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10 Secret Strategies That Have Made Me More Successful as a Physiotherapist

I have always said there is a ‘Genius’ in every ‘Body’ and if you can alleviate the barriers to healing then you can unleash this genius and heal thyself. The solution I present below is very simple but like so many things in life it’s not easy. Making even a single positive change can help you overcome your pain and dysfunction and enhance the outcomes from your treatments.

If you are suffering from intense pain you may need immediate attention and thus not be able to complete this list. However, during the course of your treatment you can continue to assist the healing process by following each step in the process.

These are the Secret Strategies that have made me more successful as a therapist!

If you’re a practitioner reading this post and you want to enhance your treatment outcomes significantly then I would recommend you go through these steps with your clients one at a time. Be sure to choose the most important strategy first, the one that will have the biggest impact. Only implement one change at a time to ensure the highest rate of compliance possible.1

  1. Define your “Good Outcome”
  2. Ensure that you are highly motivated to achieve your ‘Good Outcome’
  3. Adopt a positive attitude
  4. Stop alcohol intake completely
  5. Stop drinking coffee and avoid all other sources of caffeine
  6. Increase your water intake to 2-3 liters per day
  7. Avoid all ‘inflammatory foods’
  8. Improve your sleeping habits
  9. Decrease your overall stress levels
  10. Start consuming ‘healing’ foods

1. Define your “Good Outcome”

The very first thing you should discuss with your treating therapist is what your ‘good outcome’ is. Be precise and tell them exactly how they can help and exactly what they can do to make this a positive experience. This may seem like a trivial step in the process right? I mean you’re there because you have pain and you want them to take away that pain right? However consider these questions:

  • Would you consider even a 25% reduction in your pain a good outcome?
  • Do you want to know how to prevent the pain from returning in the future?
  • Do you want the therapist to explain any dysfunctions or movement faults they uncover in their assessment process?
  • Do you want to be involved in the decision making process?
  • Is your goal to return to activity or competitive sport? If yes, do you want the therapist to perform functional tests to determine your risk profile?
  • Have you had scans taken and you want the therapist to tell you in laymen’s terms what those scans mean?
  • Do you want the therapist to explain (in laymen’s terms) what the contributing factors are to your pain or dysfunction?
  • Have you lived with pain for so long that you are now fearful of never healing and you want the therapist to shed some positive light on the situation?
  • Do you lift weights in a gym and want the therapist to look through your training plan to see if any of the exercises are contributing to your pain or dysfunction?

This is only a partial list of the literally hundreds of responses I would hear in any given year. You can see that everyone’s ‘Good Outcome’ is unique and as the client it’s your responsibility to convey your ‘Good Outcome’ to your therapist. When the treating therapist has your good outcome in mind throughout the course of treatment the outcome is more often a positive one.

It is also worth noting that there is significant evidence suggesting that when clients are actively involved in their own treatment process the success of those treatments is substantially greater.2 Defining your own good outcome is the first step in actively participating in your treatment process.


2. Ensure that you are highly motivated to achieve your ‘Good Outcome’

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Not Important Ambivalent Very Important

This is really a question your therapist should ask of you! I simply don’t work with people who don’t answer 8-10 for this question. I want to work with highly motivated clients who are interested in achieving their good outcome and committed to making the necessary changes. I’m not really sure why someone would seek the advice of a therapist when they are not willing to participate in the healing process. Examples:

  • I was too busy to perform the one exercise you gave me to do
  • I am not willing to stop training while we go through the healing process
  • I took anti-inflammatory medication last night so I already feel better
  • I am not willing to cut out processed foods from my diet
  • The last two therapists I saw couldn’t help me so I doubt you’ll able to either.

Again these are only a small snippet of the excuses that are provided to therapists that impede the healing process. The likelihood of a successful outcome is significantly reduced when the client is not willing to participate. In my experience, these are often the clients that are phoning around looking for the cheapest therapist they can find. This is a clear indicator that the person only has ‘one foot in the door’ and is not committed to the healing process.

Overcoming pain and dysfunction requires a team effort. And at the center of that team is the client. I have made it a rule that if a client gives 25% then I give 25%. If a client gives 75% then I match that 75%. And if the client is willing to participate 100% then I too will give 100% effort. Far too many skilled therapists burn out because they give 100% to every client when not every client is giving 100% in return. This is physically and emotionally demanding and is simply not sustainable.

So before you seek the advice of a skilled therapist make sure you are 100% motivated to achieving your good outcome.


3. Adopt a positive attitude

  • Adopt a positive attitude.
  • Watch or listen to comedy for 30 minutes per day (laugh!)
  • Strengthen your social relationships with friends and family.
  • See your pain or injury as a gift!

Over 16 years of clinical experience as a physiotherapist has provided me with some great insight into the potential for health, healing and enhancing our own vitality. One of my greatest realizations is that clients who adopt a positive attitude towards their healing process (and often towards life as a whole) achieve significantly better outcomes than clients with a negative (or defeatist) attitude.

My pain is really getting me down and I don’t think there is much hope for me.

My MRI shows a meniscal tear so basically I’ve been told my knee is stuffed now.

I’ve seen almost everyone possible for my back pain so I doubt you’ll be able to help either.

When I hear these kinds of statements being made by a client I know immediately that my chances of helping are significantly reduced unless I can change their mindset. It doesn’t matter how good my diagnostic and technical skills are, someone who is not optimistic about the potential for health and healing is going to be difficult to help.

As my clinical competency continued to improve I decided to expand my own thinking and begin researching the possible reasons why positive people were achieving better clinical outcomes. Little did I know that a large body of evidence was being amassed that could provide great insight into what I was seeing clinically.

Ever considered telling jokes to your health care provider?

Doctors put in a positive mood before making a diagnosis show almost three times more intelligence and creativity than doctors in a neutral state, and they make accurate diagnosis 19 percent faster.

One of my favourite quotes comes from Norman Cousins in his 1981 book ‘Human Options.’

“The best physicians are not just superb diagnosticians but men who understand the phenomenal energy (and therefore curative propensity) that flow out of an individual’s capacity to retain an optimistic belief and attitude toward problems of human affairs in general. It is a perversion of rationalism to argue that words like ‘hope’ or ‘faith’ or ‘love’ or ‘grace’ (and ‘laughter’) are without physiological significance. These benevolent emotions are necessary not just because they are pleasant, but because they are regenerative.”

Thirty-five years has passed since Norman Cousins made this statement and recent research is proving that he was in fact right!

  • Humor therapy and the related mirthful laughter have preventative and healing effects. These effects may be the result of neuroendocrine and neuroimmune modulation.18
  • In a study at Loma Linda University, 2 groups of myocardial infarction (heart attack) patients were followed for 1 year in their cardiac rehabilitation programs. The experimental group was allowed to view self-selected humor for 30 minutes per day as an adjunct to standard cardiac therapy. The findings revealed that the patients in the group that viewed the humor had fewer episodes of arrhythmias, lower blood pressure, lower urinary and plasma catecholamines, a lower requirement for medications, and a markedly lower incidence of recurrent myocardial infarction than did the control group.2
  • Another study demonstrated that mirthful laughter can counter some classical biological responses associated with stress, often for a considerable period of time after the session has ended.19, 20
  • Numerous studies show that happy individuals are successful across multiple life domains, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance, and health.18
  • Research on wellbeing consistently reveals that the characteristics and resources valued by society correlate with happiness. For example, marriage, a comfortable income, superior mental and physical health, and a long life all correlate significantly with reports of high happiness levels.18
  • Positive emotions broaden an individuals’ thoughts and insights, prompting them to pursue a wider range of thoughts and actions than is typical (e.g., play, explore). These people have been demonstrated to be more creative, efficient, flexible and have a better ability to integrate diverse material.21
  • In his brilliant book ‘The Happiness Advantage’ Shawn Achor describes how happiness and optimism actually fuel performance and achievement. He goes on to say that waiting to be happy limits our brain’s potential for success, whereas cultivating positive brains makes us more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative, and productive, which drives performance upwards. This discovery has been repeatedly demonstrated by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience.

The Opposite is true!

  • One study investigating the impact of anger expression and low anger control on punch biopsy wound healing demonstrated that participants who were found to exhibit lower levels of anger control were more likely to be categorised as slow healers.22
  • Certain patterns of anger expression have been associated with maladaptive alternations in cortisol secretion, immune functioning, and surgical recovery. These findings suggest that the ability to regulate the expression of one’s anger has a clinically relevant impact on wound healing.23, 24, 25
  • Psychological stress can indirectly modulate the repair process by promoting the adoption of health-damaging behaviors.23, 24
  • Negative emotions can produce heightened cardiovascular reactivity that redistributes blood flow to relevant skeletal muscles. Such cardiovascular reactivity—if large, recurrent, or prolonged—is thought to place individuals at risk for developing or exacerbating coronary heart disease.25, 27
  • To the extent that negative emotions generate cardiovascular reactivity that may damage people’s health, it becomes critical to discover effective ways to regulate negative emotions. Certainly, effective negative emotion regulation has multiple benefits beyond health promotion, including (but not limited to) enhanced subjective well-being and improved cognitive and social functioning. Positive emotions may hold a key to these various benefits.25
  • Chronic stress from negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can upset the body’s hormone balance and deplete the brain chemicals required for feelings of happiness, as well as have a damaging impact on the immune system.26

So taking all of this information into consideration, I would offer the following advice: First, set yourself up to win (heal) by adopting a positive attitude. Even if you have seen other health professionals for the same problem or suffer from chronic pain, stay positive and recognize that there are solutions out there. Believe that you will feel better and send this message to your entire body. You may want to spend time each day meditating on this belief pattern.

Second, start watching 30 minutes of stand-up comedy each day and laugh until it hurts! Even better, share these moments with your friends and family. To make this step even more powerful, stop watching television altogether during your healing process to ensure you avoid the negative emotions that result from watching the NEWS, violent movies or undesirable commercials.

Third, turn to your friends and family for psycho-emotional support. Countless studies have demonstrated that social relationships are the strongest method for heightened well-being and for reducing stress levels.

Fourth, see the healing process as a real opportunity to learn more about health and wellness and the healing process. By seeing the pain or injury as a ‘gift’, your mindset will shift from something that is negative to something that is positive. Hundreds of my clients have used their healing process to enhance their overall health, learn about the power of mental imagery and meditation, and to strengthen their relationships with family and friends. For many people, the pain or injury was truly a gift that allowed them to get their life back on track or significantly enhance their health and happiness.

Gratitude Hope Resilience Optimism Meaning

Over the years, both in my personal life and my professional career, I have started to realize just how much our interpretation of reality changes our experience of that reality. Working with clients and helping them to adjust their perceptions not only provides significant insight for the client, but also allows them to rise above their circumstances and find a path for healing.


4. Stop alcohol intake completely

Alcohol affects just about every system in the body because it’s a small molecule that goes everywhere in the body. The throat, stomach, small intestine, liver, gallbladder, heart, blood vessels and skin can all be negatively affected. Although this may seem like common sense, alcohol intake presents a significant, but often overlooked, barrier to healing.

Recent studies have demonstrated that chronic inflammation is often associated with increased alcohol intake. The key components of this effect seem to be the negative impact that alcohol has on the gut (small intestine), liver, central nervous system and other multi-organ interactions. 3, 4

Considering the wide spread effect that alcohol has, it only makes sense that cessation would have a positive effect on the healing process.


5. Stop drinking coffee and avoid all other sources of caffeine

This recommendation is based more on clinical observation than scientific studies. However, I have noticed a significant healing benefit when clients stop drinking coffee during the treatment process. Here are some possible reasons for this observation.

  • Caffeine acts as a natural diuretic and dehydrated cells have difficulty absorbing nutrients and eliminating waste.
  • Caffeine may contribute to adrenal fatigue. Large amounts of caffeine can ‘stress’ the adrenal glands and may lead to a fatiguing affect which is often associated with irritability, anxiety, trouble sleeping, mood swings, and lethargy. Hormones released by the adrenals also play a significant role in reducing inflammation within the gut and promote health and healing of other endocrine glands.
  • Caffeine can act as a mild gut irritant in some people. Inflammation within the gut may lead to poor nutrient absorption from the cells lining the gut wall.
  • Caffeine has also been shown to block the absorption of magnesium, a key mineral that is essential to the colon’s regulation of normal, healthy bowel movements.5 The constituents of coffee compound the problem by acting as a mild laxative, causing a bowel movement before the absorption of water and other mineral nutrients. This may cause dehydration and malnourishment.
  • One study found that caffeine had a negative impact on wound healing.6

Easing off coffee may sound daunting. You may find it easiest to slowly reduce the number of cups you have per day before switching to black tea or green tea. Once this transition is made stopping caffeine temporarily is much easier.


6. Increase your water intake to 3 liters per day

Almost 20 years ago I read an incredible book called “Your Body’s Many Cries For Water’ by Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj. The information in this book brought to light the importance of maintaining proper hydration and the significant negative affects of chronic dehydration.

Dr. Batmanghelidj describes how the body has its emergency calls for water and how these ‘many cries for water’ are often misinterpreted.
  • Heartburn
  • Rheumatoid joint pain
  • Back pain
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Colitis pain
  • Fibromyalgiac pain
  • Angina Pain
  • Joint Pain
  • Arthritic Pain
  • Fever
  • Gastric Reflux Esophageal Disease

Interesting Facts

  • It has been estimated that the prevalence of dehydration in adults is between 16 and 28% depending on age with the elderly being at the greatest risk.7
  • Water represents a critical nutrient whose absence will be lethal within days. Water’s importance for prevention of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases has emerged more recently because of the shift toward large proportions of fluids coming from caloric beverages.8
  • The water contained within beverages such as coffee, tea, fruit juice and all other beverages does not have the same positive effect as drinking pure water.
  • One report estimated that 75% of the American population consumed less than two liters of water per day. This would suggest that 75% of their population is walking around in a chronic state of dehydration.
  • 60% of the human body is composed of water: 75% in our muscles and 85% in our brains.
  • With the general population believing that coffee, tea, fruit juice, energy drinks and soda contribute to their daily water intake it is no wonder so many people suffer from dehydration.
  • We often misinterpret hunger pains. They are often your body’s cry for water.
  • Water is necessary for the body to digest and absorb vitamins and minerals.
  • Water is key to proper digestion, it detoxifies the liver and kidneys and carries waste away.8

Over time chronic dehydration can lead to wide array of medical complications ranging from chronic fatigue, joint pain, headaches, migraines, weight gain, high blood pressure, gastric reflux, ulcers, kidney and liver disease, and more.

I have had hundreds of clinical cases that have all improved by Coaching clients to stop all forms of liquid other than water while increasing their water intake to three liters per day. The rate at which they heal from conditions such as lateral epicondyalgia (tennis elbow), Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, headaches, migraines, and lower back pain has all been enhanced.

This one simple step could end up saving you a lot of time and money!


7. Avoid all ‘inflammatory foods’

I have seen literally hundreds of cases in which people could not overcome chronic pain and dysfunction due to an inflammatory lifestyle.

I can remember one 52 year-old man who came to me for left elbow pain that was diagnosed as common extensor origin tendinopathy and tear on MRI. He was grossly overweight, sustained a sedentary lifestyle, the majority of his diet consisted of processed inflammatory foods and he drank a bottle of wine most nights of the week. And yet he simply couldn’t understand why his left elbow hadn’t resolved over the last 18 months even with cortisone injections.

In another case example, a national level athlete had sustained a right shoulder labral tear, left hip labral tear and two significant calf tears in a two-year period of time. Clinically this athlete moved really well and had no significant muscle imbalances or clinical dysfunctions. A detailed functional risk assessment scored her as ‘slight risk’ indicating that her risk of injury should be less than 16%. And yet she had sustained one injury after another. Upon careful analysis of her nutritional habits it quickly became clear why she was sustaining so many injuries. She was consuming only 1600 calories per day and the vast majority of these calories came from processed foods such as bread, cereal, pasta, protein powders, sports drinks, sports gels and low quality meats. The message from her body was very clear, training at this intensity on such a poor quality diet was simply not sustainable!

Processed Foods Grains Dairy
Additives Sugar Alcohol
Legumes Sauces & condiments Coffee

Processed Foods

Any food item that has multiple ingredients and was not made with your own hands. This includes breads, cereals, pasta, crackers, pre-made meals, take-away and anything else in boxes or cans or packaging.

Grains

All grains, even gluten-free grains, should be eliminated from your diet temporarily. Yes, this includes rice and corn.

Dairy

This includes all forms of dairy including milk, yogurt, ice cream, cream and cheese. An exception could be made if you have access to raw goat or cow dairy that is from an organic or biodynamic farm.

Additives

This includes all natural and artificial flavours, colours, additives and preservatives. If you are avoiding processed foods this should not be an issue.

Sugar

All processed forms of sugar should be avoided completely. Honey and maple syrup should be used sparingly. Reduce your fruit intake to 1-2 pieces per week or avoid all together. Berries are fine in small quantities. Avoid fruit juice (even homemade) entirely.

Alcohol

See topic three for more detailed information. Stop altogether.

Coffee

See topic four for more detailed information. Stop altogether.

Legumes

If beans and legumes are a regular part of your diet and you are preparing them correctly then including them in your diet is fine. However, do not add beans and legumes to your diet during the healing process.

Sauces and Condiments

This includes all dressings, BBQ sauces, mixed spices, gravy, mustard and ketchup. The reason is that you simply don’t know what is contained within these products. They may include harmful additives, artificial flavours and colourings, sugar and other ingredients that may delay the healing process.

What are the benefits of this type of ‘anti-inflammatory’/’healing’ diet?

  • It forces you to eat nutrient dense whole foods that can actually help your body to heal. This includes free-range meats, organ meats, vegetables, root vegetables, berries, fruit, water, and fresh herbs and spices.
  • It removes many of the barriers to healing. If the gastrointestinal system is not stressed then energy can be focused on healing other systems of the body such as the nervous system and musculoskeletal system.
  • It removes all of the most common inflammatory foods allowing all of the systems within your body to heal and rejuvenate.

Do you need some ideas about what to eat when following an ‘anti-inflammatory’/’healing’ diet? Check out my blog post entitled ‘The Ultimate Healing’ diet.


8. Improve your sleeping habits

  • Reduce your exposure to artificial light in the hours before going to bed by avoiding television and minimizing screen time (phones, computers, I-Pads)
  • Aim to get into bed by 9pm (read or relax) and fall asleep by 10pm
  • Sleep until 6am or later if possible

I think the importance of quality sleep is under-estimated when it comes to both health and healing. When compared to ancient civilizations, the average person living in a developed country experiences greater overall stress. One would therefore think that more rest (8-10 hours) and more sleep (6-8 hours) are needed to maintain the same level of health and vitality.

One may also question whether six (6) hours of sleep from 10pm to 4am is the same as six hours sleep from midnight to 6am. Research done on shift workers may help us to answer this question. One study found that on average shift workers were sick for longer periods than day workers and that significantly more shift workers than day workers consulted the occupational health services for gastrointestinal complaints and these complaints were on average more severe. This same study also found that the incidence of skeletal diseases were more prominent in shift workers.9

Another study supported the claims of higher incidence of gastrointestinal disorders in shift workers in addition to finding

  • A rather strong correlation between shift work and coronary artery disease10
  • A possible correlation between shift work and increased incidence for diabetes10
  • Strong evidence to support an association between shift work and pregnancy outcome in terms of miscarriage, low birth weight and preterm birth.10
  • Overall diminished health status11

The most likely reason for these findings is the role of disturbed circadian rhythms that occurs in shift workers. These findings may suggest that sleeping six hours from 10pm to 4am will yield greater health benefits.

It has been suggested by other studies that sleep deprivation damages muscle physiology and impairs muscle recovery.12

An impressive discussion paper by the National Sleep Foundation discussed how research is now revealing that sleep is a dynamic activity, during which many processes vital to health and wellbeing take place. The latest evidence shows that sleep is essential to helping maintain mood, memory, and cognitive performance. Other studies revealed that sleep plays a pivotal role in the normal functioning of the endocrine and immune systems and that sleep deprivation was associated with a wide variety of serious health problems including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and depression.13

So what are the optimal sleep patterns? To answer this question we can turn a recent 2015 study that looked at how humans slept before the modern era. This study looked at preindustrial societies in Tanzania, Namibia and Bolivia. The study revealed that people within these civilizations had similar sleep parameters to “modern” humans with average durations of sleep ranging from 5.7 to 7.1 hours per night. They went to sleep several hours after sunset and typically awoke before sunrise.14

There are several key issues that should be discussed in relation to this study when determining how to apply these findings in the modern world. First, sleep period, the times from onset to offset, averaged 6.9 to 8.5 hours. In other words, the people in these civilizations were resting for 6.9 to 8.5 hours per night even if they were only asleep 5.7 to 7.1 hours. During this time they were not watching television, playing on their phone, watching movies or working on their computers. Likewise, they were not exposed to artificial light during these times as so often occurs in modern civilization.

Second, sleep times increased by one full hour in the winter months most likely in relation to longer periods of darkness. With electricity now available throughout the modern word, statistics show that sleep times in modern civilizations does not increase during the winter months.

Lastly, although sleep times were not significantly longer in these preindustrial societies when compared to modern civilizations, they also did not experience the same levels of prolonged and often intense stress that people of the modern era are exposed to. As such we may need to consider whether prolonged periods of stress necessitates the need for longer sleep periods.

In relation to healing from pain and injuries, the evidence presented thus far would certainly point to the fact that more quality sleep would enhance the healing process.


9. Decrease your overall stress levels

Most people are already familiar with the fact that emotional stress can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, migraines, stomach aches and exacerbations of skin disorders, but might not know that it can also cause other physical complaints and even chronic pain.

It has been well documented that a patient’s perception of pain can be influenced by psychological, emotional, cognitive and social factors, as well as learned behaviors. 15

Stress most commonly refers to the consequences of the failure of the human body to respond appropriately to physical or emotional threats.16 What makes this unique is that stress is a highly subjective experience that can affect clients in many different ways. For example, stress is known to have a physiological impact, as it may lead to raised levels of the hormone cortisol.17 As a consequence, prolonged raised levels of cortisol can have a negative impact on immunity and may contribute to systemic inflammation. If the immune system is suppressed, then this can have a negative impact on healing.

By focusing on reducing overall stressors in a client’s life, healing from pain and injury may occur faster.

Consider the following options:

  • Identify the top three stressors in your life and see if you can make positive changes that may help reduce their impact.
  • Don’t take on any new projects at work and delegate where possible during the healing process.
  • Ask for help from loved ones in relation to household duties, looking after kids, shopping, cooking or other activities. Free up time for yourself and use this time to rest and relax.
  • Sleep is one of the most powerful stress-reduction techniques. Review the information in point seven.
  • Stop high intensity training immediately. If you’re not a competitive athlete with an important competition looming then this should be an achievable goal. It doesn’t mean stop moving, it simply means stop stressing your body from intense activity.
  • Exchange high intensity training for activities that can reduce cortisol and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest).
    • Go for a slow walk every day
    • Participate in a gentle Yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong class
    • Practice meditation
    • Practice mindfulness techniques with Apps such as ‘Headspace’ and ‘Calm’
    • Bounce gently on a rebounder to stimulate the lymphatic system
    • Adopt optimal postures in both sitting and standing
    • Take 10 deep (diaphragmatic) breaths every hour

Begin with the easiest solution, something you can implement immediately and one that doesn’t create any additional stress in your day. If driving to a Yoga class 2-3 times per week sounds daunting then maybe choose a much simpler option such as using a mindfulness and meditation App such as ‘Headspace.’


10. Start consuming ‘healing’ foods

Garlic Ginger Turmeric
Coriander Cinnamon Cayenne
Cloves Nutmeg Sage
Parsley Blueberries Liver
Onions Mushroms Bone Broth

The Health Benefits of Parsley

  • Outstanding source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and iron.
  • Vitamin K is capable of opposing many of the leading causes of death including atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer.
  • Parsley’s volatile oils (myristicin, limonene, eugenol and alpha-thujene) have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies.
  • These volatile oils help neutralize particular types of carcinogens and make it a cancer protective food.
  • Myristicin helps enhance the effectiveness of the powerful antioxidant glutathione.
  • The flavonoids (apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin) which are abundantly rich in parsley, have been shown to function as antioxidants by combining with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and preventing oxygen-based damage to cells. In addition, extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood.
  • Parsley is a good source of folate, one the most important B vitamins. While folate has many important roles in the body, one of its most critical roles is in relation to cardiovascular health. By lowering homocysteine levels, folate plays a key role in lowering your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Studies have also shown that folate-rich diets can substantially reduce the risk for both colon cancer and cervical cancer in woman.
  • Possibly due to its rich vitamin and mineral content, parsley has been demonstrated to protect against inflammatory joint conditions such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

The Health Benefits of Ginger

  • Aids the digestive process and may alleviate indigestion and flatulence
  • Relieves nausea and morning sickness
  • Helps relieve the symptoms associated with motion sickness
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties that may relieve swelling and pain
  • As a tea, ginger can ease headaches and sore throats and can assist with alleviating colds and flu
  • Medicinally ginger has been used for asthma, coughs, colic, heart palpitations, swellings, dyspepsia, rheumatism, inhibit vomiting, treat diarrhoea and for strengthening the stomach.

Beef Liver

Please remember that it’s essential to consume meat and organ meats from grass-finished animals (animals that have been raised on fresh pasture), without the use of hormones or antibiotics, and not fed commercial grains or feed. Pasture-raised animal products are much higher in overall nutrients than animal products that come from commercial feedlots. Studies have shown that meat from pasture-raised animals contains up to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from commercially-raised animals. In addition to the nutritional benefits organic (biodynamic) animals are treated more humanely, it’s better for the earth and benefits the farmers and local communities.

The Benefits of liver

  • Some studies estimate that liver has up to 100 times more nutrients than normal muscle meats.
  • Gram for gram, liver contains more nutrients than any other food on earth.
  • Excellent source of high quality protein (27g protein per 100g).
  • Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
  • All the B vitamins are in liver in abundance, especially the highly sought after B12
  • Liver is an excellent source of folate
  • Liver provides an excellent source of iron that is easily assimilated
  • Liver contains trace elements such as copper, zinc, manganese and chromium.
  • Liver contains an abundance of Co-enzyme Q10, which is very important for cardiovascular health and cognitive function.
  • Liver is an excellent source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.
  • Liver is so densely packed with micronutrients that it supports the entire hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis; this includes both boosting testosterone and reducing estrogen.
  • Liver contains vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • Some research suggests that eating liver helps improve the functioning of your own liver, by feeding your liver with all the nutrients needed to detoxify the body.
  • In many traditional cultures organ meats were a prized possession. Liver, heart, brain, kidney and even the blood was recognized as providing the greatest nourishment, far beyond the muscle meats.

Think fruits and vegetables are the king of micronutrients? Check out this table comparing the specific nutrient values of apples, carrots and beef liver.

Apple Carrots Beef Liver
Biotin None 0.42 mcg 96.0 mcg
Calcium 3.0 3.3 11.0
Copper 0.0 0.1 12.0
Folic Acid 8.0 mcg 24.0 mcg 145.0 mcg
Iron 0.1 0.6 8.8
Magnesium 4.8 6.2 18.0
Niacin 0.1 0.6 16.5
Pantothenic Acid 0.1 0.2 8.8
Phosphorus 6.0 31.0 476.0
Potassium 139.0 222.0 380.0
Riboflavin 0.0 0.1 4.2
Thiamin 0.0 0.1 0.3
Vitamin A None None 53,400 IU
Vitamin B12 None None 111.3 mcg
Vitamin B6 0.0 0.1 0.7
Vitamin C 7.0 6.0 27.0
Vitamin D None None 19 IU
Vitamin E 0.4 0.1 0.6
Zinc 0.1 0.3 4

Garlic

In folk medicine garlic has been used to cure just about everything! Scientific research has now started to support many of these claims and prove their validity.

There are two main medicinal ingredients in garlic which produce most of the benefits:

  1. Allicin
  2. Diallyl Sulphides

Garlic is a sulphurous compound and in general a stronger tasting clove tends to have more sulphur content and hence more potential medicinal value. Some people have suggested that organically grown garlic has a higher sulphur level and therefore a greater benefit to health.

The Health Benefits

  • Garlic can help to promote healthy blood pressure and normal cholesterol levels
  • Modern science has demonstrated that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic, albeit broad-spectrum rather than targeted.
  • Garlic, especially aged garlic, can have powerful antioxidant effects. Antioxidants can protect against damaging free radicals. Some evidence suggests that black garlic contains even higher antioxidant levels than normal cloves.
  • Some studies have demonstrated that garlic may slow the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a condition that can lead to heart disease or stroke.
  • Studies have shown that regular garlic consumption may lower the risk of certain types of cancer such as colorectal cancer.
  • Evidence suggests garlic may help prevent the common cold. Fresh garlic has proven more effect than garlic supplements and garlic supplements more effective than placebo.
  • It’s important to note that garlic supplements do not seem to have the same health enhancing benefits as fresh garlic.

Bone Broth

The top 10 reasons to include bone broth in your daily eating plan:

1. Bone broth helps to heal leaky gut (intestinal permeability)

The gelatin in bone broth protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and helps aid in the digestion of nutrients.

2. Bone broth helps to heal your joints

Bone broth is loaded with glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). I am sure that you have heard of glucosamine? The supplement that so many people are taking to help reduce joint pain and inflammation contains one of the GAGs found in bone broth. The difference is that when you consume bone broth you also get chondroitin, hyaluronic acid and at least a dozen other GAGs at the same time. Bone broth can actually stimulate the growth of collagen, repair damaged joints and reduce pain and inflammation.

3. Bone broth helps to fight infections such as colds and flu.

4. Bone broth helps to keep skin, hair and nails in peak condition.

The collagen and gelatin in bone broth supports hair growth and helps to keep your nails strong.

5. Bone broth can assist with healing from injury including the promotion of bone formation, growth and repair.

The calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other important minerals found in bone broth can assist with bone grow and repair.

6. Bone broth can assist with detoxification.

Our liver is the master organ of detoxification. The livers’ ability to detoxify is limited by the availability of an amino acid called glycine. You guessed it, bone broth is packed full of glycine and as such can assist the liver and enhance its ability to detoxify the body.

7. Bone broth is super easy and super cheap to make.

Simply ask your butcher for some organic bones (beef, lamb, chicken). You can use a slow cooker or large pot. Place the bones in the slow cooker or pot and cover with filtered water. Allow the bones to simmer for 24 hours. Remove the bones and then store the remaining broth in your refrigerator or freezer.

8. Homemade bone broth is much more effective and healthier than buying supplements.

Bone broth contains all of the nutrients and minerals found in bones and tendons rather than just one or two (glucosamine/chondroitin) found in pills. Slow cooking preserves the nutrients better than the high heat extraction methods used by most supplements companies.

9. Bone broth fights systemic and peripheral inflammation.

Because bone broth contains very high levels of the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline, it can have a positive effect on reducing both systemic (cardiovascular) and peripheral (joint) inflammation.

10. Bone broth promotes sleep and helps to calm the mind.

The amino acid glycine can be very calming.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a beautiful spice with a peppery, warm and bitter flavour that also has a mild fragrance that is slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger. It is a bright yellow aromatic powder from the rhizome of a plant of the ginger family. It is best known for its use in making curries. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma Longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both Chinese and Indian medicine.

Turmeric is a true super food!

  1. Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
  2. When combined with cauliflower, turmeric has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
  3. Turmeric is a natural liver detoxifier.
  4. Turmeric may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  5. It may prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
  6. Turmeric is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.
  7. Turmeric has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
  8. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  9. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.
  10. Turmeric has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
  11. It speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
  12. Turmeric may help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

References

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