The nutrition & lifestyle coach

Fiona offers consultations in both Optimal Health and Sports Nutrition…

What is healthy digestion? Healthy digestion requires adequate chewing to allow stomach acid and digestive enzymes to chemically break down food particles small enough to pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream. Adequate elimination of toxins, as well as excess hormonal metabolites e.g. cholesterol, is also part of healthy digestion. Healthy digestion additionally involves feeding the beneficial bacteria, which live in our digestive systems, which manufacture various vitamins and play a huge role in supporting our immune systems.

Other than gastrointestinal symptoms, what other effects can bad digestion have on our bodies and lives? As healthy digestion is key to optimum well-being any imbalances in the digestive system can have an impact on almost all aspects of health including skin, cardiovascular, hormonal, mental and immune health. Often people do not make the connection between their symptoms and that it may be an issue with an underperforming digestive system. As the digestive system plays the most important first line defence for the immune system, supporting it is key to optimum health.

Can this be treated through diet alone, or are there any other lifestyle changes that can help? In addition to diet and appropriate nutritional support, addressing stress levels is equally important for digestive health. Lifestyle management techniques that lower breathing rate e.g. meditation or any activity where a sense of calm is achieved can be particularly helpful. Also identifying triggers that exacerbate symptoms, which may involve removing specific food groups for a period of time, may be essential for allowing the body to heal.

Fiona Brenninkmeijer is based in London, Tunbridge Wells and is also available for home visits by appointment. For more information visit or call 07980 611668.


The specialist for Integrated Medicine

Christine is a homeopathic physician and medical acupuncturist…

What is Candida and how does it affect our digestion? Fungal related disease and specifically Candidiasis is common and often triggered by frequent consumption of antibiotics and refined carbohydrates. Candida albicans constitutes one of the yeasts, which are found in small amounts in even a healthy bowel. Antibiotic use destroys harmful and beneficial gut bacteria, creating space for an overgrowth of yeast in the bowel. Refined carbohydrates like sugar let them thrive. This aggressive activity creates damage in the gut lining and the fine filter mechanism of the bowel becomes compromised. Enlarged holes or ‘leaky gut’, allows incompletely digested food to enter the blood circulation. These particles mimic natural cytokines leading to migraines, asthma, eczema, arthritis etc, and natural hormones causing mood swings, fluid retention, bloating and weight gain.

What are the symptoms of yeast overgrowth? Symptoms include the following: chronic fatigue, generalised malaise, gastrointestinal complaints (bloating, wind, diarrhoea), IBS, food intolerances, recurrent infections, allergies, skin problems, decreased concentration or ‘brain fog’, depression, irritability, craving for sweets or carbohydrates, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) symptoms, migraine, arthritis, asthma, obesity, reduced alcohol intolerance.

How can this be treated naturally? Candidiasis can be successfully treated naturally with a combination of a herbal anti-fungal medicine, a homeopathic organ support made up of natural remedies to support liver, pancreas and kidneys to deal with the ‘die off’ effects of the fungus, a probiotic to recolonise the gut with healthy bacteria, and a diet avoiding sugars, yeasts and fermented foods.

Christine is based at Rose Cottage Homeopathic Clinic near Maidstone. To book an appointment visit her website or call 01622 741086.


The Ayurvedic doctor

Dr Asmita Jani deals with a huge variety of clients and patients…

What are the principles behind Ayurveda? Ayurveda is a very sophisticated medical science and emphasises the need to prevent illness and maintain health. The main principle is about having a life of balance. This can be achieved through understanding our own body type or ‘Prakriti’ (wrongly described as dossier in the West!). The healthy function of the body’s numerous processes is governed by three physiological energies briefly categorised as Vata (air and ether), which determine activity-motion, mobility and breathing; Pitta (fire and moisture) which governs metabolism, intellect and immunity; and Kapha (water and earth) which oversees growth, reproduction, water and fat metabolism.

What other factors should be taken into consideration? Ayurveda recommends that we should select our well balanced fresh and nutritious diet according to our body type, digestive capacity, age, medical condition, and our imbalances (Doshas). Regular appropriate fasting is also advisable for good health and preventing illness. We should eat regularly at the right time according to our bio-rhythms, with a pleasant mood, concentration on our food and chewing well. Do not rush when eating or completely fill the stomach. Avoid a noisy or negative atmosphere and negative emotions particularly anger, distress or jealousy, as this changes the potency and quality of the digested food in the body and influences the brain, liver and heart function.

When seeing a new client what are you assessing and how do you help them? It is important to establish the client’s trust in Ayurveda. Once I have established their needs, state of mind and emotions, I take their full medical and social history and assess their body type with them, sharing the characteristics applying to them: their diet, habits, lifestyle issues. I work out a plan for them to restore balance and achieve a disease-free body with enhanced energy and clarity of mind. I may also recommend Ayurvedic herbal remedies according to the condition.

Asmita is also trained in traditional Panchakarma and offers an Ayurvedic cookery course. For more information and to book an appointment call 01273 298286, email or visit

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