In this section, you will find health-related articles about typical ailments and health issues. There are also questions which are regularly asked in our shops.
Remember, if you have a serious health concern; please consult a trained medical professional.
Q. My skin always feels quite dry at this time of the year. Are there any nutrients that might help?
A. With the colder weather here, it’s quite normal for your skin to be feeling a little dry, especially if you’ve just turned your central heating back on. Thankfully there are plenty of nutrients that can help and at the top of my list are essential fatty acids (EFAs). Many of us will be aware of their potential health benefits but we may not realise that these essential ‘good fats’ can also do our skin a world of good too and again it’s largely due to their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant activity.
Ideal food sources are seeds, nuts and avocados or you could try an EFA oil. Flax oil for example provides the anti-inflammatory fatty acids needed to help prevent, dry, flaky skin and eczema, as well as exerting antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. If skin is feeling particularly dry or you have any scars, stretch marks or uneven skin tone, then the Organic Ultimate Beauty Skin Repair Oil is great for topical use.
Active ingredients include organic borage and calendula oil, which are great for dry skin caused by eczema and dermatitis, and organic rosehip oil. A well kept secret of the native people of Chile, rosehip oil helps to nourish and repair dry, damaged or weathered skin. A little goes a long way, so apply sparingly!
Antioxidants are also important skin nutrients and not least because they help to protect against the free radical damage that causes ageing.
Certain foods, especially organic foods, provide an excellent source of antioxidants; citrus fruits, green peppers, broccoli, carrots, berries, tomatoes, nuts, seeds and whole grains will all help to boost your supply.
Finally, drinking plenty of water will help to keep your skin hydrated, so try to drink between 1.5 to 2 litres a day.
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Q. We’re off travelling at the beginning of June and I’m keen not to get sick whilst abroad. What do you recommend?
A. Sunburn, mosquito bites, sickness, diarrhoea, parasites, jet lag, stress or even DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) can all turn a much anticipated trip abroad into a holiday from Hell.
But it doesn’t have to be that way - there are plenty of natural remedies to help stave off the most common holiday maladies. Avoid all the usual holiday ailments with this natural remedy count-down...
1. Around 3-4 weeks before long haul flights consider taking horse chestnut or pycnogenol capsules to help prevent DVT. Pycnogenol, an extract from pine bark, helps to thin the blood and keep veins healthy.
2. Two weeks before you head off, start taking Rhodiola rosea. Rhodiola, an adaptogenic herb, can help with jet lag and variations in altitude and temperature. It is also an effective anti-stress herb and can prove very useful in the event of holiday tantrums or delayed flights; it can even be supportive to those with a fear of flying.
3. Vitamin B1 or thiamine can help to fend off unwanted attention from mosquitoes by making your skin smell unpleasant to them. There’s no perceptible smell to humans, however, so you should only be repelling insects! Again B1 supplements should be started approximately two weeks before you travel.
4. One week before you set off start taking beta carotene and grape seed extract to help strengthen your skin against sunburn. There are specific formulas available, such as SPF Skin Pro-Factors, which include a complex of skin-strengthening nutrients. Remember though that these useful products do not replace the need for an appropriate sunscreen lotion or cream.
Once on holiday, supplement daily with grapefruit seed extract and acidophilus capsules to help prevent parasitic infestation and holiday tum.
Watch your water too. Needless to say, drink only bottled water and not tap water (not even from your hotel) and remember that ice too, if made from frozen, contaminated water, can also cause an upset tummy.
Take care not to eat any food that looks undercooked or raw and avoid buffet food that has been kept luke-warm.
If you do get caught out by the sun, the Ultimate Beauty Organic Skin Repair Oil from Viridian Nutrition is an excellent all-round after-sun lotion.
And if despite your best efforts you do fall ill, drink plenty of water (bottled) so as to avoid dehydration. A top tip is to replace lost fluids with an isotonic solution, one which contains the same salt concentrations as normal body fluids.
Children with diarrhoea must consult a healthcare professional and medical advice must always be sought if symptoms do not improve within 24 to 36 hours, or if diarrhoea is accompanied by severe pain, vomiting, fever or loss of blood.
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Q. Is chocolate the solution for sleeping problems?
A. Almost a quarter of the population admits to having trouble sleeping on an occasional basis. And while this occasional problem may not impact their lives hugely, it is widely recognised that persistent sleep issues can have a detrimental effect on our health. And what if chocolate is the answer?
There are five stages which our bodies should go through if we are to really achieve a night’s sleep. However, research shows that many of us simply do not get that far. We wake up tired and heavy indicating we did not reach stage five, the REM or Rapid Eye Movement stage where our bodies replenish and repair themselves.
A unique new product called RestBites could be the answer to your sleep disturbances. This product is a “chocolatey” caramel chew containing organic ingredients which has been created to give you a great night’s sleep.
Formulated by top Canadian research physician Dr Craig Hudson, RestBites are a delicious food-sourced, all-natural bedtime snack, which work by promoting a sense of tranquility and balance to help the body to relax into a deep sleep. RestBites contains Zenbev, which is made from 100% natural sources, (92% pumpkin seed extract) coated in chocolate.
In his research into this area, Dr. Hudson discovered that people with the most difficulty in sleeping were deficient in a particular nutrient that should have been in their diet called Tryptophan. During daylight hours, Tryptophan metabolises into Serotonin, which is the feel-good chemical that lowers anxiety. In the hours of darkness, a further metabolism takes place, changing Serotonin to Melatonin, the body’s own sleep-inducing chemical.
He then researched many different types of food to discover which contained the highest sources of this amino acid, finally discovering that a certain Pumpkin seed from Eastern Europe contained the highest levels of this important nutrient. He then blended these pumpkin seeds into a tasty chew and called them RestBites.
The pumpkin seeds used in Restbites are a naturally high source of tryptophan, the same amino acid found in milk and turkey. In fact, one single gram of pumpkin seed protein contains as much tryptophan as a full glass of milk. Restbites also contains other precise ingredients to help it to function optimally within the body.
RestBites is the first food based sleep product that has shown to consistently produce a great night’s sleep. One RestBite consumed just twenty minutes before bedtime generally does the trick for most people.
RestBites are available from Evergreen Health Stores priced at €12.99 for a pack of 10. Each pack (while stocks last) also includes a FREE sleep tips book entitled “Feel Great –Day and Night by Dr Craig Hudson (worth €13.99) and a FREE sleep pack that includes and eye mask and ear plugs.
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Q. How I can protect myself from viruses?
A. Recently there have been more and more reports of swine flu cases in Ireland. Is there anything that can be done to protect you and your family? Proper hygiene is a good preventative measure, but it is also important to support and strengthen your immune system.
Keeping your body hydrated is important for immune health, so it’s a good idea to drink plenty of un-caffeinated and unsweetened fluids such as spring water and herbal teas. You should also try to increase your consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables as opposed to sugary snacks and convenience foods which more often than not, contain harmful additives and too much salt.
Stress can also be a factor. A stressed body is a tired body, and a tired body doesn’t have the energy to fight off infection. So try to set some time aside every day to relax and rest yourself. It’s also important to get a good night’s restful sleep.
While vitamins and herbal remedies cannot cure a cold or flu, they may help to bring relief from symptoms, stimulate the immune system and possibly even speed up recovery time.
Studies have shown that taking elderberry extract in either capsule or liquid form, may help to reduce the duration of symptoms. Elderberry properties seem to primarily stem from an ability to inhibit a virus from replicating itself...however, the elderberry extract may stop the virus from further spreading.
Vitamin C is often used as an immune support. It is believed to boost white blood cell function, antibody production and response. There is large amounts of evidence to suggest that vitamin C can help inhibit the spreading of viruses.
Zinc is considered by many to be very important in boosting immunity.
Higher Nature Immune + is an immune-boosting product contains Vitamin C, zinc, elderberry and blackcurrant, all of which are thought to support the immune system.
Solo Ester C is a highly absorbable and non-acidic form of vitamin C from Solo Nutrition. This product is particularly suited to those who are currently suffering with symptoms. It can also help with those who have poor digestion.
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Q. Have you any information on Stress?
A. Here is a handy booklet on Stress, as written by one of our top suppliers - A. Vogel
Download Stress Booklet
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Q. The best time to take supplements
A. Taking your supplements at regular intervals is an extremely important factor in determining whether taking supplements has worked for you. Generally, supplements in capsule or tablet format are best taken with food when your digestion is most active. This helps maximise absorption and helps lessen the possibility of gastrointestinal upset.
Supplements in herbal liquid extracts and nutrient powder formats are best taken before or between meals for effectiveness.
If a supplement like garlic tends to upset your stomach, take it just after meals to reduce possible discomfort.
Stimulating supplements such as ginseng or even spirulina are best taken early in the day. Do not take before bedtime - you may be kept awake all night!
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Q. Spirulina – the super food.
A. Spirulina is often referred to as a form of cultivated algae. It can be described as a "super green food" as it is rich in antioxidants, minerals and essential fatty acids. Spirulina also provides complete and highly digestible proteins. It also contains the very important vitamin B12, which is often missing from vegetarian diets.
Spirulina may help improve energy levels, and it has more nutrients than any other plant.
Chlorophyll is the key ingredient in green super foods; this is similar to human haemoglobin in chemical structure. Therefore it is good for you in a few ways - by building the blood, renewing of tissues, removing toxins & relieving inflammation.
Take Spirulina as a tablet or capsule, or enjoy it sprinkled in powder form in a juice or smoothies.
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Q. What is the difference between Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?
A. Arthritis refers to an inflammation of a joint or joints in the body. The most common type is called Osteoarthritis or "degenerative arthritis". It is sometimes described as "wear and tear" arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, a much more common disease in Ireland, is an auto-immune disease – a completely different disease process from osteoarthritis.
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Q. I have been told I am intolerant to gluten. Are there any alternative foods available?
A. Gluten is the protein component of many grains such as wheat, oats, barley and rye. If you suffer from an intestinal disorder called coeliac disease, this means you cannot eat foods containing gluten. Some foods are naturally free from gluten but there is also a special range of gluten-free foods.
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Q. I have recently been diagnosed with high cholesterol. I want to lower this but am not sure what to do?
A. There are many things you can do. You can reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Saturated fat is fat that is solid at room temperature. The richest sources of saturated fat in the diet are dairy foods (except the fat-free versions), especially whole milk, cheese, butter & cream. Red meat is also high in saturated fat.
You can also avoid Hydrogenated Fat. There are many spreads available on the market today that are free from hydrogenated fat. Hydrogenated fat is also found in snack foods like crisps, crackers & biscuits. It is found in the oils used to cook fast food chips, doughnuts & popcorn.
You could substitute soya protein for animal protein. The protein in soya foods can lower cholesterol levels. Try to incorporate two servings a day into your meals. Choose from tofu, soya milk & whole soya beans.
Use fresh garlic regularly in your meals or take a good quality garlic supplement. Garlic has been shown to help lower both cholesterol levels & blood pressure. See Quest Garlic for more information.
Drinking green tea daily may also help. The antioxidants in green tea can help lower cholesterol & prevent the cholesterol in your blood from oxidizing.
Eat plenty of soluble fibre. Soluble fibre has a powerful cholesterol-lowering effect. The best sources of soluble fibre are beans & lentils, apples, citrus fruits, oats, barley, peas, carrots and especially Ground Flaxseed.
Try to lose weight. Even a relatively small amount of weight loss can lower cholesterol levels.
Caution: If you do suffer from High Cholesterol or Blood Pressure, please ensure you have been checked by a medical professional.
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