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04/Jun/2024

Fish oil has long been heralded as a miracle supplement in the world of health and nutrition. From promoting heart health to enhancing brain function, the benefits touted are numerous. But recently, questions have arisen about the true efficacy and safety of fish oil supplements. Should you be worried about fish oil? Let’s delve into the research to uncover the truth.

Comment on the recent BMJ investigation

A recent study published in BMJ Medicine investigated the effects of Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, commonly found in fish oil, on cardiovascular health. Conducting a prospective cohort study with 415,737 participants aged 40-69 from the UK Biobank, researchers found mixed results depending on the cardiovascular status of the individuals.

For those without known cardiovascular disease, regular use of fish oil supplements was linked to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke. However, in individuals diagnosed with cardiovascular conditions, fish oil supplements showed beneficial effects, such as reducing the progression from atrial fibrillation to major adverse cardiovascular events and myocardial infarction, as well as from heart failure to death.

The study concluded that while fish oil supplements may help people with existing cardiovascular issues transition more safely through various stages of the disease, their use for primary prevention in healthy individuals could be harmful.

Problems with the study

The recent study on Omega-3 fatty acids published in BMJ Medicine, while extensive and insightful, has several limitations and potential faults that should be considered:

  1. Observational Nature: The study is observational, which means it cannot establish causation, only association. There may be unmeasured confounding variables that affect the results.
  2. Self-Reported Data: The reliance on self-reported usage of fish oil supplements can introduce recall bias and inaccuracies. Participants may underreport or overreport their supplement intake.
  3. Single Population Sample: The study’s participants were from the UK Biobank, which may not be representative of the global population. Results might differ in diverse populations with different dietary habits and genetic backgrounds.
  4. Undefined Dosage and Duration: The specific dosage and duration of fish oil supplement use were not clearly defined, which could impact the outcomes. Different dosages may have varying effects on heart health.
  5. Baseline Health Status: The baseline cardiovascular health of participants was not uniformly assessed before starting the study. Individuals with undiagnosed or subclinical cardiovascular conditions may have influenced the results.
  6. Lack of Control for Other Dietary Factors: The study did not comprehensively control for other dietary factors and overall lifestyle habits that could affect cardiovascular health. Omega-3 intake from food sources wasn’t distinguished from supplement use.
  7. Potential Confounders: Despite adjustments for various confounders, residual confounding by factors such as medication use, other dietary supplements, and genetic predispositions cannot be ruled out.

These limitations suggest that while the study provides valuable insights, its findings should be interpreted with caution. Further randomized controlled trials are necessary to establish a clearer causal relationship and better understand the specific circumstances under which Omega-3 fatty acids might be beneficial or detrimental to heart health.

Understanding Fish Oil

Fish oil is derived from the tissues of oily fish and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, primarily EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These omega-3s are essential fats that our bodies cannot produce on their own, which means we must obtain them through our diet or supplements.

Promoted Benefits of Fish Oil

  1. Heart Health: One of the most significant claims is that fish oil can reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega-3s are believed to lower triglyceride levels, reduce inflammation, and decrease blood pressure.

  1. Brain Function: DHA is a major structural component of the brain. Consuming adequate levels of DHA has been linked to improved cognitive function and a lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

  1. Joint Health: Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions.

  1. Eye Health: DHA is also a critical component of the retina. Adequate intake of omega-3s has been associated with a reduced risk of macular degeneration.

The Rising Concerns

Despite these widely accepted benefits, some recent studies, such as the one previously discussed, and expert opinions have brought concerns to light, questioning the efficacy and safety of fish oil supplementation.

Efficacy Questions

  1. Inconsistent Study Results: While many studies highlight the benefits of fish oil, others show little to no effect. For instance, a comprehensive review by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2018 found that omega-3 supplements had little to no significant impact on preventing heart disease.
  2. Bioavailability: Not all fish oil supplements are created equal. The form of omega-3s in the supplement (triglycerides vs. ethyl esters) can affect how well they are absorbed and utilized by the body.

Safety Concerns

  1. Oxidation: Fish oil is prone to oxidation, which can lead to the formation of harmful compounds. Oxidized fish oil can be detrimental rather than beneficial, potentially causing oxidative stress and inflammation.
  2. Contaminants: Depending on the source, fish oil supplements can contain environmental pollutants like heavy metals (e.g., mercury) and PCBs. Ensuring high-quality, purified fish oil is crucial to avoid these contaminants.
  3. Dosage and Interactions: High doses of fish oil can lead to adverse effects such as bleeding disorders, gastrointestinal issues, and potential interactions with medications.

What Does the Research Say?

To navigate these concerns, let’s look at some key studies and expert opinions:

Cardiovascular Health

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2019 analyzed data from multiple clinical trials and found that while high-dose omega-3 supplements did reduce the risk of heart attacks, the overall benefit to cardiovascular mortality was minimal.

Brain Health

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2018 suggested that while omega-3 supplements can support cognitive function in older adults, their impact is more pronounced in those who have dietary deficiencies of these fatty acids.

Joint Health

A study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases highlighted that fish oil supplements could reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, though the benefits were modest and varied among individuals.

Should You Take Fish Oil?

Given the mixed findings, here are some guidelines to consider:

Diet First

Prioritize obtaining omega-3s from whole food sources. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are excellent choices. They not only provide EPA and DHA but also come with other beneficial nutrients.

Quality Matters

If you choose to take a fish oil supplement, opt for high-quality brands that ensure purity and minimal oxidation. Look for third-party testing and certification to ensure the product is free from contaminants.

Consult Healthcare Providers

Before starting any new supplement regimen, especially at higher doses, consult with your healthcare provider. They can help determine the right dosage for your needs and monitor for potential interactions with other medications.

Balance and Moderation

Remember that more is not always better. Stick to recommended dosages and consider balancing fish oil intake with other sources of omega-3s, such as flaxseeds and walnuts, which provide ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).

Conclusion

Fish oil remains a complex topic within the realm of nutrition and wellness. While there are undeniable benefits, it’s essential to approach supplementation with informed caution. By prioritizing quality, consulting healthcare professionals, and maintaining a balanced diet, you can make the most of what fish oil has to offer without falling prey to its potential pitfalls.

Ultimately, staying updated on the latest research and making well-informed decisions will help you navigate the world of supplements effectively. Should you be worried about fish oil? With the right knowledge, the answer leans towards no – but staying vigilant and informed is key to ensuring your health journey is both safe and beneficial.


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19/Dec/2023

Hello, fellow health enthusiasts! Today, let’s hit a high note and delve into something that combines our love for rhythm and wellness – Music Therapy.

Now, you might be thinking, “Music Therapy? Is that just listening to Mozart while sipping chamomile tea?” Well, not quite! The American Music Therapy Association defines it as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional.” In simpler words, it’s using music strategically to improve your health and well-being.

Before you start frantically searching for your old recorder or tambourine, let’s tune into some of the incredible ways music therapy can strike a chord with your mental health.

1. Stress Relief: Researchers at Stanford University found that rhythmic music has a profound effect on brain function, acting like a natural stress-buster. So, the next time you’re pulling your hair out over your boss’s impossible deadline, maybe try drumming on your desk. Just tell your annoyed colleagues it’s for science!

2. Improved Mood: A study from the Journal of Positive Psychology suggests that people who actively engage with music through dancing or attending concerts report higher levels of subjective well-being. If you’ve ever belted out your favorite song in the shower or busted a move at a concert, you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about!

3. Better Sleep: Struggling with insomnia? A review of 10 different studies found that listening to relaxing classical music before bed significantly improves sleep quality. So, Beethoven might just be the sleep guru you’ve been looking for.

4. Enhanced Focus: A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience discovered that background music helps people focus on tasks, especially those that require constant attention. So, if you’re finding it hard to concentrate on this blog (I’ll try not to take it personally), maybe put on some Bach.

Working with a music therapist

Music therapy treatment sessions can be an enlightening and transformative experience. Under the guidance of a certified music therapist, these sessions generally begin with an initial assessment to understand the client’s needs and establish therapeutic goals. Following this, the therapist uses various music-based activities, which may include listening to music, creating music using instruments, singing, or moving to music.

The cost of music therapy can vary greatly depending on the therapist, location, and duration of the session, but generally, it ranges from $70 to $120 per session. Some health insurance providers may cover part or all of the cost, so it’s worth checking with your provider.

The course of music therapy is highly individualized and depends on the client’s specific needs. However, most people typically begin to see the benefits after 6 to 12 weekly sessions. It’s important to remember that the journey of healing and growth is different for everyone, and some may require more sessions to experience significant improvements.

Music therapy is a versatile therapeutic tool that can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, and even physical ailments like chronic pain. By providing an outlet for self-expression and a means to explore and regulate emotions, music therapy can enhance relaxation, promote emotional well-being, and facilitate personal growth.

Overall, music therapy is not just about the music—it’s about using music as a channel to open doors, heal wounds, and create connections. It’s a symphony where each note, each pause, and each crescendo is a step toward wellness.

Looking for a music therapist? Here is a link to the Ontario Association of Music Therapists

Incorporating music into daily living

Now, you might be thinking, “This all sounds great, but how do I incorporate this into my daily routine?” Well, here’s the beauty of music therapy – it can fit into every nook and cranny of your day. Listen to uplifting tunes while brushing your teeth, hum a calming melody during your commute, or even conduct a mini symphony while waiting for your coffee to brew!

The science is clear: music therapy hits all the right notes when it comes to boosting mental health. It’s like having your own personal health DJ, spinning tracks to help you handle stress, improve your mood, get better sleep, and enhance focus. So, why not give it a try? After all, in the wise words of Friedrich Nietzsche, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Alright, health-conscious maestros, it’s time to wrap up this symphony. Stay tuned for more exciting health revelations, and remember, always keep your mind sharp and your playlists sharper!

Click Here for more articles by Dr. Shawn Meirovici N.D.

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11/Dec/2023

When it comes to taking care of our health, there are many factors to consider, including diet, exercise, and stress management. One often overlooked aspect is heart rate variability, which is a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat. While it may sound complicated, understanding heart rate variability is essential for improving your overall health and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore what heart rate variability is, how it affects our bodies, and what you can do to improve it.

What is Heart Rate Variability?

Heart rate variability refers to the changes in time duration between successive heartbeats. It is an important indicator of the functioning of the autonomic nervous system that controls many of our body’s automatic functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. To measure heart rate variability, it is necessary to use specialized technology, such as electrocardiogram (ECG) or photoplethysmography (PPG) devices.

There are several popular wearable devices in the market that can measure heart rate variability (HRV). The Whoop Strap and Apple Watch are among the most recognized ones, with the former being lauded for their high accuracy in measuring heart rate and HRV. Garmin devices, particularly the Fenix 7 & Epix models, also offer this feature, as does the Oura Ring. Fitbit’s Charge model is another notable mention. Polar H10 is known as the most accurate heart rate sensor in Polar’s history, and other devices like Suunto Smart Belt, Garmin HRM-Pro, 4iiii VIIIIVA, Zephyr HxM Smart HR Monitor, and COOSPO H6 also offer HRV monitoring capabilities. These devices not only provide critical health metrics but also help manage health trends.

How Does Heart Rate Variability Affect Our Bodies?

Research has shown that heart rate variability is closely related to our health and well-being. A high heart rate variability indicates a healthy balance between the sympathetic nervous system (which activates the “fight or flight” response) and the parasympathetic nervous system (which activates the “rest and digest” response). On the other hand, a low heart rate variability is associated with stress, anxiety, and other health problems. Furthermore, low heart rate variability can also be a risk factor for several serious medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression.

How to Improve Heart Rate Variability?

Improving your heart rate variability requires a combination of lifestyle changes and medical interventions. Here are some strategies you can try:

  1. Mind-body exercises: Activities such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and tai chi can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which in turn can improve heart rate variability.
  2. Exercise regularly: Exercise has numerous benefits for our health, including improving heart rate variability. Aim to engage in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
  3. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Make sure to prioritize getting enough quality sleep to ensure better heart rate variability. For more Naturopathic solutions for better sleep click HERE
  4. A healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods and low in processed sugar and saturated fats can help promote healthy heart rate variability. For more articles on healthy lifestyle interventions click HERE
  5. Medical intervention: In some cases, medical interventions may be required to improve heart rate variability. These might include medications, such as beta-blockers, or treating any underlying conditions that might be contributing to low heart rate variability.

Conclusion:

Heart rate variability is a crucial aspect of our overall health and well-being, which can be improved through lifestyle changes and medical interventions. By taking steps to reduce stress, stay active, get enough sleep, and eat a healthy and balanced diet, you can help promote a healthy heart rate variability. Additionally, if you suspect that you have an underlying medical condition, consult with your doctor to develop a personalized treatment plan. Remember, making small but consistent changes to your lifestyle can go a long way in improving your heart rate variability and overall health.

Lear more about HRV HERE

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21/Nov/2023

As we age, our bodies undergo several changes that are influenced by various factors like diet, exercise, stress, and other underlying conditions. One such condition that requires continuous monitoring is blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension is a common problem among adults across the globe, and it can lead to several health complications that can be fatal if left untreated. That’s why it’s important to keep a close eye on your blood pressure readings. But how often should you check your blood pressure? Let’s find out.

Age Matters

Your age plays a crucial role in determining how often you should check your blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, adults above 40 with a history of high blood pressure or other underlying health conditions like diabetes should check their blood pressure readings at least once every year. However, if you’re above 65, you should check your blood pressure every six months to a year. Monitoring blood pressure levels regularly can help you identify and manage any changes that could lead to severe health complications.

For more articles on healthy lifestyle Click Here

Your Health Condition

Apart from age, your overall health also determines how often you should check your blood pressure. If you have a history of high blood pressure or any underlying health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure readings more frequently. You should discuss with your doctor about a monitoring schedule that’s tailored to your health needs and risks. Personally I like to recommend that patients check their blood pressure in the morning, afternoon and evening everyday for 1 week. They then take the average for all three times of day. This gives a very accurate sense of where your blood pressure is at.

Lifestyle Habits

Your lifestyle habits also play a crucial role in regulating your blood pressure. If you’re someone who’s prone to stress, consumes a high salt diet, or indulges in alcohol frequently, you may need to monitor your blood pressure readings more often. Similarly, if you have a sedentary lifestyle with little or no physical activity, you should check your blood pressure more frequently as well. In such cases, your doctor may advise you to monitor your blood pressure levels every 3-6 months.

Medications

If you’re taking blood pressure medication to manage hypertension, your doctor may advise you to check your blood pressure levels more frequently. Generally, doctors recommend monitoring blood pressure 30 minutes before taking your medication to determine its effectiveness. Afterward, you may need to take your blood pressure levels every few days or weeks, depending on your health condition.

Personal Preference

Lastly, your personal preference also plays a crucial role in determining how often you should check your blood pressure. If you’re someone who’s prone to anxiety or panic attacks, monitoring your blood pressure too frequently may cause more harm than good. In such cases, it’s important to discuss your monitoring schedule with your doctor and settle on a schedule that works best for you.

Conclusion:

Monitoring your blood pressure levels is an essential step in keeping hypertension and other health complications at bay. However, the frequency of monitoring your blood pressure levels depends on various factors like age, health condition, lifestyle habits, and personal preference. Speak to your doctor to come up with a monitoring schedule that’s tailored to your health needs and risks. Remember, high blood pressure is a silent killer, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

For more on Blood Pressure Monitoring Click Here

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17/Oct/2023

Blood tests are a vital tool that doctors use to detect and diagnose a wide range of conditions. From evaluating organ function to monitoring cholesterol levels, these tests give doctors valuable information about a patient’s health. However, the question remains, how often should you have your blood checked? In this post, we will explore the benefits of regular blood testing for prevention versus disease-tracking.

Prevention versus Disease Management

Prevention is the key to good health. Some blood tests can detect early warning signs of diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, allowing for immediate treatment. For instance, a fasting blood sugar test can detect early stages of diabetes, allowing for lifestyle modification, and dietary change. Likewise, a lipid panel test can detect high cholesterol levels, and routine screenings could help reduce risks related to cardiovascular disease.

CEA

Preventative blood tests are especially important for individuals with a family history of certain conditions. For example, if your family has a history of colon cancer carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) can be a useful screening tool for colorectal cancer. CEA is a protein that is often found in higher quantities in those with this type of cancer. Regular CEA testing can help detect the disease at an early stage, making treatment more effective and increasing the chances of survival.

PSA

Similarly, some experts recommend regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests starting at age 40, especially for men who have a family history of prostate cancer. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening in men as early as 40 years of age could potentially help identify those at risk of developing prostate cancer. Men aged 40-49 years with a baseline PSA level above 1.0 ng/mL have been found to have a significant risk of prostate cancer diagnosis, suggesting the need for more regular monitoring.

Hormones

Hormone screening, particularly of sex hormones such as testosterone in men, and estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in women, is a critical aspect of healthcare that can provide valuable insights into an individual’s overall health. Starting these screenings as early as in your 20s can help detect hormonal imbalances that could potentially lead to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women or low testosterone levels in men. Early detection can enable timely intervention, possibly preventing future health issues such as infertility, osteoporosis, heart disease, or certain types of cancer. Regular hormone screenings can help maintain hormonal balance, which is vital for physical wellbeing, mental health, and sexual health. Consequently, it can dramatically improve the quality of life by ensuring optimal hormonal health throughout one’s lifetime.

Routine Blood Work

Routine blood tests are a vital tool in maintaining optimum health, as they can detect deficiencies or imbalances that could potentially lead to health problems. Key markers such as Vitamin D and B12 levels are essential for bone health and nerve function respectively. Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is crucial for regulating your body’s metabolism while C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is an indicator of inflammation in the body. Liver enzymes, ferritin, and creatinine levels help monitor liver function, iron storage, and kidney function respectively.

Abnormalities in these markers can result in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, digestive issues, mood changes, and more. Lifestyle factors including diet, physical activity, stress, and substance use can significantly affect these markers. Yearly blood tests can help identify these abnormalities early, allowing for timely intervention.

On the other hand, some diseases require more frequent monitoring and blood testing. For example, individuals with diabetes may need regular blood tests to monitor their glucose levels. Cancer patients, too, may require regular blood tests to monitor disease progression, or to check if cancer has returned even after treatment.

Conclusion:

Keeping track of your health status through blood tests is important for catching early warning signs of disease, but it also involves analyzing disease progress, response to treatment, and overall health. Ultimately, the frequency of blood tests depends on a patient’s risk profile, family history, age, and overall health status. I generally recommend yearly healthy living assessment panels for prevention and more specific testing on a more frequent basis for disease management. It is important to discuss with your doctor to determine a testing plan specific to your needs. In that way, you can ensure optimal health and well-being for a long time.

We use the two top labs in Canada: LifeLabs and Dynacare 
For a list of some tests that we offer as well as pricing CLICK HERE (Many tests are covered by a health insurance plan)

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26/Sep/2023

Cooking with oil is one of the most common techniques used in the kitchen. Whether you’re baking, frying, sautéing, or roasting, using the right oil can make a significant difference in the flavour and health of your food. However, it’s crucial to know how much heat a particular oil can handle and how to choose the best oils for your health. In this blog post, let’s dive into the world of cooking with oil and discover the best techniques and tips for healthy and delicious meals.

Not all Oils are Created Equal

Not all oils are created equal when it comes to cooking. Different oils have different smoke points, which affect their stability and overall health benefits. The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil starts to smoke and break down, producing harmful compounds that can be harmful to your health. Therefore, it’s essential to use oils with a high smoke point for high-heat cooking methods such as roasting, frying, and grilling. Examples of oils with high smoke points include avocado oil, peanut oil, canola oil, and vegetable oil.

Common cooking oils and their smoke points:

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): With a smoke point of 325-375°F, EVOO is best suited for low-heat cooking like sautéing, baking, and roasting. It’s packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and lends a robust, fruity flavor to dishes.
  2. Canola Oil: Canola oil’s smoke point is around 400°F, making it versatile for medium-heat cooking methods. It’s a good source of monounsaturated fats and has a neutral taste that won’t overpower your dish.
  3. Coconut Oil: This tropical oil has a smoke point of 350°F. It’s ideal for baking and adds a sweet, subtle coconut flavor. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, but it’s also rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that can boost energy levels.
  4. Avocado Oil: With an impressive smoke point of up to 520°F, avocado oil is excellent for high-heat cooking techniques like frying and searing. It’s rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, plus it adds a creamy, buttery flavor to dishes.
  5. Peanut Oil: With a smoke point of 450°F, peanut oil is a great choice for frying, sautéing, and grilling. It’s high in monounsaturated fats and adds a nutty flavor to dishes.
  6. Sesame Oil: This oil has a smoke point of 410°F, making it good for medium to high-heat cooking. It’s rich in antioxidants and adds a powerful, nutty flavor, especially when used in Asian cuisine.
  7. Grapeseed Oil: With a smoke point of 420°F, grapeseed oil is suitable for medium-high heat cooking. It’s high in polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E, and offers a mild flavor that won’t compete with your dish.
  8. Butter: Real butter has a low smoke point of 300°F, so it’s best for baking or low-heat cooking. It’s high in saturated fat, but also contains beneficial nutrients like vitamin A.
  9. Lard/Tallow: These animal fats have a smoke point around 375°F (lard) and 400°F (tallow), making them suitable for medium-heat cooking. They are high in saturated fats, but also contain monounsaturated fats.

However, not all high-smoke point oils are healthy. Vegetable oil and canola oil are often highly refined and processed, leading to the depletion of nutrients and a high amount of omega-6 fatty acids, which can induce inflammation. Remember to also include unrefined oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed oil, hemp oil, walnut oil, or extra virgin olive oil. These oils have lower smoke points and are best used in low-heat cooking methods like sautéing, dressing, or drizzling.

Another essential factor when choosing oils for your health is their composition. Saturated fats like coconut oil and butter have traditionally been considered unhealthy, but recent research suggests that they might have health benefits too. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are easier to digest and absorb.

Medium Chain Triglycerides

Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are a type of fatty acid that can work wonders for your health. They’re easily digested and absorbed, providing a quick burst of energy that can fuel your brain and body. MCTs have been linked to numerous health benefits, from enhancing brain function and boosting heart health, to aiding in weight management and even improving exercise performance.

Olive Oil

Additionally, olive oil holds many benefits, including protecting against heart disease, cognitive decline, and even cancer. It’s crucial to balance your intake of saturated fats with unsaturated fats like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetable oils to promote optimal health.

Extra virgin olive oil is a powerhouse of health benefits, making it an essential addition to your daily diet. Rich in monounsaturated fats, it promotes heart health by reducing levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL). The high content of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties found in extra virgin olive oil contribute to strengthening bones and muscles, helping to prevent osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, it aids in weight management due to its ability to provide satiety and control cravings. What sets extra virgin olive oil apart is its rich flavor profile and high phenolic content, which has been associated with fighting cancer cells and improving brain function. So why not make the switch? Incorporate extra virgin olive oil into your meals for a delicious and nutritious boost to your health.

When it comes to cooking, the right technique significantly affects the final result. Instead of pouring too much oil in the pan or deep-fryer, use a smaller amount and distribute it evenly. Experiment with alternative cooking methods like broiling, baking, or steaming to create delicious and healthy meals without the need for high amounts of oil. You can also swap oils for other types of fats like avocado or tahini to add an explosion of flavour without high-heat cooking.

Conclusion:

Now that you know how much heat and which oils to choose for your health when cooking, go ahead and experiment with different oils and cooking techniques. Opt for high-smoke point oils for high-heat cooking methods, and unrefined oils with lower smoke points for low-heat cooking and dressings. Make sure to balance your intake of saturated and unsaturated fats to promote optimal health. Remember that cooking with oil is all about balance, moderation, and flavour!

More blogs:

Cholesterol Isn’t bad

Check out the top 4 healthy oils for high heat cooking

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29/Aug/2023

In this modern and fast-paced world, we often forget to stop and appreciate nature. We are always in a rush to complete our to-do lists, and we hardly have time to relax and enjoy the beauty around us. But what if we told you that taking a simple walk in the woods could make a significant impact on your mental and physical health? Yes, you read that right. It’s called “forest bathing,” and it’s a Japanese practice that involves immersing oneself in nature and engaging with all the senses. So, let’s dive into the world of forest bathing and learn why science says it’s good for you.

Shinrin-yoku

The idea of forest bathing (“Shinrin-yoku” in Japanese) began in the 1980s and focuses on mindfulness-awareness exercises that use trees and other natural elements to help people relax and recharge. According to research, trees and plants produce an organic compound called phytoncides that help protect them from insects, diseases, and other harmful organisms. When we breathe in these compounds, they enter our bodies, which could enhance our immune system, reduce stress, and improve our overall well-being.

Health Benefits

Apart from scientific benefits, forest bathing has many other advantages. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can lower blood pressure, reduce depression, improve sleep quality and cognitive function, and boost immune response. Moreover, sensory activities like meditating and practicing yoga in the woods, smelling the aroma of trees, listening to the sound of birds, and seeing the sunset through the branches, increase feelings of happiness, calmness, and contentment.

Doing it right

Forest bathing doesn’t have to be an expensive getaway or require any special equipment. It’s as simple as going for a walk in the park or a local trail. However, to fully experience the benefits of forest bathing, it’s best to unplug and be present in the moment. Leave your phone or camera behind, wear comfortable clothing, and let yourself wander aimlessly. Be curious and notice the shapes, textures, colors, and sounds around you. Touch the bark of a tree, smell the wildflowers, and listen to your inner voice.

If you’re thinking of trying forest bathing, it’s essential to follow some guidelines. Firstly, choose a safe and accessible place, preferably without many visitors. Ensure you have enough water and snacks if needed. Wear sunscreen and insect repellent, especially in the summer season. And lastly, be respectful of nature and avoid littering.

Don’t know where to start? Worried about getting lost? AllTrails is a great tool that will allow you to explore hiking trails all around the world with maps, guides, and tracking.

In conclusion, forest bathing is a natural way to improve your overall wellness. It offers various health benefits while allowing you to reconnect with nature and find inner peace. It’s a simple yet effective practice that can modify our daily routine. So, next time you have a stressful day or has been glued on your screen for hours, take a break, and go forest bathing. Challenge yourself to embrace the beauty of nature and see how it positively impacts your life physically and mentally.

Looking for something to read while out in the wilderness? Check my other blog articles especially the one on Training for a Clear Mind.

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22/Aug/2023

For many people, non-alcoholic beer represents the best of both worlds. They can enjoy the classic taste of beer without the lingering effects of alcohol on their body. However, is non-alcoholic beer actually healthy? Or is it simply a waste of money? In this article, we will explore the potential health benefits of non-alcoholic beer and break down whether or not it is a smart choice for your health.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Indeed, research has shown that non-alcoholic beer can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry indicated that non-alcoholic beer decreased systolic blood pressure, suggesting that it can be a part of a healthy diet for those with cardiovascular risk (1).

The presence of polyphenols in non-alcoholic beer plays a significant role in these health benefits. Polyphenols are plant-based compounds known for their antioxidant properties. They help to combat oxidative stress in the body which is a key factor in the development of chronic diseases like hypertension.

Additionally, the absence of alcohol in non-alcoholic beer removes the diuretic effect commonly associated with alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can cause the body to lose more fluid through urine production, leading to dehydration which can increase the workload on the heart and raise blood pressure. By opting for non-alcoholic beer, this risk is significantly reduced.

It’s important to note that while non-alcoholic beer can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, it should not replace a balanced diet and regular exercise. These factors remain the cornerstone of maintaining optimal blood pressure levels and overall health.

Testosterone

Can Help with Exercise Recovery

Non-alcoholic beer can indeed serve as an effective post-workout recovery drink. After a strenuous workout, your body’s stores of glycogen, the stored form of glucose, are depleted. Consuming carbohydrates after exercise helps replenish these glycogen stores, promoting faster recovery and preparing the muscles for the next workout.

Non-alcoholic beer is a carbohydrate-rich beverage, which makes it a suitable choice for post-workout recovery. The carbohydrates in non-alcoholic beer are quickly absorbed by the body, providing immediate fuel to repair and rebuild muscles. This rapid absorption can help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, enabling you to recover more efficiently from your workouts.

Moreover, non-alcoholic beer is high in electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These electrolytes are crucial for maintaining fluid balance in the body and are often lost through sweat during intense workouts. Replacing these lost electrolytes is essential to prevent dehydration and facilitate muscle function and recovery.

In addition to its hydrating properties, non-alcoholic beer also contains beneficial nutrients such as B vitamins, which play a role in energy production and muscle recovery. For instance, vitamin B12 aids in red blood cell formation, which is crucial for delivering oxygen to the muscles.

While non-alcoholic beer can contribute to post-workout recovery, it’s worth noting that it should not replace a balanced, nutrient-dense meal. Consuming a mixture of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats after a workout is vital for optimal recovery and muscle growth. Also, keep in mind that everyone’s nutritional needs can vary, so it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your intake accordingly.

May Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Non-alcoholic beer, containing key components like hops and barley, could potentially aid in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is primarily due to their capacity to increase insulin sensitivity, which is a crucial aspect of regulating blood sugar levels.

Hops, a primary ingredient in beer, are known to contain a variety of bioactive compounds, such as iso-alpha-acids, which are derived from the hops’ bitter acids during the brewing process. Some studies suggest that these compounds have a positive effect on glucose metabolism, improving insulin sensitivity and thus helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin sensitivity refers to how responsive your cells are to insulin. Higher insulin sensitivity allows the cells of the body to use blood glucose more effectively, reducing blood sugar.

Barley, another primary ingredient in beer, is a rich source of dietary fiber, particularly beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to slow glucose absorption into the bloodstream. This slower absorption rate prevents spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, thereby increasing overall insulin sensitivity.

Furthermore, barley contains a type of resistant starch that is not digested in the small intestine but instead ferments in the large intestine. This fermentation process produces short-chain fatty acids, which are thought to increase insulin sensitivity and may help lower blood sugar levels.

Can Be High in Calories

While non-alcoholic beer may have many potential health benefits, it is important to note that it can be high in calories. A typical non-alcoholic beer has anywhere from 50 to 150 calories per serving, which can add up over time. For those who are watching their weight, opting for a lower calorie beverage like seltzer water or tea may be a better option.

May Trigger Cravings

If you are someone who has struggled with an alcohol or addiction in the past, non-alcoholic beer may not be the best choice for you. Some people may find that drinking non-alcoholic beer can trigger cravings for alcohol, leading them to fall off the wagon. As a result, it is important to talk to your doctor or addiction counselor before incorporating non-alcoholic beer into your diet.

The question of whether non-alcoholic beer is healthy can be viewed from a positive perspective. Indeed, it offers several health benefits such as aiding in lowering blood pressure, bolstering exercise recovery, and potentially reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. While it’s true that it can be higher in calories than some other beverages and could trigger cravings for those in recovery from addiction, moderation and balance are key. For many people, an occasional non-alcoholic beer can be a delightful addition to their diet without adverse effects. It’s all about understanding its nutritional content and how it fits into your overall health objectives and lifestyle. In essence, the decision to enjoy non-alcoholic beer can be a beneficial one when made with mindfulness and consideration of your personal health journey.

  1. Chiva-Blanch, G., Urpi-Sarda, M., Ros, E., Valderas-Martinez, P., Casas, R., Arranz, S., … & Andres-Lacueva, C. (2014). Effects of alcohol and polyphenols from beer on atherosclerotic biomarkers in high cardiovascular risk men: a randomized feeding trial. Nutrition, metabolism and cardiovascular diseases, 24(1), 33-45. Link

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08/Aug/2023

If you enjoy checking out the latest health craze on social media then you may have heard about the numerous benefits of borax. Borax, which is also known as sodium borate, is a white mineral compound that has been used for a variety of purposes for many years.

The “Borax Train”

The “borax train” is a recent trend that has emerged on TikTok, where users are claiming that consuming borax can help treat various health issues such as joint pain and swelling in the eyes and mouth. However, this trend is highly alarming and dangerous as borax is a cleaning product with no proven health benefits.

In fact, borax can be toxic and even lethal when ingested in high amounts. It can cause gastrointestinal issues, nausea, and other severe health problems. Despite these risks, some TikTok influencers are encouraging their followers to get on the ‘Borax Train’.

This blog will provide you with 5 reasons why you should not consume borax, as well as 5 perfectly safe uses for borax that you can start using today.

1. Borax is toxic:

Borax is a toxic substance that can cause serious health problems when ingested. Some of the symptoms of borax poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headaches. It can also cause reproductive issues, damage to the brain and kidney, and even death in extreme cases. The dangers of borax only increase when it is consumed in large quantities or over a long period of time.

2. Borax is not a food:

Despite some claims that borax is a natural and safe food additive, it is not intended for human consumption. While it may have some uses in cosmetic and household products, it is not recognized as a food or supplement by any health organizations.

3. Borax can be harmful to children:

Children are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of borax because of their smaller size and developing bodies. Allowing children to come into contact with borax can put them at risk for serious medical problems.

4. Borax can be dangerous when handling:

Borax is also a skin and eye irritant that can cause redness, swelling, and even chemical burns when it comes into contact with the skin or eyes. It is important to always handle it with care and avoid inhaling it or getting it in your eyes or mouth.

5. Health risks during pregnancy:

Borax can be harmful to reproductive health, especially during pregnancy. It can harm the fetus and lead to developmental problems. Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid the use of borax.

Safe Uses for Borax

Despite the potential dangers of borax, there are still many great uses for this compound. Here are five safe and effective ways to use borax in your home and personal care routine:

1. All-purpose cleaner:

Borax can be used as a natural cleaning agent to clean counters, floors, and surfaces in your home. Simply mix borax with warm water, vinegar, and lemon juice to create an all-purpose cleaning solution that is both safe and effective.

2. Laundry booster:

Adding a tablespoon of borax to your laundry cycle can help eliminate tough stains and odors, leaving your clothes fresh and clean.

3. Silver cleaner:

Borax can be used as a silver cleaner by mixing it with water and vinegar to create a paste. It can remove tarnish and give back the shine to your silverware.

4. Pest control:

Borax can be used to kill ants, cockroaches, and other household pests. Simply sprinkle it in areas where pests are known to congregate.

5. Carpet cleaner:

Sprinkle borax on your carpet before vacuuming to help eliminate odors and freshen up your carpet. Borax may have some great uses when handled properly, but it is important to remember that it is not a safe substance to consume. Always be careful when handling borax and be sure to keep it out of the reach of children. If you are looking for safe and natural alternatives to borax, there are plenty of options available that can help you achieve the same great results without putting your health at risk.


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01/Aug/2023

As we age, our bodies start to show signs of wear and tear. Our muscles weaken, our bones become brittle, and our metabolism slows down. However, there’s no need to accept these changes as inevitable. With the right strategies, you can become a bionic boomer – someone who defies the aging process and stays active, healthy and energetic well into your later years. In this article, we’ll explore the naturopathic exercise, diet and supplement strategies that can help you achieve this goal.

Exercise:

Exercise is crucial to maintaining a healthy body and mind, and it’s never too late to start. In fact, studies have shown that regular exercise can help to prevent and manage a wide range of age-related conditions, from heart disease and diabetes to arthritis and depression.

When it comes to naturopathic exercise, a combination of low-impact cardiovascular workouts, strength training and flexibility exercises is ideal. Some good examples include brisk walking, swimming, yoga and resistance band workouts. These forms of exercise are gentle on the joints, promote muscle strength and flexibility and improve circulation and cardiovascular health. Here’s an example of an approachable exercise routine to kickstart your bionic boomer body:

Workout Plan for the bionic boomer

  1. Warm-Up:
      • March in Place: 5 minutes
      • Gentle Arm Circles: 10 circles forward and backward
  2. Strength Training (2 times per week):
      • Seated Leg Extensions: 2 sets of 10 reps each leg
      • Chair Squats: 2 sets of 10 reps
      • Wall Push-Ups: 2 sets of 10 reps
      • Bicep Curls (using light weights): 2 sets of 10 reps
      • Overhead Press (using light weights): 2 sets of 10 reps
  3. Flexibility Exercises (3-4 times per week):
      • Seated Hamstring Stretch: Hold for 20-30 seconds each leg
      • Standing Quadriceps Stretch: Hold for 20-30 seconds each leg
      • Overhead Tricep Stretch: Hold for 20-30 seconds each arm
      • Chest Stretch: Hold for 20-30 seconds
  4. Cardiovascular Exercise (150 minutes per week, as recommended by the American Heart Association1):
      • Walking, swimming, cycling, or any other low-impact cardio activity that can be done safely and comfortably. Aim to reach the target heart rate.
  5. Balance and Stability (daily):
      • Heel-to-Toe Walk: 2 sets of 10 steps
      • Single-Leg Stands: Hold for 10 seconds each leg

Diet:

What you eat is just as important as how active you are when it comes to staying healthy and energetic in your later years. A balanced, whole-foods-based diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats can help to reduce inflammation, boost cognitive function and promote heart and brain health.

Naturopathic principles recommend avoiding processed foods, refined sugars and artificial additives, and instead focusing on whole foods that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Some good options include leafy greens, nuts and seeds, wild-caught fish, and high-quality grass-fed meats. Here’s an example of a dietary program for the aspiring bioic boomer:

Diet Composition for the bionic boomer:

  1. Proteins: They are essential for muscle repair and growth. Include lean meats like chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and plant-based proteins like lentils, chickpeas, and tofu in your diet.
  2. Healthy Carbohydrates: Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables should be your primary source of carbohydrates. They provide energy and are rich in fiber, which aids digestion.
  3. Fats: Focus on healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. They help with the absorption of vitamins and are essential for brain health.
  4. Calcium and Vitamin D: These nutrients are crucial for bone health. Dairy products, fortified plant milks, leafy green vegetables, and fatty fish are good sources.
  5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These can help support joint health. Sources include fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

Meal Suggestions for the bionic boomer:

  1. Breakfast: Greek yogurt with mixed berries and a sprinkle of chia seeds.
  2. Mid-Morning Snack: A handful of almonds and an apple.
  3. Lunch: Grilled chicken salad with plenty of colorful veggies, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
  4. Afternoon Snack: Carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus.
  5. Dinner: Baked salmon with quinoa and steamed broccoli.
  6. Evening Snack: A small bowl of mixed fruit.

Eating Schedule: Aim for three balanced meals and two to three small snacks per day to keep your metabolism active and prevent overeating at meal times.

Coping with Cravings and Cheat Meals: It’s natural to have cravings. Instead of fighting them, find healthier alternatives that satisfy your cravings. For instance, if you’re craving something sweet, try having a piece of dark chocolate or a fruit instead of a sugar-laden dessert. Allow yourself a cheat meal once a week to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation.

Long-Term Maintenance and Lifestyle Changes:

  1. Regular Exercise: Incorporate both strength training and cardiovascular activities into your routine.
  2. Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  3. Sleep: Ensure you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night.

Remember, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making major changes to your diet, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Supplements:

While a healthy diet is the foundation of good health, sometimes we need an extra boost in the form of supplements. A naturopathic practitioner can help you identify the supplements that are right for your specific needs, depending on factors such as your age, gender, medical history, and lifestyle.

Some popular naturopathic supplements for promoting vitality and wellness in later years include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and antioxidants like CoQ10 and resveratrol. These supplements can help to reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function, and support brain and heart health.

Mind-body Techniques:

In addition to exercise, diet and supplements, mind-body techniques can also play an essential role in promoting wellness and vitality in later years. Practices like meditation, deep breathing, and tai chi can help to reduce stress, improve sleep, and promote mental clarity.

Conclusion:

Aging is a natural part of life, but it doesn’t have to mean a decline in health and wellbeing. With the right naturopathic strategies, you can unleash your inner bionic boomer and stay active, healthy and energetic well into your later years. By embracing a balanced, whole-foods-based diet, regular exercise, targeted supplements and mind-body practices, you’ll be able to reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function, prevent illness and feel youthful for years to come. So why wait? Start your bionic boomer journey today!


dr_shawn

Patient focused integrative health care. Utilizing effective natural approaches designed to be used alone or to compliment conventional medical care.


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