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Weightloss with low-carb high fibre diet


Low-carb and high-fibre diets -two powerful approaches

Unlocking the Potential: Low-Carb and High-Fibre Diets

Welcome to our blog, where we delve into the world of low-carb and high-fibre diets—two powerful approaches that extend beyond weight loss and encompass overall well-being. In this space, we aim to provide you with insights into the benefits of adopting a low-carb/high-fibre lifestyle, exploring how it can positively impact your health.

Navigating Low-Carb Eating:



The Dynamics of Low-Carb Diet for Weight Loss:

Many embark on low-carb diets with the primary goal of weight loss, reshaping their eating habits while savouring a variety of foods conducive to this dietary philosophy. It's important to note that we don't advocate for a 'no-carb' approach. Certain carbohydrates offer essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre integral to a balanced and healthy diet.

Carb Choices:

Our blog sheds light on the nuanced world of carbohydrates, guiding you in making informed choices. For instance, a medium-sized slice of bread is equivalent to the carbs in a regular apple, while a large jacket potato or a litre of orange juice could contain significantly more. Choosing 'better' carbs, such as brown rice and sweet potatoes, can be pivotal.


Burning Stored Fat: Ever wondered how a low-carb diet aids in weight loss? It directs the body to burn stored fat for energy, prompting weight reduction.

Fibre's Role: Additionally, we explore the role of fibre, categorized into soluble and insoluble, in contributing to weight loss. Soluble fibre, in particular, interacts with gut bacteria, curbing appetite, and influencing metabolism.

Fibre's Impact on Overall Health:

Digestive Benefits: Dive deeper into our blog to unravel the relationship between fibre and weight loss. Discover how adequate fibre intake not only aids digestion but also reduces the risk of chronic diseases.

Colon Health: As you explore the content, you'll find that dietary fibre, a non-digestible carbohydrate, plays a crucial role in nourishing your colon and fostering gut health.

Beyond Weight Loss: Holistic Well-Being

Cardiovascular Connection: Moreover, our blog underscores the connection between a high-fibre diet and cholesterol reduction, contributing to improved cardiovascular health.

The benefits extend beyond weight loss, encompassing anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and neuroprotective activities.

A Tailored Approach:

Consultation with Professionals: While we advocate for a low-carb and high-fibre approach, we emphasize that this dietary strategy may not suit everyone. It's essential to consult with your healthcare professional or GP to determine the dietary practices that align with your health conditions.

Embrace the Journey: We invite you to explore the richness of our content, bookmark our site for future updates, and embrace the journey to holistic well-being.

To put this into context, a medium-sized slice of bread is about 15 to 20g of carbs, which is about the same as a regular apple. On the other hand, a large jacket potato could have as much as 90g of carbs, as does one litre of orange juice (most of the carbs in orange juice are provided in the form of sugar). Sometimes the important thing is to choose the ‘better’ carb such as brown rice instead white and sweet potato instead of normal potatoes or having a glass of water instead of orange juice.

Unveiling the Weight Loss Power of Fibre

Understanding Fibre Types: Delve into how fibre contributes to weight loss by exploring its two broad categories: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and acts as a prebiotic, metabolized by the "good" bacteria in the gut. In contrast, insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water, functioning mainly as a natural bulking agent in stool formation.

Fermentable vs. Non-Fermentable: Consider a more nuanced classification of fibre—fermentable versus non-fermentable—a distinction based on whether friendly gut bacteria can utilize it. This differentiation sheds light on the diverse impacts of fibre on health and metabolism, directly influencing weight.

Calorie Intake Reduction: Explore studies indicating that increasing dietary fibre can lead to weight loss by reducing calorie intake. Learn how fibre, by absorbing water in the intestine, slows nutrient absorption and induces feelings of fullness. Uncover the varied effects of different fibre types on weight, recognizing that not all types have equal impacts.

Gut Microbiota's Role: Discover the role of adequate fibre intake in promoting digestion and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Understand how these benefits are mediated by the gut microbiota, the millions of bacteria residing in your digestive system. Grasp the concept that dietary fibre, a non-digestible carbohydrate, forms a crucial part of your diet.

Fibre's Impact Beyond Weight Loss

Cholesterol Reduction: Learn how a high-fibre diet contributes to cholesterol reduction, positively impacting cardiovascular health. Explore the findings of a review of 67 controlled studies, indicating that soluble fibre intake can lead to reductions in total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Feeding Your Gut: Understand that a high-fibre diet not only aids in weight loss but also nourishes your gut bacteria, fostering increased diversity and lower long-term weight gain. Delve into the role of fermentable fibre, which forms short-chain fatty acids, exhibiting anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, anti-obesity, liver, and neuroprotective activities.

Appetite Reduction and Blood Sugar Control: Explore the potential of viscous, soluble fibre to reduce appetite, lower cholesterol levels, and control blood sugar levels after high-carb meals. Recognize the multifaceted benefits of incorporating a variety of fibre types from whole fruits, vegetables, and grains into your diet.

Crafting a Healthier Lifestyle

Holistic Approach: If you're aiming for a healthy lifestyle encompassing weight loss, embrace the advice to incorporate a variety of fibre types into your diet. Recognize the significance of whole fruits, vegetables, and grains in providing diverse fibre options.

As you journey towards a healthier you, this exploration into the weight loss dynamics of fibre offers valuable insights into the multifaceted benefits of incorporating different fibre types into your daily nutrition.


Herbalist Clinic uses
low-carb and high-fibre dietary approaches
as part of its treatment plans.

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Right now you might not feel stressed at all, but there are a few tell-tale signs,
which draws attention that your body is not dealing with things as well as it normally does.

Are you experiencing more headaches, muscle pain heartburn (stress increases the production of stomach acid), increased insomnia, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, stomach, or lower gastric pain, lowered sex drive, erectile dysfunction, or missed period? You could be experiencing the effects of constant stress.

The very existence of pressure in our lives, minds and bodies, have the power to generate more stress.

Contrary to a common idea, stress is not always bad, to some extent we need it in our lives– otherwise might not get anything done. We (humans) have evolved to experience this physical reaction to tackle unexpected challenges head-on. A surge of stress enabled us to flee from danger when we were hunter-gatherers. Our bodies have been designed to deal with stress in short, bite-sized bursts.  There rises a problem, as there are not too many physical threats in our modern lives, however, the psychological stress (work deadlines, social pressures, family and financial struggles) can make us unwell.

Even without us perceiving that we feel overwhelmed to live under constant pressure, the more the pressure piles up, the less we can cope with it and as a result. We simply cannot manage our lives successfully. When the levels become too much, we might become overly reactive, emotional, wary, and eventually sick. Stressed people are more likely to fall out with others, binge on bad food and alcohol, and fill up ‘cupboards’ with problems – which have a habit of tumbling down on top of the person when you least expect it.

How much would you like to change the situation?

Dealing with stress is one of The Green Herbalist Clinics' treatments approaches
when helping you to motivate to make changes to reach better health.

Dealing with the underlying challenges normally brings a positive change in your health state.

Stress: what happens in your body

In a stressful situation, the body releases adrenaline and cortisol – hormones that cause both your heart rate and breathing to speed up temporarily. This activates the sympathetic nervous system and primes the body for ‘fight or flight. Being on constant high alert can have some pretty unpleasant effects: it can lead to chest pain, anxiety, rapid heart rate, palpitations, and even increase blood pressure – all of which strain the heart and other organs.

Stress – Health

Stress can have damaging, long-term effects on life – too much of it can contribute to the development of obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, just to name a few. Stress is also a key factor in insomnia, burnout and immune diseases and disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Despite the side-effects of the stress we seem not to worry about it – and carry on ‘burning the candle on both ends, until the body starts breaking down. Anxiety and stress can trigger the autonomic nervous system and releases stress hormones, which then cause physical symptoms.  Stress hormones are normal bodily functions, however, if the body is exposed to continuous stress, problems can start to arise

Here are some of the signs and symptoms you might be experiencing.

  • You have a low mood most of the day
  • you have reduced interest in most of the activities most of the day nearly every day
  • Your appetite might have decreased or increased from normal
  • You suffer either from insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much).
  • You feel fatigued and or have a loss of energy
  • You might find that your self-confidence is affected – you might want to remember all the good things you have achieved.

What would you say if I said that you can change all of that?
Here are some approaches that have proved to be useful

Taking a problem-focused approach. Research has shown that people who are constantly in high-stress situations focus on problem-solving strategy
– try to identify the source of stress and then eliminate it safely – within the reason.

Don’t overthink it. While you might want to plan for emergencies, worrying about every possible outcome of an action or endlessly assessing your options can lead to unhealthy thinking patterns. Why not just list the pros and cons of your choices?

Avoid an emotion-focused approach, unless necessary.  It can be useful to try to focus on controlling negative emotions. How often are you overwhelmed by emotion and making ‘bad’ decisions in a stressful situation? It is useful to try to build up the ability to look at the situation from a different point of view as well as yourself and learn to know the difference between an emotional response and an informed one.

Try to shift your perspective in a stressful matter:
This is something you have full control over —
whether it’s through breathing techniques, running, or journaling.
As well as different techniques, apps like Headspace app  or similar can help you to manage the moments of being overwhelmed daily.

Getting high-quality sleep.  ‘Restorative, quality sleep’ typically means getting to sleep quickly and staying asleep and feeling rested upon awakening. Your body’s ability to heal increases during sleep. During dream time the mind often deals with the ‘stresses’ of the day, allows you to recall the important things and discards the unnecessary things of your thought process. If your unconscious mind feels ‘stressed or unsafe’ you are less likely to sleep well.

Do gentle exercise. Plan exercise to your daily routine, even if you are very busy – for example, 15-minute workout or 30-minute brisk walk is sufficient. Walk part of the work journey. Start a new routine such as yoga, outside swimming, and forest bathing. Increasing physical activity releases brain chemicals that improve mood called endorphins. Exercise is a great way to improve your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Try forest bathing and allow the phytochemicals of the plants and trees to ease the stress you are experiencing.

Postural stress. is an aspect of stress, you might not have focused on. Postural stress can become more apparent if you have conducted all our meetings via Zoom one day. The stress tends to manifest in the shoulders and neck, causing pain and stiffness. Stretching can improve circulation, gives relaxation time and is also brilliant for ironing out any muscular knots. Alternatively if enjoy having a bath, good old-fashioned Epsom salts (high in magnesium) and some essential oils (lavender, geranium, marjoram, ginger and rosemary) can give stress releasing effect.

Me-time. Part of self-care is to organise and allow time for yourself.  It is a good idea to have a  look at what your normal day looks like. Then assess which things cause you unnecessary stress and simply reorganise routines to allow yourself some stress-free time. Often the emotional, mental and physical well-being is overlooked.  So allow yourself that session in a spa, watching your favourite team play, workout session or walk in nature with a friend. Allowing ‘me-time’ is a gentle way of stress release can help with pain relief, enhanced mobility, reduction of symptoms in skin conditions, as well as improved psychological wellbeing.

A balanced diet, assessing your work-life balance and good sleep is the foundation of a healthy body and healthy mind.

Stress management can be a powerful tool for wellness, especially if you maintain a healthy diet, you are more likely to live a stress-free life. Healthy food choices can strengthen your immune system, provides you with more energy and is excellent stressbuster. It is quite an effortless task to talk to your herbalist and organise small dietary changes to build up better gut health and immunity, stronger body and bones – not to mention the benefit on your mood. The body always aims to get well, we are just giving it tools to work with. Comfort foods, like a bowl of warm oatmeal, boost levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical. Other foods can cut levels of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that take a toll on the body over time – these can include dark chocolate, bananas, pears, pre and probiotics – such as kimchi, kombucha, slippery elm and Gum Arabic, natural yogurt and kefir.

Herbal remedies

Herbal Remedies

This blog has addressed some of the possible causes, reducing strategies and nutritional approaches to counteract the effects of stress. Herbal medicine is widely used as a relief for stress-related issues.

As a qualified professional herbalist, my aim apart from above mentioned is to provide patients with an integrated and holistic approach to health and wellbeing with the help of herbs and supplements to anxiety and stress

Dietary/herbal remedy mushrooms such as Reishi, Lions mane and Cordyceps (just to name a few) are used to improve emotional balance, to modify the body’s ability to resist stress.

Herbal tea: At times, it is not the drink itself but the feeling that is attached to the beverage that makes you feel comfortable.

There’s nothing a warm cup of tea can’t fix? It simply makes you feel calm and soothes the Vagus nerve (cranial nerve IX and affects the whole of your body).

That soothing effect of sipping a cup tea of with infused herbs - brings a satisfying sense of joy and peace.

Nutritional supplementation
Dietary vitamins from a good varied healthy diet is imperative for good health, brain health, and normal cognitive function. Vitamins and micronutrients play a significant role in maintaining homeostasis whilst the body is exposed to stress.

Let food be your medicine – before starting supplementation, improving your diet can have an important effect on your health
– a qualified medical herbalist can help you

Vitamins and nutrients beneficial to combat stress

Vitamin B - Research has provided some preliminary support that vitamin B supplementation might be able to reduce levels of anxiety and stress, improving psychological well-being. Good food sources of vitamin B:   legumes, leafy greens, seeds and fortified foods, such as breakfast cereal and nutritional yeast, poultry dairy, eggs, meat, fish and shellfish.

Vitamin C – According to some studies good levels of vitamin C can reduce levels of stress hormones while strengthening the immune system. One study of people with high blood pressure and elevated levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) returned to normal more rapidly with vitamin C supplementation. Good sources of vitamin C:  Citrus fruits are rich sources of Vitamin C, as are broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, green and red chilis, strawberries, and kiwi.

Magnesium - Low levels of magnesium may trigger headaches and fatigue, intensifying the effects of stress. One cup of spinach, leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, salmon, apples, carrots, and bananas – just to name a few, helps you stock back up on magnesium.  Some of these foods are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids as well.
some oils include flaxseed and linseed, nuts - especially walnut, pecan and hazelnuts, soya, pumpkin, krill and algal oil.

Omega-3 fatty acids - Another dietary way to keep stress in check is to add naturally fatty fish to your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon, herring, pilchards, sardines, mackerel and tuna, can prevent surges in stress hormones and may help protect against heart disease, depression, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). For a healthy supply of feel-good omega-3s, aim to eat at least 3.5 ounces of fatty fish at least twice a week.  Purchase the seafood from licensed sources. This will ensure the seafood has been sourced, stored and inspected properly before it gets to the consumers. It is important to remember that the presence of toxic heavy metals in fish can invalidate their beneficial effects. Some heavy metals and their related chemical compounds dissolve easily in water, while others exist in particulate form. Hence, low amounts are present in water, soil and the seabed. At the clinic, we are also mindful of the sustainability of the fish. A good guide can be found here

Other sources of omega 3s are soy, specifically walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts, however, all nuts are good sources of healthy fats and may help lower the cholesterol, help with the inflammation levels of your body; soya.

Potassium - Potassium may benefit stress levels by helping to regulate your blood pressure, amongst other things. Foods that are rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure (because potassium lessens the effects of sodium). The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine – thus important not to overconsume at the same time.  Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.
Foods high in potassium: apricots and apricot juice, avocados, low-fat milk, greens, halibut, some beans, molasses, mushrooms peas, prunes, raisins and dates as well as spinach.

Zinc – Research resources suggest that improved levels of zinc, possibly associated with concurrent oxidative stress, may cause lower levels of stress hormones and may help improve stress and anxiety symptoms. Zinc plays a part in modulating the brain and the body’s response to stress.

Food: Zinc is an essential mineral that may be lacking in modern processed and strict vegetarian diets, as major sources are meat, poultry, and oysters; dairy and eggs.
While beans and grains also contain zinc depending on the soils in which they are grown, phytates in grains, legumes, and nuts can interfere with its absorption.  Good vegetable sources of zinc include shiitake mushrooms, green peas, spinach, lima beans, lentil sprouts, asparagus, beet greens, broccoli, okra, and sweetcorn.

As a part of the treatment plan The Green Herbalist Clinic looks into your lifestyle, diet, and exercise levels; advises you on nutrition.
The clinic prescribes herbal remedies to be used alongside orthodox medicine, supplementation and other treatments.


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Cold hands and feet?

How to get warm from the inside out? Try adding ginger to your diet!
Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc) is commonly used for nausea, digestive issues, cramping and bloating. It is also known to reduce the effects of colds, flu and coughs as well as fatigue.
However, this morning the effect that I was after was to warm up my fingers and toes during the early dog walk.
Ingested ginger gives you a warm glow in your stomach area and the warmth soon spread to the rest of the body including your hands and toes.
My preferred form is having ginger shots first thing in the morning after breakfast.
I simply liquidize an apple and 2.5cm (1in.) piece of ginger. I rinse the ginger and apple but do not take the skin off, as a lot of the nutrients are in the skin.
At times I cheat a little bit and use cloudy apple juice and a piece of shredded ginger. If you have circulatory issues, come and see a qualified medical herbalist (BSc Hons) and we can discuss how to improve the complaint.
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Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, and hormones, however high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Sometimes, those deposits can break suddenly and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can help reduce high cholesterol.

Berries are an integral part of the human diet, both as fresh and frozen berries which may act as useful food. They also have a pleasant taste and little calorific content. In addition, berries and have high concentrations of phenolic compounds: flavonoids such as anthocyanins and non-flavonoids such as stilbenes and phenolic acids, which can decrease cardiovascular risk. As berries are very often consumed raw, these compounds are not deactivated by cooking. 

Berries, such as blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, bilberries or blueberries, cranberries, lingonberries, and strawberries have been shown to decrease LDL oxidation (and therefore reduce LDL build-up) and increase HDL-cholesterol following the dietary intervention 

Anthocyanins cause the blue, purple and red colour of many fruits, including berries and are found at the highest concentrations in the skins of berries. 

Studies show that antioxidants might block or slow the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries of people who are at higher risk of heart disease.

In addition, specific berries, such as bilberry and black currant extracts, cranberry extracts, and freeze-dried strawberries were shown to have favourable effects on plasma glucose or lipid profiles in people with risk factors including type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia or metabolic syndrome.

As always you should, with any herbal or dietary supplement, talk to your doctor if you use concentrated fruit extracts regularly as a supplement. 

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Dyslipidaemia: is an abnormal amount of lipids (e.g. triglycerides, cholesterol and/or fat phospholipids) in the blood. In developed countries, most dyslipidaemias are hyperlipidaemias; that is, an elevation of lipids in the blood. This is often due to diet and lifestyle. 

Smoothie recipe

· Organic non-flavoured kefir / yogurt 

· Avocado

· Fresh or frozen raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or blackcurrants

· Walnuts / almonds / hazelnuts

· Tablespoon of oats

· 1cm piece of ginger

· 0.5-1cm piece of chilli

Use a smoothie maker to make a lovely refreshing drink. 


Basu, A., Rhone, M. and Lyons, T. (2010). Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Nutrition Reviews, 68 (3), 168-177. Available from 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00273.x

Duthie, S., Jenkinson, A., Crozier, A., Mullen, W., Pirie, L., Kyle, J., Yap, L., Christen, P. and Duthie, G. (2005). The effects of cranberry juice consumption on antioxidant status and biomarkers relating to heart disease and cancer in healthy human volunteers. European Journal of Nutrition, 45 (2), 113-122. Available from 10.1007/s00394-005-0572-9.

Lee, S., Vance, T., Nam, T., Kim, D., Koo, S. and Chun, O. (2015). Contribution of Anthocyanin Composition to Total Antioxidant Capacity of Berries. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 70 (4), 427-432. Available from 10.1007/s11130-015-0514-5

MAYOCLINIC (2019). High cholesterol - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Available from

Olas, B. (2018). Berry Phenolic Antioxidants – Implications for Human Health?. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9. Available from 10.3389/fphar.2018.00078!po=11.5385.

Tulipani, S., Armeni, T., Giampieri, F., Alvarez-Suarez, J., Gonzalez-Paramás, A., Santos-Buelga, C., Busco, F., Principato, G., Bompadre, S., Quiles, J., Mezzetti, B. and Battino, M. (2014). Strawberry intake increases blood fluid, erythrocyte and mononuclear cell defenses against oxidative challenge. Food Chemistry, 156, 87-93. Available from 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.01.098.

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This is a time of year for various ‘seasonal bugs’.
You might have already had a sore throat, blocked-up nose, relentless cough and aches and pains.
The following information might prove helpful in controlling the dreaded ‘lurgy’
– as always, prevention is as important as well as managing the symptoms.

Herbal remedies work remarkably well for winter ailments and you might want to plan a visit to a local medical herbalist ( for health review and remedies.
The Clinic offers a 15 minutes initial free consultation to see if herbal medicine can help you.

Food is medicine!!

The flu can cause nausea, and rich foods may not be appealing. Bland foods, such as toast or brown rice, chicken soup or vegetable-based meals may be easier to eat. Not only are they easier to digest by an already stressed digestive tract but the meals can ensure that your body gets enough vitamins and minerals to repair and keep the body in optimum health.

Stay well hydrated: hot drinks are especially good as the steam can help loosen mucus -such as herbal teas. The ginger in this soothing drink may reduce nausea and lemon

 is a good source of vitamin C alongside having antibacterial components.


Live bacteria from non-flavoured (fermented) yoghurt can help with combatting cold and flu viruses. It is also a good source of protein – the repair material of the body.

Beta Glucans (whole grains, oats, bran, wheat, and barley): extraordinarily effective immune protectors of the body.
They are also found in fungi such as reishi, shitake and maitake mushrooms.

Eat lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system thus lowering the risk of getting unwell. To maximise the nutrients – especially antioxidants - eat an as wide range of colours of foods such as - red tomatoes and peppers, green leafy vegetables, dark blueberries, beetroot, grapes, aubergines and plums, yellow peaches and nectarines and so on.

Leafy greens contain a good amount of fibre and are excellent sources of Vitamin C, iron and folic acid are important to support the immune system and have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Boost your vitamin C with lots of vegetables and fruit. Pineapple, apple, berries, citrus fruit, mango and kiwi fruit, are all high in vitamin C.

Boost your zinc. It’s a nutrient you want to keep within optimal range at this time of year. You’ll find high levels of zinc in meat, eggs and poultry, seafood, dairy products, chickpeas & lentils, Brazil nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds. 

Boost your vitamin A, which is found in the diet in two forms: beta-carotene (found in red, yellow and orange plant foods) and retinol, or ‘active vitamin A’ (found in high-fat animal foods such as eggs, butter, liver and full-fat dairy products). 

Vitamin D: A large 2017 study published in the British Medical Journal found vitamin D to be effective for preventing colds and flu. Vitamin D is critical for immune health; unlike most essential nutrients, however, you can’t rely on food to replenish your stores. The main source of vitamin D is not food, but sunshine; your bare skin produces vitamin D when it comes into contact with the sun’s UV rays. 

Zinc: A severe deficiency of zinc is known to suppress immune function, and even mild to moderate deficiency can have a negative impact on the immune system’s ability to deal with the infection. Multiple studies have shown that low levels of zinc are associated with an increased risk of infections such as pneumonia in elderly adults and children in developing countries.

Increase your intake of Garlic – it has antiviral properties which may help reduce the number of colds you get. You can add garlic to soups, casseroles, stir-fries and pasta sauces as well as make your own whole-grain garlic bread. If you prefer not to eat garlic in your cuisine then, you can take garlic in the form of supplements. 

Things to avoid To facilitate the greatest way of getting better is to remember not to get overtired – thus remembering to get some rest / sleep. With festive stresses upon us - it is good to remember that the emotional stress is also taxing on the already stretched immune system.

Stress & sugar feed bad bacteria. Hormones secreted during the stress response and sugary drinks and snacks promote the growth of ‘bad’ bacteria, which are more likely to cause disease than promote health. Stress raises cortisol which over time can increase inflammation. Stress also decreases white blood cells (the body’s and immune system defence mechanism) making you further susceptible to infections.

Heavy meals - your body is at present under a lot of strain because of the illness and digestion is likely to not work at its optimum level to process foods. Dairy products, especially milk, can often increase mucus production in some people and make the phlegm thicker and more irritating. There are plenty of substitutes such as soya, oat and almond milk.

Here are some recipes that might be useful in managing winter illnesses

Recipe for chicken broth / immune system boost and vital for recuperation: 

 2 litre of water 1 large onion 2 peeled carrots 3 celery sticks 4 garlic cloves 1 cooked organic chicken carcass 2 handfuls of fresh young nettle leaves a handful of fresh thyme 4 bay leafs

Roughly chop ingredients and put them in a large saucepan with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cover – simmer gently for 3 hours – checking the water content. Once cooled, sieve the solid materials and serve in a mug. Broth keeps a month in a sealed container in a fridge

Cold hands and feet, chilblains (painful itchy blisters)

 Internal use: Tea: Yarrow, Elderberry / Elderflower, Hawthorn, Ginger, Chilli, Cinnamon and Rosemary in a 1 litre of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes.

External use: a soothing balm – use base of Marigold / Calendula oil – infused with Yarrow, Comfrey, Chilli, Ginger, Clove, Juniper and Rosemary. Your friendly herbalist (such as myself) can prescribe you herbal medicine in the form of tinctures, teas, capsules, syrups, oxymels, salves, ointments and 

It is important to keep the hands and feet warm during the winter months. My lovely mum has knitted socks and gloves for all the family to keep us nice and warm during winter.

Cold and flu tea 1tsp of each: Elderflower, peppermint, yarrow. Steep in hot water for 15 minutes and drink.

Coughs and colds – herbal syrup ( prepared by your herbalist) Thyme and liquorice syrup, marshmallow, echinacea, lobelia, elderberry, elecampane and wild cherry bark.

Sore throat gargle Make a tea of sage (normal garden sage is excellent), steep it for 15 minutes and then add lemon and ginger. Gargle with the cool mixture up to 3 times a day and keep in a fridge in a covered container for up to 3 days. 

Relaxing Herbal Bath 

150g Epsom salts 20g of fresh / dried Linden blossom (Tilia europea) 5 drops (gtt) of lavender oil 5 drops (gtt) of rose essential oil Pour oils and linden blossom into a blender and pulverise - add the mix in a muslin cloth and tie it in the hot tap and enjoy the bath (minimum of 15-20 min) allowing the salts to diffuse to the bathwater. Bliss!!!


Below you can see how to make a herbal bath bag

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