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Your Guide to Pregnancy Nutrition

Close-up of a pregnant belly with fresh fruit and plate of salad. Healthy pregnancy diet and vitamins

A healthy and well-balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your baby. It is essential to both your health and theirs. Eating the right food can improve your fertility, keep you feeling healthy during pregnancy and result in an easier labor. Because the nutrients you consume go to the baby first, a deficiency in anything can be even more of a challenge to your body than usual. Learn more about the best foods to consume during pregnancy.

Important Nutrients

When addressing pregnancy nutrition, certain nutrients are particularly important to pay attention to. Folate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, protein and all the essential fatty acids (especially DHA) are critical to fetal development. The richest source of these nutrients are animal products, particularly meat and organ meats. You can, however, find these nutrients in legumes, dairy and leafy green vegetables. Be sure to eat these foods on a daily basis!

Fish is the best source of DHA and other essential fatty acids.  Along with a fish oil supplement, it is beneficial for pregnant women to eat fish, flax and chia seeds. Be sure to check with Seafood Watch to ensure your fish is low in mercury.

Getting adequate fiber and water is very important as well.  This will help your body flush out waste, and stay regular.  The best sources of fiber are fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley and millet.

In addition, try out some nutrient-dense booster foods that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine. They include nuts and seeds, fresh or frozen berries, bone broth, fresh vegetable juice, seaweed and nutritional yeast.

Pregnancy Nutrition Meals

A common question women ask is how many calories they should be eating during pregnancy.  I encourage you to focus on the quality of your food. Whole, unprocessed and organic foods are best. Each meal should consist of the following:

  • Healthy protein such as poultry, fish or beans
  • An abundance of non-starchy vegetables
  • Smaller portions of starchy vegetables such as potatoes or corn
  • A serving of fruit
  • Healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut oil and olive oil

The food we consume on a daily basis affects our energy and strength, how our bodies work and how we heal and grow. Pregnancy nutrition not only affects the mother, but determines the basic nutritional health that the child is born with. Give your baby a strong start in life by eating the right foods.

For a nutritional consultation with Jill Borba, our Naturopathic Family Health nutritionist, contact our office to make an appointment!

Five Uses of Herbal Medicine

In order to sustain a healthy lifestyle, it is important to understanding the benefits of herbal medicine. However, with so many choices out there it is difficult to know where to begin.

The New Age of Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine focuses on overall wellness and prevention rather than treating a disease or ailment once it arises. It is a cost-effective and easy way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are five herbs, along with their uses, that are a great addition to naturopathic care.

Garlic

This herb is both immune system-boosting and antibiotic. It contains vital nutrients such as flavonoids, oligosaccharides, selenium, allicin and high levels of sulfur. You can consume either cooked or raw garlic to help treat diabetes, fight inflammation, boost the immune system, regulate blood pressure, fight cardiovascular disease, relieve allergies, fight fungal and viral infections and improve hair loss. Several studies show that garlic consumption helps halt the progress of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

Ginger

Gingerol, among other bioactive agents present in ginger, helps relieve indigestion and nausea, boost immune and respiratory function, fight bacterial and fungal infections, treat stomach ulcers, reduce pain, improve diabetes, prevent malabsorption and may even inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Eat it raw, take it in powder or supplement form, consume it in liquid form by making a tea or use it topically in oil form. Researchers also found that ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties for controlling the aging process.

Turmeric

Turmeric has been used for medical purposes for nearly 4,000 years. Add this plant to any recipe or take it as a supplement. The range of benefits include the ability to slow and prevent blood clotting, fight depression, reduce inflammation, relieve arthritis pain, manage diabetes, treat gastrointestinal issues, regulate cholesterol and fight cancer. As an antioxidant, turmeric extracts can scavenge free radicals, increase antioxidant enzymes and inhibit lipid peroxidation.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is considered to be the most biologically active of the aloe species. It contains more than 75 potentially active components, including vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins and salicylic acids. Studies have proved aloe vera has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal properties. The plant has also proved to be non-allergic and very good in building up the immune system. Other aloe vera benefits include its ability to soothe rashes and skin irritations; treat burns and cold sores; moisturize the skin, hair and scalp; provide antioxidants; and reduce inflammation.

Ginseng

One of the world’s most popular herbal medicines, Ginseng has been used in Asia and North America for centuries. Ginseng reduces stress, helps with weight loss, treats sexual dysfunction, improves lung function, lowers blood sugar levels, boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation. Ginseng is available in dried, powdered, tea, capsule and tablet forms.

Herbs make a great addition to any healthy lifestyle. To learn more about how our Nutritionist or Naturopathic Doctors can help you make healthy choices, contact us to schedule an appointment today.

How to Treat Chronic Pain Naturally

Chronic pain occurs when pain in your body lasts longer than three months and you’re not seeing signs of improvement from current treatment. This typically means that your body is still sending pain messages to the brain, even if the original cause of the pain (such as arthritis or injury) may no longer be there.

What are the types of chronic pain?

Chronic pain is fairly common and affects about 1 in 5 people in the U.S. It can severely disrupt your life, making it difficult if not impossible to work and enjoy family and social time. Common types of chronic pain include back pain, headache pain, joint pain and chest pain. If you are currently suffering, continue reading this blog to learn how you can help treat chronic pain naturally.

Here are some ways to treat chronic pain naturally:

Exercise

Working out releases endorphins, which are hormones that can increase your pain threshold and communicate with the brain to change your perception of pain. Low back pain is a common type of chronic pain, but certain stretches and exercise can help alleviate its symptoms. Effective exercises for back pain include yoga postures like child’s pose and cat/cow. For joint pain, try swimming or yoga.

Always listen to your body and do what feels right for you. If you are in too much pain to exercise, it’s alright to start slowly and then gradually build up. Go for a walk and then continually increase your activity from there.

Aromatherapy

Essential oils can do wonders for pain, and help calm your muscles. Massaging oils such as rosemary, clary sage and eucalyptus into the areas of discomfort can help to significantly reduce pain. These oils penetrate the skin and can enhance circulation and immune function, helping to clear inflammatory triggers from that area of your body. In addition to alleviating pain, the smells of these oils help calm and relax the mind, improving overall mental health.

According to a study in the Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, people with fibromyalgia who applied these oils to painful areas of their body regularly for one month experienced greater improvement than those who used a placebo oil.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C consumption can help alleviate painful symptoms, particularly for arthritis sufferers. The vitamin acts as a protector of the cartilage and bone. A recent study by Arthritis & Rheumatism showed that osteoarthritis sufferers who consumed the most vitamin C (about 500 milligrams per day) reported less knee pain and were three times less likely to experience a progression of their symptoms over seven to ten years than those consuming the least. To up your vitamin C intake, snack on C-rich foods such as guavas and red peppers. For more nutrition advice, read these suggestions from Nutritionist Jill Borba.

Meditation

Handling any anxiety and depression that could be associated with your chronic pain is also very important. Meditation can help with this. Do your best to research approaches and try out programs that work best for you. A 2015 study found that 109 patients with chronic pain who were assigned to a mindfulness meditation program reported more pain relief, in addition to lower anxiety and depression, than those who did not participate.

Chronic pain can be significantly improved with nutritional and lifestyle changes as well as with natural medicines.  To learn more about how our Nutritionist or Naturopathic Doctors can help you lessen chronic pain, contact us to schedule an appointment today.

7 Tips For Eating Like A Nutritionist This Holiday Season

Many people find the holidays both amazing and guilt-ridden. With so many delicious options for comfort food, it’s not as tough as you might think to find food that’s both fulfilling and nourishing. Believe it or not, there is a way to enjoy delicious food while remaining health conscious. It is all about balance and having a plan in place. Follow these seven tips for eating like a nutritionist this holiday season.

Say yes to vegetables

If you are making the holiday meal, be sure to incorporate veggies into your meal prep. If you are a guest, bring some non-starchy veggie dishes. There are plenty of delicious online recipes at your disposal. Just browse this recipe gallery from the Food Network! Another health trick is to eat a serving or two of veggies before starting the mashed potatoes, turkey or stuffing. This ensures you are getting your dose of veggies before getting full.

Slow down

Eating slowly allows your brain to recognize you are full. It is the key to avoid overeating and going back for second servings. We all get excited when we set our sights on a delicious holiday spread. But make sure to take your time and savor each bite in order to stop when you are full.

Don’t skip meals

Like any other day, it is important to eat all your meals during the holidays. Not doing so will result in a slowed metabolism and overeating. Instead of opting to skip meals, instead make a festive, healthy breakfast when you can and opt for a no-stress, light lunch.

Reserve your plate for foods you love

At a holiday dinner, we tend to fill our plate with everything available. But it’s okay to be picky. If you are indifferent about a particular holiday food, don’t feel the pressure to eat it. Don’t take up space on your plate with foods you don’t love, and avoid the temptation to fill in every available space with food!

Be aware of holiday beverages

Don’t forget that beverages are full of calories too. Eggnog, for example, has a whopping 21 grams of sugar per serving!

Bye, bye food coma

Say bye to the food coma by simply walking. A quick and brisk walk after a big meal helps with digestion and can stabilize blood pressure. Or, incorporate physical activities into the holidays. There are plenty of fun physical activities you can do with family and friends during this time of the year. Sledding, ice skating, skiing and more offer some great exercise and are in keeping with the holiday spirit.

Go easy on yourself

Holiday eating may stress you out, but don’t be too hard on yourself. It is important to relax and enjoy this time with family and friends. Overindulging a bit during the holidays is normal and does not mean you have to beat yourself up. If you slip, recover by picking back up your healthy eating habits and moving on. Following these simple tips will ensure you have a healthy season. Just remember to not overthink it and to listen to your body.

Here’s one of my favorite, festive holiday treats! Enjoy, and we wish you happy holidays!

Almond-Cherry-Quinoa Holiday Cookies

  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat or gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • ½ cup slivered unsalted almonds

Preheat oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracts; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in quinoa, oats, cranberries, and almonds. Spoon dough in 2-tablespoon portions onto prepared sheets, spacing 1” apart. Bake cookies until golden, 12–15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

*Modified and taken from Dinner a Love Story.

For a nutritional consultation with Jill Borba, our Naturopathic Family Health nutritionist, contact our office to make an appointment!

Healthier Alternatives for Halloween Treats

October is the month of Halloween, which means sugar will soon be everywhere. For health-conscious parents, this sugar phenomenon is often scarier than the costumes. But have no fear! We are here to offer you healthier alternatives, this Halloween. Read this blog for some of our favorite healthy spins on Halloween-themed treats.

Switch Witch

Ever heard of the Switch Witch? It offers a creative way to get rid of all that extra candy. Have your kids put their extra candy out at night. The next day, they will find it replaced with a present they will surely love. It’s a win-win situation! You keep them healthy, and they remain happy.

From switchwitch.com

Jack-o’-Lantern Fruit Cups

Fruit is always a colorful and festive way to get your kids’ attention. To make some adorable jack-o’-lantern fruit cups, slice the tops of a few navel oranges. Scoop out the pulp and use a paring knife to carve the jack-o’-lantern faces. Fill them with grapes and other berries!

From frugalcouponliving.com

Candy Corn Popsicles

Stay away from the popular (but highly-processed) candy corn and make these delicious popsicle replicas instead. Simply use pineapple juice, orange juice and yogurt.

From chewchewmama.com

Mummified Apples

You know what they say… a mummy a day keeps the doctor away. These little mummified apples are adorable, and so easy to make! Simply use googly eyes and gauze to turn your apples into scary mummies your kids will love.

From marcicoombs.com

Frankenstein’s Monster

It’s alive! Well, not really. But this spooky veggie tray that looks like Frankenstein might still give your kiddos a scare. You can even get them to help you assemble it, which can trick (or treat) them into eating their veggies.

From Blue Skies Ahead

Eyeball Pasta

Dress up some green spinach pasta with googly eyeballs! All you need are string cheese, black olives and a straw. This is the perfect Halloween-themed dinner idea.

From spendwithpennies.com

Jack-o-‘Lantern Clementines

This is the easiest Halloween treat of them all! You simply need some clementines, tangerines or oranges and a food-safe pen. Everyone in the family can have fun drawing spooky faces! These make the perfect snacks to include in your kids’ lunchboxes during the week of Halloween.

From princessandthefrogblog.com

These are just a few of the many delicious, nutritious and horrific Halloween-themed treats to include this month! Our ultimate goal is for you and your family to have a safe and enjoyable holiday. Need more tips or have any questions? Contact us today!

Telemedicine: Virtual Medical Treatment

In the digital age, everything is accessible right at our fingertips. And now that includes virtual medical treatment. At Naturopathic Family Health we are excited to take part in the telemedicine phenomena, which offers a convenient solution to some patients and physicians through technology.

How it Works

Telemedicine conducts the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients through various technological resources. Doctors and patients are able to interact through telephone, video chat and secure platforms to exchange sensitive information. Patients can exchange photos and messages which allow doctors to diagnose and monitor potential health concerns remotely. A virtual visit is just like an office visit in terms of time, scheduling, cost and care. It simply provides an alternative to the inconvenience of a trip to the doctor’s office.

Telemedicine Statistics

In this new digital age, it’s no surprise that telemedicine is continuing to grow. In fact, IHS Markit predicts that roughly 7 million patients will use it by 2018.

Of course, the benefits of telemedicine don’t matter if no one is using it. So, what do patients have to say? A survey by NTT Data found that 74% of their surveyed patients were open to trying it. And of this group of surveyed patients, 67 percent said that they were more satisfied with their medical treatment when using it.

Benefits of Telemedicine

Accessible communication provides patients with almost immediate care, which is perfect for minor but not urgent conditions. Because of the many benefits that telemedicine offers, more and more doctors are incorporating it into their practice.

Some of the benefits of telemedicine include:

  • More convenient and accessible care (It eliminates geographical barriers, thus providing more immediate and accessible care no matter a patient’s or physician’s location).
  • Increased contact with your physician (The accessibility allows the patient to contact their doctor more frequently, giving them more control of their medical care and a stronger relationship with their doctor.)
  • Better quality patient care (The user-friendly aspect allows for regular follow-ups and check-ins, which adds to the quality of care and benefits the patient/physician relationship.)

Naturopathic Family Health

While we are excited here at Naturopathic Family Health to take part in this technological phenomenon, it is important to note that it can’t replace the value of in-person appointments. That is why we are only offering telemedicine services to existing patients. Since we can’t take vitals from a screen, we ask that new patients have their first appointment in the office (with the exception of nutrition clients).

We primarily recommend telemedicine appointments for Dr. Casey Berkebile’s patients, as she is now in the office for only a couple of days a month, and the nutrition clients of Naturopathic Family Health’s nutritionist Jill Borba. However, physical exams do require an in-person appointment. Feel free to reach out to us to learn if telemedicine is right for you.

If you have questions or are interested in learning more about telemedicine, contact us today!

 

 

 

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Cardiovascular Health: Hypertension

blood-pressure-pressure-gauge-medical-the-test

Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension affects 50 million Americans, 30 percent of whom are not aware of their own diagnosis. Abnormally high blood pressure is marked by BP levels above 140/90, and is estimated to be responsible for 62 percent of stroke and 49 percent of coronary artery disease worldwide. For every blood pressure increase of 20/10 mmHg after 115/75, your risk of cardiovascular disease doubles. Hypertension is a serious condition that can be dangerous if left undiagnosed and untreated.

What can cause hypertension?

Hypertension can be caused by a number of common nutritional and lifestyle factors, including:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive sodium intake
  • Poor intake of fruits, vegetables and potassium
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Alcohol

It can also be caused by less common factors such as caffeine and stress. Taking care to lower or eliminate these factors is critical to treating and preventing hypertension. All of these factors have one thing in common, especially when they’re impacting your life in excess: they put undue pressure on your cardiovascular system.

What can we do about it?

Natural treatment for hypertension starts with prevention. Certain lifestyle and nutritional changes can decrease your blood pressure levels and your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Salt restriction

Restricting the amount of salt in your diet can be a significant factor in mitigating hypertension. Limiting your salt intake can lower your blood pressure by 8 to 14 mmHg.

Exercise

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. Even a brisk daily walk for just 30 minutes can lower your systolic blood pressure by 4 to 9 mmHg.

 

Weight loss

Obesity is one of the most common causes of hypertension. Preventing weight gain or losing weight can play a role in lowering your blood pressure. A loss of about 22 lbs, for instance, can lower systolic blood pressure by 5 to 20 mmHg.

Other ways to manage blood pressure

There are other, more discrete contributors to hypertension that you may not be aware of. For example, sleep apnea can play a role in increasing the pressure on your cardiovascular system. And high stress levels can have a similarly detrimental effect when you’re awake. It’s a good idea to record your daily blood pressure levels to learn how your blood pressure is affected by things like diet, exercise, stress and medication. You can check consumer reports to find a high-quality blood pressure machine to keep track on your own.

 

If you’re on medication for your hypertension, be wary of nutrient depletion. For example, HCTZ, a diuretic, can cause you to lose critical nutrients like B12, B6, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, B1, potassium, folic acid, and CoQ10.

 

Dr. Sherry Su is a specialist in hypertension. To learn more about high blood pressure and what you can do about it, schedule an appointment with Dr. Su today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allergy Season Could be Worse this Year: Here’s How to Get Ready

Allergy Season Could be Worse this Year: Here’s How to Get Ready

natural allergy prevention

Thanks to the immense amount of rains that have showered Northern California this year, plants are already starting their spring blooms and pollen levels are only going to increase with intensity as the season goes on. That means more people may be affected by seasonal allergies, and the symptoms might be more severe. Caused by a histamine response to pollen floating around in the air, seasonal allergies are exaggerated when the pollen count is higher. When exposed to an allergen, whether it’s pet dander or pollen, your body will produce antibodies called Immunoglobulin E that cause your cells to respond by releasing inflammatory chemicals, like histamine. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, it’s not yet understood why some bodies are more susceptible to certain allergies over others.

The effects of allergies can include some symptoms you know all too well—sneezing, puffiness, watery eyes—but they can also include more extreme bouts of eczema, hay fever and asthma in people who are most sensitive. Allergies are uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst. The severity and impact of treatment will vary based on your body, but the best way to fight allergies is to, first, get ahead of them with natural preventative measures.

Preparing your body for allergy season means taking preventative measures to build up your body’s defenses before it needs to fight allergens in the air. One of the best places to start for immune protection is your digestive tract. Here are some dietary suggestions to get your gut ready for the season:

 

Eat anti-inflammatory foods

Reducing inflammatory foods altogether could help fight allergens as well. There are some foods that are more likely to cause immune flare-ups throughout the body, which means you’ll also be more prone to allergic reactions of other kinds. During this time of the year, to decrease your immune response, replace foods made with white flour and refined sugars with whole fruits and vegetables. Try to reduce dairy as much as possible, and replace vegetable oil with coconut oil or olive oil whenever you can. Although this can help decrease your histamine response (which means less sneezing!), making these healthy substitutions is just general good practice for healthy eating, according to our nutritionist Jill Borba. Whole foods are almost always going to be better for keep your immune system strong than processed foods.

 

Include more vitamins

Reducing digestion-related inflammation may be the first step to minimizing your body’s response to allergens, but it’s not the only way to prepare for the season. Adding foods to your diet that are rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids, and omega-3 fatty acids can protect cells from damage. Omega-3 fatty acids can help especially in the fight against asthma in children. Sometimes, getting the right nutrition from allergy-fighting foods isn’t enough. In that case, supplements can be a great compliment to an antioxidant-rich, low-inflammatory diet. Contact us to find out the best allergy-related supplements.

 

Don’t underestimate probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms that balance the bacteria levels in your gut and can help aid healthy digestion. Maintaining a healthy gut, many argue, is the first step to keeping your immune system functioning properly, which is critical as we approach the worst of allergy season. The live cultures found in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and other fermented foods can help keep allergy symptoms at bay.

 

Buy local…honey

Honey contains pollen collected by bees, so if it’s honey from local bees, you’ll be able to bring traces of that pollen into your system. The idea is to expose your immune system to local pollen in a small dose so it works to build up its natural defenses to allergens in the air without any of the unpleasant symptoms. For the best results, choose honey that’s as local as possible.

 

In addition to dietary preparations, you can prime your body to be less reactive to allergens and treat your symptoms throughout allergy season with herbal and nutritional supplements and low exposure to allergens. Other treatment options that can reduce symptoms include acupuncture and massage therapy. Contact us for more information on preventing and treating your allergies naturally this season!

 

 

 

 

 

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Are You Using Dangerous Chemicals to Clean?

Are You Using Dangerous Chemicals to Clean?

Products we have used for decades to clean our houses are powered by chemicals that can actually do us harm. So many of these cleaning products have even become household names—Clorox, Windex, Mr. Clean, Febreeze. These products, however, even some that claim to be “natural” or “green,” contain harmful chemicals that could put you and your family at risk of irritation, chronic health problems, organ damage, and in some cases cause fertility issues or cancer.

Cleaning products are not required to come with a list of ingredients, which makes it incredibly easy for dangerous chemicals to slip through the cracks without us knowing about them. Here are some of the worst chemical culprits that toxify conventional cleaning supplies we use around the house:

Ammonia is found in glass cleaner and fixture polishes, it’s an irritant when inhaled through the throat and lungs and can contribute to asthma or bronchitis. It also forms a highly poisonous gas for if mixed with bleach. It could also lead to possible liver and kidney damage.

Coal tar dyes are found in most conventional cleaning products, though they don’t improve the cleaning function of those products—they are merely dyes that improve the visual appeal. They do, however, contain heavy metals—think arsenic and lead. Synthetic dyes are possible carcinogens and the heavy metals they contain can negatively impact the central nervous system if absorbed through the skin or ingested into the body through the digestive tract.

Chlorine is a chemical lurking in toilet bowl cleaners and whitening laundry detergent, most bleach products—and often your household tap water. When chlorine fumes are inhaled, they can cause irritation in the lungs, especially for those with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma. In addition, an abundance of chlorine could change the proper functioning of the thyroid, resulting in a damaging hormone imbalance throughout the body. Ammonia is also present in urine, and can create a dangerous gas when mixed with chlorine. It’s best to avoid using bleach products on or near diaper pails, cat litter boxes and toilets.

2-Butoxyethanol is found in window and all purpose cleaners, windshield wiper fluid, stain removers. This chemical is an irritant to the skin and eyes and it has also been shown to cause reproductive issues for some.

Quaternary ammonium compounds, commonly known as “quats,” are found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets, and they are contribute to skin irritation and asthma. A study of mice has shown that exposure to quats can impact fertility and affect pregnancy and childbirth in females. These compounds are difficult to avoid altogether, since they play a large role in disinfecting hospitals and food processing plants, but reducing exposure by switching to homemade cleaning supplies is a good place to start.

Phthalates are a classification of a few thousand chemicals found in cleaning supplies like dish soap, air fresheners, and even toilet paper. Because companies are not required to list these chemicals on packaging, they will often group them together under the name “fragrances.” If you inhale these fragrances, you could be subject to migraines and asthma, and phthalates disrupt your body’s endocrine function, which could lead to a reduction in sperm count for men.

Perchloroethylene is most commonly found in dry-cleaned clothes, and California has a plan to phase out this chemical at professional dry cleaning establishments by 2023 because of its dangers. Also present in many spot removers and carpet cleaners, “perc” is a neurotoxin that has been characterized as a possible carcinogen.

Tricolsan is a chemical found in most “antibacterial” products, including soaps and dish detergent. Researchers have shown it to be a likely carcinogen and may create a hormonal imbalances in the body. It can also help the promotion of resistant strains of bacteria, which could put you and your family even more at risk of bacterial infection.

 

Homemade cleaning alternatives

 

If conventional cleaning products don’t clean without consequences, are there cleaning supplies that can do the cleaning job well without risking your health? Absolutely! Some you can buy at health-conscious stores like Whole Foods, while others are easy to make at home. Here are some of our favorite homemade cleaning alternatives:

Homemade Spot Remover from MommyPotamus – This spot remover uses just a few basic all-natural ingredients that cut grease and remove stains without all the chemicals.

DIY Citrus Glass & Window Cleaner That Beats Windex from The Hippy Homemaker – This one uses all the power of orange oil, an essential oil that contains, d-limonene, a powerful cleaning agent derived entirely from oranges.

Homemade All-Purpose Chemical-Free Cleaner from Everyday Roots – This is a favorite because it’s one of the few DIY all-purpose cleaners that doesn’t contain borax, which isn’t as readily as baking soda!

The Best Homemade Bathroom Cleaner Ever by Crunchy Betty – This winning recipe “puts Scrubbing Bubbles to shame,” and it’s easy and chemical-free. If you can’t find the ingredient washing soap in your local grocery store laundry soap aisle, you can make it with just baking soda and your oven.

Homemade Air Freshener by Thank Your Body – Using just three ingredients, this air freshener is so easy to make and can freshen up any room—even if you have pets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our nutritionist weighs in: Saturated fat is not the enemy

Our nutritionist weighs in: Saturated fat is not the enemy

While an excess of any fat can be detrimental, in the right amounts, saturated fat is essential to our bodies’ normal functions. Among other things, saturated fat is the heart’s main source of energy. In fact, your heart can’t work without it—which means we definitely shouldn’t be avoiding it.

So why are we?

Hype and conventional medicine have been telling the public for decades that saturated fat causes heart disease. This commonly shared nutritional advice also dictates that the answer is to avoid foods with saturated fat and replace them with low fat substitutes like low fat milk and vegetable oil.

Fortunately, recent studies have shown that this advice has been misguided. Saturated fat is actually essential to the body. Yes, too much saturated fat is a problem and linked to high serum cholesterol, but we do need a healthy amount.

What happens when we avoid saturated fat?

When we avoid saturated fat, we tend to substitute with low fat foods and vegetable oils that can actually promote heart disease. A low fat diet, as was recommended for decades by doctors and scientists, creates inflammation that can that cause cholesterol to build up within our blood vessels. The glucose from sugars, processed carbohydrates, and vegetable oils high in omega-6—especially when consumed in excess—turns into stored fat, and stored fat increases inflammation throughout the body, including the circulatory system.

How does saturated fat help us stay healthy?

Saturated fat can offer healthy energy to the body if it’s consumed through good, whole foods. Take coconut for example. People often think that coconut is an indulgence, thanks to its high fat content, but it’s that very fat that makes it so healthy. Coconut is full of medium chain triglycerides (MCT), a form of saturated fat that digests more quickly. Because it is broken down more quickly, the body uses it as energy first, rather than storing it as fat in cells. In this way, MCTs actually boost metabolism, which means your body burns more fuel, and stores less as fat.

The most important thing to understand is that healthy amounts of saturated fats are necessary for the body, but overconsuming can be dangerous. It’s also important to avoid processed foods like white flour, refined sugar and the foods we adopt to replace saturated fats—low fat dairy, vegetable oil—as much as possible. These foods are linked to inflammation in the circulatory system and, in turn, heart disease.


Recommendations from nutritionist Jill Borba

 

It’s important to know how much saturated fat to consume to give our hearts optimal energy. Thankfully, we can get what we need from that essential fat by eating healthy, wholesome food.

How much saturated fat should I be eating?

Saturated fat should be limited to 10 percent of our total caloric intake, which would look like 20-23 grams on a 2,000 calorie diet. For an average diet of 2,000 calories a day, you would eat about 23 grams of saturated fat.

What healthy foods should I eat to get enough saturated fat?

Your saturated fat intake should come from healthy foods like coconut oil, and organic, grass-fed dairy and meat. And, of course, even healthy foods like can become detrimental to our health if we overindulge, so be sure to practice moderation.

If you’d like to learn more about your body and nutrition, call us at 408.356.1364 or email our nutritionist Jill Borba to schedule a consultation. Jill is an expert in the preventative effects of a healthy diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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