Expert insights for nutrition and exercise
It’s the perfect time of year to make some positive changes in our lifestyles. As awareness is often the first step to change, we share the latest insights from experts at the College of Naturopathic Medicine to help you spring clean your routine.
Mark O’Sullivan, Homeopath: Make new habits
Start off by trying to recognise habitual tendencies and patterns of behaviour that are not serving you well. Set goals for new behaviours by listing the ones you would like to decrease and the ones you want to increase. Use the Bach flower remedies and a journal to support you in change!
Michelle Hone, Exercise Physiologist, Blood sugar control
As well as avoiding refined sugars and increasing our omega 3 intake, exercise is fundamental in blood sugar regulation. Though cardiovascular exercise is crucial, it is in combination with resistance training that it has its most powerful effects. Resistance training/weight bearing exercise has the strongest effect on insulin sensitivity, stabilising blood sugars and overall metabolism. Through resistance, we increase muscle mass and since muscle tissue is the most metabolically active tissue in the body, we quickly burn up calories. This type of training is also when our cortisol levels (stress hormones) are lowered. Exercise in general, but especially resistance and high intensity training, is associated with positive feelings and heightened energy levels. So to really put a spring in your step, start increasing and varying your exercise types.
Jessica Keane, Nutritional Therapist, Gut health and happy foods
Our gut isn’t just responsible for digesting food and absorbing nutrients. It houses an enormous number of nerves and most of our immune system. It helps control appetite, metabolism, energy, mood and immunity! The layer of cells that line the gut acts as a barrier between the foods and bacteria that enter the digestive system and the immune system; housed below the lining of the gut. To help avoid intolerance problems, keep your immune system strong and to fight autoimmune conditions, it’s important to keep that barrier perfectly in tact by achieving optimal digestion. It sounds complex, but we’ve got some handy tips.
- Think about the smell and taste of your food and chew thoroughly as this stage accounts for 40% of digestion.
- Avoid foods that cause wind, burping, bloating.
- Eat a small bitter leaf salad before each meal. Bitter leaves includes chicory, rocket, frisée, radicchio.
- Make soups and stews using homemade stocks.
- Eat fermented, probiotics foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir.
– Getting lots of fibre doesn’t have to be boring
- Eight portions of vegetables per day including: avocado, asparagus, sweet potato, turnip, potatoes, beetroot, artichoke, brussel sprouts and broccoli.
- Add oat bran and ground flaxseed or chia seeds to your cereal.
- Take psyllium husk daily.
- Two pieces of fruit daily.
- Snack on prunes or dried apricots.
- Eat at least one portion of brown rice, millet, quinoa, legumes (beans or lentils) daily.
The number of ‘happy feelings’ we experience are influenced by the state of our neurotransmitters (such as serotonin). These are chemical messengers released from nerve cells in the brain and nervous systems. We can produce ‘Happy Neurotransmitters’ by eating the right foods and decreasing alcohol intake and stress.
– Happy Foods
- Tofu, chicken breast, turkey, wild salmon, sardines, halibut, mussels, eggs (though not too many), lentils, 1brown rice, green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale.
- Asparagus, tahini, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, banana, raw unsweetened chocolate powder.
- Make use of plenty of spices such as cardamom, ground ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and herbs such as parsley, bay leaf, tarragon, coriander and dried marjoram.
- Aim to eat oily fish twice a week.
- One tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily.
The College of Naturopathic medicine trains natural medicine practitioners to international best practice standards. For a prospectus email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01-2353094.