Posts tagged #naturopathic

Processed Foods May Kill of the Bacteria that Keep You Thin


Every time you eat a meal, you're not only feeding yourself, but the hundred trillion bacteria that thrive in your intestines. This colony of bacteria plays a huge role in health, and believe it or not, the bacteria in your gut influences your metabolism. Obesity once was a rarity, but the last few decades have seen an explosion of weight gain. Recent studies have shown obesity to be associated with a shift in the bacteria in the gut.  Alterations in the gut bacteria can impact your metabolism. But How? Gut microbes alter the signalling pathways in the gut, effecting the inflammation pathway, encouraging insulin resistance (pre-disposing for diabetes) and depositing energy as fat storage. 

Junk food & Your Gut

You are what you eat, and so are the bacteria that live in your intestines.  A study in Nature magazine illustrated how incredibly fast (3-4 days) the human gut can change after a shift in what you eat. Imagine how junk food can effect your gut microbiota.  Studies have shown that beneficial bacteria are in more abundance in a high fiber diet, and are drastically different with a western diet.

What Does This Mean For You?

Since all of those bugs in your intestine can be either helpful or harmful, it's important to reconsider what you are eating. Not only do we eat to ensure that we have the best health possible, but also to propagate a healthy microbiota.  Eating a purely western diet--high in animal products, low in fiber, high in fats--encourages a completely different microbiome than one that is high in fiber, fruits and vegetables and low in processed food. The best mantra is to eat food with a purpose, on purpose. As for treats, they're just that--treats, and not all you eat.

Posted on May 21, 2015 .

Losing Sleep & Gaining Weight (Its a Lose-Lose!)

Sleep is vital for optimal daily function and overall health. Losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep per day can have long term health consequences for both body weight and metabolism according to a new study

It's well known that sleep deprivation is associated with obesity and diabetes, but this latest study shows that even a mild sleep debt of only 30 minutes can have a significant effect on your metabolism.  This additive sleep dept may lead to insulin and blood sugar disruption, causing a predisposition to (or exacerbation of) type 2 diabetes.

What can you do to get better sleep?

  • Avoid long naps during the day, it can disturb the normal pattern of sleep/wake cycle (power naps may be beneficial)
  • Avoid stimulants, such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bed time. Alcohol is known to speed the onset of sleep, but it disrupts sleep in the second half of the night as the body metabolizes the alcohol
  • Avoid large meals close to bedtime
  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine
  • Turn off all electronics and turn down lights 2 hours before bed, as these disrupt melatonin production
  • Exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are more likely to sleep better (even adding a 10 minute walk improves the likelihood of a good night's rest)

Ingredients for a Valentine: 5 Healthy & Sexy Foods

Aphrodisiac | noun | aph*ro*di*si*ac | 
Definition: Something that excites desire

Choosing a Valentine's dinner is a tricky task, especially when foods can create or kill the mood. Check out these healthy Valentines foods that provide nutrients and tastes that set you up for a healthy heart, both mentally and physically

  1. Avocados. These healthy fruits are high in vitamins E and B6, which regulate hormone production and can increase energy and stamina. 
  2. Chili peppers. These spicy peppers have that bright red color and are considered a symbol of love, there's science behind it. Chili peppers stimulate endorphins, which are brain signals for pleasure, love, and happiness. 
  3. Cabbage & Sauerkraut. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Food Chemistry found that 90% of men reported a noticeable libido boost after eating sauerkraut.
  4. Chocolate. Chocolate is almost synonymous with Valentines Day, but it also has health benefits. Dark chocolate contains an alkaloid called theobromine, which can cause a spike in dopamine, inducing feelings of pleasure. It also has blood-pressure lowering effects. 
  5. Tomatoes. These fruits, along with strawberries and watermelon are rich in lycopene, a substance that studies show may have a "viagra-like" effect on the body, as it relaxes blood vessels and improves circulation

*Always ask your doctor before beginning any supplementation

Posted on February 11, 2015 .

Why Eat Organic?

There are many reasons to eat organic, not just for the health of the person eating organic foods, but also for the health of the planet.  By choosing organic, or at least avoiding the foods that are most heavily sprayed with pesticides, you can reap the following benefits:

You will dramatically reduce your daily intake of pesticides.  Conventionally used pesticides are neurotoxins and can contribute to poor cognitive function, poor sensory/motor function, and fatigue.

You will be getting more nutrients from the food that you eat.  Organic farming operations usually use more sustainable farming practices which help to stop soil erosion and preserve the nutrient content of the soil so that it can better sustain life.

You can positively impact the ecosystems in which farming takes place.  Chemicals that are sprayed on conventionally grown crops do not stay on the crop but can run off into the water and effect not only the fish, but every organism that feeds off that water 

You are helping out the people who grow the food.  The toxic effects of pesticides are much greater than in the general public because they are dealing with them in greater amounts.  Also, by reducing the demand for conventional produce by choosing farmers  that don’t rely on pesticides and genetically modified seed.

You are avoiding the antibiotics, growth enhancing hormones, and other medications given to conventionally raised feed animals.  Because animals are raised eating corn and are raised in unsanitary environments, many medications are needed in order to keep these animals from becoming sick. 

By buying less conventionally grown produce you are not just helping yourself by decreasing you  intake of pesticides but you are also voting for a more sustainable system of food production for the whole world.


Posted on February 4, 2015 .

Home Remedies: How to Beat that Cold

So, you caught that “cold” that’s going around? Great! Now, what can you do to get yourself feeling better, faster?

It’s that season again, and it seems like everyone around you is sick doesn't it? You walk through the hallway avoiding anyone who’s coughing, and ducking out of the way of peoples incessant sneezing. However, no matter how careful you've been, you’re still sick! It feels like there’s nothing you can do. Well fear not, you may be sick now, but there are lots of things you can do to get yourself feeling better faster! 

  • Drink lots of water: you've heard it all before, but it’s even more important when you’re sick. Part of the goal is getting your body to flush out whatever is making you sick, and you can’t do that without drinking LOTS of water.
  • Make a cup of tea: boil some water, add some lemon, a little honey and a dash of cinnamon. The heat of the water mixed with the "diaphoretic" action of the ingredients will cause your body to sweat out anything that’s bothering you ("diaphoretic" = inducing sweat). The hot water will also help to break up some congestion you might be experiencing.
  • Skip the dairy: regular dairy encourages mucus production and is just adding to the congestion you are already experiencing. Avoiding dairy until your better will help with congestion, and allow your immune system to focus on what’s really troubling you. This will shorten the length of your cold, and just make you feel much better!
  • Skip the decongestant: your body is trying to get rid of offending agents through your secretions, making you better. By taking a decongestant you are suppressing one of the main mechanisms your body has to get rid of your infection. Let your body work its magic, and your cold will be shorter and lighter than those around you. Unless you have a medical condition that requires decongestant use (check with your doctor), then avoid it!
  • Get lots of rest: give your body time to fight off whatever is making you sick and get back on track. The more you respect your body, and give it the time it needs, the faster you will be yourself again! 
Posted on January 26, 2015 .

How to Deal with the Long, Dark Days of Winter

In the wintertime, the days are short with the sun setting before you get home from work or school.  Add to this the days that are cloudy and you have a winter that can be depressing.  If the winter weather is getting you down, here are some things that you can do:

  •  Supplement with Vitamin D:  This is an important hormone that your body makes in your skin when it is exposed to sunlight.  Some of the important things that vitamin D can affect are mood, the immune system, calcium absorption, heart health, and fertility. Check with your health care provider before starting supplementation (Vitamin D is a hormone, and too much or too little can cause problems).
  • Exercise: A solid exercise regimen has been show to be as effective as anti-depressant medications (SSRIs) in decreasing the symptoms of depression.  A fun way to incorporate exercise is to join a local community sports team or find some other form of exercise that you enjoy doing like hiking, cycling, skiing, or swimming. 
  • Replace Deficient Nutrients:  There are quite a few nutritional factors that can set somebody up for depression.  These include inadequate protein intake, and deficiencies in vitamin C, B-vitamins, folic acid, essential fatty acids, or trace minerals.  Women who are taking birth control pills can have lower levels of the above nutrients because they are used up during the metabolism of the hormones.  Deficiencies of the above nutrients can also affect the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain, as well as the production of energy in the body. You can be tested to determine which specific nutrients you may be deficient or sub-optimal in.
  • Meditate. Meditation has been shown to improve mood, decrease inflammation and normalize stress hormones. A simple act of closing your eyes for 1 minute with deep breaths has major benefits! 
Posted on January 11, 2015 .

Sunblock Causing Male Infertility?

A new study by the National Institutes of Health links sunscreen to male infertility. Benzophenones are used in sunscreens and personal care products and are absorbed by the skin. These chemicals act as endocrine disrupting compounds, as they can interfere with the body's hormones. The recent study showed a 30% reduction in male fertility, leading to a longer time to pregnancy. 

Cold Weather, Cold Sores

Colder weather has arrived in Kansas City, and it is here for the season. These temperature changes can affect the immune system, but also the change from being active and the increase in stress can decrease the immune response as well.

Some individuals experience cold sores more frequently in the winter time with the colder weather. While everyone doesn't get them, most people have the antibodies to the virus that causes cold sores. These cold sores, otherwise known as oral herpes simplex, can cause painful sores on the lips, or inside the mouth and is often associated with swollen lymph nodes and muscle aches. 

While the best way to keep these cold sores from recurring is to have a robust immune system, there are some other ways to keep these sores at bay. 

Change the Lysine to Arginine Ratio
The herpes simplex virus needs arginine to thrive, while lysine causes disruption in the virus's replication.

Eating foods high in lysine decrease its ability to replicate.
These include:

Flickr Creative Commons 

Flickr Creative Commons 

  • fish
  • yogurt
  • kefir
  • cottage cheese
  • papaya
  • beets
  • apples
  • apricots

Avoid foods high in arginine:

  • wheat
  • soy
  • lentils
  • oats
  • corn
  • barley
  • eggplant
  • tomato
  • chocolate
  • peanuts
  • almonds
  • cashews
  • most other nuts and seeds

Also, some vitamins, including vitamin E, have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of these cold sores. 

Stay tuned for the next article which will give easy health tips for keeping your immune system in tip-top shape!

Come visit Kansas City Integrative Health to learn more about how you can beat the cold without getting sick all the time, we are conveniently located in the heart of Overland Park.

Posted on November 11, 2014 .

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Miscarriage occurs in up to 1 out of 4 pregnancies, and for some women, this can be a recurring event. 

Birth of a healthy baby depends upon a unique and intricate set of events including fertilization of an embryo, successful implantation, adaptation of the mother's hormones and physiology to the baby, ability to grow a placenta to meet the baby's needs, appropriate growth of the uterus and cervix, and precise growth of the baby and timing of birth. That's a lot!

Anywhere in that process, something can go wrong, and in some women, it occurs repeatedly. Conditions including autoimmunity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, diabetes, and physical abnormalities can result in recurrent pregnancy loss.

Pregnancy is divided into three stages: conception to week 4, weeks 5-9, and then weeks 10-delivery. Most of pregnancy losses occur in the earlier two stages, often associated with genetic factors. while later miscarriage is more frequently autoimmune or anatomic. 

The evaluation of recurrent pregnancy loss includes a complete medical history and investigation into other conditions, family medical history, physical exam, and laboratory evaluation.

Depending on your specific history, stage of pregnancy loss, and laboratory tests, treatment will be individualized to address your specific needs.

Learn more here

Posted on November 7, 2014 .