June 10, 2016

7 Health Tips

By Dr. Nadine Khoury, N.D.
  1. Get rid of that afternoon lull-start your day with a protein dense breakfast- Amino acids found in proteins are essential for the proper functioning of our system; they are required for a wide range of processes and reactions that happen in our body. Amino acids will allow for a better balance of blood glucose levels throughout the day, they will help maintain energy levels throughout the day and decrease cravings for sugar. They will also support the proper functioning of organs such as our liver, which plays a major role in detoxifying harmful compounds.

  1. Watch out for health foods and consume whole foods instead- Many health foods such as vegan alternatives, vegetarian alternatives, gluten-free alternatives and fat-free alternatives that we find in our grocery stores actually contain high amounts of sodium, sugar and sometimes chemicals and preservatives; you are not doing your body a favor by consuming those products and they may cause an increase in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. If you were to look at the labels you’ll find that in many fat-free alternatives, for example, the fats have been replaced with sugar, sodium and chemical flavors. Stay away from pre-packaged foods even if they are vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free. Choose the full fat option because, in moderation, fats are actually healthy for you and always go for whole foods such as raw whole vegetables, whole grains and fermented foods. Stay away from anything refined, especially refined flour and refined sugar. 

  1. If you’re trying to lose weight, do not diet-Eating a very low in calories diet and exercising excessively is actually a recipe for metabolic havoc. The idea of burning more calories than you are eating will cause your metabolism to slow down and will change your body’s composition to contain more fat, less muscle mass and is not sustainable for most people. This type of diet will most often result in gaining all the weight back very quickly and will make it harder to lose weight the next time you try to lose it. When it comes to achieving sustainable weight loss there is no “one size fits all” solution. It is about working with your own unique metabolism, finding out what works best for you and implementing life-long dietary and lifestyle habits.

  1. Recover from alcohol, stress and bad dietary habits-Regular alcohol consumption causes many deficiencies in our body, a major one being a depletion of B vitamins. It also increases inflammation, creates a significant burden on our major detoxification organ, our liver, and increases our risk for many chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, liver disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and much more. Stress will result in certain nutrient depletions, hormonal imbalances and an imbalance in blood sugar levels to name a few. Bad dietary habits means that we are not only adding to the toxic burden of our body but also not providing our body with all the nutrients that it requires to function optimally. If our organs are not functioning optimally and we are not providing our system with the nutrients that it needs to function properly a slue of symptoms and conditions will incur. For this reason, I recommend that my patients get tested to evaluate for any vitamin, mineral or nutrient deficiencies in order to correct any deficiencies that exist using both dietary counseling and orthomolecular medicine. In addition, naturopathic medicine has much to offer in order to naturally support our body’s detoxification pathways, starting with making sure you are having regular bowel movements. Examples of botanicals that support the liver in its detoxification function are Sylibum Mariamun, Schisandra chinensis and rosmarinus officinalis. From an orthomolecular perspective N-Acetylcysteine is a very powerful antioxidant that functions to support the liver’s detoxification pathways.

  1. Decrease screen time before bed-Stay away from computer, phone and tablet screens at least 30 minutes before bed. Many of us have issues falling asleep and often the cause can be traced back to screen time right before bed. Looking at a screen will cause photoreceptors in the retina of our eye to detect light and inhibit our natural ability to produce a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is a neurohormone produced in the brain by the pineal gland; its secretion is stimulated by darkness and suppressed by light. This means that Melatonin is implicated in the regulation of our circadian biological clock, meaning that it signals our body that it is time for bed. Ensuring that you’re getting good quality sleep is extremely important for hormone balance, mood balance, libido and energy.

  1. Take good care of your gut-There are many ways to ensure the health of your digestive tract. Gut health may be at the root of a wide range of diseases such as anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and skin issues amongst others. The main determinants of gut health include: eating well, removing inflammatory foods that may be causing an issue, making sure absorption and digestion is optimal, healing the lining of our digestive tract and making sure that there is a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria. All those things will go a long way in the maintenance of general wellbeing. Additionally, it is important to remember that there is a great concentration of hormones that reside in our gut and those hormones influence mental health and mood.

  1. Build repair times into your life-It is of utmost importance that you schedule time for yourself. We all lead very busy lives and making sure you make time for yourself has become increasingly difficult. Making time to do something that you love will provide you with a healthy outlet for stress and impact your internal physiology for the better. Making time for yourself at least once per week to do something relaxing, enjoyable and fulfilling is a very healthy way to manage your stress and will keep you healthy long-term. This will help you be more productive and efficient because you’ve taken the time to nourish and refresh yourself. Whether it is meditation, journaling, painting, playing a sport, exercising, taking a hot bath, playing an instrument or being creative; find whatever it is that relaxes you and makes you feel like you are doing something for yourself, do it and do it as often as possible.