3 Easy Steps to Disease Prevention

We all know that high blood pressure and health problems go hand in hand. But did you know that when you have ANY inflammation in your body, it increases your risk for disease?

In case you breezed past that last sentence, I want to repeat it again: ANY inflammation in your body increases your risk for disease - even diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Foods rich in magnesiumInflammation and Heart Disease

High-Sensitivity C-reactive Protein (hs-CRP) is a marker for inflammation around the heart. This marker has been shown to be an independent risk factor for heart disease – just like cholesterol is.

 

Many doctors don’t check this number as part of their regular wellness exam. But it’s such an important number to know when evaluating your risk for heart disease. Ask your doctor to check it next time you go in.

Ideally, you want your hs-CRP levels to be low. Less than 1 mg/L is considered optimal, and 1-3 mg/L is considered average. But you should know by now that I always want you to go for your optimal best.

Three Ways to Lower Inflammation:

1. Fish Oil: Fish oil, with its omega-3 fatty acids – especially EPA – is an effective, natural anti-inflammatory. You can get omega-3s by eating foods like salmon, walnuts, and avocados. But to get levels of EPA high enough to lower inflammation, consider taking fish oil supplements.

When taking fish oil supplements, choose pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplements over lower quality fish oil supplements that may be contaminated with toxins, mercury, and PCBs.

2. Clean Up Your Diet: Another way to lower your inflammation is by exercising and eating a clean diet. Eating clean means eating foods that come from nature (in their natural forms as much as possible) and staying away from processed foods.

3. Ask Your Doctor: When it comes to inflammation, knowing your numbers means asking your doctor to check your hs-CRP. If it’s elevated, work with your doctor to take the steps listed above that will decrease your inflammation. Fish oil, exercise, and a clean diet are an important part of any healthy lifestyle, but these steps are especially crucial when dealing with an elevated hs-CRP.

It’s up to each of us to become educated in disease prevention – and practice it on ourselves and our families. Be your own advocate and start living a healthier, happier life today.

Here’s to your health, happiness, and drive!

4 Food Myths Zapping Your Energy

We all want enough energy to live our lives to the fullest, but the reality for many Americans is that they have just enough to get through the day. Rather than powering through your daily grind, the day grinds you to a pulp and you have little left over to tend to your children, enjoy your relationship, or engage in your hobbies.

Women who visit my office frequently tell me they feel like they’re living at 30 percent capacity and have lost their gusto for life, even though they seem to be doing all the right things – eating a diet of whole foods, staying hydrated, and logging enough sleep. When I investigate a bit further, I usually find that they’re making some, or all, of these lesser-talked about food mistakes that sap energy.

If you feel like you’re running on empty despite your best efforts to eat right, you may be committing one of these cardinal energy sins, all of which have to do with not just what you’re eating, but also when and how you’re eating. Here are some of the biggest mistakes you could be making, based on misguided advice and misinformation about what your body needs to get fired up.

You’re obsessing over carbs – and missing the boat on protein

The carb phobia that has had us in its grip for far too long is finally beginning to recede. But while you were swearing off bread, potatoes and other starchy carbs, you might have missed out on what you should be including. Fruits and veggies are great, don’t get me wrong – but fruit for breakfast and a salad for lunch won’t cut it.

Your body needs protein for sustained energy and to prevent blood sugar crashes from carbohydrate consumption (yes, fruits are carbs). I have long taught people that a healthy protein shake in the morning is important for controlling blood sugar levels all day, which keep your energy intact.

Learn more about how I can help you regain your energy.

A gluten-, soy- and dairy-free protein shake, blended with a high-quality protein powder (preferably made from chia, rice, or pea protein) is a solid way to start your day. If you don’t like protein shakes, have some turkey sausage, two egg whites, or another high-protein food (at least 20 grams) before heading out the door.

Most American breakfast foods, such as bagels, muffins and croissants do you more harm than good, sending you into a downward energy spiral – leading you to reach for more short-term snacks that only do more of the same.

You’re eating too infrequently

Skipping meals, and going too many hours without eating in general, can create stress in the body. In the midst of your busy days, remembering to eat breakfast or make time for a healthy lunch isn’t an option; it’s vital.

But when you don’t eat every three to four hours, your blood sugar can drop—and your body sees that as a crisis and will slow you down. To deal with that blood sugar crisis, it will ask your adrenals to produce more cortisol to raise your blood sugar (since you have none in your body from food). When you wipe through your cortisol reserves to deal with low blood sugar, you feel burned out, edgy and exhausted. So don’t rough it: Aim for three meals and two snacks per day.

You think if you don’t have allergies, foods don’t pose a problem

You don’t need to have been diagnosed with celiac disease to have a negative response to certain foods (like gluten, for example). That’s because food sensitivities are totally different than food allergies. A lot of my patients think that because their lips don’t blow up from eating a strawberry or they haven’t been diagnosed with an official disease or allergy, they’re safe to eat whatever they want. It’s just not true.

When you eat something you’re sensitive to, you might have an immediate reaction like bloating or gas – but you may have no reaction in your belly at all. You could have reactions like acne, joint pain, trouble losing weight, or low energy, and all of these might happen slowly over time, never leading you to make the connection (and thus maintaining a downward spiral in energy).

The two most common food sensitivities are to dairy and gluten. You’ve probably heard a lot about gluten sensitivity already; it’s well known that gluten can trigger symptoms such as bloating, migraine headaches, fatigue, and brain fog, and it may even contribute to the onset of autoimmune diseases for some people. Dairy can cause many of the same gastrointestinal and energy problems. Yet even if you stop drinking milk and eating yogurt, there are dairy-based additives such as casein and whey snuck into foods like chip dip, thickened sauces and soups, and even canned chicken broth. Try eliminating gluten and dairy, each for one week, to see how you feel without them in your diet.

Find out how I can help you safely eliminate gluten and dairy.

You think sugar is just bad for your waistline

You already know that sugar is stored as fat in the body, which is why if you’re looking to lose weight, you cut out the sweet stuff. But that’s not the only reason to go easy on the sugar. The average American is consuming about 25 teaspoons of sugar each day without even knowing it. Sugar is hiding everywhere, in every packaged food you can imagine: ketchup, salad dressing, hamburger buns and even granola bars (contrary to popular opinion, granola is not a health food). Even many organic packaged foods are loaded with sugar in the form of honey, molasses or dates.

Besides dramatically boosting your chances of becoming diabetic (or insulin resistant, a pre-diabetic state), sugar in any form causes your blood sugar to spike and crash, which leads to a major drop in energy. Make a habit of checking food labels on everything you buy and ditch foods with more than 6 grams of sugar per serving. And when you get a hankering for something sweet, it’s usually a sign of low blood sugar – so have an apple with almond butter or a handful of almonds.

Feeding your body the right foods at the right times can dramatically change how you feel, as well as how quickly and capably you can respond to the many demands of your day. If you can make the decision to shift some old habits, you have the ability to feel more focused and alert than you have in a long time.

PKG0450-030811HEALTHTALKTIREDANDWIRED-1FLHJPTA_FNC_031111_12-48 This post originally appeared on Fox News, where I’m a regular contributor.

Fruit is NOT Your Friend

It’s embedded in all our heads: eat your fruits and vegetables. But fruit is not always the best choice when it comes to your health.

sugar cube food sweet

Why? Because fruit contains a lot of sugar. And the sugar in fruit is not a “healthier” kind of sugar. It’s just sugar. And sugar is one of the biggest disease culprits out there.

Sugar is now being touted as a main cause for dementia, it increases our risk for cancer, and it wreaks havoc on our blood sugar levels and adrenal glands. Eating sugar zaps your energy levels, and I know you could use more energy.

Fruit contains the sugar fructose. And too much fructose can cause you to lose the ability to know when you’ve eaten enough because it messes up your insulin hormone, which handles blood sugar. In other words, fructose can make you gain weight.

Like any other sugar, you should limit your fruit intake – it should be a treat, not a staple of your diet. I personally try to avoid high fruit intake for myself and my family.

I know you might be surprised – fruit’s supposed to be good for you! But if you really want a fruit fix, eat berries – they have the lowest sugar levels of all the fruits, and many of them contain powerful antioxidants!

Wishing you health, happiness, and energy,

 

Experts Agree: What You Don’t Even Know You Need

I recently spent an awesome weekend with some of the smartest, most innovative healthcare educators on the planet – some of whom happen to be great friends, like JJ Virgin and Dr. Sara Gottfried.

We got together to brainstorm about some of the biggest issues in healthcare, and how we can empower you to take control of your health so that you can live life to the fullest.

We all learned so much from one another. I love getting together with all my really smart friends because I get to bring my new knowledge back to you! I want to help you feel and look your best, as soon as possible.

During one brainstorm session, we voted on the number one supplement we would bring with us if we were on a deserted island – the overwhelming answer was Magnesium!!

If you’re like most women, you’re deficient in magnesium. This is bad news, because magnesium has close to 400 functions in the human body – we need it for almost everything! Magnesium helps keep us calm, it helps with sleep, muscular energy, constipation and so much more.

Foods rich in magnesium

Leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and legumes are all great food sources of magnesium. And many of us could benefit from taking 400 mg of magnesium at night, although it’s a good idea to discuss specific dosages with your doctor.

The best forms of magnesium are the glycinate or citrate form. Avoid magnesium oxide as it may cause loose stools.

Btw, Vitamin D was a runner up – but we realized we’d be on an island soaking up the sun so the D was probably not as essential as the magnesium.

If you need more energy, if you need to lose weight or if you need to improve your moods or sleep, make sure you’re getting enough of both!

Best of great health, great happiness and great energy!

Hugs!

This Number Should Never Be Elevated

I get worried when I hear my patients give excuses for their high blood pressure. I hear this one a lot: “I have white-coat hypertension.” Which translates as: “My blood pressure only goes up when I visit my doctor.”

A recent study showed alarming results – that even when your blood pressure goes up just on occasion, it still increases the stress on your blood vessels and can increase your risk for serious consequences – like stroke, heart attack and even kidney failure.

Unfortunately, high blood pressure is very common – three out of every four people over the age of 60 have high blood pressure. And many don’t even know their blood pressure is high – it’s one of those conditions with very few symptoms.

What’s optimal when it comes to blood pressure?

The agreed-upon number for optimal blood pressure has been steadily going down over the past years, and the trend continues.

We used to consider 120/80 to be the optimal blood pressure. Now there are studies showing that we would benefit from our blood pressure being as low as 110/70.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Cut it Out

One of the best ways to avoid high blood pressure is to decrease salt intake. A lot of people have salt-sensitive blood pressure, meaning their blood pressure goes up when they eat a salty meal.

Processed foods like canned soups and prepackaged or frozen foods tend to contain way too much salt. Meals at restaurants, especially fast food items, tend to be high in salt as well. If you get a high blood pressure reading – even now and then – avoid eating these foods.dr jen ending in ine

The “ines”

Anything ending in “ine” – like nicotine and caffeine – will also raise your blood pressure. If you have an elevated blood pressure, remove or reduce the “ines” from your life.

Check it Out

Check your blood pressure regularly. If it’s too high, even just once in a while, take steps to lower your blood pressure to a healthier level. In addition to cutting back on salt and caffeine, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet full of fresh foods, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular sleep and exercise.

Prevention is the best cure. Be your own advocate and start living a healthier, happier life today.