Fruit juices and smoothies not much better than soda

fruit juice harmful

You’re eating healthy by opting for fruit juice and fruit smoothies over soda, right? Wrong, unfortunately. These more natural alternatives are still loaded with excess sugar and high in fructose, creating largely the same health risks as drinking sugary sodas. That Coke and Pepsi have bought dozens of fruit juice and smoothie brands is testament to the dubious health claims of these products. When studies linking sodas with obesity and diabetes hit the media, these companies began touting fruit-based beverages as an alternative.

Fruit juice not the way to meet daily produce requirements

Bottled fruit juice and smoothie sell themselves as a way to meet your daily requirements for fruit. But these drinks do not fill you up the way eating a whole piece of fruit does, and they bombard your bloodstream with more sugar than the human body was meant to handle. A smoothie can have the same amount of sugar as a large soda. It doesn’t matter if the sugar is “natural” — the impacts are deleterious regardless the source. Ongoing studies on fruit juices and smoothies show they cause the same problems with weight gain and diabetes as sodas.

Fruit sugar linked with modern health diseases

High intake of fructose has been linked with weight gain, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, elevated triglycerides and LDL, and type 2 diabetes. One study showed subjects who consumed high levels of fructose over 10 weeks developed new fat cells around their organs and had problems assimilating nutrients. Subjects given glucose instead of fructose did not suffer the same consequences. This is because the body metabolizes glucose differently and with less burden to the liver. Also, glucose is utilized by the body more rapidly while fructose is converted to fatty acids for storage.

If your only fructose came from whole fruits and vegetables, you would consume about 15 grams a day. You would also receive fiber, minerals, enzymes, and healthful phytochemicals –- nutritionists recommend 28 to 35 grams a day of fiber. Unfortunately, the average teen today consumes more than 70 grams of fructose a day through fructose-sweetened drinks. Research shows those who drink fruit juice two or more times a week are almost 30 percent more likely to develop diabetes than those who don’t consume it. This is not far behind the 40 percent higher risk for soda drinkers.

Smoothies are slightly better because they also include the fiber, however they are still high, sometimes to a staggering degree, in calories and grams of sugar. Also, experts say that because smoothies don’t need to be chewed, the brain doesn’t receive signals that you’ve eaten. Studies show chewing leads to eating fewer calories.

Safely including fructose in your diet

This doesn’t mean you have to give up fruit completely, you just have to be sensible with your fruit intake. Skip the juiced and processed fruits and eat whole fruits instead, chewing thoroughly. If you love your smoothies, try vegetable smoothies that use a modest amount of fruit to make them more palatable.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Fruit juices and smoothies not much better than soda

What your feet say about your brain

healthy feet healthy brain

Although they’re located at the farthest distance from your brain, the health of your feet can give you clues about the health of your brain, mainly whether your brain is receiving enough oxygen. When circulation to the feet is poor, creating a variety of symptoms discussed below, this is a red flag circulation to the brain is compromised as well. Just because you can breathe doesn’t mean your brain is getting enough oxygen.

If your brain is not getting enough oxygen it won’t function well. You may notice brain fog, declining memory, that you tire more easily, and that it is harder to learn new things. Depression is another common symptom. Poor brain oxygen is a serious matter because it accelerates degeneration of your brain—vascular dementia from lack of blood flow to the brain is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s.

Feet symptoms that could point to problems in your brain

Cold toes and feet. If your feet and toes are colder than your ankles or calves, this means circulation is poor to your feet, and hence to your brain. It’s hard to measure your own skin temperature so have someone else compare the temperature of your calves and ankles with that of your feet and toes. If the feet and toes are colder than your ankles and calves this means your circulation to the furthermost regions of your body is compromised. Cold fingers and a cold nose are common too.

Chronic fungal growth in toenails

Do you have chronic fungal nail infections, or chronic athlete’s foot? When circulation is poor the blood is not able to carry oxygen, immune cells, and nutrients to the feet to keep them healthy. As a result, infections can take root and be difficult to impossible to banish while circulation is poor. General nail health will also be poor. This is a sign circulation in your brain is also compromised.

White nail beds; poor capillary refill time

The nail beds of your toes should be a healthy pink color. If they are pale or white this is another symptom of poor circulation. Also, when you press down on a nail bed it turns white, but the pink color should return instantly. If it takes a few seconds for the color to return, this means blood flow to the nails is poor, as is blood flow to the brain.

Foot cramps

Sometimes people with poor circulation get foot cramps that seem impossible to relieve. This is because there is not enough blood and oxygen flowing to the muscles in the feet. They may also get cramps in their hands. Again, these are signs blood flow to the brain may be poor.

How to restore blood flow to your feet and your brain

It’s important to rule out a health condition that can cause poor blood flow to your feet, such as hypothyroidism, anemia, a heart condition, diabetes, or low blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80. If either number is 10 or more points below that it means blood is not getting pushed into these more distant capillaries of the feet and brain. People with low blood pressure typically also have low blood sugar (reactive hypoglycemia) and adrenal fatigue, a condition in which their stress response system is worn out.

It’s important to stabilize blood sugar by avoiding sugars and processed carbohydrates and not skipping meals. Exercise is great for increasing circulation, especially short bursts of high-intensity exercise. Also, a variety of nutritional compounds can support blood flow to your feet and your brain. Ask my office for advice and check out the book Why Isn’t My Brain Working?

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on What your feet say about your brain

How to prevent autoimmune flare-ups while traveling

autoimmune diet while traveling

Managing your autoimmune condition—Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, type 1 diabetes, alopecia, vitiligo, psoriasis, etc.—can be tricky enough. Traveling takes autoimmune management to a new level as you must attend to not only your diet, environment, energy expenditure, and sleep, but also the added stressors traveling poses.

Managing an autoimmune condition doesn’t mean you have to avoid travel. It’s just a matter of planning ahead and being more conscious of your self-care. By mastering some basics you can relax and enjoy your trip and quickly return to your routine at home without a long recovery period.

Below are some tips to help you keep your autoimmune condition under control while traveling.

Plan where and what you’re going to eat. Foundational to autoimmune management is the autoimmune diet, also known as the leaky gut diet. This diet, which is free of common immune triggers, is great for keeping your autoimmune condition under control, but without advance planning it can be tough to follow.

It’s important you determine ahead of time where at your destination you can safely eat. For instance, find out where the Whole Foods or other health food stores are at your destination. Make sure you have a refrigerator in your hotel room. Some people even pack a mini crockpot to heat up frozen stews they packed, or a hot plate and a frying pan for a stir-fry meal with fresh ingredients. Pack snack foods for when you can’t eat right away so hunger doesn’t trample your willpower. Ideas include beef jerky, celery, sardines, olives, coconut meat, and other filling snacks.

Load up on glutathione. Travel has many stressors—early mornings, long days, new environments, crowded airplanes, and so on. These stressors can deplete your stores of glutathione, the body’s main antioxidant that keeps inflammation and autoimmune flare-ups at bay. Glutathione can also offer protection from increased exposure to radiation through flying at high altitudes. And although officials claim the new radio-frequency body scanners at airports are safe, a group of university scientists have doubts and are demanding more thorough testing. Some people feel choosing a pat down is a healthier option than the scanner. Glutathione precursors, such as N-acetyl-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, cordyceps, and milk thistle, can be supplemented orally, or you can use a transdermal glutathione cream.

Look for chemical-free hotel rooms. Some hotel rooms hit you with a synthetic-scent overload when you walk through the door. Feather pillows, dust, and stale air can also set off immune reactions. Fortunately, some hotels offer scent-free allergy-friendly rooms with hypoallergenic bedding, air purifiers, fragrance-free bath products, and windows that open.

Keep a mask with you. Sometimes you just can’t avoid toxic exposure, whether it’s from exhaust, perfumes, or the person next to you on the plane sneezing and coughing. It’s becoming more common to see people wearing a face mask when flying, and it’s not a bad idea to carry one. A good face mask is comfortable and allows you to breathe easily while helping protect you from toxins and other pathogens in the air, preventing an autoimmune flare-up and glutathione depletion. Some companies even make face masks in a variety of colors and prints and for children and babies.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on How to prevent autoimmune flare-ups while traveling

Six interesting and healthy ways to enjoy pumpkin this season

326 healthy pumpkin recipes

Tis the pumpkin season, which for most people conjures images of pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin cookies. However, this colorful, nutritious, and affordable squash does not have to be relegated to the dessert table or Starbucks drive-through. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the pumpkin’s bounty without spiking your blood sugar and loading up on calories.

Pumpkin soup

Pumpkin makes a great addition to soup, whether in chunks or as a puree. You can make a pumpkin puree soup with homemade chicken broth and coconut milk and seasoned with ginger, cloves, sage, and salt. For a finishing touch, add in chopped bacon bits. Or make a soup with chopped pumpkin and other veggies and meats.

Pumpkin bowl chili or stew

For this recipe, make your favorite chili or stew recipe and serve it inside a small, roasted pumpkin or squash. To roast your whole pumpkin, cut off the top, scoop out the insides, and place in a pan with a half inch of water and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until soft. The sweetness of the pumpkin flesh is a nice complement to a spicy chili or stew.

Grain-free pumpkin pancakes

Pancakes are a versatile breakfast option because they are easy to make without grains. Pumpkin pancakes bring a new level of flavor and moistness. Use coconut flour and add pumpkin puree, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spices to make grain-free pumpkins reminiscent of pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin seeds

When roasted and seasoned, pumpkin seeds make a great snack that is healthy, filling, and high in fiber. Separate out the pumpkin seeds in a colander under running water, simmer in salted boiling water for 10 minutes, add oil and seasoning, and roast at 400 degrees on the top rack for five to 20 minutes, or until browned. You can choose from a large variety of ways to flavor your pumpkin seeds, either sweet or savory.

Pumpkin pie protein shake

This novel recipe gives you a pumpkin-pie approach to your protein shake. Use your favorite protein powder or gelatin and blend with almond or coconut milk, fresh or canned pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, ice cubes, and a banana if desired for sweetness (or use frozen banana chunks in place of ice).

Pumpkin latte

Although it might be hard to compete with a Starbucks pumpkin latte, you can certainly do better in terms of sugar content. Most health-friendly versions call for brewed coffee, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, and the natural sweetener of your choice.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Six interesting and healthy ways to enjoy pumpkin this season