Health Benefits Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar – The Healing Effects Of Daily Consumption

Using apple cider vinegar is an ancient remedy for a wide variety of ailments. There are many health benefits drinking apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial properties. Throughout history, apple cider vinegar has been a cherished remedy. I have here included some of the most beneficial usages of apple cider vinegar:

Gastrointestinal discomfort:pexels-photo-735966

I have treated many patients with gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating, flatulence, constipation/diarrhea by using apple cider vinegar. I here advise on starting the day with drinking a glass of lukewarm water with a splash of apple cider vinegar. Consume this every day for optimal effect.

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Many people suffer from fatigue, and the reasons are multifold. Even so, there is a great likelihood that adding apple cider vinegar to your diet will provide you with some relief. Here I would advise on following the same practice as stated above. Start the day with lukewarm water with a splash of apple cider vinegar, but also add ½-1 teaspoon of raw, unprocessed honey. This is what Hippocrates would call Oxymel.  If you want to read more about the wonderful effects of honey, go to my other article on the benefits of honey.

Skin:treatment-finger-keep-hand-161477

If you have a dry, itchy skin, applying a diluted solution of water and apple cider vinegar to the skin may provide a great deal of relief. Leave it on the skin for about 15 minutes, and then apply a good moisturizer. Alternatively, adding apple cider vinegar to your bath could relieve an itchy skin. Some cases this practice has even proved beneficial for an eczematous skin rash.

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After shampooing and before conditioning your hair apply some apple cider vinegar to your hair, and massage it in. Then rinse off. This has a very good effect to alleviate scalp issues such as dandruff and dry/itchy scalp

Feet:pexels-photo-266011

If you are suffering from smelly feet, this usually comes from the feet not being allowed to breathe properly, all day long stuffed in socks and tight fitting shoes. This may lead to flora irregularities in the skin. This may then potentially lead to a bad odor coming from the feet. This is a good sign that it is time to treat your feet better. One good way to alleviate this problem with bad food odor is to soak your feet in lukewarm water with a cup of apple cider vinegar. After a good soak dry the feet, and preferably apply a good moisturizer. Also, try to leave your feet out in the open for a while, so the pores in the skin can breathe properly.

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If you have warts on your feet or in the genital area you could possibly heal this with apple cider vinegar. Here you submerge a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, then apply it directly on the wart, and fix it with some tape (you may also use a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar if it stings too much). This can be left overnight. Repeat every day for a period of days to weeks. Initially you may see a reddening of the area, but then the wart turns black/dark, and then gradually goes away.

Insect stings and bites:mosquito sucking blood

Mosquito stings may cause horribly itchy blemishes. Apple cider vinegar will here relieve a lot of the itch by applying a diluted mixture of apple cider vinegar to a cotton ball and dab it on the affected skin every half an hour. Alternatively, you can add the cotton ball to the affected blemish by fixing it with tape. Wasp stings can be very unpleasant, and the pain can also be relieved by using apple cider vinegar. Follow the same steps as above. Mind you that allergic reactions will not be relieved, and if you are prone to allergies, following the right precautions such as taking anti-histamines or even using an EpiPen may be necessary.

There are many other good ways to use apple cider vinegar. Please feel free to add your favorite use of apple cider vinegar here.

Why Is Chocolate Good For You?

First, a little history lesson. The Latin name for chocolate, Theobroma cacao, was first named by the famous botanist Carl von Linné. Theobroma literally translates as food for the gods, while cacao is similar to the names the people of Mesoamerica were using, such as ka-kaw. According to anthropologists, cacao was first used about four thousand years ago. In fact, we can see how important the Mesoamerican natives considered this food by the way it was emphasized in ritualistic traditions.

When the Spanish crusaders came to Mesoamerica in the 15th Century, they were initially greeted as guests of the Mayan and Aztec emperors. The crusaders could observe how servants of the emperor whisked up a brown drink made of cacao with a range of spices added to it, which was then consumed by the emperor frequently throughout the day. The traditional cocoa drink was bitter, and resembled coffee. When the crusaders, Columbus included, tried to drink this, they were quite disgusted by the bitter and spicy taste. Nonetheless, they brought the strange cacao plant back to Spain and Portugal.

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Due to high taxes in Spain and Portugal, for a while, only nobility could afford to consume cacao, infused with cane sugar and honey to make it palatable. Later, it was sold as a medicinal drink, well-known for its aphrodisiac-like effect. Interestingly, Spain and Portugal managed to keep chocolate a secret from the rest of Europe for a long time. Only in late 17th century did chocolate become accessible to the rest of Europe, and its popularity quickly caught on.

Now, moving past the hitory of chocolate, and reflecting on culture and wellness today, we can ask – Is chocolate good for you? And is all chocolate created equal? When we go to the supermarket and stand in line to pay for our healthy organic vegetables and produce, we encounter rows upon rows of enticing packaging and varieties. Sometimes it requires a LOT of will power not to suddenly find your arm uncontrollably reaching out for that dark chocolate with caramel and chili.

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While cacao itself has a whole range of beneficial effects to our health, I would say eating a Mars bar, lathered in sugars and refined products is definitely not healthy. In contrast to the healthy natural cacao, chocolate bars contain foods that are both addictive and unhealthy. The refined sugar in such products will directly and indirectly trigger the dopamine surge, giving you a rewarding feeling, the feeling of wanting more, while the sugar and dairy will also increase inflammation. In this form, chocolate becomes a complex food, making it hard to digest, and therefore further promote gut dysbiosis and inflammation.

Now, we then come into the subject of quality. The better quality of chocolate, the better it is in general. So, having a chocolate bar that is comprised of raw cocoa, with little or no sugar and no dairy is generally a very healthy choice. What is interesting is how healthy chocolate bars are popping up in the grocery stores. I have also advised many patients to substitute the dairy chocolate, with healthier choices, which has many beneficial effects, including lower inflammation, and easier weight reduction.

Chocolate is considered to be one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, but what is most interesting about chocolate is that it contains particularly high amounts of antioxidants. Some research say that chocolate contain higher amounts of antioxidants than any other berry, including acai and blueberries. This was measured according to the ORAC score, measuring the capacity to mop up the inflammation promoting free radicals, thereby reduce inflammation.

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So, what are the health benefits of chocolate? Here is a list of the medicinal properties of good quality chocolate:

  • Improves blood flow, by relaxing the tension in the blood vessel walls through the production of nitric oxide.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Reduces oxidized LDL cholesterol and other free radicals (Due to its high antioxidant and ORAC score).
  • Helps prevent and manage insulin resistance, thereby balancing the blood sugar level.
  • Improves brain function, by boosting the circulation to the brain and enhancing the neural connections in the brain. Also, chocolate contain theobromine (a form of caffeine found in cocoa beans, only weaker), which then can stimulate the mind.
  • Improves the feel-good experience, by boosting dopamine and prevent breakdown of anadamide (also known as the “bliss chemical”). Some research say that some of this mood stimulating effect comes from the highly palatable taste of chocolate.
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease. Regular consumption of cacao has shown to lower risk of heart disease by 1/3.
  • Significantly lowers the risk of stroke.
  • Improves athletic performance, by boosting the blood circulation and lower the viscosity of the blood (meaning that blood flows more easily). Also, chocolate contain good amounts of magnesium, which is very important for muscle function and regeneration.
  • Treats obesity and make you stay slim.
  • Because it is bitter, it has a lot of beneficial effects for the gut flora and the digestion. (Bitter herbs are commonly used to treat gut related disorders.)

So, do not feel guilty about eating chocolate. Rather focus on getting good quality of chocolate. For chocolate bars, having cocoa content between 70- 85 % is generally the best. And if you feel particularly adventurous, you can attempt to make your own chocolate.

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So, how do you make your own chocolate version, you ask? Here is a suggestion – let´s make a delicious cup of hot chocolate.  Note that you will need either bars of good quality chocolate (like Valhrona) or chocolate powder (do not use cacao powder as the quality is much worse), a milk substitute (coconut milk or almond milk (unsweetened) and spices such as cinnamon, vanilla or nutmeg.

How to make a cup of hot chocolate:

  1. Heat up the nutmilk in a pot.
  2. Add the chocolate bars or chocolate powder, and stir until it has completely dissolved in the milk.
  3. Then stir in the spices, and heat up the milk again.
  4. If you want a frothier hot chocolate, you could try to add the liquid in the blender and pulse for a few seconds.
  5. Alternatively, you could try hot matcha chocolate. Here you put about ¼ – ½ tsp. high quality matcha powder in a cup, add a small amount of the hot nutmilk, and stir until dissolved, add in some more nutmilk and whisk until frothy. Add this to the hot chocolate.

The idea here is to experiment. There is no absolute rule, although if you use better quality chocolate, you will get a richer chocolate taste. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Simple Steps On How To Detox Your Liver

Is there one organ I am thankful of, it is the liver. The more you study the liver, the more you will realize its remarkable abilities.

Did you know that if you cut away 80 % of the liver, it would regenerate itself back to its original size! That is because the liver cells have an enormous regenerative capacity.

So why, when the liver can heal itself so efficiently, will the liver suffer and malfunction, ultimately causing debilitating  diseases such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver tissue), gall stone generation and tumorous growhts in the liver. I believe the answer lies in the amount of toxin exposure to the liver. Therefore, to let the liver do its remarkable effects, we need to detoxify the liver AND the body.

So, how do we do this? Here is an outline of ways that have had a proven effect in healing the liver:

  • Regular fasting. By fasting for periods of time, you will give the body time and opportunity to let go of the toxins that have built up in the body. When we eat, and the nutrients from the food is broken down and absorbed in the body, it is up to the liver to further assimilate these nutrients, either by storing nutrients in the liver for later usage, or distributing the nutrients around in the body. While this is a very essential process for our existence, the liver has to work hard in order to assimilate and distribute a complex meal. We can therefore say that fasting enable the liver to more easily perform other tasks, such as rinsing the body from toxins.
  • Clean eating. Eating less junk food and greasy food that bombard the liver with more free radicals, and at the same time ingesting highly nutritious foods with lots of good antioxidants and minerals is very beneficial for a healthy liver. I often recommend consuming a green leafy salad prior to eating a heavy meal, as this will help the digestive system and liver work better.
  • Drink less alcohol. I have the habits of omitting alcohol for a month at a time, in the effect to leave the liver less riddled with toxins. During these periods, I find that the energy level increases, and I can think more clearly. I have met people who have accomplished great things, who swear that the reason why they got to that stage was because they completely omitted alcohol for longer periods.
  • Take care of your gut. In my practice, I have a keen interest in figuring out if the gut flora may not be great. One important reason for this is that while a normal gut flora function to balance the immune system in the gut, a dysbiotic gut flora will release toxins and free radicals, riddling the liver with more work. The effect of this is that the energy level may decrease. Therefore, having a healthy gut flora and liver function, is important for thriving energy in the body and mind.
  • Herbal supplements. When my patients ask what supplements are the best to heal the liver I say herbs such as Milk thistle, Turmeric, Dandelion. Even making a tea using these herbs will have a potent liver rinsing effect. In my practice, I have commonly advised people who have elevated blood markers in the liver values to ingest a regular supplement of Bitterstern 10-15 drops in water 2-3 times daily for a period of at least 2 months. This I find to be truly effective in cleansing the liver and gall bladder, consequently normalizing the liver values.
  • Drink lemon water. Start the day with drinking lemon water (1/2 a lemon squeezed in a glass of water), or alternatively apple cider vinegar in water. While it feels good to start with this cleansing drink, it also has a lot of healing effects in the body, including stimulating the liver dexification processes.
  • Liposomal Glutathione. Glutathione is the livers most effective antioxidant, and has an enormous capacity to mop up free radicals circulating in the liver and blood circulation. When ingesting a supplement of glutathione, it is essential to make it fat soluble for easy assimilation, hence the liposomal form.
  • Drink plenty of water. You probably know that we constitute about 70-80 % of water. Providing our body with enough water is also essential for our bodies and liver to detox sufficiently. This is also important for someone fasting, where the effect of the fast is greatly enhanced by drinking plenty of water (and lemon water and herbal teas).
  • Release that pent-up anger. According to Chinese medicine un-channeled anger and aggression will be harmful to the liver. By this, I do not mean to show how angry you are by releasing the anger building up, but rather letting go of the anger, and exchanging it with more positive emotions.
  • Use visualizations. On that note, using visualizations can be a powerful tool. In Chinese medicine, visualizing the liver bathing in green color can have a profound healing effect for the liver. meditate happy

 

What You Don´t Know About Your Food

The other day I saw the movie, “What the Health”. This film, like many before it, lays out a case for following a vegan-focused diet, while showcasing the negative aspects of dairy and meat consumption. I have heard all of these arguments many times before, particularly after attending a three weeks “Life Transformation Program” at Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach. Here, one eats only raw vegan foods for three weeks, while learning about how to live a healthy life, something that becomes a natural conversation when focusing on simplistic, wholesome foods. While ones’ body feels significantly better, ones’ mind does as well.

Another argument for cutting out meat and dairy comes from The China Study, an enormous epidemiological study that investigated the link between what local Chinese people eat, and the risk of developing various types of cancer. It was proven that there was a strong connection between how much animal proteins (meat, dairy, eggs) one ate, and the chances of getting cancer. So, if one is to believe these studies, one may rethink biting into that Peter Luger’s steak or grabbing some hot dogs off the grill.
But waittaminute! I would like to point out a principle that is not really considered in these studies, and that is QUALITY. That is, the quality of the foods we eat.

Growing up in Norway, I had access to a lot of natural, organic foods. While we often picked fresh corn, carrots and cloud berries from our own backyard, we, as a hunting family, also consumed a wide variety of wild game, from moose, deer, grouse, and capercaillie. Being a Norwegian, we also had access to a wide variety of fresh, high quality fish.  As I skim the aisles of Whole Foods or a neighboring deli, and I can’t help but remember walking out into our garden in Oslo as a kid, and digging out a carrot from the earth, wiping it off and eating it whole.Freshly growing strawberries

Ultimately, I think the notion of producing foods oneself or through a community will be vastly more nourishing than getting hold of vegetables that have been produced and transported halfway around the world before being consumed. There is also a reason why vegetables are seasonal! But this idea, isn’t new or unique and the good news is that there are several start ups popping up that focus on producing vegetables and herbs in the comfort of ones’ urban apartment.

My point is that when studies say that eating animal proteins can be harmful, I would ask what kind of foods, and in turn, what were they given to eat? It’s therefore necessary that we should first and foremost focus on what exactly the food contains. We can say that on average a cow in America is fed about 50 % of its staple in corn. Does that mean that we actually eat partly corn when we eat that meat? In addition, to make the cows grow more quickly, and at the same time prevent infections from occurring, a cocktail of hormones and antibiotics are usually given, which may not be that healthy if we get in our system when eating the meat. In countries like the US, the way cows are treated is not what we, according to human standards, would call humane. The cows stand in narrow enclosed spaces for most of their life. This is in contrast to a moose that can freely roam around in nature, and eat exactly the food it wishes. While people may criticize hunting animals, a hunter knows where his or her meat came from, and how it was killed. Modern day packaging would never state the process in which the animal was killed or consumed, unless it’s highlighted as kosher or halal. Even when one reads “organic” you need to really dig deeper into what organic could really mean. Maybe, pesticides weren’t used, or organic pesticides were, but then what did the animals eat?

In Chinese Medicine, we learn that one key principle for eating is not to have too many food-group combinations in the same meal. For instance, eating meat without highly starchy foods (such as potatoes and pasta), but rather with green leafy vegetables will make the food much more easily digestible. In contrast, when eating highly starchy food, it is advised to avoid animal proteins at the same time if we really want to absorb the nutrients in the best way. The colon on average may carry a few kilograms of partly undigested meat, when it’s paired with the wrong food group, so it’s important to consider the proper combinations. Another principle we learn from traditional Chinese Medicine, is that it is wise to eat fruits alone, or leave them alone. If you don’t mix fruits with other things your body can digest them properly.

In our capitalistic world there is often a huge focus on profit. No surprise here. And obviously, in the realm of food, there is a big focus on how to produce more of the product. The effect is that the more of something generally leaves the company with a bigger profit. Factory-like settings and slaughterhouses are filled to the brim with more animals than they actually can possibly hold. All while, they are fed cheap foods such as corn. And in the case of chickens, farmers may give a cocktail of hormones to accelerate the growth, making them plumper. What is scary about this, is that we may get traces of this in us when we consume these products. What we therefore need to ask ourselves is, the animals we eat, well, what do they eat? And also, we need to pay attention to the emotional strain such animals go through when they are killed, as that also ends up in our system.

Of course, given the state of our overpopulated planet today, we are constantly in need of consuming more and more food. Since animal proteins such as meat are very nutrient-dense and calorie-rich, it is natural that the demand for these nutrients increases as the population grows. This is why established and innovative entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson are investing in the production of laboratory-produced meats. If you look at what these pieces of meat contain, they are virtually the same as beef or chicken, and so on. The only difference is that it doesn’t contain traces of growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. While, not the most natural, it’s definitely a safer, market-friendly way to craft meat on a broader scale. We can only speculate what is being lost if you compare a lab-crafted steak to that of a wild moose steak.
So what´s the solution?

Pay attention to where your food comes from and how it was fed and treated. In higher quality foods generally cost more, because it usually cost more to produce. It can also take a longer time to produce since only natural processes are involved. I am a strong believer in eating a diverse range of foods, but pay attention to the way you combine them.

When I look at my grandmother, who is nearing her 102nd birthday, and I observe her diet of game, fresh vegetables, river-caught fish, I can’t help but recognize that she has chosen to eat whatever she’s wanted and it’s the quality that has kept her alive, well and healthy.vegetables meat

How I Got A Patient Pregnant

I know what you are thinking, and that´s not what I mean…

Let´s take this story back a few years.  I was working at the Functional Medicine Center, housed in an 19th century building in Oslo. Rustic and an emblem of Norwegian history, here, I often found myself reflecting on new versus old practices of medicine. It was a regular day at work, and as I enjoyed my first coffee of the morning, the first patients of the day walked into the reception.

As you may know, being a family medicine practitioner, one is confronted with a wide range of scenarios on a daily basis. Some challenges can be tackled easily, such as a minor infection, but some require more work, such as the one I was confronted with that morning.

I found myself sitting with female couple in their late 30s –  One of the women, let´s call her Else, wanted to get pregnant. I am not a gynecologist, and therefore this enquiry was rather new to me. They had seen gynecologists extensively, and Else had completed several IVF attempts. After trying what they thought was everything, they had all but given up hope, until someone had recommended that they consider a more holistic approach and see me for a consultation.

After making sure that all the essential investigations were undertaken, such as fertility control and general bloodwork, as well as an analysis of their working-sleep-stress conditions and eating patterns, we set out on a route that took two years to complete.

Below is the plan I set for Else:

 

  • Chill out. As many women making a career for themselves, it could be very stressful. Stress and anxiety block the fertility producing hormones. If you think about it from a biological viewpoint, in times of stress, this sends signals to the body that it is not “ready” to have a kid. Being more calm, soothes the stress hormones, leaving a natural surge in the fertility hormones.
  • Detoxify. I believe that having too many toxins in the body can stress the body, and make it harder to have a natural production of fertility hormones. With Else, we discovered both a mercury intoxication and a gut flora dysbiosis, causing too many toxins to circulate in the body. These toxins produce free radicals, that promote inflammation. We focused first on balancing the gut flora through diet and supplements such as probiotics and olive leaf extract. Getting rid of too much mercury in the body is rather time consuming and laborious, which includes chelators such as chlorella, DMSA and DMPS. Only after a few years of therapy did these heavy metals leave the body., making the body more in balance, and less riddled with inflammation.
  • Boost your fertility hormones by natural supplements. Here are some of the hormones I used to boost Else’s fertility:
    • GLA (Gamma linolenic acid).
    • Zinc
    • Vitamin B6 and B9 (Folate)
    • Maca
    • Ashwaghanda
  • Acupuncture. What has acupuncture got to do with fertility, you may ask. Well, there are many good studies that prove that women being given regular acupuncture therapy could boost their fertility.
  • Try, and try again. Else had countless IVF attempts, without success. But, she did not give up. Sometimes it is all about giving enough time, and eventually you reap the benefits of sticking to the program.

After two years I got a surprise visit. By this time I had even moved offices and joined Balderkliniken, Oslo´s most prestigious FM clinic and the largest in the world. When I opened my door, I was greeted by a beaming, happy woman, who handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. She exclaimed: You changed my life. To which I replied, No, you changed your own life.

These are some of the best moments in one´s practice. To empower people to live healthy and sustinable lives, to provide some perspective into the healing power of natural remedies, and to keep learning.

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How To Take Care Of Your Lungs

We expose our lungs to constant strain, especially if we live in big cities. I remember in med school how I looked at lungs of people living in congested parts of the city (such as London when the air was filled with smog), and was horrified by the amount of soot accumulated in the tissue of the lungs. If you think about it, this is a natural consequence, as the lungs work as a filtration system. Optimally, only clean air is allowed to pass from the lungs and into the bloodstream, where oxygen is then transported to all the cells of the body. Furthermore, carbon monoxide is taken up into the blood stream, and expelled through the lungs. We know that the lungs are affected by the amount of toxins they are exposed to, and may eventually lead to inflammation and damage to the lung tissue. It is therefore advisable to know how to best take care of these precious organs.

Through digging deep into the ground and analyzing the different eras we now know that around 100 million years ago (when dinosaurs wandered the earth) the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere was around 35 %. Around 10 million years ago there was an enormous forest fire, that may be partly responsible for the reduction of oxygen concentration in the air. But chances are that the biggest change occurred during the industrial revolution, as the air quality decreased in the cities as a consequence of fossil fuel emission into the atmosphere. Since then we have had a poorer quality in the air we breathe, with oxygen concentrations usually around 20%. The lack of oxygen in the air is particularly evident in big cities, and has been measured as low as 10% in densely populated cities like Mexico City. Even so, there are ways to compensate for this, such as creating big parks in the middle of densely populated cities. This morning I strolled along Central Park in New York City, and thought to myself how mindful the architects of this big metropole had been in creating such a green lung smack in the middle of it all.

So, back to how to take care of your lungs. One sign that the lungs are inflamed is the production of mucus buildup, with coughing up of thicker mucus. If this is to happen, it is time to cleanse the lungs. Here are my recommendations on how to take care of your lungs:

  • Start the day with fresh lemon water, preferably with honey. This will not only detoxify the body, but also treat a buildup of mucus in the lungs.
  • Ingest turmeric root. For optimal effect for the lungs, it is advisable to ingest a small part of the fresh turmeric root, either by chewing it, or having it in a juice.
  • To expel mucus, eat a few pieces of pineapple or drink pineapple juice on an empty stomach. If this is done consistently over a course of two weeks, it usually relieves symptoms of excess mucus.
  • Drink chamomile tea. This has a general effect to soothe inflammation, and works particularly well for the lungs. Besides, it has a soothing effect on the nervous system, which in turn lower the blood pressure, and allow you to breathe with more ease.
  • Other herbs that may have a curative effect for the lungs are garlic, horseradish and ginger.
    • Garlic has a wide range of medicinal properties, the main effect for the lungs is the ability to cleanse and detoxify free radicals, toxins and other irritants, in addition to work as an antibacterial and antifungal therapy.
    • If you look at Chinese medicine, horseradish is a good herbal tonic for the lungs, just be careful not to overconsume this herb, due to its pungency.
    • Ginger is also an excellent herb, especially in cases of too much coldness in the body. Making a ginger tea, by steeping freshly cut ginger in hot water for 10 minutes, and then adding a small portion of raw honey to it is a very good way to expel some bacterial infections.
  • Some supplements that work very good for the lungs are zinc, vitamin c and Echinacea. In cases of lung problems, taking a regular supplement of 25 mg zinc, 1000 mg vitamin C and a few shots of Echinacea can work wonders.
  • Drink plenty of fresh water. This has a cleansing effect for the lungs, thinning out the mucus, and makes it easier to expel toxins from the lungs.
  • An occasional fast (while drinking plenty of fluids) is usually very curative for the lungs.
  • Using plants can potentially cleanse the air and produce more oxygen. I challenge you to try this out for a few months, and see If you notice any change. If you go to a botanist, you can ask for particularly cleansing plants, such as ferns and peace lilies.
  • Last, but definitely not least, is the healing effect of deep breathing. Even spending 10 minutes each day actively breathing deeply, filling up your lungs, will be very beneficial for the lungs oxygen exchange, and hence leave you more relaxed and energized. Even better is to do this while being out in nature. Also, a brisk walk, or other forms of exercise will make it easier to fill up the lungs with fresh air.Little girl on a swing in the mountain landscape

What Is Food Intolerance?

Around a fifth of the Western Worlds’ population believe that they themselves react to some kind of food. The reasons for food intolerance are many, and vary greatly in severity. I will in this article focus on unraveling various ways someone can react to certain foods, and then what to do about this.

Even though the food we eat is medicine for most, parts of food sources can for some be like a poison. The reason why someone react to foods are multifactorial, and often include a combination of genes and environmental factors.

We can divide food reactions into three main categories: Immune-reactions, enzyme breakdown problems and toxic reactions.food-salad-restaurant-person

Immune reactions to foods are what we call hypersensitivity reactions. Possibly the most familiar way for food immune reactions is food allergy. Even so, this is a relatively rare condition, and occur in only about 2-3 % of the Western population. Common food sources that may give food allergies are wheat, milk, egg white, soy, nuts and shellfish. With food allergy, consumption of the food source will potentially lead to a swift reaction, often occurring within seconds to minutes after ingestion, potentially with a fatal outcome if nothing is done. What is physiologically happening, is that the food activates an antibody called IgE (Immunoglobulin E). This will consequently lead to a surge in histamine, creating an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can lead to serious, and potentially life threatening conditions, due to the throat and tongue swelling up and obstructing the airways. One can also have allergic reactions to a range of non-food particles such as dust, mold, animal hair, pollen, fungal spores and much more. There is often a cross-reaction to similar biological complexes. We therefore see that for example people with birch allergies could also react to apples.

In addition to IgE mediated food reactions, there are other hypersensitivity reactions to foods. Here other Immunoglobulins are activated by ingestion of the food, with an activation of other immunoglobulins called IgG or IgA. Here the time it takes from the activation of the food substance and activation of the immunoglobulin, to the actual appearance of symptoms may take from half an hour up several days. Even so, in my experience the symptoms often start to appear within half an hour. Common food sources relating to this delayed hypersensitivity reaction can be gluten, milk proteins such as whey and casein, eggs and soy. Here symptoms can relate to gastrointestinal problems, but also generate a whole range of symptoms such as fatigue, migraine, joint/muscle aches, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis and much more. Many world renowned researchers have shown how ingestion of these proteins can cause an immune reaction. Alessio Fasano, a world renowned researcher at Harvard Medical School and University of Maryland Celiac Research Center have conducted countless studies proving how gluten sensitivity can potentiate a range of issues.gluten

Because it often takes a while before symptoms appear, the origin for the immune-reaction may be obscured.  A famous Norwegian researcher called Peder Brantsæg, have shown the pathophysiology between food intolerances and the evolution of auto-immune disorders, where the immune system not only does their job of fending against invading bacteria and viruses, but over-react, and start to attack ones’ own cells. Common Auto-immune disorders include Diabetes Mellitus Type 1, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimotos Thyroiditis and Psoriasis, to name a few.

Breakdown Issues related to food occur due to enzyme failures. The enzymes essential for the breakdown of a certain food malfunction or is lacking. Breakdown problems can relate to proteins, carbohydrates or fat. Breakdown issues related to proteins may lead to undigested protein particles called peptides. Another famous Norwegian researcher called Karl (Kalle) Reichelt proved the co-existence of neurological problems and peptide breakdown problems. The research shows how undigested peptide particle complexes lodge in the neurological opioid receptors, and hence cause a great deal of problem. Opioid receptors are what is the receptor upon what Morphine works, even though there are many different types of opioid receptors, with different chemicals triggering them. Several studies show the link between opioid peptides and diseases such as Schizophrenia, Autism, ADHD and Dementia.

Another example of a breakdown issue is that of carbohydrates. The most common case here is that of lactose intolerance. This is by far more common amongst Asian population, due to the genetic profile, but may also occur amongst all populations. Here a reduction of enzymes leads to less digestion of these carbs in the small intestine, where they then pass to the large intestine. Here these complex carbohydrates may serve as a food source to the wide range of bacteria in the gut, often leading to very distressing gastrointestinal symptoms such as flatulence and diarrhea.milk

Breakdown issues related to fat, implies problems breaking down the fat one has ingested, leading to less absorption of the fat. The definition of fat malabsorption is that over 7% of ingested fat in the food is found in the feces later on. The reasons for this breakdown problem is often due to liver and gall bladder issues, or reduced secretion of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Certain bacteria dysbiosis may also contribute to fat malabsorption.

Toxic food substances can also give quite severe reactions when eating them. Examples of this is rotten food, infected food and foods containing ample amounts of detrimental chemicals and heavy metals. Ingestion of these foods can give rise to everything from acute to chronic complaints, and vary a great deal depending on what has been ingested. poison-bottle-medicine-old-159296

Examination to evaluate whether someone has got a food intolerance implies a thorough walkthrough of the patient’s diet and food habits, clinical symptoms, genetic and family history, risk of gut flora imbalance, and possible ingestion of toxins.

Investigation to determine whether someone has got food intolerance can start by doing a blood works looking for elevations in the immunoglobulins and enzyme depletions, in addition to signs of malabsorption. When there is a strong suspicion that someone has a food intolerance, it is advised to undertake an elimination/provocation diet, where one first eliminate (stay away from) the suspected food(s) for a period of around 4-6 weeks, and then “provoke”, by introducing the food again. When there is a “positive” reaction, meaning there is an improvement by elimination and a worsening by provocation, it will be advisable to stay away from the food(s) for a while. Eventually, (unless it is purely genetic such as lactose intolerance) after months or years, it may be possible to introduce these foods again, without any problems.

It is not uncommon to see a great improvement in someones’ chronic ailments after eliminating the food that give rise to the symptoms. I have experienced patients with severe migraine and chronic fatigue syndrome to suddenly feel revived and thriving after eliminating those foods. So if there are someone you know that have chronic ailments, with symptoms not passing with standard therapy, it would be wise to consider if there may be an underlying food intolerance giving rise to the problems.Thrive

 

Things You Didn’t Know About Turmeric

If you have ever eaten Indian food, I am sure you have encountered this colorful herb in your food. This herb is an extremely colorful root, and if you get it on your fingers, you will have an orange pigment stuck to your skin for days! Traditionally, besides using Turmeric in various cuisines in Asia, Turmeric has also been used as a coloring agent, due to its strong color.

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In my practice I have commonly used turmeric to treat chronic ailments, particularly related to inflammatory conditions. Turmeric has lately undergone a lot of research, especially the healing constituent called curcumin, plus a range of healing antioxidants and nutrients.

Research has shown that Curcumin has a potent anti-inflammatory quality. Recent use to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis have shown remarkable effects, when used consequently over time. Also, I have seen great improvement on pulmonary inflammatory conditions upon taking turmeric for a period of time. In fact, in contrast to the NSAIDs (such as Ibuprofen), while Curcumin doesn’t usually have as swift effect, the long term effect has proven as good (or in some cases even greater).

I would argue that the main effect of Turmeric is on the gut lining. We now know that between 70-80 percent of the immune system is located here in the gastrointestinal tract. Upon ingesting Turmeric, the anti-inflammatory qualities will therefore have a direct effect on lowering inflammation related to the gut lining. I would therefore advice those of you suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive discomforts, to give Turmeric a shot.

Speaking of inflammation, I should also mention neurological inflammation. Recent evidence has linked the most common cause of dementia called Alzheimer’s Disease with the development of neurological inflammation. Due to Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory qualities, it has promising evidence in the treatment of dementia, and other neurological inflammatory conditions.

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One main biological effect of Curcumin is how it mops up free radicals. These free radicals are created when we are exposed to chemical irritants, heavy metals, bacterial or viral infections to name a few. When these free radicals are gathered, they can cause havoc in the surrounding tissue. Therefore, supplementation of Turmeric in the diet can prove to be an important preventative measure in making sure you stay healthier, and have less free radicals roaming around in the body. This also explains why Turmeric is known to have a healing effect on the liver.

I would advise to first heat up turmeric before consuming it. This potentiates the effect of this herb. Also, there is evidence that show the importance of adding other herbs to turmeric, to have a symbiotic effect, and therefore a greater healing effect on the body. Adding piperine (from pepper) or tea (green/black) have shown a better absorption of the healing constituent Curcumin in the gut.

There are several ways you can ingest Turmeric. The most common turmeric extract have a 95% potency. You could also ingest Turmeric (Curcumin) capsules as a supplement. The clue nonetheless is to use Turmeric on a regular basis for its health rewarding effects.

One way to ingest turmeric is to have what in Ayurveda is called “Golden Milk”. We in the west have adopted another name, notably “Turmeric Latte”. So, a daily intake of Turmeric can do you a lot of good, both as a preventative measure, and also if you want to heal any inflammatory conditions. So Cheers!

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What You Didn’t Know About Vitamin C – From The Sea, WW1 And Other Stories

Now, here´s a quick history lesson: Vitamin C and its importance was discovered in 1747, during the “Age of Sails”. Seafarers would travel for long distances, set on a mission to explore the world. The diet would often constitute processed beef and biscuits. The seafarers started to get a condition commonly called Scurvy. The condition starts with symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, joint and muscle aches, bleeding gums and leg rashes. Imagine being on board a boat set for “The new world”  in the early 1700’s. For no apparent reason, people around you were loosing their teeth, their skin would turn yellow (due to jaundice), and gradually everyones health would deteriorate.  This mysterious epidemic claimed the life of thousands upon thousands of seafarers, without anyone understanding why. That is, not until a controversial experiment was led under the physician James Lind. James Lind discovered that if seafarers ingested citrus fruits (a common folk remedy to treat scurvy) upon their voyages, the seafarers could avoid this fatal situation. In fact, British Royal Navy officer James Cook then used this advice and his team which enabled him to sail from England all the way to Australia and New Zealand.

Scurvy was also a common disease during the First World War, where soldiers often suffered from malnourishment. It was then proven through studies that 10 mg of vitamin C was the minimal requirement to prevent scurvy in these conditions. This has later been used to set the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance), which later was adjusted to 75-90 mg / day.

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In the 20th century, several well renowned researchers contributed extensively to the importance of vitamin C on health such as Alfred Hess. The two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling stated how administering vitamin C was crucial for the treatment of cardiovascular conditions.

Another important name in the vitamin C history book is Dr. Fred Klenner, who conducted many successful studies in the importance of vitamin C to counter viral infections such as polio, herpes zoster, chicken pox, measles, mumps and viral pneumonia. Most of these treatments are described in his book “Injectable Vitamin C: Effective Treatment for Viral and Other Diseases”.

The most convincing evidence comes from Klenners research he did around the Poliomyelitis Epidemic in North Carolina in 1948. Here, 60 patients were suffering from this neurological condition, and after only 72 hours, after taking vitamin C injections, all of the 60 patients were entirely healed.

Some of the reasons why vitamin C is so effective for viral infections are multifold: The ability for immune cells such as white blood cells to accumulate vitamin C in their cells, and henceforth increase the ability of specialized immune cells and interferons to protect against infection. Also, vitamin C boost the mitochondrial energy production, essential for energy production in various immunological cells.

On the other hand, researchers and physicians Goodwin and Tangum published findings that mega doses of vitamin C could lead to kidney stones. But since these “findings” were based on earlier literature stating that there may be a linkage, this statement is inconclusive. There is no conclusive evidence to this day that supplementation of vitamin C will have any adverse side affects.

There are only a few animals on the planet that are not able to produce their own vitamin C, and humans are among them. Since we can’t produce vitamin C ourselves, it´s essential to therefore consume it in our food, and maybe also in the form of supplements.  Species that produce vitamin C create it in their liver by converting glucose into Vitamin C. Humans, apes, and a few other animals lack the final step to convert glucose into Vitamin C. Linus Pauling concluded that one should look at the intake of vitamin C consumption amongst other primates, which like ourselves, can’t produce vitamin C themselves. Specifically, a gorilla ingests on average 4.5 grams of vitamin C, while humans mostly consume an average of 500 mgs a day in their diet!

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Now, that´s all you need to know about vitamin C historically, for now, and we will conclude with the health benefits of this necessary vitamin:

  • Vitamin C boosts the immune system to protect against infection and work as an effective antiviral therapy, and a good therapy in the early stages of colds and flus
  • It protects against the harmful effects of free radicals formed by harmful chemicals, heavy metals, nitrites (from pre-packaged foods, which most in the Western world seem to consume a lot of unfortunately)
  • It acts as a to cure against harmful chemicals such as smoke and other chronic stressors that may have weakened the immune system
  • It´s a treatment for cardiovascular conditions, and decreases the risk of cardiovascular risks such as stroke
  • Vitamin C lowers the skin aging process, and there´s less wrinkling and better moisturizing of the skin (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).
  • There is a reduction in general inflammation and a reduced risk of auto-immune symptoms
  • It decreases the risk of developing conditions such as macular degeneration

Now, where to find good sources of vitamin C and other essential vitamins.  I will cover this in later articles. For now you could have a look at this list.

10 Secrets To A Healthy Mind

Here are a few tips on how to generally have a healthier and more positive mind:

  1. Healthy gut = Healthy mind. Having a healthy gut increases the likelihood of having a healthy mind. This becomes clearer when we see that about 90 percent of the serotonin in the body is created in the intestines. Recent research has focused on the gut flora, and how this can affect the mind, but we are just at the brink of understanding how this works.
  2. Breathe! In our day and age we tend to surround ourselves with a lot of stimuli and keep ourselves very busy.. Too much of these stimuli can make us feel wary and overstressed. I therefore believe that it is important to balance this activity with stimulating the calming part of our nervous system. In technical terms this is to balance the sympathetic (activating) and the parasympathetic (calming) nervous system. Even though it’s good to have some stimulation to the activating nervous system, too much and chronic stimuli may cause significant stress. This can lead to a range of both mental and physical ailments, including anxiety, depression, fatigue and so on. A good preventative measure is to focus on the parasympathetic nervous system and keep this calming part of the nervous system in good shape. To achieve a better stimuli to the parasympathetic nervous system you should consider breathing exercises, meditation, or the practices of qi gong, tai chi, and yoga. Even getting a good nights sleep is very good to give a proper boost to the calming nervous system.Man nature
  3. Exercise consistently. Researchers at Duke University discovered that regular exercise is better that anti-depressants in treating anxiety and depression, and in fact, people who worked out encountered fewer relapses. It is speculated that one reason for this is that during exercise we see a controlled increase in the stress hormone cortisol, and enable the body to release locked up stress in the body. This will leave the body and mind more relaxed after a good workout.
  4. Be more social. A study at Harvard University showed that being more isolated increased the risk of depression, and consequently shrinkage of parts of the brain, primarily the hippocampus. Being more social further showed an increase in neuronal enrichment, and therefore increased the capacity for learning new things.play
  5. Eat less junk. Even though eating simple sugars have shown to increase insulin, and consequently serotonin, ingestion of refined sugar have shown an addictive behavior in the consumer (rodent study showed that they preferred sucrose water to cocaine), leading to higher intake of sugar and sweeteners. Bear in mind, alcohol is also considered a sugar, and can also have a detrimental effect on ones mind, if used excessively. An increase in the intake of simple sugars and refined starches leads to a range of negative effects on the body, primarily by leading to higher amount of inflammation. In the brain there may be an increased neurological inflammation, due to a buildup of free radicals (waste particles). There is now evidence that this can be linked with neurological conditions such as Alzheimers Disease, a debilitating disease where Amyloid plaques build up in the brain, leading to the number one reason for dementiafood clean
  6. Be positive. According to the Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto, being and thinking positive will have positive effects on ones surroundings. He discovered this though extensive research on how our water reacts to various words, by creating specific crystals for that particular word/emotion. I find the most interesting of his studies is the discovery that if you place two identical bowls of rice next to each other, and on one bowl have the word “Love” on it, and the other have “Hate” written on it, you will see something interesting after a few days. The bowl of rice with the word “Love” stays the same, but the bowl of rice with the word “Hate” will start to rot. I think this just sighifies how important it is to keep a positive attitude, as it affects both yourself and the ones you surround yourself with.
  7. Be kinder to yourself. By being kinder to yourself and allowing room for error you will generally be happier. We have a tendency to judge ourselves with negative criticism. By giving yourself a slack, and not be so hard on yourself, this will have a can good effect on your own happiness.girls-1487825_1920
  8. The healing sounds. Listening to music can have a profound and direct effect on your mind. Listening to that tune you just love, can make your endorphins going through the roof. Even just listening to nature sounds have a soothing effect on your mind.
  9. Get rid of the excess clutter. I believe that to have less clutter surrounding you will have a lightening effect on your mind. Marie Kondo has written a very good book on how to clear your environment of clutter, called “The Life-changing magic of tidying up”.
  10. Happiness. Even seeing images of happy people is in it self enough to lift your spirit. Also, to regularly laugh and smile is very good for your mental health.