Friday, November 27, 2015

Top 5 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a delicious and versatile spice.  But did you know that is has many health benefits as well? 

There are 2 varieties of cinnamon:
            Ceylon Cinnamon: This is true cinnamon.
            Cassia Cinnamon: This is the common variety found in most stores.
The Ceylon variety is lower in Coumarin, a compound which can cause liver damage when consumed in large doses.  If you can find the Ceylon variety it is a better option.

Here are my top 5 benefits:

1. Blood Sugar Balance
Cinnamon has been shown to reduce insulin resistance; a key to achieving proper blood sugar balance.  Cinnamon also lowers blood sugar levels by slowing glucose from entering the bloodstream.

The anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 10-29%, when 0.5 – 2 teaspoons of cinnamon is consumed per day

Tip:  When eating sweet foods, add some cinnamon to slow the effect of the sugar on your system. 

Compounds in cinnamon have been found to inhibit the buildup of Tau proteins in the brain.  These Tau proteins are associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons Disease. 

Inflammation is an underlying issue with all disease states.  Any tool to help lower inflammation is beneficial. 

Loaded with powerful antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Cinnamon has an ORAC value of 267536 umol TE/100g making it one of the top seven anti-oxidants in the world!  

The main active component of cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde, has been shown to be fight bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.  It is also effective in fighting tooth decay and bad breath.

Tip:  for a natural mouthwash, use 1-2 drops of cinnamon essential oil in a mouthful of water.  Swish and gargle in mouth for at least 1 minute then spit out.  You can also drink cinnamon tea at the first sign of a sore throat. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Struggling With Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is one of the most common yet overlooked health problems.  It can be effectively assessed and treated through a naturopathic approach.

Do you find your energy levels crash around 3 or 4 pm and you need that caffeine boost?  Crave sugar or carbohydrates especially in the afternoon?  Need to eat every few hours or you feel light-headed?  Get a second wind of energy in the evenings then have trouble sleeping?  These can all be signs of adrenal fatigue.

Our stressful, fast paced lives, lack of routines, and constant worry- is the prefect recipe to burnout the adrenal glands. 

So what are your adrenal glands?  The adrenals are small organs that sit above the kidneys and are like the battery of your body.  They are responsible for regulating your flight or fight response and to help keep you going in times of stress.  But all too often we remain in these stressed states for too long, causing these “batteries” to burn out. 

Common symptoms of overworked adrenal glands include:
- Fatigue that isn’t relieved by sleep/rest
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Food cravings (especially for carbohydrates, salt, and chocolate)
- Lowered immunity or chronic infections
- Weight gain (especially around the mid-section)
- Mood changes  
- Decreased tolerance for stress
- Frequent colds/flus
- Low libido

Sounds like you?  Support healthy adrenal function:
- Eat regularly, maintain healthy blood sugar balance by including protein at each meal (especially breakfast!).
- Exercise gently (walking, stretching, or yoga) until your adrenals have healed and your energy has improved
- Sleep hygiene– keep your bedroom completely dark, quiet, and cool to allow your body to maximize rest and rebuilding during sleep.
-  Consider taking a B Complex to provide your adrenal glands with the necessary nutrients to make hormones like cortisol and DHEA.

Get your cortisol and adrenal function tested – Through salivary testing we can get a clearer picture of your adrenal health and I can develop an individual treatment plan to address your specific concerns.  Contact me to day to get started: , email: 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Recharge Your Brain!

Our brains are truly amazing, and plays a vital role in our thoughts, actions, and regulating our bodies.  Optimal brain health is critical throughout life and there are many things we can do to support this.

Healthy lifestyle choices are important including things like exercise, healthy nutrition, and even “brain games” like luminosity, crossword puzzles, or chess. Beyond these, there are many vitamins, herbs, and other nutrients that help support brain health and also prevent cognitive decline as we age. 

Nutrition is so important!  The foods I recommend to include in a daily diet to support brain health include: Coconut oil/MCT oil, Spirulina, Raw/unsalted nuts and seeds, Avacado, green tea, and blueberries.

Some of my favorite brain boosting supplements and herbs are:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
            * Polyunsaturated fat high in fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and algae (like spirulina).  We cannot make omega 3’s and must obtain it from our diet.  The EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA (decosahexanoic acid) are the active components of omega-3’s.  When choosing a supplement you want to look for a high EPA & DHA content. 
            What does it do?
            * DHA is particular is essential for brain function, especially in the developing brains of children.
            * EPA modulates inflammation, regulates mood and behavior and is important in cardiovascular health
            * Research in depression, and mood disorders has found improvements in patients supplementing with Omega-3 fatty acids
            How to get it? 
            Foods like: spirulina, algaes, nuts/seeds (chia, flax, walnut), fish
            Supplement:  Flaxseed oil, Omega-3 fish oils or Cod liver oil, Krill oil.
            *Caution if you are on blood thinning medication as omega-3’s can further thin the blood.

Vitamin B-12
            * A water soluble vitamin found mainly in meats and fish.
            What does it do?
            *Vital in the production and maintenance of nerves, cell growth and function.
            * B-12 can be difficult to absorb from the diet, or low in vegan/vegetarian diets as such deficiency is quite common.
            How to get it?
            *Food: meat, fish, and spirulina all contain B12
            * Supplements: sublingual or chewable B12 is better absorbed than supplements
            * Injections:  The best and most absorbable way to increase B12 levels is through injections.  These can be administered by your naturopathic Doctor on a weekly basis, as needed. 

            * 5-Hydroxytryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, a brain chemical important in regulation of moods, sleep, headaches and fibromyalgia.
            How to get it? 
            * Supplement:  L-Tryptophan, Griffonia, and 5-HTP are all options to increase serotonin.
            * Caution if you are taking any mood medications including SSRI’s, & MAOI’s.  

Gotu Kola
            What does it do?
            * Has been shown to slow cognitive decline in elderly and middle aged patients.  Reduces the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, increases GABA production, and acts as a brain antioxidant.
            How to get it?
            *Found in supplement, tea, and tincture form.

Ginkgo Biloba
            What does it do?
            * Preventative and protective against ischemia induced cerebral and cardiovascular tissue damage.  An effective vasodilator and and reduces blood viscosity. 
            * Has been shown to improve concentration and memory.
            How to get it?
            *Found in supplement, tea, and tincture form.

            *Caution if you are on blood thinners or have history of stroke.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Superfood Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue-green microalgae that is packed full of nutrients- in fact it is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet! At almost 70% protein, it is has the highest protein content per gram of all foods!

What makes it so nutritious?  It has a full spectrum of nutrients, including essential and non-essential Amino acids, healthy fats like GLA and omega-3’s, B vitamins including B12, chlorophyll, antioxidants, Vitamin A/K/E/D, and minerals.  

Why take it? Think of spirulina as an easily absorbed super multi vitamin that boosts energy, detoxifies, supports the immune system, reduces inflammation, and supports overall health.  Low energy, digestive concerns, immune dysfunction, allergies, liver concerns, and more can all benefit from high quality spirulina in the diet. 

How to take it?  Spirulina can be found in liquid, powder, and tablet form.  The powder and liquid forms can be taken on their own or mixed into smoothies or any other recipes.  Choose whichever form will work for your lifestyle.  While it has a dark green, almost black color, the flavor is mild and not overpowering when mixed into other foods.  If possible, purchase an organic form.