Kick start 2017

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Start 2017 the way you mean to continue and kick start your health and wellness with a systems overhaul.
Nutritionist Danielle Roberts offers some advice.

If you missed my last article on how to stay balanced over the holiday season, or body imbalances are still giving you grief, then this article is my gift to you. I’m taking a look at three major body systems involved in cleansing and healing the body; creating greater awareness and knowledge for you and giving examples of some foods which help bring back the balance.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

I have talked about the digestive system in previous Fitness Journal articles. However I want to help you to understand an important balance for the digestive system over summer months. Being warmer weather, we tend to consume more cooling drinks and foods, which is a perfectly natural response. For those who have bloating, can’t digest food properly or lack energy, this natural response could be causing your body to become more imbalanced. It is important to consider your balance of cooling and warming foods, to help cool yourself in the warm weather but also keep digestive fires burning to aid digestion of food and burning of metabolism.

Spinach: high in B vitamins great for the metabolism and energy. Being a green plant its plant cells are also super high in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll captures sunlight energy to make the plant’s energy – which means we get most of that powerful energy to revitalise our cells.

Mint: fantastic for any digestive imbalances that involve bloating or pain as it is very soothing. It also has cooling properties when consumed with cooling liquids.

Banana: great source of balance for our muscle fibre contractions (in working muscle and organ tissues like large bowels and stomach wall). This is needed in the warmer weather especially if you sweat a lot.

Almond milk: great as a neutral milk for those with intolerances.

Coconut water: fantastic balance of natural electrolytes and is also very cooling and refreshing.

Ginger: now to counter balance some of the cooling properties, added in some fresh ginger to ignite the digestive fire and to create circulation of blood throughout the body to aid the transport nutrients through our body.

(All these ingredients make for a fabulous smoothie. You can email me danielle@fuelnutrition.co.nz for the recipe or you can find it on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/fuelnutrition4life)

LIVER

Some important roles of the liver
•  recycling of sex hormones (reducing unideal forms of estrogen and testosterone- if becomes out of balance can end up with hormonal diseases like PCOS and endometriosis)
•  recycling of cholesterol ( reducing bad forms – if this becomes out of balance we can end up with high blood pressure and cholesterol which if not sorted out can lead to heart disease).
•  balancing blood levels of glucose, amino acids and fats ( if not kept in balance can end up with diabetes- pancreas issues and heart disease).
•  makes non -essential proteins.
•  makes bile to breakdown fats (if bile isn’t produced can end up with gall bladder issues).

If we aren’t nourishing our bodies right, if we are stressing too much i.e. mentally or emotionally we can inhibit the liver from functioning optimally.

This means it will only deal with getting rid of the toxins because that is most important for survival— all the other functions start to slow down. This creates great imbalances in the body. Not only for just the liver but all the other systems and processes it is linked to as mentioned above! If the toxic level becomes too great– toxins will be sent to other tissues in the body effecting them also creating a widespread systemic issue. By this stage the person might be also experiencing what is called fatty liver.

Normally associated to alcoholics but now also associated with people who stress a lot also. What happens is the cells of the liver that make up the organ start to become damaged from the toxins and break down and eventually die. In place of those cells along comes fat globules that take the place of the cell. This means there are even less cells to do the long list of jobs above and so the cycle continues.

Good news, your liver is regenerative! So, if you create the environment for your liver to heal it will be able to produce new cells to start functioning again. Too much fatty foods and alcohol over the holidays? Below are foods that will help you bring your body back into balance…

Lemon: the limonene a compound in the lemon is a powerful cleanser – it will clean your bench top of germs, which says everything really. It will cleanse the inside of your liver and also works well with cleansing and balancing the stomach for better digestion of the nutrients you are eating.

Mango: high in vitamin A / beta carotene the vitamin needed for repairing the damaged liver cells. Also high in digestive enzymes to help break down our food.

Green apples:  apple juice especially like lemon is great for cleansing the liver and also flushing out the lymphatic system which also plays huge part of removing the toxins/ waste from the body.

Kale and/or broccoli: high in hormone and cholesterol recycling compounds great for kick starting those other processes in the body.

Celery: great for aiding the lymphatic system. Works great with the lemon and apple juice.

Coriander/parsley: both of these are easily grown and they also work very well with the detoxification processes (much like the supplements below) of the liver and lymphatic system.

KIDNEYS

The role of the kidneys is to act as one of the last filtration systems of wastes and toxins in the body. They deal with purifying liquids i.e. water and fluid. As well as purifying blood, the kidneys also monitor pressure controlled by hormones. So, if you have high blood pressure it’s not just the heart that is out of balance it is actually the kidneys. And if the kidneys are out of balance so is the liver because it is the largest detoxification centre in the body. Another role of the kidneys is to balance blood sugar levels – hence why those who are pre-diabetic or diabetic can lose a lot of blood glucose in their urine.

Foods that are great for kidney function:

Watermelon: high in water content, but also in electrolytes, vitamins and minerals essential for flushing and healing the kidneys

Beetroot: great for blood circulation and detoxification, hence a great aid for cleansing the kidneys. If you have too much beetroot you may find you end up with slightly pink urine. Beetroot is also the greatest food source to aid the functioning of the spleen so the correct amount of red blood cells are in our body carrying oxygen and iron for energy.

Lemon in water: the compound limonene in lemons is fantastic for cleansing and purifying

Any group of fruit, vegetable, seeds and legumes containing the antioxidant anthocyanin (includes beetroot) like blueberries, grapes, cranberries, black beans, black sesame seeds, black chia seeds. The anthocyanins are strong blood purifiers and detoxifiers so great in assisting cleansing and healing the kidneys.

Bananas are full of potassium so are great for aiding rebalancing of blood pressure function in the kidneys. Bananas are also calming, so are useful for reducing stress responses in the body.

Turmeric: fantastic anti-inflammatory so if there are strong imbalances in the kidneys causing inflammation, then turmeric can aid the healing process.

Enjoy kick-starting your health and vitality for a magnificent 2017 year.

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