Tells of the dis-eased body – part two
Written by Emma Lane
In the first part of this blog on dis-ease, I looked at how disease processes take 10 to 15 years to develop in the body, and how it communicates when the fundamental metabolic control systems are out of balance. Now I will turn my attention to some of the early warning signs to look out for.
The body’s early warning signs
Do you experience muscle cramps, shaking hands, eye twitches, tongue tremors or chocolate cravings? These are all indications that there may be a deficiency in magnesium.
Early symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include fatigue, irritability, insomnia and muscle tremors or twitching. Increase sources of magnesium in your diet by eating more fish, meat, seafood, almonds, cashews, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, brown rice and green leafy vegetables, or utilise a good supplement such as those that can be found on holisticsonline.com/vitamins-and-minerals/minerals.
Do you notice a chicken skin-like texture and appearance on the back of the upper arms? This is known as Keratosis pilaris, a very common genetic follicular disease that produces rough bumps on the skin that look like chicken skin. Primarily, it appears on the back and outer sides of the upper arms, but can also occur on the thighs and buttocks or any part of the body except for the palms and soles.
Keratosis pilaris is affected by the level of fatty acids in the diet, especially vitamin A, so adding essential fatty acids (EFA) into the diet will help. You can increase them in your diet by including more oily fish, apricots, barley grass, butter, carrots, fish liver oils (cod, salmon and halibut), green leafy vegetables, liver, mint and egg yolk.
Again, a good supplement could also be incorporated – examples can be found here.
Are you prone to bruising easily or to getting infections, or do you have periodontal problems? These are indicators of vitamin C and possibly bioflavonoids insufficiency.
The reason why many people bruise easily is that their capillaries are too fragile and essentially are easily torn.
Periodontal (gum) problems are a symptom of vitamin C deficiency. One of the best ways to ensure that your capillaries remain strong and flexible is to make sure you have an excellent source of bioflavonoids in your diet.
Increasing these dietary sources of vitamin C and bioflavonoids in your diet will assist your capillaries. Broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, dark-coloured berries, citrus and peel, dark leafy greens, garlic, and onions are all good sources. Again you can also add in a good quality supplement; examples can be found on holisticsonline.com/antioxidants.
Look and listen – your body is calling
A more serious indication is finding a diagonal crease on your earlobe as this may indicate that you are susceptible to cardiovascular disease. At least 30 different studies have shown that a diagonal crease across the earlobe is a highly accurate sign of increased risk for heart attack.
Typically, the presence of a crease across one earlobe was associated with a 33% increase in the risk of heart attack and this rose to 77% if both earlobes were creased. Chronic circulatory problems cause the blood vessels in the fleshy part of the earlobe to collapse, this then causes swelling of the tissue and creates a crease in the earlobe. In fact, in most people, a diagonal earlobe crease is a more accurate predictor of sudden death from heart attack than age, smoking, weight, high cholesterol, or lifestyle factors.
If you find an ear crease, then it would be wise to visit your doctor for a check-up and guidance. If you wear earrings, this can also create creases when you initially take them out.
Looking in the mirror for more early warning signs
The tongue and face can be very helpful in supplying information regarding your internal health. As a naturopath, I use all the tools at my disposal to gather the information that will help me understand what is out of balance for my patients. The tongue has many relationships and connections in the body, both of the meridians and the internal organs; it is, therefore, beneficial and vital for gathering valuable information as it can present strong visual indicators of a person’s overall harmony or disharmony.
The tongue is inside the mouth; however, it is one of the few places where we can see the state of the internal organs – but on the outside of the body.
Everyone’s tongue is different – like fingerprints, the colour, shape, moisture, movement, coating and areas of the tongue are all important.
What is your tongue telling you?
A healthy tongue should be a pale red/pink colour, reasonably moist, fit snugly into the mouth and have a thin white coating. There should be no lines, cracks or slices; the papillae are minimal (these are the red looking spots on the tongue). It has a look of aliveness, is supple (not stiff) and there should be no movement such as quivering, trembling, side-to-side motion, curling or shifting to one side.
Do you have short or long horizontal cracks or transverse cracks on the sides or the tip of the tongue? What about a very deep ventral crack with other smaller cracks on the surface of your tongue? These indicate a vitamin B deficiency, therefore, look again to your diet and make sure you are getting a variety of the following foods: poultry, liver, fish, shellfish, eggs, whole grains, potatoes, beans and lentils. Green leafy vegetables are particularly high in folate (vitamin B9). Again visit holisticsonline to find quality B vitamin Supplements.
The tongue terrain
Each area of the tongue corresponds to a different organ in the body. The rear of the tongue shows the functioning of organs in the lower body – bladder, kidney and intestines; the middle area of the tongue shows the organs that are in the middle area of the body – stomach, spleen, liver and gall bladder, whilst the tip represents the organs higher up – the heart and lungs. So if you notice differences in colour or texture in certain areas on the tongue surface, it may indicate there is a corresponding concern with the related organ.
Health information at your fingertips
Fingernails can also be a potent indicator of a person’s:
- Nutritional status
- Medical history
- Overall vitality
- Poor absorption
- Cardiovascular function
- Rheumatic conditions
So it’s helpful to keep an eye on your nails and any changes that you notice could give you a valuable warning that something is not in balance and needs your attention.
Don’t ignore the body’s messages
The body is continuously in communication with you; the question is, are
you listening? Or when you get a headache do you just reach for the painkillers and not take the time to figure out why you are getting headaches? Remember a headache is just a symptom, and the body is saying, “Hello, I have a problem here – can you help sort it out?” So ask yourself what’s possibly contributing to the cause.
It could be because of:
- Too much coffee
- Low blood sugar
- Too much screen time
- Poor posture or ergonomics
- Eyesight issues
- Lack of rest/sleep
- Hormonal imbalances
All of the above are common causes of headaches; therefore you will benefit from making appropriate changes so that you are supporting your body rather than continually pushing it out of balance, for example by not being hydrated, choosing to eat foods that don’t support your biochemistry or not eating on a consistent basis to keep your blood sugars balanced.
By becoming more attuned to your body and taking the time to observe and listen to it, you will develop a powerful awareness of your inner health which in turn will continuously help you achieve ongoing optimal wellbeing, creating great protection against disease and illness. The more engaged you become with your own health and the more vigilant you are about identifying anything different or abnormal about your body state and function, the better wellbeing and experience of life you can have.