Why is magnesium so crucial for our bodies?

There are so many vitamins and minerals that the body needs and all play an important part in helping us maintain good health. However, magnesium is definitely one of the most crucial minerals and is essential for our bodies to function. Very few substances have such a broad impact on our general health as magnesium.

Magnesium is vital for over 300 metabolic processes in our bodies and is required by every organ in our body for a range of activities including bone, protein and fatty acid formation. It is also essential in activating vitamins B and D, relaxing muscles, regulating calcium levels and helping blood to clot and is required for the secretion of insulin. Magnesium plays a major role in burning carbohydrates and fats to produce energy and also enables our body to store this energy in our cells. Magnesium is crucial for general mobility and essential for maintaining a regular heart rhythm and healthy blood flow.

WOW all of that and more. There is extensive research into magnesium’s health benefits and researchers believe maintaining adequate levels is beneficial in treating and managing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, migraines, osteoporosis, premenstrual tensions and restless leg syndrome.

Magnesium also plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes and therefore is important for helping to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins. Even glutathione, your body’s most powerful antioxidant that has even been called “the master antioxidant,” requires magnesium for its synthesis. Click here to visit a great website that explains so much about magnesium and how to increase this crucial mineral in your body.

Magnesium may even help lower your risk of cancer, and a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that higher intakes of dietary magnesium were associated with a lower risk of colorectal tumors. ‘The Magnesium Miracle’ is a book written by Dr Carolyn Dean which would be a worthwhile read.

There has also been studies regarding Magnesium Deficiency and Autism and the health implications of this deficiency in children with autism.

How can we increase the levels of this crucial minimal in our bodies?

  1. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium, however if cooked you will lose most of the benefits. Juicing these greens, or making a green smoothing and adding other ingredients is the best way to obtain the maximum amount of nutrition and mineral content.
  2. Other good sources of magnesium: Almonds and Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseed, Cocoa powder (unsweetened), dried seaweed, dried basil or coriander leaf, black beans, okra, Avocado, banana, brown rice, mackerel.
  3. There are also different Types of Magnesium Supplements that you can take, however you need to also consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another, with one supporting the other. So don’t just grab a bottle of magnesium supplements of the supermarket shelf, make sure you do your research first. Anything added to the magnesium supplement can affect the absorption and bioavailability of the magnesium.
  4. Epson salts is another great way to increase your magnesium level as it is magnesium sulphate and can be absorbed into your body through your skin. You can take regular baths adding Epsom Salt or add to a foot bath. Magnesium oil can also be used for topical application and absorption.

Why is organic better? One of the best ways to consume magnesium is through eating whole foods which contain organically bound magnesium. Chlorophyll is the plant’s version of our haemoglobin as they share a similar structure but have magnesium plugged in the middle rather than iron. However you do need to try and source fresh organic vegetables where possible as magnesium may not be present in many vegetables on supermarket shelves.

Magnesium is found in fresh organic spinach

Due to monoculture farming methods that rely heavily on using chemical fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides are absorbed into the soil and over time many of our topsoil have been heavily depleted of its mineral content. So it is no surprise that plants need and rely on magnesium as much as our bodies do and if the soils that are growing vegetables do not have magnesium, then your mass produced (so called) healthy vegetables on the supermarket shelves are not going to have the vital vitamin and mineral content that we need…and most likely will be full of chemicals and pesticides which are toxic to our bodies.

 

What depletes Magnesium in our body? If you are intending on supporting your health with adding more magnesium into your diet, do not destroy your efforts by poor choices when eating and drinking other substances. Alcohol, processed food and caffeine can all lower your levels of magnesium and have a huge negative impact on your body. Also health conditions that can be caused by magnesium deficiency and are not diagnosed correctly, can lead to medications being subscribed that also deplete your magnesium levels. If you are not sure what your levels are, or how a deficiency could be affecting you, it would be worthwhile visiting a nutritionist to get some expert advice, as it is possible that doctors may not take a magnesium deficiency into consideration when looking into your symptoms.  This could lead to further medication that depletes remaining magnesium which could then create other symptoms….and so it goes on.  It really is about you taking responsibility for your health and sourcing several opinions before being willing to put medications into your body without question.

 

A great recipe for adding a boost of magnesium to your body!  I have been experimenting with ingredients that are high in magnesium and have come up with a great recipe that is easy to make and packed with magnesium potent ingredients and is absolutely delicious. If you did not tell your family what was in it…they would never guess!

Magnesium boost Chocolate slice

Why is magnesium so crucial for our bodies?

Magnesium is crucial for our bodies. Try this magnesium boost Delicious Chocolate Slice

Base

1 cup Brazil nuts

1 cup almonds

8 medjool dates

¼ cup water – only use enough to bind the ingredients

Method:

Place all ingredients except water into a blender. Pulse on high a few times to break the nuts down and combine the dates. You may need to add a little water while the blender is running, so the mixture sticks together.   Once mixture is well combined, place in a lined rectangle baking tin, or large round cake tin (I used a rectangle tin with internal area of 27cm x 18cm). Press the mixture down to make a base. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out. Place in freezer while making filling.

Mousse Centre:

2 large Avocado

1 cup chopped spinach (centre stem removed)

¾ cup raw cocoa powder

½ cup pure maple syrup

½ teaspoon tamari (salt reduced soy sauce)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons lecithin

Method:

Place avocados, spinach, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract and tamari in high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add lecithin and coconut oil and add blend on high until well combined and creamy.

Take base out of freezer and pour filling onto base. Place back in freezer while preparing topping.

Crumble topping

¾ cup Sunflower seeds

¾ cup pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

Place all ingredients into food processor and pulse until nuts are broken down to a crumble. Do not over process.

Take pie out of freezer. Put a generous amount of the crumble on the top and press into the filling which will still be quite soft (this helps it stay in place). Place back in freezer until set. Once set slice into bars

You can either leave in the freezer and remove the bars 5 minutes before you are ready to eat them to allowthe chocolate filling to become soft…or leave in the fridge where the centre will be softer….but be warned…it may not last as long in the fridge where your family can find it…Enjoy!

Yours in good health…Kerrie

B and B’s in Ballina and Byron Bay

B and B’s in Ballina and Byron Hinterland.  Truly lovely B & B’s to choose from!

belle la vie B & B

The North Coast has an abundance of lovely B and B’s in Ballina and the Bryon Bay area and is an absolutely beautiful place to visit with so many pristine beaches, waterfalls and natural attractions. If you don’t have a large family that you are taking on holidays, often staying in Bed and Breakfast accommodation is a more relaxed and welcoming experience.
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The benefits of using fresh herbs

I grew up in the northern tablelands of NSW, and although as a child we lived on a small farm, I do not remember having any herbs planted in our family garden and did not really come to recognize the value and benefits of herbs till much later in life.

Many of our meals as children would be the traditional meat and three veg, with no real flavours standing out. As I became more involved with cooking I thought I was clever coming up with short cuts to add flavour to dishes….such as adding the good old french onion soup mix to jazz up dishes and add an extra taste, not knowing that all I was doing was adding a chemical cocktail to our meals.

I began to experiment more with flavours and started to introduce more raw food into our diet, we actually started to taste the delicious flavours that fresh herbs can add to recipes and our taste buds started to change.

I no longer buy any processed packet mixes and, in fact, buy very little from many of the isles in the supermarkets.  Next time you are tempted to buy a processed packet from the supermarket to enhance your meals, such as sauces, gravies, spice mixes…check out the back and read the chemical feast that lies inside the packet. You will be shocked to see how many processed flavours and additives are in any and all processed foods on the supermarket shelves. Just think about how food can stay that long on shelves…if it claims to have fresh produce in it, it will not have a very long use by date! If you would like to become more educated in how processed food is created…there is a great book called Pandora’s Lunchbox written by Melanie Warner…it is quite horrifying how our food gets processed and how some of the toxic additives are allowed to be used…definitely worth a read…if you dare!

I love my fresh herbs and some of my favourites are rosemary, thyme, oregano, dill and coriander…along with parsley and many others. My husband can now actually pick out certain herbs in dishes and is very proud of his new found appreciation and recognition of fresh herbs.

As a raw food vegan chef, I find the use of fresh herbs builds the flavour of the dish and excites the pallet, rather than traditional cooking where you try and cook the flavour in and in the process destroy all the nutrients from your beautiful veggies.

fresh herbs
Health benefits of herbs:

Herbs contain unique anti-oxidants, essential oils, vitamins, phyto-sterols and many other plants derived nutrient substances, which help equip our body to fight against germs, toxins and to boost immunity level. Herbs are, in fact, medicines in smaller dosages.

Essential oils in herbs have been found to have anti-inflammatory function and many unique compounds in the healthy herbs have been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. Controlled-epidemiological studies have shown that certain compounds in garlic like those that thiosulfinates (allicin) can bring significant reduction in total cholesterol and in blood pressure, and thereby, helps cut down coronary artery disease and stroke risk.

Herbs are a great addition to food, not just because they add special flavor and spicy taste to our food, but also contain many anti-microbial substances that help keep our food protected from these agents. In general, herbs are used in small amounts while preparing recipes. They actually, provide flavor rather than substance to the food we eat

Benefits of some of my favourite herbs:Herb - Rosemary

Rosemary can boost your brain power – Performance and Nutrition Research Centre in the U.K. reported that having higher blood levels of one of this herb’s main chemical compounds (absorbed from its aroma) was linked to the speed and accuracy of study participants’ cognitive performance. The higher the level of the compound in the blood, the better the outcome.

 

 

Herb - Parsley

Parsley can help prevent breast cancer -Toss parsley into salads for its high levels of apigenin. A study in Cancer Prevention Research showed that when rats with a certain type of breast cancer were exposed to apigenin, they developed fewer tumors and had delays in tumor formation compared to rats not exposed. Apigenin blocked the creation of new blood vessels required for tumors to grow and multiply.

 

 

Mint

Peppermint can soothe your colon. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects quite a significant number of people with many more women affected than men. Scientists at the University of Adelaide in Australia showed how peppermint helps to relieve IBS by activating an anti-pain channel in the colon. It reduced pain-sensing fibres, particularly those activated by eating chili and mustard.

 

 

 

Herb - Oregano

Oregano helps fight inflammation – Research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that whenmice with inflamed paws were treated with oregano’s active ingredient—beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP)—the swelling subsided in 70 percent of cases. E-BCP links to structures in a cell’s membrane, inhibiting the production of substances that signal inflammation.

 

 

Fresh thyme provides your antioxidants.  Among fresh herbs, thyme has the second-highest amount of antioxidantsHerb - Thyme (sage has slightly more), according to its oxygen radical absorbance capacity—a measure of a food’s ability to fight off disease-causing free radicals in our body. Thyme is also a very good source of vitamins A and C, as well as iron and dietary fibre.

 

Dill contains numerous plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties. This popular herb holds many anti-oxidants, vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine, etc., and dietary fibers, which help in controlling blood cholesterol levels.

Coriander is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K. Its deep-green leaves possess good amounts of antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and dietary fiber, which may help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in the blood. The leaves and a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic-acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A, beta carotene, vitamin-C, which are essential for optimum health.

There are other herbs and spices such as turmeric with enormous health properties….however if I keep going I will end up writing a short story…Thank goodness for google!  If you have a favourite herb, head to google and research its health properties and you can also google some recipes and how to use fresh herbs and what other flavours you can match them with.

As you can see by my photos, the other great thing about herbs is that you can plant them anywhere in your garden, you don’t have to have a special garden bed. We have them growing in all different locations and they do very well. Oregano makes a lovely ground cover and thyme is really very cute in a flowering garden as it has very tiny little white flowers, and of course rosemary thrives wherever you plant it.

Why feed your family with chemical flavours when you have a relatively easy option of using some fresh or even dried herbs to add natural more nutritious flavours to your meals.

I hope this gives you inspiration to at least try some more fresh herbs in your recipes…you never know you may just happen to become addicted to the lovely fresh natural flavours that nature has to offer.

Yours in good health

Kerrie

Why Buy organic from a Farmers Market?

Why buy organic or fresh produce from your local Farmers Market?

organic farmers markets

 

If you are anything like myself, I would spend most of my hard earned money at the large supermarkets, thinking that I was buying fresh fruit and veggies that had been sourced from our local farmers, which meant that this so called fresh produce would be full of nutrition…..hmmm not really that true in this day and age.  You really can’t be sure where this produce comes from and how fresh it is….and if it is fresh from large mass produced farming that uses tons of chemical fertilizers to stimulate plant growth….how much nutrition is actually in the produce and what chemicals are we feeding our family?

I no longer want to risk my health and the health of my family…

So I have made the choice to shop at our local farmers markets buying local organically grown or farm fresh produce. This not only supports our local farmers, but also gives me confidence that I am using the freshest and most nutritious produce available.

We live in a beautiful part of Northern NSW where there are many fantastic farmers’ markets available giving locals and visiters the opportunity to buy fresh local produce. Byron Bay, Bangalow, Ballina and Lismore all have Famers Markets and Lismore also has an organic market called the ‘Rainbow Region Organic Market which is on every Tuesday from 7.30am to 11.00am at the Lismore Showground.

ByronBangalow Farmers Market is on every Saturday 8am – 11am, behind The Bangalow Hotel in Bangalow and the Byron Bay Farmers Market is on every Thursday from 8am, Butler Street Reserve, Byron Bay

Lismore Produce Market  is a friendly weekly market in the heart of Lismore’s CBD and is on every Thursday from 3.30 to 6.30pm and the Lismore Farmers Market is on every Saturday 8am – 11am at Lismore Showground.

Lismore farmers market

photo by Lismore Farmers Market

Ballina Farmer’s Market is on every Sunday 6am to 5pm at Missingham Park, Ballina and the Mullumbimby Farmer’s Market is on every Friday from 7am to 11am, Mullumbimby Showground.  The Channon Craft Market which has fresh locally grown produce plus a huge variety of other stalls and is on the 2nd Sunday of every month at Coronation Park, The Channon.

Buying organically grown fresh produce is definitely the best option, however if this is not easily accessible, then buying freshly grown produce from your local farmers should be your next best option.

I recently watched a documentary call ‘The Worm is Turning’ https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thewormisturning , which I would recommend as compulsory viewing, which shows historical footage where the current corporate model of chemical, monoculture style farming comes from, and how it was spread around the world and shows the devastating health effects of this type of agriculture.

The film shows amazing examples of farmers from India, to USA to Australia, demonstrating a better method of farming, both for human health and for a better environment, one that is sustainable and restorative. Study after study has shown that small, ecological farms are in fact more productive and efficient with resources, and are the best model going forward.

Right now in the world, centralized, chemical agriculture is destroying economies and the ecology of the world. We the people, together have the power to change this by supporting small organic farmers, and demanding that our governments encourage this type of agriculture.

The documentary has been shown in local theatres and community centre in northern NSW such as Byron Bay and Lismore and in many other areas. If you google ‘The Worm is Turning’ you will find many links available.

There are so many very valid reasons to source and buy organically grown produce:

You…Avoid chemicals – Eating organically grown foods is the only way to avoid the cocktail of chemical poisons present in commercially grown food.

You…Benefit from more nutrients –Organically grown foods have more nutrients—vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients—than commercially grown foods because the soil is managed and nourished with sustainable practices by responsible standards.

You…Enjoy a better taste – Organically grown foods generally taste better because nourished, well balanced soil produces healthy, strong plants. This is especially true with heirloom varieties, which are cultivated for taste over appearance.

You…Avoid GMO – Genetically engineered (GE) food and genetically modified organisms (GMO) are contaminating our food supply at an alarming rate, with repercussions beyond understanding. Organically grown food cannot be genetically modified in any way, choosing organic is the only way to be sure that foods that have been genetically engineered stay out of your diet.

You…Avoid hormones, antibiotics and drugs in animal products –Conventional meat and dairy are the highest risk foods for contamination by harmful substances. The major concerns for consumers include the early onset of puberty, growth of tumors, heightened cancer risks, and genetic problems. Growth hormones in milk (rBGH or rBST) are genetically modified and have been directly linked to cancer, especially in women. Many scientists and experts warn that rampant use of antibiotics in animal feed, like penicillin and tetracycline, will breed an epidemic that medicine has no defense against.

You…Preserve our ecosystems – Organic farming supports eco-sustenance, or farming in harmony with nature. Preservation of soil and crop rotation keep farmland healthy, and chemical abstinence preserves the ecosystem. Wildlife, insects, frogs, birds, and soil organisms are able to play their roles in the tapestry of ecology, and we are able to play ours, without interference or compromise.

You…Reduce pollution and protect water and soil –Agricultural chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers are contaminating our environment, poisoning our precious water supplies, and destroying the value of fertile farmland. Certified organic standards do not permit the use of toxic chemicals in farming and require responsible management of healthy soil and biodiversity.

You…Preserve agricultural diversity –The rampant loss of species occurring today is a major environmental concern. It is estimated that 75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost in the last century. Most conventional food is also extremely hybridized to produce large, attractive specimens, rather than a variety of indigenous strains that are tolerant to regional conditions such as droughts and pests. Many organic farms grow an assorted range of food, taking natural elements and time-tested tradition into account. Diversity is critical to survival.

You…Support farming directly – Buying organic food is an investment in a cost-effective sustainable future.

You…Keep our children and future safe – Spending dollars in the organic sector is a direct vote for a sustainable future for the many generations to come.

Hopefully this gives you food for thought when it comes time to go shopping next and gives you a compelling reason to source fresh organic or locally grown produce from your local farmers.

Yours in good health

Kerrie