Sometimes parents teach us what to do and other times they're a cautionary tale of what not to do. When my Dad moved from Scotland to Australia decades ago, little did he know the toll it would take on his fair skin. Sun loving dad would even apply oil in an attempt to tan while playing golf in the extreme heat of FNQLD. Today I can thank him for my collection of broad rimmed hats and sun safe habits. He inspired me to write a report in the 2023 annual edition of WellBeing Magazine. Here's an extract to remind you to slip on a shirt, slap on sunscreen and slap on a hat.
Dark Side of the Sun
The Sun, the hearth of affection and life, pours burning love on the delighted earth.
- Arthur Rimbaud
Sun lovers relish bright days but it’s easy to get too much of a good thing. Sun damage is glaringly obvious when you compare chronically UV exposed skin to covered skin in an elderly person. It’s like crocodile skin next to baby skin. The sun causes cosmetic effects such as collagen loss, freckles, keratosis, moles and wrinkling, but deeper damage is the major concern. Excess UV is even insidiously injurious on cool, overcast days or in solariums. Despite the increased education regarding sun safety, a 2022 survey of 1,000 people by the American Academy of Dermatology revealed 27% said they thought having a base tan decreased the risk of developing skin cancer (it doesn't) and another 38% said tanning was safe as long as they didn't burn - another fallacy.
Black mole sun
In 2022, “Australian women were estimated to have a 1 in 21 chance of being diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 85, whereas men were estimated to have a 1 in 14 risk,” according to the Cancer Council Australia. Australia’s skin cancer rate is linked to equator proximity, a high percentage of fair skinned residents and a love of the outdoors. Other risk factors include a family history of skin cancer and previous sun damage.
There are three main types of skin cancer - basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma, the deadliest one. In 2017 skin melanoma of the skin was the fourth commonest cancer in Australia. If addressed early, skin cancer treatment is often effective but damage can take decades to become apparent.
“Nature itself is the best physician.”
I just returned from the green hills, pristine swimming holes and lush forests of the Northern Rivers. Feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
Have you ever felt more alive and revived after spending time in nature? Walking on the warm earth, swimming in the sea, soaking up the sun, enjoying a clifftop view and gazing skyward. These are all exhilarating experiences of what Henry David Thoreau termed, “the tonic of wildness.” We’re all born biophiliacs, or nature lovers, inextricably dependant on nature’s elements - earth, water, fire, air and ether. This affiliation may get tenuous as we spend extended time in artificial enclosures such as cars and buildings, but our biological bond with nature’s abundant energy is omnipresent. Nature constantly calls us to reconnect and recharge.
When we’re deprived of nature time people tend to wilt away like dying flowers. Hence incorporating green space into design has become the new norm. Studies have shown that time in nature can decrease anger, dissipate stress, reduce blood pressure and improve mood. A series of studies led by psychology professor Richard Ryan of Rochester University found that being outside for 20 minutes significantly boosted vitality. "Nature is fuel for the soul, " says Ryan. "Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature."
Nature rests and replenishes our brain circuits which can be burnt out by too much technology. This is called Attention Restoration Theory. Many people find their brain fog lifts when they absorb themselves in natural surroundings. Pure sounds, smells, sights, sensations and tastes reconnect us with our own pure nature. Nature Based Therapy (NBT) entails connecting with plants, animals and natural landscapes for health and healing. Considering over 60 per cent of people live in urban environments, NBT has shown that even viewing nature scenes even on a screen benefits wellbeing. Studies such as the one by King’s College London in 2017 also found that exposure to nature improved wellbeing.
Make nature time a priority everyday for revived mental, physical and energetic well being.
Extract from UMCO bookazine - Endless Energy
Good nutrition fertilises healthy hair. Sometimes nutrients don’t reach hair, so it’s advisable to apply external aids, too. Be aware that restricting foods can shed hair as well as kilos. Enjoy a balanced diet of wholegrains, protein, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats and pure water, and your hair will shine from the fringe benefits.
Vitamin A & betacarotene
Stimulates sebum and the hair follicle for growth and gloss. Insufficient vitamin A causes dry hair, whereas excessive vitamin A causes hair loss. Food sources include: apricots, carrots, cod liver oil, milk, dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes.
Prevents hair loss and fortifies hair at follicle. Food sources include: grapefruit, orange, kidney beans, peas, green beans, lima beans, split peas, blackeyed peas, blackberries, artichokes, okra.
Increases circulation to scalp’s capillaries to nourish new hair.
Food sources include: wheatgerm oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard.
Increases scalp circulation.
Food sources include: chicken, tuna, tofu, eggs, wholegrains, peanuts, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes.
Sufficient iodine is essential to prevent thyroid disorders, which can cause hair loss.
Food sources include: yoghurt, milk, strawberries, eggs, seaweed, iodised salt.
Strengthens hair roots, preventing hair loss and greying. Clears dead skin cells, so helps dandruff and dry scalp.
Food sources include: wholegrains, legumes, peanuts, brewer’s yeast, shiitake mushrooms, avocado, yoghurt, corn, sweet potatoes.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Prevents hair loss, flaky scalp and dry hair. Food sources include: flaxseed oil, walnuts, salmon, sardines and other oily fish, olive oil.
Prevents loss of hair and colour.
Food sources include: chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, shrimp, milk, cheese; plant-based sources of B6 include lentils, spinach, brown rice, sunflower seeds, wheat flour, carrots.
Your hair is largely made of keratin and your body needs protein to allow cells called keratinocytes to manufacture keratin. Essential amino acids for healthy hair include cystine, cysteine, methionine, leucine, serine, glycine, arginine and threonine. Protein deficiency causes loss of colour and hair.
Food sources include: meat, eggs, cheese, tempeh, mung dal, urad dal.
Ensures iron and blood supply to follicle for growth. Strengthens the cuticle and prevents hair loss.
Food sources include: clams, liver, chicken, eggs, fortified cereals, Swiss cheese, spirulina, yoghurt.
Iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss in women. It is essential to feed the follicle and sustain the shaft.
Food sources include: spinach, apricots, red kidney beans, adzuki beans, blackstrap molasses (reputed to restore colour also).
Essential for protein synthesis, including keratin. Biotin deficiency causes hair loss and dry hair. Supplementation promotes growth and prevents greying.
Food sources include: Swiss chard, bananas, carrots, walnuts, eggs, milk, peanuts, strawberries, cauliflower.
Ensures shaft strength and integrity of follicle to prevent hair loss.
Food sources include: oysters, wheatgerm, tahini, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts.
Strengthens and thickens the hair cuticle.
Food sources include: gelatine, mushrooms; dark green leafy vegetables and vitamin C help to produce collagen.
A trace mineral essential for hair strength from the core to the cuticle, silicon makes hair more elastic, shiny and manageable.
Food sources include: wholegrains, almonds, apples, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, oranges, kelp, flaxseed, strawberries, horsetail tea.
Due to antioxidant properties, prevents hair loss. Food sources include: kiwifruit, gooseberries, strawberries, pineapples, oranges, capsicum and tomatoes.
Dealing with diabetes
Whether you have type 1 insulin-dependant diabetes or the more common type 2 diabetes, the management is very similar. The key is to maintain your ideal weight, cholesterol and blood pressure while enjoying exercise, healthy eating and relaxation. In fact, type 2 diabetes can be treated with these straightforward steps.
You can still enjoy scrumptious meals with diabetes, simply work with a dietitian or a naturopath to devise a delicious meal plan. Reduce processed foods, sugar, saturated fats and salt. Incorporate blood sugar balancing foods including:
Cinnamon is a sweet spice that lowers blood sugar. It also augments insulin, eases inflammation and cholesterol.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities and is reportedly responsible for improving insulin resistance.
Bitter melon - extensive evidence supports its use to reduce blood sugar levels by blocking sugar absorption and boosting sugar metabolism. Its hypoglycaemic and lipid-lowering properties are due to charantin and the insulin-like peptides and alkaloids it contains.
Other beneficial foods for diabetics are buckwheat, broccoli, cloves, coffee, sage, garlic, onions, pomegranate, jackfruit, figs, Chinese yams, Reishi mushrooms, kidney beans, lentils, soybeans and curry leaves.
Sweet settling foods
Choose fibre rich foods with a low glycemic index. Visit the website www. glycemicindex.com. At least 35g of fibre daily is recommended. Try oat bran, barley, flaxseed, slippery elm, psyllium, fruits, vegetables, legumes, rice bran, nuts or seeds.
Focus on fresh vegetables, wholegrains, beans, nuts and low fructose fruit.
Eat regular meals, timed evenly throughout the day.
Reduce saturated fat by avoiding deep fried and fatty foods.
Match the amount of food you eat with the amount you burn up each day. It’s especially important to eat before and after exercise.
Strictly limit foods with sugar. Instead use stevia which has anti-diabetic properties, revitalizing damaged beta cells according to a 2011 study.
Drink plentiful pure water. High blood sugar can suppress thirst and trick you into thinking you’re hungry instead of thirsty.
Supplements support a diabetic to have high energy, strong organs and optimal blood sugar. Here are my top recommendations -
Magnesium: Many diabetics are deficient in magnesium. Studies show that blood sugar control is compromised by low magnesium. It interrupts insulin secretion and increases insulin resistance.
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in diabetics because the diabetes drug metformin destroys B12. Studies have shown that vitamin B12 reduced the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy in 39 per cent of people studied.
Chromium: A constituent of glucose tolerance factor, chromium increases insulin receptors, boosts receptor binding and activates insulin.
Vitamin E: Around 40 per cent of diabetics have a gene variation that means they are at significantly increased risk of heart disease. One study found that 400IU of vitamin E daily could help reduce diabetics’ risk of stroke, heart attack and cardiovascular death by a massive 50 per cent.
Vitamin D: This helps maintain healthy insulin levels in type 2 diabetes.
Zinc: Zinc is involved in all stages of insulin metabolism, it also protects against the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells. L-taurine is depleted in many diabetics. This deficiency can contribute to kidney failure and liver problems.
Barberry and Golden Seal are considered important to manage diabetes in Chinese medicine. These herbs contain berberine which induces insulin-producing beta cell regeneration.
Billberry protects a diabetic’s eyes and nerves through its antioxidant anthocyanidins. Bilberry also lowered blood sugar in animal studies.
Ginkgo biloba boosts retinal capillary blood flow in type 2 diabetics.
Gymnema sylvestre is an Indian herb known as the ‘sugar destroyer.’ Its hypoglycaemic action is due to gymnemic acids, which lower blood sugar by raising insulin, restoring pancreatic cells and preventing adrenal hormones from stimulating the liver to produce glucose.
Both aerobic and resistance training exercise improves insulin action. Exercise is essential to regulate weight, blood sugar and cholesterol. Daily movement prevents type 2 diabetes and reduces the rate of complications with diabetics.
Stress raises blood sugar by increasing insulin. It’s vital to manage stress with meditation, relaxation, exercise, counseling and a sane schedule.
Extract from Go Magazine article. For the entire article please click on the link - https://www.carolinerobertson.com.au/uploads/1/0/0/8/10080309/a_sweet_life_with_diabetes.pdf
Considering an estimated 80 per cent of the immune system is located in the gut, improving the digestive system is pivotal to alleviating allergies. Removing gut irritants, healing the intestinal lining, optimising digestive organs and maximising the microbiome can aid allergies. Here are some general suggestions that have helped some people with their allergies.
Clear the colon with a weekly cleanse of vegetable juice or low-starch vegetable broth for a day. Flush out membranes with warm herbal tea and filtered water. Minimise mucousy foods including dairy, rice, wheat, sugar and bananas. Feast on vitamin C and flavonoid-rich foods which fortify tissues and allay histamines. These include apples, berries, broccoli, buckwheat, capers, capsicum, coriander, kale, kiwifruit, mango, papaya, parsley and watercress.
Garlic, onion and horseradish moderate dry secretions and increase immunity.
Beta carotene-rich foods such as apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and mango avert allergic reactions. Honey desensitises the body to pollens while optimising digestive enzymes to deal with allergens. Though honey contains pollens, a 1995 study found pollen-sensitive subjects did not react to honey pollen. Honey is best unheated, with unique manuka factor. A dash of apple-cider vinegar in warm water optimises assimilation and elimination via its antioxidant phenols. Omega-3 fatty acids can noticeably ease allergy symptoms by reducing pro-inflammatory eicosanoids and prostaglandin. Salmon, flaxseed oil and eggs have abundant omega-3s. The essential fatty acids in fish or flaxseed oil reduce allergic inflammation. Probiotic supplements or foods like kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and yoghurt can lower levels of antibodies that trigger symptoms according to studies.
Healing and sealing a leaky gut decreases the allergic inflammatory response. Therapeutics such as aloe vera, glutamine, goldenseal, liquorice, marshmallow and slippery elm are soothing demulcents to soothe the intestinal mucous membrane.
Blood-purifying potions can clear skin issues. Herbal help to consider are burdock, calendula, dandelion root, echinacea, neem, red clover and yellow dock. Other herbal heroes are Ayurveda’s top anti-allergy herb Albizia lebbek, antioxidant amalaki or Indian gooseberry and Chinese or Baikal skullcap, shown to reduce the histamine and leukotriene release from mast cells. Perilla is an ancient Chinese remedy for rhinitis and an antidote for seafood allergies. Studies show it suppresses antigen-specific IgE production and histamine release. Pycnogenol is a French pine bark extract which is a natural antihistamine and antioxidant. A study showed it reduced birch pollen sensitivity by 39 per cent and decreased inflammatory leukotriene levels. Liquorice is an anti-allergy saviour as studies have shown that its glycyrrhetinic acid has anti-inflammatory properties. Liquorice also calms the adrenals and assists mucus expectoration. Try turmeric root in juices or powder with savoury dishes as an antioxidant, anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory tonic. St Mary’s thistle is a liver herb that lightens the toxin load and high histamine. Stinging nettle is a favourite herb to heal hay fever horrors. It contains formic acid which curbs hay fever flare-ups. Horseradish may be helpful for hay fever as it increases blood flow and flushes allergens away.
There are many supportive supplements for immune-influenced allergies. Vitamin C has a natural antihistamine effect that kicks in at a minimum of 1000mg/day for adults. Liposomal C absorbs directly orally, potentially relieving oral allergy symptoms. Both low and high levels of vitamin D have been associated with allergies. It has a role in regulating immune system cells and the release of chemicals that can produce allergy symptoms. A 2021 study
in International Immunopharmacology exhibited vitamin E’s ability to inhibit inflammatory mediators in allergies.
Bioflavonoids, especially quercetin, enhance vitamin C’s efficacy and help to stabilise mast cells which secrete the histamine. Quercetin is abundant in buckwheat, apples, onions, kale, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, berries, red wine and tea.
Enzymes assisting the digestion of potential allergens include amylase, protease, lipase, tilactase and cellulase. Enzymes bromelain in pineapple and papain in papaya are also natural anti-inflammatories.
Nigella sativa was effective for treating allergic rhinitis in a study published in the American Journal of Otolaryngology. I have also found the black seed oil effective topically for skin allergies in some cases.
Natural green clay packs can draw allergens from the skin in cases of itchy
skin allergies, but must be followed with a moisturising agent to counter the dehydrating effect. Eczema sufferers can use a barrier-repair emollient to minimise moisture loss, prevent dry skin, ease itching and heal cracked skin. Application of a moisturiser may be needed up to five times a day. Natural oils such as argan, emu, kanuka, sacha inchi, jojoba, pumpkin seed and vitamin E are ideal. Herbal oils infused with calendula, chickweed, liquorice, neem and white mallow can calm angry skin allergies. Moderate use of infrared saunas or low-UV sunshine along with sea swims can calm scaly skin allergies. Drying soaps or chemical make-up should be strictly avoided until the skin settles.
Homeopathics are ideally prescribed by a qualified practitioner to ensure a suitable remedy is selected. Homeopathics that have proven results with allergies include Allium
Are you Deficient?
Even with ideal meals, you can suffer deficiencies due to nutrient leeched soil from modern farming, artificial ripening, irradiation, food processing, poor digestion, overcooking, prolonged storage and absorption inhibitors such as pharmaceutical drugs, infections and illnesses. Also anti-nutrients such as alcohol, caffeine and phytates which are high in grains, bind nutrients out of the body. Increased requirements during stress, disease, youth, adolescence, pregnancy, breastfeeding and old age may not be met through diet. Common high calorie, low nutrient diets or insufficient intake are other factors.
Deficiencies and diseases
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. A concept which is being taken more seriously today than ever before, for example there is an increasing number of pregnant women taking folic acid to prevent birth defects. While your body can make some vitamins such as vitamins A, D and K, it can’t make minerals so must rely on dietary intake. This is where a problem
may arise, particularly if you have digestive weakness or are not sure how your food has been processed. Supplementing can ensure minor deficiencies don’t develop into major diseases.
The following list of symptoms may result from minor deficiencies which can be corrected with the right supplements or super foods:
Hair loss or greying hair has been linked to low vitamin B5, B6 and B12, biotin, iron and protein. Dry hair and scalp can indicate poor vitamin A or essential fatty acid (EFA) stores. Feed your follicles with high iron black strap molasses, vitamin B rich tempeh, protein packed eggs and omega-3 dripping flax seed oil.
Cuts at the corners of your mouth may indicate vitamins C, B2, B6 or folic acid deficiency. A burning tongue can indicate low vitamin B complex. Bleeding gums can signify low vitamin C and mouth ulcers are helped with vitamin B6, zinc and an alkalising diet. For cracks at corners of mouth or a swollen or fissured tongue try liquid vitamin B complex.
Extract originally published in Go Magazine . For whole article see -https://www.carolinerobertson.com.au/uploads/1/0/0/8/10080309/are_you_deficient.pdf
For radiant skin consider these elixirs:
Aloe vera juice, an ideal liver and hormonal tonic that helps prevent breakouts.
Avocado protects and plumps skin with antioxidant carotenoids, vitamins C and E and fatty acids.
Carrots, bursting with betacarotene which accelerates skin healing.
Liquid chlorophyll added to a glass of water, cleanses blood for a clearer complexion.
Evening primrose oil -balances hormonal acne and lubricate skin from within.
Fresh garlic or in supplemental form, contains antibacterial allicin.
Kale is cleansing, alkalising and mineral rich – ideal for skin health.
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which thins sebum and hastens healing.
Fresh salmon, a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids soothes and moisturises skin.
Turmeric’s active component curcumin reduces inflammation and purifies blood.
Fresh chemical-free, alkalised water hydrates your skin cells and removes wastes, aim for two litres daily.
Vitamin A helps to maintain structural and functional integrity of your skin cells and may also help reduce sebum production.
Pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 is beneficial as it reduces oil production by the sebaceous glands.
Vitamin B6 may help reduce pre- menstrual or mid cycle acne problems in women, 50-100mg is recommended daily.
Chaste tree (Vitex agnus castus) is also beneficial premenstrually to eliminate acne.
What is a naturopath?
A naturopath (ND), is a type of alternative medicine practitioner who follows a holistic approach to healthcare and promotes natural remedies for the treatment of various conditions. Naturopaths typically receive a degree in naturopathic medicine from an accredited naturopathic medical school and are trained in a variety of natural therapies, including herbal medicine, massage, nutrition, and lifestyle counselling. They may also use traditional medical techniques, such as physical exams and diagnostic testing, to diagnose and treat conditions. Naturopaths generally focus on helping people maintain optimal health and prevent illness, rather than just treating symptoms of diseases.
How does a naturopath help me?
Naturopaths aim to treat the whole person and consider a wide range of factors that may be contributing to an individual's health problems, including physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual aspects. They use a variety of natural therapies to support the body's natural healing processes and help individuals achieve optimal health. Some of the ways that a naturopath may help you include:
What are the tools and techniques a naturopath uses?
Naturopaths use a variety of tools and techniques in their practice, including: