January 20, 2017

4 Naturally Cleansing Drinks You Have to Try

Make Your Own Drinks For a Nutrient Boost

By Jessica Sanders

Whether you need to drop that last five pounds or want to cleanse the toxins from your body, there’s a drink for you. Many whole foods, such as lemon, apple cider vinegar and romaine lettuce are rich in antioxidants, potassium and other vitamins, all of which work to reduce inflammation, water weight and more.

Drinks are easy to make and help the digestive system absorb nutrients easily. These four drinks will keep you hydrated, give your body a needed nutrient boost and keep your vital organs in their best possible health. As a bonus, you’ll feel and look great!

Green Tea

Green tea is a perfect addition to your naturally cleansing drink list because it can be found at nearly every grocery store. Its benefits are simple: green tea is rich in antioxidants. These work to reduce the oxidative stress and free radicals in our body and help reduce inflammation.

One of the most potent antioxidants in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC). This abundant antioxidant in green tea (and white tea) may boost your metabolism and allow you to burn more fat. Note: studies have been done that both support and negate this claim.

How to Benefit from Drinking Green Tea

Both “detox” branded green teas and traditional green teas are great options. If you’re choosing a special detox tea, however, check the ingredients. Natural additions like lemon grass and ginger in detox green teas help cleanse your body and liver (blocking the amount of fat stored), making them a great choice. However, some brands may sneak in “natural” sugar that you might want to avoid. Brewing hot tea has been found to preserve tea’s high level of antioxidants.

how to benefit from drinking green teaTry It: Ginger Green Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag green tea
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced thin (Lowers fasting blood sugar)

Directions:

  1. Boil water and add tea bag and ginger.
  2. Let steep for 3-5 minutes and drink any time of day.

Sip your way to optimal health and reap the benefits of this hot, green liquid. Go green and let it be your cup of tea! 

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar, a household staple, may be just what you need to cleanse your body and curb your appetite. This vinegar is high in pectin, which expands the stomach, helping you feel full faster. It’s also high in potassium, which flushes excess sodium from the body, reducing water weight and bloating.

How to Benefit from Drinking Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Properly dilute the organic apple cider vinegar with water—1-2 tablespoons with a 16-ounce glass (or bottle) of water. You can add a small amount of honey (1-2 teaspoons) for flavor and sip throughout the day.

Bragg, one of the largest manufacturers of organic apple cider vinegar, recommends having this drink three times a day to realize its benefits. Take careful note of whether you experience any bodily changes in your stool or urine, or feel any discomfort. Remember that too much of anything can be harmful, so reserve this high dosage for short periods of intensive detoxing.

Vegetable Juice 

Vegetables should be a staple of your diet, but sometimes it may seem impossible to get the recommended 2-3 servings a day. Luckily, putting your veggies through a juicer, rather than eating them whole, will not only ensure you get all the vegetables you need for the day, but will also help you cleanse your body and store less fat.

A daily green smoothie can kick off a chain-reaction of lifestyle changes that reduce or eliminate the factors that exacerbate disease, and may even reverse some conditions in certain individuals.

The key is to focus on green vegetables, such as spinach, cucumber, celery and green apple. These won’t spike your blood sugar and insulin levels like sweet vegetables (beets or carrots) do. When your blood sugar spikes, and you don’t have a way to burn the sugar—which turns to carbohydrates when digested and not used immediately—that sugar eventually stores as fat. Green vegetables help you avoid this dilemma.

How to Benefit from Drinking Vegetable Juice

Make sure that your juice is at least 1/3 green vegetables—you can add some sweeter vegetables or a small amount (1/2 cup) of fruit for sweetness.

If you’re not sure which greens to go with, romaine lettuce is always a good option, says Dr. Ben Kim, but don’t hesitate to change it up with kale, spinach, collard greens, etc. for variety.

green detoxing machineTry It: Green Detoxing Machine

Ingredients:

  • 2 celery stalks (celery is a diuretic)
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 small cucumber
  • 1/4 green apple, sliced

Directions:

  1. Add each item to your juicer for a delicious, detoxing beverage that ill help you reduce fat storage. Feel free to switch out the romaine lettuce for another leafy green vegetable if you prefer.

Lemon Water 

Water is a natural detoxifier, helping to flush sodium and toxins out of your body on a regular basis. Add lemon and you have a fat-burning, detoxing beverage that you can sip on every single day.

Lemons are high in potassium, the mineral that helps flush excess sodium out of your body, reducing bloat and water weight. Lemons are also high in vitamin C. While this doesn’t directly correlate to fat loss, it indirectly helps you achieve your weight loss goals: vitamin C supports your adrenal glands, helping you to better handle stress. Stress often causes weight gain, so improving your reaction to stress can also curb potential weight gain.

How to Benefit from Drinking Lemon Water 

You can drink lemon water once or twice a day, with 1/4-1/2 of a lemon, freshly squeezed. To get more from your drink, add a small amount of 100 percent cranberry juice or 100 percent grapefruit juice, both of which provide similar benefits—detoxification.

Whether you want to get rid of a few last pounds or simply cleanse your body, these drinks will help revive you from the inside. Sip on green tea, lemon water, vegetable juice and organic apple cider vinegar to reduce inflammation, detox your body, speed up your metabolism and help you feel great at the same time.

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Nutrition for Increasing Brain Function

Foods to fuel your brain, increase your mental performance and sharpen your memory

by Amanda Box

Although each of us is a person made of parts, there is a single part of our body that defines who we are—the brain. It governs our personality, our thought processes and our memories.

The brain is by far the most complex organ within the human body. However, often in our quest to keep our body healthy, we overlook our brain. Typically, our focus concerning health centers on preventing things like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. When it comes to diet, most of our healthy choices have to do with the cardiovascular and digestive systems. The reality is we are ignoring the very part of our body that makes us who we are!

Giving our brain the nourishment it needs should really be our foremost concern. This will preserve our memory, give us the focus we need for daily tasks and keep us in good spirits. Even as we age, having a strong, energetic brain is possible with the proper nutrition!

The brain is a unique organ in that it does not have the ability to store nutrients. This makes it imperative that your daily diet contains the proper nutrition that the brain needs. The brain requires a constant stream of oxygen and nutrients from the blood. What you eat throughout the day directly affects the health of your brain and its ability to function at maximum capacity.

Basing your diet around your brain’s needs can improve your:

  • Memory
  • Focus and concentration
  • Alertness
  • Mood

Just think, the food you’re eating could be contributing to that foggy feeling, depression, or anxiety that you battle. Furthermore, what you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner can directly act on your brain’s capacity to remember.

You have the power to change the way you think, simply by changing your diet!

Eating the right foods can provide anti-aging effects inside your brain keeping you alert, focused and mentally invigorated long past retirement!

Macro and Micro Nutrition

high blood sugar leads to brain shrinkage and memory lossA healthy, optimal functioning brain needs nutrition from both macro and micro sources. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Micronutrients are much smaller molecules like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Though most foods contain some sort of macro and micro nutrition, only a specific combination of these two forms can create the perfect combination for brain health.

The Macronutrients of Brain Function

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are important for providing a steady stream of glucose to the brain. Glucose literally acts as a source of fuel by powering the brain and keeping brain cells alive. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. It is only complex carbs like those found in whole grains and vegetables that keep your blood glucose levels stable. They provide a constant flow of glucose to keep the brain alert and functioning at maximum capacity.

However, simple carbohydrates like those found in refined grains and white sugar can lead to spikes in blood glucose. Over time, the brain can actually become damaged from chronically high glucose levels. Studies have shown that those with diabetes and unstable blood sugar are at risk for developing cognitive impairment and dementia![1] Another study found that high blood sugar led to brain shrinkage that resulted in loss of memory![2] Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is extremely important in preserving the brain’s functions and memory.

Interestingly there’s little evidence that consuming a lot of carbohydrates is necessary for fueling the brain. The brain can also run on ketone bodies, which are an alternative fuel when glucose is not available. However, you still must provide the brain with healthy fat in order to have ketones available.

Limit your carbohydrates to those found in whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Following the Barton Publishing Food Plate provides a great visual for how much of the diet should include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The Barton Publishing Food Plate offers a great improvement over the outdated and unhealthy US Food Pyramid.

Proteins

Proteins are important in the diet because they are the building blocks of amino acids. Amino acids from proteins are used to make neurotransmitters, which allow your brain to network and communicate.

A common neurotransmitter is serotonin, which is helpful for sleep patterns, blood pressure and a calm mood.

Eating protein also increases the levels of the amino acid tyrosine in the body. Tyrosine converts into dopamine and norepinephrine, which contribute to alertness and promote mental energy.

Barton Publishing Food PlateIt is estimated that 86% of Americans have suboptimal levels of neurotransmitters.[3] Eating adequate levels of protein increases neurotransmitters and therefore increases brain activity.

Great sources of protein include:

  • Free range eggs
  • Grass fed beef
  • Free range chicken
  • Unsweetened organic yogurt or kefir
  • Quality whey, rice, or hemp protein powder

Most people require about 40-60 grams of protein a day according to their weight. Remember, although plant protein found in beans and nuts is beneficial, it is missing important amino acids. Vegetarian proteins are not complete proteins. Incorporate plenty of animal sourced complete proteins into your diet in order to maintain the levels of amino acids needed for the brain’s neurotransmitters.

As always, it’s a matter of balance. Eat foods that provide the full spectrum of amino acids your brain needs for an appropriate harmony of energizing and calming neurotransmitters. Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel afterward. Learn what works best for you according to your daily activities and need for rest.

Fat

Fat is the most important macronutrient needed by the brain. The human brain is composed of around 60% fat, making dietary fat incredibly important for brain health! The low fat diet trend in recent years has starved the brain of necessary fat and cholesterol. Instead, low fat diets promoted carbohydrates, which raised blood sugar causing both damage and atrophy of the brain.

Mayo Clinic research found that individuals who ate high carbohydrate diets had a remarkable 89% increased risk for developing dementia! Conversely, those whose diets contained the most fat had an incredible 44% reduction in risk for developing dementia.[4]

Two forms of fat are necessary for the brain:

  1. Saturated fat
  2. Cholesterol

I understand that promoting these two forms of fat in the diet probably goes against everything you’ve been taught about a healthy diet. However, facts are facts.

The brain uses saturated fats as the building blocks of its cells. Click to Tweet.

Just think about it. What is human breast milk primarily comprised of? Saturated fat! An infant requires this high fat content to meet the needs of its brain growth and development. This form of fat is not enemy #1, rather the form of fat that nature provides to promote growth of the human brain!

Cholesterol is essential for the brain as well. Often demonized as the culprit behind heart disease and even strokes, cholesterol actually protects the brain! The brain contains 25% of the body’s total cholesterol.

Therefore, it is no surprise that cholesterol-lowering medications now warn against memory decline. Click to Tweet.

Interestingly, those with the highest levels of cholesterol may have the lowest risk of dementia.[5] Remember, cholesterol isn’t the bad guy! It actually keeps your brain healthy and young.

When incorporating fat into your diet, always stay clear of trans-fats and hydrogenated oils. These are not natural forms of saturated fats and can cause damage and inflammation throughout the body. Margarine, shortening, and many fried and fast foods contain this dangerous fat.

healthy fats to enhance mental performance and preserve memoryDon’t be afraid any longer to add healthy sources of saturated fat into your diet!

Build your brain with fat! Click to Tweet.

Some of the best saturated fats to include in your diet are:

  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • Grass fed beef
  • Free range eggs
  • Pasture butter (Kerry Gold is a great brand)

Putting these brain-boosting fats onto your plate and into your body will enhance brain function, increase mental performance and preserve memory.

Specialized Micronutrients for Brain Power

There are 3 very important micronutrients that provide the brain with specialized nutrition:

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 DHA (technically, a fatty acid)

Each one of these specific nutrients has an important job in the brain by impacting the way we think, feel and remember.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are often referred to as the “anti-stress vitamins” because of their ability to increase our tolerance for stress. This group of vitamins also helps lift our mood and provides mental energy for the brain.

However, that’s not all! A recent study revealed that B vitamins slow brain shrinkage that can occur with age. Furthermore, these vitamins specifically slowed shrinkage in brain regions known to be most impacted by Alzheimer’s disease![6]

The B vitamins are your brain’s vitamins! Click to Tweet.

Vitamin B12, in particular, is of greatest concern because deficiencies in this important vitamin are associated with dementia, memory loss, depression and even schizophrenia. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include: fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhea or constipation, problems concentrating and pale skin.

As we age, we often lose the ability to absorb B12 properly, so blood testing is important in maintaining proper levels. B12 shots may be needed to boost this crucial vitamin.

Vitamin B12 is solely found in animal products like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. So it may be necessary for strict vegetarians and vegans to supplement B12, since it can be difficult for them to get enough of the vitamin.

Folic acid is another important B vitamin for the health of your brain. Folic acid is imperative for the nervous system at every age. However, folic acid deficiency contributes to aging brain processes, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia especially among the elderly.

folic acid food sourcesFolic acid is found in:

  • Leafy greens
  • Oranges
  • Oatmeal
  • Asparagus
  • Many varieties of beans

Keeping healthy levels of all of the B vitamins is extremely important for brain health. If you have any concerns about your B vitamin levels, it is a good idea to get them checked.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, though not found naturally in many foods, is another important vitamin for the brain. Low levels of vitamin D can cause confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. Many tissues in the brain contain vitamin D receptors, which when activated by vitamin D, encourage nerve cell growth. Some researchers believe that vitamin D also helps repair damaged neurons in the brain![7]

Increasing your vitamin D is done easily by exposing yourself to sunshine for just 20-30 minutes a day. However, supplementation is also helpful if your vitamin D levels are extremely low. Taking 35 IU per pound of body weight is a great daily dose to keep your blood levels within a healthy range. Free-range eggs are also a great source of dietary vitamin D.

Protect your brain against cognitive deficits with vitamin D.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, are the building blocks of the brain. Brain cells, otherwise called neurons, transmit messages throughout the brain and to other parts of the body. The membrane around these neurons is made up of fat, 60% of which is DHA.

In order for the neurons to communicate properly, these membranes need to be flexible. If these membranes become stiff, molecules cannot pass through the neurons correctly and can result in mood imbalances, difficulty learning, and impaired recall. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can restore the flexible nature of the neuron cell membranes. This results in increased cell communication, memory and brain function!

Omegas also seem to ward off the cognitive decline that often comes with age. Omega-3 fatty acids with DHA are found in fatty fish such as:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Herring

Consuming a diet that promotes a healthy, focused and energized brain takes a diet that is balanced in both micro and macro nutrition. The Barton Publishing Brain Health Solution Kit contains a list of the top 20 memory boosting foods. This makes a great reference and shopping guide for those of you just beginning your journey towards a healthy, balanced diet.

Below are two recipes that incorporate foods that are low in carbohydrates, rich in healthy fats and brimming with vitamins and minerals. These foods will fuel your brain, increase your mental performance and sharpen your memory.

Start out your day right with a Brain Boosting Smoothie! This easy-to-make meal is great for breakfast or a quick on-the-go snack. It contains healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, which nourish your brain cells and provide the mental energy it needs to focus.

Brain Boosting Smoothie

brain boosting smoothieIngredients

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder (no sugar or artificial sweeteners added)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 banana (optional)
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup ice
  • Flavor of choice: 1 TBSP organic cocoa powder, ½ cup strawberries, 1 tsp cinnamon, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.

This recipe can be adapted to fit your preferences.[8] You can use cold brewed coffee, tea, almond milk, or coconut water as the base and add other fruits or flavors.

Note on Egg Yolks: Many people feel uncomfortable using raw egg in any form. I believe you must trust the source of your eggs. However, do your own research before consuming any food raw!

This next recipe contains omega 3 rich salmon along with quinoa, a protein-rich grain. This healthy dinner provides you with the healthy fats, protein and vitamins to boost brainpower.

Salmon Kabobs with Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • Salmon Kabobs with Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad1 medium grapefruit
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 small serrano or jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 scallions minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Fish:

  • 1 1/2 pound skinless, center-cut salmon, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Wooden skewers, soaked

Directions

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a bowl and drain. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with the water and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork. Cool.
  2. Segment the grapefruit over a bowl, reserving the segments and juice separately. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice with the vinegar, honey, ginger and salt to taste in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a stream to make a slightly thick dressing. Season with pepper to taste.
  3. Toss quinoa with the dressing, chiles, scallions, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Preheat a stovetop or outdoor grill to high heat. Thread the salmon cubes onto the skewers. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon grapefruit oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill the skewers, turning as each side browns, while keeping the salmon moist, about 3 minutes.
  5. Toss the grapefruit segment into the salad, divide among 4 plates, and top with the salmon kebobs. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Are you looking to improve your brain function, preserve your memory and increase your focus and concentration? Begin by changing your diet! Your brain will respond to the macro and micro nutrients you feed it.

Incorporate healthy fats, protein, omega 3s, B vitamins and vitamin D into your daily life and feel your mind transform. If it is truly our brain that makes us who we are, then in fact we truly are what we eat.

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

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.neurology.org/content/63/4/E9.full
[2] http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-discussions/general/16604-blood-sugar-and-brain-damage
[3] https://www.neurogistics.com/TheScience/WhatareNeurotransmi09CE.asp
[4] http://advances.nutrition.org/content/4/3/294.abstract
[5] http://www.neurology.org/content/64/10/1689.abstract
[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23690582
[7] https://beta.mssociety.ca/research-news/article/cell-based-study-reveals-that-vitamin-d-can-drive-the-activity-of-neural-stem-cells-that-promote-myelin-repair
[8] Recipe adapted from Wellnessmama.com

Your Fitness Plan for Great Skin

 

I know what some of you are thinking…”What, now you’re telling me that exercise will give me great looking and feeling skin? Sounds like another cheap ploy to get me to exercise!”

But I assure you; exercise can benefit your skin in ways that you may never have thought possible. In fact, regular exercise can:[1]

exercise benefits for skinHow Exercise Works for Your Skin

When we exercise, we set our bodies in motion, providing resistance training to our muscles, which helps strengthen them. We breathe more deeply, bringing in more oxygen. Our heart rate rises—which is a good thing—because it’s now pumping oxygenated blood throughout our body. Even the tiny capillaries near our skin begin to open up.[2]

This increased blood-flow replenish the nutrients in our skin, helps regulate our hormones, prevents free-radical damage, and promotes the production of collagen—a protein that serves as the building blocks of our skin. Collagen reduces wrinkles, reverses aging of skin, tightens skin, plump up skin and improves its elasticity.[3]

As we continue to exercise, the pores in our skin begin to open up and sweat flushes them of cellular detritus and grime. This action coupled with the continued increase in blood-flow helps detox the skin, removing harmful chemicals and waste.[4][5] Blackheads and acne disappear.

Working up a good sweat is the equivalent of getting a mini-facial. Click to Tweet.

Our regular exercise routine signals our body to burn fat. As the fat (cellulite) disappears, our skin conforms to the attractive contours of our muscles instead of the shapeless cottage-cheese-like fat deposits.[6]

While we exercise, harmful stress chemicals like cortisol diminish. These stress chemicals exacerbate skin problems like psoriasis and acne, so relief from these not only reduces stress, but also promotes the health of our skin.[7], [8]

In short, a regular regimen of exercise helps us look and feel better inside and out! This will give your skin a glow you can’t get any other way.

And of course, eating right plays a huge role into our overall health and wellbeing, as well developing a subtle, glowing skin.

Healthy Skin Promoting Exercises

In order to improve the health of our skin through exercise, we’re basically after three things:

  • Increased blood-flow and oxygenation
  • Increased lean muscle mass
  • Working to a sweat

Those three things will help us achieve all the benefits we’re seeking for our skin through exercise. Everybody is different, so you may benefit from the guidance of a personal trainer to address your specific goals. But in general, most trainers will recommend a combination of aerobic and resistance training to achieve these ends and make it much easer to get that healthy skin glow.

Exercising to Eliminate Cellulite

good sweat is like a facialMen and women typically accumulate fat differently. Men usually collect fat in their gut and women on their thighs and buttocks. Unfortunately, those specific fat-collection areas are also the last ones willing to relinquish the fat. The key is strength-training coupled with consistency, perseverance, and the all-important healthy diet![9]

Celebrity trainer Valerie Waters recommends the following three exercises to women for removing cellulite from the buttocks and thighs: single-leg hip raise, reverse lunge, and step-up. With exercise, cellulite can become notably better within weeks, but may take up to a year to disappear.[10]

To get rid of the belly fat will also take some concentrated effort over time. The big belly didn’t form overnight, so neither should we expect it to disappear overnight.

Also, as with any fat-loss solution, unless we change our eating habits that got us in this shape, we hinder the effects of exercise to do its work. Eat fewer calories (especially carbs) and enjoy only organic whole foods.[11]

Having said that, aerobic exercise combined with bicycles, crunches, and planks can help shed that belly fat and help you achieve a slimmer, trimmer abdomen.[12]

Exercising to Improve Skin Health and Youthfulness

Both aerobic exercise and strength-training exercises that elevate your heart rate, increase blood-flow and bring on a sweat perform the needed functions to give you healthy, glowing skin, slow down the aging process, reduce wrinkles, and eliminate blemishes.[13] 

Fitness experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, 5 days per week.[14] Aerobic exercises include activities like: running, jogging, brisk walking, swimming laps, bicycling, rowing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Strength training or resistance training involves any exercise that demands greater than normal output from your muscles. Because the body contains a variety of muscle groups, you’ll want to choose exercises that address those muscle groups that you wish to focus on.

Caring for Your Skin During and After Exercise

While exercise offers so many benefits for great skin health, take the following precautions in order to preserve and protect your skin:[15]

  • Try to avoid exercising outside in the heat of the day. If that’s unavoidable, protect your skin with appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
  • Stay hydrated throughout and following your workout. Water is essential to healthy skin.
  • After working up a sweat, be sure to shower soon after to wash off the dirt and toxins that have surfaced on your skin. Otherwise, they may find their way back into your skin.
  • If you live in a dry climate, or are prone to dry skin, you may want to use a skin moisturizer following your shower.

The benefits of exercise for your skin continue for hours after you stop moving as your glowing skin remains. Plus, the relaxed feeling you get makes you look less stressed with less facial tension and fewer frown lines.

Exercise is the natural form of Botox! Click to Tweet.

5 Tips for Success

Finally, here are 5 tried and true tips that will help you succeed in your exercise program:

  • Choose an exercise or activity that you enjoy.
  • Purchase proper clothing and equipment to protect your skin and keep you comfortable.
  • Engage an exercise partner to help keep you accountable and consistent.
  • Combine your exercise plan with a healthy eating plan; otherwise you’ll undermine all your hard work!
  • Track your progress. There are all kinds of smart phone apps and gadgets to help you do this electronically.

That glowing complexion you sport after a workout is indicative of health and beauty.  Now, let’s go change into our workout clothes and get out there for healthy skin, body and mind!

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

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] Nicole Blades, “The Beauty Benefits of Exercise,” Everyday Health, January 10, 2014, http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/the-beauty-benefits-of-exercise/.
[2] Peloton Cycling, “5 Ways Exercise Benefits Your Skin & Hair,” nd, http://www.pelotoncycling.ca/blog/5-ways-exercise-benefits-your-skin-and-hair.html.
[3] Cosmetic Medicine, MD, “Collagen Supplements—Do They Really Work? What Does?” September, 2012, http://cosmedmd.blogspot.com/2012/09/collagen-supplements-do-they-really-work.html.
[4] Peter Jaret, “Exercise for Healthy Skin,” WebMD, April 15, 2011, http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/exercise.
[5] Peloton Cycling.
[6] Selene Yeager, “6 Moves that Target Stubborn Cellulite,” Prevention, November 2011, http://www.prevention.com/fitness/strength-training/6-moves-target-cellulite.
[7] Peter Jaret.
[8] Nicole Blades.
[9] Adam Campbell, “Your Cellulite Solution,” Prevention, November 2011, http://www.prevention.com/fitness/strength-training/leg-exercises-and-butt-exercises-how-lose-cellulite-and-fat.
[10] Adam Campbell.
[11] Fred Cicetti, “What Exercises Can Get Rid of Belly Fat?” Live Science, November 2, 2012, http://www.livescience.com/36717-belly-fat-exercise-abdominal-aerobic.html.
[12] Leslie Truex, “How to Get Rid of a Beer Gut with Home Exercises,” LiveStrong, January 28, 2015, http://www.livestrong.com/article/507035-how-to-get-rid-of-a-beer-gut-with-home-exercises/.
[13] Catherine Guthrie, “8 Ways Exercise Makes You Gorgeous,” Experience Life, April 2010, https://experiencelife.com/article/8-ways-exercise-makes-you-gorgeous/.
[14] Leslie Truex.
[15] Peter Jaret.

Metabolic Syndrome: Dr. Saunders Recovery Protocol

 

Frank is in his late fifties, and was a little overweight. Mostly, he carried his excess weight around his midline, making his waist much bigger than his hips. As a child he had a sweet tooth and ate a lot of candy. For most of his life he ate pre-sweetened cold cereal, mostly two or three times per day. He liked soft-drinks, downing as many as six in one day.

Frank came to the office with a classic case of metabolic syndrome.

  • His body isn’t able to burn fat.
  • He has low testosterone and high estrogen levels.
  • He is pre-diabetic.
  • He has hypertension and elevated triglycerides.
  • He can’t see his belt when it’s on.
  • He came to see me because he has had chest pain and difficulty breathing. Since he has young children, he got worried about a heart attack or stroke so he came looking for help.

Let’s follow Frank through the process of recovery from this problem.

In the 1980s, a new term was coined for an old problem. Those with a collection of symptoms and struggled with metabolism were put in a special group. They suffered from metabolic syndrome. The syndrome affects how people make energy because of high blood sugar, central obesity, hypertension (i.e, high blood pressure), and high triglycerides.

This syndrome is a specific collection of symptoms that occur together. Not everyone with diabetes has hypertension, for example. Nor do most people with hypertension also have the other symptoms like obesity. The definition of metabolic syndrome requires three of the following five symptoms:

It’s important to note that a syndrome is not a disease, but rather just a group of symptoms. It has had other names over time, including:

  • Dysmetabolic syndrome
  • Hypertriglyceridemic waist
  • Insulin resistance syndrome
  • Obesity syndrome
  • Syndrome X

dangers of metabolic syndromeWhat’s more, it is related to other problems including:

  • Fatty liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Gallstones
  • Strokes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Inflammation
  • Excessive clotting

How Does Metabolic Syndrome Happen?

One of the most amazing facts about our bodies is the ability to adapt. We have whole civilizations living on mostly fat and protein. Other civilizations have almost no protein, yet both groups of people adapt to their nutrition. There are, however, limits to adaptation. Some people cannot adapt to certain dietary habits that others tolerate. This is part of the difference in genetics.

Our genes don’t determine our destiny, but they do play an important role in determining how we respond to our environment.

Two people on the same diet, for example, may have very different results, depending on their genetics. Click to Tweet.

Today’s environmental factors interact with our genetic predisposition to store energy as body fat. The culprits of metabolic syndrome are:

  • Large portion sizes
  • Commercially prepared foods high in salt, simple sugars, and saturated fats.
  • And the multiple factors that promote sedentary lifestyles, including:
    • The wide variety of home entertainment options
    • Work-place automation
    • And reliance on automobiles

In our case above, Frank had gained the weight in his abdomen over many years of eating processed foods. He didn’t have fat on his arms, legs, chest, or neck – only around the waist. He may have had a genetic weakness to release more insulin than usual. But, his over-the-belt belly could also be a result of eating sugar, starch, and processed foods over the years.

The key feature, or the root of the metabolic syndrome, is insulin.

Insulin:

  • Lowers the HDL
  • Raises the triglycerides
  • Raises the blood pressure
  • Causes fat to be deposited in the abdomen
  • Causes type 2 diabetes, with elevated blood sugar[2]

How Do We Treat Metabolic Syndrome?

Medical school teaches doctors to treat each part of the syndrome with a separate set of medications. I have had metabolic syndrome patients on two medications for cholesterol, three for hypertension, and two for diabetes – and they still weren’t healthy. So, they come to see me. Practicing medicine has taught me that most medications are not appropriate for this syndrome. They only mask the symptoms, as the underlying problem gets worse.

Now that we know that insulin is the root cause of all the symptoms, it’s crucial we treat it naturally. The cornerstones of metabolic syndrome treatment include these 3 steps.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please sign in using your Home Cures That Work login. Not a Home Cures That Work member yet? Click Here to join our exclusive membership and gain access to all our amazing articles!

 

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.

 

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

 

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.

Better Cholesterol With Butter?

 by Amanda Box

As a natural health practitioner, I get asked all sorts of questions about what I eat.

  • Are you a vegan?
  • Do you eat only raw foods?
  • Are you gluten-free?

However, nothing shocks people more than when I confess my favorite and most consumed food: BUTTER.

By now, I’m used to the gasps and the questioning looks I receive upon my confession. I’ve been given speeches about how it is going to clog my arteries or cause me to gain weight. But my favorite response has got to be, “You’re young; it is going to catch up with you some day!”

I wholeheartedly disagree. I don’t fear butter, or most fats for that matter. My family line is plagued with heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure. Yet I refuse to change my butter-loving ways. That is because I know something that most people don’t.

Eating saturated fat does not raise your cholesterol, nor does not contribute to heart disease!

The low-fat revolution is a BIG FAT LIE!

Before you stop reading because you think I’ve completely lost my mind, I urge you to give me a chance to explain myself. I know doctors tell you differently, but I want to invite you to join me in debunking the myth that saturated fat is bad.

Read on and by the time you’re finished with this article, you may be tossing out your low-fat foods and replacing them with their full-fat counterparts!

Hydrogenated Oils

Saturated fats have long been demonized as the heart clogging “bad” fat. The famed “heart healthy diet” is typically low in fat and does not allow any unsaturated fat.

It prohibits animal-based fats like butter, meat, and whole milk products. Tropical oils like coconut oil are also a saturated fat and considered to be heart clogging. Instead, the “heart healthy diet” replaces naturally sourced fat with man made lower-fat alternatives and deems them more heart healthy.

When the shift away from animal fats became popular, vegetable oil based products began to flood the market. We no longer ate the natural sourced foods that have been around for thousands of years. Margarine and low-fat milk became the so-called healthier alternatives. And society bought the lie hook, line and sinker.

Interestingly enough, Procter and Gamble, the maker of Crisco, a vegetable based alternative to lard and butter, helped launch the American Heart Association. As a result, it wasn’t too long before doctors began to recommend vegetable oils instead of animal fats in their patient’s diets.

For close to 60 years, we favored hydrogenated fats like Crisco and margarine because we believed they were healthy. Luckily, research has recently proven that artificially manufactured hydrogenated oils are far worse for our health than any other fat on the market!

Hydrogenated oils are chemically altered and are closer in composition to plastic than oil.[1] Consuming hydrogenated oils in food is literally like eating fake food! It may taste good to you, but you might as well take a bite out of a plastic toy hamburger!

Eating food that is chemically structured like plastic is extremely dangerous! It can change the viscosity of our blood, which is the biggest threat. If blood becomes thicker and harder to pump, then our blood pressure automatically rises.

Plus, blood thick with hydrogenated oil damages the artery walls. The workload forces your arteries to pump with increasing pressure. The increased workload and pressure to pump causes damage to the arteries. What comes to repair the arteries? Cholesterol.

Let me clarify this for you. Cholesterol is often blamed for clogged arteries. But cholesterol is simply showing up to fix the damage. It is doing nothing more than it’s God-given job.The real culprit in this situation is hydrogenated oil.[2]

The Truth About Unsaturated Oils

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are commonly identified because they are solid at room temperature, and unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Saturated fat may seem like a poor choice compared to the thinner, liquid unsaturated fats. However, this difference is in their chemistry.

The difference between saturated fats and unsaturated fats is that saturated fat is “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. This keeps the fat intact. Unsaturated fats have less hydrogen. This allows for free radicals to attack where there is no saturation.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated oils also have unprotected areas that are easy targets for oxidation and free radicals. These oils are, unfortunately, often touted as the healthiest fat you can consume. This couldn’t be much further from the truth.

Their chemical composition makes them highly unstable. They can easily go rancid or oxidize. Heat, moisture, and exposure to oxygen promote this detrimental change in chemical structure. Simply cooking with unsaturated oils produces oxidation.

Rancid and oxidized oils contain free radicals. Free radicals act like pillagers by attacking cells, damaging DNA and causing inflammation. Our bloodstream absorbs these oxidized cells, which then deposits LDL (bad) cholesterol on our artery walls, causing damage and plaque buildup.

polyunsaturated fats are responsible for health problemsThe consumption of polyunsaturated fats is behind many health problems including:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Liver damage
  • Weight gain
  • Digestive problems

The typical American diet contains around 30% polyunsaturated oils a day! These oils hide out in processed foods and fast foods. The most common polyunsaturated oils are:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Canola
  • Safflower

Avoiding these polyunsaturated oils is important for keeping cholesterol build-up at bay. But it is also crucial for preventing many other health conditions the oils can contribute to.

Many believe because these oils are vegetable based, that they are a healthier choice. However, these oils can cause damage from being chemically unstable. To make matters worse, they are also highly processed and covered in pesticide residues.

If at all possible, cut these harmful polyunsaturated oils from your diet! Don’t forget to read the labels on all the food you buy. Canola and safflower oil are even found in “health food” products!

Monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated oils are far healthier than polyunsaturated oils. Though still unsaturated, they experience markedly less oxidation during cooking. Some healthy sources of monounsaturated fats include:

  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Avocado oil

These oils are great for sautéing and baking. Let me give you one valuable piece of advice. Avoid frying with monounsaturated oils at high temperatures because this can cause oxidation and lead to inflammation. Remember, saturated fats are you friends when it comes to fats!

The Benefits of Saturated Fat

Saturated fat does not cause heart disease, nor does it raise your cholesterol. Studies have begun to surface supporting this. The Annals of Internal Medicine most recently published an article here that supports change in fatty acid consumption to promote cardiovascular health.

Saturated fats can benefit our health in many ways. You might have noticed the rise in popularity of coconut oil. For years, we regarded it as dangerous and damaging to our health. But once we discovered its amazing medicinal properties, coconut oil demand skyrocketed![3]

A recent study added a soybean oil or coconut oil to the diet of 40 women. Not surprisingly, the women who consumed the coconut oil had a significant decrease in their waist circumference with increased weight loss, as well as increased HDL (“good” cholesterol) and decreased ratios of “bad” to “good” cholesterol.[4]

benefits of saturated oilCoconut oil is only one tropical oil that is healthy saturated fat. The best sources of saturated fat from animals are eggs, grass-fed beef and buffalo, organically-raised chickens and wild-caught fish.

Some of saturated fats roles in the body include:

  • Bone strength
  • Cell membrane integrity
  • Increased immunity
  • Contributes to weight loss
  • Improves lung health
  • Protects the Liver

As it turns out, people who have the highest percentage of saturated fat in their diets have the lowest risk of heart disease. Some saturated fats contain specific fatty acids called palmitic and stearic acid, which can LOWER cholesterol levels!

Sugar: The True Culprit of High Cholesterol

Though polyunsaturated oils and hydrogenated oils can contribute to cholesterol buildup, there is a culprit that is far worse. Carbohydrates!

Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol.

Some physicians with all their training, knowledge and authority don’t often admit they are wrong. But there are a few doctors who have had it right from the beginning.

While some doctors were promoting low-fat diets, Dr. Atkins and Dr. Weston Price had diet plans that encouraged the opposite. Although, Price had passed away before the low-fat revolution, Sally Fallon took over his cause. Both Atkins and Price touted a higher-fat, lower-carbohydrate diet for health and wellness. Neither were fearful of saturated fats. Both believed that refined sugar and processed carbohydrates were behind the breakdown of health.

sugar contributes to heart diseaseThough a can of soda may not contain an ounce of fat or cholesterol, it is far more dangerous than high cholesterol foods like the incredible edible egg.

Sugar contributes to heart disease by[5]:

  • Increasing LDL cholesterol
  • Decreasing HDL cholesterol
  • Raising triglycerides levels
  • Increasing inflammation

These side-effects make sugar nothing short of deadly. Thankfully, The American Heart Association has finally caught on. It now recommends a low sugar diet after years of promoting sugar instead of fat.

White flour and processed foods can act identical to sugar in the body. A carbohydrate in wheat, called amylopectin A, is more easily converted to blood sugar than just about any other carbohydrate. Two slices of bread made with whole-wheat flour raise blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of table sugar and higher than many candy bars. [6]

An easy way to avoid refined carbohydrates is by substituting vegetables for grains at mealtime. Eating a salad or adding an extra portion of green beans to your plate is much better than a slice of bread.

benefits of butterBack To Butter

In my defense of my favorite food, butter, I want to list some of the amazing benefits of this saturated fat.[7]

  • Helps the body to absorb and utilize minerals
  • Protects against infections in the intestinal tract
  • Protects against plaque build-up in the arteries
  • Increases brain function
  • Stimulates weight-loss (via CLA found only in grass or pasture-fed butter)
  • High in fat soluble vitamins A, E, and K
  • Prevents cancer[8]

Butter, in my opinion is a health food. So, do you still think I’m crazy?

I want to clarify that not all butter has these amazing health benefits. Most of us can agree that the nutritional content of the animal’s flesh depends on the content of its diet, and the same goes for butter.

Only grassfed or pasture butter contains health promoting CLA (conjugated linoleum acids) and high levels of fat-soluble vitamins. CLA has been linked to superior heart health, suppression of tumors, reduced belly fat and greater fat loss in the obese and overweight. Most milk cows are pasture raised, but are also fed a diet high in soy and corn. But without a primarily grass based-diet, these cows will not produce milk high in nutrients. Pasture feeding leads to dairy CLA levels 3-5 times that of grain-fed cattle.[9]

You can actually see the difference in color between grassfed butter and regular butter. Grassfed butter is bright yellow in color. It’s yellow because it has more carotene (think carrot, think orange) and Vitamin A. Regular butter is nearly white unless food coloring is added. Kerrygold is a great brand of grassfed butter and is typically found at most health food stores.

If you’d like to make your own butter, it’s really quite simple. The hardest part is finding quality cream. Raw, pastured cream from a local farmer is best. However, if you can’t find a source, you can also use organic cream.

Homemade Butter

how to make homemade butterIngredients:

  • 1 pint organic, pastured, heavy whipping cream
  • 1 pinch salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Pour cream into a blender, food processor, or large, empty jar with a tight fitting lid. Secure the lid and turn the processor on at its lowest setting. It will only take a minute or two before you have whipping cream.
  2. For salted butter, stop your processor and add a pinch of sea salt, to taste.
  3. Secure the lid again and continue to blend on low. In another minute or two, you will start to see a lot of liquid. Once you have this liquid, you’re done!
  4. Take a large cup, or bowl, and place some cheesecloth, a paper coffee filter or a small, fine-meshed sieve in it. Pour the butter into the cloth and let it drain. Carefully squeeze out some of the remaining buttermilk. Gently unwrap the cheesecloth and transfer the butter to your butter dish.

Adapted from www.thegraciouspantry.com

You don’t have to stop there! You can add herbs, spices, and fruits to your butter for delicious creamy goodness. Flavored butters are absolutely amazing and the combinations are endless! Add a touch of elegance to your next meal with your own homemade flavored butter. Use flavored butters on breads, sandwiches, or, with vegetables, meats, fish or eggs.

Here are a few recipes. But don’t be afraid to experiment and create your own flavor combinations!

Ingredients:

Raspberry Walnut Butter:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup raspberries
  • ¼cup finely chopped walnuts

Lemon Pesto Butter:

  • 1 cup butter
  • Clove of garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil

Honey Mustard:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoon honey

Pumpkin Pie:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoon canned pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Let the butter thaw to room temperature and using a stand mixer, whip until fluffy (just ten seconds or so). Add ingredients and whip until combined. You can do this by hand, but the mixer just makes it easier.
  2. Once combined, either spoon into little glass dishes and store in fridge, or prepare in logs.
  3. To prepare logs, place whipped butter on parchment paper and cool in fridge. When the butter has cooled a little, roll it into a log inside the parchment paper. It will harden in the fridge. Slice off just the amount you need for a serving.

This grain-free cookie recipe contains no refined sugar and incorporates plenty of my favorite ingredient…butter! A low-sugar, healthy diet does not have to be bland. Everyone needs a little sweet in your life, and these cookies are just that!

Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • ½ cup salted butter, cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, place almond flour and salt and pulse briefly. Add butter, honey, and vanilla and pulse until ingredients are well blended. Separate dough into 2 balls and place each on a piece of parchment paper. Cover each ball of dough with another piece of parchment paper and roll out to your desired thickness. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter or the top of a 2-inch wide jar cut out cookies. Bake at 350° for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add butter, honey and vanilla and pulse until ingredients are well blended.
  3. Separate dough into 2 balls and place each on a piece of parchment paper.
  4. Cover each ball of dough with another piece of parchment paper and roll out to ½ inch thickness.
  5. Place in freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter (or the top of a 2-inch wide jelly jar) cut out cookies and place on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350° for 5-7 minutes.

Adapted from www.elanaspantry.com

Icing (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon of melted butter
  • 2 teaspoon honey or ¼ teaspoon of liquid stevia
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients together and spread over cooled butter cookies.

Life presents us with wonderful serendipities… like making butter that’s good for you! Butter is truly a superfood. So what are you waiting for? Go make a batch of homemade butter and put a generous helping on your vegetables!

This article may be opposite of what you have believed for years about cholesterol. But, wouldn’t you agree that it is good news!?

You no longer have to deprive yourself of some of the most delicious foods, including butter! Saturated fat doesn’t have to be your enemy any longer.

Instead, avoid hydrogenated and polyunsaturated oils if you have cholesterol concerns. Protect yourself from heart disease by reducing your sugar and carbohydrate intake.

The true way to achieve healthy cholesterol, and overall well-being, is to eat the fresh and healthy foods of our ancestors.

Do you agree that butter is a superfood? Then use the sharing icons below to spread the word!

 

 

 

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.uihealthcare.org/2column.aspx?id=236829
[2] http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/trans-fats-science-and-risks
[3] http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1092-coconut%20oil.aspx?activeingredientid=1092&activeingredientname=coconut%20oil
[4] Assuncao ML, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, et al: Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Lipids 44:593-601, 2009
[5] http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20100420/high-sugar-diet-linked-lower-good-cholesterol
[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/sugar-heart-attack_b_4746440.html
[7] http://www.bulletproofexec.com/butter-is-better-for-your-brain-and-now-your-heart/
[8] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.1995.tb01525.x/abstract
[9] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/03/23/conjugated-linoleic-acid-from-grass-fed-beef.aspx

The Case for Cholesterol

by Amanda Box

I hate to burst your bubble. You’ve likely fallen prey to a hoax, a scam foisted on us by the medical community and Big Pharma. Western society has brainwashed you into believing you’re harboring a merciless killer in your body. I’m here to expose the truth! Cholesterol has been framed!!

Cholesterol, though demonized as the culprit behind heart disease, is not a bad guy. Instead, it is an important and necessary part of keeping you alive and healthy!

I promise you, cholesterol is not out to get you. Its existence in your body does not equal clogged arteries and heart attacks. Cholesterol has been presumed a killer, but it is just doing its job!

Cholesterol’s Role in our Body

Most people know cholesterol’s negative reputation. It is synonymous with heart disease and strokes. But no one talks about cholesterol’s positive aspects. We are led to believe that cholesterol is up to no good. But this perspective is nothing more than a fabrication! Let me begin pleading cholesterol’s case by calling your attention to its actual purpose in the human body.

what's so great about cholesterolCholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance naturally manufactured in our liver. Though many see its fatty composition as a negative aspect, it has very important tasks! Cholesterol is so important to our cells that our lives literally could not exist without it!

Some of cholesterol’s most important roles in the human body include:

  • Manufacturing hormones
  • The formation of cell membranes
  • Vitamin D production
  • Digestion of fats via bile production
  • Forming memories and cognitive function

These important roles are vital to our health and well-being! Cholesterol’s existence is not a byproduct of a poor diet. Our body produces cholesterol in order to survive and function optimally!

The LDL to HDL Ratio

There is more evidence to defend cholesterol’s innocence. Let me debunk the myth that your total cholesterol count determines your risk of heart disease or stroke. Knowing the difference between LDL to HDL cholesterol numbers is important.

There are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the blood: LDL and HDL.

  • LDL are low density lipoproteins
  • HDL are high density lipoproteins

Many label these two cholesterol lipoproteins as “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol.” These labels may sound dramatic, but it important to distinguish between the two types of cholesterol.

  • HDL is considered the “healthycholesterol. HDL’s job is to circulate the blood and take excess LDL cholesterol back to the liver. This keeps cholesterol from building up in your arteries. This lifesaving task is why we refer to HDL as the “good” cholesterol. HDL is also converted in the liver to bile acids, which help the digestion and absorption of fats.
  • LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. However, this isn’t entirely true. LDL has the important job of manufacturing hormones. LDL gets a bad rap because it can potentially build up in the arteries and contribute to atherosclerosis. However, with adequate levels of HDL in the blood, this risk greatly diminishes.

Your total cholesterol number has no value in determining your health risk. I can’t begin to tell you the amount of times concerned people have told me their doctor said their cholesterol was too high.

I clearly remember Steve, who approached me in a fit of desperation to get his cholesterol lowered. I asked him how high his cholesterol was. He said his doctor told him it was 240 and that he needed to get his cholesterol under control. If not, he would be at risk for all kinds of health problems.

The very first thing I did was to assure Steve that it takes far more than a high total cholesterol number to put him at risk. Next, I asked what his HDL and LDL numbers were. It was after asking this question that I became frustrated with his doctor. Steve had absolutely no clue…and his doctor never told him!

Steve’s doctor voiced concern about his high total cholesterol count, but neglected to distinguish between his HDL and LDL levels!

Knowing the HDL and LDL ratio is crucial for determining if your cholesterol is too high. Steve had total cholesterol level was 240, but let’s look at his individual lipoproteins:

  • HDL level was 140
  • LDL level was 100

Steve’s “high” number was his HDL level. As I mentioned earlier, HDL does not clog arteries, but rather prevents them from clogging! A high amount of HDL actually lowers the risk of LDL deposits.

The American Heart Association considers Steve’s total 240 cholesterol number to be high. Without knowing the HDL and LDL levels, the total cholesterol number is useless for assessing health risk.

Here is a formula to calculate your health risk from cholesterol levels. Physicians like Dr. Mercola also recommend it.[1] The beauty of this formula is that it acknowledges your HDL levels as a true assessor of potential health risks.

Once you receive your bloodwork printout, you can easily perform this calculation to evaluate your health risk.[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

True Cholesterol Risk Formula:

Take your HDL number divided by your total cholesterol and multiply by 100:

  • HDL / Total Cholesterol x 100

If the number is above 24, your cholesterol is just fine! You have plenty of HDL to keep your LDL level from doing any potential damage. Yet, if your number is below 24, it would be wise to take some steps to lower your LDL and raise your HDL levels.

High triglyceride levels are often used as an indicator for heart disease risk, as well. You can use a similar formula can for triglyceride blood work. Take your Triglycerides divided by your HDL and multiply by 100.

  • Triglycerides / HDL x 100

The number should be below 2.

There are two tests that are far better indicators for heart disease than your standard cholesterol count. I recommend you request the following tests along with your standard bloodwork.

C-reactive protein: This measures levels of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the root of nearly every disease, including heart disease and strokes. Higher levels of inflammation greatly increase the risk of plaque build-up in your arteries.

Lipoprotein a, also known as Lp(a): Lp(a) is carried on the LDL particle, and does its damage in the blood stream bound to LDL. High levels of Lp(a) increase your cardiac and stroke risk, so ask your doctor for it.

Low Cholesterol vs. Ideal Cholesterol

Finally, I am going to expose the truth behind what is an ideal cholesterol level. The medical community pushes striving for abnormally low cholesterol levels. Of course, the only way you can reach these low levels is by taking pharmaceutical drugs. How convenient for the drug companies! People must rely on statin drugs to have so-called healthy cholesterol levels!

Combining statin drugs with low cholesterol levels is not a remedy; it is a recipe for disaster. Statins pack a host of side-effects and low cholesterol levels can cause dangerous health problems!

If your doctor is recommending drugs to lower your cholesterol level as close as possible to 100, then I recommend finding another doctor.

Dramatically low levels of cholesterol are dangerous! Do not ignore this, even if your health history puts you at risk for heart problems. Low cholesterol levels can cause what you’re trying to prevent, including strokes![2]

To lower your stroke risk, aim for cholesterol numbers between 180-200. The further you decline below 180 or above 240, the higher your stroke risk becomes.

Low cholesterol has many other repercussions on your health. Some of the side-effects from low cholesterol include:

  • Imbalanced hormones
  • Low levels of vitamin D
  • Impaired digestion of fats
  • Poor memory
  • Lowered immunity
  • Increased risk for cancer[3]
  • Premature aging
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Depression

What’s more shocking is how low cholesterol is linked to violent behavior! This link between violent behavior and low cholesterol levels has been known for nearly thirty years! Some believe it is due to cholesterol’s connection with serotonin receptors in the brain.

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for calming the brain and body. Lower levels of cholesterol can result in lower levels of serotonin. Without adequate serotonin in the brain, unnecessary aggression can be the result. Furthermore, several studies found statin drugs themselves lead to aggression.[4] [5]

Statins are one of the most dangerous prescribed drugs. There have been hundreds of studies proving that their side-effects are real, and quite frankly, all too common. Statins many side-effects include:

  • Lowered immunity
  • Loss of memory
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Anemia
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Nerve damage to hands and feet
  • Muscle degeneration
  • Increased risk of diabetes

In all honesty, I find it less risky to have high cholesterol numbers than take dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. Thankfully, there are all-natural, 100% safe and effective ways to help you increase your HDL or lower your LDL levels!

Healthy Cholesterol Promoting Supplements

There are many natural supplements on the market today that claim to lower cholesterol. Finding what works can be difficult with the flashy marketing schemes that many companies use.

Not everything that claims to work, will work. Below is the list of supplements I have personally witnessed changing a person’s cholesterol for the better! Remember, it isn’t about lowering your total cholesterol number, but having enough HDL to keep it balanced.

Fish Oil

health benefits of fish oilI believe fish oil should be part of everyone’s daily regime, from babies all the way to the elderly! It is one of the most superior supplements for not just healthy cholesterol levels, but total body health! Omega-3 fatty acids, like those from fish oil, have many benefits for the body, including:

  • Raising HDL and lowering LDL levels of cholesterol
  • Lowering triglycerides
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Preventing strokes
  • Reducing irregular heartbeat
  • Improving cognitive function (focus, concentration, memory, etc.)
  • Enhancing your mood and preventing depression
  • Lowers inflammation
  • And much much more

The downside is that many fish oils are oxidized or made with poor quality ingredients, and may actually cause health problems instead of solving them.

You cannot expect to buy a cheap fish oil product from your local big box store or pharmacy and reap health-promoting results. Shop at your local healthfood store and make sure that the label states that the oil is tested to be contaminant free. Ask if an independent lab has performed an analysis to measure the ingredients and confirm whether it lives up to the claims made by the manufacturer.

Fish oil can contain toxic chemicals like heavy metals, PCBs, and dioxins, which can cause serious disease. A good manufacturing company will insist on a pure product and provide a certificate of analysis (COA).

I’m a big fan of Carlson’s Fish oil. Another excellent company with high quality fish oil products is Nordic Naturals. 

Garlic

Garlic is a fantastic all-natural remedy for healthy cholesterol levels. It contains the natural ability to lower LDL and triglycerides in the blood.

Studies have shown that less than half a clove (900 mg) of raw garlic a day can lower cholesterol by 9-12%.[6],[7] Raw garlic is best and can be added to olive oil salad dressings, or as a garnish on soups and sandwiches.

If you’re not a fan of garlic’s pungent flavor, try taking garlic in pill form.

Kyolic aged garlic is a fantastic choice because it is both odorless and very effective.

Recommended dosage: 2000-3000 mg a day for managing cholesterol.

healthy cholesterol promoting supplementsIndian Gooseberry

Otherwise known as Amla, natural health practitioners sing the praises of Indian Gooseberry for its ability to lower LDL and increase HDL levels in the body.

It is naturally high in vitamin C, giving it many immune boosting properties, as well.

Himalaya makes a quality and reasonably priced Amla supplement available here.

Recommended dosage: 1000 mg a day for lowering cholesterol.

Forget the statins. Consider the power combo to regulate your cholesterol numbers. Natural supplements, combined with healthy diet and exercise, can guarantee to keep you out of health risk.

Why not Red Yeast Rice?

I want to note why I do not recommend red yeast rice as a natural cholesterol-reducing supplement.

When red yeast rice first rose to popularity, I often recommended it as an alternative to statin drugs. There was not a lot of research about how it worked so well. I assumed, like many others, that since it was naturally derived, that it was safe.

However, after researching it’s side-effects and how it works in the body, I have come to the conclusion that it produces some of the same hazards as the statin drugs it mimics, such as muscle pain, liver damage and decreased immunity.[8]

Red yeast rice contains monacolin, a substance also present in several statin drugs. This substance lowers cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme in your liver from manufacturing cholesterol. However, artificially suppressing cholesterol produces other side-effects, like stroke, depression and violence.[9]

Even though red yeast extract is naturally derived, I recommend avoiding red yeast rice. It isn’t an alternative to statin drugs; it is a statin drug!

I encourage you to adopt a fresh perspective about cholesterol. If you eat right and exercise regularly, then your cholesterol will do nothing more than its God-given job of keeping you alive and healthy. Your body does not make cholesterol to kill you!

The medical establishment may promote cholesterol’s bad reputation, but remember its important functions in your body! Cholesterol is needed to make vitamin D, manufacture hormones, build cell walls, and create bile salts that help you digest fat. I almost forgot, it helps your memory, too.

Your goal should never be to have the lowest level of cholesterol possible. Instead, shoot for a healthy HDL to total cholesterol ratio.

Try incorporating fish oil, garlic, and Indian gooseberry into your regime if cholesterol to balance your ratio.

Cholesterol is your friend, not your enemy. It’s time to release wrongly accused cholesterol from prison.

 

 

 

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] Dr. Mercola, “Total Cholesterol Almost Always Irrelevant to Heart Disease Risk,” January 2, 2008, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/cholesterol-irrelevant-to-heart-disease-risk.aspx.
[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299064/
[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21899411
[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9411859
[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15028853
[6] AJ Adler and BJ Holub. Effect of garlic and fish-oil supplementation on serum lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in hypercholesterolemic men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 65, 445-450, 1997
[7] Stephen Warshafsky, Russell S. Kamer, Steven L. Sivak. Effect of Garlic on Total Serum Cholesterol-A Meta-Analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2004.
[8] http://www.progressivehealth.com/does-it-really-work-better-than-lipitor.htm
[9] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/08/09/what-happens-when-your-cholesterol-goes-too-low.aspx

 

[/wlm_private]

Maximize Fat Burning with High-Intensity Interval Training 

by Rob Fischer

How can a shorter workout yield more impressive results? By making it more intense!

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can burn more fat and provide a better workout in less time than a conventional aerobic training. Let’s say that you’re running, biking, or walking briskly five days per week. By just replacing two of those workouts per week with HIIT, you’ll experience some amazing results!

The concept behind HIIT is that you engage in an exercise or series of exercises alternating between short burst intervals at maximum output with longer intervals of moderate exercise. Those short bursts are anaerobic, while the longer recovery intervals are aerobic.

Benefits of HIITJust a 10 minute HIIT routine will out-do 30 minutes of traditional aerobic exercise in a fat-burning contest. And high-intensity interval training can boost your aerobic capacity three to four times faster than conventional endurance training.[1]

Why HIIT works

Exercise in general is one of the keys to optimizing health of the mind and body. Physical activity helps burn fat, regulates the production of insulin, helps maintain proper blood glucose levels, boosts the immune system, promotes brain health, improves balance and coordination, increases bone strength, and a host of other benefits.

The key to why HIIT works is that it deprives your muscles of oxygen for short periods of time (anaerobic). Doing so triggers metabolic changes in your body that continue to operate up to an hour after stopping the exercise. So your body continues to burn fat well past the end of your workout.[2] In fact, your body develops greater efficiency in burning fat under other conditions as well.[3][4][5]

Benefits of HIIT

  1. Achieve greater results in less time. In about one-fourth the time you’d spend in a traditional aerobic workout, you can achieve greater results in terms of both fat-burning and cardiovascular endurance.
  2. Burn more fat. Due to its high intensity and anaerobic properties, HIIT not only burns more calories during your workout, but following it as well.
  3. Increase aerobic fitness and muscle strength. High-intensity interval training has been shown to build muscle and maximize aerobic fitness more effectively and efficiently than conventional routines.
  4. Retain muscle while losing fat. A traditional aerobic workout regimen not only burns fat, but often results in muscle loss along with it. The anaerobic nature of the HIIT workout helps you keep and build your muscle.
  5. Stimulate the production of human growth hormone (HGH). Human growth hormone gives us vibrant health and strength and is important in the production of estrogen and testosterone. Once again, it’s the anaerobic element of HIIT that fuels the production of HGH. You’ll find that HIIT workouts will boost your energy and increase your sexual drive.

How do I begin high-intensity interval training?

  • If you are not currently in a regular exercise program, you should check with your doctor and start out very slowly. You can adjust high-intensity interval training to meet your current fitness level.
  • You can choose nearly any exercise or combination of exercises for HIIT. For example, if you are currently a runner or bicyclist, you could transform a couple of your workouts each week to HIIT. The intent is not to do away with your aerobic endurance training, but to enhance it with HIIT.
  • Another option is to create an HIIT workout with a set of new exercises involving a variety of muscle groups.
  • You do not need any special exercise equipment, although comfortable and appropriate shoes and clothes are a must. Also, depending on the type of exercises you choose, a workout mat may be helpful. If you already go to the gym, or have exercise equipment at home, you can easily adapt the available equipment to high-intensity interval training.
  • Choose a workout duration and interval times that best meet your current fitness ability and the type of exercise that you choose. The short, high-intensity bursts could last anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes; and the longer, moderate exercise recovery intervals may last from two minutes to six minutes respectively. Experiment and find what works best for you.
  • Be sure to conduct five-minute warm-ups and cool-downs and stretch before and after workouts to avoid injury and increase flexibility.
  • Keep score on yourself and track your progress!

An example of 20 minutes of HIIT on a treadmill might look like this:

  1. HIIT training scheduleFive 5 minutes of stretching and warm-up.
  2. Two minutes of running at a moderate pace.
  3. 30 seconds of sprinting as fast as you can.
  4. Two minutes of running at a moderate pace.
  5. 30 seconds of sprinting as fast as you can.
  6. Two minutes of running at a moderate pace.
  7. 30 seconds of sprinting as fast as you can.
  8. Two minutes of running at a moderate pace.
  9. 30 seconds of sprinting as fast as you can.
  10. Five minutes of cool-down and stretching.

I’ve employed HIIT in one of my favorite sports—hiking. The trails I hike are hilly, allowing me to use the up-hills for my short bursts while using the down-hills and straightaways for my long intervals. This routine provides a great HIIT workout!

How will you integrate HIIT into your routine? What exercise(s) will you use? What intervals will you start out with? Have fun with it and watch your health and vitality improve!

 

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] Charlotte Hilton Andersen, “8 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT),” Shape, August 29, 2013, http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/8-benefits-high-intensity-interval-training-hiit.
[2] Dr. Mercola, “The Major Exercise Mistake I Made for Over 30 Years,” June 26, 2010, http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2010/06/26/10-minutes-of-exercise-yields-hourlong-effects.aspx.
[3] Dean Anderson, “High Intensity Interval Training,” Spark People, nd, http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=621.
[4] Charlotte Hilton Andersen.
[5] Dr. Mercola.

Recipes to Reboot Your Liver

 by Amanda Box, N.D.

Many of you readers are singing the same sad song. You are at your wits’ end. It’s as if your body has turned against you! You’re tired, bloated, unable to lose weight, and experience acne or skin issues that are just as bad as a teenager! You’ve tried everything you can think of: exercising, cutting calories, changing your skincare routine – but nothing works. Nothing yet, at least!

I’m here to offer you a remedy. It may be one you haven’t even thought to consider before. You may have blamed your thyroid for a slow metabolism. You may think mid-life hormonal surges are responsible for your breakouts. But, you’re missing the root cause. Most people are oblivious to what is really responsible for their body’s strange behavior. It is your body’s largest organ, the liver, that is often behind these frustrating symptoms.

what your liver does day in and day outWhen asked what the liver does, most people respond, “It filters your blood.” Yes, this answer is correct. But what your liver does day in and day out, 24/7 is far more complicated than that. Aside from your heart, the liver works harder than any other organ in your body. The liver:

  • Contributes to digestion (primarily fats)
  • Aids in controlling blood sugar
  • Regulates hormones
  • Stores energy
  • Produces proteins
  • Breaks down and filters chemicals and toxins

Every single thing you breathe in, absorb through your skin, and ingest has to go through the checkpoint known as your liver. Your liver is like a customs officer that has to check everything that passes through it. The liver must I.D. everything as either a healthy substance, like vitamins, or unhealthy toxins, like pesticides. It ultimately decides what to allow your body to use and what to throw out in the waste.

This isn’t an easy task, especially when the average diet and lifestyle is full of toxins and chemicals. What you put on your skin, what you eat and drink and the medications you’re on all take their toll on the liver. Many times your liver becomes bombarded with toxins and cannot keep up. It is unable to properly do its job because it has become damaged and overloaded by too many toxins and chemicals. When this happens, your liver doesn’t properly regulate your hormones or process fats. You begin to gain weight and show signs of hormonal imbalances.

The good news is that this isn’t the end! In the case of most of our body’s organs, once they’re compromised, they may never fully repair or work as well as before. However, the liver has the amazing capacity to regenerate, reboot, and repair! Yet, this can only happen by giving your liver a break from the toxic overload.

Giving Your Liver a Break

What’s the best thing to do when you’re overwhelmed? Take a break, of course! So, how do you give your liver a break? You can’t just shut your liver off for a while. If you did, you would die! But you can take steps to cut down on the excess work it has to do each day.

For one, you can eat foods that nourish and support the liver and it’s functions. Second, you can take supplements that support detoxification and regeneration.

The results of a healthy functioning liver are weight loss, hormonal balance, and increased energy! Who wouldn’t love all that?!

Everyone could benefit from a liver reboot. Even the healthiest people cannot avoid being exposed to toxins. Toxins are everywhere around us. Many liver compromising toxins hide out in:

  • Plastic containers and metal cans
  • Skincare products
  • Drinking water
  • Cleaning products
  • Smoke (first and second-hand)
  • Non-organic vegetables and fruits

Though it is impossible to avoid toxin exposure, there is no need to live in fear. Our liver is specifically designed to detoxify our bodies. It filters these toxins out of our bloodstream and into our waste. It is only after years of exposure that the liver begins to lose some of its detoxification capacity.

Although we can’t protect our liver from ever being exposed to toxins, we can give it a chance to restore to optimal function. And in doing so, your whole body will experience improved health!

The first step in giving your liver a break is to do your best to avoid excess toxic exposure. Like I mentioned earlier, avoiding all toxins is impossible. However, you can greatly reduce your exposure by following these steps:

  1. Drink only filtered water instead of tap water.
  2. Use only all natural products on your skin (makeup, lotions, soap, etc.)
  3. Avoid canned foods.
  4. Use only BPA-free plastic.
  5. Avoid all artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives.
  6. Find natural alternatives to pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs.
  7. Avoid foods listed on the Dirty Dozen (or buying organic versions).

Released by the Environmental Working Group, the Dirty Dozen is a list of the top 12 foods with the highest pesticide residues. The Clean 15 is the list of the top 15 foods with the lowest pesticide residues. Buying organic versions of foods on the Dirty Dozen list is a great way to enjoy these foods without the pesticide residues. Below are the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists for 2014:

Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen 2014

 

It is also important to note that alcohol consumption is one of the greatest contributors to any sort of liver problem. Drinking in moderation is typically fine. But, if you are committed to giving your liver a break, you should abstain from all alcohol for at least a month or two.

Liver-loving Foods

Lowering your toxic exposure is key to giving your liver the break it needs to repair and restore optimal function. To maximize liver detoxification, incorporate liver-supporting foods into your diet. These liver-loving foods are nothing out of the ordinary. They are everyday foods that contain specialized compounds that speed up the liver’s natural ability to repair. Incorporating these liver-loving foods, while eliminating liver-compromising foods from your diet, can give your body the breakthrough it needs to come into balance.

Try to incorporate at least one food from each category into your daily diet for maximum liver support.

1. Cruciferous Vegetables: Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Bok Choy, and Kale.

These vegetables contain sulfur and promote neutralization of toxins in the liver. They also help the liver produce enzymes, which aid in detoxification.

2. Leafy Greens: Swiss Chard, Turnip Greens, Escarole, Cilantro, Parsley, Mustard Greens, and Dandelion leaves.

The more bitter the green, the better it’s ability to stimulate bile production in the liver. Bile is what carries toxins out of the liver. Some of these greens can also neutralize heavy metal toxins. Cilantro, in particular, binds to mercury and other metals and helps remove them from your system.

garlic and allicin3. High Sulfur Foods: Eggs, onion, garlic, and again cruciferous vegetables.

Sulfur aids in detoxification. Garlic, in particular, has high levels of allicin. Allicin is a sulfur compound, which protects the liver and can help detoxify toxic metals and excess estrogen hormone.

4. Antioxidant Rich Foods: Berries (organic), Grapefruit, Apples (organic), carrots, melon, and green tea.

Antioxidants are compounds, which protect the liver from damage while detoxifying the blood. Grapefruit, in particular, contains a substance called naringenin. Naringenin stimulates the liver to burn fat rather than store it. Green tea also contains particular antioxidants called catechins. Catechins prevent fat from accumulating in the liver.

5. Beets and Artichoke

Beets and artichokes are in a category of their own because of their enhanced ability to support the liver. Beets naturally help to purify the blood. They also assist the liver in metabolizing fat rather than storing it. Artichokes stimulate the flow of bile, which in turn speeds up the elimination of toxins out of the liver. Some health professionals estimate that eating an artichoke can increase bile flow by 100%!

These liver-loving foods aren’t out of the ordinary. However, many people are unsure how to prepare these foods in new and tasty ways. Eggs for breakfast every single day can get boring. But adding flavorful vegetables and spices can turn your boring eggs into a delicious quiche. (Quiche also makes a delicious lunch.) You can add all kinds of liver-loving vegetables to your quiche. I like to add artichokes, mustard greens, and garlic to my quiche. This quiche is high in sulfur compounds to support your liver by encouraging detoxification.

Liver-Loving Quiche

Ingredients:

  • detoxing quiche2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups mustard greens rinsed and chopped
  • One 14-oz can of artichoke hearts drained and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces pecorino romano or other hard Italian cheese, shredded
  • 10 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk plus 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Generously grease a deep-dish pie plate with butter or non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening.

2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft and then add the garlic and cook for another minute more. Add the mustard greens and artichoke hearts and cook, stirring frequently until the greens are wilted. Season with the salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs with the water, coconut milk, thyme and oregano until well blended. Spread the collard/onion mixture over the bottom of the greased pie plate; sprinkle the cheese evenly over the greens. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the cheese and greens. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

4. Serve with a chunky salsa or warm marinara sauce.

Beets are an uncommon vegetable in the American diet. But the Russians and other eastern Europeans revere beets. Beets are the primary ingredient in a common soup called Borscht. I prefer beets in salad form. This salad incorporates liver-loving beets, arugula, and apples. It is the perfect summer dish and a great way to incorporate beets into your diet.

Liver-Loving Beet Salad

Ingredients:

  • liver loving beet salad3 large beets (or 6 small beets)
  • 3 medium granny smith apples, peeled cored and chopped small
  • 3/4 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 3 1/2 packed cups of baby arugula, lightly chopped
  • 1/2 medium orange, juiced and zested
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil plus more for baking beets
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, melted
  • Soft goat cheese crumbles
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Wash and dry beets. Trim off the leaves and root tip (leaving the skin on). Drizzle a little olive oil over each beet and sprinkle each with a dash of sea salt. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. If using smaller beets, bake for about 50 minutes. If using larger beets, bake for about 90 minutes or until a fork can pierce the beet easily.

2. Remove the beets from the oven and allow them to rest for about 10 minutes. Unwrap each beet and drain the excess beet juice into a small bowl and set aside. Chop the beets into small bite sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.

3. Place your chopped pecans in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat and cook until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Set the pecans aside.

4. To make the dressing, take the reserved beet juice and add the 2 Tbsp of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, orange juice and orange zest. Stir and add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Add additional orange juice or vinegar to taste. Pour the dressing over the beet mixture and toss to coat. Add the arugula, toasted pecans and apples and toss again.

5. Top with goat cheese crumbles.

Everyone needs a break from stress to recharge, even your liver. Take the time to give your liver some love by eating liver-supporting foods. Avoid excess toxins and chemicals to support your body coming into balance once again. You’ll benefit with weight loss, clear skin, balanced hormones and increased energy. Start this liver-loving regime today and reboot your health!

 

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

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.

 

Recipes adapted from: www.paleocupboard.com

 

 

Liver Cleansing for Optimal Health

by Amanda Box, N.D.

“I can’t eat that! I’m on a detox.” You’ve probably heard this phrase by now. Detoxing and cleansing have become quite the trends lately. As natural health methods and healing become more mainstream, I partly find this exciting, but, I also want to roll my eyes.

I have found, for the most part, that people who are detoxing don’t fully understand why they are doing what they are doing. They blindly jump on the detox bandwagon because they hear it can help them lose weight.

Although detoxing can help you lose weight, there are so many more benefits to a good clean out. But, it is a process that should be carefully considered and taken seriously. Detoxification is far more than an attempt at weight loss. It is a process that can change your life.

Most detoxes and cleanses today focus on: eliminating something (e.g., sugar, gluten, etc.); weight loss (via fasting or juice cleanses); or colon cleansing. Although these are fantastic cleanses, they only scratch the surface of detoxification.

In the deluge of detoxes, one of the most important organs goes unnoticed: the liver. This large and overloaded organ truly deserves its turn at detoxifying.

The word “liver” is derived from the word “life”, and rightly so! Your liver literally gives your body life every single day by performing over 300 functions! Some of the liver’s functions include:

  • Storing iron for hemoglobin production
  • Filtering out bacteria and resisting infections by producing immune factors
  • Helping to regulate blood sugar levels
  • Contributing to digestion
  • Regulating amino acids (building blocks of protein) in the blood
  • Removing toxic compounds from the blood
  • Removing and inactivating excess hormones

Signs of a Stressed Liver

signs of a stressed liverLiver detoxification is essential for keeping your liver at optimal functioning capacity. Because the liver filters so many toxins day in and day out, it can become sluggish and struggle to work efficiently. You may begin to show signs of liver impairment like:

  • Hormonal imbalance (PMS, Menstrual cramping, PCOS)
  • Acne, rosacea or psoriasis
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Joint Pain
  • Allergies
  • Digestion problems (diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating)

Chinese medicine recognizes some interesting signs when your liver is under stress.

The first symptom is waking up between the hours of 1 and 3 am every night. According to the Chinese medicine’s meridian clock, each organ has a 2-hour time segment in which it is most active. The liver belongs to the 1-3 am time frame.

Secondly, your face can also tell you if you have some liver impairment. Vertical lines between your eyebrows are often referred to as the “liver lines.” I personally saw my liver line fade dramatically after completing a liver cleanse.

Wrinkles aren’t just a part of aging. In Chinese medicine, the lines in our face tell a story of what is happening in our body! Broken capillaries and redness of your left cheek towards the bridge of your nose can be a sign of inflammation or congestion in the liver.

Lastly, your eyes can manifest symptoms of liver dysfunction. Many of you know that if the whites of your eyes change yellow, it is a sign of jaundice. The liver’s inability to properly break down bilirubin in the blood causes jaundice.

A white ring around your iris can be a sign of fatty buildup in the blood. Since the liver breaks down fat and cholesterol, this can also be an indicator that the liver isn’t working as it should.

Cyour liver is stressed ifhinese medicine also assigns different emotions to different organ systems. Anger, frustration and resentment are emotions associated with the liver. If you often find yourself dealing with these emotions, your liver may need some attention. Beyond the relational, psychological, and spiritual reasons for not holding onto anger and resentment, there are real physical reasons as well. Carrying around these emotions can cause liver problems. Forgiving and letting go of these toxic emotions can keep you healthy physically and in every other respect!

Clean Eating for Liver Health

I believe that every adult could benefit from liver detoxification. We live in a toxic world and no matter how hard we try, we are exposed daily to chemicals and harmful substances. Our liver is the organ responsible for filtering these destructive components out of our body. It bears the brunt of these toxins to save us from being poisoned on a regular basis.

But the liver, being self-sacrificing, can become damaged from toxic exposure. It can also become congested from the massive amount of fat and cholesterol it has to process. Thankfully, the liver is an organ designed to regenerate.

The liver can reconstruct and restore healthy liver cells to optimal function if given the proper attention. This amazing process is the reason why liver detoxification can change your life!

Not every organ in your body can return to normal after being damaged or impaired. Giving the liver a healthy reboot can move you from a diseased state to one of good health.

Liver detoxification starts with what you eat. You cannot expect your liver to repair itself if it continues to be bombarded with toxic substances from the food you eat. Perhaps you have heard of Clean Eating. Clean Eating is a style of eating that truly encompasses its name. “Clean” means free from contaminates or unwanted matter. Eating a clean diet is one of the best ways to repair and rejuvenate the liver. To engage in a clean diet:[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

  • Eliminate processed foods: This includes packaged, canned, and frozen meals. Also, avoid white flour, white sugar, and artificial ingredients of any kind.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake: Adding two to three servings of veggies to each meal can boost your intake and fill you up. For a healthy snack between meals, choose fruit.
  • Cut out unhealthy fats: This includes hydrogenated oils, most vegetable oils, and fried foods. You can, however, use olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil in moderation.
  • Eliminate Alcohol Consumption: A glass a day of red wine is typically okay. However, alcohol puts stress on the liver and should be completely eliminated while detoxing.
  • Exclude sugar and artificial sweeteners. Use other sweeteners like honey and stevia sparingly.
  • Reduce your grain intake by at least half and cut out gluten completely. Instead of wheat, incorporate a little quinoa, rice, or oatmeal into your daily diet. Grains should be a small part of your daily food intake.
  • Limit your dairy intake and only use organic or rBgh-free dairy products. Raw dairy from a local farmer is best. Using grass-fed butter is also fine. But while liver detoxing, lowering your intake of healthy fat can be helpful in giving the liver a rest.
  • Consume only healthy sourced meats: Feedlot meats contain antibiotics and growth hormones. Not to mention, the conditions are dreadful and unsanitary. Find a local farmer, or quality meat at a local health food market. Farmer’s markets often have locally raised beef and chicken. Also, be wary of high mercury fish like salmon and tuna.

Herbs for Liver Detoxification

Eating a clean diet can dramatically benefit your liver by decreasing its toxic load. But, detoxifying herbs and supplements can take your liver from being exhausted, to rejuvenated! There are specific herbs that stimulate liver cells to regenerate, neutralize toxins, cleanse and unclog the liver.

I must note that you should never begin a liver detox before first cleansing the colon. If your colon is not cleansed, toxins on their way out of the body from your liver get stuck in your waste. When this happens, your system reabsorbs these toxins and you lose the progress you’ve made. Having a clean, functioning colon helps facilitate these toxins out of the body where they belong!

I recommend beginning your clean diet a week before starting a liver cleansing supplement regime. During this week, you can take supplements, which stimulate bowel movements and help clear the colon, readying it for the liver cleanse. One great supplement is Renew Life’s Cleansemore or Bowel Cleanse. You can continue colon-cleansing supplements after you begin to add the liver cleansing herbs. This will keep toxins moving efficiently out of the body.

There are 5 specific herbs that I recommend for liver detoxification.

5 herbs for liver detoxDandelion

This pesky weed is a very effective herb for your liver! It not only helps cleanse the liver, but also contributes to regenerating liver cells! Dandelion removes excess water from the body and increases bile production. Increasing bile boosts detoxification of toxic substances out of the body.

Milk Thistle

This herb is by far the #1 used natural remedy for the liver. In Europe, doctors prescribe milk thistle to treat hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and alcohol-induced liver damage. It has the remarkable ability to both protect the liver, as well as stimulate regeneration of damaged liver tissue. Milk thistle is also an antioxidant and protects the body’s cells from free radical damage. Silymarin is the active component in milk thistle. For optimum results, look for milk thistle containing at least 80% silymarin.

Burdock root

Primarily known as a blood purifier; burdock is also a fantastic liver cleanser. It stimulates bile flow and protects liver cells with its many natural antioxidant compounds.

Artichoke

Artichoke contains compounds called caffeoylquinic acids, which have liver restorative properties. They both protect liver cells and prevent further damage. Artichoke also stimulates the flow of bile, thereby helping the liver and gallbladder break down fats.

Turmeric

This bright orange spice is one of the most potent antioxidants available. It not only protects the liver, but also stimulates the restoration of healthy liver cells. Turmeric aids in liver detoxification and reduces inflammation. The active component in turmeric is called curcumin. Turmeric that contains at least 90% curcuminoids produces the greatest results.

Most quality liver cleansing supplements will contain at least three of these five powerful herbs. My personal favorite is by Enzymatic Therapy. I have used it several times and often recommend it to others. It contains all five herbs and is a two-week regimen that can be repeated, as necessary. Taking the time to cleanse and detoxify your liver can bring new life to your whole body!

Give your liver the restoration it needs by eating a clean diet and using liver cleansing supplements. Your skin will clear, your energy levels increase, and your digestion will be strengthened. Many also see their cholesterol and blood pressure drop to healthy levels after a liver cleanse. Don’t ignore your liver any longer! Begin your journey today towards a cleaner, happier, and healthier life!

 If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

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.

 

 

[/wlm_private]

Pin It on Pinterest