Be fit for exam season

exam girlexams black girlIt’s exam season for thousands of British students – at school and university.  After years of hard work it’s important to stay focused, healthy and alert, including the recently heralded Rosemary Oil.

On top of doing lots of work it’s important to:

  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Eat healthy foods, not sugary snacks.
  • Take breaks and relax.
  • Calm down – try Rescue Remedy!

Many students reach for the fizzy drinks, chocolate bars, and caffeinated drinks to keep themselves going, but they often have the opposite effect.  Too much sugar or caffeine in the body can bring about mood swings and poor concentration, while healthy eating and drinking plenty of water help much more.

There are plenty of tips about diet, relaxation, sleep and mental attitude below.  Rescue Remedy drops, spray, or pastilles are a great boon and you can be confident that Confidence Essence and Concentration Essence really can help – see below.  Many of these products are on special offer this May/June.

REMEMBER:

  • Take a bottle of water into the exam with you – your brain needs fluid.
  • Conversely go to the loo before the exam so you’re not thinking abou thow you need to go all the way through.

Life coach, Carole Gaskell, advises:

· ‘Focus on the big picture on what you want to achieve – not just the test or the exam, as they are a means to an end. This helps to lift the pressure slightly and make the brain clearer;

  • Believe that as long as you give it your best shot you’ll be fine;
  • Visualise feeling good during the exam instead of nervous and stressed, and imagine a positive outcome and how you will feel when you get good results.’

‘We all carry our own reality in our heads with words buzzing around so make them positive. Say positive things to yourself such as “I owe it to myself to do my best”.’

Getting zzzzzs

Stephen Palmer, director of the Centre for Stress Management, has a few tips:

  • ‘It’s helpful to get into a routine before going to bed so that you calm down and can sleep well;
  • Don’t do anything too exciting, like watching a horror film;
  • Maybe read a book, drink a glass of milk – avoid Coke or anything with caffeine in it – and unwind.’

He also suggests:

  • Playing some relaxing music before bedtime;
  • Making sure the bedroom isn’t cluttered.
‘If there are school bags around it reminds them of exams, or if the room is messy they may think about their parents nagging them to tidy up. ‘It’s really helpful to lie down and imagine they are on the beach, walking the dog or anything else they really enjoy.’
Some other ways of getting a good night’s sleep:
  • Put a few drops of lavender or geranium essential oils into a night time bath to relax you;
  • Put a couple of drops of Lavender oil on a tissue under the pillow;
  • Take the herb Valerian half an hour before bedtime to promote normal sleep: a trial on students at the University of Surrey found that after a seven day course of Valerian the volunteers were more relaxed and found tests less stressful without feeling dopey – if on medication consult your GP before taking herbal medicines.
  • Drink a glass of milk at night, rather than coffee or fizzy drinks which contain stimulating caffeine.
Featured Products
Lavender Oil Absolute Aromas 10ml £7.58
Valeriana Root Standardised Nature’s Answer 30ml £8.07
Geranium Oil Tisserand 9ml £7.23
Rescue Remedy Night Drops Bach Flower Remedies 10ml £7.00
Rescue Night Spray Bach Flower Remedies 20ml £9.45
To purchase these products you can go to www.superfooduk.com and get 5% discount with the code: HSoul1

Concentration

Weeks of revising and exams can take their toll and it becomes harder to concentrate and focus, but natural remedies can help.

  • Peppermint, rosemary and basil essential oils clear the head and help concentration – put in an oil burner when studying or put on a tissue and carry into the exam to keep focused – do not use strong oils if taking homeopathic remedies.
  • All schoolchildren used to be given a spoonful of cod liver oil every morning with good reason – Fish oils contain essential fatty acids which are required for healthy brain function, improving focus, and the ability to deal with stress.
  • Concentration Essence combines Larch, Blackberry, Yarrow, Hornbeam, White Chestnut, Nasturtium, Mullein, Wild Oat, Cerato and Peppermint flower essences, especially useful for exam time.
Featured Products
Concentration Essence Bioforce Jan de Vries 30ml £5.34
Organic Rosemary Oil Absolute Aromas 10ml £7.88
Peppermint Oil Absolute Aromas 10ml £8.64
Basil Oil Absolute Aromas 10ml £9.64
Omega 3 Fish Oils Higher Nature 30 capsules £5.83
To purchase these products you can go to www.superfooduk.com and get 5% discount with the code: HSoul1

Eating for energy

Nutritionist, Natalie Savona, stresses the importance of good eating when you’re doing exams.

‘It’s so tempting for kids doing exams to put off their meals and just snack on crisps and chocolate. This often puts them off eating a proper meal when they need to be well fuelled.

‘Eating sugary snacks such as chocolate and drinking soft drinks and coffee gives you a short burst of energy but it doesn’t last. And it interferes with blood sugar levels so you get slumps of mood and concentration and brain fatigue.

To calm nerves, boost brainpower and keep you healthy Natalie recommends a high fibre diet:

‘When you get stressed all the body’s energy is diverted to deal with how you are feeling. Less energy is put into the digestive system and for that reason people start to get stomach problems – nervous diarrhoea, bloating and feeling sick.’

Natalie recommends a healthy energy-boosting diet:

  • Fish – particularly oily types like mackerel and tuna – because it builds healthy brain cells;
  • Fruit and vegetables which are rich in nutrients to keep the system in top gear;
  • Plenty of fibre – brown rice and wholegrains such as lentils and beans, wholemeal bread and pastas.
  • Healthy snacks – fruit and vegetables, nuts or seeds, or even healthy snack bars.

‘A really good meal is tinned tuna, baked potato, cottage cheese and salad.’

‘To cope with the stress,’ Natalie suggests,’Vitamin C and Vitamin B are particularly needed, so taking a good multivitamin every day will help.’

Featured Products
Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids Low Acid Nature’s Own 30 tablets x 250g £8.20
Floravital Yeast & Gluten Free Iron Formula (vitamins and minerals from vegetables/fruit) Salus Haus 250ml £8.89
Vitamin B Complex Formula Vega 30 £7.08
To purchase these products you can go to www.superfooduk.com and get 5% discount with the code: HSoul1

 

Breakfast is essential

Natalie also stresses the importance of a good breakfast: ‘Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast or eggs with bacon provide plenty of protein. Try to avoid sugary cereals. If they’re going to sit in a three hour exam they don’t want to be starving in the middle of it.’

Confidence boosting

Lack of confidence can make a capable person under-perform, but natural flower essences encourage self-assurance.

  • Seven drops of Australian Bush Flower Confidence Essence morning and night under the tongue at night brings out positive qualities and confidence, and prevents subconscious negative beliefs!
  • For anyone who doesn’t expect to do well the Bach Flower Remedy, Larch builds up confidence;
  • Gentian Bach Flower Remedy helps someone who hasn’t got much faith in themselves, particularly if they didn’t do well in the mocks.
Featured Products
Larch Original Bach Flower Remedy Bach Flower Remedies 20ml £8.98
Gentian Bach Flower Remedies 20ml £8.98
To purchase these products you can go to www.superfooduk.com and get 5% discount with the code: HSoul1
  • Calming nerves

    When we panic we shallow breathe prompting headaches, muscle tension, dizziness and a general feeling of tiredness.

    Stephen Palmer of the Centre for Stress Management recommends, ‘Don’t take deep breaths. Breathe slowly and let your stomach go up and down as you do. To really switch off from panicky thoughts pick a number at random and say it in your head as you switch off.’

    Some of Sue Leach’s homeopathic tips:

    • Gelsemium for paralysing fear: ‘If someone feels dizzy, faint, apathetic, heavy, weak, unable to focus and feel like that they’re going to have diarrhoea, it’s ideal. Take one on the morning of the exam and one just before starting.’
    • Argentum nitricum for people getting in such a state that they can’t think straight and their memory has gone to pot. ‘Time seems to stand still yet they operate at double speed and keep wanting sugary things.’ Follow the same directions as for the three As.
    • Rescue Remedy for quick calming. ‘Put a few drops in a bottle of water on the desk to calm down during the exam. Staying hydrated is essential for keeping the brain ticking – studies show dehydration lowers concentration and scores in exams.’
    Featured Products
    Rescue Remedy dropper Bach Flower Remedies 20ml £11.13
    Rescue Remedy spray Bach Flower Remedies 7ml £9.13
    Gelsemium 30C Nelsons Clikpak 84 £5.30
    Argent nit 30C Ainsworths 120 £7.59
    To purchase these products you can go to www.superfooduk.com and get 5% discount with the code: HSoul1

     

Prevent hay fever early

Autumn 2015 1

Start early to prevent hay fever this season with natural health remedies.

Hay fever facts :sneezing newsletter

  • Around 12 million people have hay fever in the UK
  • 95  per cent are affected by grass pollen, but many suffer from the tree pollens that are abundant from the spring.
  • Silver birch is the most prevalent hay fever trigger from trees, and it releases pollen as the temperature goes up.

Nutritional changes

More and more people are getting hay fever and age is no  barrier – you can start getting it at any age.   Ali Cullen, nutritional therapist at A. Vogel suggests some nutritional changes:

• Eat foods with anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties: including carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, avocado, mango, apricots, peaches, nectarines, papaya, pears, pineapples, blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, blackcurrants, prunes, plums, raisins, figs, herring, salmon, sardines, trout, and pilchards.
• Cut down on foods that trigger inflammation such as: caffeine and refined sugar.
• Avoid mucus-forming dairy foods – milk products – to help to reduce catarrh.

The symptoms

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen or mould which the body reacts to as alien substances. It causes numerous symptoms:

• Sneezing
• Runny, red and itchy eyes
• Blocked nose
• Wheezing
• Itchy throat
• Coughing
• Headaches and tiredness
• Sleep problems

Although it’s unpleasant the body is dealing with the alien substance by trying to get rid of it through sneezing and runny nose and eyes. Not surprisingly all this makes people feel very run down and unwell for as long as it lasts.

What else could it be?

Different people react to different pollens such as grass pollen, tree pollen and mould spores. Some weeds like nettle can affect people who are sensitive and often sufferers also react to house dust mites, animal fur and chemicals in household products and furniture.

Where you live

If you live in the south-east, the Midlands, north-east or central Scotland, particularly in a city you are more likely to suffer than people in most of Scotland and Wales, the north and the west country. The pollen season is shorter in Scotland and Wales and places like Devon or the Lake District benefit because of mountains and moorland.

What can you do about it?

Most people use anti-histamines, but they can make you drowsy.  There are some great natural remedies including a nasal wash – with a tiny bit of salt in warm water, or beetroot juice (if you can bear it) to clear out the nostrils. You can buy neti pots that enable you to do this easily – it has a little spout. This isn’t a pleasant experience and you might prefer one of the nasal sprays below.

A few tips

  • Avoid caffeine as it triggers histamine release – green teas and herbal teas are better.
  • Stay away from grassy areas particularly in the early evening when the pollen count peaks.
  • Cut down on dairy as it can increase the production of mucus.
  • Refined sugar makes blood sugar levels rise and fall, resulting in a surge of adrenaline which releases histamine.
  • Inhale steam with a few drops of basil, tea tree in to soothe nostrils.
  •  Rub some olive oil, Vaseline or HayMax on the inside of your nose to trap pollen.
  • Keep windows closed where possible. Net curtains can trap the pollen.
  • Wear sunglasses to keep pollen away from eyes

Herbal Remedies

• Luffa is little known but believed by nutritional experts such as Alison Cullen from Ayrshire to be the ‘number one treatment’. Clears a blocked or runny nose, and watery red eyes but has no side-effects, and children can take it. Start two weeks before the hayfever season is in force.
• Echinacea can be taken from one month before the hayfever season and then combined with Luffa.
• Euphrasia as a herbal tincture can ease watery sore eyes.
• Nettle for people who get skin rashes as well – a natural antihistamine.

Quercetin is a substance found in onions that is believed to stabilise the body’s cells that produce histamine and cause the allergic response (sniffing, sneezing, wheezing). It is enhanced by Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, which is said to help the absorption of quercetin into the body.

Homeopathic remedies for hay fever

Susanne Haar, Nelsons Homeopathic Pharmacist recommends trying a homeopathic consultation. Homeopathy can be used to help with the symptoms of hay fever and useful remedies include:

•    Nux vomica: for a runny nose during the day, which is dry at night; irritable and impatient mood; a person who feels worse in the morning, better in open air.
•    Euphrasia: for watery irritated eyes.
•    Allium cepa: for sneezing; runny nose; irritated eyes; when a person feels better in cool open air.
`

Featured products
Euphrasia homeopathic tablets 30C Ainsworths 120 £7.12
Pollinosan A. Vogel (Bioforce) 120 tablets £10.29
Luffa Tincture A. Vogel (Bioforce) 50ml £10.95
HayMax Pollen Barrier Balm triple pack HayMax 3 x 5ml £12.49
Pollenna homeopathic tablets Nelson’s 72  tablets £5.10
Nux vomica Nelson’s 84 tablets £4.97
Vitamin C BioCare 90 x 1000 mg capsules £20.45
Quercetin Plus with Quercetin, Bromelain, Nettle, Vitamin C Biocare 90 capsules £22.96
Get 15% discount at www.superfooduk.com with the promotion code: HSoul1

 

 

 

Soothe your cough

lemonsJust when you need a lot of sleep to make you feel better when you’ve caught a cold you get a cough which definitely gets worse at night.  Coughs can be painful and debilitating and make your stomach muscles ache with the effort.  To try and get a restorative night’s sleep you need to quell the coughing, so here we offer a few tips.

One of my safeguards is to dilute a teaspoonful of honey (preferably Manuka honey) in a glass of  warm water and have it by the bedside in case you start hacking in the night. If  it starts as soon as you lie down it’s a good idea to prop yourself up on pillows, which means you might get at least some sleep.  I always like to massage Vicks Rub into the chest area before going to sleep. It contains eucalyptus oil, but for a completely natural remedy a few drops of Eucalyptus or Olbas oil in a carrier oil (almond, calendula, etc.) has the same effect.

Steaming: You can’t beat steaming either – morning and night and even in between, but especially before you go to sleep.  If you put a few drops of essential oil into a bowl of steaming hot water so much the better.  Cover your head with a towel and breathe in the pungent vapours. I can recommend Olbas oil (a combination of oils), eucalyptus, tea tree, and lavender oils dissolved in water. But be careful – if they are too strong it can be quite overpowering so start with a couple of drops and add more if necessary.

Olbas Decongestant Oil, 10ml, £6.79

Absolute Aromas Organic Tea Tree Oil, 10ml, £7.58

Absolute Aromas Lavender Oil, 10ml, £11.95

Absolute Aromas Eucalyptus Globulus Oil, 10ml, £7.23

To purchase these with a 5% discount go to www.superfooduk.com and put in the promotion code: HSoul1

Gargling

When I was a child we gargled with TCP which was horrible!  Now I prefer something more natural – if you’ve got Himalayan salt crystals put a pinch in a glass of warm water. Or if you’re prepared for another strong taste a couple of drops of Tea Tree Oil in warm water works well on a sore throat/cough.

I also swear by Echinacea and A. Vogel’s Echinaforce Echinacea Throat Spray moistens your throat and can prevent coughing.

A. Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea tincture, 50ml, £10.95

A. Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea tablets, 42, £7.41

Dr Jen Tan of A. Vogel, recommends plenty of hydration with hot drinks and water, but avoiding mucus-forming milk.  He also endorses lemon and honey which can be mixed together and sipped, and plenty of Vitamin C.

Thyme and pine are also cough relievers and they are included, with honey,  in A. Vogel’s Bronchosan Syrup and Cough Spray.

Find out more about these products atwww.avogel.co.uk 

Some other favourites: 

Comvita Propolis Herbal Elixir with Manuka Honey & Propolis, 100ml, £11.99  has a soothing effect on throats.

A. Vogel Echinacea  lozenges, 30g, £5.36

Potter’s Chest Mixture with Lobelia, 150ml, £6.39

Cherry Active liquid made from Montmorency cherries. Delicious and packed with Vitamin C, Concentrate, 473ml, £17.15;  30 capsules, £12.11

To purchase these with a 5% discount go to www.superfooduk.com and put in the promotion code: HSoul1

 

 

Autumn health tips

gingerAyurvedic and Chinese medicine put a lot of emphasis on the change of seasons and how it affects the body.   For instance, eating right for the time of year is very important so that you eat salads in summer and soups and stews in winter to warm up your body.

Other issues at this time of year: 

  • Lack of exposure to the sun leads to Vitamin D. deficiency as the winter goes on.
  • Darker days can mean that people feel depressed or get SAD – see Winter blues or SAD?
  • Colds and flu are most prevalent before Christmas.  Read Prevent Colds.
  • Sleep can also become disrupted – see Sleep problems and it’s often hard to get up in the morning!

Winter tips:

Vitamin C will help you to stave off colds – a good dose is 1,000mg and any excess is peed out.  Try Cherry Active or Viridian Ester C.

Warming foods such as stews casseroles and home-made soups help to keep the body warm in cold weather.  Include plenty of herbs and spices to keep the digestive system healthy –- ginger, cumin, basil, mustard, cardamom, black pepper, basil, turmeric, and of course garlic!

Exercise outside when it’s sunny and dry so that you get some exposure to sunlight.   According to Mind, the mental health charity, what they call ‘ecotherapy’ can positively affect your mood.

Take plenty of Vitamin D – there isn’t  enough sun in the UK in winter for your body to make Vitamin D.  So try taking a supplement such as Viridian’s Vitamin D, or Better You’s D-Lux spray.

Sleep well – sleep is as vital as exercise and healthy eating for our wellbeing. To see some tips for sleeping well in winter read: Sleep problems.

Drink spicy teas that are cleansing and warming – those containing cardamom, cinnamon and ginger are particularly good.

Hot water with lemon a slice of lemon first thing in the morning is very cleansing to the liver.

Tip from Sebastian Pole of Pukka Herbs: if the change of season affects your digestion, gives you insomnia, constipation or anxiety, try the Ayurvedic remedy: Ashwaganda ((Withania somnifera). He also suggests a delicious cup of milk simmered with a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom to settle in for a blissful night’s sleep!

You can buy these products at www.superfooduk.com  and get 5% discount by putting in the promotion code: HSoul1 .

 

 

Vitamin D essential to health

The Government is now advising the public to take Vitamin D supplements in winter.   The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has produced a report on Vitamin D levels for the Government, emphasising that everyone in Britain over the age of one should take 10 mcg of Vitamin D a day.

Sunshine accounts for 90 per cent of our intake of Vitamin D, which poses a problem for anyone living in northern Europe in winter time and even in summer (when you get poor summers like this one).

Deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to bone loss, poor muscle function and an increased risk of falls and fractures – an increasing problem as people get older.  Migraines, regular headaches,  joint pain, depression, SAD or insomnia can also point to a Vitamin D deficiency.   The Chief Medical Officer is suggesting extending free vitamins to more  young children, rather than just those from low income families who currently receive them.  Also at risk are pregnant and breastfeeding women and the over 65s, who should be taking supplements.   Not only is Vitamin D essential for the bones and heart it is also needed for a healthy immune and nervous system, enables blood to clot normally and maintains healthy teeth.

Why we become deficient:

  • In northern countries we have six months of very little sun.
  • Winter sun in the UK is not strong enough for Vitamin D to be made in the body.
  • Few people get enough Vitamin D from their diet.
  • The skin cancer message may have been taken to extremes – we need sunlight, but not excessive sun bathing.
  • Vitamin D in the body only lasts for three weeks.
  • Some people cover up their bodies for religious or fashion reasons.

All things in moderation mean that you don’t have to lie in the hot sun for hours on end to get enough exposure. A sensible amount of exposure (20 to 30 minutes) will do more good than harm, particularly on sunny summer days that aren’t necessarily hot.

Vitamin D is essential for healthy immune function, cognitive function, and bone health.
 

Dietary sources:

• Salmon and other oily fish
• Eggs
• Milk
• Liver
• Margarine
• Fortified breakfast cereals

Health experts claim that people are not eating enough of the above. In the US the recommended daily levels of intake of Vitamin day are 5 mcg a day.

Problems caused by Vitamin D deficiency
A deficiency in Vitamin D activates the mechanism that boosts blood pressure; stimulates the parathyroid hormone which increases inflammation, and increases insulin resistance – insulin is not recognised by the body, leading to high blood sugar levels.

• High blood pressure/hypertension
• Heart disease
• Alzheimer’s
• Diabetes
• Osteoporosis – affects 1.2 million women in the UK
• Colo-rectal and breast cancers
• Rickets (severe deficiency)

 

Featured products
D Pearls PharmaNord 120 x 20mcg £9.21
 DLux 1000 oral Vitamin D spray Better You 15ml £7.99
DLux Pregnancy Better You 25ml £11.39
Osteoguard (Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, boron) Lambert’s Healthcare 30 £5.18
DLux Infant Spray Better You 15ml £8.11
You can purchase these at www.superfooduk.com and get a 5% discount by using the code: HSoul1

The UK government recommends that pregnant women and nursing mums take 10mcg of Vitamin D daily. Breast fed babies need 7-8.5 mcg a day, while formula milk is fortified with Vitamin D. Although Vitamin D supplements are recommended to pregnant women and children under five, it is this advice is often overlooked by GPs and much of the official information is vague.

Australia changes its sun message

Seven charities in the UK have issued joint guidelines about Vitamin D, recommending short spells in the sun without suncream. Two of the charities endorsing the health message are Cancer Research UK and the National Osteoporosis Society.

According to the BBC, Professor Rona Mackie, from the British Association of Dermatologists, said sun protection with high factor suncream on all the time is not ideal, in terms of Vitamin D levels.

‘Even Australia has changed its policy on this. They’re now producing charts showing parts of Australia where sun protection may not be required during some parts of the year. Some of the messages about sun exposure have been too negative. UK summer sunshine isn’t desperately strong. We don’t have many days in the year when it is very intense.

‘What’s changed is that we’re now saying that exposure of 10 to 15 minutes to the UK summer sun, without sun cream, several times a week is probably a safe balance between adequate vitamin D levels and any risk of skin cancer.”