Posts

The Paleo Diet Serotonin Depression-min

Serotonin & The Paleo Diet

We have probably all heard the word serotonin, but usually in relation to going to the gym or doing another form of exercise. It is true to say that exercise boots serotonin levels in the brain, which is why we feel better after a workout, even if it was a bit of a struggle to get there. Serotonin is what is often referred to as the feel good transmitter as it plays a huge part in how happy we feel and if the levels of serotonin in our brain are too low, it can often lead to depression.

Depression is the result of an imbalance of hormones and exists when the neurological system is not functioning as it should be. There are many people who also believe that depression is related to inflammation in the body, which can also cause other illnesses. There is a strong relation between the body and the mind, which is why we need to take care of our bodies, in order to feel balanced and happy in the mind.

Depression can really take over a persons’ life and stop them enjoying important stages of their lives. It is a type of mental illness which can cause the sufferer to become suppressed and even stop going out completely. There are many people who turn to their doctors when they feel themselves becoming depressed and the answer is often a bottle of anti-depressants. These may help in the short term but they can be addictive, so much so that the user may not be able to come off them. It is important to realise the connection between body and mind and take care of our diets as a way of ensuring we don’t suffer from depression.

The Paleo Diet Serotonin Depression-min

As the Paleo diet involves eating the right balance of foods which reduce inflammation and lift serotonin levels, it can be hugely effective in combating an illness such as depression. A diet which is rich in Omega 3 is thought to be a way of reducing and fighting depression as it contains lots of anti-oxidants which help us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The oil in fish is a natural method of combating depression and can be found in lots of tasty foods such as salmon, tuna and seafood.

It is important to eat foods which reduce inflammation in the body as this is thought to increase our chances of suffering from mental illnesses such as depression. The Paleo diet is a way to achieve this by stocking up on vegetables, fruit and fish and staying away from candy and crisps. Inflammation is not only significant in the effects on the brain but it can also increase the likelihood of suffering from other serious illnesses such as cancer and diabetes.

Foods which contain high levels of protein can also be beneficial in lifting our moods, as they contain amino acids which are known to improve our neurotransmitters. The proper functioning of the neurotransmitters is the way to maintain a healthy mind and as a result, a healthy body.

In order to raise our serotonin levels and ensure we feel healthier from the inside to the outside, we need to look at the natural way of achieving this, rather than reaching for tablets. A healthy diet, together with a combination of exercise, can go a long way to helping us to feel healthier and happier for the rest of our lives. We can change our diet to incorporate healthier food groups, such as meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, at any stage of our lives and it will still have a huge effect on our health.

It is not a case of depriving yourself when following the Paleo diet; it is a method of eating lots of all of the right foods which are natural enhancers of serotonin levels, as well as helping us to achieve a healthy weight. Food plays a huge part in our lives and as such, it is essential to get it right.

7 signs deficient vitamin d sunshine paleo network

7 Signs You’re Deficient in Vitamin D

Do you get enough Vitamin D? Luckily we seem to be coming out of the sun-fearing era slightly, but even so, with so many of us in office jobs, it can be really hard to get enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D Deficiency 7 Signs Symptoms Sun Exposure Paleo Network

Whilst some foods are fortified with vitamin D, they aren’t natural whole foods-and even so, the amount they provide is tiny compared to the levels you can get naturally, from the sun.

There’s no substitute for getting regular blood tests to find out exactly where your vitamin D levels are sitting, but did you know certain symptoms may indicate a deficiency?

How’s your mood?

Sunlight boosts serotonin levels, which are associated with our mood. If you’re feeling inexplicably blue, vitamin D is definitely worth investigating.

You have darker skin

The darker your skin, the more sun exposure you’ll need to get sufficient vitamin D levels.  This means if you have darker skin and live further from the equator – or spend a lot of time indoors, you’re more likely to be deficient

You’re in pain

If you have bone or muscle pain, this could also point to low vitamin D levels. In fact, most muscle weakness appears to be linked to low levels of vitamin D.

You’re tired

If you’re generally feeling fatigued, this could be because you don’t have enough of the vitamin D required for its role in energy production.

Respiratory issues

Another potential symptom is chronic respiratory problems such as asthma – it’s been observed that higher vitamin D levels can decrease the severity of asthma attacks.

You’re overweight

Being overweight means you need move vitamin D in your system, since its fat soluble – whilst decreased levels also make it harder to lose weight.

You get every infection and bug going around

Vitamin D plays an important role in your immune system – so if you’re catching one thing after another, get those levels checked!

When did you last get your levels checked? Were you deficient?

 

Are you suffering from Adrenal fatigue signs symptoms what is paleo diet-min

Are You Suffering From Adrenal Fatigue?

Tired, washed out and exhausted, even when you had enough sleep? Feeling tired, weak and incapable of doing things? Could you be suffering from adrenal fatigue?




What are the adrenals?

The adrenals are like two caps on top of the kidneys which play a key role in the endocrine (hormonal) system. They produce more than 50 different hormones, such as adrenaline (epinephrine), noradrenaline, cortisol, progesterone and testosterone. These hormones are involved in energy production, water-salt balance, blood pressure, metabolism, heartbeat, liver function, the immune system, blood sugar level, fat storage and dealing with stress.

When we’re under stress, the adrenals should react by releasing adrenalin and noradrenalin to cope with physical danger, typically called the ‘fight or flight’-reaction. Whenever the ‘danger’ is gone, the adrenals make sure that the hormone levels are back to normal. Cortisol is produced in this situation and the release of DHEA is suppose to ‘un-stress’ the body.

And, who isn’t faced with stress these days? Work, family, pressure from friends and our eating pattern put us under constant stress. This stress on the mental, physical and emotional levels, ensure that the adrenals are constantly overloaded with the amount of hormones they have to release. When these processes are prolonged, the adrenals can become exhausted; adrenal fatigue. We start to feel tired and are not able to cope with whatever comes our way any more.

Are you suffering from Adrenal fatigue signs symptoms what is paleo diet-min

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue

Because the adrenals play such an important role in the endocrine system, the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are expressed in various forms. This long list makes it more than clear that the right balance of hormones is crucial to us.

  • Appetite for salt
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Dizziness
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Inflammations
  • Headache
  • Unstable blood sugar
  • Excessive thirst and urge to urinate
  • Swellings
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Varicose veins
  • Bad digestion
  • Heart disorders
  • Asthma
  • Infections
  • Behavioral and memory problems
  • Allergies
  • Hyperpigmentation

Some other symptoms are

  • Mood swings
  • Irritation
  • Low energy level
  • Depression
  • Painful bodyparts
  • Low bloodpressure
  • Anxiety attacks
  • And many more…

What to do if you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue?

Change your nutrition! When you have adrenal fatigue, the time you eat becomes very important. You need to keep the cortisol in your blood at the right level. If you don’t have the right amount of cortisol in your blood, it’s hard for your body to keep the right glucose levels. The result of this could be hypoglycemia.

People with exhausted adrenals often tend to choose the foods and drinks which give them energy at the expense of the adrenals, such as fast food, soft drinks and coffee. The fats in fast food are the wrong fats, the carbohydrates are often refined and the nutritional value is low. This way they withhold their body of the nutrients it needs more than ever, to function and recover. And this will make the adrenals more and more exhausted.

Eat immediately when you get up, to refuel your body. This is not the time for intermitant fasting.

Eat a strict Paleo diet, with enough protein, healthy fats, unrefined carbohydrates, vegetables and enough fruits. You may choose to experiment with increasing your carbohydrate intake in the form of things like pumpkin and sweet potato.

Stress is a huge factor, with sufferers of adrenal fatigue simply truing to do it all. When trying to heal, it’s really important to reduce stress, and take time out to meditate and relax.

Have you suffered from adrenal fatigue? What helped you to heal? Please share your stories and tips in the comments below, and help someone out!

Estrogen paleo diet oestrogen-min

Estrogen & The Paleo Diet

When people mention estrogen they are more often than not referring to estradiol which is the major form of oestrogen in both men and pre-menopausal women. Today we will talk about estradiol which is the hormone that has the most wide-ranging effects on both woman and men.

What is estrogen?

It’s actually a catch-all type term for a number of chemicals with similar functions and shapes such as estradiol (E2) or estrone (E3). During a females reproductive years her estradiol levels are higher than other estrogens. During menopause however these estradiol levels decrease with the bulk of the woman’s estrogen content coming from E3 and E1. This is important as it is the E2 that the woman’s ovaries pump out and this is what has the biggest effect on her reproducing years – sending fat stores to the hips and thighs rather than to the abdomen. It is the decrease in E2 during menopause that leads to an increase of abdominal fat.

Estrogen is also responsible for maturing the female sex organs and the growth of the uterus. In males while testosterone is responsible for the male reproductive organs estrogens inhibits the death of cells in sperm cells.

Estrogen actually inhibits growth and has been used effectively to stop girls growing too tall. It is also a major part of bone development for males and females and can lead to poor done density as women age as they become unable to produce normal amounts of estrogen. Estrogen replacement therapy usually assists and rectifies the bone density problem.

Women suffering from clinical depression have been found to produce less estrogen – but more testosterone, than normal with estrogen replacement therapy helping their condition. Men who suffer from depression actually produce far more estrogen than normal. Women also have an increase in function of their atherosclerotic arteries which could help explain the increase in heart conditions in pre-menopausal women.

Estrogen has reduced the formation of amyloidal plaque that occurs in the brain of Alzheimer patients. In as many as 80% of breast cancer cases estrogen receptor sites rely on estrogen for fuel, with a rather common treatment for this type of breast cancer being to suppress the production of estrogen. Research has shown that males who received high levels of estrogen whilst in the womb are at greater risk of developing prostate and testicular cancer as adults.

Primal Diet Supplements Mineral Vitamin Deficiencies

Estrogen is very useful and can reduce strength and lean muscle mass while still promoting body fat accumulation with estrogen-dominant males often being obese and under-muscled. It is the large dose of estrogen that throws off the delicate hormonal balance and cause problems. While stunting a Childs growth might sound negative when you first hear about it, unchecked growth can have terrible consequences for the Child’s health.

Both males and females need and produce estrogen for a reason as it has some very important uses within the human body. The problems lie in the unnatural amounts of the hormone within the body . Estrogen is essential for both women and men but imbalances – especially in post-menopausal women and in men can lead to muscle loss and fat gain.

Have you had your levels tested? If you’ve had an imbalance, please share your experience in the comments below – you never know who you might help out!

Estrogen paleo diet oestrogen-min

Curing cancer with sugar fund raising cupcakes cake sale paleo-min

Curing Cancer With Sugar?

I’ve seen two examples of cancer charities fundraising by selling sweets, chocolates and cakes, just in the last three days.  It makes me so cross – and makes me realise how far we’ve yet to go in terms of nutritional understanding.

Cure-Cancer-With-Sugar-min

From what I understand there seem to be significant links between cancer and sugar.  Apparently cancer cells require far more glucose than normal cells to grow, and studies indicate depriving cells of glucose can be effective in killing cancerous cells.  Restricting calories, such as through intermittent fasting, also appears to be effective in starving cancer cells.  Sugar also appears to have a role to play in inflammation, oxidation and the cellular damage from which cancer originates.  I’ve also been reading a lot about the hormone IGF  1, present in milk which appears to elevate hormone levels and may increase the risk of ovarian, prostate and testicular cancers.

So why then are charities trying to cure cancer encouraging people to consume more calories and to consume these calories through processed, dairy rich, sugar-laden products?

Whilst environmental factors clearly are a factor in many cancers, I believe by having a good nutritional base (i.e. a Paleo diet being rich in anti-inflammatory foods, with a good omega 3/ omega 6 ratio and no processed or toxin containing foods) and a good lifestyle, cancer is far less likely.

Another factor that seems prevalent in some cancers is chronic stress.  Whilst in our ancestral history stress used to be severe, but short-lived (threat of attack for example), chronic, long-term stress is now common-place.  Many examples of chronic stress seem to be in the workplace – exactly the places the cancer charities are using to sell these products!  I’d also speculate that it’s stressed workers who are more likely to want the brief satisfaction of chocolates and sweets – exactly the people who shouldn’t have them!

Am I missing something, or is there something seriously wrong about trying to cure cancer with sugar?

Curing cancer with sugar fund raising cupcakes cake sale paleo-min

Is milk paleo dairy primal lacto cheese-min

Dairy and Paleo

Dairy is one Paleo area I’ve been thinking about a lot recently.  A lot of people follow a strict Paleo diet, and include dairy, known as a lacto-Paleo diet.  Dairy is also the main difference between a Primal and a Paleo diet (Primal includes modest amounts of high quality dairy).

Prior to my trip to the AHS in August, my diet was a lot closer to Primal than it was Paleo.  Pedro Bastos gave an excellent lecture at the AHS on Dairy, Hormones & Human Health, which was quite an eye opener for me.

When I got back, I started the Whole30 which meant excluding dairy for 30 days.  I used to drink lots of tea everyday, with milk (I am English after all) – but luckily I got over this in America, as tea just didn’t seem to be as common place over there.  I also used to have a fair amount of yoghurt and cheese, which I also gave up.  I expected to be counting down the days when I could resume my dairy habit, but it just didn’t happen.

Since August I haven’t had any milk, but I have had cheese a couple of times and yoghurt once.  And the strangest thing?  I just don’t miss it at all.  I now enjoy drinking lots of different types of tea without milk, or hot water with a slice of lime.  I’m not really sure how I’d include milk again now!  I do like the taste of cheese and yoghurt, but I just don’t feel the need to include them in my diet.  Since I’ve gone stricter Paleo, I’ve been feeling fantastic.  My skin, sleep, mood, focus and general well being– everything has improved.  I should probably reintroduce dairy to identify exactly the effect it has on me – but given that I don’t miss it, I’d rather just continue to avoid it.

Is milk paleo dairy primal lacto cheese-min

I’m often asked how I can possibly get enough calcium without dairy.  I eat a good amount of dark green leafy vegetables, which are a great source of calcium.  From what I have read calcium balance is far more important than calcium intake.  When eating a diet high in acid-producing foods, such as the standard western diet, the kidney balances the acid load using the alkaline calcium salts from the bones.  As I don’t eat any processed food or grains and have a good balance of alkaline and acid foods in my diet, I have a good calcium balance – and therefore a lower calcium intake is not a problem.

Taking an evolutionary standpoint, obviously milk would not have been drunk until relatively recently, as ruminants weren’t domesticated, so certainly wouldn’t have been milked.  The purpose of milk is to nourish the offspring of the mother and enable it to grow – when you consider we are the only animal to eat another animals milk, it does seem a little odd?

One of the main arguments against dairy is IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor 1).  IGF-1 is increased by the cow’s growth hormones, which cause the cow to produce more milk.  IGF-1 is believed to promote cancer by increasing cell division and multiplying of cancer cells.  Commercial dairy cows are kept in gestation (by being artificially inseminated) almost constantly to ensure they produce milk.  They are milked ten out of 12 months – whereas a more natural milking pattern would involve only milking during early pregnancy.  It’s obviously in the interests of the dairy producers to do this, as they want to produce as much milk as possible.  The further into the pregnancy the more growth hormones are contained in the milk (as clearly the purpose of the milk is to support a growing calf).

For me, the jury is still out.  However, if I do decide to consume dairy again, I’ll go out of my way to find raw milk – I don’t think I could ever be happy with any commercial, pasteurised milk as I feel far to removed from the process and will never really know what is in it – and the condition of the cow(s) it came from.

What do you think about dairy?  Do you feel better of worse including dairy in your diet, or leaving it out?  I’d love to hear your views!