Health Blog

Low FODMAP diet

The FODMAP diet is considered to be one of the most effective diets in the management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder the developed world where it affects one in seven adults. It is characterised by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, wind and stool changes often swinging from diarrhoea to constipation. However, there is often no pathological change detected in bowel studies. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These substances are essentially all types of sugars or sugar alcohols. It should be noted that the typical western processed food diet contains a large amount of these sugars as added ingredients - examples include galactose, lactose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltilol. All of these types of sugars are poorly absorbed in the human small intestine, leading to fermentation, toxicity and gas production by bowel bacteria. Weakening and stretching (distension) of the intestinal walls by this digestive dysfunction leads to the symptoms of IBS. People with fructose sensitivity and lactose intolerance are more specific examples of the general FODMAP sensitivity found in some people and will also benefit from this diet, which was developed by a team at Monash University in Australia.   What foods are high in FODMAPs? Apart from processed foods mentioned, many of these sugars are found naturally, though in much smaller amounts. People who have developed IBS may be sensitive to fruits and vegetables containing FODMAPs, even though they were not sensitive previously. Some examples of foods are listed below: Fructans: Wheat, Rye, Barley, Onion, Garlic, Spring Onion, Leek, Beetroot, Chicory, Dandelion leaves, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Fennel, Chocolate Galactans: Beans and pulses Polyols: Stonefruits, Apples, Avocados, Blackberries, Lychees, Pears, Watermelons, Cauliflower and Mushrooms   A rule of thumb is that fruits, onions and vegetables of the cabbage family are to be avoided on the FODMAP diet as is lactose containing dairy food. Foods considered acceptable on the diet: Vegetables: bok choy, cucumbers, capsicum, carrots, corn, eggplant, lettuce, leafy greens, pumpkin, potatoes, yams, zucchini Fruits: bananas, berries (not blackberries or boysenberries), rock melon, grapes, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwifruit, kumquat, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, passion fruit, pawpaw, pineapple, rhubarb, tangerine, tomatoes Proteins: meats and fish all OK, nuts (except cashews and pistachios), seeds Grains: gluten free grains and their products, oats, quinoa, rice, tapioca Beverages: Water, coffee and tea. Avoid fruit juices. Dairy: Lactose free dairy products, hard cheeses, alternative milk products (soy, rice and almond milk)   Monash University has a website with further information on IBS and the FODMAP protocol: http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

Vitamin B12

What is Vitamin B12? Vitamin B12 (Cobalamine) is a water soluble vitamin, first described by British physician Thomas Addison in 1855. He described a deficiency of this vitamin to be associated with macrocytic anemia (anemia associated with enlarged red blood cells); glossitis (tongue and throat inflammation); and neurological symptoms such as mental fatigue, memory failure, dizziness, vertigo, loss of balance and muscle weaknesses among other symptoms.

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Childrens Developmental Milestones

  KNOWING YOUR CHILD'S MILESTONES: SIGNS of DELAYED DEVELOPMENT   The following brief list may help you to notice any delays or abnormalities in your child's progress and prompt you to have them checked by a suitably qualified health care provider:   0-3 months: not smiling by 8 weeks not calming down, at least for a little while, when picked up being unusually floppy or stiff having different muscle tone or strength in an arm and leg on one side compared with the other side having unusually 'good' head control due to stiff muscles always holding fingers in a tight fist not startled by sudden noises having feeding problems beyond 'normal' range – find out more from your Child and Family Health nurse crying for long periods, or ongoing problems settling being unusually 'good' and not demanding not watching your face when you speak to them by 3 months not making sounds other than crying by 3 months.

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Cravings and nutritional deficiencies

by Lorena Valeri, naturopath What do you crave?   Sweet, salty, fatty or starchy, other? According to Vera Tweed (2015), experts are now saying that although unhealthy eating habits are formed in childhood, there is hope for us yet; they now believe that the brain can be re-programmed for a healthier culinary experience. Also studies showed that although some cravings can highlight some nutritional deficiencies in many cases the food we crave may not exactly correct those deficiencies.   Some studies have found that sugar and starch cravings may be a result of low blood sugar and the body trying to correct itself (though not in a long term productive way). Eating sugars and starches will spike blood sugar and as sure as things go up, they must also come crashing down (sometimes fast). To avoid this occurring, the Tweed (2015) recommends eating a protein and a healthy piece of fruit which will stabilize blood sugar for longer periods.   Other surprising triggers for cravings in the report: Late nights (which is not good, as our bodies are programed to store more calories at night). Apparently eating protein for breakfast helps to reduce sugary cravings at night time. Diet soft drinks / sodas Diet soda was found to ‘make people choose higher calorie snacks and feel less satisfied with food’ (according to a study at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth) Studies also indicate that artificial sweeteners promote weight gain and diabetes by changing the good bacteria in your gut. Let’s breakdown the cravings: Craving                                                Possible Deficiency                           Craving Antidote: Sugary Foods Chromium, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur or tryptophan Grapes, other fresh fruit, nuts, vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes and spinach Salty Foods Chloride or silicone Celery, tomatoes, lettuce, seaweed, cashews, or seeds Fatty Foods or Dairy Calcium Mustard, turnip greens, broccoli, almonds, salmon, kale, legumes, low fat dairy or sesame seeds Starchy foods Nitrogen Dark leafy greens i.e. Kale or collards, nuts and seeds, eggs, lean chicken or turkey Chocolate – Dark  Chocolate – dairy milk Magnesium,  Good fats i.e. Omega 3 type. Nuts, fish and leafy green vegetables, organic cacaoNuts and seeds, tuna, salmon, mackerel, cod, eggs, avocado, cold olive oil       Dr. Fuhrman’s Anti craving salad dressing (Tweed, 2015): ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ½ cup water, ¼ cup walnuts, ¼ cup raisins, ¼ tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 clove minced garlic. Blend in a blender and add to salads.   Dr. Fuhrman’s 6 steps to reduce cravings (Tweed, 2015): Have a large salad as your main dish and include some raw vegetables ¼ - ½ cup of Beans each day – filling and satisfying, Dr. Fuhrman says they are a terrific antidote A Large bowl of steamed greens (steam for less than 13 minutes to prevent loss of nutrients) Nuts and seeds – include walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed, sesame seed (Raw and Unsalted) Mushrooms and Onions. Mushrooms should be well cooked to remove the bacterial contamination Eat 3 fruits per day, and Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating them with your meals to dilute their sugars and slow their absorption into the blood. (Its preferable that fruit is fresh as opposed to dried).   Dr. Fuhrman, Tweed (2015) says that the longer you stay away from the starchy and sugary or salty craving foods from the past the less you will crave them.   This is great news for those wanting to reach a healthy weight, but have been sabotaged by your cravings in the past.

Alkaline Diet

What is it? The alkaline diet is an old approach to managing chronic illness and inflammation. Popularised by Chiropractor Dr. Theodore Baroody in his book "Alkalise or die" and later on Dr. Robert Young in his book "the pH miracle", it was based upon the writings of earlier natural medicine practitioners such as chiropractor Dr. Bernard Jensen and JH Kellogg. The central premise is that much of the food we eat today (grains, processed foods and drinks, meat) along with a steep rise in pharmaceutical use has resulted in chemical imbalances in the body. Our organs only tolerate a very narrow range of pH (the measure of whether a system is alkaline or acidic) so when our body is flooded with acid forming chemicals, our alkaline maintenance processes become stressed, resulting in inefficient removal of excess acid. Because this acid is toxic, the body deposits this excess acidity throughout the tissues, which over time causes neuromuscular inflammation, brain chemistry changes and systemic arthritis. Eventually, even the organs begin to fail. By altering the foods we consume to minimise those that cause acid formation, the body is given time to excrete excess acids from the system, which results in improved health and vitality. In principle these alkaline-forming foods are largely comprised of fruits and vegetables and should form 80% of the diet. Acid forming foods such as meats, grains and processed foods should never make up more than 20% of your diet. Dairy foods range from strongly acid forming when in the form of cheeses, and less so for yoghurts and soft cheeses, while nuts and seeds tend to be somewhat neutral to acid. Generally, the diet should be largely vegetarian, with occasional meats and whole grains to provide additional nutrients. Some foods which are acids themselves (such as lemon juice and apple cider vinegar) break down into alkaline residues in the body, while other foods such as sugar forms acid, so it is important to obtain a chart of these foods to help you in your choices. In addition, many proponents of this diet also recommend a water ionisation unit to produce ionised alkaline water for consumption, however the evidence for its value is limited. On a similar note- bottled water sold as alkaline water is little more than just ordinary water with increased calcium carbonate, so spending money on this is not likely to be helpful. Pros: Fairly easy once you know the food placings Increases dramatically the amount of plant food in the diet Eliminates processed food Has wider health effects as well as weight loss Doesn't calorie count or emphasise portion sizes Cons: Can be hard to make the changes needed for some people Can lead to a healing crisis early on (withdrawal headaches etc.)  

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