Did you know that our day-to-day lifestyle choices often expose us to chemicals that are harmful to our bodies and lead to a buildup of toxins in our bodies? Toxin buildup can come from air pollutants, smoking, pesticides in the foods we eat, and daily stressors we all have in our lives. Our bodies are very good at filtering these compounds out of our bodies, however, over time our liver is not always able to keep up with the toxin load to which we expose our bodies. The result is a buildup of toxins in our body - particularly in our body fat stores. Cleasing your systems - either through diet and/or specific supplementation - helps to support normal liver health and reduces the buildup of toxins in our bodies.Cleanse Your Body Through Your Dietary Intake
We all know that detox and cleansing diets have become extremely popular as a means to kick start a "diet" plan. I'm not going to say this is always a good thing - particulary because many detox diets are not the healthiest to follow and I hate to see people overuse cleases or detoxification diets in an effort to lose weight. Cleanses are healthy and a great thing to follow on occasion, but overuse can be unhealthy and just another way for people to fall into a "dieting" trap.
To clease your system properly I recommend cleansing your body seasonally. What exactly is a cleanse or a detox diet? It's following a dietary intake for a short period of time, which promotes consuming specific foods, while at the same time eliminating foods that typcially cause digestive upset or are hard for the human body to break down.
The goal of following a cleanse or detox diet is not necessarily weight loss. Many individuals, such as myself, cleanse throughout the year for health reasons. Other people use a cleanse or detox diet as a way to mobilize fat stores at the beginning of their weight loss endeavor. Regardless of the cleanse you follow, the purpose is to eliminate unhealthy foods, beverages and toxins from the environment. They tend to be rich in fruits, vegetables and water, and eliminate processed foods, added sugars and salt, dairy, wheat, alcohol and artificial sweeteners.
What can fruits and vegetables do for us? Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, which makes them an essential part of any cleanse. They are also rich in fiber, a nutrient that supports regular digestive tract function and as a result, helps to eliminate the buildup of toxins in the body. Fruits and vegetables also contain numerous polyphenols, natural plant chemicals that have a variety of functions, including supporting normal liver detoxification enzymes. It is also imperative to drink plenty of water, as doing so enables our kidneys to function properly and also contributes to flushing toxins out of the system.Supplementation Supports Cleansing & Detoxification
Another important part of detox diets is the inclusion of dietary supplements. Dietary supplementation allows us to meet our daily nutritional needs as well as support healthy liver function. Choosing the proper supplements during your cleanse, however, is essential. Some of the best dietary supplements include:Multivitamin/Multimineral
. I recommend that everyone take a multi-vitamin on a daily basis in order to cover any gaps in our dietary intake. Even those of us who intend to eat the healthiest of foods each day may not be getting the nutrients our bodies need. This is due to the depletion of nutrients in our foods supply, schedules, eating on the run, etc. When following a restrictive diet where we limit the amounts and types of foods we eat, such as a cleanse, the importance of a multi-vitamin is even more critical. This is because we are at risk of not obtaining all the vitamins and minerals our body needs. Taking a high quality and well-absorbed multi-vitamin
can help us avoid a nutrient deficiency while following a cleanse and on a daily basis. Broccoli Extract
. Broccoli and broccoli extracts are sources of the natural plant chemicals indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane. These compounds have been shown to support the normal production of phase II liver detoxification enzymes and promote our body’s natural antioxidant system. These benefits help protect our bodies from oxidative stressors and help promote the natural clearance of toxins from our body. Other cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, and kale, also contain these beneficial plant compounds. Milk Thistle
. Milk thistle contains a group of active chemical compounds called flavonolignans that are commonly referred to as silymarin. Silymarin has antioxidant properties that fight free radical-generated oxidative damage. When our liver detoxifies environmental contaminants, free radicals are generated that can cause damage; silymarin has been shown to protect our bodies from this oxidative damage
. One of the main components of silymarin is silybin. Research studies have reported that silybin can support normal liver health
and liver enzymes and thus help support the liver’s ability to clear toxins.Curcumin
. Curcumin is the most well-known compound derived from the spice turmeric. In addition to its potent antioxidant properties, curcumin has been reported to have several different activities
that support normal human health. For example, it has been suggested that curcumin promotes normal cellular antioxidant enzymes
, and supports production of the phase II detoxification enzyme glutathione S-transferase
. These activities help our body’s clear environmental toxins to which we have been exposed and fight oxidative stress.N-Acetyl Cysteine
. N-acetyl cysteine is derived from the amino acid cysteine, which is an important component of the cellular antioxidant glutathione. N-acetyl cysteine has been shown to have numerous health benefits
including protection from acetaminophen poisoning. Additionally, some studies have suggested that N-acetyl cysteine protects liver health from exposure to heavy metals
and other environmental contaminants.Green Tea
. Green tea is rich in antioxidant compounds called catechins, particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). In addition to the ability of green tea polyphenols to support cellular antioxidant compounds
, it has been demonstrated that green tea compounds can support detoxification enzymes
, helping to protect our bodies from oxidative stress and environmental toxins.
If you choose to follow a cleanse or a detox diet, be sure it is only for a short-term and that you are taking a high quality mutli-vitamin/multi-mineral to ensure you are meeting your daily needs. Please feel free to contact me with aditional questions about what type of cleanse or detox diet you should follow to ensure your health and safetyl.
In addition to following a cleanse or detox diet, you may want to consider supporting your system with the addition of supplements like the ones above. As mentioned, these supplements are meant to provide antioxidant support and promote normal detoxification systems. There are four supplements I recomend that will enable you to get all of the above mentioned nutrients. Feel free to click on the provided links for more information or contact me with any questions:- nutraMetrix Isotonix Multivitamin/Multimineral- nutraMetrix Curcumin Extreme™ - contains broccoli seed extract and curcumin- nutraMetrix Timeless Prescription® Oxygen Extreme™ - contains milk thistle and green tea extract- nutraMetrix NutriClean HepatoCleanse -
contains milk thistle seed, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine and green tea leaf extract
The last three supplements are available in the nutraMetrix Complete Detoxification Kit - you save 26%! Feel free to contact me with any questions...
An overwhelming amount of research suggests that eating a diet that contains lots of fresh fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
So, you may ask, which ones should we be choosing most often? The best options during the Spring months include: organic strawberries, pineapple, organic spinach, organic broccoli and mustard greens, which are currently in season and among the most economical this time of year.
Research has also shown that eating a plant-based diet rich in not only vegetables and fruits, but including whole grains and beans can reduce your risk for cancer. Buying foods in season keeps your diet fresh and helps you build confidence in your food choices, while supporting your long-term health goals. Below are a few tips for purchasing the best Spring fruit and vegetable options:
One cup of strawberries contains 46 calories and costs 89 cents. Did you know? This tasty fruit offers protection from breast, skin, bladder, esophageal and lung cancers. The best strawberries will be firm to the touch, bright red in color, will still have their green cap attached and are free of mold or damage.
One cup of pineapple contains only 82 calories and costs 70 cents. This fat-free, yet satisfying fruit is both low and sodium AND rich in immune-boosting Vitamin C. Pineapple should be firm to the touch (no soft or dark spots) and should have dry-looking leaves.
Take not of this! One cup of raw spinach contains just 7 calories and costs 52 cents. Spinach is not only high in fiber, but it also contains folate and important antioxidants that may protect the body from cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. You'll want to enjoy spinach that is crisp and green, and avoid leaves that look wilted or have insect damage.
One cup of mustard greens cooked without salt or added fats contains 21 calories and costs 81 cents. This is a great alternative to spinach, as it offers the same cancer-fighting properties. Leaves should look fresh and tender, and avoid those that have discoloration or damage.
One cup of chopped broccoli cooked without salt contains 30 calories and costs 63 cents. This hapens to be one of my favorite vegetables for it's taste along, but it is also packed with folate, fiber and antioxidants that may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Broccoli should be odorless with tight, bluish-green florets.
Well, it's that time of year again - Spring. And with Spring comes misery to millions of allergy sufferers. Did you know that hay fever is among the most common allergies, affecting one in five Americans? Symptoms include runny nose, congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes and ears, sinus pressure, sleeplessness, and fatigue. If you were to compare it to anything, it's most commonly compared to the common cold. What is the difference? Hay fever lingers on for months at a time, unlike a virus-caused cold. This is due to the circulating pollen in the air.
So, what do you do if you're among the millions of Americans suffering from chronic allergies? Well it's certainly no secret that there are all sorts of pills and potions out there that promise you relief. Unfortunately, there's no one approach for everyone, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). Here are some tips, however, to help you with some of the most common mistkaes when it comes to "curing" your allergy woes. These recommendations come from natural allergy-relief tips from Rodale's The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods: Proven Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent More Than 80 Common Health Concerns
(Rodale, 2008).#1: Throwing money away.
As mentioned above, we all know there are hundreds of products on the market claiming to ease your allergy ailment. The fact is, some of them will work for you while other will be a big waste of money. Are you finding yourself jumping from product to product and still have no relief? If so, consider making an appointment with an allergist, who might suggest allergy shots that can actually cure, not cover up, your allergy symptoms. You can also try nasal saline sprays or rinses, such as the Neti pot, which have been found to be invaluable to some people experiencing irritated sinuses. Just be sure that you don't overuse them.#2: What is the true issue?
Do you know the true cause of your allergies? Often times, people tend to treat allergy symptoms without knowing what they're allergic to, or if they really are suffering from true seasonal allergies. While hay fever is a prime culprit this time of year, other allergens can also cause symptoms. Did your allergies just start or do you actually have them year-round? Find an allergist who can help you figure out a treatment plan at AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org
Things like dust mites, cockroaches, cigarette smoke, or even the artificial fragrances in candles, hair spray, or air fresheners could be causing symptoms similar to hay fever allergies. Wash your bedding in hot water every two weeks to combat dust mites, use non-toxic pest management methods to rid your living space of cockroaches and pests, and steer clear of synthetic fragrances; besides being irritating, many contain chemical platicizers linked to hormone disruption and low IQs.
Your allergies may also be caused by the foods you are eating. Dairy is among many common foods that have been linked to an individual's allergy symptoms. This doesn't mean you have an allergy to the food, it simply means you have developed a sensitivity or intolerance. To test whether or not you are sensitive to dairy, try avoiding all dairy-containing foods including cheese, milk, yogurt, whey protein and any foods containing milk products. You may be pleasantly surprised!#3: Allowing allergens into your home.
Once you find the cause (or causes) of your problem and the proper treatment, you should take steps to keep the allergens that agitate you out of your home and out of your diet. If you're allergic to pollen, don't keep your windows open all the time, and take a shower when you come in from the outdoors. Pollen counts are the highest around midday, so that's also a good time to try stay indoors. Found you have a sensitivity to certain foods? Avoid eating these foods at all costs - it will be well worth it!#4: Pigging out on problematic produce.
People who are allergic to pollen can also have oral allergy syndrome, which affects about a third of seasonal allergy sufferers. Your immune system sees a similarity between the proteins of pollen and those in some foods, and that can trigger a reaction. If you're allergic to tree pollen, you may need to avoid apples, cherries, pears, apricots, kiwis, plums, or nuts. (Cooking or peeling these foods can help bypass a reaction in some people.)
On the other hand, research has found that certain foods can actually help to heal hay fever. Broccoli, citrus fruits, collard greens, and kale are full of compounds that can help your body cope with allergy season.
Try this anti-allergy soup from The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods.
It is made with ingredients that may also be helpful:
Boil a whole onion with the skin, along with a clove of garlic. Add ½ chopped leaves and diced taproots of evening primrose. Boil the ingredients for three to five minutes, add 1 cup nettle leaves and 1 cup diced celery stalks, and boil for another three to 10 minutes. Remove the onion skins from the mix, and enjoy. (You can season with wine vinegar, black pepper, diced raw onions, hot pepper, turmeric, curry powder, or celery seed.)#5: Boost your diet full of antioxidants.
Include Berries, dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and beans. I also recommend taking a powerful antioxidant-rich supplement called Isotonix OPC-3
®. This supplement is an isotonic-capable food supplement that is made from a combination of bilberry, grape seed, red wine and pine bark extracts, and citrus extract bioflavonoids, all found to be powerful antioxidants. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are bioflavonoids (complex organic plant compounds) found in fruits, vegetables and certain tree barks that provide exceptional nutritional benefits to the human body. Studies have shown OPCs to be up to 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals. Isotonix OPC-3 contains the only isotonic form of Pycnogenol® in the world. Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree and the most clinically researched and potent bioflavonoid.
Questions? Feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!
According to the recent finding from an in vivo study, eating a diet rich in spices reduces the body's negative responses to eating high-fat meals. After a high fat meal, the body will normally have a significant increase in triglyceride and insulin levels. Consuming a spice mixture with a high fat meal decreased and modulated the spike in insulin and plasma triglycerides
Spices such as tumeric, cinnamon, and clove garlic possess powerful anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Add a little to your next dish to reap the antioxidant benefits and to boost the overall flavor of your food!
Source: A High Antioxidant Spice Blend Attenuates Postprandial Insulin and Triglyceride Responses and Increases Some Plasma Measures of Antioxidant Activity in Healthy, Overweight Men
Our bodies contain a variety of signaling molecules that are present in our tissues to regulate
cellular, physiological and systemic processes. These processes also include the cardiovascular system. One important signaling molecule is Nitric oxide, which initiates smooth muscle relaxation, results in vasodilation of the arteries. This action increases blood flow, the possibility of decreases in blood pressure, and overall improvements in cardiovascular health.
A polyphenol found in red wine and in medicinal plants called Resveratrol
has been shown to increase the production of nitric oxide, which leads to protective cardiovascular benefits including decreases in blood pressure or use of medications, lowered cholesterol, and improved cardiovascular ability and athletic performance. Resveratrol has also been shown to prevent the aging process due to its high antioxidant and high ORAC value, leading to the protection of the largest organ of our bodies - our skin!
Source: Therapeutic effect of enhancing endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression and preventing eNOS uncoupling
It appears that there is al relationship between flavonoids (beneficial plant chemicals found in fruits and vegetables) and omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, walnuts and flaxseed. A recent study demonstrates that flavonoids can actually help increase blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids thereby making these important polyunsaturated fatty acids more available for the body to use.Omega-3 fatty acids
are crucial for brain and heart health and help to reduce inflammation in the body. Getting various sources of Omega-3's per day is critical to maintain optimal health. Unfortunately, for many people, this is challenging to do when only through food sources. Therefore, supplementation with an Omega-3 Fatty acid can be highly beneficial.
Examples of flavonoids, which possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties
, include EGCg from green tea, quercetin from apples, citrus and onions and curcumin from the spice turmeric.
Source: Dietary Flavonoids Increase Plasma Very Long-Chain (n-3) Fatty Acids in Rats
Researchers found that the polyphenol resveratrol
, an antioxidant compound found in red wine, red grapes and in high amounts in medicinal plants, stimulates the release of adiponectin, a hormone from fat cells that controls a number of metabolic processes. Adiponectin also contributes to the regulation of insulin sensitivity and the breakdown of fatty acids which converts to an increased energy level.
To get the amounts of resveratrol the researchers are talking about, you have to drink massive amounts of wine (hundreds of bottles of wine) and/or tons of peanuts. You obviously cannot do this (at least in a healthy manner), which is why using a high quality supplement is most beneficial. I recommend a drinkable form of resveratrol made by NutraMetrix Advanced Nutraceuticals. Click here
to learn more about the benefits and uniqueness of this resveratrol supplement.
Source: Up-regulation of Adiponectin by Resveratrol
Apples and oranges have, for quite some time, been the go-to for many of us. But there's a whole world of fruit out there, and many of them have major health benefits. From 2006 to 2007, sales of goji berry products shot up 75 percent and acai berry products by 50 percent. The questions is whether or not these fruits are actually better than our standard apples and oranges. Well, the truth is that they truly are higher in nutrients, but the secret to maximizing the benefits of these fruits is to make sure to eat a variety of them on a consistent basis. Here is a list of the superfruits we should consider eating more frequently:
Acai - A dark purple Brazilian berry rich in essential fatty acids and fiber. The fruit also contains powerful antioxidants such as anthocyanins and flavonoids, which protect your cells from damage and may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Acerola - This is a sweet fruit with an apple-like flavor. The fruit is rich in vitamin C, and contains immunity-boosting vitamin A, similar to a serving of carrots.
Blood Orange - The deep color of this sweet, tart orange comes from anthocyanin, an antioxidant that has been shown to help fight cancer, inflammation and diabetes.
Cherimoya - This tropical fruit can be sliced or scooped like an avocado and has a similar velvety texture to it. One fruit provides 7 grams of protein and 15 percent of your daily value of iron.
Goji Berry - This Asian fruit is most commonly found in its dried form and has been used in traditional medicine for years to enhance health and longevity. It contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron, protein, trace minerals and B vitamins for a nutritional boost.
Guava - According to the USDA researchers, this fruit may be the highest of them all in antioxidants! One cup contains 8,500 micrograms of cancer-fighting lycopene and serves as many of the free-radicals as one serving of broccoli.
Papaya - This fruit is rich in immunity-building vitamin A and papain, an enzyme that aids digestion. It is a delicious addition to salads and stir-fries.
Passion Fruit - This intensely sweet tropical fruit is rich in cancer-fighting carotenoids, polyphenols and packs 12 grams of fiber per fruit.
Pomegranate - The seeds of this fruit are rich in polyphenols, that fight inflammation and may fend off cancer and heart disease. Eat these for a nutritious and tangy punch in your salads!
Prickly Pear - The pulp of this cactus fruit is sweet and mild, rich in potassium, and contains 10 percent of your daily calcium requirement in one cup. If you like watermelon, you're sure to like this fruit!
Star Fruit - This fruit truly is a star! It is rich in potassium and vitamin C, and contains 4 grams of fiver and fewer than 40 calories per fruit.
Ugli Fruit - With a lumpy and bumpy exterior, you wouldn't expect this fruit to be rich in vitamin C and A as well as potassium. It is the cousin of the grapefruit and is low in calories.
I challenge you to try some new fruits this coming year. The benefits will certainly make for a healthier New Year!
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD
Wine happens to be a favorite (and surprisingly healthy) beverage of mine. The key, however, is moderation.
A recent study showed that moderate doses of the polyphenol resveratrol increased blood flow and thereby oxygen to the brain of test subjects.
Resveratrol is a powerful polyphenol found in red wine and in high amounts in certain other plants. Resveratrol has demonstrated antioxidant, anti-cancer and longevity properties in various studies and experiments. The Problem
- You'd have to drink bottles of wine to benefit from the amounts of Resveratrol in wine. Why is this a problem? Well, you would undoubtedly wake up with aweful hangovers each morning, and your caloric intake certainly wouldn't help the waistline. The Solution
- Enjoy a glass or two every so often, but I recommend taking a daily dose of Isotonix Resveratrol
in order to truly benefit from this powerful polyphenol.
Source: Effects of resveratrol on cerebral blood flow variables and cognitive performance in humans: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover investigation