January 20, 2017

Kidney Cleanse for Ultimate Renal Health

The Kidney Flush Diet

The 2011 U.S. Renal Data Systems Report found that 15.1% of Americans over the age of 20 have chronic kidney disease (CKD) at varying levels. This adds up to more than 26 million people with CKD![1]

Kidney function declines with age, but you can take good care of your kidneys to prevent the risk of developing kidney problems.

the kidney flush diet The kidneys are among the most vital organs of our body. In fact, a well functioning renal system is essential for many aspects of our body’s daily functions! Most people attribute kidneys merely to the formation of urine, but they do far more. Your kidneys:

  • Normalize blood pressure
  • Stimulate red blood cell production
  • Regulate water balance in the body
  • Filter wastes from the blood
  • Regulate sodium and electrolyte levels
  • Balance the body’s pH
  • Process vitamin D

When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, the body can become extremely out of balance; sickness and disease follow.

  • High blood pressure is one of the most common results from a weak renal system.
  • Unbalanced blood electrolytes can also occur from poor kidney function. Maintaining electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, within a normal range is absolutely crucial. Electrolytes generate electricity, contract muscles, move water and fluids within the body. Even the slightest change in electrolyte levels from kidney malfunction can result in heart arrhythmias, nerve dysfunction, muscle weakness and even death!
  • Wastes and toxins that would normally be removed from the bloodstream continue to circulate throughout the body causing problems.

But I have good news! Just as there are natural preventive and treatment measures for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, there are also safe all-natural methods for keeping your kidneys healthy!

Signs of Weak Kidneys

Your kidneys work extremely hard as part of your body’s inherent detoxification system. Every day the kidneys filter 180 liters of plasma! This incredible job is not easy and over time, sediments can build up, which can eventually form painful kidney stones. Bacteria, viruses and parasites can also accumulate in the kidneys causing infection and damage to the kidneys.

Your body will often tell you when something is out of balance. However, many symptoms of kidney impairment or weakness go unnoticed or are attributed to other things. Some little known of signs of kidney impairment include:

  • signs of weak kidneysTinnitus
  • Low back pain
  • Loss of balance or equilibrium
  • Infertility
  • Low sex drive
  • Thin skin and nails
  • Foggy thinking
  • Bladder issues

Edema, which is an accumulation of water in the body’s tissues, is a telltale sign of weak kidneys. If you notice swelling in your feet or legs, or you have accumulated fluid in other areas of your body, then give your kidneys some TLC to help your body recover.

Kidney Cleanse Basics

A kidney cleanse is one of the best remedies for kidney health. A cleanse provides plenty of beneficial fluids, which flush out unneeded toxins and wastes from these vital organs. The foods and drinks consumed during this week-long kidney cleanse also supply nutrients needed to help maintain the delicate balance of blood electrolytes and keep hypertension at bay.

Because toxins can affect your entire body, there is no question that supporting your kidneys is crucial for keeping your overall health in check. Every adult could benefit from taking the time to nourish and restore their kidneys.

Nonetheless, those with hypertension, chronic electrolyte imbalances and edema desperately need this kidney cleanse to improve and reverse these conditions.

Cleansing the kidneys is a simple process and doesn’t require an exhaustive supply of tools or ingredients to work. There are 3 foundational principles of this kidney cleanse:

  1. Increase fluid intake.
  2. Eliminate kidney-harming foods and drinks.
  3. Consume kidney-nourishing foods and herbs.

Incorporating each of these three principles into a week-long kidney cleanse can provide lasting results for kidney health. Most of these principles can also be adopted into a life-long routine for healthy living! Regular kidney cleanses are now mandatory considering the stresses we put our kidneys under thanks to our “modern” lifestyles.

Kidney Cleanse Step #1: Drink more Water!

During this week-long kidney cleanse, it is very important to drink at least a gallon of water a day. Just drinking plenty of purified water is the first step toward an effective flush. Many of the herbs have natural diuretic properties and require extra fluid to properly flush the kidneys. Extra water helps avoid dehydration as well.

Kidney cleansing helps to flush excess uric acid out of the body as well as bacteria and other accumulations within the kidneys. Flushing excess uric acid from the kidneys can prevent or eliminate gout and kidney stone formation.

Not drinking enough water while using diuretics can worsen gout symptoms by causing uric acid to become more concentrated in the bloodstream. This is why drinking a gallon of filtered water a day during this kidney cleanse is extremely important.

Nonetheless, adequate water intake is always important, not just during a kidney flush. On a daily basis:

  • Men should always drink close to 3 liters a day.
  • Women should drink 2 liters of fluid a day.

The following kidney cleansing drinks may provide an extra cleansing boost.

Lemon and water

Each morning, begin your day with the juice of one lemon in a cup of warm water. Lemon has natural pH balancing properties, which contributes to healthy pH of the urine as well as the blood. It also contains citric acid which prevents the formation of kidney stones.

For a quick lemon kidney cleanse, squeeze 4-5 lemons into a quart of cold water and drink up. Or, for a warming beverage, squeeze one quarter to one half a lemon into 8 ounces of hot water daily.

Dandelion or Corn Silk Tea

Drink one cup of either dandelion or corn silk tea in the morning, as well as another cup midday. Dandelion and corn silk both have natural diuretic properties, which help to flush the kidneys of accumulated toxins and wastes. Dandelion leaf is also a good natural source of potassium, and will replenish any potassium that may be lost due to the diuretic action of other herbs. You can purchase these teas at your local health food store or online.

Kidney Cleanse Step #2: Foods to Avoid

It is very important during this kidney cleanse to eliminate foods and drinks that put unneeded stress on the kidneys. Many of these foods and drinks increase oxalate and uric acid levels in the body, which then lead to kidney stone formation.

The following foods and drinks should be eliminated from your daily diet during your one-week kidney cleanse.

  • Processed, packaged and fast foods (these foods are high in sodium and contain chemical additives)
  • Dairy
  • Coffee (try Dandy Blend herbal coffee substitute instead)
  • Grains (aside from quinoa)
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Red meat
  • Alcohol
  • Salt

Kidney Cleanse Step #3: Recommended foods

When it comes to kidney health, it pays to eat foods high in antioxidants and other properties that support good health. These foods contain active enzymes that help in their digestion, rather than needing the body to manufacture extra digestive enzymes for breaking down the food. Digestion requires a tremendous amount of energy and that energy could be better used in supporting the kidney detox.

The list below contains those foods which are highest in antioxidants, vitamins, and electrolytes that contribute to health and detoxification of the kidneys.

  • Celery
  • Lemon
  • Parsley
  • Red clover
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Watermelon
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cranberry juice
  • Grapes
  • Spirulina
  • Blueberries
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Asparagus
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Beans
  • Olive Oil

Before you begin your cleanse, plan out your meals for the week and purchase all the foods you will need for 7 days.

An example of a day of the cleanse is as follows:

  • purifying parsley juice blendUpon waking: 1 cup of warm water with the juice of one lemon.
  • Breakfast: Dandelion tea and an omelet with asparagus and onion.
  • Snack: ½ cup blueberries or watermelon
  • Lunch: Mixed greens topped with grilled chicken or salmon, assorted veggies and lemon and olive oil.
  • Snack: A handful of almonds
  • Dinner: Corn silk tea with baked fish served over quinoa with a side of sautéed veggies.

Remember to always drink at least one gallon of water throughout the day as well!

Juicing is also highly recommended while cleansing. If you have a juicer, try the following blends for their ability to purify the renal system.

Purifying Parsley Blend

  • ½ cup parsley
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 cucumber
  • ½ green apple

Watermelon Flush

  • 3watermelon kidney flush cups of chopped watermelon
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 lemon

Watermelon is often touted for its ability to cleanse the kidneys. It helps the liver process ammonia, a waste product from protein digestion, into the safer form of urea. This eases the burden on the kidneys. Like the name implies, watermelon contains lots of water keeping the kidneys flushed and the body hydrated.

Below is a recipe that can be used as a meal during the week-long kidney flush or anytime for that matter! Fish is a great protein that is easy on the kidney and pairs well with fruit such as the watermelon salsa below. The easy-to-prepare meal leaves you feeling fresh and full of energy, not tired and bogged down.

Watermelon Salsa With Broiled Mahi Mahi

Watermelon Salsa

Ingredients:

  • watermelon salsa2 tbsp cilantro chopped
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 cup mango chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion minced
  • 2 ½ cup watermelon (seeds removed) chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine watermelon, mango, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt, to taste.[2]

Broiled Mahi Mahi

Ingredients:

  • 6 mahi mahi fillets
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon wedges

Directions:

  1. Arrange the oven rack so that it is about 4 inches from the broiler. Preheat broiler to high and line cookie sheet with foil.
  2. Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry.
  3. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the fillets on the baking sheet and squeeze lemon juice over them.
  5. Broil on high for around 8 minutes.
  6. Serve alone or over quinoa topped with the fresh watermelon salsa.

Healthy kidney function is just as important as heart health, bowel health and even brain health. Our body is a system made of parts that function as a whole. If one part isn’t healthy, the entire system falls apart. This is why it is important that every system in the body get the proper care and support it needs and deserves.

Give your kidneys the time and attention they require for optimal health by taking a kidney cleanse. Flush out wastes, banish high blood pressure and prevent kidney stones by cleansing this important part of your body’s elimination system.

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

 

Sources:
[1] http://www.emedicinehealth.com/chronic_kidney_disease/page4_em.htm
[2] http://damndelicious.net/2013/07/09/watermelon-mango-pico-de-gallo/?crlt.pid=camp.xubc4rvF7qbR

How Regular Exercise Can Prevent Kidney Disease

Have you ever started vacuuming the carpet only to realize that the vacuum cleaner wasn’t picking up anything? Then you noticed that the motor is laboring more intensely than usual. Chances are the filter was clogged and the bag or reservoir was full.

Your kidneys perform a similar, but infinitely more complex and important job in your body. Each kidney contains about a million filtering components called nephrons. By means of the nephrons, your kidneys filter the waste materials out of your blood eliminating them from the body. Your kidneys help keep the electrolytes stable, and produce important hormones that regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells and keep your bones strong.[1]

regular exercise prevents kidney diseaseSigns and Symptoms of Kidney Disease

Now, imagine what happens if your kidneys are no longer functioning properly. Waste materials continue to circulate in the bloodstream causing other health problems throughout the body. Your electrolytes get off kilter, your blood pressure rises, and your hormones are out of balance. Like that clogged vacuum cleaner, your heart is working harder, but accomplishing less. In short, your body ceases to work properly. This situation describes Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).[2]

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 10% of adults in the US may have CKD.[3] Some of the signs and symptoms of CKD include:[4]

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Sleep issues
  • Changes in urine output
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Hiccups
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Persistent itching
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure

Clearly, those symptoms represent a lifestyle far removed from good health!

Improve Your Kidneys with Exercise

But here’s the great news! Regular exercise can help prevent CKD and improve CKD if you already have it, even if it has progressed to the point that you’re on dialysis.[5] Logically this makes sense since exercise is the enemy of all the risk factors for CKD. But let’s take a closer look at how regular exercise benefits your kidneys:[6], [7]

  • Lowers blood sugar, retarding or preventing neuropathy and kidney failure
  • Improves blood circulation and gets things moving through your kidneys
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Helps you lose weight if overweight
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Strengthens the heart and other muscles
  • Assists in sleeping better
  • Provides more energy to perform normal, everyday functions
  • Sharpens your memory
  • Reduces depression and anxiety
  • Improves quality of life

In one way or another, each of those benefits translates to healthier kidneys and a healthier you.

I’m too tired to get up, how can I exercise?

It’s true, CKD does sap you of energy, so how can you muster the vim and vigor needed to exercise? Clearly, CKD impacts your life in many significant ways, and it used to be that patients with CKD were prescribed bedrest.

However, numerous recent studies have demonstrated the powerful impact that regular exercise can have on the kidneys. These human studies have included healthy individuals, those with CKD but are not yet on dialysis, and those who are already on dialysis.[8], [9], [10], [11]

Depending on your current physical condition and the recommendation of your doctor, starting out slowly and building up with aerobic exercise should increase your energy and stamina. Getting started is that catch-22, because you may not feel like you can. For many this may be an issue of mind over matter.

6 Tips for Getting Started on an Exercise Program

Before you begin, talk to your doctor. Your doctor knows your specific situation and can recommend a course of action for implementing an exercise plan that’s right for you. However, below are some general tips for establishing an exercise routine.

1. Choose an aerobic exercise that you can enjoy and participate in regularly.

Aerobic exercises include: walking, biking, running, hiking, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, swimming, rowing or using equipment that simulates these activities. For many with CKD, walking can be an ideal aerobic exercise, because it’s low impact, you can do it indoors or outside, participate with others, and go at your own pace.[12]

2. Begin with a goal of 30 minutes, 3 times per week.

Many people think that housework or getting up off the coach to go to the refrigerator constitutes a workout! Not so! An exercise becomes aerobic when your heartrate is elevated over an extended period of time (e.g., 30 minutes). This elevated heartrate and oxygen intake is necessary to achieve the desired benefits.

Also, once or twice a week won’t achieve the results you’re looking for. That’s why experts recommend a minimum of 3 times per week, skipping a day or two between workouts.[13] Once your exercise routine is regular, you will probably look forward to your workouts and have more energy to keep them a regular part of your life. It’s not necessary to limit yourself to 30 minutes and 3 times a week, if you wish to exercise longer and more frequently.

3. Exercise with the right equipment.

Invest in a good pair of walking shoes or other clothing to make your activity enjoyable and safe. Before you go out and purchase an expensive piece of exercise equipment, make sure you’ll actually use it and that it works properly.

4. Perform a warm-up before and a cool-down after you exercise.

Gentle stretching before and after exercising is a vital part of a good exercise routine and can prevent cramps or straining a muscle. Stretch the primary muscles you use during that exercise. Never bounce a stretch or force it to the point of pain.

Here are some suggestions for warm-up:

  1. Arms: Stand as straight as possible and reach both hands as high as you can. Stretch them even higher and wiggle all ten fingers as you continue to reach and stretch. Now bring your left hand over onto your right shoulder and cup your left elbow with your right hand. Apply gentle, even pressure to stretch those muscles. Then repeat the same thing with your other arm. Finally, lift your hands over your head and place them crossed with your palms against your back shoulder blades. In that position, stretch your elbows back.
  2. Calves, hamstrings and back: Stand an arm’s length from a solid wall and lean against the wall with your arms. Continue leaning against the wall and take one stride back with both feet and feel your calf and hamstring muscles stretch. Now, still in this position, slowly go up on your toes with each foot, one at a time and repeat a couple times. Finally, step away from the wall, stand up as straight as you can and slowly run your hands down your legs and touch your toes. Hold that position for several seconds and then slowly stand back up.
  3. Thighs: Stand straight and place your left hand on a countertop or wall to help you balance. Now bend your right leg and bring your right foot up behind you until you can grab that ankle with your right hand. Slowly stretch that leg as far as you can by pulling up. Hold that pose for a few seconds and then repeat with your left leg and hand.

5. Stay hydrated while you exercise.

Exercise often prompts us to take in the water we should be drinking and this too helps our kidneys. However, if you are on dialysis, speak with your doctor and stay within the prescribed limits of fluid intake.[14] Those suffering with CKD need to limit their intake of potassium and phosphorus, so be sure to check labels on bottled water or sports drinks to see whether they’ve added these minerals.

6. Use a smart-phone app or activity tracking device.

Many people find these nifty little devices and applications extremely helpful and motivating.

  • Endomondo is a free phone app that utilizes GPS technology to track your mileage, speed, incline and other interesting data.
  • The Fitbit is a very small electronic device that tracks similar information.
  • There are other products and apps on the market as well that help regulate your exercise and energy.

Just like that clogged vacuum that no longer works properly, we need to clean the filter to get it functioning properly again. That’s what physical exercise does for your kidneys. In fact, physical exercise is beneficial to overall health and wellbeing. If you’re not already in a regular exercise program, what’s holding you back? Don’t put it off any longer! Exercise for good health!

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Rob_Fischer

Rob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

Sources:
[1] National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, “The Kidneys and How They Work,” May 21, 2014, http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/.
[2] CDC, “Protect Your Kidneys,” nd, http://www.cdc.gov/Features/WorldKidneyDay/.
[3] CDC, “National Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet, 2014,” http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/kidney_factsheet.pdf.
[4] Mayo Clinic, “Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms,” January 30, 2015, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kidney-disease/basics/symptoms/con-20026778.
[5] Medical News Today, “Health of Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Improved by Regular Physical Activity,” October 6, 2011, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/235597.php.
[6] DaVita, “Exercise for People with Chronic Kidney Disease,” nd, http://www.davita.com/kidney-disease/overview/living-with-ckd/exercise-for-people-with-chronic-kidney-disease/e/4931.
[7] Medical News Today.
[8] Science Daily.
[9] K.L. Johansen, “Exercise and Chronic Kidney Disease: Current Recommendations,” PubMed, 2005, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15974634.
[10] Kirsten L. Johansen, MD, Patricia Painter, PhD, “Exercise in Individuals with CKD,” Medscape, 2012, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/756303_2.
[11] Nephrology News, “Physical Fitness Level Affects Kidney Function in Type 2 Diabetes Patients,” June 25, 2014, http://www.nephrologynews.com/articles/110295-physical-fitness-level-affects-kidney-function-in-type-2-diabetes-patients.
[12] DaVita, “Walking: An Ideal Exercise for People with Kidney Disease,” nd, http://www.davita.com/kidney-disease/overview/living-with-ckd/walking:-an-ideal-exercise-for-people-with-kidney-disease/e/7573.
[13] DaVita, “Walking: An Ideal Exercise for People with Kidney Disease.”
[14] DaVita, “Walking: An Ideal Exercise for People with Kidney Disease.”

Metabolic Syndrome: A Recipe for Disaster

It’s a recipe that no one chooses; yet so many people have all the right ingredients. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that, when combined, have the potential for deadly consequences. Plainly put, if you have metabolic syndrome, you are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke!

Below is the list of conditions that can make up metabolic syndrome:

  • Central or abdominal obesity (measuredby waist circumference):
    • Men – 40 inches or above
    • Women – 35 inches or above
  • Triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood
  • HDL cholesterol:
    • Men – Less than 40 mg/dL
    • Women – Less than 50 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85
  • Fasting glucose greater than or equal to 100

Having 3 or more of these conditions constitutes metabolic syndrome. Together, they greatly increase your risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Even diabetes

However, you can avoid these conditions by following a proper diet. Dramatically reducing your risk for these top three health problems can be as simple as changing what you eat.

Breaking Down the Big Mac

breaking down the big mac ingredientsWith today’s modern diet, it’s no wonder that more than 1 in 3 Americans have metabolic syndrome! Having this deadly combination of risk factors was far less common 30-40 years ago.

Processed and fast foods now dominate the food market. Health has taken a back seat to convenience in this shift in food culture. Buying pre-cooked meals from a drive-thru is far more convenient than going home to cook meals from scratch. These meals may seem inexpensive, but they truly come with a price. And that price can be the loss of your health or even your life!

Have you ever taken the time to read the ingredient list for the fast foods you eat? What about the boxed or canned items you pick up at the grocery store? Most people look at the calories or fat content, but don’t take the time to read any further to find out what the actual ingredients are.

I’ve probably said it hundreds of times by now, but it’s worth repeating. One of the easiest ways to transition to a healthy diet is to follow the rule: “If you can’t pronounce it, then don’t eat it.”

Fast foods and other processed foods are packed full of ingredients that aren’t food at all! The artificial flavorings, preservatives, and artificial colors masked as ingredients are not fit for human consumption.

Each artificial food additive has the potential to cause metabolic syndrome. The toxins in artificial ingredients encourage unnatural processes in the body, which lead to:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • And much more

All together, a packaged food product creates a package for chronic disease. Click to Tweet.

Just to get an idea of the plethora of artificial ingredients contained in fast foods, let’s take a look at the ingredients in a Big Mac.

The Bun

McDonald’s Big Mac Bun Ingredients:

Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or Sugar, Yeast, Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil, Contains 2% or Less: Salt, Wheat Gluten, Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Ammonium Sulfate, Ammonium Chloride, Dough Conditioners (May Contain One or More of: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, DATEM, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Mono and Diglycerides, Ethoxylated Monoglycerides, Monocalcium Phosphate, Enzymes, Guar Gum, Calcium Peroxide), Sorbic Acid, Calcium Propionate and/or Sodium Propionate (Preservatives), Soy Lecithin, Sesame Seed.

I’m not sure about you, but I struggle to pronounce at least half of the bun’s ingredients. If this seems to be an unnecessarily long list of ingredients for a couple of pieces of bread, then you’re right! I can hardly refer to many of these ingredients as “food” as they are far from natural or providing your body with any form of nutrition.

Bread should only consist of about 4 or 5 ingredients. Instead, these buns have over 20 ingredients! The added chemicals condition the dough and more importantly preserve the buns so they can sit on the shelves for months at a time. Some of the most dangerous ingredients include:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup: Causes metabolic disturbances that can lead to obesity, high triglycerides, diabetes, cancer and more!
  • Soybean Oil/Canola Oil: Increases cholesterol, hormone disturbances, and auto-immune disorders http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18648182
  • Mono and Diglycerides and Ethoxylated Monoglycerides: These are technically trans-fats, although the government doesn’t require that they be labeled as such. Trans-fats raise bad LDL cholesterol, lower the good HDL cholesterol and raise triglycerides.
  • Azodicarbonamide: This ingredient is also found in yoga mats and other rubber and plastic products. It is a delicious (note the sarcasm) bleaching agent and a known carcinogen. It can also cause respiratory issues, immunity decline, and lowered hormone production.

High fructose corn syrup and canola oil sound tempting? Those ingredients are two of the best serial killers in the world! They get away with murder, causing an epidemic of obesity and seeing a nation struggling with heart disease and diabetes. So why do they put it in? Because it’s addictive and makes your body crave more!

The Cheese

McDonald’s Big Mac Cheese Ingredients:

Milk, Cream, Water, Cheese Culture, Sodium Citrate, Contains 2% or Less of: Salt, Citric Acid, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Lactic Acid, Acetic Acid, Enzymes, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Natural Flavor (Dairy Source), Color Added, Soy Lecithin (Added for Slice Separation).

Though not near as lengthy as the bun, the cheese still contains preservatives and unnecessary ingredients that don’t belong in the human body. The advantage of this processed cheese is longer shelf life and product uniformity. These features make such products convenient for the consumer, but the presence of artificial ingredients introduces certain health risks, like damage to the kidneys.

The substitutes used for making natural cheese are artificial and may trigger allergic reactions and cause diarrhea. The added color has been shown to promote tumor growth in the adrenal glands and kidneys in animal studies.

The Sauce

McDonald’s Big Mac Sauce Ingredients:

Soybean Oil, Pickle Relish (Diced Pickles, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate [Preservative], Spice Extractives, Polysorbate 80), Distilled Vinegar, Water, Egg Yolks, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Onion Powder, Mustard Seed, Salt, Spices, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Mustard Bran, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Vegetable Protein (Hydrolyzed Corn, Soy and Wheat), Caramel Color, Extractives of Paprika, Soy Lecithin, Turmeric (Color), Calcium Disodium EDTA (Protect Flavor).

If you look closely, you can spot a few “real” ingredients intermixed with the many chemicals that make up the Big Mac Sauce. However, the bulk of the “special sauce” isn’t that special at all! Two of the harmful ingredients contained in the bun, soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup, also make up the base of the sauce. The other artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives can cause autoimmune issues, allergies, and even cancer.

Is the sauce a culinary masterpiece? Not by any stretch of the imagination!

The Meat

McDonald’s Big Mac Meat Ingredients:

100% Pure USDA Inspected Beef; No Fillers, No Extenders.

Prepared with Grill Seasoning (Salt, Black Pepper).

In 2011, McDonald’s vowed to stop using the ammonia treated pink slime in their meat products. Though this is a huge step in the right direction, they still continue to purchase their beef from large corporate beef factories. The condition of these factories is beyond comprehension. Thousands of cattle are shoved into lots, side by side with little room to move and the ground is covered in manure.

These cows are then pumped full of antibiotics to survive the horribly contaminated conditions. This leads to the possibility of being exposed to antibiotic resistant microbes through the meat. Then, they aren’t just given feed; they are given feed alternatives to promote weight gain. Although the beef patty is comprised of 100% beef, there is much more there than meets the eye!

The Pickles

McDonald’s Big Mac Pickle Ingredients:

Cucumbers, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Alum, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Natural Flavors (Plant Source), Polysorbate 80, Extractives of Turmeric (Color).

Sadly, even the Big Mac’s pickles aren’t safe. How can a food this simple and traditionally healthy like pickles end up being so harmful for your health? Just read through this ingredient list and you’ll find much more than just cucumbers, salt, and vinegar!

These ingredients found in a Big Mac are not uncommon in other fast foods. Let’s not forget the fries and the drink! Most people combine their burger with French fries and a soda, adding even more fuel to the fire of poor health. Needless to say, if your diet consists of burgers and super-size sodas, your meals may be cheap, but it is also excessively high in grains, sugars, and factory-farmed meats. This is a recipe for metabolic syndrome, a condition that commonly befalls those who consume the Standard American Diet.

Eating fast food leads to all 5 of the conditions of metabolic syndrome:

  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • And high triglycerides

It may sound extreme, but skipping the drive thru and going home to prepare a meal, or even packing your lunch, can be the difference between life and death! Healthy eating is actually far easier than most people think.

Sweet Deceit

Avoiding fast foods and processed foods is definitely a top priority when it comes to regaining your health. However, there is one additional change that is necessary for eradicating metabolic syndrome. Eliminating this risky food from your diet may seem difficult at first. But, the decision will add years to your life and literally transform your body!

This treacherous food is: SUGAR! Everyone loves the taste of sugar! But trust me, the health consequences aren’t worth its sweet taste!

Sugar causes metabolic syndrome by:

  • Creating hyperglycemia, which leads to insulin resistance and then to diabetes!
  • Causing weight gain, specifically in the high-risk area of the abdomen. This is a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Raising triglycerides, which ultimately leads to heart disease.

Simply put, metabolic syndrome originates by consuming too much sugar and simple carbohydrates! Though white sugar is the most common culprit, “sugar” comes in other forms, as well. For instance, processed and refined grains act just like white sugar in the body! Instead of eating white flour and white sugar include these foods into your diet:

Whole Grains: Quinoa, oatmeal, and brown rice are great sources.

Fruits and Vegetables: These contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are important in preventing metabolic syndrome.

Natural Sweeteners: Stevia and xylitol and great substitutes for baking or sweetening drinks.

A great rule of thumb is to always make sure grains are the smallest portion on your plate at mealtime. Instead, fill the majority of your plate with vegetables and lean meat. This will keep your blood sugar balanced, encourage weight loss, and keep your triglycerides down!

Powerful Metabolic Syndrome Risk Reducing Foods

There are 3 specific foods that have the innate capacity to lower your risk of metabolic syndrome. These foods have unique properties that work like natural medicine inside the human body! Incorporating these foods into a nutritious balanced diet can be the breakthrough you need to get your health on track and avoid metabolic syndrome!

Cinnamon

If there were a miracle food for metabolic syndrome, then it would definitely be cinnamon. Cinnamon contains a group of flavonoids called Type A procyanidins, which mimic insulin in the body. These flavonoids function like insulin by aiding in transporting glucose into our cells and by helping to synthesize glycogen. This makes cinnamon a powerful weapon against insulin resistance and diabetes. It’s effects are so powerful, in fact, that if you use insulin or another blood sugar medication, you’ll need to monitor your doses closely in order to avoid having too low of blood sugar. Cinnamon also naturally enhances the effects of insulin medications in the body.

But, that’s not all! Cinnamon is also beneficial for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, two other risk factors for metabolic syndrome. It naturally lowers the bad LDL cholesterol in the body that can lead to atherosclerosis. It also was found in studies to lower systolic blood pressure. Cinnamon can be added to your morning coffee and incorporated into delicious baked goods like the cinnamon roll recipe below![1]

grapefruit benefitsGrapefruit

It seems as though the creator of the old “Grapefruit Diet” was on the right track. Recent studies have shown that grapefruit has the capacity to:

  • Lower blood glucose levels
  • Promote weight loss
  • Lower cholesterol

Grapefruit contains a specific antioxidant called naringenin, which aids the liver in breaking down fats. In turn, the liver can better process LDL cholesterol, reducing the chances of atherosclerosis. Naringenin also promotes fat metabolism instead of fat storage and naturally lowers insulin sensitivity. In studies, those who ate half of a grapefruit before meals experienced significant weight loss compared to the group who did not eat grapefruit! Talk about a fat-burning food! Try eating a half of a grapefruit at least twice a day before meals to benefit from its wonderful qualities.

Coconut Oil

Many people are fearful of fats and oils because they believe they cause weight gain and high cholesterol. The truth is it fat doesn’t cause these issues; it’s sugar. Cutting out sugar and incorporating healthy fats like coconut oil into your diet actually stimulates weight loss!

Coconut oil is rich in healthy medium chain fatty acids. These fatty acids promote the increase of healthy HDL cholesterol, which in turn naturally lowers health damaging LDL cholesterol.

Coconut oil also boosts the metabolism and is very effective at reducing abdominal fat that is typical of metabolic syndrome.

In a recent study, both men and women with abdominal obesity saw a significant reduction in waist circumference in just a few weeks by consuming just one ounce of coconut oil a day!

Coconut oil also helps stabilize blood sugar in the body, preventing insulin sensitivity. A study conducted in 2009 at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia by Dr. Nigel Turner and Associate Professor Jiming Ye demonstrated that a diet rich in coconut oil protects against ‘insulin resistance’ in muscle and fat.4 A diet rich in coconut oil, which is high in medium chain fatty acids, also prevents the accumulation of body fat caused by other high fat diets of similar calorie content. These findings are important because obesity and insulin resistance are major factors leading to the development of metabolic syndrome.[2]

It is very easy to incorporate coconut oil into your daily diet. You can sauté your food in it, add it to baked goods instead of butter, or add it to your morning coffee! Just one ounce a day is enough to reap its health promoting benefits!

Recipes for Health

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love a warm cinnamon bun. There’s even an entire food chain, Cinnabon, based around this delicious baked good! However, cinnamon buns are the furthest thing from “good for you.” They are loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugar, which will send your blood sugar sky high and widen your waistline.

Below is a healthy, grain free, low carb cinnamon bun that you can whip up in just a few minutes! These cinnamon buns contain both cinnamon and coconut oil, which are important in preventing metabolic syndrome.

Grain Free Cinnamon Bun in a Mug

grain free cinnamon bun in a mugIngredients:

  • 2 tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash salt
  • Dash nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. almond milk (unsweetened) or organic milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the icing:

  • 1 tbsp. coconut butter or organic butter
  • 1 tbsp. almond milk (unsweetened) or organic milk
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Instructions:

Mix all of the cinnamon cake ingredients in a coffee mug, mixing in the baking powder last. Microwave for 2 minutes. Mix all of the icing ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over the hot mug cake. Enjoy!

spiced grapefruit ciderI personally enjoy warm, nourishing drinks in the cold winter months. This grapefruit cider is a twist on hot apple cider. It contains both the benefits of grapefruit and cinnamon, making it great for stabilizing blood sugar and aiding in weight loss. This drink is a snap to make and is even a great option for holiday parties!

Spiced Grapefruit Cider

  • 2 cups ruby red grapefruit juice (squeezed from 2 grapefruits)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries

In a medium pot, combine juice, honey, cinnamon, allspice, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat; strain and discard solids. Serve warm in a mug.

Having the risk factors for metabolic syndrome may be a recipe for disaster, but now you know the recipe for good health! This recipe involves avoiding the drive thru, cutting out refined carbohydrates and sugar, and incorporating foods like cinnamon, grapefruit, and coconut oil into your daily diet. Making these beneficial changes to your diet can propel you towards health and away from disease. Avoid metabolic syndrome and it’s deadly outcomes by transforming your health and, in turn, transforming your future.

 

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

References:
Preuss HG, Richard B, Polansky MM, Anderson R. Whole cinnamon and aqueous extracts ameliorate sucrose-induced blood pressure elevations in spontaneously hypertensive rats. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006 Apr;25(2):144-50.
Kochikuzhyil BM, Devi K, Fattepur SR. “Effect of saturated fatty acid-rich dietary vegetable oils on lipid profile, antioxidant enzymes and glucose tolerance in diabetic rats.” Indian J Pharmacol. 2010 Jun;42(3):142-5.

3 Steps to Beating Metabolic Syndrome

  • “It’s time to take my blood pressure pill.”
  • “Better take my insulin before I eat.”
  • “My doctor says I need medication for my high cholesterol.”

These are all common phrases that I’m sure you’ve either heard before or said yourself. It’s no surprise when 70% of Americans are on some sort of prescription drug.

Managing high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol have sadly become synonymous with taking a pill. Click to Tweet.

risk factors for metabolic syndromeBut, what if I told you that you didn’t have to keep these illnesses “under control” with medications. What if there is another, better way? Would you choose the cure over the prescription bottle?

I’m sure you’re saying, “Yes, of course I would!”

Nonetheless, millions choose their pills every single day. They choose to suppress their symptoms and never regain their health. Maybe taking the steps to resolve their health issues seem time-consuming or difficult. Whatever the reason may be, the truth is you are not bound to your illness and your pills! You have the power to take back your health!

The Deadly Trio

Behind the deadly trio of diseases: diabetes, heart disease and strokes is a group of risk factors that are entirely too common. So common, in fact, that 47 million Americans have not just one, but a combination of at least 3, of these risk factors! The collection of these risk factors is called metabolic syndrome. While metabolic syndrome is not a disease itself, it is a condition that can pose some serious dangers to your health.

To be diagnosed, you must have at least 3 out of the 5 specific risk factors. Read the criteria below to find out whether you, or someone you know, may have metabolic syndrome. Knowing the primary indicators gives you the power to avoid disease and live a long, happy, and healthy life!

Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome:

  • Central or abdominal obesity (measuredbywaist circumference):
    • Men: 40 inches or above
    • Women: 35 inches or above
  • Triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood
  • HDL cholesterol:
    • Men: Less than 40 mg/dL
    • Women: Less than 50 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85
  • Fasting glucose greater than or equal to 100

Some of you might need to look over your latest lab results to know your risk factors. Chances are if you have metabolic syndrome, then your doctor has voiced his concern. He may not have labeled you with metabolic syndrome, but it’s common knowledge in the medical community that a combination of these risks spells danger.

Metabolic syndrome doubles your risk of heart disease and strokes and makes you five times more likely to become diabetic! Click to Tweet.

The good news is that you can wipe out your risks and eliminate metabolic syndrome in just three steps! You’re not doomed to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or diabetes. Your health and your future are in your hands!

The Sweet Culprit

Developing metabolic syndrome results from poor choices, not genetics, 99% of the time. One of the most important choices we can make is what we eat. The most devastating food choice of all is sugar.

Consuming large amounts of sugar and carbohydrates destroys your health and acts like a slow acting poison. Over time, it breaks down your body’s systems by initiating unnatural processes.

Some of the most disturbing outcomes of sugar involve all 5 metabolic syndrome risk factors! The harmful effects of sugar include:

High Blood Sugar

Over-consumption of sugar and carbohydrates causes an increase in insulin. This overproduction of insulin leaves our cells in a non-responsive state, otherwise known as insulin resistance. Consistently high levels of insulin are associated with many harmful changes in the body long before manifesting as a disease, such as chronic inflammation and diabetes.

High Triglycerides

Sugars raise insulin levels, which raise triglycerides in the body. Triglycerides are then stored in your fat tissue for later energy use. However, some of these extra triglycerides end up in your arteries and can cling to your artery walls. This buildup, also referred to as plaque, can harden your artery walls and inhibit blood flow. Eventually, this can lead to serious complications, such as heart attack or stroke.

High Cholesterol

When you eat refined sugar, the pancreas starts to work overtime to pour out insulin. The dramatic increase in circulating insulin grabs the sugar and stores it as body fat, often in the liver. The side-effect of circulating excess insulin is that it causes the liver to actually manufacture more cholesterol.

High Blood Pressure

Eating sugars and high carbohydrate foods can create a stress response in the body. This stress response begins in the hypothalamus of the brain. The “stress” of sugar causes the brain to increase the heart rate and blood pressure. Daily consumption of sugar and high carbohydrate foods creates such a stress response in the body that chronic high blood pressure is a result.

Abdominal Obesity

Consuming excess sugar encourages the liver to store that sugar as fat. Click to Tweet.

This fat is accumulated around the abdomen. Sugar is empty calories that pulls minerals from the body during digestion. Sugar creates a hormone cascade when consumed that causes the body to crave more sugar, which increases caloric intake and leads to weight gain.

The most frightening aspect of sugar is how quickly it destroys the body. Studies have shown that sugar can cause these health issues in as few as 10 weeks!

This leads me to step one in beating metabolic syndrome.

Step #1: Reduced Carbohydrate Diet

simple tips for reducing carbs_easyI purposely call this the “reduced carb” diet rather than “low carb” diet for a reason. I believe low carb diets, like the Atkins Diet, are too extreme. However, our current high-sugar, high-carb diet is killing us. For years, our ancestors subsisted on what they hunted and gathered. Sugar- and carbohydrate-based meals were rarely eaten.

Sadly, in the past 20-30 years, our country has shifted from well-rounded meals to meals centered around carbohydrates. Grains and starches typically dominate the plate at dinnertime and soda replaces milk or water. A lot has changed over the decades, and not for the better.

Reducing your carbohydrates is simpler than you might think. I personally have taken huge strides in the past 10 years in reducing my carbohydrates. It takes an adjustment in both your body and mind in the beginning. But soon, your body won’t crave sugar or carbohydrates anymore!

Here are some simple tips for reducing your carbs:

  • Fill your plate with an extra serving of vegetables, instead of a side of bread.
  • Use large leaves of lettuce to wrap up your burger or deli meat instead of a bun.
  • Skip dessert and grab a piece of fruit instead.
  • Drink tea sweetened with stevia instead of soda. Better yet, drink water!
  • Try spaghetti squash or shredded zucchini as a noodle substitute.
  • Cut out wheat products and eat gluten-free grains like rice and quinoa in moderation.

I also highly recommend eliminating gluten from your diet. Gluten contains specific compounds, which increase hunger, block nutrient absorption, and cause inflammatory responses. As someone who was personally on the fence over the whole gluten-free trend, I took the plunge and I am so glad I did!

I have more energy, less sugar cravings, and no longer have the awful “wheat belly.” The only catch is to not replacing wheat with a bunch of gluten-free carbs. Just because it is gluten-free does not mean it is healthy.

Step #2 Exercise

We all know the benefits of regular exercise, yet so many of us just can’t bring ourselves to do it! Regular exercise reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes. Exercise directly reduces the risk factors for metabolic syndrome by:

  • Reducing stress, which can lower blood pressure
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Lowers blood sugar levels

A recent study asked people with metabolic syndrome to exercise for 30 minutes a day. The exercise was so effective that nearly half of the participants no longer had metabolic syndrome risk factors by the end of the study! Even something as simple as a brisk walk for 30 minutes once a day, five days per week can make such a dramatic impact on your health!

I personally have been using the workouts on the website http://neilarey.com. These workouts are fun, only 20-30 minutes in length and can be done at home in your living room!

If you are overwhelmed by the idea of beginning an exercise regimen or don’t know where to start, then begin with 10 minutes a day of moderate exercise. If your health prevents you from participating in vigorous physical activity, then do not get discouraged. While lower levels of activity might not produce the same results as quickly, they will help you move in the right direction.

Making the time to perform these workouts has reduced my stress levels and kept me strong and healthy! I heartily recommend them as an ongoing, safe and rewarding part of your life.

Step #3 The Right Supplements

As I mentioned earlier, many people look to a pill alone to fix all their problems. Unfortunately, there is no pill that will make you healthy. You must put in the effort to eat right and exercise. There really is no getting around that. However, taking supplements can synergistically work with a diet and exercise regime to bring about even more dramatic results!

There are some fantastic herbs, vitamins, and natural supplements that can aid in balancing your blood sugar, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lowering your blood pressure. Below are some of the best supplements for preventing metabolic syndrome. These are safe and effective supplements, which, unlike pharmaceutical drugs, are free from dangerous side effects.

If you are overweight, then here are 4 reasons to take fish oilFish Oil:

Taking just 1 gram of fish oil a day can help boost healthy HDL cholesterol levels, while lowering the artery clogging LDL cholesterol. Fish oil is a foundational supplement that should be taken by people of all ages because of its positive effects on the body. Fish oil also:

  • Decreases inflammation throughout the body
  • Boosts brain function
  • Lowers stroke risk
  • And lowers blood pressure

Garlic:

Garlic contains natural ACE reducing properties. “ACE” or the ngiotensin-converting enzyme, indirectly constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure. Most blood pressure medications are formulated as ACE inhibitors. Garlic naturally inhibits ACE, which makes it effective in lower blood pressure  in those with hypertension. Garlic also:

  • Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Prevents blood clots
  • Fights infections

You can eat a clove of garlic a day or take 2 of the odor-free capsule form if you prefer.

Magnesium:

This essential mineral is critical for the body, yet many people don’t get adequate amounts of magnesium from the foods they eat. Supplementing with magnesium can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decrease tachycardia and arrhythmias
  • Lower LDL cholesterol levels

A typical daily dosage is 500-1000 mg a day

Cinnamon:

This delicious spice can be a life-changing supplement for controlling blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antioxidant compounds, which have natural insulin-like qualities.

In a London study, two grams of cinnamon a day had a greater effect on blood glucose levels than pharmaceutical blood sugar lowering drugs!

Cinnamon also reduces inflammation and lowers cholesterol levels. To experience cinnamon’s health benefits, take 1-2 grams per day in capsule form.

Taking pharmaceutical drugs to control your symptoms is not the ideal path towards holistic health and wellness. Instead, making lifestyle changes in your diet and exercise give you the ability to regain your health. These changes will prevent the deadly diseases that can occur as a result of metabolic syndrome.

Adopting a healthy diet by reducing your carbohydrates and sugars, exercising daily, and incorporating health-promoting supplements can evoke real results. These results can be the difference between a long vibrant life and a life interrupted with illness and disease. The choice is yours!

 

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fight Metabolic Syndrome with Fitness

Metabolic syndrome is a fairly recent development in our culture resulting from being overweight and inactive. Metabolic syndrome is no small problem when 47 million Americans find themselves in its clutches.[1] And if you’re over 60, your chances of developing metabolic syndrome are 4 in 10.[2]

The dangerous factors that comprise metabolic syndrome significantly increase your risk for blood clotting, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.[3]

In fact, if you have three or more of these risk factors, you probably have metabolic syndrome right now:[4]

  • what metabolic syndrome will give youA large waistline
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated fasting blood sugar (indicates prediabetes—an early sign of type 2 diabetes)

Don’t Look for Symptoms!

If you think you’re safe from metabolic syndrome because “you feel fine,” think again! Other than a large waist, there are often no other visible or perceivable symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome.[5]

So let’s cut to the chase. If you have or develop metabolic syndrome, then here’s what you have to look forward to:

  • A life that revolves around doctor visits and lots of expensive medications with nasty side effects.
  • Probable complications involving coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and its associated problems.
  • An ever-decreasing mobility preventing you from being able to play with your grandchildren, socialize with your friends, or travel.
  • A life filled with “can’t-dos” (“I can’t do this.” “I can’t do that.”).

I hope that kind of future troubles you, because you don’t have to live that way. Your life doesn’t have to take that route. But in order to avoid that path of disaster, you need to take a different one now!

Metabolic syndrome is the result of being overweight and inactive.[6] It’s as simple as that. If that’s you right now…if you don’t exercise 3 times a week…if you have a job sitting down all day…if you consume more calories than you burn…you must make significant changes in your lifestyle to halt metabolic syndrome in its tracks.[7]

Inactivity breeds inactivity. Click to Tweet.

The longer a person remains inactive, the heavier they get; the stiffer and sorer their joints; the harder activity becomes; the more embarrassed they become about being seen in public. You can begin putting an end to this vicious cycle now, but you must make changes.

Medical professionals tell us that even a modest weight loss of just 5-10 percent of total body weight will impact insulin resistance and blood pressure.[8] To naturally lose weight, you need a two-pronged approach of a healthy diet and exercise. Let’s focus on exercise in this article.

Getting and Staying Fit

The human body is designed for mobility, strength, agility, and grace. You were created to be active. Perhaps you have an aversion to exercise because of a bad experience or some misconceptions:

  • You over-did it in the past and hurt yourself.
  • You see other sleek, muscular bodies and become disillusioned and depressed about your own body.
  • You’ve tried exercising in the past and didn’t enjoy it.
  • You think you don’t have time for exercise.
  • You can’t afford a gym membership or expensive equipment at home.
  • You’ve given up, “What’s the use?”

Whatever you do, don’t give up. You are worth it!

We could cite countless studies and examples on the benefits of exercise, but here’s one that may really encourage you.

A Duke University study found that moderate exercise at moderate intensity (e.g., walking briskly for 3 miles, 4 days per week, or 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week) can significantly reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome! The key is consistency.[9]

Exercise Tips

  • Check with your physician before beginning an exercise program.
  • Find an exercise that you enjoy (or can learn to enjoy).
  • Start out very slowly and work up gradually if you are unaccustomed to exercise.
  • Warm up before and cool down after exercising.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Set a timer on your watch or phone to track your time.
  • Decide to build exercise into your life to the extent that you miss it when you can’t exercise.

By the way, exercise is beneficial for metabolic syndrome even if you don’t lose weight. Click to Tweet.

Regular physical activity lowers: blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels. Furthermore, consistent moderate exercise also increases: flexibility, energy, mobility, and countless other health measures.[10]

If you are overwhelmed by the idea of beginning an exercise regimen or simply don’t know where to start, then use a handy tool like this below to chart your progress.

My Personal Exercise Plan (PEP):

(Example: Walk briskly 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.)
Personal Exercise Plan

 

workout by flickr mariachilyOr, if you are savvy with a smart phone, download a free or low-cost app for tracking distance, time, calories burned, elevation gain, and other helpful and fun measures. (I use Endomondo. Others include: BIDMC Pedometer, MapMyWalk, Walkmeter GPS Pedometer, RunKeeper, and The Moves.)

Decide today to put an exercise plan into action and look forward to a life:

  • Of mobility, fun and adventure
  • Playing with your grandchildren
  • Getting out with your friends
  • Unencumbered with medications and numerous health restrictions

What quality of life do you want? Don’t let metabolic syndrome take you down. You can beat it! The choice is yours. Act now and begin exercising your body your way to amazing and vibrant health!

 

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Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

 

 

Sources:
[1] WebMD, “What Is Metabolic Syndrome?” December 21, 2013, http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/metabolic-syndrome-what-is-it.
[2] Mayo Clinic, “Metabolic Syndrome—Definition,” April 22, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20027243.
[3] Medicine Net, “Metabolic Syndrome,” September 19, 2014, http://www.medicinenet.com/metabolic_syndrome/article.htm.
[4] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “What Is Metabolic Syndrome?” nd, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms/.
[5] Mayo Clinic, “Metabolic Syndrome—Definition,” April 22, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20027243.
[6] Mayo Clinic.
[7] Mayo Clinic, “Metabolic Syndrome—Definition,” April 22, 2014, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20027243.
[8] The University of Chicago Medicine, “Metabolic Syndrome,” nd, http://www.uchospitals.edu/online-library/content=P08342.
[9] Miranda Hitti, “Metabolic Syndrome: How Much Exercise?” WebMD, December 17, 2007, http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/news/20071217/metabolic-syndrome-how-much-exercise.
[10] Medicine Net.

4 Supplements that Naturally Protect Neurons

 by Amanda Box

If you’re like me, when you think of Parkinson’s disease, then you automatically think of poster-boy Michael J. Fox. Mr. Fox bravely stepped away from his acting career 13 years ago because his symptoms were inhibiting his acting abilities. He then stepped directly into raising awareness about this debilitating disease. Because Michael J. Fox shined a light on Parkinson’s disease (PD), millions of people across the world who suffer with this disease have benefitted from an increase in both research and public awareness. Unfortunately to date, PD has no cure.

Parkinson’s disease is neurological disease that manifest with:

  • parkinson's disease neuro symptomsTrembling
  • Rigid, stiff limbs
  • Reduced facial expressions
  • Slurred speech
  • A shuffle-like walk
  • Frozen episodes or inability to move

Parkinson’s can eventually lead to dementia, speech problems, depression, and sexual difficulties. It typically has a gradual onset and begins on one side of the body. You may notice a small twitch in the hand in the very beginning stages. Like dementia, it is a disease of the central nervous system. Nerve cells in the brain begin to stop producing dopamine, an important chemical that regulates movement in the body.

Parkinson’s can be classified into 3 stages:

Mild:

  • A tremor may occur on one side of the body
  • Friends or family may notice a change in facial expression, posture, or walking
  • Exercising regularly can reduce Parkinson’s symptoms
  • Parkinson’s medications can work quite well in this stage

Moderate:

  • Both sides of the body are affected
  • Episodes of feeling frozen occur
  • Balance and coordination are affected
  • Parkinson’s medications can begin to result in side-effects
  • Parkinson’s medications may wear off and be less effective
  • Regular exercise still improves symptoms

Advanced:

  • Cognitive issues like hallucinations and delusions occur
  • Great difficulty walking, primarily confined to a wheelchair
  • Inability to live alone
  • Balancing medications correctly is difficult and side-effects increase

Many people can remain in the mild to moderate stages of Parkinson’s for years. Until a cure is found, keeping the symptoms controlled is the primary goal. There are around 10 pharmaceutical drugs on the market for Parkinson’s treatment. Unfortunately, they have side-effects like hallucinations, delusions, and inability to control muscles, low blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, gastrointestinal bleeding, anxiety, vomiting, hair loss, trouble breathing and impulsive behavior. This is typical of pharmaceutical medicine, which only adds to the toxic burden and increases nutritional deficiencies.

Protect NeuronsLuckily, there have also been breakthroughs in the area of natural health and nutrition in treating Parkinson’s. Many people have seen successful results combining these natural alternatives with their prescribed medications.

In this article, I am going to highlight what I believe are 4 of the best natural supplements in both the treatment and prevention of Parkinson’s disease. These supplements, unlike pharmaceutical drugs, don’t cause horrible side-effects.

Instead, these supplements work with your body to protect nerve cells in the brain. In this case, I am not advocating going off pharmaceutical drugs for Parkinson’s. However, I recommend working with your doctor to add these beneficial supplements to your regime.

Vitamin D

The first thing I would recommend for the prevention or treatment of PD is

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Dong Quai: Natural Menopause Treatment

How to Balance Low Female Hormone Levels during Menopause. Dong Quai is a Natural Herbal Remedy to Increase Estrogen and Progesterone.

 

Benefits of Dong Quai

Over its million years of existence Dong Quai root has had a variety of medicinal uses. Ancient Chinese civilization used to use it as a sedative, aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antispasmodic and is often referred to as the “female ginseng.”

Dong Quai root contains phytoestrogens, which have been proven to have a biological structure, which is chemically similar to estrogen. This component of many phytoestrogenic plants is capable of regenerating diminished estrogen levels. Estrogen is a key part of the body and an imbalance can cause a number of painful or embarrassing menopause symptoms for women approaching middle age.

Chinese herbalists usually soak the root in wine or boil it in water, discard the root and drink the liquid as a tonic. Apart from being helpful in soothing menstrual issues, Dong Quai root is also used to combat high blood pressure and anemia.

Dong Quai Root is also known for being able to treat the following effectively:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Relief from menstrual disorders such as irregular bleeding
  • The relaxing of peripheral blood vessels
  • Spasms
  • Relief from menopausal symptoms

Advantages of Dong Quai

  • Dong Quai root as a viable option to female hormone replacement therapy: Dong Quai is useful for treating hot flashes, night sweats and sleeplessness, the latter usually occurs as a result of night sweats and sometimes itching. For maximum effect Dong Quai should be taken with black cohosh.
  • Dong Quai root as treatment for other conditions: Dong Quai is also used for effectively treating PMS, arthritis, and lowering blood pressure.
  • Dong Quai root is an efficient treatment method for menopause symptoms: This herb aids in regulating the levels of estrogen in your body, which also assists in relieving menopause symptoms. Moreover, Dong Quai is a mild sedative that will help reduce mood swings and stress related to menopause.

Cautions

If you are taking an anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medication or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (such as ibuprofen), check with your doctor before trying Dong Quai as it will have additive blood thinning and anti-inflammatory properties. Dong Quai also contains substances called psoralens that can react to sunlight, especially in fair-skinned people. Dong Quai may have a mild laxative effect, and menstrual bleeding may increase when taking Dong Quai. Stop taking Dong Quai if a skin rash or photosensivity develops. Don’t take Dong Quai if you are pregnant or nursing. Dong Quai root has also been linked to aggravate the spread of breast cancer cells. As with all herbal and dietary supplements, you should always inform your physician about what you are taking in order to avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.

The Natural Way

Traditional Chinese medicine refers to Dong Quai as the Queen of female herbs because of its beneficial effects on the female reproductive system in much the same way as ginseng is popular for increasing potency of men. In fact, Dong Quai ranks only next to licorice in frequency of use in Chinese herbal medicine. Its optimizing effect on female hormones, its healing properties for uterine disorders and its richness in nutritional supplements make it valuable as an aphrodisiac for women.

Dong Quai:

  • May be used as a general woman’s tonic for female reproductive health
  • Promotes hormonal balance
  • Helps maintain healthy estrogen and progesterone levels in menopause symptoms
  • Promotes emotional balance to address PMS “blues”
  • Provides long-term benefits for female health

Order Dong Quai HERE.

 

 

Dealing with Stress and Cortisol Control

Many of us stuffer with stress, some of us more than others. However, few of us are really aware that stress impacts our health. Fear not. There are simple steps you can take to help better manage it.

Usually associated with the physical and mental side-effects of a busy lifestyle, stress is rampant during times such as this. For many people, a bad economy is at the root of money worries, leading to high anxiety. During periods of stress, the body generates chemicals called cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline.

Coritsol is commonly known as the “stress hormone,” this very important hormone is produced and secreted by the adrenal gland. It helps regulate numerous body functions including blood pressure, insulin release, glucose metabolism, immune function and inflammatory response. It also plays an important role in the regulation of emotion, cognition, reward, and energy utilization.

Why do we need to control cortisol?

It’s simple. Excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress, which can alter the normal pattern of cortisol release. When hormones are imbalanced, often due to stress, lack of exercise or a poor diet, a person can experience symptoms such as depression, mood swings, low libido and fatigue.

Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and helps maintain blood sugar levels, which may cause an increase in appetite and cravings for high-carb, high-fat foods. Not surprisingly therefore, high levels of cortisol can also contribute to weight gain and even affect where you put on weight. Studies show that stress and elevated cortisol levels actually cause an increase in visceral fat in the abdominal area, the worst place to store excess fat. There is a strong correlation between abdominal fat and cardiovascular disease.

Lifestyle Changes to Control Cortisol

Sleep is a very important component of any healthy lifestyle. Making sure you get an adequate amount of sleep each night can help keep hormone levels in an ideal range. According to nutrition4health.org, the key to a rejuvenating sleep  is having a normal cortisol rhythm during the day that leads up to a restful nights sleep. In other words, the two go hand in hand.

Although caffeine can function as an effective way to boost metabolism, making sure you don’t exceed 400mg each day is important where cortisol is concerned.

Vitamin C is thought to be a stress buster that can have a positive impact on the hormone cortisol. Psychology Today declares that vitamin C helps reduce the physical and psychological impact of stress. “In one study German researchers subjected 120 people to a sure-fire stressor….Half of those studied were given 1,000 mg of vitamin C. Such signs of stress as elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol and high blood pressure were significantly greater in those who did not get the vitamin supplement. Those who got vitamin C reported that they felt less stressed when they got the vitamin,” reports Psychology Today.

Refrain from drinking alcohol. High levels of intoxication could stimulate cortisol release. A study titled  Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that long-term chronic drinking produces an increase in cortisol both during intoxication and withdrawal.

To keep cortisol levels balanced or as the experts call it, in a homeostatic state, relaxation techniques can be very beneficial. Everything from Yoga, to listening to music, to exercising regularly can have a positive effect on the body’s response to stress.

So, how do you recognize when your stress level may be too high?

Stress Symptoms

  • Feeling excessive guilt when you’re relaxing, and not always staying busy
  • Having trouble getting to sleep
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Experiencing an unusually high level of sensitivity
  • Tension in your body
  • Indigestion, loss of appetite or eating purely for comfort

Stress Management

Making some simple lifestyle changes should help ease many of the symptoms associated with stress. If however, you are experiencing stress or anxiety that is a real cause for concern, you should always talk to your doctor.

  • Take things one step at a time. It’s ok to say no when demands are too high.
  • Talk to someone who is positive and will offer you useful advice.
  • Let out your frustration in a healthy way. Try shouting out load, screaming or even hitting a pillow!
  • Use relaxation techniques such as yoga to help calm your body and mind.
  • Become physically active. Exercise releases endorphins into your blood stream, giving you a feeling of happiness and improved sense of well-being.
  • Take time out from your usual daily routine. Socialize with friends or take time to be at one with yourself.

Stress, high levels of these cortisol can raise blood pressure, increase heart rate and make you sweat more. In addition to this, too much cortisol circulating in the body can lead to weight gain. Excessive amounts of cortisol releases fat and sugar into your bloodstream and even preventing the immune system from functioning properly. Do all that you can to be stress-less!

God’s Prescription for a Healthy Heart

Precision Blood Pressure Design

Like the concert virtuoso who sets the tension on a violin string with precision, the Grand Maestro of the Universe determined a specific blood pressure, which would be essential to healthy human life. In the Garden of Eden, God looked at the living bodies he meticulously fashioned and said, “It is good.” In other words: even down to the diminutive details we all take for granted or never slow down to notice, all things both micro and macro, internal and external, are now perfectly set for healthy life to flourish and thrive.

Stating the obvious, without blood pressure, life is over. However, too much, or high blood pressure results in the delicate and intricate harmony of every bodily system breaking down. Vascular health determines the well-being and longevity of every cell and organ in the body.

Next time you find yourself sitting with someone both to your left and to your right, one of the three of you is likely suffering from high blood pressure. Researchers report that in 90-95% cases of hypertension (aka, high blood pressure) no known cause can be found. Of course Newton’s Law remains true that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. That being said, something is boiling the blood of millions of people even if the majority of causes are not directly identifiable as medical in nature.

Merry Medicine for the Heart

The Bible says a lot about the heart, and even about the importance of having a healthy heart. Something as simple as joy directly affects blood flow. “A merry heart is like good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) Aside from the astonishing fact that this verse was written a couple millennia before modern medicine discovered the role of the bones in making blood for the heart, there is this now documentable reality that these seemingly non-biological factors directly affect us physically. This monthly column on the Spiritual Dimensions of Wellness is devoted to what was obvious even to healing practitioners in the ancient world – that a wide range of intangible dynamics, especially emotional factors and spiritual forces, directly impact our bodies for good and for bad.

At funerals I often quote the verse which states how, “None of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself,” which in context, refers to how dependant we are on God, each other and our environment. If things are not right in any of those three areas there is a direct correlation to our bodies breaking down. Before God ever created human life, he worked for a number of days on the ideal environmental conditions.

Secondary Blood Pressure Contributors

Those who research the mysteries of hypertension often mention in their medical journal articles how, in Eden-like settings like the tropical rain forests, no one has high blood pressure. Granted, these remote tribal peoples often have high mortality rates, but the point is these unknown factors contributing to hypertension are apparently not present.

Chocolate lovers will no doubt delight to know of the 2003 Harvard Study that uncovered the relationship between the Kuna Tribe in Panama having perfect blood pressure and the fact that tribal members drink five cups of cocoa each day. Chocolate has a relaxing effect on blood vessels due to the presence of flavonoids (a type of antioxidants). Flavonoids stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which acts as a blood thinner and increases blood flow.

Dr. Don Colbert in his book The Seven Pillars of Health asserts that something as simple as water will do wonders for our blood pressure as most of us are at least mildly dehydrated each day. Aging and family history of hypertension are considered related but secondary contributors.

Even more significant, medical research has confirmed the direct link to our sedentary lifestyles here in the West as contributing factors to hypertension and a host of other related ailments. For the better part of this past year the issue of health care reform has been debated and continues to make headlines. As contentious as this topic is, we all agree costs are out of control.

What’s shocking is that two thirds of medical costs in America are incurred treating chronic disease. Chronic disease is disease caused by things like poor diets and gluttony, alcohol and smoking, and promiscuity.  One researcher made a convincing case that best way to cut healthcare costs is for people to start living as the Bible tells us to live. Hardly a politically correct plan to promote, even so, it’s not hard to establish the relevancy of the Word of God to healthy daily living.

One True Remedy for Blood Pressure

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Hypertension – “The Silent Killer?”

Vital Signs 101

Dave initially came in over a year ago wanting help to get off of his medications for diabetes and hypertension.  He was getting weak and tired, partly because numbness and tingling in his feet kept him up at night.  His blood pressure was poorly controlled, even on three medications.  Over the next six months he was able to get it down from about 220/110 to 146/88 – after stopping his medications.  At the same time, he lost weight, feels better and has more energy, plus he sleeps all night because his feet don’t hurt.  Dave had a metabolic syndrome that often causes the blood pressure to go up.  He was taking medication for each symptom of the syndrome, none of which helped his condition.  When we addressed the underlying condition the blood pressure finally improved.  While it’s important to look at hypertension, it’s more important to look at the cause.

The best way to look at blood pressure is as a “vital sign” like the temperature.  If you came in to my office and your temperature was 102 degrees Fahrenheit, I could diagnose “hyperthermia” (fever) and prescribe a medication to lower your temperature.  If I just sent you home with a prescription for Ibuprofen I could miss a serious infection.  A doctor needs to address not the fever, but rather the cause of the fever.  The temperature will drop by itself when an infection is treated.

Stalk the Silent Killer

Blood pressure is similar.  There are hundreds of reasons why your blood pressure might go up (WrongDiagnosis.com lists 398). When you find and treat the cause, then the blood pressure will come down to normal without ever taking a pill for it – just like curing a pneumonia will bring your fever down without Ibuprofen.  Remember, hypertension isn’t the cause of illness, heart disease, stroke, or arterial disease. It’s just an associated symptom.

Dave was put onthe “brown rice and vegetable” diet.  He eats brown rice with vegetables and legumes for two meals per day.  He has nuts for snacks.  He exercises three times a week to sweat.  He also takes Magnesium and CoQ10.  He was able to lose weight, bring down his insulin levels, and correct his metabolism (the “vital signs“), which brought the blood pressure down to almost normal.

Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure

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