Natural Ways to Combat Jet Lag

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The holiday season is coming up soon and if you plan to travel long-haul and want to minimize the effects of jet lag – here are some tips:

Diet – Drinks – Drugs (natural, of course) – Daylight

 Before leaving for your trip, ensure you are well rested. Keep the two days prior to your journey stress and hassle free, even if it means being hectic earlier in the week.

 

Diet: If you’re flying over night avoid eating the first meal served during the flight and sleep on the plane. Travelling is tiring and you need to get sleep when you can! This is especially important when you’re flying west to east, as you lose time going in this direction. It will lessen the symptoms of jetlag, but do move around the plane when you’re awake to keep the blood circulation moving. Eat the snack meal served before landing. Preorder a special meal, it comes first and you can request a healthy option. Upon arrival eat according to the local eating schedule and avoid large heavy spicy meals, as your metabolism is not functioning optimally yet.

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Drinks: Stay hydrated before, during and after the flight. Prevent dehydration by avoiding alcohol, the plane environment is already very dry and alcohol will only aggravate the problem. Drink lots of water! Although water is provided during the flight, I find it’s not enough, so bring your own bottled water on board. If it’s morning when you arrive, then have one caffeinated cup of coffee. It will give you a boost after a long journey but no more than one, and not after midday, as it will affect your sleep that evening. Keep in mind, drinking alcohol before going to bed may get you off to sleep, but it interrupts the later stages of sleep and will exacerbate the effects of jet lag.

 

Drugs: (Natural): Research shows that vitamin C strengthens the immune system. Before flying take a 1000mg of vitamin C. Travelling is tiring, and when tired your immune system dips making it easy to catch a cold or ‘flu virus circulating in the plane. Another tip is to place a few drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue and keep it close to your chest area or where you can inhale the aroma. Lavender is anti-infective and sedative. It boosts the immune system and will aid relaxation for you and the kids on a long journey. Chamomile tea is also a nice soothing drink for you and the kids. When my children were younger I always made some tea beforehand to give them a few sips during the flight. It takes the edge off restlessness and so helpful for travelling with a toddler. It will also soothe away any stress you might be feeling and aids sleep. It might be hard to bring liquid on board so keep a few teabags handy and ask for some hot water. On the first couple of nights after arrival, take a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime and try to stay up to reasonable time and avoid naps during the day. For small kids, a bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil and some chamomile tea before bed will help them settle. For the first 2-3 nights older kids (7years and older) and adults can take some Melatonin. The body uses this hormone to set its time clock and research suggests that it’s useful for minimizing jetlag. For those who don’t like to take pills, it’s available in liquid form, Check with your health practitioner that it is suitable for you. A traditional herbal remedy for sleep backed up by modern research is Valerian. It’s sedative without leaving you feeling groggy in the morning. Take a few drops in water before bed and again if you wake up during the night.

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Daylight: Upon arrival and if it’s daylight, go outside for thirty minutes for a walk to get some sunlight. This is the best way to reset your internal clock to coincide with your new surroundings. You should do this for the following three days. If it’s evening when you arrive, try to go to bed at your normal local time and wake up at your normal time.

 

Enjoy your trip.

Preparing for Conception the Natural Way

 Supporting Fertility the Natural Way

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Main Areas for consideration

Preparing to Conceive

It’s best to give yourself 4-6 months preparation time when looking to improve health before conception.

Factors to consider

Weight

Woman – The amount of body fat is directly related to your hormone balance. When body fat is too low, the menstrual cycle may be disturbed. It’s important not to be overweight as too much fat can interfere with ovulation. Also, being overweight during pregnancy can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. Keep in mind that your body needs essential fatty acids and fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins to function. If on a weight-loss diet, do not compromise your nutrition and go “fat-free”.

 

Exercise

Get plenty of exercise, fresh air and sunlight. Reduced sunlight has been linked to multiple sclerosis later on in life for the child. Exercise helps rid the body of stress hormones. Sunlight helps with the metabolism of vitamin D. Some suggested gentle exercise: walking, bicycling or swimming.

 

Infections

Men and women should seek help to alleviate allergies, Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease, and candida as these conditions affect nutritional uptake and in turn compromise the reproductive system.

 

(Early pregnancy -Toxoplasmosis: can be passed onto the baby and cause birth defects. Humans contract it from cat faeces so avoid cleaning out litter trays. Other sources include contaminated meat (do not eat undercooked meat), fruit and vegetables grown in a garden infected by cat feces. (Wash all fruit and veg well). Unpasteurised milk and milk products contain harmful pathogens.)

 

Smoking

Smoking lowers testosterone level, affects sperm formation and motility. Smoking has been linked to: cleft palette, harelip, and central nervous system abnormalities in babies.

 

Sperm Count

Sperm Count is affected by the following: toxic chemicals, smoking, alcohol, increased sexual activity, and high temperatures (wear loose fitting underwear).

To promote healthy sperm include in the diet:

  • Good sources of protein
  • Vitamins A, B, C, D and E
  • Bioflavonoids
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium,
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Fibre

Stress

Below is a list of herbs used to relieve stress.

A balanced diet

Optimal nutrition is crucial at this time so ensure both partners have a good immune system, a strong nervous system and normal hormone balance.

  • Eat plenty of fresh, organic produce, complex carbohydrate.
  • Wholegrain cereals (wholemeal), millet, oats, rice, buckwheat, quinoa and rye.)
  • Nuts and seeds (reduce when pregnant and avoid peanuts). If previous children have nut allergies, then avoid all nuts and seeds and eat another source of omega-3 such as fish oils (free from heavy metals and toxins)
  • Pulses and beans
  • Vegetables and fruits: excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and trace elements – try to eat organic and soon after harvesting.
  • Unrefined oils
  • Fish, meat, milk and eggs. Organically grown where possible to limit the amount of xenoestrogens, which can alter the woman’s hormonal balance.

FYI – Apples (Pectin found in apples removes and protects the body from toxic build up)

B vitamins – special mention

Research has shown the link between diet low in folic acid and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.  Therefore it’s important to eat a diet rich in B vitamins, folic acid is a B vitamin. Low levels of B vitamins can be associated with nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy.

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beans and pulses
  • Yeast extract: Brewers yeast, Vegemite/marmite
  • Wholemeal bread

Essential Fatty Acids

These are very important for the development of the fetal nervous system and immune system. 70% of all EFAs go to the fetal brain.  Fats form the major part of the cell wall and are necessary for the absorption of trace elements and vitamins (A, E, D and K).

Vitamins & Minerals

  • A good quality multi-vitamin and-mineral supplement
  • Folic acid – deficiency has been linked to neural tube defects and low birth weight.
  • Low levels of B6 have been linked to low birth weight.
  • Selenium
  • Zinc deficiency:
    • In early pregnancy has been linked poor outcome of the pregnancy and low birth weight, miscarriage and congenital handicap
    • Linked to low sperm count

Those at risk

  • Smokers and alcohol drinkers
  • Pregnant women who have been pregnant before
  • Carrying twins
  • Medical conditions such as Crohn’s or celiac disease
  • Drugs e.g., contraceptive pill, penicillamine
  • Much emotional stress
  • Low protein diet with high levels of phytates (from whole grains) inhibit zinc absorption
  • Allergies to gluten or celiac disease

Herbs to balance Hormonal Function

Woman

  • Vitex: stimulates and balances female hormone:  helps the body to increase its own production of FSH & LH promoting ovulation
  • Wild yam: supports the proper function of uterus – helps build the uterus in preparation for conception
  • Chinese angelica: hormone balancing, tonic herb for reproductive system
  • Kelp: helps maintain normal thyroid function
  • Shatavari: a rejuvenative herb – sexual debility, infertility, balances hormones

Men

  • Panax ginseng: for weakness, insomnia, reduces stress – acts on the adrenal glands
  • Damiana: strengthens nervous and hormonal systems
  • Vitex: as above
  • Wild yam: balances hormones, hormone precursors, relaxant on urinary and reproductive tract
  • Saw palmetto: increase vitality, nourishes the reproductive system
  • Sarsaparilla: tonic for male reproductive organs

 Herbs to Increase Vitality

  • Panax ginseng: as above
  • Ashwagandha (for men): rejuvenative herb – for stress, chronic illness
  • Chinese angelica (for women): as above
  • Shatavari: as above
  • Rose:  relaxant, restoring effect on the nervous system
  • Ginger: warming properties stimulate circulation to peripheral areas, soothes indigestion, nausea, relieves painful menstruation and ovulation, invigorates the reproductive system

Herbs to reduce Stress

  • Rose: as above
  • Skullcap: nourishing tonic to the nervous system, rich in minerals
  • Vervain:  tonic to the nervous system, relieves anxiety, and lifts depression
  • Ginseng: as above
  • Lemon balm: relaxes spasm of the reproductive tract, relieves depression
  • Oats:  nutritious and vital to a healthy nervous system – stimulating and energy giving and at the same time relaxing

Herbs are natural drugs, seek a trained medical practitioner if you would like to use herbs during pregnancy.