Addressing Bronchitis Naturally

Bronchitis is the inflammation (itis) of the bronchii (bronch) of the lungs. A condition which is never an enjoyable experience and leaves us feeling achy and sometimes cranky! Bronchitis is often the result of a recent cold or flu that despite all of your explosive efforts in coughing and coughing and coughing some more, has not been productive in clearing mucus from the lungs. The pooling of this mucus harbours bacteria which can lead to infection and irritates the bronchi contributing to pain (inflammation) and cough. If left untreated bronchitis can soon become pneumonia, directly affecting the lungs themselves and progressing to irreversible damage of the lungs known as emphysema. That’s right, emphysema doesn’t only affect smokers.

Symptoms to look out for

  • Fever (indicates infection)
  • Chills
  • Back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Dry non-productive cough initially, followed by a productive cough
  • Symptoms may last just 3-5 days in an acute bought of bronchitis or progress into more sinister conditions in chronic cases.

As you can see many of these symptoms are common to several other immune conditions and can be mistaken, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment of bronchitis. If you said YES that’s me to any or several of these symptoms, please, do yourself a favour and get a check-up.

Causes and risk factors

Low immune system

If you are prone to ‘getting sick’. You may be at risk of bronchitis. Each time you contract a cold or flu your body goes into a state of inflammation. This inflammation causes the body’s immune system to work over-time. Regular insult begins to deplete and overwhelm the system, particularly if you are not restoring the body with what it requires to re-build and fight off illnesses.

Poor dietary and lifestyle habits

Not eating sufficient amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibrous carbs, healthy fats and proteins can take its toll on your immune system and the strength your body must hold to overcome inflammation and infection. Nourishment of cells and muscles require a varied diet rich in fruit, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive and coconut oils. My favourite sayings is ‘eat the rainbow’ and you will do well to achieve good nutritional balance.

Viral infections such a cold and flu

These nasty infections, whether it be viral or bacterial really do throw your body into a state of inflammation. It takes all of your internal energy and the nutrients you obtain from your diet to overcome a viral or bacterial infection. It is important to engage in prevention treatments to reduce the likelihood of being engulfed by a cold, flu or virus. Foods rich in Vitamins C, A, D, E and polyphenols are bacterial and viral fighting power houses. They are also effective at reducing the inflammation associated with this conditions and bronchitis itself.

Allergies or irritants

Smoke, dust, paints, chemicals, food intolerances and environmental toxins and irritants can reduce efficiency of the immune system but also directly create inflammation in susceptible bronchii. It is important to avoid any irritants known to cause breathing difficulties, excess mucus production and allergic responses. Wearing protective gear such as masks and gloves are good processes to make habits of to avoid contact with unavoidable materials. Do you work in a nail bar or hair salon? Are you a painter, farmer or chippy? You could be at risk of bronchii irritation. Please please please where your protective gear!

Poor dietary and lifestyle habits

Not eating sufficient amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibrous carbs, healthy fats and proteins can take its toll on your immune system and the strength your body must hold to overcome inflammation and infection. Nourishment of cells and muscles require a varied diet rich in fruit, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive and coconut oils. My favourite sayings is ‘eat the rainbow’ and you will do well to achieve good nutritional balance.

Viral infections such a cold and flu

These nasty infections, whether it be viral or bacterial really do throw your body into a state of inflammation. It takes all of your internal energy and the nutrients you obtain from your diet to overcome a viral or bacterial infection. It is important to engage in prevention treatments to reduce the likelihood of being engulfed by a cold, flu or virus. Foods rich in Vitamins C, A, D, E and polyphenols are bacterial and viral fighting power houses. They are also effective at reducing the inflammation associated with this conditions and bronchitis itself.

Allergies or irritants

Smoke, dust, paints, chemicals, food intolerances and environmental toxins and irritants can reduce efficiency of the immune system but also directly create inflammation in susceptible bronchii. It is important to avoid any irritants known to cause breathing difficulties, excess mucus production and allergic responses. Wearing protective gear such as masks and gloves are good processes to make habits of to avoid contact with unavoidable materials. Do you work in a nail bar or hair salon? Are you a painter, farmer or chippy? You could be at risk of bronchii irritation. Please please please where your protective gear!

Dietary supports

There are some beautifully natural and effective ways of addressing bronchitis and its symptoms. Some may seem soooo basic, but have been tried and tested in nature loving households the world over.

  • Drink 2-3 L of water or herbal teas daily – to flush out the nasties and rehydrate the throat after coughing.
  • Drink bone broth – full of easily absorbed healing nutrients without over burdening the digestive system, leaving your body to focus on healing the bronchii.
  • Eat soups- particularly spicy, protein rich soups with loads of veggies.
  • Enjoy miso soup – a delicious, gentle, nourishing fermented soy broth.
  • Eat ginger or sip on ginger tea – great for reducing inflammation of the bronchii and the entire body.
  • Thyme and liquorice tea – help to breakdown and expel thick mucus and to soothe an irritated throat and mucus membranes.
  • Drink apple cider vinegar – effective antibacterial and promoter of healthy gut bacteria.
  • Avoid dairy products- to reduce mucus production.
  • Cook with garlic, onion, chilli, pepper, aniseed and cinnamon – for their antibiotic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Drink 2-3 L of water or herbal teas daily

What else can be done to reduce bronchitis symptoms?

Vicks and eucalyptus inhalation

My personal faves. There is nothing more relieving than breathing in that delightful menthol and eucalyptus steam. The steam gets deep into the nose to relieve the pressure through the chest and sinuses and release some of the mucus. It is a temporary fix, but it sure feels good! It is particularly good just before bed when we need to breathe easy for the rest and recovery process.

Preparing your inhalation

Boil the jug and pour it into a large bowl of water. Add 1 tsp-1 tbsp Vicks or 1-2 drops of eucalyptus oil to the boiling water and allow to disperse and dissolve completely. Carefully lean over the bowl and place a tea towel over your head to hold the steam in. Breathe deeply and slowly in through the nose, pause for a second, and out through the mouth. If the steam is too hot, allow it to cool slightly or move your head further away from the bowl. DO NOT BURN YOURSELF. Do this for approximately 5-10 minutes taking regular breaks to breathe in fresh air when needed.

Breathing exercises

Another great way to stimulate the removal of mucus from the bronchii. Deep, slow breathing allows for strengthening of the lungs, promotes blood flow through the lungs to nourish them and provide them with energy to expel any congestion. The movement may also stimulate the mucus to travel out of the bronchii and relieve intense coughing.

Anxiety can often create laboured coughing and breathing. Taking time to stop and breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, focusing on the breath can greatly reduce anxiety and therefore coughing. This will reduce irritation of the bronchii. Why not take a yoga class to help you with the training of your breath, you will get fit, flexible and stay relaxed at the same time!

Rest and recovery

An essential part of anyone’s life. It is particularly important to those who are suffering from an illness. Allowing the body to re-build and detox is important and it can do this most efficiently when you are sleeping or at complete rest. Read a book, watch some Netflix, colour-in, draw, sit on the beach, meditate and get a minimum of 6 hours sleep per night (sleep times vary with age).

When you sleep, your body begins rebuilding immune and muscle cells. The brain takes a break from processing information to repair the body and clear waste.

All in all, take care. Get out in nature, eat well, exercise regularly, avoid the nasties and rest up!

Xx Danielle Catherine (Nutritionist)

Are you suffering from sinus issues?

sinus

Sinusitis or inflamed sinuses are often the result of a recent cold, flu or allergy. We regularly see sinus issues increasing in winter and the months surrounding winter as a repercussion of the cold and flu season. I’m here to tell you that you do not need to suffer through and pump your very delicate body with medication after medication. Let’s do this thing with the tools provided to us by nature. But first…

What are the symptoms of Sinusitis?

Symptoms may vary from person to person and some may not release that inflamed sinus are the cause of their grief. Let’s look at the many uncomfortable and life interrupting symptoms that sinus inflammation may cause.

  • Painful headaches predominately behind or above the eyes. You can normally confirm sinus involvement by pushing your fingertips onto the eyebrows and top of the cheekbones. This will produce pain in a sinus infection or congestion.
  • Bending forward and experiencing a feeling of pressure and pain at the front of the head and face
  • Puffiness or swelling under the eyes – no, they are not old age, lack of sleep or dehydration puffy bags but INFLAMMED SINUSES.
  • Nasal congestion – this may be a nose that runs like a tap, mucus you just can’t seem to expel or a blocked sense of smell.
  • Bad breath – all that nasty, yuck bacteria is getting suck in the nasogastric tube and is starting to go rotten!
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue – how tiring is it when you are trying to get rid of a cold or flu let alone constantly having to blow your nose or breathe only through your mouth!
  • Loss of smell and or taste – ever blocked your nose so you don’t have to taste something you some like? If your sinuses are blocked from mucus or inflammation you may find you struggle to taste your food, including yummy food, oh no!
  • Post-nasal drip (sometimes presents as a nuisance mild cough)
  • Eye straining or eye pain often accompanied by headaches.

Causes of sinusitis

  • Deviated septum (a mechanical issue often corrected with surgery)
  • Common head cold
  • Polyps of the nasal passage that blocks drainage
  • Being born with a naturally narrow nasal passage
  • Allergies

Dietary supports

Let’s look at the foods that help us to feel better, reduce inflammation and arm our immune system with the weapons it needs to fight off bacteria and thick mucus.

Garlic and onions

I am a garlic feen!  I will have oodles of garlic on almost everything! I also love the sweet taste of onion. But, they offer much more than potent flavour, they are considered natural antibacterial, mucolytic (breakdown mucus) and anti-inflammatories that improve circulation to the area and improve the functions of the immune system. Onions also contain beneficial levels of the enzyme quercetin, which is known as a natural antihistamine.

Spicy Spices

Horseradish, ginger, chilli, wasabi assist with the reduction of inflammation and fluidity of mucus to allow effective clearance.

And more Spicy

Spicy curries and soups are nutritious and contain spices that reduce swelling and enhance the free movement of mucus.

Be a designated driver

Reduce alcohol, alcohol contributes to inflammation, swelling and lowering of the functionality of the immune system.

Reduce mucus producers

Skip the dairy and sugar until the sinus infection/inflammation clears to reduce mucus production and inflammation.

Allergies and Intolerances

Identify any food sensitivities or allergies that may be contributing to inflammation and mucus production.

Admire the C

Increase vitamin C foods in the diet. Vitamin C acts on the immune system, enhancing its function and reducing histamine production. Foods such as kiwi fruit, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, citrus, broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum.

Dose up on H20

Keep well hydrated with water and herbal teas such as thyme and ginger.

Other sinus supports

  • Good ol’ trusty Vicks inhalation and a hot steamy shower.
  • Avoid or identify environmental allergens – dust, pollen, chemicals, mould.
  • Sinus massage – run your fingers firmly (thumb and pointer) from between the eyes on both sides of the nose, just under the centre of the browns, down the edge of the nose and follow out as the cheek bone begins, all the way out to the outside of the eyes. Repeat 5-10 times.
  • Acupuncture
  • Eucalyptus and peppermint inhalation – 2 drops into a bowl of water and inhale steam deeply through the nose.
  • Allow your body to rest and recover when in active infection.

As always take care. Get out in nature, eat well, exercise regularly, avoid the nasties and rest up!

Xx Danielle Catherine (Nutritionist)

Boost your immune system this winter with these simple tips

Vitamin C

Get your zzzzz’s

Sleep is a time for the body to rest and recover. It is a time for cell and muscle rejuvenation and allows the body to focus on killing off any nasties you may have come across throughout the day. Sleep has also been shown to improve the memory of the immune system to fight off previously met viruses or bacterial invaders. This means that our body has the power it needs to respond promptly to attacks from foreign materials that may be out to make you sick.

If you are struggling to get a peaceful night’s sleep, talk to your nutrition professional about the benefits of magnesium. You may also like to try sipping on a comforting, warming cup of chamomile tea before bed to relax.

Stay active

Physical activity enhances circulation and increases the immune systems ability to find and fight off harmful invaders such as bacteria and virus. Being active also produces sweat through our skin. The skin is one of the major detoxing organs, forcing out unwelcome sicknesses.

Even low intensity exercise plays a role in stimulating healthy circulation and immune responses. Just move as much as you can safely.

Eat more antioxidants

Consuming foods high in antioxidants enhance the activity of the immune system and reduces toxic materials such as bacteria and viruses from taking hold in the body. Foods with bright rich colours posses the greatest amounts of antioxidants. For example, capsicum, berries, tomatoes, beetroot, leafy greens etc.

Get your daily dose of D

Safe sun exposure can improve immune function and reduce the duration and frequency of cold and flu. Even in winter the sun can still burn so short amounts of time spent in the sun is advised.

Take a bath with double the benefits

Epsom salts have been shown to reduce toxins in the body. There is nothing better than taking a warm relaxing bath in Winter. The relaxation that Epsom salts offers is a bonus to the immune system, allowing it to rejuvenate, because we all know the impact stress has on our health!

Bend it like Beckham

Yoga is an effective circulatory stimulant, digestive activator and endocrine system booster. All of these systems work together to form part of a high-quality immune system. Yoga’s ability to stimulate circulation, reduce stress and support relaxation makes it a powerful immune fighting tool to add to your daily routine.

Step away from the desk

A sedentary lifestyle, common in todays white collar, technology dominated world, can reduce the rate of circulation around our body. This means toxins are unable to be identified readily by our immune system. Getting up and moving and … even better, moving outdoors, for even a brief 15 minutes a few times a day can greatly improve your circulation and get you away from the recirculating bugs that float around in the office air-conditioning.

Be sure to breathe deeply

The simple action of breathing increases the free flowing of oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the lungs and blood stream. With these breaths nasty foreign materials are also exhaled. The oxygen that is breathed in supports immune cell health, improving the force of the all-important warrior we call our immune system. Further, taking deep breaths has been shown to reduce stress and enhance relaxation.

Indulge in a Massage

Massages that focus on the lymphatic system, help to circulate and drain the body of toxic blockages that may be backing up and contributing to frequent illnesses. Relax in style and allow your body and mind to sink away while feeling the undeniable benefits of a massage.

Dance, jump and shout and let it all out!

Dancing and jumping around forcefully pushes toxins out through sweat and all other eliminatory organs such as the kidneys, liver and digestive system. Why not have some fun while working on your immune system.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Being angry and frustrated certainly takes its toll on your stress levels and your immune system. The simple act of being angry impacts greatly on hormones and gut which play a large role in immunity.

Be at one with your body. Listen to its cues. Give it the nutrients and TLC its needs and desires!

Xx Danielle Catherine

Let’s Talk Tummy Troubles – IBS

IBS

Did you know up to 30% of Australians may experience symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) at some point in their life?

IBS is extremely common, so don’t feel like you are suffering alone.

What is IBS?

IBS is characterised by lower abdominal pain more frequently presenting on the left side of the abdomen. It may be worse in the morning and improves after evacuating the bowels or releasing flatulence.

There may be urgency to reach a toilet to evacuate bowels, but the evacuation may feel incomplete. Some experience incontinence, where poor muscular function of the gastrointestinal tract prevents the ability to hold on until access to a toilet is available. Many complain of bloating, gas, abdominal pain and distension which may become worse again towards the end of the day.

For some suffers IBS can become self-limiting and socially embarrassing. Fear of not being able to access a toilet quick enough may prevent people from leaving their home, or fear of un-welcome flatulence may limit conversations and leave people feeling isolated.

Those who suffer with IBS may feel as though everything they eat triggers their symptoms, so they refuse to or avoid eating outside of home.

Poor muscular function and urgency may reduce the suffers confidence in engaging in exercise, only to weaken muscles further.

Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fluctuations between diarrhoea and constipation
  • Bloating and abdominal distension
  • Gas/flatulence
  • Urgency to pass bowel motions
  • Undigested foods or mucus in the stools
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety

What causes IBS?

  1. Stress and anxiety

Just as IBS can cause stress and anxiety, stress and anxiety can contribute to IBS symptoms. The gut-brain axis is being recognised as a very real event by medical researchers. Our body has many messenger paths connected to our nervous systems that interact closely. When the brain is not happy, it disrupts the messages and functionality of the digestive system, contributing to symptoms such as nervous diarrhoea.

2. Intolerances

Food sensitivities and intolerances are becoming more common. These intolerances create inflammation and gaps in the gut wall (leaky gut) which aggravate the digestive system and the healthy bacterial colonies that reside in the intestines, leading to gas, bloating and constipation or diarrhoea.

3. Previous disruptions to the gastrointestinal tract

Travellers diarrhoea and attacks of gastroenteritis have been linked to increased cases and symptom presentation of IBS. The toxins that are released during an active infection disrupt intestinal wall and nerves that line the gastrointestinal tract. This damage lingers long after the infection has been effectively cleared.

4. Medication

A long history of medication use and polypharmacy (many medications at once) can damage and inflame the gastrointestinal tract and may aggravate or contribute to leaky gut.

Did you know women may experience a worsening of symptoms during their menstrual cycle?

What are some of the dietary and lifestyle factors that may aggravate your symptoms?

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Drinking large amounts of caffeine
  • Eating high amounts of sugars
  • Medications that may contribute to constipation (iron, pain medications, NSAIDS, sedatives, blood pressure medication, antidepressants, OCP).
  • Medications that contribute to diarrhoea (antacids, laxatives, blood pressure medications, antibiotics)
  • Fatty, fried foods
  • Food sensitivities
  • Stress
  • Environmental toxins
  • A history of traveller’s diarrhoea infection

What are dietary treatments and management options?

Nutrition professionals will often suggest a FODMAP dietary protocol for those with IBS.

FODMAPS (Fermentable, Oligosaccharide, Disaccharide, Monosaccharide and Polyols) are fermentable sugars found in many common foods, some of which are foods that would normally be considered healthy in a normal healthy person. In someone with IBS, some FODMAP foods may cause the bacteria in the gut to ferment these sugars leading to IBS symptoms.

The program is a strict, drawn out protocol with a step by step process, which requires a great deal of commitment and compliance, though, the results are often very pleasing for IBS sufferers. It can improve symptoms and move someone from feeling as though every single food creates symptoms, to identifying exactly which foods are causing aggravations while enjoying others first thought to cause problems. It is recommended that the protocol be undertaken while under the support and guidance of your nutrition professional.

Overall Guidelines for improve digestion

  • Reduce portion sizes and frequency – allow your body to efficiently digest foods
  • Eat a healthy, varied diet
  • Drink adequate amounts of fluids – particularly water and herbal teas
  • Chew your food thoroughly to assist in the digestive process
  • Identify actual intolerances – do not exclude food groups long term ‘thinking’ they may be causing symptoms to become aggravated
  • Ensure dinner is eaten as early as possible to avoid going to bed on a full stomach
  • Keep track of what you are eating and notice the symptoms – not all symptoms will present immediately – take these to a nutrition professional for assessment
  • Stay active – this will improve digestion, reduce stress and enhance circulation
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Fibre is important but find your balance
  • Avoid alcohol as much as possible
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages – soft drinks, coffee and black tea
  • Protect and enhance your healthy gut bacteria because they will return the favour!

Have you considered Copper as an important dietary nutrient?

Almonds

We have been taught to be afraid of toxic levels of the metal copper.

Ever considered Copper as an important dietary nutrient?

But were you aware that copper is extremely important to our health in many vital ways?

Deficiencies can present a variety of health complaints that we may not attribute to a lack of copper unless functionally tested.

First, copper assists in the development of several enzymes within our body that assist in:

  • the production of energy
  • how we metabolise iron
  • the elastically of our skin
  • how our immune cell functions
  • prevention of neurological damage
  • it is a component of antioxidant activity.

Our bones, tissues and liver harbour our body’s copper stores and these storage locations are affected greatly when excesses or deficiencies occur.

Suffering from low energy?

My guess is that copper deficiency has never crossed your mind as a potential cause. Our energy system operates via the transport of various nutrients through a cycle called the citric acid cycle and an electron transport chain. Copper facilitates energy production at the electron transport chain as a cofactor to enzymes.

Are your bones prone to breaking or osteoporosis? Or is your skin easily broken or sagging?

Calcium and Vitamin D are one a small piece of the puzzle. Copper is essential to making cross-links in collagen for bones and elasticity of skin to prevent fractures and maintain healthy skin. Your blood vessels are also made up of connective tissue and require copper to maintain their elasticity for blood flow, preventing arterial complications and haemorrhage.

Are you metabolising iron effectively?

Most people’s first thought for low energy recovery is iron. Although iron may be the culprit, copper may also be required. Copper is necessary for iron transportation and linking iron to its transport protein to be sent to cells for healthy blood development. A lack of copper may just be contributing to iron deficiency.

Food sources of copper

Food should always be considered as medicine before vitamin supplements are factored in to your regime. You can ensure you are receiving enough dietary copper by eating a variety of the following foods:

  • Organ meats (liver, kidneys etc.)
  • Spirulina
  • Oysters
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Almonds or Cashews
  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard)
  • Dark Chocolate (>70%)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chickpeas
  • Avocado
  • Goat cheese
  • Tempeh

Step up your digestive game with these simple steps

sauerkraut

1

Make fermented foods a staple in your diet.

Foods that have been fermented allow for the introduction of healthy gut bacteria into the digestive system to assist in digestive processes. Fermented foods themselves are easier to digest.

Fermented foods include:

  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kim chi
  • Organic natural yoghurt
  • Kombucha
  • Tempeh
  • Miso

Probiotic supplements can also increase the healthy colonies of bacteria that reside in your digestive system.

2

Increase dietary fibre

Soluble and insoluble fibres are essential to a healthy gastrointestinal system and reduce constipation. It is important to keep hydrated any time fibre is increased. Additionally, fibre is an effective waste eliminator as it binds to waste materials along the gastrointestinal tract and takes it out of the body with bowel motions.

Psyllium husk is an easily accessible supplementary form of fibre that can be added to water, juice or cereal.

3

Embrace the power of Apple Cider Vinegar

Combat indigestion, reflux, bloating, gas by adding 1-2 tsp ACV and a squeeze of fresh lime juice to warm water prior to each meal.

4

Drink up!

Water that is…

Hard stools are never fun and being dehydrated is a significant factor in hard stools, straining and constipation. For most healthy adults more than 2L of water daily is recommended.

5

With pro come pre-biotics

Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates that are fermented by the healthy bacteria (probiotics) in the digestive tract. The fermentation process provides food or fuel for probiotics to enhance growth and functionality in digestive processes.

Prebiotic foods include:

  • Artichokes
  • Leek
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Slippery elm
  • Psyllium

6

Enzyme supplementation

No matter how perfect your diet may be, a lack of digestive enzymes will hinder your digestive capabilities. Supplementation with digestive enzymes prior to meals can assist in reducing the uncomfortable symptoms associated with poor digestion. You can obtain certain enzymes from foods such as, papaya, kiwi fruit and pineapple.

7

Herbal teas not cawfees

Coffee has stimulative and irritative effects on the gut, which can contribute to digestive discomfort, inflammation and diarrhoea. Herbal teas are soothing and nourishing to the gut and increase hydration. Certain teas such as ginger, peppermint, turmeric, chamomile and liquorice tea can reduce flatulence, decrease inflammation and bloating.

8

Mooove

Remaining active increases circulation and stimulates peristaltic muscle movements that push food around and through the digestive tract. Even short gentle exercise after meals can go a long way in the fight for a healthy digestive system.

9

Stress less

Stress is a significant driver in poor digestion. It seems strange and totally unconnected but, the energy that would normally be used in digesting foods is diverted to the brain and muscles to manage stressresponses.

Manage stress with:

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Epsom salts baths
  • Adequate sleep
  • Engaging in arts and crafts or any down-time hobbies