Gut flora and energy

Why Feeding Your Gut Flora Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Health Right Now

I remember clearly the first time I went skiing. I was about 6 years old, and I was convinced that, as soon as I had my skis on, I would be able to ski down the slopes, just like all the other people around me. I mean how complicated could it be? You just have to let yourself slide down, right?

I put my skis on and started to move on the snow. Except that, instead of moving forwards, I slid backwards, lost my balance and fell. I was frustrated and furious. In my 6 years old mind, it wasn’t making sense. It looked so effortless and easy! I hadn’t learnt yet the importance of starting with the basics, the fundamentals (such as facing the slope the right way!) before being able to do the more complex things such going down the hill.

When people are coming to see me, and they are unwell or exhausted, they are often looking for a quick fix for what is a complex problem. Just like me as a child, they are hoping that things will just fall into place all on their own. But they are missing the fact that they first need to work on the fundamentals such as their gut flora. In this article, we will look at:

    • What the gut flora is
    • Why feeding the gut flora is essential to your health
    • When you should look after your gut flora
    • How probiotics can help rebalance your gut flora

 

The gut flora, or gut microbiome, is the whole of the microorganisms living in the gut.

 

Gut bacteria and healthIt’s a collection of bacteria, viruses, microbes, fungi all living in symbiosis with our gut. There are about 10-100 trillion microorganisms in the gut, outnumbering the human cells 150 to 1. There are mainly composed of bacteria (about 35000 different species!), but we still don’t know what all the different species populating our intestinal tract are (1).

 

Gut bacteria help the body digest and absorb nutrients.

 

The bacteria in our gut help digest carbohydrates and get energy out of what would otherwise be undigestible fibre. They also help absorb some compounds found in fruits, tea, cocoa or wine. Some bacteria also synthesize vitamin K as well as some B vitamins (2).

 

Gut bacteria supports the immune system.

 

The gut bacteria control how the immune system works. The bacteria communicate with immune cells and control how the body reacts to infection, through the innate and adaptive immune system (3,4). They can influence how susceptible the body is to infections but also to auto-immunity, chronic inflammation or cancer.

 

Gut bacteria helps to keep the gut wall intact.

 

Gut bacteria help to maintain the structure and the function of the gastrointestinal tract. This is essential as an impaired tract has been associated with disease such as Crohn’s disease, some food intolerances (what is sometimes referred to as ‘the leaky gut’) or inflammatory bowel diseases (IBS and IBD) (5).

 

There is also a strong link between the brain and the gut bacteria.

 

The gut bacteria produce compounds that influence the nervous system as well as the production of neurotransmitters. These have an essential role in various disorders such as depression but are also associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia or obesity (5).
The brain also influences the gut bacteria, including on its diversity.

 

To stay healthy, you need to keep the balance in your gut just right.

 

In our gut, we have what are often called ‘good bacteria’ that are needed to stay healthy and some ‘bad bacteria’ which act as pathogens such as E. Coli and Campylobacter. It’s normal to find both of those in the gut. What is important is to keep the balance right with plenty of good bacteria to counterbalance (and keep in check) the pathogenic bacteria.

 

What we eat is crucial to keep the balance between ’good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria.

 

We know that what we eat plays a significant role in the composition of our gut microbiome, with some experiments showing that changing your diet can influence the gut flora within 24 hours (6)!

Some foods will encourage the development of certain bacteria whilst decreasing the presence of others. Vegetable proteins, proteins from meat, fats and carbohydrates all have a different influence on the gut flora. Fibre is particularly important to support gut bacteria.

 

Fibre is a prebiotic.

 

What we mean by that is that fibre is a non-digestible component of the food that stimulate the growth of certain microorganisms. Fibre helps support gut bacteria variety and abundance, which is essential to health. Sources of prebiotic fibre are:

Type of prebiotics

Examples

Beta-glucan Cereals such as oats and barley
Mushrooms suh as Reishi, shiitake, maitake
Seaweeds
Algae
Inulin Leeks
Asparagus
Onions
Wheat
Garlic
Chicory
Oats
Soybeans
Jerusalem artichokes
FOS (fructooligosaccharides) Chicory
Onions
Asparagus
Wheat
Tomatoes
Garlic
Banana
Artichoke
GOS (galactooligosaccharides) Jerusalem artichoke
Lentils
Beans
Chickpeas
Onion

 

Antibiotics also influence our gut flora.

 

Antibiotics are one of the most significant sources of imbalance of the gut flora. Because antibiotics have a broad spectrum, some bacteria in the gut is also killed by them (at the same time than the infection they are helping us fight). Different antibiotics will have a different effect on the gut flora. It usually takes 1-4 weeks for the gut flora to recover from antibiotic treatment, but some species do not recover quickly. Even two years after taking antibiotics, some species can still be missing and the level of recover varies from one individual to the next.

Several studies have linked recurring antibiotics treatments some illnesses such as asthma, obesity or type 1 diabetes showing the link between antibiotics and long-term health effect on the body.

 

Probiotics can help the gut flora recover from antibiotic treatment.

 

Probiotics are live organisms which, when ingested, confer some health benefit to the host (and in particular to its gut flora). They are usually bacteria (such as Lactobacillus) and might be beneficial to help restore gut flora balance. This means they could also be beneficial to someone after antibiotic treatment.

Probiotics and gut floraProbiotics can usually be found in fermented foods such as

    • Yoghurt
    • Kefir
    • Sauerkraut (raw)
    • Tempeh
    • Kimchi
    • Miso
    • Kombucha

 

 

But I hate sauerkraut and all those other foods!

 

I have to say this is not unusual. The real advantage of fermented foods is that they are providing the body with a range of friendly bacteria in their natural environment. You can add them in small quantities to the side of your dishes (e.g. with kimchi or sauerkraut). However, they are uncommon and require an acquired taste for them.

One way to solve that issue is to look at probiotics in ‘capsules’. The significant advantage is that they are much palatable. However, the type of strain in that supplement will be much more restricted (usually to a couple of strains) and might not be what you need. As different strains of bacteria have different effects on the body, I would recommend getting some advice from a nutritionist first, to find which probiotics are the most suitable for you.

 

Let’s recap.

 

The health of our gut flora is linked to our health. To ensure that our gut flora is abundant and varied, we need to take care of eating the right diet, in particular a wide variety of fibre to ‘feed’ the bacteria in our gut. Our gut flora is also affected by antibiotics. Probiotics can be one way to help repopulate our gut bacteria after antibiotic treatment.

 

You might also like:

 

How to regulate your blood sugar levels by eating fats <Link>
How to use mindful eating to restore your energy <Link>

Have you ever wondered if modifying your diet could help you feel better? There is plenty of advice around but which one will make the most difference to you? Have a look at how we could help you.

 

References:

  1. Dieterich W, Schink M, Zopf Y. Microbiota in the Gastrointestinal Tract.
  2. Singh RK, Chang HW, Yan D, Lee KM, Ucmak D, Wong K, et al. Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health
  3. Lazar V, Ditu LM, Pircalabioru GG, Gheorghe I, Curutiu C, Holban AM, et al. Aspects of gut microbiota and immune system interactions in infectious diseases, immunopathology, and cancer
  4. Rooks MG, Garrett WS. Gut microbiota, metabolites and host immunity
  5. Clark JA, Coopersmith CM. Intestinal crosstalk: A new paradigm for understanding the gut as the “motor” of critical illness.
  6. Palleja A, Mikkelsen KH, Forslund SK, Kashani A, Allin KH, Nielsen T, et al. Recovery of gut microbiota of healthy adults following antibiotic exposure.

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Heat and Insomnia

Why Heat Is The Reason You Can’t Sleep At Night (And How To Stop That From Happening)

Back in the 1980s, the carrot industry was struggling. More than half of the crops was misshaped and unfit for the supermarkets’ shelves. Farmers were struggling.

But in 1986, Mike Yurosek made a discovery that would change the way we are eating. He invented a way to use those hideous carrots, by merely shaping them into appealing baby carrots. ‘Baby carrots’ were born and took the markets by storm.

Interestingly, few people know baby carrots are not small carrots. They are totally unaware they have been shaped into the snacks they love so much.

When it comes to sleep, many people are unaware of the impact of Heat and how it can disturb their sleep. In this article, we will look at:

– What Heat is​

– Why Heat can disrupt your sleep​

– How Heat is disturbing your sleep​

– What you can do to reduce Heat at night​

– What is making Heat worse​

 

 

So, where is Heat coming from?

 

You can think about our bodies as a car, made with different parts such as the engine, the cooling system, the gearbox etc… To be able to move, each part of the car needs to work smoothly as well as in sync with the others. If you put poor quality fuel in the tank, the wrong type of oil in the engine, no cooling fluid, and carry on revving the engine at full throttle, the engine will eventually heat up.

Something similar is happening with your bodies. When we run our bodies on poor quality food, and push them to their limits through overwork, emotional and/or physical stress, our bodies heat up.

 

In Chinese Medicine, Heat is in part, but not just, a feeling of heat in the body.

 

It’s related to some feeling of hyperactivity, wherever that hyperactivity is. Having a headache is too much Energy/hyperactivity in the head. A strong feeling of palpitation is hyperactivity of the Heart etc…
Other symptoms of Heat can include feeling thirsty, being restless, waking up during the night with dreams or nightmares (1).

 

Heat can also keep us awake and active at night.

 

Sleep and TCMOur normal rhythm at night is to settle down. Our temperature drops by 1 or 2 degrees preparing us for a good night of sleep. Heat does the opposite. It keeps us warmer and more ‘awake’ and active, stopping us from settling down. This is also why we can sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and feel fully awake (and unable to fall back asleep) (2)

 

Heat is disturbing the body overall.

 

It can make you too hot, which can be enough to keep you awake just like a hot summer evening can stop you from sleeping well. It can disturb the mind and leave you unable to switch off, thus making it hard to fall asleep at night. It can disturb the Heart and lead to nightmares. It can even make your muscles/legs hyperactive and give you restless legs (1).

 

For a good night of sleep, the first step to take is to cool the body down before bedtime.

 

That means putting the heating down at night or opening the window a bit. Some people find that having a cool shower or putting their feet in cool water helps them cool down, ready for a good night of sleep. Many people also tell me that they always stick their feet out of the duvet to cool down in the middle of the night. You might be doing that too!

Doing some exercise away from the time you go to bed is helping too. Exercise needs some Yang energy (and therefore Heat), so we can move/exercise/run which explains why we can be wide awake after a run in the evening. Leaving a couple of hours between finishing exercising and bedtime is usually enough to be able to settle down.

Stress is a significant source of internal Heat. Just like an engine which is working on overdrive tends to heat up, our bodies then to heat up when they are under constant pressure and stress. An excellent way to help with insomnia and sleep disturbances is to have some routine in place to help us reduce stress. This can be anything from some exercise during the day, meditation, reading a good book or spending time with friends.

 

It’s important to also avoid activities that are creating Heat in the body.

 

This is simply anything that is creating internal Heat (3):

  • Alcohol is a very Hot food thus drinking alcohol is more likely to result in a disturbed night.
  • In the same way, coffee is also a Hot food and will stop people from falling asleep as easily.
  • Eating too late at night can be any issue too. When we go to sleep, the whole of digestion slows down. If we are eating too close to bedtime, food tends to sit in the stomach leading to some ‘Heat in the Stomach’. That Heat can then disturb sleep and sometimes gives way to nightmares.
  • What we watch, read, listen to. Emotional disturbances create Heat in the Heart. This is why, for example, we have palpitations when we are frightened watching a film. What we ‘put in our minds’ in just as important as the food we eat. Too many scary stories, from the News we watch to the books we read, all of these have the potential to create Heat in the Heart and then lead to nightmares and a night of disturbed sleep.

 

Stressing about falling asleep is counterproductive.

 

This happens when people want a good night of sleep and then start the night struggling to fall asleep. Some of my patients tell me that they then begin fretting about the lack of sleep, how they need to get up early the next morning, won’t have slept enough and will feel exhausted. They think about how hard the next day will be, get frustrated about not being able to fall asleep. The thing is all those thoughts are basically creating emotional stress, which, in turn, makes the Heat worse and stops them from falling asleep!

 

A simple remedy to that is to break the cycle of frustration.

 

Sleep and Chinese MedicineSometimes, just getting and getting a glass of water can be enough to distract you and allow you to fall asleep.

Making a point of thinking about something else can be helpful too. Some people find that repeating the same word over and over again in their head works well. Others prefer to think about a beautiful relaxing place they’ve visited or imagine laying on a beach listening to the waves and the wind.

Getting up again and reading a book, listening to some relaxing music (avoid TV or the phone as the blue light will keep you awake) can also reduce frustration and allow you to fall asleep.

 

To recap, reducing Heat can be a straightforward way to get a good night of sleep.

 

Having a cool shower and a relaxing routine before bed can sometimes be enough to get a better night sleep. Being mindful of what we ‘eat’ both as foods (such as alcohol and caffeine) and what we put in our mind (TV, news, books) all help reduce internal Heat and are conducive to good night sleep.

 

Next steps

You might also be interested in:

Should I Take Some Vitamin D?

4 Things You Need To Know About Meal Timing

If you are struggling with your sleep and it is impacting on your day to day living, why not giving me a call on 01642 694063 for a free 15 mins chat so we can see acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help you?

 

References:

  1. Poon MMK, Chung KF, Yeung WF, Yau VHK, Zhang SP. Classification of insomnia using the traditional chinese medicine system: A systematic review.
  2. Cao H, Pan X, Li H, Liu J. Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia: A systematic review of randomized Controlled trials.
  3. Wongvibulsin S, Lee S, Hui KK. Achieving balance through the art of eating: Demystifying eastern nutrition and blending it with western nutrition.

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Vitamin D affects the immune system

Should I Take Vitamin D?

Public Health England is recommending people consider taking daily vitamin D supplements throughout the spring and summer as the coronavirus lockdown continues. This is a piece of good news! Some vitamins and minerals are vital role to our health. Particularly important at the moment, we need to think how vitamin D affects our immune system

 

So what is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because it is produced by the body when we expose our skin to the ultraviolet from the sun. It is actually a prohormone (it is a compound that can be transformed into a hormone by the body) and is the only vitamin that our body can produce (1).

We get most of our vitamin D from our skin, but you can also find some vitamin D in food such as egg yolk, sardines, cod liver oil, salmon…. (2)

 

 

Food

%RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)

Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon

170

Trout (rainbow), farmed, cooked, 3 ounces

81

Mushrooms, white, raw, sliced, exposed to UV light, 1/2 cup

46

Sardines (Atlantic), canned in oil, drained, 2 sardines

6

Egg, 1 large, scrambled (vitamin D is in the yolk)

6

Liver, beef, braised, 3 ounces

5

Tuna fish (light), canned in water, drained, 3 ounces

5

 

 

Vitamin D has several functions in the body. It helps absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for bone health. Without enough vitamin D, bones can become brittle and out of shape as it is the case in rickets, a severe form of vitamin D deficiency or osteoporosis. It supports the immune system and has some effect on the cardiovascular system and high blood pressure. It is also associated with cancer rates, autoimmune diseases such as MS and energy production (3,4). An estimated 20-50% of many diseases could be prevented by adjusting vitamin D.

 

Vitamin D deficiency is common!

It is estimated that up to 40% of people in the UK are deficient in vitamin D (5), with ethnic minorities and the elderly more affected.  In the UK, the sun is too low on the horizon between October and March for the body to produce vitamin D. This and the increased use of sunscreen and spending less time outdoors might explain why we tend to be low in vitamin D. Indeed, these have been touted as the reason for the increase in rickets cases in the UK (6). Because optimal vitamin D levels are critical to overall health, ensuring that you are not deficient is essential.

Vitamin D levels vary during the year and are their lowest around February. Because the vitamin D you get from food is usually a small part of what you need and we have less sun during the winter, our reserves go down. This is the reason why the NICE guidelines encouraged some populations to have some vitamin D supplementation between October and March. Severe deficiency in vitamin D is defined as a concentration in vitamin D below 30nmol/l, and deficiency is defined as a concentration below 50nmol/l.

 

Vitamin D affects our immune system

 

Multiple studies have shown a link between vitamin D and a healthy immune response. It has been shown to support both the innate and the adaptative part of our immune system.

The innate immune system is the part of our immune system that reacts against any invasion and is very much our first line of defence. It doesn’t differentiate between the pathogens and is our first line of defence and includes physical barriers such as the skin, the lungs or the inside of our nose. This part of our immune system also consists of some specific cells that attack any foreign cells in the body.

The adaptive immune system is also called the acquired immune system and is our second line of defence. It is composed of cells that attack specific pathogens. It is a much more complicated system, and it can take days or weeks to produce the cells specific to a pathogen. These cells are called T cells and are a type of white blood cell. It can remember the pathogens too so if you are infected by the same pathogen again, the immune response is more efficient.

Vitamin D plays a role both in our innate immune system, our first line of defence and in the more complex adaptive immune system.

 

The First line of defence (7):

Vitamin D helps support our immune system in 3 ways:

1- Vitamin D strengthens our physical barriers against pathogens, especially in the gut and in the lungs. This is especially true for the cells inside our lungs when we are under attack from a viral infection. It also increases the production of antibacterial compounds.

2- Vitamin D is needed by some white cells to help them recognise and destroy pathogen in the body

3- Vitamin D supports the gut microbiome. About 80% of all the immune system is in the gut, and the health of our gut bacteria influences the way our immune system reacts. A healthy gut flora supports a healthy immune system.

The Second line of defence (8):

The adaptive immune system is complex. For the white blood cells to be able to neutralise a pathogen, they need to go through several steps. Those T cells need to be activated. They also need to differentiate/transform into a different type of immune cells (which then leads to a different kind of response from the immune system).

Vitamin D is involved in the immune system in 4 different ways:

1- Vitamin D activate T cells so they are better able to respond to a pathogen

2- Vitamin D influences the T cells differentiation/transformation

3- Vitamin D helps some white cells to mature and modulate the immune system for better efficiency

4- T cells respond directly to vitamin D by producing specific white cells

 

 

What about the current epidemy?

 

There hasn’t been any finalised research yet about the influence of vitamin D and the Coronavirus. Some studies are under the way in France and in Spain. However, preliminary results from Southern Asia show that there might be a strong link between the severity of the disease and the level of vitamin D.

In particular, 86% of all cases with normal vitamin D levels were mild, whereas 73% of cases with low vitamin D levels were severe or critical. This goes a long way to explain the advice from Public Health England.

 

Vitamin D levels affects the immune system

Click to enlarge (from GrassrootsHealth Research Institure)

 

How much vitamin D should you take?

 

This really should depend on what your level of vitamin D is.

The NHS has updated its advice, saying that everyone should consider taking 10µg (400IU) per day during the whole of the summer. This is around half of your daily requirement of vitamin D.

If you are deficient or if you do have the opportunity to go outside much, a higher dose might be more suitable.1000 IU to 2000IU would be suitable for most people. Be mindful not to overdose on vitamin D. The maximum daily dose is 4000IU (unless prescribed by your GP). Vitamin D supplements are quite easy to find. If you are considering buying some, you need to ensure that the vitamin D is vitamin D3 as it is the one most usable by the body. You will find it in tablet form or drops. Just chose whatever works best for you.

If in doubt about dosage, contacting a nutritionist for advice would be best so you can have the most appropriate dosage for you.

Last but not least, remember to go outside, without sunscreen and uncovering legs and arms. This will allow your body to manufacture its own vitamin D and is safe as long as you are also mindful of not getting sunburnt.

 

 

 

  1. Tripkovic L, Lambert H, Hart K, Smith CP, Bucca G, Penson S, et al. Comparison of vitamin D2and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: A systematic review and meta-analysis
  2. Vitamin D – Health Professional Fact Sheet
  3. Roy S, Sherman A, Monari-Sparks MJ, Schweiker O, Hunter K. Correction of low vitamin D improves fatigue: Effect of correction of low vitamin D in fatigue study.
  4. Stöcklin E, Eggersdorfer M. Vitamin D, an essential nutrient with versatile functions in nearly all organs
  5. Crowe FL, Jolly K, Macarthur C, Manaseki-Holland S, Gittoes N, Hewison M, et al. Trends in the incidence of testing for Vitamin D deficiency in primary care in the UK: A retrospective analysis of the Health Improvement Network
  6. Rickets on the rise – NHS
  7. Hewison M. An update on vitamin D and human immunity.
  8. Sassi F, Tamone C, D’amelio P. Vitamin D: Nutrient, hormone, and immunomodulator.

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4 Things You Need To Know About Meal Timing

A recent research paper [1] reminded me of the importance of eating at the right time in the day. It turns out that research is showing that individuals who are eating most their calorie intake later on in the day are more likely to be more overweight than someone who eats more at the start of the day.

Often, I see at the clinic people who skip breakfast, have a quick lunch at their desk and only have a ‘proper meal’ in the evening when they are back at home. It seems to be a quite common pattern for a lot of people. But Chinese Medicine reminds us of the importance of the timing of our meal on our overall health.

 

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper

 

Interestingly we find that old saying in many countries, from the UK to China in one form or another. It emphasises the fact that our bodies function in a cycle and that respecting these patterns helps the body run more efficiently. So here are a few tips to make the most of this rhythm.

 

1-      Have a nutritious breakfast.

In Chinese Medicine, the digestive system is the strongest between 7.00 am and 9.00 am. This makes it the ideal time to have a nutritious meal and set you up for the whole day. A 2004 study [2] showed that food eaten in the morning is also more satisfying so even more reasons to experiment around what to eat for breakfast.

 

2-      Plan to have a nice lunch

Even when you are at work. If you want to avoid the ‘I’ll just grab a sandwich at the work canteen’ syndrome, this is probably will need the most preparation beforehand. I find that having some frozen left over, in single portions, great for that. Otherwise, planning ahead what you will have for lunch allows you to have what you need in the house and maybe do a bit of preparation the night before.

 

3-      Your evening meal should be the lightest of the day.

To be fair, that’s not what we normally do in the UK. But as the body gets ready for a good night sleep, it’s also the time when our digestion slows down (It’s the Yin, calming and restful time of the day). The food ends up being poorly digested leading to all sort of issues, including the weight gain mentioned in the research articles but also issues with bad sleep and feeling full in the morning (That’s probably why so many of us aren’t feeling hungry in the morning to)

 

4-      Leave at least 3 hours between your last meal and going to bed.

For the same reasons mentioned above, this will leave enough time for the body to really start digesting your last meal, reducing all the negative effects of eating too much too late.

 

Over to you

What are your thoughts on meal timing and how would you feel about trying some of these tips?

 

We are offering a free 15 minutes consultation to learn more about how acupuncture can help you on your journey to a health . Simply give us a call on 01642 794063 to schedule an appointment.

[1] J. B. Wang et Al (2017)  'Timing of energy intake during the day is associated with the risk of obesity in adults' Am Journal of Clinical Nutrition
[2] de Castro JM (2004) 'The time of the day of food intake influences overall intake in humans' Journal of Nutrition vol 134(1)

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How Can You Stay Warm & Healthy This Winter?

The latest bout of snow has reminded me that we are fully into the seasonal phase that the Chinese call the Major Cold. Its name comes from the fact that this last part of the year, just before the Chinese New Year, is often the coldest part of the year. Consequently, many people are arriving at the clinic suffering from coughs and colds to sinus infections. So what can we do the look after ourselves during that time of the year?

 

1-      Looking after our digestive system.

This is essentially about eating easily digested foods so we can build up our energy and be ready for the Spring.

Easily digested foods are nice warm, cooked foods such as soups or stews.  Rice, soups such as chicken soup, cooked vegetables are all beneficial, especially when they are teamed with warning spices such as fresh ginger or nutmeg.

In addition, you might want to avoid cold and raw food as well as foods that are overly sweet or greasy (eg greasy meats or sweet deserts/cakes).

Adequate hydration is also important so sipping a nice, warm herbal tea throughout the day will also be beneficial. Ginger tea is a good choice to stimulate digestion.

 

2-      Bone broth

Bone broth has been used in Europe and in China for generations to keep people healthy. I am always trying to make a big pot of bone broth in the week, drinking a cup in the morning with my breakfast.

Here is how to make your own bone broth

 

3-      Soaking your feet

Soaking your feet in warm water was once a daily habit for many people in China and as a TCM practitioner, this is something I would also recommend as it is surprisingly effective. One recipe for a foot soak, especially good for those of us who tend to have cold extremities in winter, is:

About 50g of ginger, sliced

Half a cup of Epson Salt

Boil the ginger in water for a few minutes.

Take a basin big enough to put both feet in and high enough that you can cover your feet with water, up to your ankles.

Put the boiled water in the basin and add enough water so your feet will be covered. The water should be around 40oC (Please check the temperature before putting your feet in. You don’t want to burn yourself but nor do you want the water to be too cold). Add the Epson Salt.

Soak your feet for about 20mins, adding some boiled water if the water in the basin gets too cold.

It is best to do the soak just before going to bed as it will help you stay warm and get a good night rest.

 

4-     Socks and scarves

It sounds quite obvious but protecting yourself with warm clothes when you go out, including covering your neck (with a scarf for example) is essential. This is also about keeping yourself warm at home by wearing slippers in the house (so your feet don’t get cold) or using bed socks in bed if you tend to be easily cold or have cold feet.

This will help you protect yourself from the cold around you as well as from all these colds and coughs.

It is worth noting that science has found a possible explanation as to why getting cold could lead to getting a cold. It’s all down to the fact that our immune system isn’t as strong when we are cold!

 

Over to you

What are you doing to keep you warm and healthy during the winter? Do you tend to get ill or tired quite easily or do you waltz through it all?

 

Sometimes, self-care isn’t enough and you might find that you need a bit more support. If you find that during the winter you don’t seem to shake those coughs and colds or you are getting particularly tired, come and see us. Simply give us a call on 01642794063 and we will help you put those under control.

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