Health Tip #75

Health Tip 75

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Health Tip #52

health-tip-52

Article to come…

Health Tip#49

health-tip-49

Article to come….

Health Tip #48

health-tip-48

Pesticides = Poor Health

It has been shown that the toxins in our food greatly increase our overall toxic burden to a point where they become a major contributing factor in human disease.  In fact, some experts have equated our modern food supply with a slow poisoning.

Pesticide use has steadily increased in modern times.  After World War II, chemical warfare companies switched over to agriculture and began using their chemicals as herbicides and pesticides on our crops.

Studies have shown long term exposure to these chemicals has resulted in infertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurological disorders and cancer.  Particularly worrisome, is the toxic effect on the reproductive systems of women wanting to get pregnant, pregnant women and on young children.

Why are we eating pesticides?

A major problem is that 80% of genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified organisms (GMO) crops are actually designed for use with these chemicals.  They go hand-in-hand.  Chemical companies own GE seed companies.  An estimated 7.7 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops each year.

Making better choices

These chemicals are sold to us under the guise of increasing yields and lowering costs but research shows otherwise.   Less toxic techniques such as IPM (integrated pest management), crop rotation and installing pest traps have shown an increase in crop yields and a decrease in pesticide use.

Consumer Report suggests that certain foods should always be organic.  These include: peaches, strawberries, bell peppers, tangerines, cranberries, carrots, green beans, hot peppers, nectarines and sweet potatoes.  Also, animals fed pesticide laden foods, will bio-accumulate these toxins so that foods that come from an animal should also be from pesticide free sources.  For more on buying organic, please see tip on choosing organic foods.

Health Tip #39

health-tip-39

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is an endocrine gland.  It helps to regulate metabolism and weight.  Thyroid hormones influence every cell and process in the body including growth and development.

How does it work?

The thyroid produces three types of hormones:  T3, T4, and T2.  These hormones interact with all other hormones in our bodies.  The liver converts T4 into T3 (the active form).  T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair and helps maintain body weight by controlling metabolism.  T3 can be disrupted by stress, infections, nutritional imbalances, toxins and allergens.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is and under-active thyroid, when when our bodies don’t produce enough thyroid hormone.  Many, many people have sub-clinical hypothyroidism with no obvious signs or symptoms.

  • Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

    • Some symptoms of Hypothyroidism include: tiring easily and lack of sustained energy, depression, feeling of a “heavy” head, falling asleep sitting up, weight gain, dry skin and chronic hives, hair loss, always feeling cold, low basal body temperature, stiff and popping joints, tingling and numbness.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is an over-active thyroid, when the thyroid secretes too much T4.

  • Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

    • Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism are: protruding eyes, menstrual cycle irregularities, weight loss, heartbeat irregularities, emotional instability, lack of mental focus, nervousness, restlessness, and frequent bowel movements.

Possible Causes of Thyroid Dysfunction and What to Avoid

Some possible underlying causes of thyroid dysfunction include: radiation exposure, chronic stress, nutrient debt (from eating processed foods, low HCl and malabsorption), heavy metal accumulation, pesticides, halogens (bromides, fluoride, chlorine), dysbiosis, free radical damage (low antioxidants), low iodine levels, low selenium levels, yo-yo dieting, metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) and goitrogens (in soy and cabbage family foods), Food allergies and sensitivities, and gluten sensitivity.

Testing thyroid function

Lab tests may be done to access the function of the thyroid including: TSH test, free T4 and free T3 test, and a thyroid antibody test to test for an autoimmune reaction.  A self test can be performed as an initial indicator of low thyroid by taking our temperature, with a basal body thermometer, each morning, before getting out of bed, for at least three days.  Average body temperature measurements should not be below 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.4 degrees Celsius.

What to Add In

Things to add in to our diets and lifestyles to nourish the thyroid include:

  • Clean”  whole foods (as opposed to processed foods) to help reduce her exposure to toxins in the diet, particularly pesticides as they interfere with iodine uptake.
  • Shop the outside perimeter of the grocery store looking for nutrient dense, unprocessed whole foods.
  • A primarily plant based diet of brightly colored vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, will provide her with plenty of fiber and antioxidants.
  • Meals including protein and healthy fats to help us feel more satisfied and support blood sugar stability.  healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, egg yolks and omega 3 oils (like those found in cold water fish, walnuts and pecans, will not make us fat but instead nourish the thyroid and help to regulate our weight).
  • Slow down, careful chewing, avoiding or limiting convenience foods (which lead to inflammation and thyroid problems), as well as drinking between meals (not with meals) so as to not dilute HCl.
  • Drinking pure or filtered water, which does not contain any fluoride or Chlorine.
  • Sea foods and Sea vegetables, (such as: kelp flakes or mixed seaweed flakes), rich in trace minerals and iodine, have a salty flavor and can be added (undetected) to soups and stews. Note: Iodine containing foods are recommended for non-autoimmune thyroiditis only. For autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s), they should be avoided.
*For more information on Hashimoto’s and molecular mimicry, see my tip on going gluten free.

Health Tip #33

health-tip-33

Only crazy people buy organic, right?

When I first saw a person filling their cart with overpriced, organic produce at the health food store, I thought they were crazy.  Years later, that crazy person and I became friends and I became the crazy person filling my cart with organic produce.  So what changed in my understanding between then and now that made me want to spend my hard earned money on organics?

Reasons to choose organic

Why, when studies have shown that organic and conventional foods have similar levels of of nutrients, would I be willing to dish out the extra dough?  The reasons are many.  Below is a brief look at some of the reasons to choose organic over conventionally produced foods:

  • studies have shown that organic produce contains considerably more antioxidants
  • organically grown foods better maintain the integrity of the soil and the diversity of microorganisms.  These microorganism maintain the soils healthy ecosystem and make nutrients in the soil bio-available to the plants, making healthy more diseases resistant plants.  The plants then pass the nutrients on to us when we eat them.  Conventional practices destroy this ecosystem.
  • Pesticides are used in the production of conventional fruit, vegetables, wheat, corn, grain products and livestock feed.
  • Pesticides bio-accumulate up the food chain in animal products such as dairy, eggs, meat and fish.
  • Pesticides have toxic effects on the body linked to cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive issues and damage to unborn children.
  • Pesticides are antibiotic in nature and disrupt our gut microbiome, leading to inflammation and physical and mental ailments.
  • Conventional agricultural practices can cause toxic run off from fields, contaminating  water ways and wildlife.
  • According to the Environmental Working Group, conventional produce most heavily laden with pesticides include: strawberries, apples, grapes, peaches, nectarines, celery, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.  But it is the potato that boasts most pesticides by weight than any other produce.
  • Illegal pesticide residues are three times as likely to be found in imported produce.  Notice where your produce is coming from.

Do we always need to choose organic?

Other options are available to us other than just having to buy everything certified organic.  Some of these options include:

  • harvest wild edibles
  • grow your own garden
  • buy from a local farmers’ market where produce may not be officially organic but comes from a local “pesticide free” or “no spray” farm.
  • wash all your produce thoroughly in a sink of water and hydrogen peroxide to pull pesticides and pathogens off the surface.  (Note this is only a surface treatment.)
  • Peel produce to reduce surface contamination (although much of a fruit or vegetables nutrients and antioxidants are in the peel).
  • Vary your intake of different produce and sources.
  • When buying conventionally produced fruits an vegetables, stick to the Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen including: avocados, [non-GMO] sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, [non-GMO papayas], kiwis, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and cauliflower. Of these, avocados were the cleanest.