Health Tip #73

Health Tip 73

Health Tip #69

Health Tip 69

Health Tip #38

health-tip-38

Contrary to popular belief, most of us with digestive issues, including heart burn and GERD, are suffering from too little stomach acid, rather than too much.  Many factors can contribute to having too little stomach acid including: eating too quickly and under stress, a diet too high in processed carbs and sugars which upsets the gut’s microbial balance and eating foods that we are sensitive to, such as gluten, which can cause an inflammatory response.  Some medications also reduce our natural stomach acid.

Besides removing the factors that cause reduced stomach acid,  one thing that we can do to improve digestion is to add in a hydrochloric acid (HCl) and digestive enzyme supplement.  We can test how much HCl supplement we need by adding one HCl capsule each meal time.  By increasing the number of capsules by one, each meal time, we can take note of any reactions we feel.  When a slight burning sensation is felt in the upper gastric area, we know our supplementation is having an effect and it’s time to cut back.  At this point, we reduce the dosage to that which we were taking prior to the burning sensation.

The HCl acid supplement we choose should also include digestive enzymes, particularly pepsin.  If the stomach acid is low, it will not be producing enough protein digesting enzymes either.

A caveat to this advice comes from  Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac as he warns:

Note: HCL should never be taken (and this test should not be performed) by anyone who is also using any kind of anti-inflammatory medication such as corticosteroids (e.g. predisone), aspirin, Indocin, ibuprofen (e.g. Motrin, Advil, etc.) or other NSAIDS. These drugs can damage the GI lining that supplementary HCL might aggravate, increasing the risk of gastric bleeding or ulcer.

Health Tip #37

health-tip-37

Chronic Inflammation is a precursor to degenerative diseases and to us meeting an earlier end.  Chronic inflammation can often be silent, or go unnoticed until symptoms of degenerative disease begin to show themselves.  The best way to offset this tendency toward degeneration is to add in anti-inflammatory foods.  As it turns out, anti-inflammatory foods are the real, whole foods we have been discussing thus far.

Vegetables and Fruits

As we have discussed before, brightly colored fruits and vegetables should cover the majority of your plate at any meal.  We should try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.  Some of the best anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables include berries like blueberries, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale).  When considering brightly colored produce, don’t forget about the anti-inflammatory herbs we discussed in the last post such as garlic, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon.  Fermented vegetables such as kimchee, pickles and sauerkraut should also be considered.  Shiitake mushrooms are also an anti-inflammatory addition as they help to mitigate oxidative stress.

Grains and Legumes

If including grains and legumes in the diet, make sure they are whole, soaked or fermented and properly prepared for proper digestion.  Flour based, processed grains should be avoided.  As we’ve discussed in a previous posts, rather or not gluten is included in the diet should be carefully considered.  If it is included, proper preparation is crucial.  Organic, fermented soybean products such as natto, miso and tempeh can also be added.

Fats

Adding in healthy fats (coconut, avocados, raw nuts, olives, coconut oil, and cold-pressed olive oil) and the elimination of bad fats (highly processed vegetable oils like canola oil, soybean oil, margarine and hydrogenated oils/trans fats) is crucial in the anti-inflammatory diet.

Omega 3 foods such as  cold water, fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines, anchovies and herrings should also be included in an anti-inflammatory diet.

Protein

In general, in our western diets, we tend to eat too much animal protein. A vegetable based diet is best and a little good quality animal protein goes a long way.   If you can, choose wild local seafood, local grass-fed meats and dairy products.

Other Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Other anti-inflammatory foods to consider in your diet are green tea, tulsi tea, matcha and dark chocolate for their antioxidant content.

Avoid Processed Foods and Sugar

One of the most important things to remember when eating an anti-inflammatory diet is to avoid processed foods, especially those containing processed sugars and bad fats.  Regular consumption of flour based foods and refined sugars should be avoided as insulin resistance leads to chronic inflammation and degenerative disease.

 

 

 

Health Tip #36

health-tip-36

The subject of herbs is a big topic!

There are culinary herbs, herbal teas, super food herbs, tonic herbs, fresh herbs, dried herbs, powders, tinctures, oils… just to name a few.  Each area on it’s own is a vast area study.  For the purpose of this tip, we’re going to keep it simple.  We are going to speak in very general terms about the benefit of culinary herbs.

Herbs offer health benefits

Herbs have been used for their medicinal properties for thousands of years prior to man made pharmaceuticals.

Just adding culinary herbs into our diets provides antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.  Culinary herbs alone offer a nutritive boost to our meals as they offer health benefits such as protecting against disease and clearing toxins from the body.  Some of the most antioxidant-rich culinary spices include cloves, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, ginger, black pepper, paprika and garlic.

Herbs like ginger treat nausea, and have antiviral compounds.  Licorice, turmeric, black pepper and oregano boost the immune system.  Turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, peppermint and cinnamon are anti-inflammatory.  Curcumin (the yellow/orange color) in turmeric has been highly studied for it’s anti-cancer effects.  Adding cinnamon to our diets has shown to lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.

Herbs can be added to all of our meals, as well as to smoothies and hot and cold beverages.  Which ever way we choose to add herbs to our lives, they are a great addition to our whole foods diet.  A great local source of high quality herbs is Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary.