Saturday, October 17, 2015

Foods with Good Fats

The word is out. Fat—or at least “good fat”—is not something you should shun from your diet. Monounsaturated fat, a staple in the Mediterranean diet, is the “good fat” that may actually help you lose weight, whittle your middle, keep blood sugar levels in check, lower harmful LDL-cholesterol and much more. According to the American Heart Association, no more than 25%-35% of your total calories should come from fat–and in an ideal world all those calories should be from “good fats.” Following are a dozen good-for-you fats that you could incorporate into your diet.

Pine Nuts (1 oz): Approx 5.3 grams of Good Fat  
Most commonly associated with pesto, pine nuts are also delicious when added to salads, vegetable dishes or baked into bread. With 5g of monounsaturated fat per one-ounce serving, pine nuts help to lower bad LDL cholesterol and prevent heart disease and strokes. They’re also rich in iron—great news for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Looking to shed a few pounds? Pine nuts may help, since they contain pinolenic acid, a specific fatty acid that helps you to eat less by suppressing your appetite.

Olive Oil (1 tablespoon): Approx 9.85 g of Good Fat
Just one tablespoon of olive oil contains about 10g of monounsaturated fat, and only 2g of saturated fat. Due to its high monounsaturated content, olive oil is a terrific option for boosting heart health. Use regular olive oil to sauté a variety of colorful veggies or you can even bake with it. Extra virgin olive oil is made from the first pressing of the olives and contains the highest antioxidant levels, but these also start degrading sooner when exposed to heat and light. To make the most out of your purchase, use the more expensive extra-virgin kind for drizzling and homemade salad dressings.

Peanut Butter (1 tablespoon): Approx 3.3 g of Good Fat
With close to 4g of monounsaturated fat per 1-tablespoon serving, peanut butter provides a hearty dose of fiber, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. Studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes—compared to those individuals who rarely eat nuts. Spread natural, unsalted peanut butter on crunchy apple slices or add it to a smoothie. A word of caution: Peanuts are grown underground and are known to be highly moldy and inflammatory. People with candida should avoid these nuts.

Avocado (1/5th medium avocado): Approx 3 g of Good Fat  
They’re delicious, creamy and luscious, so what’s not to love about avocados? A 1-oz. serving contains approximately 3g of fat, and 75% of that fat comes from the “good” monos and polys. Avocados also contain nearly 20 different vitamins, minerals and beneficial phytonutrients including vitamin E, folic acid, fiber and carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. Avocados have been shown to act as a nutrient-booster, so you can absorb more of the fat-soluble beneficial carotenoids in plant foods. In addition to your favorite guacamole, try fresh avocados on salads, sandwiches or toast, on top of your tomato or in veggie soup.

Hazelnuts (1 oz): Approx 12.9 g of Good Fat
With nearly 13 grams of monounsaturated fat per ounce, hazelnuts may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Besides being a heart-healthy choice, hazelnuts are also rich in manganese and copper, vital minerals for iron absorption and bone formation, respectively.

Flaxseed Oil (1 tablespoon): Approx 2.5 g of Good Fat
A rich source of soluble fiber, with almost 3g of monounsaturated fat per tablespoon, studies suggest that flaxseed oil may benefit individuals with heart disease and aid in cancer prevention. Use this slightly nutty tasting oil to make salad dressings, add to soups and smoothies for an extra boost of nutrition, or stir into your favorite pasta sauce for an added dose of good-for-you fat. Since flaxseed oil turns rancid rather quickly, be sure to refrigerate it after opening, and avoid exposure to light. When purchasing flax seed oil, look for the cold-pressed variety, since it has been processed at a minimum temperature to preserve its integrity. Flaxseed oil is not heat stable, so try to eat it raw.

Pistachios (1 oz): Approx 6.7 g of Good Fat  
About 90% of the fat in pistachios is healthy unsaturated fat, and research shows that when individuals with elevated cholesterol ate pistachios as a daily snack, their blood levels of antioxidants increased and harmful LDL-cholesterol levels declined, compared to those who did not eat pistachios. A serving of pistachios has 7g of monounsaturated fats, 4g of polyunsaturated fats and just 1.5g of saturated fat. Because nuts are calorie-rich, keep portions in mind: There are 49 pistachios in a 1-oz serving, and 30 pistachios contain about 100 calories. Enjoying pistachios as a snack instead of carb-rich options like crackers or pretzels is a smart swap. Pistachios provide more fiber and may also keep you feeling fuller longer. A word of caution: Pistachios are said to quite moldy and therefore inflammatory. People with candida probably should avoid these nuts.

Olives (10 large olives): Approx 3.4 g of Good Fat
Whether you are partial to green, black, purple or brown — all olive varieties are rich in monounsaturated fat. In fact, recent research shows that the monounsaturated fat found in olives can help to decrease blood pressure. As an added benefit, olives are also loaded with antioxidants, which may offer protection against heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions. Consider whipping up an olive tapenade as a sandwich spread or baguette topper, sprinkling chopped olives into a salad or adding olives to a tasty marinade for chicken or fish. A word of caution: People with candida should avoid the olives in vinegar or a brine (which is the majority of olives) as may trigger candida growth.

Walnuts (1 oz): Approx 2.53 g of Good Fat  
With nearly 3g of healthy monounsaturated fat per 1-oz serving, walnuts are also nutritional dynamos, packing a powerful punch of protein, fiber, magnesium, and phosphorus — all important nutrients for optimal health.

Sunflower Seeds (1 oz): Approx 3.07 g of Good Fat
Sunflower seeds are a true nutritional powerhouse packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber, minerals and phytochemicals. And, since almost 90% of the fat in sunflower seeds is the good unsaturated fat, they are a terrific choice for individuals suffering from high cholesterol or high triglycerides. Just 1 ounce of sunflower seeds provides 76% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin E. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top of a salad or simply roast in the oven for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Sunflower seeds heaped on freshly steamed broccoli or salads is quite the treat. They also make good pate-dips for celery and carrot sticks or spreads for breads.

Almonds (1 oz): Approx 8.9 g of Good Fat
Reaching for a small handful of almonds will supply you with a tasty, protein-packed snack that contains 9g of monounsaturated fat per 1-oz serving — that’s about 23 whole almonds. This nutrient-dense nut is also a terrific source of vitamin E, magnesium and manganese, as well as a good source of fiber, copper, phosphorus and riboflavin. A 1-oz serving of almonds has a similar amount of antioxidants to one cup of green tea or ½ cup of steamed broccoli.

Sesame Seeds (1 oz): Approx 3 g of Good Fat
A delicacy in Asian cuisine, just one ounce of sesame seeds supplies 3 grams of heart smart monounsaturated fat, not to mention 35% of the recommended daily requirements for calcium. In addition to being a top source of monounsaturated fat, sesame seeds also contain two strains of beneficial fiber—sesamin and sesamolin—which have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect. Sesame seeds are a terrific source of zinc, an essential mineral for producing collagen. Add protein-rich sesame seeds to baked chicken, fish or salads for a nice, nutty flavor and texture, use them to make homemade tahini, or incorporate sesame seeds into a unique spice blend, like this Middle Eastern Za’atar. A word of caution: People who have polyps, gastric disorders or other GI disorders probably should avoid sesame seeds as they are known to stick to the GI track.

There are many nuts and seeds that are available in the market and are rich in good-for-you fats. Here is a useful chart to refer to when trying to alternate nuts (and flavors) and trying to pack in those nourishing fats.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

9 Signs of a Leaky Gut

The gut is the gateway to health. If your gut is healthy, chances are that you’re in good health. However, there’s a condition called leaky gut that can lead to a host of health problems.

What is leaky gut?

The gut is naturally permeable to very small molecules in order to absorb these vital nutrients. In fact, regulating intestinal permeability is one of the basic functions of the cells that line the intestinal wall. In sensitive people, gluten can cause the gut cells to release zonulin, a protein that can break apart tight junctions in the intestinal lining. Other factors — such as infections, toxins, stress and age — can also cause these tight junctions to break apart. Once these tight junctions get broken apart, you have a leaky gut. 

When your gut is leaky, things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, and more can escape from your intestines and travel throughout your body via your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these “foreign invaders” as pathogens and attacks them. The immune response to these invaders can appear in the form of any of the nine signs you have a leaky gut, which are listed below.
What causes leaky gut?

The main culprits are foods, infections, and toxins. Gluten is the number one cause of leaky gut. Other inflammatory foods like dairy or toxic foods, such sugar and excessive alcohol, are suspected as well. The most common infectious causes are candida overgrowth, intestinal parasites, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Toxins come in the form of medications, including NSAIDS like Motrin and Advil, steroids, antibiotics, and acid-reducing drugs. They can also present in the form of environmental toxins like mercury, pesticides and BPA from plastics. Stress and age also contribute to a leaky gut. If you suffer from any of the following conditions, it’s likely that you have a leaky gut.
9 signs you have leaky gut?
  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  2. Seasonal allergies or asthma
  3. Hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS
  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease
  5. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  6. Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD
  7. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema
  8. Diagnosis of candida overgrowth
  9. Food allergies or food intolerances

How do you heal leaky gut?

In my practice, I have all of my patients follow The Myers Way comprehensive elimination diet, which removes the toxic and inflammatory foods for a certain period of time. In addition, I have them follow a 4R program to heal their gut. The 4R program is as follows.
  1. Remove the bad — The goal is to get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract, such as inflammatory and toxic foods, and intestinal infections.
  2. Replace with good — Add back the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption, such as digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile acids.
  3. Restore the balance — It’s critical to restore beneficial bacteria to reestablish a healthy balance of good bacteria.
  4. Repair the damage — It’s essential to provide the nutrients necessary to help the gut repair itself. One of my favorite supplements is L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps to rejuvenate the lining of the gut wall. If you still have symptoms after following the above recommendations, I would recommend finding a Functional Medicine physician in your area to work with you and to order a comprehensive stool test.

This article is by Amy Myers, MD, a renowned leader in Functional Medicine.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fingernail Analysis, part III

8 Health Warnings Your Fingernails May Be Sending 

Your eyes may be the window to your soul, but, in many ways your, nails are the window to what’s going on inside your body. Here are some common nail problems and what they mean: 
Take a good look at your fingernails and you may notice subtle variations in the texture or color; white spots, a rosy tinge, rippling or bumps in the surface to mention a few. These imperfections may not look like much to you, but it’s more important than you might think to maintain healthy fingernails. That’s because to the trained eye, nails can provide valuable indications about your overall health. 
Hold a hand level with your nose about a foot out from your face and scrutinize each one. Look at the grooves, curves, ridges and dips. Notice how thick or thin they are and if there are any stark differences. Are your nails are chipped or broken. Make a note of the color of the nail itself, the skin under it as well as the skin around the nail. You need to get into the habit of knowing your nails and any changes that can occur. Changes are a good indication of the onset of several health problems. Here are 8 of the most common nail issues:
1. RIDGES: Healthy nails should have no obvious ridge lines and should be virtually smooth to the naked eye. Ridges can indicate several health issues including:
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Iron deficiency
  • Lupus (with red lines at the base of your nails)
Don’t ignore these ridges by using a nail buffer to smooth the surface – these are warnings to be noticed!

2. THICK NAILS: It is fairly obvious is you have a thickening of the nails and they can have several causes including:
  • Thick/separated nails can indicate thyroid disease or psoriasis
  • Thick/rough-surfaced nails can be a sign of fungal infection
  • Unusually thick nails could be a symptom of a circulation problem
  • Thick nails alone could even signal lung disease
Thickening is fairly easy to notice when it first appears but please note that allergic reactions to some medications manifest themselves as thick nails!

3. DISCOLORED NAILS: A healthy nail bed should be pink with a slight pinky white moon shape at the base. Streaks of any other stronger shades or colors can indicate health issues, as can nails that are tinged by other colors such as:
  • Dark stripes towards the top of the nail are associated with aging and congestive heart failure
  • Blueish tinge to the nails can be a sign of depleted oxygen levels in your blood
  • Green nails are usually a sign of a bacterial infection
  • White nails indicate liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Red streaks on the nail bed could be a warning of an infection of the heart valves
  • Dull nails in general mean a deficiency of vitamins
Inspect your nails when they are clean and you should know when the color changes.

4: PITTED NAILS: Sometimes small dips can just be the result of a bash to the hand in general, but sometimes more attention should be paid as they can be a symptom of:
  • Zinc deficiency (usually the pit will form a line across the middle of the nailbed)
  • Connective tissue disorder
  • Psoriasis
  • Alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disorder that results in hair loss
Learn the difference between an injury related imperfection which should not last too long, and a potential disease related imperfection which will not clear up.

5. DRY AND BRITTLE NAILS: Healthy nails should not require cuticle oil and moisturizers as they should maintain themselves. Excessively dry or brittle nails can be a sign of a hormonal balance problem or a bacterial infection.
  • Thyroid disease can result in brittle, dry nails that also crack and split very easily
  • Fungus can cause nails to become dry or even crumbly and is a common problem
Both these potential problems can be treated and the nails will return to good health once a full growing cycle has passed (hand nails grow at about 1 mm per week so on average the full life cycle of human nail is about 6 months). 

6. CONCAVE OR SPOON SHAPED NAILS: What are known as ‘full spoon’ nails are very soft and curve upwards with the dip being pronounced enough to hold a drop or two of liquid. This usually is an indication of:
  • Heart disease
  • Iron deficiency (usually from anemia)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hemachromatosis, which is a liver disorder caused by the body absorbing too much iron
If medical intervention clears up the root cause then the nails will return to a normal healthy shape with time.

7. CLUBBED NAILS: This is when the skin around the nail bed can appear inflamed or unusually puffy. This can mean:
  • Liver disease
  • Lung disease, especially if you already have trouble breathing
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • AIDS
Most of these health issues will often have already given you other symptoms but the corresponding nail condition can help with diagnosis.

8. SPLIT NAILS: Often our nails split if we have injured them. But when no trauma has occured but the nail flakes away layer by layer it can be a result of several issues:
  • Chronic malnutrition
  • Deficiency of Vitamin C, folic acid or proteins
  • Split nails together with a pitted nail bed can indicate psoriasis
Eating a healthy well balanced diet can eliminate many of these causes. 

Obviously our fingernails will not be the only signs of these diseases, but they can provide confirmation or else the motivation to seek further medical attention.
Strong, healthy nails reflect a strong, healthy you. Share with anyone you know may need to pay attention to their nails.
To read the former postings on fingernail analysis, go to: 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Slaw Salad and Savory Dressing

1/2 head of red cabbage, finely sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 long stalks celery with leaves, sliced
1 carrot, shredded

Savory Dressing:
2 large cloves garlic
1 - 1 1/2 inch chunk of fresh ginger
3 T. olive oil
1 lemon peeled and deseeded (retaining the membrane and some rind)
1 t. sesame seed oil*
1/2 cup of water
salt to taste
Blend the dressing in a high-speed blender. Use less water if a thicker consistency is desired. This has amazing flavor and is so complimentary to the salad slaw and other bitter-leaf salads especially.

*Sesame seed oil isn't for the person starting the candida diet. However, this is the special ingredient that gives this dressing its savory kick. I wish I could eat this dressing every day but I am just experimenting with previously forbidden ingredients and adding what I can.

Check out the recipe for the complimentary Gluten-free, Yeast-free "Rye" Bread

Monday, July 6, 2015

Gluten-free, Yeast-free "Rye" Bread

1 1/3 c. GF flour blend (quinoa, millet, brown rice - I used quinoa and millet)
1 c. flax meal
2/3 t. baking powder*
2/3 t. baking soda*
3/4 t. Himalayan salt
2-3 T. caraway seeds
3-4 T. cocoa/carob powder*
3 eggs
3 T. olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
few drops of vanilla (optional)
1/2 c. water or as needed
*The asterisked ingredients I didn't use in the early years of candida. I am now experimenting with my tolerance of them, in the hopes that I can extend my diet a little bit (muffins and breads) so I can travel more easily.
Mix dry ingredients and hollow the dry mix out in a mixing bowl and add in the wet ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients together well and then fold in the flour.

Spoon the dough into greased bread pans. I used mini-bread pans and slide into a pre-heated oven at 350F for 25 minutes or so.

Check out the link for the complimentary Slaw Salad and Savory Dressing.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Importance of Good Water

Water: The Clear Choice (a pamphlet by Vibrant Life magazine)

Water provides true refreshment for the thirsty, but most people don't know that it also plays a vital role in all bodily processes. Unfortunately, most people don't drink enough water, perhaps because they don't realize how important it is. The fact is, not drinking enough water affects every aspect of your body, right out to your skin.

Essential for Life

Although deficiencies of other nutrients can be sustained for months or even years, a person can survive only a few days without water. Experts rank water second only to oxygen as essential for life.
Water supplies the medium in which your body's various chemical changes occur, aiding in digestion, absorption, circulation, and lubrication of body joints. Water is used for virtually all bodily functions, including carrying nutrients and oxygen around the body and eliminating waste.

Waster maintains body temperature through perspiration. It helps cushion joints and protect organs and tissue. Even your skin is affected. Since your body's major internal organs snatch up water first, skin gets only what's left -- if there is any. When you stay well hydrated, however, skin stays supple overall and plumped up, lessening the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles.

Benefits of Water

Water promotes good health in many ways, from reducing the risk of certain cancers to improving short-term memory and weight loss. For example, in a 10-year study of nearly 48,000 men, those who drank six eight-ounce glasses of water daily were half as likely to develop bladder cancer as those who drank just a glass a day. Although the study included only men (who run a higher risk of bladder cancer than women), drinking plenty of water and other fluids may well protect both sexes, says the study's lead author, Dominique Michaud, a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Not drinking enough water can also make you fat. When you don't drink enough water, your body sects a hormone, aldosterone, that causes tissues to hold on to almost every molecule of liquid water retention. New research shows that a decrease in water may cause your body's fat deposits to increase.

Another side effect of hidden thirst is that you may think you're hungry when you're actually thirsty. Drinking water throughout the day keeps your stomach feeling full and reduces the desire to eat. The colder the beverage, the greater its fat-burning power. Maximize calorie burn by keeping the water ice-cold. [Comment: Cold water actually slows down digestion, especially if any residual oils remain to be digested as it congeals the fatty oil.]

In a two-year project Susan Kleiner, nutritionist and assistant professor at the University of Washington, pulled together findings from more than 150 studies worldwide to present the most complete picture to date of the impact of hydration on health. "While we've long known the effects of severe dehydration, we're now beginning to understand the impact of chronic mild dehydration on health and performance."

In a separate study conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, researchers monitored women who drank more than five glasses of water a day and found that their risk of colon cancer was reduced by 45%.

Another study conducted at the Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Delhi Cantt, India, Dr. Kleiner reports that they found that a 2% loss of body fluid affected short-term memory and reduced the ability to add and subtract.

So How Much Is Enough?

While thirst signals the body's need for fluid, slight dehydration has already occurred by the time a person becomes thirsty. It only takes a loss of 1-2% of the body's total water content to cause dehydration. On average, you lose 10 cups of water a day and get only four back from your food. Each person will lose a minimum of 400mg (about 1 1/2 cups) of water through breathing, 400mg through the skin, and 1,000mg (4 cups) through the kidneys. (This is the minimum, so if you're active you'll lose more.)

The amount of water inside a cell, known as the cellular hydration state, can change within minutes. When you begin to lose as little as 1% of your body weight in water, your ability to regulate heat begins to be impaired. If you lose 7% of your body weight in water, you're likely to collapse when exercising in heat. If you dehydrate a muscle by as little as 3%, you can cause a loss in contractile strength of about 10% as well as a 12% loss in speed.

According to the American Dietetic Association, it's not eight glasses of water a day; it's eight eight-ounce servings -- big difference. However, those eight cups are just a guideline. For instance, you should add a cup if you exercise, live in a warm climate, or drink more than two cups of coffee or alcohol a day, since these drinks act as a diuretic. Air travel and working in a climate-controlled office also adds a cup or two.

Fully rehydrating the body doesn't occur as fast as you might think. Even after consuming large amounts of water, your dehydrated body can take from a few hours to a day or more to completely rehydrate. Tissues such as the muscles and skin, which are predominantly water, take the longest to recover from dehydration. A good sign is if you urinate every two to four hours, and your urine is clear or light in color.

Most people take water for granted, not realizing how desperately their bodies crave it. Don't wait until the tap runs dry to realize how important water is; start today replenishing your body, and begin to reap its many rewards.


water can heal

last paragraph

5 biggest pollutants in drinking water