Nutritional Supplements VS Traditional Plant Medicine – What’s the Difference?

supplements vs plant medicine

The natural health industry can be confusing – there are multiple therapies and often we don’t know what is most effective or where to start. Nutritional supplementation and traditional plant medicine are two ways to support good health. But what is the difference between them?

Nutritional Supplementation:

Nutritional supplementation feeds the body with nutrients. You will find minerals and vitamins in the supplement section of health stores and pharmacies, and online. Supplementation is relatively new therapy.  The idea was introduced during the industrial revolution to correct deficiencies in diets. Vitamins and minerals are essential in thousands of chemical reactions in the body. Even the best diets may need supplementation. For example, in New Zealand our soils tend to be low in magnesium and selenium.  That can make it hard for us to get these nutrients from food alone. If we have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, then nutritional supplementation can be an effective way to correct it. Supplements available are both naturally and synthetically derived. Some are made with excipients or fillers, and preservatives, which should be avoided as these add extra stress on the body.

Traditional Plant Medicine:

Traditional Plant medicine uses extracts of certain plants to support wellness, to build resilience and support optimal health. It is also called herbal medicine or phytotherapy. Traditional Plant medicine not only boosts nutrition but has active constituents that deliver balancing and strengthening effects on organs that help our body to function optimally. It has been used for thousands of years and is well documented throughout civilisations around the world.

echinacea purpurea

Traditional Plant medicine has a different mode of action because plants, like humans, must protect themselves from predators and their environment.  A plant’s antioxidant, and anti- pathogenic properties are its only defence mechanism. They are essential for survival. When plants are grown in particularly harsh climates and/or conditions they are packed with antioxidants, and immune boosting etc. properties. Anyone who consumes the plant can gain the benefit.

The best traditional plant medicines use whole plant extractions and combine plants together to make formulations that have multiple effects on the body to support wellness. They retain the active ingredients in their natural state and help to support the body’s natural defences.

Let’s look at an example; You have ills and chills and the sniffles, and your immune system is compromised. Those symptoms are a result of the body’s immune system response.

Two of the most common natural health choices for ills and chills are:

  • Nutritional supplement – Vitamin C. High levels of Vitamin C can help to support the body’s immune response. However, this benefit wears off as the vitamin is expelled from the system. Due to Vitamin C being water soluble.
  • Traditional plant medicine – Echinacea. Fresh plant echinacea tincture supports the body’s production of white blood cells to fight pathogens. Through this process Echinacea has been shown to support the immune system.

This example shows there is a difference in action between traditional plant medicine and nutritional supplementation. But importantly it also highlights that we need both for optimum health.

Overall, traditional plant medicine can still work with a depleted system, but it works best when the body is well nourished.

TAPS: PP2448

Author: Skye Macfarlane
Skye is a Medical Herbalist and Naturopath, holding a Bachelor in Natural Medicine from the South Pacific College of Medicine.

The Artemis range includes herbal medicines in a number of traditional forms, from targeted specialty tea blends to skin oils and creams and liquid herbs. Shop the full range online.

 

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Nutrition for Two

Nutrition for two - lifemum

How can you ensure the best nutrition for your growing baby? It often feels like a bit of a minefield trying to navigate all the information. However, it is worth getting it right as there is more and more research showing that the mother’s health and in particular nutrition, can have profound and long-lasting effects on the developing fetus, child and even into adulthood. The World Health Organisation has even coined a phrase to address the time in the womb and first two years: “the first 1000 days” of which the first 365 are while the baby is developing in the mother’s uterus.

A Balanced Diet

A balanced diet which contains protein, carbohydrates and fats is important and although that sounds obvious, many women will be on newer types of diets where one food group is restricted or not consumed at all. Time to stop the fad diet when you are pregnant! Overall it is recommended women eat:

  • 6 serves Vegetables and Fruit a day
  • 6 serves Breads and Cereals a day
  • 3 serves Dairy a day
  • 2 serves lean meat a day

A serving is an amount that can fit in the palm of your hand. Pregnant women are more likely to get constipated and can develop diabetes during pregnancy. Both of these conditions can be reduced with a high fibre diet. It’s recommended that women swap out items like white bread for wholemeal bread and eat plenty of vegetables with skins on if scrubbed.

It is also recommended that no alcohol is consumed during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition affecting the fetus and can result in stunting of growth and even developmental delay. It is very hard to predict how much alcohol will result in damage and will vary from woman to woman and fetus to fetus. Therefore the safest approach is no alcohol.

Lifemum pregnancy supplements

Two to three serves of fish a week is also recommended during pregnancy. This allows for a good intake of short chain fatty acids which are essential for the baby’s brain and nerve development. There is a concern that long-lived fish (eg tuna) could result in a risk of heavy metal intake and should be avoided. For women who do not eat fish or have an inadequate intake, supplements can be taken. There are supplements from an algal source available which are suitable for all women including vegetarians, and since algae are the source of the fatty acids, there is no risk of heavy metals.

So how about if you don’t eat meat? Meat provides good levels of iron which is important for making red blood cells but also for building cells in the fetus. When low in iron, or enough is not consumed in the diet, an iron supplement is recommended. Those women who are vegan or avoid dairy for reasons of lactose intolerance should consider a calcium supplement. Many women will use a milk substitute such as soy or almond milk, but these do not have as much calcium as dairy milk. Some women who limit both meat and dairy intake will also need some extra Vitamin B12 which can be taken as a supplement.

Micronutrients are components which are essential to fetal development and include vitamins and minerals. It is well known that folic acid supplements are required prior to and during pregnancy to support healthy nervous system development. Iodine is also recommended as it assists fetal thyroid function and is often low in many women’s diets. There are other micronutrients which are being recognised as important for fetal development, in particular, choline. Most women do not get enough choline from their diet alone and an adequate amount of supplementation is important as choline is also involved in the development of the fetal brain and nervous system. The recommended daily intake is 450mg a day. Eggs are the main source and contain around 110mg per day so a few eggs are required!

Weight Gain – How much is too much?

For a woman who has a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the normal range (18-25) a total of 11.5 – 16 kg is expected. However, for women who start pregnancy overweight or obese, less weight gain is advised and will assist in preventing diabetes during pregnancy.

Most women will be on an adequate diet in pregnancy but a few tweaks may be needed. Some micronutrients may be lacking and so it’s important to consider your diet and think about a supplement if needed. BMI is important when deciding how much weight gain is appropriate in pregnancy and the best approach for you can lead to the best outcome.

TAPS: PP2702

Author: Dr Emma Parry MBBS, FRANZCOG, FRCOG, MD, CMFM
Dr. Emma Parry is a globally recognised leader in the field of obstetrics, gynaecology & maternal fetal medicine – as well as a proud mum of two girls. Dr. Emma is passionate about helping women access better maternity care, which is why she has clinically developed the Lifemum range.

The new Lifemum range of micronutrients has been clinically formulated by Dr Emma Parry to work in harmony with every stage of your pregnancy and beyond. The range contains 9 products to choose from including 2 multi’s with Choline, vital support for baby’s brain development. Shop the LifeMum range on our secure online store.

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Getting Ready For Baby!

preparing for pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting, life changing and often scary time for most parents. With so much going on inside of you, (even more than the little one(s) growing) your focus shifts to the health and well-being of both you and your baby. Once the nausea subsides you may start to be able to make the conscious choice to eat well, get out for some fresh air and take some regular gentle exercise. Your obstetrician may have also suggested nutritional tips to support the health of your growing baby, which can include probiotics.

Go With Your Gut

The balance between good and bad microbiota (the incredibly varied inhabitants of a healthy gastrointestinal tract) in your gut can have a big influence on your health, but it can also influence your baby’s inner health. In a healthy gut, trillions of probiotic orgamisms are working away, setting up a healthy foundation for you and your baby.  Probiotics help to support this by balancing the flora in your gut. However, probiotics may also support immunity and general well-being. The healthier your gut environment,  the greater the possibility your baby will also have good gut and immune health.

Your Baby’s Inner Health Starts with Yours

Pregnancy probiotics are specifically designed to help support the healthy microbiota balance and gut health of both mum and bub during this important stage of life. Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®) is one of the world’s most researched strains for pregnancy. In combination with Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM®) and Bifidobacterium lactis (Bi-07) it has been shown to support your baby’s immune system development, dry, itchy skin and helps to maintain baby’s health and well-being.

During pregnancy there is an increased need for nutrients such as iron, iodine, folate, zinc, calcium and vitamin D. Pregnancy supplements containing these essential nutrients can help support a healthy pregnancy as well as baby’s growth and development. Folate in the form of folic acid taken at 400-500mcg daily for one month before conception, as well as during pregnancy, is well known to support healthy foetal development.

Simple Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

  • Try and eat organic/chemical free to avoid exposure to pesticides or added hormones
  • Eat 3 serves of fresh fish per week, or take a high quality fish oil supplement to support baby’s brain development
  • Eat protein at every meal (whether it’s meat, fish, nuts and seeds, eggs or dairy), to provide the building blocks needed for growth
  • Drink plenty of water and cut back on caffeinated and sugary drinks
  • Rest! Try to sleep a minimum of 7 hours per night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, speak to your healthcare professional about tips or supplements that may help
  • Exercise is crucial, but listen to your body! Try to include regular pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles and help avoid problems in the future.

Every pregnancy is different, whether it’s baby number one or baby number three this is an exciting time. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself and don’t overdo it. Enjoy the experience of this unique journey and look forward to a happy and healthy baby.

Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Pregnancy & Breastfeeding is a scientifically formulated pregnancy and breastfeeding probiotic to support mum’s gut health and baby’s immune and skin health. Buy it now from our secure online shop.

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10+ A Day is The New 5+ A Day

Getting your 5+ a day

Oh no, if you’re struggling with the old 5+ A Day, then 10 + a Day is nigh on impossible. But read on, there is help at hand. But first, let’s see why we need those extra helpings of greens.

Why 10+ a Day Scores So Well

New worldwide research by the famous Imperial College of London found eye-opening health benefits when people increased their consumption of fruit and vegetables to 10 or more servings a day. This study wasn’t small by any means. It involved over 2 million people worldwide.  The results revealed that eating up to 800g fruit and vegetables a day (which is a lot by anyone’s standards) is associated with some pretty impressive health gains.

The most impressive? A 31% reduction in premature death which equates out to something like 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide, that could be avoided if ate more fruit and greens.

How Well Do Kiwis Score?

Currently, many kiwis fall well short of even the current 5 + a day recommendation. In the 2015/2016 health survey, it showed only 40% of adults eat the recommended 5 + a day.

What’s a Serving?

Vegetables

  • ½ a cup of cooked vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin)
  • Or ½ a cup of salad

Fruit

  • One medium sized apple, pear, banana or orange
  • Or ½ a cup of fruit salad

An easy guide –  one portion of fruit and veg fits into the palm of your hand.

tips to get your 5+ a day

5 Ways to get More Fruit and Vegetables in Your Day

  1. Make a plan. It’s a lot easier to hit your target when you have worked it out in advance. Boost your with evening meals with extra vegetables and if there are leftovers, you can use them for lunches, meals and snacks.
  2. Colours count! Each food colour gives a different range of nutrients. So mix it up – and try to use fewer of the more starchy kind. Yes, we know chips are vegetables.
  3. Buy vegetables and fruit that are in season. Not only are they fresher, they are cheaper too. Canned and frozen are still good for you.
  4. Dressings make vegetables more exciting! So splash it on – no one want to eat dry salads with no zest or fun. Just watch the sugar content in some of those dressing – best of all, make your own with simple olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Sneak them in! Your main dish is a great place to load up on veggies…aka hide them. So bulk up your curries, stir-fries, mince, etc with some extra healthy ingredients.
TAPS No: MR5732

Added Mojo is an easy to swallow 1-A Day wholefood multivitamin that provides 100% of your 12 recommended daily vitamins and 6 minerals from 10+ servings of fruit and vegetables. It contains no synthetic ingredients, flavourings or fillers.

Added Mojo vitamins and minerals are extracted from 7 fruit, 12 vegetables and Chlorella. The fruit and vegetables are selected from organic growers and tested for their nutritional content. Only the most nutritious produce is used. The vitamins and minerals are cold extracted and dried at low temperatures to maintain the integrity of their nutrients and health giving phytonutrients.

Shop Added Mojo on our secure online store.

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Are Fruit and Veges Best “Ugly”?

ugly fruits added mojo

Every year million upon millions of tons of perfectly healthy fruit and vegetables are sent to rubbish dumps worldwide, simply because they are “ugly”. Scarred, blemished, misshapen fruit are tossed out because retailers want to present the perfect samples to their customers.

There’s nothing wrong with them, no danger to health – in fact there’s growing evidence that ugly fruit may even be healthier.

There’s lots of research to do, but in an unofficial experiment in Virginia USA, orchardist Eliza Greenman, tested scabbed and unscabbed apples and found the less perfect, scarred apples had a 2 to 5 percent higher sugar content than her unblemished crop. They may also be more nutritious with higher levels of antioxidants.  When interviewed Greenman said, “I believe stress can help create a super fruit.”

She may have a point. There are on-going studies around the world that are showing indications that stressed fruit and vegetables can contain healthier, antioxidant phenolic compounds called phenylpropanoids. For example, in Japan a study of Japanese knotweed, a plant treasured by the Chinese and Japanese for its medicinal qualities, found that when infected with common fungi, its resveratrol content increased. Resveratrol as we all know, is well-known for its antioxidant properties. So the point is: These antioxidants protect both plants, and could also benefit us – so should we choose to eat the ugly fruit?

Should we stop buying “perfect” fruit and veg?

All fruit and veg is, of course, good for you. The question is, are you discarding blemished fruit and potentially something that’s even better for you?

Anyone who has been a backyard gardener certainly knows just how good it is to enjoy home grown fruit and vegetable – no matter how misshapen they are. In fact, there’s a lot of fun in discovery some weird looking veggies in your patch.

Can’t face that ugly fruit?

Some people, kids in particular, may take exception to finding an ugly apple in their lunchbox. After all, getting them to eat good looking greens can be hard enough, right?  If this is the case there is a way to top up the magic they may be missing with a whole food, natural vitamin, like Added Mojo.

Added Mojo is an easy to swallow 1-A Day wholefood multivitamin that provides 100% of your 12 recommended daily vitamins and 6 minerals from 10+ servings of fruit and vegetables. It contains no synthetic ingredients, flavourings or fillers.

Added Mojo vitamins and minerals are extracted from 7 fruit, 12 vegetables and Chlorella. The fruit and vegetables are selected from organic growers and tested for their nutritional content. Only the most nutritious produce is used. The vitamins and minerals are cold extracted and dried at low temperatures to maintain the integrity of their nutrients and health giving phytonutrients.

Shop Added Mojo on our secure online store.

TAPS No: MR5744
Always read the label and use as directed. Vitamins and minerals are supplementary to and not a replacement for a balanced diet. Good3 Ltd, Auckland, NZ.

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How Much Goodness are you Really Getting from your Fruit and Veg?

how much goodness is in your fruit and veg?

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, we all know the more the better for optimal health and wellness for all the family – from digestive, heart and skin health, to hormone and brain function. But how much goodness are we really getting from our fresh produce?

Naturopath and Nutritionist, Sheena Hendon, gives us the juice on some of the top nutrients we find in our edible plants, and the evidence-based research on the impact soil, processing, storage and cooking may have on the quality of our local fruits and vegetable.

What are some of the top nutrients powering up our fresh produce?

Veggies and fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants, and contain bioactive phytochemicals which may provide desirable health benefits. While they contain many nutrients in differing amounts here are several of their key nutritional powerhouses.

  • Calcium. Essential support for healthy bones and teeth and needed for normal function of muscle, nerves and some glands.
  • Fibre. A high-fibre diet has always been synonymous with ‘being regular’, but also supports healthy bowel function, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and weight management.
  • Folate. Our bodies need this B-vitamin to make DNA and other genetic material and for the body’s cells to divide.
  • Iron. Vital support for healthy blood and normal function of all our cells.
  • Magnesium. Necessary support for bone health and involved in hundreds of body reactions supporting energy production, muscle and nerve function.
  • Potassium. May support the maintenance of healthy blood pressure.
  • Vitamin A. Important for normal vision, reproduction and the immune system and helps support the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs to work properly.
  • Vitamin C. This power packed nutrient provides support during times of tiredness and fatigue, supports normal immune, psychological and neurological function, and acts as a powerful antioxidant which supports the protection of our cells against damage.

What about the benefits of plant phytonutrients and antioxidants?

Phytonutrients or phytochemicals (those you may know about include Beta-carotene, Lycopene, Lutein, Resveratrol, Anthocyanins and Zeaxanthin) are beneficial chemicals only found in fruit, vegetables, grains, and other plant foods. Some phytonutrients help our cells communicate better with each other; others help prevent cell mutations, others are potent antioxidants, and many have functions we are only beginning to understand. In general, they are anti-ageing, and support normal immunity and health.

Antioxidants are phytochemicals, but what do they do specifically? Our cells are exposed to a variety of oxidising agents present in air, food, and water. Overproduction of oxidants can lead to oxidative stress and damage. Antioxidants may slow down this oxidative stress. Fruit and vegetables contain a wide variety of antioxidant compounds including ascorbic acid, carotenoids, vitamin E and phenolics, such as flavonoids and coumarin.

What are the health benefits of getting your nutrients from whole fruit and vegetables?

Research indicates that the nutrients in our fruits and veggies work together to provide maximum health benefits. For example, one published paper suggests that vitamin C in apples accounted for only 0.4 % of a total activity suggesting that most of the antioxidant activity (99.6%) may come from a natural combination of phytochemicals such as phenolics and flavonoids.

Additionally, although supplementation has its place it seems all may not be equal. Synthetic and food-derived vitamin C is chemically identical, but the numerous nutrients and phytochemicals in our whole fruits and vegetables may positively influence its bioavailability. Research indicates that various plant flavonoids such as hesperidin and rutin may enhance vitamin C uptake. Another piece of research demonstrates that the polyphenols in blackcurrants work with other blackcurrant compounds to support healthy immunity. That is why eating a nutritious, and varied diet including a wide variety of whole fruits and vegetables is vital as a starting point for optimum wellness.

What about losses from our soil, processing, storage or cooking?

Our NZ volcanic soils may lack essential minerals. As a result, the produce that grows in these soils can be nutrient deficient, particularly selenium, iodine, zinc, chromium and boron – all minerals essential for the functioning of the human body.

Nutrient levels in our fresh produce can be affected by ripeness, plant variety, distance to market, storage, exposure to light, and processing. Some organic fruits and vegetables may contain different levels of nutrients than conventional foods at harvest or collection. And studies show that the natural antioxidant, Lycopene, responsible for the characteristic red colour of tomatoes is degraded during some processing procedures and may lose some health benefits.

Cooking can also cause losses. Starchy veggies may lose between 40-80 of their vitamin C during cooking, because of leaching and oxidation. Freezing reduces vitamin C slightly, but at the end of long-term frozen storage (12 months), a significant decrease (33% to 55%) in vitamin C can occur.

The verdict

Getting our nutrients from whole fruits and veggies is best, but we need to be aware that they may not be as nutrient dense as we think. To get the best from your plant-based foods remember to;

  • Shop for the freshest
  • Choose those in season
  • Grow your own in nutrient-rich soils
  • Eat raw or lightly cooked to retain nutrients

 

Getting your daily dose of goodness

Prevention is better than cure and ensuring you and your family are as healthy and well as possible is vital. That’s where a daily multivitamin made only from fruits and vegetable and containing a balanced combination of phytochemicals vitamins and minerals found in our whole fruit and vegetables comes in.

Added Mojo is a natural health supplement containing only organic fruit and vegetables, gently dried and powdered to retain their natural goodness. It provides 100% of your 12 recommended daily vitamins and six minerals from 10+ servings of fruit and vegetables and is a source of many phytochemicals including lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin, with no added synthetic ingredients, flavourings or fillers. Shop Added Mojo on our secure online store.

Always read the label and use as directed. Vitamins and minerals are supplementary to and not a replacement for a balanced diet.
Good3 Ltd, Auckland, NZ. TAPS MR5900
Author: Sheena Hendon, registered nutritionist and naturopath.
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