Tuesday, August 13, 2019

How to Eat Well for Better Energy



Eating strategically to keep blood sugar steady throughout the day can help to keep fatigue at bay.  Every cell in the human body relies on sugar (glucose) for energy. When blood sugar rises, the body produces insulin to attach to glucose that is out in the blood stream and gets it into cells. When blood sugar drops, the body secretes different hormones to raise it. In this way, our blood-sugar and hormone levels are in constant flux, ensuring our cells’ access to glucose. But drastic swings in blood sugar levels zap us of energy, leading to lethargy and fatigue.

To help stabilize blood sugar and not get sugar highs and lows it is about the quality of the nutrients we ingest, not just the amount that matters. Eating this way will also prevent or help diabetes.  While imperfect, the Glycemic Index can be useful for characterizing the nutritional quality of a given carbohydrate.

The Glycemic Index (GI) ranks carbohydrate-containing foods (and beverages) on a scale from 0 to 100 according to their potential to boost blood sugar. High GI foods cause sharp spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Foods with a low GI are generally digested and absorbed more slowly, and therefore cause a gentler rise in blood sugar and insulin. See how different carbohydrates stack up on this Glycemic Index Reference Chart.

High GI foods include starchy vegetables and highly processed carbohydrates (think: fruit juices, chips, white bread) – in short, the ones we already know aren’t beneficial for our health. By contrast, low GI foods tend to be fiber-rich fruits, non-starchy vegetables, legumes and minimally or un-processed whole grains.
We help people make deliberate adjustments to their diet to stabilize their blood sugar levels and get their energy back.


1. Incorporate low glycemic index foods into your diet

After being muscle tested and figuring out what foods your body does well with the next step is to reduce your intake of high GI foods in favor of whole fruits, vegetables, legumes and minimally processed grains. Try substituting steel-cut oatmeal for instant and beans for potatoes. Or, if you’re having a high GI food – say, cornflakes or instant oatmeal – throw in a handful of berries to reduce its glycemic load. The top 10 foods to help with blood sugar are:
  1. coconut
  2. turmeric
  3. cinnamon
  4. raw chocolate
  5. green tea
  6. apple cider vinegar
  7. avocados
  8. lemons and limes
  9. olives and olive oil
  10. grass-fed butter


2. Add protein to meals and snacks

Because protein slows the body’s absorption of carbohydrates, it helps level out blood sugar. Fish, lean meat, beans, and eggs are all healthy protein sources. To incorporate more protein in your diet, top your salad with a hard-boiled egg or blend a little protein powder into your morning smoothie (Kachava protein powder is one of my favorites).


3. Be prepared

Healthy snacks help stabilize blood sugar between meals. Plan ahead to ensure you have access to healthy snacks when you need them. An apple, a handful of nuts or a cup of plain coconut yogurt are all easy to have on hand, and portable for when you’re on the go.

A diet that’s rich in whole grains, lean protein, and fibrous fruits and vegetables is useful for fighting fatigue and may also reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, all of which help you live well.  How have you found different foods affect your energy levels? Consider when logging your diet making notes about how you feel after eating and between meals. Let your experiences help guide us to help you to make healthy modifications to your diet.



Monday, July 29, 2019

Women Beware: Feminine Products Contain Toxins


Are you surprised tampons and pads can contain hazardous chemicals? Due to the vaginal tissue being much more absorptive than other skin, these toxic chemicals in feminine care products are especially concerning. Unregulated toxic chemicals in feminine care products may result in serious health problems, like increased risk of breast cancer, reproductive problems, asthma, and allergic reactions.  I think all women should not use toxic feminine products but especially don't use them if you have a sensitive bladder, a history of urinary tract infections, vaginal pain with sex or a history of yeast infections.

Unfortunately, because of the lack of government oversight, toxic chemicals can legally be used in all kinds of personal care products without pre-market safety testing. In addition, it’s difficult for women to avoid some of these potentially harmful chemicals in feminine care products because companies are not legally required to disclose ingredients in tampons and pads and other products.

The big problem with tampons and pads is that companies use cotton full of pesticides.  They also use Dioxins and Furans which are heavy chemicals used to bleach the pads and tampons white.  An alternative is to use organic cotton tampons made from pure natural cotton that hasn't been grown in a soup of pesticides. They don't contain rayon or synthetic additives, and most have been manufactured using a chlorine-free process that doesn't create chlorinated toxins. Seventh Generation is such a company and their tampons can be found at Target, Whole Foods, Walmart, etc. 

Toxic Chemicals in Feminine Care Products & Women’s Health

  • Feminine care products, in one form or another, are used by the majority of women in the United States.
  • Up to 86 percent of women use tampons in the U.S.
  • Other feminine care products—douches, sprays, washes, and wipes—are used by up to 10-40 percent of women.
  • Black and Latina women are disproportionately impacted by toxic chemicals in feminine care products, as they’re much more frequent users of feminine cleansing products like douche, wipes, and sprays.
  • Anti-itch creams commonly contain chemical allergens or irritants and can actually exacerbate the very symptoms that women are attempting to treat.
  • Lots of feminine care products contain formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, and formaldehyde is a carcinogen and a potent allergen.
What You Can Do to Reduce Your Exposure
  • Eliminate use of products that may be unnecessary to a healthy vagina.
  • Choose unscented products where available (particularly tampons and pads).
  • Choose chlorine-free bleached or unbleached cotton tampons and pads.
  • If you are having allergic symptoms, switch brands! When you do switch – call the company’s 1-800 customer service to tell them why!
  • Tell the FDA if you’ve had symptoms that may be from a feminine care product. Call 1-800-332-1088.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Purify Your Blood Naturally

Natural Blood Cleansers


Blood does more than just carry oxygen to our organs and muscles.  It also carries hormones and sugar, helps regulate our immune system and cleanses the body.  It can be simply said that our blood needs to remain clean and free of toxins for the body. When toxins find their way into the body, the blood carries it to the liver, where the liver detoxes it, dumps it into the intestines and we excrete it out.  If our blood is too toxic we can start feeling sick in many ways.  Headaches, stomach pain, constipation/diarrhea, acne etc. can ensue.  But if we take our health seriously and keep our blood free of toxins we can have health benefits like glowing and acne-free skin, reduced cholesterol level, easier digestion and transport of nutrients etc. The liver being the main detox organ and kidneys being the second detox organ, if we take care of these organs then we can have cleaner blood which makes everything else in our body work better.  

Water
Water is the natural detoxifying agent which is also one of the most common and simplest blood purifiers. It flushes out toxins from our body and helps our organs to function properly. A person should drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water each day. Water aids the flow of minerals and vitamins and also helps in purification of blood by flushing toxins out through urination.

Turmeric
Turmeric
 is a golden spice which has numerous benefits. It promotes liver function and is one of the best natural healers. A compound found in turmeric named curcumin can fight inflammation.  Beside this, turmeric generates red blood cells.  

Blueberries
Blueberries are one of the best natural blood purifiers. It inhibits the growth of liver cancer cells and also keeps the liver healthy. Not only this, blueberries are high in antioxidants which directly prevent any damage to the liver. It removes heavy metals and harmful chemicals from the body efficiently.

Fish
Various fishes like salmon, sardines, and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids which decrease the triglyceride levels in the blood and also lowers the blood pressure which ultimately helps the liver and kidneys to purify the blood effectively.

Broccoli
Broccoli is loaded with vitamin C, omega – 3 fatty acids, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese etc. which help in removing toxins from our blood. On regular consumption, broccoli ensures detoxification and also provides a boost to the immunity system.

Beets
Beets can detoxify the blood naturally because of the presence of antioxidant named betalains and nitrates. It is also able to reduce oxidative damage in the liver. As per studies, if 
beetroot is consumed regularly it is capable of detoxifying the body by increasing the production of helpful enzymes. But because of nitrates be careful when giving it to infants.

Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll supplements work during digestion to both detoxify the body of toxins ingested through foods as well as to detoxify the body of existing stored toxins. Some chlorophyll is absorbed into the bloodstream during digestion. As the blood passes through the liver, chlorophyll promotes the liver’s cleansing and detoxification process by its action on the Phase II detoxification enzymes produced by the liver. Phase II is a process in which the liver uses enzymes to convert a toxic substance into a less toxic substance that is easily eliminated by the body. Additionally, chlorophyll appears to stimulate the regeneration of damaged liver cells. 

Chlorophyll also appears to increase circulation to all the organs of our body by dilating blood vessels. Specifically for the heart, chlorophyll helps in the transmission of nerve impulses that control contraction. The heart rate is slowed but the contraction strength is increased, improving the efficiency of the heart.




Garlic
Garlic in raw form is loaded with sulphur, an element which is beneficial in getting rid of toxins. It filters out the toxins from our blood by producing detoxification enzymes. Garlic is also helpful in cleaning and clearing the whole body. It boosts the immune system and possesses anti-inflammatory properties which can help in reducing the cholesterol level in the body and also blood pressure.

Lemon
Lemon helps in detoxifying the blood by releasing the toxins of our digestive tract and cleansing the system. Consuming warm lemon water on an empty stomach can do wonders. It can aid the breakdown of fat and also ease the load on the kidneys. The minerals and vitamins present in lemon help in detoxification of the body.
 Lemon juice can activate the liver to release toxins which help in cleaning intestines.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Eat to Live a Long and Healthy Life


Blue Zones are regions of the world where Dan Buettner claims people live much longer than average. The term first appeared in his November 2005 National Geographic magazine cover story, "The Secrets of a Long Life".  Buettner identified five regions as "Blue Zones" (Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia(Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece); and among the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. He offers an explanation, based on data and first hand observations, for why these populations live healthier and longer lives than other people in his book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest. 

The people who live in the Blue Zones eat a healthy and move their bodies a lot. They have social circles that reinforce healthy behaviors. They take time to de-stress. They're part of communities, often religious ones. And they're committed to their families.


Below are details of how Blue Zone people eat.  I love to muscle test to be specific to each of my patients but I think it is a good reminder to eat well by learning from these healthy cultures.  It is made easy to eat like the healthiest people in the world with the Blue Zones Meal Planner, where you’ll find thousands of recipes that follow these guidelines while making plant-slant food delicious and accessible. 

SEE THAT YOUR DIET IS 95-100 PERCENT PLANT-BASED

People in the blue zones eat an impressive variety of garden vegetables when they are in season, and then they pickle or dry the surplus to enjoy during the off-season. Eating local and in season is so important and this data proves it.  The best-of-the-best longevity foods are leafy greens such as spinach, kale, beet and turnip tops, chard, and collards.  Combined with seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans dominate blue zones meals all year long.
Many oils derive from plants, and they are all preferable to animal-based fats. The diet cannot say that olive oil is the only healthy plant-based oil, but it is the one most often used in the blue zones. Evidence shows that olive oil consumption increases good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol. In Ikaria, they found that for middle-aged people, about six tablespoons of olive oil daily seemed to cut the risk of dying in half.
People in four of the five blue zones consume meat, but they do so sparingly, using it as a  small side, or a way to flavor dishes. Research suggests that 30-year-old vegetarian Adventists will likely outlive their meat-eating counterparts by as many as eight years. At the same time, increasing the amount of plant-based foods in your meals has many salutary effects. Beans, greens, yams and sweet potatoes, fruits, nuts, and seeds should all be favored. Variety of fruits and vegetables makes a difference; don't eat the same thing over and over again. Know which ones you like, and keep your kitchen stocked with them.

RETREAT FROM MEAT

Averaging out consumption in blue zones, we found that people ate about two ounces or less about five times per month. And we don’t know if they lived longer despite eating meat. If you are thinking eating less meat may be in your healthiest interest let me know and we can muscle test to see if eating less really will help you. 
The Adventist Health Study 2, which has been following 96,000 Americans since 2002, has found that the people who lived the longest were vegans or pesco-vegetarians, who ate a plant-based diet that included a small amount of fish. So, while you may want to celebrate from time to time with chicken, pork or beef, we don’t recommend it as part of a Blue Zones Diet. Okinawans probably offer the best meat substitute: extra firm tofu, high in protein and cancer-fighting phyto-estrogens but soy is very much in their culture and what their ancestors ate and is not the GMO American soy so I would be nervous suggesting a lot of it to my patients.  

GO EASY ON FISH

If you must eat fish, fewer than three ounces, up to three times weekly. In most blue zones, people ate some fish but less than you might think—up to three small servings a week. There are other ethical and health considerations involved in including fish in your diet. It makes sense, for example, to select fish that are common and abundant, not threatened by overfishing. In the world’s blue zones, in most cases, the fish being eaten are small, relatively inexpensive fish such as sardines, anchovies, and cod—middle-of-the-food- chain species that are not exposed to the high levels of mercury or other chemicals like PCBs that pollute our gourmet fish supply today.
People in the blue zones don’t overfish the waters like corporate fisheries that threaten to deplete entire species. Blue zones fishermen cannot afford to wreak havoc on the ecosystems they depend on. Again, fish is not a necessary part of a longevity diet but if you must eat seafood elect fish that are common and not threatened by overfishing.

REDUCE DAIRY

Milk from cows doesn’t figure significantly in any blue zones diet except that of some
Adventists. Arguments against milk often focus on its high fat and sugar content. The number of people who (often unknowingly) have some difficulty digesting lactose according to this research may be as high as 60 percent. Goat’s and sheep’s milk products figure into the Ikarian and Sardinian blue zones.


I do think it makes a difference that the goat’s milk that they consume is not as liquid but fermented as yogurt, sour milk, or cheese. Although goat’s milk contains lactose, it also contains lactase, an enzyme that helps the body digest lactose.

LESS EGGS

People in all of the blue zones eat eggs about two to four times per week. Usually they eat just one as a side dish with a whole-grain or plant-based dish. Nicoyans fry an egg to fold into a corn tortilla with a side of beans. Okinawans boil an egg in their soup. People in the Mediterranean blue zones fry an egg as a side dish with bread, almonds, and olives for breakfast. Blue zones eggs come from chickens that range freely, eat a wide variety of natural foods, and don’t receive hormones or antibiotics. Slowly matured eggs are naturally higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

DAILY DOSE OF BEANS

According to the research, eat at least a half cup of cooked beans daily. Beans reign supreme in blue zones. They’re the cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world: black beans in Nicoya; lentils, garbanzo, and white beans in the Mediterranean; and soybeans in Okinawa. People in the blue zones eat at least four times as many beans as Americans do on average. I was surprised by this information because I feel like a lot of my patients don't digest beans well but I realize that the quality of the bean and how it is prepared makes a huge difference.  The majority of Americans are reaching for canned beans.  Definitely don't eat any canned beans.  Instead buy them dry and pressure cook them to remove any lectins.  

The fact is, beans are the consummate superfood. On average, they are made up of 21 percent protein, 77 percent complex carbohydrates (the kind that deliver a slow and steady energy rather than the spike you get from refined carbohydrates like white flour), and only a few percent fat. They are also an excellent source of fiber. They’re cheap and versatile, come in a variety of textures, and are packed with more nutrients per gram than any other food on Earth. Beans are a meal staple in all five of the blue zones—with a dietary average of at least a half-cup per day, which provides most of the vitamins and minerals you need. And because beans are so hearty and satisfying, they’ll likely push less healthy foods out of your diet.

SLASH SUGAR

According to the research consume only 28 grams (7 teaspoons) of added sugar daily whereas I tell my patients if their body tests to avoid sugar then they really are to avoid it all together.  People in the blue zones eat sugar intentionally, not by habit or accident. They consume about the same amount of naturally occurring sugars as North Americans do, but only about a fifth as much added sugar—no more than seven teaspoons of sugar a day. It’s hard to avoid sugar. It occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, and even milk. But that’s not the problem.
Between 1970 and 2000, the amount of added sugar in the American food supply rose by 25 percent. This adds up to about 22 teaspoons of added sugar each of us consumes daily—insidious, hidden sugars mixed into soda, yogurt, and sauces. Too much sugar in our diet has been shown to suppress the immune system. It also spikes insulin levels, which can lead to diabetes and lower fertility, make you fat, and even shorten your life.

People in the Blue Zones eat more intentional sugar than I thought but the good news is when your body tests that it can handle it I would stick to a limited amount of added sugar a day as well.  

SNACK ON NUTS

Eat two handfuls of nuts per day. A handful of nuts weighs about two ounces, the average amount that blue zones centenarians consume—almonds in Ikaria and Sardinia, pistachios in Nicoya, and all nuts with the Adventists. The Adventist Health Study 2 found that nut eaters outlive non–nut eaters by an average of two to three years.

They found the optimal mix of nuts: almonds (high in vitamin E and magnesium), peanuts (high in protein and folate, a B vitamin), Brazil nuts (high in selenium, a mineral found effective in protecting against prostate cancer), cashews (high in magnesium), and walnuts (high in alpha-linoleic acid, the only omega-3 fat found in a plant-based food). Walnuts, peanuts, and almonds are the nuts most likely to lower your cholesterol. I found this data interesting because I would personally stay away from peanuts.  

SOURDOUGH BREAD

Eat only sourdough or 100 percent whole wheat. Blue zones bread is unlike the bread most Americans buy. Most commercially available breads start with bleached white flour, which metabolizes quickly into sugar and spikes insulin levels. But “Blue Zones” bread is either whole grain or sourdough, each with its own healthful characteristics. In Ikaria and Sardinia, breads are made from a variety of whole grains such as wheat, rye, or barley.

Whole grains also have higher levels of fiber than most commonly used wheat flours. Some traditional blue zones breads are made with naturally occurring bacteria called lactobacilli, which “digest” the starches and glutens while making the bread rise. The process also creates an acid—the “sour” in sourdough. Traditional sourdough breads actually lower the glycemic load of meals, making your entire meal healthier, slower burning, easier on your pancreas, and more likely to make calories available as energy than stored as fat. I have seen in my office that patients who can't eat wheat can eat sourdough so if you want to see if you can have sourdough bring in a piece for us to test.  

EAT LOCAL

Choose foods that are recognizable. People in blue zones traditionally eat the whole food. They don’t throw the yolk away to make an egg-white omelet, or spin the fat out of their yogurt, or juice the fiber-rich pulp out of their fruits. They also don’t enrich or add extra ingredients to change the nutritional profile of their foods. Almost all of the foods consumed by centenarians in the blue zones grow within a 10- mile radius of their homes. They eat raw fruits and vegetables; they grind whole grains themselves and then cook them slowly. They use fermentation—an ancient way to make nutrients bio-available—in the tofu, sourdough bread, wine, and pickled vegetables they eat. And they rarely ingest artificial preservatives.

DRINK MOSTLY WATER

They never drink soft drinks (including diet soda). With very few exceptions, people in blue zones drink coffee, tea, water, and wine (soft drinks, which account for about half of Americans’ sugar intake, were unknown to most blue zones centenarians.) 
WATER Adventists recommend seven glasses of water daily. They point to studies that show that being hydrated facilitates blood flow and lessens the chance of a blood clot.
COFFEE Sardinians, Ikarians, and Nicoyans all drink copious amounts of coffee.Research associates coffee drinking with lower rates of dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
TEA People in all the blue zones drink tea. Okinawans nurse green tea all day. Green tea has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and several cancers. Ikarians drink brews of rosemary, wild sage, and dandelion—all herbs known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
RED WINE People who drink—in moderation—tend to outlive those who don’t. (This doesn’t mean you should start drinking if you don’t drink now.) We always test to see if alcohol is okay for your body.  


Monday, July 1, 2019

Lectin-Free Diet

To Reduce Inflammation, Try This!


Lectins are microscopic proteins that plants evolved to defend themselves from predators, including insects and animals (that includes humans!). They are essentially indigestible and have the unique ability to increase the permeability of your intestines which eventually can cause a leaky gut or more intense situations.

That means that lectins and other small particles of food can pass through the wall of your gut, and will be treated as foreign invaders by your immune system. This causes an inflammatory response, which can set the stage for a host of diseases, as well as weight gain. 

Dr. Steven Gundry popularized the lectin-free diet. He is a former heart surgeon who switched his focus to food and supplement-based medicine. Dr. Gundry describes lectins as the main danger found in the American diet. In response, he has written a book that provides information on how to avoid lectins, alternative food choices, and recipes, The Plant Paradox

According to the book when lectins are harmful, leaking through the gut and causing inflammation, the auto- immune diseases that can be created are celiac disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and depression.
Following a lectin-free diet could be a way to lower inflammation in the body. The best way to know if avoiding lectins would make a difference in your health is to get muscle tested to see how your body responds to lectins.  




According to Dr. Gundry, people should limit the following foods when trying to avoid lectins:
    •    legumes, such as beans, peas, soy, lentils, and peanuts
    •    squash
    •    nightshade vegetables, such as eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes
    •    fruit, although in-season fruit is allowed in moderation
    •    all grains
    •    corn
    •    meat from corn-fed animals
    •    A1 milk


Soaking beans overnight in water and some baking soda, then draining them and thoroughly boiling or pressure cooking them, can eradicate nearly all lectins. In fact, pressure cooking vegetables and legumes is also an excellent way to decrease lectin content in those plant foods.  But, using a pressure cooker doesn’t get rid of all lectins – it won’t even touch the lectins in wheat, oats, rye, barley, or spelt.
Likewise, sprouting grains, seeds, and beans releases enzymes that reduce lectins, and the process of fermentation can cut the lectins in dairy and vegetables.
Peel and Deseed your fruits and veggies – If you’re going to use lectin-rich plant foods, make sure to peel and deseed them. Often, the most harmful part of a plant is it’s lectin-filled hull, peel, or rind. To reiterate, the peels and the seeds are often where lectins are hiding, so you can significantly cut down on your intake by eliminating that part of the plant.
Finally, if in fact you must eat grains, opt for white over brown. So, instead of brown rice, eat white rice. Instead of whole wheat bread, find a healthier version of white bread.
Turns out, though many believe brown rice is healthier than it’s white counterpart, those who eat rice as their staple grain have always stripped the hull off of brown rice before they eat it. That’s because the hull contains all the dangerous lectins.

A lectin-free diet is not easy to follow but the science is there to back up why lectins would cause inflammation in the body and lead to certain diseases.  If you think it may help you and you can’t get muscle tested then try not eating lectins for 2 weeks and then add them back in and if you notice a difference then maybe avoiding lectins is the best thing you can do for your body. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Are You Eating Anti Freeze?

Is Propylene Glycol a Healthy Additive?


Propylene glycol is a substance commonly used as a food additive or ingredient in many cosmetic and hygiene products.The U.S. and European food authorities have declared it as generally safe for use in foods. However, it has become controversial since it is also an ingredient in antifreeze. This had led to health concerns about possible toxic effects from eating foods that contain it and putting it on your skin.  

Propylene glycol is a synthetic food additive that belongs to the same chemical group as alcohol. It is a colorless, odorless, slightly syrupy liquid that is a bit thicker than water.  In foods, propylene glycol may be used in the following ways:
    •    Anti-caking agent: It helps prevent food components from sticking to one another and forming clumps, such as in dried soups or grated cheese.
    •    Antioxidant: It extends the shelf life of foods by protecting them against deterioration caused by oxygen.
    •    Carrier: It dissolves other food additives or nutrients to be used in processing, such as colors, flavors or antioxidants.
    •    Dough strengthener: It modifies the starches and gluten in dough to make it more stable.
    •    Emulsifier: It prevents food ingredients from separating, such as oil and vinegar in salad dressing.
    •    Moisture preserver: It helps foods maintain a stable level of moisture and stops them from drying out. Examples include marshmallows, coconut flakes and nuts.
    •    Processing aid: It is used to enhance the appeal or the use of a food, for example, to make a liquid clearer.
    •    Stabilizer and thickener: It can be used to hold food components together or thicken them during and after processing.
    •    Texturizer: It can change the appearance or feel of a food.
Propylene glycol is commonly found in many packaged foods, such as drink mixes, dressings, dried soups, cake mix, soft drinks, popcorn, food coloring, fast foods, bread and dairy products 

It is also used in injectable medications, like lorazepam, and in some creams and ointments that are applied to the skin, such as corticosteroids. 

Due to its chemical properties, it is also found in a wide variety of hygiene and cosmetic products. Additionally, it is used in industrial products like paint, antifreeze, artificial smoke and e-cigarettes. 

Propylene glycol is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (reference).  In the US, it can be used as a direct and indirect food additive. In Europe, it is only allowed to be used in food as a solvent for colors, emulsifiers, antioxidants and enzymes, 

The World Health Organization recommends a maximum intake of 11.4 mg of propylene glycol per pound of body weight (25 mg/kg) per day. The estimated exposure to propylene glycol through foods in the US is 15 mg per pound (34 mg/kg) per day. (reference)


When consumed in toxic quantities, the buildup of lactic acid can lead to acidosis and specifically bothers the kidneys. Acidosis occurs when the body cannot get rid of the acid fast enough. It begins to build up in the blood, which interferes with proper functioning. At toxic levels, propylene glycol has been found to cause neurological symptoms. There have also been cases of nausea, vertigo and strange sensations.

The American Contact Dermatitis Society has stated that 0.8 and 3.5% of people are estimated to have a skin allergy to propylene glycol (reference). The most common skin reaction, or dermatitis, is the development of a rash. People who already have sensitive skin are at particular risk of allergy to this additive. For people with allergic dermatitis, it is best to avoid all sources of propylene glycol. 

While propylene glycol is generally considered safe by our government agencies, it makes sense to choose to avoid it as much as possible.  It is found in many different food products and can be identified by checking the ingredients list. The names it may be listed under include:
    •    Propylene glycol
    •    Propylene glycol mono and diester
    •    E1520 or 1520

Common foods include soft drinks, marinades and dressings, cake mix, frosting, popcorn, food coloring, fast foods, bread and dairy products.  Unfortunately, if propylene glycol is used as a carrier or solvent for another additive, such as flavor or color instead of a direct ingredient, it may not be listed on the food label.

However, the majority of foods containing it are highly processed junk foods. By consuming a fresh, healthy, whole foods diet, you can avoid most sources without too much trouble.
You can also check the labels of cosmetic products, though avoiding it may be difficult. There are several helpful websites that can help you identify which products contain it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

8 Health Benefits of Honey

I have been using Manuka honey to boost my immune system at the first sign of feeling sick.  I add bee pollen to my morning smoothie to get the anti-inflammatory benefits that I read about. With recently researching ‘sour honey’ for anticancer properties I stumbled on the work apiculture.  
Apiculture is the science and art of prolonging, sustaining, and retaining health by using products obtained from honeybee hives, such as honey, bee bread, bee venom, bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly. I feel like just the last couple of years I have seen the growth of bee products in lots of different ways and did more research on what is actually proving to be affective. Here is the info I collected on the benefits of bee products, including honey, propolis, and royal jelly.

Honey is being recognized worldwide due to its high nutritive components that are beneficial for human well-being. It has been traditionally used by Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese to heal wounds and diseases of the gut, including gastric ulcers. It has also been used as a remedy for cough, sore throat, and earaches. In India, Lotus honey has been traditionally used to treat eye infections and other diseases. 

Propolis is generally known as the “bee glue”, which is a generic name that refers to the resinous substance accumulated by the bees from different types of plants. Propolis functions in sealing holes and cracks and for the reconstruction of the beehive. It is also used for retaining the hive's internal temperature, preventing weathering and invasion by predators. Propolis has numerous applications in treating various diseases due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer, properties. Part of the reason it has such applications is it contains important vitamins, such as B1, B2, B6, C, and E and useful minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, zinc, manganese, and iron.

Royal jelly, a white and viscous jelly-like substance, is a form of hypopharyngeal and mandibular gland secretion from the worker bees. It is also known as a “superfood” that is solely consumed by the queen bee. Royal jelly is also fed to the honeybee larvae upon hatching. This superfood is the main reason for the longevity of the queen bee compared to the other bees. Royal jelly is widely used as a dietary nutritional complex to help combat various chronic health conditions and is seen to be antibacterial, antitumor, antiallergy, and anti-inflammatory. Approximately 185 organic compounds have been detected in royal jelly. Royalactin is the most important protein present in royal jelly. In addition, royal jelly has hormones such as testosterone, progesterone, prolactin, and estradiol that can be very helpful.


8 Health Benefits of Honey

1. Wound Management
Honey has traditionally been used to treat wounds, insect bites, burns, skin disorders, sores, and boils. Scientific documentation of the wound-healing capabilities of honey validates its efficacy as a promoter of wound repair and an antimicrobial agent.  

Honey has a beneficial effect on child dermatitis caused by excessive use of napkins and diapers, eczema, and psoriasis. The effect of honey mixed with beeswax and olive oil was investigated on patients with psoriasis showed significant improvements (reference)


2. Gastrointestinal (GI) Disorder
Natural honey is composed of enzymes that facilitate the absorption of food.  Honey also provides some nutrients, such as minerals, phytochemicals, and flavonoids, that aid digestive processes in the body Manuka honey has antibacterial properties as well.  Studies have also shown that natural honey contains high amount of prebiotics, hastening the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.

3. Oral Health
Honey is useful for the treatment of many oral diseases, including periodontal disease, stomatitis, and halitosis. In addition, it has also been applied for the prevention of dental plaque, gingivitis, mouth ulcers, and periodontitis. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of honey can stimulate the growth of granulation tissue, leading to the repair of damaged cells 

4. Pharyngitis and Coughs
Pharyngitis, commonly known as sore throat, is an acute infection induced by Streptococcus spp. in the nose and throat.  In addition to streptococci, viruses, nonstreptococcal bacteria, fungi, and irritants such as chemical pollutants may also cause sore throat. Manuka honey is effective for treating sore throat with its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Honey coats the inner lining of the throat and destroys the harmful microbes while simultaneously soothing the throat.  The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of honey aided in minimizing persistent cough and ameliorated sleep for both children and adults following honey intake (2.5 ml). A comparative study on children with different natural products reported that honey was found to be the widely used remedy for pneumonia 82.4% [reference].
5. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a mucosal infection caused by contents of abnormal gastric reflux into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, inflammation, and acid regurgitation. Consumption of honey helps this condition by coating the esophagus and stomach lining, thus preventing the upward flow of food and gastric juice. Honey can further stimulate the tissues on the sphincter to assist in their regrowth and finally reduce the chances of acid reflux.

6. Bowel Movements
Honey has been known to minimize the duration of viral diarrhea compared to conventional antiviral therapy. Manuka honey on an empty stomach helps with inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) experiencing severe diarrhea or constipation, bloating, and stomach discomfort.

7. Liver and Pancreatic Diseases
Honey helps to soothe pain, balance liver systems, and neutralize toxins. Complications in the liver system can be attributed to oxidative damage. Honey exhibits antioxidant activities that have a potential protective effect on the damaged liver. Honey, which has a 1 : 1 ratio of fructose to glucose, may help to promote better blood sugar level, which is useful for those suffering from fatty liver disease since it provides adequate glycogen storage in liver cells. Insufficient glycogen storage in the liver releases stress hormones that impair glucose metabolism over time. Impaired glucose metabolism leads to insulin resistance and is the main factor of fatty liver disease. 

8. Breast Cancer

Imbalance in estrogen plays a role in breast cancer growth. Phytoestrogens are chemicals found in nature that when ingested act like estrogen in the body.  Honey has phytoestrogens in it. Very specifically Tualang honey shows highly specific and selective killing effects towards breast cancer cell lines and has a good potential as a chemotherapeutic agent [reference].