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Broccoli Nutrition & How It Can Transform Your Health

by July 17, 2019

Your mom was right about eating your broccoli. If you don’t already eat broccoli regularly (yet), know that this is one vegetable that can totally transform your health.

Broccoli Nutrition  

Broccoli is a wonderful source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and fiber. It’s also loaded with potassium, selenium, folate, and vitamin A. Even better, broccoli is a great source of antioxidants, which are key for slowing the aging process. On top of all that, broccoli contains compounds that can help reduce inflammation and its has fiber helps with digestion.

Now for the even more astonishing stuff…

Broccoli & Hormone Balance 

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain a phytochemical called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) which helps to maintain a healthy ratio of good and bad estrogen. Remember, estrogen encompasses a group of hormones and their metabolites – metabolites being the substances that are either required for estrogen metabolism or are created from estrogen metabolism. In order for the female reproductive system to be healthy, these must function in a proper ratio, because this metabolism can result in good estrogen or the more dominant types of estrogen that can be bad for your health if they circulate in excess. For example, many types of breast cancer tumors depend on the dominant estrogen in order to grow.

So, back to broccoli… When I3C is digested, it creates another compound called diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM helps to balance hormones, specifically estrogen and testosterone. So, together I3C and DIM create hormonal balance by increasing the activity of enzymes that convert the dominant bad estrogen to the good kind.

I3C and DIM also metabolize xenoestrogens, which are harmful chemicals that mimic estrogen. Xenoestrogens often come from manmade materials, such as plastics or other synthetic compounds, although they also come from certain plants.

All that from broccoli!

But Wait, There’s More!

Broccoli isn’t done yet. It contains another vital chemical, sulforaphane. Studies have shown that sulforaphane slows aging and fights cancer. It assists in detoxification by initiating an enzyme in the liver, allowing toxins to be efficiently removed by your body.

Always Choose Organic Broccoli

Organic broccoli is an absolute must. The USDA testing program found that 70% of domestic, conventional broccoli samples – meaning non-organic and grown in the USA – contain the pesticide Imidacloprid. This chemical concoction is commonly used on broccoli because of its neurotoxic effect on insects, and so you don’t want to be eating that compound. Sadly, bees suffer from that neurotoxic effect.

Well, there you have it. The health benefits of broccoli in a nutshell. I’ll bet you didn’t realize there were so many and how potent broccoli really is as a superfood. So make your mom proud by including organic broccoli as a regular part of your plate.


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4 Nutrients That Are Essential For Healthy Blood Pressure

by July 15, 2019

Almost 30% of Americans deal with high blood pressure. It’s very common. And it’s a very serious condition with very real consequences. Worse still, of that 30% of the population with high blood pressure, only about half have it under control.

High Blood Pressure vs Hypertension

Just so you know, high blood pressure is sometimes referred to as hypertension. The two terms basically mean the same thing. Don’t think they’re separate conditions.

Danger Increases As Age Increases

People of just about any age can have high blood pressure. But the stats for people over the age of 50 are alarming. Over half of adults aged 55 to 64, and 70% of people aged 65 to 74, have high blood pressure.

This is a huge concern because high blood pressure can cause massive damage to your heart, brain, and kidneys. It’s a major factor in heart disease and strokes: two of the biggest causes of death.

Why Do So Many People Have High Blood Pressure? 

Well, first, there are no warning symptoms from high blood pressure. You may have it now and not know it. This is why you should check it regularly.

Second, nutrition. The typical American diet is essentially tailor made for causing high blood pressure. Changing what you eat and drink can help you control high blood pressure.

So, here are four key dietary nutrients for controlling blood pressure…

1) Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Both EPA and DHA

  • They lower inflammation in the arteries, improve blood cholesterol levels, and decrease triglycerides.
  • EPA and DHA are found only in cold water fatty fish, like salmon, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring, and lake trout.
  • If you aren’t eating those fish regularly – like at least two or three times per week – then it’s vital that you supplement with between 1,000 and 2,000 milligrams of EPA and DHA every day.
  • For more information about how to choose a fish oil supplement, watch my video called “Fish Oil Benefits and Why You Should Be Consuming It”.


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2) CoQ10

  • CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant. That means it fights oxidative stress, which is a main driver of heart disease.
  • It supplies your cells and your heart with the massive amount of energy they need to function.
  • CoQ10 helps your vascular endothelium to function properly (the cells lining your blood vessels). It helps them to relax, allowing unrestricted blood flow, which lowers pressure.
  • If you use prescription blood pressure medications or cholesterol lowering statins, you really must supplement with CoQ10. Those drugs are known to deplete your body of CoQ10.
  • Good food sources of CoQ10 include organ meats, poultry, fatty fish, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, sesame seeds, pistachios, strawberries, and oranges (although they’re higher in sugar).


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3) Magnesium

  • This mineral is critical for regulating hundreds of things that need to happen in your body, yet most people don’t get enough of it. Some estimates claim 80% of people are magnesium deficient.
  • For blood pressure, magnesium helps blood vessels relax.
  • It’s important for muscle and nerve function.
  • Good sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, almonds, avocado, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, flax, and chia. You’ll also get some magnesium from fatty fish.
  • In addition to eating magnesium-rich foods, most people should take a magnesium supplement of up to 500 milligrams daily.
  • My product called Natural Calm – a lemon flavored powder that you can mix into hot or cold water – is great to drink in the evenings to help your body relax before bed. Not only can it help you sleep well, it will handle any magnesium deficiency that you may have. Better sleep and more magnesium will support improved blood pressure.


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4) Potassium

  • Potassium relaxes blood vessel walls and helps conduct electrical signals in your heart.
  • It counteracts high levels of sodium, which are really common in processed food.
  • Be wary of medications that deplete potassium levels e.g. antibiotics, antacids, corticosteroids, and diuretics.
  • Eat plenty of potassium-rich foods every day: avocado, sweet potato, beets, broccoli, spinach, peas, cucumber, and Brussels sprouts.

So, there you have it. Start the journey now to avoid high blood pressure or to get your high blood pressure down and keep it down. Remember the big four nutrients: Omega-3s, CoQ10, magnesium, and potassium. They play a gigantic role in the support of your blood pressure.

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Supplements To Ease Diverticulitis Flare-Ups

by July 12, 2019

Let me introduce you to the top supplements that can help ease diverticulitis, which is a painful colon condition that’s quite common in people over the age of 60. 

Diver-what?

Diverticulitis. When a person develops pocket-like pouches on the colon lining, those are called diverticula. The pouches capture fecal matter and bacteria, making them inflamed. When that happens, it’s called a diverticulitis flare-up.

Diverticula develop when the colon muscles become weak from physical stress. That stress can be caused by a number of factors. Some examples are:

  • poor diet
  • obesity
  • smoking
  • not getting enough exercise
  • chronic constipation
  • an imbalance in the microorganisms in the gut
  • overusing drugs that irritate the gut lining (like ibuprofen).

Once those pouches form, you can’t get rid of them. At that point, the focus turns to preventing flare-ups. So, as the saying goes, prevention is so much better than treatment. And diverticulitis is entirely preventable.

But should it strike you, here are some supplements that can help prevent future flare-ups and relieve diverticulitis pain.

Preventing Diverticulitis Flare-Ups

1) Take a probiotic

Provided it contains some of the more beneficial strains of good bacteria, a probiotic will help to restore a healthy gut. Probiotics keep fecal matter from lingering in the colon and clogging the diverticula. They also can help relieve gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

2) Magnesium for constipation

Constipation can worsen diverticulitis, so if you can avoid becoming constipated, you’ll have a better shot at avoiding the flare-ups. But if it happens, supplement with magnesium. Most people are magnesium deficient, anyway, and the problem tends to result in constipation.

3) More fiber

Increasing your fiber intake can really help move things along. Try psyllium, from the husks of an Indian plant seed. It provides a bulk fiber, which creates a mild laxative effect.

Eating flax seeds will also boost your fiber. You can grind up flax seeds and add them to your smoothie or yogurt, or mix them with grain-free flour if you enjoy baking. (Coconut and almond flour are good sources of fiber.) If you use flax seeds, you’ll get the added benefit of the anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acid called Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA).

Go for all three!

If you take all of these together – probiotics, psyllium, and flax seeds – the combination has a synergistic effect. The fiber is a prebiotic, so it feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut and in your probiotic supplement. Fiber protects the probiotics from your stomach acids so they make it down into your intestines, which is where they need to be in order to do their job of aiding digestion and fighting infection.

These three supplements are your baseline defense to keep everything in order. There are other supplements that can help once the flare-ups have already started to happen.

Diverticulitis Flare-Up Relief

1) Aloe vera

Specifically, go for aloe vera juice that doesn’t contain aloe latex. It will assist healing in the inflamed areas, while promoting healthy digestion and supporting healthy gut bacteria.

2) L-glutamine

This amino acid improves the mucosal lining of the intestines (where pockets form). Repairing that lining not only helps ease diverticulitis, it helps with leaky gut syndrome.

3) A herbal approach

Some herbs can provide relief from diverticulitis. One is slippery elm, which helps ease constipation and soothe the infected diverticula.

Next is peppermint, which can reduce digestive spasms. It helps to relax stomach muscles and soothe the colon lining. You can get peppermint as a supplement if the flavor is a bit much for you.

Another herb with similar benefits to peppermint is licorice root. In addition to reducing the digestive spasm and relaxing stomach muscles, it supports bile production for healthy digestion.

4) Wild yams

These are not the yams in the produce section of your grocery store. A wild yam is a plant root that has several medicinal properties. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and it helps reduce muscle spasm. That means it helps to reduce abdominal cramping and pain caused by an inflamed diverticulum.

Remember: Prevention is Always Better

The biggest factor in dealing with the discomfort of diverticulitis is preventing colon stress in the first place. To learn more about that, watch my video called “Aging With a Healthy Colon”.

If you do develop diverticula, flare-ups can be managed and even prevented by exercising, eating a healthy diet low in carbohydrates, and supplementing with some or all of what I’ve mentioned in this blog.


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Sarcopenia: How to Maintain Your Strength as You Age

by July 11, 2019

From the age of 50, many people lose up to one percent of their muscle mass each year. This extremely common degenerative condition is called sarcopenia. And it causes a lot more problems than merely making you weaker. It can wreak havoc on your body.

So, be sure to maintain your muscle mass as you get older and avoid the ravages of sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia Related Health Risks

Sarcopenia is linked to:

  • low bone density
  • insulin resistance – the first step towards diabetes
  • heart disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • cancer

Here’s The Good News

You can prevent sarcopenia, or even reverse it. Improving your strength improves your overall health and your ability to do things. The years after 50 are a time when people want to do things on their “bucket list”, so being stronger and healthier is a major plus.

There are two things you need to do to ward off sarcopenia:

  1. Consume enough protein.
  2. Strength training.

Both are key to building and maintaining muscle mass.

Protein Power

Every part of your body needs protein to grow and function. Your overall good health depends on replenishing protein at whatever rate it’s breaking down in your body. When you get adequate protein in your diet, it reduces the risk of developing other health problems that are normally associated with aging, including sarcopenia, memory loss and depression.

But as you age, you become less efficient at processing protein. Combine that with hormonal changes and less activity, and you end up with loss of muscle mass and a weakened body. Eating enough protein and healthy fats, while eating less carbohydrates, is essential for a healthier body and metabolism.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Don’t consume all or most of it in one meal. If you’re fasting, you might want to consider supplementing with amino acids in the morning (or at whichever mealtime you skip). Getting protein throughout the day has been shown to help improve muscle mass and slow the loss of muscle tissue.

You may also need to increase your protein intake. That’s not a “rule”; it depends on where you’re starting from. Most adults should eat somewhere between three and six ounces of protein per meal. The exact amount depends on your gender, activity level, health, and age. If you’re experiencing muscle loss after the age of 50, a good guideline is to increase the amount of protein you eat by 20 to 25 percent.

A more precise way to calculate your intake is to eat half a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. You can learn how to calculate your exact protein requirements here.

lf you’re already losing muscle mass, perform the same calculation and increase that number by 20 to 25 percent.

Just don’t overdo it, because eating too much protein has negative health consequences. Excess protein is converted to sugar and then to fat. The sugar created from the protein feeds harmful bacteria, stresses your kidneys, and can even encourage cancer cells to grow.

Use a Variety Of Protein Sources 

To do this right, you should eat a variety of animal and plant proteins. These include:

  • grass-fed pasture-raised meats
  • a limited amount of dairy, if your body can tolerate it
  • wild-caught seafood
  • leafy greens
  • cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
  • nuts and seeds, especially hemp and chia (bonus: they’re also high in Omega-3 fats)
  • spirulina – it’s 70% protein by weight and contains all the essential amino acids
  • protein shakes

To really help your protein intake, check out my product called Plant Protein Complete. It contains 21 grams of protein per serving and includes the superfood spirulina, as well as digestive enzymes and probiotics to help your digestion.

Weight Training: It’s Never Too Late

It’s never too late to start. In one study where the average participant was 90 years old (90!), results showed that in just eight weeks of weight training, muscle strength improved by an average of 173%.

The effects of weight training in older adults reaches far beyond mere strength and muscle size. It increases energy, metabolism, antioxidant production, and insulin sensitivity!

Weight training and improved muscle mass also benefits brain function by promoting the survival of neurons. Considering mental health is a major health concern for aging people, the best strategy for improving the quality of your life as you get older is to do strength training while eating a diet low in carbs, balanced in steady protein, and high in brain supporting healthy fat.

So, that’s the skinny on maintaining muscle mass to keep the dangers of sarcopenia at bay. If you found this blog helpful, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and share this info with someone who’d appreciate it.


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Himalayan Sea Salt vs Table Salt: Worth The Switch?

by July 11, 2019

Salt. It’s a controversial topic. Over the years, dietary salt has been demonized for increasing blood pressure and creating other health hazards in the same way that eggs were given a false reputation for increasing cholesterol.

The simple fact is… your body needs salt. I’ll tell you why and what kind of salt you should use.

Salt Is Not Always Just Salt

Not all salt is the same. The misunderstanding stems from the fact that there is more than one kind. There are two main types of salt: refined and unrefined.

Refined Salt 

Usually referred to as table salt, this is the stuff that most people use and is what’s added to processed foods. This salt is mined from underground deposits and stripped of any beneficial minerals. What remains is sodium chloride, which is then processed with bleach and additives like iodine, MSG, and sugar that make it look uniform and prevent it from clumping together.

Table salt is over 97% sodium chloride. The other 3% is man-made chemicals. The problem is that it’s lost all the good minerals, not to mention that the processing alters its chemical structure.

Worse still, table salt is known to sometimes have contaminants in it. A pretty alarming study showed that 36 out of 39 brands of table salt investigated contained a microplastic. There’s no way you want to consume small bits of plastic.

Unrefined Salt – i.e. Natural Salt

Take a natural salt like Himalayan pink salt as an example. There’s quite a contrast. It contains 84% sodium chloride and 16% naturally occurring trace minerals. Your body needs sodium and chloride – they’re essential for life. The other minerals in natural salt are a nutritional goldmine, so you definitely should include natural salt in your diet.

Salt vs Blood Pressure

You don’t have to worry about natural salt raising your blood pressure or causing heart disease when you consume it in normal, moderate amounts. Those concerns are a misunderstanding of salt and of the significance of the ratio between sodium and potassium – that’s a huge factor when it comes to cardiovascular health. Most people don’t get enough potassium.

Use Natural Salt Only

You need the minerals in natural salt because they help to sustain life and health. Natural salt generally comes from evaporated seawater and involves no processing. That’s why it’s called sea salt. It’s incredibly rich in both essential and non-essential minerals.

At this point, most people are ready to give up table salt, especially after the mention of microplastics. But sometimes they’re still a bit hesitant to start adding natural salt to their diets. So let’s look at the specific health benefits of natural sea salt. (For this discussion, “natural salt” and “sea salt” are interchangeable terms.)

Important Minerals In Sea Salt

In order to function properly, your body requires essential minerals. There are two main categories of essential minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals.

Macrominerals

  • Sodium and chloride are essential macrominerals. Your body needs them to function and absorb nutrients. Sodium plays a big role in how your muscles work. It helps to regulate your blood volume and your blood pressure. Chloride assists with nerve and muscle function, while teaming up with potassium to influence the pH level of your body. Your body must maintain its pH in a certain range in order to function properly.
  • Another mineral in sea salt is magnesium, which is needed for many chemical reactions in your body, including producing energy and synthesizing DNA and RNA.
  • Calcium and phosphorus are two more essential macrominerals in natural sea salt. They’re needed for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is also critical for nerve and heart function.

Trace minerals

By definition, trace minerals are needed in very small amounts. They work with other minerals to optimize your body function.

  • Zinc and iron are found in sea salt. Your body uses them to make enzymes for metabolism.
  • Other trace minerals that sea salt provides are copper, chromium, manganese, silicon, boron, and bromine.
  • Sulfur is another nutrient commonly found in sea salt. Although it’s not considered an essential mineral, it plays an important role in your immune system, your metabolism, and your heart health.

More Health Benefits of Sea Salt 

Your body needs salt to regulate stomach acid for proper digestion. Without enough acid, you’ll have poor nutrient absorption and symptoms like heartburn, constipation, or stomach pain.

Sea salt is a great source of electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. They work with sodium to regulate fluid balance in your body and cells to prevent dehydration. Electrolyte balance is crucial for muscles contracting, a healthy heart, and proper brain function.

My Favorite Sea Salt

The one I like best is pink Himalayan sea salt. It contains over 80 minerals and elements that your body needs.

The rich mineral composition of Himalayan sea salt helps your body use sodium properly, and the ratio of sodium to potassium influences your heart health. Consuming unrefined sea salt, instead of table salt, can actually support your cardiovascular function. Call me crazy for saying such a thing, but it’s true.

One More Thing…

Another factor to consider is that the majority of vegetables and fruits today are grown in nutrient depleted soil. That means your body likely won’t get all the minerals it needs from the plants grown in that soil. A great place to get many of those lost nutrients is sea salt.

So if you haven’t already, ditch the table salt and include sea salt in your diet. You need it.


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Farm Raised vs. Wild Caught Fish – Is There a Difference?

by July 9, 2019

Fish is healthy for your heart, your brain, and your entire body in general. Plus it’s a great source of protein, healthy fat, vitamins and minerals.

But not all fish are created equal. What makes the difference is a fish’s life before it makes it to your plate. The quality of life determines the impact on your health.

This is such a significant factor that retailers in the U.S. who sell unprocessed, fresh, or frozen fish are required to include on their label information about where it came from and if it’s caught wild or farm raised.

Farm Raised vs. Wild Caught Fish

Farm raised fish are grown in pens or nets that have been submerged in salt water, ponds, lakes, or sometimes in large tanks on land.

Wild caught fish are harvested from their natural environment – oceans, rivers, or lakes.

Some fish can be both if they’re caught in the wild when they’re young and transferred to a fish farm to be fattened up. But in a case like this, a U.S. retailer should indicate that the fish was farm raised. Just don’t be confused if the packaging says both farm raised and some other statement like “born or caught in the wild”.

Bottom line: If it’s been on the farm, you should avoid it.

A Closer Look at Farm Raised Fish

One of the reasons to eat fish is to consume healthy Omega-3 fats. If you trace the development of Omega-3 fats back in the food chain, it starts with algae. Fish accumulate Omega-3 fats by eating the smaller fish that feed on the algae. 

But here’s the kicker… Farm raised fish don’t live in their natural environment, so there’s no food chain. Instead, these fish are directly fed a grain feed or fish meal fortified with algae. This fattens them up quickly. In some cases, they may even have more Omega-3 fats than wild caught fish, but it hardly can be considered healthy because the grain diet is completely unnatural for a fish. Grains contain Omega-6 fats that fuel inflammation in your body.

If you eat an animal that is raised on Omega-6 fats from grain feed, you consume the inflammatory producing Omega-6 fats – with the potentially dire health consequences that an inflamed body brings.

Aside from the harmful Omega-6 fats, fish meal given to farmed fish contains toxic contaminants called PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). Researchers have found significantly higher concentrations of PCBs in farm raised fish. PCBs cause cancer and disrupt your endocrine system (creating hormonal problems).

Studies have even shown a link to autism. PCBs in fish meal are loosely regulated by the FDA, so some fish farmers are switching to a genetically modified soy-based feed – which is also a problem because you don’t want soy in your diet. Soy contains phytoestrogens (sometimes called xenoestrogens) that mimic estrogen and can disrupt your hormone balance.

On top of all that, farm raised fish have higher rates of disease from living in crowded tanks. While the U.S. doesn’t allow the use of antibiotics or growth hormones in farm-raised fish, most other countries don’t have that restriction. So, when you eat fish raised on farms outside the US, you’re risking the chance of eating antibiotics and growth hormones.

Now Let’s Look at Wild Caught Fish

Fish in their natural environment eat what is available to them. This ensures they contain healthy Omega-3 fats, without the problematic Omega-6 fats. They also contain significantly less, if any, carcinogens, contaminants, antibiotics, and food coloring. While it’s true that some wild caught fish (unfortunately) test positive for antibiotics, due to their close proximity to fish that are farm raised, it’s not common and not likely to be anywhere near as problematic as the fish on the farm.

Granted, wild caught fish usually cost more than farm raised fish because there’s a lot more work involved in sourcing them. But the health benefits of eating wild caught far outweigh the extra cost.

Beware Of Imported Fish

About 80% of the fish for sale in the U.S. is imported. And over half of that is farm raised.

Overall, more than half of the fish for sale in the US is farm raised. In the next 10 years, that number is projected to grow to two thirds.

Go Wild Moving Forward

You really want to consume wild caught fish. Avoid farm raised fish because it leads to inflammation, which is the root of just about every chronic disease.

When ordering at a restaurant, don’t be shy about asking where the fish comes from and pay attention to the answer your server gives you. Sometimes the server isn’t really sure and may be too lazy to check with the chef. So, it’s up to you to ensure you get the correct information.

It’s worth the time and effort to learn about fish (and other foods), considering you eat several times every single day and your life depends on it – literally. So, remember… go wild!


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