Dr. Kyle: Diet Do’s and Don’ts for 2019

 

Looking to start a new diet in 2019? Here are a few tips on what to avoid and what to incorporate into your nutritional regime this year.

FATS ARE GOOD

The human body is designed to process and burn fats as one of its primary energy sources. Fat enhances food digestion and nutrient absorption. Accompany sides of vegetables with a fat source to increase nutrient bioavailability.

Try cooking with animal fats, organic grass-fed butter and coconut oil. Avoid trans fats and poly-unsaturated vegetable oils like canola oil.

Add some wild-caught salmon into your diet to balance out the ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s. The typical western diet has an abundance of omega-6’s so eating salmon 1-2 per week will boost your levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3’s.

DON’T SHY AWAY FROM CHOLESTEROL

Cholesterol is vital for the synthesis of hormones and vitamin D. It also helps form cell membranes and other structural components.

Eat whole foods and at least 1 yolk with your egg whites. This will give you a better nutrient profile and a healthy dose of cholesterol.

RED MEATS

Red meats have almost everything you need to not only survive but thrive. They are one of the most micronutrient dense fuel sources on the planet. Red meats are high in b-vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, and creatine.

Red meat also includes Lamb! It is an excellent source of heme-iron as well.

GET YOUR PROTEIN

It is most commonly recommended that daily intake should be 1g of protein per pound. Older athletes will need more due to less efficient protein absorption.

Keep in mind that dietary needs will fluctuate based on physical demands and training goals. Athletes trying to put on mass should eat 40g before bed to maintain protein synthesis throughout the night.

20g per meal will provide 90% of muscle protein synthesis. 40g will provide 100%.

Carbohydrates

Some carbs are better then other! So, we want to pick the right ones.

Avoid refined sugars (obviously). Include variation and eat 2 forms of carbs at a time for faster absorption. I recommend sweet potatoes, spinach, red peppers and carrots. These foods have plenty of micronutrients and produce low levels of gas.

Add a side of white rice to your meat and vegetable dish. White rice is easy to digest, and can help supplement your macronutrient intake. Oats on the other hand can be hard to digest – soak them in warm water overnight or add yogurt.

Remember, carbohydrates are used to fuel workouts! Getting adequate carbs to sustain your athletic performance will protect against muscle tissue breakdown.

As always, ask a healthcare professional for dietary recommendations that best suit you. Some foods that work well for others may not sit well for you. Listen to your body.

Stay healthy and good luck achieving all your health and wellness goals for 2019!

Dr. Phil Shares: Healthy Aging: A Functional Medicine Approach to Sarcopenia

By 2020, more than 20% of the US population will be 65 and over.1 Healthy aging is and will continue to be an important focus in many Functional Medicine offices.

Sarcopenia, the gradual loss of muscle mass that occurs in healthy adults as they age, begins after the age of 30 and accelerates after 60. The difference between the muscle mass of a 20-year-old vs. an 80-year-old is about 30%.2

Loss of muscle contributes to reduced mobility, increased hospitalizations (fragility and falls), prolonged recovery, and mortality.Factors that contribute to earlier onset and more rapid progression of sarcopenia include lack of physical activity, inflammatory conditions, blood sugar imbalances, history of smoking, hormone imbalances, and low vitamin D status.4 Addressing these risk factors is part of an individualized, preventative approach.

Therapeutic considerations that may slow this sarcopenic process down and improve overall quality of life (QOL) in an otherwise healthy, aging adult include:

Protein

Adequate, daily protein intake is essential for muscle health and possibly even more important in the aging population. Based on the evidence, the ideal protein intake for a healthy, older adult is 1.0-1.2g protein/kg body weight/day, while higher intake levels may be required in patients with acute or chronic disease.5

Achieving optimal protein intake may generally be more difficult for elderly patients at high risk for sarcopenia. Based on the results of a 2011 analysis of health and aging trends, nearly 1/2 of all US adults over age 65 have difficulty or receive help with daily activities.6 Protein powders with added BCAAs are a convenient way to support patients in meeting their protein requirements and obtain critical nutrients to help address sarcopenia.7-8

Adequate protein may also reduce risk of other age-associated events such as strokes9 and hip fractures.10 Furthermore, a practitioner does not have to wait until signs of sarcopenia are present before assessing protein requirements. In combination with physical activity, adequate protein throughout adult life may offer protection against early onset and progression of sarcopenia.11

Key clinical points:

  • Addressing increased dietary guidelines for protein intake is important for preventing loss of muscle mass in older adults7
  • Higher protein intake and lower fat mass might be positively associated with physical performance in elderly women12
  • Practitioners may help delay onset and progression of sarcopenia by assessing protein intake prior to presence of clinical signs and symptoms11

Marine omega-3 fats

The diverse, significant health benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), namely, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are well documented. Specific to the aging population, research points to benefits in cognitive health and cardiovascular markers, as well as physical function.13

Despite the evidence, dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids is consistently insufficient in North America, with over 90% of the population consuming <500 mg/day of EPA and DHA.14 This is a far cry from the therapeutic intake (for muscle mass and function) suggested in clinical trials of 2g-4g/day.15 Nutritional guidance around omega-3 intake provides a therapeutic opportunity for clinicians to support their aging patients.

Key clinical points

  • Supplementation with fish oil helps address the EPA+DHA nutrient gap from one’s diet14 and may help slow the decline in muscle mass and function in older adults.16
  • Increased omega-3 intake stimulates muscle protein synthesis and may be useful in prevention and treatment of sarcopenia15
  • Improvement in grip strength and muscle tone are positive benefits that may be achieved with fish oil supplementation16

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is a common occurrence in the elderly population, and its relationship to bone health is well-established. Furthermore, normal vitamin D status has also been positively correlated with functional outcomes in the elderly.18 Optimizing vitamin D status may prove to be an essential component of a protocol addressing age-related frailty and sarcopenia, especially when combined with physical activity and a protein-rich diet.17

Key clinical points

  • Treating vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency may lead to improved muscle performance, reduced risk of falls, decreased bone loss, and reduced fracture incidence18
  • Meta-analysis data indicates that serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels are significantly and directly associated with the risk of frailty19

Exercise

Regular exercise is important in the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia. By positively influencing blood sugar levels and body composition, physical activity helps reduce many of the risk factors associated with early onset of sarcopenia. Exercise also directly supports healthy muscle mass and function.

Whether young or old, encouraging patients to live an active lifestyle is an important and healthy addition to a sarcopenia prevention and management plan. Therapeutic benefit is optimized when fitness programs include resistance and endurance exercises 3x/week.2

Key clinical points

  • Physical activity consistently mitigates frailty and improves sarcopenia and physical function in older adults20
  • Older patients who participate in resistance and endurance exercise programs may improve not only their function and independence but also their quality of life21

The implications of sarcopenia are potentially severe. Many complications may be reduced and QOL improved with a Functional nutrition approach.

References

  1. Ortman J et al. Population Estimates and Projections Current Population Reports. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2014/demo/p25-1140.html. Accessed September 14, 2018.
  2. Frontera W et al. Aging of skeletal muscle: a 12-yr longitudinal study. J Appl Physiol. 2000;88(4):1321-1326.
  3. Prado CM et al. Implications of low muscle mass across the continuum of care: a narrative review. Ann Med. 2018:1-19.
  4. Szulc P et al. Hormonal and lifestyle determinants of appendicular skeletal muscle mass in men: the MINOS study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004; 80(2):496-503.
  5. N. Deutz et al. Protein intake and exercise for optimal muscle function with aging: recommendations from the ESPEN Expert Group. Clin Nutr. 2014;33(6):929-936.
  6. Disability and Care Needs of Older Americans: An Analysis of the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study. https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/disability-and-care-needs-older-americans-analysis-2011-national-health-and-aging-trends-study
  7. Garilli B. https://www.metagenicsinstitute.com/articles/bcaa-leucine-supplementation-increases-muscle-protein-synthesis-healthy-women/. Accessed September 14, 2018.
  8. Devries MC et al. Leucine, not total protein, content of a supplement is primary determinant of muscle protein anabolic responses in healthy older women. J Nutr. 2018;148(7):1088–1095.
  9. Zhang Z et al. Quantitative analysis of dietary protein intake and stroke risk. Neurology. 2014;83(1):19-25.
  10. Kim BJ et al. The positive association of total protein intake with femoral neck strength (KHANES IV). Osteoporos Int. 2018;29(6):1397-1405.
  11. Paddon-Jones D et al. Protein and healthy aging. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101(6):1339S–1345S.
  12. Isanejad M et al. Dietary protein intake is associated with better physical function and muscle strength among elderly women. Br J Nutr. 2016;115(7):1281-1291.
  13. Casas-Agustench P et al. Lipids and physical function in older adults. Curr Opin Clin Nutr. 2017;20(1):16-25.
  14. Richter CK et al. Total long-chain n-3 fatty acid intake and food sources in the United States compared to recommended intakes: NHANES 2003-2008. Lipids. 2017;52(11):917-927.
  15. Smith GI et al. Fish oil–derived n−3 PUFA therapy increases muscle mass and function in healthy older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(1):115–122.
  16. Smith GI et al. Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(2):402-412.
  17. Bauer JM et al. Effects of a vitamin D and leucine-enriched whey protein nutritional supplement on measures of sarcopenia in older adults, the PROVIDE study: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2015;16(9):740-747.
  18. Dawson-Hughes B. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and functional outcomes in the elderly. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(2): 537S–540S.
  19. Ju SY et al. Kim. Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and the risk of frailty syndrome: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. BMC Geriatr. 2018;18(1):206.
  20. Phu S et al. Exercise and sarcopenia. J Clin Densitom. 2015;18(4):488-492.
  21. Landi F et al. Exercise as a remedy for sarcopenia. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2014;17(1):25-31.

By Melissa Blake, BSc, ND

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Laura’s Rosemary Nut Recipe

Rosemary Nuts

1 pound raw unsalted nuts of your choice

(I love an assortment of almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, pecans)

2 tablespoons butter OR coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

½ tsp Himalayan sea salt

One serving is about 1/4 cup.

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes or until fragrant and beginning to brown. Transfer the nuts to a large bowl (set the baking sheet aside). ( Note! in our oven only took 6 min and be sure to place on lower level rack and watch closely.)
  3. Mix the melted butter or coconut oil with the rosemary, and salt, optional to add a little maple syrup, pour it over the warm nuts, and toss with a wooden spoon. Spread the nuts back on the baking sheet and let them cool on the counter for 30 minutes, or until all elements have solidified and cooled. Serve at room temperature. (They’re not as good if you try to eat them while they’re still warm.)

Nuts are a good source of magnesium, healthy fats and protein. Magnesium is critical in relaxing muscles, regulating the HPA axis and in many other metabolic transactions in the body. Brazil nuts are a source of selenium, important for thyroid health. Almonds are a source of vitamin E. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, important in a healthy gastrointestinal tract, immune function, thyroid health and sperm production. Rosemary helps the liver’s detoxification process. Olive oil is a healthy fat important in cardiovascular health. Coconut oil is high in caprylic acid and helps regulate healthy intestinal flora. Sea salt is a good source of minerals.

From the kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown,  ND.

Picture from www.kitchenparade.com

Dr. Phil Shares: Is Excess Protein Making You Gain Weight?

 

Is-Excess-Protein-Making-You-Fat-header

A new study says so. But, here’s why you shouldn’t base your diet on certain headlines.

It used to be that fat made you fat. Then the culprit was carbs. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia suggests that obesity could be caused by protein — specifically, meat.

For the study, titled, “Meat consumption providing a surplus energy in modern diet contributes to obesity prevalence: an ecological analysis,” anthropologists compared rates of meat availability with rates of obesity among 170 countries to determine that meat intake is responsible for 13 percent of the development of obesity in the countries examined.

“Our findings are likely to be controversial because they suggest that meat contributes to obesity prevalence worldwide at the same extent as sugar,” Maciej Henneberg, Ph.D., head of the Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit at the University of Adelaide, said in a press release. (He did not respond to our request for an interview.)

The findings certainly are sparking, with others in the scientific community calling them everything from “ignorant” to “irresponsible.”
[bb_height_spacer lines=”2″]

What the Study Actually Found

“This study never actually looked at meat consumption and, in that sense, even the title of the study is misleading,” explains D. Lee Hamilton, Ph.D., a health and exercise sciences expert at the University of Stirling in Scotland. “What the researchers assessed was the availability of meat in various countries and then they correlated this measure with the estimated rates of obesity in those countries. Not a single measure of consumption was made.

“However, they found a positive correlation suggesting that in countries where meat availability is high, so too is obesity. The assumption that if meat availability is high, then so too is consumption, is quite a big leap to make without actual assessments of meat intake,” says Hamilton.

foods that help you lose weight

Meanwhile, it’s important to note that there is a big difference between correlation and causation. “Every country that becomes developed increases its rates of obesity as well as its rates of meat consumption. But that doesn’t mean that meat is the reason,” says Donald K. Layman, Ph.D., professor emeritus of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois, and one of the world’s foremost protein researchers.

The study’s assertion that a correlation between meat availability and obesity means that one causes the other is not that different than saying that greater access to schools or lower levels of unemployment are responsible for obesity. After all, those are both consequences of development, too.

“If you set the bar low enough in your statistics, you can see any correlation you want,” says Layman. “The study authors say that they controlled for other weight-related factors like caloric intake and physical activity, but you can’t factor out total calories from the equation and then say that calories from meat cause obesity.”

Why Protein May Be a Type of Food That Can Help You Lose Weight

So how do the study researchers explain their assertion that eating meat makes you fat?

“Whether we like it or not, fats and carbohydrates in modern diets are supplying enough energy to meet our daily needs,” Wenpeng You, a Ph.D. student and the study’s lead author, said in the university’s press release. “Because meat protein is digested later than fats and carbohydrates, this makes the energy we receive from protein a surplus, which is then converted and stored as fat in the human body.”

Riiiight. “This frankly is one of the most irresponsible pieces of nutrition advice I’ve ever read. It is an absolutely stupid and irresponsible statement,” Layman says. “If I had a freshman in a nutrition class who said that, I would fail them on the spot.”

While it’s true that protein is slow to digest, that’s a good thing; it helps stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce insulin spikes, aid in satiety, and encourage weight loss, not gain. It’s a type of food that can help you lose weight if eaten in the right portions.

A review of several studies published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition revealed that it may be beneficial to partially replace refined carbohydrate with protein sources that are low in saturated fat because there’s convincing evidence that high-protein meals lead to reduced consumption, and increase thermogenesis (process of burning calories to generate body heat) and satiety. The Beachbody Portion Fix Eating Plan is a higher-protein diet that includes lean animal protein, such as 93–95 percent lean ground beef or turkey, reduced-fat turkey bacon, and 2-percent cottage cheese, as well as plant-based sources of protein as part of a healthy diet — and particularly for those who want to lose weight.

“The notion that because protein takes time to be digested [and] is therefore more likely to be converted to fat is completely unfounded and indicates the author’s ignorance on protein metabolism,” Lee says. “If anything, protein in the diet is less likely to be converted to fat. It has a greater stimulatory effect on your metabolism than do carbohydrates, and it has to go through a more convoluted pathway to get converted to fat than do carbohydrates.”

That’s why, as Layman notes, meat consumption has been inversely related to obesity in the U.S. The consumption of red meat has been on the decline since the mid-’70s. What’s more, data from the Netherlands Cohort study, which assessed meat consumption in about 4,000 men and women over the course of 14 years, found that those who consumed the most beef had the lowest increases in age-related weight gain.

But… Excess Calories = Excess Weight

“Any time you over-consume calories relative to your need, you are going to gain weight,” Layman says. “Protein can be a part of that.”

Interestingly, though, protein may be a very small part of that weight or, rather, fat gain. “Overeating a diet high in protein is more likely to lead to gains in muscle mass as well as fat mass, while an equivalent diet low in protein leads to weight gain purely in the form of body fat,” Lee says.

Case in point: In a 2012 Pennington Biomedical Research Center study of people consuming high-calorie diets for eight weeks, those who got 25 percent of their calories from protein stored 45 percent of the excess calories as muscle, while those who got only 5 percent of their calories from protein stored 95 percent of the excess calories as fat.

Still, over-consuming protein to begin with is probably harder than you might think — largely because protein is so slow to digest and satiating, Layman says.

foods that help you lose weight

After all, while current guidelines recommend that people consume between 10 and 35 percent of their daily calories from protein, research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that most Americans get between 13 and 16 percent of their calories from protein. Plus, even the top five percent of people who eat the most protein barely approach the 35-percent mark.

Meanwhile, although other national recommendations advise people to consume between 0.8 grams per kilogram of body mass per day, Lee notes that recent research consistently shows that double that (and therefore eating much closer to that 35-percent protein total) results in healthier muscle mass and more favorable body composition changes. A 2015 Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism review similarly suggests that consuming around 25–35 grams of protein during each meal promotes muscle health and plays a role in maintaining lean body mass with increasing age. A single 3.5-ounce skinless chicken breast will get you there — and help you hit your weight-loss goals.

Power of Protein

Protein is the building block of life. We all need protein. Even when we crave sugar, sometimes it really means we need protein. Protein will help us feel full longer and is deserves to be part of a balanced meal. Athletes may require more protein than their sedentary friends. This is because athletic training break down muscle tissue and then protein is required to re-build stronger and bigger muscles.

6 Purposes of Protein

We all need protein!

  1. Tissue building and maintenance
  2. Neurotransmitter creation
  3. Making hormones
  4. Involved in enzymes to perform chemical reactions
  5. Synthesis of energy
  6. Regulation of metabolic pathways.

Protein used in athletes can enhance anaerobic exercise  (lifting weights, sprinting) capacity, strength, and gains in muscle mass when weight training.

How much?

General needs of protein per kg of body weight is 0.8g/kg.

This is higher in body-builders (1.0g/kg)

and even higher in endurance athletes (1-1.5g/kg).

Spread your protein intake out over the course of the day. 20-30g at a time at each meal generally works well for most folks.

Eat Real Food

Not all protein is the same. Protein sources differ on their amino acid profile and the methods of processing or isolating the protein. Concentrated forms of protein include meat, poultry, egg, fish, and dairy. Animal based proteins are complete in their amino acid profile. Animal based proteins are the best and most predominant natural source of B12 and iron. Grass fed/ pasture raised and responsibly raised or organic meat may seem more expensive, but pound for pound it packs a lot more nutrients.

Pasture raised animal based proteins

  • pasture raised animal meat, dairy and eggs will have more nutrients, fewer toxins and less likely to have antibiotic resistant super-bugs
  • grass fed bison has four times more selenium the grain fed bison. Selenium is important in thyroid function.
  • Wild caught salmon has a better ratio of Omega 6:Omega 3 – making it so much more healthy.

Compared to grain fed, grass fed beef has:

  • 7x  more beta carotene, which your body coverts to vitamin A – important for skin and eyes.
  • 3x more vitamin E, which stabilizes cell membranes and keeps blood flowing smoothly.
  • higher levels of glutathione, which is important for detoxification
  • 2x the amount of B2, involved in the production of energy in the body
  • 3x the amount of B1, plays a role in production of energy and nucleic acids (RNA, DNA)
  • 30% more calcium, adding strength to bones, teeth and aids in muscle contraction
  • 5% more magnesium, a co-factor in over 300 different enzymes and helps muscles relax
  • Natural source of CLA – conjugated linoliec acid which reduces risk of heart attack and breast cancer

Plant based protein is found in soy, chick peas, lentils, legumes and nuts and seeds. Plant based proteins often need to be combined to reach a complete protein profile.

Protein Powders

Protein powders are convenient and a suitable way to get in extra protein when whole food is not available. The base food is processed to extract the protein content out of it. So having rice protein, for example, is different than eating a bowl of rice, which is primarily a source of carbohydrate. Watch the protein powder mixes for unnecessary ingredients like sugar, multiple ingredients and flavourings. Simple is often best.

Types of Protein Powders

  • Whey Isolate
  • Rice
  • Pumpkin
  • Hemp
  • Pea
  • Beef Isolate
  • Soy

If you are dairy sensitive, whey may make you feel bloated and gassy. Not everyone can digest soy. When starting pea protein, start with small amounts and build up.  This will help prevent gassiness. To get a complete amino acid profile, it is best to combine the plant based proteins. Beef isolate is a newer one on the market and is helpful for those who are grain, legume and dairy sensitive.

This information is for educational purposes only. It does not intend to treat or diagnose any individual condition. To find out what’s best for you, consider an individual appointment.

From the heart, mind and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

More about naturopathic medicine here.

References:
Gaby A. 2011. Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing Concord, NH.
Kresser K. 2014 The Paleo Cure: Eat Right for Your Genes, Body Type, and Personal Health NeedsPrevent and Reverse Disease, Lose Weight Effortlessly, and Look and Feel Better than Ever. Little Brown and Company, New York.
Temple N, Wilson T, Jacobs DR. 2006. Nutritional Health—Strategies for Disease Prevention 2nd ed, , Humana Press, Totowa, NJ.

 

10 Steps to Changing Your Life for the Better in 2016

apple steth

Happy New Year! This year, what do you say we all skip the New Year’s resolution? About half of North Americans make them, and most start out strong but come February or March, many have already thrown in the towel.

Overall, it’s estimated that 92 percent of Americans fail to achieve the goals they commit to on New Year’s Day.1 And so, I’m proposing this instead: in place of a New Year’s resolution, make a commitment to simply live better this year.

This is an ongoing process, a lifestyle change, not an impulsive resolution that you blurted out at midnight and have all but forgotten by morning. It’s also not something you can achieve overnight. Rather, this is a plan you can live by.

10 Steps to Changing Your Life for the Better in 2016

It’s the start of a new year — what better time to start fresh with some positive changes? The 10 that follow are the crème de la crème of lifestyle tricks you can use to live better and be happier — and isn’t that really what virtually all of us are after?

Below follows a brief introduction to the 10 points I suggest you commit to this year. In the coming months, stay tuned for an updated comprehensive nutrition plan, which is scheduled for release in 2016.

It will include these points in detail along with a plethora of additional recommendations, tips, and strategies to help you live the best life possible.

And, starting next week, look for forthcoming articles in the newsletter, which will cover each of these topics in depth. Are you ready to start fresh in 2016? Then keep on reading.

1. Give Up Soda

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver damage, osteoporosis, and acid reflux are just some of the health conditions linked to soda consumption. No wonder nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Americans say they actively try to avoid soda in their diet.2

If you’re not yet among them, commit to swapping your soda for healthier beverages like water, sparkling water, and, occasionally, tea and/or organic black coffee.

When you consume soda your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain — a physically identical response to that of heroin, by the way.

This explains why so many people find it difficult to give up their daily soda “fix.” But, it can be done and you’ll feel better for it.

2. Eat Two Meals a Day, Within an Eight-Hour Window

Your body probably only needs two meals a day, and eating this way allows you to restrict your eating to a window of six to eight consecutive hours each day, while avoiding food for at least three hours before bedtime.

As long as you restrict your eating to a six- to eight-hour window, and avoid eating for at least three hours before bed, you can choose between having breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner, but avoid having both breakfast and dinner.

Which two meals you prefer are up to you; let your body, and your lifestyle, be your guide.

This type of intermittent fasting has numerous benefits for your health, including weight loss, disease prevention, resolving insulin resistance, optimizing your mitochondrial function, and preventing cellular damage from occurring.

3. Get Eight Hours of Sleep Each Night

I used to think I was immune to needing adequate sleep. I would routinely get less than six hours a night and thought I could function this way. But, I’ve since realized that most adults really need about eight hours of sleep every night.

What makes sleep deprivation so detrimental is that it doesn’t just impact one aspect of your health; it impacts many.

Sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness,3 which may help explain why lack of sleep is tied to an increased risk of numerous chronic diseases.

Sleeping less than six hours per night more than triples your risk of high blood pressure, and women who get less than four hours of shut-eye per night double their chances of dying from heart disease.4

Sleep is also intricately tied to important hormone levels, including melatonin, production of which is disturbed by lack of sleep.

This is extremely problematic, as melatonin inhibits the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cell types, as well as triggers cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction). Lack of sleep also decreases levels of your fat-regulating hormone leptin, while increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin.

The resulting increase in hunger and appetite can easily lead to overeating and weight gain. Not to mention, poor or insufficient sleep is actually the strongest predictor for pain in adults over 50.5

Small adjustments to your daily routine and sleeping area can go a long way to ensure uninterrupted, restful sleep and, thereby, better health.

If you’re not sure how much sleep you’re getting, a fitness tracker can be beneficial for helping you keep track of the actual time you’re asleep (as opposed to the time spent in bed).

If you need more sleep, I suggest you read through my full set of 33 healthy sleep guidelines for details on proper sleep hygiene

4. Eat More Healthy Fats and Fiber

Public health guidelines condemn healthy fats from foods like butter and full-fat dairy, and recommend whole grains and cereals — the opposite of what most people need to stay healthy.

The latest science suggests healthy fats (saturated and unsaturated fats from whole food, animal, and plant sources) should comprise anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of your overall energy intake. Healthy fat sources include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, nuts, and animal fats.

That’s right; butter need not be shunned and, in fact, is a beneficial source of healthy saturated fats, especially when it’s raw, organic, and grass-fed. In addition to eating more healthy fats, most Americans need to eat more fiber. A high-fiber diet can help reduce your risk of premature death from any cause, likely because it helps to reduce your risk of some of the most common chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

When it comes to boosting your fiber intake, be sure to focus on eating more vegetables, nuts and seeds (not grains). Organic whole husk psyllium is a great fiber source, as are sunflower sprouts and fermented vegetables, the latter of which are essentially fiber preloaded with beneficial bacteria. Flax, hemp, and chia seeds are also excellent fiber sources.

5. Eat Fermented Vegetables

Fermented foods are potent chelators (detoxifiers) and contain much higher levels of beneficial bacteria than probiotic supplements, making them ideal for optimizing your gut flora.

In addition to helping break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from your body, beneficial gut bacteria perform a number of surprising functions, including helping with mineral absorption and producing nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin K2. They may also play a role in:

  • Preventing obesity and diabetes, and regulating dietary fat absorption
  • Lowering your risk for cancer
  • Improving your mood and mental health
  • Preventing acne

In the US, imbalances in gut flora are widespread due to diets high in sugar and processed foods as well as exposure to antibiotics, both in medicine and via CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) meats in your diet.

The solution is simple — in addition to cutting back on sugar and antibiotics, consuming fermented foods will give your gut health a complete overhaul, helping to clear out pathogenic varieties and promoting the spread of healing, nourishing microorganisms instead.

Just one-quarter to one-half cup of fermented vegetables, eaten with one to three meals per day, can have a dramatically beneficial impact on your health. You can even start a new tradition by getting together with friends and family to make big batches of fermented vegetables together.

6. Sit Less and Walk More, Work on Your Flexibility

On average, a U.S. adult spends nine to 10 hours each day sitting,6 which is so much inactivity that even a 30- or 60-minute workout can’t counteract its effects.7

While it might seem natural to sit this long since you’ve probably grown used to it (physically and mentally), it’s actually quite contrary to nature. Studies looking at life in agriculture environments show that people in agrarian villages sit for about three hours a day.

Your body is made to move around and be active the majority of the day, and significant negative changes occur when you spend the majority of the day sedentary instead.

Setting a goal of taking 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day (which is just over three to five miles, or 6 to 9 kilometers) can go a long way toward getting more movement and less sitting into your life. This should be over and above any exercise regimen you may have.

In addition, stand up at work if you can, rather than sitting at your desk. Meanwhile, make it a point to gain flexibility, which will help keep you functional well into old age. Pilates, yoga, and whole body vibration training are options to help increase your flexibility.

7. Have Your Vitamin D Level Tested

It’s incredibly easy to boost your vitamin D levels, so there’s no reason to put your health at risk from low status. Yet, researchers such as Dr. Michael Holick estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. If you’re among them, your risk of multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and other chronic disorders may be significantly increased.

In a study of more than 100 people, those with low vitamin D levels were more likely to have type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, regardless of their weight.8

Dementia is also directly linked to vitamin D. Seniors who have low vitamin D levels may double their risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.9 As noted by the authors, “This adds to the ongoing debate about the role of vitamin D in nonskeletal conditions.” Incidence of several types of cancer could also be slashed in half if more people increased their vitamin D levels.

One of Dr. Holick’s studies showed that healthy volunteers taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day for a few months upregulated 291 different genes that control up to 80 different metabolic processes.

This included improving DNA repair to having effect on autoxidation (oxidation that occurs in the presence of oxygen and /or UV radiation, which has implications for aging and cancer, for example), boosting your immune system, and many other biological processes.

If you don’t know what your vitamin D level is, get tested. The vitamin D test you’re looking for is called 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This is the officially recognized marker of overall D status and is most strongly associated with overall health.

The other vitamin D test available, called 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]D), is not very useful for determining vitamin D sufficiency. While sunlight is the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D, winter and working indoors prevent more than 90 percent of those reading this article from achieving ideal levels.

A high-quality tanning bed is your next best option, but if your circumstances don’t allow you to access the sun or a high-quality tanning bed, then you really only have one option if you want to raise your vitamin D, and that is to take a vitamin D3 supplement.

Regular testing is crucial in this case to keep your level within the optimal range. If you live in the U.S., January and February are ideal months to find out if you’re vitamin D levels are low.

vitamin d levels
Sources

8. Eat Nutrient-Dense Protein (Quality not Quantity)

Protein is essential for your health as it’s a structural component of enzymes, cellular receptors, signaling molecules, and a main building block for your muscles and bones. But, eating excessive amounts of protein could actually be worse than eating too many carbs. Excessive protein can stimulate two biochemical pathways that accelerate aging and cancer growth.

For optimal health, I believe most adults need about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass (not total body weight), or 0.5 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. In this formula, you must first determine your lean body mass. To do that, subtract your percent body fat from 100. For example, if you have 30 percent body fat, then you have 70 percent lean body mass.

Then multiply that percentage (in this case 0.7) by your current weight to get your lean body mass in pounds or kilos. As an example, if you weigh 170 pounds; 0.7 multiplied by 170 equals 119 pounds of lean body mass. Using the “0.5 gram of protein” rule, you would need just under 60 grams of protein per day. Substantial amounts of protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts.

The quality of the meat you eat is just as important as the quantity. As a general rule, the only meat I recommend eating is pastured, grass-fed, and grass-finished, ideally organically raised meats (and of course, the same goes for dairy and eggs). Wild-caught Alaskan salmon and sardines are also excellent protein sources.

You can also get plenty of protein from plant foods. Consider hemp seeds (hemp hearts), chia seeds, spirulina, sprouts, and bee pollen, for instance.

9. Meditate for 5 to 10 Minutes a Day

Stress-related problems, including back pain, insomnia, acid reflux, and exacerbations to irritable bowel syndrome may account for up to 70 percent of the average US physician’s caseload.10 Such health-care expenditures are the third highest in the US, after only heart disease and cancer. New research suggests, however, that such costs could be cut drastically simply by becoming more relaxed.11

Both meditation and mindfulness are excellent for stress relief and relaxation, as are prayer, keeping a gratitude journal, and the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).   One simple way to incorporate such relaxation techniques into your life is to meditate first thing in the morning, even before you get out of bed, to take advantage of your mind being in a quiet zone.

10. Help Others and Be Active in Your Community

Volunteering is a simple way to help others, but it’s also a powerful way to help yourself. Beyond the good feelings you’ll get from donating your time, and the potential to develop new, meaningful relationships with people in your community, volunteering has a significant impact on your physical health, including a boost to your heart health.

In one study, people who volunteered for at least 200 hours a year were 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who did not.12 People who volunteer for altruistic reasons, i.e. to help others rather than themselves, may even live longer than those who volunteer for more self-centered reasons.13

The benefits of being active in your community are particularly pronounced among older adults, a population that tends to slow down once retirement hits. There’s a definite social aspect, as if you’re socially isolated you may experience poorer health and a shorter lifespan.

Volunteering also gives you a sense of purpose and can even lead to a so-called “helper’s high,” which may occur because doing good releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin in your body while lowering levels of stress hormones like cortisol.

Giving back is about so much more than even that, though, as it will help you to connect with your community and contribute your time and/or talents to promoting the greater good.

Remember, most New Year’s resolutions do fail for one reason or another. So this year, try making a simple commitment to live healthier from here on out. Start slow and small as little changes can make a huge overall difference in your health. And, when you commit to a lifestyle, it’s no longer about meeting a particular goal, like losing 10 pounds. It’s about living a little bit differently, a little bit better, so that ultimately you’re happier and healthier for it.

By Dr. Mercola @  http://www.mercola.com

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Brainy Nut Ball Recipe

These brainy nut balls are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Fuel your brain and your body… a couple of these are great before a work out or a mid-day work snack. Once you get the hang of making them you can alternate the type of nuts and seeds you use to help get variety into your diet.

They are dairy and gluten free if the ingredients you purchase say so. All nuts are raw and have no other coating on them (watch ingredients).

 

Dr. Laura’s Ginger Nut Balls

8-10 dried figs, stems removed

1/2c Pumpkin seeds or coconut (unsweetened shredded) or sesame nutballsseastrokesseeds

1c walnuts or almond or hazel nuts

1/3 cup hemp hearts

1/2c ground flax

¼ c fancy molasses

2-3tbsp olive oil

1-3 tbsp ground dried ginger (depends on strength)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

 

Food process until it looks like cookie batter (starts to clump a bit but is well mixed).

Roll/press into balls a little small than a Timbit size.

Best eaten in 3-5 days, store in fridge.

From the heart, mind and kitchen of your local naturopathic doctor Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Picture complements of seastoke.com

Food or Mood: Which comes first?

Are you an emotional eater? Or have you ever wondered if what you eat can affect how your feel? Discover top 5 digestive links between the food you eat and the way you feel.

withinus
Join Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND to learn about:
1. The Hunger Cues
2. Food Sensitivities
3. Gut Health and Mood Connection
4. Sugar & Dopamine
5. Protein & Neurotransmitters

For example: Did you know the microflora or bacteria that lines your digestive tract can communicate to your hunger centres and trigger cravings to preferentially feed themselves? Learn how to build a healthy flora that will contribute to your mood, your weight and your well being.

This and the four other areas listed above will be covered in Dr. Laura M. Brown’s next complimentary talk entitled Food or Mood at Goodness Me! in Guelph on January 13th, 6:30pm. Register here.

What foods are best for you?

Note current Christmas SPECIAL on your Individualized Koru Food Sensitivity testing

at Forward Health with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. No Needles.

$225 for 230 foods.

Dec – sold out

Jan 6 & 27 – call (519) 826-7973 to book

Can You Really Gain Muscle While You Sleep?

Guy sleeping in bed
A good night’s sleep can lead to great things: improved memory, sharper thinking, and feeling refreshed and being ready to take on the day. According to a recent study, it appears we can also add increasing muscle mass to the list of benefits that can be gained from a solid rest.

A group at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands ran a test to see if it was possible to increase muscle growth by eating protein before going to sleep. They took a group of men and placed them on identical meal and exercise plans for 12 weeks. Half of the men took a protein supplement before bed while the others took a placebo.

At the end of the 12 weeks, researchers recorded the participants’ muscle growth and strength, and compared the data. The men in the protein-supplement group had significantly more muscle growth and strength than those who were given a placebo. Although the test group in this study was already consuming a diet high in protein, the results showed that ingesting additional protein before sleep helped with overnight muscle growth.

This study used a supplement that was 27.5 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, and 0.1 g fat, but an earlier study from 2012 found similar results when participants ingested just 20 g of high-quality protein (casein) before going to sleep.

While frivolous night time snacking can lead to overeating, if you take a more targeted approach by eating a little protein just before bed, you may be able increase your muscle mass while you sleep.

Thanks To Sharing Beachbody.com for content