Archive for March, 2009

Eating For The Sake of Energy

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

So, you feel too tired to do much more than read this article; there’s no need to feel alone. Doctors tell us that up 85% of their patients who visit for any reason also complain of being chronically tired. It seems that we are in the middle of an energy crisis that has nothing to do with motor fuel!

When we talk about energy we are talking about the feeling of being energetic, not about survival. We want to have the energy to dream and then have the energy to live those dreams. We want to feel our best every day. Is that possible?

Energy comes from the way your body burns nutrients such as fats, protein and carbohydrates. These nutrients must be metabolized to produce any energy. Proper metabolism requires a balanced intake of these nutrients.

A balanced diet must include:

  • 7 to 9 servings of fruit and vegetables (for adults)
  • 30+ grams of high quality protein
  • 20 to 35 grams of fiber

Sugars from the foods you eat provide ready energy, but it doesn’t last very long. Proteins are converted to energy at a much slower pace and provide a more stable supply of energy - five times more than sugar.

However, fat is the recognized champion when it comes to providing energy, and it provides us with stamina. Fat burns slowly and steadily up to eight times longer than sugar.  So for stamina that lasts all day and into the evening hours, you want to select foods high in “good” fats.

Many experts suggest getting as much as 30% of your total calories per day from fat. This may mean more than 70 grams of fat for a 2,200 calorie per day diet. That’s a lot of fat! But, I didn’t say French fries! You see, all foods contain fat. So, select “good” fats from foods that are known for high energy, such as:

  1. Nuts
  2. Seeds
  3. Olives
  4. Avocados (guacamole)
  5. Fatty fish

All foods (including vegetables and legumes) contain some fat.

Fuel your metabolism by eating high-energy foods, and include at least 30 minutes of exercising most days of the week.  Start with a healthy breakfast and, above all, be crystal-clear about your reasons for wanting more energy. Follow these simple steps to feel your best every day!

Take Charge of Your Health

  • Include these good fats in your diet:
    • Mono- and poly-unsaturated oils (e.g. olive and sesame)
    • Nuts - be sure they are not rancid (spoiled)
    • Fish - salmon, halibut, tuna and other cold-water fish
    • Olives - a whole-food source of olive oil and Vitamin E
    • Avocado - nutritious and filled with antioxidants
  • Avoid the bad fats:
    • Trans fats
    • Hydrogenated fats
    • Saturated fats: a little is OK but never over 20% DV (Daily Value)
  • Take your supplements:

Do Skin Disorders Give Us A Message?

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Beautiful skin is really a reflection of inner health. Healthy habits are the begining of good health. This is a natural law.

Friends and enemies
Free radicals are your skin’s enemies. These naturally occurring inflammatory substances  can overwhelm and harm your skin.  The result can be looser, weaker, less elastic and drier skin. Remember this important point. When collagen and fat loss is making your skin look bad, it is also aging your entire body.

Your skin is like a battlefield between free radical damage and nutrients supporting healthy skin. Trauma, toxins, deficiency and stress all create free radicals. Antioxidants from your diet and dietary supplements can neutralize free radicals.  Skin disorders can begin when nutrient reserves fail. The most common skin disorders include eczema, psoriasis and seborrhea dermatitis.

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Dental Health And The Heart Connection

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Coronary artery disease (CAD) usually progresses slowly over many years. The first sign of CAD is often a fatal heart attack. Because CAD is silent, it becomes imperative to practice preventive medicine such as testing for C-reactive protein (CRP), as well as blood pressure and cholesterol. However, another form of heart disease progresses quite rapidly. It is called “single-artery disease.”

Single artery disease clogs a single artery while all or most other blood vessels remain clean. It can happen when injury or infection creates inflammation in the absence of disease:

  • Dental infection: One of the most common bacteria comes from a dental infection. Bacteria from inflamed gums can escape into the bloodstream and attack a single blood vessel in or near the heart.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation in the gums attracts white blood cells by means of protein messengers called cytokines. Some of these messengers leak into the bloodstream and attract white blood cells. White blood cells infiltrate the infected area because of the messenger cytokines. Cytokines that leak into the bloodstream and enter the heart may send the wrong message. It may also result in white blood cells attacking an artery in the heart. This is the beginning of single artery disease: white blood cells attracted by cytokines penetrate a single artery in the heart and cause blockage.

Smoking increases the number of bacteria in the mouth and causes LDL cholesterol to become stickier. This bad habit also increases inflammation in the entire body. Bacteria, LDL and inflammation make for a lethal combination for CAD and single artery disease.

Mental illness comes in a variety of different forms: from anxiety and bipolar disorder to depression, schizophrenia and beyond. Among the common manifestations of these disorders is lack of attention to dental care. Irregular brushing and flossing will lead to a buildup of potentially lethal bacteria. As a result, cardiovascular disease is a common companion of mental illness.

Other aspects of personal care suffer from this same inattentiveness, including diet, exercise and rest. As you know, these habits are foundations for physical and mental health. Without these essentials in place, the health spirals downward and heart failure is one of many possibilities.

It seems that illnesses such as CAD and heart failure are much more complex than we ever imagined. Emotional distress, dental neglect, smoking and inflammation may all combine to create vascular disease. Constant attention to the 10 Essentials of Health and Wellness and normal biological needs like dental care can help us avoid many triggers for CAD and heart failure.

Essential #4 concerns nutrients that every body needs. Essential fatty acids like those found in OmegaPrime can help protect against inflammation. Vitamin C can also help reduce inflammation by cooling oxidative stress and Sublingual B-12  / HCY Guard helps reduce inflammatory homocysteine. I especially like Adaptogen 10 Plus because it helps reduce the impact of stress while providing antioxidant protection. Nutrients and nurturing – including proper dental care – give us the best foundation for a life of meaning and purpose.

Practice Prevention To Improve Your Heart Health

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Each year about 700,000 North American’s die from heart attacks. Blood clots caused by coronary artery disease (CAD) are the most common cause of heart attacks. However, as bad as CAD is, heart attacks from narrow arteries and blood clots are not the only conditions that cause heart disease. Many heart diseases exist and are preventable with only a little care.

Some common conditions are:

High blood pressure
The most common cause of heart disease in North America is high blood pressure; it affects 73 million people in just the United States. High blood pressure may be caused by:

  • Disease in the blood vessels causing them to narrow
  • Imbalances in the kidneys, lungs and liver
  • Cardiomyopathy – a disease of the heart muscle

Helpful measures: Keys to reducing high blood pressure are found in the 10 Essentials“. Some people can reduce their high blood pressure simply by practicing deep breathing. Other techniques include increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, and increasing fiber and water while reducing sodium.

Coronary artery disease (CAD)
CAD occurs when plaque builds up inside a blood vessel of the heart. It affects over 16 million people in the U.S.  Coronary artery disease leads to angina pectoris – pain caused by poor blood flow to the heart muscles – and is associated with heart attack.

Helpful measures: Coronary artery disease responds well to a low-fat, high-fiber diet of mainly fruits and vegetables. Stress reduction and daily exercise are also effective therapies in combating CAD. Most heart specialists recommend Omega-3 oils such as those in OmegaPrime as effective tools in combating CAD.

Congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure (CHF) and related forms of heart failure may affect more than five million people in North America. CHF is strongly related to diabetes and obesity. Among the most common triggers is obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea builds up blood pressure in an attempt to get oxygen to critical tissues such as the heart and brain.

Helpful measures: Most people with CHF respond to treatment for sleep apnea, treatment with CoEnzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10), and the other suggestions already mentioned.

Some common remedies:

Body weight and blood sugar control
Achieving and maintaining optimum body weight and blood sugar control are two suggestions that always top the list of remedies for all forms of heart disease. The LeanOlogy program can help you meet those objectives. Leanology is much more than a “diet plan” – it helps you make the necessary lifestyle adjustments through nutrition and activity to help you reach and maintain a healthier weight.

Nutrients

  • OmegaPrime can help reduce the “stickiness” of blood to protect against clots and may slow down the process of plaque formation. One or two grams are enough to help protect against heart disease, but much more is needed if the heart is already diseased.
  • CoQ-10 offers significant benefits to the heart. It should be taken at bedtime to reduce the impact of sleep apnea on the heart and brain.
  • Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and resveratrol (found in Super Antioxidant Complex) are also best taken at night, then again in the morning.
  • Special proteins found in garlic and other antioxidants such as bilberry (found in VisionGuard) can help improve lipids such as cholesterol while opening the tiniest blood vessels in the legs, hands, eyes, ears and brain.

When we consider all options, many of the problems with heart disease can be guarded against or even solved with the tools we have readily at hand (always follow the advice of your healthcare provider for your personal condition).  Do one’s emotions have an impact on heart health?  Perhaps, the “10 Essentials” can assist us here as well?

Is Your Diet Nutrient Rich?

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Our bodies make millions of new cells every day: heart cells, brain cells, bone and blood cells. Every time a cell dies it should be replaced. If you do not have the right amount of nutrients to construct a new cell you will either make an incomplete cell or none at all. The outcome is bad in either case, so we really need to keep all nutrients on board at all times. This is why we suggest a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement. This helps ensure we stay on top of our nutrient reserve.

Supplements
The word supplement means to add more – to make up for a deficiency. Vitamin and mineral supplements should be taken in addition to a healthy diet. They make up for the deficiency we face due to the poor nutrient density in our foods. Supplements also help make up the difference when our diet is less than perfect.

The simplest way to help support your nutrition is to take a general multi-vitamin and mineral supplement that provides a broad range of nutrients at standard nutritional levels. However, please remember the following points:

  1. Some supplements contain very high doses of certain nutrients. When you take nutrients in extremely high doses, you are no longer in the world of nutritional supplementation and have passed into the riskier world of “megadose” treatment.
  2. Calcium and magnesium are very bulky minerals, and few multi-vitamin/mineral supplements provide the daily requirement. These minerals generally must be taken in the form of additional pills. Note: It isn’t possible for your body to absorb a day’s worth of calcium in a single dose. At least two doses are necessary.

Common nutritional deficiencies:

Calcium Helps with bone density, muscle contraction and digestion
Chromium Helps with blood sugar control
Magnesium Helps protect against high blood pressure, kidney stones and migraine headaches
Vitamin C Helps with detoxification, immune system health and connective tissue
Vitamin D Involved in bone and skin health and helps protect against diabetes and obesity
Zinc Helps protect against acne, ADD/ADHD, the common cold and macular degeneration

Very few of us are so deficient in these nutrients as to show symptoms of obvious malnutrition. However, subtle deficiencies may increase the risk for a variety of conditions. For example, insufficient intake of calcium and Vitamin D may increase your chances of developing osteoporosis, and inadequate folate and Vitamin B-6 may speed the development of heart disease.

Besides vitamins and minerals, intake of essential omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is often inadequate.

A plan for everyone
Finally, keep in mind that food contains many substances other than vitamins and minerals that may enhance your health.

Supplements won’t overcome bad dietary choices. We simply must commit ourselves to eating more fruits and vegetables. However, the reality of life is that we don’t always attend to our diet perfectly. So, appropriate nutrient supplementation can help make up for the deficiency we face because of poor nutrient density in our foods and an imperfect diet.

 

Take Charge of Your Health

  • Eat the appropriate amount of fruits/vegetables daily:
    • Children: 5 servings
    • Women: 7 servings
    • Men: 9 servings
  • Focus on organic whenever possible
  • Eat high quality protein daily (34 to 71 grams)
  • Eat Omega-3 fats every day (flax, walnuts & some fish)
  • Take a balanced multiple vitamin/mineral supplement
  • Take an EFA supplement like OmegaPrime
  • Take Vitamin B-12 every morning
  • Take Vitamin C every morning and at bedtime

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