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Make a single New Year’s resolution – Improve your Health and Immunity for the year ahead

Although it’s customary to make a resolution in the New Year, the tradition is to start the year with a fresh start, particularly as I’m sure everyone would like to put Covid 2020 behind us.

Starting the New Year with a fresh start could mean, regaining better control of your health, loosing weight that you may have put on during the previous year, or may have been because you’ve lost yourself a little during the previous year. It’s a time to reflect on the good and positive things, a time to leave all the negative things behind, the old year.

January is the time to celebrate change, I look at it, a bit like, when Spring comes a long, new flowers blossom and help uplift our spirits with beautiful spring colours and beautiful change, after the gloom of the winter dark months take its toll on our health and wellbeing both mentally and physically.

Change will happen once you decide that you need to do something different to fulfil your health goal. One or two health goals are easier to do. Set yourself up with a realistic goal, to make the resolution easier to carry through from start to end.

Looking back at your previous year will help you set up those goals which are important to you.

One of my own resolutions is to lose a bit of weight, especially after Christmas, as we do tend to indulge ourselves more.

Here five tips to keep you on track:

  • Make resolutions easy, for example if you want to lose weight start with a program that others have found helpful, or you’ve read about, a program that has diet plans, shopping lists and supplements that are used to detox your body.
  • Do your program with other members of the family or friends that have the same or similar goal, this way it helps you stay on track, by helping each other.
  • Start small – You may find that this gives you the mindset to take you to the next step toward completing your goal.
  • Do things that complement what you are already doing, for example, easy exercises, like walking, following a class video, to keep you “health goal mindset”
  • Ask your friends and family to offer encouragement

Come and join our community of detoxifiers starting 8th of February 2021- This may help you start the year making those small improvements that you’ve been looking and thinking about doing.

Click here to start my program and click here to find out more about the detoxing and the benefits it offers your health.

Preparing to get you feeling physically and mentally healthier

When you start to set your health goals to make improvements on your health and wellbeing, think of it as a New Year, a New You!

Bringing back the 14-day cleanse which improves on:

  • Bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Mental clarity which improves work performance
  • Improved sleep
  • Improves your cravings
  • Better eating habits

This 14-day program will improve all the above for you and get you back on track. The program is very comprehensive, because it also reduces your exposure to toxins, provides a dietary reset and supports your ability to clear out your system.

The program also provides:

  • Specific supplements regime (supplement protocols)
  • Foods that promote health and decreases inflammation
  • Provides foods lists, lifestyle tips, recipes, menu planners and a quick and easy meal ideas, shopping lists.
  • You also get invited to a FB support page, webinar going through the program which is all included in the price you pay.

The cost you pay for all the above is £299 and if you pay by 1st of January you will get an extra 10% off the £299.

Want to experience all the above improvements and get a wealth of information to get you starting 2021 feeling physically and mentally healthier.

Click below to join the program and get your extra 10% discount if you buy before January 1st 2021

The 12 Days before Christmas

We know that Christmas can be stressful in the best of times, but this season many of us have already had quite a stressful year dealing with Covid and having to work from home. For some this meant dealing with challenging circumstances, like no accessibility to work from home, a less than ideal work setup, or home-schooling children while working.

But Christmas is also one of the best and happier times of the year because you get to spend quality time with the family, play games, let your hair down and generally enjoy a work break, at least for part of the 12 days of Christmas.

During Christmas, we always feel the extra pounds we put on due to overeating, come January, we want to get rid of the excess pounds around the waistline. With Christmas just 12 days away, I will be giving you some tips on:

  • Sleep. We know that over these festive times, we don’t get enough quality sleep, because hosting Christmas dinners can be exhausting, including all the rushing to buy last minute things
  • Healthier alternatives for Christmas dinner. There are healthy alternatives you could consider doing to make this Christmas healthier, as I’m sure Covid contributed to some weight gain.
  • How not to feel overwhelmed with food and drink.

So why not eat healthily coming up to the 12 days of Christmas, to give you room for those three days you may want to indulge a little more.

Getting Ready

By December 1st, we usually start the countdown for Christmas Day. Kids are getting excited because Santa’s coming to Town. A time they know they must be on their best behaviour for Santa to come and bring them a gift. Sometimes there is nothing wrong in playing the good behaviour card, especially if you are working from home and need a few hours to focus on work-related issues before the Christmas holiday office shutdown. Make sure you keep the sugary cakes and snacks to a minimum, which will help keep the kids calmer before bedtime.

Eating healthier to the run up to Christmas

Create healthier lunches, dinners, or snacks to the run up to Christmas should help keep your weight down, especially during Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.

I have created an e-book for Healthy eating to the lead up to Christmas to help you eat more healthy foods. With these pre-Christmas recipes you won’t feel as if you’re depriving yourself during the holiday season. These recipes will help you get organise in the kitchen, so you won’t have to worry about what you’re going to cook each day!

You can download this wonderful booklet of great healthy recipes for a family of four, including a shopping list and nutritional information about each meal. Please click here if you wish to download this. Let help you achieve a stress-free Christmas.

Getting quality sleep and relaxation before these big days

Workday normally wraps up on Christmas Eve, here are some ways you can start to relax:

  • Put on your favourite Christmas Carol playlist or watch those classic Christmas movies you remember watching as a child.
  • Have some eggnog, and for those who are vegan there is a recipe on my site you can use, which only takes 10 minutes to make.
  • Wrap some pressies and put them under the Christmas tree.
  • Take some magnesium an hour before you go to bed. I have a great food sourced vegetarian magnesium you can take click here to order a bottle.
  • Make sure if your cooking, you don’t go to bed too late in the evening. I would recommend pre-preparing the veggies the day before Christmas Day, this way it is one less thing you need to worry about and give you more time with your guests.

Giving your Christmas meal a healthier twist

Remove the skin from the turkey to lower the fat intake and make sure you prick the skin so that more of the fat is released.

If you love stuffing, try a chestnut version. Try making your roasties, or parsnips larger to promote less fat absorption. If you are making bread sauce, use either a vegan milk or semi skimmed and season it with garlic and herbs for extra flavour.

When making the gravy sieve it through a napkin, as this removes most of the oily residue before making the gravy. When it comes to eating those Christmas dessert, use crème fraiche instead of double/single cream.

With all the celebrations and happy cheery family time, make sure you drink enough fresh water each day, as alcohol can cause dehydration and bad headaches. You don’t want to turn into the family Grinch.

Time for me to start my own preparations. In the meantime, I’d like to wish you and your family a very Merry and healthy Christmas. See you in January

Christina

Good Shopping habits can save you money and food wastage

It is always difficult when both parents work, and your teenage kids can’t chip in to help you both because they don’t cook.  After watching  Eat Well for Less, it inspired me to write this blog post, because part of what they covered in the program are some of the cooking and shopping challenges that my own clients face.

You’d be amazed at just how much money you could shave off your shopping bill by making some changes to your daily routine, especially now with Covid and people being furloughed.

Over-Shopping

It’s always very tempting to go to your local store, or even your local petrol station to grab something for your evening meal, because you might prefer to do a small, easy and quick grocery shop.

Shopping this way may be quick and easy, but it can be far more costly and limit your food choices.

Another way to get organised and stop popping to the store to spend more money, is to do one big shop once a week. I quite like doing one big meat, fish or household shop once a month, then buy veggies and fruit once a week, this works well for me and my family and also saves us money.

You can also save money by not buyng brand names, there are other products that you might buy such as cereals, sliced bread, or other which are supermarket brands instead which are just as good. 

Finally, shopping lists are useful to have and take with you as they help you organise your shopping and buy food that you’re going to make throughout the week, I know when I get organised it takes a lot of stress off me and the husband. 

Get Everyone Involved (if they are old enough)

Another stress relief is getting the kids involved in the kitchen to help cook, peel or do whatever is needed. Sometimes they grumble, but once they get their hands dirty they get into kitchen mode. It gives the kids some responsibility, they feel great about cooking and looking after you for a change and they get to eat the lovely food they’ve made, putting them in the mood to take on another challenge in the kitchen. 

In the TV example I saw, one of the teenage girls replaced  her chocolate wheat biscuit cereal with normal wheat biscuits and added chocolate drops to the cereal. This helped save money and lowered the amount of sugar she was consuming.  Buying fresh seasonal fruit in your local street market can also work out saving you money.

The more we practice cooking and making meals, the quicker and easier it becomes. 

Limit Eating Out

If you like eating out once a week, like on a Friday night, it might be a good idea to do this every other week instead.  Encourage the kids to cook for you on that Friday night your staying home. 

Other tips include:

  • Establish a routine. Once you’ve gotten into a new routine, and have the week’s recipes sorted out, print them out with your shopping lists and have a family group meeting about who’s cooking what,  or get them to pick a recipe to make. 
  • Mind the easy take-outs. Look at how often you might buy a coffee on your way to work with a breakfast croissant, you’ll be surprised at how much money you could save per month. 
  • Lunch anyone? If you’re buying lunch everyday, consider taking packed lunches at least three days a week, you can find really easy recipes to make which won’t take long, or cost a lot, for example, rice noodles,  while they are soaking in hot water for 10 minutes, you could get started on shredding cooked chicken breast, peas, carrots or anything you’d like to add into your packed lunch.  You can make a great fresh sauce to add into it,  by using olive oil, two or three tablespoons of soy sauce, add some grated fresh lime and shake it all up to mix into the packed lunch your taking with you.

If you need any food plans with shopping lists, you can take advantage of the service I provide.  If you’d like to know more please use my free 15 minute telephone consultation.  

Increase in Gaviscon use during lockdown

The world is going mad over Gaviscon during lockdown

Since lockdown people have gained weight due to less exercise and the temptation of grabbing an alcohol beverage as a copying mechanism to staying at home these past 7 months. 

The BBC reported a spike in alcohol with sales in the UK up to 22% in March. Not only that,  Reckitt Benckiser, the providers of Gaviscon, can’t keep up with the demand of people’s eating and drinking habits during lockdown; so there is a shortage of Gaviscon due to over snacking, over-drinking, and eating along with that element of stress due to uncertainty. 

Stress is one of the main reasons you may be heading out to the pharmacy to buy your bottle of Gaviscon, because you may be suffering from acid reflux and generally feeling unwell.

Now is the best time to focus on making sure you’re looking after your health and wellbeing. Dealing with the underlining cause of why you may be getting acid reflux is something you need to address. It’s always easy to go out and grab a bottle whenever you feel acidy, but in all honesty, your acid reflux would disappear by:

  • Dealing with the stress
  • Not overeating, and going for short walk to help digestion, and get fresh air after lunch
  • Eating healthy snack, like nuts and seeds, hummus with carrot sticks. You can snack on healthy foods while you work. Snacking like this also helps boredom eating. 

Your stomach acid pH should be between 1.5 to 2.5 and if you are taking things such as Gaviscon, all this will do is lower your pH. We need stomach acid for the absorption of minerals and to protect us against food poisoning, parasites, gut infections, and H. Pylori. 

Now with Covid lowering stomach acid will leave you open to decreased immune resistance. 

Symptoms of low stomach acid

When you have little stomach acid you may suffer from bloating, belching and flatulence after mealtimes. Here are some examples of things that can happen with low stomach acid but there is a whole list of other symptoms you could be experiencing. Here are but a few:

  • Indigestion, diarrhoea, or constipation
  • Itching around the rectum
  • Acne
  • Upper digestive tract gasses
  • Iron deficiency

Additionally, there are other diseases associated with low stomach acid such as Sjogren’s, lupus, celiac disease, and psoriasis as examples. 

Here are some tips you can implement:

  • Try not to overeat and eat only when you are hungry. Don’t wait an hour or two after you feel hunger pains as this will only promote bad eating habits (Junk food). 
  • If you’re a fast eater and don’t chew your food properly, consider taking a digestive enzyme this will help break down the food you don’t digest properly.
  • Apple cider vinegar acts as a digestive enzyme and may help alleviate discomfort after food. You can use it as a vinaigrette salad dressing. I have a recipe below.
  • Give yourself a window of 4-5 hours after you eat lunch, to introduce dinner.
  • Drink enough water, this will also help with cravings. 
  • Drink camomile tea (loaded with antioxidants) an hour before you eat, it helps digestion and de-stresses the stomach.
  • Keeping weight down will also help with acid reflux. 

Apple Cider Vinaigrette Recipe

  • 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 2tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together to make the vinaigrette

Eat good food and your stomach and immune system will thank you for it

Doing things to support your immune system and digestive system will help you cope better with colds, flu and Covid.  Here are some suggestions for you which don’t take up a lot of your time in the kitchen and provides a great nutritious end result. 

Try making soup, broth, or a stew by using a pressure cooker or slow cooker to create good lunches and dinners. It’s so easy to throw all the ingredients into the pot and let it simmer for 3-5 hours.

Gut repair program starting January 2021

I will be offering a 6-week gut repair program starting the 6th of January 2021. If you’ve been suffering with stomach discomfort during Covid, please join a wonderful community of people doing the program with you. 

For more information on the program as soon as it is released, please register your interest HERE.

Flu Season is coming

A Preventative approach for flu including Covid

Flu season starts in October, this is when vaccines are usually administered by the GP to protect you from flu.

During winter, temperatures drop, and evenings get much colder and shorter, and being proactive in minimising colds and flu is important, especially now that Covid has been with us since the beginning of this year.

Winter is a time when our immune system become weaker due to colder weather, darker and shorter days, and the realisation that we must wrap up in warmer clothes.   Our emotional state also becomes low, because of our less exposed to sunlight, which will affect the release of our happy hormones. 

Putting steps in place to support the body during winter is important to make sure we protect and provide good levels of defence against flu.

We are now seeing a rise in Covid once again, during a time when our body also has to deal with flu and cold season. 

Viruses survive better in colder weather. When you sneeze, your spreading the flu, and studies have shown that the virus can be strengthened by cold weather conditions.

The virus’s outer layer, called a lipid membrane, is made up of oils, fats, cholesterol and waxes. Researchers believe that this outer coating allows the flu virus to survive in colder conditions and travels from person to person, which is how the virus spreads. 

According to the National Institute of Health, that lipid solidifies into a gel at temperatures below freezing, but in temperatures above 70oF that lipid gel begins to melt, which is why the virus does not survive in warmer climates. 

Preparing the immune system

Preparing a strategy to protect your body and immunity before the winter months hit us is important, especially now that we are dealing with covid. 

Preventative steps you can take other than wash your hands and sneeze in your tissue, wear your masks, keep your distance is all good advise you should be following as general guidelines, but there are other preventative approaches you could be practicing by putting these into place to minimise the effects of flu and it’s spread to loved ones. 

Vitamin D is something we need due the lack of sunlight we get during winter; most people are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D also offers protections to our immune systems because it reduces viral growth and can reduce upper respiratory infections, especially if you are prone to these types of infections. 

The mineral Zinc has strong antiviral properties against many viruses, it enhances the immune system, decreases viral growth, and reduces symptoms of the virus. This includes covid. 

Vitamin C protects and supports various cellular functions of the immune system and has been used in hospitals to treat covid-19 infections.

Lifestyle changes are also just as important, like lowering stress, minimising mucus forming foods which is not great during flu or covid as these foods weaken the lungs. 

Our supplements are food sourced

The information offered on my blog post, will provide you with a good start to making improvements and supporting your immunity against flu and covid. We have some great vitamins that are well absorbed by the body and good for vegans and vegetarian. They have been carefully created in the UK for Native Nutrients, which is Future Health Managements brand of supplements. As a naturopathic functional medicine practitioner, I take great pride in offering you one of the best and natural supplements on the market.  They are free of wheat gluten, added sugars, colourings including flavourings and preservatives, and are sourced from food. 

I am offering you a 15% discount off your first order and free shipping on orders over £45. 

Click HERE to place your order

If you would like to prepare yourself for the flu season ahead, then please take advantage of my 15-minute free telephone consultation.

Looking forward to helping you further

Christina

October is Cholesterol Awareness Month

October is Cholesterol Awareness Month, a subject that quite a few clients have come to see me about, to find a more natural way of dealing with it.  

What is cholesterol? It is a waxy substance found in your blood. Its job is to help build healthy cells; the issue is that high levels can increase your risk of heart disease, causing fatty deposits in your blood vessels, and if not dealt with, will only grow making it difficult for the blood to flow through the blood vessels, causing blockages and eventually leading to a heart attack or stroke.

What does it do? Cholesterol maintains membrane structural integrity and fluidity, it also helps synthesise steroid hormones and bile acids, to help break down fats by emulsifying them.  

This type of disease can be inherited, although it is often a lifestyle choice of unhealthy food as well as leading an unhealthy lifestyle.

What else does cholesterol do to keep us healthy? Cholesterol works within the cell membrane as a transporter and cell signalling, to encourage the growth of friendly gut bacteria, which have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels. 

It also helps as a bulking agent to rid the body of excess cholesterol,  and if you’re having problems with constipation,  it is important to make sure that you are looking to correct this issue as soon as possible, otherwise toxins and excess cholesterol will be reabsorbed into circulation. 

It also helps blood sugar regulation, as this can increase triglyceride production by the liver. If you love sugar, and suffer from cravings, it may be time to start putting in some support to help regulate your blood sugar. 

Cholesterol plays an important part in our everyday functioning, we just need to make sure that we help the body remain healthy, which will help cholesterol levels to stay in check. 

Cholesterol helps your metabolism work efficiently, as an example, cholesterol is essential for the body to produce vitamin D.

We have two types of cholesterol ,the good cholesterol called High-density lipoproteins (HDL) and the bad one called Low-density lipoproteins (LDL). The good one will help remove excess cholesterol out of the cells and the bad one delivers it into our cells. 

Need help managing your cholesterol then connect with me with my free 15 min telephone consultation.

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Support and Cleanse your Liver

Over the last few years, mainstream media has extensively covered the process of cleanses as a way of clearing the body of toxins.

The liver is an organ that really gets taxed to the hills, always working hard to detoxify our bodies. There are times when the liver experiences episodes of toxicity overload, causing imbalances within our bodies and even illness.  It is usually during these episodes when the body communicates with you, virtually shouting out to you via a headache or migraines, or through some sort of painful body ache like joint pain, or even chronic fatigue.

To support the detoxification process, your body needs specific nutrients. If your body is deficient in these nutrients it will hinder the cleansing process. Imagine a dustbin that never gets fully emptied out, the body is similar; if you do not clear your rubbish out, it will end up causing all sorts of nasties. 

It is important to provide targeted support for:

  • Energy production
  • Acid-alkaline balance
  • Antioxidant systems
  • Gut lining and healthy elimination processes

Daily Toxic Exposure 

You would be surprised just how much toxic exposure we encounter daily, either through the environment, skin, or mouth. Each time I get petrol I make sure that I cover my mouth and nose, to try and minimise my exposure to (benzene) petrol fumes. 

The body also creates toxins from waste products produced from metabolic activities, like urea, carbon dioxide and lactic acid. 

What can you do to protect your body?

Like anything, we need to try and minimise toxic exposure, or do what we can to protect our bodies. Simple things you might want to consider doing to minimise toxic build-up:

  • Use water filters
  • Try and eat organic food as much as possible
  • Use natural cosmetics
  • Use natural cleaning products
  • If you can change your mercury fillings to white composite

Supporting the body’s own process of elimination 

It is important to support and give the body what it needs to help the body’s own process of detoxification. 

Dealing with constipation is the first thing you could be looking at correcting. Constipation can accumulate toxins in the colon and cause other issues such as diverticulitis, which are pockets that form in the colon due to backed up poo. You can also get anal fissures, which can cause pain and tears in the anus.  Squatty potty often helps adjust your posture to make the elimination process easier.  If you find that your doing everything possible and your constipation is not improving, it may be worth speaking to a wellness practitioner. 

Changing your diet to include more fibre is something you should also consider if constipation is an issue. If you like saunas, this is a great way to sweat out toxins and support the body’s elimination process. This is particularly good for eliminating things such as arsenic, lead and other heavy metals.

Fibre

Helps eliminate toxins by promoting their removal and decreasing the absorption of some toxins. Include more vegetables in your diet.

Just how much water do you really drink?

Water is one of the most important things the body needs to help it rid itself of toxins. If you do not drink enough water, this could lead to constipation. You may think that by drinking three glasses of water you’ve given the body sufficient hydration, this isn’t the case,  as each person’s constitution is different, some may carry more weight than others, which may mean, that some of us need to increase our water intake. 

Consider minimising meat

If you like eating meat, consider keeping this to white meat, fish (clean of mercury). For example, if you are having chicken, eat the breast while you are undergoing your cleanse, as it is the leaner part of the chicken. 

If you have limited time and want to do a cleanse, I am running a “get the liver cleaned up and functioning at its best in just 14 days” program.

Coronavirus, moving forward & living our lives

Moving Forward

Coronavirus has affected our lives in ways that we would not have expected. This pandemic has brought everything to a holt. More than 15.1 million coronavirus tests have been processed in the UK and we now have social distancing rules in the attempt to stop the spread. We were hit with this pandemic on May 22nd and according to the Department of Health and Social Care the number of confirmed cases in the UK was 330,368 while the total number of deaths were 41,477.

Now we will be coming into winter with colds and flu season, including coronavirus, this is a time when we need to make sure our health is good, and immunity strong. An international collaboration of researchers from Europe and China has shown that temperatures and humidity in the environment has a severe effect on Covid-19 symptoms.

There is an article on PubMed quoting “Knowledge of other viral respiratory diseases suggests that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 could be modulated by seasonally varying environmental factors such as temperature and humidity”. 

I equate this to, having a weak immune system, and you catch something,  your immunity will have to work hard to make sure it deals with this illness, if you’ve not done anything to offer it support, it will not have any reserves to carry on fighting and it will be depleted, this may also affect how well you recover and how long you remain unwell, however, if your immune system is offered support, it is more likely that the body will be better equipped to fight; A bit like anything in life, give it the means and support it needs, to have a fighting chance of doing a better job.

Boosting the immune system

It is the winter months when our immune systems need some extra support against things like colds and flu.

Make sure you get plenty of vitamins A, C, D and E plus selenium to help give your body a fighting chance. At this time of year our vitamin D levels tend to be lower as we are less exposed to sunlight. It therefore makes sense to take a supplement.

I am a great advocate of keeping the gut healthy as this also helps to keep the bugs at bay. The best way to achieve this is to eat fresh – preferably organic – food as much as possible. Nuts and seeds particularly are rich in zinc and immune-boosting nutrients. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Those who did ‘Veganuary’ are probably well ahead with this.

When it is cold, it is tempting to choose ‘comfort foods’ but, unfortunately, these tend to be the ones that are bad for you. Usually they are highly processed. The problem with processed foods is that they contain large amounts of sugar, salt, additives and trans fats. They might satisfy in the short term but do your body no favours in the long term. This is partly because these foods leave you wanting more which creates a vicious circle. So, the more of them you eat, the less healthy you will be. And they are bad for your waistline.

Try and reduce your dairy intake if you can and drink more herbal teas. Ginger and honey, ginger, and chamomile and echinacea are especially good for boosting the immune system.

Sleep well

Also, there is nothing like a good night’s sleep for rejuvenating the body. Eight hours is recommended. To ensure a peaceful slumber, do not eat too late and avoid looking at your phone or computer for at least an hour before retiring.

Remember, your immune system is there to protect you and guard against ill health. Do not make it easy for the germs to attack, look after yourself and eat good nutritious food. Obviously, there is no guarantee that you will avoid getting a cold or other virus but, by taking care, you will give your body better ammunition for fighting off the germs.

There are plenty of immune-boosting supplements available and I always advise choosing ‘food state’ ones as these are based on real foods. If in doubt, speak to a wellness practitioner for help.

As naturopathic nutritionist, I am more than happy to support you in this area. If you would like more information, feel free to email me

Also feel free to share this article with your friends and family on social media and help them to stay healthy.

Free 15 Minute Telephone Consultation

If conventional methods haven’t worked for you, find out how a qualified naturopathic functional medicine practitioner can support you on your journey to improved health and well-being.

flute glass on white surface

Food for Mental Health

Is IBS sabotaging your life

Food for mental health is increasingly considered to be part of a proper balanced diet.

We say, ‘food for thought’ and undoubtedly what we eat affects how we feel and our ability to function.

Often when people feel depressed, food is a form of comfort. Unfortunately, so-called comfort foods are usually the ones that contain high levels of sugar and salt. They tend to be highly processed too.

The problem is that they mess up the neurotransmitters. This is because they produce a temporary rise in serotonin, along with a dopamine rush. It takes the edge off low moods for a short while. Then the cycle starts over because the underlying problem is still there.

Of course, mental illness covers a broad spectrum of conditions. Stress is particularly prevalent in our fast-paced modern life. Some people feel unable to cope in a pressured working environment. Then they eat the wrong things at the wrong time or skip meals altogether. Also, when you feel stressed, your body may struggle to digest food properly. Eating in a calm state, and at regular intervals, helps to maintain blood sugar levels. It also gives you the energy to get through the day.

15.4 million workdays lost

The Health and Safety Executive reports that 15.4 million working days were lost due to stress in 2017/18, up from 12.5 million the previous year. This equates to 57.3 per cent of the 26.8 million working days lost due to ill health.

Managers must do more to reduce the causes of stress and support employees who are struggling to cope. That includes tackling excessive workloads and other issues, such as bullying. Toxic workplaces are bad for staff and productivity.

People tend to suffer in silence. The general stigma around mental health/stress often prevents people saying how they feel. As well as anxiety, depression and mood swings, mental illness can manifest as physical symptoms, such as insomnia, headaches and back pain.

Naturopathy can help to get down to the root cause and help plan a diet that rich in foods for mental health. For example, magnesium deficiency is linked to anxiety and vitamin B complex helps with stress. Probiotics modulate the gut-brain axis to combat symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.

Brain foods

As well as foods, I also consider the effects of anti-inflammatories. Medication like benzodiazepine can be addictive and have side effects, including drowsiness and poor balance. It can affect your coordination. This is not conducive for a working environment, especially as it can also affect memory and cause confusion. A naturopathic solution for anxiety is thiamine (B1) capsules which work very efficiently. If you feel a panic attack coming on, open a capsule and place the powder under your tongue. This helps to control the panic attacks. Another good homeopathic remedy is Aconite, just take 200c at the onset of an attack. A deficiency in vitamin C is associated with nervousness.

The Mediterranean diet is often held up as the ideal for good health as it’s high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, fish and unsaturated fats. A recent study found that this diet helped to reduce depression and the participants were still sustaining the good effects six months later. Eat almonds, salmon, potatoes, broccoli, sardines, sea vegetables, celery, cabbage, asparagus, legumes to offset any deficiencies in potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Eating the right foods for mental health goes a long way to improving well-being. For example, organic nuts and seeds containing natural essential fatty oils tare better for brain function than biscuits and cakes. Avocado and fresh fish are also good brain foods.

Book your free 15 minute telephone consultation

If conventional methods haven't worked for you, find out how a qualified naturopathic functional medicine practitioner can support you on your journey to improved health and well-being.