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Nature Deficit Disorder – The Case For Treatment

by Dr Paul Wood While not recognized as a medical diagnosis, nature deficit disorder is an apt descriptor encompassing a range of negative health effects observed in those largely confined to concrete jungles. Richard Louv, in his book ‘Last Child in the Woods’, is credited with first using the term. It is interesting to consider that for thousands of years humans have lived in a natural environment with regular exposure to sunrises, sunsets, night skies, various animals and a broad array of plant life. Since the industrial revolution, however, humans have increasingly come to immerse themselves in an environment of their own making. For many of us this has come with an increased propensity towards chronic lifestyle related diseases. So, in the 21st century, what are some of the benefits of being intentional about immersing ourselves in a more natural environment on a regular basis? Better Sleep Do you frequently find yourself counting sheep at night? A study published in the journal Current Biology suggests that going camping for a week might be of great assistance in the management of insomnia. For one week researchers monitored eight adults who spent most of their time in locations with artificial lighting. During this time their sleep, light exposure and melatonin levels were recorded. These subjects then spent a week camping, experiencing only natural lighting in the form of sunlight and campfires at night. Researchers found that the subject’s Circadian rhythms were recalibrated by their exposure to natural light such that they went to bed earlier, woke up earlier and felt more refreshed. Green Exercise For Improved Mood There is something special... read more

Epigenetics, epi what?

Yes, you heard it right. A new field of discovery of proteomics gives us a glimpse of a future focused on wellness, prevention, and individualised medicine. However, today we have enough evidence to  enrol in this program that can arrest disease, promote longevity, and quality of life. Before we get excited about it lets dig into the science. First things first, proteome is derived from a word protein, which is expressed by a genome. Any human being might have more than 2 million proteins within its proteome, with each individual protein carrying out a different function such as defending the body against disease. Here is when a fate is not your destiny because these proteomes change as they are in constant state of dynamic flux. In fact they interact with one another as they bump into each other, with the environment, and an individual’s diet. This is where it gets extra exciting, so may I have your attention please! Diet affects the most intimate and continuous interaction between a host and its environment during a lifetime. Turns out that a nutritious diet gives more than colour on the plate and some fibrous texture. Whole plant based foods have strong medicinal properties that help proteomes catalyse biochemical reactions to defend your body against inflammation and disease. A single nutrient can switch a number of genes on or off, not just one. Imagine it’s just like conducting an orchestra than playing an individual instrument.  In fact, the discovery of epigenetic introduces responsibility into our daily choices affecting how our own gene expression will be manifested and that of future generations. Changing... read more

Half Full or Half Empty?

Whether a glass of water is half full or half empty is distinguished by our outlook. The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them. Obstacles can  be tools of success or hindrances. Admittedly, we all struggle in life and face problems. Consequently, what are our options? Well, an optimist will aim to do the best in a given situation believing that things will work out for the best in the long run. On daily basis the attitude of cheerfulness and contentment boosts immune enhancing mechanisms thus preventing disease. In contrast feelings of helplessness, distrust, anxiety, discontent tend to suppress our immunity and invite decay. Study that followed Harvard graduates showed that pessimists had a higher disease risk factors in the middle age and late adulthood. Additionally, cancer recurrence is more frequent in pessimistic individuals. On the other hand studies have found that the optimistic cancer survivors live the longest. The research has only confirmed what has been observed even in the history that dating few thousand years ago. Moreover, an ancient proverb told by the wise kind Solomon says that a merry heart does like a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Optimistic individuals have better health not just because their mood is better, thus affecting the immune system, but also because they tend to become better and continuously strive to improve their health. They are keen on learning and applying new knowledge. In addition, they don’t isolate themselves. They seek to engage in meaningful social support systems and communities that are also important for physical health. Pessimists tend to... read more

Natural Remedies

It is estimated by the WHO that 4/5 of the world’s inhabitants rely on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs. For centuries, indigenous people have used various parts of plants and its extracts for healing. Many botanical therapies offer relief of symptoms and the interest in the use of them in Western society has grown exponentially in the recent years. Here is a list of some common herbs and their properties with safe and effective record. Garlic: wide spectrum of antibiotic properties and ability to reduce risk of blood clots formation. Psyllium husk- safe and effective laxative, helps with reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol. Ginger- helps treat nausea and motion sickness. Elderberry- safe and effective treatment for colds and flu, sore throats, and fevers. Eucalyptus oil- effective as a decongestant and provides relief for coughs. Saw palmetto- effective in treatment of prostrate enlargement and inflammation. Dong Quai- used for menstrual cramps, PMS, and menopausal symptoms. It is also used orally as a ”blood” purifier. Slippery Elm- reduces gastrointestinal inflammation. Tea tree oil- effective in treatment of fungal infections. Feverfew- effective in reducing he frequency and severity of migraine headaches. Valerian- mildd sedative useful in treatment of anxiety and insomnia. St John’s Wort- treats mild and moderate forms of depression. “Those who appreciate the beneficial value of common herbs and learn how to properly utilise them could prevent a lot pain and enjoy better health.”   Happy herbal tea... read more

Simple Steps to Revitilize your Health

Perhaps you have wandered at a health shop looking for a potion to give you a bit of a boost or have done some kind of a detox to invigorate your health. While all that may be good we know that its power would have an effect only as far as we are willing to do it. However, what happens mean while? We feel sluggish and tired. How about simple steps you can incorporate into every day life to be at your best. Buckle up here we go! 1. Eat nutritiously. Yes, a diet rich in antioxidants and fibre does not only protect cells against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, ageing, but it also gives you more energy. Cornucopia of health-promoting phytochemicals found in whole plant-based foods, especially the richly coloured ones, have the ability to fight off free-radicals. 2. Move dynamically. Maintaining an appropriate level of fitness does more than tone muscle and help maintain a healthy body weight. Without exercise the mind becomes sluggish. On the other hand, regular exercise freshness the mind, improves your sense of well-being and lowers your blood pressure and blood lipids. 3. Manage stress effectively. Healthy doze of stress can be stimulating, but constant stress can wear one’s sense of well-being and drain your energy. In fact, negative thoughts alone can create stress on the body which can make your tired. 4. Take time to rest. Recognising your limits and letting pressure of meeting deadlines and expectations of others can help you avoid fatigue. In order to do that have regular and sufficient sleep. Also enjoy weekly rest and renewal including some time for... read more