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.

Are You Getting Enough Iodine?

picture of a thyroid gland

Iodine, Thyroid and Pregnancy

Research shows that women from iodine-deficient areas should use iodized salt for at least 2 years before becoming pregnant to prevent thyroid problems during pregnancy and to protect the fetus against the harmful effect of iodine deficiency on brain development.

The thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped organ in the neck and a key part of the endocrine system, produces hormones and helps regulate the body’s metabolism.

There is an increased risk of neurological development problems in infants born to mothers who had low levels of thyroid hormone in early pregnancy. Even mild isolated thyroid problems can interfere with fetal brain development.

Researchers found that the rate of thyroid failure was nearly 6 times higher in short-term users of iodized salt compared with long-term users.

In the clinic, I often see people whose concerns include low energy, sluggish metabolism, can’t lose weight or gain weight easily, hard to get out of bed in the morning, thinning hair and feeling cold even in the summer. While there are many possible explanations, low thyroid function could be one reason for these symptoms. I will often ask if they are consuming iodized salt. Sea salt, while it’s healthier than regular table salt, is often NOT iodized. Supplementing salt with iodine was a public health initiative designed to top up everyone’s iodine intake in areas where the soil is particularly iodine deficient. Those on salt restricted diets or who are using salt that is not iodized, run the risk of an iodine deficiency. My recommendation is to ensure that everyone is using a little iodized sea salt each day or you can also get iodine naturally by consuming seaweed like kelp, wakame or bladderwrack.

There are several other nutrients that are essential for healthy thyroid function, including copper, zinc, selenium and tyrosine.  Supporting these nutrients can sometimes turn around an underactive thyroid, but more often than not, a sluggish thyroid is due to Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune thyroid problem.  Treating that successfully is a whole other, bigger kettle of fish!

Warning:  Too much iodine can also be bad for your thyroid, so only supplement with iodine under the supervision of a naturopathic doctor. 

To increase your iodine intake there’s a new recipe for seaweed salad in the healthy recipes section on our website to check it out click here.

Heart Disease in a Can

can of red bull like energy drink

Why You Should Avoid These “Energy” Drinks

I know that none of my dear readers would ever drink it, but maybe someone you know indulges in the occasional can of an “energy” (caffeine and sugar) drink.

In 2008, Australian medical researchers found that just one can of such beverages can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, even in young healthy people.

The caffeine-loaded beverage causes the blood to become sticky, a precursor to cardiovascular problems such as stroke.

One hour after they drank a well known energy drink, the study participants’ blood systems were no longer normal. They were abnormal like you would expect in a patient with cardiovascular disease.

This particular drink is banned in Norway, Uruguay and Denmark because of health risks listed on its cans. One can contains 80mg of caffeine, around the same as a normal cup of brewed coffee.

Researchers concluded that this drink could be deadly when combined with stress or high blood pressure, impairing proper blood vessel function and possibly elevating the risk of blood clotting.

There’s a recipe for caffeine-free chai tea in our healthy recipes section on our website to
check it out click here.

Source: Reuters, Aug 18 2008

by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND.  For heart disease prevention and health promotion, our naturopathic doctors can provide guidance as to what to have and what to avoid.  Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

Why is a Food Journal Important

woman writing in a food journal

Why Keep a Diet Diary?

One of the more “painful” things everyone does when they first come and see me is fill in a one week diet diary or food journal detailing everything they put in their mouth for that one week. They often return with comments like “I was on vacation this week” or “I had 3 parties to go to so this isn’t how I usually eat” or the classic “I forgot”.

It turns out that researchers have proved diet diaries to be an effective means to help people lose weight. The study looked at more than 1,500 people over six months and found that those who kept a food diary and updated it regularly lost about twice as much weight as those who did not.

The average weight loss for study participants was about 13 pounds. But those keeping food diaries six or seven days a week lost about 18 pounds, compared to just 9 pounds for those not regularly keeping a food diary.

As human beings, we have a tendency to underestimate how much we eat and over-estimate our physical activity.

There is a method to my madness!

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND.  Our naturopaths can help with healthy weight loss with food journals, but also healthy diet recommendations, lifestyle suggestions, exercise tips, and supplements that may help you stay on track.  Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

6 Steps to Increase Longevity

older woman trying to increase her longevity

Longevity: Add More Years to Your Life and More Life to Your Years

Live life to its fullest every day and don’t sweat the small stuff

Unnecessary stressing over little things increases cortisol.  Cortisol is considered a catabolic hormone, meaning that it tends to break down tissue.  Avoid expediting the breakdown of your body that occurs as a natural part of the ageing process by keeping stress in check.  Check out our stress video here.

Live in moderation with little or no stress

Overindulgence in food, alcohol, stress, sugar and other addictions, television, internet time etc are all associated with damage to your body.

Walk everywhere you can

Walking is great exercise.  Being outdoors is a natural cortisol reducer.  Nature is one of the greatest stress relievers.  Walking to run errands is not only environmentally friendly, it’s good exercise, it reduces air pollution and encourages local consumerism.

Eat as little as possible of freshly prepared food, three times per day

Reduced caloric intake increases longevity. Overindulging in food or anything else isn’t healthy.  Caloric restriction has been shown in many studies to promote longevity.  It keeps excess weight in check, which in turn prevents a host of health problems, maintains healthy blood pressure and blood sugar, prevents diabetes and insulin resistance and maintains healthy digestion.  Studies have shown that consuming 3 meals and 2 snacks per day increases caloric intake, try to only eat 3 meals per day.

Drink six to eight glasses of water every day

Keeping your kidneys flushed helps prevent kidney stones, and carries waste out of your system.  Water helps every cell in your body to function at its peak.  Need help drinking more?  Make it a habit to drink 2 glasses of water first thing every morning, keep a big glass of water on your desk and carry a stainless steel water bottle with you so that water is always accessible.

Share at least one meal per day with another person

Our souls need a daily dose of another’s spirit to truly thrive.  Isolation and loneliness contribute to ageing and even dementia.  So keep communicating with other people to keep your brain sharp.

Looking for more ways to turn back the years and thrive for as long as possible? Our naturopathic doctors can help design an anti-ageing supplement regimen. Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

B is for Bone Health

picture of B vitamins that are important for bone health

B Vitamins and Bone Density

Older adults who are low in B vitamins or who have elevated levels of a blood protein called homocysteine are at increased risk of suffering a hip fracture. Elevated homocysteine levels are also linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Homocysteine levels go up when B vitamin levels go down. In this study, researchers found that homocysteine and certain B vitamins were each independently linked to hip fracture risk.

Men and women with vitamin B6 or B12 deficiencies were 60 percent more likely than those with normal levels to sustain a hip fracture.

High homocysteine levels lead to a 50 percent to 70 percent increased risk of a hip fracture — regardless of their B vitamin levels.

Lab research suggests that B vitamins play a role in maintaining bone density, and studies have linked low blood levels of the vitamins with low bone mass. As B6 declines, bone loss accelerates. Although homocysteine was related to hip fracture risk, it is not due to bone loss.  Diet changes and vitamin supplements are easy and effective methods for controlling B vitamin and homocysteine levels.

Vitamin B6 is found in foods like potatoes, bananas, beans and fortified cereals; vitamin B12 is found mainly in meat, eggs, fish and poultry.

Relevant blood work: vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, fasting homocysteine

Yours in health,
Pamela

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, June 2008.

5 Things I Love About My Patients

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

Having practiced naturopathic medicine for 18+ years, I’ve noticed a certain common ground among the people who seek my care.  Here they are:

Intelligence

intelligent people
They’re intelligent people.  I can condense 18 years of knowledge into 45 minutes and they’ll grasp and embrace the concepts, often complicated ones, that I’m trying to explain.

Open-minded and Inquisitive

Inquisitive
They’re open-minded and inquisitive.  Inquiring minds want to know how their body works, why certain issues have become a problem, and how to address the root of the problem to fix it on a more permanent basis.

Researchers

Research
They do their research.  Most of my patients have already done some online research before coming to see me and will again after they’ve been to see me. They’re educated and informed and want to know more about how best to help themselves.

Take Responsibility

responsibility for health
They are willing to take responsibility for their own health.  They’re not expecting me to produce magic.  They’re ok with getting their hands dirty to change some things, take a couple of supplements, address their lifestyle and be proactive about being healthy.

Appreciative

thankful appreciative boy
Appreciative. After being bounced around the medical system, they’re appreciative of the time, kindness, caring and respect that they receive.

Other characteristics of Naturopathic Doctor patients:

  1. They have been through the conventional medicine system and haven’t had satisfactory treatment.  They have usually already been to medical doctors, specialists, or fertility clinics and are still suffering.  They often feel let down by the conventional system.  Their symptoms have been passed off as “just stress”, “normal” or “unexplained”.
  2. They don’t want to take drugs to mask their concerns.
  3. They prefer a more natural approach through diet, exercise, vitamins, minerals, herbs, acupuncture, massage therapy or chiropractic treatment.
  4. They may be looking for more thorough testing than has been done already.

What is it like to be a Naturopathic Doctor patient?

It’s not at all unlike going to see your family doctor.  You’ll be welcomed when you arrive in our waiting area.  If there are forms to complete, you can fill them in online prior to your visit or in person when you arrive.  For your initial visit, we’ll spend 90 minutes discussing your health history in detail, your current concerns, we’ll do a screening physical exam (nothing internal or invasive), and we’ll discuss in detail what the plan should be and how to implement it.  Naturopathic treatment would include diet & lifestyle recommendations, vitamins, minerals, herbs and/or acupuncture.  After the initial visit, follow ups can be scheduled anywhere from 1-12 weeks apart depending on your concerns and your treatment.

If you share these traits and you’re looking for solutions to your health issues, I would love to work with you too.

In health,

Pamela