Posts tagged ‘honey’

May 9, 2013

I can’t live without….

by lrmetcalfe

I can’t live without….

OK, I’m going to back a pretty big claim now; this article details the six health products that I cannot live without.  This is my ‘desert island discs’ of health products!

These are the products I always use and recommend more than any others.  Obviously more specific conditions will require a more specific remedy; but if you keep these items in your cupboard, you will have a remedy on hand for the everyday health problems that we can all expect to encounter a some point in our lives.

They are also some of the most underrated products available. Many people get quite addicted to the latest craze in the alternative health world, but the oldest most boring products are usually the most reliable!

Kyolic Garlic

Kyolic Garlic is a very special Garlic supplement. The organic garlic bulb is aged and cold pressed before it is used in the supplement. The aging process eliminates garlic odour and harsh side effects, it also increases its antioxidant properties.

Allicin has been deemed as the compound responsible for the benefits of garlic. It has shown an ability to kill bacteria and fungus in test tubes and topically crushed raw garlic has been used to fight infections. However, allicin is an unstable compound, thus cooking, crushing and processing garlic causes the allicin to be decomposed into other compounds, killing its health benefits. Therefore garlic supplements which focus on their allicin content will have very few if any health benefits.

Kyolic Garlic is a very flexible supplement and can be used:

  • To enhance the immune system- great for colds and flu
  • As a prebiotic to encourage healthy digestion
  • To encourage healthy circulation
  • For fungal conditions and thrush
  • For general health
  • The liquid form can also be used topically for fungal conditions 

Manuka Honey

This special honey is becoming more popular and is starting to be recognised by the medical community. It has anti-bacterial properties, and is now being used in specialised bandages to fight MRSA.

Manuka Honey is more expensive than regular honey, but it needs to be thought of as more of a medicine than something you smother on your toast.

Sourced from New Zealand’s forests, the bees feed off the Manuka plant, laboratory studies have shown that Manuka Honey has an especially remarkable anti-bacterial property, found only in the Leptospermum species. This has been called the Unique Manuka Factor or UMF®. Always look for Manuka Honey which states it’s UMF factor, this is a measure of it’s anti-bacterial strength. The honey is available in various strengths starting from 5+.

The various strengths can be used for different applications,

  • UMF 5+ Manuka Honey- Perfect as a special treat, to encourage health.
  • UMF 10+ Manuka Honey- Provides therapeutic benefits, can be used as a daily supplement, good for sore throats, mouth ulcers, colds and flu.
  • UMF15+ and above- contain the highest levels of anti-bacterial activity and can be used for more specific conditions and symptoms.

Manuka honey can also be used topically and skin products have been developed which contain the honey.

High Strength Multivitamin and Mineral

Never underestimate the importance of a good multivitamin and mineral supplement. Most everyday health conditions can be improved by increasing the levels of vitamins and minerals we are receiving.

Look for a more expensive product, the less appetising the better. Unfortunately most people gravitate to vitamin and mineral supplements which are in the form of a chewable orange flavoured sweet or a drink- remember if it tastes nice it probably has additives and flavours mixed in, leaving less room in your tablet for nutrients, resulting in you receiving a lower potency. As my grandma used to say- the worse the medicine tastes, the better it is for you. This is the same for small tablets and cheap products, they will contain less nutrients- remember you get what you pay for.

A good potency multivitamin and mineral will ensure your body has all the nutrients it needs to function correctly, it will increase your energy levels and support your immune system. This supplement should be taken every day. Also remember to look for a product which is ‘timed release’, this ensures less wastage of the water soluble nutrients, vitamin C and B vitamins.

Fish Oil Supplements

Omega 3, probably one of the most publicized supplements of recent years, but still one of the most underestimated. Fish oils contain Omega 3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that us Britons do not receive enough of in our diets. Omega 3 is important for heart health, brain health, circulatory health, skin health and a healthy cholesterol level. They have an anti-inflammatory effect, so can be used in arthritis and eczema. Omega 3 is especially important for childhood development, so may be taken during pregnancy and by children to support growth and brain development.

If you do not like taking supplements, try and incorporate more Omega 3 into your diet by eating 3 portions of oily fish a week. Oily fish includes: salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, sardines, herring, anchovies. Flaxseed/ linseed also contain omega 3, sprinkle a spoon of seeds onto porridge or yogurt or add to your breakfast cereal. Flaxseed oil, is also a great salad dressing when mixed with lemon juice.

Acidophilus

Acidophilus or lactobacillus acidophilus, is a ‘friendly bacteria’, you may have heard this phrase as it is used in marketing campaigns for yoghurts and yoghurt drinks. Basically what it means, is that there are various types of bacteria that our bodies contain and can encounter.

Pathogenic bacteria, or ‘bad bacteria’ cause disease, or in high amounts can cause an unhealthy state in the digestive system. ‘Good’, ‘friendly’ or probiotic bacteria have the opposite effect, they create a healthy state in the digestive system.

Obviously we cannot stop ourselves from being exposed to disease causing pathogenic bacteria, however if our digestive system contains high levels of ‘friendly’ bacteria then the ‘bad’ bacteria have less chance of surviving. Acidophilus is one of the many strains of friendly or probiotic bacteria, and is good to take if:

  • you have poor digestive function
  • you suffer from a digestive condition- eg. IBS
  • you suffer from urinary tract infections or thrush
  • you are going on holiday (as you will be encountering bacteria your body is not used to, often the cause of ‘travellers tummy’)
  • you have recently taken antibiotics (antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria in the body)

A good analogy of probiotic supplements, is to think of them like grass seed. If you have a patch of soil in which you want to grow a lawn, you need to add grass seed (probiotic bacteria), however once the seed has grown, throwing on more grass seed will not help the lawn to grow. This is when you need to add plant food (fruit and vegetables- or prebiotics). Fruit and vegetables have a prebiotic effect, meaning they feed and encourage the growth of probiotics.

Acidophilus does not, therefore need to be taken continually, once you have increased your levels of friendly bacteria, keep them topped up by eating a healthy, balanced diet.

Aloe Vera Gel

A great topical all-rounder, it soothes, moisturises and has an anti-bacterial effect.

Put it on:

  • Dry skin
  • Eczema
  • Spots
  • Heat rash
  • Bites
  • Stings
  • Burns
  • Wounds
  • Boils
  • Fungal infections- athletes foot, ringworm
  • Mix with tea tree oil to make your own anti-bacterial hand gel

 

So put these 6 products in your cupboard, and they will not let you down!

September 27, 2012

Cold and Flu Season Survival!

by lrmetcalfe

The dark cold nights and frosty mornings are starting to draw in on us and the season of colds and flu is nearly upon us. So don’t be unprepared, fight back- get your immune system and medicine cupboard in the best condition to wage war with the season’s germs and nasties!

I cannot live without the following five items during the cold season:

1. Vitamin C 1000mg

Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and is essential for the healthy functioning of the immune system.

Vitamin C is anti-viral and studies show that it can shorten the severity and duration of most colds and flu viruses. Look for a timed release formula and avoid chewable and effervescent vitamin C tablets, as they are often packed with sugar and sweeteners to make them tastier.

Take a 1000mg tablet with a meal daily throughout the cold season.

2. Manuka Honey

One of the most revolutionary health products of recent years, manuka honey is anti-bacterial and has been shown in studies to be an effective antimicrobial agent against forms of MRSA.

A great remedy for sore throats, take a teaspoon morning and night and let the honey slowly trickle down the throat. Don’t stir into your tea or spread on your toast, as heat can deactivate the effects of this powerful honey.

Make sure you buy ‘Active’ Manuka Honey, it should also state the ‘UMF (unique manuka factor)’ number. UMF is a measure of the honeys antibacterial properties, the higher the number, the stronger the effect; for sore throats, colds and flu an ‘Active Manuka Honey UMF 10+’ is an ideal choice.

3. A.Vogel PoHo Oil

One of my favourite products, I am never without a bottle of Po Ho Oil. It contains a blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, juniper, caraway and fennel oils.

If your nose and sinuses are blocked during a cold, sprinkle a few drops on a hankerchief, your pillow or in a hot bath. Try steam inhalation or make a rub to loosen mucus on the chest by mixing a drop with some petroleum jelly.

4. Bio-Strath Elixir

Another medicine cupboard staple, this Swiss yeast and herb tonic, although not very pleasant in taste, really keeps you going in the winter!

Take 1 teaspoons 3 times a day at the onset of a cold or if you start to feel tired or run down.

5.  Echinacea

A herbal remedy which in studies has been shown to shorten the length of a cold. Look for a licensed, standardised supplement, such as ‘A.Vogel Echinaforce’ tablets. Take daily for a month, then take a break for a week, continue in this way throughout the winter to enhance immune function.

Echinacea is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. It’s anti-viral properties make Echinacea a great choice for those who suffer from cold sores when their immune function is lowered.

There are also many lifestyle and dietary changes we can make to keep our immune systems in top condition.

Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates; instead opt for brown rice and wholemeal varieties of bread and pasta. A teaspoon of sugar weakens the immune system for 5 minutes! Alcohol and caffeine have a similar effect.

I realise this is hard advice to follow; especially when  all you want to do on dark, chilly night is drink warming mugs of hot chocolate and as the party season starts our alcohol intake increases, not to mention our intake of tins of chocolates!  However if you try avoid these naughty treats the majority of the time and eat a balanced diet full of lean sources of protein, wholegrain and wholemeal carbohydrates and fresh fruit and vegetables, your immune system will thank you.

To fight off infections, you could also try making your own anti-microbial hand gel, mix 2 drops of tea tree oil with 300ml aloe vera gel and use as needed.