Deanna's Blog

 Until recently, we didn’t know how much our gut and brain interacted. Some people thought that our brains controlled everything we did, consciously and subconsciously.
 
They were wrong!
 
Some of us have a sense that there is a connection because we often feel emotions in our gut. For example, when we’re scared we can get a “knot” in our stomach. Or, feeling sad or anxious can affect our appetite and the number of bathroom trips we need to make. Plus, many digestive issues often come with mood issues.
 
Recent research confirms a gut-brain connection, a.k.a. “axis.” This microbiome-gut-brain axis is stronger and different than we had imagined. And with new technology, we’ve been able to study the gut microbes in a way that was not possible just a few years ago.
 
Let’s talk about how your gut microbes, your gut itself, your brain, and your mental health are all interconnected and influence each other! Plus, we’ll dive into some “mood foods,” as well as stress reducing activities that can help with gut issues.
Monday, 07 May 2018 16:16

Omega-3s - The fats we love to love

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Omega-3s get a lot of notoriety - and for good reason! Not only is one of them essential for good health, but we don’t get enough of them in our diets. 
 
Omega-3s are a kind of fat. Fats are not just a storable source of 9 calories per gram. Different fats are used by our bodies for different essential functions. They’re part of the membranes that surround each cell, and are especially important in the brain and nerves. They can mediate the effect of our immune cells as well as influence the production of neurotransmitters and hormones. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, and have health benefits for the heart, brain, and our mental health. 
 
In fact, it’s thought that the reduced intake of omega-3s over the last few generations is one of the reasons for the increase in many of the chronic diseases we see today.
 
Let’s look at what exactly omega-3s are, why they’re so good for our health, and how to get enough of these lovable fats.
 
What are omega-3s?
 
There are several types of fats (a.k.a. fatty acids). They’re broken down into two main categories: saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fatty acids are further broken down into monounsaturated (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated (PUFAs). 
 
The main types of PUFAs are omega-3s and omega-6s. We don’t hear much about omega-6s because we tend to get too much of these in our diet already. Omega-6s are found in meat, poultry, and many common seed oils like corn and sunflower. So, the focus has been to educate people to swap out some of those omega-6s to get more omega-3s like our ancestors did.
 
Three of the omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important for health. They are:
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) - essential fatty acid
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) - biologically active fatty acid
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - biologically active fatty acid
 
ALA is essential - literally essential for health, just like essential vitamins and minerals. This is because the body can’t create it from other nutrients. It is this omega-3 that the body needs in order to create the biologically active EPA and DHA. In fact, research shows that the primary role of ALA is to be the building block for EPA and DHA.
 
What I mean by “biologically active” is that EPA and DHA are the forms of omega-3s that provide the health benefits. They’re the ones that are active in the body.
 
ALA is the plant-based omega-3 and is found in many seeds like flax, hemp, and chia. It’s also found in walnuts, and oils from olives, canola, and soy. 
 
EPA and DHA, on the other hand, are found in seafood, especially oily fish. They are also found in algae, which is a vegetarian source.
 
FUN FACT: Fish have the biologically active forms of omega-3s because they eat the algae and store extra EPA and DHA in their fat. 
 
The conversion of plant-based essential ALA into the biologically active EPA and DHA is complex and requires several steps and enzymes. Unfortunately, the process isn’t very efficient. The conversion rate of ALA to EPA is about 8-12%, while the conversion to DHA is only about 1%. Some studies show that women may have slightly higher conversion rates compared to men.
 
Despite all of this biochemistry, the real question is how do they work in the body and what are these health benefits?
 
The health benefits of omega-3s
 
There is a lot of research about the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Things like anti-inflammation, heart and brain health, as well as better moods. 
 
Omega-3s and anti-inflammation
 
There are many inflammatory diseases like allergies, asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases. There are also many other diseases that may not be inflammatory per se, but have a substantial inflammatory component. These include diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. 
 
Many of these conditions are becoming more common. Reasons include allergens, infections, environmental and dietary toxins, and even stress. As mentioned earlier, one of these reasons is our inflammatory diets.
 
Yes! What you eat can increase or decrease the amount of inflammation in your body.
 
An inflammatory diet contains a much higher intake of omega-6s compared with omega-3s. In fact, the higher the intake of certain omega-6s, the higher the production of certain inflammatory molecules.
 
Many animal and some clinical studies have found reduced inflammation when omega-3 supplements were taken. 
 
A review of 30 studies showed that fish oil supplements reduced the pain of arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis.
 
How do omega-3s reduce inflammation? 
 
Two ways. First, they are used to create anti-inflammatory molecules themselves. Second, they can inhibit some of the mechanisms that cause inflammation in the first place. 
 
Omega-3s are used to produce certain anti-inflammatory molecules (e.g. prostaglandins, resolvins, etc.) that combat inflammation.
 
They also reduce the production of enzymes that create inflammatory molecules, and can even reduce the expression of certain inflammatory genes.
 
Omega-3s become incorporated into the membranes of immune cells and affect their inflammatory response.
 
Some animal studies even show that omega-3s can reduce inflammation by helping to reduce obesity!
 
Omega-3s and the brain
 
If you take away the water weight, your brain is about 60% fat. DHA is the main fatty acid in the brain’s grey matter, while EPA makes up about 1% of the total brain fatty acids.
 
DHA is the most important PUFA in the central nervous system. It’s the most abundant component of the membranes of nerve cells and plays important roles in both structure and function. DHA helps nerve cells insulate their electrical signals, stabilize their membranes, and reduce inflammation.
 
It’s important to ensure enough omega-3s for optimal brain health, as well as baby’s brain development during pregnancy and beyond.
 
The last trimester of pregnancy sees the greatest need for DHA for the baby. This is when the brain and eyes are maturing. More DHA is transported to the infant during this last trimester compared to the first two.
 
Children born preterm are more vulnerable to deficiency, and studies show they have lower levels of omega-3s in their blood compared to infants born at full term. 
 
Preterm infants given a formula that includes omega-3s show a small improvement in neurodevelopmental outcomes compared to preterm infants given formula without omega-3s. This does not seem to affect full term infants.
 
DHA is found in breast milk. If mothers reduce the amount of omega-3s they eat, there is a reduction in the amount of omega-3s in their breast milk.
 
Recent studies found positive effects in cognition (ability to think) and brain connectivity in young children who had higher DHA intake during infancy.
 
On the other side of the spectrum, in terms of neurodegeneration, age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). There’s been a lot of research on the effects of omega-3s and AD. People with higher omega-3 intakes have a lower risk of AD; and people with AD tend to have lower levels of DHA in their blood.
 
Because of DHA’s effect on certain brain cells (glial cells), it was thought that supplementing with DHA may help with AD. This was tried in animal models and was shown to boost an enzyme that helps to clear the detrimental Aβ plaques that are common in AD. Also, animals given an omega-6 enriched diet had higher levels of plasma Aβ as well as more mood issues. 
 
A recent review of several high-quality clinical studies looked at the use of omega-3 supplements to try to help with mild to moderate AD. After combining the results of those trials, researchers found that after six months, there was no consistent benefit in quality of life, cognition (ability to think), or mental health. One study showed a small improvement in activities of daily living amongst those who had the omega-3 supplements.
 
A more recent larger study showed that omega-3 supplements may have a small benefit if taken early in the development of AD, but other studies don’t show the same benefit.
 
More research is needed to understand the role omega-3s have for people with AD.
 
FUN FACT: One symptom of deficiency of the essential omega-3 (ALA) is visual dysfunction. This is because of how important DHA is, not only for the brain, but also for the retina of the eye.
 
Omega-3s and mental health
 
People who regularly eat and/or have higher blood levels of omega-3s are less likely to feel depressed or anxious.
 
One randomized double-blind study looked at depressed undergraduate students. They found a significant reduction in symptoms in those who took omega-3 supplements, compared to those who took placebo.
 
Studies have also shown a mild to moderate benefit in symptoms for those taking omega-3s versus placebos. Some of those studies also showed a comparable result to certain antidepressant medications. These studies also concluded that the evidence was not very strong yet, and more research with higher-quality studies is needed.
 
In terms of aggression, a recently published double-blind randomized study tested whether omega-3 supplements could help reduce aggression. They gave one group a supplement with EPA and DHA, and another got a placebo. The participants taking the omega-3s found that after 6-weeks they felt that their aggressiveness significantly decreased.
 
The links between mental health and inflammation are many. For one, certain medications that cause inflammation can induce mental health symptoms. At the same time, some antidepressant medications are anti-inflammatory. In fact, taking omega-3s along with antidepressant medications has an improved effect over antidepressant medications alone.
 
The role of omega-3s in mental health are not just due to their anti-inflammatory abilities. There is also evidence that omega-3 deficiency can lead to impaired function of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, and these can result in some mental health issues.
 
There is also the connection with stress hormones. People who feel depressed tend to have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood. The omega-3 EPA may reduce the production and release of stress hormones.
 
Omega-3s and heart health
 
Omega-3s started getting famous for heart health because of research dating back to the 1970s. At that time, researchers found that Greenland Inuit, despite eating a lot of fat, had a lower rate of heart disease and fewer risk factors too. So, they thought that it wasn’t the amount of fat eaten that was unhealthy for the heart, but rather the type of fat eaten.
 
Many early studies of fish consumption and omega-3 supplementation found a lot of evidence of a heart-healthy effect. They found that people who ate fatty fish several times each week had lower risks of heart disease than people who didn’t eat any fish. 
 
In terms of supplements, a large study found that people with heart disease who took ALA or fish oil capsules every day had reduced risk for death, heart attack, and stroke compared with those taking a placebo. 
 
Other studies show that higher levels of EPA and DHA in your blood are associated with lower  risk factors for heart issues.
 
Many more studies showed that fish oil helped to improve blood lipids and cholesterol, reduced blood pressure, improved heart rate and rhythm, “thinned” the blood, had beneficial effects on blood vessels, and stabilized atherosclerotic plaques.
 
Lately, there seems to be a growing body of evidence that the improved heart health effects of omega-3s may be smaller than we originally thought. Some researchers think these conflicting results may be due to the fact that fewer people smoke now, and also that the standard of care for people with heart disease has been improving over the decades. 
 
The bottom line when it comes to omega-3s and heart health is there is evidence that omega-3 supplements lower some risk factors of heart disease - the evidence is just not as overwhelmingly strong as we first thought. Plus, since these supplements tend to be quite safe, many expert medical associations still recommend them for heart health.
 
NOTE: Talk to your health care professional before starting any supplement regimen, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medications.
 
How to get enough omega-3s from food
 
In order to get the health benefits you have to regularly eat enough foods that are high in omega-3s.  
 
It’s thought that our ancestral diets included approximately equal amounts of omega-3s and omega-6s. Now, our intake of omega-6s is up to 20x higher than our intake of omega-3s. This is why there is such an emphasis on getting enough omega-3s.
 
When it comes to plant-based sources of omega-3s, flax is the winner! Up to half of flax’s total fatty acids are the essential omega-3 ALA. Canola, walnuts, and soy, are less concentrated sources of ALA, with about 10% of their fatty acids as ALA.
 
To eat the recommended amount of omega-3s have at least two servings of fatty fish each week. Fatty fish include salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. This is a recommendation from the World Health Organization, as well as other health authorities.
 
In the US, there have been consistent recommendations to increase fish intake for almost 20 years. Despite this the average American still only eats about 1.3 servings of fish per week.
 
Eating fish and seafood gives you a lot more nutrition than simply taking a supplement. They contain protein, vitamins D and B12, as well as the minerals iodine, selenium, potassium, and magnesium, to name a few. 
 
When it comes to choosing fish, bigger is not better! Large fish that feed on smaller fish have higher concentrations of toxins in their fat. To reduce your intake of things like methyl mercury and organic pollutants, limit your intake of tilefish, king mackerel, shark, and swordfish. And anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding, or a child, should avoid these types of fish altogether.
 
There are also non-fish sources of omega-3s! Some foods are fortified with omega-3 oils. Some baked goods, pastas, dairy, eggs, dressings, and spreads may contain added flax, algal, or fish oils. Omega-3 eggs are produced by hens who’ve had flax seeds, chia seeds, and/or fish oil added to their feed. In fact, hens fed the plant-based ALA produce eggs with ALA, and those fed fish oil produced eggs with EPA & DHA.
 
Check your labels!
 
Omega-3 supplements
 
NOTE: Omega-3 supplements are by no means a “treatment,” but can help in cases of insufficiency. In terms of safety, fish oil supplements have a long history of safety. However, be cautious if you’re planning or recently had surgery, or have a compromised immune system. Speak with your physician or pharmacist if you take pain, anti-inflammatory, or blood-clotting, or blood lipid/cholesterol medications. Speak with your health care professional before changing your supplement regimen.
 
For those who don’t eat fish, supplements can be an option. Omega-3 supplements are one of the most popular supplements taken. 
 
It’s recommended that most adults get at least 0.5-1.6 g per day of combined EPA and DHA, preferably from food. In terms of ALA, 1.5-3 g per day is beneficial, and that can be from plant-based foods or supplements. 
 
Fish liver oil, is from the livers of the fish, and also contains fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and D.
 
PRO TIP: Refrigerating your fish oil supplements can help prevent the delicate fats from going rancid.
 
Conclusion
 
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for good health! 
 
Some of the health benefits include reduced inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis; improved brain function and mental health; and reduced risk of heart disease. 
 
Flax is the best plant-based source of the essential omega-3, ALA. The two biologically active omega-3s, EPA and DHA, are from fish or algae. It’s always recommended to get your nutrients from food as much as possible. At least two servings of fatty fish each week is recommended.
 
If you consider supplementing, make sure to follow direction on the label and keep them refrigerated. If you have any medical conditions or are taking medications, make sure to speak with your health care professional.
 
References
 
Abdulrazaq M1, Innes JK1, Calder PC2.(2017). Effect of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on arthritic pain: A systematic review. Nutrition, 39-40:57-66. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2016.12.003. 
 
Bäck, M. (2017). Omega-3 fatty acids in atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Future Science OA, 3(4), FSO236. http://doi.org/10.4155/fsoa-2017-0067
 
Baker, E.J., Miles, E.A., Burdge, G.C., Yaqoob, P. & Calder, P.C. (2016). Metabolism and functional effects of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids in humans. Prog Lipid Res, 64:30-56. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2016.07.002.
 
Balk, E. M., & Lichtenstein, A. H. (2017). Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Summary of the 2016 Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality Evidence Review. Nutrients, 9(8), 865. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080865
 
Bègue, L., Zaalberg, A., Shankland, R., Duke, A., Jacquet, J., Kaliman, P., Pennel, L., Chanove, M., Arvers, P. & Bushman, B.J. (2017). Omega-3 supplements reduce self-reported physical aggression in healthy adults. Psychiatry Res, 261:307-311. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.12.038.
 
Bowen K.J., Harris, W.S. & Kris-Etherton, P.M. (2016). Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Are There Benefits? Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med, (11):69.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5067287/
 
Burckhardt, M., Herke, M., Wustmann, T., Watzke, S., Langer, G. & Fink A. (2016). Omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 11;4:CD009002. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009002.pub3.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27063583
 
Calder, P. C. (2013). Omega‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory processes: nutrition or pharmacology? British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 75(3), 645–662. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04374.x
 
Calder P.C. (2017). Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochem Soc Trans, 15;45(5):1105-1115. doi: 10.1042/BST20160474. 
 
Carlson, S. E., & Colombo, J. (2016). Docosahexaenoic Acid and Arachidonic Acid Nutrition in Early Development. Advances in Pediatrics, 63(1), 453–471. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.yapd.2016.04.011
 
Chaddha, A & Eagle, K.A. (2015). Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Heart Health. Circulation, 132:e350-e352. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.015176
 
Coorey, R., Novinda, A., Williams, H. & Jayasena, V. (2015). Omega-3 fatty acid profile of eggs from laying hens fed diets supplemented with chia, fish oil, and flaxseed. J Food Sci, 80(1):S180-7. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12735.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25557903
 
Gintya, A.T. & Conklinb, S.M. (2015). Short-term supplementation of acute long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may alter depression status and decrease symptomology among young adults with depression: A preliminary randomized and placebo controlled trial. Psychiatry Research. 229(1–2); 485–489.
 
Gioxari, A., Kaliora, A.C., Marantidou, F. & Panagiotakos, D.P. (2018). Intake of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition, 45:114-124.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2017.06.023.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28965775
 
Health Canada, Natural and Nonprescription Health Products Directorate, Single Monographs, Fish Oil. Accessed March 2, 2018.
 
Jayarathne, S., Koboziev, I., Park, O.-H., Oldewage-Theron, W., Shen, C.-L., & Moustaid-Moussa, N. (2017). Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Obesity Properties of Food Bioactive Components: Effects on Adipose Tissue. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, 22(4), 251–262. http://doi.org/10.3746/pnf.2017.22.4.251
 
Langlois, K. & Ratnayake, W.M. (2015). Omega-3 Index of Canadian adults. Health Rep. 26(11):3-11.
LINK: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2015011/article/14242-eng.pdf
 
Martínez-Cengotitabengoa, M. & González-Pinto, A. (2017). Nutritional supplements in depressive disorders. Actas Esp Psiquiatr, 45(Supplement):8-15. 
 
Molfino, A., Amabile, M. I., Monti, M., & Muscaritoli, M. (2017). Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Critical Illness: Anti-Inflammatory, Proresolving, or Both? Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2017, 5987082. http://doi.org/10.1155/2017/5987082
 
Mori TA1. (2017). Marine OMEGA-3 fatty acids in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Fitoterapia, 123:51-58. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2017.09.015.
 
Rapaport, M. H., Nierenberg, A. A., Schettler, P. J., Kinkead, B., Cardoos, A., Walker, R., & Mischoulon, D. (2016). Inflammation as a Predictive Biomarker for Response to Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Major Depressive Disorder: A Proof of Concept Study. Molecular Psychiatry, 21(1), 71–79. http://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2015.22
 
Rogers, L. K., Valentine, C. J., & Keim, S. A. (2013). DHA Supplementation: Current Implications in Pregnancy and Childhood. Pharmacological Research : The Official Journal of the Italian Pharmacological Society, 70(1), 13–19. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2012.12.003
 
Rutkofsky, I.H., Khan, A.S., Sahito, S. & Kumar, V. (2017). The Psychoneuroimmunological Role of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. Adv Mind Body Med, 31(3):8-16.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28987035
 
Senftleber, N.K., Nielsen, S.M., Andersen, J.R., Bliddal, H., Tarp, S., Lauritzen, L., Furst, D.E., Suarez-Almazor, M.E., Lyddiatt, A. & Christensen, R. (2017). Marine Oil Supplements for Arthritis Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials. Nutrients, 9(1). pii: E42. doi: 10.3390/nu9010042.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295086/
 
Siscovick, D.S., Barringer, T.A., Fretts, A.M., Wu, J.H., Lichtenstein, A.H., Costello, R.B., Kris-Etherton, P.M., Jacobson, T.A., Engler, M.B., Alger, H.M., Appel, L.J. & Mozaffarian, D. (2017). Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (Fish Oil) Supplementation and the Prevention of Clinical Cardiovascular Disease: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 135(15):e867-e884. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000482.
 
Watanabe, Y. & Tatsuno, I. (2017). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for cardiovascular diseases: present, past and future. Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol, 10(8):865-873. doi: 10.1080/17512433.2017.1333902.
 
Whittington, R. A., Planel, E., & Terrando, N. (2017). Impaired Resolution of Inflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Review. Frontiers in Immunology, 8, 1464. http://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01464
 
Zárate, R., el Jaber-Vazdekis, N., Tejera, N., Pérez, J. A., & Rodríguez, C. (2017). Significance of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in human health. Clinical and Translational Medicine, 6, 25. http://doi.org/10.1186/s40169-017-0153-6
Monday, 23 April 2018 14:04

8 Plants and Essential Oils that Clean the Air

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Breathing is a part of life that's of utmost importance, but something we rarely spend much time thinking about -- our bodies naturally take care of this task for us without any thought.  There's nothing sweeter than taking a deep breath of fresh mountain air, or breathing in the salty air as you look out over the ocean.  But how often do you consider the air you breathe day in and day out in your living space?  
 
There are many simple things you can do to assure the air in your home stays as pure as possible, and my favorite ways to do this are using plants and essential oils.  These, together and separate, can remove toxins that you don't see, clean the air in your home, and add an ambiance all the while.  Breathe new life into your home by using these plants and essential oils to purify your living space. 
 
1.  Aloe Vera
Not only is it a great plant to keep around for relieving burns, but it’s also amazing for drawing formaldehyde from the air. Plus, in small spaces, just one will work wonders. 
 
2.  Lemon Essential Oil
This oil purifies the air plus it has a very uplifting impact on you. Try diffusing some in the morning as you get ready for work. 
 
3.  Fern
Ferns are perfect for your bathroom space because they’re happiest in humidity. While they’re there, they will take all the xylene from the area for a cleaner and healthier you.
 
4.  Eucalyptus Essential Oil
There’s a reason you smell this essential oil in spas everywhere. It purifies the air to keep it fresh plus it is an ideal natural decongestant. Use it in the chillier months or when allergies strike to clear the air and your sinuses too.
 
5.  Spider Plant
If you’ve avoided keeping plants around the home because you’re not good at keeping them alive, then this plant is a good choice. It doesn’t need watering very often and is fantastic for absorbing any chemicals released into your air.
 
6. Tea Tree Essential Oil
This air-purifying oil is one of the best since it fights away mold. Mold can lurk behind walls and may not be visible to you while still causing irreparable harm to your health. Tea tree essential oil can assist with keeping this from happening.
 
7.  Chrysanthemums 
According to NASA, this is the best natural air purifier you can keep in your home. It destroys those air pollutants, keeping your home’s air clean and fresh. 
 
8.  Snake Plant
If you have a space in your home that doesn’t get much sunlight, you’ll like this plant. It’s as easy to care for as the spider plant too. 
 
For the best clean air in your home, try incorporating both plants and essential oils. You can diffuse the oils, or you can spray them around your house daily. Unless you have a considerable space, one plant should do the trick in each room. See how much better you feel when you purify your air naturally!
 
Want to stay in touch?  Sign up for my newsletter here.
Saturday, 31 March 2018 14:01

Vitamin D: Are you getting enough?

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Vitamin D: Are you getting enough?
 
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin. It’s sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because our skin makes it when exposed to the sun. 
 
It’s also the most common nutrient deficiency!

Like most vitamins, vitamin D has many functions in the body. It’s mostly known for its ability to help build strong bones. But, vitamin D is also important for a healthy immune system, digestive system, heart and mental health, blood sugar regulation, fertility, and resistance to cancer.
 
FUN FACT: Vitamin D is the vitamin with more scientific articles published since 2000 than any other vitamin.
Saturday, 17 March 2018 12:46

Maple syrup – a seasonal sweet treat

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Enjoying the sugary sap of a maple tree is a springtime ritual for many Canadian children. During the long winter, the maple tree has the unique characteristic of producing a supply of starch that acts as anti-freeze for its roots. When the snow starts to melt, water trickles into the roots and thus begins the flow of “sugar water” that will eventually be tapped. By mid-March, after the first thaw, the sap is freely flowing and will continue flowing through April. 
Diabetes and heart disease are on the rise worldwide. They’re serious chronic (long-term) conditions. They have a few other things in common as well. 
For one thing, they’re both considered “lifestyle” diseases. This means that they tend to occur in people with certain lifestyles (i.e. not-so-awesome nutrition and exercise habits, etc.).
They’re also both linked with excess body fat, as well as inflammation.
Tuesday, 06 February 2018 16:19

Mental health, inflammation, and mood foods

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Mental health issues have a huge impact on society. Some suggest that their impact is larger than any other chronic disease, including heart disease or diabetes.
There are so many factors involved in complex conditions like mental health issues. Science is just starting to unravel one of these factors - inflammation. 

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).   Your heart has four chambers that beat in a rhythm; two atria and two ventricles. The atria are the upper chambers. AF happens when the atria beat too fast and irregularly. They “quiver” instead of pumping properly.   AF is the most common arrhythmia worldwide. In fact, in the US, you have a 25% risk of getting it in your lifetime. The number of people with AF is increasing and is expected to increase further as the population ages.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 14:22

Beautiful skin with hyaluronic acid

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Did you know that back in medieval France, King Henry II’s wife, Princess Catherine, believed that if she ate chicken combs she would become beautiful? Even before that (in the 700s) Yang Guifei, one of the four beauties of ancient China, also ate chicken combs.
 
Chicken combs, as it turns out, contain a lot of a substance known as hyaluronic acid. Recent clinical studies show that ingesting hyaluronic acid actually can increase the moisture content of the skin. This shows up as more hydrated, and “beautiful” younger-looking skin.
Monday, 16 October 2017 20:06

Blood Sugar Creeping Up? Get Control by Doing These!

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Blood sugar is literally that: the sugar in your blood. Your blood contains all kinds of important nutrients and other substances that we need to be healthy. Including sugar. Blood is the liquid transporter that distributes these compounds to all parts of our bodies.

Sugar (a type of carbohydrate) is one of our body’s main fuels. The other two fuels are fat and protein. I call it “fuel” because our cells literally burn it to do work. It’s this “biochemical” burning of fuel in all of our cells that is our metabolism.

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