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Category: Digestion

What’s the Scoop on: Oregano Oil

Posted: Tue, 16 October 2018, 15:48

You're likely to already be familiar with the pungent spicy smell of oregano that is closely connected to Italian and Mediterranean cuisine; but did you also know that Oregano Oil (also known as Oil of oregano) is one of nature’s most powerful remedies?

Let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?

What is Oregano Oil?

Oregano is a perennial herb which is native to the milder climates of Europe, the Mediterranean and south-central Asia. Oregano oil is extracted from the leaves of the oregano plant through steam distillation of fresh oregano leaves, and it’s within this oil that the real health benefits come from. Oil of oregano contains a potent blend of plant compounds – namely carvacrol, thymol, eugenol, rosmarinic acid and beta-caryophyllin. Two key compounds, carvacrol and thymol are the key infection-fighting powerhouses. They are able to kill multiple strains of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Oregano oil is an incredibly rich source of antioxidants and this help to protect the body from free radicals and their associated damage, caused by everyday toxins, pollutants and through natural human physiological processes.

What is Oregano Oil good for?

Since oregano oil is one of nature’s most powerful remedies, you won’t be surprised to hear its benefits include having antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti parasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and digestive properties.

Oregano Oil may help to:

Boost the immune system

Treat respiratory conditions such as coughs and colds

Treat urinary tract infections

Treat fungal infections

Improve digestion

Reduce topical inflammation

Maintain healthy, clear skin

Protect the body from free radicals caused by everyday toxins and pollutants

Reduce the recurrence and spread of infections

13 Natural and Easy Ways To Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels

Posted: Tue, 11 September 2018, 10:17

Ok everyone, hands up if any of these sound familiar:

  • You constantly crave sugar or a pick-me-up.

  • You often experience feelings of anxiety, sluggishness, moodiness and irritability.

  • You find it difficult to lose weight.

  • You find it difficult to concentrate and stay focused.

  • You have trouble sleeping through the night.

  • If you look up the term hangry, it’s a definition of you.

  • If you miss a meal, you are irritable and say things you later regret.

  • You feel like a new person after you eat.

  • Your cuts and bruises seem to take a long time to heal.

If you’re checking these off one after the other, then perhaps your blood sugar levels need a little tinkering.

What is Blood Sugar?

Blood sugar (aka blood glucose) is the sugar that the bloodstream carries to all cells in the body to supply the body with energy. Glucose is the immediate source of energy for all of the body's cells. The sugar comes from the food we eat and our blood sugar levels change throughout the day, with their lowest point tending to be before our first meal.

After we eat, the body secretes insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows our body to either use the glucose from our food or store it for future use. Insulin regulates our blood sugar levels and tries to keep them from getting too high or too low.

When our blood sugar is balanced we tend to feel awake, energised, clear-headed, productive, happy, have our cravings under control, and are able to sleep well.

Have you perused the refrigerated section of a health store or supermarket and noticed small plastic boxes with small sprouting green things insides and wondered what they were?
Or maybe you've already bought them and tried them there and then, or whilst out in a restaurant?

Whether they were a health sensation that you wish to recreate at home, or they’re a new concept that you’re intrigued by, let me show you why sprouting is so good for you, and how easy it is to do!

Over this spring and summer, I have really been enjoying sprouting. It’s been something I’ve done off and on for a few years now, and I thought it would be fun to share it with you!

What is a ‘Sprout’?

A sprout is essentially a young plant in its earliest stage of growth. It’s the transitional stage between seed and plant which is triggered using only water. Once you start the germinating process, the dormant dry seeds you had lying around in your cupboard starts to become a live plant. Once this seed germinates it often puts out tiny roots, that look a little like a tail.

What’s the Scoop on: Chaga Mushroom

Posted: Thu, 02 August 2018, 14:32

When you think ‘mushrooms’ you tend to think about those on your pizza, the ones found on the forest floor, or let’s face it, the magical ones known for giving a person a psychedelic experience.
However, today we’re going to be covering one of several medicinal mushrooms which has been used throughout history for its healing benefits – chaga.

What is Chaga?

Chaga grows on birch trees in cold environments, like Siberia, North Korea, Canada and the USA, taking between 15 to 20 years to fully age. Chaga mushroom has been known as the "King of Plants" in China and "Diamond of the Forest" in Japan.

This powerful mushroom has been used for hundreds of years in traditional and folk medicine, and now that research is finally catching up, these fantastic medicinal shrooms with all their incredible health benefits are easy to access and use daily, thanks to modern brands like Four Sigmatic, Om Organic and Viridian.

8 Benefits of Chaga Mushroom

Supports and Boosts Immunity

Medicinal mushrooms like chaga are powerful adaptogens that work with the body, helping it to adapt to the stresses of life and needs of each day, modulating the immune system and stress response along the way. And why do they do this? For your optimal wellbeing of course :)

If the cold and flu season is coming up, or you're catching a flight anytime soon, chaga is your go-to guy. Why? Because chaga has antiviral properties which help the body to fight off viruses (specifically against common viral infections such as the flu).

When we think of bacteria, we often think about germs, disease and sickness, but not all bacteria are bad for us. Our bodies are the natural home to trillions of microorganisms that are essential to our health and wellbeing.

Today we are diving into the topic of probiotics v.s prebiotics and busting the confusion over what is what and why bacteria can also be good for us.

What Are Prebiotics?

While prebiotics and probiotics sound similar, they are in fact very different and have very different roles in the gut.
While probiotics are the beneficial microorganisms themselves, prebiotics are a source of food for probiotics and help them grow, multiply and survive in the gut.

Prebiotic fibres can be found in everyday foods such as garlic, onions, bananas, apple skin, beans, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory and many others.

Prebiotic fibres are a non-digestible part of foods that goes through the small intestine undigested because they cannot be absorbed or broken down by the body. It ferments when it reaches the large colon and this fermentation process feeds beneficial bacteria colonies (including probiotic bacteria) and helps to increase the number of desirable bacteria in our digestive system. These are the ones that are associated with better health and reduced disease risk.

We are fortunate to live in an age where many infectious diseases that would have formerly been life-threatening can now be treated simply and effectively with a round of antibiotics.
And whilst there is undoubtedly a time and place for antibiotic prescriptions to be effective, we are commonly hearing more and more about the potential consequences of the inappropriate use of antibiotics; from antibiotic resistance, damage to our own gut bacteria and even to environmental issues as a result of antibiotic-laden livestock and their waste products getting back in to our soils and water supplies.

When you're up against something stronger than the common cold—pneumonia, sinusitis, strep throat—your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics and this can be extremely valuable. The trouble is that antibiotics have been over-prescribed in recent years, and their use should not be taken lightly.

At this time of year when chilly weather keeps us indoors, where close contact, runny noses, and common coughs and sneezes conspire to spread bacterial infections, many people take antibiotics unnecessarily.

The problem with taking antibiotics is that they tend to not be very discriminating. So, when they go to work wiping out the “bad” bacteria that are causing all the problems, they also take out the beneficial bacteria as well.
They don’t know how to distinguish between the good bacteria in your gut and the bad stuff. That means that the good bacterial colonies in our guts can suffer some extreme damage, if they’re not wiped out entirely, with a course of antibiotics.

6 Natural Remedies to Stop a Cold in its Tracks

Posted: Tue, 19 December 2017, 14:51

It’s that time of year again when the sniffles are threatening us with their arrival and the scratchy throats, tickling coughs and the runny nose are never too far off.

Being sick is never fun, and whilst it’s true that sometimes you just have to let viruses run their course, there are proven natural cold remedies that can help you feel better and alleviate some of those bothersome cold and flu symptoms.

Whilst there’s no instant miracle cure, using these remedies to take preventative measures against getting sick as well as at the first sign of a cold will help you feel better fast.

And so, without further ado, here are my 6 Natural Remedies to Stop a Cold in its Tracks

No. 1 - Olive Leaf Extract

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the health benefits of olive oil, but another part of the olive tree that is less known about is the olive leaf.
Olive leaves provide incredible health benefits, including amazing immune system support.

These humble leaves offer antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial activities, making olive leaf extract incredibly effective for battling microorganisms like fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
Thanks to these antiviral properties, olive leaf extract is able to help fight off the common cold and even battle viruses that are known to cause respiratory infections and the flu.

Try Comvita Olive Leaf Extract to help you this winter. 

Fire Cider is a popular herbal folk remedy made from a combination of apple cider vinegar that has been infused with herbs such as garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, horseradish, and hot peppers; but there are heaps of other herbs that can be thrown in for added benefits or flavour.
Because this is a folk preparation, the ingredients can change from year to year depending on when you make it.

Fire Cider is one of the more pleasant and easy ways to boost your health and immune system, plus it also helps to stimulate digestion and improve your circulation – not a bad time of year for that!

How to Take Fire Cider:

- straight by the spoonful

- mixed with warm water, honey and lemon

mixed with vegetable juice, lemonade or orange juice

- used in place of vinegar in salad dressings and condiments

- drizzled over salads, steamed veggies or greens

- added to soups, stews or chillis

- used in marinades for example with tofu or tempeh

- and it can even be added to cocktails like a Bloody Mary for a dash of health boosting goodness.

Personally I like to take a tablespoon each morning in the winter to help ward off any viruses going around – plus it warms me up from my head to my toes!

Fire cider is especially great if you feel any tickle at the back of the throat or the sniffles coming on.
Simply take 1 to 2 tablespoons at the first sign of a cold, and then repeat every 3 to 4 hours until symptoms subside. 

10 Tips to Help Beat Sugar Cravings Naturally

Posted: Tue, 03 October 2017, 11:52

Many people nowadays have difficulty controlling their sugar cravings. Some days it’s easy to avoid things like chocolate and sweets, but then other days it feels virtually impossible.
With a modern lifestyle that often includes processed/refined foods, irregular eating habits, poor sleep schedules, artificial light and a lack of movement, it’s no surprise that many people struggle with sugar cravings.

So What Causes Sugar Cravings?

There are many reasons we crave sugar. Often it’s due to poorly balanced blood sugar levels as a result of not eating regularly, poor food choices or skipping meals.
It could also be caused by a lack of a specific nutrient or nutrients in the body; or perhaps it’s a result of stress or other emotional reasons.

And if you feel downtrodden by your perceived lack of willpower, don’t beat yourself up. It’s hardwired in your brain to crave sugar.
Humans are designed to crave sugar and carbohydrates from birth, and for good reason - survival.

Humans are designed to start their life outside the womb by consuming breast milk. This is naturally sweet and has important carbohydrates that not only feed the baby, but also stimulate the release of serotonin, endorphins, and promote relaxation. These carbohydrates even feed the baby’s gut bacteria too.
Breast milk also contains essential proteins and fats that a baby needs for growth, but the sweet taste is a dominating factor.

The taste for concentrated sweetness is often acquired in childhood and continues into adulthood. If sweet things were used as rewards or as a way to cheer someone up, they become emotional comforters.
As we enter adulthood, this natural desire for sweet foods continue to thrive and the body still gets this physiological sense of reward or gratification from eating sweets.

Although in the past, these cravings were lifesaving, resulting from a drop in blood sugar and a release of stress hormones to get you hunting for food; nowadays with sweets, chocolate, soda, chips, supermarkets and everything else available round the clock, the appetite, sugar and carb cravings kicking in is not a good match.

When it comes to improving your health and your happiness, my advice: Start small.

If you can find just two minutes a day here and there, you can start making small changes to put you on the right path to living a happier, healthier life.

You don’t have to overhaul your entire diet and lifestyle overnight on your quest to living a healthier lifestyle.
Throwing away everything deemed unhealthy from the cupboards and signing up to a boot camp on day one is not always the best way to go about it.
In fact, this is actually often counter-productive because of the stress and pressures it puts on your body, both mentally and physically.

Instead, you can embark upon the journey towards a happier, healthier lifestyle simply by incorporating any or all of these 9 healthy habits into your life today.

They don’t take up hours of your time, nor do they squeeze your wallet dry, but they do have incredible health returns!

Fermentation is one of the oldest forms of preservation.
Vegetable fermentation helps to transform a simple raw vegetable into something infinitely healthier and even more delicious.

How is this achieved?

The transformation owes everything to the microbes in the soil that the veggies are grown in and the sugars present in the vegetables.

During fermentation, microorganisms including bacteria, yeasts or moulds break down complex molecules into simpler substances. Given the right conditions, the bacteria kick-start fermentation by feasting on the vegetables natural sugars and converting them into a variety of things including lactic acid, carbon dioxide and a tinsy amount of alcohol.

This not only transforms the chemical composition of the food, but also enhances its nutritive value.

Fermented vegetables are so good for you and your gut health; they really should be eaten daily.

Not only do they aid in digestion, healing the gut, and boosting the body’s ability to absorb more nutrients from your food; they’ve also been linked to an increased immune system and an improved mood.

Our bodies are populated with trillions of bacteria, most of which live in our gut and have a huge impact on our overall health.
Our microbiome do so much to keep us healthy, from keeping our good:bad bacteria ratio balanced, synthesising vitamins including Vitamin K and B, enhancing nutrient absorption, regulating inflammation and immunity throughout our entire body and so much more.

That's why I believe that nurturing our guts is the number one thing we can do to boost our overall health and immunity.

Drinking enough alcohol to get yourself a hangover is definitely not something I would recommend, though having said that, I do believe alcohol can be immensely pleasurable and aid in relaxation which is something so many of us need!

As a result, there can be the odd time that we have that one drink too many and you wake up thinking “I’m never drinking again!”

Hangovers happen when our already overburdened livers struggle to clear out the excessive amount of toxins and chemicals ingested from too much alcohol. Our bodies are dehydrated, our blood sugar levels are all over the place, our electrolytes are depleted and fatigue takes over.

Worse than just feeling awful, hangovers can actually wreak havoc on our immune system, digestive track and organ function – yikes!

Here are some of my favourite natural hangover tips and what I recommend you do before, during and after drinking alcohol to help limit the damage.

What To Do Before You Drink

1. Line your stomach and eat well before drinking

The golden rule of alcohol is to never drink on an empty stomach.

Since alcohol is absorbed from your stomach, if you haven’t eaten anything before drinking, you’ll certainly feel the effects of drinking much more the next morning.

By lining your stomach with food, you’ll be able to slow down the metabolism process which allows alcohol to be absorbed at a slower pace
Next time you’re planning on heading out, fill up beforehand with plenty of slow releasing carbs, protein, good fats and high-fibre foods like asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brown rice, sweet potato and quinoa.

The difference between feeling normal versus waking up the next morning with a nauseous stomach and sore head can be as simple as a good meal.

Lentil & Mushroom Cottage Pie

Posted: Thu, 19 January 2017, 12:19

Here is a hearty cottage pie, ideal to make with leftovers, which will comfort your soul on a cold autumn evening. Made with cooked lentils and mushroom duxelles* it is topped with a creamy mash of potatoes, carrots and parsley. You can play around with the ingredients; sautéed celery, leeks or onions can be added to the cooked lentils. The mash can be any combination of potato, celeriac, parsnip or swede. Serve with steamed or stir fried kale for a wholesome dinner.


Ingredients for the Topping

4 or 5 cooked potatoes

2 or 3 cooked carrots

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Knob of butter or cream (optional)

For the Filling

150g precooked green or brown lentils (drained)

3 or 4 tbsp. mushroom duxelles

Sea salt and pepper to season

Nourish’s Pukka Tea Picks for Winter Wellness

Posted: Thu, 24 November 2016, 10:31

When the colder weather sets in we start to notice an exponential increase in the amount of sniffles and muffled coughs going around.

During this snotty season, our immune systems are much more likely to be susceptible to bugs that can keep us feeling down, so here is a list of our Top Pukka Tea Picks for Winter Wellness to keep your immune system super-charged, and your energy levels tip top this upcoming winter!

Pukka Turmeric Gold Tea

Pukka Turmeric Gold tea is an organic golden blend of premium Indian turmeric, lemon fruit and whole leaf green tea; and it packs quite the punch when talking health benefits.

Turmeric is a true herbal superhero, and a definite herb to have at hand this upcoming winter.
In traditional Indian herbal medicine (known as Ayurveda), turmeric has been used to help maintain healthy blood, skin, circulation and as a nourishment to feed the whole body.

Thanks to the yellow pigments (collectively known as curcuminoid) and the root which is crammed with essential oils known as tumerones, these two components both work together within the body as powerful antioxidants helping to attack those offensive free radicals which can damage and age our bodies.

Not only that, but they also stimulate a healthy inflammation response, enhance circulation in the body, protect the brain, rejuvenate the liver and even target pain.
Add the benefits of green tea on top of that and you’re golden (ah, see the pun there..?!)

100% organically grown and ethically sourced ingredients: Turmeric root (40%), Suoi Gang green tea (20%), licorice root, cardamom pod, lemon Vana tulsi leaf, lemon essential oil flavour (6%), lemon whole (6%).

9 Ways to Help Beat Bloating

Posted: Thu, 10 November 2016, 09:52

Bloating is something we all can relate to. Most of us get it at some point; some of us even struggle with it daily. Your stomach feels inflated, your face is puffy and you just feel uncomfortable in general.
Ergo the stretchy pants come out and the oversized t-shirts are thrown over your faux baby bump. But honestly, that’s not getting to the root of the problem.

Bloating usually occurs as a result of too much fermentation in the digestive tract. Some common triggers include: stress, food sensitivity, poor digestion, a lack of enzymes, poor food choices and even a lack of activity.

Here’s how to understand what could be causing your bloating, and what you can do about it.

No. 1 - Listen to your body

If you feel bloated or experience cramps after you eat something, this is your body’s way of telling you it's not happy.
Grab a pen and paper and write down a food diary for a week or two. Remember to take note of which of these foods/meals are leaving you feeling bloated.

Also know that it’s not always just the food or meal that’s the culprit. Note down any emotions or situations happening at the time.

Did you eat your breakfast on the go whilst in a mad panic to get the bus?

Did you eat your lunch prior to or after a stressful meeting?

Were you really hungry when you snuffled down that bar of chocolate, or was it something you reached out for when you were feeling under pressure?

Sometimes it’s the food itself that’s causing you troubles, other times it’s the situation you’re in, whether you’re feeling stressed, angry, sad or excited.

Are you stressed?

Are you stressed?

Are you stressed?

Stress really isn't taken as seriously as it should be. How many times have you heard the phrase 'Oh it's no big deal it's probably just down to stress'? I know I have heard it countless times, and have personally fallen guilty to ignoring phantom symptoms assuming they will pass when the stress does.  The problem is, more often than not, stress can become a very serious problem. Many people (myself included) don't know, or even acknowledge the fact that they are stressed until it rears its ugly head in the form of emotional and physical symptoms, by which point your body is already in complete shutdown mode.


So what is stress? Well, stress by definition, comes about in three different ways – emotional (Anxiety, death of a loved one), physical (training for a marathon, heavy lifting) and chemical (eg alcohol, drugs, medicines etc). So how does your body cope with stress? Before we begin let me explain the vital hormones and neurotransmitters involved with stressed....

6 Ways to Encourage a Healthy Digestive System

Posted: Wed, 24 February 2016, 13:39

Just think about how amazing the human gut really is. It’s a fantastic system of intake, distribution, and elimination. It’s always hard at work, digesting everything we put inside, balancing out what are the nutrients we need and the rubbish that we don’t need.

When your digestive system is sluggish or overburdened, you may notice some effects in your health, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn, or gas. In some cases you may even experience food allergies or intolerances, skin rashes, eczema, lack of energy and lethargy.

Taking good care of the gut really is essential to our well-being. Here are 6 ways to encourage a healthy digestive system.


Remember, your stomach doesn’t have teeth! Good digestion starts in your mouth so you must make sure to chew your food well for optimal digestion. One cause of poor digestion is the under-production of digestive enzymes. This can be from a diet lacking in enzyme rich foods (think raw fruits and veggies) through to rushed eating and a lack of chewing. A lot of people gulp their food down, barely taking the time to chew.

Have you ever felt tired after eating? The complete opposite of what you are generally aiming for!

It takes a lot of energy to break down large chunks of poorly chewed food and this puts a strain on your already busy digestive system. When you’re falling asleep after eating, this can mean that your body simply doesn’t have enough energy to process your food and keep you awake!

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