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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.

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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.


Is IBS sabotaging your life

Is IBS sabotaging your life

Constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and abdominal pain – these are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Each one itself is bad enough but two or all of them in combination results in extreme pain and discomfort. Surprisingly, it is possible to suffer from both diarrhoea and constipation.

According to the charity IBS Network, there are 12 million people in the UK with the condition and it affects women more than men. The exact cause is unknown and there is no cure. IBS is usually triggered by certain foods, stress and anxiety.

Of course, given that the unpredictable nature of the condition itself causes anxiety, sufferers are caught in a vicious circle. It can affect people’s performance at work and interfere with their social lives. After all, it’s no fun constantly needing to be near a bathroom.

IBS also affects relationships as partners have to learn to live with and understand a sufferer’s low self-esteem, loss of libido and dark moods.

A recent client was having to work extremely long hours to implement an innovative project. While she did a fantastic job, the pressure triggered her IBS. Her stomach felt like it was in knots and, every meal prompted a visit to the bathroom.

Other clients have told me that GPs have just advised them to change their diets or referred them to a psychiatrist where stress or anxiety is the main trigger of their IBS. According to the NHS website, which confirms the above, the only medication available to doctors is anti-depressants which can help to ease the symptoms.

As I said earlier, there is no cure. However, the naturopathic approach can tackle the root cause and get you from A to B using natural methods. This makes you better equipped to deal with the symptoms so that your body can recover. Naturopathy includes specific nutritional testing to identify what the body needs and, more importantly, what it doesn’t need.

Foods to avoid

Try cutting our dairy foods – cheese, particularly when melted, is hard to digest. Rice milk is a good substitute for cow’s milk, particularly if you suffer from diarrhoea. Citrus fruits, such as oranges, are best avoided. So too are any foods, like beef, containing the amino acid tyramine as this occurs naturally in the body.

I also recommend staying clear of rich, heavy meals and to avoid frying as much as possible. It’s also worth following a gluten-free diet for a month as this help.

Friendly foods

Oats, quinoa, buckwheat or millet are examples of friendly foods for IBS sufferers. In some cases, drinking 20ml of Aloe Vera juice before meals ban be beneficial. Part of the naturopathic approach is providing a diet of friendly foods to follow.

Make sure you chew food thoroughly as this sends signals to the enzymes that support digestion.

Finally, if you would like more information, or you’ve not previously considered – or been aware of – the alternative route, then here is your chance. Feel free to contact me on ……


food intolerance

Food intolerance test London

Is your diet making you ill? A food intolerance test in London with Future Health Management will provide the answer 

In the UK, around two million people suffer from some sort of food intolerance or allergy. The good news is that there’s a simple, but smart, non-invasive and painless food intolerance test that can determine what part of your diet is having an adverse effect on your health.

First, let’s look at the symptoms. The most common are bloating, constipation, weight loss, migraines, fat malabsorption and diarrhoea. In severe cases, food intolerance can lead to anaemia and vitamin D deficiency.

The cause of food intolerance is the immune system identifying certain constituents as foreign invaders. It can happen at any stage of your life but, usually, it kicks off if you start to eat more fast food or get into bad habits.

Common food intolerances

Wheat is one of the most common culprits. One of the main reasons is that most of the bread we eat today has far more preservatives, such as:

  • Calcium propionate for a longer shelf life
  • Amylase
  • Chlorine dioxide, which bleaches the flour
  • L-cysteine hydrochloride – E920, used to make the dough more elastic

All the above help to keep the bread soft, white and light. Traditional bread is just made from flour, yeast, salt and water. This is much better for you but doesn’t keep as well.

A key source of intolerance is gluten. This is due to a process called hybridisation of the wheat which adds new proteins. It can cause systemic inflammation and higher rates of celiac disease. Also, we eat far more gluten today than our ancestors did, as wheat is often found in fast food and prepared foods.

Examples of other common causes of intolerances are chocolate, strawberries, dairy products, nuts and food additives, such as nitrates in processed meats.

Food intolerance test

You can keep a food diary to identify which foods are causing a problem. However, this is a lengthy process and requires diligence and patience.

At Future Health Management I use a number of food intolerance tests and biofeedback therapy in London, with full support once the results come in. There are a variety of tests available for identifying intolerances. However, I usually suggest an ALCAT test. It involves taking a blood sample – I realise some people are squeamish about needles – but it does give a good indication of what foods may be making you ill. It takes about 14 days to get the test results which show four sensitivity levels – severe, moderate, mild and acceptable. The programme offers a diet to follow according to a four-day cycle. This rotation helps to optimise your eating habits and to give the body a rest.

Alternatively, there is biofeedback therapy. This is a simple, smart and on-invasive option, in other words, needle-free. The machine has an accuracy rate of 98% and results come within 60-90 minutes. It works by scanning and measuring the body’s organs and tissues for their frequency energy levels and identifies how each food reacts with the digestive system. Once the scan is complete, I can then tailor a nutritional plan to suit.

Banishing the culprits

Ideally, you need to cut out the affected foods from your diet for three to six months and then try reintroducing them one at a time to see if thee are any issues. Finding substitutes can be difficult. The good news is that the food intolerance issue is more widely recognised and stores increasingly gave gluten-free sections.

As a naturopathic nutritionist, I help clients to find the diet that works for them. It might just be simply cutting portion sizes. For example, if fructose is a problem, having half a cup of fruit juice may not affect you quite as severely as having a full cup.

The important thing to remember is, if you are excluding things from your diet, you have to replace them via other avenues. So, if wheat is causing a problem, then it’s important to swap it for another fibre-containing food, such as buckwheat or brown, gluten-free bread. Similarly, with dairy, you need to go for alternatives that will keep up your calcium levels, i.e. almond or coconut milk.

If you would like to find out more about a food intolerance test in London, then please feel free to contact me

ALCAT test

ALCAT food intolerance an incredibly easy method that Works for All


ALCAT test is the next generation of food and chemical testing.  The ALCAT test is a precise and validated laboratory method to measure inflammatory responses or immune cells to diet-related substances. Have you been feeling bloated or get abdominal pain?

Each person may experience different reactions. Here are some typical food intolerance symptoms.

  • bloating.
  • Migraines.
  • Headaches.
  • Runny nose.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Irritable

Food intolerance effects on the body system

The ALCAT test is useful for chronic diseases associated with a chronically activated innate immune system (silent inflammation).

If your organ affected is connected to a gastrointestinal disorder you could very well be experiencing diarrhoea/constipation, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, as well as crown’s disease, gastric reflux, malabsorption.

Other organs it can affect:

  • Skin diseases
  • Neurological and psychological disorders
  • Respiratory problems
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Immune system or periodontal disease

Consequently as a result of skin disorders,  you could suffer from eczema, psoriasis, urticaria, acne. Likewise with a neurological issue, it may be migraines, headaches, mood swings, depression or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder).

Other health issue connected to a food intolerance:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease or the inability to lose weight
  • Arthritis, sore joints, tendinitis
  • Heart problem or autoimmune disease
  • Weakened viral immunity
  • Allergies
  • Periodontitis

A health assessment helps pin point an appropriate test

A health assessment is recommended as an initial stage of the program, because it’s important to make links from all the information provided by the assessment. The benefits are:

  • Getting to know what medication/dosage/schedule you are on
  • Providing supplements that won’t interfere with your medical program
  • A two-way street opportunity to ask questions
  • The health assessment outcome is tailored around your diet, lifestyle and predisposition
  • The assessment helps pinpoint/confirm what test(s) are necessary for a faster recovery

ALCAT tests available

There are three ALCAT tests available depending on your budget. Each food panel contains 100 foods with a customised nutritional / rotational concept for you to follow.

The ALCAT 150, ALCAT 200 and the ALCAT 300, each offers a variety of foods, with a choice of 20 pharmaceutical products, 50 functional foods, medicinal herbals and 20 moulds.  If you wish to add more items to your panel, the price will vary.

If you wish to discuss your requirements, Christina Martin is the Future Health Management Practitioner who will assist you and answer any questions you may have about the ALCAT test, click here to send your enquiry.