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Acorn Health Blog

What we love is great health...

...and we like to write about how we can all achieve better health, naturally. Sometimes tips on how you can DIY to better health and sometimes on the therapies that can make a difference to you, your health and wellbeing.
Thank you for reading, We hope you enjoy :)

Spotlight on: Stress and Mental Health

General Health & Wellbeing, Therapies Posted on Tue, October 19, 2021 02:23PM

Would you limp around for hours, days, weeks or even months on end if you broke your leg without going to the doctors or hospital? Most people will say no, that’s ridiculous! and yet that’s what so many people do with their mental health. They limp, suffering often for years without reaching out for help.

Here are some tips to help you with your mental health on Stress Awareness Week:

Busy your body

Use your physical body to help your mental health. Look at your activity and what you’re eating and drinking because all can have a profound effect on your mental health. If you’re not moving enough this will impact negatively. The easiest way to change that is to get up and move but make it something that you enjoy doing so don’t just walk around the block for the sake of it but visit your favourite place and walk around it whether that’s in the countryside on the beach whether it’s visiting a museum or going out somewhere for a dance but something that’s active and something that you enjoy.

 When it comes to eating and drinking, they can have a big impact too we all know that alcohol can make us feel good but that effect is only temporary, and it has a longer term effect of causing low mood and even depression so if you’re drinking most days the chances are it could be impacting on how you’re feeling even if you don’t realise it. So to look after your mental health it could be good to have a few days off or maybe just leave drinking to the weekend if you don’t feel like cutting it out completely.

Nourish yourself

What you eat makes a difference. Just as eating junk food makes you sluggish in your body it also slows the functioning of your mind. A recent study on children and the effects of eating junk food and ready meals it shown that it makes a significant difference and actually appears to cause anxiety and depression in teenagers and early adulthood when children eat a lot of junk food as they’re growing up so we now know that it’s a sad fact.

But it’s changeable. Choosing densely nutritious foods make your body sing, they make it feel alive. Your body will absolutely love when you give it the food that it really needs that contains all the nutrients to create optimum health, and this has an impact on the way that your mind works too.

We know that our mind works on a complex balance of chemicals and what we put into our body creates those chemicals so if we’re putting the wrong things in then we’re going to get the wrong results out. Have a look at how you could clean up your diet.  

So we’ve covered physical and we’ve covered what that can do to help your mental health but now we’ll look at what we can do with our minds to help our minds feel better:

  1. Meditate. Meditation has been proven to have a positive mental health impact. You don’t need to be a super Buddhist person or sit crossed legged, because the average person probably can’t manage that or can’t manage it for long. Just sitting comfortably or lying down for a short while even just five minutes maybe listening to some calming music, maybe using a guided meditation or just having that peaceful time when you focus on whatever is around you rather than the busyness of the day.
  2.  Being kind to others. This can be random acts of kindness or it can be something that you do for somebody that you’re planning (this does not mean that you’ve got to be a pushover it doesn’t mean going over the top), but when we are kind to others it has a reciprocal effect. We feel good for doing it, they feel good for receiving that kindness and the world becomes a better place for everyone.
  3. Being kind to yourself. We’ve talked about kindness to others but remember it is not a selfish thing to do things for you. It is vital for you to have your own time and space to do the things that you love, that you enjoy, so make the space. Make it priority and then just do it and don’t just do it once make it a regular thing so you have some regular me time to do the things you love.

The combination of all the above things can make a massive difference to how you feel in your mind as well as your body.

If you’re struggling- get help. Whether that’s just talking to a friend and letting everything out, whether it’s counselling, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy  or some other kind of therapy…

There’s no point in letting yourself suffer.  Don’t limp round with poor mental health when there is help available. You deserve to feel well <3



Spotlight on: Beetroot

General Health & Wellbeing Posted on Tue, September 28, 2021 01:50PM

So you think you know beetroot – the humble root vegetable, so often found in pantries in its pickled form since World War II.

But truly, it is so much more. In fact, it is a nutritional powerhouse now widely regarded as a superfood!

Humble beginnings

The beetroot is no stranger to the average household. Also known as “table beet”, it is one of the many cultivated varieties of Beta vulgaris and the most common variety found in Britain, North America and Central America today. In the earliest days of its consumption, the leaves were most commonly eaten by people living in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The Romans then began to make use of the root for various medicinal purposes. Over the years, it became popular in Central and Eastern Europe for culinary purposes too. Beetroot, as we know it today, was only cultivated in the 16th century. You may be surprised to learn that modern varieties are derived from the sea beet, an inedible plant that grows wild along the coasts of Europe, North Africa and Asia.

A super-root in disguise

Unlike some of the other, better known superfoods, like wheatgrass, spirulina or acai berry, beetroot is not overtly exotic. But don’t let that fool you! What has traditionally been viewed as a boring, somewhat unappetising vegetable, is really a “super-root” in disguise! It is a rich source of both carbohydrates and plant proteins, along with a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients (considered in more detail below). At the same time, it has a very low caloric value and is almost entirely free of fat. It is also a low-GI food – the sugar conversion process is slow, which supports stable blood sugar levels.

Antioxidants

You can’t have failed to notice the vivid colour of beetroot – whether the deep purple, the bright yellow or the lesser seen candy-stripes! Like so many other superfoods, these colours offer a visual clue about the high level of antioxidants, carotenoids and flavonoids found in beetroot.

The notorious red colour compound is called betanin (or beetroot red), a pigment which is a well-known antioxidant and phyto-chemical. However, all beets contain betalain antioxidants – a class of red and yellow pigments found in plants.

Vitamins and minerals

Beetroot is also rich in a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals, contributing to its reputation as a superfood. For example, it contains high levels of folate and vitamin C (another powerful antioxidant), as well as riboflavin, niacin and thiamin, vitamin K, calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron.

Dietary fibre

Beetroot is high in dietary fibre – both soluble and insoluble. A 100g portion “ about two or three small beetroot “ contains as much as 10% of your recommended daily allowance. Fibre is an essential component of healthy digestion and supports everything from stable blood sugar levels to natural cleanse and detox processes in the body.

Dietary nitrate

More recently, much research has been undertaken on beetroot’s capacity to absorb and store exceptionally high levels of nitrate – a nutrient involved in many of the processes that are essential for efficient exercise performance, including blood flow and oxygen usage. In particular, a study conducted by Exeter University in the UK received a lot of media attention when it found that cyclists who drank a half-litre of beetroot juice several hours before setting off were able to ride up to 20% longer than those who drank a placebo blackcurrant juice. Since that study, both beetroot and beetroot supplements have been of particular interest to athletes.

Supporting health and vitality

The unique combination of nutrients found in beetroot mean that it can offer ideal support for all-round health and vitality, including:

  • a healthy heart and cholesterol levels
  • detoxification and liver function
  • a strong immune system
  • healthy homocysteine levels
  • normal tissue growth
  • musculo-skeletal health
  • healthy skin, hair and nails
  • stable blood sugar levels
  • stamina and energy levels
  • stable moods
  • and healthy digestion.

Belonging to the same family as two other nutritional titans, chard and spinach, both the leaves and roots of beetroot can be eaten. Incorporate it into your daily diet and your body will thank you!



‘A Beautiful Mind is a Colourful Mind’

Therapies Posted on Tue, September 28, 2021 10:44AM
mind mapping colours

“How you allow yourself to think today, directs the actions of your heart tomorrow”

-Theo Gimble

Your mind is continuously growing and creating your world. The saying goes: if there’s something in your life you’re not happy with, then change your mind about it. Changes don’t come from without, they come from within. Your mind is a very powerful chamber that is continuously:

  • Conceiving Thoughts
  • Birthing Ideas
  • Creating Reality

To explain how the mind works really is an impossible task, and I’m certainly not a mind reader!! But I have found a way to show how you weave in/out of the following:

  • Left & Right Brain
  • Feminine & Masculine
  • Intuit & Logic
  • Lunar & Solar Energy

The purpose of a Mind Map is for you to see how your thoughts form, and it will highlight your repeated patterns and habits that have held you captive.

Understanding ‘How and Why’ you think they way you do is the key ingredient to bring about changes in your life.

A Mind Map will offer you ‘Healing of the Inner-Split’ and restore you to a state of EQUILIBRIUM.



Spotlight on: Digestive enzymes

General Health & Wellbeing Posted on Tue, August 31, 2021 12:08PM

Enzymes are clever little molecules of protein that are made from amino acid chains. They act as catalysts (or triggers) to bring about specific biochemical reactions in the body, which produces over 3,000 kinds.

Every process in the body is driven by enzymes of one kind or another – whether acting alone, in combination or in complex chain reactions. They are therefore vital substances – without them, many biological functions would simply be impossible, or too slow for us to survive. So, they are certainly worth finding out a little more about because they play a central role in helping us to achieve optimal nutrition, health and vitality.

Types of enzymes

If we are deficient in enzymes, this can have a direct effect on the efficiency of important processes in the body, which can become unbalanced, making us more prone to ill-health. The structure of enzymes establishes their particular function or use.

Enzymes produced by the body can be classified into two types: metabolic enzymes and digestive enzymes.

Metabolic enzymes are primarily involved in energy production and cellular activity on every level, but they also have other functions – like helping to detoxify the body.

Digestive enzymes also have a number of functions, chief amongst which is assisting in the break down of food into its constituent nutrients (as the name suggests), followed by the absorption of these. The body uses different types of digestive enzymes to digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates for example. Enzymes can also be obtained through dietary sources, i.e. food enzymes present in natural whole foods, such as leafy green plants, fruit and vegetables. These assist the body with the digestion of that particular food. For the purposes of this article, we are particularly interested in the role played by enzymes in digestion.

The process of digestion

During digestion, food is broken down into a simple form that can be absorbed by the body. The process starts in the mouth with the chewing of food, continues in the stomach and small intestine where it is chemically broken down by the digestive juices and enzymes and finally gets completed in the large intestine. Basically, food is taken in, digested to extract essential nutrients and energy and any remaining waste is finally expelled.

Digestion is arguably one of the most important and complex processes in the body, because it dictates our nutrient absorption, as well as our toxin and waste elimination. It also involves a wide number of organs and nutrients. For instance:

  • Organs and other components: the mouth, teeth, tongue, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, rectum, anus and other organs are all involved in the digestive process.
  • Nutrients and other chemicals: such as saliva, hormone regulators, nerve regulators, gastric juices, friendly bacteria, bile, hydrochloric acid and, of course, digestive enzymes.

The efficiency of the digestive process therefore affects everything from immunity and hormone balance, to metabolism, toxic load, general health and well-being.

A digestive system that is sluggish or functioning less than optimally can lead to a number of unpleasant symptoms and conditions, including constipation, imbalanced bowel flora, irritable bowel, heightened toxic load and even self-poisoning. Healthy digestion is therefore arguably the cornerstone of good health.

A bit more about digestive enzymes

Digestive enzymes play a central role in healthy digestion. The human body produces around 22 different kinds, each of which acts on a different type of food. They work best at a specific temperature and pH and also have specific sites of action, such as the mouth and stomach.

As mentioned above, these enzymes are used to help break food down into nutrients and waste. The nutrient molecules must be digested into molecules that are small enough to be absorbed through the lining of the small intestine. When we don’t produce enough digestive enzymes to complete this process efficiently, or there are insufficient enzymes available from the foods in our diet, this can lead to what is called partial digestion.

Food that is not properly broken down cannot be absorbed. It can therefore sit fermenting in the stomach and small intestine, or putrefying in the colon. This can, in turn, lead to increased activity of harmful bacteria and parasites in the gut, along with poor nutrient absorption, fatigue, digestive upset, flatulence, bloating and more serious health issues (including food intolerances and allergies).

Digestive enzymes and health

In relation to digestion and nutrition therefore, it is essential to recognise the critical role of enzymes and the importance of having sufficient levels of these. However, according to Dr. Edward Howell, each of us has a finite reservoir of enzyme activity. What’s more, the complex digestive process requires a great deal of enzyme activity to extract nutrients from food and translate these into all the various tasks of the body. Factors such as caffeine and alcohol intake, illness, pregnancy, stress, severe weather and exercise can also all take their toll on our enzyme reserves. Plus, our bodies produce fewer enzymes as we age. By age 35, the production of enzymes in the stomach, pancreas and small intestines begins to decline. Enzyme production in the body decreases by 30% in most adults over 50. It therefore follows that it is sensible to put the least possible strain on the digestive system and its enzyme reserves, both by eating a healthy diet and, in particular, including a high number of enzyme-rich foods in it (such as raw foods, sprouted and/or fermented foods).

Unprocessed whole foods contain most of the enzymes required for digesting that particular food, which can then help to relieve some of the strain on the body when having to produce its own enzymes. Many people also consider digestive enzyme supplements, to support their digestion. In contrast, a diet high in enzyme-poor, highly refined and processed foods can place a significant strain on digestion. The body will try to compensate by producing more of its own digestive enzymes to make up for the lack of external plant enzymes, thereby depleting its own reserves more quickly. Theoretically, the more we can preserve our reservoir of precious enzymes, the better able our bodies will be to protect themselves against ill-health and maintain a healthy balance between activity, repair, immunity and recovery.



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