Health

Health Food and More – your local health store in Kirkcaldy

Health Food and More – also known as The Kirkcaldy Herbal Clinic – is gearing up for a busy winter.

The shop on St. Clair Street is well prepared for all the season has in store. From great deals on Echinacea and advice on Vitamin D, to natural mood-boosters and CBD supplements to relieve aches and pains, Keren Brynes Maclean and the team are armed and ready!

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Echinacea

If you need help with a food intolerance, would like to arrange private blood testing, or would benefit from a consultation with a medical herbalist, they can help with that too.

In fact, Health Food and More offers all the above and much more. The shop also stocks Fife’s largest range of quality, brand name supplements, including best-selling LoveCBD in a range of strengths, from 3% to 20%.

In-store medical herbalists have the training, experience and high-strength herbs to address entrenched, chronic and serious health problems and can safely prescribe alongside your prescription medicines.

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“There are very few conditions that don’t respond well to a good, listening ear and herbal tonic,” says Keren.

And if you’d like to investigate your health in more detail, Health Food & More’s phlebotomist can arrange private blood tests for you. The detailed Thyroid Screen is particularly popular.

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Don’t forget, you can pick up the latest issue of Holistic Scotland Magazine here too, subject to availability.

Pay Keren and the team a visit, or call Health Food and More/The Kirkcaldy Herbal Clinic on 01592 566466.

You can also follow the store on Facebook.

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News

Pukka Herbs vows to become carbon neutral by 2030 and minimise climate change

After pledging to become carbon neutral by 2030, Pukka Herbs has become one of a small number of companies to have its climate goal validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

The organic herbal tea and supplement specialist joins brands such as Tesco, Marks and Spencer, and Coca Cola European Partners by becoming the 13th UK company to have its carbon reduction target officially recognised by the SBTi.

With a turnover of nearly £36 million, Pukka Herbs was founded in 2001 by Tim Westwell and herbalist Sebastian Pole. Sebastian’s vision was to create a business that lives in a regenerative way and it has since become one of the fastest growing organic businesses in the world, working with over 5,000 organic growers worldwide and selling its 100% certified organic herbal teas, supplements and lattes in over 40 countries.

Pukka-Latte-Cacao-Hero-ENGWhile many companies are setting their own carbon reduction targets, only 13 in the UK including Pukka have set independent, rigorously verified targets through the SBTi and while the smallest, it joins UK-based, global organisations such as BT, Capgemini and Diageo PLC in the plight to radically reduce climate change before it’s too late.

 

Pukka, which was the first company to develop recyclable tea envelopes and has been an early adopter of renewable energy, says it will achieve its science-based targets via actions ranging from engaging with suppliers to tackling the emissions caused from boiling kettles – which have the greatest impact (49%) in Pukka’s value chain.

Its ‘Smart Boiling’ campaign will encourage people to adopt some simple practices to make a ‘Pukka cuppa’. Boiling only the amount of water you need and switching to renewable energy are just two of the ways it is highlighting to help boil smarter, saving consumers nearly £1 million a day in electricity by only boiling what’s needed.

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Pukka Spring Wellbeing Kit

Pukka also runs its buildings on renewable electricity while, in future, all its company vehicles will be electric.

With the help of Carbon Credentials, Pukka has mapped out its carbon footprint, breaking down total carbon output from ‘crop to cup’. A complex tea production supply chain, with over 90% of carbon emissions outside its direct control makes this an even more ambitious target. 25% of its carbon footprint is in the growing of its herbs and making its packaging. To address this 25% Pukka has:

  • Inspired other companies in its supply chain to switch to renewable energy. For example, Infusion, Pukka’s blending and packing partner, has now switched to renewable energy.
  • Started using organic farming methods which reduce emissions and store more carbon in soils.
  • Started working with its most important herb growers to encourage low carbon farming techniques. Ploughing, for example, releases carbon from the soil into the air, so ploughing less, or not at all makes carbon sense. While agroforestry, has many benefits: better composting and agroforestry help to reduce carbon emissions, and help lock more water into the soil which is important in times of future drought. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, roots firm up soil helping to prevent soil erosion, and tree nuts, fruits and bark can often provide a secondary source of income for farmers.
  • Introduced pilot carbon reduction projects in collaboration with suppliers and the communities growing its specific herbs. This includes Pukka investing £45,000 in pilot projects tasked with reducing carbon impact throughout 2019, while it’s now generating more accurate data relating to its specific carbon impact in-situ (as well as monitoring carbon reduction over time), via a field-based app.

2922_Carbon Footprint Infographic pdf

 

Health

Easy natural health swaps to beat bloating

We shed some light on what could be causing your bloating and share some easy ways – including simple lifestyle swaps – to help reduce it (just in time for the beach)

Spring officially ends today (Thursday, 21 June) with the arrival of the Summer Solstice. Yet as we bid farewell to the longest day and look forward to summer’s official arrival, many of us have already been experiencing the odd heatwave.

And, as much as we love al fresco lunches and impromptu barbecues, the sticky heat isn’t quite as much fun for those of us stuck in an office 9 to 5 – especially if you suffer from bloating, which affects a whopping 62% of us.

Sweltering in suit trousers or a skirt which threatens to cut off your circulation after your lunchtime sandwich is no fun for anyone. According to the experts, however, there are some easy lifestyle swaps we can make to help beat the bloat. But first, you need to get to the bottom of what’s causing your distended tum.

What’s causing my bloating?

According to nutritionists, bloating is usually caused by a combination of diet and external factors. In most cases, a sensible diet and lifestyle, as well as a little observation, can go a long way towards addressing its root causes:

1. Lack of fibre and constipation

Fibre is a crucial component of any diet and it’s recommended we have 30g a day. however most Brits average only 20g according to the British Heart Foundation,which explains why many of us suffer with digestive discomfort on a daily or weekly basis. Fibre helps food transit through the body. A lack of it causes constipation.

How to reduce bloating

The solution is to increase your fibre intake. Swap out white flour and pasta for healthier alternatives and include slow carbs such as oats in your diet. You should aim for the daily recommend amount of 30g of fibre a day, but if you’ve been well below that for some time, reintroduce fibre slowly, or you might make your bloating worse!

Try swapping crisps, croissants or biscuits for high-fibre oatcakes topped with a scoop of nut butter. food-3126527_1920

“Fibre in our diet is vital for a healthy gut and helping with regular bowel movements,” explains nutritionist Cassandra Barns. “When it comes to grains, the less processed they are, the better. Nairn’s Rough Oatcakes are a great choice as they’re made with coarse, wholegrain oats and are high in soluble and insoluble fibre.”

Try swapping frozen pizza for a Lo-Dough crust

For bread and pizza lovers, there’s no need to forego your favourite treat altogether: Lo-Dough is a gluten-free, low-calorie flatbread – containing only 39 calories and a huge 9.9g of fibre per piece.

“It’s ideal for anyone who just wants to eat in a healthier way this summer,” says Cassandra.

2. Poor gut health and inflammation

The BBC reported last month that only 43% of the cells which make up our body are human. The rest is our microbiome: bacteria and other organisms. These microbiomes have a huge impact on our immune system and digestion. But that balance can be disturbed by a steady diet of processed food or something unavoidable, such as a course of antibiotics when we’re sick. In some cases, an imbalance in gut bacteria can cause a serious condition called SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth).

How to reduce bloating 

The solution is to make sure your diet regularly includes probiotics (beneficial bacteria and yeasts). Your go-to should be fermented foods with live cultures. For example, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir and kombucha are teeming with beneficial bacteria that will sort you out and slim you down.

Try swapping Diet Coke for a bottle of Kombuchakombucha-1074594_1920

“We’re learning more and more about the importance of the ‘friendly’ bacteria and other microbes that live in our gut,” says Cassandra.

“They’re thought to influence our immunity, mood and weight, as well as our digestion of course. Traditional fermented foods such as kombucha can be a key way to maintain the healthy bacteria in our gut – in fact, some research suggests that they’re much more effective than taking probiotic supplements for this purpose.”

To reap the probiotic benefit, be careful to only select unpasteurised kombucha with active cultures, such as Equinox Kombucha (available in four delicious flavours).

Do you normally reach for the olive oil or sunflower oil when you start cooking? Stop right there, because these ingredients may promote inflammation when used to cook food at high temperatures. Try switching to organic ghee, which has a higher smoke point and is suitable even for the lactose-intolerant.

Try swapping butter and cooking oils for ghee 

Ghee is a form of clarified butter, which contains butyric acid. “Butyrate acts as a fuel for the cells lining the large intestine, helping to keep the gut lining healthy,” explains Cassandra.

“Butyrate may also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in the gut. On the other hand, vegetable-cooking oils such as sunflower oil may actually have the opposite effect on the gut, promoting inflammation. Try GHEE EASY, available at Sainsbury’s.”

3. Dehydration and fluid retention 

If you had one too many glasses of wine after work last night, your body might be holding onto water for fear of not having enough. To avoid fluid retention, make sure you’re always sipping on something, especially in hot weather. This, paradoxically, will communicate to your body that it’s okay to let go of some water.

How to reduce bloating

Drink more water and, if you find yourself forgetting to hydrate, you can download an app to remind you at regular intervals throughout the day.

Try swapping coffee for herbals teas and water, water and more water!bottle-2032980_1920 (1)

4. Food sensitivities

Another culprit for bloating? Food sensitivities and allergies. Many people have reactions to gluten, eggs, and lactose, but eat all three regularly. It might be worth eliminating them from your diet one at a time to see if this helps.

How to reduce bloating 

With the free-from market exploding, there are tons of gluten and dairy-free alternatives to experiment with. Reduce the quantity of other foods that are known to cause bloating.

Try swapping normal beer for gluten-free, naturally carbonated Celia Lager

If you want to eliminate or reduce your gluten intake, Lo-Dough (mentioned above) is a great option, as is Celia Lager, an organic beer that’s specifically designed to be safe for those on a gluten-free diet. It’s also traditionally brewed to allow natural carbonation to occur, meaning it can be gentler on the digestive system than a highly carbonated lager.

Try swapping crucifers such as kale and broccoli for spinach and rockettop-view-1248955_1920

You can get too much of a good thing: ingredients you may want to limit without eliminating from your diet entirely. Cruciferous veg such as broccoli, cabbage, or Brussels sprouts have lots of vitamins and cancer-fighting compounds known as glucosinolates – but they cause wind, so avoid in the 24 hours before a beach outing, first date, or job interview.

Try swapping full-dairy chocolate for probiotic-rich, raw treats such as Ombar Chocolate Bars

Avoiding lactose isn’t as difficult as it used to be: there are loads of amazing nut milks in every supermarket, and if you miss butter, you can use GHEE EASY on toast or for baking. You don’t need to limit yourself to mouth-puckering dark chocolate, either. Ombar is made from raw cacao, with coconut cream that more than makes up for the lack of milk (bonus: the raw cacao may have a variety of health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and supporting heart health).

5. Stress 

Waking up and downing a cup of coffee before jumping on the tube? Gulping down lunch in front of the computer? Staring at screens all day?

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind, but our bodies will respond by flooding us full of the stress hormone cortisol. This can lead to a gain in belly fat and an increase in bloating. Additionally, eating in front of a screen can mean we gulp our food, introducing unwanted air into our stomach.

How to reduce bloating 

Small changes to our routines can have a huge effect on our stress levels. “Exercise is a great stress reliever”, says Cassandra. “Take a brisk walk to stimulate anti-anxiety effects, this helps to clear your thoughts and feel more relaxed upon returning to the office.”

Try swapping lunch “al desko” for a quick stroll

Every hour, remember to get up from your desk and move around. Introducing even 10 minutes of exercise a day can have a powerful effect.

Try swapping late nights for lots – and we mean lots – of kipwoman-2197947_1920 (1)

Make sure you get sufficient sleep (at least 8 hours), and don’t drink coffee the minute you wake up. If you do love caffeinated bevvies, use them as a pick-me-up later in the morning.

Tried everything and still wondering “what’s causing my bloating?”

In some rare cases bloating can be the sign of something more serious. If you notice anything unusual such as a fever, vomiting, or hives, make sure to see a GP and discuss your symptoms.

Health

What are sublingual supplements?

Water for Health shares the interesting backstory behind Frunutta, the Smaller Vitamin Company, whose sublingual tablets make it easier for those at risk of nutritional deficiencies, such as vegans, vegetarians and those with autism, to supplement their diets and stay healthy.

Many companies have an interesting backstory, and Frunutta – the Smaller Vitamin Company – is no different.

The story starts with Dr. Ali Alavi, Frunutta’s co-founder. The father to an autistic child, Dr. Alavi was understandably keen to nourish his son the best way he could. You see, nutritional deficiencies are all too common among children with autism due to abnormal eating behaviours and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Ensuring a healthy intake of nutrients is absolutely vital if proper physical and cognitive development is to be achieved. Whether it’s calcium to build bones and teeth, or iron to construct healthy blood, youngsters – and indeed adults – need these nutrients in appreciable amounts.Frunutta_VitD3_5000_1024x1024

When obtaining vitamins and minerals from food proved problematic, Dr. Alavi resorted to vitamin supplements – only to learn that his son was averse to swallowing tablets and capsules.

Though it greatly pained him to do so, Dr. Alavi was left with just one option: to inject his son with the important vitamins he required on a weekly basis. Intravenous vitamin therapy is entirely effective for correcting deficiencies, it should be said, but the process proved to be heart-wrenching for both father and son. There had to be a better way.

As Dr. Alavi investigated alternative methods, the seeds of Frunutta slowly began to bear fruit. He realised that sublingual vitamins would be cheaper and more convenient than going the intravenous route. Commonly used in hospital emergency rooms, sublingual tablets are placed under the tongue, where they quickly dissolve and enter the bloodstream.Frunutta Vitamin B12_1024x1024

Because they are not required to fight through the digestive tract and survive the harshly acidic conditions of the stomach, sublingual tablets are quite a bit smaller than traditional tablets. Take away the protective shellacs, added sugars, artificial colours, fillers and other ingredients and you’re left with – what else? – pure vitamin. Frunutta vitamins contain all of what you need and none of what you don’t.

Unlike the other methods, sublingual supplements went down a treat with Dr. Alavi’s son, and after teaming up with a small group of pioneering doctors and scientists, the Frunutta brand was born. Not only would sublingual vitamins and minerals help autistic children, but they would ensure adults avoided common nutritional deficiencies brought about by malabsorption.

Sublingual vitamins would also represent a handy alternative to tricky-to-swallow pills or capsules. After all, it can be a pain to gulp one or more daily vitamin tablets if you’re already using some form of medication. Factor in omega-3 capsules and any other natural supplement (glutathione, probiotics) and you could quite easily be consuming half a dozen pills per day; maybe more!

Along with his research and development team, Dr. Alavi built Frunutta from the ground up in the United States, intending to offer the benefits his son had experienced to as many as he could reach. Surely there was a market out there for vitamins devoid of preservatives, hydrogenated oils, PCBs, talc, sugar? Surely intravenous wasn’t the only option for those wishing to cut the digestive system out of the picture?

As it turned out, the surgeon was correct: sublingual supplements have grown in popularity in recent years, and the Frunutta range is now available in the UK exclusively from Water for Health. Eight supplements are available in total, including a high-strength sublingual vitamin D3, sublingual vitamin B12 and sublingual vitamin C.

Vitamin D3, which plays a key role in immune, skeletal and cardiovascular health, is especially important to supplement during the autumn and winter months. However, those who don’t get enough sun throughout the year are also likely to be deficient. The National Institute for Healthcare and Excellence reckons one in five adults (and one in six kids) may have low vitamin D status.

Frunutta’s sublingual Vitamin D3 provides a generous dose of 5,000 i.u. per tablet, identical to the daily amount advised by the Vitamin D Council (for adults). The same organisation recommend that infants receive 1,000 i.u. per day, and children 1,000 i.u. per 25 lbs of body weight. Helpfully, Frunutta have a second strength of supplement for youngsters which contains a 1,000 i.u. dosage.

Vitamin B12, meanwhile, is an important supplement for vegetarians and vegans, since plants neither make nor require the nutrient. The best dietary sources of B12 – which is needed for the nervous system, the brain and the immune system – are in the carnivore’s palate: foods such as meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs and cheese.

As a consequence, those who favour a plant-based diet must rely on fortified foods, supplements or a combination of both. Frunutta’s sublingual Vitamin B12 is methylcobalamin, the most bioavailable and readily absorbed form, and each quick-absorbing tablet provides a generous 1,000 mcg dosage.

Whatever deficiency you’re trying to avoid, Frunutta’s “just vitamin” policy helps them stand out from the crowd. If you’re keen to avoid the artificial ingredients which too often creep into the diet, or if you just want to benefit from the quick absorption of sublingual tablets, give them a try.

Health

Think you’re suffering from IBS? Don’t ignore the symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects around 20% of people in the UK (maybe more, given the wide range of symptoms associated with the condition and taboos about talking about them). It can be painful, causing frequent tummy discomfort, wind, bloating, and constipation, alternating with bouts of diarrhoea.  The condition can impact a person’s quality of life, leading to anxiety and affecting their daily activities.

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What’s more, new research* published by the makers of Alflorex on 2 April at the start of IBS Awareness Month revealed that Brits are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to gut health, with more than 1 in 6 (18%) of the 2,000+ people surveyed, admitting they have never visited a doctor despite suffering with a bowel issue. The results also show that only 46% of Brits actually know all the symptoms of IBS.

According to Precision Biotics, our refusal to seek professional medical advice immediately to help ease the symptoms of IBS has resulted in nearly 3 in 10 Brits (28%) soiling themselves in public, nearly a quarter (23%) passing wind in a meeting, nearly 1 in 5 Brits have passed wind during sex (19%) and 17% of Brits having to carry two sets of clothing because of soiling or bloating.

In fact, nearly half of those surveyed (48%) revealed that they put off going to the doctor if they suspect they have IBS or a gut problem, with 48% hoping that the issue would stop naturally, and more than 3 in 10 (31%) feeling too embarrassed to go.  Over 70% of 35-44-year olds regularly suffer some form of bowel issue.  An under-whelming 16% of Brits would go to the doctors after experiencing symptoms.

Sitting on the problem

Bowel conditions and the symptoms of constipation, diarrhoea, flatulence, and other activities that take place in the ‘private’ realm of the toilets remain heavily taboo topics in Britain. Therefore, embarrassment is a continual theme surrounding gut health, the Alflorex research revealed that even if their gut was causing them severe pain, nearly 4 in 10 Brits (38%) would feel uncomfortable discussing bowel issues with their boss, and a further 37% would be uncomfortable talking to their colleagues about it.basic-1239215_1920

The research reveals that stress is the biggest trigger of IBS/gut problems (41%), followed by diet (29%).  Those suffering with IBS/gut problems have had to make a series of adaptions in order to feel comfortable.  1 in 5 Brits have had to research public toilets before leaving the house, and a further 40% have had to carry spare toilet roll and carry spare underwear.

Over half of Brits surveyed (52%) have found themselves needing the toilet while in public and unable to find one, meaning that over 6 in 10 Brits (66%) have had to go into a pub/restaurant to use their facilities, nearly half (49%) have pretended to be a customer to use a toilet and 18% have had to run in public trying to find toilet. Distressingly 35% of adults admit to being caught short while needing the toilet in public.

In the quest for a remedy, 84% of the public have tried a probiotic treatment, and over half of those suffering from IBS (53%) believe the most important benefits for a treatment of IBS/gut problems are that it treats the cause not just the symptoms. Product_Capsules_UK_672x535px

According to Precision Biotics, Alflorex does just that.  The supplement is said to be the result of more than 17 years of clinical research and is clinically proven to address the root cause of the condition and alleviate the symptoms associated with IBS – bloating, abdominal pain and unpredictable bowel movements like diarrhoea and constipation.

The 35624 culture in Alflorex is the only bacterial strain to have shown reduction of symptoms in two well-controlled clinical trials led by scientists and gastroenterologists in the UK and Europe.   As a result, it is the number one recommended probiotic by US gastroenterologists and was winner of the Best Natural Product and Best GI Product in the Irish Pharmacy News OTC Awards for 2016-17.

Pamela Spence MNIMH
Pamela Spence, medical herbalist and Holistic Scotland Magazine columnist

For more advice on coping with IBS, including natural remedies, see our May issue in which our columnist and medical herbalist Pamela Spence will be talking about some of the herbs we can incorporate into our daily lives to help reduce the symptoms. Did you know, for example, that fennel is the top remedy when it comes to IBS-induced bloating and wind?

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Fennel