High cholesterol levels is something that effects around 31% of the human population. Having a cholesterol levels can lead to high blood pressure, angina and kidney diseases. In more serious cases it can lead to strokes and heart attacks. This is because cholesterol builds up in our arteries and blood vessels. Due to this build up, it leads to a narrower vessel hence the increase in blood pressure and the increase likelihood of blockages. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, today let’s discuss 4 ways for you to lower your cholesterol.
Reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet. This is because it contains high amounts of LDL. This is a type of cholesterol that is harmful for the body as it leaves build ups and is easily solidified in room temperature. Thus leading to narrower blood vessels in the body. We find saturated fats in many unhealthy foods such as pies, cakes and different types of pastries. This is because they are all made from some sort of animal products like butter and margarine. Another way to avoid food that contains high amount of saturated fats is to consume less processed meats. This is because it is often mixed with cuts of meat that contains high amount of animal fat.
Consume food that is high in omega-3. Even though omega-3 is a fat it does not build up in the body as it is classified as an HDL. Think of it like this, omega-3 is the oil that keeps the mechanics well oiled. If everything in your body is well oiled, it’ll function smoothly and be kept in a better state. By keeping the arteries better oiled, it decreases the amount of plaque and fatty builds up from the LDL. As a result, even if you do have high cholesterol, it’ll lower your blood pressure. Leading to a lower likelihood of heart diseases.
While we are sticking to recommended foods, it is highly recommended for people with high cholesterol to consume soluble fibres like beans, oats, citrus fruits and barley. This is because our body is not able to digest these foods. This create a small barrier where these soluble fibres are then attached to the cholesterol, preventing it from getting into the blood stream. In addition, soluble fibres helps your gut bacteria (probiotics) function better. So start consuming more fibre right now!
Do some exercises. Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between exercise and lower cholesterol levels. This is because exercise stimulates a higher production of HDL levels. As we have mentioned it above, HDKL decreases the amount of plaque and fatty build ups in the arteries. As a recommendation, exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. It can be anything from brisk walking to playing a sport that you enjoy.
Here are 4 tips on how to reduce cholesterol. Remember, it won’t be decreased overtime. Try these tips for a couple of months and retest your levels after. Sometimes it may take even longer. But I guarantee that if you stick to it, results will show over time!
Food is now in abundance for many of us. In fact, we have so much food that many of the unnecessary products are becoming staples. I’m sure there is one person that you know of replaces water with soda, fruits with sugary sweets, whole foods with processed foods and fresh meat with processed meat. These foods will surely lead to health complications later on in life. One of them would highly likely be diabetes.
What is diabetes? Diabetes is when there is too much sugar in your blood. This can be due to two reasons; congenital and lifestyle. Type 1 diabetes is due to congenital issues. This is an autoimmune issue that occurs when your insulin-producing cells are attacked by your immune system. Insulin is an important hormone that regulates blood sugar and without it our blood sugar levels will rise. So if there is a lack of insulin to begin with, there will be nothing that keeps it under control. Type 2 is due to consuming food with too much sugar. This causes one of two problems. Firstly, it may cause the body to not produce enough insulin. This is because the demand is too high and the body cannot make enough supplies. Secondly, it can cause the insulin to become more resistant. This just means that your body isn’t able to process the sugar as well as it should. Insulin is used to the amount of sugar and is feeling lazy so it will no longer be as sensitive as it once was.
So let’s talk about some early signs and symptoms of diabetes. Some early signs of diabetes can include frequent urination, increased thirst, and an increase in appetite. However, sometimes there may be no symptoms at all! So we must constantly monitor our blood to check for sugar levels and other problems. In severe cases of diabetes, slow healing of cuts and wounds, loss of sensation, blurry vision, and patchy skin. The one that I would definitely be careful of would be the slow healing of wounds. This is because it increases the likelihood of infection occurring.
So now we know what diabetes is, what is the reasoning behind it, and what the symptoms are, next time we’ll discuss some risk factors (hint: most likely from diet). Also, we’ll tell you some ways to prevent yourself from getting diabetes too!
Before we dig deep into how you can heal your adrenal glands naturally, let’s quickly go through what can cause adrenal fatigue in the first place.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
Stressful experiences like death of loved one, divorce or surgery
Exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
Prolonged stress due to financial hardship, bad relationships or work environment, and other conditions that entail feelings of helplessness
Negative thinking and emotional trauma
Lack of sleep
Poor diet (including crash diets and inconsistent nutrition) and lack of exercise
Reliance on stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks
Natural ways to heal adrenal glands
1. Follow the adrenal diet.
– Caffeine: This can interfere with your sleep cycle and make it hard for your adrenals to recover. If you must drink coffee or a caffeinated beverage, then have a limited amount in the morning before noon. I would highly recommend lowering your caffeine intake to 1 per week overtime if you need to. Try to drink herbal or green tea instead.
– Sugar and sweeteners: Includes avoiding high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners as well. Avoid sugary foods, cereals, candy, sweets, etc. Be aware that sugar is an additive in many breads, condiments and dressings. Try to avoid as much extra sugar as possible. Seek the benefits of stevia as an alternative, and always moderate your use of sweeteners of any kind.
– Processed and microwaved foods: First of all, the microwave has its own dangers, but additionally, most microwaveable, ultra-processed foods have many preservatives and fillers that are hard to digest and wear out your body’s energy and digestion cycle. Try to buy food on the outer walls of your grocery store and prepare your own food whenever possible.
– Processed meats and dairy: An overload of protein can stress your hormones more than you might think, and the added hormones and lacking nutrition in conventional, processed meats (particularly red meats like beef and steak) can throw your system out-of-whack in quick succession. We usually consume way too much animal products in our diet these days which are all the cause of the most deadliest diseases known to human such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Eat these protein-heavy meats only in moderation.
– Hydrogenated oils: Vegetable oils like soybean, canola and corn oil are highly inflammatory and can lead to adrenal inflammation. Try to only use good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil.
2. Add nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest and have healing qualities.
Some of the top superfoods for adrenal health include:
A strict no-carb diet can stress the body, even more, worsening adrenal burnout. Of course, I’m not saying please go and eat cookies and cakes, but rather quinoa, lentils, and buckwheat.
3. Herbs and Supplements.
– Adaptogenic herbs ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Schisandra, and holy basil: Research indicates that adaptogen herbs may help to lower cortisol levels and mediate stress responses within the body. By using these herbs in food preparation, you can alleviate some of the strain on your adrenal glands
– Licorice root: This spice is available in extract form and helps to increase the DHEA in your body. Licorice root is associated with some side effects and may sometimes be avoided by taking DGL licorice. Pregnant women and those with heart, liver or kidney problems should avoid licorice root. Don’t take it for more than four weeks at a time.
– Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA): There are a large number of benefits of increasing your omega 3 fatty acids intake through natural sources such as chia seeds, flaxeeds/linseeds and hemp seeds. Several of these include counteracting a number of adrenal fatigue-related symptoms and complications, such as diabetes, mental dysfunction, arthritis, immune system function, skin issues, weight gain and anxiety/depression.
– Magnesium: For some time, magnesium has been understood as one of the necessary nutrients for fighting adrenal insufficiency, While the mechanisms of this aren’t fully understood, you may benefit from supplementing with magnesium if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue.
4. Vitamins and oils
– B-Complex vitamins: Research has found that vitamin B12 deficiency may be associated with stress on the adrenal cortex in some animals. Vitamin B5 is another commonly deficient vitamin in people with adrenal stress. It may serve you well to take a high-quality B-complex vitamin supplement.
– Vitamin C: Known as a “stress-busting” nutrient, vitamin C has been found to minimize the effects of stress on people as well as reduce the time necessary to bounce back from stressful events.
– Vitamin D: In addition to maintaining homeostasis between magnesium and phosphorus in the body and supporting strong bones, Vitamin D has also more recently been seen to have impact on other conditions, including adrenal dysfunction and disease.
– Selenium: At least one animal study has found that selenium deficiency can negatively impact adrenal function.
– Lavender oil: Human and animal studies show that lavender essential oil has a calming effect that can reduce stress. Research also suggests that it may lower high cortisol levels when inhaled.
– Rosemary oil: Rosemary essential oil (along with lavender) can help to decrease cortisol concentrations and reduce oxidative stress on cells.
5. Other things you must pay attention to for healthy adrenal glands:
– Go to bed early.
Getting to bed before 10-11pm is a must in any stage of adrenal fatigue. Many people get a second cortisol surge after 11pm, which further disrupts sleep patterns.
– Focus on hydration.
Dehydration is also a hallmark of adrenal fatigue. You can take a multi trace mineral supplement so more water is absorbed into your cells. You can also add fresh lemon juice or Himalayan sea salt to your water instead.
– Build rest into the day.
Practise Iyengar Yoga at least 2 x week and take two 20-minute rest breaks a day (time outs alone to breathe and restore).
– Change your perspective.
Is your definition of success killing you? In many cases, what you perceive as success is driving you into adrenal overload. Try to internalize the idea that “it” doesn’t have to be perfect to be great.
In some cases hormone therapy can be helpful, and if someone has an autoimmune disease called Addison’s, it can be necessary. But for most people who live their way into stage 1, 2 or 3 adrenal fatigue, it’s just a matter of living their way right back out of it and into balance with their bodies.
Cacao Orange Rejuvenator
1/2 tsp ginseng root
1 tsp roasted chicory root
1/2 tsp orange peel
1/2 tsp licorice root
1 pinch per cup cacao powder
1 drop per cup orange essential oil
This will serve 2–3 cups of rich and rejuvenating tea. 1. Put the ginseng in a pan with a lid. Add 7 ounces cold water and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes. Add the roasted chicory root, orange peel, and licorice root to the pan along with 14 ounces freshly boiled filtered water. Leave to steep for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cups by adding cacao powder to each one. 2. Once the tea has steeped, strain and pour it onto the cacao powder in the cups. Whisk and finish each with a drop of orange essential oil. (If you’re short on time, you can skip simmering the ginseng or leave it out.)
“Tea is the second most consumed drink after water.” Some say green tea is the healthiest beverage to drink. Many people rave the benefits it has on the body due to its high levels of antioxidants and nutrients. Drinking green tea regularly definitely has a positive impact on the body. Today I am going to explain these benefits and why you should be drinking more of this.
Benefits of green tea
The most bioactive compound found in green tea is called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG has many notable health benefits. For one, it is a powerful antioxidant which helps neutralize oxidative damage from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules which attack your cells and are seen increasingly through age. The brain uses a whopping 20% of the oxygen we breathe in, thus being more prone to oxidative damage causing neurological disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and even decreasing cognitive functions. EGCG safely interacts with these free radicals and stop cells from being destroyed.
Another benefit green tea has is increasing your concentration and alertness. Due to an amino acid called L-Theanine it increases the levels of neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and GABA. This increases motivation, improves recall, learning and positive mood. L-Theanine also has a relaxing effect without the sedation making you drowsy.
So you drink coffee to get you through your day? What do you do when you take a caffeine crash? Some people drink 3 – 4 cups of coffee a day just to wake themselves up from their previous caffeine intake. What if I told you green tea can give you the same boost in energy without the extreme tiredness, irritability and inability to concentrate. Like coffee, green tea has caffeine. While this is nowhere enough to give the same effects as coffee, green tea has L-Theanine. Like I explained earlier this amino acid increases concentration and alertness and coupled with caffeine it can boost your mental performance without the side effects.
Some studies have shown that drinking green tea can help intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories. Due to a compound known as polyphenol studies are showing that it can help decrease body fat.
There are so many more other benefits from drinking green tea regularly that it is hard to count. To sum up, green tea can greatly improve concentration levels, reduce chances of neurological diseases, boost your energy and even help you lose body fat. If someone asked what the healthiest drink in the world is, green tea would be the answer. Why don’t you go and have a cup yourself and see the changes.
65 % of our body is composed of water, from our organs to our blood cells, we need water to function effectively. Most people know that drinking plenty of water is beneficial for us.
In this blog, I will share with you 4 benefits of drinking plenty of water.
1. Adequate hydration has a big impact on your immune system.
Water allows your blood to carry oxygen to all the cells in your body. With oxygen this allows your kidneys to function at its best. The kidneys job is to filter out all the toxins. Without your kidneys getting enough oxygen to function, toxins will start to accumulate and will not be excreted as waste.
Another way water aids in your immune system is through the production of lymph fluid within the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system provides a network of blood vessels and lymph nodes that help protect our body from outside invaders such as bacteria. Lymph fluid carries bacteria to lymph nodes where it gets filtered and destroyed.
2. Water helps aid in digestion.
We may have all wondered, if the acid in our stomach is so strong that it can dissolve a nail. Why doesn’t it burn a hole through our stomach? Good question. This is all due to your mucous stomach lining. Without adequate water this mucous membrane would be limited. As a result this would cause ulcers within the stomach which can be very unpleasant.
Staying hydrated helps your gastrointestinal tract to flow freely and prevents constipation. When you are dehydrated your body will try to keep hydrated by any means possible. Even if it means pulling water away from stools. This results in hard and dry stools which are straining to pass through. As you are needed to use force to pass them through, this can negatively impact your body by developing hernias, hemorrhoids or even diverticulitis.
3. Water can help maximize physical performance.
Studies have shown that even losing as much as 2 percent of body water can have a noticeable effect on physical performance. Like any other organs within the body, our muscles are also dependent on water to function effectively. As we exert ourselves physically we will sweat to regulate our body temperature. This results in a drop in body water content. With minimum water reserves that will go to other vital organs, our muscles will have insufficient hydration to function properly. We will notice increased fatigue and will be worn out much easier.
4. Water can help you lose weight!
Research has shown drinking water can help you burn more calories and promotes the breakdown of fat cells. Other research has shown that drinking water prior to a meal can help suppress appetite. Water is a zero calorie free option and is an awesome replacement for other drinks that are high in calorie.
Now we know how important water is to help us regulate our daily lives. How much do we need to drink to see these benefits?
Well as with most things it really depends on each individual. Many factors may affect how much we need to drink. Are we doing any vigorous physical activity? Is it a hot summer’s day? As a rule of thumb drinking 1 liter per 25 kg of body weight should be adequate.
Some tips to keep yourself hydrated all the time:
If you are sick of drinking plain old water try adding lemon or other citric fruit pieces to flavour your water naturally.
Fruits and vegetables are also high in water content. With some having high fiber content which can aid in digestion.
Carry a reusable drink bottle with you, so you can always refill it.
Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake. Both these beverages act as diuretics resulting in you losing more water than you should.
Drink small sips throughout the day. Don’t wait until you feel the symptoms of thirst etc.
One of the most common phrases I hear from my patients is, “As soon as I get pregnant I will stop drinking coffee and alcohol.”
The trouble with that strategy is that the pregnancy may never happen if the liver is compromised.
Did you know that coffee constricts blood vessels while tea opens them? In order to ensure the optimal functioning of a woman’s reproductive organs, there must be adequate blood flow.
“It’s not what you do once in a while, it’s what you do every day that makes a difference in your health.” Dr. Libby Weaver.
So how much coffee can you have without compromising your fertility?
1-3 cups of coffee per MONTH is what I would consider “once in a while” and a very low risk to your fertility.
If you are drinking more than that, consider asking yourself these questions:
How many cups does it take for you to feel buzzed? Is that number slowly increasing?
Do you feel like it would be very hard to cut down? That’s a good sign that it’s necessary to do so.
What is a cup of coffee giving you that you can get some other way?
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view, our Liver Qi is responsible for orchestrating the menstrual cycle. It also plays a crucial role in women’s fertility.
When our cycle goes smoothly, there are no cramps, no mood swings, no breast tenderness. There is a moderate flow of deep red blood for 3-5 days with no clots, and little spotting, which means our Liver Qi is healthy and balanced. (And, yes, that’s possible!)
Unfortunately, most women experience the opposite of the period described above. This is a sign that your Liver Qi is stuck and needs some help to flow more smoothly.
Coffee and alcohol temporarily relieve stress and make us feel better. Or as we say, “smooths out the Liver Qi.” However, in the long run, these temporary salves can cause more Liver Qi Stagnation which makes us crave more alcohol and more coffee. It can then cause more PMS symptoms and potentially lead to fertility issues.
From a western medicine perspective, coffee and alcohol are considered “liver loaders”. That means they are processed in the liver and too much of either one can compromise the liver’s healthy functioning.
Interestingly, estrogen, one of the most important women’s fertility hormone, is made and eliminated from the body via the liver. So, you can imagine, if the liver is working overtime to process coffee and alcohol, that this will affect the proper estrogen balance in the body, potentially leading to compromised fertility.
How to substitute?
Here are some healthy alternatives to get your liver and your fertility back on track:
Teeccino, a wonderful coffee-like substitute made with chicory root which is high in potassium, giving you a natural energy boost that also promotes bowel movements, just like coffee! And I love the rich taste.
Green tea actually helps to smooth the Liver Qi, from a Chinese Medicine perspective, and the small amount of caffeine can help you with the transition from coffee.
Swiss water process decaf coffee is much healthier than other decaf coffee made via toxic chemical processes.
Pomegranate juice and sparkling water in a wine glass is a wonderful substitute to fill that void in your hand when socializing or enjoying dinner.
De-stressing or “me” time rituals like journaling, taking a bath, meditation, yoga, reading a good book, going out with friends, making a cup of tea, or getting a massage can all help to satisfy the feeling we’re looking for when we reach for our most loved vice.
As a nation we drink on average, 2.5 cups per week and we definitely can’t get through the week without it. Can you guess what it is? If you haven’t guessed it by now after reading the title, I think you’re in the wrong place.
Coffee is a great way to catch up with friends and relax. I’ll admit it, I do too like my coffee and whilst it is okay to have it every once in a while, I think it is important to know the effects coffee has on the body.
Some naturally occurring compounds in coffee include; caffeine, antioxidants and diterpenes. Not only do these compounds give the coffee its unique flavour, it also leads to the physiological changes within the body, especially caffeine.
We know coffee primarily for its caffeine. So what does it do? Well caffeine acts as a stimulator for your nervous system. Adenosine which plays an important role in your sleep pattern get blocked by caffeine, thus causing energy spikes in the body to get you through your day. Continuous blocking of adenosine through caffeine intake will cause insomnia and poor sleep quality (waking several times through the night and waking up groggy). This is fortunately reversible. A good night sleep is ONE OF THE MOST important things for your health. It’s up there with good nutrition, exercise and Chiropractic care. Whether you want to get fit, gain muscle, lose weight, improve your mood, decrease your stress, heal from chronic pain or from an acute injury, a good night sleep is one of the things that’s required to get you there.
Coffee can make the liver dysfunctional. The liver is the second largest organ in the human body (after the skin) and important for the function of many things in the body. One of them being the hormonal system, which I can cover in the next blog.
Have you ever had a sudden urge to go to the toilet after drinking coffee? Well that’s because coffee also increases acid levels in the stomach. On an empty stomach this can cause irritation of the gut lining in your stomach leading to pain, bloating and heart burn.
Caffeine can also affect your heart. In high dosages it can elevate your blood epinephrine levels. Epinephrine also known as adrenaline can cause an increase in contractibility of your heart and increase in blood pressure. If you have a heart condition you may want to stay away from coffee or any caffeinated beverages.
Caffeine can last about 5.7 hours in the human body. When you have that second cup of coffee during midday, you’re still processing the coffee you had in the morning. If you are that type of person to drink more than two cups of coffee a day, think about it. By the end of the day you will still be processing the caffeine and this is one of the reasons why more than 2 – 3 coffees a day can be so detrimental to your sleep.
Listen to your body. If you’re showing signs of heavy breathing, increased heart beat or even insomnia it is likely that you’re suffering from side effects of caffeine. If you really can’t give up your coffee… I usually say ‘tough’ but at the end of the day, it’s your body and your choice so just make sure you have coffee in moderate amounts.
If you ask me what amount of coffee is okay to have, I would say 1 per week. But realistically, most people drink WAY more than this. Therefore cut it down gradually and eventually only have it casually. There ARE other choices in a café if you look for it.
Kick that coffee addiction by replacing it with green tea!!!
It is a natural antioxidant and it has lots of health benefits but then again, just like anything else in your diet, you don’t want to overdo it. I would recommend having 2 cups per day.
It is more than just a hydrating beverage. The green tea plant contains a range of healthy compounds that make it into the final drink.
Tea is rich in polyphenols, which are natural compounds that have health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and helping to fight cancer.
Green tea contains a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Catechins are natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other benefits.
These substances can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage. These free radicals play a role in aging and many types of diseases.
EGCG is one of the most powerful compounds in green tea. Research has tested its ability to help treat various diseases. It appears to be one of the main compounds that gives green tea its medicinal properties.
There are so many different ideas and theories about coffee and if it makes you fat or skinny.
Most commonly people think that coffee makes you ‘skinny’ because it ‘increases’ your metabolism. Well, that’s not correct and you don’t need that kind of disinformation.
It is just another drug, such as alcohol or cigarettes. It’s highly addictive. What’s worse is that people have no idea how much it affects them and not just their physique. It influences their hormone regulation, energy, sleep, cardiovascular system (leading to heart disease), blood sugar (leading to diabetes), joints, muscles, bones (leading to chronic musculoskeletal conditions), and much more.
Did you know that sugar, caffeine, and alcohol are the leading causes of high blood pressure and thus heart disease?
I see client after client who drinks 3-4 coffees per day and don’t realize that it causes a lot of their musculoskeletal and health problems.
Coffee’s ability to make you fat has nothing to do with the added creamer or sweetener. Plain black coffee can make you fat. Coffee and caffeine trigger fat storage in human fat cells. Coffee/caffeine impairs blood glucose levels, thus triggering a metabolic cascade of negative physical events in the human body.
At any rate, even decaffeinated coffee has been proven to acutely impair glucose metabolism in healthy young men. So, clearly the pathogenesis of plain coffee—without caffeine—stimulates blood glucose imbalance and impacts adipose tissue fat production.
The hormone regulation
Drinking regular coffee also causes the secretion of cortisol, a stress hormone, and a biochemical marker of stress that triggers belly-fat accumulation. Dr. Henry Kahn of the Emory University School of Medicine states, “There’s something about fat cells in the body—the way they respond to stress hormones. People with high levels of stress hormones have a tendency to store fat in their bellies.”
Stress activates cortisol, and so does the consumption of coffee and caffeine. Since stress and ingestion of cortisol-elevating foods and beverages are the main cause of cortisol elevation in humans. Avoiding the stimulation of cortisol is important in keeping body fat levels low.
Blood sugar / Insulin:
The biochemical disruptions caused by drinking coffee and/or caffeinated drinks (such as energy drinks) are related to their glycemic properties. Coffee elicits an acute insulin-insensitive environment in both healthy and obese individuals, and in type 2 diabetics. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center stated that “Daily consumption of coffee, tea, or soft drinks raises blood sugar levels and may even hinder efforts to control the condition [blood-sugar elevation].”
Simply put, elevating blood sugar and/or insulin levels in humans causes weight gain via adipose tissue fat cells.
Here’s the bottom line: Drinking coffee and/or caffeine energy drinks disrupts weight loss and elevates cortisol-driven belly fat. So, avoiding coffee and caffeine-related blood glucose excursions and cortisol elevation is mandatory in keeping fat cells at bay.
Read my next blog post for recommendations on what to replace your coffee with and how to beat your coffee addiction!