Archive for the ‘inflammation’ Category

If you think drinking 3 glasses of milk a day or eating your morning yogurt will prevent, cure, or treat osteoporosis, think again. There are so many other factors to consider. First, let’s discuss the common causes of osteoporosis:

1) Genetic history – Did you inherit weaker bones from your parents? Some studies estimate that 80% of our skeletal strength comes from our parents.

2) Vitamin and mineral deficiency – not just calcium but many others play a role in the whole process of bone health.

3) Soda consumption (even diet) – The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who consume just one soda daily have 5-7% less bone material than women who limit soda to just once a month.

4) Lack of fruits and veggies – a wide array of rich nutrients buffer the breakdown of bone. The British Journal of Nutrition reported that post-menopausal women who ate 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily were between 200-400% better in terms of their bone mineral density loss.

5) Lack of weight-bearing exercise – technology has impacted how much we sit.

How much calcium do you need? Most recommendations say for women ages 19-50 about 1000 mg/per day. For 50 + or post-menopause, 1200 mg/per day. But, like I said earlier, it is not that simple. The vast majority of the world population consumes much less calcium than we do in the US and have less cases of osteoporosis.

Too much calcium can actually inhibit the absorption of another key mineral the body needs for bone health, magnesium. Magnesium aids in bone formation and helps regulate calcium transfer as well. Most of us need more of this mineral. To do so, eat more leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and fish. On the same note, Vitamin D, is absolutely essential for bone density and quite possibly more important than calcium. If you don’t get daily sunlight, supplement by taking Vitamin D3. An added benefit would be one with magnesium included.

I cannot understate how important diet is in the balance of minerals and calcium absorption. The body is always trying to maintain homeostasis (balance). The typical American diet, rich in processed food increases acidic levels throughout the body. In order to get a balanced PH level, the body breaks down certain vitamins and minerals to stabilize, one of which is calcium. Other factors that wreak havoc on calcium uptake are excessive caffeine, alcohol, and chronic stress.

In order to get better bone health one must improve nutrition, increase activity level, and maintain proper hormone regulation. Start by changing your diet from highly acidic to more of an alkaline based. Include large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most of these have good amounts of potassium that help regulate the acidic load. Choose limited dairy products (milk based) and cut back on red meat as both will increase acid levels. Also, begin a strength training program. Weight training will overload not only the muscles but the bones as well. This overload will help lay down new bone and increase bone formation. Incorporate weight training a minimum of 2-3 times a week. Be active and walk daily for heart health, bone health, and mental health. Grab a pair of 3-5 lb dumbbells to carry with you. This will also help overload to form new bone. To reduce stress and balance hormone levels, get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night. Stretch, meditate daily or engage in Yoga a few times a week to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol (stress hormone) will also inhibit calcium uptake and prevent bone formation.

 

 

It’s been awhile.  The last month or so I’ve been doing some research on various topics.  Today, I’d like to share some information on Dairy and help you determine whether or not you should include it in your nutritional game plan.  So, I’ve been sticking with this Paleo diet a little over 2 months now and I’m seeing amazing results.  Not only am I more energized, I’m sleeping better, my joints don’t ache, and my acid reflux is non-existent.  Just a basic rundown of the Paleo diet:

  • No starches of any kind including bread, pasta, grains, and everything else that is processed in a box.
  • No dairy. Milk products and all things included from yogurts to cheeses. Eggs are allowed.
  • No legumes. This one I didn’t understand because of their great balance between protein and carbohydrate.
  • What do I eat? Well, all protein sources from lean animal meat preferably organic or grass-fed.  These items include lean beef, turkey, chicken, and pork. Also, wild-caught fish as fresh as possible.  Fruits and veggies with limited amounts nuts and seeds.

Being dairy free I believe is the reason for most of the change.  In the past few months, two of my clients both went on different diet plans, one Vegan and the other Paleo from above.  The common denominator with both is the No-dairy approach.  The two had their cholesterol tested pre and post diet.  The results were amazing.  One decreased their total cholesterol by 60 points.  The other increased their good cholesterol by 30 points.  Unbelievable numbers!

We are the only mammal that drinks milk beyond infancy.  In 2001 the average child consumed 104 quarts of cow’s milk.  The milk myth has spread around the world based on the flawed belief that this protein and calcium-rich drink is essential to support good overall health and bone health in particular at any age.  It is easy to understand that the confusion about milk’s imaginary benefits stems from the fact that it contains calcium – around 300 mg per cup.

But many scientific studies have shown the detrimental health effects directly linked to milk consumption. And the most surprising link is that not only do we barely absorb the calcium in cow’s milk (especially if pasteurized), but to make matters worse, it actually increases calcium loss from the bones. What an irony this is!

Here’s how it happens.  Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body pH which in turn triggers a biological correction. You see, calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer and the biggest storage of calcium in the body is – you guessed it… in the bones.  So the very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilized to neutralize the acidifying effect of milk.  Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via the urine, so that the surprising net result after this is an actual calcium deficit.  Research statistics show that the countries with the lowest consumption of milk have the least amount of fractures in their population.

I’m not even going to get into the way our milk is produced in this country.  Hormone and antibiotic injections along with the genetically modified feed the cattle gorge.  That’s a whole other ball of wax.  Check out the following reasons why you should stop eating dairy:

1. Cow’s milk is intended for baby cows.  We’re the only species (other than those we are domesticating) that drinks milk after infancy.  And, we’re definitely the only ones drinking the milk of a different species.

2.  Hormones. Not only are the naturally-present hormones in cow’s milk stronger than human hormones, the animals are routinely given steroids and other hormones to plump them up and increase milk production.  These hormones can negatively impact humans’ delicate hormonal balance.

3.  Most cows are fed inappropriate food.  Commercial feed for cows contains all sorts of ingredients that include:  genetically-modified (GM) corn, GM soy, animal products, chicken manure, cottonseed, pesticides, and antibiotics.  And, think about all the pesticides that are sprayed on the feed for the cattle. Very toxic!

4.  Dairy products, when metabolized, are acid-forming.  Our bodies are constantly striving for biochemical balance to keep our blood at 7.365 pH.  Eating excessive acid-forming products can cause our bodies to overuse some of its acid-balancing mechanisms, one of which is the bones.  Alkaline calcium is stored in the bones and released to combat excessive acidity in the body.  Over time, bones can become fragile.

5.  Research shows that the countries whose citizens consume the most dairy products have the HIGHEST incidence of osteoporosis.

6.  Most dairy cows live in confined, inhumane conditions, never seeing the pastures of green grass they were intended to eat.

7. Most dairy products are pasteurized to kill potentially-harmful bacteria.  During the pasteurization process, vitamins, proteins, and enzymes are destroyed.  Enzymes assist with the digestion process.  When they are destroyed through pasteurization, milk becomes harder to digest, therefore putting a strain on our bodies’ enzyme systems.

8.  Dairy products are mucous-forming. They can contribute to respiratory disorders.  When I remove dairy and sugar from the diets of my clients, they stop experiencing hay fever and seasonal allergies.

9.  Research links dairy products with arthritis. In one study on rabbits, scientist Richard Panush was able to PRODUCE inflamed joints in the animals by switching their water to milk.  In another study, scientists observed more than a 50% reduction in the pain and swelling of arthritis when participants eliminated milk and dairy products from their diet.

10  Most milk is homogenized, which denatures the milk’s proteins, making it harder to digest.  Many peoples’ bodies react to these proteins as though they are “foreign invaders” causing their immune systems to overreact.  Research also links homogenized milk to heart disease.

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately studying the kinds of foods we eat and their effect on cholesterol and in turn heart disease.  Just last night I read an article from a feed shared by one of my colleagues.  The article, written by an author and well-know cardiologist, states that cholesterol is not the enemy but inflammation caused by numerous substances are the real death sentence.  This same doctor has performed over 5000 heart surgeries and has been named as one of the top doctors in the country for many years.

Here’s a little history regarding how the war on cholesterol began.  Back in the late 40’s, scientists and researchers assembled in Framingham, NY to study the cause of, and hopefully find a cure for heart disease. This group, known as the “The Framingham Study” made some headway into discovering some things that contribute to heart disease. Then, in 1961, they stumbled upon cholesterol and with incomplete research decided this was the real cause of heart disease.  All other research studies fell to the wayside and the war on cholesterol began.  At this time, the big drug companies and lobbyists saw the writing on the wall and the money that could be made. Soon after, the low-fat theory was born and the Food Pyramid came into play promoting manufactured, low-fat foods filled with sugar, processed starches and unhealthy oils.

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated. The established dietary recommendations from the 60’s have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which are not only affecting older adults but to the kids of the future.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before. The numbers don’t lie.  Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. 

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended.  It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.  Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders.  However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial. 

We have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.  Pretty much everything you find in the middle aisles of the grocery store. 

 From the book of the cardiologist: The process of inflammation

Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. You kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.  Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same.  I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

 This stiff brush is the continuous sugar we eat on a day to day basis.  And, it’s not only the sugar.  Add in the toxic chemicals in various areas from plastic containers to the sprays on our produce.  As our blood sugar rises from all of the processed foods, the carryover is distributed and binds with certain proteins that injure the arterial walls.  It’s kind of like taking sandpaper and scrapping the walls of your arteries.  We didn’t even get into the unhealthy oils and the unequal balance of Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s.  That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.  So, stay away from the processed foods the best you can.  Choose the whole foods you enjoyed as a child and eliminate the manufactured foods in the middle grocery aisles.  In doing, you will reverse the aging process and have a better chance of minimizing arterial damage and heart disease.