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 Blog 
Saturday, May 30 2015

Gout was always thought of as a disease of affluence. A sign you had over indulged by eating and drinking too much. In fact, it is a form of arthritis caused by an excess of uric acid, which is itself a by-product of a substance called purine; found in certain foods, including meat, asparagus, anchovies, chicken and mushrooms.
It is caused by an accumulation of uric acid in the blood, urine, and tissues. This excess solidifies in the joints to form sharp, needle-shaped crystals which then jab at the surrounding tissue when the body moves. Inflammation and severe pain may be the first signs of a problem, especially in the big toe where gout is most common. It can also occur in the joints in the middle of the foot, in the ankle or the knee, the thumb, wrist, finger or elbow joints and even, in chronic cases, in the cartilage tissue of the ear.
A fault in the way uric acid is broken down causes both it and urates (uric acid salts) to accumulate in the bloodstream and the joints. This slowly destroys the joints and causes deposits of salt in the skin and the cartilage, especially in the big toe. The number of cases of gout has doubled in the West over the last 30 years and for some people, even a small amount of the wrong food can trigger an attack. 
Prescription drugs are used to either increase the excretion of uric acid or slow down the rate at which urates form, but you can also use supplements and foods to help prevent further flare-ups. Cherry juice, for example, lowers uric acid levels; and celery juice, which promotes the flow of urine through the kidneys, can also relieve symptoms - so buying a good juicer will help.
Avoiding the wrong foods, particularly those high in purine can help. These include legumes, liver, mackerel, sardines, shrimp, sweetbreads, asparagus, bran, cauliflower, eel, saltwater fish, meat, spinach, and whole grains. Eat less protein and drink more fluids to help flush excess uric acid from your body. Carrying too much weight will also exacerbate the problem so keep yours in check.
Gout is linked to a high consumption of rich and fatty foods, heavy meats and alcohol. The trouble with heavy meats, for example, is that they are rich in substances called purines, which promote the production of uric acid in the body.  Gout sufferers have also been found to be lacking in the digestive enzyme, uricase, which then oxidises the relatively insoluble uric acid into a highly soluble form to prevent it from crystallising.
A good natural remedy is quercetin - a bioflavonoid and anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits the enzyme xanthine oxidase which triggers the production of uric acid. Quercetin is found in red and yellow onions but you would need to eat two onions a day to get a high enough dose - the equivalent of 250mg, three times a day - to prevent or treat gout, so it makes sense to take a supplement.

Posted by: Gail AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 01 2015

Thousands of students will be sitting important exams over the coming weeks (my son being one of them!), whether it’s GCSE’s, A-levels or University finals. For the majority, this will be an intense and stressful few weeks where they may not eat properly, or totally the wrong foods, while trying to cram as much into their memory as possible.

A rise in the number of people seeking help for exam stress and anxiety has been reported over the last two years by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Prolonged or acute exposure to stress is extremely detrimental to our health and will cause short-term symptoms which may interfere with exam performance, as well as long term complications which have a knock on effect on other areas of our health.

Please don't wait until breaking point or beyond it before seeking help!  If your child (or you!) feels like everything is getting on top of them and are nearing the edge it’s important to know there are plenty of natural lifestyle changes and safe nutrients to support whilst maintaining health.  

In an ideal world, exam food plan would contain lots of oily fish, eggs, seeds (pumpkin, sunflower) and nuts for Omega 3 brain food; Masses of green vegetables (as a juice) and on the plate, whole grains, avocados, bananas, apricots, almonds, cashews, for magnesium, B vitamins and taurine. A new study has found green leafy vegetables fantastic for improving physical and mental energy avoiding problematic fatigue affecting up to 46% of teenagers, and linked to decreased concentration.
 

Magnesium is necessary for maintaining proper function of muscles and nerves, taurine has a soothing effect on the brain and nervous system and B vitamins support neurological health. Gingko biloba supports blood flow to the brain!  There are specific nutritional supplements (containing all of the above) which will support and help students (and parents!) remain confident about the looming exams.

Contact me for advice on safe supplements prior to and during exams - they're working for us!   Wishing all students the best of luck!!

Posted by: Gail AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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Gail Lummis

Paleokatouna, Lefkada, Greece

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