Knowledge is half the battle won, which is why Durbell is committed to offering you the best in health and wellness news. By reading what you need to know here, we aim to help you overcome the changes and challenges that occur every day. New health trends and facts hit the airwaves all the time, because life continues to evolve in interesting ways. We hope to help you tackle these changes and challenges to the best of your ability, by giving you the real truth, hard facts, good advice and whatever assistance you may need.



What you need to know!

It is a misconception that you will not have high cholesterol if you are young and fit. No one is immune – it is not called the silent killer for nothing.

The reason for this is because cholesterol can build up in your body without you even being aware of it. If you do not have your cholesterol levels tested regularly, you may not even be aware if you have a problem – not until it is too late and you suffer a stroke or heart attack.

HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein), known as the GOOD Cholesterol, is generally considered to be beneficial to the body. It helps remove Cholesterol from the blood vessel walls and the blood itself, bringing it to the liver for processing and excretion.

LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein), known as the BAD Cholesterol, is harmful to the body because it carries Cholesterol into the bloodstream, promoting the build-up of Cholesterol plaque on the arterial walls.

VLDL (Very-Low-Density Lipoprotein) is converted into LDL and therefore is harmful. All these Cholesterols are normally found in the body. It is oxidized Cholesterol (Cholesterol abnormally bound with oxygen) that researches are concerned about. When we eat processed foods, fast food, fried foods and the presence of chlorine and fluoride in the water, pesticides and other environmental pollutants, are oxidizing Cholesterol in the body.

Sex hormones and stress hormones are made from Cholesterol. Cholesterol is needed to create cell membranes and coat nerves with a protective fatty insulation that makes up 60 to 80% of our brain tissue. Cholesterol is also essential for proper food digestion and fat absorption because it produces bile salts. Without Cholesterol we would not be able to produce Vitamin D from sunlight and would not be able to absorb calcium, both needed for healthy bones.

The body, via the liver, produces approximately 1 000mg of Cholesterol per day. If we try to lower our Cholesterol too much with drugs, the liver merely gears up production.

Normally, the liver produces about 85% of the Cholesterol measured in a blood test, while the other 15% comes from the diet.

Your body manufactures all the cholesterol it requires, so too much added cholesterol via your diet could prove to be harmful.

A poor diet with a high intake of saturated and polyunsaturated fats, hydrogenated oils, fried food, meat, sugar, coffee and alcohol will elevate Cholesterol levels, especially when a person lacks fibre from whole grains and vegetables. Add a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, carrying excess weight and Cholesterol will increase.


  • High Cholesterol increases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • High cholesterol usually refers to high levels of LDL cholesterol, normal or low levels of HDL cholesterol, and normal or high levels of triglycerides.
  • When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it may build up on the walls of your arteries, causing atherosclerosis – a form of heart disease. The arteries become too narrow and the blood flow to the heart muscle will be reduced and even block.
  • Blood carries oxygen to the heart. If not enough blood and oxygen is able to reach the heart, you could suffer chest pains. If the blood supply to a part of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack.

There are usually no symptoms at all in the early stages of high Cholesterol – therefore testing is so important.


  • Statins are usually prescribed. They block a specific enzyme in the liver that helps to make Cholesterol, resulting in a drop in Cholesterol but also disrupt liver function. Statins also inhibit the productions of coenzyme Q10 produced in the Liver – a fat soluble antioxidant found in large amounts in the mitochondria which are the principle powerhouse of cells, where all the energy in the body is produced, resulting in diminished energy and muscle weakness and tenderness. In order to reduce the side effects, it is recommended that you take a supplement of coenzyme coQ10 100mg twice daily if you are on a Statin.
  • Niacin is a vitamin B which is found in food but is also available as a supplement. The main function of Niacin is to lower your LDL Cholesterol levels and to raise HDL Cholesterol. Furthermore, it also lowers elevated triglycerides.
  • Bile Acid sequestrants work inside the intestine where they bind the bile and prevent it from being reabsorbed into the body. Bile consists mostly of cholesterol, therefore Bile Acid assists by decreasing the body’s supply of cholesterol and in so doing, reduces the LDL cholesterol levels. Side effects include constipation, wind and diarrhea.
  • Fibrates on the other hand, lower triglyceride levels, can intensify HDL levels in addition to lowering your LDL cholesterol. Fibrates are prescribed to improve the breakdown of triglyceride-rich particles and reduce the emission of some lipoproteins and induce the production of HDL.
  • Antioxidants, the regular use of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and green tea have been shown to lower oxidized Cholesterol levels.
    There is compelling evidence that Magnesium therapy reduces Cholesterol levels, even when there is a genetic risk factor present for Hypercholesterolemia. Cholesterol production in the body requires a specific enzyme, HMC-CoA reductase and Magnesium slows down this enzymatic reaction when it is in sufficient quantities. It is this same enzyme that Statin drugs target to inhibit so as to reduce Cholesterol levels. The mechanisms are nearly the same, and so it appears that Magnesium may play its part in controlling Cholesterol when it reaches a certain level. This therefore would suggest that if sufficient Magnesium is present in the body, Cholesterol will be limited to its necessary functions.

Taking medication is only one aspect of reducing your Cholesterol levels. In many instances high cholesterol is hereditary but the main culprits usually are a lack of sufficient exercise and excess of saturated fat in your diet and low Magnesium levels. A change in lifestyle, reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking can reduce your cholesterol levels substantially.

Make sure to have your Cholesterol levels checked so that you, together with your medical practitioner, can ensure that your levels are kept in-check and do not become an issue to your health.



Depression is not dissimilar to any other chronic illness and will not just go away on its own. You need to face it head on and treat it correctly in order to enjoy a happy life.

One in five South Africans suffer from mental illness and sadly, even though depression is quite easily treatable, only a small percentage of individuals actually seek help.

Depression is not an adults-only illness either. Depression can manifest itself in very young children as well as in teenagers, and will make its appearance in difference ways in the different age groups. In children and teenagers, the most common symptom is a marked change in their behaviour and thinking. Parents need to be extremely vigilant and take action the minute they suspect that their child or young adult may have depression.

Everyone has moods and we cannot always be happy and cheerful either. Being down in the dumps from time to time or feeling blue on occasion is perfectly normal, but when despair seems to take over our entire lives and simply will not go away, it might be depression.

If, for some reason, you no longer feel a zest for life and your hobbies and friends simply do not fulfill you the same way they used to and you feel overwhelmed all the time – take careful note that depression goes a lot deeper than just feeling sad.

Depression varies from one individual to the next. Some describe it as a black emptiness whereas other feel hollow and dispirited or even angry and aggressive. Depression can take over your entire life, so it is very important to seek help from a medical professional.


  • Do you sleep too much or do you suffer from insomnia?
  • Do you have negative thoughts all the time?
  • Do you feel that life is simply not worth living?
  • Are your concentration levels low and do you find that simple tasks are difficult to execute?
  • Are you eating too much or too little?
  • Are you constantly snapping at everyone around you or being more aggressive than usual?
  • Have you started drinking to drown your sorrows or are you doing other reckless things that are out of character?
  • Are you experiencing the feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness constantly, preventing your from leading a normal and happy life?
  • Do you dream excessively? Depressed individuals often dream a lot more (up to three times more) than those who are not.

If you have answered yes to some or all of the above, chances are that you are depressed and need to seek help!

Depression can be managed if the right treatment and medication is given by medical professionals.


  • Even though there is support and help for depression, depressed individuals are often in such a bad space that they simply do not have the courage or energy to seek help.
  • You need to understand and recognise that you are depressed. Educate yourself and learn about depression. You need to understand the signs, symptoms and causes as well as what the best route of action is.
  • Halting depression as soon as possible is vital.
  • It is important to seek help if you are depressed – whether you visit your doctor or call a support group.
  • Contacting The South African Depression Anxiety Group (SADAG) is a step in the right direction.
  • The support group runs a counselling centre 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
  • Contact SADAG on 0800 21 22 23 or 0800 20 50 26.
  • Talking and sharing is very important and will help to alleviate much of those deep, dark feelings.


  • Taking your medication for any illness, especially mental illness, plays a very important role in improving your quality of life.
  • The lack of good results regarding depression is often due to non–compliance in regards to taking medication.
  • Once a depressed person starts feeling better he or she often stops or forgets to take the medication, which can result in a relapse, severe withdrawal symptoms or worsening of the condition. It is very important that you get your medical professional to assist you to facilitate a slow withdrawal of your medication or you may need to remain on your medication.
  • As with all other illnesses, improvement sometimes takes time and you may need some patience to achieve the desired results.




Not all heart attacks happen with crushing chest pains like the dramatic ones we are so familiar with when we watch TV shows or movies. Instead there could be more subtle symptoms that indicate that you are having a heart attack.

The symptoms of a heart attack could be disguised as indigestion or even something as subtle as pins and needles. Despite the fact that many of us think that having chest pains is the only manifestation of a heart attack, there are numerous other signs you need to look out for.

It is interesting to note that at least one out of every three individuals suffering a heart attack will show unusual symptoms and in many instances there will be absolutely no symptoms at all. More and more women are having heart attacks and even more fascinating is that the elderly, diabetics and women display strange and uncommon symptoms that are not normally linked to heart attacks.


  • Pain and/or discomfort in the left arm or both arms.
  • Pain or discomfort in the neck, back, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath either with or without chest discomfort.
  • Breaking out in sweat.
  • Nausea, light headedness.
  • Both men and women experience pain and discomfort in the chest.


  • Confusion
  • Extreme and unexplained sudden fatigue.
  • Shortness of breath when doing something as simple as climbing a couple of stairs that in the past was not problematic, but suddenly becomes difficult to do.
  • Pain in the chest similar to indigestion.
  • A tight feeling in the chest.

In individuals who are candidates for heart attacks, any of the above symptoms need to be taken seriously and warrant a visit to the doctor. Individuals who smoke, do not exercise, have high blood pressure, are diabetic, are over 60, are overweight or obese, and are most prone to getting heart disease.

In healthy individuals the chances are that indigestion pain is probably just that, but indigestion pain in those individuals that are unhealthy and fall into the high risk category for heart disease, need to investigate this pain.



Far too many authorities on health will tell you that you can cut your risk of a heart attack simply by following a balanced diet. However, there is far more to preventing heart attacks than diet alone. A healthy, balanced diet is usually based on eating low fat and choosing a diet low in cholesterol, although it is clearly evident that these are not the main reasons for heart attacks.

If you are trying to age well, following a low-fat diet is one of the least effective methods to reach your goal. This eating plan usually pushes up your insulin levels and keeping your insulin levels down is perhaps one of the very best things you can do.

Suffice to say there are many inconsistencies in data regarding fat intake, perhaps due to the fact that all fats are not equal and our diet needs the ingestion of the “right” fats. Fat is needed by the body for many body pathways and functions in order to stay healthy.


Magnesium lowers blood pressure, and also reduces cholesterol and triglycerides.

Many of us have a magnesium deficiency. The ideal daily intake from food plus supplements is 400 to 800mg, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure.

Eating more dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds) will raise your magnesium levels quite substantially. Always consult your doctor to establish your individual needs.


Salt (sodium chloride) tightens the blood vessel walls and excessive amounts increase water retention, thereby further increasing blood pressure. Stay away from salty foods and do not add excessive salt to food. Potassium found in certain fruits and vegetables will relax the arteries.


Inuit people (who live in Northern Alaska) have a very high intake of cholesterol and saturated fat, yet they have the lowest risk of heart disease because of their exceptionally high intake of Omega-3 fats!

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) which can lead to sudden death.

Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and lower blood pressure slightly.

Omega-3 Fats are found in salmon, walnuts, chia and flax seeds.


The non-drug ways of improving HDL levels (“good cholesterol”) include upping your exercise levels, losing weight, quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol and including Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. One of the most effective ways to raise your HDL is by adding the B Vitamin Niacin to your daily intake.


Vitamin C is another one of those all-round health heroes, especially for heart health. The higher your intake, the lower your risk. Having a higher intake will also lower your homocysteine levels and reduce inflammation.

There are numerous practical steps that you can take to reduce your chances of a heart attack. These include doing more exercise, eating correctly, cutting back on alcohol and smoking and having less stress. Master your own stress levels as this may be the greatest contribution to reducing your chances of suffering a heart attack!

Recognising the symptoms of a heart attack is all important. Remember that if you or someone you know experience any of the above symptoms and you have any cause for concern, get to the doctor or emergency rooms!

CARDIAC ARREST OCCURS WHEN THE HEART MALFUNCTIONS AND STOPS BEATING UNEXPECTEDLY. Cardiac arrest is trigged by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat. When its pumping action is disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs.A HEART ATTACK OCCURS WHEN BLOOD FLOW TO THE HEART IS BLOCKED. A blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by the artery begins to die.
WHAT HAPPENS Seconds later, a person becomes unresponsive, is not breathing or is only gasping. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.EARLY WARNING SIGNS An individual may have chest pain, unusual fatigue, weakness, nausea and shortness of breath.


In order to attain vibrant health and feel more alive, alert, energetic, pain free and full of enthusiasm, your body needs attention!

By analogy your body is just like a building in which you make your home. Your home needs, at the very least, periodic attention – the roof may leak, the plumbing may get out of order and clog up, termites may drill through the floors and walls and other innumerable cases or deterioration may make their appearance.

Such is the case with your physical body. If neglected things might start falling apart and your health may start deteriorating slowly without you noticing. However, when you provide your body with the much needed attention it deserves, it will help to prevent unnecessary aches and pains and may help prevent serious diseases.

Our bodies are continually exposed to ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS.

  • Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, nickel and aluminum mostly due to environmental contamination brought about by industry. In the US alone, lead from industrial sources and from leaded petrol contribute to more than 60 0000 tons of lead into the atmosphere which is inhaled or ingested after being deposited on food crops via water and through the soil.
  • Exposure to solvents (cleaning materials such as benzene), pesticides, herbicides, food additives such as MSG (E621 Mono Sodium Glutamate), sulphites, metasulphites (E221 and E223), flavourants, preservatives, dental fillings, cigarette smoke, cooking utensils, and other toxins. Most of these toxins cause psychological and neurological symptoms such as depression, headaches, mental confusion or illness, tingling in extremities, abnormal nerve reflexes and other signs of impaired nervous system function.
  • Food Additives such as M.S.G., a taste enhancer. Found in Chinese food and in most fast foods as well as in many tinned and packaged foods, MSG can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches and dizziness.
  • Sulphites, Metasulphites, Metalsulphites and Metabisulphites (E22 & E223) are used to maintain freshness and are common in factory prepared foods and white wines. It is also often added to potatoes, avocados, shellfish, greens and vegetables in restaurant salad bars. Asthmatics have severe reactions to sulphites. There is some evidence that sulphite sensitivity may be associated with a Molybdenum (a trace mineral) deficiency.
  • Tartrazine (E102) is used widely as a food colouring agent and is known to cause hyperactivity, migraines and asthma attacks. It also depletes the body’s Vitamin B6 and Zinc levels. Bha (E320) is used as a preservative, especially in foods containing fats and confectionary as well as for meats. It can cause hives and skin reactions.


Fasting is one of the oldest methods of detoxing the body. It is one of the quickest ways to increase elimination of waste and enhance the healing process of the body. Fasting is defined as abstinence from all food and drink except for water for a specific period of time, usually for therapeutic or religious reasons. This process saves essential tissue such as vital organs while utilising non-essential tissue such as fatty tissue and muscle for fuel.

It is vital to ensure that all your elimination organs are functioning optimally at all times and to support them including your liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and colon.


The liver’s basic function is threefold: vascular, secretory and metabolic. Its vascular functions include being a major blood reservoir and filtering more than a litre of blood per minute. The liver effectively removes bacteria, endotoxins, antigen-antibody complexes and various other particles in circulation. It is the nutrient distribution centre. Everything that goes into the system the liver has to break down, process and distribute to body tissues and organs. If not working optimally, many things can go wrong such as skin problem, allergies, hormonal imbalances, depression and constipation, just to mention a few.

The following remedies or natural products can be used to cleanse and support the liver:

  • Milk thistle (Silybum Marianum) supports liver cleansing and the regeneration of liver cells. It also protects against harmful substances and has antioxidant properties.
  • Tumeric (Curcuma Longa) contains the yellow pigment Curcumin which has demonstrated liver protective effects. Curcumin helps with the treatment of liver disorders and also to reduce any inflammation in the body.
  • Dandelion Root (Taraxacum Ofricinale) enhances liver and gallbladder function, has cleansing properties and improves digestion.
  • Taurine is an amino acid that is required by the liver for the removal of toxic substances from the body.


The Lymphatic System is a series of vessels whose job it is to return inter and intra cellular fluid back into the blood stream from where it comes. However, in the process of this apparently passive job of transport, much vital work goes on. It is through the lymphatic drainage of the cells, tissues, and organs that cleansing largely takes place.

Cleavers (Bedstraw) is a very valuable plant and is perhaps the best known tonic available for the lymphatic system. It is excellent for lymphatic drainage.


The Kidneys are the filtering and elimination centre. The kidneys perform the complete task of extracting toxic waste of protein metabolism from the blood in the form of uric acid and urea, the regulation of acid balance. They produce a secretion called rennin, which is taken up by the blood to be transported to and used by the system when there is a need to constrict blood vessels.

  • Burdock Root (Arctium Lappa) supports the flushing out of unwanted toxins from the kidneys.
  • Bearberry (Arctostaphylos Urva-Ursi) soothes, tones and strengthens the kidneys.


The Colon eliminates all undigested food and other waste products (it is as important as proper digestion and assimilation of food) by the elimination of feces.

Failure to effectively eliminate waste products from the body causes fermentation and putrefaction in the large intestine or colon and causes constipation, bloating and indigestion.

  • Fibre (Psyllium husks) provides fibre to support bowel function and regularity.
  • Pectin is a gel forming fibre which binds onto toxins and helps to facilitate their excretion from the body. It is always extremely important to drink lots of water or liquids with your fibre because if not, it causes constipation. Fibre should be taken an hour apart from other medications because it can interfere with the absorption of medications.
  • Chlorella is high in chlorophyll, which is well known for its potent internal detoxing and chelating properties. It removes heavy metals from the body and keeps the body more alkaline. Chlorella is also very nutritional and therefore also helps to nourish the body.


Drinking lots of Water is essential, as well as eating fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding fried foods, red meat, simple sugars and refined foods. Cut down on coffee and fizzy drinks. Depending on your lifestyle and diet you can do a detox once or twice per year.

Own up to your health and take responsibility!


Your kidneys play a key role in eliminating waste products from the human body. These waste products are then excreted as urine via the ureter into the bladder and eliminated from the bladder.

Unusually high levels of waste such as calcium oxalate or uric acid can occur for a number of reasons, which can overload the urine and over a period of time these will lead to kidney stones, which can prove to be extremely painful.

Men are more susceptible to getting kidney stones than women, plus there is a higher risk of individuals succumbing to kidney stones in hot, dry climates. Kidney stones occur more frequently during the summer months and there is higher a risk in obese patients.

What exactly is a kidney stone?

A kidney stone is a solid bit of material that forms in the kidney. It is an abnormal formation of crystals and salts which, over time, can grow in the collecting system of the organ. These substances, usually found in the urine, do not cause any issues when at lower concentrations. Kidney stones can either stay in the kidney or can travel down the urinary tract and are varied in size. A very small kidney stone might travel from the kidney down the urinary tract and pass on its own causing little pain, but larger kidney stones might get stuck along the urinary tract and block the flow of urine, causing extreme levels of pain and bleeding.

Why and how does this happen?

The urinary tract is the body’s drainage system to remove waste and extra water. Kidneys are bean-shaped organs about the size of a first located near the centre of the back just below the rib cage – one on each side of the spine.

Every day your kidneys process in the region of 180 liters of blood and plasma to produce about 1.5 to 2 litres of urine, which is made up of waste and extra water. Urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder through the ureter. Your urine naturally consists of high concentrations of waste products and salts and in certain individuals, these salts crystallise, forming kidney stones.

High levels of calcium oxalate and phosphorus in the urine are often the cause of painful kidney stones and certain foods can be the source of kidney stones in certain individuals. The exact time it takes for a kidney stone to form is not known but is estimated to develop over a couple of months and in certain instances, even years.

Although kidney stones are seldom a sign of kidney disease, the list below will indicate why you might be susceptible:

  • If you have a family history of kidney stones: children with kidney stones, however, are believed to be more at risk if kidney stones are hereditary.
  • If you suffer from recurring urinary tract infections.
  • If you have digestive problems.
  • Blockage of the urinary tract.
  • For those individuals that do not drink sufficient fluids, especially during the hot summer months or individuals that live in hot climates and do not hydrate sufficiently have a leaning towards getting kidney stones.
  • Certain medicines can cause kidney stones.

Between 10 and 15% of the general population develop kidney stones at some stage of their lives and while anyone can get kidney stones, the risk factors listed here can increase your chances.

There are several different kinds of kidney stones. Kidney stones are differentiated by various factors including diet, the ability to metabolise certain elements from food, or even changes in the function of the kidneys or the bowel.

The most common type of kidney stones are calcium-based. Calcium is a normal part of a healthy diet, but the excess not used by the bones and muscles will automatically be sent to the kidneys, and while in most individuals the kidneys flush out the excess in urine, people who have calcium stones store the calcium in the kidneys.

Calcium-based stones are the most common type – these consist of either calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate.

  • A uric acid stone will form when there is too much uric acid in the urine – about 7% of kidney stones are uric acid-based, which is a by-product of the breaking down of purine rich foods such as alcohol, meat, fish and shellfish. Individuals suffering from gout have a tendency towards getting this type of stones.
  • A further 7% of individuals suffer from struvite stones which can occur after a kidney infection or certain bacterial infections in the urine.
  • Cystine stones is a condition genetically passed down from parent to child which is caused by cystine leaking through the kidneys into the urine.

How do you know that you have kidney stones?

Individuals who suffer from kidney stones or those with a family history can be screened for risk factors where salt levels in urine and blood will be established. It is quite possible to detect stones prior to the patient experiencing painful symptoms – a simple urine test can be done to detect any tiny crystals that form in the urine. Stones are also detected on CT or sonar scans. Small stones are easily dissolved by alkalising the urine before they make their appearance.

How to prevent kidney stones:

You simply have to drink more liquids, especially during hot weather. For those that are not diligent water drinkers, it does not have to be plain water every time – new research has indicated that sparkling water protects against stone formation – more so when compared to still water. Citrus juices including lemonade are also a great way to hydrate and are good balancing options to water and will assist in increasing urinary citrate levels.

Cut the coffee – caffeine is bad for you and studies point to caffeine as being a culprit in increasing the risk of stones coming back and increasing the excretion of calcium. There is no time quite like the present to hold back on your salt intake. Not only is it bad for your heart, but studies have shown that excessive intake of salty foods and elevated salt intake causes kidney stones to recur.

Treating kidney stones:

Small kidney stones that are close to the bladder are easily passed through with a combination of medication and plenty of fluids. Larger stones, on the other hand, are extremely painful and patients normally have to be admitted to hospital where urine tests and CT scans are performed to diagnose the patient’s condition. Once the size of the stone has been determined, treatment will be carried out accordingly.

Endoscopic surgery will be performed if the stones are close to the kidneys or are unusually large in size. Kidney stones that are lodged in the kidney can be treated by ESWL (Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy) which are shock waves that are used to break up the stones.

Because almost half of all kidney stones sufferers will develop kidney stones within ten years after the first ones occurred and as many as 75% within 20 years, effective prevention cannot be stressed enough.

High levels of protein intake increases urinary calcium oxalate and uric acid excretion, so it might be a good idea to cut back on these foods. Consult your doctor before cutting back on calcium as a lack of calcium could lead to osteoporosis in later years.
Annual monitoring might also be a good way forward in the prevention of kidney stones.


Unsurprisingly, Antioxidants come up often in discussions regarding good health and the prevention of a whole host of diseases. These powerful substances most commonly found in the fresh fruits and vegetables, prevent the oxidation of molecules in the body.

The benefits of Antioxidants are very important for good health. If free radicals are left unchallenged, they can cause a whole host of diseases and illnesses. If you want to boost your body’s health and need a helping hand to supercharge your well-being, then try some of the nutrient-dense nature-based foods rich in Antioxidants.

The more scientists investigate foods, the more Antioxidants they discover. Some are far more powerful than others – for example the flavonoids in apple skin provide more Antioxidant power than the vitamin C in the white flesh and each one has a different function. Quercetin, one of the flavonoids found in apple skins, helps with pollen allergies, whereas vitamin C is great for your blood vessels.

Although Antioxidants include certain vitamins, they also include minerals such as selenium and flavonoids found in a variety of plants. These can also be found in red wine and teas and if you prefer, you can also buy Antioxidants over the counter in the form of supplements. However, it is preferable to get your Antioxidant supply from eating a healthy diet.

If you are fortunate enough to enjoy good health, there is no real need to focus on any single Antioxidant as we need a variety of antioxidants to neutralise the huge variety of free radicals that exist. No single Antioxidant will ever do the job of multiple ones.


Artichokes are one of nature’s miracle foods. They are brimming with Phytonutrients and Antioxidants. Needless to say artichokes are an old fashioned vegetable that has been gracing tables for centuries.

This remarkably humble vegetable assists in boosting the body’s immunity against numerous illnesses. Powerful nutrients found in artichokes are especially helpful in inhibiting the growth of harmful cells. Artichokes have extremely high levels of Vitamin C which maintain a healthy immune system. Furthermore, artichokes contain Vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and folate. Boil artichokes in water for about forty minutes and serve them with mayonnaise and lemon butter or add them to dishes such as pasta and pizza.


Below are foods high in Antioxidants, so try to include as many of these as possible in your everyday diet. These foods should be fresh, raw and organic.

Corn, lime, kale, lemons, dates, prunes, mangoes, grapes, garlic, cloves, chilies, apricots, cinnamon, broccoli, oregano, berries, squash, almonds, peppers, carrots, olive oil, tomatoes, green tea, coconut oil, red beets, spinach, pinto and broad beans, wheat germ, whole grain brown rice, sweet potatoes, blood oranges, rye and barley and raw nuts and seeds.


These free-radical fighting Antioxidants help you look and feel younger by slowing down the aging process, help prevent cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases. Not only that, they speed up recovery from exercise that means more muscle and less fat on your body in the long run.

STRAWBERRIES: Bursting with fibre and vitamin C, a cup of sliced strawberries
is a cup full of health benefits.

BLUEBERRIES: This superfood is good for your health and can help protect
your skin from premature aging. Blueberries reduce the risk of
urinary tract infections and improve vision.

CRANBERRIES: One cup of whole cranberries is full of disease-fighting and
health-boosting Antioxidants and reduces the risk of urinary
tract infections.

PEACHES: Peaches are rich in beta carotene, vitamins A and C, fibre, iron,
thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, magnesium
and phosphorus.

BLACKBERRIES: One cup of blackberries contains the most antioxidants of all the berries tested, beating blueberries, strawberries, cranberries and raspberries. Plus one cup provides ½ your daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

RASPBERRIES: A super-healthy berry to add to your diet, one cup of
raspberries is loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C (54 q percent of your daily recommended intake).

COFFEE: Not only does coffee help keep us alert, it reduces the risk of
diabetes and Parkinson’s disease and also stimulates enzymes
that protect against colon cancer.

WALNUTS: Walnuts are loaded with antioxidants. They’re cholesterol-free
and low in sodium and sugar. Nuts are laden with calories,
though, so be mindful of your intake.

GROUND CLOVES: Just a teaspoon of ground cloves can do wonders for your body. Spice up your meals and boost your health at the same time.

PECAN NUTS: Pecan nuts are rich in antioxidants. They increase metabolic
rate, enhance satiety and play a role in protecting the nervous

These are only some examples of foodstuffs rich in Antioxidants.

Many experts believe that Antioxidants play a role in the development of diseases of the blood vessels, cancer, atherosclerosis as well as other conditions. Although the human body naturally produces free radicals as well as Antioxidants to counteract their damaging effects, free radicals can outstrip the naturally-occurring Antioxidants.

In order to keep the balance, a continuous supply of external sources of Antioxidants is necessary to obtain maximum benefits. It is safe to say that Antioxidants benefit the body through the neutralisation and the removal of free radicals from the bloodstream.

There are different ways that one can become exposed to free radicals.

  • Pollutants are one of the biggest culprits.
  • You can become exposed to free radicals through by-products of normal functions that take place in your body – these include the release of digestive enzymes and the breaking down of sugars for energy.
  • Antioxidants also play a role in the management and the prevention of some medical conditions – these include certain types of cancer, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s as well as arthritis-related disorders.

A good example is people with diabetes. These individuals seem to generate large amounts of free radicals and studies have indicated that Vitamins E and C as well as alpha-lipoic acid could help the condition. Coenzyme Q-10 has been particularly helpful in reversing heart conditions in which the heart muscle seems to lack the energy to pump blood.

Lutein improves visual acuity in individuals that have severe eye disorders which include macular degeneration as well as cataracts. Lycopene has been known to reduce the size of prostate tumors.


When your skin becomes exposed to high levels of ultraviolet light, photo-oxidative damage occurs due to the formation of a variety of reactive species of oxygen – these are singlet oxygen, superoxide radicals and peroxide radicals.

These reactive oxygen radicals damage cellular lipids, proteins and DNA and are considered to be the main causes of sunburn, premature ageing of the skin and cause skin cancers and photo dermatoses.

Astaxanthin, followed by beta-carotene combined with Vitamin E has proved to be one of the most beneficial Antioxidant combinations to assist in protecting your skin from reactive species of oxygen.


Astaxanthin and Spirulina enhance both the non-specific and specific immune systems and protect cell membranes as well as cellular DNA from mutation. Astaxanthin is the single most powerful quencher of single oxygen and is up to ten times stronger than other carotenoids and as much as 500 times stronger than alpha tocopherol (Vitamin E). Spirulina, on the other hand, has a variety of Antioxidants and other substances that are beneficial in boosting the immune system.


Pollution, stress, prolonged use of antibiotics – these are only some of the reasons why one should ensure that you take good care of your health. The human body cannot keep up with Antioxidant production and because a large amount of these vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and enzymes are derived from one’s daily diet, it might be a good idea to boost your Antioxidant intake which can assist in protecting your body against:

  • Heart Issues
  • Eye problems
  • Memory loss
  • Mood disorders
  • Immune systems challenges

It is advisable to consult with your pharmacist, medical practitioner or nutritionist before taking Antioxidant supplements (in order to optimise the potential benefits that various different Antioxidants offer). There is no time like the present to embark on a healthy eating plan.

Start off right away by incorporating a large variety of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet and soon you will reap the benefits of good dietary choices.


Why do we get stomach ulcers and what causes these painful sores in the lining of our stomachs?

For those not familiar with the condition, stomach ulcers are caused when the lining of the stomach fails, which allows the stomach acid to eat away at the stomach wall. This results in the formation of a stomach ulcer. It is important to note that once you have been diagnosed with an ulcer, it can easily be treated although it needs to be attended to timeously.

The reasons for most ulcers:

H.pylori: The first possible way that the stomach lining can be compromised is through the action of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori). These bacteria are generally responsible for most stomach ulcers. This organism weakens the protective coating of the stomach which allows damaging digestive juices to eat away at the sensitive lining below.

NSAIDS: The second main reason for the reduction of stomach lining is the prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used for pain relief. These drugs block substances in the stomach that help maintain blood flow and protect the area from injury, which has the effect of allowing the stomach lining in places to be compromised over time. They are present in many non-prescription drugs used to treat fever, headaches and minor aches and pains. If you need to be on long term pain medication, we recommend that you consult your doctor in order to maintain gut health.

In addition to these two main causes, there are a number of other risk factors that should be taken into account:

Genetics: Genetics play a role. Superfluous acid in the stomach can cause stomach ulcers and this could be as a direct result of your genetic make-up.

Stress: Another factor that causes ulcers is stress. Even though stress is no longer blamed for being the direct cause of ulcers, those with ulcers have reported that emotional stress increases ulcer pain.

Physical Stress: Physical stress is often the cause of ulcers developing in the stomach. Patients and individuals with injuries – either those that have undergone major surgery or patients that have serious burns – usually require medical treatment to prevent the occurrence of ulcers or complications that are instigated by ulcers, which usually include bleeding.

Smoking: Smoking is bad for you – period. Statists show that smoking not only slows down the healing process of ulcers that already exist, but they can be the cause of new ulcers developing and are a contributing factor to ulcers recurring!

Lifestyle: A poor lifestyle will always have a detrimental effect on your health – this includes excessive use of alcohol. Even though there is no link that can prove that the excessive use of alcohol is a contributing factor in individuals suffering from peptic ulcers – it is a known statistic that patients with cirrhosis of the liver often suffer from ulcers and peptic ulcers. The use of steroids, often used for conditions such as asthma, may also have an effect if used excessively.

Age: If you are over the age of fifty and have a family history of ulcers, chances are good that you will be vulnerable to getting stomach ulcers.

How will you know if you have an ulcer?

  • The first indication that you might have an ulcer is the pain which occurs between the area of the navel and the breastbone. However, symptoms will differ from one person to the next.
  • Other indications include nausea, vomiting, belching, loss of weight, poor appetite as well as a general feeling of lethargy.
  • If your stool is black in colour it could be an indication of a bleeding ulcer and you should consult your doctor.


The main approach to treating a stomach ulcer is firstly to get rid of the possible underlying cause. Medication is almost always needed to alleviate the symptoms and must be used to eradicate the H.pylori bacteria. There are a number of tests that can be conducted by your doctor to test for the presence of H.pylori, including a blood test, stool test and breath test.

If it is indeed established that the ulcer is as a result of H.pylori, a treatment programme will be started. Antacids may be used in order to sooth the pain, but will not treat the cause of the ulcer. It is important to note that antacids may block the absorption of medication and therefore it is recommended that they should be taken at least 1 hour before and 3 hours after any other medication.

The introduction of an H2 blocker or a Proton-pump inhibitor which acts by reducing gastric acid production allows for pain relief as well as healing.

In general, an ulcer sufferer will need to take a combination of an antacid and either a H2 blocker of Proton-pump inhibitor.

In order to deal with the cause of the ulcer namely the H.pylori there are a number of different options. The first is to visit your local doctor who will then prescribe a combination of antibiotics to take care of the bacteria.

In recent times however there has been a move away for antibiotics to a more natural alternative namely mastic gum, which works by killing the H.pylori. Another product that has been used in conjunction with mastic gum is DGL-liquorice which has been shown to have a soothing affect and protects the stomach from the harmful effects of NSAIDs.


There are ways and means of managing stress levels if you find that you are feeling pressurised and overwhelmed. Stress triggers an increased amount of cortisol – the ‘stress hormone’ – which can raise blood-sugar levels in your body as well as elevate your blood pressure.

The overproduction of cortisol can lead to a constant state of chemical arousal which could eventually lead to a heart attack. If you have bills to pay, challenging relationships and abnormal pressure at work, these can all add up have serious effects on your health.

It is therefore important to manage your stress levels. Try making your environment less stressful, eat well, get sufficient exercise and implement calming techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation. It could also help to consult your doctor.

This is what stress does to your body:

  • Heart attacks – individuals who reported being anxious and overwhelmed were 27% more likely to have a heart attack, according to studies carried out at Columbia University’s Medical Centre.
  • Strokes – stressful habits and being a type A personality could lead to a higher risk of a stroke.
  • Brain shrinkage – elevated stress levels can reduce some of the grey matter in your brain. This is the area that is directly tied to emotional and physical function.
  • Skin – the skin is also affected when you are stressed. Increased cortisol levels caused by stress could lead to more oil production which can exacerbate skin issues. Furthermore, stress also causes blood vessels to dilate which can cause unpleasant redness.
  • Gut – It is a known fact that stress suppresses inflammasomes. This is a multiprotein that plays an important role in taking care of your immune and digestive system, and can lead to irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Depressed libido – stress has a negative impact on one’s hormones which in turn can have an adverse effect on the production of oestrogen as well as testosterone – perhaps the most common cause for a diminished sex drive!

Stress and Illness:
The stress hormone cortisol could ‘switch off’ the inflammatory response of the body. This will result in the inflammation lingering long after an infection has been given the all-clear.

Chronic Disease:
Individuals who are always stressed in their everyday lives are more susceptible to being diagnosed with chronic health disorders and problems ranging from heart disease to arthritis.

Here are some common ailments that you are likely to experience when stressed:

Tension headaches:
Tension headaches can be quite debilitating. It feels as though a band of moderate pressure is put on either the back of the forehead or the back of the head or neck.

Muscle tension:
Increased tension leads to your body always being in ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ mode. If no action is taken, the muscle tension will in most instances disappear.

Weight gain and tension:
High levels of cortisol are often directly linked to weight gain, lower bone density, high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as diminished immune function.

If you are prone to feeling stressed, exercise is a great way to increase your energy levels and fight off feelings of fatigue.

  • Running, cycling and walking fast are all exercises to try if you are feeling stressed.
  • These increase the heart rate and flow of oxygen levels to the muscles.
  • When these exercise are done consistently over a period of time, the heart’s efficiency will automatically improve and as a result your resting heart rate will decrease – therefore a lower heart rate will lower feelings of anxiety and stress.

Resistance training is brilliant for reducing stress levels:

  • Weight training as well as Pilates are great stress-relievers.
  • Resistance training increases muscle strength and improves cardiovascular performance, minimising the chance of injuries.
  • Weight training and Pilates help the body to perform everyday activities and teaches you to move correctly. The result is that once daily activities are executed more efficiently, fatigue will be diminished.
  • Exercise such as Pilates teaches individuals to breathe correctly. By increasing the capacity of the lungs, improved breathing will automatically alleviate stress.

Flexibility training for relaxation:

  • Yoga and stretching exercises all alleviate stress levels.
  • Yoga and stretching improves muscle mobility, thus helping the muscles to relax.
  • The more your body is relaxed, the more the mind will become relaxed too. Yoga also teaches you to breathe more effectively.

When you find that you are in a stressful situation – try these tips:

Breathing it away is perhaps the best way to alleviate stress:

  • Sit upright to increase lung capacity – choose a chair with good back support.
  • Breathe steadily in through your nose an out through your mouth. The breath out should be twice as long as the breath in – do this at least ten times.
  • Use your diaphragm to breath: a good way to find exactly where your diaphragm is situated is by placing a hand on your diaphragm and you will feel it as you breathe.
  • Relax your muscles – including your shoulders and upper chest.
  • Relax your mind as you perform this exercise – shut your eyes and think pleasant, happy thoughts.

The pursuit of happiness and self-gratification is more important than ever – it is about time that we relearn the art of putting on the brakes so that we become more available to spend quality time with our friends and family, resulting in a more stress-free lifestyle.


Arthritis, for those of you who are not familiar with either the condition or the term, refers to inflammation of the joints. It is a term used for no fewer than two hundred diseases and conditions that affect the joints as well as the surrounding tissue of the joint and other connective tissues found in body.

Some of the more common conditions include:

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. It is a joint disease caused by the inflammation of healthy cartilage. In OA, cartilage breaks down and wears away. As a result, the bones rub together causing pain, swelling and stiffness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an auto immune disease where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thin membrane that lines the joints. It causes chronic inflammation that leads to pain, swelling and stiffness.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterised by pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. While little is known as to its causes, there is evidence that people with the condition may be more sensitive to pain as there seems to be something wrong with the body’s usual pain perception processes.

Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when there is a buildup of too much uric acid in the body. This acid causes crystals to form in the joints, which results in the joints becoming inflamed and painful.

Osteoarthritis is by far the most common form of arthritis. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Joint pain, which is often deep, aching pain that worsens with movements and improves when rested.
  • Stiffness in the morning or after sitting or lying down for more than 15 minutes.
  • Joint swelling.
  • Joints are warm to the touch.
  • Limited range of movement.
  • Growth of bony knobs near the joints.

What are the main causes of Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is associated with aging, metabolic conditions, genetics, chemicals and mechanical factors in the body. It has a number of risk factors that should be taken into account:

  • Being older than 54
  • If Osteoarthritis runs in the family
  • Being overweight
  • If you have suffered an injury to a joint
  • History of inflammatory joint disease
  • Repetitive stress joint use
  • The deposits of uric acid crystals in the joints
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Lyme disease – a bacteria carried by certain ticks.

Some individuals are naturally more prone to arthritis as a direct result of their genetic makeup. If this is the case they will be more vulnerable when faced with other external factors including injury, infection, smoking as well as physically demanding occupations or sport. Diet may also play a part in arthritis as some foods have inflammatory effects which may intensify the condition. However, diet alone is very unlikely to be the cause of arthritis.

Treatments used for Osteoarthritis:

While researchers are working on ways to re-grow cartilage, the current goal of healthcare professionals is to treat Osteoarthritis by relieving symptoms and improving mobility and flexibility of the joint, maintaining a healthy weight and getting adequate exercise. It has been found that a combination of conventional treatments, complementary alternative medicines and lifestyle changes are the most affective.

  • Pain, Anti-inflammatory and Cortisone medications. These are used to relieve pain symptoms.
  • Complementary, Alternative Supplements & Herbs.
  • Glucosamine/Chondroitin is used to reduce pain and inflammation, improves joint function and slows the progression of Osteoarthritis (OA).
  • Omega – 3 fatty acids help decrease inflammation in the joints. Please note that high doses of Omega-3 increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you are taking blood thinners.
  • SAM-e-acts as an analgesic (pain reliever) and has anti-inflammatory properties. It may stimulate cartilage growth and also affects neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which reduce pain perception. Two studies have shown that it relieves OA symptoms as effectively as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with fewer side effects and a prolonged benefit.
  • Devil’s Claw is used to relieve pain and inflammation and may help lower uric acid levels in people with gout. It has been known to affect blood pressure and heart rate, so people with heart conditions should seek advice from their medical practitioner.
  • Curcumin can be used for its ability to reduce pain and inflammation in the body.

As with all medications and supplements, you should consult your medical practitioner, pharmacist or nutritionist to establish what may be best suited for your condition.

Lifestyle changes may also improve the symptoms of Osteoarthritis:

Maintaining a healthy weight will make a difference as carrying extra kilos impact negatively on joints, especially the knee and hip joints. Losing weight is the most positive thing that patients can do to reduce arthritic pain. As the kilos fall off, patients will automatically have far less stress on the joints and this will lower the general workload on the joints.

Another change is stepping up your fibre intake on a daily basis. Add fresh fruit and vegetables as well as whole grains to your diet, reduce the intake of carbs and incorrect fats and you will soon see a positive change.

Start exercising. Although it may be hard to exercise when you are in pain, regular exercise helps improve the symptoms of Osteoarthritis. The reason for this is that it allows for the strengthening of muscles which in turn allow for better support of your joints. Stretching also assists in overall movement. Regular low impact and supervised exercise is a necessary part of your arthritis management.

Other treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic and physiotherapy have all been shown to help in the pain management of Osteoarthritis.


Candida has become a buzz word, but what is it all about?

Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. There are over 20 species of Candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is Candida Albicans. Candida yeast normally lives on the skin and mucous membranes without causing infection. However, overgrowth of these organisms can cause symptoms to develop, depending on the area of the body that is infected.

When the immune system becomes compromised through – for instance – the use of antibiotics, stress, hormonal changes, unbalanced diet, over exercising or lack of sleep, it can lead to an uncontrolled overgrowth of Candida which can migrate to other parts of the body. In the digestive tract, when left unchecked, it can break down the walls of the intestinal lining and penetrate the bloodstream. This releases by-product toxins and other toxins from your system, causing a leaky gut.

Candida feeds on sugars – the more sugar available to the cells, the easier and faster they grow and expand their colonies. In diets containing too many sugars and refined carbohydrates, Candida will start to grow out of control, creating a problem in the system.

Probable symptoms of Candida include exhaustion, cravings for sweet foods, halitosis, a white coating on the tongue, foggy brain, hormone imbalance, joint pain, low libido, allergies, digestive issues such as excessive gas and bloating, weakened immune system, urinary tract infections and new sensitivities, allergies and intolerance to a number of food groups such as gluten, eggs, corn and dairy products.


  • ANTIBIOTICS: Problems arise when antibiotics kill off both the good and bad bacteria in one’s body. The good bacteria in your system are important for digestion and to keep things like Candida under control, so once they are reduced or killed off with antibiotics, this allows for overgrowth.
  • CANCER TREATMENT: Candidiasis (thrush) can become invasive in cancer patients, which often is very visible by the white appearance of the tongue and mucus membranes inside the mouth. Chemo and radiation both work to kill cancerous cells and tumours, but they also kill off healthy gut bacteria which naturally keep Candida in check.
  • ORAL CORTICOSTEROIDS: Asthma sufferers using corticosteroid inhalants are at risk of developing Candidiasis (thrush) of the mouth, which in turn could lead to systemic Candida overgrowth. That is why it is so important to rinse the mouth after each use. For those that succumb to Candidiasis, gargling and rinsing the mouth with coconut oil and a couple of drops of clove oil should help the problem.
  • DIABETES: Sugar levels are higher in those suffering from Type 1 and 2 Diabetes. Because Candida feeds on sugar, it is quite common for diabetics to be at a greater risk of developing Candidiasis.
  • COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEM: Those individuals that have weakened immune systems are obviously more prone than others to developing Candidiasis. This group will include infants, small children, the elderly, as well as those suffering from HIV/Aids and other autoimmune conditions.


The secret is restoring your balance and healing your gut, by eliminating inflammatory foods that can harm your intestinal tract and introducing foods that will assist to prevent Candida overgrowth. It is advisable to follow a diet that is low in refined carbohydrates and excludes sugars as far as possible, whilst including plenty of fresh organic greens.

Good, healthy bacteria and a proper functioning immune system are essential for fighting off Candida Albicans. Full-spectrum probiotics will restore the balance of the good bacteria in the gut. These are especially important and should be taken when taking antibiotics to prevent yeast infections.

The essential oil of oregano may be used in two ways for treating Candidiasis, either by applying it topically to the affected skin area or by taking it orally. The potent substances contained in this essential oil can be irritating to the skin if applied directly, especially to the genitals and other sensitive areas. Mix two to three drops of oregano oil with one tablespoon of olive oil before applying it to the skin. If your skin still reacts uncomfortably with this mixture, add some more olive oil to the mix. Oregano capsules or tincture can also be taken twice daily to facilitate healing and should be continued until the Candida infection is gone.