Issue Description

downloadHemp as a Food Source

The word “hemp” can be emotive for some people. Legalization issues aside, you might be surprised after reading Dr Sandra Cabot’s (Australia) interesting and informative article on why we could benefit from including hemp in our diet. “No other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, nor has the essential fatty acids in such a perfect ratio to meet human nutritional needs.” Dr Cabot explains the properties of hemp that make it a wise food choice.

 Positive Ageing

Whilst no-one will deny the importance of our genes, it is also accepted that a great deal of one’s ageing experience is also determined by lifestyle. Dr. Nicola Gates (Australia) explains that “research into lifestyle choices clearly indicates that maintaining mental health, keeping intellectually and socially engaged, and physically active, promotes positive and successful ageing.  So although we can’t change our genetic make-up (yet) we can certainly influence our destiny through the lifestyle choices we make.”  The good news is that it’s never too late to change. Dr Gates points out that “people who make changes later in life will enjoy positive benefits.  Any age is a good age to start making lifestyle changes for positive ageing.”

 Helping your Eyes Last a Lifetime

As we age many people find that their eyes are not what they used to be. “Starting in their late ’30s most folks experience a natural decline in visual acuity. Especially in this age of computer technology, where 65% of all professionally employed adults have a least some exposure to working at a computer screen, we need to protect our eyesight.” Glasses, contacts or eye surgery are often the next step, but naturopath Emily Kane (USA) explains what we can do to postpone that stage, and maintain healthy eyes and good vision for as long as possible. She points out that “the more dependent you become on your glasses (or contacts) the weaker your eyes become.” The suggestions she offers on relevant nutrition as well as exercises for the eyes are well worth adopting.

Organic or Non-Organic Dilemma

Does it really make a difference to our health whether we eat organic produce or not? Dr. Joel Fuhrman (USA) believes it does and reveals that “studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma and cancers of the stomach and prostate. “

Despite the risks of eating chemically grown fruit and vegetables it is still better than not eating them at all or not eating enough. “The health benefits of eating phytochemical rich produce greatly outweigh any risk pesticide residues might pose.  Certainly, it is better to eat fruits and vegetables grown and harvested using pesticides than to not eat them at all, but it is also wise to minimize our pesticide exposure”.

 To help you decide whether to buy organic or not Dr. Fuhrman presents two lists – the Dirty Dozen Plus (those fruits and vegetables that are considered highest in pesticide reside) and the Clean Fifteen (those thought to contain the least residue).

What’s in your Breakfast?

Next time you reach for a breakfast bar or fill your bowl with your favourite cereal, take a moment to look at the ingredients listed on the packaging. If you are unsure about some of the items because their names are too complicated, then the article by Sherry Brescia (USA) might shed some light. It might also make you rethink your choice. Sherry points out that a significant proportion of such ‘foods’ is sugar (often in several forms) and “if you eat this or other processed ‘stuff’ on a regular basis, you are most assuredly lacking in real food and loaded with sugar. That sugar comes with a huge health price.”

Easy on the Gut

How’s your digestion? Ben Kim (Canada) has a list of five foods that are great for those who are “experiencing bloating, belching, abdominal discomfort, or any other symptoms of an overburdened digestive tract.” He explains the properties of each food that make them a good choice for those with digestive issues.

 Sleep to be Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.

How much sleep is enough?  Everyone is different and the older we get the less sleep we need, but chronic lack of sleep can present us with more than just dark circles under our eyes. Carmel Harrington (Australia) explains thatas adults we need between 7-9 hours every night, increasingly we are choosing to sleep much less than this. Since 1960 our average sleep time has decreased from 8.5 hours per night to 6.5 hours during the working week”. It is now recognized that good quality sleep is vital for our overall physical and mental health. Dr. Harrington outlines the ramifications for the individual, as well as for wider society of insufficient sleep and provides indicators of a chronic poor sleeper. She also gives some useful guidelines on how to improve one’s sleep practices.

 Matcha Tea

If you have never had this healthy Japanese powdered tea, by the time you have read the article by naturopathic doctor Lisa Watson (Canada) you will probably be keen to give it a try. As well as giving us many good health reasons to try matcha, Lisa provides a nutritional profile of this powerful antioxidant and provides instructions on how to prepare it.

 Play in Nursing Homes

Is that possible? Nursing homes can sometimes be dreary places. Even those that are of higher standards are usually not thought of as locations for play. “Nursing homes are places which sometimes seem to be the antithesis of play.  Staff report being busy, overworked, stressed and having low morale, evidenced by an average turnover of 30%. Over a third of residents are reported to suffer from depression. When observed, between 25% and 65% of the time residents are not doing anything at all.” New research into aged care is beginning to turn that thinking around.

Stressing the importance of remembering that “play is a state, not any specific activity” Dr Lee-Fay Lowe (Australia) explains the positive results observed after introducing a play-centred program within some nursing homes: “After several months in the nursing homes, staff observed and appreciated that play can have serious outcomes in improving lives of residents and has a place in aged care”.

Healing with Singing

Sing to be happy and healthy. That’s the message from music therapist Wolfgang Bossinger (Germany) who maintains that “singing is a great means to help you strengthen your health, your wellbeing and your self-healing potential.” Together with his wife and music teacher Katarina, he works with people who come together to improve their health through singing together. It doesn’t matter if you are tone deaf, as they believe that “the most important factor is that the singers have fun and get pleasure from their singing experience”. Wolfgang lists the physical and psychological benefits of healing singing and suggests how it could be applied to other situations where people come together.

Healthy Recipes

We include two great recipes from Dr. Ben Kim, one savory and one sweet, with step-by-step pictorial instructions.

Energy Drinks

These popular pick-me-up drinks might be doing more harm than good, especially in children and adolescents. In this transcript of an interview with herbal expert Mark Blumenthal (USA) responds to questions about the contents of energy drinks and why we need to be careful in our consumption of them.