Because IgG blood tests have not been proven to identify food sensitivities or allergies, there is a lack of evidence to support making changes based on their findings. The restrictions suggested by IgG test results may lead you to unnecessarily avoid healthy foods. Or, they may prompt individuals with food allergies to include foods that could be harmful to them.
Professional organizations that specialize in the treatment of food allergies, do not recommend IgG testing due to the lack of evidence for this use.
Susan uses the elimination and challenge method to look at any possible food intolerances.
Vitamin D has been hitting the news for a few years now, as more and more research shows that those living in the northern hemisphere are more at risk of deficiencies especially during winter.
Normal levels of vitamin D mean that your body’s ability to regulate essential chemicals for healthy bones, teeth, muscles and organs is properly aided by vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. If you don’t get enough vitamin D you might feel tired, get sick often, have weak bones and muscle pain, and feel anxious or depressed.
Your body is able to make all the vitamin D you need when your skin is exposed to sunlight. But when sunlight exposure is low during autumn and winter, it’s really common for your vitamin D levels to drop — putting you at risk of developing a deficiency.
You can get vitamin D from foods like oily fish, liver, egg yolks, and fortified food but it’s hard to get enough this way.
You might also be at an increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency if you:
are vegan or vegetarian
have darker skin
always wear sunscreen
stay indoors a lot
cover up most of your skin outdoors
What are the most common symptoms?
The most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
getting sick often
aching bones and joints
weak bones — increasing your risk of osteoporosis
poor wound healing
There are many companies now offering a private Vitamin D blood tests , and in some instances your GP may be able to provide a test. Even though, there is still debate about how much we actually need, most experts agree that below 25 nmol/L (or 10 ng/ml) is considered deficient.
Some experts argue 25-30 nmol/L in the blood is sufficient, some say over 50 nmol/L is optimal for good bone health for most people, while others again advocate for 75 nmol/L or even higher. Susan looks at levels of 70- 120 for her clients to ensure optimal health.
Recent research by Boston University have shown that individuals with a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of at least 75 nmol/L, had a significant decreased risk for adverse clinical outcomes including becoming unconscious, hypoxia and death. In addition they had lower blood levels of inflammatory marker ( C- Reactive protein) and higher levels of lymphocytes.
During autumn and winter, Public Health England advises that everyone should consider taking a 10 mcg daily vitamin D supplement from October to March. And if you’re more at-risk, they recommend taking them year round. The recommended doses for at-risk groups include:
8.5-10 mcg daily for breastfed babies from birth to 1 year
10 mcg daily for children aged 1-4 years
10 mcg daily for at-risk adults — for example, if you’re elderly or have darker skin
Suitable products contact Susan if you wish to place an order – Free postage on orders over £25. Prices correct as of 26th Sept 2020 – contact Susan for up to date prices.
These products are chosen at own risk, no advise given without a full assessment.
Lamberts Cod Liver oil Professional range – gives you vitamin D and A and EPA and DHA. – £14.00 – 180 days supply
Allergy Research Vitamin D3 complete – higher dose suitable for those with a diagnosed vitamin D deficiency, also contains vitamin A and K – £ 27.00 – 60 day supply – Not suitable for those taking blood thinning medications
Lower levels of plasma Zinc on hospital admission, effected the outcome when admitted with Covid- 19. But before you reach for the Zinc supplements, this is one mineral where less is more. Zinc absorption is higher at lower dosages. Zinc also has many nutrient interactions, Iron, calcium and phosphorus all decreases its absorption levels. Zinc is in many protein rich foods and absorption rates are higher from animal sources than plant sources, those on plant based diets will need to consume a higher amount of zinc to ensure required amount is absorbed. Phytates, which are commonly found in plant foods, reduce zinc absorption, and some researchers have suggested that this increases the zinc needs of vegetarians by up to 50%. Foods high in Zinc include 1/2 a cup of baked beans will provide 26% of daily requirement, Chicken Thigh – 22%, 25g pumpkin seeds – 20%, 1/2 cup chickpeas – 12%. If you wish to look into supplements please contact Susan who can provide some recommendations.
Refined sugar is so processed that it has absolutely no nutritional value – no fibre, nutrients, healthy fats or enzymes. In fact, it acts as an “anti-nutrient,” robbing your body of precious minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium. And as little as 36g of sugar for adults and 18g for children begins to suppress our immune system. But we have taste buds targeted for ‘sweet’, so we’re obviously designed to want this flavour. Luckily, there are some healthier, natural sweeteners we can use instead. WHAT ARE NATURAL SWEETENERS? This may seem obvious, but as more and more dubious products come out claiming to be “natural” sweeteners, I think I should explain more. Natural sweeteners are minimally processed (depending on the quality you purchase) don’t require the use of added chemicals, enzymes or expensive machinery, and still contain minerals and phytonutrients that occur naturally. For instance; Agave — NOT NATURAL Rice Bran Syrup — NOT NATURAL Sugar Alcohols (like xylitol or erythritol) — NOT NATURAL Stevia Leaf Powder — NATURAL Maple Syrup — NATURAL Raw Honey — NATURAL Rapadura Sugar — NATURAL Organic Dates — NATURAL These natural sweeteners nourish the body instead of deplete it. RAW, LOCAL HONEY contains antimicrobial properties, enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, potassium. It also soothes sore throats, coughs, and respiratory conditions. DATES are naturally loaded with potassium, copper, iron, manganese, Vitamin B6 and magnesium. You can also ferment them to make them even lower in sugar, full of probiotics and easier to digest (recipe/ instructions are on my website). STEVIA doesn’t affect blood sugar levels, doesn’t feed Candida or pathogens in the gut, or set you up for sugar/ carbohydrate cravings. When purchasing stevia, find one that is pure, as so many contain fillers like maltodextrin, flavours, lactose, glycerin and alcohol. MAPLE SYRUP is an excellent source of manganese, zinc and other antioxidants. Be sure you purchase pure, organic maple syrup as many commercial brands use formaldehyde in processing. What’s your favourite natural sweetener?
In 2018 the UK introduced a sugar tax, with the government stating ‘The ‘Sugar Tax’ will help to reduce sugar in soft drinks and tackle childhood obesity’ While many companies have reduced their formulas to now be exempt from this tax, some products are shown as ‘price includes £x sugar tax’, so you would assume that those products in the same store that don’t have this labelling on are better for you.
One such example are popular fast food outlet. One of their frozen drinks has the sugar tax added, it contains Sugar, glucose syrup, dextrose, fructose and lactose. all sugars, some added some found in the raw ingredients. This drink equates to 37% of an adults daily intake of sugar. Another drink they sell does not attract the sugar tax since its a frozen fruit smoothie, the sugar is all derived from fruit and lactose in the milk, and whilst this drink has less fat and one of your ‘five -a-day’ and therefore calories it contains 44% of an adults daily sugar intake. (11 tspoons of sugar)
At the end of the day sugar is sugar, its better for you when taken as a whole fruit since you also consume the fibre. Excess consumption of both glucose and fructose, will lead to weight gain and associated medical conditions. Sucrose, often referred to as “table sugar”, is composed of one glucose molecule and one fructose molecule joined by chemical bonds. This means equal amounts of glucose and fructose are released into the bloodstream when sucrose is digested. In Australia most drinks are sweetened by sucrose from cane sugar, while soft drinks are sweetened with sucrose-rich sugar beet (Europe) or high-fructose corn syrup (US). High-fructose corn syrup is also made up of glucose and fructose, but contains a higher fructose-to-glucose ratio than sucrose.
Do they have different health impacts?
Yes, over consumption of fructose has been shown to cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and whilst fruit and vegetables in their natural form contain fructose, the fibre they contain when eaten as a whole fruit or vegetable its very difficult to over consume.
High glucose consumption rapidly elevates blood glucose and insulin. This may affect brain function, including mood and fatigue.
For many of Susan’s clients they show symptoms of magnesium deficiency, unfortunately because serum magnesium does not reflect intracellular magnesium, the latter making up more than 99% of total body magnesium, most cases of magnesium deficiency are undiagnosed. In developed countries it has been found that just over 24% of youth have insufficient magnesium in their diets. The RDA for magnesium is between 300mg – 420mg per day. It is estimated that less than 50% of Americans hit the recommended daily amount. Magnesium deficiency has been found in 84% of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
Since 1940 there has been a tremendous decline in the micronutrient density of foods. In the UK for example, there has been loss of magnesium in beef (−4 to −8%), bacon (−18%), chicken (−4%), cheddar cheese (−38%), parmesan cheese (−70%), whole milk (−21%) and vegetables (−24%).The loss of magnesium during food refining/processing is significant: white flour (−82%), polished rice (−83%), starch (−97%) and white sugar (−99%).
Increased calcium and phosphorus (cola in particular is a large source of some individuals phosphorus intake) intake also increases magnesium requirements and may worsen or precipitate magnesium deficiency.
A common misconception is that consuming phytate-rich foods can lead to nutrient deficiencies particularly magnesium depletion via binding by phytic acid. However, urinary magnesium excretion will drop to compensate for a reduction in bioavailable magnesium. And most high-phytate foods are also good sources of magnesium (grains and beans are good examples). Thus, it is unlikely that consuming foods high in phytate will lead to magnesium depletion. However, a vitamin B6-deficient diet can lead to a negative magnesium balance via increased magnesium excretion.
The reasons for magnesium deficiency are varied, some are dietary and since most vitamins and minerals work in synergy with each other they all must be balanced,
supplementing with calcium can lead to magnesium deficiency due to competitive inhibition for absorption and over supplementing with vitamin D may lead to magnesium deficiency via excessive calcium absorption. Use of diuretics and other medications can also lead to magnesium deficiency.
Kidney failure, alcohol consumption and absorption issues (Magnesium is absorbed in the small intestine and colon) also effect magnesium levels. Thus, individuals with intestinal or colon damage such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease, gastroenteritis, idiopathic steatorrhoea, ulcerative colitis, resection of the small intestine, ileostomy patients or patients with ulcerative colitis may have magnesium deficiency.
So what are the best dietary sources:-
Unrefriend Whole grains
Dietary sources are always the optimal way of obtaining your nutrients.
There are more and more programs that are prescribing nature-based therapy rather than medication. These programs have shown that they improve well being and could lead to lower NHS costs.
One such program is River Remedies: Improving well -being through nature, this is a scheme run in the South Gloucestershire and Bristol areas on the River Frome. The individuals in the original scheme their well being scores went from ‘poor’ to being in line with national averages.
Engaging in nature is beneficial for all. Several studies have revealed that exposure to nature has positive associations with well-being. However Natural England’s last survey of engagement with the natural environment, only 42% of the population had visited the outdoors in the last seven days, and around 50% of these visits were to urban parks.
A report in The Lancet- Planetary Health, found a significant reduction in major depressive disorder in those living in closer proximity to green spaces.
A common factor attributed to the benefits in time in nature is those individuals partake in a greater level of physical activity. However ‘green exercise’ amplifies the benefits of physical activity indoors, being outdoors will also help top up your ‘vitamin D’ levels.
Vegetarian and vegan meals, tend to have higher fibre levels, with both the vegetables and the protein source being good sources of fibre, and the focus of the meal.
Today Susan made a version similar to Riverford’s Cauliflower Mujaddara, packed full of vegetables, protein and healthy oils. The four main ingredients in this dish were onions, cauliflower, kale and lentils.
The dish contained a large portion of onions, with a generous 1.5 onions per portion. Raw onions are nutritionally better due to the sulphur compounds which can be destroyed by heat, however you can still get many of the benefits from cooked as well. Cooked onions tend to taste milder and are often gentler on stomachs.
Onions have been used in folk medicine for the relief of coughs, colds and catarrh, especially asthma (Susan’s great aunt swore by her remedy of Oh Be Joyful which was honey, lemon, onion and whisky! to cure most colds). One medium onion can provide 20% of RDA of Vitamin C, 4% calcium and 4% of Iron and 12% of your daily fibre requirements. Most onions are safe to eat, however green onions (spring onions) contain a high dose of vitamin K, therefore those on Warfarin need to take care.
Kale, over the years has been classed as a super food, just one cup will provide you with 3g of protein, 2.5g of fibre, vitamins A.C and K, folate, Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, Lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that give kale its deep dark green colouring and may protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. It also includes minerals such as potassium, calcium and zinc.
Kale being a dark green leafy vegetable, is better cooked than raw due to its indigestible fibre. Kale is a goitrogenic vegetable and when eaten raw, this vegetable can inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. If it’s eaten in excess, these chemicals can inhibit the incorporation of iodine into thyroid hormone. Also since its a good source of vitamin K those on blood thinner medication need to take this into account.
The body relies on iodine (and tyrosine) to make thyroid hormones, so continually eating these raw greens can cause a thyroid hormone imbalance. Raw kale also contains oxalic acid, which binds with minerals such as calcium and magnesium in the body causing them to crystalize. These crystals can damage tissues, cause inflammation in the body and kidney stones. So, a daily dose of raw kale and other goitrogenic vegetables may not be such a great idea.
Cauliflower is currently a popular food with cauliflower rice, being a common ingredient for those on diets, it can be boiled, steamed or roasted.
A cup of boiled cauliflower is just 30 calories, provides 4% of daily protein, 92% of vitamin C, 22% of vitamin K, 14% folate, 12% of fibre, 6% potassium and 8% manganese.
Brown, green, yellow, red or black — lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein. 1/2 a cup of lentils provides 12g of protein and 32% of your daily fibre requirements. Women need 2,320mg of Potassium per day (possible more if on a diuretic), a 1/2 cup portion provides, 12% of your requirement and 15% of your iron requirement. For vegetarians and vegans, getting enough iron may be particularly challenging. Regularly including lentils in your diet can help boost your iron intake.
If you are not used to eating lentils it is advisable to slowly increase the amount in your diet to give your digestion system time to adjust to the increased fibre in your diet.
The whole meal provided a very nutritious balanced meal, at 600 calories per portion, it provided 55% of daily fibre requirement, 280% of vitamin C, 34% of protein, 17% of calcium and 30% of iron.
Try one or two vegetarian or vegan meals per week, to see if you can increase your vegetable and fibre intake.
The type of food we eat affects our health and our quality of life. Poorly nourished people get sick more often and recover from injury and illness more slowly. Poor nutrition is a major health problem for many older people.
For people with dementia, maintaining good nutrition presents extra challenges. A person with dementia may:
Experience a loss of appetite
Develop an insatiable appetite or a craving for sweets
Forget to eat and drink
Forget how to chew or swallow
Experience a dry mouth, or mouth discomfort
Be unable to recognise the food and drink they are given
Daily nutritional balance
The nutritional requirements of someone with dementia will be similar to other people of their age. However some people with dementia experience increased physical activity such as pacing, which means they will need larger amounts of food to prevent them from losing weight.
Common nutritional problems
Forgetting to eat
What to try
An alarm clock, or a phone call, may be a useful reminder at mealtimes
Snacks that are easy to eat and don’t need to be refrigerated can be left out where they can be easily seen
Can’t or won’t prepare meals for themselves
It can be particularly difficult for people with dementia who are living alone when they can’t or won’t prepare meals for themselves.
What to try
Meals should be shared social occasions whenever possible
Delivered meals such as meals-on-wheels. However these may not provide all of a person’s daily nutritional needs or may not be what the person is used to eating
Home support to assist with meal preparation, serving and to discretely prompt with eating
Pre-prepared meals from the supermarket
Family and friends helping to prepare meals and or eating together
Preparing large quantities of food, then freezing into meal size amounts
Home delivered ready-to-eat food from restaurants or fast food outlets
Eating out. However check first that the person with dementia will be comfortable with the venue and food
Stocking up on healthy snacks such as yoghurt, cheese or dried fruit that do not need preparation or cooking
As your body is still growing, it’s vital that you eat enough good quality food and the right kinds to meet your energy and nutrition needs.
Being a teenager can be fun, but it can also be difficult as your body shape changes. These physical changes can be hard to deal with if they aren’t what you are expecting. There can be pressure from friends to be or look a certain way, and this might affect the foods you eat. It’s not a good time to crash diet, as you won’t get enough nutrients, and you may not reach your full potential. Following a sensible, well-balanced diet is a much better option, both for now and in the long term.
What should I eat
Eating three regular meals a day with some snacks will help you meet your nutrition needs. Skipping meals means you will miss out on vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates, which can leave you lacking energy or finding it hard to concentrate.
Breads, grains and cereals are carbohydrates that provide energy for your brain and muscles. They’re also an excellent source of fibre and B vitamins. Without enough carbohydrates you may feel tired and run down. Try to include some carbohydrates at each mealtime.
Fruit and vegetables have lots of vitamins and minerals which help boost your immune system and keep you from getting sick. They’re also very important for healthy skin and eyes. It’s recommended you eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day.
Meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts and legumes (e.g. beans and lentils) are good sources of iron and protein. Iron is needed to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around your body. During your teenage years, you’ll start to menstruate, or get your period, and this leads to loss of iron. If you don’t get enough iron, you can develop anaemia, a condition that can make you feel tired and light-headed and short of breath. Protein is needed for growth and to keep your muscles healthy. Not eating enough protein when you are still growing, or going through puberty, can lead to delayed or stunted height and weight. Not enough protein is common when you go on strict diets. Include meat, chicken, fish or eggs in your diet at least twice a day. Fish is important for your brain, eyes and skin. Try to eat fish 2 to 3 times a week.
If you are vegetarian or vegan and do not eat meat, there are other ways to meet your iron needs, for example, with foods like baked beans, pulses, lentils, nuts and seeds.
Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt help to build bones and teeth and keep your heart, muscles and nerves working properly. You’ll need three and a half serves of dairy food a day to meet your needs.
Eating too much fat and oil can result in you putting on weight. Try to use oils in small amounts for cooking or salad dressings. Other high-fat foods like chocolate, chips, cakes and fried foods can increase your weight without giving your body many nutrients.
Fluids are also an important part of your diet. Drink water to keep hydrated, so you won’t feel so tired or thirsty. It can also help to prevent constipation.