MIND BODY CONNECTION

During the 21 day Elimination Diet, we ask clients to look at what areas of their lives other than food, require eliminating. Stress is a massive one, as it has a direct impact on gut health. The link between Anxiety and IBS is no secret. It's probably the easiest way to understand the gut-brain connection. When you consider that 90% of serotonin - the happy neurotransmitter - is produced in the gut, and transported to the brain by the vagus nerve, it stands to reason that when we experience stress, our bodies produce more cortisol - our stress hormone - upsetting the balance of good bacteria in the gut, thereby impacting the production of serotonin.

Consider the areas of your life that cause you stress.

Perhaps it's your morning commute.

Perhaps it's the work that you are doing.

Or the relationships, intimate as well as platonic or professional, which may be which may be affecting you. 

Is there anything that you can change to ease the pressure, and reduce the load?

Practice Gratitude

One strategy that often reaps huge rewards, but requires minimum effort, is to develop a sense of gratitude. While it’s easy to complain, it is just as easy to find 5 minutes to sit down, put pen to paper, and focus on the positive things that are happening around you, and to you, each day.  This practice has been shown to improve mood via the formation of new neural pathways, that are programmed to perceive good. It makes a difference to overall stress, depression, and anxiety levels. It's also an exercise in mindfulness, and training your brain to focus.

The knock-on effect is that it can help facilitate the healing of the gut by making you less likely to feel overwhelmed, thereby reducing your levels of cortisol, and upping your levels of serotonin. You're also more likely to choose more healing foods, and less likely to reach for the gut-health baddies.

The Mind-Body Connection

As you can see, this mind-body approach can powerfully impact your biochemistry, by focusing on the restoration of the powerhouse of your body.  When you understand that the body's systems work in concert together - brain impacting gut, gut impacting brain - you are then in a position to take action from a place of knowledge. All areas of your health - from your skin, to your mood, to your weight, to your energy, to even your relationships - are bound to notice the benefits.

Heal Your Gut Heal Your Life

If you have suffered from digestive issues, like leaky gut, colitis, acid reflux, food allergies, and any of the symptoms under the broad term, IBS, then you you've come to the right place, if you want to learn how to repair your damaged digestive system.

SEEMINGLY UNRELATED SYMPTOMS

The thing to remember about a damaged gut lining, is that symptoms can go beyond digestive related ones, and can often show up as:

  1. Skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, or allergies
  2. Mental health issues, like poor memory, low mood, irritability or anxiety
  3. Hormonal imbalances in the form of headaches, tender breasts, irregular or heavy periods
  4. Low immunity and frequent colds and flu or hay fever

WhAT CAN DAMAGE THE GUT

While you focus on repairing your digestion, take a moment to consider if you have taken any of the following regularly:

  • Antacids
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Painkillers
  • Antidepressants
  • The contraceptive pill

These prescription and non-prescription medications can disrupt the ecosystem of good bacteria that dwell in your gut.  This disruption, or dysbiosis, creates inflammation and permeability of the gut lining, and most commonly shows up as acid reflux, bloating, constipation, diarroehea, nausea, or even vomitting.

If you're also consuming a diet that is rich in sugar, caffeine, alcohol, soda, processed foods, and starchy foods like rice, potatoes, pasta, pizza, donuts, biscuits, muffins, are all damaging to gut health. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO from a nutrition perspective

In addition to adding healing foods like bone broth, when we work with clients, we often recommend a 21 day Elimination Diet, to kick start their healing, and to also identify trigger foods.

For example, it is well documented that skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, eczema or rosacea, can clear up when dairy and gluten are removed from the diet.

 

 

High Intensity Interval Training Protects Brain Aging

The human brain has approximately 900 billion neurons (nerve cells). We lose an estimated 9,000 neurons daily from our early twenties.

This process is accelerated by injury, stress, toxins, and inflammation.

However, there is hope! Neuroplasticity allows the brain to reorganise and compensate for the loss of neurons by forming new neural connections.

There is mounting evidence indicating that enhanced neuroplasticity can delay age-related brain degeneration and stave off dementia.

Last week, our very own Dr Nathan Curran, raved about the magic of Neuroplasticity, and the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on producing Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is, in essence, regenerating brain cells.

Oxygenation to the brain from exercise is a one of the simplest ways to reclaim your brain, and keep it young and supple.

If you sit all day, remember that as little as 7 minutes of HIIT are enough to feel benefits for up to 2 weeks!

Thrive in the City Thank You

A huge thank you to all our wonderful guests at last week's 'Thrive in the City' event at WeWork, Devonshire Square.  And a special thank you to the lovely folks at Planet Organic, Devonshire Square for sponsoring the event.  It was a fantastic evening and one with lots of interesting insights and take-aways. More photos are on our Facebook page.
 

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Key take-aways:

  • The health of our gut and our brain are inextricably linked due to the production of neurotransmitters in our gut and the huge concentration of nerve endings in our digestive system.  If you've ever had butterflies when you're nervous, then you've experienced this link.

It works both ways, so if you regularly feel stressed and anxious, then your digestive system and balance of gut microflora will be negatively affected. 

In turn, poor digestive function and an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in your gut, can lead you to produce lower levels of feel-good neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, creating a negative cycle.

  • 80% of all ill health is lifestyle related so how healthy we feel is a direct consequence of the diet and lifestyle choices we make.
     
  • We can retrain our brains to improve our cognitive function (remember where your keys were, have quicker reflexes and be sharper at work) and to feel happier and more motivated.
     
  • We can rebalance our gut both through retraining our brains and through eating whole unprocessed foods.

Top Nutrition & Lifestyle hacks to reclaim your brain and balance your gut:

1. Stay hydrated - Drink 500ml water on waking and before every meal to maintain your energy levels and control your appetite. Swap your coffee for green tea for higher polyphenols and a more balanced high.

2. Follow the 80/20 rule - Keep your diet 80% unprocessed foods and eat and cook foods as they appear in nature.  Eat whole fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, wild fish, organic cuts of meat and then 20% of the time eat whatever you fancy, however naughty! Eating this way feeds your healthy gut bacteria and balances your blood sugar levels, minimizing stress on the body.

3. Include essential fats in every meal - They are 'essential' because you can't make them in your body so you need to get these from your diet. Your brain is also 60% fat so these fats are key to good brain function. Have nuts, seeds and nut butters daily and eat oily fish 2-3 times a week. If you're vegan walnuts, flax and chia seeds are particularly rich in omega 3s. Stock your desk with raw unsalted nuts and carry a pot of them in your bag to snack on between meals.

4. Get your heart pumping - Research shows that high intensity HIIT training helps improve brain function, lengthens life and helps keep your metabolism fired up. 7 minutes training a day is sufficient to make a difference, so do 7 to 30 minutes exercise a day that includes some HIIT training, 5-6 days a week. Always have a day off and avoid intense exercise late in the evening, as it disrupts sleep.

5. Get some sunlight early in the day - Let the sun hit your eyes early in the day to regulate your circadian (energy) rhythms. Do this before you look at your phone or computer.

6. Power down in the evening - Download flux for your devices and try and turn off your phone and laptop 45-60mins before bed time to help your brain switch off. Also avoid eating 2-3 hours before bedtime so your digestive process can happen properly.

7. Have a few mindful minutes everyday - Your commute is a great place to practice switching off at the start and end of your day.  Put your headphones in and start to calm your mind. An easy way to do this is to count your breaths, breathe in to a count of five, hold for a count of six, breath out for a count of seven.

The secret is in making the exhalation longer than the inhalation, as this allows the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in to gear, which dampens the stress response. 

Do this for a couple of minutes and you'll reduce your stress hormone (cortisol) levels and have a more relaxed and peaceful day.

Melatonin: The Pathway to Better Sleep

Melatonin is the hormone we need for sleep. We need Melatonin to repair, restore and rebuild. If we understand how our body's biochemistry works, there are nutritional strategies to support production of melatonin and we're going to break it down in 5 easy steps.

1. Melatonin production is supported by the "happy hormone", Serotonin.

2. 90% of serotonin is produced in the digestive system, aka your gut.

3. Production of Serotonin is preceeded by production of Tryptophan.

4. One of the easiest ways to increase your Tryptophan production is eating foods like turkey.

5. To help convert Tryptophan into Serotonin, eat foods rich in Vitamin B6, found in fish or organ meats like liver, and fruits like watermelon.

http://www.drbenlynch.com/melatonin-for-sleep/

Nourishing Your Spirit is as Important as Nourishing Your Body

We're big believers in finding your mission in life. It doesn't matter what it is, as long as it nurtures your body and your spirit.

Very often, clients come to us who are depleted and suffering from symptoms of burn out.

They struggle to get out of bed no matter how many hours sleep they get, or they've been diagnosed as depressed.

The environment we're in - whether that's a relationship or a job we're less than enamoured by, or even a hectic city with poor quality air, or congested transport systems - can weigh on us emotionally and physically.

It's important to nourish our bodies with good quality healing foods, but it's just as important to nourish our spirits by engaging in activities and people who bring us joy.

Sometimes, making a decision to do more things that bring us joy, like changing jobs or moving away from the people who deplete us, can wake us up again so that we feel motivated, energised and inspired to fully engage with being alive.

Be at the Top of Your Game

It's probably been the hottest week of the year, which is great for enjoying the tennis!
Tennis is one of those sports that require tremendous physical and psychological resilience. 

Whoever you're rooting for at #Wimbledon this weekend, know that they've dedicated time to taking care of their whole selves, and they've got a great team around them helping them be their best. 

You may not be a superstar tennis player, but the demands of your life require you to be on top of your game.  A Functional Medicine approach can get you there, and help you stay there. 

Event: Thrive in the City

Feel better, look better, and live better - from the inside out!

Well Works brings a holistic approach to your health, by examining your genetics, digestion, hormones, family history, and current lifestyle, before creating your very own UNIQUE nutrition and lifestyle plan.


On Wednesday 26th July, 2017 between 6pm - 8pm, come meet us at WeWork Devonshire Square and learn how Functional Medicine can change your life.

You'll also have a chance to win one of these prizes:

- A DNA testing kit
- A vitamin infusion with our Medical Doctor
- A session with our Nutritional Therapist
- A spinal assessment with our Osteopath
- A stress-busting session with our Health Coach

To feel your best and be your best, come and meet our expert clinicians, for a panel discussion in the City of London.

Gain exclusive nutrition and mindset hacks, to reduce and prevent:

- Insomnia
- Anxiety
- Low energy
- Low immunity
- Mood swings
- Allergies and Hay Fever
- Asthma
- IBS
- Acne
- Eczema
- Food intolerances
- Frequent colds and flus

Doors open at 5:30 pm, for a 6:00 pm start.

Liverpool Street is the nearest tube station.

Tickets are only £10.00, INCLUDING the Eventbrite booking fee.

FREE HEALTH ASSESSMENT

Click here to take a quick FREE health assessment so you can get started by knowing your health score.

To receive regular health tips, follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wellworksuk/

Learn how a Functional Medicine approach can help you avoid burn-out, and work with your body, rather than against it.

Well Works gives you the tools you need, so that you can switch gears - from surviving to thriving!

Do What You Love

When we consider that the majority of our lives are spent either working or sleeping, it's only logical that the work we choose to do should make us happy. However, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut doing something that feels like a struggle.

This article in Psychology Today - "Bad Jobs Hurt Your Health by the Time You're 40" - shows us how the struggle of doing something we don't love can have a detrimental impact on our mental wellbeing.

So we have a choice - either we stay where we are, or start thinking about what we would love to do, and what the next steps are to making that happen, so we can live each day with purpose, energy, and joy.

Growth Mindset

What's the difference between someone who succeeds and someone who perceives failure? A growth mindset.

Learning from "mistakes" is one of the key components of progressing through life gracefully.

I'm not saying it's easy, but the next time something doesn't go according to plan - pause - and look at what it has taught you.

Then resolve to learn the lesson quickly, so you can move through life, wiser from the experience.

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Are your current goals and actions aligned with your vision

It's the start of the last week of June, marking the end of the first half of the year.  No doubt you've set many goals for 2017, and now is a good time to review your progress.

Are your plans and actions for the second half of the year aligned with the overall vision you had in mind at the start of the year?

Ask yourself:

  • What do you need to do in order to accomplish what you set out to achieve?
  • What has been holding you back?
  • How do you see yourself getting past that barrier?
  • What small steps can you take this week that will take you further along the road to success?
  • Where have you been successful in the past when faced with a similar challenge or situation?

 

Self-care

If being busy is the norm for you, as it is for most of us, it's really important for us to schedule down time, and usually Sundays are a good day for contemplation, reflection, rest, and relaxation.

It's also a good time to think about your plans for the week.

Often, we can get caught up in thinking about all that we need to do.

How about thinking instead "What do I want to feel?"

Maybe, you want more energy? Maybe you want to feel happier? Maybe you want to feel secure? Maybe you want to feel focused? Maybe you want to feel calm as you go through your week?

Whatever you want to feel, focus on that, and then make your list of actions what you need to do, in order to get there.

Happy Sunday!

TGIF - NudgeYourself.Com

We are loving the wellness app Nudgeyourself.com.

It's great for tracking your sleep, activity, nutrition and hydration! And it syncs with any wearable device!

Download it for FREE today!

Use it for a week, get your health score which will show you where you are doing well, and where you can improve on across the spectrium of Nutrition, Hydration, Activity, and Sleep.

Move More

Now that summer is officially here, it's a great time to get outside, and take time away from your desk. Make today the day you resolve to move more, whether that's getting off a stop earlier on the tube, and walking an extra 10 minutes, or taking a full lunch hour to walk outside, there's no effort too small to get you just a little bit more active.

You'll boost oxygenation to your brain, making you more focused, productive, creative, and solution-focused. Not to mention, you'll get your body moving, strengthening and toning your heart and your muscles!

Wellness Wednesday

We can get so caught up in the busy-ness of modern life - the hamster wheel - that we often forget why we're doing what we're doing.

We may even make some not-so-healthy choices, opting to skip a workout, reach for the donuts, biscuits or pizza, and have that bottle of wine.

But if we set goals, and surround ourselves with a network of people who support those goals, then we are more likely to stick to them and feel better, look better and live better.

 

The Gut-Brain Connection

A lot of people start their days with cereal or oats or toast.  But did you know that those carbohydrates are probably the least beneficial way to balance your energy and your mood throughout the day?

Start your day with good fats and protein, like eggs and avocado, to nourish your brain and keep your energy and mood on an even keel.  In spite of the recent press around avoiding saturated fats, there is a lot of research which supports the necessity for good fats, such as omega 3s, to support the brain, heart, and reduce inflammation.

With good fats and protein, you're less likely to suffer from mood swings, which means you're more likely to stay friends with your co-workers! 

 

Eat Your Water

The mercury rarely reaches 30 degrees in the UK but when it does, it's more important than ever to stay hydrated.

As little as a 2 - 3 % drop in hydration can impair your attention, and decision making. We need water to lubricate joints, to metabolize proteins, to insulate the brain, spinal chord and organs. And it's needed to flush toxins from the body.

But, if guzzling 6 - 8 glasses is too much for you, remember, you can eat your water through fruits and vegetables, as well as drink it!

Healthy aging

Here is Dr David Perlmutter's lecture on healthy aging for brain health.

He is a Functional Medicine Neurologist and his talk is on reversing cognitive decline, i.e. neuro-degenerative conditions like Alzheimer's, and Dementia, through lifestyle - particularly around exercise, and food.

This lecture is a brilliant introduction into the world of neuroplasticity - our brains don't stop developing when we reach adulthood.

In fact, the brain is constantly evolving and responding to how active we are, the thoughts we think, and even the food we eat!

As much as 90% of our serotonin (neurotransmitter for happiness) is produced in our gut! GABA, Dopamine, Norepinephrine and many more vital neurotransmitters are also produced in the gut, and transported to the brain.

If our gut health is impaired, it's likely to impact our brain health, and vice versa!

Managing digital technology

Our smartphones, while amazing in many ways, facilitate “always on” culture, and the expectation that people have to respond to emails, texts, voice messages and even phone calls immediately.

The relentless competition for my attention can be psychologically exhausting and detrimental for creativity and focus, as this article appropriately titled "A day In the life of Scott, hopelessly distracted office worker" by James Hewitt for the World Economic Forum, has pointed out.

The solution, which I’ve already begun implementing, is quarantining social media time on our phones and laptops.  It is working wonders on my focus, my creativity, my productivity, and my mood.

“Simply quarantining e-mail (whatsapp, FaceTime, phone calls) within shorter periods, rather than interweaving it throughout the day, is associated with a number of benefits.

A recent study found that checking e-mail 3 times per day, as opposed to as often as we can, is associated with less stress and improved physical and psychological wellbeing.

Our technology can be powerful and effective, but it is a double-edged sword.

We need to learn to wield it carefully, with great skill, as part of a mindful consideration of our working patterns, which many of us have not been doing.

The same knowledge workers who need to nurture their capacity to focus, solve complex problems and be creative, are the most at risk of the fractured attention that destroys the pathway to value generation and fulfillment.”