Monthly Archives: April 2016

Fast Food Identified, With Others as a Significant Source of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

dehp

“gender-bending” chemicals causing males of all species to become more female “

Fast Food Identified as a Significant Source of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

 

 

Fast food contains many ingredients that compromise health, but did you know these convenience meals also come with an extra serving of endocrine-disrupting chemicals? According to recent research, people who eat drive-through hamburgers and take-out pizzas have higher levels of phthalates in their urine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data on nearly 8,900 Americans of all age groups between 2003 and 2010 as part of a nationwide survey on health and nutrition. Participants reported everything they’d eaten in the past 24 hours and provided a urine sample.

While other studies have investigated exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals from processed food in general, this is the largest study looking at exposure specifically from fast food meals.1,2,3

“Fast food” was broadly defined as food from restaurants without table service and/or those with takeout or drive-through service. So besides McDonalds , Pizza Hut, and similar establishments, it also includes sandwich shops, Starbucks, and other “casual dining” restaurants. As reported by Time magazine:4

“The new report,5 published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that people who ate more fast food also had higher levels of two substances that occur when phthalates — which make plastic more flexible — break down in the body. “

Fast Food Consumption Significantly Increases Phthalate Levels in Your Body

The two phthalate metabolites identified in this particular study were:6

  • Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), a highly lipophilic (fat-soluble) chemical that is loosely chemically bonded to the plastic, allowing it to leach out into other fat-containing solutions in contact with the plastic.

Animal studies show that exposure to DEHP can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, particularly the developing testes of prenatal and neonatal males.

  • Di-isononyl phthalate (DiNP), a commonly used plasticizer in flexible PVC products.7While DiNP has been considered harmless from a health and environmental perspective, more recent research suggests it may in fact have similar effects as DEHP and other phthalates.

For example, a 2015 study8 linked both DEHP and DiNP to increased insulin resistance in adolescents.

Approximately one-third of the respondents reported eating fast food in the past 24 hours, and according to the authors, “that alone tells you the public health impact of this type of food preparation.”9

Those who got at least 35 percent of their calories from fast food had nearly 24 percent higher levels of DEHP and 39 percent higher DiNP in their urine compared to those who had not consumed any fast food in that time frame.

In those who ate some fast food, but got less than 35 percent of their calories from it, DEHP and DiNP levels were still nearly 16 and 25 percent higher respectively.

Avoiding Fast Food Can Be a Simple Way to Cut Phthalate Exposure

As noted by the authors, many scientific and clinical bodies, such as the Endocrine Sociery , now suggest reducing exposure to phthalates — especially during pregnancy.

The problem is they’re so widely used, making avoidance difficult. According to this research, simply abstaining from fast food is one way you can significantly reduce your exposure.

Personal care products are another major source of phthalates that are within your control. Pregnant women and young children are at particularly high risk when it comes to these kinds of chemicals. As noted by CNN:10

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a report11in 2013 stating that high levels of exposure to phthalates could lead to adverse reproductive outcomes in women.

Research has linked these chemicals with increased risk of fibroids and endometriosis, which can cause infertility, and reduced IQ and behavioral problems in children exposed in the womb. High phthalate levels have also been linked with diabetes risk in women and adolescents…

‘This study shows that fast food may be an especially important source of phthalate exposure,’ said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program.”

Phthalates From Plastic Gloves, Conveyor Belts, Packaging — It All Adds Up

The researchers point out that one reason fast food exposes you to higher levels of plasticizing chemicals is because workers also use plastic gloves when handling each and every ingredient, and that’s a source of phthalate contamination too, over and beyond the actual packaging.

Japan banned vinyl gloves for use in food establishments back in 2001 due to their phthalate content. In the U.S. however, use of vinyl gloves has actually increased over the years due to the rising prevalence of latex allergies.

While additional research needs to be done to identify which foods pose the greatest risk, the study did find that meats and grain-based food items — even if they were not from a fast food restaurant — tended to result in higher phthalate exposure.

The exact reason for this is still unclear, but it could be related to the way they’re processed, or because the fats they contain bind phthalates more efficiently. That said, fast food as a category had the strongest association with elevated phthalate levels by far.

Researcher Ami Zota notes that previous studies have compared phthalate levels in food before and after packaging, showing that levels rise 100 percent after being packaged. This clearly demonstrates these chemicals do leach out of the plastic and into the food.

Moreover, if the food is packaged when hot, the migration of phthalates is sped up. Findings such as these are hotly refuted by the chemical industry which, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still maintains that phthalates are both safe and relatively stable within the plastic.

Chemical Industry Insists Decades’ Old Safety Levels Are Adequate

Both the National Restaurant Association and the American Chemical Society responded to the study in question saying the phthalate levels found in fast food are “well below” levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems potentially harmful to human health.12

However, EPA safety levels for DEHP have not been revised since 1988. And, according to study author Ami Zota: “The same range of concentrations measured in this [group] overlaps with the range of concentrations that have been measured in some of epidemiological studies that find adverse health effects,” so EPA levels may simply be too lenient.

In fact, some researchers suggest there may be NO safe level of phthalates in humans. Dr. Leo Trasande, an associate professor of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine who has researched phthalates in food, told Civil Eats:13

“No studies in humans have found a safe level of phthalate exposure. We know there are effects of low level exposure. For example, the levels found in this new study are comparable to those previously linked to blood pressure increases14 and metabolic effects15 in children.”

Health Risks Associated With Phthalates

Phthalates are one of the groups of “gender-bending” chemicals causing males of all species to become more female “These chemicals have disrupted the endocrine systems of wildlife, causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts and infertility in a number of species, including polar bears, deer, whales and otters. Scientists suspect phthalates may affect human fertility and reproduction in similar ways.

Animal studies have also linked phthalate exposure to a wide range of other health problems, including the following (see chart below)16,17,18 The reason for their diverse effects has to do with the fact that they mimic natural sex hormones. This is particularly problematic in children who are still growing and developing, as the glands of your endocrine system and the hormones they release influence almost every cell, organ, and function of your body.

Besides being instrumental in sexual function and reproductive processes, your endocrine system also plays a role in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism.

Reduced IQ in children19,20 (phthalates may affect the activity of aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen, which plays an important role in brain development) “Decreased dysgenesis syndrome” involving cryptorchidism (undescended testicles), hypospadias (birth defect in which opening of urethra is on the underside of the penis instead of at the end), and oligospermia (low sperm count)
Interference with sexual differentiation in utero Enlarged prostate glands, testicular cancer, breast cancer, and uterine fibroids
Impaired ovulatory cycles and polycystic ovary disease (PCOS) Numerous hormonal disruptions and metabolic disease
Early or delayed puberty Disturbed lactation
Toxicity to developing male reproductive systems21,22 Neurodevelopmental delays, inattention, hyperactivity, and symptoms of autism23
Miscarriage and preterm birth Allergies and respiratory problems24

Phthalates Are Everywhere

Phthalates are among the most pervasive of all known endocrine disrupters. According to EPA estimates, more than 470 million pounds of phthalates are produced each year.25

They’re primarily used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible and resilient, but they can also be found in air fresheners, dryer sheets, and personal care products like shampoo, shower gels, lotions, and makeup. Their prevalence in personal care products is thought to be the reason why women tend to have higher levels of phthalates in their system than men.

Furniture, upholstery, mattresses, and wall coverings can also contain phthalates. They’ve even been detected in infant formula and baby food (likely because they migrated from the packaging materials). They are also used as “inert” ingredients in pesticides.26

Considering how ubiquitous they are, avoiding phthalates entirely may be near impossible. Being mindful when shopping for food, household, and personal care products can go a long way toward minimizing your exposure, but the risks these chemicals pose really demand a more universal response.

As Zota told Time magazine:27 “Our study helps shed light on one potential way that people can reduce their exposure to these chemicals through their diet, but it also points to a broader problem of widespread chemicals in our food systems that will require many different types of stakeholders to get involved in order to fix it.”

Tips to Help You Avoid Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

To limit your exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals like phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA), keep the following guidelines in mind when shopping for food, personal care and household products.

Avoid fast-food restaurant fare and processed goods. Eating a diet focused on locally grown, ideally organic, whole foods cooked from scratch will significantly limit your exposure to not only phthalates and BPA but also a wide array of other chemicals, including synthetic food additives and pesticides. Use natural cleaning products or make your own. Besides phthalates, avoid those containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two toxic glycol ethers that can compromise your fertility and cause fetal harm.
Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic or cans; be aware that even”BPA-free” plastics  typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA. Switch over to organic toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics.

EWG’s Skin Deep database28 can help you find personal care products that are free of phthalates and other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap as it too contains phthalates that can migrate into your food (especially if you microwave food wrapped in plastic). Replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one or glass doors.
Use glass baby bottles and drinking bottles. Replace feminine hygiene products  (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives.
Filter your tap water for both drinking and bathing. If you can only afford to do one, filtering your bathing water may be more important, as your skin absorbs contaminants .

Under the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA set a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for DEHP of 0.006 mg/dL, or 6 ppb.29

Note that the Safe Drinking Water Act regulates DEHP levels only for public water supplies, not for well water.

Look for fragrance-free products. One artifical fragrance  can contain hundreds — even thousands — of potentially toxic chemicals, including phthalates.

Avoid fabric softeners  and dryer sheets, which contain a mishmash of synthetic chemicals and fragrances.

If you have PVC pipes, you may have DEHP leaching into your water supply. If you have PVC pipe from before 1977, you will definitely want to upgrade to a newer material.

This “early-era” PVC pipe can leach a carcinogenic compound called vinyl chloride monomer into your water. Alternatives to PVC for water piping include ductile iron, high-density polyethylene, concrete, copper, and PEX.30

Consider replacing vinyl flooring  with a “greener” material. Also avoid soft, flexible plastic flooring, such as those padded play-mat floors for kids (often used in day cares and kindergartens), as there’s a good chance it is made from phthalate-containing PVC.
Read the labels and avoid anything containing phthalates. Besides DEHP, also look for DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), BzBP (benzyl butyl phthlate), and DMP (dimethyl phthalate).

Also be wary of anything listing a “fragrance,” which often includes phthalates.

Make sure your baby’s toys are BPA-free, such as pacifiers, teething rings and anything your child may be prone to suck or chew on — even books, which are often plasticized. It’s advisable to avoid all plastic, especially flexible varieties.

 

 

 

Please spread the word to your family and friends. If you don’t understand something in this article, or have any questions, please give us a call.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article : JM

312-972-WELL

 

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DYI: Mens Cologne

cologne

HOMEMADE MEN’S COLOGNE

Total Time: 2 minutesServes: 30

INGREDIENTS:

5 drops cedarwood essential oil

3 drops bergamot essential oil

2 drops sandalwood essential oil

1/2 pint (300 milliliters) 70 percent alcohol or vodka

Glass roll on tube or glass cologne spray bottle

DIRECTIONS:

 

Mix all ingredients together and store in a bottle

Adding bergamot essential oil to my Homemade Conditioner recipe is a great way to hydrate your hair, especially if it’s naturally oily. The result is soft, luscious and healthy hair. Bergamot oil removes germs from your hair and scalp, and leaves you feeling calm and serene.

 

You can also add bergamot oil to your shampoo, toothpaste, face wash, body wash and body lotion. Two–to–five drops of oil benefits your skin, teeth and hair.

 

 

 

 

If you would like to read the whole article on Bergamot oil,

Please follow the link :  Keep Your Eye out for Bergamot Oil!

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Carrothers

312-972-WELL

Keep Your Eyes out for Bergamot Oil!

 

Aroma therapy / Bergamot

Aroma therapy / Bergamot

Keep Your Eye out for Bergamot Oil!

 

Known to build confidence and enhance your mood, bergamot oil is also used to kill bacteria, heal scars and minimize marks on the skin. Bergamot oil is also used to reduce pain from headaches and muscle tension as well as stimulate hormonal and digestive juices. Yes, no one-trick pony!

 

Where does bergamot oil come from? Bergamot is a plant that produces a type of citrus fruit and its scientific name is Citrus Bergamia. It’s defined as a hybrid between a sour orange and lemon, or a mutation of lemon.

 

The oil is taken from the peel of the fruit and used to make medicine. It’s derived through cold compression, which is different than the steam distillation of many other essential oils. The oil is commonly used in black tea, which is called Earl Grey.

 

Although its roots can be traced back to Southeast Asia, bergamot was more widely cultivated in the southern part of Italy. Bergamot essential oil was even named after the city of Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy, where it was originally sold. Bergamot oil is also produced in the Ivory Coast, Argentina, Turkey, Brazil and Morocco.

 

In traditional Chinese medicine, bergamot is used to help with the flow of vital energy so the digestive system can work properly. It’s also used to soothe indigestion and gas.

 

Bergamot essential oil is one of the main constituents for manufacturing perfumes due to its ability to balance the mix of aromas and harmonize all of the essences, enhancing the fragrance. It’s also used by the pharmaceutical industry, both to absorb the unpleasant smells of medicinal products and for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

 

Bergamot Oil Benefits the Whole Body

 

There are a number of a surprising health benefits from using bergamot essential oil as a natural remedy. Bergamot oil is antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It’s uplifting, improves your digestion and keeps your system working properly.

 

Some of the most common benefits of bergamot essential oil include:

 

releases emotional pain

works as a powerful antidepressant

relieves joint and muscle pain

aids digestive system

soothes skin irritations

works as a sedative

cleanses oily skin

kills germs and bacteria

relieves stress

reduces cough

 

Bergamot Oil Uses

 

Antidepressant — Depression can manifest with a variety of different symptoms, including fatigue, sad mood, low sex drive, lack of appetite, feelings of helplessness and disinterest in common activities. Antidepressant medications have serious side effects, including suicidal thoughts, weight gain and personality changes. The good news is there are all-natural remedies for depression that are effective and get to the root cause of the problem. This includes components of bergamot essential oil that are antidepressant and stimulating. They create a feeling of joy, freshness and energy by improving the circulation of your blood. Use bergamot oil by rubbing 2–3 drops into your hands and cupping your mouth and nose. Breathe in the oil slowly. Try rubbing the oil on your feet and stomach too.

Stimulates hormonal secretions — Bergamot oil helps maintain proper metabolic rates by stimulating hormonal secretions, digestive juices, bile and insulin. This aids the digestive system and enables proper absorption of nutrients. These juices also assimilate the breakdown of sugar and can lower blood pressure. This benefits neurological and mental conditions as well. Just breathing in bergamot oil stimulates these juices — you can try using an oil diffuser or burner, or you can add 2–3 drops of oil to your temples or abdomen.

Cures infections — Bergamot oil is used in skin soaps because it inhibits the growth of germs, fungi and virus. When you apply the oil to your skin or hair, you reduce the risk of infection and won’t notice the shine come through. Bergamot oil also cures infections of the intestines, kidneys, colon and urinary tract. To take advantage of this amazing benefit, drink Earl Grey tea or rub bergamot oil onto your throat, abdomen and feet. Using a oil vaporizer is also a great option — the scent of bergamot oil alone can have a tremendous impact.

Relieves stress — Bergamot oil is a relaxant — it reduces nervous tension and feelings of stress and anxiety. This powerful oil can stimulate hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, which create feelings of sedation and relaxation. Relieve stress and anxiety by using bergamot oil in a diffuser or oil burner. The smell of the oil leads to a feeling of ease and contentment. (1)

Reduces pain — Because bergamot essential oil increases hormone secretions, it lessens the sensitively of nerves that create pain. For this reason, bergamot oil is a great way to reduce the symptoms of sprains, muscle aches and headaches. Instead of relying on pain killers that have nasty side effects, use this safe and natural oil to relieve pain and tension. Research shows that bergamot oil can be used in complementary medicine to minimize tension in the body. (2) To reduce pain, rub five drops of bergamot oil on sore muscles or where you feel tension.

Heals skin — Bergamot essential oil is used to minimize the look of scars and other marks on the skin; it tones the skin by making the supply of melanin even. These scars can be the result of acne or skin infections or irritations. To rid the skin of irritations, put five drops of bergamot oil on a cotton ball or pad and rub it on the infected area. You can also add 10 drops of bergmot oil to your warm bath water — the benefits of a bergamot oil bath go way beyond your skin. It’s great for your mood, hormonal balance and built-up tension.

Helps digestive system — Not only does bergamot oil stimulate the production of digestive juices, making the breakdown of foods in the digestive tract easier, it also stimulates muscle contractions in the intestines — quickening the digestive process by moving your waste through your intestines as your body absorbs nutrients. Some research even suggests that bergamot oil can be useful when fighting food poisoning because of its anti-bacterial properties. (3) Rub five drops of bergamot oil onto your stomach in order to ease digestive issues or regulate your appetite.

Deodorant — Bergamot oil prevents the growth of germs that cause body odor. The refreshing and citrusy smell of bergamot oil is used as a natural deodorant and air freshener. The strong scent eliminates odors on the body or in a room. You can add two–three drops of bergamot oil to the deodorant you already use every day, or you can even add the oil directly to your armpits. Many companies include bergamot oil in their perfumes and colognes. Try making your own fragrance with bergamot oil by combining it with your favorite scents. Some great options include lemon, cedarwood and sandalwood oils.

Reduces fever — Bergamot essential oil fights infections caused by harmful bacteria. It also reduces body temperature by alleviating stress and stimulating hormone secretions. The feeling of warmth that happens when your hormone levels are elevated leads to sweat, and this helps in reducing a fever.

Cavity protection — Bergamot oil helps infected teeth. It removes germs from your teeth when used as a mouthwash, and it protects your teeth from developing cavities. This is because of its germ-fighting properties, which make it extremely useful when fighting cavities. Rub 2–3 drops of bergamot oil on your teeth, or add it to your toothpaste.

Kills intestinal worms — Because bergamot essential oil kills germs, it’s used to treat intestinal worms. Intestinal worms result in malnourishment and can cause anemia, which develops when you don’t have enough robust, healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Eliminating these worms, especially in young children, is a major benefit of using bergamot oil. Rub 2–3 drops of bergamot oil into your hands, and rub it on your abdomen to kill infectious worms.

Protection from tetanus — Tetanus is a dangerous nerve ailment caused by the toxin of a common bacterium called Clostridium tetani. Bacterial spores are found in soil and house dust. If the spores enter a wound that penetrates the skin and extends deeper than oxygen can reach, they grow and produce a toxin that enters the bloodstream. Bergamot essential oil has disinfectant and antiseptic properties and the power to kill bacterium that lead to infections. Bergamot oil can keep wounds from becoming dangerously infected and therefore protects you from developing tetanus. Using a cotton ball, add five drops of bergamot oil and gently rub it onto the infected area.

Relieves congestion — Bergamot oil is an anticongestive, which means it relieves congestion and respiratory problems. This oil can be useful when battling a cold or cough. It loosens phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tract and helps the body to eliminate this undesired buildup by sneezing and coughing. This helps the body eliminate the germs and toxins that develop in your body when sick. Use a vaporizer or oil burner, or rub five drops of bergamot oil into your hands and cup your mouth and nose. You can also try rubbing the oil on your throat and chest. In addition, you can consume bergamot oil by adding it to tea or drinking Earl Grey tea that already includes the oil.

 

Research, Unique Compounds and Studies

 

An interesting study notes that citrus extracts, particularly bergamot essential oil, exhibit anti-cancer properties, but the poor water solubility, low stability and limited bioavailability prevent the use of bergamot oil in cancer therapy.

 

To overcome such drawbacks, researchers formulated bergamot oil liposomes, or artificially prepared doses, that improve the water solubility of the natural chemical compounds and increase their anti-cancer activity in vitro against human cancer cells. The results need to be investigated further, but the use of bergamot oil on cancer patients is an exciting prospect and proves that essential oils are powerful natural remedies. (4)

 

Another interesting study conducted in 2011 hypothesizes that applying blended essential oil to participants helps in treating depression or anxiety. The blended essential oil consisted of lavender and bergamot oils, and participants were analyzed based on their blood pressure, pulse rates, breathing rates and skin temperature. In addition, subjects had to rate their emotional condition in terms of relaxation, vigor, calmness, attentiveness, mood and alertness in order to assess behavioral changes.

 

Compared with the placebo, blended essential oil caused significant decreases of pulse rate and blood pressure. At the emotional level, subjects in the blended essential oil group rated themselves as “more calm” and “more relaxed” than subjects in the control group. The investigation demonstrates the relaxing effect of a mixture of lavender and bergamot oils, and it provides evidence for its use in medicine for treating depression or anxiety in humans. (5)

 

DIY Recipe

 

Many colognes contain synthetic fragrances that can be toxic. Instead, try this Homemade Men’s Cologne recipe! It’s easy to make, and the bergamot oil provides health benefits while adding a warm and masculine smell.

Note: Citrus essentials oils are highly concentrated and full of healthy acidic properties! Because of this, we recommend you use glass containers when storing them so they don’t eat away any of the plastic.

 

 

HOMEMADE MEN’S COLOGNE

Total Time: 2 minutesServes: 30

INGREDIENTS:

5 drops cedarwood essential oil

3 drops bergamot essential oil

2 drops sandalwood essential oil

1/2 pint (300 milliliters) 70 percent alcohol or vodka

Glass roll on tube or glass cologne spray bottle

DIRECTIONS:

 

Mix all ingredients together and store in a bottle

Adding bergamot essential oil to my Homemade Conditioner recipe is a great way to hydrate your hair, especially if it’s naturally oily. The result is soft, luscious and healthy hair. Bergamot oil removes germs from your hair and scalp, and leaves you feeling calm and serene.

 

You can also add bergamot oil to your shampoo, toothpaste, face wash, body wash and body lotion. Two–to–five drops of oil benefits your skin, teeth and hair.

 

Remember that bergamot oil is an ingredient in Earl Grey tea. If you want to take advantage of the amazing benefits of this powerful oil, drink tea with bergamot oil daily. It can impact your digestion, hormonal secretions, mood and appearance.

 

BERGAMOT OIL SIDE EFFECTS

 

Bergamot essential oil is safe for most people when added to food or applied topically in small amounts. Although the oil has been used extensively for many years, there are only been a few reports of phototoxic reactions to bergamot aromatherapy oil. (6)

 

It may make the skin sensitive to the sun and more vulnerable to skin cancer — people who work with bergamot can develop skin problems, including blisters, scabs, pigment spots, rashes, sensitivity to the sun and cancerous changes.

 

Because bergamot oil might increase your sensitivity to sunlight, applying it topically along with medication that increases sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun, especially if you use these types of medications.

 

There have been serious side effects in children who have taken large amounts of bergamot oil, and it shouldn’t be used by women who are pregnant or breast feeding.

 

Bergamot oil may lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This could affect blood sugar control and cause blood sugar levels to go too low. If you use bergamot oil and have diabetes, make sure to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. If you are scheduled to have surgery, stop using bergamot oil at least two weeks beforehand — it may interfere with blood sugar control during the procedure.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived – JA

P. Carrothers

312-972-well

Roasted Beet Avocado Orange Salad

Beet-Avocado-Orange-Salad

ROASTED BEET, ORANGE, AND AVOCADO SALAD

These three flavors together are a dynamite combination — and super nutritious, too. Beets contain pigments called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detox benefits. Avocados deliver a host of vitamins and minerals, as well as heart-healthy fats, and oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber.

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 to 60 minutes

  • 2 medium beets
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 orange, halved: one half zested and juiced, one half peeled and cut into segments
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 avocado, split lengthwise, pitted, peeled, and diced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse beets and stab all sides with a fork. Place in a medium bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, tossing to thoroughly coat. Wrap each oiled beet in aluminum foil, pinching the top closed to create a seal. Place beets in the center of a baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes. When you can pierce a beet with a thin knife all the way to the center without resistance (be careful opening the foil), it’s done. Remove from the oven and allow to rest until cool enough to handle.

With a knife, remove the skin from the beets. (Wear gloves and an apron.) Dice the beets into 1-inch pieces and place in a serving bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the vinegar, orange juice, salt, and pepper, and whisk until combined.

Add the orange segments and avocado to the beets. Drizzle with the dressing, sprinkle on the orange zest, toss to coat, and serve.

 

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower-Rice

CAULIFLOWER RICE

Gone are the days of overcooked cauliflower that smells like sulfur. “Ricing” cauliflower in a food processor by pulsing it until it’s ground to a rice-like consistency gives it a light, delicate structure and a mild taste that pairs well with just about anything. Make this a complete meal by adding a serving of your favorite protein and sautéing any leftover veggies from your fridge.

Makes two servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 tbs. ghee or clarified butter
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbs. minced fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

“Rice” the cauliflower in batches: Place approximately half of the florets into the food processor, being careful not to pack too tightly, and pulse 15 to 20 times until the cauliflower has a rice-like texture. Remove riced cauliflower from the processor and repeat to rice the remaining florets.

In a large skillet, melt the ghee over medium heat and coat the bottom of the pan. When the ghee is hot, add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, two to three minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about one minute.

Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet and mix thoroughly with the rest of the vegetables. Add the chicken broth, cover the pan with a lid, and steam until finished, like cooked rice, about 10 to 12 minutes. (The cauliflower should be tender, but not mushy or wet.)

Remove from the heat and mix in the chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

 

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken-Cacciatore

CHICKEN CACCIATORE

Don’t be tempted to use boneless, skinless chicken with this classic recipe. The chicken skin holds the fat, and fat equals flavor. Plus, the skin helps the sauce cling to the chicken.

Makes two servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes

  • 4 tbs. ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 lb. chicken legs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 3/4 lb. chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ onion, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs. capers, drained
  • 1  14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 tbs. fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

In a large skillet with high sides, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee over medium-high heat, coating the bottom of the pan. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and place in the pan. Sear the chicken until golden brown, about three minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

With the same pan still on medium-high heat, add the remaining 2 table-spoons of ghee, the onions, and the peppers, and sauté for two to three minutes, until the onions become translucent. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring for two minutes. Add the garlic and stir until aromatic, about one minute. Add the capers and diced tomatoes.

Return the chicken to the pan and pour in the chicken broth or water until it covers the chicken pieces. Reduce heat to medium and bring everything to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and continue to simmer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 30 minutes.

Garnish with the chopped basil and serve hot.

 

Spinach Frittata

Spinach-Fritatta

SPINACH FRITTATA

 

This recipe goes heavy on the spinach, a nutrient-dense green rich in carotenoids and vitamin K, as well as magnesium, iron, and copper. A frittata travels and reheats well, making it handy for packed breakfasts, lunches, or on-the-go snacks. You can even make this recipe in muffin tins for extra portability. For a Mexican-inspired version, add seasoned, cooked ground beef, thinly sliced jalapeños, and cilantro.

 

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes

  • 6 large eggs
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbs. ghee or clarified butter
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced, seeded tomato
  • 4 or 5 tomato slices for topping the frittata
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach (approximately 9 oz.), roughly chopped
  • Grated zest and juice of ¼ lemon

Set oven to broil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs with salt and pepper.

Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the ghee to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. When the fat is hot, add onion and diced tomato and cook, stirring, for two to three minutes, until onion is soft. Add the spinach and let it wilt for 30 seconds.

Add the eggs to the skillet and fold them into the vegetables with a rubber spatula. Cook without stirring for about three to four minutes to let the eggs set on the bottom and sides of the pan. When the eggs are firm but still appear wet, lay a few tomato slices on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle the lemon zest over the frittata.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for three to five minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cut into slices and serve hot.

If you prefer, you can finish your frittata by baking it rather than broiling: Simply preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, then cook it for three to five minutes.

 

Cultivate Self Compassion

selfcompassion

 

Cultivate Self Compassion

 

Life-changing strategies can help you be kinder to yourself.

 

 

Self-compassion not only helps you be kinder to yourself, but it also gives you the power to be kinder to the world around you.

 

These benefits have been empirically validated by Kristin Neff, PhD, one of the world’s foremost researchers on self-compassion. She established it as a field of study almost a decade ago, during her postdoctoral work at the University of Denver. In her book, Self-Compassion, Neff walks us through the scientific research underpinning the whys and hows of cultivating self-compassion. The volume is packed with both theoretical and practical goodness.

 

Neff’s basic argument is that self-compassion is made up of three components:

 

  • Self-kindness. We need to be kind to ourselves. Beating ourselves up is not helpful.
  • Common humanity. We’re not alone. It’s important to see that our suffering is part of a shared human experience.
  • Mindfulness. We want to observe our experience. We can learn to hold it in “balanced” awareness without trying to push our pain away or make it a bigger deal than it is.

Now let’s take a look at each of these elements in more detail.

 

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

“Self-kindness, by definition, means that we stop the constant self-judgment and disparaging internal commentary that most of us have come to see as normal. It requires us to understand our foibles and failures instead of condemning them. It entails clearly seeing the extent to which we harm ourselves through relentless self-criticism, and ending our internal war,” Neff writes.

 

“But self-kindness involves more than merely stopping self-judgment,” she adds. “It involves actively comforting ourselves, responding just as we would to a dear friend in need. It means we allow ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, stopping to say, ‘This is really difficult right now. How can I care for and comfort myself in this moment?’ With self-kindness, we soothe and calm our troubled minds. We make a peace offering of warmth, gentleness, and sympathy from ourselves to ourselves, so that true healing can occur.”

 

I love the image of treating ourselves the same way we would treat a dear friend or family member. By slowing down and allowing ourselves to be emotionally moved by our own pain, we actively comfort ourselves.

 

The first step is to stop the internal heckling. Quit beating yourself up with thoughts like Why am I such an idiot? or, I can’t believe I did or said that. Instead, replace that heckling with phrases like I feel my pain right now. This is tough. How can I best take care of myself right now?

 

In short, be nice to yourself. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but learning to do it can lead to huge breakthroughs in your life.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER

 

Once we’re in the practice of being kind to ourselves, we can work on the second fundamental element of self-compassion: recognizing the common human experience.

 

Neff argues that seeing our common humanity “helps to distinguish self-compassion from mere self-acceptance or self-love.

 

“Although self-acceptance and self-love are important, they are incomplete by themselves. They leave out an essential factor — other people. Compassion is, by definition, relational. Compassion literally means ‘to suffer with,’ which implies a basic mutuality in the experience of suffering.

 

“The emotion of compassion springs from the recognition that the human experience is imperfect. Why else would we say ‘It’s only human’ to comfort someone who has made a mistake? Self-compassion honors the fact that all human beings are fallible, that wrong choices and feelings of regret are inevitable, no matter how high and mighty one is.”

 

In our hyper-individualistic, hyper-comparative society, it’s easy to always try to outdo everyone and feel disconnected — either better or worse than those around us. But what if, instead, we slowed down and appreciated our sameness? Doing so gives us the ability to see the threads of our common humanity. It leads us to recognize that we all struggle and can connect to one another through our shared triumphs and failures.

 

FACE UP TO REALITY WITH MINDFULNESS

 

One way to stay connected to our own experience and to cultivate our connection to the experiences of others is by practicing mindfulness.

 

For Neff, “mindfulness refers to the clear seeing and nonjudgmental acceptance of what’s occurring in the present moment. Facing up to reality, in other words. The idea is that we need to see things as they are, no more, no less, in order to respond to our current situation in the most compassionate — and therefore effective — manner.”

 

Like many wise teachers, Neff reminds us that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. How we respond to pain determines our level of suffering. Resisting pain by trying to wish away whatever is happening — whether it’s something mundane, like traffic on the way to work, or something more significant, like a serious illness or death of a loved one — only causes our suffering to grow.

 

“Our emotional suffering is caused by our desire for things to be other than they are,” Neff explains. “Once something has occurred in reality, there is nothing you can do to change that reality in the present moment. This is how things are. You can choose to accept this fact or not, but reality will remain the same either way.”

 

Mindfulness is one tool we can develop to appropriately relate to reality.

 

TAKE NOTE

Neff’s “noting practice” is one of my all-time favorite tips for building mindfulness. She writes that “the idea is to make a soft mental note whenever a particular thought, emotion, or sensation arises. This helps us to become more consciously aware of what we’re experiencing.”

 

Noting is a simple way to create awareness, and I love to use it during my own meditation sessions. For example, when I observe my mind wandering off into strategizing or planning, I softly say the word “strategy” to myself  and then bring my attention back to my breath.

 

Give it a try and see if noting helps you become more conscious of your life experience.

 

Using the three components of self-compassion improves our chances of reaching our goals and living the profoundly beautiful and fulfilling life we all deserve.

 

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-Well

 

 

 

Everyday Detox

everydaydetox

Everyday Detox

No need to subsist on juices and herbs. These whole foods support your body’s innate ability to detoxify on a daily basis.

 

Lemon-juice flushes. Coffee enemas. Fruit-only diets. With funky programs like these flourishing, it’s no wonder many people dismiss detoxing as a perennial fad.

 

But don’t be too quick to reject the idea of detoxification altogether. Eating to promote your body’s natural detox functions can help you look and feel better every day — without extreme interventions.

 

Many of your organs are equipped with detoxification superpowers, and with just a little nutritional support, their powers get stronger. Your liver, for example, neutralizes environmental pollutants that could trigger a range of health conditions. Your kidneys filter waste from your blood. Your skin releases toxic elements via sweat. And the digestive system shuttles waste out of your body with each bowel movement.

 

So if your body cleanses itself automatically, why worry about detox? Because without some extra help, your body may have a hard time keeping up with whatever life throws its way.

 

“As modern humans, we’re exposed to an unprecedented array of toxins in our environment,” says Mark Pettus, MD, director of wellness and population health at Berkshire Health Systems in Massachusetts and associate dean of medical education at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

 

Compounds like glyphosphate in herbicides, phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics, and parabens in our cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are among the tens of thousands of chemicals used commercially in the United States. And these compounds affect us negatively at a cellular level.

 

“The longer these toxins are in contact with our cells, the more likely they are to cause damage to our organs and other bodily systems,” says Robert Rountree, MD, family medicine doctor and faculty member at the Institute for Functional Medicine.

 

One of the best ways to reduce your toxic load (the chemical burden your body is carrying at any given time) is to eat in ways that optimize your body’s natural detoxification systems and processes.

 

“It’s better to help the body eliminate toxins at the time of exposure than it is to allow them to accumulate at high levels before going on a radical cleanse,” Rountree says.

 

“The optimal scenario is to live a detox life as much as possible,” agrees Deanna Minich, PhD, FACN, CNS, author of Whole Detox. “Making some daily, consistent tweaks can have dramatic effects on your long-term health.”

 

Read on to discover the most detoxifying whole foods, and to learn how they work their magic.

 

THE LIVER SUPPORTERS

Detox Superstars: Watercress, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, onions, leeks, garlic

 

Supporting Role: Compounds found in these foods help to increase the cellular response or sensitivity of enzymes in the liver and remove undesirable elements from your body.

 

One of the liver’s most important roles is to filter waste products and remove harmful substances from the blood after it passes through the stomach and intestines, and before it moves to the rest of the body.

 

Think of the liver as an inspection facility, deciding which packages are beneficial and which are not. When the liver finds something toxic, it first separates the dangerous substances from the blood (this is referred to as phase 1 detoxification). The liver’s second step, or phase 2, is to rid your body of the harmful compounds by carrying them away in bile.

 

Your job is to eat foods that help keep both parts of this two-phase process running efficiently — and that protect the liver from the toxins and byproducts of detoxification.

 

Good to Know: Cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are responsible for most phase 1 reactions in the liver, can be stopped in their tracks by a compound found in grapefruit juice. This is why people on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs (whose livers are working overtime) are warned against drinking the beverage. Should a healthy person avoid grapefruit juice? Not necessarily. “Everything we eat can have an effect on our liver enzymes,” says Minich. She advises eating a wide variety of whole foods to help optimize the liver’s detoxification abilities.

 

THE HYDRATORS

Detox Superstars: Water, herbal teas, fluid-rich produce (cucumbers, watermelon, iceberg lettuce, celery, etc.)

 

Supporting Role: The human body is largely made up of water, so it makes sense that consuming water and water-rich produce helps maintain balance and protects against dehydration. It also helps you detoxify. Fluids allow the kidneys to remove waste products from your blood, sending important minerals back into the bloodstream and flushing the leftover compounds out in your urine.

 

Good to Know: Contrary to popular belief, coffee and other caffeinated beverages (consumed in moderation) don’t appear to be dehydrating — though you’ll still want to balance your caffeine habit with plenty of plain water to avoid the jitters and to keep your system flushing regularly. Aim to drink enough fluids and eat enough fresh produce that your urine is light colored.

 

Keep in mind that our municipal and rural water supplies are contaminated with a wide range of toxins, including pharmaceuticals and pesticides, says Rountree. “Water-treatment plants are designed to get rid of the organisms that will kill you, not the things that will make you sick in the long run,” he says. To minimize your exposure, drink purified or filtered water.

 

THE METAL DETECTORS

Detox Superstars:

Turmeric, seaweed, cilantro, onions, garlic

 

Supporting Role: Heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic are ubiquitous in our environment and are known to cause organ damage and increase cancer risk. Fortunately, some common foods and spices can help prevent their accumulation.

 

In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, rats that had been exposed to mercury were given curcumin, the active compound in the orange-colored spice turmeric. Examining the animals’ kidneys and livers, researchers determined that curcumin significantly reduced the concentration of the heavy metal in these organs and reversed damage done to other bodily systems.

 

A 2014 study suggests that curcumin may even help prevent liver damage from heavy metals through its ability to bind with metal compounds, potentially helping remove them from the body.

 

Alginates — carbohydrates found in seaweed — are able to stick to heavy metals like lead and mercury and direct them out of the body through normal excretory processes. Seaweed compounds can also bind to and remove radioactive strontium (a cancer-causing compound) from the body, according to research from Montreal’s McGill University.

 

Good to Know: Purchase seaweed from a reputable source that monitors the waters it’s grown in to be sure it’s not contaminated with heavy metals itself, says Rountree.

 

“Any high-quality seaweed supplier should be able to provide information about the quality of their products on request,” he says, noting that he typically recommends buying seaweed “harvested from areas that are known to be pristine, such as Iceland.”

 

THE COLON CLEANSERS

Detox Superstars: Lentils, raspberries, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, artichokes, apples

 

Supporting Role: Constipation is one sign that your body isn’t detoxing the way it should. Getting plenty of fiber and water (which is drawn to the soluble fiber in foods like beans and oats, forming a gut-scrubbing gel) supports healthy, regular bowel movements — helping to remove waste products and other undesirable compounds from your body. “If you’re not moving things through your bowels, then you can’t get rid of that total toxic load,” says Rountree.

 

Both soluble and insoluble fiber play important roles: In addition to keeping the gut regular, eating a variety of fiber helps provide microbes in the gut with fuel, which helps decrease inflammation and improve immunity

 

Good to Know: All-juice cleanses are devoid of insoluble fiber, so they don’t optimally support your body’s detox-elimination processes, according to Seattle-based nutritionist Riana Giusti, MS, CN. “Fiber helps remove toxic substances that can accumulate in the colon and is an integral part of our bodies’ inherent and natural detoxification systems,” she says.

 

THE PH BALANCERS

Detox Superstars: Vegetables, citrus fruit

 

Supporting Role: The pH balance in the body varies greatly by body part and region. The stomach, for example, is highly acidic, while the layer just outside the stomach lining is quite alkaline to prevent damage to the mucosa. And while the body is generally good at keeping itself balanced, research has shown that a diet heavy in animal proteins but low in non-starchy vegetables and fruits can shift the pH of urine (which may reflect other imbalances in the body) to a more acidic makeup.

 

“Many enzymes that play a role in detoxification are pH-dependent,” says Minich, which is why you want to maintain balance with a focus on green, leafy, and fresh foods. A diet that focuses on vegetables, fruits, and plant proteins is likely to have an alkalizing effect. When you eat loads of acid-forming foods — like meat, dairy, sugar, and processed carbohydrates — the body neutralizes pH with alkalizing minerals. And if there aren’t enough minerals in your diet, your body pulls them from your bones

 

Bottom line: Eating more plants will help you maintain healthy biochemistry and bone mass while also setting the stage for proper detoxification.

 

Good to Know: It may seem counterintuitive, but acidic fruits like oranges and lemons actually increase the pH of your body, making it more alkaline, says Rountree. The pH of the foods you eat or drink doesn’t directly affect the pH in your bloodstream, thanks to the acid-balancing act described above.

 

THE CULTURED CLUB

Detox Superstars: Yogurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi

 

Supporting Role: Keeping the gut healthy is central to overall health, and the probiotic bacteria found in these foods help balance the gastrointestinal tract. “A well-balanced gut microbiome has a wealth of friendly bacteria to keep harmful microorganisms in check,” says Giusti. She adds that a healthy microbial ecosystem also aids in digestion and nutrient generation, metabolism, and absorption; reduces bloating; normalizes bowel movements; and boosts immune function.

 

Good bacteria may also have the ability to bind to toxins in food and water, such as those from heavy metals. When pregnant women in pollution-fraught Tanzania regularly ate probiotic yogurt during their second and/or third trimesters, they reduced their absorption of mercury by up to 36 percent and arsenic by as much as 78 percent, according to 2014 research from Canada’s Lawson Health Research Institute.

 

Good to Know: The refrigerated section of the supermarket is your best source for probiotic-rich foods — not just yogurt and kefir, but also sauerkraut and pickled vegetables. “Products that are shelf stable have undergone pasteurization and canning processes that will heat the product and kill the beneficial bacteria,” says Giusti.

 

THE INFLAMMATION FIGHTERS

Detox Superstars: Salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, hemp oil, walnuts, flaxseeds

 

Supporting Role: Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids support your body’s detox efforts on two levels. First, they help keep systemic inflammation in check. Your immune system is adept at fighting off invaders by creating inflammation in the body; chronic inflammation, however — often driven by diets heavy in refined carbohydrates, highly processed meats, and sweets — kicks off reactions that create oxidative stress in the body. This leads to the production of free radicals, unstable compounds that can start a chain reaction and cause cellular damage that contributes to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

 

“When we have oxidative stress in the body, we have more free radicals,” says Minich. “That’s one more thing to detoxify, and that adds stress to the detoxification process.”

 

Reducing intake of omega-6 fatty acids (present in most commercial meats and processed foods) while increasing omega-3s is crucial to decreasing this “silent inflammation” that underlies chronic disease and leads to a runaway train of free radicals.

 

Omega-3s may also target toxins directly. According to University of Kentucky researchers, these fats prevent damage to the circulatory system caused by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), manmade chemicals once used widely in commercial and industrial applications, and still found in the environment despite being banned in 1979.

 

Good to Know: The form of omega-3 found in fish is the most effective; plant-based omega-3s found in walnuts and flaxseeds get converted in our bodies to the more powerful form, albeit in smaller amounts and at a relatively slow rate.

 

THE SWEAT STARTERS

Detox Superstars: Habanero peppers, serrano peppers, jalapeño peppers, organic green tea, organic black tea, organic coffee

 

Supporting Role: The skin is your body’s largest organ, providing a barrier that keeps most foreign substances out. It’s also a surface through which some toxins can be excreted via your sweat. Certain foods can encourage perspiration and nudge your sweat glands to cleanse away. In a review of 24 studies published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, researchers concluded that sweating has the potential to assist with removing toxins, such as heavy metals, from the body.

 

“The capsaicin in hot peppers creates a heated, metabolically revved response,” says Minich. Caffeine, she says, is also warming to the body — it stimulates certain liver enzymes.

 

Good to Know: Taking saunas and working up a sweat at the gym are good ways to support a detox-promoting lifestyle.

 

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IF YOU NEED MORE DETOX SUPPORT

 

An everyday approach to detox can help you maintain good health and prepare you for a more in-depth cleanse when you need it.

 

“If you’re eating a lot of detox-supporting foods but still suffering from fatigue, decreased cognition, or loss of memory, as well as gastrointestinal issues like bloating, or neurologic symptoms like tremors that doctors haven’t been able to get to the bottom of, you might need a more targeted detoxification program, or supplemental program”.

 

Please give us a call, the number is below, and ask for assistance in your healthcare needs.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL

10 Ways to Treat COPD Naturally

COPD-summertime-triggers

10 Ways to Treat COPD Symptoms Naturally

 

 

Are you familiar with the third leading cause of death in the U.S.? I’m talking about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more commonly known as COPD. This respiratory disease is characterized by an abnormal inflammatory response in the lungs and restricted airflow, which both result in difficulty doing the most vital thing in life — breathing. And these are just a few COPD symptoms so many people deal with.

 

Important News on COPD.  It has been more than 50 years that the Federal Government has been warning people about COPD from smoking cigarettes.  The Insurance Board has stated that your medical insurance no longer has to pay for your healthcare.  It is a choice you have made, and no one should pay for your poor decision.

 

 

More than 11 million people in this country have already been diagnosed with COPD, but an estimated 24 million may have the disease without even realizing it! (1) COPD is actually an umbrella term that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and, in some cases, asthma. The No. 1 reason someone gets COPD in developed countries is smoking tobacco, so the best way to avoid COPD is not to smoke or stop smoking immediately. Sadly, close to half of U.S. adults over the age of 40 who have trouble breathing due to asthma or COPD still continue to smoke. (2)

 

If you’re willing, there are many ways to treat and reduce your risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with your own efforts and natural treatment. But first, you must realize you have COPD symptoms to begin with — then you can pinpoint exactly how to treat them.

 

COPD Symptoms & Life Expectancy

 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis and chronic airway obstruction. These diseases are all commonly characterized by irreversible airflow limitation.

 

Symptoms of COPD often don’t appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time, particularly if smoking exposure continues. For chronic bronchitis, the main symptom is a daily cough and sputum production at least three months a year for two consecutive years.

 

Signs and symptoms of COPD include:

 

Shortness of breath while doing everyday activities or during physical activities

Chronic cough

Wheezing

Chest tightness

Frequent respiratory infections

Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds

General fatigue and lack of energy or chronic fatigue syndrome

Producing a lot of mucus or phlegm

Having to clear your throat first thing in the morning, due to excess mucus in your lungs

Unintended weight loss (in later stages)

 

People with COPD are likely to experience episodes called exacerbations. This is when symptoms become worse than usual and persist for at least several days. If you have one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, then you definitely want to seek medical advise. Early detection of COPD is key to successful treatment. A simple test called spirometry can be used to measure pulmonary (lung) function and detect COPD in anyone with breathing problems.

 

There are four stages of COPD:

 

Stage 1 — very mild COPD

Stage 2 — moderate COPD

Stage 3 — severe emphysema/chronic bronchitis

Stage 4 — very severe COPD

Each of these stages has a different impact on each sufferer, but generally speaking the higher the stage of COPD, the shorter the life expectancy. Overall, COPD can cause serious long-term disability and early death. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for COPD, and the number of people dying from COPD continues to grow. However, there are natural ways to slow its progression.

 

10 Natural Treatments for COPD Symptoms

 

  1. Avoid Smoke in Every Way

 

The most essential step in conventional and natural treatment plan for COPD is the same — stop any and all forms of smoking. Yes, this includes the electronic cigarette. If you smoke, this is the only way to keep COPD from getting worse.

 

In general, you should avoid smoke of any kind. You should also avoid air pollution as much as possible. If you’re not a smoker, then you definitely need to avoid places where others smoke. Smoking yourself is definitely the worst thing you can do when it comes to COPD, but secondhand smoke and air pollution can damage and irritate your lungs too. (3)

 

  1. 2. Improve Your Breathing

 

There are techniques for breathing that can help you breathe more efficiently with COPD. These breathing techniques can also help improve breathing for people with asthma as well as people who don’t currently have lung issues but want to optimize their breathing.

 

According to the American Association for Respiratory Care, pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing may increase your blood oxygen levels and help reduce shortness of breath. (4) A respiratory therapist can be very helpful if you need assistance with breathing techniques.

 

  1. Follow a Healthy Diet

 

A healthy diet can help manage and improve COPD symptoms. Some foods in particular should be mainstays when it comes to an anti-COPD diet while others should be majorly or entirely avoided. Your diet should definitely have plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits to ensure you gett lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Citrus fruits are especially helpful because they contain quercetin. Wild-caught fish, flaxseeds and chia seeds, along with other omega-3 foods, can provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

 

If you’re suffering with COPD symptoms, you definitely want to steer clear of conventional dairy since pasteurized dairy is mucus-producing and can plug the airways in the lungs. You always want to stay away from processed, canned and frozen foods and sugar as well. Additives, preservatives and food dyes are also known for contributing to breathing issues and even asthma attacks. (5)

 

  1. 4. Increase Water Intake Inside and Outside the Body

 

One of the common and frustrating COPD symptoms is having mucus collect in your airways. This mucus can be difficult to clear and result in persistent and uncontrollable coughing. One internal way you can improve this mucus problem is by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to thin mucus and stay hydrated. (6)

 

Externally, you can increase the moisture content of the air in your home by using a humidifier. Humidifiers can also help make breathing easier. I like using one while I’m sleeping at night. (7)

 

  1. Exercise

 

When you’re having trouble breathing, exercise might seem like a terrible idea, but being sedentary won’t do anything to help your COPD symptoms. By regularly getting exercise, especially cardio workouts, you can strengthen your respiratory muscles and improve your overall endurance. (8)

 

About 40 percent of people with COPD experience high levels of depression and anxiety, which makes it even more difficult to quit smoking and comply with treatment. Exercise also increases endorphin levels, which improves mood, reduces depression and anxiety, and makes it easier to quit smoking.

 

 

  1. 6. Use Eucalyptus Oil

 

Eucalyptus oil can be very helpful for people with COPD. A study in Respiratory Research showed that cineole, the main constituent of eucalyptus essential oil, actually reduced exacerbations in people with COPD. It also reduced dyspnea (shortness of breath), and improved lung function as well as health status overall. Furthermore, the research suggested that cineole is an active controller and reducer of airway inflammation in COPD. (9)

 

To get the benefits of cineole, you can use eucalyptus oil in a diffuser and/or humidifier and breath in the anti-inflammatory air.

 

  1. Consume Ginseng

 

Ginseng is an herbal supplement that improves lung function and also decrease bacteria in the lungs. Panax ginseng in particular has a long history of use in Chinese medicine for respiratory conditions, including asthma and COPD.

 

A recent study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine highlighted therapeutic ginseng benefits. Panax ginseng and ginsenosides (active components of ginseng) appear to inhibit processes related to the development of COPD. (10)

 

  1. Take N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

 

Supplementing with NAC helps decrease the severity and frequency of asthma attacks and improves overall lung function by increasing glutathione levels and thinning bronchial mucus. Glutathione fights against oxidative stress in the respiratory tract, which can make NAC a powerful and effective natural treatment for COPD. (11)

 

  1. Avoid Cold and Crowds

 

When you have COPD symptoms, it’s important to avoid things that make them even worse. I already told you that smoke and pollution are absolutely key to avoid. Another thing to be aware of is the fact that cold air can trigger bronchospasm, a sudden constriction in the muscles of airway walls that leads to shortness of breath. If the weather is really chilly, it’s a smart idea to avoid or reduce your time outdoors. You can also help your symptoms by putting on a face mask before going out into very cold temperatures. (12)

 

Another environmental hazard to avoid, especially if you have been prone to respiratory infections, is large crowds. Since respiratory infections can cause COPD symptoms to worsen, the less you’re in big crowds the lower your risk of being exposed to infectious germs. By no means am I encouraging you to be a hermit and never go to a mall again — I just want you to be smart and not unnecessarily put yourself in situations that could make your symptoms any worse.

 

  1. Reduce Stress

 

As with all health issues and diseases, stress only makes COPD symptoms, like airway inflammation and shortness of breath, worse. By reducing your daily stress and managing stress in healthy ways, you’re more relaxed, and this has a direct positive effect on your COPD symptoms. (13)

 

If you suffer from COPD, you should make time every day to relax both mentally and physically. Try some of these natural stress relievers to start.

 

The COPD Umbrella

 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is an umbrella term that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and sometimes asthma. Here are some alarming stats on COPD:

 

  • According to the CDC, smoking accounts for as many as eight out of 10 COPD-related deaths. However, as many as one out of four Americans with COPD never smoked cigarettes.
  • A hallmark symptom of COPD is shortness of breath that gets worse over time. It’s often accompanied by a phlegm-producing cough and episodes of wheezing.
  • Typically, the first symptoms of emphysema occur in heavy smokers in their mid-50s.
  • Shortness of breath occurs with chronic bronchitis, but it may not be as severe during rest as it is in people with emphysema.
  • Classic symptoms of an asthma attack are coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath (dyspnea).
  • People with chronic asthma can get airway obstruction that makes them more likely to develop COPD.
  • Approximately 40 percent of those with COPD experience high levels of depression and anxiety, making it more difficult to comply with treatment and quit smoking.

COPD in the U.S.: (14)

 

  • Women were more likely to report COPD than men (6.7 percent vs. 5.2 percent).
  • Prevalence is lower among homemakers, students and the employed than among those who are unable to work, unemployed or retired.
  • Prevalence decreases as income increases (from 9.9 percent among those making less than $25,000 a year to 2.8 percent among those making more than $75,000).
  • 36.4 percent of those reporting COPD were former smokers.
  • 38.7 percent of those reporting COPD continued to smoke.
  • 43.7 percent of those reporting COPD had a history of asthma.

 

 

COPD Risk Factors & Root Causes

 

In developed countries, the central cause of COPD is tobacco smoking. In the developing world, COPD often occurs in people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.

 

Root causes and risk factors for COPD include: (15)

 

  • Smoking — By far, the biggest risk factor for COPD is long-term cigarette smoking. The more years you smoke and the more cigarettes you smoke daily, the greater your risk for developing the disease. People who smoke pipes, cigars and marijuana are also at risk.
  • Tobacco smoke exposure — People exposed to large amounts of secondhand smoke are also at risk.
  • People with asthma who smoke — The combination of asthma and smoking increases the risk of COPD even more.
  • Occupational exposure to chemicals and dusts — Long-term exposure to chemical fumes, vapors and dusts in the workplace or elsewhere can irritate and inflame your lungs.
  • Age — COPD develops slowly over years. The majority of sufferers are at least 35 to 40 years old when symptoms begin.
  • Genetics — In about 1 percent of people with COPD, the disease results from a genetic disorder that causes low levels of a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin. Alpha-1-antitrypsin is made in the liver and secreted into the bloodstream to help protect the lungs. Other genetic factors also likely make certain smokers more susceptible to the disease.

 

The following groups are more likely to report COPD: (16)

 

  • Current or former smokers
  • Those with a history of asthma
  • People aged 65–74 years
  • Non-Hispanic whites
  • Women
  • Individuals who are unemployed, retired or unable to work
  • Individuals with less than a high school education
  • People with lower incomes
  • Individuals who are divorced, widowed or separated

 

 

COPD in Women

 

Deaths resulting from COPD are higher in women than in men. There are a few reasons why this happens: (17)

 

  • In the late 1960s, the tobacco industry intensely targeted women. This resulted in a huge increase in women smoking. We are still seeing new cases of smoking-related diseases, including COPD, as women age.
  • Women are more vulnerable than men to lung damage from cigarette smoke and other pollutants. Their lungs are smaller, and estrogen plays a role in worsening lung disease.
  • Women are often misdiagnosed. Because COPD has long been thought of as a man’s disease, many doctors still don’t expect to see it in women and miss the proper diagnosis.

 

 

COPD Symptoms Takeaways

 

  • COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 11 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with COPD, while an estimated 24 million may have the disease without even realizing it.
  • COPD symptoms include shortness of breath while doing everyday activities or during physical activities, chronic cough, wheezing, chest tightness, frequent respiratory infections, blueness of the lips or fingernail beds, general fatigue and lack of energy, producing a lot of mucus or phlegm, having to clear your throat first thing in the morning due to excess mucus in your lungs and unintended weight loss (in later stages). People with COPD are likely to experience episodes called exacerbations. This is when symptoms become worse than usual and persist for at least several days.
  • There are four stages of COPD: Stage 1, very mild COPD; Stage 2, moderate COPD; Stage 3, severe emphysema/chronic bronchitis; Stage 4, very sever COPD.
  • To naturally treat COPD symptoms, avoid smoking in every form, improve breathing, follow a healthy diet, increase water intake inside and outside the body, exercise, use eucalyptus oil, consume ginseng, take NAC, avoid cold and crowds, and reduce stress.
  • The root causes and risk factors for COPD include smoking, tobacco smoke exposure, having asthma and smoking, occupational exposure to chemicals and dusts, age, and genetics. In addition, deaths resulting from COPD are higher in women than in men.

 

Please share with family and loved ones, and call us if you have concerns and question about what to do in your healthcare needs.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article   JA

312-972-Well

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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