5 Foods to Avoid for Healthy Hormones

Your diet plays a major role in helping you maintain a healthy body. The foods you eat can literally regulate processes of the body, including the secretion and balance of hormones (1). Having balanced hormones is absolutely critical for overall health and vitality in your daily life.  In order to begin making the right choices in this regard, you need to know which foods to stop eating immediately in order to help your body regain control over hormonal processes.

Foods that are beneficial to the body should improve your mood, energy, metabolic rate, bone health, reproductive health, and digestion. If you are experiencing allergies, gut issues, and hormonal imbalance then you need to reconsider the foods you are eating.

Major Factors Contributing to Hormone Imbalances

First, it helps to understand what leads to hormonal imbalances. Instead of just knowing specific foods, I want to help you understand the reasons these foods can be harmful. This way, you can use your own judgement to guide your food choices.

To me, this is the best way to help people be successful in the long run. By understanding core principals of hormone balance, you will be empowered to take charge of your hormonal health.

Blood Sugar Instability

One of the biggest factors for healthy hormones is blood sugar. If you are suffering from massive blood sugar imbalances that have you riding the blood sugar rollercoaster of stimulation, crash, and rampant cravings, then your hormones are not going to be optimal.

In fact, this is probably the single most important factor for improving your hormones. This is why a ketogenic or low-carb style of eating can be so beneficial. Many women try simply cutting down on calories and fats without understanding how important fats are for hormonal health.

A nutrition plan that is reliant on carbs as a primary source of calories can disturb hormones, cause a worsening of menopausal symptoms, and promote additional weight gain (2, 3).

Toxins

Toxins are ubiquitous in our society today, they are virtually unavoidable. While the body has the ability to cope with this to an extent, consuming too many of the wrong foods can overload your detoxification systems. Additionally, specific types of toxins are especially harmful for hormones.

Toxins that influence hormones are called endocrine disruptors and these include things like pthalates, BPA, PCBs, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals. These toxins can be found in packaged and processed foods, non-organic produce and dairy, beauty care products, home cleaning solutions, and in our indoor air.

One of the most obvious impacts of these toxins is that can have the ability to mimic estrogen in the body, creating a condition called estrogen dominance. This is the most common hormonal imbalance today between men and women alike. These negative effects are most evident in women who experience premature menopause and worsening of menopausal symptoms (4, 5).

Taking steps to reduce our exposure to these things while actively supporting the body’s detoxification systems is an extremely powerful step for balancing hormones.

Artificial Hormones

Artificial hormones from tap water, conventionally raised factory farm animals, and hormonal therapies (birth control, hormone replacement) are extremely unnatural to be exposed to on a regular basis.

Being chronically exposed to artificial hormones has a similar effect to the toxins discussed above, commonly leading to things like estrogen dominance and worsening of menopause symptoms.

Additionally, using hormone replacement therapies eventually downregulates receptor sites for those hormones while disrupting the body’s own production of hormones. This can have lasting effects even after stopping these therapies, potentially even causing complete atrophy of hormonal glands that have become dormant.

Inflammatory Foods

One of the worst things for hormonal health is chronic inflammation. This is part of the reason why a high-sugar diet is such a problem. Foods like wheat (and most grains), pasteurized dairy, vegetable oils, and sugar can cause inflammation in the gut. Soy is an especially problematic food when in its unfermented form even though often considered a healthy food for women (more on this in a moment).

Over time, inflammation becomes damage which leads to leaky gut, a major and common source of chronic inflammation throughout the body.

While there are common inflammatory foods for everyone, each person will tend to have their own personal sensitivities which can be determined via elimination diet or lab testing.

Removing inflammatory foods from the diet while focusing on supporting a healthy gut and digestion can play a significant role in having healthy hormones. Intermittent fasting can also be a powerful tool for this reason.

Stress

Chronic stress wreaks havoc on hormones. One of the primary reasons for this may be due to having elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is a necessary hormone that signals the brain when to react to an immediate stressor in our environment.

While this is a necessary response, cortisol shares a biochemical pathway with sex hormones in the body. When cortisol is chronically elevated, this detracts from the production of sex hormones and can even exacerbate menopausal symptoms such as headaches, weight gain, loss of libido, and insomnia (6). Chronically elevated stress levels can also have negative effects on blood sugar and thyroid hormones (7).

Symptoms of Hormone Imbalances

For women experiencing menopause, symptoms of hormonal imbalances are severe expression of the menopause symptoms that are considered “normal”. This includes: hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, loss of libido, and vaginal dryness. For both sexes, hormone imbalances can cause emotional instability, loss of libido, weight gain, low energy, and more apparent signs of ageing such as wrinkles.

The best way to know the state of your hormones is to test them using either a Male or Female comprehensive cortisol rhythm and sex hormone panel. These simple non-invasive tests require only a few saliva samples and provide a valuable snap shot into your hormonal health. You can use this information to motivate you towards adopting healthier lifestyle habits to propel you towards your health goals.

Top 5 Foods to Avoid for Optimal Hormones

Now that you know some of the top factors affecting hormones, let’s talk about foods. While it is much more advantageous to focus on the foods you CAN eat, sometimes it helps to start with which ones are the most important to eliminate from your diet as soon as possible.

Sugar

As we discussed, blood sugar instability is one of the worst factors for hormonal health. It is safe to say that no amount of processed sugar is healthy in the diet, the average American consumes about 130 grams every day. Most people consume the majority of their calories from carbohydrate sources which locks their body in a sugar burning state.

Instead of a high-sugar, high-carbohydrate diet, use natural sweeteners and follow more of a ketogenic lifestyle.

A ketogenic lifestyle will teach your body to burn fats instead of sugar and get you off of the blood sugar rollercoaster, balancing your hormones in the process. With this you will likely experience more energy, easier weight loss, and an improve emotional stability. You can read how to get started in this article: Keto Metabolic Makeover.

Additionally, opt for natural sweeteners that do not cause massive blood sugar fluctuations such as stevia, monk fruit, and raw local honey or coconut palm sugar in moderation.

Unfermented Soy

Many women are misled into believing that soy is healthy for them because it contains natural estrogens. While soy does contain plant-based estrogens, this does not mean it is healthy for women.

In fact, the consumption of unfermented soy products has often led to worsening of menopausal symptoms (8). For most women, they are likely dealing with excess estrogen already, more estrogenic foods are no the answer.

Fermented soy such as tempeh, miso, and natto can be great foods in moderate amounts.

Unhealthy Fats

It is far too common to see that in an attempt to be healthier, people ditch fats like butter and coconut oil for things like canola or margarine. Processed and damaged fats like canola, safflower, sunflower, and corn are incredibly inflammatory and damaging to the body.

Healthy fats and cholesterol are vital for healthy homones and these include coconut products, avocados, olives and olive oil, and organic pasture-raised animal products.

In fact, consuming a diet that is high in fat and low in carbs has been shown to be superior to a low calorie diet for lowering weight, improving cholesterol levels, and lowering inflammation in the body (9).

Alcohol

Alcohol consumption has several detrimental effects on the body that can disrupt hormones. Alcohol throws off blood sugar, inflames the gut, burdens the liver, and promotes a state of estrogen dominance.

Estrogen dominance is already a rampant issue in today’s society, with both men and women facing the consequences of having excess estrogen.

Conventional Meat and Dairy

Meat and dairy products that come from factory farmed animals is loaded with artificial hormones as well as xenoestrogenic compounds that throw off hormones. This is because artificial hormones are often used to speed growth of the animals while being raised in an unsanitary and inhumane environment filled with toxins.

On the other hand, meat and dairy products from pastured-raised animals can be a great source of healthy fats, conjugated linoleic acid, and butyrate to support hormones and fat-burning.

Foods to Balance Hormones

When it comes to taking the dietary steps to balance hormones, there are 4 things that must be focused on:

  1. Drinking plenty of clean water (reverse osmosis): between .5-1 oz of water for every lb of bodyweight you have. Be sure to drink only away from meal times to allow for optimal digestion.
  2. Plenty of healthy fats. Fats provide a great source of energy and provide raw materials for your body to make the hormones it needs. Training your body to be in a state of ketosis will turn your body into a fat burning machine that balances hormones naturally.
  3. Only consume meat and dairy from pasture-raised animals to avoid many of the toxins encountered with factory-raised animals.
  4. Consume plenty of antioxidant-rich and anti-estrogenic vegetables, herbs, and spices. Cruciferous vegatables are some of the best for this purpose. In fact, broccoli sprouts are one of the most powerful hormone balancing foods.

The pyramid below displays an eating distribution that is designed for optimal hormone function.

Lifestyle Tips for Healthy Hormones

While the foods you eat play a tremendously important role in your hormonal health, there are also daily lifestyle habits that may be equally important.  Our hormones are very susceptible to the amount of toxins we are exposed too, the levels of stress we are under and our quality of sleep.

In addition, regular movement and exercise is so nourishing for our hormone function.  Finally, be sure to pursue healthy relationships as good relationships help our physiology understand we are in a safe place and we can get back in balance.

Daily Detoxification

As was discussed already, much of the hormonal issues encountered today can be attributed to toxin exposure. While following a healing diet can help to mitigate your exposure to many of these toxins, it is virtually impossible to avoid them altogether.

This is why it is important to support your body in detoxification on a daily basis. This means supporting liver health, flushing out the kidneys with super hydration, sweating on a regular basis, along with the rest of the strategies discussed in this article here: 10 Daily Detoxification Strategies.

Reduce Stress

Because of how cortisol is able to wreak havok on sex hormones, it is important that you take the steps necessary to reduce stress and combat chronically elevated cortisol levels on a daily basis.

The number one way to improve your resilience to stress is to balance your blood sugar by following a healing diet full of healthy fats. Other powerful techniques include deep breathing exercises, grounding, sunlight, magnesium supplementation, and using adaptogenic herbs.

Optimize Sleep

The body runs in cycles. One of the most obvious is how we awake in the morning when the sun comes up and fall asleep at night when the sun goes down.

When this rhythm gets thrown off, there are vast consequences that many people don’t realize. Poor sleep throws off blood sugar, drives up inflammation, increases cortisol secretion during the day, and ultimately throws off hormones as well.

Making sure you are getting the best sleep possible is extremely important for healthy hormones. The strategies illustrated below will be the most effective ways of improving your sleep.

Healthy Relationships

While this could technically go under reduce stress, it is important that you engage in social interactions that allow you to laugh and communicate openly. Being surrounded by people that respect and honor your mission in life can be extremely important in determining your daily wellbeing.

If you are constantly engaging in interactions that leave you feeling drained then you are likely driving up cortisol and throwing off your hormones as well.


Exercise

Finally, exercising on a regular basis is critical for healthy hormones. Particularly short-duration, high-intensity exercise that uses large muscle groups 2-4 times a week is excellent for this.

This can come in the form of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Tabata, sprints, or weight lifting exercises.

 

Conclusion

Hormones affect every aspect of your health. They can govern your energy levels, your mental acuity, and even drive to engage in social interactions. As you take the steps necessary to improve your hormonal health, you will notice extended benefits into many areas of your life.

This starts with eliminating certain problematic foods in your diet while replacing them with healthier choices.

Sources for this Article Include:

1. Ryan, K. K., & Seeley, R. J. (2013). Food as a hormone. Science. PMID: 23430646
2. Ebbeling, C. B., Leidig, M. M., Feldman, H. A., Lovesky, M. M., & Ludwig, D. S. (2007). Effects of a low-glycemic load vs low-fat diet in obese young adults: A randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 297(19), 2092–2102. PMID: 17507345
3. Chaput, J.-P., Tremblay, A., Rimm, E. B., Bouchard, C., & Ludwig, D. S. (2008). A novel interaction between dietary composition and insulin secretion: effects on weight gain in the Quebec Family Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87(2), 303–9. PMID: 18258618
4. Dalal, P., & Agarwal, M. (2015). Postmenopausal syndrome. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 57(6), 222. PMID: 25082954
5. Vahter, M., Berglund, M., & Åkesson, A. (2004). Toxic metals and the menopause. Journal of the British Menopause Society. PMID: 15207026
6. Sakson-Obada, O., & Wycisk, J. (2015). The body self and the frequency, intensity and acceptance of menopausal symptoms. Przeglad Menopauzalny, 14(2), 82–89. PMID: 26327894
7. Ranabir, S., & Reetu, K. (2011). Stress and hormones. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 15(1), 18. PMID: 21584161
8. Levis, S., & Griebeler, M. L. (2010). The role of soy foods in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. The Journal of Nutrition, 140(12), 2318S–2321S. PMID: 21047930
9. Steckhan, N., Hohmann, C.-D., Kessler, C., Dobos, G., Michalsen, A., & Cramer, H. (2016). Effects of different dietary approaches on inflammatory markers in patients with metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition, 32(3), 338–348. PMID: 26706026

This Article Was Written By Our Guest:

Vineetha Reddy

Being a regular practitioner and adviser of everything related to nutrition, fitness, health, and wellness, I also have begun to write and contribute to this knowledge ecosystem on sites like StyleCraze.com. I strongly believe that the ingredients you find in your pantry provide the best benefits for good health. Follow me for my best ideas and solutions

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6 Ways Indoor Air Pollution Affects Your Health

6 Ways Indoor Air Pollution Affects Health

Could the air you are breathing in be harmful to your health and lead to lasting health effects? It is easy to forget about air as a potential risk factor for our health because we can’t tangibly see air to consider its power. Most Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors. Additionally, indoor air pollution is typically much worse than outdoor air quality unless you take steps to filter it properly. Indoor air pollution effects your health in more ways than you know.

When it comes to overall health, the quality of the air you are breathing is something to really consider.  Out of the 90% of time that most people spend indoors, 65% of that is actually in your own home. You may be thinking that your home is safe and free of toxic air pollution but you may want to think again.

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Many household products contain toxic chemicals that can turn into air pollutants in your personal environment. Most indoor air pollution originates from sources that release gases or particles into the air. Candles, air fresheners, cleaning products and other household items can be potential culprits of air pollutants in your home. The products in your home, aren’t the only compromising aspects of your indoor air quality.

Poor ventilation in your home can also taint your indoor air quality, without the release of air pollutants in your home from proper ventilation an accumulation of pollutants will make home in your air. In recent years, homes have been constructed to be well-sealed fortresses to help reduce utility expenses. However, a trade-off occurs when you then compromise the quality of your indoor air which can then lead to potential health issues in the future from long-term exposure.

Health Effects of Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution was ranked as one of the top five environmental risks to public health according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (1). Scary, isn’t it? The effects that air pollutants and poor indoor air quality can have on our health is a very imminent threat to our overall health.

The severity of the potential health effects from indoor air quality depends on a few things, specifically how polluted your indoor air really is and how long you have been exposed to the hazardous pollution. Symptoms that usually are acquired from indoor air pollution can range from coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and upper respiratory congestion.

Although, these short-term effects may not sound too threatening the inherent long-term effects that can affect you have the risk of being quite detrimental to your health. Long-term effects can range from weight gain, depression, allergies, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease or even asthma.

Indoor Air Pollution

Weight Gain

Have you been packing on the pounds but just can’t understand the sudden fluctuation on the scale? You may be following your diet and eating all the right things but the pounds keep coming on for no reason. Could your indoor air pollution play a role in this sudden and unexpected weight gain?

Simply put, yes, it is possible that your compromised indoor air could be contributing to the elevated number you see on the scale. Many things can be an added factor to weight gain including metabolism, genetics, and shockingly enough the air you breathe in every day.

A study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that two groups of rats who were served the same diet but in two different indoor air environments had surprising results. The group of rats that were exposed to and breathed in more polluted air gained more weight in comparison to the group who was exposed and breathing in clean, filtered air (2). These results can implicate the same unnerving outcomes for humans that are also exposed to indoor air pollution.

Depression

Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide, according to The World Health Organization. In recent years depression has become a serious health condition that many people suffer from that can debilitate their quality of life. Depression is commonly associated with genetics or a life event that can progress this state, but what if the air you breathe everyday contributes to this condition?

The potential risk factor of depression can be hard to pinpoint, with research having a strong focus on air pollution that can magnify the intensity of depressive symptoms. As many as 8 out of 10 analyzed research shows a significant correlation between long-term exposure to air pollution and depression (3). This could be potentially due to the inflammatory response that being exposed to environmental toxicity has on the body.

A study conducted by the Yale School of Public Health found as well that an increase in air pollution was linked with an increase in higher levels of depression (4). Getting rid of indoor air pollution can possibly be a method of aiding in the severity of your depression and help to aid in the betterment of your overall health.

Asthma

The World Health Organization estimated that 20 percent to 30 percent of all respiratory diseases are a result of ambient and indoor air pollution (5). This would stand to reason since inhalation is the key passageway for air pollutants and affects the respiratory system. More than 18 million adults and 6 million children as of 2012, suffer from asthma.

Could this increasing trend be the result of poor indoor air quality? Asthma, a respiratory disease, can be severely impacted by poor indoor air quality and can be caused by breathing in toxic air pollutants in your environment. Air pollutants are small particles that find their way into your air, and taint the air you breathe which can than lead to potential respiratory issues.

Indoor air pollutants and allergens play a major role in triggering asthma attacks, as well as eliciting asthma symptoms or just making a person’s asthma worse in general.

Allergies

Allergies come around as allergens find their way into your air, as one in five Americans will likely experience allergy-related illnesses at some point in their lives, and indoor allergens are predicted to be the key component for many, according to the Institute of Medicine (6). The pollutants in your home’s air can trigger the onset of allergy symptoms such as skin rash, headaches, sneezing, runny nose, swelling, and fatigue.

When pollen is in the air it is usually when allergies come roaring their ugly head in full force. In recent years as the temperature drops in the winter and we shelter ourselves indoors, allergies have been steadily increasing as air pollutants flood your home’s air. Not only does your home contain indoor air pollutants that have been brought by various household items such as the cleaning products you use in your home, but your home’s air also contains outdoor allergens that force their way into your tightly ventilated home.

Your home’s HVAC filter can play a critical role in trying to eliminate allergens from your personal indoor environment. Most HVAC filters lack the ability to capture and eliminate a broad spectrum of chemicals and odors that come into contact with the filter, and these filters tend to get used fairly quickly, meaning you are changing them more frequently than you really should.

With the EnviroKlenz HVAC filter you can effectively remove allergens and chemicals in your air, which in turn will help to minimize the impact allergies have on you all year round.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases have recently come to light as more and more are diagnosed each year with these debilitating diseases. Autoimmune diseases are characterized as an immune response which in turns leads to the destruction of the body’s own tissues and organs. A new Canadian study suggests that the recent increase in diagnoses of autoimmune diseases can be attributed to air pollution.

Another study found that one category of particulate matter, diesel exhaust nanoparticles showed to have an inflammatory response on the cells of those who suffer from systematic autoimmune rheumatic disease (7).

Also, fine particulate exposure was correlated with an inherent risk of systematic autoimmune diseases (8). Someone suffering from autoimmune disease, their body treats their organs and tissues as invaders that the body tries to kill off, and any environmental trigger can enact this response, making air pollutants a danger to those with an autoimmune disease.

Cardiovascular Disease

Every 40 seconds in the United States somebody dies from cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. This alarming statistic sheds light on the precarious and dangerous condition of cardiovascular disease. What can attribute to this statistic? Indoor air quality could be just one of the potential contributing factors to cardiovascular disease.

The EPA has conducted research and studies to try to progress our understanding of the possible link between air pollution and heart health. Findings have concluded that oxidative imbalances occur, and when you inhale air pollutants it can negatively affect your cardiovascular system (9). Essentially, increased environmental air pollution results an increase in oxidative stress and inflammation at the cellular level of the body which leads to an increased risk of arterial calcification.

Pollution particles smaller than 2.5 microns are the main cause for concern says researchers. Due to the fine size of these particles they aren’t easily partitioned and can become more easily digested in the human body, which than can lead to irritation of the lungs and blood vessels around the heart (10, 11).

How to Prevent Air Pollution in Your Home

Are you ready to go through your home now and decontaminate for possible pollutant culprits? Pollutants can enter into your home in several ways either originating in your home or sneaking in through your clothes or other items that collect the pollutants, such as pollen and allergens.

Indoor pollutants can come from a variation of things including pet dander from your animal, to cleaning products, or even cooking fumes. Preventing air pollution in your home is possible though. You can successfully combat and minimize the amount of air pollutants in your home by simply treating the air in your home.

Purify Your Indoor Air

Treating your air is the key in eliminating air pollution in your home. What exactly is the best way to treat the air in your home without releasing more chemicals into your air? Buying a home air purifier system can help to drastically improve the quality of the air in your home. The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System has a two-stage filtration, a patented earth mineral technology air cartridge and a hospital grade HEPA filter. It is completely safe to use and non-toxic.

The technology works on a broad spectrum of chemicals and odors to capture and neutralize them at the source. Unlike many other air purification systems that take in chemicals and re-releases them back into the environment, acting counterproductively. Make sure to do your research before purchasing an air purifier for your home.

Indoor air quality can be a very serious issue for many people, however the attention it gets can be less than what is necessary. With the recent studies that have found potential links to health ailments like weight gain, depression, allergies, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and even asthma, air quality should be at the forefront of people’s minds. Working towards protecting yourself and your home from poor indoor air quality and air pollutants can help you to better defend yourself against potential hazardous health ailments.

Sources for this Article Include:

1. Pike-Paris, A. (2005). Indoor Air Quality: part II–what it does. Pediatric Nursing, 31(1), 39–44, 49. PMID: 15794322
2. Forbes: Will Air Pollution Lead to Weight Gain? (LINK)
3. Łopuszańska, U. & Makara-Studzińska, M. (2017). The correlations between air pollution and depression.. Current Problems of Psychiatry, 18(2), pp. 100-109. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cpp-2017-0009
4. Newstatesman: Is air pollution damaging your mental health? (LINK)
5. Rosati, J. A., Yoneda, K. Y., Yasmeen, S., Wood, S., & Eldridge, M. W. (2005). Respiratory Health and Indoor Air Pollution at High Elevation. Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, 60(2), 96–105. PMID: 16983862
6. Pope, A. M. (1993). Indoor allergens – Assessing and controlling adverse health effects. Journal of the American Medical Association. PMID: 25144066
7. Bernatsky, S., Smargiassi, A., Barnabe, C., Svenson, L. W., Brand, A., Martin, R. V., … Joseph, L. (2016). Fine particulate air pollution and systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease in two Canadian provinces. Environmental Research, 146, 85–91. PMID: 26724462
8. The Environmental Illness Resource: Air Pollution Linked to Autoimmune Diseases (LINK)
9. Kelly, F. J., & Fussell, J. C. (2017). Role of oxidative stress in cardiovascular disease outcomes following exposure to ambient air pollution. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. PMID: 28669628
10. American Heart Association: Air Pollution and Heart Disease, Stroke (LINK)
11. American Lung Association: Cleaning Supplies and Household Chemicals (LINK)

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The 5 Most Powerful Natural Energy Drinks

The 5 Most Powerful Natural Energy Drinks

Energy drinks or functional beverages are one of the hottest markets in the food and beverage industry.  These drinks offer their customers unique benefits that often appeal to the health conscious.  Some of these drinks are vastly overhyped and should be avoided.  Other functional beverages are a fantastic support to one’s health and performance.

Functional beverages include sports and performance drinks, energy drinks, ready to drink teas, enhanced fruit drinks, soy beverages and vitamin waters among others.  These drinks have become popular due to their appeal to consumers who are seeking unique health benefits offered by the specific drinks.  Many functional beverages are promoted with benefits such as improving heart health, immunity, digestion, joint function, energy and satiety (1).

The Dangers of Commercial Energy Drinks:

The vast majority of these functional beverages contain several dangerous ingredients.  These include sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, & synthetic vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. They are often times loaded up with stimulants that create an artificially induced energy rush.  These energy drinks may contain certain anti-oxidants and other unique nutrients; however, the chemical residue is highly toxic.

The ideal energy drinks or functional beverage contains absolutely no chemicals, additives and preservatives.  It is found within real foods and is nature’s answer to thirst.  These drinks should be low in sugar or naturally fermented to provide mega-doses of high quality nutrients (2, 3, 4).

Energy Drinks

Nature’s Greatest Functional Beverages:

Nature has provided us with incredible phytonutrient chemicals within natural creation that enhance our bodies survival advantage.  These nutrients allow us to adapt to stress, enhance our mental faculties and deal with environmental challenges such as excessive heat, too much sun and dehydration.

Utilizing these beverages when we are taxing our system will give us a greater advantage in our daily tasks and the demands of life.  My family and I use these energy drinks regularly to help fuel our performance.

It All Begins With Good Hydration

Water is the foundation of all energy drinks and should be consumed throughout the day to support energy and health.  I am a huge fan of starting the day with a mega-dose of water. I like to call it super-hydrating. During this time, I will consume up to a gallon of water before consuming my first meal of the day. This is usually over the course of 4-5 hours after waking.

To maintain the proper electrolyte balance in the body, I like to add a pinch of a natural salt (pink Himalayan or grey celtic) or drink diluted organic vegetable or chicken broth for the mineral content.

Doing this on a regular basis helps to flush out the liver, kidneys, and digestive tract and provides the water and electrolytes our cells and muscles need to move and produce energy. This process not only helps the body to detoxify more effectively but juices up all our joints and really helps us get prepared for the day.

kevita

Coconut Water and Coconut Water Kefir:

Young coconuts contain natural water within that is rich in potassium.  It is isotonic with human blood and has even been used in many countries for blood transfusions.  This sweet drink is fantastic for quenching thirst and recharging the body. (5)

Coconut water does contain sugar so it is better to ferment it with a coconut kefir starter.  The coconut water kefir continues to have the benefits of coconut water with the addition of live enzymes, bioactive peptides, probiotics and beneficial yeasts to support digestion, energy production and immunity (6).  I love these as great natural energy drinks.

Kombucha:

Kombucha is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) that forms a zoolgleal mat.  This unique beverage has been used for over 2000 years to improve health and fight against infection and chronic disease.  The Ancient Chinese called Kombucha the “Immortal Health Elixer” as they revered it for its remarkable health benefits.

This drink is loaded with healthy yeasts, enzymes, electrolytes, bacteria and other microorganisms (9).  There are many different flavors with unique superfoods that are added making synergistically unique functional beverages.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Drinks

ACV is a powerful tonic loaded with incredible living nutrients.  The ACV should be raw, unpasteurized with the “mother” intact.  The mother is the portion of the apple that is fermented and contains the source of the good bacteria and enzymes.  There are many different combinations that provide unique synergistic effects with ACV as well.

The highest quality functional beverages are fermented.  The natural acids that are produced, blunt the typical blood sugar response and enhance the bioavailability of the nutrient packages within each drink.

The fermentation process naturally produces high quality B vitamins and electrolytes that are necessary for optimal energy production and inflammatory control.  The enzymes and beneficial microorganisms that are created break down inflammation and work to scavenge free radicals and boost nutrient absorption in the gut (10).

My favorite brand “Bragg’s” has also come out with unique beverages using apple cider vinegar along with other beneficial ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon, grape, acai berry, honey, etc.  These are low in sugar and fermented which provides more organic acids and B vitamins.  They are really tasty and refreshing.

Lemon Water

Lemon and lime are great for energy as they are naturally rich in vitamin C, citrus bioflavonoids and key electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium.  Most of us have experienced improved energy and mental clarity from a glass of lemon water in the morning or throughout the day and the science backs this up.

The combination of vitamin C and the bioflavonoids which are also called vitamin P, helps to enhance capillary permeability.  This opens up blood vessels to increase circulation into the deep tissues of the body and enhances oxygen extraction into deep tissues that need it the most.

This enhanced tissue oxygenation helps to reduce metabolic waste, oxidative stress and DNA damage.  These benefits mean better exercise recovery and reduce risk of chronic disease as well as more energy and aliveness!

Try putting lemon or lime in your water on a regular basis.  While fresh squeezed is the best, you can also use an organic lemon or lime juice concentrate and get about 50% of the same benefits as using the real fresh fruit.  You can also try adding some stevia to make a nice lemonade or limeade that is quite enjoyable!

Energy Charge:

Energy Charge™ is a new and revolutionary product that transforms water into a great-tasting, revitalizing energy drink. Each stick pack provides a combination of B vitamins, electrolytes, trace minerals, anti-oxidants, amino acids and specialized herbs to fuel your body’s energy production.

Building on these important nutrients, Energy Charge also features Purenergy™, a technology-driven, patent-protected ingredient that combines caffeine and pTeroPure® pterostilbene. Initial reports suggest that Purenergy’s caffeine may be absorbed more slowly and stay in your system longer than regular caffeine, which may help your energy last longer.

With just 5 g of carbohydrate per serving and zero sugars, Energy Charge simply gives your body what it needs to produce energy without any of the crap that burns out your adrenals and causes you to crash later.  I personally LOVE using Energy Charge on my long days and it really helps fuel my brain and body for high performance.

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Dr Jockers Recommendations:

Try out a multitude of various fermented beverages such as apple cider vinegar, kombucha and coconut water kefir and keep a journal on how you feel when you drink those particular beverages.  If you feel very good and energized continue to drink that on a semi-regular or regular basis.  Begin by drinking a small amount such as 2 tbsps daily.  You can work up to drinking the whole bottle, but let this come naturally over a period of several weeks.

If you feel the drink makes you feel over jittery on a consistent basis or if you feel like you are itchy or have have skin breakouts (acne, hives, eczema) than discontinue using these.  A big part of health is listening to the messages that your body gives you and making subtle shifts in your behaviors and patterns to align with what your body needs.

Clinically, I have found that most people thrive on these drinks, but some individuals who embrace them too quick will have major digestive symptoms such as diarrhea.  This is due to the killing off of bad microbes and the rapid introduction of high amounts of healthy microbes.

Other individuals have a histamine sensitivity and are unable to tolerate some forms of fermented beverages as they are unable to metabolize histamine compounds which are naturally present in fermented foods.

If you have a histamine intolerance than you should still do well with the super hydration strategies listed above as well as the lemon or lime water and the Energy charge product so give those a shot and use what works best for your energy drinks.

HistamineSymptomsPic

What’s the one health issue on the horizon that could potentially affect many generations to come?

Vaccines!!

No matter where you fall on the “should I vaccinate my children” spectrum, the fact remains that it will dominate the health conversation for years to come.

It’s time we had a reasonable, rational discussion surrounding the truth about vaccines.

The amazing investigative team who brought you The Truth About Cancer have put their considerable resources to bear….

And they’ve put together the most cutting-edge documentary about vaccines ever produced.

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The greatest health debate of the 21st Century is here!  Join the conversation and let your voice be heard!

The future of your children, grandchildren and beyond could be at stake!

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Gruenwald J. Novel botanical ingredients for beverages. Clin Dermatol. 2009 Mar-Apr;27(2):210-6. PMID: 19168002
2. Mattila P, Hellström J, Törrönen R. Phenolic acids in berries, fruits, and beverages. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Sep 20;54(19):7193-9. PMID: 16968082
3. Samsonov MA, Pokrovskaia GR. [Juices in therapeutic-prophylactic nutrition]. Vopr Pitan. 1999;68(2):18-20. PMID: 10224645
4. Selhub EM, Logan AC, Bested AC. Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal of Physiological Anthropology. 2014;33(1):2.
5. Saat M, Singh R, Sirisinghe RG, Nawawi M. Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water. J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2002 Mar;21(2):93-104. PMID: 12056182
6. Lee P, Boo C, Liu S.Fermentation of coconut water by probiotic strains Lactobacillus acidophilus L10 and Lactobacillus casei L26. Link Here
7. Pescuma M, Hébert EM, Mozzi F, de Valdez GF. Functional fermented whey-based beverage using lactic acid bacteria. Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Jun 30;141(1-2):73-81. PMID: 20483186
8. Pescuma M, Hébert EM, Mozzi F, Valdez GF. Hydrolysis of whey proteins by Lactobacillus acidophilus, Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus grown in a chemically defined medium. J Appl Microbiol. 2007 Nov;103(5):1738-46. PMID: 17953584
9. Greenwalt CJ, Steinkraus KH, Ledford RA. Kombucha, the fermented tea: microbiology, composition, and claimed health effects. J Food Prot. 2000 Jul;63(7):976-81. PMID: 10914673
10. Johnston CS, Gaas CA. Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect. Medscape General Medicine. 2006;8(2):61.

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7 Reasons to Cleanse Your Body

7 Reasons to Cleanse Your Body 

Many people are looking for strategies to cleanse their body to begin the new year.  During the holidays, many become lax with their diet and exercise regimens. There is endless temptation with unhealthy options at every party, workplace, and gathering. The weather is colder, and people spend less time enjoying the outdoors and fresh air.

It is also the beginning of cold and flu season which can stress the immune system. All of these factors add up so finding ways to cleanse your body is important to get you back on track with your health goals.

Unhealthy foods, lack of exercise, and spending little time outdoors can result in weight gain, low energy, a weakened immune system, and inflammation throughout the body. One of the best ways to get your body back on track and undo the damage done with holiday indulgences is to cleanse.

This article will discuss what cleansing is, the toxins that are adversely affecting your body, and seven reasons to cleanse your body in the new year.  I will also provide you with a way to access some of my most effective cleansing strategies so that you can get started right away.

cleanse

What is Cleansing?

Cleansing is a way to eliminate toxins from the body. Toxins are harmful substances produced by your body or obtained from environmental or manmade sources. Examples of internal toxins are excess hormones, free radicals, bacteria and yeast. These internal toxins can accumulate in the body and cause chronic infections, allergic reactions, and other health issues.

External toxins (or xenobiotics) are toxins found in our bodies that are externally produced. External toxins include substances such as pesticides in food, chemicals in personal care products and cleaners, heavy metals, mold exposure, prescription drugs, and outgassing from new furniture, carpet, paint and cars. Environmental pollution from smoke, smog or debris and contaminated water are external toxins as well.

Endocrine Disruptors

Certain toxins are endocrine disruptors. These are substances that can interfere with the body’s endocrine (hormone) system (1). Endocrine disruptors produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects. They are found in everyday products such as plastic bottles, food cans, detergents, flame retardants, cosmetics, and pesticides.

Additionally, endocrine disruptors can mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body. For example, many toxins produced by petrochemicals are xenoestrogens because they mimic estrogens in the body. This leads to hormone imbalance and immune suppression.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to avoid environmental toxins. There are over 85,000 industrial chemicals available for use today. The Environmental Protection Agency has mandated safety testing for only a small percentage of these chemicals. While our bodies have a natural cleansing system, our bodies’ detoxification system simply cannot keep up with this toxic burden. This makes it critical to take steps to cleanse the body of these toxins.

Healthy Lifestyle Practices

There are many ways to cleanse including an anti-inflammatory diet, drinking hydrating fluids, regular exercise, intermittent fasting, juicing greens, infrared sauna, essential oils, and oil pulling. There are also numerous supplements you can use to cleanse such as glutathione, activated charcoal, and a greens powder with chlorella and spirulina.

I go through these things in much more detail in this article on the importance of cleansing and this article on preparing for a cleansing fast.  Taking steps to cleanse your body is vital to good health.

7 Reasons to Cleanse Your Body

With the thousands of toxins we are exposed to daily it is imperative that we practice a ritual of cleansing our bodies.  This is not only good for our skin and physique but is one of the best things for preventing disease, slowing down the aging process and improving your mood and mental clarity.

Here are the 7 major reasons to cleanse your body not just for the new year but to make it a regular part of your lifestyle!

Strengthens the Immune System

The immune system is part of your body’s natural detoxification system. It is the first line of defense against foreign invaders (such as toxins) in our bodies. However, the immune system can get overwhelmed and weakened with the deluge of internal and external toxins in our bodies.

Immunotoxicology is the study of alterations in the immune system caused by chemicals and drugs. The immune system can be negatively affected by toxins either by losing function when targeted by the toxin or when having an immune response to the toxin (2). Chemical pollutants can suppress immune processes and contribute to the development of cancer and infectious diseases (3).

Reduces Inflammation

Toxins also cause free radicals which damage immune cells and wipe out cytokine pathways. Cytokines aid cell to cell communication in immune responses and stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma.

Long-term exposure to environmental toxins can cause chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation occurs when our bodies are repeatedly exposed to toxins and inflammatory mediators are produced throughout the body. The immune system becomes overwhelmed as the ongoing stimulus results in more cell recruitment, increased inflammation, and changes to cells.

With repeated toxin exposure, white blood cells will eventually start attacking internal organs or other necessary tissues and cells. In this way, toxins can contribute to autoimmune diseases. It is critical to strengthen the immune system by cleansing the body of toxins.

Supports Your Vital Organs

All organ systems can be targets of toxic exposure (4).  Cleansing will support your vital organs before they become overburdened.

Many toxins enter the body through the skin and the respiratory system. This can lead to respiratory and skin disorders. For example, toxin exposure can cause or exacerbate asthma. Toxins that are absorbed into the skin, the body’s largest organ, cause many skin disorders such as dermatitis.

The kidneys are also affected by toxins. The kidneys are the primary defenders against harmful external toxins entering the blood stream. The constant exposure of the kidneys to toxins can result in nephrotoxicity (toxicity in the kidneys). This is the poisonous effect of both toxic chemicals and medications on renal function.

Protects the Nervous System, Heart and Reproduction

The nervous system can be depressed by many chemicals and toxins. Neurotoxins can cause many nervous system disorders, including peripheral neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, seizures, and even death. Heavy metals like aluminum and mercury are especially harmful to the brain.

Many toxins target the reproductive system. These toxins can cause a variety of adverse effects, including pregnancy loss, early or delayed puberty, infertility, fetal death, menstrual irregularities and more.

The cardiovascular and hematologic systems are also adversely affected by toxins. Toxins act on the myocardial cells or the autonomic nervous system to affect heart rate, blood pressure, or cardiac contractility. Some toxins, such as lead, arsenic, and vinyl chloride have been implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease. Benzene can cause bone marrow changes leading to anemia and leukemia.

Most, if not all, organs in the body are adversely affected by toxins. Cleansing is vital to support the body’s vital organs.

Supports Brain Health & Reduces Cravings

Cleansing can help eliminate unhealthy cravings. When you consume the Standard American Diet (SAD), the toxins in these foods can cause unhealthy cravings for more toxic food. Toxins in food include additives, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. Today’s food manufacturers make processed foods that are extremely salty and sweet with questionable ingredients that may be leading to food addictions and unhealthy cravings. Once these toxins are removed from the body through cleansing strategies, these unhealthy cravings can be eliminated.

Exposure to toxins can also cause brain toxicity. When the brain absorbs toxins such as solvents, chemicals, and heavy metals, the brain’s function is impaired. This can cause symptoms such as memory loss, inability to focus, depression, fatigue, seizures and more.

Over 200 chemicals are known to cause clinical neurotoxic effects in adults (5). Children are especially vulnerable to these chemicals. Exposure to chemicals at low doses during early fetal development can cause brain injury to the fetus. In fact, researchers have identified 11 chemicals connected to neurodevelopmental disorders in children (6). These disorders include autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. Eliminating these chemicals from the body through cleansing will support healthy brain chemistry.

Another shocking fact to consider is that toxins can accumulate in women who then pass them onto their children in the womb. If you are planning on having children, this is absolutely critical.

Slows the Effects of Aging

Toxins accelerate the effects of aging. A class of toxins called gerontogens may put you at an increased risk for accelerated aging (7).  Gerontogens are environmental toxins found in things like cigarette smoke, ultraviolet (UV) rays, arsenic, benzene, and chemotherapy.

Aging occurs when healthy cells become damaged and lose their ability to divide. As cells start dividing more slowly, they also occur more DNA damage. These damaged cells accumulate in the body and cause inflammation. Toxins can damage DNA structures and healthy cells.

Even the pollution in our air can accelerate aging. A 2016 study found that toxic fumes in the air cause premature aging by accelerating wrinkles and age spots and worsening skin conditions such as eczema and hives (8). The skin is often a good predictor of what is going on within the body as well. To slow the effects of aging, it is important to avoid toxic exposure from substances like cigarette smoke and pollution when possible and to cleanse the body periodically to lessen its toxic load.

Helps You Lose Weight and Feel Great

Toxins can interfere with your metabolism and cause weight gain (9). Exposure to toxins, including endocrine disrupting compounds, promote weight gain by affecting metabolism, the ability to balance blood sugar, hormones, and brain function.

Scientists refer to these toxins as “environmental obesogens” (10). Most obesogens are endocrine disruptors. One of the hormones damaged by toxins is leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells the brain to burn fat for energy.

There are several mechanisms by which toxins cause weight gain. They can affect the number of fat cells, the size of fat cells, and the hormones that affect appetite, satiety, cravings, and metabolism. Scientist have shown that at least fifteen to twenty chemicals cause weight gain, mostly from developmental exposure (10). Chemical pesticides in food and water have been linked to increased body mass index (BMI) in children.

Improves Insulin Resistance

Another way toxins cause weight gain is by contributing to fat storage. Many environmental toxins and toxins found in food are stored in body fat rather than eliminated. With toxic overload, your body gains more fat cells to store the excess toxins.

Toxins can also contribute to weight gain by causing insulin resistance. Scientists have found a strong correlation between insulin resistance and environmental toxins (11). Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows cells to absorb glucose so that it can be used for energy.

Insulin resistance is the decreased ability of the body to respond to the effects of insulin. As a result, the body produces additional amounts of insulin which increases inflammatory processes within the body. Over time, surges of insulin can cause chronic health complications including obesity.

Strengthens Your Liver

Detoxification naturally occurs in the liver, our largest internal organ. The liver is the primary organ for detoxification and has the most concentrated amount of detoxification enzymes.  The liver is designed to transform toxic substances into compounds that our kidneys can remove from the body.

As you are exposed to more toxins, the liver’s ability to detoxify can be weakened.  When the liver’s ability to detoxify is weakened, toxins become stored in our tissues and cells rather than eliminated. It is vital to use cleansing strategies to strengthen the liver.

Restores Antioxidant Levels

Cleansing is an excellent way to restore antioxidant levels in the body. Antioxidants are compounds that prevent or delay cellular damage. They are found naturally in many foods such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, and chocolate. Antioxidants provide numerous health benefits including supporting heart, prostate and eye health, protecting the skin, and boosting the immune system.

Antioxidants are critical for neutralizing and removing free radicals from the body. Free radicals are caused by toxins and can damage cells in the body. Antioxidants help control oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress causes inflammation which is the precursor for most chronic diseases.

Of the body’s antioxidants, glutathione seems to be one of the most important. As toxicity rises in the body, it is critical to support glutathione levels as much as possible.  Toxins can deplete antioxidants from your body. Cleansing is a fantastic way to restore antioxidant levels in the body.

Conclusion

Cleansing is one of the best strategies you can use to optimize your health. During the holidays, many people indulge in unhealthy foods, exercise less, and spend little time outdoors. These unhealthy practices can result in weight gain, less energy, a weakened immune system, and inflammation. The new year is a great time to cleanse the body of accumulated toxins.

There are many reasons you should cleanse in the new year. Cleansing will strengthen the immune system and restore antioxidant levels. It can improve healing and reduce pain levels. Cleansing will also support your vital organs, including the liver.

Cleansing slows the effects of aging and helps rid the body of excess weight. It will help you eliminate unhealthy cravings and support a healthy brain chemistry.

Perhaps the best reason to cleanse is that you will feel great afterwards! You can experience improved energy, mental clarity, more restful sleep, and better digestion. Everyone should cleanse their bodies regularly to experience these health benefits.  For more info on how to do a cleanse read this article and also be sure to check out our Cancer Cleanse program which teaches a cleansing lifestyle.

Sources for this Article Include:

1. Endocrine Disruptors. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Link here
2. Dean J.H., Cornacoff J.B., Luster M.I. (1990) Toxicity to the Immune System: A Review. In: Hadden J.W., Szentivanyi A. (eds) Immunopharmacology Reviews. DOI:1007/978-1-4615-7252-7_6. Link here
3. The Capacity of Toxic Agents to Compromise the Immune System (Biologic Markers of Immunosuppression). Biologic Markers in Immunotoxicology. NBK 235670. Link here
4. Taking an Exposure History, Which Organ Systems are Affected by Toxic Exposure? Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Link here
5. Grandjean, P, Landrigan, P.J., Developmental neurotoxicity of industrial chemicals. The Lancet, 2006 November, Vol. 368, No. 9553, p.2167-2178. Link here
6. Grandjean, P, Landrigan, P.J., Neurobehavioral effects of developmental toxicity. The Lancet, 2014 February, Vol. 13, No. 3, p.330-338. Link here
7. Sorrentino, J., Sanoff, H., Sharpless, N., Defining the toxicology of aging. Trends in Molecular Medicine, 2014 July. Link here
8. Huis, A., Vierkotter, A., Gao, W., et al., Traffic-Related Air Pollution Contributes to Development of Facial Lentigines: Further Epidemiological Evidence from Caucasians and Asians, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2016 May, Vol. 135, Issue 5, p.1053-1056. Link here
9. Grun, F., Blumberg, B., Endocrine disruptors as obesogens. 2009 May. 304 (1-2): 19-29. PMID: PMC2713042
10. Holtcamp, W., Obesogens: An Environmental Link to Obesity. 2012 Feb.; 120(2): a62-a68. PMID: PMC3279464
11. Jones, O., Maguire, M., Griffin, J., Environmental pollution and diabetes: a neglected association. The Lancet, 2008 Jan, Vol., 371, No. 9609, p287-286. Link here

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12 Sugar-Free Holiday Dessert Recipes

The holidays are a time for family, celebration, and tasty food. While this can be a great time to unwind and relax, many people tend to overindulge in many of the wrong foods, sending them several steps back in their health. Here’s the thing, you can make super tasty desserts with ingredients that don’t leave you in a hazy fog of inflammation. These sugar-free holiday dessert recipes are loaded with healing nutrition that you are sure to love.

Many people will choose to forgo the healthy eating for a few days and deal with the consequences later. I know many people however, that would love to substitute traditional recipes for very similar ones that are more conducive to health. Here are some of my favorites and I think you will be surprised at how delicious healthy desserts can be!

My goal is to arm and equip you with a lot of great healthy dessert recipes so you never feel deprived during this part of the year!!

Vanilla Almond Christmas Cookies

Most sugar cookies are almost pure sugar and highly processed flours. These are a ketogenic friendly version that are absolutely delicious. Not only are they sugar-free, but they also contain plenty of fiber and healthy fats.

Without the grains, sugar, and processed ingredients, most people will find that making cookies this way leaves them satisfied without the sugar rush and digestive complications.

These also only take about 30 minutes to make!

Recipe Here: Keto Vanilla Almond Christmas Cookies

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are a classic holiday cookie. They are somewhat similar to the Vanilla Almond cookies, but with a winter spice added. The fiber and healthy fats make this a blood sugar friendly dessert recipe with the added anti-oxidant and blood sugar stabilizing benefits of cinnamon!

If you are looking to make this holiday more of a ketogenic style, these are another great option.

Recipe Here: Sugar Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snowballs 

This one is both nutrient-packed and festive. Combining a few simple ingredients and forming into shape makes for a simple, raw nutrition dessert that resembles a snowball! I would suggest forgoing the snowball fight with these, however.

These use a combination of ground chia seeds, coconut flour, raw cacao powder, and natural sweeteners. Combined, these ingredients provide a powerful combination of omega 3 fats, plenty of fiber, and antioxidants.

Recipe Here: Sugar Free Snowballs

Marshmallows & Hot Cocoa

What is winter-time without some soul-warming hot cocoa? Using the right ingredients, you can turn this typically high-sugar drink into a super-nutritious, healing experience.

For the hot cocoa, you can use a milk of your choice (almond or coconut are my favorite), raw cacao powder, natural sweeteners, and coconut cream for an indulgent homemade whipped topping.

I always loved putting marshmallows in my hot chocolate until I realized how much sugar was in them. Luckily, we have made a blood sugar friendly version that contains the healing benefits of collagen! This is one decadent hot chocolate that you can sip on throughout the winter without worrying about blood sugar ups and downs.

Hot Chocolate Recipe: Almond Milk Hot Chocolate

Collagen Marshmallows: Sweet Collagen Sugar Free Marshmallows

Chocolate Fudge

For many people, Christmas fudge is a tradition. I even know people who have had a family recipe passed down for generations. To them, this is a big deal. I personally love fudge (and anything chocolate, really) so when I figured out how to make a blood sugar friendly version, I was excited.

This is a simple recipe loaded with healthy fats and anti-oxidants. The addition of goji berries kicks the nutrient density of this dessert up to a whole other level, great for the immune system and overall health. If you are looking for a more traditional fudge, simply forgo the goji berries.

Recipe Here: Super Fat Burning Fudge

Carrot Cake

Carrot cake has the potential to be a super-nutritious dessert. Unfortunately, most forms that you find in the store are completely devoid of natural, healing ingredients.  But there is good news in that with a few ingredient swaps you can make this as one of your tasty holiday dessert recipes.

This recipe is loaded with nutrition and real carrots! It also uses healthy fats, high-fiber coconut flour, and natural sweeteners that will not send you on a blood sugar rollercoaster. It even has a rich cream cheese frosting.

If you are carrot cake fan, this one is quite tasty.

Recipe Here: Sugar Free Carrot Cake

Banana Bread

While this dessert is technically not sugar free, it is absolutely delicious and much healthier than what you could buy in a store. Made with whole-food ingredients, it is loaded with fiber, healthy fats, clean protein, and delicious flavor.

If you are a banana bread person, definitely give this one a try this holiday season. It will fill your home with a delicious soul-warming smell that is perfect for the holidays. If you love banana bread and are concerned about the extra sugar, you can even substitute keto maple syrup or liquid stevia for the honey and maple syrup.

Recipe Here: Grain Free Banana Bread

For a truly ketogenic banana bread, try our Zucchini Coconut Keto Bread which features Banana Bone Broth Protein Powder!

Pumpkin Spice Fudge

I personally love the warming flavor of pumpkin spice during the colder months. Instead of running for the sugar-filled pumpkin spice lattes, doughnuts, and everything else they have at the store. I make my own versions.

For example, you can take this Fat Burning Breakfast Latte and add pureed pumpkin and a dash of pumpkin spice to taste. This is a delicious liquid meal replacement with the pumpkin spice flavor you are after.

Another one of my holiday favorites is Pumpkin Spice Fudge. This flavor combination is incredible and it only takes 5 ingredients.

Pumpkin tends to be higher in carbs so it is not keto friendly, however it is blood sugar friendly due to pumpkin’s low-glycemic value.

Recipe Here: Pumpkin Spice Fudge

Coconut Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies are a holiday favorite. This recipe is ketogenic and super simple, only 4 ingredients! Take your white sugar and wheat flour, replace it with natural sweeteners and high-fiber coconut flour, and you’ve just made a much healthier cookie.

These make a healthy and versatile dessert that can be combined with vanilla ice cream, fresh fruit, or a low-carb chocolate topping.

Recipe Here: Coconut Short Bread Keto Cookies

Nutella

Wait, did you read that right? You can eat Nutella, and it’s healthy?? Well, now you can. This homemade version of the classic treat is an excellent alternative to the real thing. Real Nutella is loaded with sugar and highly processed vegetable oils which do nothing but spike blood sugar and drive up inflammation.

This is a whole-food based recipe that won’t let you down. The combination of hazelnut and chocolate is out of this world and it can serve as a topping for many of the other recipes mentioned here so far. In contrast to the real thing, this recipe has got lots of healthy fats, antioxidants, and important minerals.

Recipe Here: Sugar Free Nutella

Chocolate Drizzled Cake 

This is a high-fiber, high-fat cake recipe with moderate amounts of clean protein and a delicious chocolate drizzle. Unlike most cakes around the holidays, this one is loaded with nutrition.

If you like a richer chocolatey flavor, you can even add cacao powder into the cake batter. I personally like to add the cacao into the frosting to keep from damaging the antioxidant nutrients.

This one is also ketogenic friendly!

Recipe Here: Sugar Free Chocolate Cake

Coconut Milk Ice Cream

If you are looking for a sugar free companion for your cake, cookies, brownies, and pie; coconut ice cream is the way to go. This is one of the simplest dessert recipes I know and it is so tasty!

3 ingredients is all it takes and you’ve got ketogenic ice cream. There are so many ways you can tailor it to your preference too. We have a vanilla, chocolate, and berry (higher in sugar) ice cream. You can even add a scoop of your favorite protein powder to turn your ice cream into a meal!

Ice Cream Recipes Here: Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry, Pumpkin

Final Thoughts

If you are looking to make this holiday season a bit healthier, these are some of my personal favorite dessert recipes.  Instead of throwing you on a rollercoaster of blood sugar highs and lows, these desserts will leave you nourished and satisfied.

Don’t feel discouraged this holiday season as there are so many great healthy dessert recipes in this article and on our website that you can use to enjoy the great flavor you are accustomed to this time of the year!

We’d love to hear your favorite holiday dessert recipes!

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Lemon Garlic Kale Salad

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad

This lemon garlic kale salad recipe is a slightly modified version from my friend Megan Kelly.  She has an incredible blog and is a Licensed Esthetician specializing in holistic nutrition, woman’s hormones, and spiritual health.

Kale Salad Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon pink salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 bunches laminate kale

Servings:  1-2

Kale Salad Instructions:

Step #1:  With your kale bunches, strip the leaves off the stems and slice into small strips.

Step #2:  Wash/Soak in water, massaging the kale while you do so. Rinse/drain and set aside in large salad bowl.

Step #3:  In a separate small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes.

Step #4:  Massage kale leaves in the lemon-oil dressing to soften up the hard outer layer of the kale.  This makes the kale easier to chew and digest.

Step #5:  Pour the left-over “dressing” into salad bowl and massage into the kale.

Dr Jockers Comments:

This lemon garlic kale salad is a tasty, micronutrient rich salad that is easy on the digestive tract and helps the body to cleanse and detoxify.  Kale and lemon are two of the best cleansing foods we can consume and if we combine them properly they synergize to improve the nutrient assimilation from each other.

Adding in healthy fats such as the olive oil in this recipe is very important to absorb all the carotenoid anti-oxidants from the kale.  These anti-oxidants are in the fat soluble vitamin A family and depend upon fats for best absorption.

Massaging the kale with the lemon-oil dressing before you consume it helps to break down the hard outer cellulose fibers in the kale and makes it less bitter and softer and easier on your palate and digestive tract.  Taking the time to massage the kale can be inconvenient but it actually greatly improves the flavor, texture and nutrient extraction from the kale salad.

This is a fantastic cleansing recipe that I recommend for many of my clients and especially those who are following my Cancer Cleanse program.  Try this out and let us know how you liked it in the comments box below!

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Coconut Curry Soup

This coconut curry soup was made by our certified health coach Melissa Nohr.  She is a busy mom of 2 sets of twins and she is passionate about whole food nutrition and healthy lifestyle on a budget.  She does nutrition coaching with people all over the world via Skype and at Exodus Health Center.  Check out her coaching page here and enjoy this coconut curry soup recipe!

Ingredients (use organic if possible):

Curry Soup Instructions:

Step #1:  Melt coconut oil in medium sauce pan and add onion, garlic, and ginger. Sauté over low heat until vegetables are tender.

Step #2:  Add coconut milk, broth, cauliflower, kale, curry powder, turmeric and salt to pan. Stir well.

Step #3:  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.

Step #4:  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh cilantro.

Notes: This is an easy, versatile soup. You can add cooked, chopped chicken for extra protein. Other vegetables can be added or substituted such as broccoli and mushrooms.

Dr Jockers Comments:

This coconut curry soup is a warm savory dish that tastes wonderful and has a great aroma that will fill up the whole house.  It is full of healthy fats and micronutrients that help the body to cleanse and detoxify and is easy on the digestive system.

This is a low-carb, plant-based ketogenic recipe that is loaded with anti-inflammatory polyphenolic compounds with the turmeric, green leafy veggies, ginger, onion and garlic. When these compounds marinate into a soup recipe like this, the hard outer fibers are broken down which reduces stress on our digestive tracts and the pure nutrients become more bioavailable.

If you want to increase the protein content, you are welcome to add in some free-range chicken, wild-caught fish or grass-fed beef.  You could even add in a few raw eggs and the heat of the soup will cook some of the proteins making it similar to an “egg-drop” soup like texture.  Also, feel free to add in more veggies to your desire.

Our Cancer Cleanse program uses a plant-based ketogenic diet approach that is high in healthy fats, micronutrients, anti-oxidant compounds and fiber while being low in carbohydrates and protein.  This recipe is a staple one we use for this program to help provide a foundational lifestyle for preventing or healing cancer.

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4 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

It is vital that we look to for ways to improve indoor air quality.  A total of 10,000 liters of air enters your lungs every day, with the potential of breathing in harmful toxins being a very imminent threat to your health. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) found that exposure to air pollution and particulate material was ranked as one of the top 10 risk factors for disease globally (1).

We tend to deem that air pollution is prominent in our outdoor environment due to high levels of chemicals produced in the environment by external factors such as cars and factories. Although, these factors do indeed produce a copious amount of chemicals, the environment that poses the biggest risk to you is undeniably your personal indoor environment. Finding ways to improve indoor air quality can be one of the biggest things you do for your health.

Toxic Chemicals in Our Home

Toxic chemicals can be in abundance in your home, without you even being aware. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) affirmed this by stating that indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air (2). Thus, discovering that indoor air is for the vast majority of people to be the unhealthiest air they breathe in during their day.

Chemicals are all around, surrounding you in the most inconspicuous of household items from your everyday laundry detergent to chemicals used on your furniture in the extensive manufacturing process. In recent years, a strong link between indoor air pollution and health related ailments has developed, therefore forming an undertaking to educate people on the impact indoor air pollution can have on your overall health.

Air Quality and Health

Indoor air quality has become a recent focus for many in the health profession, as research has shown a significant correlation to indoor air quality and certain health conditions such as respiratory, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Air pollutants have several factors that impact their severity on your health including their size, shape, and the amount of time you are exposed to the pollutant (3).

Particulate matter can be a mixture of particles that can unfavorably affect somebody’s health, with the size of the particulate matter being the biggest determinant of causing possible health-related problems. To control particulate matter in your home, utilizing an effective HVAC filter for chemical odors and VOC removal can also help to remove not only particles from your indoor air but also bacteria from the environment. Particulate removal can aid drastically in improving your indoor air quality and helping to improve your overall health.

Health Effects of Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollutants can impact your health and lead to negative health effects that can lead to severe symptoms and even disease. Air pollutants can affect certain areas of the body such as the respiratory system, immune system, skin and mucus membranes, cardiovascular system, liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal (4).

The potential impact that indoor air pollution can have is cause for concern for many people. Keeping an eye out on possible symptoms stemming from indoor air pollution can help you to have a better understanding of when indoor air pollution is effecting your health. The symptoms to look out for include:

Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Whatever is in your home’s air ends up in your body so finding ways to make it as clean as possible is the first step in shielding your health.  Contaminant and toxins can be in the most unsuspecting places in your home, according to German chemist Michael Braungart he found that nearly everything we use, from our furniture to our cleaners, releases small particles or gases that are harmful to be ingesting on a regular basis (5).

Carpets, upholstery, wood products, and cleaning products can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your environment. You may be wondering how you can protect not only yourself but your home from these potentially dangerous chemicals. The steps below are to help you in the pursuit of improving your indoor air quality in your home.

Using Non-Toxic Cleaning Ingredients in Your House

Cleaning products can be a big contributor to indoor air pollution in your personal environment. To think that you are actually trying to help minimize dirt and pollutants in your home by cleaning. And then unknowingly contributing more pollutants in your environment, making your mission counterproductive.

Recent studies have connected cleaning sprays with asthma development, making the concern of cleaning supplies in your environment a possible fear. Most cleaning products contain terpene, hydrocarbons, terpene alcohols, and other related unsaturated compounds.

Natural Cleaning Products

These chemicals, specifically terpenes, can react with ozone to form a variation of secondary pollutants including formaldehyde and ultrafine particles (6). The pollutants that are then released into your air can be compromising the quality of the air in your home.

For many of us we have our go-to products that we always use during our cleaning process, but looking at the ingredients listed on your products can help you make better decisions when purchasing cleaning supplies in the future. I recommend switching to non-toxic, natural cleaning products to help you drastically increase the quality of the air in your personal environment, and help to minimize the potential release of added pollutants in your home.

Substitute Your Air Freshener for Essential Oils

Another major air pollutant that pollutes your home’s air quality can be air fresheners. Air fresheners, like other cleaning sprays, contain similar chemicals and thus have the same chemical reactions, producing secondary pollutants in the air of your home. These pollutants can have potentially serious health impacts including sensory irritation, respiratory symptoms, dysfunction of the lungs, and cause damage to the central nervous system (7).

Air fresheners over the past years has been deemed a source of various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in indoor environments which can be the leading source of these health impacts produced by air freshening products. So, how can you get rid of the odors that are stuck in your home without the use of air fresheners?

An ideal substitute in lieu of toxic air fresheners can be using essential oils in your home. Essential oils are natural organic compounds that are extracted from plants and contain a vast amount of healing properties. Using essential oils to freshen your personal environment rather than air fresheners will help you to avoid polluting your home’s air with harmful chemicals and airborne irritants.

Home Hygiene

Maintaining proper hygiene helps in the mitigation of bacteria and germs that collect on surfaces of your personal environment. Home hygiene isn’t necessarily the act of cleaning but more so a practice that should be implemented in your everyday routine. Without home hygiene, bacteria and viruses can begin to populate your indoor air and lead to the development of infectious diseases.

Recent studies have suggested that a promotion of improved hygiene in the home could have a significant impact in reducing infectious diseases (8). Wiping down surfaces can help in the effort to minimize bacteria and viruses in your home, as well as making sure you yourself are taking proper hygiene steps such as washing your hands frequently. By practicing good environmental hygiene practices and working towards eliminating bacteria and viruses at home you can help improve the overall air quality and your health long-term.

For a great natural all-purpose cleaner, try combining the following: 1/2 Cup vinegar, 5 cups of water, 5 drops each of wild orange, clove, lemon, tea tree, and rosemary. This can be used to naturally clean non-porous surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen.

Home Air Purifier

Air pollutants can be released from an abundance of surfaces and items in your home. In today’s homes, ventilation is very limited to help with lower cost utilities but with little ventilation leads to a trapping of pollutants in your home. These pollutants can significantly impact your health and cause health related illnesses such as allergies, asthma, and respiratory diseases. Several allergists advocate air purifiers to their patients to help reduce health symptoms and increase the quality of air in the personal environment.

Dr. Daryl R. Altman, an allergist at the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center in Queens, said purifiers are part of the mission against allergens like dust and pollen that affect your indoor air quality (9). Other doctors, also recommend air purifiers to help with the elimination of airborne allergens and pollutants, such as Dr. Nicolas Busaba, an ear, nose, and throat doctor at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (10). Dr. Busaba recommends an air purifier with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to capture particles in the air.

EnviroKlenz Air Filtration System

The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System utilizes not only a HEPA grade filter but also uses a two-stage filtration with their patented earth mineral technology. Effectively removing not only particulate matter in your indoor air environment but also toxins, chemicals, and strange odors in the air to improve the quality of the air you are breathing.

Toxins and chemicals in your indoor environment have the potential to be quite hazardous to your health. Implementing these methods to improve your personal environments indoor air quality can help you in the pursuit to aid in the betterment of your overall health.

Sources for This Article Include:

1. Vijayan, V., Paramesh, H., Salvi, S., & Dalal, A. K. (2015). Enhancing indoor air quality –The air filter advantage. Lung India, 32(5), 473. PMID: 26628762
2. EHPnet: Instructions for Breathing Easier. (1999). Environmental Health Perspectives, 107(7), A347. PMCID: PMC1566676
3. Schulze, F., Gao, X., Virzonis, D., Damiati, S., Schneider, M. R., & Kodzius, R. (2017). Air quality effects on human health and approaches for its assessment through microfluidic chips. Genes. PMID: 28953246
4. Tham, K. W. (2016). Indoor air quality and its effects on humans—A review of challenges and developments in the last 30 years. Energy and Buildings, 130. DOI: 10.1016
5. The Ecologist: How to Improve Indoor Air Quality (Link)
6. Singer, B. C., Destaillats, H., Hodgson, A. T., & Nazaroff, W. W. (2006). Cleaning products and air fresheners: Emissions and resulting concentrations of glycol ethers and terpenoids. Indoor Air, 16(3), 179–191. PMID: 16683937
7. Kim, S., Hong, S.-H., Bong, C.-K., & Cho, M.-H. (2015). Characterization of air freshener emission: the potential health effects. The Journal of Toxicological Sciences, 40(5), 535–550. PMID: 26354370
8. Zhang, G., Spickett, J., Lee, A. H., Rumchev, K., & Stick, S. (2005). Household hygiene practices in relation to dampness at home and current wheezing and rhino-conjunctivitis among school age children. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 16(7), 587–592. PMID: 16238584
9. NYTimes: Eat My Dust, An Allergy Sufferer Tests Six Air Purifiers (Link)
10. Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School): Do You Need a Portable Air Purifier? (Link)

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Vegan Cauliflower Keto Taco Wraps

This recipe was made by our certified health coach Melissa Nohr.  She is a busy mom of 2 sets of twins and she is passionate about whole food nutrition and healthy lifestyle on a budget.  She does nutrition coaching with people all over the world via Skype and at Exodus Health Center.  Check out her coaching page here and enjoy these beautiful keto cauliflower taco wraps!

Ingredients (Use Organic if Possible):

  • Medium head of cauliflower
  • One medium onion
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • Butter or loose-leaf lettuce leaves
  • 2 avocados
  • 4 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped shallots
  • Juice of 1 fresh lime

Servings:  Makes 4-6 wraps

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Chop cauliflower and onion into small pieces.
  3. Toss cauliflower and onion with avocado oil, chili pepper, cumin, oregano and 1 tsp salt.
  4. Roast cauliflower and onion mixture in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until desired tenderness.
  5. While cauliflower is roasting, make guacamole by combining two mashed avocados, cilantro, shallots, 1 tsp salt, and lime juice.
  6. To assemble, top one lettuce leaf with cauliflower mixture and guacamole.

Dr Jockers Comments:

This is a fantastic, plant-based keto recipe that is full of powerful nutrients, fiber and healthy fats.  If you are looking to reduce your meat consumption and get the benefits of ketosis while enjoying great tasting foods than this recipe should be a regular staple at your home.

Cauliflower is full of sulfur compounds called glucosinolates such as the powerful sulforaphane and isothiocyanates which have been studied to be very effective for phase II liver detoxification and as cancer stem cell neutralizing agents.  I am a HUGE fan of doing a lot of cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, etc.

It is important to either steam, bake, sautee or marinate these in order to soften the hard outer cellulose fibers and make them easier on your digestive system.  Most of us have experienced the gas and digestive challenges that come with consuming too much raw broccoli or cauliflower.  Always best to lightly cook these as in this recipe, ferment (sauerkraut or kimchii as an example), blend/juice or marinate them in vinegar or lemon to make them easier to digest.

Avocado is one of the very best foods you can eat on a regular basis and adding it to vegetable recipes increases the carotenoid anti-oxidant absorption you get from the veggies.  It also provides the healthy fat calories that make this a keto recipe and very satiating so you won’t have food cravings later in the day.

You can try this recipe as a side dish or as a main course if you are doing a plant-based keto program such as what we teach in our Cancer Cleanse program.

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How To Test Zinc Levels At Home

Zinc, much like magnesium, is one of those nutrients that is critically important in hundreds of processes in the body. It is estimated that around 25% of the world population is actually deficient in this critical mineral. If you want healthy hormones, a strong immune system, and healthy tissues, you absolutely need to make sure your zinc levels are adequate. Not enough people know this, but there is actually a very simple method to test zinc levels in the comfort of your own home.

Another great way to start to tell if you may not be getting enough zinc in your diet, is by understanding its functions and how someone could become deficient in the first place.

Benefits Of Zinc

The benefits of optimizing your zinc levels are vast. Zinc is involved in so many processes from modulating the immune system to supporting healthy hormone production. These are foundational human processes that must be supported if you want to attain optimal health.

Boosts Immunity

Zinc modulates the immune system by balancing the Th-1 and Th-2 branches of the immune system. This is important for coordinating the immune system in cases of imbalance such as autoimmunity and cancer.

Zinc also assists a protein called human cytokine interferon alpha that is responsible for inhibiting the replication of viruses within the body (1).

Reduces Inflammation

An imbalanced immune response is one of the number one causes of chronic inflammation in our society. By helping to balance and coordinate the immune system, zinc also helps to drastically lower inflammation for many people.

On top of this, zinc plays a critical role in the production of one of the body’s most important antioxidants, superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD protects genes from becoming damaged, helps to detoxify the body, and further assists the immune system by protecting against viral infection.

Anti-Cancer

It is a natural consequence that by reducing inflammation and improving immune coordination, zinc also improves the body’s ability to fight off cancer cells.

In addition to this, zinc actually plays an important role in regulation of the expression of the P53 gene. The P53 gene plays an important role in monitoring the cell division cycle and preventing cancerous growth (2, 3).

Chronic oxidative stress can cause damage to the p53 gene that renders it useless and leads to an inability to protect the genomic stability. In order to be active, p53 needs to bind zinc while other metals such as copper can displace zinc leading to p53 unfolding.

Low zinc levels or excessive copper and other heavy metals such as lead, aluminum, cadmium and mercury can damage the p53 protein (45).

Reasons For Zinc Deficiency

Before we can even think about using supplemental zinc or consuming more zinc-rich foods, we must understand what causes our zinc stores to deplete.

Addressing these factors will make the zinc you do consume go much further in exerting its benefits in the body.

Leaky Gut & Poor Digestion

A commonly overlooked reason for poor zinc levels in the body, is that you are just not digesting your foods as well as you should. If you have a leaky gut or poor stomach acid production, it is likely you are deficient in several nutrients.

Zinc is also extremely important for healing and sealing the gut.  So if you are deficient, it becomes a viscious cycle of inflammation and the gut lining will never heal.

Medications

Medications that damage the gut or inhibit stomach acid production can be another overlooked factor in poor zinc levels.  Most prescribing doctors are unfamiliar with the long-term ramifications of these medications and how they deplete key nutrients and cause a number of health problems.

If you currently use or have a history of using things like prescription antibiotics, NSAIDS (Tylenol, ibuprofen, etc.), proton pump inhibitors, or antacids; you will definitely want to take additional steps to support digestion.

Poor Diet & Blood Sugar Imbalance

If you are simply not consuming nutrient dense foods, and instead rely heavily on processed foods, you are most likely lacking in several nutrients.  Consuming zinc-rich foods and balancing blood sugar are critical strategies for ensuring you retain adequate levels of nutrients like zinc.

Finally, consuming a lot of grains, nuts, and foods containing phytic acids can quickly deplete the body’s zinc stores. Limiting your intake of these foods or at least sprouting them before consuming is important.

Chronic Stress

Zinc is important for a large number of biological processess and stress speeds up biological function.  During times of elevated stress, zinc is utilized at a much more rapid rate, increasing your dietary need for zinc.

If you are noticing that you are experiencing high amounts of overwhelming emotions like anxiety, this could be due in part to low zinc levels. Of course several other nutrient are involved such as magnesium and B-complex vitamins.

Exposure To Toxins

Exposure to toxins like pesticides and heavy metals in the environment can interfere with zinc absorption and increase stress within the body. This depletes your zinc levels while simultaneously increasing your need, not a good combo.

Also, consuming high levels of copper can lead to an imbalance in copper:zinc ratios.  This is not uncommon as copper is a common byproduct of industrial manufacturing and is often high in our city water.  Additionally, high copper can come from drinking water from copper pipes and women having a copper IUD.  Additionally, foods such as grains, nuts and seeds are high in copper and also contain phytic acids that reduce zinc absorption.

Copper and zinc work against each other to regulate certain functions in the body. Having high copper levels in relation to zinc can create many problems and you can read more about that in this article.  Consuming a clean, healing diet, getting good water filtration and lowering your intake of copper-rich foods, and increasing your zinc intake are all powerful for rebalancing this ratio.

Signs Of Zinc Deficiency

After reflecting on your daily life and seeing if any of the causes above align with you, it is important to observe your own health for common symptoms of zinc deficiency.

The following is a list of common symptoms seen with zinc deficiency or copper:zinc imbalance:

How To Test

There are several ways to test your zinc levels. One that I am a fan of due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness is the zinc sulfate taste test. All you do purchase a bottle of zinc sulfate liquid (this a good one), place a capful in your mouth, and observe the sensations in your mouth.

Below are the possible outcomes and indications:

You Notice No Metallic Taste: Zinc Deficiency

You Notice A Delayed Metallic Taste: Slight Zinc Deficiency

You Notice Slight Metallic Taste: Zinc Levels Are Adequate, But Could Be Higher

You Notice Very Strong Metallic Taste: You Likely Have Optimal Zinc Levels

Optimal Levels

If you notice that you are expressing signs of slight to complete zinc deficiency, you will need to be intentional about the foods you eat to drastically increase zinc intake. You will also need to avoid dietary habits that deplete zinc levels like consuming high amounts of sugar, grains, and processed foods.

Zinc-Rich Foods

Consuming plenty of zinc-rich foods is a great start to optimizing your zinc levels. The following graphic outlines some of the best sources of zinc you can consume.

You will notice that various seeds made the list which seems counterintuitive since I mentioned phytic acid containing foods lowering zinc levels. However, these foods contain really high amounts of zinc that may counteract this effect. Buying these in their sprouted forms is ideal.

Supplemental

When it comes to quickly balancing zinc levels in the body, supplementation is very helpful. Just as with many supplements, zinc comes in many forms. My favorite is Zinc Glycinate because it is what’s called a chelated form. This is important because it is very easily absorbed by the body unlike many other forms.

The recommended daily allowance for zinc is between eight to eleven milligrams for most adults. However, for functional health most progressive nutritionists and doctors recommend between 20-40 mg/daily. You can use your results from the Zinc Sulfate taste test to determine how much supplemental zinc to consume.

If your results indicate a slight or complete zinc deficiency, 40 mg daily is likely more suitable for you while 20 mg daily may be more suitable for someone who is trying to maintain optimal levels.

Summary

Zinc is critical for overall health and quality of life. It is important to assess your daily life and physiological wellbeing to determine whether or not you are getting enough of this vital mineral in your diet.

The Zinc Sulfate test is an incredibly simple and cost-effective way to determine your zinc levels at home. If you are showing signs of zinc deficiency, than it is important to follow a blood sugar stabilizing healing diet and improve your stomach acid, enzymes and overall digestive function.  You will also want to reduce your exposure to some of the higher copper foods such as nuts and seeds and increase zinc rich foods (fish and grass-fed meats) and take additional zinc supplements.

Sources For This Article Include

1. Ohio State University. “Zinc helps against infection by tapping brakes in immune response.” Science Daily.
2. Lane, D. P. (1992). Cancer. p53, guardian of the genome. Nature. PMID: 1614522
3. Adimoolam, S., & Ford, J. M. (2003). p53 and regulation of DNA damage recognition during nucleotide excision repair. DNA Repair. PMID: 12967652
4. Phatak, V. M., & Muller, P. A. J. (2015). Metal toxicity and the p53 protein: an intimate relationship. Toxicol. Res., 4(3), 576–591. Link
5. Tokumoto, M., Fujiwara, Y., Shimada, A., Hasegawa, T., Seko, Y., Nagase, H., & Satoh, M. (2011). Cadmium toxicity is caused by accumulation of p53 through the down-regulation of Ube2d family genes in vitro and in vivo. The Journal of Toxicological Sciences, 36(2), 191–200. PMID: 21467746


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