Stressed?

tips for man feeling stressed

Feeling Stressed?

We all experience stress in our lives from time to time. Stress is a normal physical response to events that threaten us, or upset our balance in some way. In these situations, our body kicks into high gear with the “fight or flight” response, the feeling of being stressed. This response can actually be helpful in certain stressful situations where you need to defend yourself, or stay focused (like in an emergency situation).

However, because the body doesn’t distinguish between physical and emotional threats, some of us can become stuck in a “stressed-out” state . Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems.

Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, as well as increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

There are many ways in which we can relieve tension, stress, and anxiety. Massage therapy is an excellent way to help manage stress. Massage can help to get rid of muscle tension (often a direct physical symptom of stress), reduce stress and anxiety, and it’s thought to even boost your body’s immune system. More research is needed into the subject of stress and massage, but studies have shown that patients being treated for cancer who received regular massage reported less anxiety, pain, and fatigue than those who did not receive regular massage.  Six out of nine studies on children and adolescents found that they were less stressed and fatigued with the addition of complementary treatments like massage therapy to conventional cancer treatment.

Talk to your RMT about massage therapy for stress management.

Here are 5 tips for relaxation between your massage treatments:

  1. Schedule downtime.  Relaxation time every day is as important as eating well and exercising.
  2. Yoga or meditation.  Research on both shows reductions in stress hormones with regular practice.
  3. Socialize.  Social interaction can help relieve stressful situations and provide much needed support.
  4. Reduce your caffeine intake.  Caffeine is a stimulant and while it may give you a boost, at the same time it taxes your adrenal (stress) glands.
  5. Sleep.  Make sleep a priority.  Research shows that at least 7-7.5 hours per night is ideal.

Massage and Stress References:

Garner B, Phillips LJ, Schmidt HM, Markulev C, O’Connor J, Wood SJ, Berger GE, Burnett P, McGorry PD. Pilot study evaluating the effect of massage therapy on stress, anxiety and aggression in a young adult psychiatric inpatient unit. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2008 May;42(5):414-22. doi: 10.1080/00048670801961131.

Lopes-Júnior LC, Bomfim EO, Nascimento LC, Nunes MD, Pereira-da-Silva G, Lima RA. Non-pharmacological interventions to manage fatigue and psychological stress in children and adolescents with cancer: an integrative review. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2015 Sep 16. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12381.

 

How To Survive a Hectic Lifestyle

how to survive a hectic lifestyle

6 Ways to Survive a Hectic Lifestyle

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

Schedule “Me” Time

Take a certain amount of time every day just for you. Read a book, enjoy a cup of tea, take a walk, have a bath, get a pedi, have a massage, or do a craft (colouring for adults is hot right now!).

Exercise Every Day

Exercise is an investment in your short and long term health. It is the best stress reducer and it helps prevent every chronic illness. Walk, jog, bike, run, swim, dance, do a class, take karate, do some yoga,, whatever, just make it a priority like you would brushing your teeth or having a shower.

Take Vacations

Don’t be a martyr and forgo vacations in favour of work. Vacations will help you recharge and you’ll come back more productive afterwards.

Re-evaluate Priorities

Should work really be the most important thing in your life? Why?

Bolster Your Adrenal Glands

The fast pace depletes the necessary ingredients for your adrenal glands to perform their job, then you can’t deal with the hectic pace as easiliy. Take B5, B6, C, Magnesium and Zinc along with adaptogens like ashwagandha, rhodiola, schisandra and eleuthrococcus.

Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night

It doesn’t have to be 8 hours per night, but it should be at least 7 to allow your body to recover and recharge. Staying up to work on a project will hinder your performance the next day.

Book an appointment with one of our naturopathic doctors now for more advice about how to lead your healthiest, happiest life possible.

Antibiotics are Not For Colds

woman with a cold sneezing wondering about antibiotics

Should You Take Antibiotics for Colds?

Every time they come down with something, some people beg their doctor for antibiotics that:

  1. Can cause diarrhea and destroy healthy bacteria in the digestive tract
  2. Land more than 140,000 people in the emergency room every year
  3. Only help about one in 4,000 patients avoid a serious complication
  4. And do nothing to relieve their symptoms (because they only work for bacteria, not the viruses that are causing their cold symptoms)

Antibiotics are well known to be useless for colds, influenza, most sore throats and the vast majority of bronchitis cases, because those illnesses are caused by viruses. Antibiotics kill only bacteria. Every time people take unneeded antibiotics, they encourage the growth of bacterial strains that resist antibiotics, creating hard-to-control “superbugs” like MRSA.

Nonetheless, half of antibiotic prescriptions still go to people with viral illnesses.

There is a time and place for antibiotics and they save many lives, but they need to be used sparingly and judiciously.

Here are better options than taking antibiotics when you have a cold or the flu:

  1. Do all the things you know you should do to keep your immune system healthy – get good sleep, reduce your stress, drink lots of water, avoid sugar and processed foods, cut out alcohol.
  2. Boost your immune system’s efforts to fight off the virus with herbs like echinacea and reishi mushroom extract.
  3. Whip up some Gingerbread Cookie tea to help ease your cold symptoms:Gingerbread Cookie Tea for Colds

    5-6 cups of water

    Fresh ginger root sliced (~ 2 tbsps)

    A couple of cinnamon sticks

    ½ teaspoon lemon or orange zest

    Bring to a boil briefly; reduce to a simmer in a pot with a tight fitting lid for 20-40 minutes (10 minutes for kids).

    In a mug put:

    Juice of ½ lemon

    1 teaspoon raw honey

    Add the simmered ginger, cinnamon, citrus peel decoction and enjoy. Reheat on stove throughout the day. This formula tastes good, is antimicrobial, anti nauseant, clears mucous, and helps enhance or clear a fever.

Comfort Food

 comfort food baked apples low carb dessert

Reaching for Comfort Food? How not to Gain Weight over the Holidays

As the weather is getting colder everyone starts reaching for the comfort food. Unfortunately most of us don’t reach for “skinny” comfort food. Usually we reach for the starchy, sweet and creamy and in doing so we gain some extra weight. A little extra weight over the winter is a perfectly natural thing, provides a little more insulation against the elements. But if you had enough padding already and don’t need to add some, then it’s time to rethink comfort foods or at least do some behavior modification:

  • Have just one bite – Remember how awesome the taste is of that first delicious bite of pumpkin pie? Do the rest of the bites have the same impact?  Probably not.  The biggest kick is in that first bite.  So savor the first bite (or two or three), but once you’ve lost that initial oomph, put the rest aside.
  • Move more – You can buy yourself some wiggle room by adding some extra exercise to your day.  Know you’re going out for a big meal?  Throw in an extra bout of cardio or weights to burn off some extra ahead of time.  It may also put you in a more healthy mindset that you don’t really want to undo by binging on junk.
  • Pick your Poison – Love, love, love pumpkin pie but only so-so about the whip cream?  Have it plain then.  Not a fan of stuffing but love yams?  Take one and not the other.   Be selective and be moderate.
  • Healthy alternatives – No one wants to feel deprived, especially over the holidays. Here are some healthier swaps for some of your favourites:

Healthier comfort food recipes:
Replace high fat cream soups with our Cream of Squash Soup
Replace regular pumpkin pie with our Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Replace apple pie with a Baked Apple
Replace milkshakes with Fresh Fruit Smoothies

Time for Cranberries!

cranberries are heart healthy

The Health Benefits of Cranberries

It’s the time of year that you can find cranberries easily in the grocery store. It’s a good time to pick up a few bags and throw them in the freezer for future use. Here are some of the health benefits of cranberries:

  • Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections – The proanthocyanidins found in cranberry appear to block E. coli bacteria from sticking to the cell walls of the uterus and bladder.
  • Reduction of Dental Plaque – It is believed that cranberry juice can inhibit the aggregation of bacteria that cause dental plaque.
  • Anti-Cancer Activity – The proanthocyanidin compounds found in cranberry may exhibit some anti-carcinogenic activity.
  • Heart Disease – Cranberry extract has been shown to inhibit low density lipoprotein oxidation reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Kidney stones – Quinic acid,abundant in cranberries, may help to prevent the development of kidney stones.

There’s a brand recipe on our website for Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider, click here to enjoy.

Sleep: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Woman can't sleep due to insomnia

Can You Sleep Too Much?

A good night’s sleep is essential for health. But oversleeping has been linked to a host of medical problems, including:

Diabetes:People who sleep less than 5 hours per night or more than nine hours each night have a 50 percent greater risk of diabetes than people who sleep seven hours per night.

Obesity:One recent study showed that people who slept for 9 or 10 hours every night were 21 percent more likely to become obese over a six-year period.

Headaches:Sleeping longer than usual can cause head pain. Researchers believe this is due to the effect oversleeping has on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin.

Back pain: No more lying in bed if your back hurts and make sure your mattress is in good shape.

Depression:Roughly 15 percent of people with depression sleep too much. This may in turn make their depression worse, because regular sleep habits are important to the recovery process.

Heart disease:The Nurses’ Health Study, which involved nearly 72,000 women, showed that women who slept nine to 11hours per night were 38 percent more likely to have coronary heart disease.

Death: Multiple studies have found that people who sleep nine or more hours per night have significantly higher death rates. No specific reason for this correlation has been determined.

So be sure to get your zzzzzz’s, but not too much!

Pigging Out Provokes Inflammation

Woman overeating causing inflammation

Can You Reduce Inflammation by Eating Less?  Yes!

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

Overeating can make your brain go haywire, prompting a cascade of damage that may lead to inflammation and subsequently diabetes, heart disease and other ills.

Eating too much activates a normally dormant immune system pathway in your brain, which sends out immune cells to attack and destroy invaders that are not there. This finding could help explain why obesity causes or contributes to so many different diseases.

Studies that have shown that obesity causes chronic inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation is found in a range of diseases related to obesity, including heart disease and diabetes.

Suffering from chronic pain and inflammation? Maybe you need to look at your portion sizes.

4 Tricks to Reduce Portion Sizes

  1.  Use smaller plates
  2. Keep serving dishes off the dinner table
  3. Drink 2 glasses of water before each meal
  4. Start your meal with a bowl of soup

Raw Honey vs Antibiotics

bee on a calendula flower collecting pollen to make raw honey

Raw Honey Beats Antibiotics – Yes Please!

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

Ottawa University researchers found that certain types of honey kill bacteria that cause sinus infections, in most cases better than antibiotics.

The researchers have tested raw Manuka honey from New Zealand, and raw Sidr honey from Yemen. The two killed all floating bacteria in liquid, and 63-91 percent of biofilms — microorganisms that sometimes form a protective layer in sinus cavities, urinary tracts, catheters and heart valves, protecting bacteria from normal drug treatments and often leading to chronic infections. I have often recommended raw honey to help kill off Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers.

The most effective antibiotic, rifampin, killed just 18 percent of the biofilm samples in the tests.

NOTE: Raw honey should never be given to children under the age of 1 due to their increased risk of contracting botulism.

You may want to check here to make sure your honey is good quality, there have been issues with honey imported from China and with overly processed honey:

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.VkT0U3arS70

If you’re looking for other alternatives to antibiotics, we have many natural treatment options to fight infection and prevent recurrence.  See one of our naturopathic doctors.

Afraid of Germs?

germs like bacteria and viruses are everywhere

Germaphobes – Look Away Now

As we roll into cold and flu season, did you know that many of the surfaces and objects you come in contact with every day are covered in bacteria and viruses?

Here are a few of the worst culprits:

Purses and Wallets

Purses pick up the bacteria from wherever they’re placed — from the soiled ground to the bathroom floor. Wallets pick up bacteria from what goes into them.

Remote Controls

If you’re lucky, different people get to handle the remote controls.

Laundry Machines

There is about 0.1 gram of fecal material in a piece of underwear.(Yuck!)That amounts to approximately 100 million E. coli bacteria in an average undergarment load.

Cutting Boards

There are 200 times more fecal bacteria on a cutting board than a toilet seat.(Double Yuck!) The reason is that many people rinse off their cutting board rather than thoroughly washing it.

Your Phone

The telephone provides a convenient meeting place for two different sources of germs — your hands and your mouth.

Water Fountains

The moist surface area on the average water fountain is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

Buttons

The buttons found on ATMs, elevators, telephones and drink machines are located in areas that are not often cleaned and disinfected to kill bacteria and viruses.

Yoga Mats

Sweat and microbes can cover an exercise mat during a workout. This may not be a problem if the mat was cleaned and disinfected before and after each use. But if the mats are not cleaned, germs can linger for days.

Airplane Bathroom

Airplane bathrooms get cleaned, but the high volume of people they must cater to in a short amount of time leaves them very dirty very quickly.

Shopping Carts

One test found E. coli on almost half the shopping carts examined.These microbes are transferred from the cart to your hands, to the food you select and then to your face if your hands touch it.

Most of these micro-organisms shouldn’t instil fear, however, on the contrary, regular contact with low levels of non-disease causing organisms can help keep your immune system working normally.  The hygiene hypothesis of allergies, suggests that lack of exposure to bacteria due to being too clean is what is causing a rise in allergies.  Keeping your immune system healthy with good food, low stress, healthy sleep and select vitamins and minerals means that you can touch all the shopping carts you want with confidence.

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc (Hons), ND. For help with maintaining a healthy immune system to defect any of these bacteria as well as cold and flu viruses, talk to one of our naturopathic doctors.  Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

Swiss Ch…

swiss chard

Swiss Ch…Fill in the Blank

With Halloween just behind us, you thought I was going to talk about Swiss Chocolate didn’t you? Sorry to disappoint, but this week it’s about Swiss Chard – yummy!  With kale getting all the glory lately, this more delicious (IMHO) leafy green is taking a back seat.

I’m always touting the benefits of dark, green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard. It’s essentially a beet, but it’s grown for the green leafy top. It’s low calorie, no fat, high in fibre, iron, magnesium and calcium as well as lutein which is good for eyesight. Chard is also good for beta carotene and vitamin C.

You can make low carb, gluten free tortillas by using the leaves in place of tortillas for wraps. You can also chop it up and sprinkle it in a salad uncooked. Or you can steam it and squeeze a lemon over it to help with iron absorption. Keep it loose or in a paper bag in the fridge for a couple of days.

There’s a recipe for Crispy Kidney Beans & Swiss Chard in our healthy recipes section on our website to check it out click here.