There is a common misconception that fish is a healthier alternative to meat and that it actually promotes health in the human body. In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are many reasons why fish is not healthy I have listed the main four below.
Proteins & IGF-1
Regardless of whether you eat fish, meat, eggs or dairy you will run into problems at some point in your life due to the higher concentrations of essential amino acids contained in these foods. One of the main reasons these amino acids are so detrimental in the body is that they increase the levels of IGF-1 (an insulin-like growth hormone) (study, study, study)
The knock-on effect of this is that IGF-1 speeds up the process of cell division in the body. This extra stimulation of cell multiplication has been heavily linked with cancer proliferation for many years. The science is very clear in this area and we know with certainty that animal proteins increase IGF-1 levels in the body and raised IGF-1 levels cause cancer (study, study, study, study).
Saturated Fats And Cholesterol
If you ask most people why they consume fish the standard response is that it’s heart healthy as it contains omega-3 fatty acids. So let me clear this area up for you:
While SOME fish do indeed contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), the vast majority of fatty acids derived from fish is actually in the form saturated fats. Fish also generally contains high levels of cholesterol. Both cholesterol and saturated fats are among the main risk factors for heart disease.
To give you an idea of how much cholesterol is contained in fish – in both a 3 ounce portion of bass and beef there is the same amount of cholesterol (approx. 75 milligrams). Yet most people don’t associate fish with cholesterol.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish is derived from the plants they eat in the sea. Fish do not make omega-3’s. You can get omega-3’s by eating plant based foods like nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables and fruits. These foods provide ALA (fatty acid) which then gets converted in the body to the longer chain fatty acids EPA and DHA (both of which protect us from heart disease).
We only need the 1000mg of cholesterol our bodies make every day for optimal health. We DO NOT NEED ANY dietary cholesterol in our bodies. The more dietary cholesterol we load the body with the more we increase our risk of heart disease.
Chemicals & Pollutants
Most health authorities around the world have advisories around the amount of fish people consume. The reason for these advisories is that most oceans are heavily contaminated with metals such as mercury, chemicals such as PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) and insecticides and pesticides such as DDT and chlordane (See sample advisory). In this recent study by the United States Department of Agriculture 84% of all fish sampled from around the world contained unsafe levels of mercury. And why is mercury so bad for the body? Well mercury is neurotoxin (kills brain cells). When you eat foods that contain mercury it is very difficult for your body to remove it. It can then accumulate in the heart (for example) and inhibit normal heart function as well as causing causing central nervous system damage in foetus’s during pregnancy (study, study)
What Fish Is Lacking
So we know that fish today contains dangerous levels of mercury, hazardous chemicals and high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. So lets also talk about what healthy nutrients fish doesn’t contain. Fish contains no carbohydrates (essential for optimal health). It also contains no fiber, essential for healthy bowel movements and the prevention of digestive cancers. It also lacks any real amounts of antioxidants, phytochemicals and other macronutrients essential for health promotion. So in reality people are eating fish for perceived health benefits when in reality its a pretty poor dietary choice.
Surely Fish Is Better Than Meat Right?
This is a ridiculous notion that we humans love to use. Just because fish is slightly less damaging in the body compared to meat, we classify it as a “health food”. While the science supportsfish eaters being healthier than meat eaters in terms of parameters such as diabetes, weight and other important health factors, lets not be under any illusion. Fish eaters still have very high rates of disease and illness compared to those on plant based diets. So yes, you might be slightly healthier than a meat eater, but if you want to live a long and healthy life then avoid both fish and meat (and dairy for that matter!).
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Candida is caused by a genus of yeast and is by far the most common reason for fungal infections throughout the world today. And in todays article we are going to talk about the best foods to eat for candida treatment.
Ordinarily there will be very low levels of candida present in the gut, but they will normally be kept in check by your healthy flora or “health gut bacteria”. The problems will start to arise when the candida becomes overgrown and unchecked in the body. When this happens the potential symptoms caused can be endless. You can have mental clarity issues, bloating, sugar cravings, wind and constipation, floaters in the eyes, irritability, mood swings, thrush, joint pains, skin rashes and persistent and regular coughs. The list is literally endless.
The real problems arising from candida are caused when it starts to either irritate or penetrate the gut wall. When this happens you will be far more susceptible to food sensitivities and all of the above symptoms have the propensity to become a lot worse. This is because undigested food particles are able to pass directly into the blood stream and the body mistakes these as “invaders” or infections and triggers autoimmune responses. Again, this will dramatically make the above symptoms worse and certainly problematic to treat. When food particles are able to pass into the blood stream on a regular basis the condition is known as “leaky gut”. It is therefore imperative that you are able to keep candida levels low in the body through a healthy diet.
Candida In The Intestines
One of the biggest triggers for candida today is the use (and over use) of antibiotics. Similarly, diets high in processed refined sugars will cause candida to proliferate throughout the body. Other causes include the long term use of contraceptive pills, medications for diabetes and steroid medications. The stress placed on a woman’s body during pregnancy can also cause candida to spiral out of control.
If you believe you may have candida based on some of the above symptoms, or you have recently taken a course of antibiotics, then visit your GP and request a stool sample/blood test. If candida is detected, then the following should be an effective candida treatment for you.
Candida Treatment – Foods To Remove From Your Diet
After initially diagnosing candida you should remove all yeast and fermented foods/drinks from your diet. The worst culprits are breads, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, refined vinegars, (this obviously includes foods where vinegar is a major component: tomato sauce, baked beans, salad cream and picked foods such as pickled eggs).
Also look at removing all refined flour foods that contain any sort or yeast or processed/refined sugars. Pizzas, pasta or anything along these lines will be a no no.
The main foods to remove above all are foods that contain refined sugars. Yeast loves sugar and will overgrow very quickly in its presence. While you are getting the condition under control you will also need to remove almost all natural sugars from the diet as well, which includes high sugar fruits such as melons, bananas, grapes and kiwis. Some of the other low sugar fruits (blueberries/blackberries/raspberry’s etc) may not necessarily feed the yeast directly by their sugar content; but they are likely to contain mould, especially if they have been stored for a while during the transportation process. Mould will help exacerbate the problem. Artificial sugars should also be removed from the diet.
Also avoid malted foods and drinks completely. If you are partial to a Ryvita or Horlicks drinks, then can them while you are getting the condition under control.
Also avoid all nuts as these commonly harbour mould. Again, this will only make the problem worse.
Milk and dairy. Usually very high in sugar, so again, got to go.
Some people also struggle to get rid of candida while eating foods that can easily be converted to sugars in the gut. Sweetcorn, carrots and potatoes can also be problematic but this is only usually in patients with bad yeast overgrowth.
Candida Treatment – Foods That Will Help Kill Off Candida
Garlic has a highly potent capacity for killing off yeast because of its anti-fungal properties. It is best to be eaten raw. Simply swallow a whole clove of garlic once a day.
Increase your vegetable intake. Green beans, leeks, onions, parsnips, tomatoes, spinach, sprouts and watercress are all good go to choices for fighting candida. These types of vegetable will enable the populations of your “healthy bacteria” to increase and fight off the unwanted yeast and “bad bacteria”.
Generally speaking, the fruits that are generally ok to eat while removing candida from the body are: cherries, small amounts of pineapple, apples and pomegranates.
Replace milk with healthier nut milks instead. Almond or oat milks are great choices.
Brown rice, quinoa, lentils and millet are also good foods while removing candida (or anytime for that matter!)
If you need to have bread in your diet then opt for yeast free rye breads.
Two of the best herbs for helping to fight off this infection are thyme and coriander. So add abundantly to all your foods.
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Avoid skipping breakfast. It is by far the most important meal of the day. Since your evening meal the previous evening, you have literally been fasting, so if you skip breakfast your blood sugar levels will become very erratic and you will be scrambling for sugary treats by 10am.
Avoid sugary breakfast cereals. And also avoid any cereals containing gluten. Gluten is becoming more and more of a problem as it is very difficult for the body to break down and digest. Try organic oats, quinoa, kamut or amaranth as they will be far easier for the body to digest (and they are far healthier). Also try nut milks as a healthier alternative to milk.
Also consider making a healthy smoothie for breakfast. It will be packed full of nutrients and you can also add some healthy protein powders to really kick start the day. Spurilna, hemp or even pea powders are great choices.
Variety is the spice of life. Avoid getting caught in the routine trap. Most people will buy the same foods week in week out. This creates a susceptibility to certain food allergies. Eat a wide variety of foods and ideally foods that are grown locally and organic. These foods will contain a greater quantity of nutrients compared to foods that have been shipped from the other side of the world. The last few years have also seen organic foods becoming cheaper and cheaper (as more and more people purchase) and I strongly believe that you can dramatically reduce your chances of developing cancer if you can cut your exposure to these pesticides.
It’s not just what you eat. You should also try and avoid toiletries that contain harmful ingredients. Again, try and select organic products for your hair and skin – this is particularly important as much of what you put on the skin ends up in the bloodstream. And especially try and avoid exposure to harmful cleaning products, opting for natural organic alternatives.
In the winter, choose hearty warm meals and lighter fresh meals (with lots of raw fruits and vegetables) in the summer. During the winter you can try and make fruit compotes or lightly grilling fruits. These are particularly warming and easier on your digestive tract.
So many people today are failing to drink sufficient amounts of healthy clean water. The repercussions of this are wide ranging. See my recent article: Getting Enough Water? for more information. Basically your body requires about one and a half to two litres a day. More if you are exercising.
Remove as much caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks from your diet as possible. These types of drinks will cause dehydration (and cause lots of other health conditions). As a general rule of thumb if you drink any of these types of drinks then your body will need approx. 250ml water for every drink you have. Remember, many of the foods and drinks that you crave have been designed to trigger that response. And its these types of snack foods in your diet that will be causing or contributing to many of your health problems.
As an alternative to caffeine, trying drinking more herbal teas, particularly green and white teas. These are packed full of antioxidants that will assist your body in removing many of the unwanted toxins.
Aim for at least 9 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Also aim to have one plate full a day of salad (containing as many different colours as possible). By adopting this approach you will dramatically reduce your chances of developing many of today’s leading causes of death.
When cooking try and lightly steam vegetables instead of cooking at very high temperatures (such as stir frying) as this will preserve more nutrients.
Keep things simple. You should always strive to eat foods as close to nature as possible. Avoid foods that contain ingredients that you can’t pronounce and always try and avoid rich foods and sauces, fried foods, barbequed foods and foods cooked at very high temperatures (these will create toxic compounds such as heterocyclic amines that have been heavily linked to cancer growth).
Avoid pre-packed, ready meals and tinned foods. These types of foods are often loaded with sugar and harmful preservatives. Also, tinned foods contain mercury and aluminium which will leak into the food. Not something you want to be ingesting! These types of metals have been linked with everything from heart disease to degenerative brain disorders.
Do not add table salt to your food. It is devoid of all nutrients and will cause water retention in the body, and subsequently cause high blood pressure. The average diet today contains approx. 10 grams of salt per day. It has been estimated that if this was reduced to below 3 grams a day there would be approximately 80,000 deaths avoided in the UK each year.
Avoid ALL FAD DIETS. Diets do not work. You need to concentrate on a healthy well balanced lifestyle and not yo-yo weight loss programmes.
Avoid all cooking oils if possible. If you are going to use them then I would suggest that you use cold pressed olive or coconut oil as these will be slightly less damaging in the body.
Eat your meals sitting down and chewing your food properly before swallowing. You can further aid digestion by snacking on fruits between meals.
Avoid any foods and oils that contain hydrogenated or trans-fats. They are now being banned in many countries because they cause fat deposits around the heart.
Avoid red meats. They can putrefy in the gut and the intestines and often contain antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS as it’s commonly known) is a common disease that affects the digestive system. Symptoms can be mild to severe and include constipation, stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhoea. The symptoms generally come and go but can last for days, weeks or even months at a time for the unlucky ones. Eating certain foods or being stressed are the main two antagonists for symptoms developing.
The main thing that you need to keep in mind is that everyone is different. The triggers for one person will be different for the next person. But the one thing I guarantee is that avoiding the below foods, will go a long way towards improving or reversing your symptoms completely.
IBS Cure- Avoid Dairy
Dairy contains high amounts of saturated fats which can have a very inflammatory response on an already inflamed digestive system – so not great. On top of this dairy products contain large amounts of lactose (a type of sugar). Many people with IBS struggle to digest lactose properly which can lead to further inflammation.
Alternatives: I would always advise that you avoid dairy products completely, but if you are going to consume them, then harder cheeses (such as cheddar) will be gentler on the digestive tract. A good replacement for milk would be the various nut milks available (almond etc) or coconut and hemp milks.
IBS Cure- Avoid Fruits That Contain Lots Of Fructose
Fruits that have a high concentration of fructose are a common cause of IBS related symptoms. If you have IBS then you should consider avoiding the following: dried fruits, concentrated fruit juices, apples, pears and watermelons.
Alternatives: Some great low fructose choices include: lemons, limes, berries, oranges, bananas and grapes.
IBS Cure – Fructans
There are a number of vegetables that contain high amounts of fructan. Fructans are sugar molecules found in certain carbohydrates that can exacerbate IBS symptoms. Fructans can cause constipation, bloating and irregular bowel movements. Some of the main culprits include cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, garlic and leeks.
Alternatives: Some other vegetables that are generally better tolerated include: spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and courgette.
IBS Cure – Beans/Legumes
If you are able to tolerate beans and legumes then they will provide you with an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fibre. If you have IBS then these are one of the most common triggers for symptoms. The worst culprits tend to be chickpeas, lentils, baked beans and soybeans.
Alternatives: There aren’t really any like-for-like alternatives for beans and legumes. Quinoa and amaranth grains tend to be very well tolerated by many with IBS.
IBS Cure – Polyols
Polyols are generally found in foods as sugar free sweeteners. Have a look on food labels and if it contains anything ending in ol or eg then it’s most likely a polyol. Common examples include mannitol, xylitol and sorbitol. Also, just be aware that mushrooms also contain natural polyols which can cause IBS symptoms to worsen.
Alternatives: Be very careful when loading added sugars and sweeteners to foods. It will cause unwanted blood sugar spikes. I would suggest small amounts of honey, coconut sugar or maple syrup if you absolutely must sweeten your food.
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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.