes per day is highly recommended to reduce stress significantly.
  • When your session is complete, stretch and open your eyes slowly. Become aware of your surroundings, before you get up.

… There now, don’t you feel a little calmer? Have a lovely day.

5 Lifestyle Changes that Could Prevent 80% of Heart Attacks

Adopt these 5 “low-risk” behaviours to help reduce your chances of heart attack:

  1. A healthy diet – eat freshly prepared wholefoods; avoid refined, processed choices.
  2. Being physically active – choose to exercise each day for at least 30 mins. Include a range of activities from weight training, to interval training (HIIT), to yoga/pilates and walking. Find something you enjoy!
  3. Healthy waist circumference – less than 92cm for men and 80cm for women.
  4. Low to moderate alcohol consumption.
  5. No smoking.

Are Eggs Bad for Your Cholesterol?

Several decades ago we were misled into believing that eggs raised cholesterol levels and people were warned off consuming them.

Broad-range studies (meta-analyses) have revealed that eggs do not have a detrimental impact on cholesterol levels and are actually one of the most healthful foods you can eat.

All eggs are not created equal though:

  1. choose free-range organic where possible.
  2. avoid omega-3 eggs – the hens are fed poor quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. These eggs are also more perishable.
  3. avoid eggs from caged (battery) hens – the hens lead a highly stressed short life which affects the quality of their eggs.

Benefits of fresh, free-range eggs:

a) one egg contains 6g high quality protein

b) they contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants in your lens and retina that help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts

c) they are a good source of choline – a member of the B vitamin family, essential for the nervous system, cardiovascular system and pre-natal brain development

d) they contain vitamin D – one of the few foods that does!

e) they contain sulphur – which promotes healthy hair and nails

Enjoy them poached, scrambled or in an omelette!

Cholesterol-Lowering Foods

Cholesterol is a white, insoluble, waxy substance that is manufactured in your liver. 

Your body needs cholesterol for many vital metabolic processes, such as making hormones, producing vitamin D, producing bile acids to help digest fat, etc. When people regularly consume foods high in saturated fats (Salami, sausages, processed meats, deep-fried foods, etc), their livers manufacture more cholesterol. This impacts upon their total blood cholesterol levels and throws out their ratio of good to bad cholesterol. LDL’s (low density lipoproteins) represents bad cholesterol, which can result in hardening of the arteries. HDL’s (high density lipoproteins) is good cholesterol which helps remove excess cholesterol out of the cells and arteries.

Many foods can help to lower cholesterol:

  1. Fresh fruit & vegetables – provide soluble fibre that blocks the absorption of dietary cholesterol from the intestine. Good choices are bananas, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, artichokes, carrots, apples, alfalfa sprouts.
  2. Fish & fish oil – contain dietary fats that lower triglycerides in the blood and reduce blood pressure, while boosting the levels of HDL’s.
  3. Beans & legumes  – contain a water-soluble fibre (pectin) that binds cholesterol and shifts it out of the body. Good choices are kidney, lima, & soybeans, peas, chickpeas & lentils.
  4. Oats – provide soluble fibre that reduces the absorption of cholesterol. Brown rice, quinoa & barley have a similar effect, to a lesser extent.
  5. Soy products – contain isoflavones, and fibre that lower total cholesterol. Good choices are soymilk, tofu, edamame.
  6. Tannins in tea and compounds in green tea (catechins) lower LDL’s and stop the build up of cholesterol on artery walls.