Substances that keep provide waterproof structure to cells and skin, keeping them supple and young. They also provide energy for the brain and heart and satisfy appetite to help prevent sugar cravings. Many forms in balance including omega oils, monounsaturated and saturated fats are crucial for human health.
Also referred to as ‘fight, flight or freeze’, this is our immediate response to any stress – physical, emotional or social – played out as a primal physical whole body reaction where the body is prepared for action to run away from or stand and fight the danger.
Our muscles have a tendency to contract and tighten because of age, repetitive movement patterns, tension and sedentary lifestyles. To redress this, we need to take regular time to work on our muscle flexibility by stretching the muscles. This ensures we can maintain our range or movements, keep our muscles strong yet supple and ward off the niggling aches and pains we associate with age. Examples of flexibility training include yoga, dance stretching and Pilates.
Unstable molecules from pollution, toxins, sunlight, stress and electrical activity that if not quenched by antioxidants from food, can cause inflammation and quicken the ageing process by damaging cells.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)
Our brains’ ‘natural braking system’, this neurotransmitter helps us calm down, relax and switch off to go to sleep. It is disturbed by stress and low levels are associated with anxiety and addictions. It has shown to be raised by yoga and meditation practices. The nutrients magnesium, taurine and L-Theanine have shown to support its production.
Forms of positive stress that strengthen the body and mind’s defences. They are within our control (or seem to be), they have a beginning and end in sight and they’re followed by a period of recuperation. Examples of good stress include all forms of exercise, stretching, allowing your body to get used to cold, getting out into nature and intellectual challenges and problem-solving where you feel a sense of control over the situation.
Glycaemic index/ GI
A comparative measure of the speed at which plant foods break down their carbohydrates into sugars and release into the bloodstream; lower, slower values are best for regulated blood sugar levels, minimised fat storage and disease prevention.
A lectin found mostly in wheat, but also in spelt, kamut, rye and barley and used in many processed foods and additives (such as dextrin and malt). Commonly causes intolerance digestive and immune reactions as inherently difficult for humans to digest and may damage the gut lining.
Also known as cereals, these are wheat, rye, oats, barley flour, bran, quinoa, rice, corn, maize, all flours and ‘milks’ from these. They are seed pods from grasses that have only been grown to eat since we became farmer 10,000 years ago. They are excluded in hunter-gatherer diets and believed to be a component of the inflammation and blood sugar imbalance-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity so common in modern societies.
Dietary system and principles based on the diet stone-age/ Paleolithic era humans were eating, before 10,000 years ago when we moved into farming cultures and grains, beans, potatoes and dairy became regular dietary features. Believed to be the diet most suited to our biochemistry as the one we evolved with. Researched and popularised by Loren Cordain PhD in The Paleo Diet.
Mineral found in seaweeds and fish that supports thyroid function and shown to be low across the globe and a root cause of many growth and developmental disorders.
See Spontaneous activity
The correct immune balance that is signalled from a healthy gut wall and creates the appropriate response to a challenge by the body; both with a strong ability to fight invaders like bacteria and viruses, but also not be oversensitive and see chronic inflammation and intolerances. Immune modulation is upset by stress and poor regulation can express in symptoms like skin issues, asthma, heart disease and auto-immune disorders.
The body system responsible for protecting us against ageing invaders like bacteria and viruses, both through the chemicals we produce and those in the foods we eat. Barriers like skin, lungs and the digestive tract and its probiotic bacteria are important first defences. Inflammation is an immune mechanism designed to protect us from damage, but can become overworked from continual stress and is now known to be at the root of chronic and degenerative disease.
The part of the brain that makes decisions based on immediate want and gratification, not long-term rational thought and true need.
The body’s natural immune reaction to stress, bacterial and viral invasion and and illness that causes soreness, redness and irritation inside and out of the body. It is part of our stress response to prevent bleeding from potential injury in the ‘fight-or-flight- response and can lead to disease states when chronic or long-term.
Fibre or ‘roughage’, from the indigestible cellulose parts of the plant foods that we eat. It does not get digested, but removes toxins and bulks stools to help digestion and detoxification. In higher levels than soluble fibre in the modern diet through sources like grains and beans, which may be associated with digestive and inflammatory issues.
The hormone produced by the pancreas which moves sugars from the plant foods we eat, from the bloodstream into cells to be used for energy. Higher sugar, refined carbohydrates, grains, beans and potatoes may cause over-production, which can lead to tendencies to store fat rather than burn it off for energy creation.
Immune system IgG antibody reactions that provoke inflammation and can be triggered by foods or environmental factors; slower than allergic reactions (IgE antibodies) and can be moderated by avoidance of the food and gut healing. These may be associated with chronic stress when it affects digestion, levels of beneficial (probiotic) bacteria and integrity of the gut wall. Intolerance testing commonly shows wheat, dairy, egg and other grains as issues.
Mineral needed for energy production via healthy red blood cells, often low in a vegetarian diet. Haem (heme) sources from animal foods like meat and eggs is easier to absorb and utilise than non-haem (non-heme) plant sources.
Sugar-binding proteins (like gluten) found in whole grains, beans, dairy and potatoes as well as nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, aubergine) and peanuts. They have shown to cause inflammation and may upset digestion, immune health and appetite regulation. Also high in nuts and coconut but we are believed to tolerate these as part of our original hunter-gatherer/ paleo diet.
A hormone which sends a ‘stop eating’ signal to the brain; low levels of which are associated with stress and high lectin intake, causing poor appetite satisfaction. Leptin resistance and therefore over-eating patterns, have shown to be associated by lectin intake.
As with strength training but may be performed with dumbbells of different weights, resistance bands which are elasticized bands that also use your own body weight and other ‘props’ such as Swiss, medicine or Pilates balls. The idea is the same with all; make the muscle work by pushing, pulling and lifting so that it becomes stronger and consumes more energy after the training as the body recovers. Along with flexibility training and cardiovascular exercise (this works your lungs and heart and includes walking, jogging, swimming), strength training is the third important element of a balanced fitness lifestyle.
An amino acid needed for energy, brain function and metabolism. Used in the body to make both stress and thyroid hormones, as well as the mood and motivation neurotransmitter dopamine.