What is Fatty Liver?

picture of a healthy liver without fatty liver disease

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

What is Fatty Liver (NAFLD)?

NAFLD is a condition where there are fat deposits in the liver in someone who is not an alcoholic.  The condition is thought to affect anywhere from 1 in 3 adults in the US and 1 in 10 children.  NAFLD is the leading cause of liver disease in Western countries.

Why is NAFLD a problem?

NAFLD itself is not necessarily serious but it can progress into another condition known as NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis). The fat deposits create inflammation in the liver and over time can damage the liver, leading to scarring, cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Severe liver cirrhosis can necessitate a liver transplant.

What are the symptoms of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?

You may have NAFLD and have no symptoms, the majority of people with the condition have no symptoms.  Children may have symptoms of abdominal pain and fatigue.  Your doctor may feel enlargement of your liver on physical exam.  

What causes Fatty Liver?

NAFLD is associated with Metabolic Syndrome – a group of symptoms (syndrome) that includes signs and symptoms such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, diabetes or pre-diabetes and being overweight.

How is NAFLD diagnosed?

A blood test for liver enzymes may be abnormal or not.  A liver ultrasound may show NAFLD.  NASH can only be diagnosed by liver biopsy.

What elses causes it?

Fat accumulation in the liver can also be caused by excess alcohol intake, certain medications, viral hepatitis, autoimmune liver disease, and metabolic or inherited liver disease.

What can be done about fatty liver disease?

In one study, mung bean sprouts that had been germinated for 4 days plus HIIT training improved sugar and fat metabolism, as well as liver function and cellular appearance in rats with NAFLD. Since insulin appears to play a significant role in fatty liver, adopting a low glycemic index, low glycemic load diet that requires less insulin is a good idea.  There are several other naturopathic interventions for fatty liver.

For more help with fatty liver disease, book an appointment now with one of our naturopathic doctors.

Suffering from Seasonal Allergies?

woman with successful treatment for seasonal allergies

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies are not just due to an immune system response to pollen, your immune system should not consider pollen to be a foreign invader that requires an immune system attack.  Allergies are a sign of inflamed and irritated tissue in the respiratory tract that has become super sensitive to particulate matter that should not normally trigger an immune response.  There are a number of factors that can contribute to this irritated tissue:

  1. Underlying food allergies or sensitivities.  Almost everyone has sensitivities to certain foods.  The most common ones are dairy, eggs, gluten, pineapple, almonds and beans like kidney beans and green beans.  Consuming these foods provokes the production of antibodies that lead to systemic inflammation that can leave nasal tissue easily irritated by fumes, chemicals, dust, pollen or mold spores. Our naturopathic doctors can help guide you through an elimination diet or order blood testing for food allergies or sensitivities.
  2. Toxin overload.  If your liver is not efficiently clearing waste and pollution from your body, then these chemicals accumulate and can irritate tissue, leaving it sensitive to pollen.  Facilitating phase I and phase II liver detoxification through supportive nutrients like n-acetyl cysteine, vitamin B6, L-5MTHF, calcium-d-glucarate and indole-3-carbinol can help your liver to more easily package toxins for excretion.
  3. Lack of vitamin C and vitamin B6.  Vitamin C and B6 are both natural anti-histamines.  Both are necessary in greater quantities when you are under stress.  In some cases of seasonal allergies, all I’ve helped my patient to do is to replenish both vitamins and long term allergies have subsided.
  4. Lack of vitamin A.  Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that is crucial to the health of mucous membranes.  Mucous membranes are what line the whole respiratory tract, so a lack of vitamin A leaves that tissue unhealthy and more susceptible to irritation. One of the only foods that supplies pre-formed vitamin A is liver.  Otherwise, we acquire beta carotene from foods like carrots, Swiss chard, kale and spinach and our liver has to convert that to vitamin A.  Vitamin A accumulates in your body so long term supplementation is not recommended and vitamin A supplements should be avoided in women who are pregnant, breast feeding and in children. A vitamin A derivative has been shown to have anti-allergic effects in an allergic rhinitis model in mice, and its underlying mechanisms mainly include the induction of regulatory T cells and the inhibition of Th2 responses.
  5. Overgrowth of harmful bacteria/yeast in the digestive tract and a lack of probiotic bacteria.  Good bacteria help keep the immune system functioning normally by moderating immune system activity.  Antibiotic use wipes out good bacteria and allows overgrowth of unhealthy organisms that can push the immune system into overdrive. Killing off gut bacteria excess and restoring healthy beneficial flora can help settle down an overly active immune system.  A recent Italian study found that Bifidobacteria mixture was capable of significantly improving allergic rhinitis symptoms and quality of life in children with pollen-induced allergic rhinitis and intermittent asthma.  Another found a combination probiotic of Lactobacillus gasseri and two strains of Bifidobacter improved rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life during allergy season for otherwise healthy individuals with self-reported seasonal allergies.

Our naturopathic doctors can help provide natural treatment for allergies.  Book an appointment now.

Natural Allergy Treatment Research

Miraglia Del Giudice M, Indolfi C, Capasso M, Maiello N, Decimo F, Ciprandi G. Bifidobacterium mixture (B longum BB536, B infantis M-63, B breve M-16V) treatment in children with seasonal allergic rhinitis and intermittent asthma.
Ital J Pediatr. 2017 Mar 7;43(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s13052-017-0340-5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28270216

Dennis-Wall JC, Culpepper T, Nieves C Jr, Rowe CC, Burns AM, Rusch CT, Federico A, Ukhanova M, Waugh S, Mai V, Christman MC, Langkamp-Henken B. Probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2) improve rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life in individuals with seasonal allergies: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Mar;105(3):758-767. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.140012. Epub 2017 Feb 22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28228426

Son HL, Park HR, Park YJ, Kim SW. Effect of Retinoic Acid in a Mouse Model of Allergic Rhinitis. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2015 Nov;7(6):590-8. doi: 10.4168/aair.2015.7.6.590. Epub 2015 Jun 2.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26333706

Thornhill SM, Kelly AM. Natural treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis. Altern Med Rev. 2000 Oct;5(5):448-54. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11056414

Ipci K, Altıntoprak N, Muluk NB, Senturk M, Cingi C. The possible mechanisms of the human microbiome in allergic diseases. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2017 Feb;274(2):617-626. doi: 10.1007/s00405-016-4058-6. Epub 2016 Apr 26.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27115907

Glutathione

glutathione molecule

What is Glutathione? 

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

It is a substance produced naturally in your liver and is a powerful antioxidant, considered to be the mother of all antioxidants (antioxidants help prevent oxidation and aging).  It is made from three amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine.  One of the primary functions of glutathione is cellular detoxification.

Why is glutathione important?

Healthy blood levels are important for protection from heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s and aging in general.  Reduced levels occur with aging and are associated with increased oxidative damage.

How do I get glutathione?

Foods contain it and there are glutathione supplements, however, most of what is orally ingested gets broken down in the digestive tract and so it doesn’t have an impact on increasing your blood levels.  For this reason, taking supplements is likely a waste of money, even liposomal glutathione. Consuming the above amino acids may assist your liver in producing more if you need it. Food sources of glutathione include: spinach, asparagus, avocado, squash, okra, cauliflower, broccoli, walnuts, garlic and tomatoes.

How else can I raise my blood level?

There are a number of supplements that have been shown to help raise levels in the blood, including:
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Milk Thistle
  • MSM
  • Melatonin
  • Curcumin

Your body can also recycle existing glutathione with the help of following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamins: C, E, B vitamins, active folic acid (L-5MTHF)
  • Minerals: selenium, zinc, vanadium, magnesium

Too Much of a Good Thing?

There is some research that has found higher levels of glutathione in cancer cells.  It may be that the cells have increased their own level as a means of protecting themselves from damage by chemotherapeutic agents or it may be that cancer cells are trying to keep themselves from undergoing normal cell demise known as apoptosis.

Should you supplement with glutathione?

I would say no, for the reasons I have already mentioned: it’s poorly absorbed and broken down in the gut and until we fully understand why glutathione is higher in cancer cells, it may be best to avoid artificially increasing it.  Use of some of the above supplements that help support healthy internal production or recycling seems like safer options.

References:

Yilin Liu, Annastasia S. Hyde, Melanie A. Simpson, and Joseph J. Barycki. Emerging regulatory paradigms in glutathione metabolism. Adv Cancer Res. 2014; 122: 69–101.

Matthew Butawan, Rodney L. Benjamin, and Richard J. Bloomer. Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement. Nutrients. 2017 Mar; 9(3): 290.

Antonio Carrillo-Vico, Patricia J. Lardone, Nuria Álvarez-Sánchez, Ana Rodríguez-Rodríguez, and Juan M. Guerrero. Melatonin: Buffering the Immune System. Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Apr; 14(4): 8638–8683.

Jianguo Lin, Youcai Tang, Qiaohua Kang, Yunfeng Feng, and Anping Chen. Curcumin inhibits gene expression of receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) in hepatic stellate cells in vitro by elevating PPARγ activity and attenuating oxidative stress. Br J Pharmacol. 2012 Aug; 166(8): 2212–2227.

Sinusitis

woman with sinusitis

Sinusitis

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

The word sinusitis just means inflammation of the sinuses.  Having inflamed sinuses does not mean that the inflammation is due to a bacterial infection, although sinusitis is often presumed to be from a bacterial infection and treated with antibiotics.

What Causes Sinusitis?

There are many potential triggers for sinus inflammation.  Of these, food allergies, food sensitivities, environmental allergies, bacterial infection, fungal infection, viral infection are the most common.   Of all the possible causes, bacteria is only a small fraction, so antibiotics may be completely unnecessary and ineffective.  Determining that bacteria is the cause of an episode of sinusitis is difficult without employing invasive procedures and most episodes of acute sinusitis resolve spontaneously, without antibiotics.

Should You Take Antibiotics for Sinusitis?

Research suggests that sinus infections aren’t actually helped by antibiotics or steroid nasal sprays.  This is because most sinus infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not kill viruses and steroid nasal sprays suppress the immune system that may be trying to fight a virus.  Antibiotics do not lower the frequency of relapse and are associated with adverse effects such as yeast infections, and antibiotic resistance.  A 2012 study called for “a moratorium for the widespread practice of a prolonged course of antibiotics in patients with presumed chronic rhinosinusitis”, due to a lack of evidence of effectiveness.

In a 2007 study, researchers assigned 240 adults with sinusitis to one of four treatments: an antibiotic and a steroid spray, only an antibiotic, only steroid spray, or fake medicine. No group got better any quicker than the others.

How Should You Treat Sinusitis?

  1. Do some detective work to figure out the root cause and treat that. If it happens every spring, it may be an environmental allergy to pollen.  If it happens after eating certain foods, more likely a food allergy or sensitivity. We can do blood testing to determine what yours are.  If it happens after a course of antibiotics, it may be a fungal infection of the sinuses.  Whatever the cause, we can help sleuth it out and treat it.
  2. Neti pot.  Saline irrigation of the sinuses has been found to be safe and effective for treating sinusitis if done properly (use sterile saline).
  3. Support a healthy immune system.  Probiotics, vitamin D, vitamin C, herbs like astragalus and coriolus can help balance the immune system.

References:

Brook I. Microbiology of sinusitis. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2011 Mar;8(1):90-100. doi: 10.1513/pats.201006-038RN.

Ferguson BJ, Narita M, Yu VL, Wagener MM, Gwaltney JM Jr. Prospective observational study of chronic rhinosinusitis: environmental triggers and antibiotic implications. Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Jan 1;54(1):62-8. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir747. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Guarch Ibáñez B, Buñuel Álvarez JC, López Bermejo A, Mayol Canals L. The role of antibiotics in acute sinusitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. An Pediatr (Barc). 2011 Mar;74(3):154-60. doi: 10.1016/j.anpedi.2010.10.011. Epub 2011 Jan 14.

Wei JL, Sykes KJ, Johnson P, He J, Mayo MS. Safety and efficacy of once-daily nasal irrigation for the treatment of pediatric chronic rhinosinusitis. Laryngoscope. 2011 Sep;121(9):1989-2000. doi: 10.1002/lary.21923. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

 

Healthy Weight Loss

woman celebrating easy weight loss

Weight Loss: 5 Healthy Ways to Lose Weight

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

Swimsuit season will soon be upon us!  This is the time of year where it is relatively easy to shed your winter weight. If trying on your spring and summer wardrobe has been a depressing experience, here are some weight loss tips and tricks to help you lose weight and get into summer shape more quickly and easily:

  1. Reality check – use a program like MyFitnessPal or the Fitbit app to track your caloric intake and exercise for a day or two.  You don’t need to get obsessive about it, but people tend to underestimate how many calories they consume and overestimate how much exercise they get.
  2. Reduce your stress.  Stress is bad for weight in so many ways: Increased cortisol, emotional eating, lower T3 (active thyroid hormone), higher reverse T3 (inactive thyroid hormone).
  3. Get enough sleep.  Lack of sleep lowers your willpower, promotes sugar cravings to supply energy and even one night of less than 4 hours sleep makes you more insulin resistant the next day and higher insulin means more fat gain
  4. Don’t snack.  The old 3 meals two snacks advice was bad advice.  Research has shown that people who snack between meals consume more calories in a day than those who don’t.
  5. Exercise. If you want everything you need to do to lose weight, my amazing colleague, Dr Jade Teta, has created an exercise program for weight loss, with bonus materials that include a healthy menu and recipes.  His workout will challenge what you thought you knew about exercise, it won’t take you long (only 15-20 minutes 3 times per week), there is no gym membership required, you can do it in your own living room, with or without weights or bands, it’s science based and it is cheap. The purpose of the program is to reset your metabolism to it’s prime.  I’m in my second round of the 12 week program and I can attest to the fact that it is hard, but I feel fitter than I have in years and I have lost weight and I’m exercising less. (despite my best efforts, my weight has only been doing a slow steady climb since I hit 45). Best of all, the program creator is a naturopathic doctor as well as a personal trainer and a heck of a nice guy. Check it out here. 

Stress and Diabetes

woman with job stress and diabetes

Job Stress and Diabetes

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

Are you a slave to your job?  Do you work long hours? Have little support? Feel that you have no control over the situation? Is there a link between your stress and diabetes?  You may want to read this.

In a 2010 study, white, middle-aged women reporting high levels of job strain and little work-related social support appear to be at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  Among the women, about 10 percent of all type 2 diabetes cases could have been prevented had the job-related stressors of little control, high demands, and little social support been eliminated.

When I see a patient with type II diabetes, we always address the 3 foundations of healthy blood sugar: diet, stress reduction and exercise. Women that I have seen with blood sugar problems have often already cleaned up their diet and started exercising, but may still struggle with blood sugar issues when stress is high. In those patients, we focus on reducing stress where we can and adding in some stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation or tai chi.

Stress is a part of everyone’s life, and a certain amount of stress is good as it can help motivate action and positive change.  Where stress seems to be particularly damaging is where women feel out of control of the stress.  Given this data, perhaps we should consider out of control work stress as another unhealthy lifestyle factor similar to obesity, low physical activity, smoking and poor diet.  Working oneself to death is sometimes lauded as an achievement and considered admirable, there are limits and taking control of your stress and seeking social support may be more deserving of merit.

I would add that it’s particularly important for women with any reproductive health or hormonal issue to be cognizant of negative stress since that type of stress obviously has a major influence on blood sugar and insulin levels which ultimately creates hormonal imbalances as well as type II diabetes.

Our naturopathic doctors can help with lifestyle counselling, diet advice, and natural remedies to help you relax and manage blood sugar better.  And of course, our massage therapists have the most amazing remedy for stress at their fingertips.  Book now.

Meal Replacement

why boost is no better than a chocolate bar pic

Why “Meal Replacement Drinks” are no Better Than Chocolate Bars

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

My mom is elderly and lives on her own and doesn’t always remember to prepare herself a nutritious meal. Her doctor recommended one of these “meal replacements”, here’s why that’s a horrible idea.

These “meal replacement” drinks are mostly composed of unhealthy fats and sugar.  If all I was concerned with was giving my mom empty calories like that, I would just give her a chocolate bar.  At least it contains real food ingredients (peanuts).  The main ingredients in these drinks are: water, sugar, corn syrup, milk protein concentrate, canola/sunflower/corn oil and soy protein isolate.

What about the vitamins and minerals in meal replacement drinks?

The quality of these vitamins and minerals is the lowest of the low, the cheapest forms for the manufacturer to put in.  Not well absorbed, not the form that the body needs.  The casein is potentially detrimental to the digestive tract and absorption of nutrients.  Caseinate forms of calcium (in these drinks), contain the protein casein which is a common food allergen and may aggravate anyone with a dairy sensitivity.

How do the nutritional facts compare?

Meal Replacement Drink:

Calories: 240/8 oz bottle

Cholesterol: 10 mg

Sodium: 150 mg

Carbohydrate: 41 g

Sugar: 20 g

Snickers:

Calories: 250/bar

Cholesterol: 5 mg

Sodium: 120 mg

Carbohydrate: 33 g

Sugar: 27 g

NesQuick:

Calories: 150/8 oz

Cholesterol: 15 mg

Sodium: 180 mg

Carbohydrate: 24 g

Sugar: 22 g

If you’re noticing some similarities between the Meal Replacement drink and NesQuik, that’s because they share the same manufacturer.

What are better alternatives to meal replacement drinks?

There are many better ways to help an aging parent or someone who is very ill meet their nutritional needs.  If they would prefer something in liquid form, purchase a high quality protein shake like Vega One or Ultra Protein Plus by Douglas Labs.  They’ll supply protein, much better quality vitamins and minerals without the sugar and canola oil.  To bump up the calories, blend these with full fat coconut milk, a banana, an avocado, some coconut oil and/or almond butter.

For mineral and protein nourishment, cook up some bone broth.  It’s easy, you just throw something with a bone in it in the slow cooker with a splash of apple cider vinegar and some chopped up veggies and leave it overnight.  A cup per day of bone broth will provide lots of readily absorbed minerals, and protein in the form of gelatin which can be used by the body to make collagen for building healthy bones, hair, skin and nails.

Chiropractic for Children

Boy laughing with quote about chiropractic for children

Is Chiropractic Safe for Children?

Chiropractic care addresses children’s health conditions associated with the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.  Spinal adjustments for infants and children are not the same as those used on adults. They are tailored to the size of the child and the stage of development of the child’s musculoskeletal system.

Why Do Children Need Chiropractic Treatment?

During the first few years of life we grow and change at an astonishing rate. Traumas, sprains and strains incurred, and/or poor postural habits formed during these years have the potential to affect us later on in life. Within the first 12 months of life approximately 50% of babies will have had at least one fall onto their heads from a high place. As babies learn to walk they will suffer from hundreds of falls onto their bottoms. As children get older they may start participating in sports. It is estimated that 3.5 million children under the age of 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries every year. The Centre for Disease Control and prevention did a study which showed chiropractic and osteopath manipulation were the most common form of doctor directed complementary or alternative medicine used by children. The percentage of chiropractic patients under the age of 17 has increased at least 8.5% since 1991.

Does Research Support the Safety of Chiropractic Treatment for Kids?

Recent research by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) found spinal manipulative therapy to be safe and effective in treating children of all ages.

What are the Benefits of Seeing a Chiropractor for Children?

Dr Hewitt , past president of the American Chiropractic Associationʼs (ACA) Pediatrics Council states that the majority of patients report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and look forward to subsequent visits. They also report that their children experience a greater level of health while under regular chiropractic care. Parents surveyed by the ICPA reported behavioural improvements for kids who saw a chiropractor, as well as improved sleep and stronger immune systems. Scientific evidence in these areas is still inconclusive, however, the large increase in the number of children under chiropractic care appears to be a positive endorsement of its benefits.

What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is the application of a specific force through a restricted joint. The adjustment restores normal joint movement, reduces muscle tension and allows your nervous system to function properly again. The results are a decrease in your pain, increased mobility and flexibility, restored function and a renewed sense of vitality.

Improved health and a better quality of life for your children is just around the corner.

By Dr Kimberley Macanuel, BSc(Hons), DC

Massage Therapy & Parkinson’s Disease

massage for Parkinson's disease by a registered massage therapist or RMT

Parkinson’s Disease and Massage Therapy

Parkinson’s Disease is a central nervous system disorder which affects the body’s motor function. This dysfunction is due to a lack of dopamine which is a brain chemical or neurotransmitter produced in the brain. Dopamine enables motor function (or muscle movement). Parkinson’s will often result in symptoms including rigidity in the muscles and joints, uncontrolled movements, and tremors. Difficulty with slow controlled movements such as holding a glass of water is common, as well as difficulty walking.

Massage in general plays a great role in reducing muscle soreness, and improving range of motion, so in the case of those suffering from Parkinson’s where severe muscle tightness and restriction in movements are an everyday issue, regular massage is very beneficial. Massage also decreases sympathetic nervous system firing, which is essential to reducing high tone in muscles.  Massage therapy has also been shown to be beneficial for constipation in people with Parkinson’s.

If massage therapy can help such extreme muscle rigidity and stiffness, imagine how it can also help those with everyday muscle tension. Our skilled registered massage therapists are usually covered by your insurance and can help relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as muscle stiffness and constipation.

Sources:

McClurg D, Walker K, Aitchison P, Jamieson K, Dickinson L, Paul L, Hagen S, Cunnington AL. Abdominal Massage for the Relief of Constipation in People with Parkinson’s: A Qualitative Study. Parkinsons Dis. 2016;2016:4842090. doi: 10.1155/2016/4842090. Epub 2016 Dec 8.

Casciaro Y. Massage Therapy Treatment and Outcomes for a Patient with Parkinson’s Disease: a Case Report. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2016 Mar 4;9(1):11-8. eCollection 2016.

McClurg D, Hagen S, Jamieson K, Dickinson L, Paul L, Cunnington A. Abdominal massage for the alleviation of symptoms of constipation in people with Parkinson’s: a randomised controlled pilot study. Age Ageing. 2016 Mar;45(2):299-303. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afw005. Epub 2016 Jan 29.

Chestnuts Roasting in Your Oven

roasted chestnuts

Chestnuts

The tradition of roasting chestnuts dates back to sixteenth century Rome where street vendors sold them, much like we see here in Toronto.

Nutritional Content of Chestnuts

 

Chestnuts crumble in the mouth to give a sweet flavour, they are low in fat and are in fact a seed, not a nut. They are a good source of dietary fibre, and minerals like manganese, potassium, copper, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. They are also a vitamin powerhouse with Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Thiamine, Folate, Riboflavin, Niacin and Pantothenic Acid. Zinc and calcium are also present in small amounts.  They contain lower amounts of fat and protein than most nuts and seeds and relatively higher amounts of carbohydrate and sugar.

How to Choose Good Chestnuts

These “nuts” are freshest between October to December.  Look for fresh ones that are hard, shiny, heavy for their size and do not rattle when you shake them. Because of their starch and sugar content they, they can harbour mold, discard any with visible mold.  They are highly perishable, so refrigerate them for up to one week or freeze for up to one month.

Roasting Chestnuts

You can roast them yourself by nicking the skins so that they don’t explode as they heat up. You should cut an X in the skin with a very sharp knife. Cut right through the skin, they have very tough skin so a little pressure is needed. Watch your fingers!

Heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, spread chestnuts out on a roasting pan and pop them into the oven for approx 15-20 mins.

Take them out of the oven and let them cool a bit before eating. If you place a towel over them while they cool, the trapped steam will help loosen the skin. When you are ready to eat them, peel them by squeezing them to loosen the skin.

Here’s a link to some chestnut recipes: http://www.epicurious.com/ingredient/chestnut

Looking for more healthy food ideas or nutrition advice?  Talk to one of our licensed naturopathic doctors.