Cucumbers are one of those “go to” salad ingredients that everyone enjoys. They are refreshing to eat and will help rehydrate the body. They have good amounts of vitamin K, C, B, manganese, potassium and copper. Below I have put together a list of their main benefits and why you should eat them on a regular basis.
Pinky And The Brains
One of the main benefits of cucumbers is that they contain antioxidants called fisteins. Fisteins are vitally important for brain health as they prevent inflammation. It is also great for improving memory and preventing damage to nerves in the brain, one of the leading causes of degenerative diseases like alzheimer’s.
As well as fisteins, cucumbers are packed full of other essential antioxidants incusing beta-carotene and vitamin C. Flavonoids are also abundant in the form of kaempferol, apigentin, luteolin and quercetin. Quercetin is great for people who have hay-fever and other allergies as it helps prevent histamine being released in the body, making it a great natural antihistamine. Kaempferol has been shown to protect you from the two leading causes of death (cancer and heart disease).
They Help Prevent Inflammation
A really cool thing about cucumbers is that they target enzymes that cause inflammation in the body after they have carried out their roles. This is particularly great if you are already suffering from inflammatory diseases, which most people are!
They Help Prevent Cancer
Cucumbers are packed with lignans, a type of polyphenol (or an antioxidant). Many leading studies have demonstrated that people who regularly consume foods that contain lignans had a much lower risk of developing prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. Cucumbers are also loaded with cucurbitacins, a chemical compound contained in plants that also helps ward of cancer growth.
To have a healthy gut you need to provide it with an abundant supply of fibre and water. Cucumbers provide a rich source of both. The water helps hydrate the digestive tract and the fibre adds bulk to your stools and speeds up transit times. They are also great for relieving the symptoms associated with IBS and acid reflux.
Avoid Dog Breath
If you are struggling with bad breath then it is probably caused by a poor diet. Having said that, some people are often afflicted with bad breath as a result of conditions such as tonsil stones. Cucumbers can help reduce the odours produced by bacteria. Simply place a slice of cucumber in your mouth and swish it around while it dissolves. By doing this it will help remove some of those unwanted odours!
Avoid The Stress
People who have low levels of certain B vitamins are generally more prone to mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress. Cucumbers contain a good amount of B1, B5 and B7 that will help reduce some of the symptoms associated with these conditions.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
There are basically no calories in cucumbers. But their fibre content will make you feel fuller for longer, making them a great snaking food throughout the day. Cucumbers also break down into a gel-like texture as the body digests them. This texture slows down the digestive process slightly, making your feel fuller for longer.
A Healthy Heart
To maintain a healthy heart function you need a diet rich in potassium. Potassium helps maintain a regular beat as well as maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Potassium is also an electrolyte and interacts and regulates sodium in the body. This process is essential for a healthy heart contractions and overall heart health.
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We know from 15 years of conclusive studies that mercury fillings can have detrimental effects on your overall long and short-term health. Not many people realise it but mercury is one of the most toxic substances to man and is an accumulative toxin in the body. So it absolutely baffles me how this substance is still being used in dentistry around the world.
Since mercury fillings were introduced, it was widely assumed that the toxic vapours would not be released when trapped into solid metal fillings. How wrong this assumption was! We know from repeated tests that not only is the vapour able to find its way into the blood stream, it is also able to cross the blood/brain barrier and produce toxic accumulations in the brain. This accumulation then effects brain health and function.
According to the British Dental Association 3-5% of people with mercury fillings develop mercury sensitivity. Ironically, if these figures were translated into flu rates during a winter season then the NHS would categorise it as an epidemic. Go figure! Yet despite this, they are still being routinely inserted into mouths in all corners of the world.
One of the major areas of concern, as demonstrated by the University of Calgary (and others) is that mercury accumulation can and does cause brain cell degeneration. If you want to see these conclusive finding then I would strongly suggest having at a look at The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology website: www.iaomit.org The website details over 15,000 peer reviewed research papers that show how toxic mercury is in the body and why it should be discontinued in dentistry.
It’s for this very reason why the Department of Health in the UK discourages all dentists from replacing amalgam fillings in pregnant women. The potential toxic release from the procedure could be fatal to the unborn child. But it’s safe right!?
Countries around the world are now taking notice of the growing evidence. Sweden, Norway and Japan have banned mercury fillings altogether and Germany and Austria have banned them in children and women.
If you have amalgam fillings I would strongly urge you to consider having them replaced with alternatives. Speak to your dentist for the alternatives they offer.
If you do have amalgam fillings then there are certain foods that you should avoid to reduce the further accumulations of mercury in the body. There are also certain foods that are great for removing mercury from the body.
Foods To Avoid
For those with amalgam fillings you should absolutely avoid: tuna, sea bass, mackerel, marlin and shark.
These are by no means conclusive and the recommended fish to avoid is constantly evolving as does pollution in the sea. The best website I have been able to find to keep abreast of the relevant safety information is www.nrdc.org (Natural Resources Defense Council). They have lots of fantastic information – so check it out!
Avoid all fish that is fished in Spain and the Gulf. Well over 25 tons of cadium, lead, copper and mercury are dumped in the surrounding seas every year.
The Best Anti-Mercury Foods
I would always suggest you eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can as these will help your body detoxify the heavy metals like mercury. Always choose organic if you can as many fungicides are mercury based.
Two of the best things to remove mercury from the body are chlorella and coriander. An absolute must if you have mercury fillings.
Lots of water (a minimum of 2 litres a day – more if exercising). Ideally spring water.
I personally advocate a plant based diet but if you are going to consume fish then these are among the safest (in terms of low mercury levels) in 2015: Freshwater trout, hake, clams, catfish, Atlantic haddock, crab, crayfish, scallops, whiting and anchovies. These are obviously fresh not tinned. Tins often contain very high amounts of mercury.
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You can’t open a magazine or newspaper today without seeing new fad detoxification programmes. These are usually accompanied by subscription services, books or other merchandise in an attempt to get you to part with your money. And let me let you in on a little secret. You don’t need any of these. Save your money.
The best thing you can do to help your body detoxify naturally is to increase the amount of detoxifying enzymes produced by the liver. And what is the most effective known phase 2 enzyme-inducer? Drum roll please…….it’s……sulforaphane. And where do you get sulforaphane? Well, there are lots of different sources but the 3 most (known) abundant sources in the world are: #1 broccoli, #2 kohlrabi (part of the cabbage family) and #3 cauliflower.
Interestingly, while broccoli is the most abundant source of sulforaphane, it doesn’t actually contain any until you start chewing it. Crazy I know! A good analogy is glow sticks. You snap them and then the various chemicals come together and cause a chemical reaction which in turn causes the illumination effect. A similar principle applies with broccoli and sulforaphane . In broccoli cells you have both an enzyme called myrosinase and a compound called glucoraphanin (a type of glucosinolate or in simple terms the thing that gives brocolli its pungency). When you start chewing the broccoli the myrosinase and glucoraphanin mix and sulforaphane is born.
The most important thing to remember when eating broccoli is to chew vigorously. The more you chew and break down the broccoli cells the more sulforaphane will be produced. Just have a look at the results from this leading study that showed how much sulforaphane is produced by those who chewed broccoli compared to those who just swallowed whole chunks without chewing.
If you are not keen on the taste of broccoli then simply throw it in a smoothie. Either way, ensure that broccoli is a regular component of your diet.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disease affecting more and more children every year. In the UK current estimates suggest that at least 1 in 10 boys and 1 in 30 girls are affected by the disease. Higher rates are seen in many other western countries.
For many years these children were simply labelled as problem children that were a result of bad parenting. We now know that many different factors feed into the development of ADHD. Poor nutrition, smoking and alcohol exposure during pregnancy, allergies and various other environmental pollutants.
Unfortunately, because of the standard medical approach, children are often prescribed medications such as Ritalin (which come with serious side effects). This is usually at the expense of looking at nutrition, testing for certain allergies or even looking at therapy. All of which will more often than not work far more effectively that medications.
While in most cases ADHD is not solely a nutritional deficiency disease, the vast majority of children afflicted with the disease will respond very well when dietary modifications are implemented. It is essential that there is a correct balance of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and healthy fats in the child’s diet.
First and foremost you need to get the child’s blood sugar levels in balance. Remove ALL refined sugars from their diet. Study after study has shown that children with ADHD are far more sensitive to sugar and will experience more pronounced hyperactivity symptoms when exposed to it.
You need to ensure that the child eats lots of plant based wholefoods and complex carbohydrates. Foods such as quinoa, brown rice, lentils, beans and oats. These foods will provide a slow release of energy and sugar and prevent erratic sugar swings. You can further aid this slow release by adding some protein with the complex carbs. Nuts and salmon are both good choices.
Omega-3’s are also imperative for improving ADHD symptoms. Aim for one or two portions a week of oily fish (salmon, sardines and mackerel are fine). Restrict the amount of tuna as this often contains higher amounts of mercury which can be counter-productive when treating the disorder. Healthy plant based sources of omega-3’s can be found in flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and also pumkin seeds. These can all be added to porridge or salads.
You also need to ensure that the child is getting enough vitamins and minerals. When the child eats foods that contain lots of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium it will help to control their levels of hyperactivity. If the child is eating lots of fruits and vegetables then they will have no problem in getting sufficient quantities of these essential nutrients.
A recommended strategy that many parents use is keeping a log of foods that trigger the hyperactivity symptoms. If these symptoms appear after consuming wheat or dairy products then the child could potentially have a gluten, wheat or lactose allergy and you should seek further advice from your doctor so that the child can be tested.
Lastly, remember there are no quick fixes. It may take 3-6 months to see dramatic improvements in the child’s symptoms, but it will certainly be worth it. It is a trial and error process that will eventually provide the child with a healthier and happier life.
The young and old generally have weaker immune systems. This is why health authorities target these groups during the winter for various vaccinations . These groups are said to be immunocompromised.
Over the last 20 years there has been much speculation over the extent to which diet can boost the immune system. A recent leading study in 2010 looked at this very subject. Dublin University looked at the immune function of a group of participants aged between 65 and 95, and their findings were startling.
They divided the participants into two groups. The first group consumed 2 or less portions of fruit and vegetables a day and the second group were encouraged to eat 5 or more portions a day (although not all complied with this). They followed this dietary plan for 28 days and then were given the standard pneumonia vaccine.
The below graphs shows how the immune systems of both groups of patients responded. You can see that when the first group (red line) were given the pneumonia vaccine their immune systems didn’t respond particularly well. Their immune systems should have been buzzing with activity and releasing antibodies to intercept the “perceived threat”. In contrast, look at the immune system responses from those in the second group (green) after receiving their pneumonia vaccine. They become a hive of activity.
Throughout different countries around the world diseases such as influenza and pneumonia are often in the top seven leading causes of death for the elderly. What this and other studies show is that potentially hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved every year by simple dietary modifications.
Tips to Boost Your Immune System
Eat lots of fruit & vegetables: Aim for at least 9 portions a day. By doing this you will get enough essential nutrients for an effective immune system. Nutrients such as: Selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E and zinc.
Water: A lack of water can significantly impact the efficiency of your immune system. Make sure you drink 1.5-2 litres of water a day. More when you exercise.
The below international “chasing arrow” symbols are located on all plastic containers and products. It is there to be able to identify the type of plastics used in the manufacturing process. But what does each one mean and how can you identify which ones are safe for your health?
What The Numbers And Abbreviations Mean
#1 – PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate): PET plastics are one of the most common type of plastics used around the world. Most water and fizzy drink bottles are made from PET plastics. It is manufactured for single use only and repeated use can cause leaching of the plastic into the fluid. Bacteria also thrives in PET environments.
#2 – HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene): HDPE is a rigid type of plastic that is commonly used to make the containers for detergents and cleaning products. It is also used for milk containers and toys.
#3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): PVC is one of the softer and malleable plastics. It is commonly used in processed food packaging, olive oil bottles, teething rings and for many technology products such as computer cables.
#4 – LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene): LDPE plastics are used in bread packaging, different squeezable bottles and many different shrink wrap products.
#5 – PP (Polypropylene): PP plastics are very tough and lightweight. PP is commonly used in manufacturing nappies, butter and yoghurt containers, plastic bottle tops and even rope.
#6 – PS (Polystyrene): PS is very lightweight and cheap to manufacture. It is used in egg cartons, disposable cutlery, disposable drinking cups and even as insulation in the home.
#7 – Other (BPA, Polycarbonate and LEXAN): BPA is the one plastic that receives more attention and concern than all the others. BPA can easily leach into fluids and foods and because it is a xenoestrogen it can disrupt many of the endocrine and hormone functions in the body. It is used to make a wide variety of food containers and water bottles. It is also commonly used to line tin cans.
Which Plastics Are Harmful To Your Health?
From all the studies we have to date, it is highly advisable to stay away from numbers 3 and 7. There has been lots of studies over the last 15-20 years that have looked at the health impacts of BPA’s, but the one that has generated most attention has been this one. The study was published in the Journal of The American Medical Association and heavily linked BPA plastics to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and inflamed livers.
While I would absolutely advise limiting your exposure to all of these plastics (not always possible, I know), it appears that numbers 2 and 5 are slightly safer than the other (less leaching), but you should still definitely avoid microwaving foods that are contained in these plastics.