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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Beauty, inside-out!: Talking Nutrition with University of Oxford

 Ray of Sunshine Nutrition Talks to Cherwell Magazine

We here at Ray of Sunshine Nutrition met up recently with talented young Journalist Helen Tatlow, a student at the famous University of Oxford, and writer for the respected University magazine Cherwell, to discuss Healthy diets, Superfoods, student excesses and how Nutrition and diet can help our skin and plays an important role in the Beauty Industry.

Check out the Full Article here at source:

Beauty, inside-out!
We interview nutritional therapist Matthew Reay on a natural approach to beauty.
Helen Tatlow on Thursday 19th April 2012
Sometimes applying the latest miracle moisturiser just doesn’t seem to be enough. We talked to nutritional therapist Matthew Reay about the basis for outer beauty - a healthy inside!

Cherwell: Is there a perfect diet for a clear complexion?
Matthew: A perfect diet? Well, l don’t really promote specific diets as such, but rather general sensible daily eating ideas which promote the benefits of blood sugar balance and sustained energy release. It’s important to understand what our bodies want instead of what we think we want, and hopefully this will put pay to overeating. Overeating can lead to an imbalance in blood sugar levels and the potential for too much fat; too much sugar, salt, alcohol or high energy foods can make the body overwork itself and leave digestion struggling to cope, whilst dehydration, extra stress or poor sleep all take their toll on the body. What’s going on in the inside will be reflected in how we look on the outside in the body’s biggest organ, the skin.

C: Can you recommend any ‘superfoods’ for fabulous skin?
M: One of mine would be cucumber. Cucumber contains phytonutrients such as caffeic acid which help reduce inflamed skin. Cucumber also contains the essential skin mineral, silica, the key component of collagen in the skin. I usually add mine to a smoothie with frozen berries, spinach and grape or beetroot juice. I would also choose avocado: they are great sources of vitamins C, B6 and K, as well as potassium, folate and copper. They provide large amounts of dietary fibre, which is good for digestion, and also contain biotin. Involved in the process of sugar and fat metabolism, biotin processes sugar into energy and acts as a precursor for fat production in the body, which is crucial for short-living skin cells which need to be replaced quickly and often for skin to replenish and restore itself. Finally, essential fatty acids contained in flax seed and nuts such as walnuts are important in our diets, the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) they contain playing an important role in the structure and function of skin cells. ALA enables and controls water permeability, important for strength and elasticity of the skin. The omega 3 fatty acids found in many nuts inhibit inflammation, whilst ALA helps reduce the visible manifestations of various skin conditions by keeping skin cells functioning normally. 

C: Is taking a 'Hair Skin and Nails' supplement really worth it?
M: Personally, I don’t think so - l tend to stay clear of such supplements if l am getting lots of good vitamins and minerals in my diet, keeping well hydrated with fluids, getting the sleep l need and getting out to do some exercise. So many of these supplements contain fillers, binders and preservatives that a good diet doesn’t contain, so l make my diet work for me, as we all should. The key is to listen to your body, gain some insight and knowledge and then act accordingly.

C: Are there any natural beauty brands you would particularly recommend?
M: As someone who overcame eczema as a child and frequently deals with patients with skin complaints, l am a firm believer that what you put on your skin ends up in your body, so l avoid skin care products which include chemicals and toxins - watch out for parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate (SLS), DEET and aluminium, among others. These chemicals have been linked to harmful effects on the body and can be found in many of the products we use on a daily basis. I like the skin care range at Neal’s Yard Remedies, and would also recommend the eco-conscious German company Weleda, who do fantastic natural skin products at very good prices. Top tip: companies who specialise in natural skin care for babies and young children tend to offer high quality products containing nice essential oils and creams - check out Earth Friendly Baby or the Cardiff based company, Pur Babies.

C: Do you have any recipes for homemade beauty products which anyone can make with ingredients found in their kitchen?
M: Well, given that l sport a beard sometimes, I’m not one to often be found wearing a face mask with cucumbers on my eyes - it could get a bit messy! However, some friends of mine have had success with homemade face masks made from ingredients such as avocado or egg. I’ve also heard good things about James Wong’s book, Grow Your Own Drugs, which contains recipes such as a yogurt, lime and strawberry face pack, and a honey and yogurt face mask - so that might be something to look into, even for me, especially if l shave off my beard!

C: Students have a reputation of being rather over-enthusiastic when it comes to alcohol. What natural solutions would you suggest for getting over a hangover?
M: Well, stick to your alcohol limit, know your numbers in terms of alcohol units to avoid long-term health issues, and the short-term embarrassment of missing an exam or finding yourself waking up with someone you never expected to! If you do end up feeling worse for wear, keeping well hydrated is important, so get plenty of water into the system. Herbal teas such as nettle, dandelion and milk thistle will help the liver do its job better after a ‘session or three’! I always like some banana to boost my potassium levels, so maybe include it in a reviving, healthy smoothie with frozen berries and cucumber to top up your body’s supply of valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals which may have been affected by consumption of too much alcohol. If you can eat, stick to smaller, lighter meals after a heavy night; healthy snacking that helps with balancing those all-important blood sugar levels should be better than heavy meals. Eggs are a good option, as they contain the chemical cysteine, which may have an effect counteracting the damaging by-products left by alcohol. A boiled or poached egg with mushrooms and toast sounds like an ideal hangover cure to me! And when you get the chance, get back to bed and make up for any lost sleep!

Nutrition Advice, Health & Lifestyle Coaching

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Nutrition Lifestyle and Male Fertility: Part 2


The Do’s and Don’ts of Male Fertility

As well as a diet consisting of too much saturated fat affecting sperm concentrations and quality, and the continued links between obesity and fertility problems in men, when advising on how to improve diet and lifestyle factors that may be beneficial to male fertility a number of important areas should be considered:


Alcohol: The Mineral Zinc is found in large quantities in sperm as it helps with sperm formation of it’s cells outer layers and importantly of the tail of the sperm. Alcohol massively inhibits the bodies absorption of Zinc and thus can lead to an increase in abnormal sperm quality and without proper tail formation, an inability to fertilize the egg as a strong well formed tail is needed to penetrate the egg, excess alcohol for males can affect this important function in male fertility.
Men wishing to start a family should consider their alcohol intake, and if starting a family is important to them, considering stopping alcohol maybe well be beneficial for the reproductive system.

Smoking:  Various studies and research over a long period of time have associated smoking and low sperm concentrations in males as well as damaging the sperm cells and affecting mobility that is important for fertilization. With the evidence available, the best thing for men wanting to start a family, and for overall general importance of good health, stop smoking.

Smoking and Alcohol intake can affect fertility in men

Nutrition For Fertility

It is Oxidative or Free Radical Damage that can cause damage to sperm, the more of these free radicals that men are exposed to, say from alcohol or smoking, the more likely they are to have abnormal sperm and low sperm counts.
A diet rich in Antioxidants and most importantly good levels of Omega 3 fatty acids instead the many Saturated fats that cause so much of the damage will be important to proper mobility, structure and quality of sperm and the ability to neutralize Free Radicals to stop them damaging the sperm and affecting fertility.

Antioxidants:  Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, and minerals such as Zinc, Lycopne and Selenium, all sourced from foods can help combat Free Radical damage in sperm, as well as being important for everyday general nutrition support.

Vitamin C: Protects the DNA of sperm, and low dietary Vitamin C Levels can lead to fertility issues in men and smoking has the affect of reducing Vitamin C in the body. Antibodies bind to sperm affecting fertility but Vitamin C may be effective against this potential problem.
Best Vitamin C Sources can be found in, Peppers, Parsley, Broccoli, Strawberries, Cauliflower, Papaya, Kale, Kiwi Fruits, Oranges, Cabbages, Tomatoes, Raspberries, Celery, Spinach and Green Beans to name but a few

High Levels of Vitamin C and E from diets are essential

Vitamin E: The main Antioxidant present in Sperm helps to protect from free radical damage to Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and enhances the quality of the sperm and its ability to fertilize the egg.
Best Sources of Vitamin E include, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Blueberries, Spinach, Kale, Olives, Peppers, Swiss Chard, Papaya, Kiwi Fruit, Tomatoes, Broccoli are all great in every day diet and packed full with many other beneficial elements as well as Vitamin E.

Beta-Carotene:  Best dietary sources to boost antioxidants levels that are beneficial to sperm count and quality include, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Spinach, Carrots, Squash, Cantaloupe Melon, Peppers, Broccoli, Asparagus, Tomatoes, Apricots and Watermelon to name but a few

Zinc:  Important trace mineral for hormone metabolism, sperm formation and sperm motility and any Zinc deficiency, which I men maybe caused not only be poor diet but by excess alcohol which depletes Zinc, can decrease testosterone levels and affect sperm count-all important to male sexual function and the ability to have children.

Best dietary sources of Zinc include, Liver, Beef, Spinach, Lamb, squash, Asparagus, Pumpkin Seeds, Peas, Sesame Seeds and Oysters, one of the richest of all dietary sources of zinc.

Nuts and seeds contain, Zinc, Selenium and Amino Acids

Selenium: An important component that protects cells from Free Radical damage, preventing oxidative stress to act as an effective Antioxidant, and works well alongside, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Vitamin B3.

Best sources of Selenium found in, Mushrooms, Cod, Shrimp, Tuna, Liver, Sardines, Salmon, eggs, Turkey, Lamb, Oats, Chicken, Sunflower Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Broccoli, Brown Rice and Spinach amongst others.

Lycopene: Is found in high concentrations in male reproductive system and sperm, and in males who have fertility issues, levels seem to be low. It can help boost sperm levels, concentration and motility of the sperm.

Best dietary sources include, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Grapefruit, peppers and Carrots amongst others

Vitamin B12: Important for red cell production and development of nerve cells, a deficiency can see reduced sperm count and motility.

Best dietary sources can be found in, Liver, Sardines, salmon, Beef, lamb, Cod, Low fat Milk and Eggs.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: As has been pointed out Saturated Fats can decrease sperm concentration and affect motility, however increasing Omega 3 FattyAcids, most commonly found in Oily Fish and some seeds and man plant based foods also, will increase the amount of Poly Unsaturated fatty acids, and as research highlights, the Omega Fatty Acid DHA is vitally important to healthy sperm creation necessary for productive Fertility.

Best sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids include, Salomon, Sardines, Trout, Pilchards, Mackerel, Scallops, Shrimp, Cod, Tuna, Flaxseeds, Walnuts, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Broccoli, Squash, Spinach, Kale, Strawberries amongst many.

Essential Omega3 Fatty Acids, like Salmon important to fertility and general health

Other Great dietary sources of Antioxidants can be sourced from, Blueberries, Apples, Brussels Sprouts, Cayenne Pepper, Cranberries, Figs, Oranges, Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Green Beans are just some of the many beneficial foods that should play a part in our daily diet, and especially for men considering improving their fertility if wishing to start a family.

General information in regards to male fertility may also consider stress reduction, getting some exercise every day and as well as improving diet and lifestyle, some males may look at specific Nutritional supplements, British company Viridian have a created a specfic nutritional supplement for that purpose.

Amino Acids and Fertility

The Amino Acids L-Carnitine and L-Arginine have also been highlighted as being a vital ingrediants to healthy male fertility, providing a  basis for sperm formation and motility.

Amino Acids are the 'building blocks' of proteins and are essential in the body for repair, maintenance and growth of tissue.

L-Carnitine: An Amino Acid but working as a potent Antioxidant, Carnitine levels are high in sperm, the more Carnitine in sperm, the more motility the sperm has and the more likely successful fertilization may take place.
Low Carnitine levels can impact on sperm development, function and motility
Food sources found in Beef, Chicken, Pork, Avocado, Cod, Asparagus and Eggs to name but a few.
L-Carnitine can be found in many antioxidant or Fertility Nutritional Supplement Formulas.

L-Arginine: Essential for sperm formation and best food sources are found in Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Oats, Chickpeas and Chocolate to name but a few.

Again, like L-Carnitine, L-Arginine is now commonly found as a stand alone Nutritional Supplements, or included in a specific male Fertility supplement as seen below.

 Male Fertility supplement Booster from Viridian

L-Arginine supplement from Cytoplan

Nutrition Advice, Health & Lifestyle Coaching

Coming Soon at Ray of Sunshine Nutrition: Cardiff and London Clinics
 For more benefits of a well balanced diet, healthier lifestyle and learning simple tips to improve energy and find time for some exercise.....and a little Chocolate then drop us a line and discover our New Clinic opportunities and extended Home Visits in London, Wales and other parts of the UK.

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Food Based nutritional supplements

Nutrition Lifestyle and Male Fertility: Part 1

 Can Diet affect Sperm Count and Fertilty

The dietary choices of Men can affect the quality of sperm according to recently published research from America, with diets high in saturated Fats potentially reducing sperm counts and having a negative affect on fertility.

A initial study of nearly 100 men associated the eating of high total fat foods, such as junk foods containing increased amounts of saturated fats with Lower Total Sperm Count whilst those consuming higher amounts of Polyunsaturated Fats, Omega 3 Fatty Acids such that are found in Oily Fish such as Salmon, Trout and Sardines had a sperm concentration that was overall higher and of a better quality that benefited fertility.

The research team from Harvard which was led by Professor Jill Attaman, a Clinical and Research Fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, warned that this was a small initial study and more work would be needed to replicate the findings before confirmation of this dietary link could be made for certain, however changes in dietary intake related to this study will have wider benefits other than just fertility,

"If men make changes to their diets so as to reduce the amount of saturated fat they eat and increase their omega-3 intake, then this may not only improve their general health, but could improve their reproductive health too"
 Investigating the potential link between high dietary fat intake and sperm quality and quantity, the Harvard team found that those men consuming the highest fat intake, mainly saturated fat had 43% lower sperm count, and 38% lower sperm concentration than men consuming the lowest amount of saturated fat, but instead consuming the more Polyunsaturated fats, Omega 3 fatty acids.

Essential Omega 3 Fats important for fertility health

Those consuming more Omega 3 fatty acids had a higher sperm concentration with a more normal structure than those men getting the lowest amount of Omega 3's in their diet.
Men consuming the most saturated fats had a 35% lower total sperm count than men eating the least, and a 38% lower sperm concentration, with Preofessor Attaman considering the wider implications for general health,

 "The magnitude of the association is quite dramatic and provides further support for the health efforts to limit consumption of saturated fat given their relation with other health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease,"

It was noted that within the study, 71% of the men were overweight or obese and that this and the potential health implications of this may also affect sperm amount and quality. The team recognised that this being the first study of it's kind, looking at dietary fats and sperm/Semen,  things such as weight issues and underlying health issues as well as the collection method of data possibly not reflecting the men's actual diet, further larger studies would be necessary and important, because as they note, it's not they are highlighting a specific cause for poor fertility in men, but that an association does exist and demands greater research.

Getting diet and Lifestyle right can be vitally important for fertility Success

Previous studies in relation to diet and male fertility have centred on areas such as male obesity affecting fertility, where the higher the Body mass Index (BMI) the lower the quantity and quality of sperm that can cause problems and where researchers highlighted the importance of such a study for men and general health:

"Adopting a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, and regular exercise will, in the vast majority of cases, lead to a normal BMI. We are pleased to be able to add improved semen quality to the long list of benefits that we know are the result of an optimal body weight."

 Other study areas have looked at Soy Foods comsumption being associated with lower sperm concentrations in men, where a half serving of soy foods per day was enough to affect sperm negatively. Soy contains Phytoestrogens, plant compounds that can behave like the hormone Oestrogen, which may affect production of sperm by interfering with other hormonal signals, an issue that was compounded more in those who were overweight or regarded as Obese, as larger men produce more Oestrogen, and along with that from the soy, the overall affect is to increase oestrogen in the body and the reproductive organs, thus affecting fertility.

Part 2: Nutrition and Male Fertility Coming up!

Nutrition Advice, Health & Lifestyle Coaching

Coming Soon at Ray of Sunshine Nutrition: Cardiff and London Clinics
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Get Fitter and Healthy

Healthy Eating, Diet & Weight Management Clinics
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Email for more Details (Limited Availability).

Monday, 19 March 2012

Young at Heart: Dont put off Better Health

The Impact of Health and Lifestyle Choices

Research from Northwestern University, Chicago, USA,  has highlighted the significance of health and lifestyle choices made in early adulthood can have a major impact on occurrence of future health issues, especially heart complaints.

Good or bad choices made in your 20's and carried on until your 40's could determine good or bad health in later life, with the study highlighting those who maintained good health through healthy eating, regular exercise, non smoking and moderate alcohol intake for this 20 year period were then strongly associated with a lower risk of heart disease and cardiovascular problems in middle age.

Better Lifestyle earlier in life could help in middle age

The study funded by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health funded this research and led by lead researcher Kiang Liu importantly emphasized that:

"In this study, even people with a family history of heart problems were able to have a low cardiovascular disease risk profile if they started living a healthy lifestyle when they were young,"
 "This supports the notion that lifestyle may play a more prominent role than genetics."

So even despite the influence of genetics and family history of illness and disease, a persons own lifestyle and health choices made at an early time in their life were the most significant pointers to good or bad health, with the study considering health influences that were most important in benefiting health including lean body mass index (BMI), no excess alcohol intake, no smoking, a healthy diet and regular physical activity were able to keep themselves in the low risk category for heart health problems.

"Sixty percent of those who maintained all five healthy lifestyles reached middle age with the low cardiovascular risk profile, compared with fewer than 5 percent who followed none of the healthy lifestyles."

Kian Lui highlighted the significance of the study as a marker of the benefits of maintaining good health through life to help keep health problems at bay:

"Many studies suggest that people who have low cardiovascular risk in middle age will have a better quality of life, will live longer and will have lower Medicare costs in their older age,"

 I have in recent articles emphasized the benefits of balanced blood sugar, energy balance to help maintain good health and the benefits of 15 minutes of exercise each day and it seems the younger you get started and maintain simple health, nutrition and lifestyle choices then the chance for a happier, healthier later life becomes a nice reality.

Journal Reference:
  1. K. Liu, M. L. Daviglus, C. M. Loria, L. A. Colangelo, B. Spring, A. C. Moller, D. M. Lloyd-Jones. Healthy Lifestyle Through Young Adulthood and the Presence of Low Cardiovascular Disease Risk Profile in Middle Age: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in (Young) Adults (CARDIA) Study. Circulation, 2012; 125 (8): 996 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.060681

Nutrition Advice, Health & Lifestyle Coaching

Coming Soon at Ray of Sunshine Nutrition: Cardiff and London Clinics
 For more benefits of a well balanced diet, healthier lifestyle and learning simple tips to improve energy and find time for some exercise.....and a little Chocolate then drop us a line and discover our New Clinic opportunities and extended Home Visits in London, Wales and other parts of the UK.

Get Fitter and Healthy

Healthy Eating, Diet & Weight Management Clinics
Look out for New Introductory offers from April 2012 - September2012. Coming Soon
Full Consultations, Drop in sessions & Home Visits
Email for more Details (Limited Availability).

Monday, 12 March 2012

Chocolate and Your Health: Good or bad?

Could Chocolate's Good rap be the Best Health News Ever?

Patients tell me that Easter is a favourite time for them as it's ok to have chocolate.
They seemed shocked and surprised when l tell that most days of the year are my favourite because they involve chocolate is some form or other. Truly one of my favourite subjects, and not just for Easter, and as part of a well balanced diet with good amounts of exercise each day, then some chocolate, especially dark chocolate may just be what some of us need and not have to feel too guilty about consuming.

With extensive world wide research in recent years looking into to the potential benefits of the cocoa bean and resulting product, chocolate having thrown up very interesting results, the euphoria surrounding this may well be justified, as has been highlighted already in 2012.

I was heartened (excuse the pun) by a study from Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in the US, where Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute cardiologist Julie Damp, M.D and he team looked further into previous research of the heart health benefits of Dark Chocolate  and it's potential antioxidant affect of it's Flavonoids being good for heart health, which are also similarly present in Red Wine.

The research team in this instance back up a previous report from January this year from Susan Ofria, a registered Dietitian at the Loyola University Health System’s Melrose Park Campus, that looked specifically at the active component in Chocolate and Red Wine, Resveratrol, that provides that antioxidant potential and the benefits for health, such as in heart health.

Dark Chocolate may hold potential benefits to heart health

Dark Chocolate with a Cocoa content higher than 70% (I prefer to get my hands some amazing 85% chocolate) contains the beneficial levels of Resveratrol that may be beneficial to health as part of a well balanced diet and active lifestyle,  and is associated with lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels and according to these reports "improvement in the way your blood vessels dilate and relax," all with the potential to assist with health in the right circumstances.

As highlighted previously in this blog, scientific research has pinpointed Resveratrol for it's potential anti cancer abilities, prevents age related impairment, have a positive impact on obesity, it's anti-inflammatory, antioxidants affect that can at the same time increase blood flow and overall further reduce the risk of Cardio vascular disease (CVD), and may have potential benefits in regards Metabolic syndrome and dark chocolate and cocoa can now be added to the products that contain the naturally occurring antioxidant.

Further chocolate benefits studies have similarly suggested the potential for health in a well balanced diet, firstly, chocolate and heart health as highlighted by Dr Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge carried out a large scale review of the existing evidence to evaluate the effects of eating chocolate on cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.

And before that, Circulation: Heart Failure, a journal of the American Heart Association, reported the work of Murrray Mittleman, M.D., Dr.P.H., lead researcher of the study at the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, where links we made to weekly chocolate consumption with higher Cocoa content, usually found in Dark chocolate, or especially in European chocolate, potentially leading to lower risk of heart failure, as Dr Mittleman highlighting what we all really know...

"You can't ignore that chocolate is a relatively calorie-dense food and large amounts of habitual consumption is going to raise your risks for weight gain,".......But if you're going to have a treat, dark chocolate is probably a good choice, as long as it's in moderation."

Which Chocolate is Best?

By all accounts from the research detailed above and much more into the antioxidant content of chocolate and any potential health benefit it may have, it's dark chocolate that comes out on top in this regard, but along with comes research from Denmark, where scientists at the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE) have shown that dark Chocolate may also be more filling than milk chocolate, giving a general feeling of satiety longer than milk chocolate and lessen the potential for food cravings, over-eating and consumption of too many calories.

With the calorific content the same for both milk and dark chocolate in the study, participants after the consumption of the chocolate ate significantly less in an subsequent meal and overall had less of an appetite for over eating too much on sugary, salty and fatty foods.

Dark Chocolate could reduce cravings, ease emotional stress and assist the Liver

And the potential benefits may not end there according to research highlighted in the American Chemical Society (ACS) Journal of Proteome Research, some Dark chocolate each day within a well balanced diet may help ease 'emotional stress' by a reduction in levels of stress hormones and other stress-related biochemical changes in volunteers who rated themselves as 'highly stressed' and were asked to eat dark chocolate for a two week period.

"The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams [1.4 ounces] during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of healthy human volunteers," 

 The beneficial Phytochemicals and Antioxidants qualities of dark Chocolate are also interesting researchers and scientists looking at the impact of Liver damage from cirrhosis and whether chocolate, especially high quality dark chocolate may help reduce damage.
The Spanish research team looked at results that showed dark chocolate consumption could
"reduce the postprandial (after-meal) blood pressure in the liver (or portal hypertension) associated with damaged liver blood vessels (endothelial dysfunction). "

 The damage done by Liver Cirrhosis can not only cause a dangerous raise of blood pressure levels in the Liver, but also elsewhere in the body leading to potential fatal consequences for health, however, Dark Chocolate consumption could provide some benefit.

Cocoa- A 'Super Fruit' ?

So with researchers and scientists alike highlighting the potential benefits of some daily consumption of dark Chocolate within a balanced diet and lifestyle on our health, some going so far to call Cocoa/chocolate a 'Super Fruit' that may be good for the heart, liver, blood pressure and our emotional state then one can start to see how great some of the 'dark stuff' may just be.

I for one shall continue to choose my Dark Chocolate well and try and enjoy some each day in between the fruits and Vegetables and the 15 minutes of exercise.

Happy eating!

Nutrition Advice, Health & Lifestyle Coaching

Coming Soon at Ray of Sunshine Nutrition: Cardiff and London Clinics
 For more benefits of a well balanced diet, healthier lifestyle and learning simple tips to improve energy and find time for some exercise.....and a little Chocolate then drop us a line and discover our New Clinic opportunities and extended Home Visits in London, Wales and other parts of the UK.

Get Fitter and Healthy

Healthy Eating, Diet & Weight Management Clinics
Look out for New Introductory offers from April 2012 - September2012. Coming Soon
Full Consultations, Drop in sessions & Home Visits
Email for more Details (Limited Availability).

Friday, 2 March 2012

To be Inspired

I am inspired by people in Nutrition, in science and health, innovators in medicine and those people who chose to help others, to inspire others to help themselves...and then inspire more people.

After the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan it seems their are people of inspiration that arise from the worst broken foundations and washed away realities....

Yoshi's Blend from Mackenzie Sheppard on Vimeo.

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies"

Monday, 27 February 2012

Experience Freedom-Always great after a Tough day

Last year was tough....this year is going to be much better.

Today they tried to Knock me down...but l just got back up....and will keep doing so to enjoy great times in great places with the people l love.

Have a dream,.......and don't give up.


Experience Freedom from Betty Wants In on Vimeo.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Migraines and Nutrition: Cause or Cure?

Look to Nutrition when Dealing with Migraine

Migraine headache are caused by excessive dilation of blood vessels in the head, potentially effecting 15%-20% of me and up to 25%-30% of woman.

In terms of diet and Nutrition, it’s recognised that Food allergy or intolerance can play a role in many cases of Migraine with patients, with detection and removal of potential allergies/intolerances from certain foods from their diet having been shown to reduce or even eliminate symptoms of Migraine in many patients, success ranging between 30%-90%.

Food Issues


Histamine foods such as Red wine, cheese&chocolate can cause problems

Certain foods may play apart in onset Migraine because they contain Histamines and other Vasoactive compounds that can trigger migraines in those susceptible by causing blood vessels to expand in the head.
Such Foods that can potentially cause issues for some include:

  •        Red Wine: This has 20 times the histamine that is found in white wine, and as such when stimulated to release vasoactive compounds can inhibit the enzyme ‘Phenolsulfotransferasethat is commonly low in Migraine sufferers inducing more Migraine Headaches when Red wine is drunk.
  •       Chocolate, Aged Cheese, beer, fermented sausage, sour cream are other such foods high in Histamine, and if not metabolised well, they can cause the blood vessels in the head to close which can trigger Migraines.
  •          Citrus Fruits: Oranges, orange juice and other such citrus fruits may cause problems with many Migraine sufferers
  •       Salt: Large amounts of salt may also act as a trigger for Migraine sufferers
  •       Saturated Fat: Cutting out bacon, preserved meats, butter, dairy products such as whipped cream, lard, ghee, biscuits and cakes can aid significant reduction in Migraine attacks in some individuals
  •       Foods containing Tyramine: Kidney Beans, Marmite, Bovril, Oxo and other protein/yeast extracts can cause problems for many sufferers with Migraine
  •         Aspartame: A commonly used sweetener, found in soft drinks, fizzy pop, some sweets and chewing gum may increase migraine incidence in individuals
  •       Food Colourings: Some food dyes may increase migraine incidence


Sulfar is used in food as a preservative, such as Sulfar Dioxide and Sodium Sulfite, all uses mainly to extend shelf life, and this can be just as common in dried fruit such as apricots from the health food shop as it can in shelfish and in wine.
Selecting Biodynamic/Organic wines that do not contain sulfates maybe an option for some with Migraine issues. The online store Vintage Roots is also a good provider to consider.

Biodynamic Wines are sulfite Free

Nutrition Migraine Help

Some dietary changes and the possible use of supplements containing important vitamins and minerals may help some who have to deal with Migraine attacks:

  •          Essential Fatty Acids: Fish such as Salmon, Tuna, Trout, sardines, mackerel and Cod for example are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids can reduce blood platelet aggression, preventing blood vessels closing that can cause Migraine. The anti inflammatory affect can reduce headache frequency and intensity. Other forms of essential fats found in olive oil, flax oil and supplemented Fish Oils and help with Migraine and it’s effects
  •          Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): Found in spinach, Broccoli, eggs, green beans, kale and Raspberries to name but a few, Vitamin B2, important in our diet to help us produce energy that helps the function of the body. It’s believed Migraines are caused by reduced energy production within the mitochondria of celebral blood vessels.
  •          Magnesium: Low levels of Magnesium are linked to Migraine attack in many as Magnesium is vitally important in the integrity of blood vessels and nerve cells. Best food sources can be found in Broccoli, spinach, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, basil, kale, ginger, salmon and Tomatoes to name but a few that might help within our daily dietary intake.
  •          Vitamin B6: This important vitamin is able to improve Histamine tolerance, so foods such as garlic, cauliflower, tuna, bananas, cabbage, watermelon, turmeric, carrots and brussels sprouts to name but a few ca n play an important part in general daily diet but especially those who are looking to reduce potential incidence and severity of Migraine headache
  •         Garlic and Onions and other foods that inhibit blood platelet aggression will be important to Migraine sufferers

Magnesium rich foods may benefit Migraine sufferers


Those looking at supplements should make sure good quality Vitamin and Mineral supplements contain Magnesium and a full selection and B Vitamins for energy production.

Fish oils and other essential fats such as flax may also be taken supplementary, so for all advice and help on this and others, try the Natural Dispensary

 Migraines Can be Debilitating, Don't let them Be

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