Category Archives: Diet

Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine

Ending the evening with a little vino is more guilt-free than you know. The health benefits of drinking red wine have been studied for decades, and research shows that it pays off to indulge.

Just one glass of high-quality wine a day can provide numerous health benefits, including:

Red wine#1. Boosting Heart Health

The polyphenols in wine make it beneficial for keeping blood vessels from forming blood clots. Likewise, research shows that drinking red wine can slow down the development of atherosclerosis, which causes a fatty buildup of cholesterol in your artery walls. In the same way, resveratrol, an antioxidant in red wine, can protect heart tissue from damage after a stroke or heart attack by keeping your arteries relaxed so more blood can flow through.

In fact, moderate amounts of wine are almost as effective as aspirin for your heart health, though overindulging can quickly lead to the opposite effect.


#2. Lessening the Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Avoiding Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia is a high priority for anyone. Especially one that’s seen the impact of the disease on their family or friends. Adding red wine to your routine might lower your risk.


Research shows that people who eat a Mediterranean diet (which prominently features red wine) are 28 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, and 48 percent less likely to progress from mild impairment to Alzheimer’s disease. These benefits are attributed to resveratrol. Resveratrol is considered a crucial antioxidant for reducing antioxidant stress and inflammation. This can lead to reduction of the cognitive decline over time. 

#3. Providing a Natural Antioxidant Boost

Free radicals cause endless problems for your health and contribute to the development of chronic diseases. These diseases include cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular issues and more. However, the potent antioxidant properties of red wine give your body what it needs to stay healthy and fight off this damage.

 

Resveratrol is essential for fighting inflammation, and quercetin can reduce the effects of aging. Beyond fighting chronic disease, red wine might keep you healthier on a daily basis, too. A study from the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who drank 14 weekly servings of wine were 40 percent less likely to come down with a cold, making a single glass a smart choice for staying healthy.

 

#4. Helping Manage Diabetes

Drinking red wine may change how your body processes glucose, research shows. Researchers have found that red wine slows how quickly glucose passes through your bloodstream. It does this by inhibiting the enzymes that handle glucose. This helps prevent spikes in blood sugar that can contribute to type 2 diabetes, meaning that wine may have a role in a diabetic diet plan. White wine seems to be only 10 percent as effective, making red the clear winner.

 

While the health benefits of red wine are profound, it’s important to remember that more wine doesn’t lead to more health benefits.  It can cause more problems than it helps if you are not careful. So take a drink for your health, but remember to enjoy in moderation.

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The Benefits of Coffee

Stop feeling guilty about your favorite part of every morning — it turns out a daily coffee habit is good for more than just waking up. For one thing, we just made it through the holidays, so enjoy that coffee! Also, research is revealing there’s a lot more to coffee than caffeine content and, in reality, this AM go-to might be a smart solution for maintaining your health.

Enjoy a Cup of Coffee
Coffee’s Health Benefits

Black coffee averages just two calories per cup, and its high antioxidant levels make it one of the best sources for these cancer-fighting “vitamins”. Beyond jump starting your day, each cup contains following benefits for your health.

Good for Your Heart

Looking for an easy way to protect your heart? Coffee might be key. Research from Israel has found that drinking about 16 ounces of coffee per day can lead to an 11 percent lower risk of heart failure. Unfortunately for major addicts, the study didn’t find much benefit to drinking more coffee than this.

Makes You Smarter

Everyone knows that drinking coffee will improve your energy, but there is evidence that the caffeine it contains can actually improve your thinking capabilities, too. When you drink a cup of coffee, the caffeine gets absorbed into your bloodstream where it travels to your brain and alters its functioning. This caffeine blocks a neurotransmitter called Adenosine, which causes other neurotransmitters like dopamine to fire more instead. Not only does this elevate your mood, but it also improves reaction times, logical reasoning skills, and your attention span, which (temporarily) improves your thinking abilities and productivity.

Coffee Helps You Burn Fat!

The increased energy you feel when you drink coffee does more than affect your brain, it also causes your body to burn more calories. Some studies have found caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3 to 11 percent, while others show that caffeine specifically increases your body’s fat-burning capabilities by as much as a 30 percent.

Improve Physical Performance

The caffeine in coffee seems capable of waking up both your brain and your body, according to research. Studies have found that caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which triggers adrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormone in your body and preps it for physical exertion. In this way, a cup of coffee can improve physical performance by 10 percent or more, and the benefit is most pronounced for endurance sports like running, biking, or swimming. This means that a cup of coffee might be a smart idea before your next major workout.

Coffee Helps Fight Depression

Depression is pervasive, affecting almost five percent of the U.S. population. However, coffee might make a difference in your day-to-day happiness. A study from Harvard found that women who drink four or more cups a day were 20 percent less likely to be depressed, and similar studies found that the same amount of coffee can half the risk of suicide. These benefits are mainly attributed to coffee’s ability to produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine.

The research is continuing to POUR in, and coffee has more going for it than just a way to make it through midday fatigue. Drinking black coffee every day can help you lose weight, improve your fitness level, keep you happier and even improve your mental abilities. So, grab your mug and get sipping!

Probiotic Supplementation for Gut Health

Take a look at the exploding market for all things antibacterial, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that the human race is waging biological warfare against bacteria. However, people and microbes (probiotic) have lived symbiotically since the beginning of time, and many types of bacteria actually help your gut health and help your body function better.  

Probiotic supplementation

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are, simply, beneficial bacteria. These microbes positively benefit your digestive system and help improve your gut health.

Two common varieties, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, help suppress the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut to keep it functioning properly. For this reason, doctors often prescribe probiotics health supplements and fermented foods (especially dairy products) as a natural solution for treating digestive discomfort. But, with many options available online and in-store, there’s no reason not to start exploring the benefits and find a probiotic that’s right for you.

What Do They Do to Your Body?

A well-functioning digestive system is a key to good health. Every meal you eat impacts the mix of microbes in your gut, and studies are increasingly showing that an imbalance of helpful and harmful bacteria is linked to disease — too much bad bacteria can lead to health problems like irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, food allergies, and more.

By improving your ratio of beneficial microbes daily through probiotics, you may reduce your risk of developing these symptoms. These bacteria work to improve mineral absorption, aid hormone production and prevent gut dysbiosis while minimizing your risk of developing leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome.

But the benefits go deeper than just your digestive system. Studies show increasing your level of probiotics may lower your cortisol level, which leads to more positive mental health and less risk of anxiety, depression, and stress. Preliminary research is also showing that regular doses of probiotics might lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

How Can You Get Enough?

Boost your probiotic levels naturally through food or from a natural supplement.

Probiotic Supplements

Probiotic supplements come in capsule, tablet, and powder form, and there are a variety of brands, bacterial strains, and purported benefits to sort through. To make the right decision, keep the following advice in mind.  

  • Check the CFU (Colony Forming Units). This number will be on the front of the box and usually ranges from 3-50 billion CFUs. The larger the number, the more potent the product. (Note: this does not say anything about QUALITY of the product.)
  • What strains are present? Everyone’s body reacts differently to bacteria strains, which is why investing in a supplement with a wide variety of bacteria is likely to make a bigger impact on your health.
  • What’s the shelf life? Probiotic supplements contain live bacterial colonies, meaning that they lose potency over time. Look for products that were recently manufactured and store them in a cool, dry place in your home to extend the lifespan.

Food

Probiotic cultures are common in fermented dairy products, as well as pickled vegetables and soy products in limited amounts. To keep them in your diet, make sure to regularly eat unpasteurized yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, soft cheeses, pickles and other fermented foods. Today, some products like granola bars, cereal, and soy milk are also probiotic fortified.

Remember, everyone responds differently to certain strains, so make sure to experiment with what works for you. As always, please email or bring in a picture of your probiotic for the doctor to review for you. While we carry multiple great products, we recognize that other brands are still of great quality. 

New FDA Guidelines For SEAFOOD!

marlin

I don’t always follow EVERY guideline as it comes down the pipeline to the consumer. To be fair, most of the time I am already doing what is recommended. Other times, it doesn’t apply to me. In this case, the seafood guidelines that were released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January of 2017 did not apply to me at all. In fact, they NEVER will as I doubt that I will become pregnant anytime soon.

HOWEVER,

Often times I have found that the advice given to PREGNANT mothers is often great advice for most of us.

The FDA and EPA rated 60 species of fish into 3 categories that ranks fish into “best choice”, “good choice”, and “choice to avoid”.

Expectant mothers have been warned about the dangers of eating shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, but added to the list of “choices to avoid” are marlin, orange roughy and bigeye tuna.

I would go slightly beyond this recommendation and add this… If a fish eats OTHER fish, then it should be avoided as well.

WHY?

The larger the fish, the larger the quantities of smaller fish that it eats.  This makes it  more likely it is to be contaminated with heavy metals and other undesirable contaminants.

Another great thing about the new ratings chart is the” handy” serving size section. By following this serving size tool and applying it to ALL ANIMAL PROTEIN, it will greatly help you with portion size control.

See the chart in full detail here…HERE HERE

Inflammation is BAD, but…

If you are a research and health news junkie like I am, then you have probably heard someone talking about how inflammation is the “big bad wolf”.

I want to quickly say… NOT SO FAST!

Inflammation-And-Natural-Health

While systemic inflammation is an absolute nightmare to most people, it is not necessarily “THE” problem. The question you should always ask is, what caused it? What caused the inflammation to occur? Was it diet? Physical injury? Bacteria? Virus? Parasite? Stress (yes, stress)? A Structural Shift?

Maybe, just maybe the inflammation is there in an attempt to HEAL.

In every pathology class, the basic process of healing is introduced.

For simplicity, I will talk about wound healing. When you first get a physical wound, your body goes through 3 phases of healing that wound. Inflammation is the first phase after bleeding is stopped, inflammation begins to bring essential cells, nutrients, enzymes, and growth factors to the area in order for the body to repair itself. Without this process, healing cannot occur. Inflammation is NECESSARY! Remember this when you attempt to bring down inflammation during the healing process. You should always consult a trusted health professional before “bringing down inflammation”.

Obviously, inflammation COULD cause a problem with SEVERE injuries. In such cases, bringing inflammation down may be necessary. This is usually done in a hospital setting under the supervision of surgeon, or trauma specialist.

Okay, now that we know inflammation is NECESSARY for healing, we can focus on the “bad form” of inflammation. “Bad inflammation” occurs when the body has a reason to systemically heal itself. Think of it this way… If you are constantly providing your body with IRRITANTS (i.e. food, inhaled, injected, topically), then it will have the need to cause inflammation in order to heal. Although I will not get into the different irritants here, I will blog on them in the future.

My favorite way to reduce irritants is to eat foods that are high in antioxidants and that provide properties that do not encourage inflammation. These foods have been shown to reduce inflammatory blood markers that tend to be high in MOST chronic disease processes. I am not saying that you won’t get a chronic illness if you eat these foods, BUT I will say that it is a good idea to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to chronic illness. With that being said, here my top 5 “anti-inflammatory” foods:

  1. Animal based Omega-3 fatty acids (My favorite is Fish oil). These are also important for brain health!
  2. Leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens, swiss chard).
  3. Blueberries (high in antioxidants).
  4. Tea (Matcha tea from Japan, and Tulsi tea are the absolute best).
  5. Fermented foods (kefir, kimchee, miso, pickles, sauerkraut, olives, and other fermented vegetables, will help recolonize your gut with beneficial bacteria that control inflammation).

I hope you increase these foods in your diet ASAP and that you learned a little about inflammation and how it is bad and NOT so bad at the same time.

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Sugar: Why and How to Cut Back

Although it is a tasty additive to your diet, it is by no means necessary and contains few nutrients. In fact, USDA’s MyPlate guide, which creates dietary recommendations for Americans, considers added sugar to be an empty calorie ingredient. And while a tiny bit in your diet may not negatively impact your health, you should aim to keep the added variety as low as possible. The American Health Association recommends reducing your added-sugar intake to 100-150 calories per day, at most. As a result, it is essential to understand why it can be detrimental to your health and how to consume as little as possible.

sugar

The Downside of The Sweet Stuff

So why are we demonizing the tasty white stuff? It’s hard to imagine that something so sweet can so negatively influence your health. But unfortunately, increased sugar intake has been linked to a wide variety of diseases affecting various parts of your body, from your teeth to your HEART! Furthermore, eating it increases your caloric intake. A single teaspoon full of the simple carbohydrate contains four grams and sixteen calories, a number that adds up quickly. After all, a can of soda likely contains at least ten teaspoons per serving.

To begin, there is a direct relationship between consumption of sweets and dental caries (or cavities): as intake increases, dental cavities increase as well. Luckily, brushing one’s teeth twice a day may help to offshoot the negative impact it has on your teeth. But with so many other health implications, adding it is difficult to justify.

Second, by eating it, you increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. In fact, one study found that individuals who consume the most (over 500 calories a day!) are twice as likely to die compared to individuals who consume the least amount. While it may seem unlikely that you are consuming 500 calories worth of sugar daily, you may not be far off from that number. On average, men and women consume 335 and 230 calories each day, respectively. These numbers are even higher among children and teenagers.

Third, added sugars increase your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. When you consume lots and lots of it, you may become insulin resistant. In simple terms, your body loses the ability to scoop up sugar and use it for energy. Instead, it remains in your blood, leading to symptoms associated with type-2 diabetes. In fact, women who incorporated soda into their diet experienced the greatest weight gain over a four-year period of time. Likewise, regular consumption of at least one sugar-sweetened soft drink each day may increase a woman’s risk of type-2 diabetes by 83%. And men are not immune from the effects of sugar on type-2 diabetes, as similar results have been found across genders and age groups,.

Just as sugar is implicated in type-2 diabetes, it is also a culprit in Alzheimer’s disease. Recent research has determined that insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels are detrimental to the brain and may lead to neurocognitive disabilities, such as disorientation, memory loss, and personality changes. Furthermore, having type-2 diabetes or eating a high in sweets diet may influence your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In fact, some even consider Alzheimer’s to be “type-3 diabetes.”

Finally, many news sources may incorrectly report that sugar directly causes cancer. The relationship is not quite that simple. Although cancer feeds off blood sugar, you will not destine yourself to die from cancer if you drink soda, just as you will not cancer-proof your future by abstaining from it. However, sugar consumption does increase your risk of obesity, as mentioned earlier. And weight gain is often a risk factor for developing certain types of cancers. So while sugar does not necessarily lead to cancer, maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle by eating lots sweets may negatively influence your overall health and make you more susceptible to cancer.

Common Sugar Aliases

Hopefully we have made the point that sweets can negatively impact your health in a multitude of ways. Despite your best efforts to cut down on sugar in your body, it is exceedingly common that the ingredient may still be lurking in your food. A quick search online yielded over twenty different phrases you may find on your food label that indicate sugar has been added to your food. Before buying your groceries, read the label carefully to search for these ingredients:

Agave syrup. Anhydrous dextrose. Brown sugar. Cane crystals. Confectioner’s/ powdered. Corn syrup. Corn syrup solids. Dextrose. Evaporated cane juice. Fructose. Fruit juice concentrates. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Honey. Invert sugar. Malt syrup. Maltose. Maple syrup. Molasses. Nectar. Raw sugar. Sucrose. White granulated sugar. Anything ending in -OSE.

The Search for Hidden Sugar

To an extent, cutting back on sugar is an easy process that you can easily implement in your home by making some simple changes. First and foremost, skip the soda purchases. One large study concluded that sweetened beverages were the biggest contributor to added sugar in the American diet. Instead, choose water or unsweetened iced tea. You can further cut back on sugars by avoiding cereals as they are typically high in them, and avoiding sweetened products. Also, opt to not add the sweet stuff to your coffee and make a habit of reading the nutritional labels.

Unfortunately, sugar is found in your everyday food purchases; you don’t have to walk down the candy aisle to find food items chock-full of it. Some surprisingly common sources include breads, tomato sauces, and salad dressings. In addition, low-fat and low-calorie products are especially likely to be brimming with the added variety. Manufacturers commonly add relatively large quantities to make up from the loss of taste due to fat removal. For example, peanut butter is especially subject to this phenomenon. Whereas natural peanut butter contains approximately one gram of sugar per serving, low-fat peanut butter contains over three times as much.

While you may think that you are eating healthy by choosing low-fat, low-calorie products, the full-fat version may actually be healthier.

The bottom line is to keep your added sweets intake as low as possible. While this may be a difficult task to accomplish, start by skipping the obvious sources it. From there, begin the search for secret sources and instead choose naturally sugar-free alternatives. Doing so can decrease your risk of diseases and drastically improve your quality of life.

Thanksgiving, The Holiday That KEEPS On Giving

5 Tips to avoiding that “holiday bulge”.

Oh boy, my favorite holiday is right around the corner. When was the last time you heard someone talk about that AMAZING holiday body they have been working on? Let’s just say that a holiday body is NOT the same as a bikini body.

As much as I LOOOOOVE Thanksgiving, it usually isn’t known for how well it makes us feel or even how it shrinks our waistline. In fact, it is probably one of the worst holidays when it comes to our health.

For those of us who TRY to make healthy eating choices, the holidays do not do us any favors. It is really hard to be social, visit with family, AND make healthy food choices. Unfortunately, that is the state of our society.

With that being said, let me move on to my first tip. It is a big one and it is also a very simple one.

1. Drink Water

Drink two full glasses of water FIRST THING when you wake up on that day when you know that there may be some “questionable” food choices (in fact, I do this every day). This does a lot for your health and isn’t THAT hard. Oh and trust me, I have heard it all about why you “can’t” do it.

“I am not thirsty.”

“I am full.”

“I will puke.”

“I just can’t do it.”

Yes, I know it isn’t the most exciting or enjoyable thing to do FIRST THING when you wake up. I had the very same thoughts the first time I did this, but it can be done. If you can only manage one glass of water, then do that, but two is ideal. This will not only help your body detox in the morning, but it will help you stay hydrated when you do eat those salty traditional foods. It will also fill you up and may suppress some of your hunger. Many times our body will satisfy dehydration with the feeling of being hungry. I recommend that most people increase their water intake and the guideline that I typically start with is to recommend that you drink half of your body weight in ounces per day. Again, this is a starting point and I will alter this depending on your individual case.

2. Eat it all.

Wait, did I just say that? Yep. Go ahead and enjoy your Thanksgiving by eating anything you want.

Now here is the catch, you can do this ONLY if you commit that it is just for ONE day. Let’s be honest here. You did not get your current body composition (all the muscle, fat, and bones) from ONE day of eating. It took many days of eating great food and exercise to give you that beach body, or many days of eating bad food to give you your “winter coat”.

WARNING: If you normally eat healthy, then eating bad food for one day will result in you feeling AWFUL. If you have done this, then you know what I am talking about and you likely will not make that terrible decision again.

Eat Better, Feel Better

3. Eat THIS, not that.

Start off with meat and veggies. By starting with protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates, your body will likely not crave the high simple carbohydrate foods like mashed potatoes, bread and stuffing. I won’t lie to you here, I have a bread problem. If bread is the first thing in front of me, then it is going to be a bad day. Thankfully I have learned that I have a bread problem and now I do my best to avoid it until after I have filled my belly. This makes eating a lot of it almost impossible and saves me from a LOT of simple carbohydrates.

4. Game Time!

I love football season! As much as I love it, I try to find time before I sit down on the couch for the day to get out and play some catch or two hand touch football outside. I know, I know, it is cold. All I ask is that you get some exercise before you eat that holiday meal. Be creative and burn some calories. You will be a big hit amongst the children in your family if you play some type of game. My only requirement is… to have FUN.

5. Bring Your Own Dish.

I am not saying that you need to replace the menu this Thanksgiving, but I am suggesting that you bring something that is more…”friendly” to your health. Although there are many options out there, I have selected a few good sources for replacing an item.  I would probably start with dessert if you want to only bring ONE thing. Check out the sites below!

Great Thanksgiving Recipes

Yummy Paleo Options

Dessert Alternatives

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Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to share it with people that you love and care about. As always, we provide COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATIONS to discuss your individual case and determine if we are an option to help you improve your heath.

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