Archive for September, 2010

How much sodium do you really need?

How much sodium do you really need?

The Institute of Medicine recommends the following adequate intakes for adults per day:

1,500 mg for people aged 9 to 50,

1,300 mg for adults aged 51 to 70,

and 1,200 mg for seniors over 70 years of age.

The good and bad of sodium

Despite the negative press on salt, the reality is that the human body needs some sodium to function properly. What exactly does it do for you? For starters, sodium helps maintain the balance of fluids in our bodies, it helps transmit nerve impulses and it also influences muscle contractions.

By and large, the kidney functions to control sodium. If sodium levels are low, the kidneys retain sodium.

If sodium levels are high, the kidneys excrete excess sodium in the urine. But if, for some reason, the kidneys aren’t working properly, or if we ingest too much salt, sodium begins to accumulate in the blood. Because sodium attracts and holds water, blood volume increases and, with it, so does blood pressure.

It is this increase in blood pressure that makes sodium so dangerous, being a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading killers in the U.S. With that in mind, isn’t it about time you thought about a low-sodium diet?

You can cut it out

Because sodium is found in most foods, avoiding sodium through careful food selection isn’t easy. The easiest way is to simply stop adding extra salt to your food. Just one tablespoon of salt contains over 2,000 mg of sodium. Your next best bet is to remove salt from pre-salted foods. That means scraping the salt off of pretzels or crackers.

Aside from that, it’s up to you to read the labels and pick your foods wisely. Just remember to try to stay within the sodium intake ranges listed above. Help yourself by avoiding processed or prepackaged foods, especially canned soups or lunch meats. Instead, make your own soup or eat fresh.

Lastly, you can try spicing your food using a salt alternative like magnesium chloride or potassium chloride. These will provide a similar — but not identical — flavor.

Ask me about ….



 The day finally arrived.
Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven.. 
He is at the Pearly Gates,
met by St. Peter himself.
 However, the gates are closed, 
And Forrest approaches the gatekeeper. 

St. Peter said, ‘Well, Forrest,
It is certainly good to see you.
We have heard a lot about you.     
I must   tell you, though,
that the place is filling up fast, 
And we have been administering   
An entrance examination for everyone.      
 The test is short, but you have to 
Pass it before you can get into Heaven.’ 

Forrest responds,
‘It sure is
 good to be here, St. Peter, sir.     
 But nobody ever told me about any entrance 
Exam.  I sure hope that the test ain’t too hard.  
 Life was a big enough test 
As it was.’ 

St. Peter continued, ‘Yes, I
  know, Forrest,
but the test is only three questions.

What two days of the week 
Begin with the letter T? 

How many seconds are there in a year? 

What is God’s first name?’ 

Forrest leaves to think the questions
 He returns the next day and sees St. Peter,
who waves him up, and
says, ‘Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over,  
Tell me your answers.’ 

Forrest replied, ‘Well, the First one — which two days in the week begins with the letter ‘T’? 
Shucks, that one is easy.  
That would be Today and Tomorrow.’

The Saint’s eyes opened wide and
  he exclaimed, ‘Forrest, that is not what I was thinking,
but you do
 have a point, and I guess I did not specify, so I will give you credit for that answer.  How about the next one?’ asked St. Peter. 

‘How many seconds in a year?
Now that one is harder,’ replied Forrest,
‘but I thunk and thunk about
 that, and I guess the only answer can be twelve.’ 

Astounded, St. Peter said, ‘Twelve?
Twelve?  Forrest, how in Heaven’s name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?’ 

Forrest replied, ‘Shucks, there’s
  got to be twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd… ‘ !
‘Hold it,’ interrupts St.
   ‘I see where you are going with this,
and I see your point,
   though that was not quite what I had in mind…. but I will have to give you credit for that one, too.     
 Let us go on with the third and final question. 
Can you tell me God’s first name’? 

‘Sure,’ Forrest replied,
‘it’s Andy.’ 

‘Andy?’ exclaimed an exasperated
And frustrated St Peter. 

‘Ok, I can understand how you
 came up with your answers to my first two questions,   
 But just how in the world did you come up with the name Andy as the first name of God?’

‘Shucks, that was the easiest  one of all!,’ Forrest replied.  ‘I learnt it from the song, 

St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates,
And said: ‘Run, Forrest, run.’ 


 Lord, Give me a sense of humor!
Give me the ability to understand a clean joke.


Self-harm.Self-harm (SH) or deliberate self-harm (DSH) includes self-injury (SI) and self-poisoning and is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue without suicidal intent. These terms are used in the more recent literature in an attempt to reach a more neutral terminology.It is  refers to self-mutilation. The term is synonymous with “self-injury.” The most common form of self-harm is skin cutting but self-harm also covers a wide range of behaviours including, but not limited to, burning, scratching, banging or hitting body parts, interfering with wound healing, hair pulling (trichotillomania) and the ingestion of toxic substances or objects. Behaviours associated with substance abuse and eating disorders are usually not considered self-harm because the resulting tissue damage is ordinarily an unintentional side effect.

  The cause of Self-Harm

Schizophrenia causes alterations in the brain and the way it perceives reality resulting in the hallmark symptoms of hallucinations and delusions. Schizophrenia can seriously affect a person’s personality and behavior and interfere with the ability to function effectively in everyday life.

The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown but there is a genetic component and it does tend to run in families. People who have a family member with schizophrenia are more likely to develop the disorder than the general population. It is also believed by some researchers that schizophrenia may also be due to over activity the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical in the brain that is vital to normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. Schizophrenia may also be linked to damage to the brain done during fetal development and early childhood due to head injury, birth complications, malnutrition, viral infections, or encephalitis, an infection of the brain.

Schizophrenia is characterized by hallucinations, alterations in sensory perceptions, and delusions, which are false beliefs. Symptoms tend to occur in episodes and can begin with inappropriate or disconnected patterns of speech, social detachment and blank stares. Schizophrenia can also seriously affect emotion and movement. Complications of schizophrenia include self-harm, self-destructive behaviors, and serious difficulties in work, personal relationships, and self-care. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of schizophrenia.

There is no specific test that can diagnose schizophrenia. Making a diagnosis of schizophrenia begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a complete physical examination and mental health exam. Assessment and tests are also performed to ensure that symptoms are not due to other treatable medical conditions, such as a brain tumor, migraine, and hypoglycemia. Symptoms may also be due to the side effect of prescribed medications or the effect of recreational drugs, such as LSD or methamphetamine.

A referral to a psychiatrist or other licensed mental health provider is made to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia. Hospitalization and observation is often needed during an acute episode of suspected schizophrenia in order to ensure safety and complete a diagnosis.

It is possible that a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be missed or delayed because a person with the disorder may not seek care because of the stigma associated with mental illness. In addition, symptoms of schizophrenia can be vague or associated with other conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis and conditions and diseases that can mimic schizophrenia, refer to misdiagnosis of schizophrenia.

There is no specific cure for schizophrenia, but it can be successfully treated and controlled in many cases. Treatment generally includes a combination of medications and psychotherapy.

What are Menopausal Hot Flushes?

What are Menopausal Hot Flushes?

Hot flushes affect about three-quarters of menopausal women and are likely to be as individual as the women who have them. Most women will agree that flushing is uncomfortable and at times embarrassing, and can interfere with your ability to concentrate and carry out activities. The way that a flush can feel will vary with the woman. Most women will experience episodes of heat which vary in intensity, often accompanied with perspiration. Other symptoms include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, ‘butterflies in the stomach’, confusion and palpitations.

It is thought that hot flushes are related to the changes in your hormones, in particular oestrogen. Hot flushes are not caused solely by oestrogen withdrawal. An increase of luteinising hormone (LH) commonly causes the symptoms that are associated with a hot flush. Thyroid disorders can also aggravate menopausal symptoms.

Most of the time the period when you experience hot flushes lasts for about 1-2 years, but some may experience these for up to ten years. Rest assured that you have the ability to lessen this time and to reduce the severity of your symptoms with natural methods such as diet and lifestyle modifications. There are also several herbal preparations that are effective at relieving uncomfortable menopausal symptoms, however it is important that these be sought from a qualified naturopath or herbalist as most over-the-counter preparations will not have the same quality, and a herbalist can design a tonic that is specific for your needs. Sage tea may help to reduce sweating.

Risk of Hot Flushes Occurring increases with:
A maternal history of hot flushes, early menopause, cigarette smoking, early menarche and alcohol use are considered to be risk factors for more severe hot flushes.

Natural Remedies that have been found useful in managing Menopausal Hot Flushes

Improvement may be felt with any or a combination of the following natural remedies. These suggestions do not take the place of advice and treatment that would be obtaines from a consultation with your chsen health professional.

Phyto-oestrogens are structurally similar to the oestrogen molecule and because of this they can bind to the body’s oestrogen receptors. The effect that the phyto-oestrogens have is varied, but recent studies have shown that the oestrogen levels of the woman will determine what sort of action the phyto-oestrogens will have. In a postmenopausal woman who has very little oestrogen, then phyto-oestrogens will exert a pro-oestrogenic effect, whereas a woman who has an oestrogen dominant condition would experience an anti-oestrogen effect. In short, the phyto-oestrogens have a balancing action on oestrogen status.

Studies have shown that cultures with a high intake of soya products have significantly less menopausal symptoms than western cultures. Asian diets are high in soy based foods (40–100 mg per day of isoflavones in Asian diets as compared to ❤ mg per day in western diets), and most women in these countries express minimal menopausal complaints. Several other studies have shown that soy can improve menopausal symptoms, in particular hot flushes. They suggest an intake of 10-15 g of soy protein or 60 mg isoflavones (range of 30-100 mg) per day.

There are several types of phyto-oestrogens and these are isoflavones, coumestans, lignans, flavones, flavonols and flavanones. Isoflavones are responsible for the cardio-protective activities, improving bone density and protecting against breast cancer. They are found mainly in soya products and legumes. Coumestans are the main phyto-oestrogen studied for menopausal symptoms, and these are found in legumes such as soya products, peas and beans, and are highest in sprouted legumes such as alfalfa, mung bean or snow pea. The western diet is generally very low in these foods, but it is not difficult to include them in your diet.

Increasing phyto-oestrogen intake can be easy. 100g of tofu per day has been shown to reduce hot flushes and vaginal dryness and can be prepared in many ways. You could also use soya milk, add miso and tempeh to your cooking, eat more alfalfa and snow-pea sprouts, or add 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed to your muesli or cereal every morning. It is possible to take soya supplements, however it is preferable to eat soya in its whole food form as this provides a synergistic blend of the protein and soy germ.

Several studies have shown that vitamin supplementation can reduce menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes. Vitamin E supplementation has shown a statistically significant advantage over placebo in reducing hot flushes over four weeks at a dose of 400 IU twice daily. It has also been shown to reduce other common symptoms of menopause including fatigue, dizziness, palpitations, and nervousness9.

Vitamin C and flavonoids may also be of assistance in reducing hot flushes because of their ability to improve vascular integrity. One study performed in the early 1960s showed that supplementation with the flavonoid hesperidin and vitamin C completely relieved hot flushes in 53% of the 94 women studied and reduced them in 34%9. Further research into this area is required.

Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil comes from seeds which contain the oils alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA; omega-6 fatty acid), both precursors of eicosanoids, which are constituents of cell membranes. The biochemical pathway for metabolism of dietary GLA eventually leads to an anti-inflammatory prostaglandin. This is a very popular supplement for the treatment of hot flushes which many women swear by, however the evidence to support this is limited. Dosages required are between 1-3g daily and need to be taken over long periods of time3.

Aggravating foods
Some foods may aggravate hot flushes, and these should be avoided. These foods include alcohol, spicy foods, and coffee.

Observational studies have shown regular aerobic exercise lessens the frequency and severity of hot flushes#. It has several other positive effects, such as an improvement of mood, memory, libido, energy and weight loss#.

Performing relaxation exercises every day, such as meditation and breathing exercises, can help to reduce the intensity of hot flushes.

It may be helpful to wear loose fitting clothing made from natural material such as cotton. Wearing outer layers that are easily removed allows you to easily cool down when you’re experiencing a flush.

Many women will experience night sweats that require them to change the sheets. By placing a towel under them, they can simply remove it if it becomes wet and this saves the trouble of changing the sheets every morning.

Stress and anxiety can bring on and worsen hot flushes therefore steps should be made to reduce stress in your life. Meditation, counselling and herbal medicine can help to reduce stress.

What can I do about Menopausal Hot Flushes?

The Herbal Approach
Your Naturopath can create a treatment plan to ease your menopausal symptoms. The treatment may be a combination of hormone modulating, cooling and calming. A naturopath will also assess your adrenal and liver health as these are common underlying factors. An individual formula will not only be of high quality, it will be tailored to your specific needs.

Alison Mitchell
B.App.Sc (Nat Stud), Post Grad.Dip.(Nat) MATMS MNHAA


Care for your skin

How To Care For Face Skin? What is the secret of a beautiful face? Proper skin care, the right beauty sleep every night, a balanced diet and an extra portion of care on a regular basis…
     We must also remember that the needs of our skin change: During the day, it needs protection from the environmental effects, for example. At night, it is regenerating and therefore needs care that supports this process. Keep in mind that, the skin’s ability to regenerate wanes with age. So it is especially then that it needs care and nutrients.
     You’re never too young or too old to start taking care of your skin. In fact, skin care and protection should be an essential part of your health, fitness, and beauty regime. If you take care of your skin, your skin will take care of you!
     Throughout your life, genetic and environmental factors cause a lot of wear and tear to your skin. How you take care of your skin will determine how well your skin will look in years to come.



I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I have ever heard. Please read, pay attention, and send it on!   Diane K


I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I’ve ever read.

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack .. you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story of      one woman’s experience with a heart attack.

‘I had a heart attack at about 10 :30  PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, ‘A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you’ve been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you’ve swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most  uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn’t have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation—the only trouble was that I hadn’t taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).

This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. ‘AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening — we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven’t we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I think I’m having a heart attack!

I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn’t be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else … but, on the other hand, if I don’t, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics … I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn’t feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in. 

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don’t remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like ‘Have you taken any medications?’) but I couldn’t make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

‘I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St. Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints.
‘Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.’

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body not the usual men’s symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn’t know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better in the morning when they wake up … which doesn’t happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you’ve not felt before. It is better to have a ‘false alarm’ visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!
2. Note that I said ‘Call the Paramedics.’ And if you can take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!  Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER – you are a hazard to others on the road.  Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what’s happening with you instead of the road.  Do NOT call your doctor — he doesn’t know where you live and if it’s at night you won’t reach him anyway, and if it’s daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics.. He doesn’t carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later. 

3. Don’t assume it couldn’t be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a
  cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it’s unbelievably high and/or accompanied byhigh blood pressure). MI’s are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the  body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. 

Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep.
Let’s be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive..