Heart Health & Healthy Life Choices

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We continue with a discussion on heart health during September, last week we looked at atherosclerosis and the importance of cholesterol. This week we are discussing healthy life choices, dieting, and some myths related to diets.

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Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Research has found that – eating a balanced diet rich in organic fruit and vegetables, leaner meats and fibre reduces heart disease risk.

Whether that diet is rich in fats, protein-rich or carb-rich matters less for cardiovascular health, as long as it contains a healthy balance. The quality of foods matters more than focusing on any specific macronutrients.

A study examined the cardiovascular health impacts of the three main components of our diets– fat, carbohydrates, and protein — called macronutrients.

The results of research have shown that balancing a healthy ratio of the macronutrients – fats, carbohydrates, and protein– were similarly effective in decreasing inflammation and injury to the heart muscle and in improving the heart health. Changing the macronutrients of the diet did not offer any other advantages.

One possible explanation is that the impact of diet on cardiac injury is fast and so the injury decreases rapidly after introducing a healthy diet. Dr. Stephen Juraschek, a study co-author, said:

Our findings support flexibility in food selection for people attempting to eat a healthier diet and should make it easier. With the average person eating fewer than two servings of fruit and vegetables a day, the typical American diet is quite different from any of these diets, which all included at least four to six servings of fruits and vegetables a day.”
“There are multiple debates about dietary carbs and fat, but the message from our data is clear: eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and high in
fibre that is restricted in red meats, sugary beverages, and sweets, will not only improve cardiovascular risk factors but also reduce direct injury to the heart.”

YO-YO Dieting won’t do your Heart Any Favours

The more times you go on a yo-yo diet, the worse for your heart health. A lot of people struggle to maintain their ideal weight, but repeatedly losing and regaining pounds – known as YO-YO Dieting.
A new study found that women who lost at least 10 pounds, but then put that weight back on within a year, were more likely to have risk factors for heart disease. The more times someone went on a yo-yo diet, the worse their heart health.

Here are some myths related to diets and foods we eat.

Myth – A Low Fat Diet is Best
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Low-fat diets are the currently popular trend – they’re pretty much good for nothing. While a low-fat diet may potentially give you fast results concerning weight loss, it can seriously mess up your health. To keep your body and cholesterol in check, bring back the butter and remember that not all saturated fats are created equal. Some may be harmful while others beneficial or completely neutral. It all depends on the type of food.

To reduce triglycerides and raise “good” cholesterol, go with a low-carb diet and the right cholesterol supplements like Rychol or Abana; lessen the intake of foods like white bread, potatoes, white rice, crackers, and sugar. Also, do remember that even though high cholesterol may be due to your diet, the most significant factor in cholesterol levels is INFLAMMATION.

Myth – Eggs are the Enemy
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Start eating eggs again!!!! They only have a slight effect on blood cholesterol. It appears that even people with coronary heart disease can consume two eggs per day for six weeks without experiencing any adverse effects on their cholesterol levels. Eggs are also a good source of choline….which plays a role in memory, and antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein which help prevent macular degeneration.

Heart Health – Some Tips To Ponder

Although you might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, it’s often tough to change your eating habits. Whether you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt or you simply want to fine-tune your diet, here are eight heart-healthy diet tips. Once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you’ll be on your way toward a heart-healthy diet.

1. Control Your Portion Size

How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Overloading your plate, taking seconds and eating until you feel stuffed can lead to eating more calories than you should. Portions served in restaurants are often more than anyone needs.

2. Eat More Fresh Fruit & Vegetables
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Load your plate with the fresh raw or steamed vegetables and avoid those swimming in creamy sauces, crumbed or deep-fried. Canned or dried/preserved fruits have loads of hidden sugars – so be sure to avoid these on the desert & snack menu (unless the fruits are organically sun-dried and not preserved in sugars or syrups.

3. Select Wholegrain Food
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These are a source of natural healthy fibre and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health, not to say they don’t play an important role in gut health and the reduction of toxins. Whole grain Brown rice, barley, buckwheat, AVOID the glutens where possible, nut & seed based flours & organic rolled raw oats. AVOID the refined flours, cakes, pies & Pizza.

4. Healthy & Unhealthy Fats

Monitoring how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to maintaining your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease.
An easy way to add healthy fat (and fibre) to your diet is ground flaxseed. Flaxseeds are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Some studies have found that flaxseeds may help lower cholesterol in some people, but more research is needed. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon of them into yogurt, applesauce or hot cereal. When cooking with fats, the animal fats composition remain constant and do not alter chemically into toxic fats, and are best for cooking. Coconut Oil (organic) is a plant-based oil that remains consistent when heated moderately. The cold-pressed plant oils (Olive, Hemp, Avocado & Nut oils) are best served cold as a dressing for salads and food dishes. Healthy fats ensure we maintain the levels of vitamins A, D, E & K. Deficiencies in these have been linked to heart disease.

5. Choose Healthy Fat Protein Sources
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Organic meat, poultry and fish, natural dairy products, and eggs are some of your best sources of protein. But be careful when choosing lower-fat options, such as skim milk rather than whole milk as there are many hidden sugars.
Fish is another good alternative and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. You’ll find the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring. Other sources are flaxseed & walnuts.
Legumes — beans, peas, and lentils — also are good sources of protein and contain healthy fats making them good substitutes for meat.

6. Reduce The Salt

Eating a lot of salt (sodium) can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Preferably the Natural salts – Himalayan type is best. Eating fresh foods and making your own soups and stews can reduce the amount of salt you eat.

7. Plan Ahead So Temptation is Less

You know what foods to feature in your heart-healthy diet and which ones to limit. Now it’s time to put your plans into action.
Create daily menus using the six strategies listed above. When selecting foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Choose lean protein sources and healthy fats, and limit salty foods. Watch your portion sizes and add variety to your menu choices.

8. Allow Yourself The Occasional Treat
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Allow yourself an indulgence every now and then. A few squares of dark chocolate, vegetable crisps or a nut-based flour pancake…. Gluten-free snack smart treats are in most stores today, just be sure to read the labels they won’t derail your heart-healthy diet. But don’t let it turn into an excuse for giving up on your healthy-eating plan. If overindulgence is the exception, rather than the rule, you’ll balance things out over the long term. What’s important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time.

Incorporate these eight tips into your life, and you’ll find that heart-healthy eating is both doable and enjoyable. With planning and a few simple substitutions, you can eat with your heart in mind.

BALANCED HEALING can provide Support & guide you with Healthy Lifestyle Choices. Contact us today.

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Balanced Healing

Balanced Healing offers an integrated holistic approach to health & wellness in the workplace & for the individual
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Balanced Healing

It is certainly encouraging and heartwarming to see the emphasis during National Nutrition week for 2019 to be focusing on the fundamentals of our core well-being and highlighting the use and consumption of WHOLE FOODS.

Despite what we know about the impact of food choices on our health, overweight and obesity are still on the rise in South Africa, alongside a host of preventable diseases that can be attributed to unhealthy lifestyles.

The message that a coalition of health professionals, including the Department of Health, is highlighting in October during National Nutrition and Obesity Week (9 to 19 October) is that, thanks to our industrialised food system, and far greater, ultra-processed and fast food choices aimed at our ‘convenience’, we’ve got further away from eating the whole foods that are really good for us.


Read some facts that you may not be aware of @ https://zurl.co/jqJh

+Enjoy a variety of unprocessed or minimally processed food choices
+Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit every day.
+Eat dry beans, peas, lentils and soya regularly.
+Plan and prepare healthy home made meals rather than buying ready to eat food meals/snacks or eating out frequently.
+Always check food and beverage lables to read what your food and drink consists of.

At BALANCED HEALING we focus on the fundamentals of health with the pivotal emphasis being on our daily nutritional intake to be the main focus on health & wellness. Healing begins with adequate nutrition.

BALANCED HEALING is passionate about creating healthy eating habits and with individual consultation & tailor made planning, assist many people with their nutritional & Lifestyle management. Thus ultimately promoting healing of chronic or sub-clinical ailments such as inflammation, digestive issues and in the prevention of escalating disease processes in obesity driven ailments such as Insulin Resistance, Cholesterol management and some endocrine / hormonal disturbances.

For more information, please be sure to visit the Department of Health National Nutrition week 2019 web page: https://zurl.co/8BLb
Balanced Healing
Balanced Healing

As it is International ADHD AWARENESS Month - let’s kick off this week with a topic close to my heart, as I too have a son that falls within the Autism spectrum. Many moons ago when he was little and struggling to meet his developmental milestones and causing havoc in his nursery school, we began the long & torturous road to trying to find out what was going on in his little mind & body…. The first LABLE was ADHD.

So it was test after test, therapy session after therapy session, Occupational, Speech you name it and of course the dreaded DRUG REGIME….We tried quite a few. I might add this did very little for him if anything at times made it worse… So here is a little input from my side as a mother and nurse, with many years of research and actually being in the trenches with other parents and teachers…. Here’s my 5 cents worth this week:

According to the Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Support Group of Southern Africa ADHASA), ADHD is understood to appear in 10% of the South African population and is found in all ethnic and socio-economic clusters.

Imagine what it would be like to realise that your child:
acts and thinks differently;

+says and does whatever comes to mind,
+Constantly interrupts while they are talking.

Imagine what it would be like to learn from his teacher that your child:

+is ‘rude and disruptive’,
+not capable of paying attention or following simple instructions in the classroom.

The frightening realisation that your child’s schooling career might be in jeopardy could drive you into the arms of a doctor. And when you take your child there, instead of a comprehensive medical assessment and blood tests, you may end up having a conversation about your child’s behaviour, and, after a few minutes, you could leave with an Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis coupled with a prescription. You can bet that there’s a pharmaceutical solution offered up as a standard reactionary medical response.

I am not suggesting that some kids do or don’t have ADHD or that some kids might not actually be served well to take a medication. As a mother & practicing integrative nurse..dealing with this issue, it's clear that a small percentage of children will, in fact, do better in terms of socialization and academic performance when they are appropriately medicated. But the notion that we should accept the idea that medications should be given to all those who “act out” of the conventional mold in the academic measurement system….should be challenged on scientific, medical, and compassionate grounds.

Here’s the checklist of what I believe should happen before children get drugged:

First off "CUT THE SUGAR!!!"

Read the rest of the list here: https://zurl.co/hprC

At BALANCED HEALING, the approach is individual and focused. we utilize the dietary and natural supplementation avenues with some herbal remedies alongside the use of Bach Flower Remedies as well as Auricular acupuncture/pressure point therapy, while functioning within a reputable and professional referral base as and when other therapies are required or indicated.
Balanced Healing
Balanced Healing

It is the beginning of ADHD Awareness Month,
I couldn’t think of a better way to kick it off than sharing a poem written by one of our ADHD mamas, Andrea DeBaggis.

So much of our success in raising kids with ADHD depends upon your willingness to look at our children and their behaviours in a different light. Andrea’s poem does an amazing job helping us to do just that.

Think About It:
How can you reframe some of your own child’s frustrating behaviours?
How does this help you shift your responses?

"The Octopus
his eyes wander skyward
a toy always in his little hand
he fidgets and fiddles
and hums
through my voice"

Honey, did you hear what I said?
Mom, did you know that an octopus has three hearts?

"images and thoughts wash over his brain
like a rogue wave
sometimes they are slow, steady
barely cresting
other times they pound his shores like a hurricane
throwing life around him
off balance
churning and tossing the moments
like lost ships at sea"

Mom, that’s why they are so gentle.
Your shoes honey. You need your shoes.
Yes Mom I heard you.

"he hums
and looks away
past me and past this time and space
his thoughts are not on shoes
they are deep in the blue of the ocean
with a beautiful gentle floating
eight-armed creature

he has left my kitchen for another world
a beautiful place where he needs to be
for a moment
and I am worried about shoes
sometimes I want to ride the waves
and think about the octopus
with him at my side
my guide
my beautiful boy
he journeys far and wide
and often
and I am always calling him back
he’s not ready to return
for shoes
or chores
or math
or dinner"

Mom, also, an octopus can fall in love.

"so I lean down with creaking knees and all the love I have
ease his foot into my hand
and put on his shoes
he is not done watching the octopus"

Read More @ https://zurl.co/a3Ev

[Credit goes to the: Honestly ADHD Group, based in Las Vegas, NV]

BALANCED HEALING’S next post will discuss a personal ADHD story and provide some advice on how to manage your child with this condition.
Balanced Healing
Balanced Healing

As September draws to a close, here is our final post about Oral Health. So last week we discussed the Link between Oral Health and Cardiovascular Disease. This week's discussion is about another important disease link.


In recent years, a growing number of scientific studies have backed an alarming hypothesis: Alzheimer's disease isn't just a disease, it's an infection.
While the exact mechanisms of this infection are something researchers are still trying to isolate, a litany of papers argue the deadly spread of Alzheimer's goes way beyond what we used to think.
Now, scientists are saying they've got one of the most definitive leads yet for a bacterial culprit behind Alzheimer's, and it comes from a somewhat unexpected quarter: gum disease.
In a new paper led by senior author Jan Potempa, a microbiologist from the University of Louisville, researchers report the discovery of Porphyromonas gingivalis – the pathogen behind chronic periodontitis (aka gum disease) – in the brains of deceased Alzheimer's patients.
It's not the first time the two factors have been linked.


Due to the increase in hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, pregnant women are at greater risk to develop inflamed gums, which if left untreated can lead to periodontal disease. A five-year study conducted at the University of North Carolina found that pregnant women with periodontal disease are seven times more likely to deliver a premature, low-birth-weight baby.�But wait, there's more!

The connection between poor oral health and overall health may not be limited to cardiovascular disease. Studies have linked periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, a 2016 study found a link between the same bacterium and risk of pancreatic cancer. However, we'll need additional research to figure out the importance of these observations.


Whether the link is direct, indirect or coincidence, a healthy mouth, and a regimen to keep it that way (including not smoking, and getting regular dental care) can help you keep your teeth. That's reason enough to do what you can to make oral health a priority. Perhaps it will turn out to have other benefits though much of that remains speculative.
Stand by for more studies on the link between oral health and overall health. Until then, keep brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist.

To keep your teeth, gums, and body healthy, we recommend the following:

Read more @ https://zurl.co/GkcV


BALANCED HEALING can assist by screening the body to assess overall health status and recommend a suitable lifestyle program to reduce inflammation & infection. We work in collaboration with a holistic oral hygienist for further diagnosis and treatment.
Balanced Healing
Balanced Healing

Continuing on with September HEART HEALTH AWARENESS month I would like to HIGHLIGHT the ORAL HEALTH AWARENESS aspect – Oral care also being a focal point for the month of September.

It’s not news that there is a significant link between one’s oral health and overall health. Though studies are ongoing, researchers have known for quite some time that the mouth is connected to the rest of the body. Your mouth is the entry point of many bacteria,

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth and is caused by plaque-forming bacteria in your mouth.

Study after study has shown that people who have poor oral health (such as gum disease or tooth loss) have higher rates of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack or stroke than people with good oral health.


A number of theories have been proposed, including:

• The bacteria that infect the gums and cause gingivitis and periodontitis also travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body where they cause blood vessel inflammation and damage; tiny blood clots, heart attack, and stroke may follow. Supporting this idea is the finding of remnants of oral bacteria within atherosclerotic blood vessels far from the mouth. Then again, antibiotic treatment has not proven effective at reducing cardiovascular risk.
• Rather than bacteria causing the problem, it's the body's immune response – inflammation - that sets off a cascade of vascular damage throughout the body, including the heart and brain.
• There may be no direct connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease; the reason they may occur together is that there is a 3rd factor (such as smoking) that's a risk factor for both conditions. Other potential "confounders" include poor access to healthcare and lack of exercise.

Read full article @ http://www.balancedhealing.co.za/put-your-heart-mind-in-your-mouth/

BALANCED HEALING can assist by screening the body to assess overall health status and recommend a suitable lifestyle program to reduce inflammation & infection. We work in collaboration with a holistic oral hygienist for further diagnosis and treatment.
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