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- Benefits of Vitamin D (1)
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- Good Food For Weight Loss (1)
- Hay Fever (1)
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- Healthy Shopping List (1)
- Healthy Wedding (1)
- Human Heart Facts (1)
- Juices and Smoothies (1)
- Migraines (1)
- Organic Foods UK (1)
- Super Foods List (1)
- Superfoods for Skin (1)
- What can help me sleep (1)
- Wholefoods UK (1)
The Natural Way To A Sound Night’s Sleep
Endless nights of tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling, checking the time, mind racing and then before you know it its morning and you’ve barely slept a wink. If this sounds familiar then you could one of an estimated 70 million people who are thought to have trouble sleeping in Britain. In fact research has shown that as many as 1 in 3 workers in Britain experience sleep problems. Some employees get less than 5 hours sleep a night and only one in 7 feels completely refreshed when they wake.
If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, or you wake up feeling unrefreshed, you may be suffering from insomnia. This may be experienced anything from a few days, several weeks, months or even years. We have a lot of customers come to us asking the same question “What can help me sleep” and so we have created this blog post to answer that exact question.
Other ways which you can prevent the question of What can help me sleep.
There are many reasons for poor quality of sleep these include worry, stress of work deadlines, financial concerns, too much light and/or noise, family problems, hormonal imbalances, depression, medications, pain or poor sleep habits or a partners snoring.
Whatever the cause, insomnia results in daytime fatigue, irritability, poor concentration, compromised immunity and accelerated aging. It can also contribute to the development of conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hormonal imbalances and obesity.
Experts say that everyone should ideally get 7 – 8 hours sleep a night. Sleep is the time when we rest, detoxify, repair and restore and the better the quality the more efficient this process is. The good news is that there are many natural solutions that can help you to get a good night’s sleep.
Some Things To Avoid Before Bedtime
• Large meal – as this will affect your blood sugar levels and give you a big spike of energy just at the time you want to go to sleep. It will also stimulate the nervous and digestive systems. So there will be a party going on inside you, just when you want to fall asleep!
• Stimulants – these include tea, coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks. Also avoid over stimulating the mind with action packed films or books.
How Good Nutrition Can Encourage Restful Sleep
• Eat a small portion of foods that contain tryptophan. L-tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids that your body uses to make neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin. These neurotransmitters all play a role in helping you to sleep at night. Foods rich in tryptophan include seafood, chicken, milk, yogurt, beans and cashew nuts.
• A small bowl of full fat natural yogurt or a glass of almond milk can both help. This is due to their calcium content, which helps regulate the production of melatonin – a substance that naturally controls a sleep/wake cycle.
• A calming cup of chamomile tea 30 minutes before bedtime can help to soothe nerves.
• Include some maca into your daily diet (taking it in the morning is best). This is an adaptogen so can help regulate sleep patterns. Our Chiray Power Goji and Vanilla flavour is a delicious way of getting your daily dose of maca.
Supplements That Aid Sleep:
• Hops & Valerian – these have been shown to improve sleep quality.
• Magnesium – this important mineral plays a key role in the regulation of sleep. Research has shown that a deficiency of magnesium can prevent the brain from quietening down at night time. Take 200mg of Biofood Magnesium before bedtime.
• 5HTP – 5 – Hydroxytrptopah is an amino acid that is the intermediate step between tryptophan and the important brain chemical serotonin. Recent studies have shown that increased levels of serotonin – obtained by supplementing with 5-HTP – can help re-establish healthy sleep patterns in people with chronic sleep disturbances. (Please note, this is not suitable for use during planned pregnancy, pregnancy or breastfeeding. Not suitable to be taken in conjunction with mood modifying drugs).
Some Lifestyle Factors That Will Help You Into The Land Of Nod:
• Create the right environment for sleep. Ideally your bedroom should be dark and quiet – even if this means wearing an eye mask and ear plugs. Also remove all mobile phones (don’t use your mobile as an alarm – buy an alarm clock instead!), televisions and computers from the bedroom.
• Have a long soak in the bath – add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the water as this herb has a calmative effect.
• Experienced yoga instructor Manjula Cote has produced a series of blissful guided visualisations that are aimed at reducing stress and promoting rest and relaxation.
• Some gentle yoga or sitting for a few minutes in meditation can help the mind to unwind.
• Don’t check your clock when trying to sleep; this only serves to increase stress.
• Avoid naps later in the day as they decrease sleep drive.
• Exercise of any kind before bedtime can be a great way of sending you into a peaceful sleep!
Please note, if you are on medication or have a medical condition please consult your GP before making any changes to your nutrition or supplement regime.
For more information please call our team of experts on 01202 770927, we want to make sure you stop wondering “What can help me sleep”.
Heart Health – Love Your Heart
Heart and circulatory disease is ranked as one of the biggest killers in Britain. Cardiovascular disease (CV) is responsible for one third of all deaths in the UK. Our lives today are very sedentary, we eat far too much processed foods, we drink too much alcohol and our stress levels are high. All of which has very detrimental effects on the health of our heart.
Human Heart Facts:
• It’s the size of your fist.
• It starts beating approximately when you are approximately 3 weeks old in the womb.
• The heart beats more than 100,000 times per day.
• By the time you are 70 it will have beaten 2 ½ billion times.
• Around 1 in 6 men and 1 in 9 women die from heart disease.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and high homocysteine levels are all contributory factors to heart disease.
High Blood Pressure
Another human heart fact is that it is estimated that around 30% of people in England have high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 140/90mmHg. Readings of 140/90mmHg and above are considered high. If the blood pressure becomes high it causes the arteries to become stretched. When this happens they become weaker and tiny tears appear, leaving rough scar tissue that catches debris such as fat and cholesterol. This causes the arteries to become narrowed and hardened due to an excessive build up of plaque on the artery wall. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. This disease disrupts the flow of blood around the body and poses serious cardiovascular complications.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in all cells. Two thirds of cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and the rest is obtained from foods. There is much debate nowadays about cholesterol. Despite all the bad press about cholesterol, it is essential for life. Some of its many roles include:
• Helping to form cell wall and structures.
• Repairing cell membranes
• Helping cells adjust to changes in temperatures.
• Used by nerve cells for insulation.
• Manufacturing vitamin D
• Essential for synthesising a number of critical hormones – including testosterone, progesterone and estrogen.
Cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood and so it transported to and from cells as lipoproteins. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) are known as ‘bad’ cholesterol as it transports cholesterol into the arterial walls and high-density lipoproteins are known as ‘good’ cholesterol as they tend to carry cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver for metabolism and excretion. So we need to focus on keeping our cholesterol at a healthy level – keeping the LDL low and the HDL high.
Another random human heart fact is that homocysteine is produced in the body from another amino acid called methionine in a process called mythelation. Even though many have never heard of homocysteine, high levels can be more indicative of heart health than cholesterol levels. Homocysteine is a toxic amino acid which can oxidise cholesterol and is thought to be involved in the development of atherosclerosis. High levels of homocysteine are an indication of poor methylation and have been linked to heart disease, stroke and many other degenerative diseases. B vitamins are very important for healthy methylation as they ensure that homocysteine is methylated to form healthy substances rather than toxic ones. B12 is particularly important and a product we particularly like is B12 Boost.
Simple Ways to Improve Heart Health
• Reduce homocysteine levels
High homocysteine levels can be treated with a specially formulated blend of vitamins. However to make this treatment more successful we recommend getting your homocysteine levels checked prior to beginning a supplement protocol. You can organise this test by contacting our qualified nutritional therapist.
• Reduce Stress
High stress levels can have a huge impact on CV health. We recommend incorporating daily stress busting techniques such as exercise – especially outdoors, listening to music, yoga, qi gong, meditation and laughter. Our experienced yoga instructor Manjula Cote has designed a beautiful series of relaxation CD’s that are designed to restore balance and reduce stress to a healthy level.
• Quit Smoking
Smoking damages blood vessel walls, can lower HDL cholesterol and has been linked to high homocysteine levels and atherosclerosis.
Being overweight puts a serious strain on your heart and puts you at a high risk of heart disease. Reducing body weight by as little as 10lbs can lead to a significant reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The Chiray Health & Weight Loss Programme is an effective, easy and empowering way to lose weight. This innovative programme has been proven to promote heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
• Good Nutrition
Nutrition can have a huge impact on heart health. Some simple ways of keeping your heart healthy include:
• Eat plenty of vegetables and 2 or 3 pieces of fruit daily. Fruit and vegetables that are particularly good for heart health include broccoli, green leaves, brussel sprouts (all high in Vitamin K), berries (high in antioxidants) and garlic (helps maintain normal cholesterol levels and blood pressure and maintains healthy arteries).
• Increase essential fatty acids – these are found in oily fish, nuts and seeds. Research shows that these fats may help reduce inflammation and therefore lower the risk of heart disease. They can help support healthy arteries, blood flow and normal heart rhythm.
• Increase fibre – foods such as beans, lentils, oats, fruit, hemp seeds and vegetables contain soluble fibre that can help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
• Reduce Saturated Fats – cut down on red meats, cheese and processed foods. Also avoid margarines. Replace cooking oils with coconut oil, which does not produce trans fats (which have been linked to heart disease).
• Increase antioxidants – these are found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, especially the superfoods. We particularly recommend our key product Berrylicious, goji berries and raw cacao products.
• Cut out all processed foods – instead aim to eat a rainbow of natural foods every day.
• Avoid Sugar – if you do need a little sweetener then opt for natural sweeteners like xylitol or a little honey or agave nectar – but keep these to a minimum.
• Cut down on alcohol – research has shown that a small glass of red wine every now and then can have a positive effect on heart health due to its antioxidant properties. However don’t go overboard, as too much alcohol can increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
• Reduce Salt – we recommend using a moderate amount of the mineral rich Himalayan Rock Salt
• Heart Support – contains high potency Fish Oil, Vitamin D3, K2, CoQ10, Lycopene and Resveratrol – which collectively bestow wide-ranging cardiovascular support.
• H Factor – a blend of nutrients aimed at reducing Homocysteine levels.
• Co-Enzyme Q10 – this nutrient is very important for heart health. Production of Co-enzyme Q10 declines as we age and synthesis of this nutrient can be lowered by as much as 40% for those taking statins.
• Omega 3’s- research has shown these have a positive impact on heart health. We recommend Krill Oil or Fish Oils.
• Vitamin D – as many as 60% of the UK population are deficient in Vitamin D. Studies have shown that individuals with lower serum vitamin D levels have a higher risk of CV disease incidence – including heart attack, stroke and heart failure. We recommend DLux1000 or DLux3000.
• Magnesium – low magnesium status may increase the risk of heart disease, abnormal cardiac rhythms and stroke, especially for those with high blood pressure.
• Vitamin K – obtained in the diet from foods such as green leaves, broccoli and brussel sprouts. Many experts now believe that a sub-clinical vitamin K deficiency can contribute to CV disease. Moreover, population studies clearly show a link between higher dietary intake of vitamin K2 and lower rates of arterial calcification and CV disease.
• B Vitamins – these help to reduce homocysteine levels and so reduce the incidence of heart disease.
• Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant for fighting heart disease.
If you are taking any medication or have an existing health problem please consult your GP before implementing any dietary or supplement changes. For more details visit our website or call our team of experts on 01202 770927.
Natural Solutions to Hay Fever
The emergence of spring and summer is a joyous time for most. However for those suffering from hay fever it can be a challenging time of the year. It’s estimated that approximately 27% of the UK population suffers from hay fever. The main problem is that there is no fully known one off cure for hayfever.
Causes of Hay fever.
Contrary to what the name would suggest, hay fever is not an allergic reaction to hay (in fact hay fever is almost never triggered by hay) and it doesn’t cause a fever!
Hay fever is caused by an allergic response to airborne substances, such as pollen – unlike a cold which is caused by a virus. An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system reacts to a normally harmless substance. When this happens the immune system starts producing IgE antibodies which attach to larger mast cells containing histamine and are ‘programmed’ to remember the foreign particles in the future. So the next time you come into contact with this normally harmless substance it triggers an immune response as the immune system tries to eliminate the perceived invader. It is this over reaction that leads to the symptoms of hay fever.
Hay fever can start at any age, however it’s most likely to develop during childhood or early adulthood. Often the symptoms will reduce in severity over the years.
Symptoms of Hay Fever Include:
Sneezing, itchy eyes, itchy throat, runny nose, itchy throat, blocked / runny nose, headaches, loss of smell and taste, blocked sinuses
Hay fever Triggers Include:
Tree pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen, spores from fungi and moulds, dust mites, dander from pets, pollution
These triggers vary in severity according to the season. If you are allergic to fungi, mould and pet dander you may have all year round hay fever. However if you are just allergic to pollens then it’s more likely for your symptoms to be seasonal.
This tends to be in the form of anti-histamine medication. However this has many side effects so many seek natural alternatives.
Natural Cures for Hay Fever:
• Bee Pollen has been used for centuries to help alleviate allergies. It is thought that this works on the principle of desensitisation. Through administering small amounts of the allergen via the bee pollen, it stimulates the patient’s own immune system to produce antibodies that will cancel out the effects of the substance when the person is exposed to it again. To achieve the best results it is advisable to start taking bee pollen 6 weeks before the season begins and then continue taking it throughout the season.
• Vitamin C intake can also help as it rids the body of excess histamine – which is a major factor in preventing allergies. We recommend a product called CherryC. .
• Chamomile is a great herb to stop your eyes from streaming. Add some Chiray Chamomile Flowers to boiling water, allow to steep and cool down. Then soak a handkerchief or tissue in the tea and apply to the eyes. Relax and allow the cooling and easing effect of the chamomile take effect.
• Vitamin D – make sure you dose up on this important nutrient, as hay fever may be associated with low levels. The best ways to boost your levels is to spend a little time each day with your skin in contact with sunlight. If the weather conditions are not conducive to this then we recommend DLux1000 or DLux3000 spray to boost your levels.
• Quercetin is a plant pigment found in foods such as garlic, onions, leeks, dark berries, citrus fruits, apples and green tea. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to inhibit histamine release by certain types of white blood cells.
• Bromelain is a sulphur containing enzyme found in pineapple that also has anti-inflammatory properties. Also bromelain has shown to aid the absorption of quercetin.
• Ginger contains natural decongestants as well as being a powerful anti-inflammatory. If you have a juicer, each day juice together ½ apple and a big chunk of ginger. This ginger shot should have a powerful effect on hay fever and is considered a good cure for hayfever.
• Certain foods can aggravate symptoms e.g. if you are allergic to birch pollen you may find that your symptoms are triggered by foods such as celery, apples, pears, cherries, apricots, plums, peaches, kiwis, potatoes, carrots, celery, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts and soya beans. The reason being is that the protein in these foods is similar to the proteins in the pollen – particularly the case with birch pollen allergy. So when you eat them the body mistakes them for birch pollen and is definitely not a cure for hayfever.
• Avoid alcohol – this will make symptoms worse as it causes dehydration and increases sensitivity to pollen. It also has a negative effect on the immune system.
For more information please do not hesitate to contact the Chiray team either by sending us a message via our website or calling us on 01202770927 for your all in one cure for hayfever.