Welcome back, nature enthusiasts!
After exploring the captivating world of nettles, we embark on a new botanical adventure, this time focusing our attention on the breathtaking hawthorn blossom that decorates our hedgerows during the heady month of May.
As spring dances its way into our lives, hawthorn emerges as a dazzling spectacle, adorning hedges and trees with a snowy-white elegance. Join me as we delve into the enchanting world of this powerful herb, with its affinity for the heart, its healing properties, and the rich tapestry of folklore that surrounds it.
In the magical tapestry of spring, hawthorn blossom takes centre stage, casting its ethereal spell upon the landscape. As we gaze upon the boughs of hawthorn hedges and trees, we are greeted by a breathtaking sight, as though they have been touched by winter's embrace. The delicate white petals create a serene ambiance, as if the branches are laden with glistening snow, bestowing a fairy-tale charm upon the world.
As if sensing the arrival of its tiny visitors, the blossoms exude a sweet and heady fragrance, drawing bees, butterflies, and an array of pollinators to partake in nature's abundant nectar buffet. The air buzzes with activity around hawthorn blossom, a symphony of life and vitality as the insects gather their sustenance from these fragrant blooms.
The hawthorn tree holds a special place in my heart as my patron tree. It`s significance is reflected in my garden, which is guarded by a grand and time-honored hawthorn hedge that is a feast for the eyes and the soul. I have picked both the blossom flowers and the berries many, many times over the years and have made all sorts of medicinal and delicious delights from their bounty. Hawthorn is not only a visual treat but is a highly regarded medicinal herb.
The Heart's Guardian:
At the core of hawthorn's reputation lies its affinity with the heart, both on a physical and emotional level. This remarkable herb has long been regarded as a potent heart healer, aiding in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Hawthorn acts as an adaptogen, helping to balance blood pressure and support overall heart health, while also offering solace to the emotional heart, soothing and uplifting the spirit.
While hawthorn is renowned for its cardiac virtues, its healing properties extend far beyond matters of the heart. This herbal gem possesses a treasure trove of benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties and digestive support.
Folklore and Myth
In English folklore, hawthorn is intertwined with tales of love and romance. The blooming of hawthorn, often called "Mayflower," signalled the arrival of spring and was celebrated with May Day festivities. Hawthorn branches were used to decorate homes and courting couples, symbolising love and fertility. Additionally, hawthorn was believed to have protective qualities, warding off evil spirits and offering blessings of good fortune.
In the realm of folklore and myth, the hawthorn holds a special place. Legends whisper of its connection to the fae, the sacred realm of fairies and enchantment. Hawthorn's blossoms are said to mark gateways between the worlds, where mystical creatures are said to dance under the moonlit sky. The tree's thorny branches also possess protective qualities, guarding against evil and ill fortune. It is said in Celtic folklore that disturbing a hawthorn tree or cutting its branches could anger the fairies, bringing misfortune upon oneself. Hence, caution was exercised to avoid disrupting these magical beings.
Blossom Creations and Culinary Delights:
Now that we've marvelled at the wonders of hawthorn blossom, it's time to savour its offerings. Create your own enchantment with these delightful ideas:
Creating a Hawthorn Blossom Tincture:
Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts that preserve the medicinal properties of plants. Making a hawthorn blossom tincture is a wonderful way to harness the herb's healing benefits. Here's a simple method to create your own:
The Healing Benefits of Hawthorn Blossom Tincture:
Hawthorn blossom tincture is treasured for its numerous medicinal properties. It has long been used as a herbal remedy to support cardiovascular health and address various heart-related conditions. The tincture may help improve blood circulation, strengthen the heart muscle, and regulate blood pressure. It is considered a gentle cardiac tonic that supports overall heart function.
Furthermore, hawthorn blossom tincture is believed to possess sedative properties, promoting relaxation and calming the nervous system. It may aid in reducing anxiety, stress, and sleep disturbances.
To use the tincture, it is advisable to consult with a qualified herbalist or healthcare professional for appropriate dosing and guidance specific to your individual needs. They can provide personalised advice based on your health condition and any medications you may be taking.
Hawthorn Blossom Tea:
Infuse freshly gathered blossoms in hot water, allowing their delicate fragrance to permeate the brew. Sip this aromatic elixir for a moment of tranquillity and heartwarming relaxation.
Hawthorn Blossom Cordial:
Capture the essence of spring in a bottle by steeping the blossoms in sugar syrup. Enjoy this floral elixir mixed with sparkling water, or use it as a cocktail base to celebrate life's precious moments.
Hawthorn Blossom Infused Honey:
Combine the magic of hawthorn blossom with the sweetness of honey. Place a handful of fresh blossoms in a jar and cover them with raw honey. Allow the infusion to sit for a few weeks, letting the flavours fuse together. The resulting honey can be drizzled over desserts, added to tea, or enjoyed by the spoonful as a natural remedy and delightful treat.
Hawthorn Blossom Vinegar:
Create a tangy and floral infusion by steeping hawthorn blossoms in apple cider vinegar. Fill a jar with blossoms and cover them with vinegar, then let it steep for several weeks. Strain the mixture and use as a versatile vinegar that can be used in salad dressings, marinades, or even as a hair rinse to add shine and vitality.
As we conclude our journey through the realm of hawthorn blossom, let us be inspired to explore the beauty and healing power of nature. Venture outdoors, seek out these snowy blooms, and breathe in their intoxicating fragrance.
Take a sip of hawthorn tea, allowing its soothing essence to infuse your being. Open your heart to the folklore and enchantment that surround this mystical tree.
Let us remember that hawthorn, with its affinity for the heart, holds a special place in our lives. It guards our homes, embraces us with its thorny embrace, and nurtures our well-being. Cherish this tree and honour its legacy by embracing its gifts.
So, dear readers, I urge you to explore the world of hawthorn blossom. Allow it to captivate your senses, heal your heart, and awaken your spirit. Embrace its magic, venture into the realm of folklore, and unlock the secrets held within its delicate petals. Let hawthorn blossom into your life, and may its beauty and healing touch you deeply.
Remember, autumn will bring a new chapter where we will delve into the wondrous world of hawthorn berries, but for now, let the snowy blossoms be our guide.
The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a cardiovascular condition or are taking medications for heart-related issues, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating hawthorn blossom or any herbal remedies into your healthcare routine. Individual responses to herbal preparations may vary, and personalised guidance is essential. The author and publisher disclaim any liability for the consequences of the information presented and recommend seeking qualified medical advice for specific health concerns.
Nurturing with nettles
Welcome, dear nature enthusiasts and herbal lovers.
Today`s blog post is a delightful exploration of one of my all-time favourite herbs: nettles!
As a family herbalist, I have a deep passion for foraging, wildlife, and the enchanting world of hedgerow medicines and so I am thrilled to share with you the wonders of nettles.
These remarkable plants hold a special place in my heart, and I'm excited to showcase their myriad benefits, fascinating folklore, and delicious culinary possibilities.
Best of all, nettles are a herb that can be enjoyed by everyone, as they offer a safe and nurturing experience for all who embrace their healing touch.
These vibrant and often misunderstood plants have an array of benefits that will leave you in awe. So, grab a cup of nettle tea and join me on this journey as we explore the remarkable properties, folklore, and culinary delights associated with nettles.
The Amazing Properties of Nettles
Nettles, scientifically known as Urtica dioica, possess an astonishing range of health benefits. Despite their prickly reputation, these resilient plants have been cherished throughout history for their medicinal qualities.
Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium, nettles offer a nourishing boost to our overall well-being.
Nettles are particularly renowned for their potential to alleviate allergies and inflammation. Traditional herbal medicine suggests that consuming nettle preparations may help reduce symptoms of hay fever, seasonal allergies, and eczema.
The secret lies in their natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties, which can provide much-needed relief from those pesky allergies. They are often found in many allergy relief supplements that you can buy.
Additionally, nettles are cherished for their ability to support the body's detoxification processes. Their diuretic properties promote healthy kidney function, aiding in the elimination of toxins from the body. Nettle tea, in particular, is a gentle and soothing way to support internal cleansing.
When it comes to supporting liver health, nettles shine as a remarkable herbal ally. These vibrant green plants possess detoxifying properties that can aid in the cleansing and rejuvenation of the liver.
Nettles are known for their diuretic effects, promoting the elimination of waste products and toxins from the body. Moreover, they are rich in antioxidants and compounds such as chlorophyll, which help protect the liver from oxidative stress and support its optimal functioning.
Nettles boast a range of other remarkable benefits. Their high iron content makes them a valuable ally in supporting healthy blood circulation and combating iron-deficiency anemia.
Furthermore, nettles have been known to promote healthy hair growth due to their potential to nourish the scalp and stimulate hair follicles.
They also offer support to the skeletal system, thanks to their rich calcium and magnesium content, aiding in maintaining strong bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
While it may come as a surprise, nettles are not just a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals; they also pack a punch when it comes to protein content.
These humble plants contain surprisingly high levels of protein, making them an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking to incorporate more plant-based protein into their diet. Protein is essential for various bodily functions, including muscle growth and repair, hormone production, and immune system support.
By adding nettles to your meals, such as in soups or sautéed dishes, you can boost your protein intake in a natural and sustainable way, while also enjoying their unique flavor and nutritional benefits.
With their impressive array of nutrients, nettles are a true gift from nature, providing an abundance of health-boosting benefits.
Exploring the Folklore and Mystery of Nettles
Nettles have captured the imaginations of cultures worldwide, leading to an abundance of folklore and intriguing traditions.
One notable tale involves the ancient Romans, who believed that the stinging sensation caused by nettles could invigorate the body. It was customary for Roman soldiers to gently whip themselves with nettles, believing that the sting would stimulate blood circulation and provide strength. While we don't recommend this particular practice today, it does highlight the enduring fascination with these remarkable plants.
Nettles have long held a prominent place in folklore and superstitions across different cultures. In ancient Europe, it was believed that stinging nettles possessed protective qualities against evil spirits and witches.
Hanging dried nettle bundles in doorways or placing them beneath a pillow was thought to ward off malevolent forces and bring good luck. It was also believed to be protective from lightening strikes.
Moreover, folklore suggests that if you accidentally stepped on nettles while walking in the woods, it was a sign that fairies were trying to communicate with you. These enchanting tales weave a mystical thread around nettles, further enhancing their allure and deepening our connection to the natural world. Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, there's no denying the captivating aura that nettles exude.
Culinary Delights with Nettles:
Now that we've explored the remarkable properties and folklore surrounding nettles, let's dive into the culinary possibilities they offer. With the arrival of May, it's the perfect time to gather the fresh, young nettle tops, ensuring we make the most of their seasonal abundance.
One delightful way to enjoy nettles is by brewing nettle tea. Here's a simple recipe to make this nourishing elixir:
Nettles are also a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. Consider adding them to homemade soups or sautéing them as a nutritious alternative to spinach. When cooked, the sting of the nettles is neutralised, making them safe and enjoyable to consume.
Nettle soup has become somewhat of a spring tradition in my house. I have plenty of jack by the hedge growing in my garden, which has a garlic and mustard flavour to it. I love to combine this with nettle in a soup.
Here is a basic nettle soup recipe that you can adapt and add to:
Begin by carefully harvesting the fresh nettle tops, making sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from the stinging hairs.
Rinse the nettle tops thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic, sautéing until they become translucent and fragrant.
Add the diced potato to the pot and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Gently add the rinsed nettle tops to the pot, stirring them into the onion, garlic, and potato mixture.
Pour in the vegetable or chicken stock, ensuring that the nettles are submerged in the liquid.
Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Carefully blend the soup using an immersion blender or transfer it in batches to a countertop blender, blending until smooth and creamy.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If desired, serve the nettle soup with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a dollop of plant-based yoghurt to add a refreshing tang or creamy texture.
Nettle Pesto Recipe
If you love pesto, you`ll love this! Nettles offer a delightful twist to traditional pesto recipes, infusing them with their unique flavour and nutritional benefits. Making nettle pesto is a wonderful way to incorporate these vibrant greens into your culinary creations. Here's a simple recipe to guide you:
Start by blanching the nettle leaves to remove their stinging properties.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, then carefully add the nettle leaves. Blanch for 1-2 minutes, then drain and rinse them under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
In a food processor or blender, combine the blanched nettle leaves, pine nuts or walnuts, garlic, and lemon juice. Pulse until the ingredients are roughly chopped.
While the food processor is running, gradually drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture reaches a smooth and creamy consistency.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, adjusting the flavours as desired.
Transfer the nettle pesto to a jar or airtight container and store it in the fridge.
Enjoy the nettle pesto on pasta, spread it on toast, or use it as a flavourful condiment for roasted vegetables and grilled meats. The possibilities are endless.
Preserving Nettles for Year-Round Use:
While May is the best time to gather fresh, young nettle tops, you can also preserve their goodness for year-round use. One simple method is drying nettle tops to create a nourishing herbal tea. Here's how you can do it:
Once completely dry, store the nettle leaves in an airtight container away from direct sunlight. They will retain their flavour and medicinal properties for many months, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of nettle tea even when fresh nettles are not in season.
As we draw to a close, my hope as a naturopathic nutritionist and nature enthusiast is that through this exploration of nettles, you've gained a newfound appreciation for these remarkable plants.
Nettles, often dismissed as mere "weeds," deserve to be recognised for their vast array of benefits and potential. Let us shift our perspective and see beyond their stinging reputation, embracing them as nurturing allies in our wellness journeys and culinary adventures.
May we notice nettles more, not as pesky intruders in our gardens, but as resilient and valuable companions in nature's tapestry. Let us recognise their medicinal properties, their culinary versatility, and their capacity to connect us with the wisdom of generations past.
By embracing nettles, we tap into the rich heritage of herbal folklore and the bountiful gifts nature provides.
So, the next time you come across nettles, may you see their potential rather than dismissing them as an annoyance.
Embrace their healing touch, savour their flavours in delightful dishes, and honor the centuries-old traditions that celebrate their remarkable properties. Let us cultivate a deeper appreciation for these vibrant green wonders and rediscover the magic they hold within.
Remember, nature has a way of surprising us, often hiding treasures in the most unexpected places. Nettles, with their plethora of benefits and untapped potential, are a testament to the wonders waiting to be discovered if we only take a closer look.
Let us walk hand in hand with nature, forging a bond that allows us to truly appreciate the beauty and benefits of every living thing.
Lastly, I invite you, dear readers, to embark on your own nettle-filled adventures in the kitchen.
Try out the nettle tea, nettle soup, and nettle pesto recipes shared in this post, and let your taste buds revel in the flavours of nature's bounty.
Don't forget to capture your culinary creations and share them with me on Instagram or Facebook. I would be thrilled to see your dishes and hear your stories of how nettles have enriched your lives. Together, let's celebrate the beauty of these humble plants and inspire others to discover their potential in nourishing both body and soul.
Remember to use the hashtag #NurtureWithNettles so we can easily find and share your posts. Let's build a community that embraces the wonders of nettles and the joy of foraging, cooking, and connecting with nature's abundant gifts.
So, don your aprons, gather your gloves, and embark on a nettle-filled journey that transcends their status as mere "weeds."
Embrace the benefits, explore the folklore, and unleash your creativity in the kitchen. Together, we can transform nettles from overlooked nuisances into beloved allies on our wellness path.
Disclaimer: Please ensure you handle nettles safely and responsibly, wearing gloves and following proper foraging guidelines. If you have any allergies or medical conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating nettles into your diet.
This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a qualified healthcare provider before incorporating nettles or any other herbal remedies into your wellness routine.
Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic digestive discomfort can be incredibly challenging. The unpredictable symptoms can disrupt daily life, affecting your work, social activities, and overall well-being.
If you're tired of merely managing symptoms and want to get to the root cause of your troubles, our Digestive Health Check package is here to help. In this blog post, we'll explore common symptoms of IBS, how they relate to our test package, and provide basic guidance on diet and lifestyle adjustments for individuals suffering from IBS.
Living with untreated IBS can have long-term risks, particularly in terms of malnutrition and deficiencies. The chronic inflammation and digestive disturbances associated with IBS can impair nutrient absorption and lead to deficiencies in vital vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Over time, this can impact various aspects of your health, affecting energy levels, immune function, cognitive abilities, and overall quality of life.
Understanding IBS Symptoms:
Diet and Lifestyle Adjustments for IBS:
While our test package aims to uncover the root causes of your digestive discomfort, making dietary and lifestyle adjustments can also alleviate symptoms.
Here are some general guidelines:
How The Digestive Health Check Can Help:
The comprehensive Digestive Health Check package is designed to delve deep into your gut health, aiming to identify underlying factors contributing to your digestive discomfort.
Here's how each component of the package plays a crucial role:
In the journey toward optimal digestive health, it is vital to go beyond merely managing symptoms and strive to uncover the root cause of IBS.
By addressing the underlying factors contributing to your digestive troubles, you can experience long-lasting relief and enhance your overall well-being. Choosing to invest in our Digestive Health Check empowers you to take control of your gut health and pave the way for a healthier, happier future.
Don't let IBS hold you back from living your best life. Invest in your digestive health and embark on a transformative journey of healing and well-being. Together, let's uncover the root cause, nourish your body, and embrace a happier, healthier future.
Details of the Digestive health check can be found here
As a clinical nutritional therapist and associate naturopath, my focus is on helping people achieve balance and regain their vitality.
One of the ways I do this is by taking and analysing their blood, which is a powerful tool that provides valuable insights into a person's health and well-being.
When blood is left undisturbed, it separates into its components: plasma, blood cells, and the buffy coat. The buffy coat is the thin layer of white blood cells and platelets that separates from the red blood cells and plasma. This separation process is a natural phenomenon that occurs due to the different densities of the components in blood.
Plasma is the clear, yellowish liquid portion of blood that makes up about 55% of total blood volume.
It is composed of water, electrolytes, proteins, hormones, nutrients, and waste products. The main proteins found in plasma are albumin, globulin, and fibrinogen.
Albumin helps maintain the osmotic pressure of blood, while globulins are involved in transporting various substances throughout the body. Fibrinogen plays a crucial role in blood clotting.
The blood cells found in the bottom layer of the centrifuged sample are composed of red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and platelets (thrombocytes).
Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body, while white blood cells are involved in the immune response and help fight off infections. Platelets are involved in blood clotting and help prevent excessive bleeding.
The little white rim at the top of the blood layer is called the "buffy coat." It is composed of white blood cells and platelets and is typically less than 1% of the total volume of blood. The buffy coat is important in diagnosing certain medical conditions, such as infections or leukaemia, as it allows for the identification of abnormal numbers or types of white blood cells.
The analysis of blood provides a wealth of information about a person's health and well-being.
By analysing the different components of blood, we can identify nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and other health issues. For example, a low level of red blood cells can indicate anaemia, while a high level of white blood cells can indicate an infection or inflammation.
Globulins, a group of proteins found in blood plasma, are involved in a variety of functions, including the transport of various substances throughout the body. Some types of globulins, such as alpha and beta globulins, transport hormones, vitamins, and metals like iron and copper. Other types of globulins, such as gamma globulins, are involved in the immune response and help fight off infections by producing antibodies.
In addition to its scientific significance, blood holds deep spiritual symbolism in many cultures and belief systems.
Blood is considered to be a sacred substance that contains a person's essence and vitality.
In addition to its scientific significance, blood holds deep spiritual symbolism in many cultures and belief systems.
As a practitioner, I feel deeply privileged to be taking someone's blood as it is a powerful act that acknowledges the spiritual significance of blood and the trust that the person is placing in me to safeguard their essence.
Blood is considered to be a sacred substance that contains a person's life force or essence.
For example, in some Native American cultures, blood is considered to be the life force that connects all living beings. It is believed that the spirits of all living things reside in the blood, and that when a person or animal dies, their blood returns to the earth to become part of the natural cycle of life and death.
In many African traditional religions, blood is also viewed as a sacred substance that contains a person's life force or energy. Blood sacrifices are often performed as a way to communicate with the spirits and ancestors, and to ask for their guidance and protection.
The symbolism of blood as a life force or essence is deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness and highlights the importance of blood as a substance that connects us to the divine.
The analysis of blood is a powerful tool that provides valuable insights into a person's health and well-being. Blood is not only a physical substance but also holds deep spiritual significance.
As a practitioner, I feel privileged to be able to take and analyse someone's blood, acknowledging the spiritual symbolism of blood and the trust that is placed in me.
Blood is a powerful substance that is a reminder of the sacredness of life.
Recurrent Vaginal Thrush
Vaginal thrush, also known as a yeast infection, is a common problem experienced by many women. It is characterised by itching, discomfort, and abnormal vaginal discharge.
Unfortunately, the treatment options available for thrush often fail to provide a long-term solution, with many women experiencing recurrent infections. This can be both frustrating and distressing, but it is important to understand that there is a root cause to the problem.
Vaginal thrush is caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida, which naturally occurs in the vagina in small quantities. This yeast is kept in check by the vaginal microbiome, a complex community of beneficial bacteria that help to maintain the pH balance of the vagina and prevent the overgrowth of less favourable species. However, if the vaginal microbiome is out of balance, it can make it easier for Candida to proliferate and cause thrush.
It's not just the vaginal microbiome that is important in preventing thrush. Your gut microbiome also plays a role. If your gut microbiome is out of balance, it can affect the vaginal ecosystem, making you more susceptible to recurrent infections. This is because your gut microbiome and vaginal microbiome are connected, and imbalances in one can affect the other.
If you are struggling with recurrent thrush, it is important to address the root cause of the problem. This is where a naturopathic approach can help. It can be very beneficial to run a test to check the balance of your vaginal microbiome. This will help to identify which beneficial bacteria are missing or present in low levels. By seeing a clear picture of your vaginal microbiome it is possible to re-balance your vaginal ecosystem and prevent future infections.#
This week I am launching the "Vaginal Ecology Health Check". This includes a self-administered test to show your vaginal microbiome balance. It also includes an at-home fingerprick blood test to check for key nutrients that might be complicating your situation if low. This is because nutritional deficiencies can also play a role in immune system imbalances, which can impact your microbiome's behaviour. This comprehensive approach can help to identify any underlying nutrient deficiencies and address them, ensuring that your body is in the best position to fight off infections. The package also includes a consultation with myself.
It's important to note that everyone's body is unique, and the approach taken to treating thrush should be tailored to the individual. You will receive a personalised plan that takes into account your unique needs, including lifestyle factors and any other health conditions you may have. It will also explain any necessary treatments to support your vaginal health.
In conclusion, recurrent vaginal thrush is a sign that your vaginal and gut microbiomes are out of balance. While over-the-counter creams and tablets can provide temporary relief, a naturopathic approach can help to address the root cause of the problem and prevent future infections.
By identifying any nutrient deficiencies and rebalancing your vaginal microbiome, you can say goodbye to the cycle of persistent thrush outbreaks and enjoy optimal vaginal health.
Take a listen for more information about your vaginal microbiome...
Love your liver
In naturopathy, the liver is considered a vital organ for overall health and wellbeing.
Not only does it help us process toxins and filter our blood, but it also plays a crucial role in digestion, hormone regulation, and the immune system.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is viewed as both a physical and emotional organ. Physically, it's associated with the Wood element and is responsible for the smooth flow of chi (energy) throughout the body. Emotionally, it's believed to be linked to feelings of anger, frustration, and creativity.
During the springtime, which is the time of the Wood element in traditional Chinese medicine, our chi is rising - just like the sap is rising in the plants and trees around us. This makes it the perfect time to focus on nourishing and cleansing the liver.
Around the spring equinox, in particular, the energy of renewal and rebirth is strong, making it an ideal time to reset and rejuvenate the liver.
If you're experiencing high cholesterol, high blood sugar, feeling tired, sluggish, poor skin, headaches, hormonal problems, hot sweats, feeling out of balance, lack of energy or motivation, low mood, or feeling angry, these can all be signs that your liver could use some extra support.
According to Ayurveda, the liver is the seat of Pitta dosha, which governs digestion and metabolism. When the liver is functioning well, it helps to balance the other doshas (Vata and Kapha) and promotes overall health and vitality.
That's why I'm excited to announce my upcoming 4-week "Love Your Liver" cleanse!
Beginning on Wednesday, March 22nd, I'll be hosting live webinars at 7pm to teach you why it's important to focus on liver health, especially at this time of year, and how to maximise it with foods, herbs, and supplements.
The program will also include a fingerprick blood test kit that will check your liver function, lipids, and nutrient levels and a short one – to – one feedback session with myself to go through your results. You will also receive a wellness package of supplements and naturopathic products to support your liver.
With the support of this program, you can give your liver the attention it deserves and feel your best.
Let's work together to support the life force of our liver and embrace the renewal and rebirth of spring!
Mental health and nutrition
As a clinical nutritionist, I regularly work with clients with mood imbalances and understand the impact that this can have on an individual's quality of life.
What I wanted to explain today is how our nutrient status plays a crucial role in mental health as neurotransmitters, also known as "happy hormones," are affected by what we eat.
The most commonly known neurotransmitters are Serotonin, dopamine and GABA. Low levels of these can all contribute to mood imbalances.
People with low serotonin may feel very flat, suffer from depression, lack enjoyment of life, and experience a low mood. Low dopamine can lead to apathy, lack of interest, low motivation, and addictive behaviours. Low GABA can cause individuals to feel uptight, anxious, overwhelmed, and they may experience an overactive mind. I talk more in depth about these symptoms in the video below.
It's essential to have enough protein in the diet to support the production of these neurotransmitters. The amount of protein that you need on a daily basis is often more than you realise. For vegetarians and vegans, it's crucial to consume a wide range of plant proteins each day to get the full range of essential amino acids needed for mood balance.
Sugar is another factor that can contribute to mood imbalances. It can cause blood sugar fluctuations and inflammation in the body, leading to feelings of anxiety and depression. Not only this, it can affect the cellular levels of key minerals that are crucial for neurological health. I often recommend lowering sugar intake for individuals with mood imbalances.
Dehydration can also impact mood as the body goes into fight or flight mode when dehydrated, leading to the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which can worsen anxiety and mood imbalances. Staying hydrated is therefore essential for optimal mental health.
Stimulants like caffeine can be too excitatory on the brain, worsening anxiety and mood disorders. I often recommend reducing or eliminating caffeine intake for individuals with mood imbalances.
In my clinical practice, I support people by checking their nutrient levels and prescribing minerals and supplements to help support neurotransmitter balance. I also help individuals develop personalised diet and lifestyle plans to support their mental health, including recommendations for nutrient-dense foods, exercise, and stress management techniques.
If you're struggling with mood imbalances, I encourage you to reach out to me to book an appointment. Together, we can work to develop a personalised plan to support your mental health and help you feel your best.
Hi there! Yesterday we talked about how good fats can help lower both high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Today, let's dive into the effects of glucose consumption on high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Many people don't realise that their diet is high in sugar, whether it's from sweet treats and snacks or high glucose foods like starchy carbohydrates such as pasta, bread and pastries etc.
When you consume these foods, your body is flooded with glucose, and as it's dangerous for the blood to be too high in glucose, after a complex process of storing some of the glucose away in the liver and muscles as glycogen, what`s left gets changed into triglycerides, a type of "bad" fat that cloggs up arteries and is stored around the organs.
Excess glucose becomes triglycerides
Now, here's the problem: having too high triglycerides can have a negative impact on heart health, leading to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also puts pressure on the organs that it is stored around. So, having a high glucose diet is a problem for heart health.
If you've been diagnosed with hypertension or high cholesterol, it's essential to reduce your glucose and fructose intake. This means avoiding sugary drinks, sweet treats and snacks, too many starchy carbohydrates and processed foods. Instead choose low glycaemic index foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein sources.
Here's the thing, though. A lot of people don't realise they have high glucose levels or high triglycerides. That's where my happy heart health check comes in handy!
The happy heart health check tests cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, liver function, inflammation, B12, Folate, vitamin D, and Iron levels. These tests are useful in supporting heart health as they can detect any underlying health issues and provide insight into your overall health.
Why low nutrient levels affect your cardiovascular system
It`s important to know your nutrient levels as low levels of vitamin D, folate, B12, and iron can affect cardiovascular health.
First, let's talk about vitamin D.
Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. Vitamin D helps regulate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which plays a role in blood pressure regulation. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency can lead to increased inflammation, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
Next up is folate, which is a type of B vitamin. Folate is involved in DNA synthesis, and it helps to lower levels of homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Low levels of folate can lead to high homocysteine levels, and this can be a risk factor for heart disease.
Moving on to B12. B12 is important for red blood cell production, and it also plays a role in the synthesis of DNA. Low levels of B12 can lead to anaemia, which means there aren't enough red blood cells in the body to carry oxygen to the organs. This can put a strain on the heart, as it has to work harder to pump blood around the body.
Finally, iron is another essential nutrient for heart health. Iron is a component of haemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Low iron levels can lead to anaemia, which, as I mentioned before, means there aren't enough red blood cells in the body to carry oxygen. This can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain, all of which can put a strain on the heart.
If you're concerned about your nutrient levels, it's a good idea to get a blood test to check your levels and take steps to improve your intake if needed.
Why is a liver function test included?
The liver metabolises fats, and if it's not working optimally, cholesterol can build up. It also deals with glucose, which can affect blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
That's why the health check includes a one-to-one session with myself, I will assess your test results and you'll be guided and supported with advice and supplement recommendations to address any low nutrient levels or anything else that shows up.
In summary, a high glucose diet can be detrimental to your heart health. To reduce your risk of hypertension and high cholesterol, it's crucial to reduce your glucose and fructose intake. And don't forget, book your happy heart health check to ensure your heart is healthy and happy!
Balancing fats for a healthy heart
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you might feel quite unnerved by that and be wondering if there`s anything you can do to help yourself. This topic is a large one that I`m going to break down over different posts, but the first thing I wanted to address was the balance of Good and bad fats.
Most people immediately start to reign in their fat content in their diets when getting a diagnosis like this, but it`s important to know that “good fats” will actually help to lower your cholesterol and should actually be increased.
Good fats to lower cholesterol
So, first, it's important to understand that there are two main types of cholesterol in your body: HDL, or "good" cholesterol, and LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. HDL cholesterol actually helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your bloodstream and therefor lower your blood pressure, so it's important to have high levels of HDL cholesterol.
Now, here's where good fats come in. Unsaturated fats, which are found in foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish, have been shown to increase levels of HDL cholesterol in the body. This is because when you eat unsaturated fats, they can actually replace some of the saturated and trans fats in your diet, which can increase your levels of LDL cholesterol.
Unsaturated fats can also help to lower your levels of triglycerides which can contribute to the development of high cholesterol. When you have high levels of triglycerides in your bloodstream, your liver produces more LDL cholesterol, which can build up in your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. By lowering your levels of triglycerides, unsaturated fats can help to reduce your overall risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.
Good fats to lower high blood pressure
Diets that are high in unsaturated fats have been shown to help reduce blood pressure levels in people with hypertension.
One way that unsaturated fats can help lower blood pressure is by improving the function of your blood vessels. When you consume unsaturated fats, they can help your blood vessels to dilate, or widen, which can improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. Additionally, unsaturated fats can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can also contribute to lower blood pressure levels.
Bad fats, also known as saturated and trans fats, can contribute to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are both risk factors for heart disease.
Let me explain how...
Saturated fats are found in foods like butter, cheese, red meat, and full-fat dairy products. When you eat too much saturated fat, it can raise your levels of LDL cholesterol, which is the "bad" cholesterol that can build up in your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.
Saturated fat can also contribute to high blood pressure, as it can cause your blood vessels to become stiff and narrow, which makes it harder for your heart to pump blood through your body.
Trans fats are found in processed foods like fried foods, baked goods, and snack foods.
They're often listed on ingredient labels as "partially hydrogenated oils."
Like saturated fats, trans fats can increase your levels of LDL cholesterol and contribute to high blood pressure. They can also decrease your levels of HDL cholesterol, which is the "good" cholesterol that helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your bloodstream.
When you consume a diet that's high in bad fats, it can lead to the build up of fatty plaques in your arteries. These plaques can cause your blood vessels to become narrower and stiffer, which makes it harder for blood to flow through them. As a result, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure.
Additionally, bad fats can contribute to inflammation in the body, which can also contribute to high blood pressure. When you consume too many saturated and trans fats, it can cause your body to produce more inflammatory chemicals, which can damage the walls of your blood vessels and increase your risk of hypertension.
To sum up
Good fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can be beneficial for lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
These healthy fats can help to improve the function of blood vessels and reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
To incorporate more healthy fats into your diet, choose foods like fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and flaxseed.
At the same time, it's important to limit your intake of bad fats, like saturated and trans fats, which can contribute to high blood pressure and cholesterol.
By making simple dietary changes and being mindful of your fat intake, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease and protect your overall health.
happy hearts this valentines day
Hello everyone, and happy Valentine's Day!
As a clinical nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner, I am passionate about helping people take care of their hearts, and what better day to talk about heart health than on this special day?
An amazing organ
The human heart is truly a marvel of nature, full of magic and mystery. From very early on in our growth in the womb, our hearts begin to beat, and they keep beating tirelessly for nearly a century.
The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to our cells and carrying away waste products. It's an incredibly efficient machine that can pump more than 2,000 gallons of blood through our bodies every day.
What's even more amazing is how the heart starts beating in the womb, even before our brains have fully formed. The heart develops from a tiny cluster of cells that grow and divide, eventually forming a complex network of blood vessels and chambers that work together to keep us alive.
Once the heart is fully formed, it begins to beat on its own, regulated by electrical impulses that originate in a small area of specialised cells called the sinoatrial node. These electrical signals travel through the heart, causing it to contract and relax in a rhythmic pattern that we know as our heartbeat.
The heart is so important to our survival that it's protected by a bony cage, the ribcage, and surrounded by a sac called the pericardium. The heart also has its own blood supply, with two main coronary arteries that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle itself.
Despite all of the work it does, the heart is incredibly resilient and adaptable, able to adjust to changing circumstances and even regenerate some of its own cells. It's no wonder that the heart has been the subject of fascination and awe for centuries, with many cultures considering it the seat of the soul and the source of our deepest emotions.
Our emotions and our heart health
Emotions can have a profound effect on the heart, both in the short-term and over the course of our lives. When we experience strong emotions, such as fear, anger, or joy, our heart rate and blood pressure can change in response. For example, when we're stressed or anxious, our bodies release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can increase our heart rate and blood pressure, putting extra strain on the heart.
Over time, chronic stress and negative emotions can take a toll on the heart and increase the risk of heart disease. In fact, studies have shown that people who experience high levels of stress and negative emotions are more likely to develop heart disease than those who are able to manage their stress and maintain positive emotions.
Broken heart syndrome
People can experience an actual physical reaction in response to extreme emotional distress that can lead to a condition known as broken heart syndrome, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. This condition is a temporary and reversible weakening of the heart muscles, which can be triggered by an emotionally stressful event, such as the loss of a loved one or a sudden trauma.
Broken heart syndrome can cause symptoms similar to those of a heart attack, including chest pain, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat. However, unlike a heart attack, broken heart syndrome doesn't typically involve blockages in the coronary arteries. Instead, the heart muscle is affected by a surge of stress hormones, which can cause it to weaken and enlarge.
Although broken heart syndrome is usually a temporary condition and doesn't typically cause long-term damage to the heart, in rare cases, it can lead to complications such as heart failure, heart arrhythmias, or even death. The exact causes of broken heart syndrome are not fully understood, but it's thought to be related to a combination of physical and emotional factors.
Heart disease is a significant health concern, and there are various risks that can contribute to its development. These include high cholesterol levels, blood sugar imbalances, low nutrient status, poor liver health, and chronic inflammation.
Symptoms of heart problems can vary, but they can include chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, dizziness, and swelling in the ankles or legs. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to visit your GP as soon as possible. Chest pain should always be checked by emergency services, as it could be a sign of a heart attack
To reduce the risk of heart problems, there are certain lifestyle factors that we can focus on, such as adopting a healthy diet - For example, a diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation, support healthy blood sugar levels, and improve cholesterol levels.
Additionally, regular exercise, stress management, quitting smoking, watching alcohol intake and getting quality sleep can also play a significant role in keeping our hearts healthy. It's also important to manage our emotions and stress levels to help to keep our heart healthy. This can include practices like mindfulness meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques, as well as finding healthy ways to express our emotions and connect with others.
Heart Health Check
As a clinical nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner, I offer a comprehensive blood test that can help assess your heart health.
This test includes lipid levels, blood sugar levels, CRP (C-reactive protein), liver function, and key nutrients that are important for heart health.
Once we have the results of the test, we'll have a one-to-one consultation to discuss the findings and provide clinical advice on how to improve your cardiovascular health. You can read more about this by clicking the link below.
The human heart is an amazing organ, capable of working tirelessly for nearly a century, and sustaining our lives with its tireless beat. It truly is a marvel of nature, and one that we should cherish and care for throughout our lives.
By taking care of our emotional and physical health, we can help protect our hearts and live full, joyful lives.
In Eastern philosophy, the heart is seen as the centre of our being, and maintaining its health and balance is crucial for our overall well-being. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the heart is associated with the emotion of joy and is considered the most important of the body's organs. When the heart is healthy and balanced, we feel happy, fulfilled, and connected to the world around us.
So, on this Valentine's Day, let's focus on loving our hearts and taking care of them as best we can.
If you're concerned about your heart health or just want to be proactive in keeping your heart healthy, please reach out to me, and we can work together to develop a plan that's tailored to your unique needs.
Happy Heart Health Check
Are you concerned about your cardiovascular health? Are you seeking to make improvements to your lifestyle to benefit the health of your heart?
The heart health check is a comprehensive test that checks the key areas that can implicate your cardiovascular health. Not only this, it also checks your nutrient status which is vital for your metabolic health, and therefor your cardiovascular balance.
It`s common to be told your conventional healthcare blood tests are normal when actually, you are far from optimal. When people fall out of the optimal range they become symptomatic.
This is a blood test that you can do in the comfort of your own home with a simple finger prick test. It test for:
The happy heart health check is £210 and includes all testing and a half an hour 1:1 session, reviewing your results and offering advice to help support your health.
*Fasting glucose is taken in clinic during your one to one session. It is not available for distance clients who are meeting through zoom.
The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, dietary supplement, exercise, or other health program.